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Ebike for touring?

Old 02-02-22, 09:41 AM
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Ebike for touring?

Okay, so we saw an ebike rolling by yesterday and my wife commented "Thats how I want to ride". I don't know that she was serious, since I figured her riding days were over. Any way it got me wondering about a couple possible uses for an ebike that could conceivably interest me now or at some point in the future. I am not really serious at this point, but there is a little nagging curiosity.

First potential use... It would be great if an ebike got my wife back on a bike. Better yet if she would be interested enough to tour with me. For various reasons that wouldn't happen in the near future any way, but it would sure be nice. I doubt this is a realistic hope though.

Second potential use... As I progress into my 70s I realize my abilities have declined and are going to decline. It would be nice if the added weight were low enough that it could be ignored and the bike ridden as a regular bike on the flat and rolling terrain until the big climbs and used as an assist at that point. I don't know that I am ready to make that move yet, but I'd rather go there than quit riding altogether. I wonder if something like Turbo Creo SL Expert would fill that bill for UL touring loads. The price is pretty rich for my blood, but it looks like it weighs about what my original touring bike weighed. So the weight while heavy maybe could be doable even for a weight weenie like me (I was never super obsessive about the weight of the bike itself). https://www.specialized.com/us/en/turbo-creo-sl-expert Obviously there are cheaper ebike choices and ones intended for hauling bigger loads.
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Old 02-02-22, 10:23 AM
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Pete, I had to retro-fit my touring bike with e-assist 5 years ago due to femoral nerve damage. Ever since I've been trying to return to camping/touring but I can't figure out how.

I get about 30-35 miles per charge UNLOADED around a hilly town. With overnight gear that would be less. I'd need to bring at least one extra battery (if not two, 8# each) on a tour. That would mean two or three chargers unless you want to get up at midnight to move your chargers. I also sleep with CPAP now, one more thing to plug in.

I'd need a power source EVERY night convenient to my tent. That's not going to happen at a USFS campsite, only at some private full service facilities. It probably can be done but you may be limited to credit card/motel type touring or short, well planned camping tours.

That said, ebikes would make you and your wife ride like 20 year olds again!

Last edited by BobG; 02-04-22 at 05:56 AM.
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Old 02-02-22, 10:41 AM
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I have a trek verve +2 e bike which I mainly use to haul groceries with these days . It's heavy at 55lbs and the handling is sluggish and comfortable. I use minimal to no assist on slight declines as well as flat surfaces without much sacrifice in efficiency. For such a heavy bike, it's still a life saver on the steeper climbs and is super comfortable for the longer rides.

If I were given the option to select another e bike, I would go for the Kona Dew E. Not crazy expensive, just light and sporty enough to gain some extra performance while still being comfortable, etc .

I regretted not getting a specialized turbo vado SL for a while after the purchase of the trek, but figured I should leave the sporty rides for the eventual purchase of a drop bar gravel bike.
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Old 02-02-22, 11:39 AM
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How long do E-Bike batteries take to charge? Touring, in my experience, is as much about the many stops per day to rest, eat, sightsee, etc, so plugging in at a cafe or bar while you laugh and talk and share pictures could likely extend the charge and keep you going to your overnight stop.
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Old 02-02-22, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by ClydeClydeson View Post
How long do E-Bike batteries take to charge?
Mine takes about 6 hours to recharge a fully depleted battery. So yes, plugging in during a lunch stop adds something but not much. It's not like plugging in your cell phone for a quick refresh. Big lithium batteries need a slow charge for safety. Mine has a built in recharge/braking feature that can be engaged on descents but it is minimal.
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Old 02-02-22, 01:09 PM
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my bosch battery takes 3.5 hours fully drained. the thing is you want to be careful what bike you get mail order bikes you will be lucky of a shop would work on it. my bosch based bike most shops are not scared of it. even a high end shop close to me will do work on it but for electrical.
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Old 02-02-22, 03:12 PM
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I think that with your past racing background and wanting to travel ultra light, you should consider one of these. Yeah they might be over your budget, but thought I would point out this option anyway.
https://www.velonews.com/gear/road-g...elong-cyclist/
https://zinncycles.com/product/ezinn-custom-ebike/

I know a guy that got an e-bike for his wife years ago. She was no longer able to ride a bike. They got one that did not require pedaling, can be ridden like a moped. She rode it enough that later then needed to buy a replacement battery.

There is a e-bike shop in my community, the guy sells really cheap low quality bikes. People buy them but when parts are needed they are out of luck. When they bring such bikes into a local bike shop, the shops refuse to work on them.

I have a neighbor that is a bike mechanic, he was saying that even the spokes on the cheap bikes can't be replaced with the spokes they have at the bike shop he works at. My point is do not buy an off-brand that has no dealer support.

I think you would have to plan on staying indoors every night, so get enough battery to get from motel to motel, if that means spare batteries, then get spares.

If you decide to go high end, Rohloff makes an e-bike version, it can be wired to the motor so that the motor reduces torque during shifting, etc.
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Old 02-02-22, 06:22 PM
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A friend of mine whom I ride with uses an E bike and we have ridden up to 68 miles in a single day and he claimed his battery meter stated that he was only down 20 - 25 percent off a full charge. He bought it online and it is a beast but it wasn't overly expensive. It is heavy, but then again, the weight is not an issue unless you have to carry it up a flight of stairs.
For my future, first it will be a recumbent trike when I lose my sense of balance and then the motor, and hopefully that will get me to my final ride, a long box with no wheels.

Btw, just looked at a photo taken from that ride and his is called a JUICED Cross current ?

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Old 02-02-22, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
...For my future, first it will be a recumbent trike when I lose my sense of balance and then the motor, ...
A friend of mine had bad balance, fell off his bike a couple times three years ago, bought a trike two years ago a month or two before Covid hit. He loves it. But, he is 85, has lost a lot of leg strength over the years. The trike is a Cattrike 559. Has a 26 inch wheel in back and a road triple crank. I think the shop sold him the wrong one, he would have been better off with a 20 inch rear wheel for lower gearing, he has trouble on some of the uphills. Because it is geared too high for him, I think he will convert it to electric this year.
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Old 02-02-22, 11:05 PM
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Getting to and from a tour: there are issues in transporting batteries via plane, train and bus.

In federalist America, the 50 states do not have uniform rules for ebikes. For instance, you could leave the Atlanta area on the Silver Comet bike trail on your Class 1 ebike just okeydokey, but when you cross the border onto Alabama's Chief Ladiga trail you'll be riding an unlicensed, unregistered, uninsured motorcycle illegally on a bike trail..
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Old 02-02-22, 11:26 PM
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I presently use an Emtb for trails and serious climbs (1,000m+) My touring bike is still normal, but I know one day, if I want to continue touring, I may need assistance. The way tech is moving on ebikes, it will not be long before one can go 150km on a single charge and a full charge in under an hour. The Emtb needs the most powerful motor available and the largest battery, but a tourer/road riding can get away with a smaller motor. Presently, Bosch has a a 750 wh battery that can easily tackle a full day road ride, coupled with their 6A charger (optional) a full charge in 2 hours.
Wild camping is out of the question because even with solar panels and such, it would take several days to get a half charge. A spare battery is worth considering, but expensive. No air travel as the batteries are banned.
My belief is, if one needs some help to keep riding, go for it.
Do not go gently into that good night!
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Old 02-03-22, 06:34 AM
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And think about how easy it is to pedal for when you want to ride on a trail that only allows you to ride under your own muscle power.



Some of the e-bikes out there were clearly designed to be a motor vehicle, but use the pedals as a loophole in the rules so that they can park them on the sidewalk, avoid licensing as a motor vehicle, avoid obtaining a operator license, etc. Those have high rolling resistance and were not built to be pedaled without the motor for propulsion.
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Old 02-03-22, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Getting to and from a tour: there are issues in transporting batteries via plane, train and bus.
I had not really considered that although it should have been obvious. You'd have to ground ship the battery and there are some hurdles probably including a hazmat fee. I have not studied up on it, but saw references to UPS charging a $39 or a $54.50 Hazmat fee not sure which might apply. To make matters worse the tours where I'd most want the assist are ones I'd fly to and from.
In federalist America, the 50 states do not have uniform rules for ebikes. For instance, you could leave the Atlanta area on the Silver Comet bike trail on your Class 1 ebike just okeydokey, but when you cross the border onto Alabama's Chief Ladiga trail you'll be riding an unlicensed, unregistered, uninsured motorcycle illegally on a bike trail..
That wouldn't be an issue for me as I don't generally seek out bike trails and if anything avoid them. It could be an issue if the rules about what was street legal were different though.

Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
My belief is, if one needs some help to keep riding, go for it.
Do not go gently into that good night!
Yeah, for sure, but I am thinking about this only as an academic exercise at this point. I am still do not really think I am in need of the assist in order to do the rides I want to do. OTOH, it has been a while since I have toured so maybe i am kidding myself
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Old 02-03-22, 07:02 AM
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I dabbed in E-Bikes sometime around 2014 and I did get the two best brands and models back then (Specialized Turbo and Stromer ST1) for our family. It was fun and it was great and I rode them to the ground commuting to work. The expense saved on using a car paid for the bikes over time and we had plenty of fun on the bikes, especially my wife.

But I voluntarily switched to regular bikes because I had more fun on them and to this date I am keeping it that way for the time being but I would not hesitate for a minute if I felt I needed the wonderful boost of the e-bike.

To get my wife back riding we switched to riding a tandem bicycle as a couple. This was the magic we both needed. Consider that. On a tandem her legs could be spinning but she does not have to put in the amount of torque as you would and both of You will get there at the same time and will have a great conversation along the way and when it is time to push and walk you do it as a couple.

I have some friends who also tried to go the e-bike route and one repeating pattern I see is they try to buy cheap and then end up buying again once they realize the cheap is too much hassle.
https://www.stromerbike.com/en/model...launch-edition
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Old 02-03-22, 07:42 AM
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There is no way in hell I would put my wife on a loaded touring Ebike and me Ride a non ebike. Even if she carried all the gear it would be hard to keep up.

Battery wise if she is strong enough to ride and kept things on a low assist level you should be able to get pretty far in a day.

I would make sure the route was all hotels and that they didnt have a issue with a bike in the room camping and charging might get to messy.
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Old 02-03-22, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus View Post
To get my wife back riding we switched to riding a tandem bicycle as a couple. This was the magic we both needed. Consider that. On a tandem her legs could be spinning but she does not have to put in the amount of torque as you would and both of You will get there at the same time and will have a great conversation along the way and when it is time to push and walk you do it as a couple.
I'll give it some thought. I suspect our cadences are pretty incompatible. I'd have to adjust to a low cadence.
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Old 02-03-22, 08:22 AM
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not necessarily. My wife enjoyed the increased cadence without the mandatory torque. It is all in the motivation. Increased cadence makes the legs look more toned. She says her legs look better than when she was 18. :-)
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Old 02-03-22, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
That wouldn't be an issue for me as I don't generally seek out bike trails and if anything avoid them. It could be an issue if the rules about what was street legal were different though.
Okay, so you cross the state line and just like that you're riding an unlicensed, unregistered, uninsured motorcycle on the road. I've never heard of anyone getting hassled for this, but imagine you get hit by a motor vehicle driver and the lawyer finds out you were riding an ebike which in that state is an unlicensed, unregistered, uninsured motorcycle.

There are websites that delineate state ebike laws, and the situation is improving with time.

Adventure Cycling has been promoting ebike touring and offering catered ebike tours. I've never seen them mention the legality issue, but on their ebike tours, they mandate Class 1 ebikes only and do remain in ebike-legal states.

It's certainly not a deal-breaking issue, but it is something that could affect an ebike tourist and therefore something to be aware of.

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Old 02-03-22, 08:49 AM
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Yeah, I've looked into it and thought about it.

I've read multiple ebike tour travelogs where the author said they only used the lowest boost setting only going up the steepest climbs. Okay. They spent $6000, they have to stay in motels every night for recharge, and most of the time they are pedaling a 50+ pound bicycle plus hauling a spare battery and multiple chargers. If that's the right answer for them, great! But I wonder if another approach would work: credit card tour on a $6000, sub-15 pound unassisted bike?



I've read other ebike touring tales where the author rode on boost 100% of the time but claimed it was the same experience as their pre-ebike tours. Hmph. Well, I haven't done both so I don't know. But then was Hemingway wrong?

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Old 02-03-22, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Okay, so you cross the state line and just like that you're riding an unlicensed, unregistered, uninsured motorcycle on the road. I've never heard of anyone getting hassled for this, but imagine you get hit by a motor vehicle driver and the lawyer finds out you were riding an ebike which in that state is an unlicensed, unregistered, uninsured motorcycle.

There are websites that delineate state ebike laws, and the situation is improving with time.

Adventure Cycling has been promoting ebike touring and offering catered ebike tours. I've never seen them mention the legality issue, but on their ebike tours, they do remain in ebike-legal states.

It's certainly not a deal-breaking issue, but it is something that could affect an ebike tourist and therefore something to be aware of.
I just read through a list of states and their policies. It was interesting. One should definitely check before planning an ebike tour through states where they don't know the laws. It looks like most places are fine, but there are some surprises.
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Old 02-03-22, 09:04 AM
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in 2014 we were getting 60 miles out of our e-bikes. Today's e-bikes like Stromer claim 100 miles on a single charge so I am assuming a conservative assumption for 60 mile days to be totally feasible. 60 miles per day on a normal touring bike is a good day. Why not being content with that on an e-bike too and use the remaining day exploring the destination (as well as charging the battery) :-)
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Old 02-03-22, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by sloppy12 View Post
There is no way in hell I would put my wife on a loaded touring Ebike and me Ride a non ebike. Even if she carried all the gear it would be hard to keep up.
This is so true. Pete, if your wife gets an ebike you may have to get one also to continue to enjoy riding with her. None of my past cycling companions will ride with me now because they can't keep up on hills. On a standard bike I couldn't keep up with them.

One of my neighbors is a 23 year old who placed fifth in last years Mt Washington Hill Climb race. We live on the same hill here in Jackson NH. If I meet him returning home from a ride I'll pass him on our hill. I 'm 73! I'm not bragging, just saying how powerful an e-assist is.
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Old 02-03-22, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by BobG View Post
This is so true. Pete, if your wife gets an ebike you may have to get one also to continue to enjoy riding with her. None of my past cycling companions will ride with me now because they can't keep up on hills. On a standard bike I couldn't keep up with them.

One of my neighbors is a 23 year old who placed fifth in last years Mt Washington Hill Climb race. We live on the same hill here in Jackson NH. If I meet him returning home from a ride I'll pass him on our hill. I 'm 73! I'm not bragging, just saying how powerful an e-assist is.
Yeah, I very briefly test rode one so I have some idea. I rode up a pretty good hill. The really cool thing about them if they are set up to provide an assist and not a throttle activation is that you really don't feel like you are motoring up. You just feel like you are really strong.
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Old 02-03-22, 09:49 AM
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I am just ignorant but are there any hills in Tallahassee? :-)
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Old 02-03-22, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus View Post
I am just ignorant but are there any hills in Tallahassee? :-)
a friend just got back, he said it was more hilly than he had expected.
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