Best ebike for Seniors Citizens

What is the best type of EBike for Senior Citizens

  • Class 1/2 Hub Drive

    Votes: 7 23.3%
  • Class 1/2 Mid Drive

    Votes: 12 40.0%
  • Class 2 Mid Drive

    Votes: 5 16.7%
  • Class 3 Hub Drive

    Votes: 6 20.0%
  • Class 3 Mid Drive

    Votes: 14 46.7%

  • Total voters
    30
At 74, I'm an out-of-shape GWSWL (geezer who shouldn't wear lycra). Just moved to San Diego County, where the top-notch scenery, weather, and bike infrastructure lured me back into cycling. But it's a pretty hilly place, so an ebike is key to that transition. Also want the ebike to take over as many short trips as possible to get me out of my car.

However, I see many serious road cyclists around my age who look pretty good in lycra.

Bottom line: Their ebike needs would be vastly different than mine. The OP's question has no answer.
 
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At 74, I'm an out-of-shape GWSWL (geezer who shouldn't wear lycra). Just moved to San Diego County, where the top-notch scenery, weather, and bike infrastructure lured me back into cycling. But it's a pretty hilly place, so an ebike is key to that transition. Also want the ebike to take over as many short trips as possible to get me out of my car.

However, I see many serious road cyclists around my age who look pretty good in lycra.

Bottom line: Their ebike needs would be vastly different than mine. The OP's question has no answer.
"The OP's question has no answer"
The poll at the front of the OP might not have an answer.
But to me the the configuration of frame style does, minimum standard would be a step through, just easier to mount and dismount and an overall better riding position for the old guys & gals.
 
It is late. Here are indoor night photos of the finished bike based on the advice of this thread. It shows top throttle speed in MPH and the Z1eHX chain which is better than a Gates belt.
 

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I agree with a lot of the responses here, the mid-step or step-thru frames can be more approachable and stable. My step-mom bought a fat tire ebike because it felt safer going over cracks... she once got hung up on a railroad crossing and the fat tires reassure her (and add comfort), but they also add weight. I like the products that Trek and Electra have been offering at the more affordable end, like this one https://electricbikereview.com/trek/2023-fx-plus-2-stagger/ it's a great all around option and comes in three colors that could work for guy and gals.
 
I think a mid-drive with a IGH , 3 geared hub and about 500-750 watts should do the trick. And possibly a thumb throttle. The bike would have to weigh in at a maximum of 40lbs. Pedal assist set to levels 1-3.
3 inch tires with universal tread and step through design

I don't like twist throttle , when you get into "oh sh$%" scenarios you have at tendency to hold tightly to the handlebar grips which on a twist throttle have the power attached as well. So if you're in a situation where you don't need power and you're holding on for dear life you may inadvertently pull full throttle when you don't need it. With a thumb throttle you have to decide to use your thumb to power it so the likely hood you're pushing the throttle when you don't need it are mute.

Without question though , it all depends on the experience of the rider. I'm sure an 82yr well versed long time bicyle rider will teach me things I've never known. So age isn't always the go to for bike styles. I'm sure a senior will walk all over me and my bike riding skills if they are experience long time riders.

Generally though for most seniors I'd start with a no brains attached smooth riding experience. for lack of a better term

Although the vast market has used rear hubs to cater to the senior crowd so what do I know?
 
Thanks everyone. I learned a lot reading this thread so now I will take that as an input and feed it into a bike. I picked up the ideal donner bike today. It is a low-step with strong wheels, and internal gears for low maintenance. The riding position is upright and its overall weight will be under 40 pounds. I like small displays and do not like throttles but this bike is not for me. Older people want to be able to see a display and tend to want throttles. I replaced a small display with a large one for a rider today who is in her late 80's. Here is what the donner bike looks like before the transformation. Yes, that is a built in lock and dynamo light system. Thanks again.
View attachment 139836
What is meant by "donner' bike? Is it one with shaft drive? BTW is that one completed? received my components for reverse trike the other day now I am searching for proper bike to modify. If I use the "Schwinn" it will be a 48 volt build because the battery is already installed on that thingy, otherwise I am looking at a 750 watt 36 volt build.
 
I agree with a lot of the responses here, the mid-step or step-thru frames can be more approachable and stable. My step-mom bought a fat tire ebike because it felt safer going over cracks... she once got hung up on a railroad crossing and the fat tires reassure her (and add comfort), but they also add weight. I like the products that Trek and Electra have been offering at the more affordable end, like this one https://electricbikereview.com/trek/2023-fx-plus-2-stagger/ it's a great all around option and comes in three colors that could work for guy and gals.
Sadly that frame is difficult for oldsters with bum legs to mount. That top bar is a struggle for me. Making it nearly as difficult as a normal top tube frame.
 
It is late. Here are indoor night photos of the finished bike based on the advice of this thread. It shows top throttle speed in MPH and the Z1eHX chain which is better than a Gates belt.
Would like to know more about your thinking here. Based on what?

The only advantage I can think of would be the chain would be easier to custom fit?
 
I am not in anyway opposed to belts. A Gates requires a special frame with a split on the seat stay to get the belt on. To modify a bike to do that is expensive and weakens the frame. The KMC extra-wide e-Chain lasts as long as a Gates belt. Gates requires proprietary cogs which break and are expensive. There is the 'cool' factor of a belt but I cannot justify it. Yes, I can fit a chain by trimming its length and no, I cannot do that with a belt.
On the radio just now the announcer said 'Big Aspirations.' That made me laugh and picture an extra-wide saddle.
 
I am not in anyway opposed to belts. A Gates requires a special frame with a split on the seat stay to get the belt on. To modify a bike to do that is expensive and weakens the frame. The KMC extra-wide e-Chain lasts as long as a Gates belt. Gates requires proprietary cogs which break and are expensive. There is the 'cool' factor of a belt but I cannot justify it. Yes, I can fit a chain by trimming its length and no, I cannot do that with a belt.
On the radio just now the announcer said 'Big Aspirations.' That made me laugh and picture an extra-wide saddle.
There is a belt made that can be put on a bike without splitting the frame, that overpriced "carbon' hoopla has to come down in price a bit belts made without carbon fiber are fine, been using them for years without complaint, now that chain you mentioned makes a lot of sense. I like the extra widw seat, the scars from "pilonidal cyst" surgery start burning after a while.
 
KMC single-speed chains are amazingly beefy all by themselves. Now that they have an 'e' version they're insanely strong I should think. The sort of chain you'd want to use on a bike that can't easily do a belt but has an IGH. I would not convert a bike to a belt (i.e. add a break in the frame) but having owned a bike with a Gates belt... they are a beautiful thing. Still, a chain is soooo much easier to deal with from a build standpoint. Add a Surly Singleator to tension it on a frame with nice vertical dropouts and you have a solid solution. But I think I would go with the narrow 3/32" version rather than the wide. Narrower = less leverage across the pins for any kind of torsional stresses... I think. Goes to the same reason 11s chains are so durable.

My gut reaction to the thread question was a simple class 1 hub drive. I was thinking about what kind of bike I'd make for my Mom, who would want slow and need it to be simple. But... as everyone else has pointed out there's no right answer here. I'm still riding high top-tube bikes and I only want mid drives. And lots of gears.
 
Here is a better photo in daylight. Large grips are important in this segment. Yes there is the split belt. It is also proprietary for the cogs with its own standard and the estimated measurements must be exact. It is very expensive, cool but not that cool. It uses five rivets with a special rivet gun. Court also was thinking hub drive, great for a flat trailer park, but this area has big hills. I stripped all oils from this chain and used ceramic lube that does not attract dirt or grime. You shine a UV light to check the state of the lube. It glows purple.
 

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Whatever bike a senior buys, it pays to look ahead. What's easy this year may not be next year...fact is that "getting in shape" is much tougher as you age.
I agree, but ebiking has brought me a huge increase in fitness and weight loss. Admittedly, I use it to get to my twice-weekly "silver sneakers" pole walking class (we walk at a vigorous pace for an hour; the poles keep me from doing a face plant), but biking to the venue is the main part of the workout. I would say that ebiking is the very best aerobic exercise I could possibly do, at my age (85 yo). I also use the bike for errands and shopping as much as possible. 90% or more of my riding i do in PAS 1, and only use 2 or 3 PAS (out of 5) on long or steep hills. I try to maintain a cadence of around 70 rpm by using the gearshift (Nexus 7 IGH) a lot. Bike is an Ariel Rider C class.
 
At 70, my Magnum step through with throttle. I've had it 3 years now. I ride an old RR trail in NJ. Where I live in NJ is very rural, no sidewalks so the streets like this are fine.
 
I personally favor Class 3 Mids. Average people in the US are out of shape. People in their 30's today weigh on average 20-pounds more the people in their 30's in the 1980's. I don't like throttle bikes but for someone out of shape and physically elderly, which isn't necessarily chronological, a low or mid-step light weight bike with a mid-drive and a throttle would likely be their best investment. I had someone this week who didn't have the hand strength to shift and cannot lift a bike onto a car rack. It is sad, she was not chronologically old. Two people both in their mid-forty's can have differences in their telomeres representing a 12 year difference in biological age. This is largely due to early trauma and chronic stress. We live in a traumatic world and people are stressed. Riding bikes is a great way to recreate while getting healthy and it is better for the planet than driving cars or yelling at a TV.
Let me hear an AMEN.......... Brothers & Sisters ! 🙌👏👋🙏
 
Let me hear an AMEN.......... Brothers & Sisters ! 🙌👏👋🙏
Here is her husband's bike. It is a mid-step with a 750W torque sensor mid-drive that has 90Nm. I just finished it. Zoom to see the little yellow flowers here today in Nor. Cal. It has a heavy duty dual clutch cargo bike motor for low maintenance and with a premium battery. This bar is so comfortable. It is a converted Giant Momentum Vida Small/Medium.
 

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Here is her husband's bike. It is a mid-step with a 750W torque sensor mid-drive that has 90Nm. I just finished it. Zoom to see the little yellow flowers here today in Nor. Cal. It has a heavy duty dual clutch cargo bike motor for low maintenance and with a premium battery. This bar is so comfortable. It is a converted Giant Momentum Vida Small/Medium.
interesting.......... What all is in the conversion ?
I have 2 Giant LaFree E+1 (very similar ). They are rather sturdy well made bikes with belt, nexus gears, but only 250w motor and 60nm. I guess I would have to give up the Nexus & Belt to do what you did ?
 

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interesting.......... What all is in the conversion ?
I have 2 Giant LaFree E+1 (very similar ). They are rather sturdy well made bikes with belt, nexus gears, but only 250w motor and 60nm. I guess I would have to give up the Nexus & Belt to do what you did ?
Those are nice bikes! Be content. The bottom bracket area and motor mounts on your bikes are proprietary. They will only work with the motors you have. This one is 350W. It was a 7-speed, now it is a 9-speed. The new starter bike was $449 with white tires. It is a Public C7. The battery is reminiscent of a water bottle.
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