Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 08-28-13, 03:11 AM   #1
Winfried
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Winfried's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Paris, France
Bikes:
Posts: 1,145
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
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.
Winfried is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-13, 11:06 AM   #2
Leisesturm
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 2,164
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
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
Leisesturm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-13, 12:08 PM   #3
Winfried
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Winfried's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Paris, France
Bikes:
Posts: 1,145
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
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.
Winfried is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-13, 12:30 PM   #4
spivonious
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Lancaster, PA, USA
Bikes: 2012 Trek Allant, 2016 Bianchi Volpe Disc
Posts: 1,857
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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...
spivonious is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-13, 12:58 PM   #5
ItsJustMe
Seņior Member
 
ItsJustMe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Michigan
Bikes: Windsor Fens, Giant Seek 0 (2014, Alfine 8 + discs)
Posts: 12,938
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
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.
ItsJustMe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-13, 01:12 PM   #6
Winfried
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Winfried's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Paris, France
Bikes:
Posts: 1,145
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
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.
Winfried is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-13, 01:32 PM   #7
Leisesturm
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 2,164
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
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
Leisesturm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-13, 01:37 PM   #8
jeffpoulin
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Bikes:
Posts: 2,173
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
jeffpoulin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-13, 02:26 PM   #9
Winfried
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Winfried's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Paris, France
Bikes:
Posts: 1,145
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
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...
Winfried is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-13, 02:32 PM   #10
Winfried
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Winfried's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Paris, France
Bikes:
Posts: 1,145
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
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.
Winfried is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-13, 02:55 PM   #11
Andy_K 
Senior Member
 
Andy_K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Beaverton, OR
Bikes: 2013 Kona Jake, 2015 Kona Jake the Snake, 2008 Kona Major Jake, 2013 Kona Jake the Snake, 2006 Kona Kula, 2012 Ridley Excalibur, 2008 Surly Long Haul Trucker, 2001 LeMond Buenos Aires, 1984 Pinarello Gran Turismo, 1982 Trek 614, 1979 Austro-Daimler
Posts: 8,410
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
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.
__________________
My Bikes
Andy_K is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-13, 03:03 PM   #12
Winfried
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Winfried's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Paris, France
Bikes:
Posts: 1,145
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
About 2km. I did intend to lend her my 3x8 10kg hybrid so she can have a go.
Winfried is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-13, 01:22 AM   #13
HydroG33r
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: New Westminster, BC
Bikes: Specialized Secteur Expert Disc Compact
Posts: 355
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
HydroG33r is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-13, 01:57 PM   #14
Winfried
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Winfried's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Paris, France
Bikes:
Posts: 1,145
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
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
Winfried is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-13, 03:57 PM   #15
Andy_K 
Senior Member
 
Andy_K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Beaverton, OR
Bikes: 2013 Kona Jake, 2015 Kona Jake the Snake, 2008 Kona Major Jake, 2013 Kona Jake the Snake, 2006 Kona Kula, 2012 Ridley Excalibur, 2008 Surly Long Haul Trucker, 2001 LeMond Buenos Aires, 1984 Pinarello Gran Turismo, 1982 Trek 614, 1979 Austro-Daimler
Posts: 8,410
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
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.
__________________
My Bikes
Andy_K is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-13, 04:26 PM   #16
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Bikes: 7
Posts: 18,086
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
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.
fietsbob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-13, 06:20 AM   #17
Winfried
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Winfried's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Paris, France
Bikes:
Posts: 1,145
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I tried, but she's hard set for an e-Bike She'll just carry a second battery for day-trips.
Winfried is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:08 PM.