New to e-bikes... suggestions?

curtis73

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I was always an avid rider. As I got older, I rode less. Then I became (gasp) an adult with a real job and real responsibilities. I hadn't ridden in years. I dug my trusty Trek out of the weeds a couple years ago and tuned it up and quickly realized that I'm just old and fat :D I gave the Trek to my nephew.

I started reading about e-bikes and thought owning one would kill two birds with one stone: 1) a little help to get me back on two wheels without blowing an artery, and 2) a great way to get local trips done without firing up a gasoline engine to drive 1 mile. I am a certified tree hugger, after all.

What I would use it for:
- quick 1-2 mile trips to the store to grab something, go to a friend's house, or just clear my mind
- exercise using varying degrees of pedal assist
- commuting to work from the suburbs to the urbs. Where I live is a mixture of neighborhoods with sidewalks and some not. Roads are poor, sidewalks even poorer. Most of the commute ranges from 4-lane boulevards with malls and fast food joints down to 2-lane city streets with stop signs, but I have several options of routes I can take.
- I could imagine using it for a gentle trail ride, but I'm far from a hardcore mountain biker.
- I'm not phased by weather much. I'll ride my motorcycle as cold as 40F as long as it's not snowing.
- I'm also not a hardcore bicyclist. I imagine using this a few times a week, maybe every day, but not like someone whose mantra is "live to ride." It's a utility for me, not a hobby or passion.

About me:
- broke as a joke (ok, not that bad, but furloughed and no unemployment)
- 6'1" 200 lbs
- always research the crap out of everything so I can find the right bargain for me

Tell me if I'm looking in the right direction. Here's what I was thinking:
- 500w (or should I go to 750w with my weight and the hills around here)
- I don't think a huge range is necessary. Short jaunts to the store, and even the commute to work is 8 miles one way... and I could plug it in while at work. 11-14 Ah?
- most have disc brakes, but I don't need hydraulic. Like I said, not riding down any mountains
- I don't need fitness tracking, speed displays, weather reports, and collision warning. I need a battery meter.
- lights would be nice, but they're easy to add

Am I looking at a fat-tire beach/snow? That could eliminate the desire for suspension but still give me some cushion.

So, if my research has pointed me in the right direction, I'm looking for.... (edit this list at will)
- [insert bike style]
- discs but not hydraulic
- torque-sensing pedal assist instead of resolution. (senses my input instead of waiting for a full turn of the pedals)
- 11+ Ah
- 500w or 750w?
- can't imagine I would benefit from a folding bike, but feel free to convince me.


Budget is around $1000, not afraid to go Chinese if it has a good track record.
 

Thomas Hill

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Sep 2, 2020
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Man do you sound just like me a couple of months ago. All your reasons for getting a ebike are spot on. I was able to pick up a used ebike on Ebay for $1000 but then had to pay a heafty price for shipping so buy local if possible. Mine is a 48 volt, 750 watt and I think that's least amount of power you'd want. As with anything there is a risk when buying used because there is a long list of things that can go wrong with an ebike. If you decide to go new you'll pay $1500 to $2000 for something decent. Let me know if you have any questions. Oh and by the way, they're a blast to ride and addictive. I'm about your age and I ride every day.
 

curtis73

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I do have some vague questions. I was on another forum with this same basic post and many of the responses were highly critical from riders who are obviously well-versed. They more or less shamed me for looking at junk bikes. It was akin to "if you're spending less than $5000, you're not going to be happy." Followed by a picture of their $15,000 bike from a brand name I had never heard. They were talking about best brake coefficients. I am picturing them flying down a mountain and all I need to do is stop from 20 mph a few times.

The one I'm looking at pretty hard right now is the Rad Rover. Not convinced I need a fat tire bike, though. They offer the Rad Mission, but it's a single speed. Can't imagine that making me happy.

I'm currently going down the rabbit hole of researching everything; drop spacing, the levels of Shimano deraileurs, spoke types, etc. I'm hoping to become knowledgeable enough so that when I look at a bike I can find the obvious cheap stuff. I can do that with computers and cars... like, "great car in every way, but that VVT design is awful." Or, "that computer would be fantastic if it weren't for the low-end graphics card."

I just don't know what those good and bad things are in the bikey world.... nor do I know if I'll every know the difference.

Thoughts?
 

Thomas Hill

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Joined
Sep 2, 2020
Messages
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I do have some vague questions. I was on another forum with this same basic post and many of the responses were highly critical from riders who are obviously well-versed. They more or less shamed me for looking at junk bikes. It was akin to "if you're spending less than $5000, you're not going to be happy." Followed by a picture of their $15,000 bike from a brand name I had never heard. They were talking about best brake coefficients. I am picturing them flying down a mountain and all I need to do is stop from 20 mph a few times.

The one I'm looking at pretty hard right now is the Rad Rover. Not convinced I need a fat tire bike, though. They offer the Rad Mission, but it's a single speed. Can't imagine that making me happy.

I'm currently going down the rabbit hole of researching everything; drop spacing, the levels of Shimano deraileurs, spoke types, etc. I'm hoping to become knowledgeable enough so that when I look at a bike I can find the obvious cheap stuff. I can do that with computers and cars... like, "great car in every way, but that VVT design is awful." Or, "that computer would be fantastic if it weren't for the low-end graphics card."

I just don't know what those good and bad things are in the bikey world.... nor do I know if I'll every know the difference.

Thoughts?
From what learned in the short time I’ve owned an ebike, batteries are one of the main things to watch for. If you buy a used bike to save money, check how many charging cycles the battery has gone through. They’re generally good for about 1,000: cycles. Mine came with a Samsung battery and since that’s a brand I’m familiar with, I was comfortable with that.
 
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