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Old 03-12-12, 07:40 PM   #1
Shouldbeworking
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Will an e-bike truly make it up my hill?

Hi, I posted a very long question about which bike to get for myself below, and haven't gotten any replies, so I thought I'd ask some of the sub-questions in bite-sized posts.

I live in the SF Bay area, atop a BIG STEEP hill, and I just have trouble believing that an e-bike will make it up here. I've never seen anyone on an e-bike on my hill (and have only seen very few Olympic-looking, exhausted, avid bicyclists up here). I'm considering a Kettler Twin but would be open to others, although this is painfully expensive.

Separate question: would a folding bike (Dahon Briza, mostly likely) + BionX kit be likewise able to make it up my hill?
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Old 03-12-12, 08:53 PM   #2
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This video should answer your question: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lcDT...layer_embedded

It was posted on the hi-powercycles.com website. Their bikes and kits are very expensive to others I've seen and the one I have on order. You could find similar performance kits at lower prices I'm sure.
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Old 03-13-12, 09:33 AM   #3
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I would stay away from any type of EU spec bike like the Kettler for your hill, they are underpowered due to the restrictions the EU has compared to ours here. I suggest you go to see http://www.ebikessf.com/ and let them help you. They are local and understand electric bikes and how they pertain to your area which can be a good thing.
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Old 03-13-12, 03:30 PM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestion. But why, then, are Kalkhoffs and Kettlers spoken of with high praise on this board? e.g.

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...hlight=kettler
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Old 03-13-12, 05:14 PM   #5
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Your question is a little general because everyones opinion of a big hill maybe different. It also depends on how high the hill is. It's one thing to hit the bottom of a steep but short hill at full speed and starting from a stand still and trying to climb a steep long hill.

I've ridden up a very steep but short hill starting from a stand still and had no problem. And at the time I was using a Cyclone 360w add on kit. Please remember that the Cyclone motor kits use the bikes gearing. And my bike was equiped with a Nuvinci CV hub. So the real question is are you willing to start the climb at top speed and be prepaired to gear down as you climb and of course be at a much slower speed when you get to the top?

I would recommend getting a good 500w to 1000w motor and gear it throught the bikes drive.

Bob
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Old 03-13-12, 05:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shouldbeworking View Post
Thanks for the suggestion. But why, then, are Kalkhoffs and Kettlers spoken of with high praise on this board? e.g.

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...hlight=kettler
That inline Panasonic motor.
I have well over 10k miles on my Panasonic and it's not given me any issues. Kalkhoff also uses high quality components that give you long lasting trouble free service.
The largest benefit to an inline motor is the motor can take advantage of the bike's gearing, so one gets lots of low end torque. Great system for hills and loads.
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Old 03-13-12, 05:41 PM   #7
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Your question is a little general because everyones opinion of a big hill maybe different. It also depends on how high the hill is. It's one thing to hit the bottom of a steep but short hill at full speed and starting from a stand still and trying to climb a steep long hill.
]

Bob, thanks for replying. Yeah, I can't figure out how to tell gradient and other info that would be helpful. The car ride up is about 1.8 miles, very winding, sometimes more steep sometimes less, but always up. The hill is about 1700 ft above sea level. The bottom of the hill is in my guess 300 ft above sea level.


So the real question is are you willing to start the climb at top speed and be prepaired to gear down as you climb and of course be at a much slower speed when you get to the top?

Sure I don't care about speed at the top, I just want to make it up there relatively comfortably.
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Old 03-14-12, 08:22 PM   #8
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I still think you should go visit the ebikessf shop. At the very least they will have a few bikes that you can try as that can be a good way to decide what will work best for you. I am not associated with them but am a firm believer in getting advice from a real human being if at all possible and they are well regarded.
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Old 03-14-12, 09:04 PM   #9
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Mabman, thanks, I will visit them and also The New Wheel, which is in Bernal and specializes in e-bikes. I have to just try it out to see what it feels like. If I don't like the e-bike feel, i.e. if it doesn't ride fun like a real bike, then I won't get one even if it CAN make it up my hill.
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Old 03-15-12, 08:30 AM   #10
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Good plan. Keep us posted!
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Old 03-15-12, 08:12 PM   #11
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MapMyRide.com will give you a pretty good approximation of the gradient of your climb, particularly if you map a short distance. The road in that video has a brief section of 20% grade, but the overall climb is only about 150 feet.
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Old 03-19-12, 05:17 PM   #12
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I think your idea to test ride bike is perfect. Not everyone is a born ebiker and like normal bikes not all ebikes are created equal. I think your biggest problem is going to be the length of your hill or hills. Beside the obvious problem of having a motor and gearing setup capable of dealing with the hill you need battery power to handle it as well. In many (most) cases a quality pack will cost more the the bike. So if you buy a great bike and have to add a second pack this can up your costs significantly. This is something to keep in mind when you look at manufactured ebikes. Check on how you can add a secound pack if the bike can even handle a second pack. Ask about the cost of the bike manufactures pack. Typlically a manufactured ebike pack is very expensive. So you may want to buy an add-on pack if you can find room for it.

Bob

Last edited by dumbass; 03-19-12 at 05:21 PM.
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Old 03-19-12, 08:11 PM   #13
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I will repeat myself on this thread, try some good folding bikes. They are really light and you may be able to walk up the steepest part and use it on public transportation. I have both good quality ebikes that can make it up that hill and a Downtube mini folding bike. I am amazed at how light and wonderful the folder is. Try both up some hills.
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Old 03-20-12, 05:50 PM   #14
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Crackerdog, thanks. I COULD walk up the steepest parts, but I hate even carrying a handbag when I have done that, much less pushing a bike. And there is no public transport within 3 miles of my house, unfortunately. But I do want to try some folders anyway.
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Old 04-19-12, 01:53 AM   #15
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Based on this electric bike review, the reviewer seems to have been in a similar situation as you (hills so steep they "can make the most avid bike rider cry" and the need to keep biking fun). It says in the review that he bought the bike at The New Wheel, so maybe you can test-ride it if you are already planning on visiting the shop. It's an electric mountain bike by OHM Cycles. It's kind of pricey though.

I imagine any bike dealer you ask in your area would have plenty of recommendations though, since hills are likely a pretty common problem for people in San Francisco. I'm glad we don't have your hills in Vancouver, or I'd never be able to bike anywhere!
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