Looking for the perfect e-bike (if that exists)… for me!

Mistadubb

New Member
Region
USA
City
West Hills
Greetings, here’s a not-so-quick story for context of where I’m at. My family and I recently made a big move from Miami, where I spent the majority of my life, to the hills of California, specifically West Hills. While in Miami, I tried to stay semi-active by running and cycling occasionally. The flat lands there were all I knew, making it easy to manage. Fast forward to moving my family out west during COVID, bringing our hybrid Cannondale road bikes—these hills are no joke.

I now live on top of a hill, and to leave my neighborhood, I have to go down about half a mile, navigating another hill before reaching a flat stretch. I quickly realized that biking here was not going to be as fun and easy as I was used to. Our bikes ended up hanging on the wall, collecting dust, as we joined the Peloton wave instead. Although it felt like work, it was never as enjoyable as being outdoors riding.

Shortly after, I had knee surgery on my left meniscus. By the time it healed, I began experiencing major arthritis in my right knee. I realized I needed to get back to staying active and strengthening my legs. I took my bike off the wall (it had been there for about 2.5 years, collecting dust) and had it serviced and cleaned at a local bike shop. I decided to give these hills another shot.

As I was leaving the shop, I shared my story, and they suggested an e-bike might suit me better. I scoffed at the idea, asking, "Isn't that cheating?" and "Will I even get a workout?" They laughed and told me to think about it, inviting me to come test ride one whenever I was ready.

Back home, I gave it a go, riding down the street (down and up a hill) a few times. It felt like my heart was trying to jump out of my chest. I thought about it and decided to explore it further. I spent weeks researching, and compiling a list of about 20 bikes from all price ranges, considering factors like speed, comfort, battery life, power, etc. Despite all the research, I hadn't ridden an e-bike yet, so I was still technically in the dark about what I wanted or needed. I finally did a test ride, and after a few miles, my watch asked if I was doing a workout. Seven miles later, I realized I had burned about 300 calories but didn't feel tired. I was hooked.


Ready to make the plunge, I scheduled a few more test rides. Although I've narrowed down my choices, the selection is still pretty wide. I wanted to ensure I checked off a few things in no particular order: Comfort (preferably full suspension), speed, Class 3 capability (I was excited to understand what each class meant), power (to tackle hills), battery life (up to 15-25 miles one way, including hills), solid build with a premium feel, safety (rear lights, especially brake lights), versatility (near a trailhead for occasional trail rides), and reputable history and services (great warranty and a proven track record in the business). Quite a wish list, I know.

For reference, here are the bikes I've tested in the order that I rode them. (1.) Serial 1 - Rush/City (2.) Trek Dual Sport (3.) BULLS TR2 Speed (4.) Gazelle C380 (5.) R&M Homage (6.) R&M Charger (7.) R&M Delite

I've narrowed my search to a few bikes/brands: Reise & Muller (The DELITE & Chargers), Specialized (The Vado's & Tero's), Bianchi (E-VERTIC FT-TYPE & Omnia), and Trek (Allant's). I'm leaning towards the DELITE because it's on sale, and during my test ride, I loved how solid it felt, with a noticeable quality. The other brands on my narrowed-down list haven't been tested yet, but my research suggests they would be a similar riding experience. The prices for most are cheaper than the R&M, which intrigues me. However, I also believe you get what you pay for, most times. Plus the DELITE is on sale.


There may be other models out there that I haven't considered that may also make sense. Whew! Writing this felt like I was in class, but after reading various posts and forums on this site for the past month, I feel like this community keeps it real and could help me with feedback and insight. I look forward to what you guys have to say. If you've gotten this far into the post and read all this, thank you kindly. You are the real superstars. ;-)
 
Ah.. West Hills, I used to live in the west valley some decades ago, before that area became West Hills.
Unless you’re off-roading I’d stick with a hardtail...
 
You cant go wrong with an R&M if you like it and the price is good :)

All your other selected brand are great too.
 
Ah.. West Hills, I used to live in the west valley some decades ago, before that area became West Hills.
Unless you’re off-roading I’d stick with a hardtail...
FS is still better than HT on road especially high speed downhill riding which poster is likely to be doing lot of. While my HT commuter is stable at speed downhill the FS MTB is far superior. Hit rough patch on HT and it can become little shaky while FS isn't fazed at all.
 
I am down the hill in the Marin/Sonoma cycling centric area and can create a bike just for you. Like a tailored designer suit and the not some off-the rack common everyday ill fitting heavy stuff at bike stores. What I say is not relevant. See what real verified experienced local people say. Look at Google Maps and search for PedalUma eBikes. Then read three or four random reviews. I can save you thousands over the life of this bike and make you very happy, with something custom and special just for you. Totally unique and beautiful. Private message me after your detailed research. Bikes are very personal. Do you really want the ordinary shite for the masses from retail stores? Or, something, extraordinary, for you? Taylor Swift, Movie stars, and Princes are not riding bikes this nice, yet.
 
Ah.. West Hills, I used to live in the west valley some decades ago, before that area became West Hills.
Unless you’re off-roading I’d stick with a hardtail...
Not sure if I can do a hard tail.... during one of my test rides I rode through a dirt path and my tail hurt for like 2 days. Lol. Plus I live literally right next to Victory Trailhead entrance so I may occasionally ride through there when I'm feeling froggy when I leave the house.
 
Checking in! So I landed on the Riese & Müller Delite GT Touring HS with the GX option, the option available was the Non-Fox Float version with Johnny Watt Tires. I also upgraded to the Nyon display for the cockpit. The bike is currently in another state and is on its way to its local location near me in SoCal. I can't wait to have it in my possession, and once it arrives, I'll be sure to share pictures.

While waiting for the bike to get here, I've been exploring tire options for the Delite. Given that I anticipate spending about 80-85% of my time on traditional roads(asphalt/tarmac) with some hills, and the remaining 15-20% on light trails and dirt roads, I wonder whether the Johnny Watts tires are the best hybrid choice or if I should consider the Moto-X option for a smother road ride option. Let me know if any of you have experience or suggestions knowing my anticipated riding style.

In addition to tires, I've been looking into various accessories to enhance the biking experience. Some items on my list include a Garmin radar, back rack panniers, a front rack with a bag for my camera and rangefinder, and perhaps even converting my car to have a hitch for future rack possibilities.

This entire process has been exciting, and I'm eager to hear whatever suggestions anyone may have once I have my new set-up, I look forward to sharing my experiences and enjoying future discussions in the forum. Thanks.
 
I run JWs and spend lot of time on asphalt with occasional offroad where they come into their own. Slightly noisier than Big Ben but nothing you would notice over usual wind and traffic noise. With motor extra rolling resustance doesn't matter
 
I agree with Trevor, give the JWs a shot before moving to other tires, they are a very competent tire. I was surprised how well they roll on asphalt when I switched from Super Moto-x. Not as good at high speed cornering and not as 'precise' feeling as the SM-x, but better wet handling and MUCH better in any offroad situation. Noise is not a concern - they are comparable to the Super Moto-x.

Looking forward to hearing about your experiences on the Delite!
 
I agree with Trevor, give the JWs a shot before moving to other tires, they are a very competent tire. I was surprised how well they roll on asphalt when I switched from Super Moto-x. Not as good at high speed cornering and not as 'precise' feeling as the SM-x, but better wet handling and MUCH better in any offroad situation. Noise is not a concern - they are comparable to the Super Moto-x.

Looking forward to hearing about your experiences on the Delite!
Awesome to hear. As soon as the bike gets here I'll do a few tests in different scenarios and hit the Victory trailhead trails as well which is less than 1 mile from where I live and put them to task. Thanks for the info, I will keep everyone posted.
 
@Mistadubb: JW are about the best all-rounder SUV e-bike tyres and I can attest for them. In the long run, you might replace the worn JWs with Johnny Watts 365, which offer the benefit of being all-season all-rounder tyres, especially good below 50 F on wet roads or even in a snowy terrain. For the rest of the year (especially during the warm season) it is hard to find anything better for your R&M e-bike than regular JWs.
 
Ah.. West Hills, I used to live in the west valley some decades ago, before that area became West Hills.
Unless you’re off-roading I’d stick with a hardtail...


Hardtails are perfect for off road
 
So, I’m back and wanted to give everyone an update. Earlier this month, I ended up getting the R&M Delite Touring HS from Propel with the GX option. I got a great deal on a demo bike, which made the decision easier for me, and the team there took really good care of me. I just had to wait for the bike to arrive at the Long Beach location from their Delaware store.
While I waited for the bike to arrive, I think I researched every accessory I could imagine, as well as which hybrid tire would be best for me in the long run since I live near a trail. Plus, I started looking at cycling watches and heart monitors too, as well as bike radars to types of saddles I might need. I was trying to decide which app to use between Garmin Connect or Strava or something else entirely (I ended up using both). I looked at flex locks and U-lock options, and even a Bluetooth speaker for those cruising moments. I guess I’m expecting quite a bit. They say, "Idle hands are the devil’s workshop," and the waiting game was pure torture for my wallet. Lol

Thankfully, after a few weeks and a few random purchases, the bike arrived, and I was ready to go. What I didn’t realize was how out of shape I'd gotten and that coming from Florida, I didn’t know how to ride uphill efficiently. After two quick 3-4 mile rides around the neighborhood and nearby trails, I planned a real commute to a friend's office, which was about 7 miles away. Getting there would be easy but I would have to brave the hill that I had been avoiding to come back home, which was the major reason I got an e-bike, in the first place
Several things I learned on this 14-mile trip: (1) Never buy a saddle without testing it properly (Lol). (2) There is a finesse to gearing properly that makes a ride smoother and more enjoyable. (3) People on the roads are crazy when driving, so keep your head on a swivel. Lastly, no matter how much pedal assistance you may have, going up a ¾ mile hill with an elevation of 500+ feet will be very tough after riding longer than you have in a while. (I probably should have thought about a throttle, Lol).

I learned that approaching that hill/climb after riding 7 miles back with a pannier bag full of equipment may have been a little ambitious of me. Especially since I’ve never done this climb before and realized as I was going up that I might need to call somebody to come get me. But after all my talk to my family that this would be easy now because of the e-bike, I had to push through. I stopped a few times and considered walking the rest of the way… humble moments indeed.

So, with that being said, I realized there were a few steps I had to take before I did that again. What I have been doing the past few weeks is first, lightening the load, Lol, and properly training. I’ve been doing a shorter hill nearby and doing multiple reps. Through this process, I learned to figure out my cadence and which gear I should be in on the incline. The bike has been a joy, and getting to know my riding rhythm and investing in some bike shorts with padding, as well as a more comfortable saddle, I’ve been having a grand old time. I have my tunes when I ride, and I’m getting my endurance up. I look forward to climbing that big hill properly and without hesitation. One piece of advice I have for any new rider is to take your time and enjoy the process. Here are some pics, and I'll share more as the journey continues.
 

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To get back into the groove I’d suggest you join a local Meetup group like this:
Check out E Biking LA County and Beyond on Meetup https://meetu.ps/c/52G5V/T80CF/a

I’ve been on Paul’s rides numerous times and he’s based in the Calabasus area so most of his rides tend to be in that area.
 
Thank you for this, I'll check it out.
Actually, we’ll practically be in your back yard on Friday. The group is riding up to the old Nike missile site on Oat Mountain.

edit:
here’s a photo from that ride…
.IMG_7446.jpeg
 
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