Long range hilly terrain road/path bike.

Ravenfeeder

Finding my (electric) wheels
Mar 27, 2021
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I'm a relatively unfit 57 year old guy with a bad foot that looks unlikely to heal fully. I live in hilly Plymouth and the bad foot makes it impossible for me to use an unpowered cycle around here as the pressure on the foot is too much when climbing. So I'm thinking of buying an e-bike. I want to do more than just get around town though, getting out of town would be nice. Or even putting the bike on a train to take it elsewhere when that becomes possible. The first proper excursion would be along Drakes Trail to Tavistock (http://www.drakestrail.co.uk/), which is 21 miles each way, mostly along old railway lines but with some hills involved. I'm 5' 10" (177cm) and 87kg.

Any ideas on what bikes I should be looking at? Budget is less than £2500, preferably quite a lot less. I'm also looking for something with fairly low maintenance (maybe with hub gears?) and that will last for years as it looks unlikely that I'll ever have a full time job again.
 

sjpt

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 8, 2018
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You probably want cadence sensor rather than torque. That allows the motor to work as long as you are turning the pedals, no need to put any force on them. With torque sensor you always need some pedal pressure, and the motor will then multiply that up. Even if you can give the pressure, you probably want the freedom not to when tired at end of ride, or if your foot gets any worse.

Most hub bikes have cadence sensor and most crank drive bikes had torque sensor, but that is far from an absolute rule. Also, hub bikes are usually cheaper, but with big overlaps on price range. More expensive bikes tend to be crank drive, torque sensor and proprietary electrics (often Bosch). These are often very expensive to maintain if anything goes wrong or if you need a new battery.

I'd recommend Woosh bikes but they are out of almost everything.
Wisper come well recommended: I've no experience of them myself.
eg https://wisperbikes.com/shop/e-bikes/step-through-ebikes/705-26-2019/ (without the torque kit) You'd probably want at least the middle size battery, maybe even the biggest for peace of mind.

p.s. They look hard to come by too, especially with the bigger battery
 

vfr400

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 12, 2011
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Wisper H7 or H9. Both are 44v instead of the more common 36v, so 20% more power than most. NCM Moscow or Venice Plus. Both are 48v, so 30% more power than most. Woosh Gran Camino (if they have one) is 36v, but has 20 amp controller instead of the more common 15A, so 30% more power than most. All will are good quality bikes with a good reputation for reliability. It's more a question of who has one to sell. You might struggle for power with most 36v bikes if you can't pedal hard.

The NCM bikes would be a bit more tricky to repair if you can't do it yourself because there won't be any local dealers. Both Wisper and Woosh are pretty good at sorting out any problems. E-bikesdirect.co.uk is a good dealer for Wisper because they have a special return system for repairs.
 

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
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Any cadence PAS sensor type bike which means usually a hub bike and one with a throttle, TS bikes like Yamaha, Bosch & Shimano etc,etc are for you if you can't put decent pressure in the pedals.
 

richtea99

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 8, 2020
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A bit of lateral thinking (but without knowledge of your foot problem, it has to be said) - you might want to consider if a more solid shoe may help spread the weight when you pedal - and whether that may help.
Most cycling shoes have less flexibility in their soles for that very reason.
 

shed

Pedelecer
Mar 6, 2021
29
21
Just for info I spoke to Woosh this week and Hatti said they had no stock of anything ( not even Santana CDs ...which by the way they said they are not going to do anymore if I understood it correctly) and all the expected stocks over next 4-5 months is already preordered and taken. Which is a shame as their bikes are very good value.
 

Atlav4

Pedelecer
Feb 16, 2020
174
75
Hi the conundrum you’re facing is the more powerful long range bikes especially NCM weigh in at about 28-29kg heavy to lift on or off trains but offer much better assistance than lightweight options with smaller range batteries. A compromise usually has to be reached depending on the intended usage.
 

Ravenfeeder

Finding my (electric) wheels
Mar 27, 2021
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Hi the conundrum you’re facing is the more powerful long range bikes especially NCM weigh in at about 28-29kg heavy to lift on or off trains but offer much better assistance than lightweight options with smaller range batteries. A compromise usually has to be reached depending on the intended usage.
Lifting stuff very sort distances like that isn't really a problem for me. It's not like it's a flight of stairs.
 

Ravenfeeder

Finding my (electric) wheels
Mar 27, 2021
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0
Thanks for people's replies. The Whisper H7/9 does look like an option with the larger battery pack. As a bonus a local shop is a Whisper dealer (still a few miles, but a short bus ride). After my original post I got a message from the hospital saying I have an appointment with my podiatrist (phone only in these times) in a few weeks. I'll probably wait until I've talked to her before making any decision.
 

shed

Pedelecer
Mar 6, 2021
29
21
Now we've ordered ours, I can see that ecobikecompany still have a couple in stock you might want to have a look at the Ampere Tourer with 16ah battery as this should have the range you're looking for and has a pretty good spec for the money.
 

vfr400

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 12, 2011
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Thanks for people's replies. The Whisper H7/9 does look like an option with the larger battery pack. As a bonus a local shop is a Whisper dealer (still a few miles, but a short bus ride). After my original post I got a message from the hospital saying I have an appointment with my podiatrist (phone only in these times) in a few weeks. I'll probably wait until I've talked to her before making any decision.
Good luck with the new insoles. Every time I go to a podiatrist, regardless of the problem, that's the solution. They must get a backhander from the insoles company.

Don't hang around too long for your bike. Shortly, there will be no stock.
 
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Ravenfeeder

Finding my (electric) wheels
Mar 27, 2021
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Good luck with the new insoles. Every time I go to a podiatrist, regardless of the problem, that's the solution. They must get a backhander from the insoles company.

Don't hang around too long for your bike. Shortly, there will be no stock.
Yeah, she does like the old insoles, although they are the cheap kind so I doubt there's much money involved. At least she has a plan, unlike the doctors and consultants I've seen.

I get what you say about timing though.
 

Ravenfeeder

Finding my (electric) wheels
Mar 27, 2021
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The local-ish bike shop that sold Whisper's no longer does so :(. However I've found a local independant bike shop within 10 minutes walk from me. The only e-bikes they sell are Orbea, but they promise free lifetime maintenance. They recommended an Orbea Vibe to me. Does this sound like a good idea, or are there any problems with Orbea?
 

vfr400

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Jun 12, 2011
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The only e-bikes they sell are Orbea, but they promise free lifetime maintenance.
Are you sure about that? It doesn't sound right to me. Orbea offer a lifetime warranty on the frame and any rigid forks. They're not going to replace your chain when it wears out nor your battery when it becomes too tired to work.
 

Ravenfeeder

Finding my (electric) wheels
Mar 27, 2021
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Are you sure about that? It doesn't sound right to me. Orbea offer a lifetime warranty on the frame and any rigid forks. They're not going to replace your chain when it wears out nor your battery when it becomes too tired to work.
No, the bike shop does, not Orbea
 

sjpt

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 8, 2018
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promise free lifetime maintenance
Sounds too good to be true. Maybe they just mean a quick service once a year, not including parts. If they offer too much it will be the lifetime of the shop that limits that promise.

The Orbea looks as if it is good as an assist road bike if that is what you are looking for; lightweight, not that powerful motor and small battery capacity. I don't know what replacement parts are likely to be like in a few years time. It is a propriety system and you will be somewhat at the mercy of EbikeMotion (however helpful Orbea and the shop are).
 

Stanebike

Pedelecer
Jan 5, 2020
32
19
Hi Raven feeder

I rode 3/4 of the Drakes Trail from Tavistock last September. It’s a nice ride. The bit after 'The Old Station' at Horrabride towards Yelverton is steep. Myself and my brother in-law on Raleigh Motus GT crank drive bikes found the clime relatively easy. My sister on a Raleigh Stoweway fold up hub drive bike found it very hard and took several minutes longer to do the climb, having to stop to get her breath back part way. Normally she is tearing along ahead of us.

My sister borrowed my bike for a hilly ride she was doing the next day and claimed it much easier on steep hills than her hub drive. This agrees with my belief that crank drive bikes have the advantage on steep hills. Hub drive has many advantages but steep hills isn’t one of them. Just my thoughts.

It may be worth hiring an ebike for a day to see how you get on. Devon Cycle Hire at Sourton near Okehampton is where my sister got the ebike bug. Then I rode her bike and her husbands Motus and had to have one and very pleased I did.

Regard Frank
 

vfr400

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 12, 2011
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Basildon
Hi Raven feeder

I rode 3/4 of the Drakes Trail from Tavistock last September. It’s a nice ride. The bit after 'The Old Station' at Horrabride towards Yelverton is steep. Myself and my brother in-law on Raleigh Motus GT crank drive bikes found the clime relatively easy. My sister on a Raleigh Stoweway fold up hub drive bike found it very hard and took several minutes longer to do the climb, having to stop to get her breath back part way. Normally she is tearing along ahead of us.

My sister borrowed my bike for a hilly ride she was doing the next day and claimed it much easier on steep hills than her hub drive. This agrees with my belief that crank drive bikes have the advantage on steep hills. Hub drive has many advantages but steep hills isn’t one of them. Just my thoughts.

It may be worth hiring an ebike for a day to see how you get on. Devon Cycle Hire at Sourton near Okehampton is where my sister got the ebike bug. Then I rode her bike and her husbands Motus and had to have one and very pleased I did.

Regard Frank
Did it occur to you that it might be the gearing? What's your bottom gear ratio and what's hers?