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    E Bike Buying Advice


    I’m looking for buying advice.

    I’m a fairly avid cyclist – I commute 32 miles round trip on a Surly LHT nearly every day (I drive part way and ride the rest of the way into the office). I live in northern IL so it can get a bit dicey at times.

    I’m looking at Ebikes because I’d like to commute 80 round trip each day. The route would be 20 miles of crushed limestone trail and 20 miles of pavement. I can charge the battery at the office when I arrive each day.

    I’d like to carry 2 panniers full of stuff and like to make the trip in less than 2 ½ hours each way.

    I’m considering one of the Trek Ebikes… one of the Supercommuters or the Crossrip, maybe a Stromer?

    Help!? What would you recommend given these constraints?

    Thanks much!
    Last edited by Robert1964; 08-23-2018, 05:31 PM.

    #2
    Dude I can tell you from years of experience that if you would like to commute 80 miles a day you should buy a motorcycle, scooter, or e motorcycle like a Zero.. An ebike will be a horrible choice.. You need to be average 40-50 mph, which would be very difficult with an ebike.

    You can pickup a used Zero for not too much money, and if you can charge at work you wont' have any range issues.

    I commuted 25 miles a day on my Stromer ebike, then I switched to a single speed pedal commuter.. Ebike really aren't built for speed and distance.. And 80 miles is a very long way for a daily commute!

    Comment


      #3
      Please see above, 80 miles round trip and 2-2 1/2 hours each way is what I'm looking for. That would be an average of 17 to 20 miles an hour. I've made that 80 mile commute on a salsa warbird once in awhile for many years, I'm not concerned about the distance. I'm only interested in cycling and not motorcycling as I like to stay away from the traffic jams in the congestion. A bike allows me to stay on the path and trails whereas a motorcycle or scooter would not.
      Last edited by Robert1964; 08-23-2018, 05:27 PM.

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      • Edwin
        Edwin commented
        Editing a comment
        It depends on the type of commute. If it's not too hilly I would definitely go with a hub motor as a mid drive is to hard on the drive train for the distance you're looking for. I think I would go with a 750 watt hub motor, 17ah battery at least, and torque sensor assist because it's more efficient. That's what I run and I can get 40 miles at 25mph on a charge easily. The main thing is, get the most ah battery you can afford. Definitely a hub motor unless you have a lot of hills to climb. The hub motor will climb smaller hills but if you have a lot, I think you may have to go with the mid drive. That's my 2 cents.

      #4
      Originally posted by Robert1964 View Post
      Please see above, 80 miles round trip and 2-2 1/2 hours each way is what I'm looking for. That would be an average of 17 to 20 miles an hour. I've made that 80 mile commute on a salsa warbird once in awhile for many years, I'm not concerned about the distance. I'm only interested in cycling and not motorcycling as I like to stay away from the traffic jams in the congestion. A bike allows me to stay on the path and trails whereas a motorcycle or scooter would not.
      I would say pick an efficient bike that you love and install a BBS02 or BBSHD and a battery with enough capacity for 40 miles.

      I geared my ebike so that I have a lot of pedal resistance at my cruising speed; I am definitely contributing human power at all times.

      I just put Tannus tires on my latest commuter bike. I am looking forward to zero flat tires!
      Last edited by commuter ebikes; 08-23-2018, 07:12 PM.

      Comment


        #5
        Originally posted by joe pah View Post
        Dude I can tell you from years of experience that if you would like to commute 80 miles a day you should buy a motorcycle, scooter, or e motorcycle like a Zero.. An ebike will be a horrible choice.. You need to be average 40-50 mph, which would be very difficult with an ebike.

        You can pickup a used Zero for not too much money, and if you can charge at work you wont' have any range issues.

        I commuted 25 miles a day on my Stromer ebike, then I switched to a single speed pedal commuter.. Ebike really aren't built for speed and distance.. And 80 miles is a very long way for a daily commute!
        You could definitely build an ebike that has both speed and distance. I would choose an efficient bike and a battery large enough for the desired distance. I reach speeds of up to 40mph every morning on the way to work, but my average speed is only 30mph because my city is so freakin' crowded...with cars!

        Comment


          #6
          More detailed recommendations:

          The project that you are looking at is actually very straightforward. In my opinion, it is imperative that you choose a bike for this task that you love, and it should be as efficient as possible (e.g. road bike, recumbent). I wouldn't ride a recumbent because I am paranoid about needing cars to see me. If your commute is not road bike friendly, I think you should choose the most efficient bike that you can comfortably ride on your route to work. Can you get away with a rigid fork and hardtail?

          The reason I keep bringing up efficiency is because such huge benefits are gained by minimizing the reciprocating mass. So narrowest tires possible, 14 gauge spokes, keep all weight (including your body and cargo) to a minimum, all the aero strategies (e.g. aerodynamic tuck), and maybe a carbon fork and seat tube. All of this to accomplish keeping the weight of the battery and power consumption to a minimum. Being able to charge at work just reduced the weight (and cost) of your battery by 50%. Weight savings is huge!

          There are only a handful of e-components: motor, controller, battery, throttle, display, e-brake cutoffs and harnesses (multiconductor cables with electrical connectors at either end).

          As you know, the BBS02 (light duty) and BBSHD (heavy duty) have the controller inside the motor housing. It replaces your crankset.

          I also recommend that you choose common parts so that finding service (or service information) and spare parts are easy tasks. I also encourage you to install the kit yourself (you can do it!) so that you will be in a better position to perform troubleshooting. I would also recommend that you attempt all mechanical and electrical repairs yourself (again, so that you will be able to troubleshoot your rig). There is no shame in having an LBS or local electronics technician finish a repair that you could not complete.

          I would only use Tannus tires on a working bike. Flat tires have ruined many mornings/evenings and weekends for me. I need my bike to get me to work and back, period; that is its job.

          You could consider a hub motor if you used 100% flat-proof tires, but if you have any hills, I would recommend a mid-drive.

          Finally, don't let your panniers ruin your aero profile like I did.

          Sometimes choosing a more reliable part (e.g. BBSHD over BBS02) adds weight. I am paranoid, so I always chose the most bombproof part and my bike ended up being way too heavy. You have to decide here based on your personal preference. I also am so paranoid that I consider "ease of repair" so I regularly choose steel over carbon fiber, as well as "resistance to corrosion" so I powder coat way too may parts (expensive, time consuming) and regularly inspect for exposed steel that I cover with spray paint.

          So keep in mind reliability, efficiency (aero), weight, easy access to service (information) and spare parts by choosing common parts, resistance to corrosion, and starting with a bike that you really like. I should consider cost, ease of assembly and rider comfort, but I honestly don't.

          I always say "I don't care how difficult it is, how much it costs or how long it takes. I just want it done right". This makes for challenging, expensive projects that take a long time!

          If you are going to ride in wet conditions (I don't), make sure to waterproof your electronics.

          I know that you will gear it so that you can be contributing about 150W of human power at all times.
          Last edited by commuter ebikes; 08-23-2018, 08:24 PM.

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