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Looking to replace current bicycles. Suggestions?

Old 10-09-16, 12:20 AM
  #1  
uRabbit
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Looking to replace current bicycles. Suggestions?

My wife and I have two Juiced Bikes ODK U500. They're quite the pain to maintain, really. The tires are hard to get on and off the wheels, making tubes hard to do as well. The hydraulic disc brakes are impossible to get right (even the LBS says they had a hard time with the system when they started carrying the bikes). And these bikes are big.

That said, I really do love them. Been car-free for almost a year now and they've been great. I've only lubed the chains once, replaced four tubes, and replaced the pads (which required service to the hydraulic systems, requiring $50 visits to the LBS both times).

I am entertaining the idea of getting back to non-electric bikes after having broken two tire levers trying to replace our tires.

I am wary, however.

We live in Seattle work downtown, live up on Capitol Hill. So it's uphill most of the way. I don't know anything about gearing, as I never got into that when I was rebuilding my old Schwinns and what-not a couple years ago.

I have entertained the idea of getting a bike with a 7 or 8-speed internal-geared hub, but that usually raises the price point. I don't want to spend more than $1,000 for a non-cargo bike. If I go for a cargo bike, however, that goes up to around $1,800. The Bike Friday Haul-a-Day is popular and has great support. I wonder how heavy is too heavy, however.

We carry our kiddo on the back to-and-from school. If we were to go with cargo, obviously we would do the same. If we transitioned to "normal" bikes, we would get a trailer.

Suggestions?
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Old 10-09-16, 12:28 AM
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robertosmith
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Originally Posted by uRabbit View Post
My wife and I have two Juiced Bikes ODK U500. They're quite the pain to maintain, really. The tires are hard to get on and off the wheels, making tubes hard to do as well. The hydraulic disc brakes are impossible to get right (even the LBS says they had a hard time with the system when they started carrying the bikes). And these bikes are big.

That said, I really do love them. Been car-free for almost a year now and they've been great. I've only lubed the chains once, replaced four tubes, and replaced the pads (which required service to the hydraulic systems, requiring $50 visits to the LBS both times).

I am entertaining the idea of getting back to non-electric bikes after having broken two tire levers trying to replace our tires.

I am wary, however.

We live in Seattle work downtown, live up on Capitol Hill. So it's uphill most of the way. I don't know anything about gearing, as I never got into that when I was rebuilding my old Schwinns and what-not a couple years ago.

I have entertained the idea of getting a bike with a 7 or 8-speed internal-geared hub, but that usually raises the price point. I don't want to spend more than $1,000 for a non-cargo bike. If I go for a cargo bike, however, that goes up to around $1,800. The Bike Friday Haul-a-Day is popular and has great support. I wonder how heavy is too heavy, however.

We carry our kiddo on the back to-and-from school. If we were to go with cargo, obviously we would do the same. If we transitioned to "normal" bikes, we would get a trailer.

Suggestions?
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Old 10-09-16, 05:49 AM
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I`d say start looking at touring bicycles and choose the one that best suits your needs.

I can`t help but wonder why you`re having what seems like an inordinate amount of problems with your tubes and tires. What gives?

Also, why are the hydraulics difficult to service?
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Old 10-09-16, 08:38 AM
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First off, steel-core tire levers cost as few dollars and don't break.

Second, before you consider replacing your e-bikes, buy a couple cheap bikes and see how you like riding.

This is where I trot out the Nashbar flat-bar road bike or any older rigid MTB from Craigslist line which I have repeated so much it bores me, but it is still good advice.

Get a non-assist bike and just do your daily ride and see what you think. If you can manage the hills alone, you can get a feel for how much you might have in reserve to pull a trailer or a couple children.

A cheaper option would be to ride your existing bikes without E-assist. Turn them off or don't charge the batteries or whatever, and see what it feels like to ride the route carrying the load without E-assist. Yes, I know your E-bikes weigh a lot more than a standard road bike, but you would want to have the extra capacity to carry some extra load ... you would not want to have to exert yourself 100 % on every hill of every ride.

Turning off the motor would give you a basically free view into what life without E-assist might be like.

The idea that having tires which are tough to install prompting you to replace your bikes ... seems a little extreme. You know, there are probably other brands of tires which would fit differently on the same rims?

I know I have bought tires which I could pop on and off easily by hand, tires I could wrestle on and off by hand but only with great effort, and tires I absolutely could not install without tire levers. Try some different tires.

Also, the rest of the industry seems to have mastered hydraulic brakes years ago ... I don't know what system your bikes use, but replace it if it doesn't work. There are so many proven brake systems out there ... maybe Juiced bikes decided to save pennies by buying up a batch of cheap brake components.

The primary point I notice from your thread is that you are considering giving up E-bikes for a bunch of petty reasons having nothing specifically to do with E-bikes. Either you want that electronic assist, or you don't.

It has nothing to do with tires, or tire levers, or brakes----you could have those problems with any bike. You are suggesting going from E-assist to carry big loads up steep hills, to trying to pedal big loads up steep hills. That is a huge change, and not one you want to make for the wrong reasons.

My question to you would be, how do you think you will feel on the last day of the week, when you have put in the hard uphill miles for several days already, pedaling out with a really heavy load, looking up at the first of those numerous long hills, with your legs already feeling fatigue from the week's riding, and knowing that you have to haul your load up that and all the rest of the hills .... just no way around it. That is when you might wish you had an E-bike.
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Old 10-09-16, 09:22 AM
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E-bikes dont have to use e-bike tires. Try some other ones. They'll wear a little faster and be a little more prone to flats. Maybe worth it.
A search suggests you have Tektro brakes. Very much a budget brand. Dont judge all hydros after them.
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Old 10-09-16, 11:20 AM
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Thanks for the replies.

Maybe I'm frustrated because it seems to be that my skill set doesn't meet that required to properly maintain these bikes. Two tubes went bad right after I put them in. The first was due to a rupture at the base of the stem, and this most recent one I'm not sure because I haven't received my new levers yet, but the stem is at an off angle on that too. So I can only assume it is my fault.

The hydraulic brakes are Tektro HD-E710's. The instructions for them provided by Tektro's website don't even match the E710's. I thought I was crazy, but the folks at the LBS confirmed that as well. Every time I replace the pads, the brakes would need bled. No idea why or how, but air had gotten into the lines both times. The second time around (to replace other two sets of pads), I had the LBS do it.

Can't really test out non-electric, because it only has a 3-speed SRAM i3. Gear ranges are not appropriate. Barely appropriate for flats! Hah.
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Old 10-09-16, 11:48 AM
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Well ... buy a couple Wal-Mart bikes if need be, or a couple Craigslist beaters, just to see how you like the hills (no one really likes hills, i suspect ... except a few freaks ... )

If you keep the E-Bikes pony up for new brakes. In the long run the mess of Tektro you are having the LBS adjust constantly will cost you more and stop you less than a decent set of hydraulic discs.
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Old 10-09-16, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Well ... buy a couple Wal-Mart bikes if need be, or a couple Craigslist beaters, just to see how you like the hills (no one really likes hills, i suspect ... except a few freaks ... )

If you keep the E-Bikes pony up for new brakes. In the long run the mess of Tektro you are having the LBS adjust constantly will cost you more and stop you less than a decent set of hydraulic discs.
Shouldn't I know what gear range I should start with?

Yep! I have a set of Avid BB7's in my Amazon wishlist.
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Old 10-09-16, 02:38 PM
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If you are talking about pulling big loads up hilss ... your final bikes should be 44/32/22 triples with 11-36 cassettes, IMO. But to just get out and see if you can ride up the hill ... any MTB should be geared low enough.

I am assuming you would buy (or rent, or borrow) a test bike before you got rid of two good E-bikes and bought two replacements. My thinking was that you would want to try your legs on the hills on an unladen bike first ... you can always add the trailer ... and then add weight ...
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Old 10-09-16, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
If you are talking about pulling big loads up hilss ... your final bikes should be 44/32/22 triples with 11-36 cassettes, IMO. But to just get out and see if you can ride up the hill ... any MTB should be geared low enough.

I am assuming you would buy (or rent, or borrow) a test bike before you got rid of two good E-bikes and bought two replacements. My thinking was that you would want to try your legs on the hills on an unladen bike first ... you can always add the trailer ... and then add weight ...
Roger that.
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