Recs for semi hilly commute

Electrically assisted bikes, trikes, etc.
MrsHJ
Posts: 773
Joined: 19 Aug 2010, 1:03pm
Location: Dartmouth, Devon.

Recs for semi hilly commute

Postby MrsHJ » 2 Jan 2020, 7:29pm

I’m looking to start commuting by ebike 2-3 times a week (other days I work 30-100 miles from home so less practical). My likely commute route is linked below- it’s 13 miles each way which is the sort of distance I would have lapped up when younger and living in a flatter area but it’s now quite daunting even before considering the traffic . The first couple of miles after the ferry is a steep climb on a narrow dark windy (and windy) A road then another couple of miles down on the same. At 5 miles I hit the Torbay conurbation with cruddy cycle provision but not particularly hilly and well lit.

https://cycle.travel/map/journey/135189

I know next to nothing about ebikes. So I want to do some test rides before buying to see how comfortable and feasible the new commute is (I used to do the first 6 miles some years ago and on dark wet nights that hill is fairly off putting- good lights are essential but I’m planning on starting in March when that’s less of an issue). I’ll probably hire for a couple of weeks to test out the general plan.

So questions:
1. Ebike or decent commuter bike plus conversion kit.
2. Budget- easier if I get a commuter bike on the bike to work scheme and a conversion kit myself. Cycle to work scheme with my employer is based on a wide choice of mainstream bikes but limited to £1000 so no prospect of using a voucher against a better bike and chipping in. The ebike options look rather cruddy.
3. Thinking about trying to limit combined or ebike only cost to £2000.
4. Style: prefer a relaxed and more upright style for commuting and shopping. Will need to carry laptop, shopping etc. I’ll keep my current steed (13 years old kona dr dew)for touring and trail riding etc.
5. Terrain: mixed but decent hill climbing vital in south devon.
6. Thinking ahead: 20mph would be more useful to me if the law gets updated so having a future proofed kit that could deliver that if things change would be useful.
7. ? Anything else I should be considering? Kit recommendations more widely would be of interest.

User avatar
RickH
Posts: 5151
Joined: 5 Mar 2012, 6:39pm
Location: Horwich, Lancs.

Re: Recs for semi hilly commute

Postby RickH » 2 Jan 2020, 9:04pm

Cycle to work is no longer limited to £1000, is your employer aware of this or have they chosen to keep the limit (link)?

I don't think an upgradeable kit would comply with the law. That may or may not bother you but in the, albeit relatively unlikely, event of there being an incident you risk the possibility of being charged with driving offences rather than cycling ones.

MrsHJ
Posts: 773
Joined: 19 Aug 2010, 1:03pm
Location: Dartmouth, Devon.

Re: Recs for semi hilly commute

Postby MrsHJ » 2 Jan 2020, 9:14pm

RickH wrote:Cycle to work is no longer limited to £1000, is your employer aware of this or have they chosen to keep the limit (link)?

I don't think an upgradeable kit would comply with the law. That may or may not bother you but in the, albeit relatively unlikely, event of there being an incident you risk the possibility of being charged with driving offences rather than cycling ones.


Thanks, I hadn’t noticed the limit has changed. Our scheme seems to have £1000 still so I’ll investigate whether they will or even are changing it ( and potentially campaign for improvements as the electric car limits are currently being upped and approved at senior level).

On the upgradeable I was merely reluctant to spend a lot of money on something where the resale value would drop steeply if the current laws are relaxed in the next year or two.

lowrider
Posts: 134
Joined: 21 Mar 2009, 2:25pm

Re: Recs for semi hilly commute

Postby lowrider » 2 Jan 2020, 10:59pm

RickH
I don't think an upgradeable kit would comply with the law. That may or may not bother you but in the, albeit relatively unlikely, event of there being an incident you risk the possibility of being charged with driving offences rather than cycling ones.

Just about every e bike and conversion kit is upgradable in some way with the exception of the latest Bosch powered bikes. If that was the law practically no e bike never mind conversion would be legal.

I think you may be confusing upgradable with an off road switch, those are specifically banned. The fact you can modify a bike to get a higher maximum speed isn't the same as an off road switch which you can change between settings when your riding. Just don't modify the bike before the law was changed.

hemo
Posts: 821
Joined: 16 Nov 2017, 5:40pm
Location: West Sussex

Re: Recs for semi hilly commute

Postby hemo » 2 Jan 2020, 11:29pm

Wisper bikes or Amps (parent company) have a nice new in house designed range soon being made available for sale, have a look for the Wayfarer range. The bike is customable and you can opt for cross bar or step thru frame, choice of mid or rear drive, in frame battery or ext battery as well as three different equipment specs. Though Sevenoaks based they have dealers up and down the country and if you have issues later on with a dealer they are very good if you deal direct with the Ceo David Miall.

Woosh bikes is an excellent online seller (Southend), not east to arrange a test ride but they can help with finding a LBS to look after your bike if need be.

Both offer excellent CS.

Other wise the choice of bikes is massive.

Can't see at all any change in ebike law (speed) changing, it would need ratifying by parliament and tbh can't see the status quo changing as we have adopted the EU reg's. Before we fell in line with the EU reg's, somewhen post 2000 we had 200w continuous power limit and 12mph max speed limit so in fact we have already had power and speed increased to fall in with current reg's. For faster bikes we already have legislation for them which is the Le1a and Le1b moped reg's which cover speed pedelecs or bikes up to 1000w continuous output.

User avatar
horizon
Posts: 10184
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Cornwall

Re: Recs for semi hilly commute

Postby horizon » 2 Jan 2020, 11:56pm

MrsHJ wrote:I’m looking to start commuting by ebike 2-3 times a week (other days I work 30-100 miles from home so less practical). My likely commute route is linked below- it’s 13 miles each way which is the sort of distance I would have lapped up when younger and living in a flatter area but it’s now quite daunting even before considering the traffic . The first couple of miles after the ferry is a steep climb on a narrow dark windy (and windy) A road then another couple of miles down on the same. At 5 miles I hit the Torbay conurbation with cruddy cycle provision but not particularly hilly and well lit.



It's a good test case for an electric bike. Google makes it 1.5 hours for 13 miles on my PC so even they think it's a bit of a stonker. I imagine for the e-bike stalwarts it's heaven sent: scenic route, too hilly and far for a daily cycle commute, no problem with the battery life, cheaper on the ferry than a car, charge at work or at home. Q.E.D.! Even I might be persuaded.

I often go to Dartmouth in connection with my work and if going by train/bike I have to decide on either Torquay or Totnes. I've tried both and different routes from both. It's never easy (albeit with a fully loaded bike). I arrive the previous day but I do depart after a day's work so it's not totally relaxed. Of course, if they had normal seats/prices on the steam train ...

Tell us how you get on.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

CXRAndy
Posts: 50
Joined: 18 Aug 2019, 1:45pm

Re: Recs for semi hilly commute

Postby CXRAndy » 3 Jan 2020, 11:14am

You could with a kit which if you choose carefully will allow a bit more speed than 15 and more power to climb :wink:

or look at a S pedelec. These go upto 28mph and 1000W. You need a full driving license prior to 2001 or CBT

They come registered with the DVLA and require 3rd party insurance. But they will move you at a decent pace.

The kits are by far the cheapest, the S-Peds are a total legal way to get 28mph

This website has some popular and expensive https://urbanebikes.com/collections/speed-pedelec

Scott do this https://www.scott-sports.com/gb/en/prod ... 0-men-bike

There are others. You will see why the kits are popular and careful setup will give you a proportion of performance at a fraction of the S-peds

User avatar
horizon
Posts: 10184
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Cornwall

Re: Recs for semi hilly commute

Postby horizon » 3 Jan 2020, 11:38am

It's only 13 miles and couple of steep hills - the rest is flat. As the OP says himself, no problem for a younger person. If a normal e-bike cannot help in this scenario then I don't see what the point of them is - it's an ideal test case which should show off e-bikes at their most useful on a ride that is just above a reasonable commute unpowered.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

MrsHJ
Posts: 773
Joined: 19 Aug 2010, 1:03pm
Location: Dartmouth, Devon.

Re: Recs for semi hilly commute

Postby MrsHJ » 3 Jan 2020, 9:52pm

horizon wrote:
MrsHJ wrote:I’m looking to start commuting by ebike 2-3 times a week (other days I work 30-100 miles from home so less practical). My likely commute route is linked below- it’s 13 miles each way which is the sort of distance I would have lapped up when younger and living in a flatter area but it’s now quite daunting even before considering the traffic . The first couple of miles after the ferry is a steep climb on a narrow dark windy (and windy) A road then another couple of miles down on the same. At 5 miles I hit the Torbay conurbation with cruddy cycle provision but not particularly hilly and well lit.



It's a good test case for an electric bike. Google makes it 1.5 hours for 13 miles on my PC so even they think it's a bit of a stonker. I imagine for the e-bike stalwarts it's heaven sent: scenic route, too hilly and far for a daily cycle commute, no problem with the battery life, cheaper on the ferry than a car, charge at work or at home. Q.E.D.! Even I might be persuaded.

I often go to Dartmouth in connection with my work and if going by train/bike I have to decide on either Torquay or Totnes. I've tried both and different routes from both. It's never easy (albeit with a fully loaded bike). I arrive the previous day but I do depart after a day's work so it's not totally relaxed. Of course, if they had normal seats/prices on the steam train ...

Tell us how you get on.


Thanks for all the input from everyone. I will go and cogitate and continue to investigate the best option.

On the train decision I’d recommend Paignton which is on the mainline albeit less frequent services- it’s a bit closer than Torquay and if you fancy paying for the steam train then it’s right next door. There’s also only really one climb and it’s a steady haul from that side. I have done that route by steam train but can’t remember if I had the bike and in those days they did locals concessions. My fantasy is that someone puts regular commuter services back on the line but anyway I’ll no doubt be retired before that happens. Totnes to Dartmouth is a bit of a tough one as I expect you have realised. However I’d imagine you could take the bike on the pleasure cruiser from Totnes steamer quay on quiet days (though not sure if there are quiet days any more).