Surgery recover/an ebike mainly for hill assist???

Coby Black

New Member
Region
USA
I’m 74 years old, recovering from hip surgery.

I have been an exercise “nut” all my life. In my 20’s and 30’s, I cycled actively for exercise. After I developed carpal tunnel issues from the dropped handlebars, I gradually changed to running for my main cardio exercise. I remained a runner/jogger/hiker until two years ago, when I developed hip problems which led to a broken femur, seven surgeries, and now, a special, elongated hip replacement.

Going forward, I am not allowed to run or jog, but I have been cleared for cycling. After two years of surgeries, and months on one leg, my recovery will be gradual; I am certainly out of shape now.

I have been working on a stationary bike for several months. As spring arrives, I want to start cycling and think an e-bike is a wise choice. However, my rides will be primarily on flat ground, and I want to provide the propulsion without assistance. Speed is not an issue; I won’t be in any hurry. However, any route I choose will encounter occasional serious hills, more than I’m sure I can handle, at least at first. I don’t want to dismount and walk the bike uphill. Here’s where the power assist of an e-bike comes in.

If this “hill assist” is the main desire from an e-bike, any comments on an appropriate type of bike to choose?

Thanks!
 

Dallant

Well-Known Member
Sounds like you need a throttle and that generally means class 3. I haven't had and don’t plan on having one but from what little I know Trek has no throttle bikes. Best of luck in your search and with your health! Wish I knew more to help but there’s lots of folks here who do!👍
Stating your budget, height, weight, location, etc. might help folks make good suggestions.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
@Coby Black Where are you riding ? Mountains or plains? USA or EU? Those things matter. There are class 2 bikes (throttle) that are only available some places.
 

legsofbeer

Active Member
If this “hill assist” is the main desire from an e-bike, any comments on an appropriate type of bike to choose?
Since you want to ride mainly without assist, keeping the bike's weight down is a major consideration. Have a look at the reviews of e road bikes, and also consider e "gravel" bikes. You mentioned carpal tunnel from drop handlebars, but some of the reviewed e road bikes have flat handlebars. You don't necessarily need a throttle, you just need to be able to switch from PAS (pedal assist) 0 to PAS>0 with a quick button-push when the hill approacheth. https://electricbikereview.com/category/road/
 

Coby Black

New Member
Region
USA
Sounds like you need a throttle and that generally means class 3. I haven't had and don’t plan on having one but from what little I know Trek has no throttle bikes. Best of luck in your search and with your health! Wish I knew more to help but there’s lots of folks here who do!👍
Stating your budget, height, weight, location, etc. might help folks make good suggestions.

@Coby Black Where are you riding ? Mountains or plains? USA or EU? Those things matter. There are class 2 bikes (throttle) that are only available some places.
I'm in the USA, Lancaster County, PA. As said, I can keep most of my rides essentially flat or very gently rolling. However, there are a one or two serious uphill climbs in most directions. Thanks
 

Coby Black

New Member
Region
USA
I'm in the USA, Lancaster County, PA. As said, I can keep most of my rides essentially flat or very gently rolling. However, there are a one or two serious uphill climbs in most directions. Thanks
I'm 5'9", 150lbs, no particular budget. I don't want to spend more than I need just to be "showy", but I can spend any amount that will help the cause.
 

Achterbahn

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Bay Area, CA
Sounds like you need a throttle and that generally means class 3. I haven't had and don’t plan on having one but from what little I know Trek has no throttle bikes. Best of luck in your search and with your health! Wish I knew more to help but there’s lots of folks here who do!👍
Stating your budget, height, weight, location, etc. might help folks make good suggestions.
My interpretation is that a throttle isn't necessarily needed. A pedal assist only bike that has good torque will handle hills with minimal effort. @Coby Black when you mention hill assist, is your desire (or preference) to throttle up the hill or pedal it up with significant motor help?

And what grade hills are we talking about here?
 

Coby Black

New Member
Region
USA
My interpretation is that a throttle isn't necessarily needed. A pedal assist only bike that has good torque will handle hills with minimal effort. @Coby Black when you mention hill assist, is your desire (or preference) to throttle up the hill or pedal it up with significant motor help?

And what grade hills are we talking about here?
Yes, I would like to pedal as hard as I can the uphill stretch, probably increasing my share of the effort over time. It's hard for me to estimate grade. A wild guess---the road raises 120 feet (I'm thinking of a 15-story building) in maybe a tenth of a mile or less. I've walked up one of the hills at a good pace......it feels like quickly climbing the stairs nonstop in a tall building.....heart rate shoots right up.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
I'm in the USA, Lancaster County, PA. As said, I can keep most of my rides essentially flat or very gently rolling. However, there are a one or two serious uphill climbs in most directions. Thanks
Snyder county PA here. Lots more hills here than Lancaster county. We are the same height, I'm a few years younger, but I weigh 50 lbs. more, and ride an entry level Specialized Como, no throttle available. I would probably add one if it was just a few hundred dollar option, but I don't miss it, and would not buy a bike just because it had a throttle.
Buy a bike you like and count the throttle as a bonus. Most of the throttle standard bikes are heavy and hard to pedal w/o assist.
Anyway, I believe there is a Pedego shop near you and most of their bikes can be class 1 or class 2. @6zfshdb in Scranton area rides one, and mentioned some trails he couldn't ride b/c no throttles allowed, but enforcement is very spotty. Happy hunting to you.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Pedego is very expensive for what you get. However, geared hub motor bikes do what you want. Zero drag when pedaling yourself, 13 lb penalty up hill for 17.5 ah battery I have. I weigh 160 and ride a bike that with complete tools 2 panniers 2 leg stand & water is 94 lb. Yes, I feel throttle is important, as I don't know when I'm going to turn my knee and not be able to use it for a week. Can happen at my destination summer camp.
This one looks fun for $2019 with throttle upgrade: https://electricbikereview.com/nireeka/homie/
Comes in a 17" frame for short legs, also 19 & 21. 500 w geared hub motor. Fenders optional.
Full suspension to avoid shock to injured joints. I ride a hardtail on 2.1" tires, but my joints are not sensitive to road shock. I have to use pool floats as hand grips to keep my hands from going numb.
I like a drop frame bike as I have trouble lifting my leg to get on. Started getting stiff about age 64, now I'm 70.
I usually recommend the Magnum UI6 for the drop frame & upright seating but you may really need a suspension. https://electricbikereview.com/magnum/ui6/
It comes with a throttle & fenders.
The extreme catalina has a drop frame, fenders, geared hub motor, and a torque sensor. Torque sensors give you very natural feel, unlike sudden onset cadance sensor. I think it has a front suspension but court hasn't reviewed it so I'm not sure. It appears to be in stock today. www.electricbikecity.com/products/x-treme-catalina-48-volt-step-through-electric-beach-cruiser-bike
This year's model has a throttle, maybe torque sensor was dropped for this year.
I pedal myself unpowered unless headwind is >12 mph and going to take me 6 hours to get home. Also distances over 25 miles. 3 hours 100-140 bpm is enough exercise, IMHO. I cross ~80 hills on my 30 mile commute to my summer property. 3 are 15%, 7/8" rise on a 6" level.
I find stretch frame cargo bikes avoid the annoying habit of MTB & cruisers throwing me over the handlebars on my chin when hitting speed bumps, high pavement separators, a ridge of gravel, a stick. The placing of my weight on the front wheel keeps the handlebar from ripping out of my hands, turning sideways, and the tire digging in. I ride a yubabike bodaboda, small frame. I have 28" pants inseam. I've been 6000 miles on this bike without a reoccurance. Other stretch frame 26" wheel bikes, Magnum, M2S, Kona Ute, blix packa, xtracycle. Don't buy a mid drive except a shimano, brose, Yamaha, if you want to pedal yourself unpowered. All the others drag power off, some like a boat anchor. One advantage of hub motor over mid drive, when I wore the gear out @ 4500 miles, I was able to pedal it out to camp and back home again, no drag. Also 2 afternoons to change it out with another brand, whereas changing the chain @ 5000 miles took 3 afternoon and 2 special tools besides the chain breaker I had ordered. Mid drives eat chains, especially those over 8 speed rear sprocket.
 
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Achterbahn

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Bay Area, CA
Yes, I would like to pedal as hard as I can the uphill stretch, probably increasing my share of the effort over time. It's hard for me to estimate grade. A wild guess---the road raises 120 feet (I'm thinking of a 15-story building) in maybe a tenth of a mile or less. I've walked up one of the hills at a good pace......it feels like quickly climbing the stairs nonstop in a tall building.....heart rate shoots right up.
Thanks! I guess that would be a ~22% hill? That is indeed pretty steep.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
Once more about what is steep. Member @Sierratim is also over 70 years old and rides a more powerful Specialized middrive than mine, also without throttle. He climbed this. Yep, that's that Sierra Nevada.
0629201247_Film1_20201117102503951.jpg
 

Achterbahn

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Bay Area, CA
Once more about what is steep. Member @Sierratim is also over 70 years old and rides a more powerful Specialized middrive than mine, also without throttle. He climbed this. Yep, that's that Sierra Nevada.
View attachment 80430
Thanks for the reminder of how out of shape I am 😂

But yes, my intention was exactly to highlight that for this kind of hill, maybe a good mid drive would fare better than a hub motor with a throttle.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Hub motors overheat & burn in 25 minutes of full throttle slow upgrade. Takes a lot more mountain than they have in Pennsylvania to require a mid-drive. Geared hub drives are not recommended for the sierra nevadas, the rockies, the cascades.
I carry 80 lb cargo & a 94 lb bike up my 15% grade, 330 lb gross. I suspect Mr. Coby will have no trouble with no cargo on 21%.
 

Coby Black

New Member
Region
USA
Pedego is very expensive for what you get. However, geared hub motor bikes do what you want. Zero drag when pedaling yourself, 13 lb penalty up hill for 17.5 ah battery I have. I weigh 160 and ride a bike that with complete tools 2 panniers 2 leg stand & water is 94 lb. Yes, I feel throttle is important, as I don't know when I'm going to turn my knee and not be able to use it for a week. Can happen at my destination summer camp.
This one looks fun for $2019 with throttle upgrade: https://electricbikereview.com/nireeka/homie/
Comes in a 17" frame for short legs, also 19 & 21. 500 w geared hub motor. Fenders optional.
Full suspension to avoid shock to injured joints. I ride a hardtail on 2.1" tires, but my joints are not sensitive to road shock. I have to use pool floats as hand grips to keep my hands from going numb.
I like a drop frame bike as I have trouble lifting my leg to get on. Started getting stiff about age 64, now I'm 70.
I usually recommend the Magnum UI6 for the drop frame & upright seating but you may really need a suspension. https://electricbikereview.com/magnum/ui6/
It comes with a throttle & fenders.
The extreme catalina has a drop frame, fenders, geared hub motor, and a torque sensor. Torque sensors give you very natural feel, unlike sudden onset cadance sensor. I think it has a front suspension but court hasn't reviewed it so I'm not sure. It appears to be in stock today. www.electricbikecity.com/products/x-treme-catalina-48-volt-step-through-electric-beach-cruiser-bike
This year's model has a throttle, maybe torque sensor was dropped for this year.
I pedal myself unpowered unless headwind is >12 mph and going to take me 6 hours to get home. Also distances over 25 miles. 3 hours 100-140 bpm is enough exercise, IMHO. I cross ~80 hills on my 30 mile commute to my summer property. 3 are 15%, 7/8" rise on a 6" level.
I find stretch frame cargo bikes avoid the annoying habit of MTB & cruisers throwing me over the handlebars on my chin when hitting speed bumps, high pavement separators, a ridge of gravel, a stick. The placing of my weight on the front wheel keeps the handlebar from ripping out of my hands, turning sideways, and the tire digging in. I ride a yubabike bodaboda, small frame. I have 28" pants inseam. I've been 6000 miles on this bike without a reoccurance. Other stretch frame 26" wheel bikes, Magnum, M2S, Kona Ute, blix packa, xtracycle. Don't buy a mid drive except a shimano, brose, Yamaha, if you want to pedal yourself unpowered. All the others drag power off, some like a boat anchor. One advantage of hub motor over mid drive, when I wore the gear out @ 4500 miles, I was able to pedal it out to camp and back home again, no drag. Also 2 afternoons to change it out with another brand, whereas changing the chain @ 5000 miles took 3 afternoon and 2 special tools besides the chain breaker I had ordered. Mid drives eat chains, especially those over 8 speed rear sprocket.
Many thanks. Very helpful. A lot to digest and a lot to learn. I may be back with more questions.
 

Coby Black

New Member
Region
USA
Many thanks to all who have replied (and helped!) so far. I have a lot to learn. I now have an elevation app on my phone and will have a better handle on my hills soon. The issue of hub motor vs mid motor(?) seems important, as does the pedal assist vs throttle. I want to pedal as much as possible. But, I guess I should consider the possibility that I might develop an unexpected problem midride, and need to return with very little effort.
A lot to think about. I'm sure I'll have more questions.
 

Dallant

Well-Known Member
My interpretation is that a throttle isn't necessarily needed. A pedal assist only bike that has good torque will handle hills with minimal effort. @Coby Black when you mention hill assist, is your desire (or preference) to throttle up the hill or pedal it up with significant motor help?

And what grade hills are we talking about here?
My interpretation was based on a number of concerns. Coby has “hip problems which led to a broken femur, seven surgeries, and now, a special, elongated hip replacement”. He is 74 years old. He may or may not need a throttle now, but given his recent health issues and his hip replacement, a throttle may well be in his near future as a way to avoid future issues. I’m not a big fan of throttles but if I were in his position, I certainly would seriously consider the option.
BTW, budget doesn’t appear to be a big concern and having a throttle doesn’t mean you have to use it until necessary.
 
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Achterbahn

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Bay Area, CA
My interpretation was based on a number of concerns. Coby has “hip problems which led to a broken femur, seven surgeries, and now, a special, elongated hip replacement”. He is 74 years old. He may or may not need a throttle now, but given his recent health issues and his hip replacement, a throttle may well be in his near future as a way to avoid future issues. I’m not a big fan of throttles but if I were in his position, I certainly would seriously consider the option.
Fair!
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
Thanks for the reminder of how out of shape I am 😂

But yes, my intention was exactly to highlight that for this kind of hill, maybe a good mid drive would fare better than a hub motor with a throttle.
Its not just the hills. The OP lives in an area of serious headwinds. I bought my Sprinter van over there. 25 foot long, 10 high with all the areodynamics of a bread box, and drove it home in 30 mph winds. Mid drive would be an easy choice there.