Best e-bike for smallish woman exploring hilly countryside (roads and mild off-road)?

Electrically assisted bikes, trikes, etc.
jiktten
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Best e-bike for smallish woman exploring hilly countryside (roads and mild off-road)?

Postby jiktten » 1 Jan 2020, 10:12am

Hi everyone,

I've recently moved to the countryside (comparatively speaking - Sussex) after having lived in very urban areas all my life. I'm a 33 year old woman, 5"4'-5"5'. My fitness level is extremely average and I haven't really cycled since I was about 20, but it seems like it would be a great way to see the countryside around me without a car (which I currently don't have). I'd be going on tarmac'ed roads as well as gravel paths and the like. I don't have any need to go super fast, and would like the option to turn the motor off. I'm having a hard time finding info on 'middle ground' bikes, though. Most of them either seem to be exclusively for city-riding/commuting or full on mountain bikes. A friend of mine has the Specialised Turbo Vado 2.0 and is pleased with it for similar conditions (I haven't been able to try it as we live too far apart), and one of the reviews I saw mentioned that it was a great city bike with 'confidence' in rougher terrain (one of the few I saw commenting on both) so I thought that might be a good option, but then I see that they are now mostly sold out, as a 3.0 model is about to be released, which I suppose may be different in that respect?

Any advice or guidance would be much appreciated, and happy 2020 all!

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Cugel
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Re: Best e-bike for smallish woman exploring hilly countryside (roads and mild off-road)?

Postby Cugel » 1 Jan 2020, 12:22pm

In another post hereabouts, someone mentioned this bike:

https://www.boardmanbikes.com/gb_en/pro ... omens.html

It has the Fazua Evation motor system which I often wax lyrical about, after riding with the ladywife who has a Fazua motor in her Focus road bike, enabling us to cycle at the same level about the hilly West Wales countryside. I've ridden it a couple of times myself and find the motor very good indeed - gives a natural "strengthened legs" feel and has no drag at all when not working.

Bikes with Fazua motor systems are generally a bit expensive up-market things but the Boardman is a couple of thousand less expensive than most .... yet seems to be well-made and well-specced in addition to having the advantages of a Fazua system. It's currently reduced a bit as well. And there's a women's version.

It looks like it would handle both road and track well. You can also easily remove the motor & battery module, in a couple of seconds, to use the bike as an ordinary bike weighing about the same as an ordinary bike of similar specification when you do so.

Cugel

stodd
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Re: Best e-bike for smallish woman exploring hilly countryside (roads and mild off-road)?

Postby stodd » 1 Jan 2020, 12:30pm

Almost all bikes will do mild off-road. First issue is often getting mud jammed between tyre and mudguard.
A couple of possible bikes are Woosh Santana http://wooshbikes.co.uk/?santana-cd (aropund £1100)
and various in the Cube Touring Hybrid range (from £1500 if you are lucky, typically around £2000 or more).
Woosh is in Southend and mainly mail order, but excellent customer service. There are lots of Cube dealers around.

You will get lots of advice at https://www.pedelecs.co.uk/forum/forums ... i-buy.40/;
more active than this site and lots of expert advice (and some less expert).

jiktten
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Re: Best e-bike for smallish woman exploring hilly countryside (roads and mild off-road)?

Postby jiktten » 1 Jan 2020, 2:38pm

Many thanks both! Cudel, I think you've pretty much sold me on the Boardman, especially the light weight and ability to become an entirely 'normal' bike easily. I'll post on Stodd's linked forum just to see if there are any other thoughts, but I think that one will probably be it. :D

stodd
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Re: Best e-bike for smallish woman exploring hilly countryside (roads and mild off-road)?

Postby stodd » 1 Jan 2020, 3:02pm

The Bordman with FAZUA certainly looks good (and good value).

I think the Bordmans normally come from Halfords? You can probably get extra 10% off from your Cycling UK membership. Check details; they have made it more awkward to claim the 10% off.

I see it doesn't have mudguards which you may want: make sure it has enough clearance.

billym444
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Re: Best e-bike for smallish woman exploring hilly countryside (roads and mild off-road)?

Postby billym444 » 1 Jan 2020, 4:21pm

honest, £2000 for a bike with a 250wh battery no screen, most electric bikes can be used as a normal bike just switch them off. youll alway get a little motor drag on any bike. but the best bit is 56 miles on breeze mode. does that mean that you switch the electric of and let the wind blow you along, cos thats what you would have to do to get 56 miles out of it. as to the 4.6kg weigh well as im guessing the battery is about 7ah if its 36v so possible just a 2p 20 cells, so just over a kg then bearing in mind i believe a bafang 250w mid is under 4kg + 1kg for a baterry then just under 5kg for the bafang. so 4.6kg isnt that light really. the overall bike is only light because its an under 10kg bike without the kit.

the second you hit any sort of hill and up the power that battery will drain rapadly.

i would say front suspesion and a bigger battery, i would say that looks like the road bike with flat bars. i do think its more for someone with a decent leval of fitness, who maybe need help on hills,

the woosh one does look like something out of the 50s but at least it has some suspesion for graval and a decend sized battery lol

please nobody shout at me its just my opinion lol
big Bafang fan lol

billym444
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Re: Best e-bike for smallish woman exploring hilly countryside (roads and mild off-road)?

Postby billym444 » 1 Jan 2020, 4:33pm

heres my advice. lol good or bad lol

go buy yourself a boardman mtx 8.6 with suspesion or the 8.6 without (lighter) £430 to £600 new

get someone to fit a bafang 250w mid drive (colour screen) kit on it £450 to £550

get a decend 13ah to 17ah frame battery £300 to £400

so for £1200 to £1500 you have a much more capable bike, will have the power when wanted and a great range. yes will be a bit heavyer, but as you have much more power and wh it wont matter.

without suspension about 17kg with arund 19kg depending on witch battery.
big Bafang fan lol

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Cugel
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Re: Best e-bike for smallish woman exploring hilly countryside (roads and mild off-road)?

Postby Cugel » 1 Jan 2020, 4:42pm

billym444 wrote:honest, £2000 for a bike with a 250wh battery no screen, most electric bikes can be used as a normal bike just switch them off. youll alway get a little motor drag on any bike. but the best bit is 56 miles on breeze mode. does that mean that you switch the electric of and let the wind blow you along, cos thats what you would have to do to get 56 miles out of it. as to the 4.6kg weigh well as im guessing the battery is about 7ah if its 36v so possible just a 2p 20 cells, so just over a kg then bearing in mind i believe a bafang 250w mid is under 4kg + 1kg for a baterry then just under 5kg for the bafang. so 4.6kg isnt that light really. the overall bike is only light because its an under 10kg bike without the kit.

the second you hit any sort of hill and up the power that battery will drain rapadly.

i would say front suspesion and a bigger battery, i would say that looks like the road bike with flat bars. i do think its more for someone with a decent leval of fitness, who maybe need help on hills,

the woosh one does look like something out of the 50s but at least it has some suspesion for graval and a decend sized battery lol

please nobody shout at me its just my opinion lol


Ha ha - so many wild guesses and speculations!

The Fazua motor has NO drag at all as it disconnects when not on, whether that's because you're not pedalling or going above 15.5mph.

The ladywife can ride not just 50-odd miles but 1200M of up (and the same down) with one battery charge and sometimes have a bit left. This is using a mixture of all power levels including "off" but also a touch of the pink-rocket up them 50 yards of 1 in 4 scattered around West Wales back roads (and sometimes the main roads).

The bike + motor/battery/gearbox is light for an e-bike - between 5 - 10 Kg lighter than most. With the motor/battery out the Boarman will be about 12Kg. Most e-bikes can't easily ditch the motor/battery and still be used. Even the add-on types you mention take a lot of effort to mount or dismount the motor/battery. Occasional use of the bike without the motor was one of the OP's requirements.

Suspension forks on a road bike are going to waste your effort (and your battery) as it bobs up & down like a pogo stick.

*******
I would like to shout at you, inclusive of a yah-boo .... but I'll confine myself to mocking your eagerness to post baldy opinions based on zero experience. After all, why not? It's the modern mode of "thinking". :-)

Cugel, doing Fazua fanboy mode.

billym444
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Re: Best e-bike for smallish woman exploring hilly countryside (roads and mild off-road)?

Postby billym444 » 1 Jan 2020, 5:08pm

so as to 0 experance, well who knows.

but if you wify is getting 50 miles then she has to be quite fit and out of a 7ah battery then cant be using the power much. thats simple maths. a 250w motor and a 250wh battery, i hour on full power. though that would never happen unless climbing a big hill. it will be turn off most of the time when on the flat to cover 50 miles. but for anyone to get that range they most have reasable fittness.

all electric motors waether wheel or mid, have a tiny bit drag when not powered, the only way they dont is if you can take the motor off.

suspension fork i do agree they add weight, but as to the pogo stick thats why most good bikes have lock out forks, so you can choose.

add on batterys, taking time to remove, sorry thats total rubbish, take seconds to remove one, probably the same amout of time as your bikes system. they easy and i mean very easy.

so as to this super light wieght, the link states aprox 15.5kgs. so a boardman 8.6 hybrid without suspension is 11.4kg an 8.9 is 10.7kg so so 700g diffrence. now it says the kit is 4.6kg on the HBY but that battery id very small and is problably only 1kg. so the kits is about 3.6kg a bafang 250w is 3.92 so again 300g diffresnce, so without the battery 1kg diffrence. now this is a guess and i would need to weigh it but i would say a 7ah frame battery is about 1.3kg so another 300g. so all told i could get an 8.6 to 16.6kg with a 7ah battery. though i would add anoth kg and put on a 14ah.

now wold in my bad opinion, would i take a £2000 bike with a 7ah battery ove a £1500 bike with more grunt and range, no £1500 bike for me. the boardam hyb 8.9 is for tarmack users that either arnt very fit but arnt doing a lot of miles, or for light use for a fit person doing more miles.

i may not be an expert on bikes, but i do have lots and lots of feedback and figures on bateries and ranges in the real world, and really the only people ever to switch the electircs of and moderaly fit people. most just turn the power up and down.
big Bafang fan lol

billym444
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Re: Best e-bike for smallish woman exploring hilly countryside (roads and mild off-road)?

Postby billym444 » 1 Jan 2020, 5:15pm

also in the orginal post she said

"My fitness level is extremely average and I haven't really cycled since I was about 20"

so chance are there going to be a lot of power use for a while, so 7ah wont really cut it onless doing short runs. especially exploring hilly countryside.

my opion again is she wants a bigger battery and also front suspension hybrid with lockout forks for the mid off road.

the boardman looks a nice bike, but not for a novice boarn again rider.
big Bafang fan lol

billym444
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Re: Best e-bike for smallish woman exploring hilly countryside (roads and mild off-road)?

Postby billym444 » 1 Jan 2020, 5:55pm

i should add, not had a go of a Fazua system yet, bosch, shimano, the new GP, tsdz one system i got from wossh i believe so i have tried out most mid drive sytems. like you seem to be a big fan of Fazua, im the same with bafang. i dont think much beats them in the price range. but when i build a bike or battery i try to build for the rider or user, i think most of the self bikes are to general. if you figure out what you want and get advice on what you need, your always best getting something built to the spec you need.



also and again dont shout at me, but please dont say someone has zero experience when you dont know what experance they have. i could work for a bike shop as far as you know or boosh, i would guess by the way you sing the prases of fazua, that you either sell them, work for them or have had 10s of diffrent ebikes to compair against it. and if this is the case and youve had many diffrent motor ebikes and you have found the fazua best then thats great info to pass on. but remember not every one can aford or wants to spend 2k on a bike.

i once had a go of a 3k giant, at the same time the guy had a go of my 1k bafang, the boosch even though restricted, was realy nice, smooth tourqy easy to use, but it wasnt 2k nicer lol
big Bafang fan lol

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Cugel
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Re: Best e-bike for smallish woman exploring hilly countryside (roads and mild off-road)?

Postby Cugel » 1 Jan 2020, 9:38pm

billym444 wrote:i should add, not had a go of a Fazua system yet, bosch, shimano, the new GP, tsdz one system i got from wossh i believe so i have tried out most mid drive sytems. like you seem to be a big fan of Fazua, im the same with bafang. i dont think much beats them in the price range. but when i build a bike or battery i try to build for the rider or user, i think most of the self bikes are to general. if you figure out what you want and get advice on what you need, your always best getting something built to the spec you need.



also and again dont shout at me, but please dont say someone has zero experience when you dont know what experance they have. i could work for a bike shop as far as you know or boosh, i would guess by the way you sing the prases of fazua, that you either sell them, work for them or have had 10s of diffrent ebikes to compair against it. and if this is the case and youve had many diffrent motor ebikes and you have found the fazua best then thats great info to pass on. but remember not every one can aford or wants to spend 2k on a bike.

i once had a go of a 3k giant, at the same time the guy had a go of my 1k bafang, the boosch even though restricted, was realy nice, smooth tourqy easy to use, but it wasnt 2k nicer lol



The lady is clear on her requirement and has been pointed at two contrasting examples. Now she will weigh them up after imbibing the information available about them and make her own choice.

Cugel

Biospace
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Re: Best e-bike for smallish woman exploring hilly countryside (roads and mild off-road)?

Postby Biospace » 2 Jan 2020, 12:52am

Unless spending more than £2-2.5k isn't a concern (cheaper ebikes are generally nasty things, Raleigh I think is the exception) I'd look into buying a suitable, decent quality bike then have a kit added. Buying the electrics from the likes of Woosh would mean you've good advice, support and backup plus the benefit of a generic system which means parts are several orders of magnitude cheaper, while being only a fraction less good than the best 'dealer serviceable only' systems. Woosh have a list of recommended workshops who do the work to a high standard.

Mass distribution on an ebike needs careful consideration for the less than tall - pushing/manoeuvering something with a heavy battery mounted high up and towards the edge of a wheelbase could be very awkward, to the point of impossible in some circs. Which means a downtube mounted battery, I guess. Within reason, the bigger the capacity the better unless almost all trips out will be <20-25 miles. Samsung and Panasonic cells perform considerably better than cheaper varieties, especially as age advances.

A torque-sensing system which provides motor energy proportional (by what factor being user-controlled) to pedal input is so much more pleasant than a system which doesn't, although I'm not 100% sure this is easily sorted with a kit. It's also more economical on the battery.

A hub motor is simple and effective. A mid-mounted motor drives the chainwheel so is geared, theoretically providing better steep hill climbing. However, it's a design which is prone to wearing chains and cogs rapidly, can create difficulties changing gear especially up hills, is noisier and my experience is that modern hub motors pull hard down to low speeds up steepish hills - some are lower geared than others, although there's a little more to it than that.

Road and bridlepath use would suggest that with the extra mass of battery and motor, a hybrid-ish bike would do best. 26" wheels would make sense as they're stronger, like-for-like, than bigger ones (and they're plenty big enough), I'd definitely avoid suspension forks (extra weight and a sap on power, a good 26x1.9 tyre is good at shock-absorption) but spend some money on a really good seat. My B17 is priceless, fwiw!


Were it me I'd look for a quality mountain bike from the 90s with solid (not suspension) forks. They're strong, simple, a timeless design made to high standards and are lovely to use over extended journeys. Perfect for general road use as well as on bridleways, reasonably light but more than strong enough to carry a battery and motor with the associated stresses. There'll be plenty of advice for which more modern bikes would suit well. Just keep in mind you need a bike for the road which is up to bridleway use, not an offroader with suspension.

A good bike saves energy (so a battery would last longer, too) and is a pleasant, comfortable place to be - plenty of ebikes have perfectly decent electrics but poor frames, forks and wheels which soon become tiring no matter how much assistance is offered.

jiktten
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Re: Best e-bike for smallish woman exploring hilly countryside (roads and mild off-road)?

Postby jiktten » 2 Jan 2020, 8:07am

Thanks all, lots to think about! Please bear in mind that I'm in the countryside with no car and limited public transport, so ferrying bikes around from place to place isn't really an option for me, and I'm not experienced enough to be able to view a second hand bike and know whether it's good value and suitable for me without expert advice (tbh I wouldn't even know where to start looking for a mountain bike from the 90's apart from eBay or Gumtree, which aren't much use to me for the above reasons).

I appreciate all the thoughts and ideas, but would be grateful if these limitations could be kept in mind. Many thanks!

jiktten
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Re: Best e-bike for smallish woman exploring hilly countryside (roads and mild off-road)?

Postby jiktten » 2 Jan 2020, 8:33am

Although having said that, it occurs to me that there is a localish shop which might be able to help me with the sourcing, hmm...