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City e-bike buying tips

Sept. 20, 2022, 6:56 a.m.
Posts: 2322
Joined: April 25, 2003

Posted by: niels@nsmb.com

Posted by: Sethimus

who is gonna service a radwagon?

get something with a motor that can be serviced by the shop you bought it from, in a reasonable time span

Rad actually has a store in Vancouver and a mobile service so if we were still in North Van I would be less hesitant. Here on the island local support is a concern, probably a deal breaker.

Rad Bikes are supported by Velofix. Not sure if they have a franchise up where you are but they’ve been great in Victoria for the warranty work and upgrades I’ve had done.

My wife’s Radcity 5 is very nice. If you get it I recommend changing to metallic pads and double checking that the caliper and rotor line up nicely. 

Just don’t get one with a proprietary wheel size, my RadWagon 4 is off the road for a while due to tire issues. Grrrrrr.


 Last edited by: tashi on Sept. 20, 2022, 7:07 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
Sept. 20, 2022, 7:28 a.m.
Posts: 505
Joined: June 17, 2016

Posted by: tashi

Rad Bikes are supported by Velofix. Not sure if they have a franchise up where you are but they’ve been great in Victoria for the warranty work and upgrades I’ve had done. 

Just don’t get one with a proprietary wheel size, mine is off the road for a while due to tire issues. Grrrrrr.

Rad website says no mobile service for our postal code. Velofix website doesn't show anything at all for our postal code. Welcome to the boonies I guess ;-)

Proprietary wheel size, really? The combination e-bike startup + proprietary anything is a risk I'd rather avoid. Of all those startups, how many will still be around 5 years from now?

Sept. 20, 2022, 7:40 a.m.
Posts: 80
Joined: Dec. 1, 2008

Posted by: Vikb

Putting the battery under the rear rack does open up the step-through area at the cost of a significant shift in CG back and up. Put panniers with groceries back there and a lighter/less confident rider can have handling issues. When I was living in Victoria I help a number of ladies who had e-bikes with the under the rack battery mounts. They had trouble getting started once stopped. The bikes tended to wobble and fall over side ways or get a very light front wheel with too much assist. 

You can get batteries integrated inside the DT which solves both issues, but they can be hard to remove and tend to cost a lot more.

Definitely another reason to buy from a LBS since some test riding can identify what is a problem and what is not an issue for a particular rider when dealing with a product that isn't well understood by them.

Good point. In my moms case, the weight of the rear mounted battery is not much of an issue because the bike has a middle motor, a smallish battery (300-400wh) and a derailer drivetrain.

I can see the rear battery placement being a problem if the motor is also in the rear or there is a heavy internal gear hub there (think Alfine 11-speed).

Speaking of battery size, for city use, a small, light pack is totally sufficient.

Sept. 20, 2022, 8 a.m.
Posts: 2471
Joined: April 2, 2005

do you have access to a giant store? get their low entry bike. good price, mostly reliable and fast motor exchange if something goes wrong (at least in germany)

Sept. 20, 2022, 8:02 a.m.
Posts: 2471
Joined: April 2, 2005

else, any bike with a bosch motor from a certified bosch service partner

Sept. 20, 2022, 8:06 a.m.
Posts: 2471
Joined: April 2, 2005

things to avoid: 

hub motors, because they usually habe no good torque sensors which result in an unnatural ride feeling.

battery on racks, because of the high center of gravity

Sept. 20, 2022, 8:07 a.m.
Posts: 1671
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

Posted by: Sethimus

do you have access to a giant store? get their low entry bike. good price, mostly reliable and fast motor exchange if something goes wrong (at least in germany)

Mountain City Cycle in Courtenay is a Giant dealer.

Sept. 20, 2022, 8:25 a.m.
Posts: 505
Joined: June 17, 2016

Posted by: Sethimus

do you have access to a giant store? get their low entry bike. good price, mostly reliable and fast motor exchange if something goes wrong (at least in germany)

Comparing Giant Canada and Germany websites, looks like Germany gets a wider selection including upright step-through bikes (Entour model) that are not on the Canadian website.

Sept. 20, 2022, 8:33 a.m.
Posts: 505
Joined: June 17, 2016

Also, thanks for the tips everyone and for thinking along. Keep them coming.

I remember reading about e-mtbs that have cables routed through stems or headsets or whatever, is that a thing on city e-bikes? We need to be able to swap stems and bars easily because her body position needs to be just right.

Sept. 20, 2022, 8:58 a.m.
Posts: 1671
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

Posted by: niels@nsmb.com

Also, thanks for the tips everyone and for thinking along. Keep them coming.

I remember reading about e-mtbs that have cables routed through stems or headsets or whatever, is that a thing on city e-bikes? We need to be able to swap stems and bars easily because her body position needs to be just right.

I haven't seen any funky cable routing on the city e-bikes I've seen/worked on.

The Envo I posted above has a stem that is adjustable without tools. You can raise/lower/rotate the bars by lifting a lever, placing them where you want them and then releasing the lever. Handy for different riders using the same machine or for a rider who may want to varying their position frequently for comfort or performance reasons.

The machine can take normal stems/bars should that not be of interest or if the stock adjustment range doesn't suit.


 Last edited by: Vikb on Sept. 20, 2022, 8:58 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
Sept. 20, 2022, 8:59 a.m.
Posts: 15629
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

The hard tail Giant E-bikes make the most sense to me cuz you can go to the giant dealer,most of that other shit is actualy not legal n Canada I was told by an LBS type  dealer

I actualy won an entry level Giant in a draw, I went to the local dealer and he gave me a copy of the original bill, it cost just under 3 K , it had a center mounted motor it had a fork, it seemed OK but I only rode it around the block

I ride a medium and it was an XL so I put it on FB, sold it in 4 hrs for 2800$, sold the 5.5 yeti and  put the money towards a Santa Cruz Bullit

Sept. 20, 2022, 9:02 a.m.
Posts: 2322
Joined: April 25, 2003

Posted by: niels@nsmb.com

Posted by: tashi

Rad Bikes are supported by Velofix. Not sure if they have a franchise up where you are but they’ve been great in Victoria for the warranty work and upgrades I’ve had done. 

Just don’t get one with a proprietary wheel size, mine is off the road for a while due to tire issues. Grrrrrr.

Rad website says no mobile service for our postal code. Velofix website doesn't show anything at all for our postal code. Welcome to the boonies I guess ;-)

Proprietary wheel size, really? The combination e-bike startup + proprietary anything is a risk I'd rather avoid. Of all those startups, how many will still be around 5 years from now?

Ya they used a moped size and had Vee make their tires. They’ve been failing and almost all the recent ones have been recalled. I’ll either be swapping to 24’s or getting the moped tires cause they say it’ll be a few months for replacement tires. 

I’ve done some necessary upgrades and the tire issue is a piss-off, but I rolled the dice due to the over $4000 I saved over a bike shop quality bike.

Sept. 20, 2022, 9:04 a.m.
Posts: 2322
Joined: April 25, 2003

Posted by: Vikb

Posted by: niels@nsmb.com

Also, thanks for the tips everyone and for thinking along. Keep them coming.

I remember reading about e-mtbs that have cables routed through stems or headsets or whatever, is that a thing on city e-bikes? We need to be able to swap stems and bars easily because her body position needs to be just right.

I haven't seen any funky cable routing on the city e-bikes I've seen/worked on.

The Envo I posted above has a stem that is adjustable without tools. You can raise/lower/rotate the bars by lifting a lever, placing them where you want them and then releasing the lever. Handy for different riders using the same machine or for a rider who may want to varying their position frequently for comfort or performance reasons.

The machine can take normal stems/bars should that not be of interest or if the stock adjustment range doesn't suit.

This stem, like a lot of adjustable ones, gets sloppy over time. I swapped mine for a BMX stem and retro-style moto bars. Super good setup for the longtail.

Sept. 20, 2022, 9:45 a.m.
Posts: 505
Joined: June 17, 2016

Her current bike has an adjustable stem like that. Sloppiness hasn't been an issue AFAIK, also with the desired upright position there won't be much weight on the front.

What she would really need is an e-version of a simple Dutch grandma bike:

That's what it should look like to ride on an upright city bike.

Compare the arm position with the Envo ST:

Might be able to get there with that adjustable stem and a different bar but the bike is not designed as such so not sure it would work.

Sept. 20, 2022, 10:08 a.m.
Posts: 2471
Joined: April 2, 2005

Posted by: niels@nsmb.com

Posted by: Sethimus

do you have access to a giant store? get their low entry bike. good price, mostly reliable and fast motor exchange if something goes wrong (at least in germany)

Comparing Giant Canada and Germany websites, looks like Germany gets a wider selection including upright step-through bikes (Entour model) that are not on the Canadian website.

i meant the liv allure, or the giant dailytour/anytour (same frame, dif is gear hub or derailleur, gear hub is also available with gates belt)

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