Hello, All! I'm planning to purchase my first bike in 2023, and my head is swimming with all of the options available.
I'm looking for a good small town commuter/grocery getter which can handle sometimes great but sometimes awful road conditions. Ninety percent of my rides will be short trips (less than five miles), but I would like to occasionally make runs to nearby towns (40-50 mile trips). I've ridden motorcycles in the past, so I'm pretty sure I will be comfortable with 4" tires. Also, I need the bike to handle 300 pounds or so in total weight.
I considered converting a standard bike with a kit, but that seemed to offer an even larger Pandora's box of options and issues, so for now, I will get a factory bike to get me started. Two bikes which have caught my eye are the Heybike Explore and the Lectric Xpremium. Very similar in many ways, but completely different in others. 26" single battery 750w hub drive vs. 20" dual battery 500w mid drive. ARGGHH! I really don't want to make a $2k mistake. Help! TIA
I think I can help here as I have both a heybike and a Lectric.
I have the heybike Ranger, which is their large folder with fat tires. I have a Lectric XP Lite, which is their lightweight folder with medium tires and a single speed.
The quality on the Lectric is much better than on the heybike, especially the brakes. The heybike brakes work OK, but they screech. The pedals were not very good on the heybike either; they squeaked for a good while, until I oiled them a couple times and get a couple hundred miles on them. The Lectric pedals were much higher quality. I'd rule out the heybike right away, based on that. They're priced like Lectric, but without Lectric quality.
One reason might be that Lectric is an American company, and the bikes are manufactured offshore. heybike is a Chinese company with China manufacturing. As a company, Lectric just cares more.
When I bought the Lectric, they offered a new promotion a few days later with a free folding lock. I missed it. I emailed their customer service and asked if there was any way I could get the free lock. Gave them my order number. "No problem", they said, and I had it a week later.
Re. the screeching brakes on the heybike, customer service also responded quickly and gave me a link on how to adjust the brakes. I did that and it only helped a tiny bit. I told them so, and they asked me to get a video of it happening. I'm not going to kill myself trying to take a video while braking. I just gave them a rating based on the bike as-is. So, customer service is also better at Lectric.
Now the thing is that you don't need or want a folding bike, so why even consider Lectric? Folding bike (usually) means smaller wheel diameter, which is less efficient. Frames are heavier, because they need lockwork for folding.
With the heybike, I found that I don't need fat tires. It's true, they do offer some semblance of suspension because they're so soft, but that also raises rolling resistance and weight quite a bit. That cuts into your range, which is why Lectric offers the XPremium now. But now, you're even HEAVIER. It's a never-ending cycle.
When you would want fat tires is if you do a lot of offroad riding. They're great in grass, gravel and dirt, and even OK in mud. But if you don't do that riding, why would you want all the extra weight and the hit in efficiency?
I just bought a bike Saturday that happens to be in your $2k price range and seems like it would be Just the Thing for you too: Aventon Level2. It has a rack and fenders, better hardware, more efficient tires for road use and torque-sensing drive. (the XPremium also has torque-sensing drive, but the heybike doesn't) It is RATED for about the same range as the XP 2.0 (~60 miles) but they only way you're going to get 60 miles out of the XP is if you're on power setting 1 and doing a lot of the work yourself. The faster over 10 mph you go, it seems to take a LOT more power, so that if you go 20 mph, you're only going to get maybe 20 miles out of a charge. Just for fun, I was going 20 mph on my Ranger and turned off the power assist. There was no way I could pedal it 20 mph, even for a short time. I can't stress enough how inefficient fat tires make a ride on pavement. By contrast, people actually GET 60 miles on a charge with the Level2. It is with low power assist still, but with that same energy, you can easily maintain 13 mph on pavement for 60 miles instead of maybe 30 miles at that speed with a fat tire bike and the same amount of energy.
The XPremium is a nice bike, but quite heavy due to needing all the battery power to get that long range. I think it's over 80 lbs. My Level2 is only 61 lbs.
If you don't like the Level2, my advice is to find something with the most efficient tires you can get that will handle the surfaces you'll be riding on. Get a suspension seat post and/or a sprung seat for rear suspension and a suspension fork for the front and you're golden. Don't get a folder if you don't need it. (Lectric needs to get onboard with non-folders, IMO)