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Not sure if I'm physically capable of riding an e-bike

Old 03-09-20, 05:59 PM
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PFlanagan
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Not sure if I'm physically capable of riding an e-bike

I'm trying to determine if I'm physically capable of riding an e-bike and which bike I should buy. I have two limitations. First, I have a bad leg -- basically, I can press down but my ability to lift my foot and to push back are limited. Second, I would like to stay under $1,000. From my experience with exercise bikes I'm confident I would be fine once I had the bike moving. My big concern is that I might not be up to process of getting moving, that is, starting to pedal with one foot while pushing off with the other and then lifting the second foot into the pedal. Someone suggested I could get around this by using the throttle instead of pedalling to get going but I'm a complete newbie don't know if this would work. I'm looking at an Ecotric Dolphin because of the price, relatively low step through, and ability to fold and because it looks like fun. I wonder, though, if starting moving would be easier with regular tires instead of fat tires. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 03-09-20, 06:32 PM
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CliffordK
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You might look at a E-Trike or E-Recumbent Trike. It may have some advantages. For example, if you use some kind of cleat or foot retention on the lazy foot, you could clip in/out, and not worry about falling over.

Unfortunately, it could blow your budget through the roof. Homebuilt?
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Old 03-09-20, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by PFlanagan View Post
I'm trying to determine if I'm physically capable of riding an e-bike and which bike I should buy. I have two limitations. First, I have a bad leg -- basically, I can press down but my ability to lift my foot and to push back are limited. Second, I would like to stay under $1,000. From my experience with exercise bikes I'm confident I would be fine once I had the bike moving. My big concern is that I might not be up to process of getting moving, that is, starting to pedal with one foot while pushing off with the other and then lifting the second foot into the pedal. Someone suggested I could get around this by using the throttle instead of pedalling to get going but I'm a complete newbie don't know if this would work. I'm looking at an Ecotric Dolphin because of the price, relatively low step through, and ability to fold and because it looks like fun. I wonder, though, if starting moving would be easier with regular tires instead of fat tires. Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks for the suggestions (and sending them so quickly). I'll look into them. I'd like to get something that will fit in the back seat of a Golf. I live in a great area for biking (Niagara region of Canada) and would like to be able to take advantage.
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Old 03-09-20, 07:39 PM
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I think using a throttle to get going will be your way to go. You start off using the throttle and when you are on your way you can pedal to help the motor.
I would definitely go to a bike shop and ride a test bike to be sure it would work for you. A step-through bike frame sounds perfect for you.
Good luck.
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Old 03-09-20, 08:16 PM
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You might really have a wrestling match putting an e-bike in the back of a Golf even if it fits. Folding bike in the trunk, maybe; but be prepared it will weigh a lot, probably 60 pounds.
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Old 03-09-20, 08:19 PM
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Thanks. I'll try to get my hands on an ebike to try out the throttle technique. I haven't been on a bike in ages so it will be fun to see how that goes!
I can't believe how quickly you helped me work this out.
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Old 03-09-20, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by 2old View Post
You might really have a wrestling match putting an e-bike in the back of a Golf even if it fits. Folding bike in the trunk, maybe; but be prepared it will weigh a lot, probably 60 pounds.
I'll keep that in mind, thanks. Might have to clean out some of the junk in the hatch.
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Old 03-10-20, 07:25 AM
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Go to your local bike shop and test ride an ebike.
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Old 03-10-20, 08:26 AM
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If your LBS is Specialized, Trek etc, they may have only PAS. FYI, just for interest, I made a two-wheel drive DIY bike with separate, dedicated (might be redundant) systems for the front hub and rear hub motors (front PAS & throttle, rear throttle only). Turned out to accelerate too fast for me and was heavy, but would be good for someone who needs a motor, so if one failed they could get home with the other. These direct drive (DD) kits are inexpensive ($175 from ebikeling), easy to convert and durable (some individuals report 20,000+ miles).
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Old 03-10-20, 09:36 AM
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Find a nice used folding bike, a Dahon or Bike Friday or even a 2 or 3 speed Brompton. Add a super lightweight electric bike kit. Folders have much lower step-over so that won't be an issue; easier balance too since you're able to get a foot down without getting off the seat or leaning. A good folder will be between 19 and 26 lbs in weight. A good kit will add around 5-6 lbs. My Bike Friday pakiT with electric system is only 23.5lbs. I'm a 70 year old female and have no problems lifting it at all. Plus it folds up to go places, no rack needed. I've also got a Dahon Mu Uno which is 21 lbs so 27 lbs with electric system. The Swytch just went live today on Kickstarter - it's a very easy kit to install on any bike and it's very lightweight. You can get the optional throttle to make take off from stops easy. It's their second version so it will definitely get delivered, too.
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Old 03-10-20, 09:47 AM
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Moe Zhoost
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My wife rides in pedal-assist mode 99% of the time, but she relies on the throttle when she needs to start quickly, like for when a roadway crosses the trail and there is a break in traffic. This works well, requiring no feet on pedals.
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Old 03-10-20, 05:01 PM
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The Ecotric 20" folding fat tire bikes run about 55 pounds and are a bit bulky when folded. I've got a non-step thru model. On the other hand, they are quite powerful. The conventional step-thru electric folders are not that light either but the wheels are skinnier.

Here's a comparison of the drive wheels for my Ecotric 20" fat tire and a normal 20" e-bike.


So it depends on your needs and wants. I use the bigger tire ebike to pull a trailer with my grand daughter, but when riding with my wife, I ride a regular size electric folder. You can probably fit one Ecotric Dolphin inside a Golf.

Last edited by Doc_Wui; 03-10-20 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 03-10-20, 09:44 PM
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You didn't really specify where you will ride, the terrain and conditions, nor the range you're seeking. Adding a kit to a used folder will probably be your cheapest option (other than a really cheap e-bike which I suggest you avoid) and also the lightest. There are also some decent bike from Juiced and Radpower, might require you to save up a bit more or extend that budget, but buying something really cheap will end up costing you more in the long run. You want to make sure it's a good BIKE first, not just some cheap bike they put a motorized system onto. Also, that they'll be in business in the future (as much as you can determine from their current longevity) or they have non-proprietary parts/batteries.
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Old 03-11-20, 07:26 AM
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Really good advice; we should have asked that first. Also maybe whether your weight ans/or fitness will be an issue.

Last edited by 2old; 04-19-20 at 05:38 PM.
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Old 03-17-20, 04:02 PM
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I have a Verve + 2 from Trek. I don't know the weight but it is a step through and heavy. Also more than twice the price you cite. I don't see you using this model. And the weight makes me think rear bike carrier. Maybe one that lowers to load and up to drive. I don't like my nonelectric bike for folding and inserting into the car trunk. It is workable but not if I have any physical issues. Some days I have them. Three bulged discs, one in the neck, two crunched shoulders from bike wrecks and one motorcycle wreck. I won't stop but some days are electric bike only and some days are no bike days. I drive to a part time job on those no bike days. I guess you may have to rethink the budget. Perhaps sell some "toys". But please look into a recumbent/electric. I hope you solve your situation and are able to get outside on a trike or recumbent. Be Well, Bluesfrog.
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Old 03-18-20, 10:39 AM
  #16  
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I have a Magnum Metro with rear hub drive. The throttle seems like exactly what you need to get in motion. Spinning the crank is extremely easy because as soon as the bike recognizes the cadence it kicks in the motor. Assuming that you have little power in your legs, you can set the PAS level to make the bike go whatever speed you want. You just turn the crank at a leisurely pace with no effort at all. Unlocked mine will get you to 24mph on a fully charged battery without any work. And about 22mph on a moderately discharged battery. Throttle use only will get you close to 20mpg.
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Old 03-18-20, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by fly135 View Post
I have a Magnum Metro with rear hub drive. The throttle seems like exactly what you need to get in motion. Spinning the crank is extremely easy because as soon as the bike recognizes the cadence it kicks in the motor. Assuming that you have little power in your legs, you can set the PAS level to make the bike go whatever speed you want. You just turn the crank at a leisurely pace with no effort at all. Unlocked mine will get you to 24mph on a fully charged battery without any work. And about 22mph on a moderately discharged battery. Throttle use only will get you close to 20mpg.
Thanks everyone for all the advice. I'm working thru all the suggestions. In answer to the questions some respondents asked, I'm 67 years old and 230 lb. I had some health problems which are now resolved and I'm working on my general fitness. Getting back to biking seems like a good next step but it's an experiment and I'm not sure where it will go. Ideally, I would use the bike to run errands, bike on country roads and urgent on some beaches and park paths. Nothing very rugged. I can't walk too far so I'm hoping it will be a source of exercise and freedom.
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Old 03-18-20, 11:33 PM
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Ok, so based on what you've said, fat tires might be a good option. Sounds pretty flat (yes?) so maybe you don't need a lot of gears, if any.
This is a tiny bit more than you wanted to spend, but it's a reputable company. https://www.radpowerbikes.com/produc...c-utility-bike It's a single speed but if your area is pretty flat, you will be fine. If you've got hills, this is their 7 speed. https://www.radpowerbikes.com/produc...tep-thru#specs I'm not affilitated with them btw. I just have some neighbors that have their bikes and really like them and their service. You could accomplish the same thing with a nice Dahon folder and a motor kit for less $.
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Old 03-20-20, 11:43 AM
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I personally don't think fat tires present any more of a challenge to performance of an e-bike as long as the battery doesn't go flat. It will weigh more though. The bike will be bulkier. A <$1000 e-bike cannot possibly be made well enough to prevent problems after purchase. I for one did not read the o.p.s limitations as a result of injury. I read it as these are chronic limitations of a permanent duration. I don't know ... I hate to get all buzz kill on someone's enthusiasm, but ... given the budget, given the limitations, this looks like a non-starter. But why take my word for it. An earlier poster suggested test riding e-bikes. That is good advice. Even if I didn't intend to buy locally I think it would be a good idea to visit an e-bike shop and take one or more of their models out on test rides to see how that goes.
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Old 03-20-20, 01:27 PM
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Thanks. I've pretty much decided on the Rize Bolt which has 2" tires. It looks like it would suit me well. There was one bike I liked better but they don't ship to Canada and with the border closed there is no way for me to get to the US. I can't wait to get back on two wheels.
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Old 03-23-20, 06:03 PM
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Sorry I am late to this parade.

I am 69 YO, 220 lbs with physical issues. I have not ridden bikes in nearly 40 years.

I got a GenZe e bike in December. At first, remembering how to stay balanced was a bit of a challenge. Pedaling would wear me out in under a mile, even with the assist. Bad weather did not help much.
I am up to over a mile. I quickly learned that PAS mode REQUIRES pedaling. No pedal movement, no power, and it does not coast well. The constant leg movement was my demise. Now, I use throttle mode for level and downhill riding and pedal if I wish. I use PAS going uphill, where more power is needed. It is working much better.

On level road, I can go 20 mph in throttle only. On a moderate hill, this drops to 9 mph. (no pedal power) Using PAS on the same hill, I can run 15 or 16 mph.

If balance is a problem for you, definitely lookout 3 wheels. Much safer!
My GenZe was one of their "nearly new" bikes - preowned, reconditioned, and discounted. New, they sell for $2000. I paid $599 for a bike with 160 miles and a couple small scratches. Prices vary wildly, I assume based on supply and demand. They can change week to week.

The bike comes in 2 styles, 3 sizes, 5 PAS settings plus throttle, display with speedometer, odometer, battery status, etc., 7 speed derailleur, 350W rear motor, battery, disc brakes, power shut off when brakes are applied, and a 20 mile range.

The bike is NOT foldable, but it only weighs 46 lb with battery.
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Old 04-19-20, 03:17 PM
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Late to this thread also. My wife has MS and hasn't ridden in like 10 years. She has balance and weight issues. She tried out an Electra Townie go 8D. She had a smile on her face and just loved it. I worry about her riding though. Her balance isn't good. She seems to be doing ok though. She kicks my butt on the bike trails.

I think Electra has a 3 wheeler version of one of their ebikes also.
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