What type of e-bike fleet should I buy? City streets / no hills / sea level / coastal town

Phil Peyton

New Member
Hey folks! New to the forum!

I recently took an e-bike tour in Paris and fell in love with the e-bike (not so much with Paris).

Was thinking of doing e-bike tours in my town since we have a lot of great historical sites and the market could probably support it.

Details:
Coastal town (sea water)
No hills. Seriously, none.
Mostly paved streets, but some brick-paved streets in older neighborhoods.
Would want to have the tour cover under 15 miles, probably even under 10.
Would probably prefer step-through bikes to cover most riders.
I personally liked the pedal-assist model I used in Paris and wonder if people would have issues with the throttle and not letting go if it got too zippy on them!
Would like to buy a fleet of about 6-8 bikes that cost under $1800 each.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Comments?

I'm all ears and thanks!!
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
Rad Rover as tested here. $1500/ea. and people seem to be attracted to the whole fat tire thing and think its cool and different which might be a draw? Being a coastal town could even be ridden on the beach? Not a step through frame however.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
I looked into starting an ebike tour of Gettysburg about a year and a half ago. There's already an automobile tour laid out and folks do bike it already. At the time there was only one company in Gettysburg using ebikes, but that wasn't all they did to generate income. I couldn't get the numbers to work, what with liability insurance and 6 months of cold weather.

My idea was to use mid step, steel fat bikes. No suspension, fat tires would be enough. Bullet proof the tires and 6 or 8 simple gear sets. I had planned to use a front 350 watt hub, for ease of swapping out when one malfunctioned. No throttle, simple cadence sensing drive, limited speed of 15 mph.

So I thought of adding quality kits to solid bikes. Bikes could last 10 years, e-drives 1 or 2.

Good luck, please keep us in the loop.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
I would definitely recommend a step-through frame, unless your demographic will not include people over 50.

You need less than a 500 watt motor, probably a hub.

A lot would depend on how cost effective you wanted your initial cost and maintenance to be. If you were not too concerned, you could buy Pedego type bikes and maybe have a contract with someone in the vicinity. At the other extreme you could construct a bike (and then all the bikes in the fleet), buying basic motors and batteries. Then just interchange parts. Some motors can, for example, be swapped in the case. Some batteries just go in a bag, others are very proprietary. Depends on your cost structure. Depends on how 'fancy' you want the bikes to look.

The last time I rented a bike was at Zion National Park. The bikes were $300 models from Bikes Direct. It was late in the season and the bikes were requiring a lot of adjustments. You were supposed to just get on the bike path through the park and ride. It wasn't about renting a serious bike. But maintenance seemed to be a huge issue.
 

Phil Peyton

New Member
Thanks for all the input!

I would anticipate a demographic of over 50-somethings from time to time, hence my preference to the step-through style. I'm not yet savvy enough to take on building an e-bike, so a pre-made model would interest me. I will learn as much about the maintenance and repair of them as I go, of course, and will definitely partner with a local vendor/repair shop to keep me running smooth.

As with any startup, costs are a factor. After doing some research, I headed over here for input and am getting some good tips. I chose the $1500 price range since I wouldn't need one to go over 20 miles max per charge or go very fast, so I thought I could get a reliable model that could withstand several uses per week with minimal hassle.

Thanks again and keep the tips coming!!
 

vincent

Well-Known Member
i agree with a step thru fat bike


not sure about a pas or throttle system, most of the $1500 bikes i have ridden have cadence sensing pas and are too fast and powerful in the lower levels and i prefer to have friends that have not ridden in years to start out with throttle
think most of us would say thumb throttles not twist for safety

if you could get some bikes that had slow, controlled speeds in the lower level pas it might be the way to go

people that ride bikes some or a lot a good bit a faster pas is not going to be an issue, it will be the ones that have not ridden in years

you are going to need to ride a lot of bikes to find the right ones

good luck, sounds like an exciting and fun venture
 
D

Deleted member 803

Guest
Thanks for all the input!

I would anticipate a demographic of over 50-somethings from time to time, hence my preference to the step-through style. I'm not yet savvy enough to take on building an e-bike, so a pre-made model would interest me. I will learn as much about the maintenance and repair of them as I go, of course, and will definitely partner with a local vendor/repair shop to keep me running smooth.

As with any startup, costs are a factor. After doing some research, I headed over here for input and am getting some good tips. I chose the $1500 price range since I wouldn't need one to go over 20 miles max per charge or go very fast, so I thought I could get a reliable model that could withstand several uses per week with minimal hassle.

Thanks again and keep the tips coming!!
Give the folks at ProdecoTech a call. They have very solidly built bikes for under $2K.
 

Dunbar

Well-Known Member
My local e-bike store just got these in stock. Step-thru, adjustable stem, 20mph top speed, torque sensing w/ throttle, hydraulic discs and a 500wH battery. Also it's a direct drive hub motor which has less parts in it to break. The only thing you might want to change is the tires to something more puncture resistant. List is $1899 but they might cut you a deal if you buy 6-8 of them. In terms of maintenance a spare controller and/or rear wheel might make sense to keep on hand.

(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
@Phil Peyton, I wouldn't worry about folks not letting go of a throttle; it's usually the quick engagement of a pedal assist that startles a new ebike rider. Choose a bike with both options or throttle only. My shop has worked with the Prodeco Tech products for several years and thepriced lower costing less. If you work with a dealer or make it known that you are going to buy several at one time, I am sure that a price break can be arranged.

VoltBike in Canada also has the 'Elegant' low step 350 watt model that could be an option; although it doesn't have the better disc brakes or hydraulic disc brakes that the 500 watt version of the Stride has. But it is very affordable. My shop's experience with tours led us to understand that a larger motor was better; 500 watts or so if you're looking at a bike with a Hub Motor, 350 watts or more for a Mid Drive Motor to be able to accommodate riders of all sizes and riding abilities. In general, the larger motor will not have to work to max capacity (especially on fairly flat terrain) thus will last longer with fewer overheat issues. If you knew that all the people riding were young, athletic types then go with a smaller motor but that's not what you're indicating. Spend the $$ on better brakes too; that's cheap insurance and will help your tour riders feel more secure.

Big Cat has their low step Long Beach Cruiser XL in 2 motor sizes and both are under $2K and come with a wider profile tires which could be an option; however, they don't have the same dealer network that companies like Prodeco Tech or Currie Tech's Izip products have; important when it comes to service and maintenance. And maintenance plus spare batteries + chargers are part of the expense of running a real rental or tour fleet. Must have backup parts and the tour guide needs a spare battery or two for those folks who just refuse to pedal! Do take a look at the Izip E3Vibe + it's a low step bike with a mid drive motor and bigger 48V rear rack battery. Nice weight balance and better range with the bigger battery pack and still under $2K. Another bike to consider is the new Raleigh Sprite IE step thru; elegant looking, well balanced with the mid drive motor and same battery system as on the Izip and Prodeco Tech bikes.

Sounds like a great adventure, Phil.
 

JohnT

Active Member
I own a Pedego store in Westlake Village, California. We do rentals and tours, but not as many as most other Pedego stores. We have about 14 bikes in our rental fleet. All Pedegos are out of your price range. The Comfort Cruiser, our basic bike, starts at $2295 MSRP, and as a rental or tour bike, I recommend upgrading to the extended range battery for $300 more. I have some general advice, though.

I would suggest reliability, durability, and good customer support are extremely important with a fleet, especially with someone new to ebikes. It's a major pain to you and the customer when there's a problem out on the road. We've only had a couple of mechanical problems, but a lot of flats. We get a lot of thorns during the Summer. We upgrade to more thorn resistance when we replace tubes, but maybe we should be more proactive and do it beforehand.

I'd stick with hub motors if I were you. Mid-drives tend to be more expensive up front, more mainenance, and harder for a new rider to operate. Their best advantage is running power through the gears, which isn't as important in an area like your with no hills. We like geared hub motors, for better climbing and acceleration at the same power level, but you'd probably be fine with direct drive. Direct drive is cheaper. There will be exceptions, of course. The Vibe Ann mentioned seems reasonable at under $2k.

I recommend not getting the smallest battery that will meet your needs, not if you want it to still meet your needs after a year or two of hard use. If you have a bike with a throttle, expect to get some people who won't want to extend their range by pedaling and a few who can't. We have many customers with mobility issues.

Sorry I can't recommend a specific bike. I should really keep a closer eye on the competition. If you can come up on price a little, you might be able to work a deal on 6 to 8 Pedegos. If you have a store nearby, check them out!
 

Phil Peyton

New Member
@Phil Peyton, I wouldn't worry about folks not letting go of a throttle; it's usually the quick engagement of a pedal assist that startles a new ebike rider. Choose a bike with both options or throttle only. My shop has worked with the Prodeco Tech products for several years and thepriced lower costing less. If you work with a dealer or make it known that you are going to buy several at one time, I am sure that a price break can be arranged.

VoltBike in Canada also has the 'Elegant' low step 350 watt model that could be an option; although it doesn't have the better disc brakes or hydraulic disc brakes that the 500 watt version of the Stride has. But it is very affordable. My shop's experience with tours led us to understand that a larger motor was better; 500 watts or so if you're looking at a bike with a Hub Motor, 350 watts or more for a Mid Drive Motor to be able to accommodate riders of all sizes and riding abilities. In general, the larger motor will not have to work to max capacity (especially on fairly flat terrain) thus will last longer with fewer overheat issues. If you knew that all the people riding were young, athletic types then go with a smaller motor but that's not what you're indicating. Spend the $$ on better brakes too; that's cheap insurance and will help your tour riders feel more secure.

Big Cat has their low step Long Beach Cruiser XL in 2 motor sizes and both are under $2K and come with a wider profile tires which could be an option; however, they don't have the same dealer network that companies like Prodeco Tech or Currie Tech's Izip products have; important when it comes to service and maintenance. And maintenance plus spare batteries + chargers are part of the expense of running a real rental or tour fleet. Must have backup parts and the tour guide needs a spare battery or two for those folks who just refuse to pedal! Do take a look at the Izip E3Vibe + it's a low step bike with a mid drive motor and bigger 48V rear rack battery. Nice weight balance and better range with the bigger battery pack and still under $2K. Another bike to consider is the new Raleigh Sprite IE step thru; elegant looking, well balanced with the mid drive motor and same battery system as on the Izip and Prodeco Tech bikes.

Sounds like a great adventure, Phil.

Great tips and I've been looking at the bikes you mentioned - all great candidates. You definitely get where I'm coming from. Also thank for the tips from a rental/tour perspective!
 

TrevorB

Active Member
You also need to consider resale value. This is especially important if you plan to replace your fleet on regular basis. Know brands will be easier to sell and hold their value.