Author Topic: Advice sought on choosing an ebike  (Read 366 times)

ysette9

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4409
  • Location: Bay Area, CA
    • Insert Snappy Title Here (Journal)
Advice sought on choosing an ebike
« on: April 17, 2019, 04:50:21 PM »
Hi all,

I'm coming up on the end of my 6-month stint of borrowing an awesome ebike from work for commuting. I am now at a crossroads of what to do. I don't want to go back to car commuting, though the fact that I am pregnant means that it will happen eventually. I want to keep biking for as long as possible and would love to have something for the future, whatever that brings.

I don't want to buy a new ebike (though I would get a small subsidy from work if I did). I've started looking at used bikes on craigslist and would be comfortable buying one from a bike store, but there seem to be a bazillion brands and models. I just don't know where to begin aside from looking at basics like size and # gears and battery size and motor. I haven't been able to find any websites that provides worthwhile reviews so I don't know how to judge reliability. I have some opinions based on riding one bike for six months and would test ride anything I am considering. Aside from that, what tips can you provide? I seem to have several choices in my area in the ~$1500 range which I think I am comfortable with.

For reference, I have been riding a Specialized Turbo which was around $3800 new.

gooki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2362
  • Location: NZ
Re: Advice sought on choosing an ebike
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2019, 01:39:18 AM »
The quickest way I find to judge ebike quality, is to look at the quality of the ďother partsĒ.

If itís shimano gears, are the at the ulterior, deore, 105, tiagra level? If so thatís nearly an instant buy in my book.

cincystache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 202
Re: Advice sought on choosing an ebike
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2019, 06:06:38 PM »
A word of caution on buying used. The battery quality can vary widely depending on where people stored it and at what temperature. We bought a used e-bike and the range on a full charge was only 6 miles. Previous owner said he didn't charge it for a long time and it sat outside in a hot garage for several summers in a row.

I should have done more research because a new battery can run over $500 making the deal go from good to bad pretty quickly.

FINate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1302
Re: Advice sought on choosing an ebike
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2019, 08:01:56 PM »
A few important questions:
1) Commute distance?
2) Hills?
3) How much use will it get?
4) How much stuff do you need/want to carry?

If your commute isn't that far, is relatively flat, and you will not use it very often then go for something cheap like a Rad Power Bike with hub drive. No point in spending premium $$$ on high quality parts for something you ride maybe 10 miles a week.

However, if this is to effectively replace a car and you will use it everyday for significant miles then it's worth paying extra for quality components. IMO, a belt-driven mid-drive bike with automatic/CVT hub is a great combo if you're going to use it a ton. These are pricey but should have very long lifespan with very low maintenance.

For areas with steep hills, or if you are going to carry lots of weight, then look for bikes with mid-drive motors since these allow you to downshift for climbing. A traditional chain/cassette/derailleur is cheaper than a belt-drive, though you'll go through chains/chainrings/cassettes relatively quickly. I get about 500 miles per chain on my electric assist cargo bike hauling two kids and their stuff, and about 1000 miles per cassette/chainring. The bike is a "long-tail" with a super long chain so I build my own chains using a chain break tool, a fairly simple task. And I also replace my own chainring and cassette, which is also easy with the correct tools. Replacing these parts is fairly inexpensive if you do the labor yourself.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 08:29:52 PM by FINate »

ysette9

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4409
  • Location: Bay Area, CA
    • Insert Snappy Title Here (Journal)
Re: Advice sought on choosing an ebike
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2019, 09:45:31 PM »
Hi there all,

I appreciate the input and apologize for the delay in responding. GD Tapatalk fails to notify me of replies to SOME of my posts. Not all or even most of them, but the occasional post that I care about, such as this one.

My commute to work is about 10-11 miles each way. It is pretty flat except for an overpass over the freeway and some gentle hills here and there. I do sometimes pull my kiddos in the bike trailer, but I am not planning on hauling costco grocery runs or used refrigerators or anything like that.

Point well taken about the battery. I looked further into the $300 subsidy I qualify for and the three local bike stores at which I can use that money. I called them all up and none sell used bikes, but the one a mile from my house does have closeout inventory which includes an ebike at the same price range as the used ones I've been seeing on Craigslist. So my plan is to go do a test ride this coming weekend. The particular bike is a Giant Explore E step-through ebike. It has Shimano drive train and hydraulic disc brakes. I'm afraid I don't know enough about bike parts to appreciate what "If itís shimano gears, are the at the ulterior, deore, 105, tiagra level? " means. :)