The Best Electric Bikes for Large People

Electric bikes can empower you to overcome physical challenges that might be getting in the way of riding a traditional unpowered bicycle. I discovered the technology in 2012 when a knee injury started making my commute to work uncomfortable… I was still capable of pedaling but there was discomfort towards the end of long rides and especially up hills. I made this video way back then explaining what ebikes are and showing my commute.

I’m not a big person myself at 5’9″ and 135 lbs but with a backpack full of work gear, balanced somewhat precariously, I began to understand what it must be like. Several of my family members struggle with weight and one of my friends is very tall so this guide is meant to present some options for different types of large people, whether it be fat and weight gain for plus sized individual or long legs and torso for those who are extra tall. I have ridden and reviewed ebikes of all sorts and some were too small for my body size and I banged my knees and felt cramped on the frame so I feel like I understand some of the challenges and hope this helps :)

Good Electric Bikes for Overweight Riders

These models offer a large saddle, upright body position, sturdy frame and include racks so you do not have to endure the added strain of weight on your back. They can be great for people who are overweight or just heavier in general.

Pedego Classic Interceptor Review

  • MSRP: $2,995
  • MODEL YEAR: 2015

A sturdy, powerful cruiser style electric bike with large 500 watt geared motor and 48 volt Lithium-ion battery. Balloon tires, comfort saddle, suspension seat post and oversized handlebars create a relaxed upright ride...

Pedego 24″ Step-Thru Interceptor Review

  • MSRP: $2,995
  • MODEL YEAR: 2015

A smaller version of the Interceptor that's easier to mount, it offers great power thanks to its smaller wheels paired with a 500 watt geared hub motor and 48 volt battery. Offers twist throttle and five levels of assist for increased range, throttle override puts you…...

E-Lux All-Trac Electric Cruiser Review

  • MSRP: $1,999
  • MODEL YEAR: 2015

An electric fat bike designed for comfortable cruising with large oversized handlebars, a suspension seat post and smoother tires. Basic drivetrain with seven speeds, throttle on demand and five levels of pedal assist, full…...

Daymak Florence Review

  • MSRP: $1,999
  • MODEL YEAR: 2015, 2016

A stable, three-wheeled electric bike (trike) with front and rear cargo baskets for hauling supplies or groceries. Full length matching fenders look great and keep you dry, the basic headlight and large…...


 

Good Electric Bikes for Tall Riders

These models are available in several frame sizes so you can choose what fits your body type, they are also solid feeling, have racks and larger motors for moving the added weight that height brings.

OHM Urban XU700 16 Review

  • MSRP: $4,199
  • MODEL YEAR: 2015

A high power, high speed, urban style electric bike with nearly every accessory you could, great for commuting or trekking. Extremely quiet drivetrain, four levels of assist and regen with variable speed trigger throttle, removable…...

Kalkhoff Tasman Classic Impulse 8 Review

  • MSRP: $3,799
  • MODEL YEAR: 2015

One of the most capable step-thru cruisers around, excellent range, stiff frame, good weight distribution and safety features. Aluminum alloy fenders and rear carry rack are painted to match the frame (and they…...

Felt OUTFITTER Review

  • MSRP: $5,499
  • MODEL YEAR: 2015

A stylish fat tire electric bike with unique camouflage paint job, stylish Old Man Mountain cargo racks and integrated Motion Stella 300 headlight. Offers 11 speeds with a quality SRAM X1 drivetrain, second generation electronic systems by Bosch...

Haibike XDURO Trekking Pro Review

  • MSRP: $4,650
  • MODEL YEAR: 2015

A long-range capable touring our commuting style electric bike that climbs well, has a balanced weight distribution and offers 27 speeds for a steady cadence at most speeds. Excellent accessories including LED lights, full-length fenders and sturdy rear-rack with spring latch...


 

Good Electric Bikes Kits for Large Riders

Maybe you already own a bike that fits your body perfectly but are struggling to ride? These kits are higher quality, fit a range of bicycle frames and offer more power for moving big people.

e-RAD 750 Watt Mid Drive Conversion Kit Review

  • MSRP: $950
  • MODEL YEAR: 2014, 2015

The most powerful but still legal mid-drive electric bike kit I've tested, can be unlocked for increased speed if you intend to ride off-road or on private property ~40 mph top speed. Perfect for cargo style ebikes, fat ebikes and other heavy duty applications, pairs with cassettes,…...

Falco Hx 750 Review

  • MSRP: $2,195
  • MODEL YEAR: 2014

A modular, open source electric bike kit with powerful 750 watt gearless motor. Works in torque sensing, cadence sensing or throttle mode for different applications...

E-BikeKit 500W Direct Drive Kit Review

  • MSRP: $862
  • MODEL YEAR: 2014

Value electric bike kit in multiple wheel sizes, works with front or rear, throttle only design. Excellent support and warranty, easy to install, multiple battery options for weight or range...


 

This guide isn’t comprehensive and new models come out every year but I hope it serves as a starting point and guides you towards brands that make e-bikes that work well for big people. One of the best ways to relax, connect with your community and stay healthy (either by reducing stress or getting a cardiovascular workout) is cycling. You can do it almost anywhere and work it in to a busy schedule by making it part of your transportation routine… even if that’s just running to the local store or riding to a friend’s house. I spoke with my Uncle about his experience riding to work and back every day in this video interview and it was really inspiring to hear how his health had improved since he started (and how much he enjoyed it). Electric bikes aren’t as cheap as normal bicycles but they can help to make cycling fun or even possible again for those with physical challenges or rigorous terrain.

40 Comments

TenBlinkers
2 years ago

Under bikes for overweight riders – what about the rest of the cargo bikes? RadWagon, elMundo, Pedago Stretch, Xtracycle Edgerunner, HPC SuperMundo, etc. Most if not all of them can handle over 300lbs.

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Court Rye
2 years ago

That’s an excellent point! Thanks for adding those bikes in the comments, I’ll update the list above with a cargo bike section because you’re correct that they do tend to offer greater strength for carrying heavy loads and most are adjustable to suite a wide range of rider heights as well :)

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Orbit City Electric Bikes
2 years ago

We have found the Juiced Bikes ODK U500 (Cargo Bike) to be excellent for overweight people. The simplicity of the bike makes it easy to ride. The power is great, too. It holds up to 400lbs with no problem.

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Court Rye
2 years ago

Good call Tom! Thanks for chiming in about this model… I re-reviewed the ODK V3 recently and plan to post it soon. I’m excited to come visit your shop sometime. Hope business is going well!

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mike
2 years ago

Court, thank you, sincerely for all of your work. I need to get active again and I was going to get a regular mountain bike to use around town and take camping with me for some trail riding. After coming across a review you did on youtube I made the decision to go electric. I love this section for overweight people, as I am 300 lbs, but I noticed that these are all cruisers. Is there anything suited for a big guy that needs to get around hilly atlanta, with dirty ambitions for the weekend??

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Court Rye
2 years ago

Great question Mike! Yeah, I leaned towards cruisers primarily to improve comfort… they offer a more relaxed upright ride and that could reduce strain on the back, shoulders, neck and arms for someone who has more weight. If you’re excited about the mountain bike style and want to go off-road a bit then you could certainly go for a trail bike and even swap the handlebars for mid or high rise or even cruiser to sort of approximate an upright ride. Many ebikes say they limit rider weight to ~250 lbs but I see many people go beyond this (especially with gear). My friend Sam who runs the Electric Bicycle Center in Fullerton, CA is 260 lbs and he rides everything (and takes them off-road too). So it might come down to choosing a good bike with decent power. Here’s the mountain ebike section of the site, just explore that and consider your height, whether it has a top-tube that you can clear easily and how much you want to spend. The 2016 IZIP E3 Peak has a really powerful mid-drive motor and smaller 27.5″ wheels (vs. 29ers on many hardtails) and the price is decent. Good luck and report back what you decide and how it works out for you :D

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TenBlinkers
2 years ago

Mountain bikes can be a good choice IMO, as they’re built to take more strain. From what I’ve read, spokes and rims are the critical components to handle extra weight, followed by forks and welds. Low gauge spokes (12 or lower) and double rims would be what to look for, I believe. Perhaps someone can chime in to confirm.

The other good choice is cargo bikes – they’re designed to handle heavier loads. Not as good for off-road though :)

Amy
2 years ago

I appreciate that you did this section. I am over weight and out of shape. I used to exercise all of the time but 4 kids later not so much. I am 5 foot 4, over weight and always found bike riding hurt my butt even when I was in better shape. Any recomendations under $2500-2000? Thanks

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Court Rye
1 year ago

Hi Amy, I really enjoy the Pedego Interceptor and they produce a “mini” version for shorter riders making it easier to mount and stand over. This bike is tough, sturdy, powerful and well made. It costs a bit more but they do offer a more basic mini-cruiser for those on a budget who don’t mind foregoing pedal assist. Hope this helps! There are other smallish cruisers out there but Pedego has a great network of dealers and it seems like these two fit your budget pretty well. If you pedal a lot I suggest swapping the saddle out for something more narrow so you don’t chaff the inside of your thighs but that might sacrifice the squishy supportive comfort of the saddles they come with stock… decisions, decisions ;)

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Mitch
1 year ago

I think this section was well written, and in my case I have been looking for a e-bike to re-energize me back into riding again like I used to. I am 310 lbs. and was more than 100 lbs lighter some time ago ago when I last rode to keep in better shape. I found the Specialized Turbo x (2015 model) has worked well for me. I live in a hilly park of Kansas City where the roads are rough, not too many trail options, so I needed a bike that was up for the job of not just helping me up a hill. Im happy to say in the case of this bike (200W nominal motor) its worked just as I want. It will get me up the large hill and keep me exercising (as the other bikes in this section indicate they would do as well). Thanks Cort, you helped me!

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Court Rye
1 year ago

That’s wonderful Mitch! Thanks for sharing your experience and the compliments, I do my best. Ride safe out there and have a blast ;)

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Pat
1 year ago

Hi all. I’m ridiculously out of shape and 350 lbs. I bought a Kalkhoff agattu xxl model in 2013 and absolutely love it. Out on the bike every chance I get. They are rated to 170 kg (374 lbs). At the time there were no Kalkhoff dealers in Atlanta and I ordered from 50 cycles in London (no tax made up for shipping) but there is a kalkhoff USA now. Great quality German bikes. There is another bike coming out now for 2017 season the Staiger ENA (rated to 150 kg (330lbs) again quality bikes. These two come in different sizes too small 45cm, medium 50cm and large 55 cm.

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Court Rye
1 year ago

Nice! Good for you Pat, glad the bike has been working out well and appreciate your specific feedback about the weight rating of the model you chose. I’ve got more Kalkhoff reviews in the works which will be posted here eventually and the same parent company makes Focus and Gazelle which I’ll be posting on later this year :D

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Robert
1 year ago

Hi, I really like you reviews, well done and thorough. I have a question I need some help with. I have a cruiser bike I’m comfortable with and want to put a front wheel emotor kit on it. I’m 6’0″ and weigh 220lbs, so which category would I fit in, large people??? Also, what size motor should I be considering, 250, 500, or 750 watts? I have to keep the price as low as possible. Intend to ride neighborhoods and town only.

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Court Rye
1 year ago

Hey Robert! Many electric bikes have a maximum weight load of 250 lbs so I think you’re alright that way but given your height, intended use in neighborhoods and around town along with your budget I’d aim for a 500 watt or stronger kit (e-RAD makes some good ones) or get a fully built cruiser like the ones E-LUX makes (The Newport is their most affordable model at under $2k). They are cheaper than Pedego but still very powerful. I always prefer built bikes vs. kits because they look better and kits can be tricky to install… It seems like you always have to make trade-offs because the frames are slightly different from bike to bike. Hope this helps!

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Fergus McQuickly
9 months ago

Hello! I am a 6’6″, 230-pound, 50 year old man. I am in very good shape and I am seeking an electric offroad bike that can handle my size. Thank you! Fergus

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Court Rye
9 months ago

Hi Fergus, I’d suggest asking around in the forums as well as the comments here. Are you interested in full suspension, a hardtail, or do you have a set budget? Maybe I can list a few options with that info for you ;)

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Ken Sobel
6 months ago

I want to strengthen my heart after significant health problems and an electric bike would be very helpful. I’ve narrowed it down to the RadCity with a 750w gearless hub motor and the Surface 604 Colt with a 500w nominal geared hub motor. I am at the top of the weight capacity for both bikes. I heard that the RadCity 750w is the peak and not the nominal wattage. I also live in an area in the hills of the San Fernando Valley. Which motor would be the better choice?

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Court Rye
6 months ago

Hi Ken, if you can afford it, I’d probably go with a mid-drive ebike given your weight and the hilly conditions. This might be an ideal platform… otherwise, Rad Power Bikes offers great customer support and their gearless motor should be very durable.

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Ebike Buyer
6 months ago

Yep, Court, the “Heavy Riders” and “Tall Riders” sections are overdue for an update (when you have the time!)! Love what you do, and really man, THANK YOU! :-D

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Court Rye
6 months ago

Thanks for the reminder… and yeah! I’ve just been buried with travel and new bikes lately. I’ve actually got 35 models filmed but not yet posted. My hope is that these out of date bikes are still a good guide and can expose brands that have done a good job, even if they aren’t the latest models ;)

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Corie Stern
5 months ago

Hi; always wanted a good, sturdy ebike…I’m large gal 267 at 5 foot 8 and 1/2. Goal is to lose weight in a healthy manner…have a bad back & knees. Any ideas on a budget

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Court Rye
5 months ago

Hi Corie! This year especially, it seems like ebikes have dropped in price and you can get a decent product from a shop (who will set it up right and fit you) for $2k to $2.5k but there are some online electric bikes in the $1.5k range which could work for occasional use or if you don’t need the range and support assembling etc. One of my favorite bikes for someone who might need comfort and an easier mounting/riding position if price was not an issue is the Riese & Müller Homage but something similar at a lower price is the Surface 604 Rook which isn’t as efficient but does have a throttle for easier starting and is still fairly comfortable and easy to mount.

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Rosy Red
5 months ago

Hi, what do you suggest for a 5’7″ 231 lb gal for an electric bike? I have to go down hills and then back up them. Also, at a real reasonable price. Can the electric bike be used on sidewalks or are they road only? Do the laws differ from stat to state? I’m in Washington state here.

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Court Rye
5 months ago

Hi Rosy! I recommend exploring the affordable ebike reviews section to see what jumps out style and price wise. Most ebikes can handle up to 250 lbs so you should be okay but may have to get spokes tightened and more tuneups to keep it rolling perfectly smooth. Going over bumpy terrain with added weight can result in things coming out of alignment. Regarding laws, yes, each state (and even city) can have different rules but I have found that if you ride safely and try to be respectful, you can spend a bit of time on sidewalks to avoid being so close to cars. The key is to pull over for walkers and to try to use bike lanes when they exist. I hope this helps! If there’s a local shop nearby, definitely go in and test ride some bikes. I realize the prices may be a little higher than online bikes but the proper setup and maintenance support could be well worth it because that can cost $100 per hour if you bought the bike somewhere else and the shop might not even be able to get you parts. If you’re going to be riding a lot, it can save you money in the long term to get a bike in person. Also, Rad Power Bikes is in Seattle and they have some good prices but also have their own store.

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Heather
5 months ago

Hello, what do you suggest for someone who is 6ft, 350 pounds?

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Court Rye
5 months ago

Hi Heather! It depends on what kind of riding you plan on doing, if you want a relaxed cruiser feel then I suggest the Pedego Interceptor with the mag wheels upgrade because they will support more weight than spokes without going out of true, but you could also get a more active electric bike like the Giant Quick-E+ which comes in four frame sizes. I don’t know of many ebikes that are rated up to 350 lbs but reps from the companies mention that people in this weight range often do purchase and enjoy their products so I feel like they understate what is possible. Another cool bike that was designed specifically to be approachable but also sturdy and efficient is the Corratec LIFEBIKE. I hope this helps and I welcome you to share what you choose or discover. You can also ask around in the EBR forums here.

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Gerry
4 months ago

Howdy! I’m thinking about getting the new CrossCurrent S when to comes out in two weeks. Is JuicedBikes a very reputable manufacturer? I don’t want to be stuck with a lemon. I’m in Moses Lake Washington, a small town without electric bike shops. I ‘d just go to the local bike shop for repairs. Can I trust JuicedBIKES to use quality parts in this new bike? I’m looking for something that will last for a while. And everything I see about the CrossCurrent S seems to hit me in my sweet spot.

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Court Rye
4 months ago

Hi Gerry! I feel like Juiced Bikes is in a transition period… going from lower volume, slightly more expensive and custom e-bikes, to ones like the CrossCurrent S which is super affordable and high volume. I have heard from some shops and commenters that there have been issues and adjustments in some cases but I cannot confirm. In one case, an actual electric bicycle dealer told me that he was concerned about some quality issues. There are systems out there which will probably be much more reliable (like Bosch, Brose, Yamaha) but those do cost more. I feel that Rad Power Bikes has a great reputation for quality and affordability along with Surface 604. Feel free to explore what other people are saying about Juiced Bikes in the forum and whatever you choose, please share your experience back here and I hope that it works out well for you. The first ebike I ever purchased was a disappointment because of quality, handling, and I felt that I should have spent more to get something that was better made.

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Gerry
4 months ago

Thank you Court for your quick response. Reading through the comments above, it seems like I ended up exactly where you would suggest. I too thought a mid-drive was a better choice than a rear hub, and ended up really enjoying the giant E plus review you did. I was going to try it out in Portland in the next week. I just wish it had more color and more reflective materials for night riding.

Thank you sincerely for all the work you do putting out these reviews. I thoroughly enjoyed them, and found them to be an invaluable tool as I try to figure out which of the 358,000 bikes I would like to own :)

I realize you’re busy, so no need to reply. But again, thank you.

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Court Rye
4 months ago

Hey Gerry! I hope you enjoy the Giant ebike and welcome your thoughts down the line if it meets, exceeds or falls short on any of the points I shared. As you probably realize, I do my best “reviewing” but the bikes are all brand new and it ends up being more of an overview. It’s always nice to receive a thanks here and your comment made me smile. Ride safe :D

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Matt
3 months ago

Court,

I’m 5’11 and nearly 300 lbs, the RIESE MULLER is impressive and expensive. I’m considering the BULLS LACUBA EVO 8 with the belt drive and internal gears in step-thru frame model. ANY CONCERN WITH THAT CHOICE?

best regards, MATT

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Court Rye
3 months ago

Hi Matt, I did hear from one owner that the Bulls Lacuba Evo 8 felt a bit wobbly at speed (the front wheel was getting some speed wobble) but I didn’t experience that during my ride tests. My guess is that either bike would be fine, and I love the deep step-thru on the Bulls and lower price, but the best thing to do is really test ride at a shop if you can. Again, I don’t mean to freak out about stability, if you are riding with both hands on the bar and have the seating and handlebars positioned correctly I would think that both could handle you even though you’d be right near the max weight rating. Maybe ask a shop that carries both models like Propel in New York City to see if they have advice too.

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Elizabeth
2 months ago

Thank you so much for what you do, Court! I am learning a lot watching your reviews. I’m, 5’3″ and 290 lbs. Plus I drive a Fiat 500 so I am looking at possibility of a folding electric bike. Suggestions? I’m looking at RadMini, which says weight limit is 275, and Sondors Fold X with limit of 300. Wonder what you think of those, and any other suggestions? Btw, I test rode a Pedego Interceptor 26″ and I felt a little unsteady steering through tighter spaces with those wide handlebars, so I didn’t love it. Thanks again!

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Court Rye
2 months ago

Hi Elizabeth! I have not yet tried the Sondors X but am hoping to do so (or get my friend to help review it) soon. I did enjoy the RadMini and appreciated the comfort of fat tires and the stability they added. It’s a unique bike, low enough to mount easily, folding so you can save some space (not a lot, since it’s a fat-tire bike) and powerful with assist and throttle modes. I had a nice time test riding it on the beach in Mexico, was very impressed that it actually made it through sand. Whatever you get, feel free to chime in again with a comment about how it works for you :D

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Victor Whitted
2 months ago

Hi, I enjoyed looking over your reviews, and I have narrowed it down to 2 choices, both of your recommendations, the Magnum Peak and the E-Glide ST. I am looking for a bike I can take both on and off road. Which is the best bike?

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Court Rye
2 months ago

Hi Victor! Both of these models should perform well on road, but the tires on the E-Glide ST are a bit more designed for pavement and could be quieter and offer better traction… however, when you go off-road, the opposite is true. The tires on the Magnum Peak are knobbier and will grip the terrain better. If you intend to ride more off-road, I would suggest the Magnum Peak probably, but you could always get the E-Glide ST and just upgrade the tires if you like it better for some other reason :)

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Kent Sawatzky
1 month ago

I found this one. I weigh 350 6’5″ and this was one looks awesome. Good range and Power and it says up tp 350 lbs, Heard of it?

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Court Rye
1 month ago

Nice, it looks exciting and the price is decent. I honestly feel that this bike would be similar to many of the products reviewed here that advertise a lower weight rating. I think the bigger companies are more conservative and careful with that sort of thing, but I have never heard of Cyrusher, maybe someday I can ask or review the bike and try to get more answers vs. speculation. It sounds like you are a taller rider, so the high-step wouldn’t be so much of an issue. When comparing models, think about or try to observe the components between two, because you might be opting for one based on a weight rating that is actually very similar or comparable to another that is available locally or fits your style or budget better. I hope this helps :)

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