So excited to get your car-replacement advice!

Bicyclista

Active Member
Hi everyone! We have recently had an e-bike purchase thrust upon us, in that our Nissan Leaf was totaled (thank you, random 16 year old on her way to school!), and it's a truly horrid time to buy a car (new, used, gas, electric, or otherwise), so we are trying to see if we can make do with one car, plus an electric commuter/cargo/utility bike until the electric car market sorts itself out.

I dove head-first into all the research, and have been able to see a decent number of models from e-bike manufacturers (Trek, Electra, Momentum, Specialized, Rad Power, Aventon, Norco) locally in person, and hope to hit some more (Biktrix, Gazelle, Blix) while traveling during my school's spring break next week.

I would LOVE to be told what to do with part of our insurance payout from the car! :)

The likely shopping list: ~750 Wh mid-drive electric with step-through/low step-through, detachable battery, higher range, stable tires (smaller and fatter are better), upright view, and able to mount Burley Travoy at seat post or from rack mount, front basket.

Budget: 2k-4k - cheaper bike makes getting two right away more likely.

Here are the factors:
- Detachable battery: Moderate climate with detached, uninsulated, unelectrified old garage and stairs up to house.
- Smaller, fatter tires with some suspension: Hilly town with occasional poor road maintenance, potholes, and debris, but increasing bike infrastructure
- Safety: Relatively bike-unaware drivers (safety worries, especially after a car crash)
- Higher range: Lovely greenways you can ride forever
- Very important: We use and LOVE our Burley Travoy for cargo and want to attach it at seat post or on bike rack mount. I just ordered the rack mount so I can cart it around with me to look at bikes. I'm concerned about bikes like the Biktrix Challenger that might be perfect, but the less-standard rear rack might require some modification.
- Shared bike, so ideally both seat and handles will adjust.
- Upright view preferred due to preference but also a broken elbow that healed imperfectly
- Step-through preferred due to one shorter rider with longer torso, as long as it doesn't compromise weight limit/frame integrity too much.
- Front basket would be lovely
- At least one older, fatter, less healthy rider (speaking for myself, at least!) compared to some on this forum, I expect.
- Would love a bike with minimized Chinese manufacture/assembly, in part for our very principled 12 year old's approval.
- Safety, cargo, higher weight limit, reliability, quality, and comfort are the priorities. Speed and looks not so much (of course, those are exactly what the 12 year old wants!).

Wanted primarily for trips of less than 10 miles round trip, but possibly several in a day, or stacked errands. The work commute I'd be doing is about 5 miles round-trip, but there is also a 15 mile round trip commute possible, depending how safe the bike feels. We live in the center of a mountainous small city of 100k in Virginia, but would love to take advantage (especially if we got two!) of the extensive trails in our region.

Let me know what you think! We are lucky to have a great LBS walking distance from the house who says they will work on pretty much anything and have very experienced electric mechanics.
I have experience with a few cargo ebikes: a Tern HSD, a Yuba Spicy Curry AT (all terrain), and a Radwagon. I also own a Haibike full suspension e-mountain bike outffited with a rear rack and panniers which could be a car replacement if you don't carry a lot of stuff.

I bought the Tern HSD for my girlfriend, and she loves it. I ride it occasionally. Its folding handlebars make it easy to put into the trunk of a car (rear seats folded). Its 20-inch wheels make for a somewhat jittery ride, but you get used to it quickly. It has a suspension fork and a suspension seatpost. Overall, it's a good bike. However, the Bosch Performance Line motor is not as strong as it should be for a cargo bike. Climbing steep hills with a passenger or with a load is tough. I wish it had the Bosch Cargo Line motor, but that was not available in 2020. If you get a Tern, get the GSD which now comes with the stronger Bosch Cargo Line motor.

I recently bought a Yuba Spicy Curry AT which does come with the Bosch Cargo Line motor. It has a 26-inch wheel in front and a 20-inch wheel in back. Such a mullet configuration means you get the rolling advantage of a large wheel in front, and the lower rack height in back for stability. Its long wheelbase provides great straight-line stability. It differs from the regular Spicy Curry in that it has a suspension fork and a suspension seat post. It also differs in not having an adjustable stem and it has flat bars, making the reach longer and the riding position more aggressive. I modified mine with a stem riser and Jones H-Bars so that I sit nearly upright. I opted for two batteries. My range is about 80 miles! A great, go-anywhere, cargo bike.

My daughter owns a Radwagon and she uses it to take her daughter to pre-school every day. It is a good, budget cargo bike. It's ride quality is not as good as the Tern or the Yuba, nor is it as good a climber, but it costs a fraction of the others. My granddaughter loves to ride in it!

The Yuba and the Tern are probably outside your budget, but if you're looking for a car replacement, you should get a quality, reliable bike, and there is a greater chance of that with a higher budget.

Whichever cargo bike you get, make sure it has a strong motor. Torque, measured in newton-meters (Nm) is more important than power in watts. A Yamaha motor would be strong, and the Bosch Cargo Line motors would be strong. I would avoid those Bosch motors that produce less than 85Nm. I don't have any experience with other brands.

I used a Burley Travoy with my Haibike for a few months. Unfortunately it would overturn in sharp turns unless I slowed down to a crawl. I don't need it with my Spicy Curry because I have more than enough cargo capacity.

Finally, get communication helmets such as Sena's. They will make riding more enjoyable and safer. You can talk with your partner without riding side by side, and you can warn each other of hazards.

Good luck in your search!
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Tern got mentioned in an earlier post, they have a new model out the Tern Quick Haul. It has an adjustable stem and seatpost that make it easy to share between two riders of different heights, the frame is a step-through with a low 19” stand-over height, the rear rack is rated to carry 110lb, it has an optional frame mounted front rack, and 20” wheels. Tern is a Taiwanese brand with the frames made in Vietnam, while Bosch motor and batteries are made in Hungary.
Thats a neat bike. but as I was saying above, you have to look at total system weight as well. Rear rack capacity is 50 kg/110 lbs as you reported. So that means no kids over 110 lbs. Good to know. Add the optional front rack that is rated for an additional 20 kg /44 lbs. Tern says calls the Gross Vehicle Weight limit (good on them to use a more commonly understood term) is 150 kg: 331 lbs. That means when both racks are loaded, the max rider weight on this bike is 176 lbs.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Such a mullet configuration means you get the rolling advantage of a large wheel in front, and the lower rack height in back for stability.

<snip>

Jones H-Bars
That smaller 20" rear wheel also gives a torque advantage.

Jones H-bars are awesome. More hand positions and the 45-degree pullback coupled to long 8.5" grips mean you can sit up or lean down, choke up and honk on the pedals. All while keeping the brake levers in reach. I use them on most of my bikes as they also relieve wrist pain I suffer from after an auto vs. bike accident.
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
Oh my!
1649504033095.jpeg
 

Taylor57

Well-Known Member
Hi everyone! We have recently had an e-bike purchase thrust upon us, in that our Nissan Leaf was totaled (thank you, random 16 year old on her way to school!), and it's a truly horrid time to buy a car (new, used, gas, electric, or otherwise), so we are trying to see if we can make do with one car, plus an electric commuter/cargo/utility bike until the electric car market sorts itself out.

I dove head-first into all the research, and have been able to see a decent number of models from e-bike manufacturers (Trek, Electra, Momentum, Specialized, Rad Power, Aventon, Norco) locally in person, and hope to hit some more (Biktrix, Gazelle, Blix) while traveling during my school's spring break next week.

I would LOVE to be told what to do with part of our insurance payout from the car! :)

The likely shopping list: ~750 Wh mid-drive electric with step-through/low step-through, detachable battery, higher range, stable tires (smaller and fatter are better), upright view, and able to mount Burley Travoy at seat post or from rack mount, front basket.

Budget: 2k-4k - cheaper bike makes getting two right away more likely.

Here are the factors:
- Detachable battery: Moderate climate with detached, uninsulated, unelectrified old garage and stairs up to house.
- Smaller, fatter tires with some suspension: Hilly town with occasional poor road maintenance, potholes, and debris, but increasing bike infrastructure
- Safety: Relatively bike-unaware drivers (safety worries, especially after a car crash)
- Higher range: Lovely greenways you can ride forever
- Very important: We use and LOVE our Burley Travoy for cargo and want to attach it at seat post or on bike rack mount. I just ordered the rack mount so I can cart it around with me to look at bikes. I'm concerned about bikes like the Biktrix Challenger that might be perfect, but the less-standard rear rack might require some modification.
- Shared bike, so ideally both seat and handles will adjust.
- Upright view preferred due to preference but also a broken elbow that healed imperfectly
- Step-through preferred due to one shorter rider with longer torso, as long as it doesn't compromise weight limit/frame integrity too much.
- Front basket would be lovely
- At least one older, fatter, less healthy rider (speaking for myself, at least!) compared to some on this forum, I expect.
- Would love a bike with minimized Chinese manufacture/assembly, in part for our very principled 12 year old's approval.
- Safety, cargo, higher weight limit, reliability, quality, and comfort are the priorities. Speed and looks not so much (of course, those are exactly what the 12 year old wants!).

Wanted primarily for trips of less than 10 miles round trip, but possibly several in a day, or stacked errands. The work commute I'd be doing is about 5 miles round-trip, but there is also a 15 mile round trip commute possible, depending how safe the bike feels. We live in the center of a mountainous small city of 100k in Virginia, but would love to take advantage (especially if we got two!) of the extensive trails in our region.

Let me know what you think! We are lucky to have a great LBS walking distance from the house who says they will work on pretty much anything and have very experienced electric mechanics.
Ride 1 UP Cafe Cruiser step thru may be good option. I would also look into Espin Flow. If the LBS will work on any bike, you could buy 2 and be under budget...
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
oh yeah anything from them is nice. What they did to the frame is pretty straightforward. Lengthened the chainstays and used the forks to send the front axle into the next time zone. They are totally up front about it as 'LWB' in the name typically means 'long wheelbase' when building out limos and such in the auto world. They added a kickstand loop in the extra space now behind the seat tube, which can't help but stiffen the BB too. Beefed up all the tubing.... Its a top quality USA made frame with all the bells/whistles plus its made for a mid drive. $1500 is actually on the low end for a frame like that. Chumba wanted another $1000 on top of that for their Ursa Major. I got my two of those... one on eBay for less than half, and one from Chumba for half off on clearance. If I was in the market for a mid-fat hardtail Jones would be the first place I looked.