1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Need some guidance please

Discussion in 'Electric Bikes' started by Oldfentiger, 6 Oct 2016.

  1. Oldfentiger

    Oldfentiger Über Member

    Pendle, Lancs
    Because of where we live, it's impossible for the missus and I to go out for a ride from home. She's struggling with the steep climbs we have locally.
    For this reason we're thinking about an ebike to give her some assistance.
    We've seen a nicely styled bike, but we both haven't the knowledge to know whether it's worth the outlay, or is it all fur coat and no knickers?


    So, what's the verdict?
  2. Pale Rider

    Pale Rider Guru

    I can't see much in the way of specs online, but the bike looks nicely made and rear hub motor technology is well-proven so it should be reliable.

    Hub motor bikes are generally cheaper than crank drives, but most of those are now more than £2K for a good make.

    Benelli may not be known for ebikes but could be described as a premium brand, so £1,600 for this bike looks about right.

    Going up in price, the Raleigh Motus at £2K has the Bosch crank drive and is a similar style, although it will be a bit heavier with lights, pavement lock, carrier, and an all but useless cheapo suspension fork.

    Going down in price puts you in Chinese 'no name' territory, although you could have a look at the Kudos Stealth/Alamo.

    It's closer in style to the Benelli - hub motor, narrow tyres, integrated battery, plain fork, and lightweight - for an ebike.

    Kudos has been around for a while, and I am acquainted with Dave who owns the company.

    He tells me, quite fairly, his latest bikes are the best quality he's managed to source from China.

    Inevitably, the bike bits and finish will be inferior to the Benelli, but you do get a Samsung battery.

    It's a decent package for £935.

    Dave will usually send a bike 'on approval', enabling you to have a brief go on it in dry conditions.

    As a general point, I think the lighter weight of the Benelli/Kudos will suit Mrs Oft.

    The likes of the Motus require a firm hand when mounting and dismounting to prevent them toppling, and they are harder work at obstacles such as restricting gates on cycle paths.


    Last edited: 7 Oct 2016
    Oldfentiger likes this.
  3. OP

    Oldfentiger Über Member

    Pendle, Lancs
    Thanks Rob.
    Great information :thumbsup:
  4. robgul

    robgul Guru

    I am looking at a different solution for assistance - fitting a motorised wheel to an existing steel-framed bike. Cost is about £400 for either front or rear wheel version.

    The supplier that comes recommended from several sources is http://www.electricbikeconversions.co.uk - I'm having a go on a front wheel demo next week (that our local shop is fitting for a customer)

  5. OP

    Oldfentiger Über Member

    Pendle, Lancs
    We found a place in Clitheroe, listed as a Benelli dealer, so popped in at lunchtime for a gander.
    Nice chap to talk to. He offered to let us have the demo bike for a week if we wanted!!
    So chucked it in the car and brought it home.
    Just topping up the battery now, then I might go and give it a test.
    Just to make sure the gears are working right for the Nearest and Dearest :whistle:
  6. Pale Rider

    Pale Rider Guru

    Well done, getting a decent demo on any bike can be hard, getting a decent demo on an ebike even harder.

    All the legal ones offer roughly the same amount of grunt.

    If the Benelli doesn't suit for size or style, it will give you a good idea of what an ebike is capable of so you will know if it's worth looking elsewhere.
    Oldfentiger likes this.
  7. I would like to know how you get on with it. Its a smashing looking electric bike.
  8. OP

    Oldfentiger Über Member

    Pendle, Lancs
    I gave it a decent test this afternoon and ended up quite impressed.
    It was my first ever ride on an ebike so I have nothing to compare it with.
    I did around 5 miles, taking in four hard climbs.
    On the steepest at around 17%, I had to pedal quite hard to get to the top.
    That's a good thing though as Mrs OFT still wants to work at getting fitter and losing some weight.
    The steepish rake on the forks gives nice quick steering with the wide bars keeping it accurate.
    The hydraulic disc brakes are superb. Powerful with fine modulation.
    The 700x32 road tyres mean that pedalling along the flat bits at a reasonable pace is not too difficult even with no electrical assistance.

    We have a 25 mile ride planned tomorrow, including some climbs that previously defeated her, we'll await the managements verdict.
    I have the feeling this exercise will be costing money :laugh:
    steveindenmark likes this.
  9. Pale Rider

    Pale Rider Guru

    Having to push fairly hard to get up 17 percent is about what I'd expect.

    As you/the Mrs get to know the bike better, you may find there's a cadence sweet spot for climbing which teases the most power out of the motor.

    'Climb at your own pace' works well riding with an ebiker as it does riding with pushbikers.

    My next few words of advice will be more relevant if you buy the bike, but it's worth having a think about a rear wheel puncture in the unhappy event you get one tomorrow.

    The motor connection is underneath the chainstay - it just pulls apart.

    However, on the motor side the cable is cable tied to the frame, so to remove the wheel completely you would need to snip the cable tie.

    Looks like a quick release axle, so you will be able to release the wheel sufficiently to remove the tyre and tube.

    However you look at it, fixing a flat with the wheel tethered to the bike by a short bit of cable will be more difficult.

    If you buy the bike, it would be a good idea to snip the cable tie, then fit a wrap around chainstay protector which will keep the cable in order, but be easy to remove to fix a puncture.

    Last edited: 8 Oct 2016
  10. OP

    Oldfentiger Über Member

    Pendle, Lancs
    Thanks. Advice gratefully received.
    I'll have a close look tomorrow to see what would be involved.
  11. Pale Rider

    Pale Rider Guru

    I see the company offer two front wheel conversions - a 500w and a 250w.

    Obviously, we don't know which one you will be trying but you may like to know the difference.

    The 500w is a direct drive motor, which has advantages and disadvantages.

    Direct drive motors are whisper quiet, but they lack torque which is a problem for climbing.

    That's why it's 500w - a 250w direct drive motor would be all but useless on a bicycle.

    Another plus for direct drives is they are better for speed on the flat - assuming you have the legs to wind it up and the software ignores the legal cut-off requirement of 15.5mph/25km/h.

    The 250w motor is geared which makes it good for climbing, but less good for speed.
  12. OP

    Oldfentiger Über Member

    Pendle, Lancs
    Update after our ride on Saturday........

    We climbed up over Newchurch then down into Barley, followed by the long haul upwards along the south side of Pendle hill.
    After the long descent into Downham there was a brief blast along the A59 before turning left towards Sabden. There followed the tough climb up over the Nick of Pendle, down into Sabden, then escape the hole in which Sabden sits via what is locally known as White Hill.
    A few more undulations saw us back home, having covered 19.4 miles with 2,200 ft climbed.

    'Er indoors got over some hills which she couldn't manage previously, meaning that it's possible for us both to ride out from home together.
    I had my own private derny bike to help me into the headwind on the A59.

    The bike only comes in one size, which is too big for her.
    It's heavy.
    She thought that the hub drive didn't have enough control. Too much assistance on the flat even at the lowest setting. Slight headwind coupled with the weight had her struggling without assistance.
    I got tired of being overtaken on the climbs with her shouting encouragements such as "come on, tosser, dig in"!

    Verdict - we've resolved to carry on with the research before we commit. Wifey liked the freedom she would have to escape our valley, but the Benelli is not the right tool in this instance.
  13. ufkacbln

    ufkacbln Guest

    The problem will be the legality of the machine

    Speed is not the only factor.

    You are "allowed" 250W, the 500W conversion is not road legal
  14. ufkacbln

    ufkacbln Guest

    There are some conversions / bikes that are controlled by the pedal input and allow a variation of the power, there is no throttle (or you can fit an over-ride throttle)

    We have a Bionx on my wife's trike (other options are available)

    You "dial in" the assistance you wish (25%, 50%, 100%, 200%) and the motor then provides that much assistance. It works with an internal sensor reading the pressure you put on the pedals and providing a matched input. Use of gears further "tailors" the input as the sensor pressure changes with gear

    It suits us because when she is feeling OK she can ride the bike without power, odr at 25% and as she tires crank up the assistance.

    The downside is that it is a bit like gears, sometimes (for instance on hills) being in the right selection as you approach is better than trying to change once yo are on the hill
    Oldfentiger likes this.
  15. Pale Rider

    Pale Rider Guru

    The control of most hub bikes is crude in comparison to crank drives.

    A crank drive has road speed, cadence, and torque sensors - if the software is up to snuff they give a very natural ride.

    No throttle, so you just set the assistance level and get on with it.

    My Bosch bikes work that way, on the rides we've done together I haven't touched the controls, so I change down/push harder up hills and into headwinds the same as a push biker.

    Other crank drives which work well are made by Yamaha and Shimano.

    A bike you could try next is the Lithium/Shimano ebike offered by Evans.

    It comes in three sizes and is reasonable value at £1,800.

    A couple of other makes to consider are Cube and KTM, both use the Bosch system and their bikes are also available in different sizes.

    One problem with all of them is common to the Benelli - weight.

    There's no easy answer to that, but the smooth and natural ride of a crank drive might make the lardiness easier for Mrs Oft to put up with.

    Oldfentiger likes this.