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eGravel bikes

Bigwheel

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There is starting to be some chatter here about this emerging genre and so perhaps time to start it's own category thread.

I put together a few all road capable bikes a few years ago for use as exploring and commuting tools. I had a KTM Dualsport that was kind of fun to ride but not big on raising endorphins and I found that motorizing a drop bar bike gave me the best of both worlds and sold the KTM.

Wasn't sure exactly how it was all going to shake out but where I lived at the time there wasn't much for single track but lot's of 2 land pavé and gravel roads with some cow pasturing thrown in for good measure so I was able to explore my area freely. I was working 20 miles away and found out it was within 5 minutes or so of driving my car to work with the bulk of the time made up with the city limits and able to average 24+ mph on the open road leading in and back out.

I now have like 4 thousand miles on between the two bikes with everything from brand new asphalt to hefting the bike through brush like yesterday scouting trail. I still don't have easy single track access but miles and miles of logging roads with a good map as well as miles of beach. Going to the bank, getting some groceries, dodging the crowds makes them my go to mode of transport.

I use front hub drives for my own reasons but as it seems most prefer mid drive and with the advent of the Fazua type bikes and the Orbea hub models being the focus going forward if I had to choose from the herd I would go with the Raleigh Tamland iE Class 3 with Brose motor and 500wh battery.

In stock form it is 47 lbs. which may seem porky but both my bikes are in that same weight class and they handle just fine. In fact at speed on gravel they feel super well planted and that is a good thing and I'm sure there are stock components on it that can be shaved down with some swapping.

Another bike of note in this category is the Yamaha Wabash. The Yamaha is purported to have the best PAS in the industry but I haven't gotten to try one yet. Similar in spec and price to the Raleigh details about both easy to find online at your leisure.
 

dundundata

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That Tamland is basically my izip e3 moda with dropbars. I put some narrow tires on her for the summer and it looks even closer. Anyway she is a capable bike for sure and pretty quick. There's no getting away from the weight but the in-frame battery and mid-drive makes it handle well.
 

Bigwheel

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Yeah Francis interesting but the same scenario that is developing in the mtb segment regarding low power/low wh equaling low weight bikes. IMNSHO the only e road type bike worth having is a Class 3. Having a 20mph limiter on a road bike, and as you say you can cruise at 25mph on your current road bike and many can, means you will be spending lots of time just pedaling a heavier than normal bike which will take more physical energy and defeat the purpose of having a motor on board. 13.4kg is 29.48lbs. btw, still light in the ebike world.

If someone just wants a crutch for the uphills the 250w/250wh system will do that but for how long? The whole "further, faster" mantra that some manufacturers tout only works when you have power and energy to produce the power for long periods. Otherwise you might just as well ride your road bike and with that you could ride all day. Seems like you are saying you are getting one so I'll look forward to your thoughts after you get some time in.

There are quite a few people with the Orbea eBikemotion type hub bikes that are really talking up how many miles they get out of a charge. One guy in GBR claims 120 miles on a 250wh battery riding pavement. That calculates out to .48 wh/mi which basically means he hardly uses the motor so my question is why does he have the extra weight, resulting drag and complexity on board? He never says what his average speed is but it can't be that high as he seems to be an older gent but road savvy nonetheless. Not taking away from the fact he seems to be having fun with it however which is the bottom line I suppose.

For sure riding gravel, which has a much higher friction coefficient, and running lower psi (I run 35psi routinely and sometimes lower if I forget to check psi before leaving) you won't be getting that type of range. I average around 15wh/mi in hilly terrain averaging in the high teens and am happy with that and can plan my rides accordingly. Sometimes they are faster and other times they are slower. It's all about the ride after all and I like mine comfortable and quick or slow as the mood strikes.
 

Gutch

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I have the black Specialized Turbo S with 750w from 2016. It’s a blast to rip.
 

dundundata

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For the Brose motor and 500wh battery I get anywhere from 25-40 miles depending on mode and how aggressive I ride. 25 would be Sport mode and trying to maintain top speeds. A little more relaxed on the pedals I am typically getting in the 30s up to about 40 mile range. If I really ECO things I might hit 50 but what's the point might as well take a normal bike.

28mph is the minimum I'd really want on the road. I think 35 can be perfectly acceptable on a straight stretch of road.
 

fc

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Jul 22, 2020
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Yes, Class 3 for sure. Class 1 would be useless.

As far as going farther, it remains to be seen how practical the modular batteries are and if one can carry spares. That's the intriguing part of the Fazua system

And there's the option of removing the battery/motor altogether. We'll see if folks actually end up doing that.
 

fc

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For battery range, I'm much more comfortable using altitude climbed as a guage.

The reason is 500wh on eco can last me 80 miles or 15 miles depending on the amount of climbing involved. And with me and ebikes, it's all about the climbs that used to be miserable.

What do you think is your altitude gained in your examples?
 

dundundata

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I am just talking street miles and mostly flat with high speeds, not much in the way of hills.
 

Bigwheel

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Oddly enough many of the eRoad bikes being sold across the pond cut out at 15.5mph which really makes no sense to me at least even if they transition without a blip and continue on pedaling without any drive induced drag it is still the extra weight that will hamper overall performance?

Yes you can pack along extra batteries but each battery adds weight which just, well, adds weight. Plus you have to figure out how to pack it or them. While I am all about modular batteries I feel they have more use for mtb than road bikes because generally road bike rides are targeting longer mileage to begin with so having the right amount of wh's on board at all times for your target miles with some room to roam makes alot of sense.

To that end I think that 500wh is pretty much the minimum that would take a rider 50 miles at a rate of speed over ground at a "faster than normal" pace that would be enough of a factor to make one decide to go the e route to begin with. If someone just wants to poke along at 10-15 mph and once in awhile hit some power to get up a hill I would say just sack up buddy and ride a regular bike. Unless of course they have a disability or special needs.

Sure you can remove the battery/motor but if you already have a road bike why would you? In about 5 minutes I can take off my front hub motor and swap it out to my regular wheel and leave off the battery and only have the extra weight of the display, battery tray, controller and wiring bits on board which weigh less than the bb system/cover plate of the Fazua. Sure my bikes are not light weight to begin with as they are cheap versions but because I primarily use them as eBikes weight isn't that big an issue to me at least.

Bottom line is that this sort of conversation will keep going round and round as to weight vs. power vs. range vs. efficiency but at the end of the ride it is all about what works for the individual. Options abound and more coming.
 

howardv

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Wow, that's a sweet ride! But at between $7,500-$9,500, it's gonna be quite a while till I can add it to my fleet. For my purposes, it's the perfect bike. A little bit of juice for the toughest part of the climb on the hot summer days.

Yesterday I took my Haibike to discover some new territory. Normally would have ridden my regular mountain bike, but it was a really hot day, so I took the e-mtb. Just needed the motor to get through some really steep sections in 90+ degree weather. I rode 35 miles and by the time I got back, still had 80% battery. This new Look e-765 was made for me! I want one damnit!
 

hikerdave

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ron t

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The Fantic Gravel-x with the big 630wh battery looks ideal for me except for the huge ugly external battery. I like the 100mm forks to give it a little extra versatility, along with the slightly larger than normal 2.2" tires. Thinking about it on my commute yesterday Class 3 is definitely a must-have.
 

Bigwheel

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Another contender but with a different mid-motor type made by Polini. 250w/500wh

bianchi egravel bike.jpg
 
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fc

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Pretty nice. Even Bianchi huh? And another stealth motor. Looks like it's worth checking.

The Fazua looks like it has only 24 points of engagement in the crank on some implementations.
 

Bigwheel

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The Fazua only has 24 points of engagement period I think as they only have the one motor/reduction gear box?

The Polini is more like a Brose in structure and performance but does fit in nice and tight. Even has a kick stand mount built in!

 
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