Starting my ebike purchase journey

PatriciaK

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Pacific Northwest and Piedmont Triad
Good advice, and I’ll look into getting one. When I finally get the bike to NC and the hills, it’s always fairly cool. So such a jacket would be a good investment. Thanks!
We're heading back to the Piedmont Triad in March - if you're in the area and would like to ride, I'm game 😉.
 
Region
USA
Took my first real ride today - a round trip of 11 miles. I’m sure that the hard core folks here would laugh at that short distance. Winds were at 25 mph as we are experiencing the Santa Ana winds here in SoCal today so it was tough sledding coming home but I put it on power assist 5 and could manage 14-15 mph with just a little effort. Hopefully do better after I get in shape. Averaged 12.7 mph and used 25% of the battery. So I suspect I could get 40-50 miles range on even the toughest days with this bike right now. Perhaps better as I get in better shape. Knee held up well until the end when it started hurting a little but felt fine as soon as I got home! That’s good news for me. Privates started to go numb about half way but didn’t get worse and were fine at the end of the ride no lingering issues. Must admit I did this in sweats and no padded bike shorts just to test things out but will make sure to use proper attire and perhaps a knee brace from now now. So far so good with this beauty!
Just a tip to protect your knee(s), when you encounter a grade, choose a lower gear. This will give you a mechanical advantage and put less stress on your knees. It also will take less energy out of your battery and increase your range.
 

Noobebiker

Member
Region
USA
Took the bike to the new home and attempted to ride the neighborhood hills. Did a two mile loop around the house that has some pretty steep climbs and drops and ended up quite worn out by the time I came back to my driveway. So much so that I couldn’t make it up the driveway and had to rest and then walk the bike back up. I was in first gear and using the highest assist level when I hit the toughest climbs and still struggled. I really need to get back in shape to do this. 😂
 
Region
USA
Took the bike to the new home and attempted to ride the neighborhood hills. Did a two mile loop around the house that has some pretty steep climbs and drops and ended up quite worn out by the time I came back to my driveway. So much so that I couldn’t make it up the driveway and had to rest and then walk the bike back up. I was in first gear and using the highest assist level when I hit the toughest climbs and still struggled. I really need to get back in shape to do this. 😂
The best way to get in shape is to gradually increase your ride distance. Some new riders attempt to ride 20 miles or more from the start and end up being injured. You need to work up to longer distances a little at a time. You will get there, just be patient.

Judging from your comments that you had great difficulties climbing some of the grades, you may want to consider changing the gearing to gain more of a mechanical advantage. I believe your rear cassette has 18 teeth. The specifications for your 7-speed Shimano system indicate that a 22 tooth cassette is available. The Momentum website does not show what type of crankset gearing is standard. You can go as small as a 36 tooth crankset on the front.

I just turned 78 years old in January. Both of my knees are bone on bone.

I purchased my e-bike (Trek Allant + 8s) to help reduce the stress on my knees and allow me to continue cycling into my 80's. To help increase the mechanical advantage I changed my rear cassette from a 11-42 to a 11-46. I also changed the chainring from a 46 tooth to a 40 tooth. This combination works perfectly for my location. I can climb a 10% grade with no issues, using the largest spocket (46 tooth) on the rear and next to the highest motor setting (Sport). I never have had to use the highest motor setting (Turbo). If I pedal with maximum effort in Sport mode I can achieve 25 m.p.h. I typically have a moving average of 13-15 miles per hour.

I would have a conversation with your dealer about the possibility of changing your gearing to help with hill climbing and your driveway. Shimano documents says it is possible. See attached example of the availability of different gearing.

I know little how these re-gearing techniques apply to an internally geared hub system. Your dealer should be able to help you with this.

For your application with an internally geared hub you need to use this type of calculator......https://www.sheldonbrown.com/gear-calc.html

I have re-geared all my bikes over the last 15 years in this manner to reduce the stress on my worn out knees. I also am able to achieve a reasonable moving speed average while having the ability to climb steep grades.

The attached example of a gearing calculator shows some of the calculations you can make. Note: this calculator is for conventionally geared bicycles.


What percent grades do you have to climb?
 

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Noobebiker

Member
Region
USA
Appreciate the detailed reply. I’ll look into gearing as well as building myself up slowly to climb these hills. I really have no idea of the grades I’m climbing as some of it is my driveway, some on a private road, and some public. Is there a website that shows grades on a map?
 
Region
USA
Appreciate the detailed reply. I’ll look into gearing as well as building myself up slowly to climb these hills. I really have no idea of the grades I’m climbing as some of it is my driveway, some on a private road, and some public. Is there a website that shows grades on a map?
I am not aware of one. Possibly your local road commission may have the gradient for some of the roads in your area. If you have a friend that has a GPS that is capable of measuring grades, have him/her ride with you to determine the grade percentages you are dealing with.

What state and county are you located in?
 
Region
USA
Looked at my route on RidewithGPS and got this grade map:

View attachment 113868
Looks like you have some climbs that approach 10%. That is a substantial grade to overcome if your gearing is too high. Think what would happen if your were stopped at the bottom of a hill in your car and attempted to accelerate up the hill from a standing start in third gear (out of maybe four) with a standard shift. Your motor would stall and most likely cause damage to your clutch. Same principle with a bicycle. You need the appropriate gearing to start climbing the hill and maintain enough speed so you do not tip over (around 3 m.p.h.) If you are geared too high, you run the risk of putting too much torque on your knees and causing damage. If your bike is geared properly, you should have no issues with climbing a 10% grade using the wattage of the motor and also the wattage your body can add to produce the sufficient wattage to successfully climb the grade while protecting your knees from damage.
 

PatriciaK

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Pacific Northwest and Piedmont Triad
One thing I learned with my La Free is I need to be in the correct gear at the START of the hill - gearing down and assisting up WHILE on the hill is not a good plan. I usually leave the assist on auto mode, and make sure I'm geared down before I start up 😉.
 

Noobebiker

Member
Region
USA
Thanks for the tips folks. Relearning all of this as I was much younger, lighter, and had a lightweight bike with 18 gears when I last attempted such hills. 😂
 
Region
USA
Thanks for the tips folks. Relearning all of this as I was much younger, lighter, and had a lightweight bike with 18 gears when I last attempted such hills. 😂
As was said earlier, properly geared, your bike should handle your hills. When I had regular bikes, proper gearing was paramount so I was to be able to climb hills in my area. In your region, the gradients are much more severe. With a road bike geared for speed there would be no way to climb my hills and most likely in your area either. The exception would be that for a brute of a cyclist (think Peter Sagan, Geraint Thomas, etc.). Let us know what your local bike shop has to say. Also, do not hesitate to ask any question you may have.
 

PatriciaK

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Pacific Northwest and Piedmont Triad
Another thing I had to learn, which was very counterintuitive, was not to mash (apply an overzealous amount of pressure to) the pedals when going up a hill. Back off to a comfortable amount of effort and give the motor a second to adjust and let it do its work. After you get used to letting the motor work, you can play with how much effort you want to put in (you DO need to put in SOME effort 😉). I like to feel like I'm working some without killing my knees, and usually handle most hills just fine in second or third gear and auto-assist.
 

AleksR

Active Member
Riese and Muller...................the best ebike company and I own Supercharger 2............mmmmm.......love it love it