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clunky ebikes

Old 03-13-21, 10:31 AM
  #1  
klevin
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clunky ebikes

I'm of the age and health status where riding in my area is a challenge - loaded with hills, very few flat stretches worth riding. So, time for an ebike? Straight bar, good gearing, good motor torque. To date, I've ridden crossover/hybrid bikes with mid sized tires like 700c38, but just can't power up the hills anymore.

Went out shopping yesterday and was surprised at how clunky (and heavy) the better ones were. Like the Trek Verves. Or the Trek Allants.

Is this a style thing or a necessity?

For those who got ebikes, was there much of an adjustment? What was your biggest surprise?

Thank you
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Old 03-13-21, 11:45 AM
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Biggest surprise? I think how big my smile was when I discovered the amount of power that I had available to flatten out hills. The unit that I put on my trike that I built is so superior to my old chain driven unit of yesteryear.

Don't forget the amount of power that ebikes have and that translates into the need for the frame to be much more sturdy than a conventional non-power frame.

Ron
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Old 03-13-21, 12:37 PM
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As said above, there's no free lunch. Batteries, motors and reinforced wheels and structure add weight.
- There are some very light e-bikes, but they only make about 250 watts of power.

Last edited by surveyor6; 03-13-21 at 12:39 PM. Reason: Spelin
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Old 03-13-21, 12:43 PM
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As said above, there's no free lunch. Batteries, motors and reinforced wheels and tructure add weight.
- There are some very light e-bikes, but they only make about 250 watts of power.
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Old 03-13-21, 02:47 PM
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The big surprise was the test ride. It took me about 10 seconds of riding before I knew I was going to buy it.

So try test riding a couple. My wife has a Verve, and loves it.

About the weight, yes, they are heavy. With a rack and panniers and the extras like an 8 pound lock, mine is about 60. If I am getting groceries, going home it can be a lot heavier. My wife is 5' 2" and hers is a step through. So not much drama. Mine is a standard diamond frame, and when I've misjudged the situation, that can mean me and the bike are going over. If you're reasonably strong, you will learn what you can get away with. For me, trackstanding is not on the menu.

I wouldn't worry too much about power. Both of ours have 250 watts, but ebike motors actually produce more power than that. If you have been a cyclist, 250 is likely to be plenty.

The wife and I both have one, and we love them. One of the best parts is the way you can adjust the difficulty. You can set it on low power until you get tired, and then dial it up to get home without drama.

Good luck.



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Old 03-13-21, 02:51 PM
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IMO, whatís still happening is that the governing thought in the industry is that ebike riders donít like pedalling. The idea that someone only wants a bit of help isnít common.
Iíve got a 250W pedelec, motor cutoff at 16 mph.
Even at a meager 250W, I can do any of the climbs along my commute at 16 mph. And/or win the holeshot away from any red light.
And I get far more range than suggested.
I would happily have bought a smaller battery pack. Itíd have pushed the weigh - and price down w/o any influence on the usefulness on the bike in my view.
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Old 03-13-21, 03:19 PM
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For the most part, the extra weight of an ebike is noticeable mostly when lifting it (as onto a bike rack), but much less prominent when riding. However if it's a consideration, there are newer models with much more reasonable weights, but you'll pay $$$ for them being light. Alternatively, you can build your own lightweight bike (Chas 58 has one in the 25 - 30 pound range) and I've built a couple of offroad bikes < 35 pounds.

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Old 03-13-21, 03:29 PM
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Thanks for the replies, folks. As I said, I'll be riding hills a lot of the time, since flat rides where I live are scarce here in SW NH. What we do have is scenery and great country roads with little traffic.

The bikes that have caught my eye are Trek's Allant series, especially the Stagger models, since step over at my age is getting challenging. They weigh in at 54-56 lb, though, which strikes me as a bit heavy, but they do have the battery, gearing and motor that would get me up the local hills, at least on paper. Am I missing something? (like budgeting in an ebike for my healthier spouse? )
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Old 03-13-21, 03:30 PM
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yes the weight kinda sucks. with e bikes to get light makes weight weenies on regular bikes look cheap. my bike is 52 pounds and I don't notice it if I have some assist. without for sure. but I weighted it with lot and one empty pannier and all the stuff I ways have 70 pounds. even with groceries I don't feel the weight like I did on my regular bikes.

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Old 03-13-21, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by fooferdoggie View Post
yes the weight kinda sucks. with e bikes to get light makes weight weenies on regular bikes look cheap. my bike is 52 pounds and I don't notice it if I have some assist. without for sure. but I weighted it with lot and one empty pannier and all the stuff I ways have 70 pounds. even with groceries I don't feel the weight like I did on my regular bikes.
Groceries? There's an idea. My grocery store is only 6 miles away. Unfortunately, it's all downhill there, and uphill back. Yes, 6 miles uphill...and about an 800 foot climb. Enough climb that it affects the weather.
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Old 03-13-21, 04:26 PM
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800" in six miles is only about 3% if it's gradual. My wife and I ride our pedal bikes on a couple of hills 1800' in five miles and 3000' in eight miles (both about 7%. Hub motors should suffice for you, but if there are steeper ones, consider a mid-drive.
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Old 03-13-21, 04:28 PM
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wife and I have done unto 16% grades on our mid drive e tandem. with have climbed 5% to 10% grades for 10 miles before.
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Old 03-13-21, 04:33 PM
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Yes, the grocery store is not a steep run, but the non-highway route I'd take has a couple of short steep pitches. Based on what you folks said, sounds like it shouldn't be tough for an ebike.

Thanks for all the comments! Making me feel more comfortable in spending my Biden Bucks...
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Old 03-13-21, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by klevin View Post
Groceries? There's an idea. My grocery store is only 6 miles away. Unfortunately, it's all downhill there, and uphill back. Yes, 6 miles uphill...and about an 800 foot climb. Enough climb that it affects the weather.
yaI commute 20 miles a day on mine. carry all our food the weight does not slow me down. I hated shopping on the analog bike it slowed me down so much.
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Old 03-13-21, 04:41 PM
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I climb roads like this on my commuter and on our e tandem. portland does not have a lot of long climbs but hots of short steep ones.



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Old 03-13-21, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by klevin View Post

Thanks for the replies, folks. As I said, I'll be riding hills a lot of the time, since flat rides where I live are scarce here in SW NH. What we do have is scenery and great country roads with little traffic.

The bikes that have caught my eye are Trek's Allant series, especially the Stagger models, since step over at my age is getting challenging. They weigh in at 54-56 lb, though, which strikes me as a bit heavy, but they do have the battery, gearing and motor that would get me up the local hills, at least on paper. Am I missing something? (like budgeting in an ebike for my healthier spouse? )
My 2 cents is that would be a good choice.

I get up pretty steep hills with a 250, but it is work. If I had to routinely deal with 800 feet of vertical gain, I'd be looking for a more powerful motor. The only bikes that aren't heavy are road bikes that are real expensive, and both the battery and the motor would be a bit wimpy for your needs.

My bike is something over 50 pounds, naked. But with the motor on the Stagger, it's like having 2 pro cyclists help you pedal up the hill.
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Old 03-15-21, 04:38 PM
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A battery and motor generally add about 20lbs to a bike, so that quickly puts bikes into the 40-50lbs territory, because they're based on 30lbs bikes. The Specialized Turbo Vado SL is ~33lbs, but has a modest battery at smaller motor. The Trek E-Caliber is a 41lbs full-suspension mountain bike.
The reason that a lot of bikes are heavy is that it's pretty easy to add weight. A basic suspension fork is about 5lbs heavier than a carbon fork. Add some extra battery, a 500W motor, heavy wheels, heavier components, and it's easy to break 50lbs.
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Old 03-16-21, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by gsa103 View Post
A battery and motor generally add about 20lbs to a bike, so that quickly puts bikes into the 40-50lbs territory, because they're based on 30lbs bikes. The Specialized Turbo Vado SL is ~33lbs, but has a modest battery at smaller motor. The Trek E-Caliber is a 41lbs full-suspension mountain bike.
The reason that a lot of bikes are heavy is that it's pretty easy to add weight. A basic suspension fork is about 5lbs heavier than a carbon fork. Add some extra battery, a 500W motor, heavy wheels, heavier components, and it's easy to break 50lbs.
That is basically it.
I started out a weight weannie coming from a carbon S works bike to an e bike. The first bike I built was 38.6 lbs. My present bike is pushing 80 lbs. I got over the weight issues pretty fast as the possibilities and utility opened up.
With the dino/analog bike, there was only one direction. With the e bike, I could have gone either way. Light and sweet for short rides or, long range and load capacity. I choose the later route.
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Old 03-16-21, 08:07 AM
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Ditto. My first, dual hub drive cargo ecumbent weighs about 94lbs unloaded and with the QP trailer around 110. Now am working on a winter build with fairing, front hub and mid drive; will probably weigh even more due to the steel chopper bars cannibalized from a defunct Ďbent.

Weight slips away while in motion so thereís no problem riding the beast, only when trying to park it or load/unload the battery packs because Iíve yet to find a bicycle kickstand that can support all that weight. Bike falls over the moment I take my eyes off it and my most grueling workouts are heaving the darned thing back up again.
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Old 03-16-21, 08:37 AM
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You folks have all been an inspiration. My next step is to get out and start trying out bikes, as soon as the snow melts and the temps get above freezing!
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Old 03-16-21, 09:45 AM
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Prepare for a treat since individuals seem to enjoy even the less expensive, entry-level models (based on reviews in Amazon and other sellers). Too bad there aren't expos around (except maybe Sea Otter this year) where you could try a plethora at one time. Bosch sponsored them nationally a few years ago, but seemed to abandon the idea (before the pandemic); guess it didn't translate in sales. BTW, my folks resided in NH many moons ago and I spent a winter there. Brrrrrrrrrrrr!
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Old 03-25-21, 02:23 PM
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Most of my ebikes started as regular bikes, so I'm only looking at 4-8 pounds in motor and 4-6 pounds in battery. I'm quite confident that my converted bikes can take the motor and weight and me. The bike maker has to accomodate more variables though, and hence will err on the conservative side, resulting in very robust frames.
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Old 03-25-21, 03:08 PM
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For the most part the e-bikes are being assembled by very small companies using imported frames. They want to stock as few frames as possible while allowing for different size riders and they are also targeting a price point. What we are getting with e-bikes is something comparable to the bikes sold by Wal-Mart. No need for such heavy frames or such heavy tires. The Vietnames moved hundred of pounds of supplies on simple bicycles and did so in such quantities as to defeat the U.S. military wih all its trucks and cargo planes and helicopters.

It is different than with cars where the range per battery charge depends in part on the weight and rolling resistance of the tires that are used. With an e-bike if it only goes 30 miles instead of 45 miles, most people do not care. Most customers are not bicyclists and think that large fat bike tours look cool even if they will never use the bikes on a beach. It was much the same with the first mountain bikes from Marin which were also crudely built but quickly evolved and shed many pounds. The end result though was that most of the bike production is now in Taiwan and not the United States.

What is a major pain is that very few bike racks will support the 110 to 150 lb load of two e-bikes. Hollywood racks are one of the few and they are on backorder in the USA until June of 2021.
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Old 04-01-21, 09:05 PM
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With all the extra weight and usually low end components on most affordable e-bikes.....I was thinking about Hilltopper, swytch or leeds.....just a front wheel motor, small battery and throttle only when I need the power for hills. I have a 25lb bike 700c....3x8.....Aluminum frame.....no front suspension.
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Old 04-02-21, 01:07 AM
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I never heard of Leeds, but it looks interesting, especially since itís in the US rather than the UK. I wonder how they compare to Swytch. I considered buying a Swytch kit last summer, but was put off by the fact that some people had to wait over a year to get one. (I guess they are down to 3 or 4 months now. I ultimately bought a OneMotor kit which worked fine until I didnít pull the battery cable out far enough one time and accidentally severed one of the leads when I turned. I need to get out my soldering iron, my heat gun and get some heat shrink tubing so I can repair it.
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