Bike Purchase Advice - 22 Mile (one way) Commute

Jan 18, 2018
41
2
32
Macclesfield, UK
#1
Hi all,
I'm looking for some advice from the community on purchasing an ebike suitable for my daily commute. My requirements are as follows:

- Must reliable enough to use 5 days per week all year round.
- Needs to have an 80+ mile range (I aim to charge once per day and figure I'll need the extra capacity to allow for battery degradation over time of ~40%)
- Must cost less than £3.5k
- Must have a good top speed (ideally not restricted to 15.5mph)
- Is pannier compatible (ideally comes with a rack already, but this is the least important requirement by far)

I had just ordered a Kalkhoff Intergrale Excite i8 (2018 model) from Edinburgh Bicycle Co yesterday, however after stumbling across an extensive thread on the huge amounts of reported faults with the impulse motors fitted to these bikes I am now cancelling the order and resuming my search!

Having spent considerable time searching for what I thought was the right bike I'm now slightly disheartened about the viability of a commute of this distance. So I'm hoping to tap into the extensive knowledge of the members of this forum for their input on this.

I'm definitely open to considering a conversion kit if it fits my requirements as I have a Norco Indie that I'd planned to sell, which could be put to use in this capacity.

If it helps at all, my route is around 90% off road on gravel cycle paths and moderately hilly.

Thanks in advance,

Adam
 

Woosh

Trade Member
May 19, 2012
8,653
161
Southend on Sea
wooshbikes.co.uk
#2
Hello Adam,

The top speed is very important, power consumption is roughly proprtional to speed cubed, that is P = a * V * V * V
An average rider needs about 200W at 15mph, 500W-600W at 20mph, 1000W and more at 30mph. You put in x Watts, the difference must come from your battery.
For 80 miles on a full charge at 15mph, you and bike will need 80 miles * 200WH / 15miles = 1066WH. If you have a 650WH battery (17AH 36V battery), you have to put in 416WH yourself through pedaling.
You can reduce power requirement by about 15% if you forego the suspension fork. That may be hard on your back over such long distance.
 

Trevormonty

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jul 18, 2016
1,135
57
11
NZ
#3
Being 90% loose surface I'd go for hardtail eMTB with plus tyres 2.8-3.0" or fat tires 4.8" and quality airfork. A full suspension eMTB would give better ride but maintenance/running costs are lot higher especially with mileage you would be doing.

A dongle would remove 15mph restriction but 90% loose surface would add its own speed restriction. Good luck averaging 15mph let alone 20mph. Will need to charge 500wh battery at each end so allow for extra work charger.

Most qualilty eMTB are factory middrives eg Bosch CX, Shimano E8000, Brose. Any with airshock will most likely use 11spd drivechain, nice to use but expensive to maintain. Replacing with quality 9spd and sunrace 11-40 cassette would half your running costs.

Alternative is get decent donor bike and fit hub drive kit, cheaper running costs as power doesn't go through drivetrain.

Best thing yo do is borrow/hire bike and try it on commuter run both ways.
 
Jan 18, 2018
41
2
32
Macclesfield, UK
#4
Hello Adam,

The top speed is very important, power consumption is roughly proprtional to speed cubed, that is P = a * V * V * V
An average rider needs about 200W at 15mph, 500W-600W at 20mph, 1000W and more at 30mph. You put in x Watts, the difference must come from your battery.
For 80 miles on a full charge at 15mph, you and bike will need 80 miles * 200WH / 15miles = 1066WH. If you have a 650WH battery (17AH 36V battery), you have to put in 416WH yourself through pedaling.
You can reduce power requirement by about 15% if you forego the suspension fork. That may be hard on your back over such long distance.
I'm not sure I fully understood that. Riding at an average of 20mph and arriving at work without being drenched in sweat would be the aim. I can charge the battery at either end if necessary. I weigh just over 90Kg and would be carrying a change of clothes etc in my panniers so max carry load would be something like 100Kg. What wattage motor and size battery would I need in amp hours to achieve that? Based on browsing this forum an Oxygen S-Cross MTB sounds like a very reliable bike capable of covering the distance if charged at either end http://www.pedelecs.co.uk/forum/threads/oxygen-scross-mtb-ongoing-review.28142/ Do I have that right? I've also been looking at the Wisper 905 Torque 2 which also sounds like it might be an option but the Oxygen looks more suitable to the gravel trails https://www.e-bikesdirect.co.uk/brands/wisper/wisper-905-torque-mkii-16ah-75-mile-range Thanks for the response and sorry I'm a total ebike noob!
 
Jan 18, 2018
41
2
32
Macclesfield, UK
#5
Being 90% loose surface I'd go for hardtail eMTB with plus tyres 2.8-3.0" or fat tires 4.8" and quality airfork. A full suspension eMTB would give better ride but maintenance/running costs are lot higher especially with mileage you would be doing.

A dongle would remove 15mph restriction but 90% loose surface would add its own speed restriction. Good luck averaging 15mph let alone 20mph. Will need to charge 500wh battery at each end so allow for extra work charger.

Most qualilty eMTB are factory middrives eg Bosch CX, Shimano E8000, Brose. Any with airshock will most likely use 11spd drivechain, nice to use but expensive to maintain. Replacing with quality 9spd and sunrace 11-40 cassette would half your running costs.

Alternative is get decent donor bike and fit hub drive kit, cheaper running costs as power doesn't go through drivetrain.

Best thing yo do is borrow/hire bike and try it on commuter run both ways.
Half the commute (around 10 miles) is a pan flat reclaimed train line and the rest of the off-road part is mostly national cycle path so it's not super loose stuff. I could live with charging at either end as it wouldn't really be a problem other than having to remove the battery twice a day. Based on what I've been reading I've been put off the mid drive motors as they sound very unreliable. So a hub drive is definitely sounding like the better option! Have you got any recommendations at all on a good quality conversion kit?
 

Artstu

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 2, 2009
2,161
95
#6
The only time I've ever had a pannier pop off was on the Middlewood way, I think there's a concrete farm road going over which stands a little proud, it had my spare battery in too, luckily no damage to the battery.

It gets pretty wet and muddy down there around the A6 doesn't it ?
 

Woosh

Trade Member
May 19, 2012
8,653
161
Southend on Sea
wooshbikes.co.uk
#7
I'm not sure I fully understood that. Riding at an average of 20mph and arriving at work without being drenched in sweat would be the aim. I can charge the battery at either end if necessary. I weigh just over 90Kg and would be carrying a change of clothes etc in my panniers so max carry load would be something like 100Kg. What wattage motor and size battery would I need in amp hours to achieve that?
all crank drive bikes and most mid range hub bikes can do 22 miles at 20mph with little pedaling if you can derestrict yours. 22 mile range is roughly a quarter of what you were asking for initially.
 
Jan 18, 2018
41
2
32
Macclesfield, UK
#8
The only time I've ever had a pannier pop off was on the Middlewood way, I think there's a concrete farm road going over which stands a little proud, it had my spare battery in too, luckily no damage to the battery.

It gets pretty wet and muddy down there around the A6 doesn't it ?
The middlewood way is the 10 mile section I was referring to as you've deduced. You're right actually, it can be a pretty soggy especially at this time of year! Was/is it a feature in your own ebike commute? If so are there any pitfalls (metaphorically speaking of course) to be aware of? Grit in my discs brakes has been a past annoyance on my regular bike but I'm wondering about issues specifically in relation to ebikes.
 

Artstu

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 2, 2009
2,161
95
#9
It was a summers shopping ride to Macc for a friend. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to do it regularly in winter with possibly dark mornings and nights.
 
Jan 18, 2018
41
2
32
Macclesfield, UK
#10
all crank drive bikes and most mid range hub bikes can do 22 miles at 20mph with little pedaling if you can derestrict yours. 22 mile range is roughly a quarter of what you were asking for initially.
Sorry I was trying to account for degredation in capacity and the limited number of charge cycles over the life of a battery. My logic being charging once per day would give me a longer life with the battery and the ~45% overhead would allow for the loss in capacity. To be honest though the life of the battery is a lot less important to me than the overall reliability of the bike. The most important things to me are the bike being dependable so I can use it all year round and the ability to cruise along at a decent speed so I can make the journey in around 1 to 1.5 hours. As I've been reading on these forums and you've pointed out, I won't get anything over 15.5mph unless the bike is derestricted though. So I'm just getting my ideas together. Any recommendations much appreciated :)
 

Woosh

Trade Member
May 19, 2012
8,653
161
Southend on Sea
wooshbikes.co.uk
#11
So I'm just getting my ideas together. Any recommendations much appreciated
You need to test ride a few to be sure which motor will suit you best. Crank drives give excellent compromise in terms of speed vs weight if speed is your most important criterion, rear hub drives are cheapest and give more relaxed ride, a full throttle helps when you are tired or climbing long hills.
I would happily recommend this Cube Acid Hybrid One 500 29er 2018.
It's basic but will do the job.
https://www.tredz.co.uk/.Cube-Acid-Hybrid-One-500-29er-2018-Electric-Mountain-Bike_112912.htm

whatever bike you buy, there are two golden rules, the more expensive the bike, the quicker it depreciates and the most expensive bike is an unreliable one.
 

Trevormonty

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jul 18, 2016
1,135
57
11
NZ
#12
The Cube good value and given how smooth trails are fork should be OK. 9spd will do job plus chains, cassettes are cheap.

Might want to check if it will take dongle. Allow extra for mudguards, rack and decent lights. You can get lights to run off bosch system but rechargeable ones will most likely be better value.

This is new Active Plus motor so direct drive and quiet.
 

Amoto65

Pedelecer
Jul 2, 2017
91
18
55
Cheshire
#13
I use a Wisper 905se on the Middlewood Way and have had no problems its also quite capable around the hills, although i would go for the 575 battery if choosing again.
 

Artstu

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 2, 2009
2,161
95
#14

Woosh

Trade Member
May 19, 2012
8,653
161
Southend on Sea
wooshbikes.co.uk
#15
Artstu, that Cube if fitted with a 500WH battery, should be enough for his 44 miles.
 
Jan 18, 2018
41
2
32
Macclesfield, UK
#17
OK so based on the reccomendations and everything I've been researching so far I've currently shortlisted the following bikes:

Mid Drive

Cube Acid Hybrid One 500 - £1,799
www.tredz.co.uk/.Cube-Acid-Hybrid-One-500-29er-2018-Electric-Mountain-Bike_112912.htm

Riese & Müller New Charger Touring 2018 - £3,419
www.onbike.co.uk/electric-bikes/riese-muller/new-charger-touring.html

Haibike SDURO Trekking 7.5 2018 - £3,249

www.e-bikesdirect.co.uk/brands/haibike/haibike-sduro-trekking-7-5-2018-mens-electric-trekking-bike

Hub Drive

Oxygen S-Cross MTB - £1,499
www.e-bikesdirect.co.uk/brands/oxygen/oxygen-s-cross-mtb-13ah-battery-50-mile-range

Volt Pulse X - £1,999
voltbikes.co.uk/pulse-x-hybrid-electric-bike.php

Wisper 905 Torque MKII - £1,699
www.e-bikesdirect.co.uk/brands/wisper/wisper-905-torque-mkii-16ah-75-mile-range

With the number of reports I'm finding on faults with mid drive bikes in general I'm still a bit unsure about their reliability though. The Bosch motors on all of the shortlisted bikes above seem to be much more respected than the impulse motor on the Kalkhoff I'd picked out initially... but there still seems to be a fairly high incidence of issues?

So I'm currently leaning more towards a hub driven model, the Oxygen in particular with it allowing speeds up to 24mph and it being more off road friendly than the other two hub drives.

I've also mapped my route and the total elevation is only 132m with a good proportion of it being along long flat sections, so again this might be better suited to a hub drive (mid drives are better suited for climbing right?). Or I am just looking at the wrong information and therefore talking codswallop?

I think I'm narrowing it down. I'll might try and arrange some test rides but I don't want to be swayed bu the 'fun' factor of any particular bike and end up with a chocolate teapot that breaks after a few months.

Thanks for everyone's input so far! Please feel free to chip in with any suggestions or warnings based on this shortlist. The more info I've have to go off the better :)
 
Apr 15, 2017
103
8
67
Kendal
#18
Just to emphasise, you need to try some bikes on your route. Depending on your fitness, you might spend quite some time over 15mph which will greatly affect your battery life. i.e. on a normal restricted bike the battery won't be helping you and you'll get a lot more out of it.
Looking at your choices, I would be looking towards the cheaper end in each section as the first bike you buy probably won't be the one you end up with and depreciation can be savage.
You'll end up fitter, and maybe happier, but don't expect to save lots of money over running, say, a small scooter.
 

Woosh

Trade Member
May 19, 2012
8,653
161
Southend on Sea
wooshbikes.co.uk
#19
Adam,

You should discard bikes with less than 500WH battery. With your kind of commute and mileage, you will be constantly charging the smaller capacity battery, cutting their life expectancy. So avoid bikes with 400WH (13AH) batteries. You need 36V 15AH or 36V 17AH.
 
Jan 18, 2018
41
2
32
Macclesfield, UK
#20
I
Just to emphasise, you need to try some bikes on your route. Depending on your fitness, you might spend quite some time over 15mph which will greatly affect your battery life. i.e. on a normal restricted bike the battery won't be helping you and you'll get a lot more out of it.
Looking at your choices, I would be looking towards the cheaper end in each section as the first bike you buy probably won't be the one you end up with and depreciation can be savage.
You'll end up fitter, and maybe happier, but don't expect to save lots of money over running, say, a small scooter.
In terms of trying bikes along my route are you aware of any sellers that offer a trail or hire period to do so? I was working on the assumption nobody would be prepared to let me get a shiny new bike covered in mud and grime and take it back saying I don't like it :D

I'm in my early thirties and go to the gym / muay thai 5+ times per week so I'm pretty fit. On a normal bike I can do the route in about 1h 45 minutes but I arrive sweaty and don't really want to sustain that level of effort 5 days per week continuously, as all of my free time would be spent sleeping to recover!

The idea with an ebike is to make it sustainable long term and hopefully shave that time down to < 1h 30. My non ebike pace is about 12.5mph, boosting that to 15.5mph with an ebike would get me there in 1h 25 but if I can shave that down a little further without killing my battery then all the better :) I'm not overly concerned with the legality of de-restricting as the 15mph figure seems arbitrary to me. I can easily move at more than 15mph on a regular road bike over a short distance and from what I can tell the motors on these things are built to comfortably reach speeds well in excess of this artificially imposed restriction. Not that I'd endorse someone having no respect and zooming past people on shared trails at 30-40mph on an eBay special. I just think that, as with most laws, rational judgement in any given situation is the best option. So I'd prefer to have the option to use it.

The money saving aspect isn't massively important to me (although I'm currently getting shafted out of £2k+ per year and rising on a national rail season ticket!). It's more a concerted effort to try and be outside in the fresh air more. I work in an office and spend a horribly large percentage of my life sat in front of a computer screen so a remedy is most definitely needed.
 

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