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What to get as a first e-bike

bray

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I'm in the UK, and having had to stop using my bike (only for shopping and pleasure) a few years ago due to heart probs, I've just discovered electric bikes on the internet - yeeha! I was wondering what anyone would suggest as a first e-bike ... I live near the top of one of Brighton's long and fairly steep hills (Ditchling Road, for those of you familiar with B&H's geography!), will only be using it to go down into town daily(ish) but can't put any effort into pedal power at all on the way back up because my heart would put the stoppers on that! Gentle exercise is all that's prescribed now :(
 

LiveNride

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And gentle exercise is what you'd get with a motor power through the gears arrangement like the Gazelle Easy Glider has. Other bikes with this sort of design include the original Giant Twist Lite and Comfort range (only avail second hand these days), Swiss Flyers or even if you feel like spending well over £2000, the Swizzbee.

The advantage of a motor power through the gears system is that (just like in a car or motorbike), the design enables the motor to keep running at its optimum efficient speed even when the bike slows down going up hills. Hub motor powered bikes (such as the current Giant Twist, the whole eZee range and many others) on the other hand have the motor running either directly connected to the wheel or via a single fixed 'compromise' gear ratio. This means that (just like with the car/motorbike stuck in an intermediate gear example) when you get to steep hills they often slow to a crawl or even stop, at best the motor becomes less efficient and binges on battery power.

I have a Giant Twist Comfort and its great for climbing steep hills (even 1 in 5 ones which are far from a blip on the landscape). I also use it often for carrying shopping in my panniers on the back. According to AtoB magazines review of the Gazelle, it has much in common with my Twist. The Gazelle Easy Glider was rated very highly in their recent review.
 

bray

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Thanks for your responses - a quick question - will ebikes take me up hills without any pedalling input from me? (ie like a motor scooter?)
 

LiveNride

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It has always been an easy ride up to one in six hills......BromptonNano which I am able to take on the Tram.Bus or Train. It has a range of almost fifty miles on a LIPo battery and weighs about 14 kilos. ad is able to climb a 1 in 6 with ease, even a 1in 4 if not too long. Ideal if you are physically handicapped
 

Willsbikes

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Thanks for your responses - a quick question - will ebikes take me up hills without any pedalling input from me? (ie like a motor scooter?)
The original Giant Twists (up to 2006), Gazelle Easy Gliders and even that new German bike 50 Cycles are selling all use a variety of Panasonic crank drive motor. They are all set up for pure pedelec mode which means you always have to put at least some pedalling effort in for the motor to help - if the rider stops pedalling the motor stops helping. Even the steepest hills are possible with many pedelecs though (certainly the original Giant Twists are part mountain goat). This means that if by asking your question, you're hoping to find something that doesn't require heavy duty slogging to climb steep hills then these sorts of designs are the ones to go for. While there may be the odd one or two hub motor powered bikes with throttles which are OK hill climbers, they generally do so at the expense of battery power or aren't full sized bikes so when you get to a steep hill, you can twist the throttle around all you want but, just like a vehicle stuck in top gear the motor wont be able to perform at its best and it will slow down (and in some cases induce buzzing and vibrations from the motor). This is in contrast to a motor power through the gear train design like the models I've mentioned. With the latter, as you change down the gears on steep hills as well as setting things up for optimal human peddalling, it optimises the motors performance so there's no labouring.

Have a look at the AtoB website re the legalities of electric bikes which don't require pedalling for the motor to work. Technically they're not classed as power assisted bikes here but it's just that the authoritries haven't enforced that aspect of the law for some reason. With a pure pedelec, examples being all the Panasonic powered models I've mentioned, the propulsion system is legal here as is.
 
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