Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Great Divide on E-Bike

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Great Divide on E-Bike

Old 01-05-18, 02:59 PM
  #1  
StephanieLyn
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Great Divide on E-Bike

Hey guys, my husband and I were thinking of going down the great divide next year. I have been in the process of trying to find a new bike. I was looking at the trek womens powerfly 5 which is an electric bike. does anyone have experience touring a trail like the great divide on an e-bike?
StephanieLyn is offline  
Old 01-05-18, 03:17 PM
  #2  
jefnvk
Senior Member
 
jefnvk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Metro Detroit/AA
Posts: 8,212

Bikes: 2016 Novara Mazama

Mentioned: 63 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3634 Post(s)
Liked 74 Times in 44 Posts
Before the e-bike hating starts, I'll pose one practical point: how are you going to charge it? The second the battery starts to die, you're lugging around another 25# of dead weight.
jefnvk is offline  
Old 01-05-18, 03:20 PM
  #3  
StephanieLyn
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
we already own solar panels for when we go hike that we would be able to plug the batteries into. I am already aware that I will get a few haters on this topic. But I would like to get input from both sides.
StephanieLyn is offline  
Old 01-05-18, 03:22 PM
  #4  
Leebo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: North of Boston
Posts: 5,721

Bikes: Kona Dawg, Surly 1x1, Karate Monkey, Rockhopper, Crosscheck , Burley Runabout,

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 854 Post(s)
Liked 109 Times in 64 Posts
Wow, first post, nice. Going to plug into a tree? Good luck with that. Build some cardio and endurance, repeat as needed. Fuel with 3 squares a day. Probably going to get some " divided " opinions. Really, you're way out in the middle of nowhere. Charging how? E bike touring might be better in an urban environment. Uggg. Try for a less hard ride. How much weight are you going to carry? And how? How much does the " bike" weigh? Do they allow motorized vehicles on all sections of the trail? Cheers.
Leebo is offline  
Old 01-05-18, 03:29 PM
  #5  
veganbikes
Clark W. Griswold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: ,location, location
Posts: 8,490

Bikes: Foundry Chilkoot Ti W/Ultegra Di2, Salsa Timberjack Ti, Cinelli Mash Work RandoCross Fun Time Machine, 1x9 XT Parts Hybrid, Co-Motion Cascadia, Specialized Langster, Phil Wood Apple VeloXS Frame (w/DA 7400), Cilo Road Frame, Proteus frame, Ti 26 MTB

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2323 Post(s)
Liked 1,286 Times in 874 Posts
Doing that distance with an e-bike wouldn't really be easy without some way to charge. Even the Riese and Muller SuperCharger (which is not currently available in the US) or even the Charger with two batteries while a very capable touring machine wouldn't be able to last the entire trip and wouldn't be as fun to ride with two batteries. Also with the higher torque motors you will have a lot less speed so going past 20mph isn't as fun. I know you can spec an R+M with the 28mph Bosch motor but they are a more "custom" builder whereas with Trek you are stuck with whatever comes on it though luckily they use Bosch.

I would suggest spending the money to build up a nice mountain touring bike that isn't electric for distances like that. Put it towards nice components and really solid frame. E-bikes are cool and all but for distances like that away from charging they aren't as practical.

Edit: Solar panels aren't going to cut it for charging an e-bike.
veganbikes is offline  
Old 01-05-18, 03:33 PM
  #6  
jefnvk
Senior Member
 
jefnvk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Metro Detroit/AA
Posts: 8,212

Bikes: 2016 Novara Mazama

Mentioned: 63 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3634 Post(s)
Liked 74 Times in 44 Posts
Originally Posted by StephanieLyn View Post
we already own solar panels for when we go hike that we would be able to plug the batteries into. I am already aware that I will get a few haters on this topic. But I would like to get input from both sides.
Aren't ebike batteries something like 48-52V? That is some decent amount of solar panels to carry, on top of having to charge in the day when most folks are actually riding.
jefnvk is offline  
Old 01-05-18, 03:34 PM
  #7  
boomhauer
Senior Member
 
boomhauer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 756
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 215 Post(s)
Liked 39 Times in 26 Posts
solar panels???
NO way....

At some point you will be on the wrong side of the mountain range to get any sun. You will be dragging a dead battery.
At some point you will need to go uphill for 2-3 hours. Not enough watts.

Last edited by boomhauer; 01-05-18 at 03:43 PM.
boomhauer is offline  
Old 01-05-18, 03:35 PM
  #8  
mstateglfr 
Sunshine
 
mstateglfr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 12,658

Bikes: '18 class built steel roadbike, '19 Fairlight Secan, '88 Schwinn Premis , Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross V4, '89 Novara Trionfo

Mentioned: 99 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5400 Post(s)
Liked 2,644 Times in 1,546 Posts
Originally Posted by StephanieLyn View Post
we already own solar panels for when we go hike that we would be able to plug the batteries into. I am already aware that I will get a few haters on this topic. But I would like to get input from both sides.
I would for sure figure out how long it will take to charge the battery based on power banks being filled from solar power each day.
If the math doesnt work out, then that alone stops the possibility.
If the math does work our, then there is reason to continue looking into the possibility.
mstateglfr is offline  
Old 01-05-18, 03:42 PM
  #9  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 29,930
Mentioned: 199 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13130 Post(s)
Liked 5,635 Times in 2,897 Posts
Subscribed.


Any portions of the route off limits to powered vehicles?
indyfabz is offline  
Old 01-05-18, 03:47 PM
  #10  
tyrion
Senior Member
 
tyrion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: San Diego, California
Posts: 3,392

Bikes: Breezer Radar

Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1820 Post(s)
Liked 1,170 Times in 554 Posts
Originally Posted by StephanieLyn View Post
we already own solar panels for when we go hike that we would be able to plug the batteries into. I am already aware that I will get a few haters on this topic. But I would like to get input from both sides.
I HATE E-BIKES!

Just kidding. Maybe there is a segment of the divide trail that has a sequence of towns/facilities spaced within the range of an e-bike. It would be interesting if you figured this out and documented it. Or maybe you could have a support van to supply fresh batteries at key junctures.

But solar power alone seems impossible.
tyrion is offline  
Old 01-05-18, 04:04 PM
  #11  
dashely
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Jiaxing, China
Posts: 60

Bikes: Rodriguez 6-Pack, Giant Halfway

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Hi I know this may not be very relevant but my father Robert bicycled from Kansas to Utah using an electric trike with solar as the only charging. The solar panel on this bicycle is approximately 2 1/2' x 7'. I believe that he commented that he put together 2, 24 Watt panels they're very lightweight and they were a sunroof above the trike. In this configuration he averaged between 13 and 15 mph the entire way and was pulling a heavy trailer of about 100 pounds while doing this.


So it is possible to take an electric bicycle and not charge it outside of solar power but the size of the panels are probably too large to be practical to be really doing this on a standard bicycle. If you're looking at a trite it becomes very very logical and doable because you can have the solar panels up above your head as a roof.
dashely is offline  
Old 01-05-18, 08:08 PM
  #12  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,946
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1481 Post(s)
Liked 175 Times in 116 Posts
The laws of physics will prevent you from getting too far.
alan s is offline  
Old 01-05-18, 08:25 PM
  #13  
PedalingWalrus
Senior Member
 
PedalingWalrus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Maine, USA
Posts: 1,283

Bikes: Corvid Sojourner, Surly Ice Cream Truck, Comotion Divide, Salsa Warbird, Salsa Beargrease, Dandelion Dream Tandem

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 424 Post(s)
Liked 257 Times in 135 Posts
You can only charge during great exposure to the sun and since it's the sun that would mean during the day. An E-Bike battery takes at least 2 hours to charge, most take 4 hours... so when would you be riding the bike if you were stuck charging it during the day?

Then there are rainy days when you can't charge, and days when the terrain is so rough to drain your battery much faster than the optimistic ratings the manufacturers put on their e-bikes. Their ratings are basically riding around a flat track until the battery runs out. Once You add in hills and then rough riding hills your battery will drain much faster.

Basically, I guess, it could be possible but it won't go without some suffering... and once you accept some suffering ... then you might get a piece of mind by just riding a regular bike.
PedalingWalrus is offline  
Old 01-05-18, 10:35 PM
  #14  
BikeLite
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 957
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 273 Post(s)
Liked 60 Times in 39 Posts
The charging will be the limiting point on whether this will work. Some stores may also let you plug in.
BikeLite is offline  
Old 01-05-18, 10:48 PM
  #15  
saddlesores
Senior Member
 
saddlesores's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bangkok...and....Hainan
Posts: 3,285

Bikes: inferior steel....and....noodly aluminium

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 865 Post(s)
Liked 162 Times in 110 Posts
wowza very first post almost designed specifically
to cause inflammation.

else why not post this in the e-bikes sub-forum?

https://www.bikeforums.net/electric-bikes/
saddlesores is offline  
Old 01-06-18, 03:27 AM
  #16  
Aushiker
Senior Member
 
Aushiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Fremantle, Western Australia
Posts: 1,288

Bikes: Surly Long Haul Trucker, Salsa Mukluk, Giant Defy

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 73 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Google would be a good starting point for various fora and experiences from people who haved toured on e-bikes or at least explored the concept.
Aushiker is offline  
Old 01-06-18, 08:53 AM
  #17  
msbiker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 55
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
A lot of negativity on this post.

To the OP, I have ridden the GD from Banff to Jackson, WY on a regular mountain bike. My wife has a Haibike and I am familiar with range issues on ebikes. I think riding the GD on a superfly is certainly doable, but I believe you would probably need to carry a backup battery. Carrying two 500 wh batteries should allow you to have a total assisted range of about 100 to 120 miles, depending on the range factors discussed below. There is alot of downhill, as well as uphill, on the GD. You will be able to turn off the assistance when its not needed, which will help extend your range.

The range issue will depend greatly on the total weight of you, your gear and the bike, the level of assistance you would be using, the road conditions (which can be unpredictable) and the amount of climbing you would be doing between opportunities to charge your battery.

As part of your trip preparation, you should do a few 2-3 day loaded tours with 3,000 to 4,000 ft of daily elevation so you will know what your range will be in similar circumstances with the level of assistance you anticipate using on the GD. You can then plan your daily rides on the GD accordingly. In my experience, 40 to 50 miles a day on the Divide is generally what most loaded riders shoot for and what McCoy suggests in his book.

I doubt that using a solar charger would be sufficient to keep the batteries charged. But you will find numerous opportunities to charge your batteries in the many small towns you will go through. You could also get a quick charge at gas stations, lunch spots, etc. Charging a battery for an hour will help significantly, but it won't be a full charge. Some campgrounds have electricity and some don't. So it would be important to factor in charging speed/capacity and anticipated electricity availability into your planning, just like you need to factor in food and water resupply locations.

You may have a couple of days in some of the more remote sections where you might run out of electricity, but, IMO, that would be the rare exception, for at least the north half of the route. The south half it might be different, but I doubt it. You should carefully plan the NM section since I believe it may have some of the longer remote sections. I also think you will need to camp less and motel more than you might otherwise plan to in order to keep your batteries charged. Pre-trip preparation and planning your days carefully will be the keys to a successful tour.

While challenging on several levels, the GD is a great trip. Ignore the naysayers and do the ride. You will have a blast.
msbiker is offline  
Old 01-06-18, 09:38 AM
  #18  
djb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montreal Canada
Posts: 11,539
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2069 Post(s)
Liked 494 Times in 419 Posts
If the possibility of having to ride with a dead battery, as someone who has climbed a lot on bikes weighing upwards of 85lbs, your bike most likely doesnt have a really low, low gear. My tough touring bike has a mountain bike crankset, with a 22t small front gear, often referred to as a granny gear. My largest rear cog is 34t, so with my 26in wheels, this gives a very low first gear of 16.7 gear inches, which I have used many many times touring in mountainous areas.

bottom line, be prepared for having to ride with no electric assist, and at least try it out on as steep hills as you can find, with your panniers on your bike, so you have an idea of what you are dealing with.

what is the gearing on your bike, or if you dont know, what is the name and model of your bike?

a friend of mine did the divide last year, and there are sections where you have to push your bike up stuff, so be aware of that also and be realistic about what you can do.

comes down to the old " hope for the best, prepare for the worst" adage.
djb is offline  
Old 01-06-18, 09:48 AM
  #19  
jon c. 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 4,113
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1143 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 334 Times in 181 Posts
How soon are you planning to take the trip? If you can wait 5 or 10 years, improvements in battery technology would make it much more practical. Right now it might be possible with careful planning, but as others have noted the current limits of battery capacity would make it tough. Your entire trip would revolve around the battery and I'd think that would sap some of the fun out of it. OTOH, some folks might relish the difficulty and find the challenging nature of the journey even more fun.
jon c. is offline  
Old 01-06-18, 09:52 AM
  #20  
unterhausen
Randomhead
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
Posts: 21,492
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 1,262 Times in 912 Posts
Originally Posted by dashely View Post
Hi I know this may not be very relevant but my father Robert bicycled from Kansas to Utah using an electric trike with solar as the only charging. The solar panel on this bicycle is approximately 2 1/2' x 7'.
when I first saw this, I thought it was a misprint. Then I realized it wasn't. Wow, that's a lot of solar panel, but probably about the minimum needed. That's a pretty cool trip, even though it isn't something I would do.

To the OP, I think you want a mountain bike for the great divide. Or maybe what is being called "all-road," but I don't think anyone is making an all-road ebike. I think the major brands are coming out with mountain ebikes, but they are going to be oriented to downhill, so probably not what you want. There are plenty of Chinese mountain ebikes, so some research is going to be needed. I really doubt it's a practical trip the whole way because of charging. Either that, or it will be far harder than just using a non-ebike.
unterhausen is offline  
Old 01-06-18, 11:24 AM
  #21  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 29,930
Mentioned: 199 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13130 Post(s)
Liked 5,635 Times in 2,897 Posts
Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus View Post
Then there are rainy days when you can't charge, and days when the terrain is so rough to drain your battery much faster than the optimistic ratings the manufacturers put on their e-bikes. Their ratings are basically riding around a flat track until the battery runs out. Once You add in hills and then rough riding hills your battery will drain much faster.
And there are forested areas where you won't be in direct sunlight.

Trek's response to a battery life question re: the model the OP mentions:

"The 500Wh battery on the Powerfly 5 has an approximate range of 100 miles in Eco mode, and 37 miles in Turbo mode. Actual range will depend on various factors such as terrain type, incline grade, and individual riding style."
indyfabz is offline  
Old 01-06-18, 11:54 AM
  #22  
BigAura
 
BigAura's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Chapin, SC
Posts: 3,423

Bikes: all steel stable: surly world troller, paris sport fixed, fuji ss

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 621 Post(s)
Liked 50 Times in 31 Posts


Stick to the paved roads that allow motorcycles and you'll be OK.

You don't want to get fined:





Last edited by BigAura; 01-06-18 at 03:15 PM.
BigAura is offline  
Old 01-06-18, 12:02 PM
  #23  
linus
Crawler
 
linus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: OH~ CANADA
Posts: 1,407
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 207 Post(s)
Liked 17 Times in 13 Posts
I don't know how much solar panels can help, but as long as you can get to the next outlet, it doesn't matter.

Give it a go and let us know. Either way you'll have fun.
linus is offline  
Old 01-06-18, 12:35 PM
  #24  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,946
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1481 Post(s)
Liked 175 Times in 116 Posts
BA, that’s a great letter from the USFS. Nice to see they recognize the obvious, that an “e-bike” is a motor vehicle.
alan s is offline  
Old 01-06-18, 12:47 PM
  #25  
linus
Crawler
 
linus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: OH~ CANADA
Posts: 1,407
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 207 Post(s)
Liked 17 Times in 13 Posts
They should differentiate E-bike and E-assisted bicycles. Basically Throttle or no Throttle?
linus is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.