What are the most important factors when buying an ebike?

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
@Mary_Walker one last option to consider, which i hesitate to mention, is vanMoof. they have a shop in helsinki and will let you test ride the bikes. these are relatively inexpensive bikes, the components are not top quality but they have great features for urban commuting (automatic shifting, rear internal gear hub, anti-theft locks, not terribly heavy, etc) and IF the local store is competent they can quickly fix any of the problems you’re likely to have.

my first eBike was a vanmoof S3, i rode it a lot, and still ride it a lot, but solely as a utility vehicle, not for fun/exercise.
 

FrankR

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Milky Way Galaxy
I haven't been able to read the whole thread yet, but I would still like to offer something up.

I am new to eBiking. I bought my bike in April. I am Loving it, and, I am Loving my bike.
I have essentially a Lectric clone, with a couple of upgrades. [battery, regen feature]

I had a very good experience with the dealer I purchased through.
However, a couple of months later, and some reflection, and I have to say - I regret not buying from the bigger names.

This eBike market is in its infancy, constantly evolving. A bike running today may Not have parts available once it is out of warranty.
Yet, a bigger name like Lectric is rapidly gaining a great rep for service. A few years from now, I still expect Lectric customers to
be able to get replacement parts.

If you are super handy and build stuff, maybe all of this is moot. But, if you are not that handy and/or just want a turnkey bike without hassle, you might want to seriously consider purchasing only from a big name, and if you are in the U.S., you will want that big name selling, distributing, and supporting all from the U.S.

Do research on both the manufacturer of your bike and the person selling it to you. There are Many companies out there who are essentially 1 or 2 people - simply rebadging bikes from China. Those people have very little leverage with the manufacturer when things go wrong, and they have just about no capacity, nor capital, to supply you with parts.

For what I need, if I buy another bike, it will be a Lectric. Simply because I Know they are committed to service. And they have the capital to deliver it.
Many of the eBikes on the market today are great - while they work. When things go wrong, and - things Will go wrong - you need to know that someone will help you - quickly - without losing a whole season waiting for a replacement part.


Do your homework.
 

Gordon71

Well-Known Member
You've had a good experience and thats great. You're not alone. For the light riding you are doing (1650 miles annually) you're at a good spot with that bike. I put 4000 miles in the first year on my first ebike, and that was down from my pre-electric peak of 11,000 back when I was a lot younger. I'm only around 6000 now. When you start riding higher miles and not for recreation - particularly in regular bad/wet weather - thats when component quality starts really meaning something. My 11000 mile per year bike had all hard surface anodized parts, sealed bearings everywhere, wheels made to take a pounding etc. etc. When I retired the bike (graduated and got a job and bought a car) it had over 40,000 miles on it. And I don't deserve any medals for hard riding. Loads of people do a whole lot more than that.

You're more likely to have a better experience if you spend a little more. On the Rad Rover I would specifically call out the mechanical brakes (in 2022 they have finally fixed that), the spring fork, the small battery (whose capacity they refuse to report as amp hours and instead give a watt-hour range... and a range with quite a variance. It calculates out to you might get a battery as small as 12.3ah or as 'large' as 14ah). The 500w motor inside of a casing labeled 750w is an infamous fudge. Are they still pulling that? Its a meaningful difference as the true 750w Bafang G060 motor is known to be overbuilt and can be expected to last forever, whereas the 500w version can be smoked if its given a long enough hill to climb - A few Sondors owners did that in fact to their 'X' models with the 500w motor labeled accurately.

It used to be the Sondors bikes could be directly compared to a Rad Rover and the lack of value in the Rad product would be enormous by comparison (hydro brakes, air fork, 17.5ah battery (840 watt hours), genuine 750w motor. 25a controller), but Sondors prices have gone thru the roof, where once they were less while still giving way more. No longer, sadly.

When a company pulls something like the motor mislabeling, as far as I am concerned they can never be trusted again. Especially given how they defended their actions when called out more than once on it. Knowing this past history of behavior, it also means they don't get the benefit of the doubt anymore when odd choices like dropping the ah size (and making it a range!!) happen.

I've watched the video before but not sure how it affects my bike one way or the other. I guess if the "real" 750 watt motor lasts a lot longer than the one I have it would make a difference but I have no idea what the lifespan is of one motor over the other. Guess time will tell.
 

Surly

Member
Region
Other
Unless your advisor has spent his own money on four different e-bikes, gained experience, and rides in Europe :)


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Kayakguy

Well-Known Member
I also was interested in this option, a bit higher than my budget though, but they also sell it in Finland for a couple of hundreds more expensive!

I'm guessing the Shimano hub gears would be their Nexus 7 or 8 (7 or 8 gears). I have the 7 speed, and find it very satisfactory. Would make it hard to go back to a derailleur, even though I rode with one for years.
 

kmccune

Well-Known Member
Like many people, my first ebike was a budget model, a Magnum Ui5 for under US$2,000. Despite its flaws, I got hooked. Within six months I sold it and upgraded to a Haibike AllMtn full-suspension ebike for $4,000 (with a discount). Six years later, I am keeping the Haibike and buying a Yuba Spicy Curry All Terrain for nearly $8,000 (after all the upgrades and add-ons).

@Mary_Walker, start with a Rad no matter that it's inexpensive; it fits your budget. My daughter has a Radwagon. She likes it a lot. She uses it to ferry her two-year-old daughter to daycare every day. As to whether you need gears, yes you do if you live in even a slightly hilly area, as you say you do. Ebikes are twice as heavy as regular bikes, and you will welcome the flexibility that gears give you.
I have a current bike with 7 spd gears, its only 500 watts, the thing is I never shift from 6th gear its plenty fast( the hills are a bitch) still with Me willing to pedal I never need to get over PAS 3( OUT OF FIVE) my advice do not join the hp race, even if you got a single speed with something like a 16 tooth freewheel it will do good if you are willing to input some effort.
Beware of drag inducing things like fat tires, might be alright in the soft sand or snow but these things are hard to pedal unassisted( check out the Rads( not bad for the money-even a single speed very reliable( the rads are so configurable its amazing) just get one you will be hooked, my 16 mile rec loop( steep at places, rough as all get out, gets easier and shorter all the time.
Now I will say something good about the specialized bikes, easy to pedal even with the power off amazed Me and a good dealer network, and Good luck on your journey, if you can find some loaners that would be nice.I understand the 'budget" thing.