Cargo bike comparison for steep street. RadWagon vs Flyer or ???

No. He's right. Here on this forum there are not a lot of cargo bike people, and one of them is an evangelist for his hub bike and insists beyond all evidence to the contrary that a less powerful motor that powers a bike thru the axle and is thus single speed is somehow the equal of a bike that uses gears to conquer hills, for all the same reasons gears were invented to help people. Oh and the motors have roughly double the torque output on the most generous comparison (80 Nm for a geared Bafang fat hub vs. 160 Nm for a BBSHD or Ultra mid drive; 120 Nm for the diminutive BBS02).

I have built and still own 2wd hub bikes with those 80Nm motors; one on each axle. Coupled to a great big 52v battery and with twin 35a-each controllers. You know what? They struggled here in the hills of the Monterey Bay area. I didn't want to put an expensive build like that into an early grave so I built a mid drive and it ran up hills like they weren't there. Not fast (thats what you get when you gear down) but the motors weren't even strained.

And as for cargo bikes, I have a mid tail, a long tail and a frontloader (Mongoose Envoy, Surly Big Fat Dummy and LvH Bullitt). I just put about 15 miles on the BFD on a run out to Home Depot. 1/3 of it was screaming down hill and that last 1/3 was toodling along at 12 mph back up to the top of the hill I live on.

As someone who can build what he wants, I tried it both ways and I moved to a mid drive for a practical, sensible reason (knowing the difference from experience).

Of the three compared below, check out the Mongoose and look at the section where I discuss and lay out the parts list for low-cost builds.

Thanks me and my short legs probably a 26” inseam need a step through bike. I’m still going to check out the link though. Thanks
 
So would you say you prefer a more natural bike ride feel you get from a Bosch or you like more of a scooter/dirt bike feel like a Super 73 or an Ariel rider Grizzly with AWD/front and rear hub motors?

There’s a guy JohnnyNerdOut who does mid drive conversions for bikes. He is a total middrive advocate but he says if you aren’t more of a seasoned rider good at shifting, the powerful double motors ebikes can do what a middrive can and more but it will cost more.
and weigh a ton over 80 pounds and eat batteries for breakfast.
 
I think his point was, not everyone is a 300+ lbs rider who needs a 1500 watt motor and can get by just fine with less, and it will also result in less hassle for them.
He was responding to my post and i never mentioned 300lb riders or 1500watt motors. I suggested a 500watt middrive.
 
So would you say you prefer a more natural bike ride feel you get from a Bosch or you like more of a scooter/dirt bike feel like a Super 73 or an Ariel rider Grizzly with AWD/front and rear hub motors?

There’s a guy JohnnyNerdOut who does mid drive conversions for bikes. He is a total middrive advocate but he says if you aren’t more of a seasoned rider good at shifting, the powerful double motors ebikes can do what a middrive can and more but it will cost more.
I currently have both typs and those Dual hub/battery Scooter style bikes have plenty of climbing power but i would not say they can do what a middrive does, they are very different! Bikes like The Grizzly are very heavy and not as comfy to pedal, even when pedaling out of the saddle they are awkward compared to a more balanced middrive.
Dual hub bikes are also not great for dirt climbs because its so easy to lose traction with the front wheel. If you just like to sit and throttle or casual pedal then you will love the Grizzly, that bike feels as strong as a motor cycle.
If i could only have one i would choose a middrive, it does not take long to learn how to shift properly just watch a few Youtube vids and take it slow and you will be fine.
Honestly it probably takes more riding experience to handle the Grizzly just because its so fast and heavy!
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So would you say you prefer a more natural bike ride feel you get from a Bosch or you like more of a scooter/dirt bike feel like a Super 73 or an Ariel rider Grizzly with AWD/front and rear hub motors?

There’s a guy JohnnyNerdOut who does mid drive conversions for bikes. He is a total middrive advocate but he says if you aren’t more of a seasoned rider good at shifting, the powerful double motors ebikes can do what a middrive can and more but it will cost more.
I would love to see you on a decent hub driven bike with a throttle. They are a blast, and are absolutely brain dead to ride. Just get on and go. They work GREAT - until you bring up the word "hill". That MIGHT be a show stopper, because then you have to drag out all of the "if's". Like the geared hub will work great IF the hill isn't too big, and/or IF the bike isn't too heavily loaded. The issue is, we haven't seen this hill, so we have to assume the worst.

The mid drive bikes are not nearly as sensitive to this issue. Because the motor runs through the gearing in back, you can gear it down to climb about anything (within reason). The mid drive does insist that you use the correct gear for the situation in front of you. For instance, taking off in top gear is not only sluggish, it's hard on the controller and motor.

The mid drive conversions frequently use Bafang motors - those will give you a throttle. That's a big deal here, but you're welcome to make up your own mind there. Worth looking in to I'm pretty sure.....
 
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Because the motor runs through the gearing in back, you can gear it down to climb about anything (within reason). The mid drive does insist that you use the correct gear for the situation in front of you
Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!
I've never seen a cargo bike with a 48 or 40 tooth rear sprocket. If you install one, takes those quickie-wear 11 speed chains. Same size rear sprocket as mid-drive drive gear or smaller, sprockets increase speed, not torque. Bosch mid-drives come with 40 tooth.
1500 mile chain life wouldn't even carry me through one summer. My 8 speed chain lasts 2 1/2 years.
Wakawaka9 look at the Blix packa, if you are not extra tall and the hills are not that long.
 
So is there a good longtail cargo bike that can carry two kids that isn’t +$2800 and handles hills adequately where a few modest hills a day won’t burn out your engine? Would this do the trick or is it most likely junk? https://www.bpmimports.com/shop/bik...bike/f-16-fat-tire-electric-bike-2-batteries/
Unfortunately the answer to that is 'no' with one exception below... and you have to build it. The closest you are going to come I think is a Rad Wagon. Its owners are evangelists but over a lot of time and frequenting a lot of ebike discussion groups, I see a lot of service and quality complaints. I'm not talking about the motor but the other bike parts which is not a shock when you couple daily utility use with low end components. Also it has become known that Rad puts 500w motors inside of a casing marked as a 750w motor, even giving them the hi-output power plug that the genuine 750's have to complete the disguise. You can't tell what they have done until you open up the motor and look. It affects speed some, but really the big deal there is lesser ability to take abuse. Which is what a cargo bike is all about.

With all of that said, I did come up with low cost builds for the Envoy that start - electrified - at about $1800. You can upgrade incrementally from there and the increasingly higher-spec builds listed show you how. But those prices in that article are pre-pandemic. For example I just priced the Magura MT5e's on Ebay a few days ago and they are $300. Not $137 like I sourced from a German web site at the time.

 
So would you say you prefer a more natural bike ride feel you get from a Bosch or you like more of a scooter/dirt bike feel like a Super 73 or an Ariel rider Grizzly with AWD/front and rear hub motors?
You can solve that by just using a lower PAS setting and engaging your muscles. As you get up to speed kick up the setting to cruise comfortably. Tick it down if you want to work harder for a bit. I think the feeling that an ebike has to mirror an analog bicycle sells the ebike platform short. Treat it as an entirely new kind of system that coincidentally looks like a bicycle. Make it an exercise machine and you get that exercise in spades. Its just different. I've been riding bicycles for commuting and utility since the mid-1970's, and when I went electric I set aside what I knew and treated the ebike as a whole new thing to learn.

Something you see in large cargo bike groups (Cargo Bike Republic, for example) and pretty much in no other ebike community is a large percentage of the membership actively disdaining torque sensing. Riding a bike that commonly weighs 80 pounds on its own (before you even get into the cargo payload) carries different rules for the daily driver who wants the bike to do an actual job versus provide recreation.

There’s a guy JohnnyNerdOut who does mid drive conversions for bikes. He is a total middrive advocate but he says if you aren’t more of a seasoned rider good at shifting, the powerful double motors ebikes can do what a middrive can and more but it will cost more.

If you mean awd when you say 'double motor' I would disagree with that. Thats how I tried to get into the game with steep hills and it didn't cut the mustard. However it will work fantastically on reasonably flat ground or low rolling hills, which is where I did my first dual hub bikes. With a mid as the rear motor it will work fantastically on any terrain... but as you noted its rather a lot of work to build. As for needing to understand shifting... abso-freaking-lutely. But its not *that* hard if you just follow a few rules. I put this together when Sondors started selling mid drives to its mostly-noob users and its saved my fingertips a whole lot of wear and tear.

 
Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!
I've never seen a cargo bike with a 48 or 40 tooth rear sprocket. If you install one, takes those quickie-wear 11 speed chains. Same size rear sprocket as mid-drive drive gear or smaller, sprockets increase speed, not torque. Bosch mid-drives come with 40 tooth.
1500 mile chain life wouldn't even carry me through one summer. My 8 speed chain lasts 2 1/2 years.
Once again... utter nonsense, which comes from you and only you a lot here.

Anyone who has ever taken a bicycle up a hill knows that when you go up, you upshift and it gets easier. Gears give a mechanical advantage and its the reason bicycles have them. Denying this in one post after another on this forum does not help people and spreads garbage. This tireless crusade hurts people who are spending real money and who are asking for help to spend it wisely.

cargo bike. 46T rear cluster, 42T front. 9 speed not the 11 you said it has to have.
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Cargo bike. 46T rear cluster, 36T front. 11 speed this time. Something like 1400 miles on it (I'll check later and edit this post) and chain checker says its still fine.
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Your chains last a long time because your drivetrain is irrelevant to the motor assist. Thats a thing with hub drives. Take the chain clean off and pedal the bike. Pedal assist will propel you down the street just fine. Nothing to see here, and even if there was changing a chain is a trivial task.
 
Dual hub bikes are also not great for dirt climbs because its so easy to lose traction with the front wheel.
Thats true, but unfortunately thats usually a function of the people who built the bike not doing it quite right, or if you are lucky just a bad setting. Climbing hills or doing singletrack (including deep mud), I found the best front wheel setting was to keep it powered down to the 250w or so level. That was the sweet spot for traction benefit without losing controllability in case, say, you pop the front wheel up on a root and it comes back down pointed in a different direction. Also, you stay off front throttle. Let PAS do all the work as your thumb cannot help but overdo it during the stress of a hillclimb. Deep deep sand is different and wants a higher level of power in front to keep the front wheel from submerging.

I don't know if yours is built like this, but most of the manufactured AWD ebikes I have seen use a single controller and a unified throttle, which is cheaper and easier, but not better for the rider. Dual controllers so you can set PAS levels independently, and dual throttles so you don't overpower the front wheel. I'm sure you have had the issue where you are in a left turn lane and have to watch out so as to not rear end the car in front of you.

With front panniers on the rack, this bike below was a quasi-cargo bike for me before I started building real ones. Now its an adventure bike. I built it with a mid in back when the 2wd-hub bike couldn't handle steep hills here. That brick on the front rack is a weatherproof, 480w charger. Even with a 32ah pack I can't get back without a recharge once I get land access again (there's a power plug at Marina State Beach's bathroom on the outside wall).

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ok thats it 4 posts in a row it was time to step away after #2.
 
double motors ebikes can do what a middrive can
Then there is the matter of weigh and weight distribution. If you were to design a boat, say a sailboat, where would you place weight. Out at the ends? Or in the middle? Would you want weight at elevation or below the waterline? On a bike would you seek to increase rotational weight? Or decrease rotational weight? I build bikes and ride daily. I also have many reviews. A 40 pound bike rides much better than a 107 pound bike with forward pedals and a low unadjustable banana seat and 20 inch x 5 tires.
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I was wondering if anyone had an opinion if this seemed to be a good donor bike (Yuba Kombi) to add a middrive motor to.
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But they have one (Yuba Kombi E5) with a motor but the frame looks like it was modified to be able to mount a battery. Am I seeing that right? Like they want you to buy their electric version so they give you no place to put a battery unless you ruin your stand over height which I need.
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Does anyone know of a cargo bike that can carry two kids on the back that’s good for short riders? We had been looking at the Flyer L885 but it has a rear hub motor that is only 500w.
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I was wondering if anyone had an opinion if this seemed to be a good donor bike (Yuba Kombi) to add a middrive motor to.
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But they have one (Yuba Kombi E5) with a motor but the frame looks like it was modified to be able to mount a battery. Am I seeing that right? Like they want you to buy their electric version so they give you no place to put a battery unless you ruin your stand over height which I need.
View attachment 134626
Does anyone know of a cargo bike that can carry two kids on the back that’s good for short riders? We had been looking at the Flyer L885 but it has a rear hub motor that is only 500w. View attachment 134627
The Kona is a light donor bike. With great handling. You can pickup a nice used one. That battery is 7Ah at 48V.
 

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The Flyer looks like a neat low cost bike, but the motor is the sticking point. Interestingly they put it into a 20" wheel, and that smaller wheel gives a very nice torque advantage. That 500w motor would not be as anemic as it seems on paper.

Looking at the Kombi, I don't see a solution that doesn't compromise your cargo capability. I have seen battery solutions that use the bottle bosses under the down tube (and have always hated that idea). I tried fitting a battery on a front rack myself once. Don't do that. Its a terrible idea. Unfortunately its the best solution I can see with the Kombi other than fabbing some kind of battery bag directly behind the seat and in front of the rear wheel. That would likely put the battery at your forward passenger's feet. Ugh.

I did note that Yuba claims the Mundo Lux fits riders down to 4'11". Their specs page gives every conceivable measurement BUT standover, which seems like a BS omission. Still, this bike would eliminate the fitment issues for motor and battery if standover was within bounds.
 
I put a battery here on a Boda. Works great. The leading candidate for Mayor in my town rides it. She loves that it is Green. She had to have a Brooks saddle.
 

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I put a battery here on a Boda. Works great. The leading candidate for Mayor in my town rides it. She loves that it is Green. She had to have a Brooks saddle.
That looks pretty clean. How many ah is that battery? I need to find a place that has the Kombi in stock. Maybe it has room for a decent sized battery…
 
That looks pretty clean. How many ah is that battery? I need to find a place that has the Kombi in stock. Maybe it has room for a decent sized battery…
Thanks. Sometimes I will do all white electrical on those bikes. That is a 10.5Ah at 48V. The Amps to the motor can be set from the display. The best ones are down tuned for cargo to have an over robust system so the Watts can be less that the design of the motor. Under stressing it for durability and long service life is very good. A 750W motor can be taken down to 528W for example on a 48V system by setting the Amps in the controller to 11A. 48 x 11 = 528.
 
I was wondering if anyone had an opinion if this seemed to be a good donor bike (Yuba Kombi) to add a middrive motor to.


But they have one (Yuba Kombi E5) with a motor but the frame looks like it was modified to be able to mount a battery. Am I seeing that right? Like they want you to buy their electric version so they give you no place to put a battery unless you ruin your stand over height which I need.

Does anyone know of a cargo bike that can carry two kids on the back that’s good for short riders? We had been looking at the Flyer L885 but it has a rear hub motor that is only 500w. View attachment 134627
the small rear wheel will help add some additional torque but it is still just a 500watt hub motor, i would go with something stronger if your hauling 2 kids.
 
Hi everyone, i am trying to decide between some cargo bikes, but i am a total rookie about ev bikes.
This bike will be used by my wife and my 2yo as cargo for fun :) the only thing is we live in over a hill and theres a very steep climb on our way home .
I checked the
and

I like the flyer a lot but it looks like the other bikes have 750W motors and the flyer has 500W motor ...
I am not sure how that power is delivered or if it really makes a difference .... so i wanted to ask here .
I would appreciate if you can share what you think ? Feel free to make other suggestions also .
Thanks alot !
Pamir.
I'm going to skip over the purse fight between mid and hub drive and look at this differently.

The OP doesn't state where they're located. Hills are different on the west coast, the mid-west and the east coast. What they consider steep might not actually be steep in comparison to the hills out west. Some of you make it sound as though a hub drive bike can't climb any hill without over heating and spewing molten rock as it melts down.

I'll give some personal experience to the OP. I looked at the Radio Flyer because I wanted a cargo bike. I didn't like the idea of the 500W motor and that it seemed as though parts weren't going to be readily available. For example, I wanted to know about replacement battery packs. You can't buy them directly from their site. I wrote an inquired about it. After 3 days I finally got an answer. If I wanted a battery, I would have to send them my serial number to ensure they sent the right pack. That swayed me away from them because that means that they're getting batteries from various sources and at some point, possibly in the very near future, a battery might not be available. There's just no way to tell.

I then started looking at Radpower bikes. Their website lists a lot of accessories being available, and while they're using FedExGround as their shipping partner their parts eventually do arrive. I bought a RadRunner 2, which arrived within a couple of days. Assembly easy enough, and eventually all the accessories I bought arrived.

I've been very happy with it. I have had no problem climbing the hills in and around Central PA. One hill that I rode was up in Dauphin county, approximately 3 miles long. I started off around the midway point, rode to the bottom, turned around and rode up to the top. I has PAS set to 5 and maintained between 15 and 20mph the entire ride. This was in 89F heat, and I barely broke a sweat. The motor did not overheat, it never faltered it was a smooth ride the entire time. I did not have my GPS on the bike yet, so I do not have elevation values, but here's the bottom: https://www.google.com/maps/place/4...bb7bed51e4c!7e2!8m2!3d40.713814!4d-76.8032935

Here's the top where I turned around and returned to the farm:

This is the farm where I started and went down hill from there: https://www.google.com/maps/place/H...2e5373c7397061!8m2!3d40.7070986!4d-76.8268423

If you're out in the pacific northwest, maybe you need a better bike that climbs hills, but consider your the terrain in your area. That hill you have may not be nearly as steep as you think it is.
 
I agree. I also happen to live just North of San Francisco in a seismically active area where a chunk of land (Pt Reyes) is being pushed NNW into the sea. We have serious hills. This is where mountain bikes were invented. It is sort of funny to think of their popularity in two dimensional regions. Hub-drives do have a place.
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