E-bike novice seeking advice...

Duncan113

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I'll be 60 in June, and I want to start cycling again for overall fitness. I live in a particularly hilly area, so any e-bike I buy would have to have a lot of power to assist me in climbing those hills. Now, I have a traditional bike I used to ride a lot, made by Giant, it is a hybrid, and those fat tires give me the cushioning I need. Finally, when I used to ride my Giant, the pressure on my prostate became a problem, so I sought out and found a saddle specially designed to solve this problem, by removing the center section altogether. Point is, the diameter of the "pole" was standardized, so I could simply swap out my old seat and slide in the new one. Is this also true of e-bikes?
 
The post diameter where the seat clamps on the post is fairly consistent. Most seats also have a fair amount of range in how far they will clamp down.
 
Seatpost diameter can vary between brands, e.g. my Trek hybrid and Schwinn eMTB have 27.2 seatposts but two other ebikes (hybrid and eMTB) have 30.4mm diameter. You can still swap the upper part, the actual seat, I believe, but it is slightly more involved than just using the quick release.

Edit: If you buy a suspension seatpost they often come as 27.2mm with shims to fit larger diameters. So this will add some variability when it comes to simple seat swapping with the quick release.

Also, if you are riding in a hilly area and do not want to constantly tinker with your drivetrain, maybe don't buy a mid-drive. I think a 500W+ hub motor is way more laid back in this regard, and sometimes can actually handle hills better than a comparable mid-drive. My 500W Bafang just got me up from 400ft elevation and then a steep 15% incline (830ft to 1040ft elevation in 0.2mls) without me having to break much of a sweat. Individual mileage may vary, though.
 
Welcome.

If you like your Giant, consider converting it to an eBike with a Bafang BBSHD or BBS02 mid drive motor kit. It can be a challenge and if you don't have a DIY gene in you, you can pay someone else to do it. But, there is great satisfaction once you are done and hit the trails on a familiar bike that rides like never before.
 
Seatpost diameter can vary between brands, e.g. my Trek hybrid and Schwinn eMTB have 27.2 seatposts but two other ebikes (hybrid and eMTB) have 30.4mm diameter. You can still swap the upper part, the actual seat, I believe, but it is slightly more involved than just using the quick release.

Also, if you are riding in a hilly area and do not want to constantly tinker with your drivetrain, maybe don't buy a mid-drive. I think a 500W+ hub motor is way more laid back in this regard, and sometimes can actually handle hills better than a comparable mid-drive. My 500W Bafang just got me up from 400ft elevation and then a steep 15% incline (830ft to 1040ft elevation in 0.2mls) without me having to break much of a sweat. Individual mileage may vary, though.

Thank you. I was just looking up 500W Bafang hub motors and saw that it refers to the parts involved, not whole bikes. Are there makes/models of e-bike that come with this motor built-in?
 
I'll be 60 in June, and I want to start cycling again for overall fitness. I live in a particularly hilly area, so any e-bike I buy would have to have a lot of power to assist me in climbing those hills. Now, I have a traditional bike I used to ride a lot, made by Giant, it is a hybrid, and those fat tires give me the cushioning I need. Finally, when I used to ride my Giant, the pressure on my prostate became a problem, so I sought out and found a saddle specially designed to solve this problem, by removing the center section altogether. Point is, the diameter of the "pole" was standardized, so I could simply swap out my old seat and slide in the new one. Is this also true of e-bikes?
Welcome @Duncan113!

I also live in an extremely hilly place with huge and long inclines on sealed and unsealed roada. I own a Trek Powerfly 7 - an excellent bike, by the way, even if on the expensive side - I'm 65, not an athlet, and I'd like not to suggest this or that model, but to dispel a myth: that you need high motor power to ride in the mountains.

NO. Especially if your intention is to use the ebike for fitness. With my Bosch Performance CX motor with power limited to 250 W as per EU regulations, I am perfectly capable of covering any incline, sealed and unsealed, up to the limit of tilting. And quite always in tour mode, the second from the bottom (ECO - Tour - EMTB - Turbo) thanks to the gears.

Rather, the problem is battery range, especially if you intend to make tours of several hours a day. Typically, riding more than 50 km here uphill is pretty hard here in ECO with the 625 Wh battery fully charged, respect to the Trek claimed range of 120 km (flat roads, ECO mode, slow speed, etc.)

And technically speaking, the critical parameter with inclines is not power, but the available torque. 75 NM in case of my Trek, more than enough, compared to the 80 NM for the Bafang 500W hub that is not much more. So, you see: twice the nominal power, but only 6% more torque, not considering the gear ratio and the overall weight.

Then, If your problem is speed or something else, that's a different matter, but for the incline the motor power is not the actual issue. What really matters is the overall weight, torque, gear ratio, wheel size, etc.
 
Thank you. I was just looking up 500W Bafang hub motors and saw that it refers to the parts involved, not whole bikes. Are there makes/models of e-bike that come with this motor built-in?
You know, people usually recommend what they own and know best, which may or may not fit your personal needs :)

I'm more of a frugal shopper and don't mind buying yesteryear's model on sale to get the most bang for my buck. I love my acoustic 2006 Trek 7.2 FX hybrid for my potholy city and hills (and my Masi Partenza road bike for fun rides) so I wanted to get a 3x7 drivetrain again (after trying a 250W Schwinn with just 7 gears). It is a rare option in the ebike world but I found a 2021 model Wallke F1 with 500W Bafang motor that is still on sale for around $600 incl tax and shipping. It's more or less a hybrid (but I need to install smaller hybrid tires). It really is all I personally need in an ebike. So I'm going to sell the Schwinn and the 500W mid-drive ebikes.

However, it doesn't have to be that cheap. I hear Aventon Pace 500.3 is a good bike and a more recognized brand if you are into brands sold in some bicycle shops. It is also on sale for around $1000, as many ebike models are right now because the new models are about to come out soon. If you want to shell out more money there is of course an endless number of recomendations for brand ebikes, such as Trek, Giant etc with 500W motors, to be had and you are able to look at and test drive them at your local bike shop. Btw, the same 500W+ motors in the US often get sold as 250W motors in Europe because of their stricter regulations, so this isn't necessarily comparable.

Best is to make a list of parameters you want in an ebike and go from there, e.g. correct frame size for your height, 26 or 27.5/29 tires, type and size of motor, road/hybrid vs more abundant eMTB, 7 or 21 gear drivetrain, class 1, 2 or 3 (US), battery size and range, speed, repairability or bike shop access, proprietary or universal ecosystem, UL-certification necessary or not, and so on and so forth....and last but not least price range too of course.
 

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