Single Speed Throttle-less Fun Factor

HMWi

New Member
Region
USA
Hey all - new forum member but have been browsing for a few weeks and want to lead off by saying a hearty THANKS to folks here for sharing so much experience and information. It’s really appreciated.

tl;dr version of my question - shopping for my first ebike...would I lose out on “fun factor” by choosing a simpler single speed throttle-less bike over something w/ more features and flexibility?


Quick context - just moved to flat country (Central WI) from mountain country (PNW) for work. I’ve spent the last several years climbing mountains in the PNW in my free time, and in the absence of mountains here in WI, I’m looking for a new activity to get me outdoors and exploring the area. I also now live pretty close to a lot of stores/restaurants, so ebike is checking both the recreation and car-replacement boxes. I’m a bigger guy (6’4”, 230ish) but in decent shape.

I’m waffling between two avenues now - the simpler, single speed throttle-less type bike vs. a more feature-loaded multi-speed bike with throttle, bigger motor, etc.

I’m leaning more toward the simplicity of the former, but am worried I may regret the move by missing out on the fun factor of the latter...Will I still get that fun factor out of a single speed pedal assist-only bike without a throttle? Reviews of these types of bikes give the vibe of them being a lil less fun, but still functional.

I can get good exercise from either, but I also want it to to be something that makes we want to use it more. Don’t *need* the added juice given the lack of hills here but I think I might *want* for grins if I won’t get it from a single speed throttle-less...

Bikes I’m considering include the Ride1Up Roadster and KBO Hurricane for the single-speed, simpler route...for the other category I’ve been eyeballing the Ride1Up 500 series, the Aventon Level, and the KBO Breeze. Can prob tell from this list, but I’m trying to keep the budget under $2k once the dust settles with helmet, accessories, etc. Regardless of approach, are there any others I should be taking a look at?

Cheers all!
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I went from single speed to 2 speed in flat Houston in 1965 when a 2 speed hub cost 2 weeks pay. So you know where my sentiments are. I like accelerating out of the stop signs and lights as quickly as possible. By contrast, the head forward lycra suit crowd are convinced they don't have to stop for traffic control, or yield right of way to the vehicle on the right, either.
I shift once or twice out of stop signs even when I'm in the flat parts of the city. So do what you want but I think 7 to 8 speeds is a minimum. Throttle is an option. PAS is jerky and in the areas I ride, too fast because of bad pavement. torque control is more natural feeling, but I actually only use the power when the wind is >12 mph in my face. Like today, 20 steady, gusts to 30, throttled to 8 mph all the way home. Cheapest torque sense bike I've seen was xtreme catalina, but they seem to never be in stock. Giant-yamaha drive has it, but with a mid drive you'll change chains at least twice as often as I do. I get 5000 miles/chain (8 speed).
Some people like high speed. I don't, especially not having suspension on my bike. You want to go 20 to 25 you need a suspension. Even 15 mph is pretty rough over our pavement. I ride 2.1" tires, so they are not exactly road-racer blades. I consider the pleasure of biking includes looking around at things, and I have plenty of time to scan the environs at 8-9 mph. Watched some construction guys sawing holes in the road,and some other bikers, out today. No wildlife this day, but plenty out near my summer camp I will ride to next week.
Look at the "known problems" threads on the brand forums for any brand you consider. Some brands save a lot of money on scrap metal wheels spokes & shifters, let the buyer deal with it. You stretch a spoke, they will give you one. They won't cover re-truing the wheel each time after you stretch 3 or 4.
I was just looking at a surface rook for someone today. Geared hub motor, disk brakes, front suspension, 9 speeds sram shifter (2 too many IMHO) $2300. If I didn't shop off my bike I'd consider that. Only 30 known problems.
I ride the cargo bike left, with extra small frame for short people. Yuba. You'll need an 19 or 20" frame IMHO. Easier to find than short ones.
Look around, maybe some shop has something you'll like. Trek has huge market share and under 30 known problems. Pedego has huge market share, short problems list, but is rather expensive for the feature set. Having a dealer handle the problems can be handy with these software driven electric appliances.
Happy shopping and later riding.
 

RunForTheHills

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
It depends on what you think is fun. I don't need a throttle, or even a motor, to have fun on a bicycle. I enjoy getting out and seeing the scenery. The throttle can make taking off from a stop easier and faster as indianajo said. PAS, whether cadence or torque based, is enough to flatten the hills that many of us struggle with as we get older and out of shape. It is also enough if you are looking for a little help getting 30lbs of groceries home. I am working from home right now, but I have commuted to work on my bike in the past and a motor can get you there without sweating or needing a shower.

Some people are looking for speed and essentially an electric motorcycle with pedals. You need a throttle if you want to go fast without pedaling. I think Wisconsin adopted the three classes of ebikes into their traffic laws. That means that you can't legally have a throttle on a class3 bike on the road that can go up to 28 MPH, only on a class 2 bike limited to 20 MPH. Of course, if you ride courteously and sanely, there isn't much enforcement of those laws in most places. There is a great thread in the general forum showing photos of all the places people ride their ebikes to. Browse through that and see if it inspires you.
 

HMWi

New Member
Region
USA
Really appreciate the thoughtful responses. I’m definitely less concerned with the top end speed - I don’t really see myself spending much time >20mph. I more see 12-15mph as my sweet spot based on (distant) past experience riding. Giving it some more thought I think the fun factor for me is the ability to pick up speed quickly - responsiveness more or less. From what I’m reading and seeing going with a 7-8 speed and a throttle will make it easier to get off the line faster and is prob a better choice. I’m going to get out and test ride some stuff at LBSs that are a bit outside my price range for learning purposes here soon too and see how things feel. Cheers and appreciate the feedback!
 

GenXrider

Well-Known Member
I have the Ride1Up 700. If you like to control the responsiveness, the Ride1Up 700 as well as the Core-5 and 500 series, allow you to customize the range AND power at each assist level per assist range. As for the throttle, it is a variable speed throttle, but it's so touchy that it's difficult to regulate smoothly at less than full throttle, which jumps to over 700 watts with a mostly charged battery. Having said that, the only time I use throttle is for a little extra boost crossing a street/road if there is traffic coming. As for speeds, it has 8, and the top gear is nicely high geared with a 45T chainring and a 11T cog in back. I have only dropped to as low as second on a very steep hill and typically don't drop below 3rd on the biggest hills of my common routes. So, I'm pretty happy with the gearing. The 500 and Core-5 top gear is slightly lower geared with 44T chainrings. Core-5 lists a 32T on the rear for its lowest gear, so that would make it the lowest geared of the three bikes based on the listed specs.
 
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