What other bikes should I look at?

Avg_Joe

Active Member
Region
USA
City
RDU, NC
Writing this out hoping for some recommendations based on the below (and also to organize my thoughts). Hoping that you good folks might have suggestions for bikes I'm missing.

I am ready to step up to a "nice" bike (current RadRover ST owner, which I love and will keep riding). Budget is capped at $4k. I am looking for a new ebike that I can ride on road, and on groomed trails - nothing rough, no MTB. Some notes:

Requirements:
  1. Torque sensor.
  2. Sporty/hybrid, for lack of a better term - not looking for a road bike, eMTB, cruiser, folder, or cargo bike.
  3. Want +40mi range; and the more the better. Yes I understand the dynamics at play, but I tend to pedal all of the time and use lowest assist.
    1. Really hoping to get something I can enjoyably ride without assist.
  4. Mid- or low step so both my wife (5' 8") and I (5' 11") can ride it.
  5. Available at a local bike shop.
    1. I might forego this if there is something I'm missing from a reputable US-based brand; but I'd prefer to yell in person vs over the phone, email, or social media. :)
Considerations:
  1. Prefer mid-drive.
  2. Do not care if it is belt- or chain-driven.
  3. Prefer at least 5 gears, 7-10 would be nice.
  4. Do not care about top speed. Range is more important.
  5. Gew-gaws and accessories aren't a concern, as I either have what I need or am willing to source things.
    1. Integrated battery-powered lights are my 1 exception to this.
  6. Really don't care if it has a throttle.
  7. Prefer ~27.5" wheels. No fat tires. Tire brand/tread are not important.
  8. Aesthetics: Prefer something that looks like a regular bike, so no huge non-integrated battery
All that said, I can find the following locally: Specialized, Trek, Cannondale, Giant, REI, Gazelle, Pedego (not really looking at theirs), Santa Cruz, Momentum, perhaps a few others.

For context, the bikes that have most piqued my interest are the Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0 and the Gazelle Ultimate T10. The Priority Current is a candidate, but I cannot try that one locally. I'll be trying the Vado and T10 this weekend. What else should I be looking at?

TIA
 

retiredNH

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
You have at least 10 different brands you can see locally? And several models, no doubt, within brands?
Why not find what YOU like from a LBS you feel comfortable with? I suspect you know yourself better than any of us posters here... :)
Truth is, within the specs you list, any of the mainstream bikes are likely to be generally similar, with similar components etc.

One thing to look for (I presume some places still have it) is a trial period. Last year, we bought from a dealer that had a 30 day refund policy if we didn't like the bikes. That sealed the deal.
 

mikeschn

Active Member
Region
USA
City
SE Michigan
I agree with @CodyDog The 2022 Vado 4.0 is a super nice bike. My 1st choice!

 
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Avg_Joe

Active Member
Region
USA
City
RDU, NC
You might like to test ride a Trek Allant + 7S Stagger. Unlike the +7 Lowstep model, the Stagger has a dual battery option, while still being a step-through. Because four grand is a hard cap on your budget you might instead like to try the Giant Explore E+2 STA and the Cannondale Tesoro Neo X 3 Remixte
@Dewey do you own any of these?

@retiredNH yeah I get that I need to find what fits/works for me. However, there's just so much info out there about all of them (and far too many people shilling one or the other), I guess one thing that gnaws at me is: Are there any downsides? And when I say downsides, I mean problematic electronics/components (I hear different things about Bosch, for example), impossible to find spare/replacement parts, or something that would give pause considering the $$$?

And this is why I prefer to not buy online. I ack that I could return a bike, but a few days/a few miles of riding isn't going to expose everything - good or bad. I just don't want the hassle and would prefer to have a local relationship.
 

retiredNH

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
@Dewey do you own any of these?

@retiredNH yeah I get that I need to find what fits/works for me. However, there's just so much info out there about all of them (and far too many people shilling one or the other), I guess one thing that gnaws at me is: Are there any downsides? And when I say downsides, I mean problematic electronics/components (I hear different things about Bosch, for example), impossible to find spare/replacement parts, or something that would give pause considering the $$$?

And this is why I prefer to not buy online. I ack that I could return a bike, but a few days/a few miles of riding isn't going to expose everything - good or bad. I just don't want the hassle and would prefer to have a local relationship.
All the major brands use components from a small set of manufacturers. For mid drive units, Shimano, Brose, Mahle, Bosch and Specialized, who actually re-badges others, cater to most of the european and US brands. Others, like Bafang, appear to be more China oriented. Others may disagree?
Bosch? Given their market share, I'd venture to guess that they have FEWER problems than others, and have heard of outstanding post-market support within the limitations of supply chain issues. You've heard something different?
For the record, both spouse and I ride Trek Allant+ 8s, Bosch powered. While I learned to hate the display it came with, mechanically the systems have been flawless and maintenance free in over 1000 hilly miles. We love our bikes, but they're what work for us. You may (probably are!) be very different from us.
You have and will get (much) advice of the kind "buy what I have!" But what works for them may not work for you.
 

Avg_Joe

Active Member
Region
USA
City
RDU, NC
Ok, thanks all. Guess the lesson here is I'm not really missing out on any brands I can source locally, these reputable brands should be plenty good, so now it's a matter of test riding...
 

DaveMatthews

Well-Known Member
The Vado looks great, best of luck. I like that it's already setup with fenders and rack.
I went with a Giant Stance for the rear shock and the network of dealers.

***EDIT***
Just looked at the Gazelle, it it looks awesome as well.
Again, best of luck and enjoy your test rides!
 

retiredNH

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Ok, thanks all. Guess the lesson here is I'm not really missing out on any brands I can source locally, these reputable brands should be plenty good, so now it's a matter of test riding...
Exactly. Be glad you have choices like you do. Last year it was buy what you could find, supply was so scarce, at least where I live.
 

CodyDog

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Texas Hill Country/Banana Belt, Colorado
@CodyDog did you buy the Vado 4.0? I remember you saying you were going to go and look at it...
Was able to test ride the 4.0 Vado SL. Might have bought it but it had damage (deep paint scratches and cracked collar under the stem) and the dealer wasn't moving on the price. It's been challenging for me to find a LBS with a regular Vado 4.0 or 5.0 in stock to test ride. We will be in Colorado in a week and located two dealers over there with the dad's in stock. Hopefully they will not sell them before I arrive.
 

retiredNH

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Was able to test ride the 4.0 Vado SL. Might have bought it but it had damage (deep paint scratches and cracked collar under the stem) and the dealer wasn't moving on the price. It's been challenging for me to find a LBS with a regular Vado 4.0 or 5.0 in stock to test ride. We will be in Colorado in a week and located two dealers over there with the dad's in stock. Hopefully they will not sell them before I arrive.
This is the problem with fixating on only one brand and model of a bike! Is this really the only one that meets your needs? Keep in mind that for every day, every week you search, you're losing some of the best riding time of the year!
 

TrevorB

Active Member
This is the problem with fixating on only one brand and model of a bike! Is this really the only one that meets your needs? Keep in mind that for every day, every week you search, you're losing some of the best riding time of the year!
You are right about fixating on one brand, there are other brands with similar style bikes. More often cheaper than Specialized for same spec. Check out, Gazelle, Cube, Moustache, Giant, Merida.
Ebikes are expensive purchase, best to take time and get it right.
 

mikeschn

Active Member
Region
USA
City
SE Michigan
@CodyDog It's a shame you haven't been able to test ride the Vado 4.0. It has 4x you while the SL has 2x you, according to the Specialized website. 😉
 
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dodgeman

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Macomb, Illinois
You might check a Trek Verve +3. That’s what I have so of course I’m going to recommend it. It can be had for under your budget number to. Depending on tax and any accessories you buy should be out the door for under 4k. The range for me riding on the Tour setting, not the lowest but second lowest, around 50 miles. On the tour setting the bike is doing about half the work. I agree, you have a lot of choices, its a matter of finding something you like in stock.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Gazelles are way underrated. The best bikes for the money.
I'd agree they're a nice bike. Very interesting, but the "best bike for the money" needs a throttle IMHO....
 

Avg_Joe

Active Member
Region
USA
City
RDU, NC
In spite of my desire to buy one locally, the Ride1Up Prodigy really caught my eye. The only hesitation I have is the battery - it seems to be the one area they really cut costs by going with a most basic spec. Thoughts?