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First Bike for exploring, want long range

Old 11-03-21, 08:25 PM
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Ninjamastor
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Question First Bike for exploring, want long range

Hey, I've been looking at some e-bikes to explore areas for photography, so I will be on roads and park trails. I am kinda set on an e-bike since I have arthritis and if I get fatigued I want to get back. I've figured out that I want about 50 miles to get to the places I want and have enough to come back. The bike I am considering the most right now (it's the only one being sold locally at a shop above 30 mile range) is the trek verve+ 3. are there any bikes that I can look at that fit my needs but are cheaper (or better value), or is the verve+ 3 probably my best bet? I have considered building but I have no idea how to, or where to even begin looking for parts. (also it has to be pretty significant savings for me to consider. $600 isn't enough for the loss or warrant and the likes)

Thanks for the Help!
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Old 11-03-21, 08:38 PM
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any of the big boys will give you the most range on the smallest battery. Bosch does great and their newest motor has a lot of range. but it depends on how much you put into it and the terrain and such. plus how fast you go. we can get upto 50 miles on our bosch powered tandem and I get at most 35 or so on my bosch commuter because I go faster. this works pretty well to give you an idea https://www.bosch-ebike.com/us/service/range-assistant
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Old 11-03-21, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by fooferdoggie View Post
any of the big boys will give you the most range on the smallest battery. Bosch does great and their newest motor has a lot of range. but it depends on how much you put into it and the terrain and such. plus how fast you go. we can get upto 50 miles on our bosch powered tandem and I get at most 35 or so on my bosch commuter because I go faster. this works pretty well to give you an idea https://www.bosch-ebike.com/us/service/range-assistant

Thanks for the link! Saved in the e-bike folder.
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Old 11-03-21, 08:58 PM
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that new motor is really nice, one question. how do you go about searching for all the bikes that have a certain motor? I'm finding it kind of hard to find many bikes just by searching the motor alone. Also, in terms of price I want to be around the verve+ 3 or lower. is that going to be possible on the Performance Line CX, or is that limited to $5k+ mountain bikes?
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Old 11-03-21, 09:07 PM
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usually brand will stick with one motor. the main brands are bosch and Brose and Shimano. of course different models of each. bosch is in a lot of different brands like trek but also bulls and a bunch of others. our tandem is the gepedia brand. specialized its Brose. the mid drives in retail will have those main drives. there ma bye some with a Bafang though but they your in the 48v battery and its not as refined.
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Old 11-03-21, 09:49 PM
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Also have a look for dual battery options - my Trek Allant+ 8s has support for a 2nd battery.
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Old 11-03-21, 10:00 PM
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So I looked into a lot of companies that have bosch brose and shimano. and it seems for the price range and what I want, it seems that the verve+ 3 is probably best for me. it accepts a 2nd battery and most other brands that are similar range are the same price, aren't sold locally near me, or just more expensive. I wasn't able to find anything that was cheaper similar range and sold in the US.
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Old 11-03-21, 11:24 PM
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Unless you are doing serious mtn biking, the CX performance line is over kill. As you say, if just doing back roads and park trails, the active line would be enough and save you some $. The saved money can go towards the 2nd battery. Bosch is coming out with a 750wh battery soon. But they are notorious for not providing backward compatibility.
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Old 11-04-21, 09:47 AM
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If you're interested, you could assemble a DIY mid-drive system for about $1,000 plus the cost of the bike (mid-80's to 90's MTB's make good platforms). The advantage is that it would have a throttle as well as PAS, but it helps if you're handy with tools.
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Old 11-04-21, 03:48 PM
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Do you have any recommendations for mid-drive system kits?
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Old 11-04-21, 09:40 PM
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Look at Gazelle they make better bikes for less money. Trek is overpriced for what you get in the Verve's especially. For $100 LESS you get an upgraded Performance line Cruise motor (vs less powered Active Line Plus), a 10 speed Deore drivetrain (vs. cheaper 9 speed), a suspension fork with no odd "threw skew" (not a great quality fork but not a rigid aluminum fork), a 4A charger and a keyed a like frame lock (not ABUS but still it comes with it for less). Sure you may need to go out a little further but in the end getting a better bike for less money is a no-brainer. It is Bosch so I can still get support from Bosch at most any shop and the other parts on it are standard affair not really a lot of proprietary stuff aside from fender rack combos but those are pretty ubiquitous these days on a lot of bikes from a lot of manufacturers.

Gazelle has been making bikes since the late 1800s so it is not like they are a new player on the market and they did their first e-bike with Phillips back in 1936.

The active line motor isn't so bad especially for less hilly areas and a 2a charger will work just take longer but to spend more money to get that is where I am lost, I can get that similar spec from the Medeo T9 and save 700 bucks sure I lose a 100wh on the battery but gain a suspension fork and keyed a like lock and 700 bucks. However I wouldn't go for the T9 unless I was a very occasional rider.
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Old 11-04-21, 09:46 PM
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my bulls was a decent price and good components. just got 12,000 miles on it and had to replace the drivetrain. so many companies make a bosch powered bike. cube is also a good choice.
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Old 11-04-21, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Ninjamastor View Post
Do you have any recommendations for mid-drive system kits?
There are two DIY kits, Tongsheng TSDZ2, and Bafang BBS02 and BBSHD. I feel the Bafangs are more reliable, The BBSHD is quite powerful and about $750. I feel the BBS02 is more than enough, and it actually has more power than a commerically produced mid drive. The BBS02 is around $500. Get a nice donor bike like 2Old has used. Batteries are $500 for a BBS02. You can probably do 40-50 miles. Either buy a second of same size or get a smaller spare. .

You won't get the engineering and pedal response in a DIY middrive kit that you get in a Bosch or Yamaha, et al, but if all you want is to carry your gear and have pedal assist, you're in with a reliable, fast and powerful ebike at a thousand bucks,
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Old 11-04-21, 11:59 PM
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DW and I have had good performance from BBS02's (actually, I have three; one for my wife and a spare that I purchased since I thought my first one would expire some day, but hasn't after six+ years). I've read too many sad stories about TSDZ2 motors.
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Old 11-05-21, 06:41 AM
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ok, so I'm looking into the BBS02 now. can I use any 48v battery? I'm looking at the calibike triangle stuff now for longer range. for the bike, I'm currently using 99spokes to find a model I might want (is this the right site to be checking?). one thing I'm pretty sure I want is a Hydraulic Disc. as for getting used, the local options are kinda limited, and not looking too great. are there good sites that sell used? and also, the fact I was willing to spend 3.2k on the trek taking into account the kit and battery, I am willing to spend up to $1500 for a bike (doesn't mean I have to spend 1.5k if I dont have to). but for something that does well on rough dirt trails (not looking to race like what downhill mtbkers do, just to move my photography gear) and roads
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Old 11-05-21, 08:08 AM
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I'd start asking specific questions with the folks at Luna cycle. They're not the only source of good kits but they have a good reputation of customer service.

I think you'll be able to keep an appropriate donor bike costs below $1K, and the upgrade kit with a good battery will be just over $1K, so even with upgrades (new tires, specialized tools, etc.) you'll still be well under $3K.
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Old 11-05-21, 09:50 AM
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Craigslist works well for socal, but you may be in a remote area. Some have had good results from Pinkbike, but I would only purchase a used bike that I looked over and ridden beforehand. Mid-80's steel bikes (like the 1985 Fuji above) were "longer" with slacker frame angles than more recent models and might be more stable with front and/or rear racks. The steel frames were sturdy (too much so) and they're very durable.

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Old 11-05-21, 11:47 AM
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I'll contact luna and see what they think. but yea, 2old, the craigslist in my area is just really cheap bikes. there was one nice bike I found but it was way too small for me. I'll continue to do research to try and find the right bike for me
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Old 11-06-21, 09:36 AM
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I get about 50 miles out of my Unit Pack Power 48V 20Ah triangle battery on a cheap Bikes Direct flat bar hybrid with geared rear hub drive 500W kit from Bafang. I always peddle except at very low speeds, and try to keep it below 20mph except downhill, unless I've got a strong tail wind, if I'm going for more than 30 miles or so. You'd need a monster battery (or dual batteries) to get that kind of range without peddling moderately hard.

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Old 11-06-21, 10:42 AM
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yea chuckles1, looking it up it seems I would need something crazy to get the range and specs. to have a bike with Hydraulic brakes + a massive or double batteries + bafang kit I would prob be close so around $2800. at this price I'm not sure its worth the savings since I would have to deal with any headaches + prob worse warranty since I'm mixing stuff together instead of just using a single bike that I can go back for any repair to it.
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Old 11-06-21, 11:29 AM
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I'm over 60, with a bad back (so much reduced power output) and weigh just under 100kg/220lbs, and I can currently get 50m/80km range on the road from a 750w battery (that really means 600w usable from the 52v 14.5ahr battery) with a flat bar setup. More info in the bike is in the Drop bar road bike thread - Drop bar road ebike
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Old 11-09-21, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Ninjamastor View Post
yea chuckles1, looking it up it seems I would need something crazy to get the range and specs. to have a bike with Hydraulic brakes + a massive or double batteries + bafang kit I would prob be close so around $2800. at this price I'm not sure its worth the savings since I would have to deal with any headaches + prob worse warranty since I'm mixing stuff together instead of just using a single bike that I can go back for any repair to it.
AFAIK, the motor doesn't make much difference in efficiency.
Speed is the biggest efficiency killer (although in my design I used aero and weight to stay efficient too).

Small motor and big battery will give you the best bang for the buck. Heck, a small 36v (350 watt) motor is going to give you as much (or more) power than a good in shape cyclist.

If you are not climbing long hills (i.e. high power and long hills), a hub motor is going to be a LOT less expensive than a mid drive.
This is a bit of a simplification, but lower power motor/battery will give you a lot more range. You can take the same number of cells and make a 36v or 48v battery, but the 36v will have a lot more range (assuming same current output).

Steel bikes are the best donor bikes. Even more so if you use a hub motor.
For range, your biggest cost is gonna be the battery.
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Old 11-19-21, 03:55 PM
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It depends on how heavy a bike you can manage and how much pedaling you will do to assist the motor and limit battery drain. At one extreme are the bikes that are going to weigh more than 60 lbs and have a 10 Ah or larger battery. At the other end are the Class III bikes where you can get 100 miles with the internal battery if it is primarily providing additional power and no throttle only power. The Specialized Turbo Vado SL which has a range of 93 miles in Eco mode and for which there is a special battery that can be mounted in a cage like a water bottle and increase the range by 50% over the internal battery alone. In the middle are bikes like the Yamaha Civante that is a Class III e-bike with a 500Wh battery and 70nm of assist.

Weight of the Vado is about 30 lbs while bikes like the Canondale Tesoro Neo X3 sold by REI weighs 55 lbs. The extra 25 lbs is noticeable when lifting the bike to put it in a car or up on a bike rack and a standard bike rack is not going to work well if you end up with two 55 lb bikes loaded.

Some of the e-bikes have a strong integrated rear rack that will be better able to manage a photo backpack without an wobble or flexing. This includes some bike made for hunters but they tend to be overkill for photo gear. Many of the bikes with strong rear racks are meant for city use and so have 7 speeds and a narrower gear range. They also come with tires that are fine for pavement but not great for gravel roads or dirt trails.
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