Cyclist husband that I'm looking to keep up with-- help choosing!

If you want to ride 40-60 miles. that would require you to spend saddle time to build up the stamina, regardless what bike or e-bike you choose.
Averaging 15 mph, 40-60 miles would take 2.5-4 hours of saddle time, pedaling, non-stop.
To get your body used to pedaling for that amount of time require practice, lots of it.
I hope your husband realize that it's going to take more than just the right e-bike to get you to ride a 40-60 mi. ride comfortably.
My wife & I have been cycling together since we met back in 2003.
I know whenever I'm cycling with her, my priority is to enjoy the ride with her, everything else can be secondary.
If she's not comfortable & enjoying the ride, then she won't ride with me much.
 
Hey all!
My husband rides a lower-end Specialized Diverge, which is a little unusual for someone who bikes over 20 miles daily and 40-60 a day on weekends. He's fairly slow for a cyclist who rides centuries regularly-- his normal speed is around 14mph. The Diverge is considered a gravel bike. Most of the time he is just riding on rougher roads, but sometimes crushed gravel paths like rails-to-trails, or better-kept dirt roads.
I currently have a Specialized Roll Sport step through-- a fun bike to ride. I ride about once a week, usually with him. These are typically bonus rides for him, because my comfortable ride is 7-10 miles at a speed of around 10mph (this is typically in an urban/suburan area). I have ridden rails to trails with him between 15-30 miles, and I can do that, though it is pushing to my absolute limits.
I am looking for a bike that will let me keep up with him on longer rides-- something that I can get 40-60 miles in with. I want the exercise, I just don't want to be so exhausted at the end that I am useless the next day! Speed is much less important-- around 20mph is probably all I will ever really need, and truly slower is better as I will often be riding in traffic.

I THINK a torque sensor would work better for my needs? Is that correct? I'm used to pedaling and want to expend some energy, I just need the e-assist for when I am tired, or when there are hills and I can't keep up. Do I need a throttle?
Even though I live in an urban area, there isn't a local bike shop to try bikes (there is a Trek store but that's it)-- I am going to have to go at least an hour and a half away, so I want a good idea of what I am looking for, and preferably brands and even models. One of the very small local bike repair guys is familiar with Aventon and Velotric, but I am very much not married to either of these brands.

Terrain-- I will mostly be riding either on rails to trails or on very rough urban and rural roads in need of repair. I need a bike that can handle crushed gravel at least. I don't really want or need a mountain bike-- that's very much not my thing lol. I'd prefer to keep it under 2k, and truly the cheaper the better as I am having a hard time convincing myself it is ok to spend money on this :)
Oh, I am 5ft 9, about 180 lbs. If I end up liking this, I could pretty easily put 1000 miles on it in a year, but let's say that I plan to put 500-750.
Help me oh wise ones!!! I keep reading and am having a hard time navigating what is important, and what might meet my needs. Is getting an extra battery important? How do I tell a quality build? What do I need to look for in a bike, and what will best suit my needs? I haven't really found someone in my shoes, looking to keep up with someone on a traditional bike.
Hello Herc,

You wrote..... "I'd prefer to keep it under 2k, and truly the cheaper the better as I am having a hard time convincing myself it is ok to spend money on this"

I'm here to take you out of that mindset : ) If you have the financial means I would push the 2k number to 3k minimum, perhaps $3.5 k and above a bit.
Here's why...From what you've written as well as how you written your e-biking thoughts, I truly believe you would be overjoyed a vale with a bike in the
suggested range. If the $$$s are available, don't restrict yourself, If they aren't available, no worries, there are many good bike around 2K.

Very quick story. Hopefully this will offer some encouragement.... Six years ago I bought my first e-bike. I didn't know an e-bike from a pound of cheese.
Never rode one. Went to my LBS, rode a Trek Commuter bike XM700 for 30 minutes test ride, back to the LBS and bought it ! ... Best money I ever spent !!

Six years and 11,000 miles later ( I have two Trek e-bikes) I would do it all over again tomorrow. Every ride is like exactly like the first ride 6 long years ago.
It doesn't get any better than that....I'm so lucky. A possible source for quality preowned late model bikes of all types, you might consider....
https://www.theproscloset.com/

Please check back in and let us know how things are going.

Good luck, Safe rides,

John
 
Ride half dozen bikes of various types and price ranges before deciding. There is significant difference in power delivery between torque sensing middrive and cadence sensing hub drive. Buy cheap and you may end buying twice or with bike stays in garage.
 
Hey all!
My husband rides a lower-end Specialized Diverge, which is a little unusual for someone who bikes over 20 miles daily and 40-60 a day on weekends. He's fairly slow for a cyclist who rides centuries regularly-- his normal speed is around 14mph. The Diverge is considered a gravel bike. Most of the time he is just riding on rougher roads, but sometimes crushed gravel paths like rails-to-trails, or better-kept dirt roads.
I currently have a Specialized Roll Sport step through-- a fun bike to ride. I ride about once a week, usually with him. These are typically bonus rides for him, because my comfortable ride is 7-10 miles at a speed of around 10mph (this is typically in an urban/suburan area). I have ridden rails to trails with him between 15-30 miles, and I can do that, though it is pushing to my absolute limits.
I am looking for a bike that will let me keep up with him on longer rides-- something that I can get 40-60 miles in with. I want the exercise, I just don't want to be so exhausted at the end that I am useless the next day! Speed is much less important-- around 20mph is probably all I will ever really need, and truly slower is better as I will often be riding in traffic.

I THINK a torque sensor would work better for my needs? Is that correct? I'm used to pedaling and want to expend some energy, I just need the e-assist for when I am tired, or when there are hills and I can't keep up. Do I need a throttle?
Even though I live in an urban area, there isn't a local bike shop to try bikes (there is a Trek store but that's it)-- I am going to have to go at least an hour and a half away, so I want a good idea of what I am looking for, and preferably brands and even models. One of the very small local bike repair guys is familiar with Aventon and Velotric, but I am very much not married to either of these brands.

Terrain-- I will mostly be riding either on rails to trails or on very rough urban and rural roads in need of repair. I need a bike that can handle crushed gravel at least. I don't really want or need a mountain bike-- that's very much not my thing lol. I'd prefer to keep it under 2k, and truly the cheaper the better as I am having a hard time convincing myself it is ok to spend money on this :)
Oh, I am 5ft 9, about 180 lbs. If I end up liking this, I could pretty easily put 1000 miles on it in a year, but let's say that I plan to put 500-750.
Help me oh wise ones!!! I keep reading and am having a hard time navigating what is important, and what might meet my needs. Is getting an extra battery important? How do I tell a quality build? What do I need to look for in a bike, and what will best suit my needs? I haven't really found someone in my shoes, looking to keep up with someone on a traditional bike.
I agree with some of the other posts, that it seems like a 'SL'/superlight would be a good fit. Orbea and maybe a few others are now making 'SL' variant bikes, being lighter and lower powered than the majority of ebikes.
Also agree - you would do well with a torque-sensing mid-drive as a 'real' rider pre-ebike.
One thing jumping out though is the comment on 'rails to trails on very rough urban and rural roads in need of repair' - to me, this one screams at the least - a decent front fork/suspension. Your Roll Sport is a fixed fork, right? How has that been for you riding on the same areas?
If you think you can go with no suspension and solid fork, the Specialized sale is IMO, pretty decent, and hard to beat $-wise.
You can also check out facebook marketplace (can be a mess, but can also find some local bikes to go try), and sites like pinkbike classifieds (see the ebikes section) https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/
If nothing else, you can hopefully find a few similar bikes locally to at least get a leg over and try.

Batteries - ebike batteries are kind of a mess, at least in explaining range and batteries easily. Running lower assistance levels on a lighter bike can have drastically longer range than riding heavier bikes, or the lighter bike at higher assistance levels. We've yet to run my wife's Gazelle T10 (Bosch system, 500wH power tube Bosch battery) to empty, doing up to 40 mile rides. I'm not even sure we got it down to a single bar (battery charge indicators leave a bit to be desired due to Lithium battery discharge curves, and there are different display systems) of charge, including when we 'forgot' to charge before a ride, or decided on a last-minute unplanned ride. She very rarely comes out of Eco/lowest assist level. I expect we could come very close to the claimed 55-60miles of range the way my wife rides it, but running in Turbo/highest assistance mode, I bet we could run the battery dry inside of 20 miles.

The Turbo Vado 4.0 SL claimed range is ~130km, which is ~80 miles. The battery is on the smaller side when compared to e.g. Aventons or many other ebikes, but it is a super light model, with lower max motor output. Specialized does make a range extender (smaller bottle battery, lower wH vs the original battery), which is a bit on the $ side, but could be added later if it turns out you need it.

You could also look at something like the Gazelle T9 or T10, which will have a suspended front fork, and can take a second full-size battery, but they are heavier (not compared to some China bikes, but I think my wife's is ~50# yet feels heavier vs my Luna X2 - the Vado SL should be ~30-35#).

For the $, and your stated needs, I'd certainly put the Vado SL 4.0 on the 'go find a way to ride it' short list. You could conceivably always swap for a suspension fork in the future if need be, or look into something like the redshift seat mounts. I can't think of too many others offhand for the $ and that style of bike - there probably are some, but I lean more towards eMTBs and full suspension bikes can jump up rapidly in price and it seems not needed in this case.
 
Herc
Is there any place around that has a group of your type of riders, good local trails, local bike pathways/parks, you should be able to find and talk with others to find a good bike and maybe get a quick bike test/ride etc.
 
If you want to ride 40-60 miles. that would require you to spend saddle time to build up the stamina, regardless what bike or e-bike you choose.
Averaging 15 mph, 40-60 miles would take 2.5-4 hours of saddle time, pedaling, non-stop.
To get your body used to pedaling for that amount of time require practice, lots of it.
I hope your husband realize that it's going to take more than just the right e-bike to get you to ride a 40-60 mi. ride comfortably.
My wife & I have been cycling together since we met back in 2003.
I know whenever I'm cycling with her, my priority is to enjoy the ride with her, everything else can be secondary.
If she's not comfortable & enjoying the ride, then she won't ride with me much.
So this may be a bit sad but I am slow :) Like 6-8mph slow on anything over 5 miles. The 30-mile ride that I have done took about 3.5 hours, the 15s are around 2 (which I do every couple of months) so I am used to the saddle time, pedaling the whole way. The Roll doesn't allow for a lot of coasting. Also just to be clear, this is about me, not my husband. We have been riding together for about four years, I am just ready to be able to go a bit faster and further. Our rides are very much about enjoying the time outside and taking in the scenery together, I just want to be more comfortable doing that without sacrificing the exercise aspect of things.
 
Ride half dozen bikes of various types and price ranges before deciding. There is significant difference in power delivery between torque sensing middrive and cadence sensing hub drive. Buy cheap and you may end buying twice or with bike stays in garage.
Trevor, I've ridden a Velotric Discover since posting this, and while it was fun, it wasn't really like riding a bike. Not what I am looking for. I've gotten to ride a Como 3.0 IGH for a very short period of time (bike shop in a town about an hour away, the bike wasn't charged so by the time it was charged and updated it was nearly closing time). In the short ride that I got to take on it, it definitely felt more like biking. They are supposed to get a Como SL 4.0, a Vado 4.0 and a Vado 4.0 Step put together this week so I might go back up tomorrow and ride them. I'd really like to compare the SL and non-SL of the Vado, but that either means a trip to yet another city or having them order it and waiting a few weeks.
 
Hello Herc,

You wrote..... "I'd prefer to keep it under 2k, and truly the cheaper the better as I am having a hard time convincing myself it is ok to spend money on this"

I'm here to take you out of that mindset : ) If you have the financial means I would push the 2k number to 3k minimum, perhaps $3.5 k and above a bit.
Here's why...From what you've written as well as how you written your e-biking thoughts, I truly believe you would be overjoyed a vale with a bike in the
suggested range. If the $$$s are available, don't restrict yourself, If they aren't available, no worries, there are many good bike around 2K.

Very quick story. Hopefully this will offer some encouragement.... Six years ago I bought my first e-bike. I didn't know an e-bike from a pound of cheese.
Never rode one. Went to my LBS, rode a Trek Commuter bike XM700 for 30 minutes test ride, back to the LBS and bought it ! ... Best money I ever spent !!

Six years and 11,000 miles later ( I have two Trek e-bikes) I would do it all over again tomorrow. Every ride is like exactly like the first ride 6 long years ago.
It doesn't get any better than that....I'm so lucky. A possible source for quality preowned late model bikes of all types, you might consider....
https://www.theproscloset.com/

Please check back in and let us know how things are going.

Good luck, Safe rides,

John
After trying out a rear hub, I am not sure that the cheaper bikes are going to give me what I am looking for. It was fun, but not very much like riding a bike. I still want a bit of exercise. The store about an hour away that carries Specialized is supposed to get several bikes put together this week, so I am going to go up and try a couple of different Vados, and a Como for a longer ride (I got a very short spin around the parking lot with it because they were closing). It's still hard to spend that much money, but I think that you are right, the lower end are not going to be what I want out of a bike. Thanks for the nudge!
 
This is hard to write without sounding dismissive -sorry - have you asked him if he wants you to try keeping up for longer rides?

I notice you mention how much fun your bike is , and I totally agree. Part of the reason we haven't moved to a scene vlt is the extra weight will take away some of the fun. My wife rode a front hub converted version of her scene, and once the novelty of zooming along under throttle wore off , she started to notice the bike was heavier and she felt less comfortable. She doesn't like the power delivery of my giant, and my specialized SL doesn't produce enough power to justify the extra cost / complexity for her.

We've tried a couple of alternatives to keep her happy on the scene - my preferred option is to ride beside and lend a hand - literally pushing a little on longer hills. I used to have a retractable tow line on my seat post, it was great for towing young kids up hills ( and later for them to tow me ) , Not safe in traffic. Ultimately, saddle comfort limits endurance more than legs, so we enjoy social cruising for what it is.
Yes, this is not what I am looking for :) I am fine spending 2-3 hours in the saddle-- I do currently (I am s.l.o.w. 😄. Like 6-8mph). I just want a way to speed up a bit and be able to ride further in those 3 hours.

I've borrowed a Velotric Discover for a week, and the zooming about isn't what I am looking for. It doesn't feel enough like riding a bike-- and I didn't even use the throttle. I want something that is me but just a little better. Again I do ride and have for four years, I just ride 5-10 miles most of the time.

I wanted to add-- this is not about what he wants it's about what I want. I want to be faster and able to climb hills more easily. We've talked about how it would let me ride with him more often and more easily, because I wouldn't be as hesitant to commit to 20-30 miles. I wouldn't do his daily ride with him, and I wouldn't do every weekend ride with him. He is a solo rider, and I totally respect that. What it would let us to is load up the bikes and drive to some of the rails to trails all over the state and spend the day biking, which sounds pretty great. We do that now, but I am always anxious about the length of the trails because I start to lose steam.
 
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A Specialized Turbo Vado SL and you are all set @Herc! I really recommend the version 5.0 as it has the suspension stem. In case you need extra batteries, the Specialized SL e-bikes take Range Extenders, or extra batteries that are mounted as water-bottles. Currently, there are huge discounts on Specialized e-bikes and Range Extenders in the United States.

Note: The e-bike counterpart of the Diverge is the Specialized Turbo Creo SL Evo. I do not recommend it to you because it is a gravel e-bike with drop bars (and it is fairly expensive). The e-bike counterpart of the bike similar to yours (a Specialized Sirrus) is the Vado SL.

Quality build, great warranty, huge network of dealers. The top technology, a mid-drive motor, several sensors working in unison.


I am 5'8", 211 lbs, and I have ridden my Vado SL for 6,300+ miles for last two years and a month. Many gravel and mild off-road trips!
Vado SL 5.0 has a carbon fork, which is good for you as you are a lightweight person, well within Vado SL 5.0 weight limit.
So tell me about the SL over the regular Vado. Is there a noticeable difference in power? I got a few minutes on a Como 3.0 IGH at a bike store in the town over, and the ride was pretty nice. They have ordered a Como SL 4.0 and are putting it together this week, along with a Vado 4.0 and a Vado 4.0 Stepthrough. I like the idea of the weight of the SL, but does it feel underpowered? Or is it more along the level of power that I am looking for? If I try the Como SL 4.0, will the motor be similar to the Vado SL 4.0? Similar enough to give me an idea of the power level? Thanks for your help!!
 
I currently have a Specialized Roll Sport step through
The Roll makes a wonderful starter bike for a conversion that does all you want. All the imbedded carbon in your bike can be pushed forward. Here is a Roll conversion mixed in with some similar geometry step throughs and mid-steps. You can save the planet, save money, and get a better bike. Don't settle for a wimpy bike.
 

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EDIT: I forgot the SL in the description when I first wrote this. What a maroon! VADO SL

Hard to go past a Spec Turbo Vado 4 SL, presumably step through… 2500 bucks, disc brakes a real range of usable gears (44 tooth crank, 11-42 cassette). Also, very light, relatively speaking, so you can handle the freaking thing while not actually riding it. And since you are already a real cyclist, you can make the range on these things pretty incredible by turning it off on flats since it is eminently rideable without the power on. At your stated comfort zone for speeds and terrains, I don’t know why you would really need the front shock and additional expense of the 5. Put 42mm gravel tires on it and run them a little soft and you’re good to go.

(Yes, I own a Specialized (a Creo) but I also have a Giant and various Yamahas, Treks and Cannondales in the rear view mirror. Not a shill for Spec, but this makes sense.)
Hey Dave! So why the SL over the regular Vado? The shop that we go to about an hour away has ordered a Como SL 4.0, a Vado 4.0 and a Vado 4.0 Step-thru. I've already tried (albeit briefly) their Como 3.0IGH. I've also borrowed a Velotric Discover from a local bike guy for a week. The Velotric isn't for me. It doesn't really feel like riding a bike. When you pedal it immediately pops you up to the level of assist, so you have to play with coasting/not pedaling a lot if you are riding in neighborhoods. It felt like I spent more time coasting than riding. DO you think the COmo SL will give me a good idea on whether the SL has enough power? The shop can order a Vado SL but it will be a couple of weeks, and I really don't want to wait unless it is for sure the bike that I want. My other option is to pop over to Atlanta (about 2.5 hours) where there are more options. There's also a Vado 3.0 IGH in Birmingham (about an hour and a half)
 
So tell me about the SL over the regular Vado. Is there a noticeable difference in power? I got a few minutes on a Como 3.0 IGH at a bike store in the town over, and the ride was pretty nice. They have ordered a Como SL 4.0 and are putting it together this week, along with a Vado 4.0 and a Vado 4.0 Stepthrough. I like the idea of the weight of the SL, but does it feel underpowered? Or is it more along the level of power that I am looking for? If I try the Como SL 4.0, will the motor be similar to the Vado SL 4.0? Similar enough to give me an idea of the power level? Thanks for your help!!
@Herc: I just want to give you a head-up. Como SL is the heaviest of SL e-bikes. It is just symbolically more lightweight than a full power Como!

Now, SL e-bikes such as Vado SL are underpowered. An SL e-bike (any model) compared to, say, Como 4.0 or Vado 4.0 offer half the power of the heavier e-bike. SL e-bikes are... bicycley as to say it. I would not recommend an SL e-bike for significant climbs, fast rides or carrying a lot of cargo. Otherwise, SL e-bikes (except the Como SL) are really lightweight and natural.

You might be well off with a Como 3.0 IGH.

On the other hand, you just want to keep up with your husband. A Vado SL Step-Through might give you the power you are missing! Just some boost.
 
@Herc: I just want to give you a head-up. Como SL is the heaviest of SL e-bikes. It is just symbolically more lightweight than a full power Como!

Now, SL e-bikes such as Vado SL are underpowered. An SL e-bike (any model) compared to, say, Como 4.0 or Vado 4.0 offer half the power of the heavier e-bike. SL e-bikes are... bicycley as to say it. I would not recommend an SL e-bike for significant climbs, fast rides or carrying a lot of cargo. Otherwise, SL e-bikes (except the Como SL) are really lightweight and natural.

You might be well off with a Como 3.0 IGH.
Hm ok, so a Como SL won't give me a good idea of what a Vado SL feels like then? I can try a Vado SL 4.0 EQ in a few weeks in Atlanta, but not sure if it is worth waiting? The Auburn store (about an hour away) will have the step-through and the regular Vado in the 4.0 put together probably by tomorrow.

There is some flexibility to the budget, though I really don't want to go much over 3k. The Vado's seem to be around $3250 and that is probably my absolute max. My husband just got a new Diverge Carbon so we've already spent a lot of money at the bike store in the last month. :p
 
If you like your current Roll bike I second Pedaluma's TSDZ2 suggestion. From experience with my two TSDZ2 motors that I've put on several bikes I can say that it compares well with my Yamaha PW-SE powered gravel bike. Relatively inexpensive with natural feeling torque sensor assist, comparable power, especially the 48 version and is a super easy to install for someone with limited mechanical skill (on most bikes, and it looks like the Roll is a good candidate for straight forward installation). An option not to be overlooked IMO.
 
Given your relaxed pace are more relaxed geometry is likely to suit you better. These have more upright position and put less weight on your hands. Tend to need more assist in this position once going >12mph due to high wind drag and position doesn't suit higher rider input. Upto 12mph with no headwind eco mode should be fine.

Geometry wise Como is most relaxed followed by Vado then SL Vado. SL designed for more rider input hence more aggressive geometry and thinner more efficient tires. If you like SL test ride it over longer period eg 1-2 hours at your expected cruising speed.
 
I can try a Vado SL 4.0 EQ in a few weeks in Atlanta, but not sure if it is worth waiting?
It depends on you!

The Auburn store (about an hour away) will have the step-through and the regular Vado in the 4.0 put together probably by tomorrow.
You might fall in love with a Vado! :)

Whenever I'm riding a Vado SL I think to myself: "I am a real cyclist now! Not a cheater!"
When I'm riding the full power Vado my thoughts are: "What a darn good e-bike! It is too easy to pedal it!"
:)
 
I've borrowed a Velotric Discover for a week, and the zooming about isn't what I am looking for. It doesn't feel enough like riding a bike-- and I didn't even use the throttle. I want something that is me but just a little better. Again I do ride and have for four years, I just ride 5-10 miles most of the time.
If you're looking to spend less but want something that still feels like riding a bike, try a rear hub-drive with torque-sensing power delivery. My 500W torque-sensing hub-drive step-thru (Surface 604 V Rook) cost $2,700 a year ago, and it feels completely natural to me — just an amplifier of my own effort.

The Velotric you've been testing has a "speed sensor" per the official site. From your description of the power delivery and the price, that surely means a cadence sensor.

The terminology's misleading. These cheap "cadence" sensors don't measure true cadence (actual crank RPM). They only detect the presence or absence of pedaling, and apply full power whenever the pedals are turning. The assist levels mean different things in different implementations, but you're not getting what we both want — assist proportional to pedal input.

We tested 5 cadence-sensing hub-drives before the Rooks, and all 5 felt off. Then we tested the torque-sensing Rooks, and it was night and day in terms of ride feel for both of us.

Some of the Specialized mid-drives you're looking at may be better on big hills, but sounds like you're uncomfortable with the prices. So I wouldn't rule out a somewhat less expensive torque-sensing hub-drive solely on your experience with the very cheap cadence-sensing Velotric.

As for throttles, be aware that they're not just for getting out of pedaling. They're just riding tools with many other valuable uses, and nothing about having one at your disposal compels you to use it. I use mine mainly for bursts of speed in traffic, a second at a time, and in that capacity, it becomes a safety feature.

So don't let the mere presence of a throttle dissuade you from an ebike that otherwise meets your needs.
 
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If you're looking to spend less but want something that still feels like riding a bike, try a rear hub-drive with torque-sensing power delivery. My 500W torque-sensing hub-drive step-thru (Surface 604 V Rook) cost $2,700 a year ago, and it feels completely natural to me — just an amplifier of my own effort.
Just curious, have you ridden a Trek, Specialized, Giant, or similar mid-drive for comparison?
 
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