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Commuter: which type is best to handle a 16-17% grade incline 1100 ft gain?

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    Commuter: which type is best to handle a 16-17% grade incline 1100 ft gain?

    Hi everyone,

    I have been looking at using public transportation for my daily commute to work instead of riding my motorcycle or driving due to safety and traffic. Driving is about 80 miles round trip.

    I will ill be using the train for most of the trip, but there is about a 7 mile distance to the train and about 6 from the train to work. I live in a hilly area and there is no way to casually get up this mountain without getting a serious workout due to the incline grade. I am hoping some sort of electric assistance would make this easier, but am wondering which one.

    I currently have a caad10 and was thinking about adding a hub motor to the front wheel for minimal modifications to the bike and easy conversion back when not needed, but I have been reading that they don't perform too well on hills. Is this true?

    The other option is finding a solid foldable commuter bike and adding a mid drive kit. Will these motors be better suited for my commute? Any suggestions on a type of bike?


    Any bike that suits you will do, for a commuter bike, I highly recommend the Electra Townie. It is simply one of the most comfortable bikes on the market, and makes a great DIY ebike platform.
    As far as drives go, get the BBSHD, it will do it all, and you will not regret it! Also; Get enough battery, range anxiety sucks! Don't settle for less than 10-15 AH, unless you have only short trips or like to walk!
    If you have to have a folder for the train, check out these guys!


      This gradient is steep enough that it will slow most hubmotors to a crawl, which can lead to overheating. I had a gradient like that on my commute, and a standard 750W hubmotor in a 26" wheel would barely go up, but if I pedaled hard I could get to 10-15 mph.

      There are several solutions:

      You could just plan on pedaling hard to help out the motor.

      Geared hubmotors climb a bit better.

      Overpowered direct drive hubmotors will climb fairly well. Until they overheat.

      Small wheels improve hubmotor climbing.

      Larger hubmotors climb better (a Cromotor climbs that hill very, very easily).

      2WD with good sized hubmotors climbs that hill very easily.

      A mid drive, especially one with good power like a BBSHD, climbs that hill easily.

      You have many choices. :)
      Alan B


        Sounds like mid drive is the way to go in this situation. I was able to ride some electric bikes the other day, unfortunately all hub motors. They had an e-rad equipped mountain bike, but ran out of time. First ride was definitely interesting and the torque sensing ones were much smoother overall.

        I am am now looking at picking up a mini velo and adding a mid drive to that. Not sure if I'll be able to locate one to get a feel for the geometry, but reviews seem good. Do you guys foresee any install issues with this type of bike?


          Made a decision! Waiting on some specs of the bike. Build log to come soon!


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              Regardless of who you get your kit from, steep uphills need a mid drive, so the motor gets to use the leverage of having the use of the bikes gears. A BBS02 will climb any hill, but the steeper it is, the lower you must shift the gears. a BBSHD (which is what I have) has more power, can drive a higher gear without overheating. Therefore...the more power you have, the faster you can tackle the hill.

              There are mid drives milder than the BBS02, and there are mid drives more powerful than the BBSHD. Those two are the most popular right new because they provide the best bang-for-your-buck in the most popular power levels (1000W and 1500W). With my BBSHD, I pedal along to make the battery last longer, but...when I get to a hill? I downshift, hit the throttle, and climb while I laugh at the pedaling, no sweat...


                Got the BBSHD kit! But where's the bike :(. Unfortunately communication with the dealer stopped after they confirmed my order.


                  You will be pleasantly surprised by the BBSHD and its hill climbing ability. I was.

                  So I decided since it can climb hills so well I should have built a more comfortable platform than the mountain bike I built where I'm riding hunched over.

                  Since your in the States, just get a used Electra off CL with a derailleur/cassette. That's my 2 cents

                  Search the forum here for Electra, there are some good builds using the Electra cruiser style bike.
                  Last edited by g725s; 10-08-2016, 11:21 AM.


                  • Rix Ryds
                    Rix Ryds commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Agreed, get a townie, most comfortable bike ever