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  1. #1
    Senior Member Winfried's Avatar
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    Light, well equiped bike for commuting + trips?

    Hello

    A friend is considering buying an e-bike to stop driving to work, as she only has a few km's one-way.

    The reason for the e-bike is that there's a 7% hill before getting home.

    However, she has very little experience of riding bicycles, and I wonder if an e-bike is really a good idea, considering its disavantages (price, battery, can't be used for trips in the country.) I suspect she focused on e-bikes because it's often in the press.

    Alternatively, I was wondering if there were light, well-equiped bikes (3x8 speeds, rear-rack, mudguard) that would be about as easy to climb that hill in business clothes but have the avantage of being usable to get out of the city.

    I'm thinking of bikes like the Stevens Gran Turismo, not necessarily with a drop handlebar.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winfried View Post
    Alternatively, I was wondering if there were light, well-equiped bikes (3x8 speeds, rear-rack, mudguard) that would be about as easy to climb that hill in business clothes but have the avantage of being usable to get out of the city.
    Yes! The short answer is, yes, absolutely. An e-bike with the bike part of it of equivalent quality to the Steven's you linked will be unaffordable. Unfortunately I know nothing of what brands might be popular in Europe. To say nothing of what might be available by French makers. Something like a top of the line Specialized Sirrus, even if it didn't come stock with fenders and a rack would be an absolute breeze to fit out that way. Friends don't let friends buy e-bikes. Not yet anyway. I love the concept. But the batteries have a long way to go before they are practical. In the meantime, a 28 x 34 granny gear will get your friend up that hill with just a little bit of huff on her part. Since she is climbing the hill on the homeward bound leg, she can even push it and sweat a little.

    H

  3. #3
    Senior Member Winfried's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback. Ideally, it should be a brand available in a store here since she knows nothing about bikes so will rely entirely on someone fixing issues for her, but if there are really good brands that have no retailer, I'm still interested.

    Are there other bikes I should check besides the Sirus collection from Specialized? What about Felt, Charge, etc.?

    The goal is to start from a 8-10kg (17-22lbs) naked bike so she ends up with a 12kg (26lbs) bike once the mudguards + rear-rack are added.

  4. #4
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    If she's up for climbing the hill, then yes, a regular bike will work. If an e-bike gets her to ride more often...

  5. #5
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I tried a friend's e-bike a few weeks ago and it's a lot of fun to just twist the grip and go 20 MPH with zero effort. However, I'm not really interested for myself.

    Be careful though. There are a LOT of bikes out there that are crap. Don't buy anything with lead-acid batteries or brush motors. You want Lithium-(something) batteries and brushless motors. This is not cheap. However, the lead-acid brushed motor crap is just throwing money away - the motors and batteries will maybe last a year. My friend started with a cheap motor and after a few hundred miles the super thin wires melted their insulation and shorted the motor, and he had to ride the rest of the way home effectively with the brakes nearly locked, then had to tear the motor apart to rewire it.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Winfried's Avatar
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    Thanks for the infos. I did start looking into e-bikes... which is why I think it'd be a mistake, as she seems to getting to like riding (she's been riding with me on week-ends), so it'd be a waste of money to stick with her crappy, entry level bicycle and buy an e-bike for commuting which might not be necessary.

    I googled around, checked what eg. ChainReactionCycles has to offer, but am still looking for brands so I know what my options are, regardless of whether the brand is distributed here or not.

    At this point, I think a good bike would be:
    • as light as possible, while still being a good bike for commuting + day trips (ie. neither a road bike nor a real touring bike)
    • to keep things clean and easy, hub lights + gears with a good ratio so climbing that hill is a breeze
    • rear-rack + fenders


    FWIW, she's ready to spend €1.500-2.000 ($2.000-2.600) on a bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Winfried View Post
    Thanks for the infos. I did start looking into e-bikes... which is why I think it'd be a mistake, as she seems to getting to like riding (she's been riding with me on week-ends), so it'd be a waste of money to stick with her crappy, entry level bicycle and buy an e-bike for commuting which might not be necessary.

    I googled around, checked what eg. ChainReactionCycles has to offer, but am still looking for brands so I know what my options are, regardless of whether the brand is distributed here or not.

    At this point, I think a good bike would be:
    • as light as possible, while still being a good bike for commuting + day trips (ie. neither a road bike nor a real touring bike)
    • to keep things clean and easy, hub lights + gears with a good ratio so climbing that hill is a breeze
    • rear-rack + fenders


    FWIW, she's ready to spend €1.500-2.000 ($2.000-2.600) on a bike.
    You can probably get a decent e-bike for her budget. There is a German(?) e-bike called an A2B here. Very nice, and probably lithium-ion batteries. It is more like an e-moped. Very well built but you will not want to cruise around with the motor off! My advice is to go into a local shop with a good reputation. Spend the money there. If she is going to rely on them for basic maintenance and repair, it is money well spent since most good shops will do nearly all the work on bikes they have sold, for no charge.

    H

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    http://www.vortrieb.com/special_edition.php5

    It's in German, but Google translate can help you with that. Comes well equipped for commuting and costs much less than 1500 euros. In my experience, it's hard to find good commuting bikes in France, but they're everywhere in Germany.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Winfried's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
    You can probably get a decent e-bike for her budget. There is a German(?) e-bike called an A2B here. Very nice, and probably lithium-ion batteries. It is more like an e-moped. Very well built but you will not want to cruise around with the motor off!H
    Thank for the info, but it's just the point: An e-bike is useless for week-end outings, which she currently does with a cheap, entry-level bike... which probably convinced her that she had to get an e-bike for commuting, simply because she never rode a real, good, regular bike.

    If anyone knows of a light, city-ready bike with hub gear/lights...

  10. #10
    Senior Member Winfried's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffpoulin View Post
    In my experience, it's hard to find good commuting bikes in France, but they're everywhere in Germany.
    Thanks Jeff. I was thinking of US brands, but indeed, German mfgs have a lot of good bikes in that price range.

    Edit: Those are apparently the main manufacturers in Germany:
    Stevens www.stevensbikes.de : Gran Turismo
    Vortrieb www.vortrieb.com/special_edition.php5
    VSF Fahhradmanufaktur www.fahrradmanufaktur.de
    Winora www.winora.de
    Bergamont www.bergamont.de
    Kalkhoff www.kalkhoff-bikes.com
    Cube www.cube.eu
    Focus www.focus-bikes.com

    What about Dutch brands?
    Last edited by Winfried; 08-28-13 at 02:40 PM.

  11. #11
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    You don't say how long the 7% hill is.

    I can tell you that for most people who aren't in the habit of riding a bike, an 7% climb is going to be challenging regardless of how light or well-geared the bike is. If it's a short climb she'd probably adapt to it quickly, though it's still likely to induce a good bit of sweating.

    I'd recommend that she borrow a bike and try the climb a few times before committing to a purchase.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Winfried's Avatar
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    About 2km. I did intend to lend her my 3x8 10kg hybrid so she can have a go.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winfried View Post
    About 2km. I did intend to lend her my 3x8 10kg hybrid so she can have a go.
    Eek. 2km x 7% is about 140m of climbing. I imagine it would be a bit sweaty (not to mention demoralizing) for quite a while...

    Excellent idea to let her try your hybrid. See how much she really likes it.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Winfried's Avatar
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    I climbed it using the smallest gears (front 30 x back 27). Turns out the slope is only 4% and less than 2km. It took a good 10mn but it should be a breeze even for someone not used to riding.

    http://app.strava.com/segments/5312361

  15. #15
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winfried View Post
    I climbed it using the smallest gears (front 30 x back 27). Turns out the slope is only 4% and less than 2km. It took a good 10mn but it should be a breeze even for someone not used to riding.

    http://app.strava.com/segments/5312361
    I don't know. There are some places where that gets over 10%. Obviously I don't know how fit your friend is, but when I first started biking to work there were 3% hills that gave me trouble for a while.

  16. #16
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Light And E Bike Ie motor controller and Battery , are opposites, perhaps ..

    towing around the extra weight of that , so it's there to get the uphill burst may be just part of the trade off..


    I have a Nice Koga NL Made bike , they have a big range , in all categories from Folding tandems to electric Oma/Opas.
    Gazelle is another NL brand wide range there too..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 08-29-13 at 04:32 PM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Winfried's Avatar
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    I tried, but she's hard set for an e-Bike She'll just carry a second battery for day-trips.

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