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Top Ebikes for On/Off Road?

Old 07-05-23, 06:27 PM
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Top Ebikes for On/Off Road?

What are some of the best e-bikes for on and off-road travel?
Off-road travel would be relatively easy terrain, gravel/dirt roads, no mud, and not a lot of rocks or bumps, but something to tackle a few decent hills.
Looking for your personal experience with your e-bikes: pros and cons of what you have, etc.
I'm looking to get a pair for my wife and I so we can explore the backcountry a little more - in southern oregon.

Thank you!
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Old 07-05-23, 06:38 PM
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So my opinion is that the best value ebike out there is the vvolt proxima and Sirius. Both are around $2.1k and both have belt drives and CVT 380% igh hubs as well as mid drive motors.

The only reason to get anything else would be if you wanted a lighter weight road style ebike. Or if you wanted something that was direct drive so you could Regen on hills. Or if you did a custom build that you could hack to go beyond legal limits. Otherwise, mid drive + belt drive + IGH is the best combination for ebikes IMO.
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Old 07-05-23, 09:49 PM
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Lots of opinions, but it boils down to how much you want to spend, if you're the handy type, how hilly the terrain and whether you're a bike rider or bike driver. Read, read, read about various individuals experiences here and test ride a few while making your decision.
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Old 07-09-23, 04:42 PM
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For trail riding my first choice in an e-bike is the Specialized Turbo Levo that is designed to excell of the pavement. It has a powerful 90 Nm motor and comes with tires ready for the trails and can be run tubeless. At under 50 lbs a pair of them can be supported on most hitch received type bike racks.

Be careful to consider the capabilities you want or you will find yourself a year later trying to sell the bikes on Craigslist and then buying the bikes you need.

I have local bike shops that will allow for half day test rides on their e-bikes and that is a good way to avoid buyer's remorse. In Monterey there is a business that specializes in renting e-bikes to tourists to use in Pebble Beach on 17-mile drive and their pricing is very reasonable.
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Old 07-09-23, 06:42 PM
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I had a rad bike, but it wasn't on/off road. I enjoyed it but only went for one real ride with it. The pannier rack screw outlets were stripped when i was trying to get the rack on. i ended up returning it. i wanted a commuter bike for the 15-mile ride to work for the summer. A local shop broke tools trying to fix it. i returned the entire thing.
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Old 07-09-23, 09:32 PM
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We took our Rad Rovers off roading a few weekends back. Combination of gravel, soft sand and 6"+ rocks, mud and our least favorite...heavy roots.


Bikes chewed through everything we put them through. Main thing negative were my wrists. All of the jarring put a lot of pressure on them. The bikes have front forks but maybe I need adjust when trail riding. Letting air out beforehand may have helped, but we never had any traction issues.

For $1200 if you time sale i think it a solid bike that gets the job done.

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Old 07-10-23, 09:41 AM
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It's really going to depend a lot on your budget.

What riding posture do you want? More upright or more aerodynamic?

Off the cuff, I feel like Aventon makes good bikes; they're a good mix of quality and value. A pair of Pace 500.3 would be nice. I have a Level.2, which is a bit more forward leaning and includes rack & fenders for commuting duty. The tires are wide enough to handle gravel & dirt roads, but single track trails will be too much, They have a street tread and are pretty efficient on-road. The torque sensor on the .3 models of Pace bikes makes it feel more natural; like your legs and lungs are just a lot stronger than they are. They're also more energy-efficient. You can save a few hundred bucks by going with the cadence sensors of the .2 models.
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Old 07-10-23, 11:28 AM
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Don't overlook the weight of the bikes as most are going to weigh from 50 to 70 lbs each and your bike rack needs to be able to support the load of two bikes and your back is going to need to be able to handle the weight when loading and unloading the bikes.

Some bike racks like the one from Thule, include provision for a ramp. Depending on the height off the ground of the hitch receiver the ramp may or may not be usable. Most racks that can support the weight of 2 heavy e-bikes require a 2" hitch receiver on the vehicle.
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Old 07-10-23, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Smaug1
It's really going to depend a lot on your budget.

What riding posture do you want? More upright or more aerodynamic?

Off the cuff, I feel like Aventon makes good bikes; they're a good mix of quality and value. A pair of Pace 500.3 would be nice. I have a Level.2, which is a bit more forward leaning and includes rack & fenders for commuting duty. The tires are wide enough to handle gravel & dirt roads, but single track trails will be too much, They have a street tread and are pretty efficient on-road. The torque sensor on the .3 models of Pace bikes makes it feel more natural; like your legs and lungs are just a lot stronger than they are. They're also more energy-efficient. You can save a few hundred bucks by going with the cadence sensors of the .2 models.

A bit more upright. we both have road bikes, but these would be a little more for trails, bike paths, and logging roads, and wilderness roads.
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Old 07-10-23, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Calsun
Don't overlook the weight of the bikes as most are going to weigh from 50 to 70 lbs each and your bike rack needs to be able to support the load of two bikes and your back is going to need to be able to handle the weight when loading and unloading the bikes.

Some bike racks like the one from Thule, include provision for a ramp. Depending on the height off the ground of the hitch receiver the ramp may or may not be usable. Most racks that can support the weight of 2 heavy e-bikes require a 2" hitch receiver on the vehicle.

thank you for the reminder. i have an element, with a small hitch, needs an extention to a larger hitch to fit my thule rack. it seems weak as-is with two road bikes. luckily, i could fit two bikes in the back of an element very easily!
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Old 07-10-23, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by kayakindude
We took our Rad Rovers off roading a few weekends back. Combination of gravel, soft sand and 6"+ rocks, mud and our least favorite...heavy roots.


Bikes chewed through everything we put them through. Main thing negative were my wrists. All of the jarring put a lot of pressure on them. The bikes have front forks but maybe I need adjust when trail riding. Letting air out beforehand may have helped, but we never had any traction issues.

For $1200 if you time sale i think it a solid bike that gets the job done.


very good feedback! thank you!
(i grew up in nashua, nh!)
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Old 07-10-23, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by chadstar
A bit more upright. we both have road bikes, but these would be a little more for trails, bike paths, and logging roads, and wilderness roads.
In that case, Aventon Pace 500.3, 500.2, 350.2 or 350.3 would be great choices.

350 in the model name means 350 W motor. Plenty for up to 20 mph, which is the bike's assistance limit.
500 in the model name means 500 W motor. Will assist up to 28 mph or throttle up to 20 mph. These would likely be better on hills, but I'm not sure, as the 350 W geared hub motors could be geared lower...
.2 means cadence sensor. When you start pedaling, the motor kicks in and takes up up to the speed that corresponds to how much assistance you dialed in.
.3 means torque sensor, which applies a certain percentage more torque than you yourself are applying.

Price will range from $1100 to I think $1800 ea., depending on model.

The weight is a good point. when you start seeing fat tires, those bikes are HEAVY, both for loading and for pedaling manually. Then, they get heavier still as they need more motor and battery to move them along.
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Old 09-10-23, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Calsun
Don't overlook the weight of the bikes as most are going to weigh from 50 to 70 lbs each and your bike rack needs to be able to support the load of two bikes and your back is going to need to be able to handle the weight when loading and unloading the bikes.

Some bike racks like the one from Thule, include provision for a ramp. Depending on the height off the ground of the hitch receiver the ramp may or may not be usable. Most racks that can support the weight of 2 heavy e-bikes require a 2" hitch receiver on the vehicle.
This is exactly my concern with most of "affordable" ebikes. I will no longer ride in the city, so need to transport 2 bikes to suitable biking locales. I'm not yet ready to spend the big $$$ for a lightweight road bike but maybe someday!
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Old 09-10-23, 04:31 PM
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Old 09-18-23, 11:14 AM
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This suggestion definitely belongs in the how much money? category but worth mentioning.
the Pivot E Vault is basically a high dollar gravel Ebike that also can be easily ridden as a normal bike. The quickly removable Fazua motor system weighs approximately 7.5 pounds that when removed brings the bike weight down to 21 lbs making it one of the very lightest e-bikes on the market.
I have two wheelsets for mine to switch between road and gravel and could not be happier. Since purchasing it about 6 months ago Ive ridden it primarily without the motor but Im having major back surgery in November and it will then become my rehab tool to get my strength back up using the motor.
It is a very expensive bike but I feel it is the perfect design for those wanting an Ebike that is difficult to differentiate between a regular bike.
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Old 09-24-23, 04:15 PM
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Totally agree on the comments on budget.

We have Trek e-Caliber bikes we bought last year. Quite pricey, but they ride like a bike and they work pretty well. 35 lbs or so full up and about 31 if you take the battery and motor out.
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