Volton Alation Mid-Drive 350 Review

Volton Alation Mid Drive 350 Electric Bike Review 1
Volton Alation Mid Drive 350
Volton Alation Mid Drive 350 Watt Geared Motor
Volton Alation Mid Drive 350 Battery Pack Cover
Volton Alation Mid Drive 350 Display Panel
Volton Alation Mid Drive 350 Eight Speed Shimano Alivio
Volton Alation Mid Drive 350 Front Chain Ring
Volton Alation Mid Drive 350 Modular Headlight
Volton Alation Mid Drive 350 Rear Fender
Volton Alation Mid Drive 350 Removable Battery
Volton Alation Mid Drive 350 Electric Bike Review 1
Volton Alation Mid Drive 350
Volton Alation Mid Drive 350 Watt Geared Motor
Volton Alation Mid Drive 350 Battery Pack Cover
Volton Alation Mid Drive 350 Display Panel
Volton Alation Mid Drive 350 Eight Speed Shimano Alivio
Volton Alation Mid Drive 350 Front Chain Ring
Volton Alation Mid Drive 350 Modular Headlight
Volton Alation Mid Drive 350 Rear Fender
Volton Alation Mid Drive 350 Removable Battery

Summary

  • Affordable, well balanced and light-trail capable hardtail electric bike with an efficient mid-drive motor
  • Drive system by 8Fun (Bafang) includes a large backlit LCD display console and easy-reach external button pad
  • Removable Lithium-ion battery pack is mounted inside the downtube to keep weight low and center, looks great

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Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Volton

Model:

Alation Mid-Drive 350

Price:

$2,249 USD

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Trail, Urban

Electric Bike Class:

Throttle on Demand (Class 2)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

1 Year Frame, Motor, Battery and Electronics

Availability:

United States

Model Year:

2014

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

52 lbs (23.58 kg)

Frame Material:

Hydro-Formed 6061 Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

20 in (50.8 cm)18 in (45.72 cm)

Frame Types:

High-Step, Step-Thru

Frame Colors:

Black with Red Accents, Red with Black Accents, White, Graphite

Frame Fork Details:

SR Suntour XCR Suspension with Lockout

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses

Gearing Details:

8 Speed 1x8 Shimano Alivio HG50

Shifter Details:

Trigger Shifters on Right Bar

Pedals:

Wellgo Aluminum Alloy Platform

Headset:

Neco Oversized

Stem:

Truvativ, Fixed 80 mm

Handlebar:

Truvativ Mid­Rise

Brake Details:

Avid BB5 Mechanical Disc with 160 mm Rotors

Grips:

Dual Density

Saddle:

Velo Comfort

Rims:

Alex Rims DH19 Double Walled

Spokes:

Heavy Gauge (12) Stainless Steel

Tire Brand:

Kenda KRAD 26" x 2.3"

Wheel Sizes:

26 in (66.04cm)

Tire Details:

Puncture Resistant

Accessories:

Bell on Right Bar, Front and rear Plastic Polymer Fenders, Front and Rear LED Lights

Other:

Oversized Headset for Improved Strength, Multi-Tool Included for Assembly, Free Shipping, Novatec Alloy MTB Hubs

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

8Fun

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

350 watts

Battery Brand:

Samsung

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

10.5 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

378 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium Polymer

Charge Time:

3.5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

35 miles (56 km)

Estimated Max Range:

45 miles (72 km)

Display Type:

Bafang Backlit LCD

Readouts:

Speed, Odometer, Battery Capacity, Assist Level (3 Modes)

Display Accessories:

Independent Button Pad

Drive Mode:

Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist, Twist Throttle

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

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Written Review

Volton has been making the Alation since 2012, it’s an affordably priced, off-road capable ebike with a purpose built frame designed to keep battery weight low and balanced. While older models use 350 and 500 watt geared rear hub motors in 2014 this new mid-drive version was introduced with an 8Fun BBS01 geared center drive. I’m a big fan of the system because it’s quieter, stronger and more sophisticated than some other low end mid-drives but not so fancy that it jacks up the price. Keep in mind, if you bought the BBS01 with a 36 volt ~10 amp hour battery equivalent to what’s used on this bike it would likely cost upwards of $1,000. So with this bike priced at ~$2,300 including free shipping you get enormous value in my opinion. Not only does it include lights, fenders, an integrated battery design and a suspension fork with lockout but you also get a one year warranty. At the time of this review I was told that the bike is completely sold out and I can see why.

The motor driving this electric bike offers 350 watts of power which is about average. However, thanks to its mid-mounted configuration it actually climbs better and can reach higher top speeds than a hub motor would. You can operate the bike in one of three pedal assist modes that use a cadence sensor built right into the mid-motor casing and at any time you can also use the twist throttle as an override. The twist throttle offers as much power as the assist mode you choose so level 1 will feel weak and level 3 will feel strong. One downside with the twist throttle is that the bike does not offer throttle only mode… if you want that type of experience just choose pedal assist level three and don’t pedal, the throttle will still work. That said, if you forget that pedal assist is enabled and turn the cranks at all with your feet the bike may surprise you by activating the motor. Overall the motor is quiet, smooth and fairly powerful. You can use the eight speed cassette in the rear like the transmission on a car to optimize torque or speed but there is no shift sensor built in. This means that if you are throttling the bike hard while shifting you might encounter mashing and grinding. I usually slow my pedaling or activate the brakes momentarily (which cuts off power to the motor) and then shift.

The battery pack used for the Alation Mid Drive is a 36 volt 10.5 amp hour Samsung brick that’s designed to fit right into the downtube. It’s a wonderful design, especially considering the low price of this bike. Aesthetically it’s similar to what higher priced Stromer, Specialized and Easy Motion designs offer but not quite as secure or polished. Older Alation models had a cover that would rattle but that has been solved here with a rubberized edge that also keeps out dust and light exposure to water. The battery pack inside is also more secure now thanks to a canvas tote (complete with handles) designed to make charging and storing the battery away from the bike even easier. Frankly, it’s a great design for what it is and the cells themselves are high quality with Lithium-ion chemistry. The battery weight is kept low and center, very near the motor, and the controller and wiring are also stored in the frame so the overall appearance of the bike is not degraded. All except the front of the bike I guess, where wires from the brake levers and drive system are a bit exposed. I think normally they’d be more wrapped up but the demo bike I tested had just been built for our ride.

Operating the Alation Mid-Drive is similar to other Volton Alation ebikes but uses the stock Bafang display instead of a J-LCD King Meter. Once the battery pack is secure in the frame, you hold the power button on the control pad (located on the left portion of the handle bar near the grip) and the screen activates. It starts out in assist level one (the weakest level) and from there you press + or – on the control pad for more or less power. The display is large, backlit and adjustable (swivels forward or back) to reduce glare but it is not easily removable. that’s a bummer because you don’t want to tempt vandals or alert people to this being an electric bike. I suppose you could get a velcro cover or something to hide it and keep rain off but overall it’s very well sealed and designed to be exposed to the elements without issue. I like the trigger shifters, twist throttle and brake levers in use here. they’re all pretty standard in terms of design but the brake levers do cut power to the motor and include an integrated bell on the left grip which is neat.

I’ve long been a fan of Volton because their founder Joe Marchfield is such a nice and responsive guy. We recently went for a test ride near Chicago and I got to use the Mid-Drive and his 500 watt Alation and both performed well. It’s tough to find any ebikes below $2,500 that offer so many features and even tougher to find one that looks great and is well balanced. This bike is capable of light trail riding but also performs well in urban environments thanks to the suspension lockout and mounting points for adding a rear rack. I like the kickstand, pedals, disc brakes and lights that are included and feel like this is a great value overall.

Pros:

  • Efficient 350 watt mid-drive is a capable hill climber when used in conjunction with the eight speed Shimano cassette
  • Front shock is smooth with good travel and offers lockout to reduce bob when riding on-road
  • Fenders reduce exposure to water and mud, reinforced to limit ratting when used off-road
  • LCD computer is intuitive, shows speed, capacity and range and has a breakout set of buttons that are easy to reach when riding, it is also backlit and operates the headlight
  • Available in four color schemes and two frame sizes (step-thru and standard diamond high-step)
  • 26″ wheels provide room for fenders, offer mechanical advantage for climbing and improve maneuverability for technical terrain
  • Uses an oversized headset for increased strength in off-road applications and handling small jumps
  • Solid single-sided kickstand stays up when riding and actually supports the bike well
  • Removable battery can be charged off the bike which is very convenient for commuting or if you don’t have room inside for the entire bike, also reduces weight for transporting the frame on a bike rack
  • Great customer service and support, one year warranty, bike includes a nice multi-tool for assembly
  • Integrated front headlight is modular, plugs into the frame instead of being hard wired so you can completely remove it for off-road use if you want to reduce weight and complexity
  • This is one of the few purpose built electric bikes that leverages the 8Fun BBS01, it’s a mid-level centerdrive system that costs less than Bosch, Panasonic and Yamaha but offers better performance than iGo, EVELO and eProdigy

Cons:

  • Rear light runs off of its own batteries vs. using the main pack, easier to forget and wear batteries down
  • Primarily available online which makes demoing the bike and getting maintenance help a bit trickier
  • No braze ons for mounting a water bottle cage on the seat post tube or downtube… get a CamelBak?
  • Assembly required if you buy this online, may want to take it to a shop to true wheels but that adds to the cost
  • Uses mechanical disc brakes vs. hydraulic, they work well enough but add to hand fatigue when riding off road and down steep hills for extended periods
  • Only available in one frame size which is about medium for both stepthru and high step
  • Throttle mode can only be used when bike is set to pedal assist (one of three levels), it would be nice if it worked at zero for throttle-only riding

Resources:

More Volton Reviews

Volton Alation Mid-Drive 48V Review

  • MSRP: $2,649
  • MODEL YEAR: 2016, 2017

A unique combination of 28 mph top speed, off-road capability and stealthy frame design with quiet motor operation that's suited to both urban and trail environments. Available in a four frame and wheel combinations! choose from high-step or step-thru design then…...

Volton El Legs 5 Review

  • MSRP: $1,949
  • MODEL YEAR: 2014

Sporty, light weight city bike with strong 500 watt motor and balanced battery design. Lots of extras including lights, fenders, headset shock, disc brakes and Wellgo pedals...

Volton Alation ST 500 Review

  • MSRP: $1,999
  • MODEL YEAR: 2014

Affordable, well designed, trail-ready ebike with smaller step-through design that's easy to mount. Updated fender design, headlight and battery cover with rubberized edge to reduce rattling and keep…...

Volton Alation 500 Review

  • MSRP: $2,199
  • MODEL YEAR: 2014

Affordable, well designed, urban and light-trail capable electric bike offering plenty of power and torque. Proven design (sold since 2012) with recent improvements in fenders, mud flaps, battery configuration, and…...

2012 Volton Alation 500 Review

  • MSRP: $2,199
  • MODEL YEAR: 2013

Thoughtful combination of high performance electronics and purpose built frame. Relatively low price point for a 48v, 11ah 500w drive system at just above $2K...


Ron
3 years ago

10% restocking fee if you find it is too small. That’s tough. But apparently they have a few dealers now, if you’re lucky enough to live near one.

Reply
court
3 years ago

Bummer, sounds like the frame was a bit small for you Ron? Volton only offers one frame size for most of their ebikes and they are primarily an online company so that keeps the price low but also makes test riding and returning a bit more difficult… and expensive :(

Reply
AJ
3 years ago

I’m 6’3″, 190lbs. You think I would fit on this bike?

Reply
court
3 years ago

You could make it work but the frame might feel a little tight, positioning your body more upright and possibly not allowing for full leg extension without a longer seat tube. One alternative worth considering that also uses a mid-drive and comes in medium and large frame sizes is the IZIP E3 Peak or the BMEBIKES BM-Night Hawk that comes in 17″, 19″, 21″ and 23″ and uses the same 8Fun motor as the Alation.

Reply
mike
3 years ago

Also a 500W, 48V option for $400

Reply
Scott
3 years ago

Court, have you riden the 500 watt 48v version of this bike? I think this bike looks awesome and has great performance but I am wondering how much better the 48v version might be since I am 5′ 11″ and 250 lbs. Thanks, Scott

Reply
court
3 years ago

Hi Scott, no I haven’t! At the time of review there was only a 350 watt version and it was decent but did leave something to be desired in terms of power. For anyone who weighs over 180 or plans to transport extra cargo in this weight range I recommend upgrading to 500+ motors and 48 volt systems if they’re available. The bike will operate more efficiently and just be more enjoyable. Volton makes great stuff and I’m sure Joe (the owner) will take care of you if you reach out with questions :)

Reply
Mike Leroy
3 years ago

Court, I trust you know Lithium Polymer is not considered a chemistry. I assume the manufacturer gave you that. Info. I explain the details here, for anyone wanting clarification.

Reply
court
3 years ago

Great feedback as always Mike! Thanks for clarifying this and adding your voice here for people who are considering the Alation and other Lithium Polymer packs :)

Reply
Link Shadley
2 years ago

Volton Alation 350 Mid-drive. FANTASTIC ! I received this bike in November, just as the first winter storm hit in the north Idaho mountains. Snow, trees down, only rode 1/2 a mile. Lots of time in the shop to add accessories. Today, 2/8/2016 the snow had melted from the bike trails in Sandpoint, Idaho and we put 7 miles on the bike. It is great. Rarely got above Assist Level 2 and the bike battery indicator still shows full charge. My wife who has good legs was on her bike and often came up huffing and puffing when I stopped for her to catch up. My legs don’t work well due to claudication and diabetes thanks to Agent Orange from ‘Nam. This bike is exactly what I need to get back outdoors and do moderate exercise. Perfect customer service from Joe, well made, works as advertised. Couldn’t be happier.

Reply
court
2 years ago

Sounds like the bike is working great for you Link! Joe has always been good to me as well and I think the 350 mid-drive model strikes a perfect balance between power, efficiency and price. Appreciate your comment :)

Reply
Link Shadley
2 years ago

Completed a mountain bike trek yesterday with the Volton Alation 350 Mid-drive of 20 miles and 1500′ elevation gain near Sandpoint, Idaho on pavement, gravel, dirt and mud. Out Rapid Lightning, up Upper Gold Creek, south on Colburn Culver and back. Used about 60% of the bike battery and 80% of my energy – however, I now believe the bike is capable of 30+ miles with conservative use of the battery so the 72 mile Trail of the Coeur d’Alene’s seems achievable where there is a 32 mile stretch between plugins. I’m going to bring a portable solar panel also in case I get stranded and need to bivouac for a couple of days to recharge the battery.

This bike is fantastic. I think the upgraded 48 volt version this year will be better (might give the 350 to my wife and get the 500 next year).

Reply
court
2 years ago

Awesome! Thanks for sharing your experience and the ride stats Link, win-win for you and your Wife if you get the 48, would love to hear back after more rides have been completed ;)

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MisterM
4 weeks ago

Don't know anything that meets your chain-less requirement.

Maybe an Evelo Delta X with NuVinci IGH? Has 750w motor.

Larger guys like us really benefit from larger motors climbing hills Have you looked at Bafang Ultra mid drives? Have rare combo of mid drive power, torque sensor, throttle and speed/power can be user-adjusted. Biktrix Ultra, M2S Dual Trail, Volton A-Trail etc sell them (some market the Ultra as 1000w and others 750w - but it's the same motor with 1500+w peak and huge 160nm torque)

Court
2 months ago

Following are some of the original comments that were made on that post:

ARNOLD MARSUPIAL
Any info/reviews of Shimano STEPs bikes?

COURT
Hi Arnold, great question! I missed the Raleigh ebikes at Interbike that had the STEPS system installed but plan to check it out later this year during a visit to Currie in LA. Here’s a http://electricbikereport.com/raleigh-electric-bikes-shimano-steps-video/ that Pete Prebus shot. Hope that helps!

PAUL
I love your reviews….Anyone ever tell you you sound Cabin Boy?

COURT
That’s awesome… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXdVX67dfTU you’re talking about? He’s not very good at spotting ice bergs :p

FRANK M JAMES
Court, can you give me some advice in choosing a bike. This will be a car replacement, sole transportation. It seems that the conversion kits are too weak for serious hill climbing and the capable bikes are pricey. I recently read and saw your video on the Surface 604 (w/discount) and thought maybe. My price range is between 1 and 2 thousand. Thank you.

COURT
Hi Frank! Depending on your transport needs an ebike could be a great option for car replacement – especially if you have friends or public transport to cover longer trips and transporting large items… You can always rent cars pretty affordably as well. Anyway, I’d love to help guide you but might be able to help more with a bit of background. How tall and heavy are you, how far do you intend to ride and what is the terrain like, what style of riding would you prefer (forward or more upright, high step large frame or something that’s easier to mount like low-step but not as stiff).

FRANK M JAMES
Court, thanks for your response and need to say you do an incredible service to the electric bike industry, extremely helpful. I am 63 yrs, 5’7″ and 155 lbs., and my knees are feeling tired from yrs. of construction and hiking. Cookeville TN is not a bike friendly town (no bike paths or safe shoulders) and very hilly. I ride lots on the sidewalks which are pretty rough my commute to work or groceries is about 2 miles each way. Thanks and much appreciated. I forgot to include: high step frame, forward. I presently ride a Haro Urban MTB Objekt single speed. Thanks.

COURT
Hi Frank, thanks for sharing your details! Given your details here I think the https://electricbikereview.com/surface-604/element-electric/ actually could be a decent option (especially with the sale through EOY). It will easily get you 5 miles round trip, has a rack pre-installed for hauling groceries and is designed with that forward feel you talked about but will ride smoother on the bumpy sidewalks or streets thanks to the large spongy tires. It fits your budget and will do well off-road or in the snow and sand if/when you ever encounter those kinds of ride conditions. The big downsides to this model are the size (harder to transport with your car) and the higher cost of replacing tubes if/when you get a flat. There are lots of models that could work for you at this price range and given your relatively short distance needs. Basically anything on this list of https://electricbikereview.com/tag/affordable/. One model I really like is the https://electricbikereview.com/igo/metro-ebike/ but it isn’t available at many shops here in the US and is more upright than you might want. Note that it has a suspension fork which will smooth out the ride along with padded grips and larger balloon tires. I would advise against most of the ProdecoTech bikes (although they also have suspension and are affordable) because the rear rack is not usable with bags and panniers. https://electricbikereview.com/category/volton/makes some excellent ebikes but they are going to be a bit high in terms of cost for what you expressed. I hope this helps you out! Let me know what you end up going with, I’d love to hear how it works out and you can always get a second opinion in the https://electricbikereview.com/community/.

MARK
At one point in one of your videos, you were talking about which size motor/battery people who weigh over 200Lbs should buy. Can you please advise me on which size motor/battery i should buy to carry me (210Lbs) plus my camera gear (25Lbs) up a long steep hill?
thanks!

COURT
Hi Mark! I think I was recommending to go from a 36 volt system to 48 volts with a 500+ watt motor if you are transporting over 180 lbs. These videos are a bit old and newer strong (and more efficient) systems are being produced all the time. There are so many variable to consider abut I actually like the https://electricbikereview.com/category/pedego/ because they come in several sizes and styles and most now offer 48 volt batteries and 500 watt motors. These bikes are heavier but have large soft tires, comfortable saddles, grips and puffy grips and people seem to like them. They also have pedal assist as well as throttle. You might have to go into a hill pedaling and help along the way but these could be a good option to consider. I personally like mid-drive electric bikes for climbing because they let you shift to a lower gear and this makes it easier for the motor and you vs. a hub. You could check out https://electricbikereview.com/category/kalkhoff/ or https://electricbikereview.com/brand/haibike/ for quality mid-drive ebikes.

Court
2 months ago

Following are some of the original comments that were made on that post:

BIKE_ON
Court,
For dd hubs, i think a big drawback is the cogging torque when pedalling unassisted. It may be unnoticable at 5-10mph, but trying cruising at a normal 15 mph and it has “flat” feeling. Freewheel in geared huib abd mid drives roll magnet -free and that should be mentioned, imo.
Another difference is motor rotational speeds. ddhubs are 1:1 and spin slower at 250-300 rpm. The mid drives and geared hubs can spin faster and then go thru reduction gears. There are tradeoffs to both platforms.
Dan

COURT
Excellent points Dan, thank you so much for chiming in… I was trying to keep the article approachable for newbies but also capture “everything” and I think it could get better with some work. I’ll take your suggestions and try to work them in ;)

DEREK MCRINER
Hi, Until reading your article, I knew nothing at all about how hub motors actually worked in practice. I have a serious agenda by contacting you. My wife and I purchased an Italian make of mobility scooter that uses a hub motor on the front wheel of a tricycle type, fold up machine. It is a very clever design, but after using the scooter In Puerto del Carmen that, although scooter friendly, has some steep hills, we have encountered some serious drawbacks. After using the scooter for about two weeks total, my wife had the scare of her life when driving down a slope, she released the throttle expecting the scooter to brake but nothing happened, resulting in her shooting across a busy street, thankfully devoid of traffic at the time. Could this be that some sort of internal friction brake is wearing out due to extreme use in hilly streets or are the electronics that should control braking failing? I tried the scooter myself and found that when travelling down hill, unless a really slow speed is maintained, should you speed up, it appears that the mass (me, 93Kg)) and inertia (gravity/speed) overcome the braking system and the machine carries on regardless. I would be interested to hear you opinion. I have issued a “customers report” both to the retailers and the manufacturer’s, going into greater detail on my “field testing” but I have yet to hear back from the manufacturers. I feel this is a serious issue as it could affect other customers in similar circumstances. Brutally honest feedback should be exactly that, otherwise it is useless.

COURT
Hi Derek, most engines produce a bit of drag when power is not being exerted because the pistons are still rotating (unless you shift into neutral) and this is why large trucks downshift to “engine brake” down hills. Electric motors are different and don’t produce as much drag, instead, direct drive gearless motors possibly like the one you rode with create a bit of “cogging” which is the staters repelling the magnets inside and this resistance can be increased by actively generating and storing electricity like a little power generator using regenerative braking but most electric bikes don’t offer this. Some motorcycles and higher-end ebikes do but most light weight low speed electric bicycles opt instead for standard brakes… usually disc brakes that do offer enough power to stop but require the user to apply them actively (usually the brakes also cut power to the motor when pulled for safety). I hope this information helps to guide your use of the mobility scooters and I wish and your wife you safe riding! It’s difficult for me to be any more detailed with feedback as I do not know the exact vehicle you’ve got and may not have tried one similar.

JOSE
I`m trying to figure out a system that offer the less drag possible when pedaling ,but can assist me if the dogs chase me or strange person in the road appears. I don` t mind pedaling heavy weights 250 all include ,what really bother me is the drag .Can you point me in the less drag direction ,and assist power.Thank you in advance.

COURT
Hi Jose, sorry to hear about dogs and strangers making you feel insecure on your bike :/ the most drag-free system I’ve reviewed so far is the Add-E because it doesn’t even touch your rear wheel when pedaling and it’s super light weight too. The only downside is that it’s not very powerful… It would still assist you well though and https://electricbikereview.com/add-e/600w-kit/ can go over 20 mph if you pedal along and then keep you there more easily. The basic https://electricbikereview.com/add-e/250w-kit/ cuts out at 15.5 mph to comply with European laws but also costs less.

JOHN
Incredible amount of help this article was for me. Thankyou.

ERIC JOHNSON
Court- Excellent article (and I have read a lot). I wonder if you can weigh in on a system I am trying to build. I have a Montague Paratrooper (a bike that folds). I need to fold it and put it in a drift boat. It needs to weigh as little as possible and must have a removable battery and about a 10 mile range with an average speed 20+ mph. I had sort of “settled” on a Bafaang 750 or 1000 watt with Dolphin 52V battery (kit at Lunacycle). Now I am not so sure after reading the pro/con of your article. Cost is certainly an issue and ease of installation. I have been biking with out the motor, and I have numerous fairly steep (6-8%) hills. What do you think I should do? Rear hub, smaller battery. Thanks!

BEN TARASSOLI
This is a very useful and accurate summary of the different e-bike drive systems out there. It helps both the suppliers and the customers. My favorite is geared hub motor! They’re light-weight, affordable, and provide excellent torque, and as you mentioned, high quality geared hub motors last for many years. Thanks Court.

COURT
Sure thing Ben, I hope it helps people to navigate the landscape and I agree with you that geared hub motors are great. I just visited http://www.propellabikes.com/ by the way, are you a shop that offers ebikes?

RON
Yes, geared hubs motors are great. Until they overheat and conk out on a hill. New Jersey isn’t exactly known for hills, but of course it’s my luck to have a long, steep one on the road to the nearest trail. I have to get off and push my 500 watt Heinzmann geared hub equipped bike halfway up that hill. At least until I get in a lot better shape. Meanwhile, my 250 watt mid-drive bike handles that hill pretty well. That’s my experience, which may or may not be typical, but if you need to do ascents, test drive that hubbed bike before buying.

COURT
I’ve heard that newer hub motors have heat sensors to protect the system and they automatically shut themselves off if overloaded (is that what yours is doing?) mid-drives can be a great solution if you shift properly, it makes the job a lot easier for the motor (just like it does for you pedaling) and works pretty well in my experience.

ERIC JOHNSON
Hey Court – I would have replied sooner but I wasn’t notified you had replied, guess I will have to check this site more often. I never thought of a front drive system before, I will check it out. From what your article said, I think I can still pedal and probably need to to go up a 8% grade. I like the idea of being able to simply detach the battery and the hub when I put it in the boat. I am going to look around for a more powerful motor as I need to get it up to closer to 28 mph if possible. Just did the ride yesterday and let me tell you the whole way I was like, “need that ebike NOW” If you have any other thoughts let me know….. Thank you, Eric

JACK B CLELAND
what I would use is a tongda front 2-speed hub, that gives you 2 wheel drive and your original gearset. The battery can be mounted any where. Total added weight 10-12 pounds.

BENS
Thanks for the article, Court. I’m researching so much it feels like a part time job! I have a morning newspaper route that is about 22-25 miles and I would like to start using an ebike for the delivery, as weather permits. According to your article, I’m not going to be able to escape a compromise on some level. If I understand correctly, the constant starting, stopping, and slow speed adjustments could be taxing and uncomfortable with a geared hub. I’ll post my unique situation in the forum instead of hijacking this space.

COURT
It’s all good Ben, choosing an ebike based solely on the motor is tough because the strength and design of each motor varies. I wouldn’t avoid geared hubs just because there’s more potential for wear over time. I just tested one today that is 5+ years old and still going strong (along with the battery pack). I’ll look for your post in https://electricbikereview.com/forum/forums/choosing/ and try to help out if you provide your height, weight, terrain and desired budget :)

RON
I really don’t know. It only happened once, because I didn’t take chances after that. But the battery was toasted, so perhaps there was no cut off.

FRANK
Hi Court. I am a bit of a newbie but learning fast. Thanks for your help and the reviews. I like the idea of geared hubs and torque and 500 W w/ 48 amp. But can I be more experience specific? I’m about 180 lbs and moving to San Fran. I love the flats of the marina, the Embarcadero, Chrissy Fields, the Presidio etc but I live on the hills of Pacific Heights, some quite daunting. I also love to just cruise along and look. i like step thrus. I like to sit up in comfort and I love comfortable seats. Can you taylor make a reccomendation for me as to bikes to look at? The Pedego City Commuter looked interesting but the seat wasn’t comfy. I want ease, assist and throttle, cruiser comfort as well as nibble and quick with good endurance. AND critical, I want ease on the steep hills of Pacific Heights. Thoughts? Help?

COURT
Hi Frank! I used to live in San Francisco and love riding through all of those spots. Hope the city treats you well, ride safe out there. Regarding your “ideal bike” I suggest copying and pasting this question into the https://electricbikereview.com/forum/forums/choosing/ where people can share their opinions. I’d love to help but am currently traveling and trying to post new reviews with the extra time. The first thing that comes to mind is the https://electricbikereview.com/optibike/pioneer-city/ which is a step-thru and uses a powerful mid-drive motor that will be excellent for climbing hills. There’s no twist throttle on this bike but the assist is very satisfying and more efficient overall. Hope this helps!

DAVID THOMAS
Great article. As the average ebike shopper does a lot of product research, this explains really well the differences and benefits of the three major drive set ups..none are perfect in all situations. I need all three in my garage. Direct drive rear hub for my high speed 30 mph+ ebike. No gears to melt down. Mid drive for my mountain goat super climber and my real favorite and most used, the internally geared rear hub (not a big fan of front) for everyday riding. The free wheel aspect while coasting or in torque sensing pedal assist makes for a much more enjoyable ride. Keep the review pedal to the metal Court!

RON WARRICK
The hills around here have fried my 500W hub motorized bike, while my 250W Panasonic mid-drive works wonderfully.

BETHANY
Loved your comparisons as I’ve been thinking about an e-bike. I ride rurally with gravel roads and lots of long hills, some up to 3 miles and some steep. The plan was to take my cross bike and install a kit but not sure what brands are out and what type would work for my setup especially after watching your hill video. The other issue is durability and dealing with gravel dust. I’d hate to wreck and break something and would gravel dust ruin internal parts? Thanks!

COURT
Hi Bethany, glad you enjoyed the article and videos I’ve posted. Good question about dirt and dust… most ebike motors are sealed pretty well and can withstand light rain, dust etc. but should not be submerged or sprayed off directly, best to just use a damp rag to wipe them down. Depending on how much help you want up the hills and how much you and your bike weigh, you might be able to go with something light weight and simple like the https://electricbikereview.com/clean-republic/hill-topper/ or for more power and the addition of pedal assist you could get the https://electricbikereview.com/8fun/bbs01/ which will cost more but offers great balance with a downtube battery. If you want even more power, they make a https://electricbikereview.com/8fun/bbs02/ which is 750 watts vs. 350. If you need help finding this or another kit just https://electricbikereview.com/contact/ and I’ll do my best to connect you.

BETHANY
Thanks for the response and the information. Turns out Lincoln, NE has a ban on e-bikes but Omaha doesn’t so I’m glad I asked a friend. Still need to save money and will look into the different kits out there.

COURT
Glad to help! It’s an interesting time for ebikes because some states and cities place restrictions but the national law is < 20 mph unassisted and < 750 watt motor = bicycle. I've been to towns where citizens have challenged the local rules and won... and the rules are rarely enforced for people who are riding responsibly. If you were concerned about legality in the event of an accident it might be worth looking into https://electricbikereview.com/guides/insurance-for-electric-bikes/

BETHANY
Was doing some more looking and found BionX. Are the BionX kits worth looking into? My LBS had a Trek e-bike in stock several years ago and it was fitted with that system. Not sure he still has the bike and if he does, the technology is outdated and/or the battery is dead.

COURT
Hi Bethany, great question! I may have recently reviewed the Trek eBike you’re talking about [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/category/trek/']here[/URL]. Anyway, yes, it did leverage the BionX system but rebranded it as EPS (electric propulsion systems) or something like that. Trek may have some newer ebikes but the ones I reviewed were from 2011/2012 and the battery on the cargo bike was losing capacity. The standard FX+ did work pretty well despite the age (and possibly lack of care from the shop, not keeping it charged regulary). In my opionion BionX makes some of the best motors and battery systems around because they are durable, quiet, have nice battery mounting options (like on the downtube to keep weight low and center) and they also offer regenerative braking and four regen modes plus a variable speed trigger throttle. They are used on many high end ebikes like the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/smart/ebike/']SMART Ebike[/URL] but you can also work with your local shop to install [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/category/bionx/']one of the kits[/URL]. If you’d like more info from owners, check out the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/community/forums/bionx/']BionX Forums here[/URL]. I hope this helps you out! There are lots of ebikes to choose from and many kits but BionX is known for being higher quality which is why I approached them about advertising on the site. I trust their products :)

KEITH P
I’m so glad I found this web site; I’ve found it so useful. Advice please between 300w Bafang hub drive and mid-drive :
BACKGROUND
My decision making is relatively simple with a choice between:
a) a southern commute, 25km including ferry = NZ$50 per week, mostly flat but 1 big hill each way, 1 1/2 hrs each way, some riding in Auckland traffic (not known for being excessively cyclist savvy).
b) northern commute route, 25km, no ferry, a 2km and a 6km big hill, 1 1/2 hrs each way, some scary traffic sections but manageable.
I’m over 60 and these options wear me out and take too much time.
I have:
a) a 30 year old steel English, steel commuter which needs a new rear wheel and drive train and I love riding it.
b) a ? 6 yr old aluminium Avanti commuter, with worn our drive train, lighter than the a)
c) a newly put together 2 wheel SWB Bent which I have not yet quite got my nerve together to commute with
From observations, local e-bikes seem to wear quicker than I would wish.
AIMS
My goal is to reduce commuting time by 20 mins each way, eliminate ferry costs, keep exercising and enjoy the open air, but reduce being worn out by 1000km per month, reduce the payback period and keep replacement (battery/motor/other) costs low.
ADVICE NEEDED – hub or mid-drive
Local options are a 300w Bafang 700c hub wheel kit for NZ$1000 vs a 250-350w (local limit) mid-drive and I’m guessing that they could be transferred between bikes (????).
Apologies for the length, but advice would be appreciated.

COURT
Hi Keith, I recommend reposting this [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/community/forums/8fun/']in the forums here[/URL] for feedback. I’m currently traveling and limited on time answering comments but didn’t want to leave you hanging. my short thoughts are that mid-drives (especially the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/8fun/bbs01/']BBS01[/URL] and https://electricbikereview.com/8fun/bbs02/ from Bafang) offer better climbing and range. The downside is that they take more energy to install and are more difficult to transfer between bikes. A [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/leed/30k-e-bike-kit/']basic hub motor[/URL] (especially a front wheel) will be light weight, affordable and easy to work with. If you find that you need more range you could always bring your charger along or get a second battery. I hope this helps!

CRAIG KINZER
Court, great site you have here. I will tell you want i think i want but realize i don’t really know what i am talking about: i am looking for the best bike i can get. i want speed, endurance, great on hills, smooth ride and easy gear change, light weight (but not if it is in exchange for a lesser battery), max battery (48v and 17/18ah, and max watts) and anything else you can think of. i am a little confused on the different systems, but want the best of all worlds (of course) but realize that there will be compramise. maybe you can tell me the best balance of all that i am looking for as i am not price sensitive. What do you think of the Stromer ST2? any other bikes i should look at? c

COURT
Hi Craig, the ST2 is an awesome ride with some really neat features. I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending it over another model until I knew your height, weight, desired distance and terrain (off-road, packed trails or mostly street). I personally have some neck and back issues so I like the full suspension ebikes with large knobby tires for a bit of trail riding. I’m not a large rider so I prefer my frame size to not be too large or heavy and I don’t want to go over 20 mph so that helps me focus on a specific group of bikes… If you share your details maybe I can make some more informed recommendations here.

CRAIG KINZER
Thanks for your reply. I am 190 lb. and 6 feet. I want to do mostly road work with some hills. I also want to do gravel trails made from old rail lines and so not really “off road” but not asphalt either. I love speed and acceleration and the ability to go far (even have a second battery on the rack to change out if needed? ). I am not a long time experienced bike guy and don’t like the totally bent over road bike ride. But can go from a somewhat lean forward and exercise ride to maybe putting on “after market” handle bars that allow for a more upright cruise ride as an option with my wife. Does this help? Also looking for an electric recumbent for my wife. c

COURT
Hi Craig! Sorry for the delayed response here… extremely busy times including some family stuff going on right now. Given your mostly road + a bit of gravel and the desire to go fast and far I’d recommend the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/focus/thron-impulse-speed/']Focus Thron Impulse Speed[/URL]… This thing goes up to 28 mph, has a range of 100+ depending on the assist level you use, offers slick but cushy tires for road but also has full suspension for a bit of trail. Given your height, this bike would offer an excellent fit because it comes in four frame sizes and you’ll get a lot of utility with the integrated lights and mirror for those longer rides which might expose you to different times of day and busy traffic. Your idea about adding an aftermarket bar is a good one and I’ve done just this on a hybrid Trek I used for commuting in Austin years ago. You could explore stems that are shorter and more angled (upwards) and bars that are swept back a bit so you don’t have to lean forward as much. The full suspension should really help with your back and neck and is very nice to have when riding at higher speeds for longer time periods. Honestly, 100 miles is a long way to go so I wouldn’t bother with an extra pack right away, feel your way into it because I’m sure it will be $700+. As for your wife, there are very few electric recumbents available. It seems that many people use a kit to convert their trike and [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/category/bionx/']BionX[/URL] has been popular because it’s available in many wheel sizes, offers throttle and assist and has regeneration. As an alternative, you could explore the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/ridekick/power-trailer/']Ridekick Power Trailer[/URL] but it’s much noisier than the gearless hubs from BionX. Either of these options allows you to choose the perfect bike first and then go electric. I hope this helps! The [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/stromer/st2/']Stromer ST2[/URL], [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/specialized/turbo-s/']Specialized Turbo[/URL], [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/easy-motion/nitro-city/']Easy Motion Nitro City[/URL] and [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/izip/e3-dash/']IZIP E3 Dash[/URL] are also good speed pedelecs but don’t get the same range or offer the same comfort as the Focus Thron.

CRAIG KINZER
Wow. Thanks for the info. Do you mind if I ask more? How fast does the ST2 go? Does focus thron impulse (FTI) have the same torque as the ST2. The video mad e the ST2 look very good. what do I get from FTI that I don’t get from ST2 other than suspension? Is there a price delta? I have not looked at the other bikes you mention. Can you web site to a comparison of them all? I really want to buy before summer. Thank you so much for the info. craig

COURT
Hi Craig, here’s a [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/compare/9057n8190']full comparison[/URL] of the Thron with the ST2. In addition to suspension, the Thron has a better weight distribution given the mid-motor. The ST2 has more fancy smart phone technology and self-updates from the cloud (not sure if that’s online in the US right now). Both are great bikes and the price point is very similar. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you end up with one of these :)

WESLEY
I’m buy a emotion bike 350 watt I’m going to ride it back and fourth to work going to work Is 7 blocks and 7 blocks back will it be fast enough or have the power I’m spending 3 grand I just want to know if I’m doing the right thing we don’t have many places to buy bike like this in Alaska so there hard to find

COURT
Hi Wesley, the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/category/easy-motion/']Easy Motion electric bikes[/URL] are some of my favorite. They use quality battery cells, have a good motor (that feels more powerful than comparable 350 watt designs) and their range of models offer good on or off-road capability. It would be easier to help you determine range if you could approximate mileage vs. blocks.
According to some quick research I did, a city block is about 100,000 square feet which means that you can fit 17 blocks per mile. Given your round trip distance of 14 blocks… that’s way less than one mile and in my experience the new EVO line of Easy Motion bikes (which have ~417 watt hour batteries) will get upwards of 15 miles per charge even after hundreds of uses and on uneven terrain. Of course, your weight and the hills and wind all have a factor but you should be very good for just a mile or two of use.
I used to own an Easy Motion Neo Jumper and would commute to work 5 to 8 miles round trip per day and never ran out of batteries. [URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5BY_ko3sI4']Here’s a video[/URL] of what I did and it shows my commute. Hope this helps!

PETE SHAEFFER
Court, I have enjoyed reading and watching your reviews of ebikes. I bought a Neo 29er today from a San Francisco area ebike dealer mainly due to your high opinion of Easy Motion ebikes. Dealer gave me a very good price. Hopefully with the battery change on the new Evo BH will continue to support the Neo line.

COURT
Hi Pete! I did really enjoy the Neo line and it seemed like they sold a lot of them so hopefully there will be packs available for several years. Considering that the same pack was used on all of the different models, I feel like you should be in great shape :)

DAVID
Court, Appreciate all the research you do on E-bikes! Have found your videos to be quite informative! Will you be doing a review for the Focus Aventura Impulse speed 1.0 soon?

COURT
Hi David, I sure hope so! The last time I visited the Focus/Kalkhoff offices in Southern California they said that more models were on the way. I plan to go back and do more updates and videos at some point but am currently traveling in Texas (lots of rain and wind in Dallas right now!) keep an eye out and I’ll post the review once it is shot :)

DAVID
3 years ago
Thanks for your quick reply Court, Just FYI if you are in Dallas, Zach Arnt at Small Planet Bikes says he will have one in store very soon!

COURT
Yeah! I spoke with Zach today and it sounds like the bike is in the Colorado store… Maybe I can get them to bring it down to Dallas for a review?

LISA P
Hi there , I’m a new newbie looking at a front hub drive bike but notice most of the later models are rear hub drive but price is $1500 diff are front hubs ok? Mostly sealed road and footpath riding nothing too rugard but there will be hills!!

COURT
Hi Lisa! Front hub motors can be fine, they do tend to impact steering a bit and can spin out easier but are way simpler to either install or service because they aren’t surrounded by gearing cables. The fork on most bicycles isn’t as strong as the rear dropouts (especially if there’s a suspension fork) and this is another reason why most purpose built models don’t use them. Some simple city bikes do however and you can get a good example of this with [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/category/ez-pedaler/']EZ Pedaler[/URL]. They opted for front motors because they put geared hubs in the rear which makes shifting at standstill possible, reduces exposure to bumps if the bike tips and is generally cleaner and less likely to need tuneups (but only offers 3 gears in this case). I hope this helps you to find the perfect ebike, feel free to [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/forum/forums/choosing/']post in the forums[/URL] if you’d like more info or some help from fellow electric bike owners :)

BARRY
trying to decide on an e-bike for a 15 mile, hilly commute. I’m a heavier rider. tested haibike with mid drive (loved it), and specialized turbo S (also loved it). It seems the mid drive does better on hills, which kill me. there also seems to be a big difference in price on the 20mph systems and the 28mph systems. for a heavier rider, is it worth the extra cash for the 28mph system?

COURT
Hey Barry! I really like the Haibike and Specialized models, both offer great quality and have several sizing options. I agree that mid-drive tends to perform better for climbing and offers more efficiency overall but most of the pre-built bikes are limited to 250 or 350 watts and top out at ~20 mph unless you get one of the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/tag/speed/']speed pedelecs[/URL] like the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/haibike/xduro-race/']Haibike XDURO Race[/URL] or [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/focus/aventura-impulse-speed-1-0/']Focus Aventura Impulse Speed[/URL]. One alternative would be to purchase a kit like the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/e-rad/500-watt-mid-drive-conversion-kit/']Lectric Cycles e-RAD 500[/URL] which is a mid-drive with shift sensing, throttle and a max speed of ~30 mph if you unlock it for off-road use. This ebike kit can be pre-installed on an Electra or Origin 8 or you can have a local shop add it to a bicycle you already own. One drawback here is messier wires but the price tends to be lower and they can even adapt it to fat bikes and other frame types like cargo or cruiser if you want.

JONATHON KAROUMY
Hi I was looking into getting a electric bike my job is 20 miles away I found this bike online do you know anything about this company I watch a lot of your videos on YouTube but I don’t know what I want to buy just yet to many to choose from and I just want to find the best one for me here is the name of the bike falcon ghost 1500w Thanks for all your help and resources

COURT
Interesting… that’s a beefy looking electric bike! I haven’t heard of Falcon or tested this bike (or anything quiet like it) but the specs are impressive. Note that it’s actually not classified as an ebike due to the large motor, it would need to be 750 watts with a top speed limited to 20 mph, and this could create a liability issue if you crash and damage property or injure someone. Given your desired range, it seems like the super large battery pack would be good, it will impact weight and handling to some extent but that’s the trade, an alternative would be a mid-drive ebike with pedal assist like the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/volton/alation-mid-drive-350/']Volton 350[/URL]. Note that the Falcon website doesn’t have an address, just this phone number (855)-661-7337 so it feels less trustworthy than a local dealer or large company that is more willing to expose who they are and potentially offer ongoing support. Hope these thoughts help :)

MIRAN
Hi, Court! I am from Slovenia – EU! Escuse me for bad english. I found this site, because I want to change my ordinary trekking bike to ebike, and I am searching forums etc….Your advices are great, really! But, I am still confused. Here in Slovenia, some sellers say that the motor in front weel isnt safe!? I am driving to work 8km one direction each day, exept bad weather…winter…This road is flat. But when I make longer trip cca. 100km, there are also hills. So I need help! I am 58 years old and 172cm height, weight 75 kg. So, cca. 20 km per day and 2000-3000 km per year. Thanks for the answer. Best regards, Miran

COURT
Hi Miran! The Pulsar 250 watt hub motor sounds decent, for your short commute it could work fine and in my opinion front mounted hub motors are alright for basic city riding. They can change the steering dynamic and handling a bit but with a small motor like the one you shared I don’t think it would be a big deal. I really like the Bafang mid-drive but that will be very fast, powerful and possibly illegal where you live. Also, it might be difficult to install compared to the front kit. Here is one I reviewed that might be similar to your Pulsar: [URL]https://electricbikereview.com/clean-republic/hill-topper/[/URL]

CRAIG EMMERICH
I have a Stromer ST1 and I just got my wife the Optibike Pioneer allroad. We both are short (5’6″ and 5’4″, 150 pounds and 100 pounds) but we pull our sons in the [URL='http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00R5C0IGW/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00R5C0IGW&linkCode=as2&tag=ebrcta-20&linkId=CQCSZWHKKYT4Y2NC']Weehoo Trailer[/URL]. So that adds another 60 pounds. We have very steep hills in our area. We just took our first ride with the optibike and it feels like it has about 1/2 the power on the steep hills as the Stromer. I thought the mid motor would do better on hills (optibike is 500W mid mount, stomer is 600W rear hub). Can you help me understand this and help with a better option for more power? Thanks! Oh, and I should add. We want peddle assist and throttle modes.

COURT
Hi Craig, sounds like a fun setup! Honestly, power and efficiency are very difficult to calculate on ebikes because some motors list a nominal and peak while others do not. There is a potential leverage boost from a mid-drive like the Optibike has but it really depends on the system. The Pioneer series is much more basic than their R Series or something like the Bosch Centerdrive or Impulse 2.0 but that doesn’t mean those are more powerful, just more responsive. I do my best to provide an overview on here but I’m not able to actually compare “power” and usually don’t even get to find out the Amp rating on the systems. Knowing the motor wattage and battery voltage is a start… along with the motor type, but that only goes so far. I’m sorry, I guess trying it out is the best way to decide for yourself.

JAIRUS BRANDON
Bridges are a given. What sort of electric drive do you recommend for a recumbent pulling a trailer w/ cargo weight on tours?

COURT
Hi Jairus, I really like the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/bionx/d-500/']BionX D-Series[/URL] for power, reduced noise and the efficiency of regenerative braking. It’s a high quality kit with throttle and pedal assist mode with a solid warranty. You could also check out the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/category/e-rad/']e-RAD kits[/URL]but they might not work on a recumbent setup. One final option could be [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/category/ridekick/']the Ridekick[/URL] but it’s a bit noisier and may be back ordered. Recumbent riders like that one because it doubles for power and storage ;)

ZOOM
What could I build to go up a mountain path? say 4000 ft long. It’s too steep for me & most bikers to pedal. I want to assist ..but the motor drive train will do most of the work. Down hill one needs good brakes or something electric generating. I bike 5 miles now up and down local hills but walk up the steep hills for sure. For a good bike rig …I would enjoy building a few prototypes. Any advice appreciated…I love to bike on green trails!

COURT
Hi Zoom, I really like the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/brand/haibike/']Haibike[/URL] and [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/category/felt/']Felt models[/URL] because they offer full suspension or hardtail trail ebikes. They are well balanced, efficient and fairly quiet. You could build an ebike using something like the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/category/e-rad/']e-RAD kits[/URL] if you want throttle mode and are willing to get your hands a little dirty :)

MIRAN
Hi, Court Rye! Thank you for your response . As I supposedly said, I do cca.20 km per day. 2000 – 3000 per year. The main road is straight, as well as highs. Just for them I need help of the engine. I send you pictures of the engine that are offered to me . They said that discourage hub motor ( in the first wheel ) , as well as the Mid – Bafang , because often corrupts !? So, what do you mean? Thanks and best regards, Miran

COURT
Please share a link to the models you are considering, I’m not sure I can comment on failure or corruption. Usually my reviews are limited in scope and I don’t have exposure to the durability of different designs (especially outside the US).

CAROL
I am looking to purchase my first electric bike. I have test ridden many and narrowed my favorites to the eMotion City Wave and the Pedego City Commuter, with 28″ wheels. I don’t anticipate lengthy trips – likely up to 30-40 miles tops, however we live in the hills of NH, so I would be using pedal assist and/or throttle for the tougher climbs. While I love the City Wave ride, I worry a bit about the 350W vs. the possible 500W on the Pedego. I am 5’8″ and weigh 138 lbs. Your thoughts?

COURT
Hi Carol, 30 to 40 miles is quite a ways for most mid-range ebikes. If you’re truly going that far and won’t have an opportunity to charge part way I’d recommend a mid-drive with larger battery like one of the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/category/kalkhoff/']Kalkhoff models[/URL]. They cost a bit more but you get a really sturdy motor, well positioned battery and often fenders, rack and lights. There are other great mid-drive ebikes but these ones have shift detection. Between the Easy Motion and Pedego I’d lean towards eMotion because their bikes tend to be lighter and 350 watts should be fine given your weight. They offer torque sensing pedal assist which is more responsive but requires input vs. cadence on the Pedegos. Hope this helps :D

BERT
I built my own ebike using the Gearless hub motor conversion kit on line. it works great. now i want to convert one of those Fat Tire Beach Cruisers into an ebike, the problem is that they don’t have the pre-made motors already attached to the wheel. i would have to do this myself. is it possible? you just need to connect all of the spokes of the bike to the motor? what are your thoughts on the feasibility of this? great website. thanks, Bert

COURT
Hi Bert! great question, you definitely can “lace in” a hub motor to work with a fat wheel… but that’s a lot of work and given the larger diameter and heavier tire you won’t get the same efficiency and might need a larger, heavier motor. In my opinion, a mid-drive can be a great solution to this and [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/category/e-rad/']a company called E-Rad[/URL] offers an excellent modification option specifically for fat bikes. You can choose the motor and battery size you want then specify the bottom bracket size and bam! You’ve got everything you need to do it yourself. Alternatively, you could buy a pre-built fat ebike and go for something affordable like [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/rad-power-bikes/rad-rover/']the RadRover[/URL].

PAMINI
Hi, First of all, thanks for all the information we can find on EBR website, and a special thanks for the video reviews. I’m living in South of France, I have two baby girls of 2 and 4 and currently I have simple bike, with a Hamax seat at the rear and a Yepp seat at the front on the handle bar… so I am looking for the next bike I’ll need daily for carrying my growing girls, down and up hills, with electric assistance. I’ve seen the Yuba elMundo and the competitive RadWagon. I tried the elMundo with the girls, but there is still a strong torque and a balance limitation with the passengers weight and the high center of gravity, especially at low speed, in town when we have to stop or slow down with the traffic. The [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/xtracycle/edgerunner-10e/']Xtracycle EdgeRunner[/URL] and the Yuba Spicy Curry that lower the center of gravity with a 20 inches rear wheel seem a good, but very expensive, option. So my question is: have you planned to make some video review also about the Spicy Curry cargo bike (with a Eurobike price) which also seem really adapted for kids transportation? Regards, Pâmini

COURT
Hi Pâmini! Yes, I’ve definitely been planning to review the Spicy Curry and I agree with you that the smaller 20″ rear wheel helps to improve balance. It also improves power because less torque is required to turn a smaller wheel. For the price, it seems like one of the best options. You can see my thoughts on the TranzX mid-drive motor by watching this review of the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/izip/e3-peak/']IZIP E3 Peak[/URL] which uses the same setup. I admit that I do not like this drive system quite as much as Bosch but it is getting better and for the price it is quite good. I hope you and your girls have a blast riding whatever bike you choose and maybe in time you can let one of them tag along with [URL='http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BD45N7W/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00BD45N7W&linkCode=as2&tag=ebrcta-20&linkId=OAB2HWDXZXKCGILK']a trailer like this[/URL] that teaches riding. Also, [URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyLlw1CgXf8']here’s a video I made[/URL] a while back that teaches the balance for riding a bike on your own :)

WILLIAM
Hi Court and thanks for all the info. I am in Montréal and would like to know in minus 15 and minus 25 what range may i expect? I am 160 pounds and would pedal, mostly flat and asphalt with 1/3 old railroad now small gravel. I am looking at a Surface604 Element 60 pounds 3 assist levels plus throttle. Weekly i go to a secondairy house 65 km away wich i pedal in 2.75 hours on my 18 pounds summer road bike.

COURT
Hi William! I’m going to do a bit of guesswork here based on what I hear and what I have experienced myself. The first thing you can do is to store and charge the battery inside. This will keep the cells warm and help them deliver greater range than if they were very cold to start. The second thing you can do is use mostly pedal assist to help the bike. Your 65 km ride is no joke… that’s a long way to go. Given your moderate weight of 160 lbs and obvious fitness level from riding a regular bike that far I think you’d enjoy the Surface 604 Element but you will have to pedal to make it all the way… If you tried to use throttle only and the battery is cold I bet you’d only get 10 miles (~16 km). You could order a second battery but that increases your weight and is inconvenient. Keep the battery warm, use pedal assist and if you are really needing a long-range electric fat tire bike then consider the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/felt/outfitter/']Felt OUTFITTER[/URL]. I realize it’s much more expensive but you will get MUCH better range and power… though you will not get a throttle mode. This is the most affordable Bosch powered fat e-bike I know of right now… if you want to improve comfort you can add the front suspension fork aftermarket or go for the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/haibike/xduro-fatsix/']Haibike XDURO Fatsix[/URL] which has it pre-installed :)

ADO HENRY
hi, recently, i try the BOSM intelligent torque sensor. its a miracle. It makes your ebike become a real ebike, like a human, it know your idea,you wanna fast,slow,climb mountain, across the grass , against the wind etc. It will adjust the output power intelligently.

COURT
Interesting, I hadn’t heard of the BOSM torque sensor before but I just Googled and found [URL='http://www.pedelecs.co.uk/forum/threads/bosm-intelligent-sensor.18055/']a website talking about it[/URL]. Which ebike model did you try out that had this installed?

PIP
Hi Court, I am considering buying an ebike for touring. I live in Australia but would like to take it to Europe to tour so it has to be as light as possible, capable of carrying some weight (25 kg) plus me at 65 kg. I like pedalling but just need a little extra boost to go around 50 to 80 km per day. Stability is important, speed not so important. Any thoughts?

COURT
Hi Pip! In addition to size and weight constraints battery size and design is also a bit factor for traveling with an ebike because flights are very restrictive with Lithium-ion cells. One bike that comes to mind that might fit your needs is the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/brompton/nycewheels-electric/']Brompton ebike conversion[/URL] from NYCeWheels. The bike itself is solid and their custom bag systems and motor choice are all very well thought out. The downside is that I believe this only offers throttle mode… and is pretty expensive. Another approach might be to purchase a bike on location in each country then sell before you leave, or even explore renting? Here’s [URL='https://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/hazmat_safety/more_info/?hazmat=7']a guide to flying with batteries[/URL] from the US FAA (the rules might even be more restrictive for international). I’d love to hear what you come up with and what you decide on… There are portable kits that you can use with normal bicycles for that boost if you’re open to something a bit different. Check out the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/shareroller/version-1/']ShareRoller here[/URL], they have a newer design now that’s lighter and quieter.

OM SHELADIA
I want to build an electric cycle . But I am confused which motor should I use. I have a gearless cycle but I want to build such an e cycle that the battery can be powered by paddling. Plzz tell me which motor should I use?? And how to control its speed ??? Plzzz reply. Thank you

COURT
Hi Om, most electric bike kits that I’ve reviewed don’t offer regeneration and those that do are incredibly inefficient (like ~20%) so you’re losing much more energy than you capture. It’s a neat feature for helping you slow down when descending big hills and it creates a nice feeling to think that you’re getting a charge but I would not set out to generate electricity by pedaling unless you want to simulate hills and use your bicycle for rigorous exercise. If that is your interest then check out the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/category/bionx/']BionX kits[/URL] which all offer regen, you can even buy them preinstalled on bikes from [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/category/ohm/']OHM[/URL] and others.

PETER
Hi Court, Love your work. It appears that you have one of the best jobs going! Just wondering if you are considering reviewing the 2016 KALKHOFF INTEGRALE 8 any time soon? If so I would be interested to hear the noise level of the Impulse EVO RS mid drive system coupled with the Gates belt as I intend to commute 75 km per day and want a really quite and fast commuter

COURT
Hi Peter! Yes, I’m definitely planning to review all or most of the Kalkhoff and Focus ebikes for 2016… I’m just not sure when exactly?! I’ve been kind of distracted with the site redesign and some new features but the reviews are starting to happen now! I’ll try to get a good shot of the sound for you once I have one in my hands for a test :D

JOHN
Once you get a mid-drive bike you simply won’t go back to a hub.

COURT
Disagree, hubs can be much quieter… some offer regeneration and they area all easier on the chain and sprockets. For a hardtail trail bike or road bike they work really well and tend to cost less. Each technology offers some great benefits :)

LEONARD
Hi, I am trying to decide between motors for client, a fanatical surf fisherman, who wants to use his fat bike for surf fishing. He mostly heads out for his day’s fishing when the tide is low and the sand damp and compacted. But his return journey is often when the tide is in and his ride will then be above the high water mark and the sand will be soft and deep. So, the choices are:
[LIST=1]
[*]48V 750W Bafung BBS02: huge disadvantage – salty sea sand and seawater will continuously be thrown up against the motor by the front wheel, increasing the occurrence of rust.
[*]48V 1,000W geared rear hub motor – somewhat removed from the spray and sand thrown up by the front wheel
[*]48V 1,000W direct drive rear hub motor – ditto as for item 2 above. I’m trying to get clarity on the torque issue – does the DD deliver more or less torque than the geared motor.

I have been thinking of throwing in a 350W front hub motor as well (on a separate throttle) to be used only if and when the rear wheel digs into the really soft sand – to create a 2×2 wheel drive. I’m not worried by different speeds and power of the front and rear motors as they would only be used simultaneously very occasionally and then only if and when the the rear wheel is slipping badly. Regards, Len

COURT
Hmm… All of these are going to be impacted by rust if he’s near the salt water a lot. I’d probably go with the mid-drive BBS02 just for torque and balance given the difficult soft terrain. To answer your question about torque on geared vs. direct drive, I find that geared is more powerful and lighter weight but also louder and sometimes less reliable long term. If you want to go the cheap route I’d go with the geared rear hub (no front hub motor… just more to break). You could consider a front hub only to make it two wheel drive by him pedaling to move the rear wheel and the front wheel using electric but then it might spin out more. The front wheel would probably be best protected from the sand and water and the easiest to install… but again, less traction there as most body weight goes towards the rear wheel, especially when accelerating. I’d love to see pictures of the end result and hear your thoughts [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/community/']in the forum[/URL], maybe others could chime in on this subject there as well.

LEONARD
Hi Court, thanks for the reply. Yep – I’m dead scared of the salt thing. Everything I’ve read says the steel components rust really badly. This, despite spraying with lubricants and washing after every ride with fresh water.
You may have missed the point – I’m considering both front and rear motors together – 1,000W DD in the back (I figure there will be less wear and tear given the action in the looses sand) and a 350W geared motor in the front. They would be on separate throttles and the front motor would only be used very occasionally – if and when the back wheel really digs in. The rider’s pedaling is by way of assistance to the rear motor.My reluctance to deploy a BBS02 is based on:
[LIST=1]
[*]it’s position: it would get all the spray and salt filled sand from the front wheel – I’m concerned it would rust just that much quicker than a hub motor
[*]it would be applying huge amounts of force to the chain, which because of rust could become a weak point – if the chain were to snap, then the rider would be without any power whatsoever and might end up pushing his bike for 5 or10 km through soft sand while trying to get home after a long day’s fishing – I suppose he could always carry a spare chain.

In terms of torque, I am confused. ome articles argue that a DD provides more torque than a geared motor, whereas I’d have thought that a high revving geared motor (with a slow turning axle) would provide more torque. Am I nuts? nard

COURT
Hi Len, I think I understand and was recommending against the added weight and complexity of two motors. It has been done (Easy Motion sells a couple of all-wheel-drive ebikes) but wiring both motors into a single battery could be tricky and the alternative of having two batteries would take up a lot of space and add weight. In terms of torque from mid-drive vs. rear hub, I think it depends on the system you go with, both can be powerful and effective… You made a good point about the chain and rust. I don’t have enough data to recommend one way over the other, both have pros and cons… I might go with the cheaper option since it sounds like the bike is going to get run down in the environment so replacement will be less expensive down the road.

BEN
I live in Western PA in a fairly hilly area and I’m looking for a good way to get back and forth to work.
Here’s the problem: I’m legally blind. Now, I can see just fine to ride a bike (I’m currently riding a 1999 GT Slipstream which weighs about 7 tons) I just can’t get a driver’s license.
So, I’ve been doing some research about eBikes (I started looking at them back when Lee Iacocca was pushing his eBike). I’ve recently become interested again and I’m looking for some advice about what kind of bike to look for.
I started out looking at something from Pedego, then saw some things from Specialized…and I think I even saw something from Ford???…then today I came across the Indiegogo campaign for the Flux eBike. I’m a complete novice about eBikes and have no idea what I should even be looking for or trying to avoid.
This bike only needs to get me to and from work on paved roads (and some sidewalks) and I don’t plan to ever take it on any trails but it does need to be able to handle hills. I have a local bike shop near me, but they currently don’t sell anything electric (the guy did warn me against Pedego bikes, though…saying they were not good quality. I mention that to say this: I don’t know how good any local service options are going to be for me, so simplicity and having a bike that works are important. Also, I’m on disability and don’t have much money, so price is a factor (that’s why the Flux on Indiegogo appeals to me).
It seems like there’s a lot of options out there, even on individual bikes…better batteries, better components, etc. Where’s the happy medium for a price-conscious, street-riding only, out of shape blind guy?

COURT
Hi Ben! I had an opportunity to [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/ev-global-motors/ebike-sx/']test ride an old Lee Iacocca eBike[/URL] a while back and was impressed with how forward thinking the design was. I can see why you’re excited about the space, especially with all of the new products coming out, and given your lack of a driver’s license.
I’ve reviewed all of the bikes you mentioned including those from Pedego (which also makes one of the Ford Ebikes), Specialized and Flux. I disagree with your local bike shop about Pedego being low quality… some of the models are a bit basic and “classic” in terms of design but the company provides good support and honors their warranty, they even did a voluntary battery recall a year or so back which was proactive and upstanding. The downside there is going to be higher price and finding a local dealer.
The Flux ebike is neat and priced relatively low, it’s not a super large bike and won’t offer the same power as a 48 volt Pedego but it’s going to be lighter weight. Depending on your body size and weight it could work well enough and has the added benefit of mid-drive which frees up the front and rear wheels for easy maintenance. The downside is more shifting and higher forces on the chain, sprockets and derailleur. Have you checked out the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/category/rad-power-bikes/']Rad Power Bikes[/URL] at all or maybe the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/category/voltbike/']VoltBike models[/URL]? These companies ship internationally, have a large selection of styles and are priced pretty well. I hope this helps guide you, poke around the site here a bit and use the advanced search engine to narrow down by price, size, power etc. :)

JOSEPH
Hi Court, great site and appreciate your insight, and obvious care. I am also ebike noobie, but have been doing my homework (hours of googling). Personal specs are, old guy, out of shape (5′ 10″ 270# but physically intact), looking to “upgrade” self. I am a mechanic for living, so nothing technical worries me. You have done great job of laying out the general parameters and options, so now I “get” that, and have evolved to the confused info overload stage. Application would be recreational/touring, hills/long grades are always in play, some trail riding, but no serious mountain biking at all. Range not so much a big deal, and plan to “pedal” for the exercise, assist would be for hills, and overextending (needing a lift back to the barn). Issues for me are quality/durability, and rider stability including push off and simple shifting (as opposed to complicated timing and planning routines). I may also see a fair amount of urban stop and go when vacationing etc.I don’t see myself speeding along at 30mph (scares the bejeebers out of me to even think about that speed on a bike). Lots of questions, but will focus on one … It seems like most of the issues (other than battery, range, regeneration and such) revolve around drive train concerns. I like the idea of the mid-mount, but am concerned about the shifting and stress on chain etc. Can a quality mid-mount add on kit, easily work with an internal shifting rear hub. The idea being simplicity…no front shifter, single cog, and easy rear shifting (especially when stopped, or going slow). I am a little confused over the internal geared options, seems like several methods Including external gear set for more increments). Problem may be the shifting while motor engaged. But I believe the internal shifting (similar to the old 3-speed bikes) can be done while pedaling or not, so likewise would not be affected by motor load. If true, that reduces the need(benefit?) of a motor disengage feedback when shifting. This setup also seems like it would benefit from a torque(? not sure I understand this) aware feedback mechanism (seems cadence ones are not really so great) for the “assist” with a few selectable assist modes. If not applied to an external geared internal hub, then only 2 cogs now, and perhaps can use the gates belt system, which seems like a good (dependable) upgrade (not sure how well gates deals with hard shifts if that is a concern). Anyways, hopefully I have asked a reasonable (as opposed to ridiculous!!) application question. If viable, could you suggest the actual brands/models you would use? Thx again.

COURT
Hi Joseph! Sorry for the confusion… I realize it can be overwhelming when you really dig down. Two things come to mind for you regarding a good mid-drive system available after-market and the internal shifting question.
[LIST=1]
[*]Consider one of the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/category/e-rad/']E-Rad mid-drive kits[/URL] which include shift sensing (physical shift sensing) and offer both throttle and cadence activated assist… yes, it’s not as good as Bosch, Impulse or Brose which offer torque or advanced multi-sensor activation but none of these are available aftermarket. Yes, E-Rad looks like the 8Fun BBS02 but it’s actually custom and the shift sensing is worth it in my view, along with the variable widths for use with more frame types. Since you mentioned mostly pedaling, get a 500 or 750 watt kit and stick with the first or second assist level… if you buy the 1,000 watt kit it costs more money and makes the bike illegal in most states plus in my experience it’s just overkill
[*]Internally geared rear hubs can work very well with mid drive motors and belts but you seem to need a special cut-away frame to use a belt drive and those frames are custom and more expensive. I’d consider a Rohloff hub with a chain or a Shimano Nexus and if you really want to get fancy consider the continuously variable transmission hub from NuVinci

Hope this helps! It may be difficult to find at a shop but [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/cube/suv-hybrid-sl-27-5/']here’s a purpose built belt-driven Bosch powered ebike with a NuVinci[/URL] so you can see it in action :D

CLYDE
Sir, Your article does not describe the different methods to activate and control the motors. Do you have a separate article that deals with that? I am hearing about throttle, cadence and torque sensors, and others. Where can one learn about that aspect of the bikes? Thank you.

COURT
Hi Clyde, each electric bike or brand uses a different system with different displays, throttles (thumb or twist) and pedal assist (cadence or torque). I’ll try to break it down for you quickly but you can see me using and explaining each system by watching video reviews here on the site :)

[*]twist throttle: usually a half-grip mechanism but sometimes full that twists 1/4 turn and sends a signal for variable power output of the motor
[*]trigger throttle: usually a plastic lever to be operated with the right or left thumb that twists down 1/4 turn and sends a signal for variable power output of the motor
[*]cadence sensor: magnets pass an electronic sensor and send a signal to the controller and motor to switch on or off based on movement
[*]torque sensor: the rear hub mount, a spring loaded chain sensor or bottom bracket flex as the rider pushes on the pedals and crank arms which sends a variable output for more or less power to the controller and motor

Any electric bicycle could use any of these sensor types (or multiple sensors like throttle and cadence sensing assist) but Class 1 only allows for assist while Class 2 allows for throttle and assist. So it’s not a matter of linking motors with sensors and input types (even though some motors only work with specific sensors) it’s a matter of how the manufacturer built the bike and which control systems they chose. All Bosch driven bikes use a combination of cadence, wheel motor and torque… Some BionX use a trigger throttle and a torque sensor. Hope this helps

ERIC
Hi Court. Would you have any information on Bikee bike’s new mid drive. If you do can you tell me what you think about it. I’m currently looking at mid drives. I pull a heavy load. Almost 400 pounds total. So, i am looking for something that would work for me. Any advice would be very helpful. Thank you Court

COURT
Hi Eric! It looks cool, I was just over at their site exploring but unfortunately I can’t comment on performance… Haven’t seen or tested one myself in person but maybe someone [URL='http://electricbikereview.com/forum/']in the forums[/URL] has and can chime in? If you end up getting this kit I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback and in the mean time I’ll keep an eye out and try to get a review done ;)

ERIC
Thank you Court for your quick reply, and yes, if i get this kit i would be glad to give you my thoughts and feedback about it.

CHARLES PECK
I am happy with my Stromer st2 which I have had for 3 monthes now but am tired off the 28 MP assist cut off thus 2 questions.
[LIST=1]
[*]How to disable the governor.
[*]Which front hub motor to install for max speed without speed cut off & any drawbacks from adding something like 1000 watt front wheel motor. Will add extra 48 volt battery as well I expect.

COURT
Great questions Charles and I have no idea! Sounds like a cool project and I bet people [URL='http://electricbikereview.com/forum/forums/stromer/']in the Stromer forums[/URL]could help you with tips. I heard the ST1 models could be unlocked to go faster but I have less experience with the ST2. Adding a front hub motor would be really neat but make sure it works with the larger thru-axle or consider swapping the fork. I think adding suspension would improve the ride a lot and enable a front hub motor but not sure how you’d wire in a second battery or whether you could use the existing one? Would love to hear how it all turns out or see pics someday :D

CHARLES PECK
Thank you for your time and consideration and in such a timely fashion. I had not considered that through axle thickness issue. You have no doubt saved me money and frustration! A local gent intends to produce a custom shaped battery to occupy the open triangle of the frame under the cross bar which I would wire in parallel with the existing battery. Extended range is also desired. Had thought about front shocks due to the weight factor but was “wishing/hoping” might not be needed. Oh well just some more time doing research I guess. This is a new realm for me so having fun scaling a learning curve again. Thanks again Court.

COURT
Cool! Glad I helped a little, it’s a fun journey creating something custom. I love doing the research, drawing designs and sharing ideas. If you do create a custom bike be sure to post some pictures and updates [URL='http://electricbikereview.com/forum/']in the forum[/URL]! I’m sure other people would love to see how it all turns out if you’re open to sharing :D

CHARLES PECK
I shall post photos but it will be sometime before I do as research, purchase, assembly & bugs worked out first as well as putting daily issues to sleep.

LARA TEXTER
I need your input on a trike conversion. I’m disabled, and working on converting a trike I got on the cheap to electric powered. I’m unable to petal, and handcycles are sooo out of budget it isn’t funny. I have a Trailmail Joyrider Junior. (i’m rather short so it’s a good size for me. The way it’s designed I can do a chain drive, mid drive or a hub (since I’m really just working with the frame) Which would be better for a full assist situation? I do have some graded hills around me too. Which one would be best?

COURT
Hi Lara! Sounds like a neat project… I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I’m not sure any standard electric bike drive system will work with the trike I saw in Google image search. I can’t be sure I’ve found the exact model you’re describing but the tiny front wheel is too small to be swiched out with a hub motor and so far up front that it would likely spin when activated (most body weight tends to be distributed through the rear wheels on trikes and the one I found was super long). The rear wheels might work with a hub motor swap but there appear to be axles fixed to the frame (not poking through on both sides like bicycles), a hub motor would require no axle on the bike, just a dropout like on the fork of a bicycle. You might have luck with a system [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/brand/ridekick/']like the RideKick[/URL] that pushes you but I’m not sure if those are still for sale? Consider buying a purpose built electric trike vs. doing a conversion, it will tend to work much better and sometimes people post them for sale on Craigslist or in the forums here. Hope this helps!

JASMINE TAYLOR
Hi, I am currently in the process of converting an attendant controlled wheelchair (one with the small back wheels) to an electric version as part of a university project. I have found this article useful looking into the different types of motor available. I’m struggling to find a motor that might give me the torque values required using the smallest possible motor. Do you have any suggestions for a particularly ‘powerful’ motor I should look into?

COURT
Hi Jasmine! Interesting question, I think you could use a geared hub motor mounted in a 20″ wheel but am not sure if that would match your wheelchair perfectly or mount to a side axle vs. one that’s built into the hub (most ebike hub motors I’ve seen are permanently fixed to the axle). Lots of companies offer basic motor, battery, controller kits but [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/dillenger/street-legal-electric-bike-kit/']this one from Dillenger[/URL] appears to come in the small 20″ wheel size. Maybe there’s a way to add a mounting system between the two rear wheels to have this third wheel act as power? The other challenge is reverse, most electric bikes don’t offer this but one company called E-BikeKit does with their [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/e-bikekit/e-trike-kit/']trike conversion kit here[/URL] which may also come in 20″ wheel size. I hope this helps you get started, if you call the E-BikeKit company ask for Jason and maybe he can even give you some more advice as they offer some models designed to be more like personal mobility trikes vs. fast commuter bikes. One such model is their [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/liberty-trike/electric-tricycle/']Liberty Trike here[/URL].

JEFFREY J.
Cheers Court! Maybe you have some insight into a great question a friend asked me: “If there were a scientific experiment done where all variables were the same with the exception of the drive motor, one being a mid drive and the other being hub drive (both of good quality and used on higher end mainstream e-bikes), is there a clear winner when it comes to which drive system delivers more efficient power. I guess what I’m hoping to find out with this question is: Which style of drive system more efficiently transfers the potential energy in the battery into actual motion. I could see this being answered with units like distance or speed, but remember the only thing I am comparing is two types of drive systems… Things like battery size, pedaling effort, rolling resistance, total bike/rider weight, air friction are all constants. So is there a clear winner???”
Thanks for any info you might be able to give. ~Jeff~

COURT
Hi Jeffrey, I’ll do my best to answer this question based on my experience testing. Mid-drive motors get a lot of attention for being efficient because they can be empowered through gear shifting if they are setup to pull the same drivetrain as you, the rider, and the bike actually has gears. So a mid-drive on a single-speed electric bike might actually be less efficient than a hub motor because it’s transferring energy through a chain or belt before reaching the rear wheel. There several mid-drive designes out there which pull a completely separate drivetrain [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/evox/city-electric-bike/']like this[/URL], and are therefore not as efficient as they might otherwise be but still benefit the bike design by balancing weight at the center of the frame. And so, if you have something like the Bosch Centerdrive, Yamaha, Impulse, Brose or others which pull a chain or belt and benefit from the mechanical advantage of a cassette, internally geared planetary hub or continuously variable transmission AND you actually shift appropriately… then you will generally go further, climb easier and even accelerate faster than most hub motors. Geared and gearless hub motors usually have a sweet spot for efficient operating speed RPM and that is usually translated to above 10 mph on the bike. So when you start from zero the motor is struggling and only once you’re reaching those higher speeds does the motor start to “relax” and perform optimally. I hope this helps, there are some excellent hub motor designs out there… they tend to be easier on the drivetrain and less expensive but increase unsprung weight (if the wheel is on a suspension) and can create imbalanced weight distribution compared to mid-drives.

VINCENT
Hi Court, I have a 2005 Giant Trance 2 mountain bike I’d like to convert. I want to commute to work which is 15 miles away using trails and minimal road exposure. There is also a fair amount of hills. The trance has a small triangle and I fell I would need a fairly large battery. I see a 52 volt 20ah at Lunacycle that is a triangle that looks like it will fit but its $600. I’m leaning toward a 1000 watt BBSHD unlocked.. all of this said, I recently rode a fat bike with a BionX hub drive that was so smooth I couldn’t believe it. The BioniX battery would never fit the triangle. Any thoughts or guidance would be appreciated. Thanks

COURT
Hi Vincent! In my opinion, there are a whole bunch of great possibilities out there. Luna has high powered stuff and the BBSHD worked great for me when reviewing a Lectric Cycles conversion a year back (using their e-RAD kit). Of course I also like BionX but the stuff is more expensive and proprietary. I’m doing less conversions these days (at least review wise) so I’m a bit behind on the category. For me, the frame makes a big difference and depending on what sort of terrain I’m encountering I’ll lean towards hubs for smooth and zippy feel or mid-drive for better climbing with the understanding that it might wear my drivetrain down, especially without shift sensing. That’s one area where e-RAD and maybe Luna now too, have some good options and accessories.

PAUL G.
Hello Court! I have spent a good deal of time the past few months researching e-bikes. I read your introductory book and nearly every online review you have written over the last year or so. The closest e-bike shops to me are about a two hour drive and are limited in what brands and models they stock (mainly city style bikes). So before I venture out to test drive a few models, I am seeking your advice to narrow down the type of bike and drive train that makes the most sense for my application.
I am in my early 60s, weight 165#, and in fairly good shape but atlas do not have the stamina and leg strength I used to have even in my 50s. Aging sucks! I live in a hilly rural area and do most of my biking on paved and unpaved (70/30%) back roads for recreation and exercise. The latter includes gravel and hard packed dirt and the occasional deeply rutted farm road. I do not intend to do any serious mountain biking nor commute using this bike. The routes I take have several long and moderately steep grades which is good exercise but too exhausting to tackle these days on my non-powered carbon road bike. My priorities are the optimum combination of comfort (including relaxed geometry), quality/reliability, versatility, range, and ease of use.
My first question is whether a hybrid or a hard-tail mountain e-bike is best suited for my needs? Most hybrid models I have seen are set up for commuting and since I am a fair weather rider I have no need for added features such as fenders and lights. I do, however, desire the option to mount a rack. I love the versatility and looks of mountain bikes. Bull has a few HT mountain bike models (29ers and 27.5) that may work but wonder if the riding position may be too aggressive and/or the tires too wide (i.e., too inefficient) for riding on the paved road sections.
My second question is what drive train you would recommend? I am leaning towards a mid-mount motor (Bose or Bosch) primarily for the added torque and extended range. The mid-mount systems also seem to be the trending direction for major e-bike manufacturers even for city bikes. I love the integrated look of the Bose models but appreciate the design and simplicity of the Bosch system. Since I come from a recreational road bike background, which mid-mount motor do you think would feel more natural to me the Bose or Bosch? A single front sprocket has its appeal for reduced shifting/complexity but 2X have their advantage also. Alas, a very difficult decision. Since this an expense endeavor, any insights you may have to guide me down the right path would be greatly appreciated.
Keep up the great work!

COURT
Hi Paul! I enjoyed reading your words and envisioned myself riding along rural streets and gravel roads with beautiful clouds and sunsets. Cycling is wonderful… but I can empathize with your desire for some assist. I got into this because of a knee injury, I wanted to keep the fun and freedom of cycling without the knee sensitivity developed over the course of longer climbs and more regular riding.
Based on everything you wrote, I believe that both the Bosch or Brose motor system would be a good fit. I have owned one of each and appreciate their wider cadence range. You get shift sensing with Bosch but it sounds like you understand how shifting works given your nice carbon road bike… the Brose is a bit quieter and gentler feeling. Perhaps it comes down to which models appeal to you and fit your body size. I didn’t see your height there? Either motor system would be capable of moving your standard 165 lb body.
I like the approach you’re taking, possibly a hardtail with hybrid or knobby tires… the suspension fork adding some comfort along with larger inner tube diameter. When you ride further and at higher average speeds, you tend to feel it in your back and neck more. For this reason, I have become a big fan of full suspension electric bikes… but you can approximate this with a hardtail frame and a seat post suspension. This setup is going to work with standard racks (that tend to stay put compared with beam racks or the Topeak seat stay [URL='https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ASSOORE/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=elecbikerevi-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B00ASSOORE&linkId=548235da6fa35fe0e0f815e99d35d6b8']Pack N’ Pedal rack[/URL]).
I’ve had good luck with Bulls and Haibike but any frame manufacturer that gets to work with Bosch or Brose is going to be good. Easy Motion has a couple models now with Brose. If possible, try to buy from your local shop so they can fit you and offer warranty support. Do you know what brands they carry? I’d say, pick one based on pictures, special order the correct size and go in to pick it up… when you go, have the shop also order a riser or even rise + swept-back bar and maybe some ergonomic grips. Get a Thudbuster or BodyFloat or the Suntour NCX seat post suspension in the correct size and have them fit you. You could swap tires too but I love riding knobby tires even on the road, they a huge difference on dirt and it sounds like you spend some time on surfaces like that.
I realize this isn’t as prescriptive as it could be, I think there are many models that could work for you but the sizing and possibly style are really up to you. I’d love to hear how it works or possibly which ones you’re zooming in on and please, share your story in the forums to help others once you get an ebike and have time to ride it around. You can also call me using the contact page info to chat a bit if you’d like :)

PAUL G
Hi Court. Thanks for your prompt response. Based on your input and further consideration I have narrowed my selection down to three Bulls e-stream brose MTB models: Evo 3 29er, Evo 3 FS 27.5 plus, and Evo 45 FS. I selected Bulls for a variety of reasons but I have to admit I am a pushover for good looks. Bulls offers a wide range of models and there is a dealer in PA within a reasonable drive from my home in MD. Unfortunately, they do not stock any MTBs but may be getting one or two in soon I can test out. I am still on the fence with regards to a full suspension bike but I realize my back is not getting any younger and I may learn to appreciate the extra comfort on the paved and unpaved hilly roads I ride. One of the suspension seat posts you suggested would definitely help with the hardtail but these are heavy and fast riding bikes (especially the EVO 45 FS which you reviewed in February) so if comfort is of prime concern a full suspension probably is the way to go.
The bigger decision for me is whether or not to go with a 29” or 27.5” wheel set. I believe Bulls in the US only offers a hardtail in the 29” size. There is a lack of information out there on the pros and cons for my particular application (i.e., 60/40 paved and rough dirt roads) specifically with regards to e-bikes. I know you prefer the 27.5 size as an “all-arounder”. At around 5’ 10.5” tall (barefooted) and 160 lbs, I most likely could find a good fit in either wheel size since Bulls offers at least three sizes in most of their bikes. Since I do not plan on commuting or doing much mountain biking, is one size better than the other for my rural mixed road use? Would there be any significant benefits with the larger wheels with regards to riding efficiency (i.e., less effort pedaling, improved battery life, etc.) or does the mid-drive motor make this mostly a non-issue? Not yet having ridden these e-bikes, my gut feeling is it may just come down to fit and preference. I would be interested in what you think based on your experience.

PAUL G
Hi Court. Thank you for the additional insights. I feel like I owe you a consulting fee :). Your enthusiasm for your profession is inspiring. It obviously shows in your reviews and follow up comments which are very informative, especially for folks like myself who are new to this area and trying to determine the most suitable type of e-bike for their needs. I am a big fan … it’s now time to take a few test rides.

KIM T
I am trying to decide if I need a 350 watt hub motor for a bike conversion or would a 500 watt hub motor be better. I weigh almost 230 lbs but live where there are minimal hills. My husband would be doing the conversion with an all inclusive kit. Does a person’s weight have anything to do with what size motor you buy?

COURT
Hi Kim! Great question… I’ve heard some ebike companies and shops guestimate that 180 lbs is a good cutoff when jumping from 350 to 500 or 750 watts (750 is the highest allowable in the US). I’m sure you could get away with a 350 just fine, especially if you pedal along a little to help it get started each time and ride mostly on flats. [URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndvce0wU840']Here’s a video interview I did[/URL] with an individual of similar weight who was riding a 350 watt motor for over two years and using a throttle with higher powered 48 volt batteries… you can hear some grinding when the bike starts and I believe this is based on accelerated wear and tear. I hope this helps and welcome you to share what you choose and how it works down the line. I personally appreciate the compact size and efficiency (and lower price) of 350 watt motors but most people would recommend that you aim for 500+ watt in this case.

ADAM
Hi Court, I have recently purchased a new adult tricycle with the intention of converting it to an electric motor. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the different motor options and configurations available. I want something that will provide me with enough power to get up to speed, and have a long ride time. I have seen YouTube videos where they have linked multiple batteries to get extended ride time. What are your recommendations to get a long ride, with the power for a tricycle and a big rider?

COURT
Hi Adam, this is a question that I’m not fully qualified to answer. I haven’t been focusing on kits as much recently but have had some good experiences with pre-converted trikes. Lots of companies are offering this type of product now (IZIP, Raleigh, Pedego, and Sun). It’s fun to create your own thing and geek out on power and range, I just feel like my knowledge is out of date and would recommend that you ask in the forums or rely on your friends who have done it.

SRINIDHI K V
Hi Court, Very nice information. I want to know, is it almost similar when it comes to e-motorcycle motor compared with e-bicycle motor? Thanks in Advance.

COURT
Hi Srinidhi! I’m not as familiar with electric motorcycles but I’d say that depending on what type of motor it is, they could be similar (just larger and more powerful for the motorcycle due to high speeds and more weight). If they use a hub motor, they could be very similar to [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/stealth/bomber/']the Stealth Bomber[/URL] I reviewed many years ago. It’s almost like a motorcycle with pedals :p

SRINIDHI K V
Okay. Thanks for the reply.

JOHN
What can you tell me about a mid motor manufactured by Bofielli?

COURT
Hi John, I don’t know much about their mid-motor. Perhaps someone else will chime in or you’ll be able to get some answers using the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/forum/']EBR Forums here[/URL].

JEFF MUELLER
Court – I’m looking for a Bafang rear hub geared motor conversion kit for my Giant Cypress DX. Can you point me to someone? Many thanks – Jeff M.

COURT
Hi Jeff! The three companies that come to mind for me are [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/brand/electric-bike-outfitters/']Electric Bike Outfitters[/URL] out of Denver Colorado, [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/brand/dillenger/']Dillenger[/URL]out of Australia (but also sell in the USA) and possibly Luna Cycles out of California. I hope this helps point you in the right direction. You can also ask around in the kits section of the EBR Forums [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/forum/forums/diy/']here[/URL].

DAVE STIER
Hi Court, I discovered your site and it’s great. I’m 6’8″ tall, 274 lbs., and 71 years old and still biking but needing some help and assistance on long hills of pavement or crushed rock. Wouldn’t mind having a few coasting breaks too. And the step through appeal to me as I get older. Looking at ebikes and especially the Pedego step through Interceptor with magnesium wheels for weight carrying capacity. What do you think? Good choice or is there another out there that would fit this old boy?

COURT
Hi Dave! I’m a big fan of Pedego to be honest. Yes, their battery placement isn’t ideal and the prices are a bit higher… but you tend to get very good service, lots of size and color choices, and their battery and motor technology tends to be reliable and powerful. The Magnesium cast wheels are especially cool and useful if you’re heavier, or plan to carry heavy loads, so with your taller and larger body that’s a great option that very few other companies provide. I think you’re definitely on the right track. Do you live near a Pedego dealer?

LALITH KARUNARATNA
Hello Court, Great information! I survive by involving in technology then no worries understand the concepts and fixing the stuff. I have spent a good deal of my time researching e-bikes in past as well fixed some e bicycles for friends for fun. Hope you could give me a hint on hub motors with lower prices but reliable machines. This is in order to support some low income crowd in Africa. What do you think about the Chinese parts? Any recommendation?

COURT
Hi Lalith, cool name you have! If you are buying a high volume of electric bike motors and batteries, then you could probably buy direct from China and maybe use a website like Alibaba. However, if you need a small or medium number, maybe you could research a company like Clean Republic. I reviewed their affordable [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/clean-republic/hill-topper/']Hill Topper kit[/URL] a while back and thought it was good. If you are buying for Africa, it might be easiest to source parts in Africa or find a wholesaler in China that can ship there vs. going from China to the US and then Africa. I hope this helps you! Be careful if you are planning to buy and then fly with products like this because high capacity Lithium-ion batteries are not usually allowed.

Court
2 months ago

Following are some of the original comments that were made on that post:

WARP
I understand that you’re only showing bikes that you reviewed, but so I would like to add a few suggestions of my own.
The reason is that I have been looking for a e-assist bike for my wife. The options are quite limited for extra short people. My wife is 5′ and her inseam is around 28 inches. She likes to have a bit of clearance when straddling the bike.
A lot of the e-bikes that come in only one size are non starters. In the regular bicycle world, many bikes come in at least 3, often more. That’s why it’s frustrating to shop for e-bikes, they usually start at a men’s medium or large. For my wife, she needs a bike made for petite women, and even then she needs XS or XXS to enable her to comfortably straddle the top bar (top tube). Although the folding models would probably work, we want to go with a full sized wheel for more stability
And it’s not just matter of standover clearance, a low step over frame doesn’t mean a great fit either….for example, we tried out the Easy Motion Evo Easy Street, and she was way stretched out on that frame, even though she can easily straddle the frame. She looked a bit lost sitting on that bike….coming from her 44cm road bike frame, the one size fits all Easy Motion looked like a tank.
The companies that are real bike companies often the best range of sizing. Examples that would probably work for her:
Raleigh Detour iE Step-Through – comes in a small size in a low step frame.
Trek Conduit+ – Small size would fit somebody who’s around 155cm (or just over 5′)
Trek Lift+ – has a men’s and also a low stepover model and comes in small size
Devinci Newton S Bionx – comes in three sizes. The WF is a women’s model and comes in a Small (which is smaller than the men’s Small)
In the end, I’m probably going to build my own bike for my wife around a Bionx kit, we can choose an XS frame and use the rack mount Bionx kit. Ideally we would have liked to buy a complete e-bike, but this way gives us the best option for getting a fit she’s comfortable with.

COURT
Hi warp, I can understand your frustration… It’s uplifting to hear how much energy and time you’ve spent trying to find a perfect fit for your wife and I think the BionX option is a good one. Kits definitely have their place but I can understand the desire to have a more turnkey solution as well. The good news is that more and more electric bikes are being produced each year and a wider variety of sizes and shapes have come to market. Companies https://electricbikereview.com/pedego/24-step-thru-comfort-cruiser/ have started selling more models with 24″ wheels and the step-thru frame. I realize reach may still be an issue but with a bit of effort adjusting the bars (or even a replacement bar) the bikes can become more accessible to petite riders.

WARP
Yes, we’re looking for a “regular looking” fitness style hybrid, and even though some of those cruiser designs would fit, we’d prefer a design that is geared toward sporty riding. e.g. she’d riding with me when I’m on my full carbon road bike, for both speed and giving her a boost on the hilly parts.

RALPH LINIADO
Warp, I just read this thread. My wife is petite at 5′ just like your wife. We stopped into Small Planet Bikes in Dallas last season, the day after Court was there doing some tests. I was excited that they had the Evo Street as I had heard it was just what a small framed women would like, but my wife hated the bike. It didn’t fit. We tried everything he had and nothing worked. The salesman than suggested the Easy Pedelar T350, and inexpensive bike that is the heart of their rental fleet. My wife rode the bike and loved it. It was under $2,000 and we bought one on the spot to be shipped to us in Florida. I had never heard of the brand, yet I bought it without any research. Turns out https://electricbikereview.com/ez-pedaler/t350/ just the day before as I came to find out when he posted his review.
This is a small step thru bike. It has lights, a rack, a bell, and it is built like a tank. My wife thinks it is beautiful. Obviously the reason why they have a rental fleet of them at Small Planet, which is a great shop and all electric bikes. They had everything you could imagine on the floor. Fantastic. My wife loves it because it fits her small frame. It’s not as elegant as some of the other big name bikes, but it fits and it works great. I had it shipped to my local LBS who charged me $25 to put the handle bars on it and away we went. Hope this helps.

COURT
Awesome advice Ralph, thanks for taking the time to help and share your experience :)

RAY T
thanks for the comment….the bike you bought seems like a decent value for under $2K. Looks pretty comfy and it seems like a great choice for a small rider with its downsized wheels and low step frame.
I went ahead with my original plan to build my own. So I took a 13″ Trek 7.4 FX Womens, and added a Bionx rear mount kit. This is pretty much the smallest adult bike that Trek makes (and smaller than many other brands offer). I would have much preferred the battery to be on the frame but the bike frame is so small it wouldn’t fit. The rear battery rack makes the bike very rear heavy but that’s the tradeoff to get a bike that fits. here is https://flic.kr/p/H9C2Lu.
It ended up costing about $3K, which is higher than I wanted to spend, but at least we got a bike that fits right with a good e-assist system from a proven manufacturer. Now we’re itching to put some miles on it

JOHN HESLIN
Hi – really enjoy your reviews! Wondering if I can ask for your opinion. Are 20″ folding bikes too cramped for the average rider? I saw your E joe video and I think I can probably “fit” but at 5′ 10″ / 220 lbs. I’m not really sure. I’m a recreational user and ride mostly for exercise so pedaling is important. The key issue for me is whether the typical 20″ folding bike be pedaled normally with full leg extention? Thanks.

COURT
Great question John, folding bicycles tend to have longer seat posts to reduce that cramped leg feeling… My knees get sore and feel sensitive if they aren’t extending fully so I can relate to your concern (I’m 5’9″ by the way). On of the folding ebikes that felt lager to me was the https://electricbikereview.com/pedego/latch/ (notice the first photograph shows the seat fully extended). The downside here is that the Latch is heavier and has a rear-mounted battery, but at least it’s removable for easier transport. The founderf of Pedego are larger guys who weigh a bit more and I feel like the motor power and overall strength of the frame are designed to accommodate them. https://electricbikereview.com/gocycle/g2/ also felt large and had suspension to soften the bumps and the https://electricbikereview.com/tern/node-d8-with-bionx/ is also a bit larger with 24″ wheels vs. the standard 20″ that lifts the frame up higher and improves ride quality a bit given the narrower tires. I hope these ideas help you find a good product that will work well for your intended use, folding bikes usually present a compromise but there is a nice variety to choose from these days :)

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL
These are good reviews but none of them focus in on my requirements. Are there any ebikes with the following attributes: Pedal assist only, top speed on hills of 10 kms (6mph), 100 km. range (60 Miles), panier. puncture proof tires, small frame, minimum bike weight up to 45 pounds, can fit on a standard bike rack. This bike will be needed on bike trips with ordinary pedal bikes so no need to go fast up hills. Price up to $3,000 US. Want financial stability of manufacturer and a ‘vast’ dealer network in North America. Reasonable quality of components not made in China.

COURT
Hi Alastair! Thanks for sharing your detailed list of “must haves”. No ebikes I know of even come close to what you’re asking here because they are mostly all produced from parts made in China… especially in the sub $5,000 range. Most weigh at least 45 lbs and the vast majority are 50+ lbs and the speed up hills is so dependent on rider weight, cargo and environment (like wind) that I cannot say for sure. My first thought for you was the https://electricbikereview.com/kalkhoff/sahel-compact-impulse-8/ but it’s heavier than you want. A light weight ebike that isn’t as powerful but fits your other requirements (besides price) is the https://electricbikereview.com/faraday/cortland-s/. Hope this helps! You can use the advanced search tool on the right rail of each page here to narrow down by price, weight etc.

MARK
GOOD JOB COURT !!!

COURT
Hey mark, glad you enjoyed this article! Thanks for the props :D

FRED
Old thread but I thought I’d share. I have the same challenge for my wife. She’s 4’11”. We went with an XS Specialized Vita paired with a Bionx system with the battery mounted on the down tube. They had to drill a hole in the batter bracket mount given the odd position of the bottle cage mounts, but it fits great and balances the weight out nicely. Call the https://hostelshoppe.com/ and ask for big Scott. They are a dealer for both specialized and bionx.
If your wife has a 28″ inseam without shoes, she might fit on a Specialized Turbo for women. Standover is about 29″ in the Small. I’m going to beg them to make an XS and also ask if they have plans to motorize the fat boys. The Helga has a 26″ standover height and should be able to fit the bionx as well if the down tube triangle is at least as big as the Vita.

COURT
Hey Fred! Sounds like you and your wife got set up at the Hostel Shoppe, thanks for sharing your tips and ESPECIALLY the measurements around the small Turbo for women. I’ve been really impressed with the Specialized lineup of ebikes in different styles and sizes so far… maybe we will see an XS and a motorized fat boy someday :)

FRED
That would be sweet! You’re welcome for the info. The guys at the hostel shoppe are top notch. People come from all over the Midwest to go there.

GIL
I want my wife to be able to ride with me – at least 20 miles with light hills. She’s 5’2 about 250 lbs and has a bad knee. We’ve been looking at ebikes and understand we’ll probably need a small frame (15 inch?). She wants to look at options and try them out in the Chicago area – or southwest Michigan. Want pedal assist for physical therapy but also full throttle to coast. What models do you recommend we check out? Can you recommend a store(s) to try them out? Also, I want to be able to transport the ebike on my car. I only have a trunk mount bike rack – no hitch. Other option to consider is a folding bike that could fit inside the trunk or back seat. What recommendations do you have for such bike carrying capability?

COURT
Hi Gil, thanks for explaining your goals so well… I think I understand and can relate given that my own girlfriend is about 5’2″ and has had some struggles with mid-step models (even women’s frames) that we’ve tried. Since you’re in the Chicago area, one brand that comes to mind is https://electricbikereview.com/brand/volton/, they’re based there and the founder Joe is really cool. I just reviewed their latest model which is a mid-drive step-thru but they sell a very similar one with a hub motor that’s less expensive and has throttle on demand. I’d recommend going to their website and calling him. To carry this model or many of the step-thru ebikes out there with your trunk mount bike rack you’ll probably need a crossbar adapter https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000ELSSZE/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=elecbikerevi-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B000ELSSZE&linkId=7b2e5668a19575e25cca7cd87df72a46 and I’d recommend taking the battery off the bike before loading to reduce weight… and always mount it close to the car so it’s not hanging way out since even the frames tend to be heavier than normal bicycles. A couple other low-step models with assist and throttle that might be worth exploring are the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/e-joe/gadis/']e-Joe Gadis[/URL], and the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/easy-motion/evo-city-wave/']Easy Motion Evo City Wave[/URL] which looks beautiful but costs a bit more… given that they are a larger company (with a great warranty) and were sold in 2015 and 2016 you might be able to get a deal on “last year” inventory at your local ebike shop :)
As far as folding bikes go, they do tend to be smaller but not always lighter. Here’s [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/category/folding/']the full list[/URL] of models I’ve reviewed recently and you can also use the advanced search to look for compact models that don’t fold but are smaller and lighter. One consideration with folding is that they tend to be less comfortable due to the smaller wheels. If you can get a regular bike with 24″ or 26″ with the deep step-thru design that would probably be more enjoyable for your wife. I hope this helps! I realize there are a lot of options out there… Consider asking in the forums, there’s a section called “[URL='https://electricbikereview.com/forum/forums/choosing/']help choosing an electric bike[/URL]” I made for this exact sort of situation :D

GIL
Thanks for your thorough reply. Most helpful was the recommendation for a crossbar adapter.
I think I may have the choice down to the final 2: X-treme Malibu Beach Cruiser or Prodecotech Stride 300. The Malibu front wheel can easily be removed so I can put the bike in the back seat. The Stride comes in a fold-able model so I could put it in the trunk. The challenge remains that there’s no place close to home for my wife to try out either one prior to a purchase.
One other thing suggested by the guy at FarBike.com is that I wait til early Spring to make a purchase as riding in Chicago’s winter is unlikely. Purchasing closer to the time of use means a fresher battery.

COURT
Hey Gil, glad my tips helped you a bit. The Spring will bring all new models to bear and give you some time to think. In the mean time, feel free to poke around [URL='http://electricbikereview.com/forum/']the EBR Forums[/URL] and share your experience or ask more questions. I’ve made a few real life friends there and it’s fun to geek out about bikes and consider different options :)

ANNETTE NELSON
I am 4’9″ and 67 yrs old and trying get out of my house a little more. LOST MY HUSBAND 2 1/2 yrs ago and have suffered from depression and need sunshine. I thought an electric bike would be a good way to do it and guarantee my ability to get home should I go a little too far..I HAVE HAD 11 back surgeries and still have some back pain.
I bought a PRODECO MARINER 500. online and received it the day after Thanksgiving. Thank goodness my sons were here to help me put it together and watch me ride it. THE SALESMAN ON THE PHONE TOLD ME THAT I should have no problems riding it even hough I TOLD HIM MY HEIGHT AND THE concerns I had being able to lift my leg over the tall center bar. WELL! THERE WAS NO WAY I could lift my leg that high to get onto the bike. MY SONS HELD THE BIKE WHILE I lifted my leg using my hands and rode it down the block. Then to get off of the bike. I stopped, then my sons each grabbed the bike while I used my hands to lift my leg…when I STARTED FALLING BECAUSE I couldn’t get my leg over. One of my sons grabbed me and his fingers broke my ribs. I CONTACTED THE STORE AND THEY RECOMMENDED A STEP TROUGH BIKE? What can you recommend

COURT
Hi Annette, sounds like you’ve had a rough experience with electric bikes so far… they do tend to be heavier and many of the cheaper models only come in one frame size and style. ProdecoTech has a range of options but it sounds like you would do better with a true step-thru like the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/pedego/boomerang/']Pedego Boomerang[/URL]. This particular brand has a bunch of dealers across the US so you can actually try the bike before deciding to buy. Also, the rest of my tips and suggestions on this page still stand. You can get further suggestions by connecting with others [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/forum/forums/choosing/']in the forums[/URL] or using the advanced search tools here on the site. I Hope this helps!

TRISH
Hi, I am an older(50+) rider. I don’t feel as comfortable on my 26″ wheel bike anymore as sometimes my sense of balance just feels a bit off. I also have some problems with arthritis etc. But I still want to go on adventures for as long as I can! So I am looking for an ebike that can go on trails, (there are some very cool rail trails here in BC, but sometimes there are portions that are a bit rough.) so probably a fat bike style for comfort. I am thinking a 350W motor should be plenty? I need a rack for my camping gear. My issue is that I am only 5′ and want a bike I can comfortably put my feet down if I feel wobbly. Even the 20″ tire bikes seem to have quite a high seat. I am not rolling in cash LOL, so don’t want to spend more than 1500.00 CAN. I was thinking of cobbling together some bikes we have around and putting a hub motor on it. But it looks like hub kits plus battery is going to cost me over 1000.00 CAN anyways? Seems its the batteries that cost the most by far. Any ideas? Thanks!

COURT
Hey Trish! I was thinking the Pedego 20″ Trail Tracker would be a good fit in terms of lower stand-over height and having those fat tires… but it is priced a bit higher. I can’t think of too many kits that work with small fat tires but I’ll keep my mind on it and perhaps you can ask [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/forum/']in the forums[/URL] to see if anyone else has an idea for you :)

MAE
I’m interested in going to an ebike, but I don’t want to jump into a large investment until I know that I like them. So I’m thinking about starting off by purchasing an ebike conversion kit to put on my current bike. I am only interested in pedal assist. Does anyone know of a conversion kit that offers pedal assist? Thanks in advance for any help you can offer. Mae

COURT
Hi Mae! There are many kits out there to choose from but I’ve reviewed a few [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/category/kits/']here[/URL]. I realize it can seem like a big investment but purpose built ebikes tend to just work better… I know a few people who tried to get a deal the first time around and had buyer’s remorse pretty quickly then upgraded to a more well-built ebike. This is part of the reason I don’t review kits as much these days. If you have a local ebike shop, I’d highly recommend visiting and doing some test rides before pulling the trigger on anything. In any case, good luck and please share your experiences :D

MAE
Hi Court. Thanks for the advice on purpose built ebikes. Wondering if you have ever reviewed the x-treme Sedona step through ebike. It is quite affordable at $1100, but I don’t see where it has been reviewed or has any buyer comments. I’m also considering these ebikes: Izip Vibe plus, Raleigh Sprite iE, Prodecotech stride series, Genze recreational e102, Tidal Wave, and Magnum ui5. Any helpful information you can offer about any of these bikes – good or bad – would be appreciated. I love your reviews and your love of this sport.

COURT
Hi Mae! I had a pretty good experience with the GenZe and Magnum products. Raleigh Sprite iE is also a good product from a larger company (with more dealers and a good warranty). I haven’t seen as much ProdecoTech stuff lately and have never seen X-Treme products… They caught my interest of course, people ask occasionally but I just don’t see them in shops and don’t know anyone who has bought one. Here’s [URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u188uF4Pt9w']an interesting video[/URL] interview I did with the President of Raleigh Electric talking about the value of more expensive ebike products as I realize the trade off in cost can raise some questions.

DEWEY
Regarding converting a pedal bicycle, an interesting source of ideas for donor frames for shorter riders is [URL='https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1j3f51td6emppjuBaTNjZXgtVPK923HtOudacuyt-g0Y/']this spreadsheet[/URL] on the City Bike subReddit – a list of step through pedal bikes available in North America with links to the manufacturer websites then you can check what frame sizes are available and where your nearest dealer is located.

COURT
Cool, thanks for the tip Dewey! Did you create a conversion ebike for yourself or find one that fit straight away that was already electric?

DEWEY
My thinking before converting my pedal bicycle was to make it easier for my local bike shop to help with the conversion and maintenance. I experimented with a [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/clean-republic/hill-topper/']24V hill topper kit[/URL] but I found it didn’t help me up the hills I climb so I bought a [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/8fun/bbs01/']36V BBS01 crank motor kit[/URL]. I would like the more torquey [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/8fun/bbs02/']48V BBS02 kit[/URL] but I need to stay under the [URL='https://www.markelinsurance.com/bicycle/resources/electric-bikes']750W 20mph[/URL] limit for e-bike liability insurance purposes.

ANDREJA
I am overweight, tend to feel unstabile on bikes, often am too short for various models (164cm and 100kg). Sometimes, because of the size of my belly, I can’t fully lift my leg. Can you suggest something for me? Regards from Croatia! :)

COURT
Hi Andreja, I think the first step would be to search for any electric bike dealers in Croatia. If you aren’t able to find one where you can go in for a test ride then it makes sense to look online. Unfortunately, I don’t think many brands will ship around the world and I’m based in the USA… so? who knows. But! One shop that has told me they will ship internationally is Motostrano in California. [URL='http://www.motostrano.com/']Here is their website[/URL], they have lots of ebikes and surely sell one that might work for you but they tend to be expensive. Another option is to see if [URL='https://sondors.com/']Sondors[/URL] will ship to your location, they have a cheaper folding model that might fit you and feel stable because it has fat tires.

ANDREJA
Thank you for your promt answer. Let’s say I have an option of buying suitable product whereever, hence I would be very interested in a model you can suggest, regarding the detals I described earlier. My problem is I can’t find right model that is suitable for overweight people. If you can suggest few, I would be grateful. :)

COURT
Hmm, I think the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/pedego/24-step-thru-interceptor/']step-thru Pedego with the smaller 24″ wheels[/URL] is a great option. You can get it with pedal assist and throttle and it will be easier to mount and stronger for added weight. Beyond that, I like the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/eprodigy/banff/']eProdigy Banff[/URL] and depending on how tall you are, the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/corratec/lifebike/']Corratec Lifebike[/URL].

DAYRATE
How are the RadMini and Voltbike Mariner looked upon for rider height suitability? At 5’9″, like you, I figure either would be great for me, however, at 5’3″, I wonder about my wife fitting on one of these bikes. We are very interested in the Mariner. The frame geometry specs I have read don’t seem out of line with her height, what’s your opinion? Thanks for your well written and produced bike reviews!

COURT
Yeah, [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/voltbike/mariner/']the Mariner[/URL] is a pretty good ebike for petite riders, my girlfriend is similar in height to your wife and she had a blast riding it on the beach. She also tried [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/rad-power-bikes/radmini/']the RadMini[/URL] but I think the clamp design bumped her knee and thigh more easily. That one seems to have a higher stand over design as well. The cool thing about both products is that they use fat tires which are very stable and add some comfort when riding over bumps :)

BROCK HARVEY
Wow, what a fantastic article, and there’s even more information in the comments. You guys are all incredible!
I recently found [URL='http://www.ireviews.com/comparisons/5-best-smart-bikes-2017']this article[/URL], but I’m looking for some validity to their claims from people much more experienced than I.
Any info would be incredibly beneficial, so I’d really appreciate it! I’m looking to really change my life around in terms of my fitness. I’m 29, have a bit of expendable cash, live in a very cycle friendly city, so I think this could be a life changing purchase for me :)
Pretty excited, to say the least. Thanks heaps!

COURT
Hi Brock, thanks for sharing that article! More and more technology is coming to the ebike space and the models in their “five best smart bikes 2017” leaned more towards road and city. Drop bars are still pretty rare but I’ve seen a few from Bosch in recent years. Try exploring here by using the category drop down up top, it might guide you towards the high tech speed models if that’s what you’re into or you can ask around in the forums. My goal is to keep the space open and honest, people are pretty friendly and it’s exciting to share the latest tech but I have also seen that sometimes it never becomes publicly available… more like concept prototypes. All of the ebikes you see here have videos and are actually for sale (or were for sale at one point). If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask.

KERIN
**I am 5’1″ tall, about 140 pounds, and am in my mid 70’s and in good health. I am looking for a small ebike to ride on city streets and easy trails. I would prefer both throttle and pedal assist with a price of no more than $1,500. I live in a small town where there are no ebike dealers within several hundred miles where I can try out a bike to see if it fits. Anything out there that might meet these requirements?**

COURT
Hi Kerin, I speak with a lot of petite riders who choose folding ebikes because they tend to have smaller 20″ wheels that lower the frame and also have step-thru frame designs. I just reviewed [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/velomini/plus/']the VeloMini Plus[/URL] which could work and fits your budget. I like how lightweight it is too.

KERIN
Thank you. The Velomini Plus sounds good. Will the small wheels work successfully on trails that that have a gravel surface rather than being paved? How much assembly is required?

COURT
Hi Kerin! The 1.5″ wide tires aren’t going to be great for gravel, you might want to consider one of the fat folding ebikes for that such as the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/rad-power-bikes/radmini/']RadMini[/URL] and [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/voltbike/mariner/']Mariner[/URL]. Most mail-order electric bikes require minimal assembly, the VeloMini Plus is especially easy and straightforward, you basically just unfold it :)

LUCY
Anyone have thoughts/advice How is the tern vektron for 5′ 2″ person with a short-ish reach? Ride Brompton now with M handlebars and the reach is a teeny tiny bit too far.
Deciding between Vektron and an Ohm 2017. Love folders ’cause I can take it anywhere….and Ohm is just amazing, too.
LUCY
And now I just rode the trek super commuter. So nice. So many great bikes.

COURT
Yeah, Trek is really doing great this year, lots of ebikes to choose from and the Super Commuter is awesome :D

COURT
Hi Lucy! The Vektron is a great bike one of the highest quality around right now (in large part because it uses Bosch). I’ll be reviewing some new OHM models soon and will record all of the measurements like reach and stand over height to help you decide. If you want light and compact, I think the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/velomini/plus/']VeloMini Plus[/URL] is pretty cool.

LUCY
Looking forward to that review! I did, however, already purchase the Trek Super Commuter. I know! The most money I could spend in one place, like, ever. It was a good fit in the 45cm frame and I have great local bike shop support. I went to the Electric Bike Expo and road a Tern, Ohm didn’t bring their smallest frame, so didn’t get to try that bike. The range on the Trek/Bosch combo (long commute to work) and the excellent local support sold me on Trek. Shout out to Freewheel Bike!

BIKING WITH A LITTLE E-HELP
Hi, I’m looking for an e-bike with good e-power assistance as I am getting older and slower at normal biking especially up inclines… I am 170 cm tall and longish legs so am looking for a medium sized frame but still the space for my legs so that I can reach the ground easily when stopping yet have a good leg extension when pedalling and am not all squished up. Any suggestions of models to look for? TIA

COURT
Do you think you’d want a medium step-thru [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/bulls/cross-lite-e-step-thru/']like this[/URL] for easy mounting or prefer a higher stiffer frame? I just reviewed the [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/ohm/urban-ebike/']OHM Urban[/URL] which has a powerful motor and throttle operation (most mid-drive ebikes do not). They sell it in four sizes so you could dial in fit and the stand over height is reasonable because of the top tube design.

BIKING WITH A LITTLE E-HELP
I’m afraid it really needs to be a much lower instep. She has such the above items asked for on her current e-bike, however the e part is designed for long country rides and has not so much support/power for the city riding that she wishes to have such as being able to take off at the lights with the rest of the riders and keep up speed around the city on short journeys.

Court
2 months ago

Hi guys! I'm moving some content off of the main site and into the most relevant categories of the forum. This post was originally made on October 8th 2016:

2016 was the fourth year I got to attend Interbike but this is only the third guide posted about it… and that’s because I got really sick in 2015 after eating a taco (served by a sick person) just before the week began last time! For those who don’t know, Interbike is a week long trade show and industry event where manufacturers from all over the United States (and some from other parts of the world like Europe and Asia) travel to Las Vegas and showcase their latest and greatest upcoming bicycles, accessories and some tangential exercise equipment. It’s a chance for IBD’s (Independent Bicycle Dealers) and IEBD’s (Independent ELECTRIC Bicycle Dealers) to choose what they’ll carry in the coming year and negotiate deals. Thankfully, it’s also a space where individuals who work in the media, like myself, can take pictures and make videos about those same new products. There’s even a special media event that happens just before the show where we get a sneak peek at what’s coming out. For me, Interbike is a special time where all the people I’ve met traveling and doing reviews gather in one place to connect. It’s fun, it’s exciting and it’s also a lot of work because Las Vegas can be loud, dry and hot!

This year I did not film updates at Outdoor Demo Day but was able to shoot several reviews. Some of the major brands who used to attend, like Trek and Specialized, were not present and as a result I think Haibike got a lot of extra attention. The event lasts two days and is held at Bootleg Canyon which has some awesome mountain bike trails and a paved path for people to test bikes on. There are actually big trucks that carry riders back into the canyon so they can coast down and try several bikes without getting exhausted climbing… Which I think is cheating! Oh, the irony ;) There are usually some great food trucks, the nauseating smell of gasoline and the jarring sound of generators keeping everyone’s booth up and running. I hope in the future we see more solar electric generators that run quieter and smell better. Highlights this year for me at ODD were the https://electricbikereview.com/brand/surface-604/, some new models from https://electricbikereview.com/brand/eprodigy/ and a custom built https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAPfPiId8j8 from Nomad Cycles using the EcoSpeed motor. One of the ebikes I got to review as the show was starting up was the SmartMotion Pacer shown below.

In the past, I’ve created compilations from Interbike where I just walked around and combined lots of little bits into a “day of” video. This year, I filmed individual videos with vendors that I felt either had a cool product or were friends that I’d worked with in the past. I wish I had been able to see everyone but time was limited so we simply did the best we could. My girlfriend Monica came along and can be seen and heard adding perspective along the way. All of these videos (and prior-year footage) can be watched in a new playlist I created on YouTube called https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMsufmMBrYpCkMofSBxtkJe-1u_3mknBY. The embedded video below is from Riese & Müller, makers of some of the most polished and unique bikes I saw at the show. They’re a German company with over 23 years experience working on bicycles, focusing in on electrics for the past 8 years and becoming exclusive in 2012. I expect to see some of their bikes at premium dealers in the US this year such as http://newwheel.net/ in San Francisco and http://propelbikes.com/ in New York.

Some of the other brands you’ll find videos for in the playlist (and linked directly below) include https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McGUO_JxJrs, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnw4MfLRh90, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsekUOKueXY, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDihNrNopwo, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16qCtZ0rKFY, [URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sV1dpiMVgM']BESV[/URL], [URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddpATbbfIzw']SmartMotion[/URL], [URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALo-I-mS8kc']Tern[/URL], [URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RlQuMpeFC8']Raleigh[/URL], [URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pESh8ZC0VgQ']IZIP[/URL], [URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osjM0ALHa2w']COBI Connected Bike Interface[/URL], [URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26UxXB0hYaI']Biomega[/URL], [URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Icr3LBTsbVg']Volton[/URL], [URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POfmxZIDbJo']Skyway[/URL], [URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5jJmqQiH8c']OHM and BionX[/URL], [URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtxjT6RcrDU']Enzo Ebike[/URL], [URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Avn5YokqJzM']Magnum[/URL], [URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPhs3amP1lM']Ariel Rider[/URL], [URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VQ60sdPylc']Scott[/URL], [URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdAepsS-aro']Yamaha[/URL] and [URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fT6SyoZvjEs']Easy Motion[/URL] as well as some [URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgEiloKVyKY']informal conversation[/URL]with a dealer friend who runs Cynergy E-Bikes and Jason Kraft who created [URL='https://electricbikereview.com/liberty-trike/electric-tricycle/']the Liberty Trike[/URL]. Once the trip was finished, Mony and I hit the road traveling through Utah and Colorado where we made a fun Vlog (video blog) showing our time exploring the wilderness, meeting new friends at AirBB locations and demoing a couple of Yunbikes with a full time RVer we met randomly at… you guessed it! a taco shack, where I did NOT get sick :D That video is posted below in case you’d like to join in on our little adventure.

Until next year, we’ll be on the road, filming electric bike reviews and producing interesting short videos of people, events and places that pique our interest. If you live somewhere cool and want to host us or just say hi feel free to comment below. We tend to drive for a day or two then settle for several days to meet with companies and film. If you have suggestions for what to film at future Interbike events or later this year or just questions about what we saw in 2016 feel free to shout out below :)

Joe
4 months ago

Volton A-Trail + several inches of the (mostly) soft stuff = a helluva good time.

Joe
5 months ago

the official clearance and demo page on the store. https://voltonbicycles.com/product-category/clearance/

Joe
5 months ago

I think we have a better idea on our parts delivery so the page went live with more info. if you want to post any questions fire away https://electricbikereview.com/forum/forums/volton/

Joe
5 months ago

For full spec and hi rez photos of the bike. https://voltonbicycles.com/shop/a-trail-emtb/

Joe
5 months ago

We're right down the road from NBT. I'll have the A-Trail page on the site as soon as I have a better idea on when the frames are painted and going to assembly. I did shoot a quick component walk through showing the hardware. Feel free to reach out to us directly at volton at voltonbicycles

bob armani
5 months ago

Hi Joe-Wanted to reach out to you. I am in Chicago also and I see you have a new addition to the Volton family of ebikes above. I do not see this ebike on your website. Is it coming soon later this year. I like the design with nice components. Would also like to see the specs on this bike.
Santa Cruz or Canyon is my choice. Canyon is a German designed bike. They are launching some new models in a couple of weeks.

Joe
5 months ago

The Yeti renderings are a couple of years old already...the Santa Cruz rendering is a new one, and quite the looker.
Considering both brands cater to core XC and DH riding, the consensus seems to feel like they were trolling for response.

also, for what it's worth....my biased answer

DkM
4 years ago

Hi Court,
Great work on the site! I've been trying to learn about what options are out there for e-bikes, and this seems like the most complete and informative source around on the internet.

I had my mind all set on the Volton alation mid-drive 350, but then I stumbled across HPC and their offerings. The explorer seems like a beast for the price with a 750W motor that you can upgrade to 1500W.

http://www.hi-powercycles.com/2015-hpc-explorer/

How much stock can you put in the numbers anyway? I'm looking for something zippy that can also take me up Seattle hills. I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts on this!

MacExpert WillemsTech
2 years ago

Your hands make me nervous. If you need to communicate with hearing impaired use subtitles....

Nicholas Yiannakis
3 years ago

Is this bike water proof when the battery is removed?

Olexandr Ignatov
3 years ago

Hello! Thanks for this review!
What do you think of Volton Alation Mid-Drive 500W version? Is it worth it or better to go with 350W or standard Alation 500?

Ron Warrick
3 years ago

+ElectricBikeReview.com Because you can use the derailleurs with the mid-drive, a 350 watt motor will deliver more useable torque than a 500 watt nominal hub. I have a 250 watt mid-drive that outperforms my 400 watt hub on any kind of a hill.

ElectricBikeReview.com
3 years ago

+Olexandr Ignatov I'd probably just go with the standard Alation 500 and save the cash. Those hub motors have been around forever and work pretty well. You're correct about mid-drive motors adding more wear and tear to the chain and cassette.

Olexandr Ignatov
3 years ago

+ElectricBikeReview.com Thanks for the answer! Became a little bit confused choosing between Alation 500, Alation Mid Drive 500 or some similar bikes...It looks like Alation 500 does the job pretty well, and it has that throttle from scratch mode, which Mid Drive didn't. But in other hand, it has less overall battery performance and efficiency and the rear hub motor could be more pain if something breaks. But you say that 8Fun mid drive motor could be even more complex. Also I've seen in some of your videos that switching gears on mid drive systems could be a little tricky. After all, a Mid Drive 500 is $500 more than the Alation 500.

What would you choose for yourself, man? :) Sorry for disturbing you so much.

ElectricBikeReview.com
3 years ago

+Olexandr Ignatov I'd say the mid drive will offer better balance and efficiency (this includes battery performance... the batteries are the same but the mid-drive just operates more efficiently if you shift gears). It may be easier to service the wheels on a mid-drive because there are fewer cables and less weight in the wheels but the motor itself is more complex when mounted at the bottom bracket than if it were a hub motor.

Olexandr Ignatov
3 years ago

+ElectricBikeReview.com Thank you! So Alation 500 will be as good as Mid Drive 500, except better balance, efficiency, easier customization and service and better battery performance overall in the Mid Drive?

mixflip
4 years ago

I love mid drives for their torque but i hate systems that have the motor in the worst place possible for offroad. One rock or log hit and the motor is destroyed. Please review the electric motoped bike by Race Proven in San Diego!!! Their motor is in a great spot for offroad.

nebula722
4 years ago

The 8Fun drive is what I want and hope to get soon.  I wonder how many lumens the headlamp is. 

nebula722
4 years ago

+ElectricBikeReview.com I did not order one as yet.  I order the 20" wheel and then after the first of the year I plan on purchasing the 8ifun.  I am excited as I do think I will be able to bulldoze up the grades with me pedaling.   I have a headlamp this is just great.  750 lumens.  Good morning. 

ElectricBikeReview.com
4 years ago

Yeah, it's a nice setup! Did you order one? Sorry, not sure on the lumens for this headlamp.

Marcelo Gutierrez
4 years ago

Is this model faster than the Alation 500?. I read on that review of the Alation 500 that you can play with the setting and get up to 25 m/h.

ElectricBikeReview.com
4 years ago

I've heard that as well and seen it on some models. I think this one goes slightly above 20mph actually but not much. There is another mid-drive from 8Fun that offers 750 watts of power (vs. 350 here) and it definitely goes a bit faster. Here are the reviews for both motors stand-alone http://electricbikereview.com/8fun/bbs01/ and http://electricbikereview.com/8fun/bbs02/

Nichen
4 years ago

Wow there are sooo many different Electric bikes today! It's crazy! Just compare to let's say...the year 2012. It's great! It's the future! :)

ElectricBikeReview.com
4 years ago

I agree, it's kind of crazy! I started reviewing bikes around 2012 and the options were much more limited. This year (2014) in particular has been huge with Haibike coming to the US and the updates from BionX. Easy Motion has also been doing great stuff and was one of the leaders in 2013 to bring purpose built high quality designs. Have you been to the main site? I've got a list of different types of bikes to help you sort through: http://electricbikereview.com/#bikes

Bierce88
4 years ago

what kind of range would that thing get

ElectricBikeReview.com
4 years ago

I've estimated 35 to 45 miles (the website says up to 44 miles) and it really depends on how much you use the throttle vs. pedaling along in assist as well as your weight, the terrain and even the weather (like wind) to some extent. The nice LCD display shows battery level and has an odometer so you can kind of estimate your range with each ride and decrease assist to conserve juice if needed.

G Robbo
4 years ago

Great review, and nice to see the Bafang installed and sold as the finished product as a complete rig,  a very nice bike indeed .. 

ElectricBikeReview.com
4 years ago

I completely agree, buying it this way eliminates the need for special tools and gets you a warranty. I think the Volton frames look really nice and the fact that you also get a year warranty is hard to beat.

Onoh Udensi
4 years ago

Again, yet another wonderful review. Thank you.

ElectricBikeReview.com
4 years ago

Thanks, this was a fun one! Excited to see a few affordable mid-drive electric bikes coming out :)