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E-bike for wife

Old 11-10-16, 04:13 PM
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msbiker
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E-bike for wife

My wife and I have been experienced cyclists for many years, but ride at different speeds. We are planning on some road/light off-road credit card touring (think GAP-CO) and are considering getting her a class 1 pedal assist (no throttle) e-bike to help her with the hills, headwinds and longer distances (45-65 miles). We are thinking about a bike with a mid mount motor, about 700/40 cm tires, hydraulic disc brakes, maybe a suspension fork with a lockout. Considering Haibike duro (either x or s), Raleigh Misceo iE, Izip Peak, Trek Conduit or maybe Giant Quick E+. Any thoughts on those? Are the ranges listed on manufacturer spec sheets realistic in the real world?

Any others we should be considering in the $2,000 to $3,000 price range?

While we think a mid mount would be best for a pedal assist, any thoughts on Bosch vs. Yamaha vs. Shimano motors? Any other big factors we need to consider?


Having never owned an e-bike, and living in an area that currently has no local e-bike dealer, I am bit concerned about how maintenance on an e-bike differs from a normal bike. How much maintenance does the motor/electronics of an e-bike require? Can you do any of it yourself? While I'm not a bike mech I can handle the routine stuff, but screwing around with an electric bike motor would be way beyond my capabilities.

I'm guessing she would put 1,500 to 2,500 miles on it yearly for 3 or 4 years.

Thanks for any responses.
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Old 11-10-16, 07:37 PM
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Hopefully 2702, who loves her Haibike SDURO, will respond. For the most part, complete mid-drives (those with Bosch, Brose Shimano, etc systems) are "normal" bicycles, with the exception of the motor/controller/battery which can't be serviced by most owners anyway. Most have two or three year warranties and FME are very reliable. I've ridden models with many different motors and like Bosch-equipped Haibikes best.
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Old 11-11-16, 03:03 PM
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And I liked the Yamaha equipped Haibikes best.

-SP
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Old 11-11-16, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by msbiker View Post
My wife and I have been experienced cyclists for many years, but ride at different speeds. We are planning on some road/light off-road credit card touring (think GAP-CO) and are considering getting her a class 1 pedal assist (no throttle) e-bike to help her with the hills, headwinds and longer distances (45-65 miles). We are thinking about a bike with a mid mount motor, about 700/40 cm tires, hydraulic disc brakes, maybe a suspension fork with a lockout. Considering Haibike duro (either x or s), Raleigh Misceo iE, Izip Peak, Trek Conduit or maybe Giant Quick E+. Any thoughts on those? Are the ranges listed on manufacturer spec sheets realistic in the real world?
OK. My first thought while reading this question is: in the real world there is no way any one battery, other than something really heavy (8-10 or more lbs), is going to get you 45-65 miles. It just won't happen unless you are riding on dead flat land with a tailwind. Considering distance is fully dependent upon how much the battery is going to draw down to power the motor based on that motor's wattage, and the riding terrain/weather (think: wind), you are better off taking a grain of salt with any manufacturer's promises.

Will your wife like an electric bike? I'm sure she will. Will it help her keep up with you, laugh at hills, sneer at headwinds, and smile the entire way? I'm absolutely sure. Will she need extra batteries to do the longer distances? Most probably. Will that bike be heavy when she is forced to be the sole power source? Yup, without a doubt. Will the middrive "freewheel" like a regular bike when the motor isn't engaged and she is pedaling? Nope. There will be resistance, albeit a small amount. Will an ehub freewheel? Yup.

You honestly need to find a bike shop that has some ebikes your wife can try, places that have hub and middrive motors to compare. Once she's ridden a few models, she can decide what fits her needs. Or you may go the route of converting a current bike into an ebike with the kits that are offered nowadays.

Having never owned an e-bike, and living in an area that currently has no local e-bike dealer, I am bit concerned about how maintenance on an e-bike differs from a normal bike. How much maintenance does the motor/electronics of an e-bike require? Can you do any of it yourself? While I'm not a bike mech I can handle the routine stuff, but screwing around with an electric bike motor would be way beyond my capabilities.
If you get a quality electric motor and battery(ies) and controller, your maintenance, including the probability of having to "screw around" with the motor, should be zilch. Just don't overface the motor, and don't abuse the batteries by dropping them, having them attached insecurely to the bike in a way that would put them in harm's way, running them down to zero charge and not recharging them asap, or leaving them where they are subjected to the vulgaries of weather when not in use. Both motor and batteries are designed to work in all kinds of weather, all kinds of (reasonable) conditions, and just keep on ticking. They are designed to be sealed and not touched. That's what their warranty is for - someone else to do the fixing should the unit require it.

Personally speaking, with my ebike I find that the maintenance is all on the regular bike components - brakes, chain, gearing, cables, pedals, tires, rims, grips, etc. Same as any analog bike. I do keep my batteries topped off, however, and in the house where there is less temperature variance.

Last edited by momsonherbike; 11-11-16 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 11-12-16, 06:23 AM
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OP here. Thanks for your comments Mom.

My wife is really liking the idea of an ebike. At 65 she doesn't have the jam to get up the big hills without difficulty, but still likes to ride. As far as battery range, the specs for bosch and yamaha mid-drives with 400 watt batteries are in the 40 to 60 mile range, depending primarily on degree of pedal assist used and then on weight, incline, wind, road surface, etc. Most "real world" comments on mileage seem to indicate the spec ranges are pretty accurate, but some people seem more skeptical. I guess we'll just have to find out.

Our idea is to test ride as many ebikes as possible before purchasing. That is a bit challenging since we have no ebike dealers in our area, but we have a couple of trips planned and hope to work in some test rides before the end of the year.

Thanks for the maintenance comments. My main concern is having a problem with the motor and having to ship the bike off for repairs since we won't have a local dealer. We do have a couple of trek dealers and a giant dealer in town, even though they are not currently carrying ebikes. My guess is that if they can't fix an issue, they could get a trek or giant rep to help them. So that may factor into the decision process.
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Old 11-12-16, 08:17 AM
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I was skeptical at first about the mileage on my Haibike with the Yamaha motor till I tried it, The bike's range goes on further than my interest to ride in a day. If I leave it in eco or standard mode I certainly can get 40 to 60 miles on it with some coasting and just average pedaling. I have not tested the Bosch on an extended ride, just parking lot rides on demo days. I prefer the Yamaha, feels completely natural so to speak. The modes are completely dialed in correctly, You will feel each mode eco is like a bike with just enough juice to help on the flats, standard is really do it all while the highest power mode is not necessary till you hit really big hills or lazy. I tested many ebikes at the ebike expo. I highly suggest the lowest price Sduro and than you can upgrade whatever you need yourself cheaply. Haibikes are not cheap bikes.

Haibike | We are ePerformance.

If you get the above change the tires, the dual purpose tires do not stop well in the wet, too little tread to grip in the wet.
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Old 11-12-16, 12:31 PM
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Batteries are rated by amp-hours (AH), which can be converted to watt-hrs (wh) by multiplying by voltage.

Watt-hr = volts x AH.

You can estimate range by dividing the watt-hrs by your watt-hr/mile (wh/m). That is a measured number that will depend on average speed, rider weight, terrain, and the wind, so it is highly variable. On my e-bikes, I have wattmeters and get values between 6 to 20 wh/m.

I just came off a 13 mile ride where I averaged 13.6 mph at a rate of 9.4 wh/m for the first 10 miles. I noted that the Juiced guys use 15 watt-hr/mile to estimate mileage. I think that is reasonable. I cranked up the pedal assist for easier pedaling on the last 3 miles, and the wattmeter said 14.7 wh/m.

That says a 400 wh battery has a 26 mile range for most people. That is your typical entry level battery, by the way. The Juiced guys sell a whopper of a battery if you want to go 50 miles. Or if you are touring, carry a second battery.

By the way, until I started doing the instrumentation stuff, I thought I could do 40 miles on my 360 wh battery, but it turns out imine is more like 300 wh. They rate the wh on the actual battery capacity, but our bike controllers shut them off before they use it all up, for better battery life.

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Old 11-12-16, 12:34 PM
  #8  
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If your wife still wants to pedal most of the time, than a hub motor could actually be "better" than a mid-drive as you can put it on most 27 speeds and keep the bike you have. Also most mid-drives are only 7 to 9 gears, thus when riding without assistance it's not as usable as a 27 speed. IMO

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Old 11-12-16, 07:31 PM
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This "how far can I go" question is easy, depends on how much you want/willing/able to pedal... The only real numbers on how far you can go using the assist should be measured with power only riding, no pedaling, I would use 20 watt/Hr per mile, so if you have a 400 watt battery then you can/should be able to go 20 miles. ( and if you don't think so ) here are some numbers I got per charge on my E-Assist bike.

10.5 mile "assist only" with no pedaling maxing out the throttle to the 20MPH cut out, with some small hills,
30 miles on "level 4" max assist basically keeping 20MPH,
65 miles "normal" level 1 use, basically averaging 13MPH,
350 miles "eco" riding, using the assist just when ever I really felt I could use some assist averaging about 12MPH, and using the re-gen capability of my system every chance I could ... Now I really do know how far the system will/can actually take me and how I want to/will use it.

Big difference between 10.5 and 350 miles I say...

Last edited by 350htrr; 11-13-16 at 02:04 PM. Reason: add stuff
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Old 11-13-16, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
If your wife still wants to pedal most of the time, than a hub motor could actually be "better" than a mid-drive as you can put it on most 27 speeds and keep the bike you have. Also most mid-drives are only 7 to 9 gears, thus when riding without assistance it's not as usable as a 27 speed. IMO
I agree. I'm 63 (two years younger than the OP's wife), and have pretty much the same issues with hills, etc, except that I have to be careful not to damage my knees because I am involved in a competitive riding sport.

Now, this is only my personal experience, but... I have tried a few mid-drives only to find I didn't like having to shift through the power controls. It took too much concentration and nonstop maneuvering to constantly "dial in" what I felt was appropriate for the undulating terrain, and that took away from the ride enjoyment. I found I was more concerned and focused on the electronics than just biking along. Maybe that was because I was trying the ebikes out and not familiar with the setup, but still....it wasn't encouraging for me. I have found I am far happier just shifting my gears for the terrain, and touching my thumb throttle to activate my front ehub when I wanted a boost up a hill, or to increase my speed. It was simple, easy, clean. No dialing.

Again JMHO. I would never give up a throttle. Touch it and the bike is suddenly an ebike. Release it and ignore it and your bike is back to being just your common everyday bike.

I think the OP is going to have to seriously consider the bike weight issue in the purchase. For me, it is always a bit of a shock switching between my 40+lb ebike and my 20lb road bike. I adore my ebike for the long rides because...well, that motor is just sheer heaven when I want it. But it is a lot of weight to push down the road, too. The 700x35 tires really help keep up the speed, thankfully.
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Old 11-13-16, 04:22 PM
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OP here. Thanks for all the thoughtful comments. The wife's current bike can only accept a 28 tire and she is looking for something wider for a bit more stability. So retrofitting her current bike is probably not an option. Plus, as her personal mechanic, I like the idea of normal wheels as opposed to a hub wheel.

We are hoping she can get some test rides in during the next month or so on any available e-bikes, mid and hub. So we'll see what she likes and go from there.
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Old 11-16-16, 12:39 AM
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This is probably not the advice you are looking for but in the interest of leaving no stone unturned in solving your problem, as two long time cyclists have you considered a non-motorized tandem? They don't work for all couples but for those that do, they are an absolute joy.

And you can always add a motor to the tandem in a few years if you need the help.
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Old 11-16-16, 08:37 AM
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OP here. My wife and I have been riding bikes together for 25+ years. As much as I love her and she loves me, a tandem would not be a good fit for us. We both like being the captain of our own ship.
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Old 11-17-16, 04:46 PM
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thanks for the rec, Anat. She is looking for a mid mount rather than a hub system. She going to check out a couple of Bosch powered Treks next week and some other bikes in a couple of weeks.
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Old 11-20-16, 08:05 PM
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If she needs for climbing uphill then mid-drive can be a good option. If she is going to use for commuting or cruising i will 100% advise hub motors. they are more smooth to ride.

Haibike is an excellent bike for mTB purposes but it make my bottom hurt after 15 minute ride. Wasn't something i was looking for.

I will advise pedego, yuba or ariel rider if you are looking for a comfortable option.
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Old 12-05-16, 11:08 PM
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I relate closely to the OP as I embarked on my exploration of e-assist options a few months ago. This last week for the first time my wife and I were able to ride together on a couple of rides that otherwise would have been a struggle for her, and definitely not enjoyable. As a complete newbie to e-bikes I can't tell you about the technical aspects, but I can tell you that my wife while originally against the idea of riding an e-assist bike is now all smiles. No throttle, the programming of the e-assist controller works intuitively for our style of road riding. She's ridden about 3 hours over varying terrain including hills between 4% and 10% grade, and an average speed of around 17 mph - the battery has about 2/3 capacity left according to the display. The display is in color with large easy to read numbers. Total cost was just under $1,800 CAD not including the bike. It's a number that sounds ridiculous in some ways, but the joy of being able to ride together is priceless.


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Old 12-06-16, 10:53 AM
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I can say the Hiabike (Bosch, Bosch CX & Yamaha) all perform well, but are expensive. The Yamaha with dual front chainring is the most reasonably priced. I've ridden all three motors on different frames. Very nice E-bikes.

The Raleigh Misceo iE is a wonderful electric shifting ride with the Shimano STePS system, but doesn't have a suspension fork. I think Raleigh does have a suspension fork model for 2017 though. IMHO this bike is great for riders that want to commute or ride with others that are much stronger riders on cemment and possibly mild gravel roads. One nice feature is the bike will shift back to the starting gear of your choice when you stop automatically. A BIG feature when riding stop and go. Plus I've read about women that set this bike up as a road bike to ride with their husbands in hilly areas and it performs flawlessly in that regard.

One eMTB you might research is the Focus Jam2 in its' cheapest form. This E-bike has the new Shimano STePS system that is designed for off-road use and has the ability to support an additional battery for extended range. Personally I have my eye on this 2017 eMTB and Focus eMTB's in general going forward. They seem to be a company that gets what many MTBer's want, which is a bit of electric assist in a light weight package that still has the feel of a MTB bicycle and optional huge range.

ADDED: The FOCUS BOLD2 hardtail might be interesting to review for your wife. I've got my eye on the FOCUS JAM2 29 PRO Di2. Awesome job Focus!

https://electricbikereport.com/2017-f...comment-678290

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Old 12-07-16, 09:53 AM
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OP here. Wife and I test rode a couple of Trek ebikes with the Shimano STePS system. She also rode an Orbea with Bosch motor. While the test rides were pretty short (around 3 miles) we were able to go up short hills with what I estimated to be a 5 to 6% grade. It was a real eye opener. What she liked was that the bikes rode like a bike, felt like a bike, and pedaled like a bike, with the assist on or off. Instead of grinding up a hill in granny, the assist allowed her to pedal up the hills without dread. To me, it seemed like you had a really, really big tailwind that was helping you up the hill. I think my problem will be keeping up with my bride once she gets an ebike.

We are going to check out some Haibikes with Bosch and Shimano motors, a Raleigh Misceo and maybe another bike or two in a couple of weeks. Since those test rides will be in the SW Chicago burbs I am little concerned about a lack of hills, but we will see.

Thanks for the reviews, NoPhart. Your comments on the Raleigh Misceo are the reason I think that may be a good choice. The lack of a suspension fork may be an issue, but we'll see.

I followed the link to the Focus bikes. The hardtail looks very slick and I like the option to add a second battery for long trips. Of course, you can always carry a second battery on any long trip. I did not see a US seller, but my guess is that they will eventually make their mark in the US market.
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Old 12-07-16, 10:30 AM
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@msbiker just a tip, whenever you post in your own thread, it shows "Thread Starter" in highlighted letters below your user name, so that everyone knows you're the OP.

I got my wife to try a Trek FS eMTB with Bosch mid-drive back in September, a day after I had tried it myself at a Trek demo. She liked being able to glide effortlessly up and down hills. She's not huge into cycling, though, so I don't know if we would ever spend the money to convert her bike. I'll see how it goes with a Bafang BBS02 conversion on my utility bike first.
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Old 12-08-16, 01:04 AM
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I am a wife on my own lol . I want to buy an electric bike too but looking something like a cargo bike but smaller in size. I want to use it for my daily tasks. I live in Laguna beach where we have some hills to climb.
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Old 12-08-16, 11:00 AM
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Go to Electric Cyclery. Try a BionX 500D equipped bike on the hill next to Kevin's shop and also a mid-drive, then report back with your resources (how much you want to spend and whether you have a donor bike).
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Old 12-08-16, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Ruth68 View Post
I am a wife on my own lol . I want to buy an electric bike too but looking something like a cargo bike but smaller in size. I want to use it for my daily tasks. I live in Laguna beach where we have some hills to climb.
OOPS! I PUT THIS IN THE WRONG POST. OH WELL, I'LL LEAVE IT HERE ANYWAY...

Whatever you buy, make absolutely sure you get a good lock that secures every part of the bike when you leave it unattended. Theft is one of the biggest concerns for E-bike car substitution that sometimes goes overlooked until it is too late. E-bikes aren't insured and the homeless in The OC is crazy high, as well as, the low-life beach community duellers. Not trying to scare you, just giving you a heads up.

I never leave my eMTB unattended period, even when it is locked to the top of my car. What some manufacturers call "locked" to the roof rack is hillarious. My through axle MTB has a clamp around the front axle that locks, but anyone knowledgeable about MTB's knows all you have to do is unscrew the front axle and pull it out of the locking clamp. When they say "securely locked" I guess they really mean securely locked to the rack for transport, not securely locked for theft.

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Old 12-08-16, 04:03 PM
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Take a trip up to Madison, WI. I bought a Haibike at Crazy Lenny's. About 18 different brands of eBikes, and great prices. I bought a demonstrator Haibike from them, and very happy. The back of the store is up against a paved bike trail, so test riding is easy!
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Old 02-20-17, 03:12 PM
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Wife ended up with a new 2015 hiabike Trekking Pro from Random Bike Parts, purchased at less than 50% list. We had a lbs assemble it. While the 2017 Haibikes come with a 500 wh battery, I really couldn't tell much difference between a 2016 and a 2015 since they both come with 350 w motors and a 400 wh battery. Her bike came with a 9 speed cassette and 3 internal hub gears, plus 4 assist levels. She is really liking it and kicking my butt on an significant hill. Really nice workmanship on the bike with quality components.

So far, the range has been pretty amazing. Yesterday we came back from 32 mile ride with about 1300 ft of climb and she still had a listed eco range of about 45 miles. However, she is only using the assist as necessary to maintain speed or needed for climbs. My guess is that for the terrain we normally ride, she will have real world range of around 50 to 60 miles, depending on her use of the assist. All in all, she is very happy with the Haibike.
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Old 02-20-17, 05:39 PM
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Bikes: All mine are electric bikes now

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Fantastic! That's wonderful news that she is enjoying her new ebike, and you are able to ride together...except for the hills, of course. (Then again, we all knew THAT would happen!

Thanks for the update!
momsonherbike is offline  

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