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E-Bike Recommendation

Old 10-04-19, 08:24 AM
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Ken S
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E-Bike Recommendation

I do this with a bit of a heavy heart (and fat butt)...
I'm 62 and started riding again a few years ago. We then moved to the Berkshires in Massachusetts. I can ride the rail trail around here, but getting on the roads is tough (lots of hills). As the rail trail can get boring I'd like to do more on the roads, but, frankly, I've learned I'm no longer up to the challenge of a couple of hours of fairly tough ascents. Even dropping down to the granny gear on my Bridgestone RB-2 or Trek DS 8.6. I'm a big guy and even in the best of shape, I'm carrying over 210lbs.

So, I'm considering going to an E-bike. What would you folks recommend I look at for a road/hybrid style bike (roads, maybe some gravel paths). I'd like something with a decent range (50 miles?) so I'm not having to worry about turning around too early on a nice day.

I'd prefer to stay away from carbon fiber, and would like something where I'll be able to get parts down the road.

I'm not looking cheap, but I'm also not going to be allowed to go crazy.

Thanks for your suggestions.

Last edited by Ken S; 10-04-19 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 10-04-19, 08:57 AM
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Trek has a trade-up program and has just released a new line of ebikes called Allant+ with the latest gen 4 Bosch motors, either Performance Line CX (Class 1 20mph) or Performance Line Speed (Class 3 28mph), you can spec any of the Allant+ with the Performance speed upgrade, and 500wh powertube battery or options for a 625wh powertube or a second 500wh range boost battery on which you'll easily be able to go 50 miles at higher speeds. The other way is to get something lighter and more energy efficient like the Class 1 20mph Yamaha ebikes that also have a 500wh battery and an excellent 3-year transferrable warranty, the Wabash and YDX Torc models are suitable for trekking and get good range.

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Old 10-04-19, 09:26 AM
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You can put a quality kit on one of your bikes or stick with a known brand like Trek. I think a lot of e-bike vendors will disappear and proprietary parts will be an issue in the future, so sticking with a bicycle brand that's been around for decades makes sense.
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Old 10-04-19, 10:37 AM
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Ken S
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Thanks, we test rode a 2019 Verve+ and it was okay. However, Trek really failed on the placement of the braze-ons as the only spot for a water bottle was too close to the top tube to hold most bottles. I believe they fixed that on the 2020 models. I will give one of the Allant+s a ride when they get into stock at our LBS.

Originally Posted by Dewey101 View Post
Trek has a trade-up program and has just released a new line of ebikes called Allant+ with the latest gen 4 Bosch motors, either Performance Line CX (Class 1 20mph) or Performance Line Speed (Class 3 28mph), you can spec any of the Allant+ with the Performance speed upgrade, and 500wh powertube battery or options for a 625wh powertube or a second 500wh range boost battery on which you'll easily be able to go 50 miles at higher speeds. The other way is to get something lighter and more energy efficient like the Class 1 20mph Yamaha ebikes that also have a 500wh battery and an excellent 3-year transferrable warranty, the Wabash and YDX Torc models are suitable for trekking and get good range.
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Old 10-04-19, 10:38 AM
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Ken S
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
You can put a quality kit on one of your bikes or stick with a known brand like Trek. I think a lot of e-bike vendors will disappear and proprietary parts will be an issue in the future, so sticking with a bicycle brand that's been around for decades makes sense.
Is there any kit you would recommend. I'd probably fit it onto the Trek DS I have if I can find one that would work well.
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Old 10-04-19, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Ken S View Post
Is there any kit you would recommend. I'd probably fit it onto the Trek DS I have if I can find one that would work well.
Depends on what you need. If you will do a lot of climbing, go mid-drive. If mostly flat, you can get away with a hub motor. Any reputable kit company will be fine - Luna, Dillinger, Leeds, etc. If you're not handy enough to do it yourself, check with your local shops to see if they install and recommend a kit that they will then service. https://lunacycle.com/mid-drive-kits/
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Old 10-04-19, 11:18 AM
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If it was mostly flat around here I'd stick with my current bikes. We're in the middle of the Berkshire mountains and outside of the rail trail even a short ride is going to mean at least 1,000 ft of climbing and some pretty steep little hills. When I was 30 I could eat the rides around here for lunch, but at 62 not so much.

Originally Posted by linberl View Post
Depends on what you need. If you will do a lot of climbing, go mid-drive. If mostly flat, you can get away with a hub motor. Any reputable kit company will be fine - Luna, Dillinger, Leeds, etc. If you're not handy enough to do it yourself, check with your local shops to see if they install and recommend a kit that they will then service. https://lunacycle.com/mid-drive-kits/
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Old 10-04-19, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Ken S View Post
If it was mostly flat around here I'd stick with my current bikes. We're in the middle of the Berkshire mountains and outside of the rail trail even a short ride is going to mean at least 1,000 ft of climbing and some pretty steep little hills. When I was 30 I could eat the rides around here for lunch, but at 62 not so much.
Lol, I feel you, and it's not going to get better, if you're lucky it will just not deteriorate too much. Look at Luna's Bafang mid-drive. They have one that is an easy install for non-techies and one that is a less refined kit where you can pick and choose your parts. A good mid-drive will be perfect for you. And Bafang will be around so you won't have to worry about parts and stuff in the future.
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Old 10-05-19, 08:08 AM
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Another advantage of the mid drive is that you will get exercise that is more like riding an unplugged bike than you will on a hub drive. The Bosch mid drive in EMTB mode will sense the torque on the crank and multiple the input. Versus just detecting cadence (i.e. crank rotating) and then engaging the motor. In another thread here a poster mentions he can tell ebike riders because of their slow cadence. Using a Bosch in EMTB mode would look like you were riding an unplugged bike. You don't get the slow cadence thing like on a hub drive.
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Old 10-06-19, 07:43 PM
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Cannondale conversion

I have a 2003 Cannondale Adventure 400 that my wife gave me for my 44th birthday. Itís a good hybrid with decent components, but usually the last of my three bicycles that Iíd choose to ride. Itís a ďjumboĒ sized frame (Iím 6í5Ē), and fits me well.

During my fifties, years of sports and general wear caught up with me. My orthopedic surgeon, podiatrist, and I are on first name basis after multiple shoulder, knee, and foot surgeries/procedures.

About two months ago, I started looking into ebike conversions and decided to bring my Cannondale to my LBS for their opinion. Their suggestion was a Bafang 750w mid drive so I ordered the parts and had them complete the conversion. What a great upgrade and new life for an under appreciated bicycle!

I upgraded the tires to Schwalbe Energizer Plus, added a Brooks B17 Imperial saddle, and added shift and brake sensors to smooth out the power and braking transitions, and now itís a great bike. The hills seem a lot flatter now.

I still enjoy riding my recumbent and sport/touring bicycles, and thereís no longer any dust accumulating on my Cannondale. Although the conversion came with a throttle, I just donít use it. I ride using my eight gears and use the first two of five power assist levels to moderate the power to maintain a 70-80 cadence.

I expect weíll be looking for a folding ebike for my wife in the next few months.

Last edited by Oldoarsman; 10-06-19 at 08:06 PM. Reason: Additional information
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Old 10-06-19, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by fly135 View Post
Another advantage of the mid drive is that you will get exercise that is more like riding an unplugged bike than you will on a hub drive. The Bosch mid drive in EMTB mode will sense the torque on the crank and multiple the input. Versus just detecting cadence (i.e. crank rotating) and then engaging the motor. In another thread here a poster mentions he can tell ebike riders because of their slow cadence. Using a Bosch in EMTB mode would look like you were riding an unplugged bike. You don't get the slow cadence thing like on a hub drive.
fly makes a good point. We have two bikes, one has a torque sensor (mid drive) and the other a cadence sensor (hub drive). The first is much more like riding a traditional bike and power when you need it. The second is always in a power assist. Example: the second is a Rad Rover. In power mode 5, you simply turn the pedals and the bike goes 20 plus mph.
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Old 10-07-19, 11:37 AM
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50 miles can be quite a bit of range, probably at least 800 watt-hours of battery required if you want to be assisted the entire way. How much assist did you want?
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Old 10-07-19, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Ken S View Post
Thanks, we test rode a 2019 Verve+ and it was okay. However, Trek really failed on the placement of the braze-ons as the only spot for a water bottle was too close to the top tube to hold most bottles. I believe they fixed that on the 2020 models. I will give one of the Allant+s a ride when they get into stock at our LBS.
I love my Trek Verve+. No problems with water bottle. The bottle cage is a flexible nylon Bontrager model. I'm riding a size medium. Front and rear lights are nice and make me feel safer. Price was right. No regrets.

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Old 10-07-19, 04:19 PM
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Are you looking for peddle assist or throttle?
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Old 10-08-19, 05:15 PM
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I have a 2017 TREK LIFT +, a very basic bike, and I use mine for topping hills. It is pedal assist, Shimano Steps. I swapped out the tires for narrower, lighter weight, higher pressure ones, fitted a suspension seat post and Jones Loop bars on it. It has NO fittings for bottle cages, so I fitted a Topeak rack and bag where I carry several bottles of water, spare tube and tools.
Pedaling on flats and downhills on 4 - 5, 25 or so mile rides per week - I charge my battery about once a week.
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Old 10-08-19, 11:13 PM
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My wife and I have BBS02 equipped e-MTB's, and keep the assist level low enough that we get plenty of exercise when we ride them even though they have RPM-assist (no torque sensor). My kit is four years old, was easy to install, has never given me any problems and can easily go 20 miles, 3,000' ascent on a four year old 52V, 10 ah battery. That said, you'll probably be delighted with any of the Specialized, Trek Haibike or Giant e-bikes.
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Old 10-09-19, 08:49 AM
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Thank you for all of the recommendations.

I'm looking for pedal-assist - not a throttle. Basically, I want something that will take (most of) the pain out of the mountains and allow me to provide the majority of the power on the flats. b

I'm going to take a look at the Bafang add-ons.

I guess we're starting to see the 2020 models with what seem like some nice changes.
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Old 10-09-19, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Ken S View Post
I'm looking for pedal-assist - not a throttle...I'm going to take a look at the Bafang add-ons.
Bafang mid-drives are all cadence pedal assist + throttle, you can run them without the throttle, another mid-drive kit motor that offers more bicycle-like torque pedal assist is the TSDZ2, see https://www.electricbike.com/tsdz2-7...orque-sensing/

Last edited by Dewey101; 10-09-19 at 04:35 PM.
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