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Road bike rider considering e-bike, what's your experience

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Road bike rider considering e-bike, what's your experience

Old 08-27-20, 12:34 PM
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Bob S
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Talking Road bike rider considering e-bike, what's your experience

I am in my mid 70s riding 2 times a week for 60 80 miles a with some hills including 1k or more of climbing. Slowing down and thinking it might be fun and extend my riding if I add an e-bike. Have you done this? What is your experience and recommendations?

After reading of other's experiences and thoughts I did my research and took a long test ride I was sold on the Creo. I made the decision to try to reduce the wear and tear on my knee that has been bothering me for over a year especially when riding. Using the Econ or lowest assist mode I can ride with out pain while still getting a great workout and achieving the same max and average heart rates. My average speed is 1 - 2 mph higher and I am riding further and for a longer time. I hope to continue riding my old bike some of the time but the Creo is addictive.

The Creo weights just under 30 pounds which is a major plus when many others weigh 20 or more pounds more.

Last edited by Bob S; 10-13-20 at 10:44 PM. Reason: Purchased a Specialized Turbo Creo SL Comp Carbon
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Old 08-27-20, 01:11 PM
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I found nearly all ebikes commercially made to be very heavy and not great riders (unless you get way up into the big bucks). You might consider an add on kit for your own, fit and comfortable, bike. I have a Onemotor system I use on my bikes; onemotor.co. There are other add on kits ranging from super lightweight friction drives like mine (also Swytch) to front hubs (Luna, Dillinger, Grin Technologies, etc.).
As a roadie, I am assuming you have your bike exactly the way you want it - why mess around with an entirely new bike when you can make your current bike motorized? I prefer something that easily comes off on my bike, but you might be fine with a front hub and swapping wheels.
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Old 08-27-20, 02:49 PM
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If it seems adequate for your needs (no reason why it shouldn't), the above makes sense since it's easy to remove and replace. As mentioned, some front hub systems could be nearly as good in these aspects. If you're made of money, look at some of the specialized and Trek high end models. This coming from someone who is not a road rider, but "errand bike"rider. My two errand bikes have been a 350w, 36V front hub (20 mph) and 52V, rear hub 1000w (35mph) systems.
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Old 08-27-20, 03:31 PM
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I recommend renting one before you buy. My wife and I rented a pair, and both thought they were completely pointless for JRA. The only use case that makes any sense to me is urban commuting where you can use the bike lanes to get around traffic. What's the problem with just riding slower?
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Old 08-27-20, 04:15 PM
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I would try one of the Specialized Creo bikes, they are nice and light and decently spec'd. However try some other bikes as well they are awesome. I would avoid the kit bikes and conversions and stuff like that, it can sound like an OK idea but most bikes unless specific e-bikes aren't designed to be e-bikes so you can cause issues with them and they certainly don't look clean and sexy with motors and batteries bolted on or strapped on or however you might add it.
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Old 08-27-20, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
I recommend renting one before you buy. My wife and I rented a pair, and both thought they were completely pointless for JRA. The only use case that makes any sense to me is urban commuting where you can use the bike lanes to get around traffic. What's the problem with just riding slower?
I use mine to climb hills I can't climb anymore due to age and knee deterioration. Has nothing to do with speed at all.
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Old 08-27-20, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
I would try one of the Specialized Creo bikes, they are nice and light and decently spec'd. However try some other bikes as well they are awesome. I would avoid the kit bikes and conversions and stuff like that, it can sound like an OK idea but most bikes unless specific e-bikes aren't designed to be e-bikes so you can cause issues with them and they certainly don't look clean and sexy with motors and batteries bolted on or strapped on or however you might add it.
Afraid I have to disagree with you as some aftermarket solutions as much more stealthy and sexier looking than commercial designs, especially because they retain the light weight tubing. For example, here is my bike with the system installed. You'd hardly know it was there - and the commercial e-bikes all look like e-bikes for sure with the big tubes. It's even less noticeable on a full sized road bike as the motor sits below the bottom bracket.

Battery is in the revelate feed bag; 20-25 mile range at lowest pedal assist. Throttle and PAS are both wireless.
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Old 08-27-20, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
I use mine to climb hills I can't climb anymore due to age and knee deterioration. Has nothing to do with speed at all.
I'll just ride a bike with lower gears and/or choose flatter routes.
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Old 08-27-20, 07:05 PM
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I disagree with the DIY naysayers, who usually have an ax to grind because they own or work at bike shops. I was riding in 95 or so weather today and good thing my system is DIY because the components were exposed to air currents; otherwise probably my bike thermal control would have shut the motor off. Ugly is in the eye of the beholder. Function is beauty IMO.
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Old 08-27-20, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
Afraid I have to disagree with you as some aftermarket solutions as much more stealthy and sexier looking than commercial designs, especially because they retain the light weight tubing. For example, here is my bike with the system installed. You'd hardly know it was there - and the commercial e-bikes all look like e-bikes for sure with the big tubes. It's even less noticeable on a full sized road bike as the motor sits below the bottom bracket.

Battery is in the revelate feed bag; 20-25 mile range at lowest pedal assist. Throttle and PAS are both wireless.
Ehh pretty noticable and kind of clunky looking but probably OK for short trips when you can pedal pretty decently yourself. Plus it looks like that system rubs on the tire, no thanks. I guess there are people that miss bottle dynamos?

I will say your position of the motor does slightly obscure it but if I saw that I would notice something awry. Granted I won't disagree there are plenty of e-bikes that look like e-bikes but there are also some Tri bikes that look like MotoGP bikes or e-bikes and plenty of regular bikes that are aesthetically displeasing.

It is a nice BikeFriday though and no knock on that.

If you haven't tried the Creo it is pretty nice and certainly the cleanest e-bike I have seen that has some decent power and battery life. If I saw one pass by I probably wouldn't notice, plenty of carbon bikes look similar. If I wanted even cleaner I could do one of those seattube motors that some "professionals" use to cheat with.


No axe to grind because I work at a shop, We installed a lot of kit motors for a long while. We stopped because of problems had. I haven't seen any e-bikes overheating but I will keep it in mind in case I do. Our owner is actually out on a Creo doing a nice little tour off road in the heat and hasn't had issues hauling a ton of gear.

Last edited by veganbikes; 08-27-20 at 07:18 PM. Reason: saw above comment.
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Old 08-27-20, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
I'll just ride a bike with lower gears and/or choose flatter routes.
That's certainly your choice. I otoh want to continue to enjoy the same rides I do now and continue to do them with my friends. I see no reason to deny myself the pleasure of the views I love while still getting a decent workout but not causing myself further damage.
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Old 08-27-20, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Ehh pretty noticable and kind of clunky looking but probably OK for short trips when you can pedal pretty decently yourself. Plus it looks like that system rubs on the tire, no thanks. I guess there are people that miss bottle dynamos?

I will say your position of the motor does slightly obscure it but if I saw that I would notice something awry. Granted I won't disagree there are plenty of e-bikes that look like e-bikes but there are also some Tri bikes that look like MotoGP bikes or e-bikes and plenty of regular bikes that are aesthetically displeasing.

It is a nice BikeFriday though and no knock on that.

If you haven't tried the Creo it is pretty nice and certainly the cleanest e-bike I have seen that has some decent power and battery life. If I saw one pass by I probably wouldn't notice, plenty of carbon bikes look similar. If I wanted even cleaner I could do one of those seattube motors that some "professionals" use to cheat with.


No axe to grind because I work at a shop, We installed a lot of kit motors for a long while. We stopped because of problems had. I haven't seen any e-bikes overheating but I will keep it in mind in case I do. Our owner is actually out on a Creo doing a nice little tour off road in the heat and hasn't had issues hauling a ton of gear.
You're talking apples to oranges, though. The Creo runs between $9k and 14k depending on the model. My BF (custom made) along with the 20 second removable e-bike system cost me around $3k. And it weighs 23.5lbs inclusive of motor and battery. But if you go back and read my first post, I did say a kit was a great alternative unless you wanted to spend the big bucks. The Creo is big bucks, at least to me. It's a wonderful bike but out of the price range for many mortals. I think a retrofit is a better choice than a less-than-pricey e-bike. The high end models make sure the bike is a great bike and then add the motor system. But the less expensive e-bikes put most of the $ into the e-system and the bike is not all that great.
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Old 08-27-20, 09:24 PM
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A mid drive will feel normal to you and just make you feel stronger. yes there is weight and it is hard to get past that but my bike weighs 52 pounds but its s a fantastic ride. as I get stronger I use less and less assist. but if I need it I have it. it is the 3500 range but its been a great bike and I have put 5000 miles on it since November.

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Old 08-28-20, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
I'll just ride a bike with lower gears and/or choose flatter routes.
You won't ride as far either.
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Old 08-28-20, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Pop N Wood View Post
You won't ride as far either.
Perhaps, but only if battery technology gets a lot better.
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Old 08-28-20, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob S View Post
I am in my mid 70s riding 2 times a week for 60 – 80 miles a with some hills including 1k or more of climbing. Slowing down and thinking it might be fun and extend my riding if I add an e-bike. Have you done this? What is your experience and recommendations?
You are still riding a lot of miles so obviously still a strong rider. But even without slowing down ebikes are a blast to ride.

I converted an old mountain bike to a mid drive kit and absolutely love it. Did it just because I wanted the experience, but also as a project.

The best thing about an ebike is they let you explore. Ebikes opens routes I would never have considered before. No longer need to worry about routing around hills (within reason) and can take roads with more traffic because the bike is so much faster. Knowing I have the motor allows me to cover a larger radius. No longer need to worry about headwinds. Just flipping ride. I've used the bike to explore areas I've never ridden before. It is extremely nice for cruising parks, down town areas, civic events, concerts, street riots, you name it.

I would keep your road bike and use that to churn out the miles. Nothing like the rush of a long physical ride.

I would strongly recommend a DIY kit on an old bike. The Bafang mid drives are proven reliable and have a huge following. They are custom programmable, lots of information on line and easy to find upgrade and replacement parts if needed. They can be installed in one day as well.

I have a hard time justifying factory built ebikes. Too underpowered, too many proprietary parts that can't be replaced with aftermarket, and way too frigging expensive. Wish I was wrong, keep hoping someone will convince me otherwise, but that is the way I see it. They do offer an advantage for people who can't or don't want to do their own work. On the down side I don't like the way kits string wires everywhere, but so far having wires everywhere hasn't proven to be a problem on the bike I am riding.

I would also suggest getting as much power as you can. Some people argue fast and light, but that doesn't make sense to me. From what I see the factory motors all weigh close to what a Bafang BBS02 motor does. Batteries don't care about the motor size, high capacity batteries are going to be big. Riding at reduces power settings obviously increases range, but the bigger motors can be ridden at lower power settings as well so that argument doesn't hold water.

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Old 08-28-20, 10:17 AM
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I ride MTB two or three times a week with my wife. My Bafang BBS02 hardtail is a nice change of pace once or twice a week. The bike cost less than $1500, not a bad investment for five years of off road activity (and the battery is used on an "errand" bike too).
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Old 08-28-20, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
Perhaps, but only if battery technology gets a lot better.
Guess I don't understand what you are getting at. On any given day you will be able to ride farther on a powered bike than an unpowered one. That is as true now as it will be when you are old.

Or are you saying you ride so far now that your range exceeds the listed range of current ebikes?
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Old 08-28-20, 03:07 PM
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It's about enjoying riding

At 70 years of age I found I was not enjoying riding as much as I had. Due to a myriad of health issues I could longer ride like I once had. Being a serious "roadie" with over 220,000 miles on some light weight bikes enough was enough. I purchased an Orbea Gain D30 this February. What a game changer. Unless you look real close you can't tell it's an ebike. At 31 lbs it's light for an ebike. I ride 30 miles a day and wind or hills do not ruin my ride. The best is that I don't feel beat up after a ride. It's not about going fast but enjoying the ride, I had almost 50 years going fast, now I am enjoying riding again.
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Old 08-28-20, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Pridedog View Post
At 70 years of age I found I was not enjoying riding as much as I had. Due to a myriad of health issues I could longer ride like I once had. Being a serious "roadie" with over 220,000 miles on some light weight bikes enough was enough. I purchased an Orbea Gain D30 this February. What a game changer. Unless you look real close you can't tell it's an ebike. At 31 lbs it's light for an ebike. I ride 30 miles a day and wind or hills do not ruin my ride. The best is that I don't feel beat up after a ride. It's not about going fast but enjoying the ride, I had almost 50 years going fast, now I am enjoying riding again.
As serious "roadie" it sounds like you know where I am coming from, Your input is very helpful. Fortunately my health issues are behind me and I have read that adding an e-bike will allow me to ride more often, switching between my road bike and e-bike, and take on some longer rides and more vertical. I am still in the thinking about it stage and hoping to hear from other roadies.
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Old 08-28-20, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Pop N Wood View Post
Guess I don't understand what you are getting at. On any given day you will be able to ride farther on a powered bike than an unpowered one. That is as true now as it will be when you are old.
I guess that depends on the ebike. The one I rented was limited to about 25 miles and was so heavy I wouldn't have wanted to ride it another mile without power. Not to mention my average speed with power assist on that bike was a few mph lower than my normal speed on an unassisted road bike. So on that bike at least, my ride was both slower and shorter. That's just my experience. Which is why I recommend renting one before you buy it. I thought it was going to be great for my wife to be able to ride with me, but we were both really disappointed with the experience. Other people seem to enjoy them which is fine with me too.

Originally Posted by Pop N Wood View Post
Or are you saying you ride so far now that your range exceeds the listed range of current ebikes?
Exactly, by a fairly significant margin, but I'm only 49. While I'm sure battery technology will come a long way by the time I'm in my 70's, I'm also pretty sure I'l just get some lower gears. Sometimes I ride fast and far, but I'm also fine with slow and short.
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Old 08-28-20, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
I guess that depends on the ebike. The one I rented was limited to about 25 miles and was so heavy I wouldn't have wanted to ride it another mile without power. Not to mention my average speed with power assist on that bike was a few mph lower than my normal speed on an unassisted road bike. So on that bike at least, my ride was both slower and shorter. That's just my experience. Which is why I recommend renting one before you buy it. I thought it was going to be great for my wife to be able to ride with me, but we were both really disappointed with the experience. Other people seem to enjoy them which is fine with me too.


Exactly, by a fairly significant margin, but I'm only 49. While I'm sure battery technology will come a long way by the time I'm in my 70's, I'm also pretty sure I'l just get some lower gears. Sometimes I ride fast and far, but I'm also fine with slow and short.
Lol, you're a youngster. At some point as you age, your body will not accept all your choices. Then you either have to decide to limit your activities or assist your body. It'll be interesting what you decide to do when you actually get to that point and it's not just a mental exercise. By all means, hold it off as long as you can, but I guarantee you at some point your body is going to say "no" and you'll have to decide whether to listen or find workarounds.
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Old 08-29-20, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
You're talking apples to oranges, though. The Creo runs between $9k and 14k depending on the model. My BF (custom made) along with the 20 second removable e-bike system cost me around $3k. And it weighs 23.5lbs inclusive of motor and battery. But if you go back and read my first post, I did say a kit was a great alternative unless you wanted to spend the big bucks. The Creo is big bucks, at least to me. It's a wonderful bike but out of the price range for many mortals. I think a retrofit is a better choice than a less-than-pricey e-bike. The high end models make sure the bike is a great bike and then add the motor system. But the less expensive e-bikes put most of the $ into the e-system and the bike is not all that great.
The Creo is 5K on up and the 14k Founders Edition is long sold out but is a very different very bling bike. The Vado SL is $3350 and is a flat bar version. None of them are friction based so no rubbing on tires and also they come with a decent warranty beyond 6 months.

Also the One Motor is $1449 which seems a bit high for what it is. I could go to Luna Cycle and get their geared "fixed stealth ebike" which is a clean looking e-bike for just a little more. I am not arguing that it is a great bike but for what it is, it is I think a better alternative to a clunky bolt on system. I could also do a clunky bolt on system from them for less with a larger battery and color display and all sorts of upgrades. Granted again not saying that is a good idea just saying I don't know that the OneMotor is a good deal. The quick removability is cool but I could do the Fazua system and also be nice and clean with no clunky box.

However yes currently Bike Friday doesn't offer more than kit systems.
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Old 08-29-20, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
Lol, you're a youngster. At some point as you age, your body will not accept all your choices. Then you either have to decide to limit your activities or assist your body. It'll be interesting what you decide to do when you actually get to that point and it's not just a mental exercise. By all means, hold it off as long as you can, but I guarantee you at some point your body is going to say "no" and you'll have to decide whether to listen or find workarounds.
This is what happened to me at age 60. I crashed on one of my road bikes in 1996 and fractured my left hip and had it nailed together. 24 years later, I now have traumatic osteoarthritis and a bone spur in the hip such that I can no longer abduct my legs enough to mount my road, MTB or motorcycle. I am planning on a left hip replacement next year. So that I can continue to ride in the mean time, two months ago I bought a Tern HSD S8i for $ 4100 out the door. With the low step-through height, I can easily mount and dismount, I can choose to use the electric assist or not, I can use it for grocery shopping, and it is kind of fun on the steep hills here in the Cascade foothills. Ideally after the total hip, I will be able to get back on my road and MTB.
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Old 08-29-20, 10:31 PM
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linberl
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
The Creo is 5K on up and the 14k Founders Edition is long sold out but is a very different very bling bike. The Vado SL is $3350 and is a flat bar version. None of them are friction based so no rubbing on tires and also they come with a decent warranty beyond 6 months.

Also the One Motor is $1449 which seems a bit high for what it is. I could go to Luna Cycle and get their geared "fixed stealth ebike" which is a clean looking e-bike for just a little more. I am not arguing that it is a great bike but for what it is, it is I think a better alternative to a clunky bolt on system. I could also do a clunky bolt on system from them for less with a larger battery and color display and all sorts of upgrades. Granted again not saying that is a good idea just saying I don't know that the OneMotor is a good deal. The quick removability is cool but I could do the Fazua system and also be nice and clean with no clunky box.

However yes currently Bike Friday doesn't offer more than kit systems.
Yeah, you're still not getting the apples to oranges thing. OM adds 4.5lbs to a bike with the small battery. It can be used on multiple bikes in your stable so you can end up with 2 or 3 or 4 ebikes for that price. Bikes that weigh considerably less than 25 lbs. But it's for a different user than those heavier commercial built bikes which start at 3x the price of OM. And when the system on your commercial e-bike dies, you're left with an anchor. And if your bike gets stolen, you've lost the bike and the motorization system.
But hey, there are plenty people for whom those bikes are exactly the right choice. And for those folks they are great bikes. They're just not the right solution for everyone. Definitely not the right solution for me and others who have to take the bike up multiple flights of stairs, either.
I'm certainly not saying OM is right for everyone, either. It fits a specific need. But before you go knocking friction drives, you should try it - an easy 28mph and hill climbing for days, lol.
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