Recommendations for an 80-year old...

Discussion in 'Electric Bikes' started by Kell, 11 Jun 2019.

  1. Kell

    Kell Über Member

    Hi all,

    First time in this part of the forum and after some advice.

    My father-in-law still cycles to get the paper every morning - on his beach cruiser.

    Going to get it is still fine, but getting back up the hill to their house has meant that for the past few years, he's had to push the bike back up the hill. It's steep enough that I struggle to get up it on my road bike in first and I have a triple chainring on the front.

    Anyway, that's the situation.

    So, as it's his 80th birthday this month, we thought we'd all club together and get him an ebike. £500 is the absolute maximum, and my mother in law is champing at the bit to order something.

    Because I 'know bikes' they've asked for my advice. I keep saying I know nothing about ebikes, but no one's listening.

    So, here I am after some advice.

    I've been forwarded this link (We're aware that some of these are refurbed.)

    And wanted to know are these any good? Is there something better for the price? Is there something as good for less?

    Any advice greatly appreciated.

    Last edited: 14 Jun 2019
  2. glasgowcyclist

    glasgowcyclist Charming but somewhat feckless

    Paging @Pale Rider or @jowwy here...
  3. jowwy

    jowwy The bearded Powerhouse

    Im of no help for bikes at that cost....

    Maybe @Pale Rider could advise on conversion kits available for the beach cruiser
  4. Pale Rider

    Pale Rider Guru

    Ebikes are heavy, unwieldy lumps so I would strongly suggest a 20" wheel one.

    They are much easier to handle, mount and dismount.

    Basic Chinese is all you will get for £500.

    I'm not the biggest fan of such bikes, but I have heard of them giving reasonable service.

    The 20" bike in your link is 24 volt/200watt, so not especially pokey.

    It may be sufficient if the hill out of Wycombe is not too steep, but the rider will need to put in some effort - the bike would not get up even a modest slope on its own.

    You could probably find a 36 volt/250 watt bike for £500 which would have a bit more grunt.

    Non ebikers think ebikes have a lot more power than they actually have.

    Given some climbing is involved in this application, it would be safer for the rider to try the hill before buying, even though that would spoil the surprise.
    raleighnut likes this.
  5. Smudge

    Smudge Senior Member

    You will find that cheap ebikes have poor low spec components on the bike and the motor system will have low torque. The low torque is ok on the flat, but encounter any hill more than a mild incline and you'll be pushing them just like an unassisted bike.
    When price is the main consideration for an ebike, than adding an ekit to your own bike is the best bang for buck.
    Pale Rider likes this.
  6. Sharky

    Sharky Veteran

    What's the gearing?
    I would try and get the lowest possible first. You can get cassettes with a 40t big sprocket on them I think, which should help.

    Also consider a tricycle.
    I have a tandem tricycle for taking my autistic daughter out and on the hills, you can come to a complete standstill without falling off, stand on the pedals and advance half a revolution at a time.

    How steep is the hill?

    Good luck

    PS, I will be taking notes as I've only got another 10 years to go to my 80's!
  7. OP

    Kell Über Member

    It's not Wycombe - they live in Barnstaple, north Devon.

    This is the hill:!1s3oJRBZTwKPdZpWMMGF1LgA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    Although, I have seen a guy come past me on the hill in Wycombe with no effort at all on a cheap folder from Halfords. But I've no idea what model it is. I only know that when I'm struggling to do 4mph on my Brompton, he comes past in his suit, with the seat so low his knees are almost touching his ears.

    With such bad cycling form, it's clearly giving him more than a little assistance.

    I don't know how much he paid, but he'd clearly seen me cycling up there in the past as he was asking if my bike was electric, and then told me about some bike he'd seen at Halfords for a couple of hundred quid.
    Last edited: 11 Jun 2019
  8. Pale Rider

    Pale Rider Guru

    Most road legal ebikes are now 36 volt/250 watt, and they all offer roughly the same amount of poke.

    Fitting a hub kit to the bike you have would produce a better quality bike overall.

    Your budget would get you a 36 volt/250 watt motor, which I think you should regard as a minimum requirement.
    raleighnut likes this.
  9. derrick

    derrick The Glue that binds us together.

    If he can push a bike up there at 80 years old, A nice light weight hybrid could work for him with the right gearing. Leave the the Ebike till he gets old.. Do not buy a cheap E bike.
    Sharky likes this.
  10. Cycleops

    Cycleops Guru

    Accra, Ghana
  11. MichaelW2

    MichaelW2 Veteran

    Most cruisers are designed to be as heavy and inefficient as possible. You get some aluminium ones that are not excessively heavy. Pick a standard ridrange, aluminium hybrid bike with low gears and he should be able to climb OK.
    Sharky likes this.
  12. OP

    Kell Über Member

    Seriously, I've climbed that hill.

    It's a 'first gear, standing on the pedals, blowing out your arse' affair.

    A lighter bike will not make enough of a difference to an 80 year old man. Even one that's as active as my FIL.

    Turns out that he may have already moved over to a hybrid as my BIL said he gave them his wife's old bike. A Giant Cypress.

    Like this one:

    glasgowcyclist likes this.
  13. Cycleops

    Cycleops Guru

    Accra, Ghana
    Perfect for an electric conversion.
  14. Smudge

    Smudge Senior Member

    Whatever E folder he had, it must have had at least a decent amount of torque in the system to go at that pace uphill compared to your unassisted Brommie.
    My older ebike has a kit with a 35nm torque motor and its hopeless on hills. I wont ride it anywhere that is hilly and have relegated it to pub bike and easy flat canal path rides.
    My newer ebike has 45nm of torque and its loads better at hill climbing.
    Both bikes are 36v 250w front hub motors.
  15. OP

    Kell Über Member

    jowwy likes this.
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