I've been lurking here for a while, trying to absorb all the info on e-bikes as Dh and I are in the process of putting together a 'grocery/kid-getter' bike for me. First, the background: Most of the places I would go are less than 3 miles, and we live in a hilly area- some are short and steep, some are longer but not as steep. I want to be able to pick up the kids (3yrs and 6yrs) from school, or go to the store without getting super sweaty, or having to drive my minivan.
I don't currently have a bike, and am looking for more of a 'comfort' or hybrid type due to back and wrist pain when riding my borrowed MTB. Our plan is to purchase a bike, add a FreeRadical kit from Xtracycle, then add some e-assist, as there's no way I'd make it up the local hills with the kids or groceries on the back. I can ride the hills by myself but with +60lbs? I'd be off and walking for sure!
DH has been doing some internet research and I've been doing some test rides at LBS. We are thinking of adding a Wilderness Energy front hub to a bike like this: K2 Big Easy. I've already test ridden this bike and really liked it...my only big concern is the lack of disc brakes. I am a bit nervous about stopping on the hills if I have the e-assist, plus cargo weight. But other people have told me that the v-brakes will be fine. Plus this bike is only a 7spd....will that be ok going up the hills or should I go with a 21spd?
An alternative would be a hardtail MTB like the Marin Novato...which comes with disc brakes and 21spd. It's not 'comfort' but I have ridden it and with some mods (new bars, different seat and shorter stem) it would prolly be fine. This particular bike (and most MTB we've seen) has AL forks, which I gather might not be good for a front hub motor?
So I'd love to hear any pros/cons, advice or tips that y'all have....