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Electric Bike for Commuting

Old 09-18-16, 03:27 PM
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Kindaslow
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Electric Bike for Commuting

I have wanted an electric bike for years, and I have come very close twice, most recently with a Stromer ST2. I was planning on using it for commuting, loved the bike, and went to buy one. They couldn't get it to run correctly. I kept commuting without the assistance, but I keep watching. My commute varies from 16 to 28 miles roundtrip, with 1000 to 1,500 ft of elevation gain and lots of rain.

I have seen a couple of folks using the Turbo X, but most of them have broken due to rain or road grime.

Specialized is releasing a new bike, the Vado, with the center drive from the Levo. With the center drive, bigger battery, and another year of development, I am hoping this could be the one.

Anyone here commuting with an electric bike and conditions with similar mileage, climbing, and weather???
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Old 09-18-16, 10:25 PM
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Take a look at Wallerang. They're made in Sweden for inclement weather riding. And they come with really nice integrated racks for hauling stuff for your commute.
My wife loves hers. We live in a hilly area and she climbs those hills no problem (and we're old!).
She also gets really good range out of a charge....around 80 miles so far....mostly because she doesn't need the assist unless she's climbing the hills.
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Old 09-19-16, 03:26 AM
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There are several sources in the Seattle area stocking the Bafang/8Fun mid-drive systems. Instead of investing big bucks in a proprietary ebike, consider converting one of your existing favorites. The Bafang is well built and can handle the weather, the range, and your elevation challenge. Check Youtube for reviews and the simple installation process.
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Old 09-19-16, 06:51 AM
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BionX is manufactured in Canada and if 350 posts he can attest to its durability. I've ridden a couple of conversions (the 500D was a monster) and was very impressed. Might be a consideration if you have a good dealer nearby. Their three year all-inclusive warranty is the model for the rest of the industry.
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Old 09-19-16, 08:38 AM
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I can't find one single fault in my Haibike Ebike, I have had it for 270 miles and the mileage I get is ridiculous good. I live in Seattle like you. From Beacon Hill to Greenlake roundtrip It takes my battery from 100% to 70 or 60% percent depending on how hard I pedal or mode. The all purpose design of Haibikes is made for wet riding and rough rodes. I think Gregg's Cycle in Greenlake is having something like 700-800 dollars off on older Haibike models.
I weigh 135lbs so maybe thats why I get so good mileage, it helps. '
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Old 09-19-16, 09:44 AM
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If you were ready to buy a Stromer ST2 then E-bike price anxiety is a non-event for you. Take a look at the full range of Kalkhoff E-bikes and specifically the Integrale S11. Or you can get a Raleigh Misceo iE for you AND your better half for about the same price as the high end E-rides. Good luck in your search.
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Old 09-19-16, 02:08 PM
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You can't beat a direct drive hub motor for simplicity and reliability. If you are going to go the mid-drive route I'd go for the Bosch performance line (very good reputation for reliability.) This guy commutes on a Stromer ST2 in Austin, TX and hasn't had any issues for around a year on his ST2. He did have issues commuting on a mid-drive bike. I see a guy out on my rides who has been commuting on a Specialized Turbo S for 2+ years. I haven't talked to him but I see him on a regular basis so I don't think he has had any issues. Granted, it doesn't rain in SoCal.

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Old 09-20-16, 06:23 PM
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I have a bionx kit on my touring bike. I've had it 18 months. No problems. I commute in the rain. The e-bike is the bike I specifically choose to ride in the rain... not because of the electric motor, but because my touring bike is set up with great full fenders and rain flaps that reach within an inch of the ground. The Bionx has been bomb proof in the Western Washington wet winters. I would hope other manufacturers are just as reliable in the rain as they are in other conditions.
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Old 09-23-16, 08:17 PM
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Thanks for the responses.
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Old 09-25-16, 06:02 PM
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I wanted the Stromer ST2, because it is stunning to look at and fantastic to ride. I wanted a Specialized because the local dealer treats me great and they stand behind their products. But, the Stromer dealer could not get the bike running and the ST2s have not shown to be highly reliable. The Spesh dealer has two folks commuting regularly on ebikes, and they are having problems.

I looked into all of your suggestions. I don't want a conversion, given I will be switching between e and non-e. The Kalkhoff bikes look awesome, but not well supported here, yet. I had looked into Haibike a few years ago and they looked cheap. The new Nduro Trekking RX though looks good.

It appears that the Haibike Nduro Trekkng RX might be one of the more commonly used ebikes for commuting.

Have you heard of others that are commonly used it wet and super hilly areas? I want bullett proof, and with the Bosch it looks possible. Thoughts?
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Old 09-25-16, 07:27 PM
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Did you look into the Wallerang I suggested above? It uses the Shimano STEPS system. Enclosed rear 8 spd Alfine hub. 250w mid-drive with great torque. We also found it rides more like a "normal" bike when the electric assist is off than any other bike we tested. And you can have it shift automatically if you want. Or shift with the press of a button in manual mode. It's really well set up.

We had the same impression as you with the Stromers and Haibikes we tested.

We both really liked the Specialized Turbo S. But everyone we talked to said a mid-drive was better for hilly areas than a hub-drive.

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Old 09-25-16, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Ray_R View Post
Did you look into the Wallerang I suggested above? It uses the Shimano STEPS system. Enclosed rear 8 spd Alfine hub. 250w mid-drive with great torque. We also found it rides more like a "normal" bike when the electric assist is off than any other bike we tested. And you can have it shift automatically if you want. Or shift with the press of a button in manual mode. It's really well set up.

We had the same impression as you with the Stromers and Haibikes we tested.

We both really liked the Specialized Turbo S. But everyone we talked to said a mid-drive was better for hilly areas than a hub-drive.
Sorry, I forgot to mention that. They look great, but I did not find anyone in Seattle with one in stock.
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Old 09-26-16, 08:35 AM
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I have a 250 watt BFUN for a 40km (25 mile commute). You'll need to make sure it is properly waterproof - where the cable enter the motor should be winterized.

In Yurope we are limited to 250 w / 25kph. The only issue is I generally ride at 30 kph on the flat so am not seeing much assistance except starting up and in some lower speed city areas. I could rider slower but then my commute would be slower than on my none eBike. It is possible to adjust the top speed higher; obviously this will impact battery life.

Up hills are great. On a 10% grade I can cycle at around 20kph with human assistance and being a mid-drive the motor will be turning over at an efficient speed. 1500 feet (500meters) is certainly within the scope of this motor with something like a 12a/36v battery.
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Old 09-26-16, 03:08 PM
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If you don't mind making the short trip, there are two Wallerang dealers in the Portland area that have them in stock. The Seattle dealer could service them.
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Old 09-29-16, 07:11 PM
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Too bad you missed the ebike expo back in July for Seattle. I went to the one in San Diego. All of the bikes there got tortured in one way or another, except for rain, and nothing (that I could tell) broke or was not working correctly all weekend. I'm very surprised to hear of problems especially with the expensive Stromer.

Haibike is one of my top choices. Well made and rides VERY well. The Yamaha mid drive was super. If you have hills, a mid drive is a must.

Hope you find something good.

-SP
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Old 09-30-16, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by speedy25 View Post
Too bad you missed the ebike expo back in July for Seattle. I went to the one in San Diego. All of the bikes there got tortured in one way or another, except for rain, and nothing (that I could tell) broke or was not working correctly all weekend. I'm very surprised to hear of problems especially with the expensive Stromer.

Haibike is one of my top choices. Well made and rides VERY well. The Yamaha mid drive was super. If you have hills, a mid drive is a must.

Hope you find something good.

-SP
I am going to test ride the Trekkng RX tomorrow. All my research leads me toward this option for my purpose, but I am thinking the Bosch, given the track record is already so established.
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Old 10-13-16, 05:42 PM
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It rained quite a lot both ways of my commute today. I expect the same for tomorrow. My ebike performed well in the very wet conditions. Temps were in the 50's. I noticed that with rain gear I got wet from the inside... but not too bad. However, I know that I have been soaked from the inside in similar conditions when not riding the e-bike because of the extra effort exerted during my commute. Conditions weren't great for a bike commute, but the ebike made things easier and more enjoyable. I prefer riding my ebike in these conditions vs my alternative... a scooter.
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Old 10-14-16, 10:52 PM
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I pick up my 2016 Haibike RX Trekking tomorrow.

A review after a few hundred miles in the rain and hills.
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Old 10-15-16, 12:50 AM
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I ride a Easy Motion Evo Jet, ~30 miles ~500ft elevation change, rain or shine and maybe even snow, we'll see. Very easy bike to live with and makes a great training bike too. Usually with these pedal assist bikes there are different assist levels and the lowest assist setting on my Evo is just enough to overcome the added heft you're pedaling around. I've found that I really don't pedal less or less intensely I just get to where I am getting faster. You get used to the speed and are pumping away to keep the speed going. These things are also awesome for hills and those super windy days.

The Haibikes and the Bosch center drive system are very well regarded and if I could afford it, I'd love to get the XDuro Race.

From what I understand Shimano is planning on bringing their center drive system to the States next year so if you're not in a rush you may want to hold off a bit and see what they have to offer.
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Old 10-15-16, 08:40 AM
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zz, don't look now; it's been here for a while already.
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Old 10-15-16, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Kindaslow View Post
I pick up my 2016 Haibike RX Trekking tomorrow.

A review after a few hundred miles in the rain and hills.
Great choice! Look forward to your review. I expect to see your GRIN shining through your words.

Another new entry that looks promising is the Focus Jam2. It has the new Shimano STePS Di2 system that is designed for off-road. Multiple batteries for extra range and a very stealthy look. Beautiful bike!
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Old 10-15-16, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by NoPhart View Post
Great choice! Look forward to your review. I expect to see your GRIN shining through your words.

Another new entry that looks promising is the Focus Jam2. It has the new Shimano STePS Di2 system that is designed for off-road. Multiple batteries for extra range and a very stealthy look. Beautiful bike!
I leave in an hour to pick her up. This was a tough decision. My top priority is the bike's ability to function as a commuter. I could not find any bikes that had as much going for them, and there are some blogs showing how well this bike does. The Bosch motor was a big part of the decision. The others might be good and getting better, but the Bosch appears to be the clear leader right now. So, going into winter here in the Seattle area will give this bike a great test!
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Old 10-16-16, 03:10 PM
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Cool, Haibikes are nice if you have the budget for them and the mid-drive is a better system for climbing hills which I hear there are a few of in Seattle. The only thing I might suggest for commuting in the rain is to waterproof any exposed electrical connectors. Add some dielectric grease (I like Dow Corning DC4) in the connectors to displace water for getting in.
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Old 10-16-16, 04:09 PM
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Took her for a ride on some hills (Cougar Mountain up to the upper trailhead). Lots of climbing, some rather steep, and about 19 miles round trip from where I live. Also, tons of rain (the rain and steep hills by Seattle standards ), and lots of leaves and crud in places. Got home with about 40% battery power left, never used the top two power levels, still averaged about 15 miles per hour. The exercise was still pretty good, more cardio keeping the cadence up and not as much pure leg power. The bike is very stable and the big Schwalbe tires are great. Now, the only question is how she will hold up to 3-4 days a week of commuting in Seattle winter conditions.
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Old 10-16-16, 04:11 PM
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