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Drop bar road ebike

Old 09-30-21, 10:12 AM
  #1  
IcySwan1
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Drop bar road ebike

I have a couple of Trek road bikes and enjoy them. I am 70 and find I struggle on hills even in granny gear. I see Trek has the Domane+ in electric. It is, of course, very heavy compared to my old school Domane. Does the weight skew the road bike experience when under pedal power alone, and are there other drop bar road ebike options out there?

Mike
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Old 09-30-21, 11:44 AM
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Have you considered buying a Bafang E-bike kit and converting your current bike? Assuming you've got the skills to tear a bike down and rebuild it, it strikes me as the cost effective way to go. As well as not having to get used to a new bicycle.
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Old 09-30-21, 12:24 PM
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Agree with above, although there will be detractors (that all seem to own or work at bike stores). This is a much better experience since the bike already is a good fit, you won't be subject to proprietary parts (although if that was necessary Trek isn't bad) and probably can make a lighter bicycle. The MTB (with road tires) in the picture is 41 pounds with 52V, 4 ah battery.
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Old 09-30-21, 01:23 PM
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Also consider a low-cost 250watt wheel based throttle-based Hilltopper conversion kit that I installed on my commuter, and that I've put 1,000 problem free miles on in the last year, with lots of short hills. The throttle is great for getting you up the hill, and then you can easily release the throttle and go on your own power when you don't need the help any more.

And the only skillset you need is knowing how to swap your front wheel (the wheel you buy comes fully assembled and with a tire and tube on it), mounting the throttle onto the bars somewhere, and tie-wrapping some wires. The battery just mounts where a water bottle holder would.

Last edited by Riveting; 09-30-21 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 09-30-21, 02:48 PM
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Also good advice depending on how much assist you want. We've had good reports from individuals with Hilltopper and Leeds kits.
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Old 09-30-21, 04:23 PM
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I'll add in that a friction drive is a great piece of kit for lightweight road bikes. And, no, they don't eat tires anymore, lol. I have the OneMotor, but there are others like the Add-E, E-go, and Rubbee or you can do it yourself with instructions from the great folks at Endless Sphere.
I love mine, it's adds less than 5 lbs to my bike, and flies up hills.
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Old 09-30-21, 05:07 PM
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I have a couple of friends with Cannondale road style ebikes. They are pretty happy with them and they look good. One guy's motor apparently cuts out at 20 mph so he gets dropped on the flats. He finds that annoying and I think there may be a way to hot rod it once the warranty is done. One thing to keep in mind is that an ebike from a major bike company will come with functional disc brakes, useful on something that weighs twice the normal bike weight.
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Old 09-30-21, 06:24 PM
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I've had two mountain bikes with mid-drives that weighed < 35 pounds; that's twice the weight of a pretty expensive bike. But, OEM is a viable option. Just hope you don't have the problem I had with my Haibike.
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Old 09-30-21, 07:21 PM
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if you have some money to blow I have heard nothing but good https://www.specialized.com/us/en/sh...o/c/eturbocreo
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Old 09-30-21, 09:45 PM
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That all is a lot to digest. It had not occurred to convert an existing bike to electric. I checked out the conversion kits and they are intriguing. The S-Works bikes are too dear by far, but Cannondale looks more reasonable. I will have to wrestle with my conscience on this one for a while.

Thanks, folks.

Mike
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Old 10-01-21, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by IcySwan1 View Post
That all is a lot to digest. It had not occurred to convert an existing bike to electric. I checked out the conversion kits and they are intriguing. The S-Works bikes are too dear by far, but Cannondale looks more reasonable. I will have to wrestle with my conscience on this one for a while.
Have fun with the thought experiment. I did this 8 years ago (before Specialized had their first e-bike) and I'm still riding mine.

Some issues:
you can't really put a throttle or any handle bar mounted thing on a drop bar bike, as all I have seen are for MTB bar diameter, so nothing fits.
if you want a hub motor, you need a strong drop out - road bikes typically don't have these. Through axle makes things more complex. I used a single speed bike as that had beefy track dropouts (horizontal).
My bike was originally with 23mm tires, and those are a nightmare at speed (due to road imperfections). I've since modified the bike so it can take 32-40mm tires, and that is much much better.
Weight of the donner bike isn't much of an issue (well, mine was 19lbs stock).
as I ride a lot, I want low power that matches my power output. This helps keep the total weight of the bike down and helps it feel more like a natural road bike. 36v and 10 amps lets gives me about 250watts* more than I would have without the motor. If I put in 250 watts through my legs, I have a bike that feels like a natural bike, but cruises 25+ mph.

Certainly a 50lb+ bike is going to handle like a pig compared to a natural road bike.

I'm thinking the best bet would be to put a small mid drive motor on a strong (not expensive) frame.

* I'm randomly dinging my e-bike 100 watts for weight, drag, and inefficiencies)
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Old 10-01-21, 09:28 AM
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c58, you might add that your bike weighs less than 25 pounds without battery.
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Old 10-01-21, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
Some issues: you can't really put a throttle or any handle bar mounted thing on a drop bar bike,
Yup, mounting thumb throttles on standard drop bars (or odd diameter bars) is not easy, but here's a solution I've been considering: Handle Bob

(Not my bike or pic)

Last edited by Riveting; 10-01-21 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 10-01-21, 11:50 AM
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Yup, mounting thumb throttles on standard drop bars (or odd diameter bars) is not easy, but here's a solution I've been considering: Handle Bob
Yah, zip ties are not really my thing. I've never seen a good design in the last decade (that wasn't OEM from the bike maker).

My solution is pretty simple:
using a small power motor (36v 10a), I can just use a button throttle. Kinda like a turbo or NOS button that I can leave on.
I can put a simple rheostat in line to dial up/down the power, or a setting on the controller if I choose, but at these powers its not needed.

A better solution could be a torque sensing mid-drive like the TSZB2.

Although I'm an engineer, design is important to me. My bike just looks like a standard road bike (with a small revelate tangle top tube frame bag). No need to attract attention.
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Old 10-01-21, 01:39 PM
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Chas58, 2 things you note resonate. First, the handling qualities of a 50lb bike versus a natural road bike. That is a concern. But secondly, and most importantly, you have me at the "NOS button." I am all in on Big Daddy Don Garlits.

Mike
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Old 10-01-21, 04:21 PM
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Of course there's always the new Ares road bike that weighs 19 pounds and has the motor nestled in the bottom bracket AFAICT. Only about $20K.
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Old 10-02-21, 12:07 PM
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Specialized has a range of Creo models including, of course, there very pricey top of the line ones

https://www.specialized.com/us/en/tu...ext=98120-6202
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Old 10-07-21, 08:57 AM
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Sorry 2old, I'm one of those bike shop guys that really doesnt like conversion kits. Mostly because people install them poorly on bikes that should never be electrified anyway!

OP- Look at Yamaha. Great mid drive with a weight just over 40# From the original class 1 Urban Rush they have added a similar gravel bike and last year came out with an upgraded Rush to make it a class 3 with the name Civante

So if you still want a drop bar this another option. PM if you are interested in an urban rush. I have a new one still for sale. Shipping to AK might be problematic though. You probably know more about that then I do.

-SP
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Old 10-07-21, 09:53 AM
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Sorry S25, but, although I have nothing against OEM bikes except their proprietary nature, my BBS-off road bike has been perfect for six+ years while costing a fraction of my Haibike and my "road" bike will out-perform anything I can buy for five times as much.
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Old 10-07-21, 10:26 AM
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I recently "upgraded" a road bike (albeit one currently with flat bars). My almost 20 year old Surly CrossCheck has been a great all round type of bike but I wanted to create a good longer distance assisted ride. Last year I created a nice really effective year round commuter ebike using a Surly Bridge Club but one thing I didn't like is the very stiff front end that made longer distances a comfort problem ... so enter the CrossCheck.

I added a 500w class geared rear hub (Shengyi SX) and share the big 750w 52v battery with the Bridge Club. It's a Grin Technology RTR kit with the integrated within the battery mounting BaseRunner controller (so lots of power and less wires). The CrossCheck is a lovely comfortable steel road bike and it's made a great base for a new ebike setup. The higher gearing (it's an Ultegra 52/42/30 triple with a 12-25 rear cogset) makes cruising at much higher average speeds a breeze. The overall "feel" is not dramatically different than the non assisted setup. Yes 9lbs of downtube mounted battery does have a slight effect on handling but it's not much of a big deal (I'm about 210lbs). The bike is certainly comfortable to ride with the power off, which I frequently do on downhills and increasingly on some flats. Even hopping over cracks and debris is easy. I ride relatively light 37mm Vittoria Randonneur Pro tires which handle most pavement cracks just fine. The target for this setup are consistent 100+km rides under 4hrs, so a consumption of less than 7w/km. After the first few weeks of use the only major change I'm considering is going to back to the drop bars the bike was originally built up with (want to be more aero).

I originally did this upgrade with a throttle but I'm considering dropping it when I go with drop bars. The throttle is almost indispensable in the city, on the paths and parking lots with groceries and such, but out on the open road with minimal stops I'm not sure it's worth it. One thing I will have to change however is the PAS level programming. Currently it's setup with settings 1 to 5 corresponding to 100 - 500watts. I'd like to keep the ability to occasionally have 1000watts available (which the throttle offers for those short but really steep hills) so I'm thinking of 75, 150, 300, 500, and 1000 watt settings.

Large 58cm frame - total weight as ridden is just under 40lbs.
Total investment - under $1000 CAD. So it is possible to create a solid, assisted, longer range road bike setup without a big investment.
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Old 10-07-21, 10:27 AM
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Pic from the first ride. I still need to clean up some handlebar area wiring. The saddle bag contains tools and spare tube, no electronics.

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Old 10-07-21, 11:22 AM
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Folks here sure have some good skills. I don't have those skills and we will be living in a 5th wheel and traveling through America during the winter months, so no real set up to do much mechanic stuff. Plus my electric skills are weak. I am agreed that proprietary systems drive equate to higher costs, but the trade off seems to be a road ready bike.

I have never built a bike from the frame up, but I might start such a project early this winter before we go to America. I will keep in mind an e-bike conversion during this build; I might just try it if I feel confident in my skills.

And Speedy25, shipping to Alaska is a whopper, as is shipping within Alaska. I am shipping a new 115hp outboard motor from Fairbanks, Alaska to Haines, Alaska. Travel by road includes going through the Canadian provinces of The Yukon and British Colombia. So it is being shipped by air [ouch] to Juneau. I will take my truck on a ferry to Juneau, pick up the motor, spend at least one night there [probably more], and return on a ferry. That all is worth it because She Who Must Be Obeyed will have a significantly upgraded skiff to catch halibut, salmon, crab, and shrimp. If I buy an OEM e-bike it likely will be in the Lower 48.

Regards.

Mike
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Old 10-07-21, 03:29 PM
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FYI, here is today's picture of my old reliable light weight speedy cheap(ish) e-bike (aka: custom Specialized Turbo). that frame bag is 50% empty - certainly better than the old LiFePO4 battery we were buying when I originally built the thing.
Biggest lesson - 40mm tires are much, much more practical than 23mm tires, lol.

I did pretty much have the e-bike world all to myself for most of the last 8 years, but in the last year or so people have been catching on that e-bikes are a thing (although its pretty rare when a drop bar bike like this is recognized as an ebike).

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Old 10-13-21, 08:16 AM
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Hi IcySwan1,
If you're going for a drop down made for road ebike (actually called a Pedelec) I'd go for the Specialized Creo SL version since, taking all features and benefits divided by cost, it's the best out there to date.
The weight (approximately 29 to 30 pounds) only "skews" the ride when accelerating, when riding under 6 mph and/or while going uphill, though this feeling is slightly different. The added weight can be easily compensated for by simply programming the first out of 3 programmable levels to add about 35-50 watts while riding which would hardly use the battery at all. Otherwise, it's a quick getting used to.
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Old 10-13-21, 09:49 AM
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Besides its cost and limited production, its motor only delivers a maximum of 15 Nm and 200 watts of force and its 85 watt hour battery very limited range, though one can opt for the 193 watt hour battery with its a little longer limited range. The Ares is amazing in terms of the engineering and looks and it serves as an inspiration for the direction this market may be going to but, otherwise, I'd pass.
Originally Posted by 2old View Post
Of course there's always the new Ares road bike that weighs 19 pounds and has the motor nestled in the bottom bracket AFAICT. Only about $20K.
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