What mode do you ride in and why?

Mike TowpathTraveler

Well-Known Member
2016 model year Haibike Full FatSix. Put into full time service in April, 2017. From Day 1 up until now (and beyond), I ride pretty much 99.999% of the time in the Yamaha PW's High power setting. The .001% is for those days when I am a long way from home and down on battery power. Then, Standard or Eco, it is.

I did not buy the H-Bike to ride around in anything less than High power. For that, I could have saved my money and just stayed on my Specialized Fatboy! My standard ride these days is an all-asphalt (there I go again, breaking everyone's idea of convention about where these fat tired bikes can only go!) 30 mile run......like this morning's ride in hot and humid temps. With a fully charged 500wh battery and High power, I came back home with some 40 plus percent of my charge remaining. A 13.8 mph average speed. When I ride, I don't ride for maximum cardiac effort; I figure by repititious riding, fitness will take care of itself.

But what about riding in High power all the time? You'll burn out your clutches, melt your plastic gears, stretch your chain, whittle down your sprocket teeth and shorten the life of the motor? Well, I did wear out one chain and one large front sprocket at 11 thousand miles. But the trick I learned is alot of shifting in order to stay in a comfortable 78-80 rpm cadence, no matter the incline or flatness of road or trail. Don't start out at 0 mph in 10th gear. No bashing the crank arms on rocks or other debris. No water crossings. Keeping the bike clean after most rides. Keeping the chain oiled on a regular basis. Do all that and you'll likely be rewarded with a trouble-free ebike. (I can only speak about the Yamaha drive system. Direct-To-Consumer Chinese bikes, you do so at your own risk.)

In return, the bike has provided exemplary, reliable service. I set it up with a dyno hub so I have full time lighting. Racks front and rear to hold my collection of various touring and day tripping bags. Comfy saddle and grips. And my latest gadget, a Garmin Edge 830gps so I don't have to worry about getting lost like I did earlier this summer in what turned out to be a 92 mile bike ride using 2 500wh batteries. On that particular trip and the realization I was lost, yes, I had to resort to using power settings other than High. I have a collection of 3 500wh batteries to go along with the original 400. All 4 are still at 100% battery capacity. In high power, I am confident I can get 40 miles out of a full charge on the 500's.

Running in High power since 2017......no battery or motor failures whatsoever. Total odometer miles as of right now? 18,350.

And just like @Rome, I charge my batteries to full, 100%, until the charger BMS shuts off the charger. I've done that since Day 1. No problems.


Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Mazovia, Poland
I did not buy the H-Bike to ride around in anything less than High power. For that, I could have saved my money and just stayed on my Specialized Fatboy!
Taken into account how much of power your fat tyres devour, there is indeed no other choice than to ride with High assistance :)


Well-Known Member
I have not gone above Eco Mode in over a year, since i no longer commute to work i find that i dont need to ride so fast all the time, i usually ride Eco 4-5 between 18-24 mph. Sport mode is kind of intense on this bike.


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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Mazovia, Poland
Stefan, I tend to agree with you here on this. Even at that, I'd not mind another 10nm of power, or more. Always wondered what the later models with the PW-X and X2 motors feel on this bike...
I cannot tell you Mike how either of these motors would work with your e-bike but the PW-X2 on a Giant Trance E+ was a great performer. (Bear in mind the Trance is equipped with true MTB gearing).
  • Not once and not twice, the Trance was doing a "wheelie" when started at max assistance and low gear...
  • I managed a very fast climb on a 45 degrees (short) concrete ramp...
  • There was no hill, whatever steep, off-road, that the Trance could not make.

My brother doing a "wheelbarrow" on the Trance E+.


Well-Known Member
Re: the OP question - my bike's got 5 settings (plus No Assist). When I commute (5.5 miles one way) I will take some of that commute (the inclines!) in Level 2 (of 5) on the morning ride, like OP, to avoid arriving at work drenched in sweat. (I could take a shower at the office, but don't want to lug the extra gear with me.) Riding home, I tend to extend the trip to 15-20 miles, depending on weather, and also knock down to Level 1 with occasional dips into "Off". Those rides I can afford to get sopping wet. I think I resist Levels 3, 4, 5 because (a) I want to get a bit of workout on the ride home, and (b) they drain the battery so much faster, relatively, and (c) most of my biking is on shared paths where it isn't practical to cruise at 20+mph, and the (infrequently) posted trail rules indicate 15mph top speed...
I also have this mental game I seem compelled to play where I want to accumulate xx miles out of each charge cycle... Not a fixed number, just like, "more than 70 miles" or something like that... I don't know why I feel that matters, but I'm often chasing that battery/miles stat (perhaps only because I track it in my ride log??) and so am prone to staying in the lower assist levels. Whenever I do, rarely, pop into Level 4 or 5 (seldom feel I have a stretch of trail or road empty enough, safe enough, to hit those speeds) it is always startling to me. SO much assist, it feels "blisteringly fast" every time - and I end up feeling apprehensive about other cars/bikes/joggers, which quickly kills any fun I may otherwise feel at moving so quickly with so little effort!


Well-Known Member
I ride mostly in eco but for big climbs I will use level 2 or level 3 depending on the gradient! I hardly ever use level 4 or 5, only when I'm really tired after a long ride and have plenty battery power left!


As I understand it, if you have bike with a mid drive motor then it is important to keep up a cadence of 70 and above. What you definitely should not do is ride turbo in your highest for too long. This will burn out the motor, push excess strain on the chain and wear out the smallest sprocket. The latest Specialized Vado bikes have colour indicator on the display to help you maintain the most efficient cadence. Spinning the pedals also helps keep one’s knees in good shape

Has anyone burned out a motor on a Vado or Gazelle? The Brose and the Bosch seem to be well designed with plenty of metal to dissipate heat I haven't heard of any trouble for the motor.
Wearing out the 11t and the chain is a problem. I did that on my Vado last year with about 2000 miles. I swapped out the front sprocket from the 40 to a 44t to hopefully use more of the cogs than just the 11. It did seem to work as intended but I lost the granny gear.

I hope I solved that this year with the Gates belt drive and IGH on the Gazelle.

I bought a Class 3 bike to do Class 3 speeds while commuting. I haven't seen anything official that says you can't run in turbo all the time.

Jason Knight

Active Member
Keene, NH
The assist I use depends on where I am and who's around. My Aventure has five assist modes, and I have it unlocked as class 3.

To get anywhere I have to ride in the road, because there are either no sidewalks, no paths, no bike lanes (there are only three marked bike lanes in town, all 300 yards total of them), and where there are sidewalks riding on them is illegal anyways. The very idea of riding on sidewalks is utterly alien to me, I wasn't even aware that was allowed anywhere. Where I grew up in Massachusetts the nearest sidewalk was over 20 miles away.

To that end, when I'm on public roads, I'm riding in assist 5 and anywhere from 28 to 32mph. Because at those speeds I don't feel like I'm going to get run off the road by the coal rolling "midlife crisis at age 24" MAGA hat wearing penis extension waving dirtbags who view cyclists as targets, not humans. Basically if I can get up to spitting distance of the speed limit in residentials, it's a safer ride. This is in fact at least half of why I got an e-bike in the first place. The other half being my right leg is now completely screwed up.

The places I go however I drop down to assist 2 or 3. There are rail trails that criss-cross town, and getting off the road is even safer. The 15-20 mph of assist 2 and 3 are perfect for going through campus, parking lots, and multi-use paths. The more people in those areas, the more likely I am to drop my speed. I prefer for safety sake --especially on the paved trails in-town--to drop down to the PAS 2 to keep my top speed at 12-15.

Then there are the ultra-rough patches, minefields (paths shared with horses), and so forth where I drop down to assist 1 just because you'd end up shaking the bike apart (Ashuelot trail between Keene and Troy), crashing into something, or just flinging muck everywhere at higher speeds.

And honestly where I go on a typical 25-35 mile ride has me facing all of the above in equal measure.

My favorite route has me going a mile and a half on roads (PAS 5) to cross the campus where I'm allowed on the concrete footpaths (PAS2), cross Winchester street onto a marked bike path (PAS 3), down Emerald Street (low traffic shopping, PAS 4), across another marked bike path (PAS 3) to a 150 yard jaunt down Island street (PAS 5) where the bike path continues (PAS3) to behind a large plaza where I pick up either a Whopper, or some fruit and Yogurt at Aldi, back to the path over large dedicated MUP bridge where it turns to dirt (PAS 4, low foot traffic) and continue out that way down the middle of a golf course until the path crosses a residential road. The other side of that road is wider (they just redid it) with effectively no foot traffic and amazing visibility ahead, so I go "naughty" and open it up to Mode 5 until the "new" part ends, where it gets narrow and poorly maintained so back to down Mode 2 right up until behind the old landfill. There the path gets rough and I have to slow way down so PAS1 until the battery says 55 to 60%, which is where I turn around -- except when I had a second working battery (seriously Aventon, get back to me it's been four weeks) --where I'd keep going, the trail being mostly acceptable in assist 3 right up until It ends on the outskirts of Walpole. I occasionally then cross into Vermont (Bellows Falls) for ice cream.

Riding up there is a lot nicer as the drivers seem far less aggressive than they do in downtown Keene. It's kind of like Winchester Street on Campus here where drivers will actually stop at bike crossings and crosswalks. Unlike main street and routes 9/10/12/101 where drivers seem to literally want to run you off the road.

I'm actually really happy with what "pathways" -- the guys maintaining the rail trails here -- have done with that stretch of the Cheshire trail. It used to be where it crossed the residential road that it was dangerous on one side because the hill was really really steep, almost a 50 degree angle for the twelve to fifteen feet where it met the road. Felt more like dropping into a ravine than a MUP. Coming out of it was 100% blind,. the hill stopped right at the road sharp enough you could bottom out the frame, and it was steep enough pedestrians would just give up and turn around. NOBODY could see anybody else there. Even if you could pedal up it or had the momentum, there was no room at the top to stop and not be in the road on a blind turn.

They filled it in, graded it nice and smooth, widened the path, cut back the trees so it's no longer a blind turn, added fresh drainage and new culverts. It's now one of the nicest parts of the path instead of the worst!

Really hoping they give the Ashuelot trail to the south the same treatment. Some jackass in one spot has cut a tree down in a way that makes it impassible for bikes so you have to bypass about a quarter mile out of the way to get through (it's in a ravine area so no "going around" without going back), the rocks, branches, and other "Elmer Fudd" features will rip a cheaper bike apart, Near there I've twice come across where some jackasses tied ropes across the road that if I hadn't seen would have taken my head off (cops called) and with anything less than an unlocked assist 5, trying to cross Rt 101 during the day is putting your life in someone else's hands. Particularly when said crossing is 100 yards from the blind corner + fork that sees the most automotive accidents per year in the entire town by a factor of eight. They SAY they're going to give us a bike / pedestrian bridge there, and that would be awesome. Then they could remove the anti-car bricks around the old railroad bridge that are barely far enough apart to get a bike through...

Back on topic there's the matter of throttle. Yes, I have one. Oh noes, the horrors. I can hear the effete elitist pricks screaming already. I don't "throttle ride" as it's crippled weaksauce compared to pedal assist. I use it mostly when starting from a dead stop and I forget to downshift because I've spent half my life riding internal hub bikes. (which can be shifted AT a stop)., and the occasional time it just feels like the cadence sensor isn't tripping. It is nice to know I have it when/if I need it, but it's neither powerful enough or even useful enough to be used for any real distance of travel.

Which is why I don't understand the butthurt so many people seem to have about bikes even just having one, and why I think the whole "level" system is arbitrary bullshit.

Ok, I'll shut up now.
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Well-Known Member
On my e-gravel (Giant Revolt, Yamaha motor with 5 levels of assist), almost always the lowest level. Occasionally I'll bump it to level 3 on busy roads. Level 1 is 100% assist which is plenty for me and I'm generally riding far enough that I'd prefer to conserve the battery. Plus I still want a workout. If I'm riding with people on non-assisted bikes I tend to turn level 1 to 50% or 75% for that ride (otherwise I'm not getting a workout if I'm riding with the group).

On my e-mtb (shimano steps 8000, which has 3 levels of assist) I flip between the low and middle one. The low is a constant assist level, but the middle is somewhat dynamic. I find the high level assist (Boost) a little too "surge-ish" for trail use on a pedal assist bike in technical off road situations. I'll use it if I have a fireroad slog back to the car after a long ride though.