Moving Away From Heavy E-Bikes

This thread has become very pertinent to me since the theft of my 2021 Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0. I have been thinking a lot about what I would really like in a new ebike, and some of the answers have surprised me!
Am I interested in an ebike with a throttle……absolutely NOT! I found that the approach Specialized has chosed to take regarding ebikes is very much in line with what I want. Something that closely mimics riding a conventional bicycle.
Am I interested in a class 3 Pedelec that will zip along with eboost at 45kph? Not really, for me, competing with traffic on arterials is not much fun. Medellin has an amazing system of bike lanes, and 30kph/20mph is more than adequate for me cycling on those bike paths.
Am I interested in active suspension bits, ie suspension fork, suspension seatpost, rear triangle suspension? No, that stuff is foreign to my experience as a bicyclist. If I really wanted suspension plus speed, I would be looking at a emotorcycle.
I find that for me the sweet spot for ebikes is best described by a couple simple acronyms:
“Light is Right“. Colin Chapman
”KISS”. Keep it simple stupid…..Anonymous
and if money were no option, I would have already ordered a Lemond Prolog
Actually Stefan, I dont think there is room for both, as some point the american lust for more speed, more power, and more range pushes the ”bike” right out of ebike, and moves it clearly into emotorcycle.
 
Not sure if this has been mentioned, but heavy bikes make the locking process much more difficult.

Often we'll have to re-orient the bicycles around a bike lockup, including having to lift them to get snug enough for u-locks to fit. More often than not this involves me picking up my wife's 60-70 lb rig because the size and awkwardness is too much for her. She's a very fit person, early 30s, etc. It's just a game of millimeters sometimes given the size of our bikes and the massive down tubes that house the batteries. Unless the down tube approaches the size of a traditional bike's tube I would prefer non-integrated batteries. Better looking (subjective), more locking options.

Outside of cargo bikes we're done with 60 lb "full power" e-bikes. "super light" 28-30 lb from here on out!
I concur.
I don't find the weight an issue riding... it's only when I need to manhandle the bike do I find the weight an issue
 
Actually Stefan, I dont think there is room for both, as some point the american lust for more speed, more power, and more range pushes the ”bike” right out of ebike, and moves it clearly into emotorcycle.
i'm not stefan ( o_O ) and i do agree that bikes of the type i'm describing should be treated differently - above a certain speed, weight, power, control type. but that's an oft-discussed topic for a different thread. aka beating a dead horse 😭
 
all fair points!

i think we’ll see the market for road going (not MTB) bikes bifurcate. bikes used for utility - commutes, hauling cargo, car replacement - will likely get even heavier, more powerful, more features like integrated lights, automatic transmissions, racks, fenders, suspension, etc, and possibly become registered and able to cruise at 25+ mph.

on the other end, bikes ridden for fun and pleasure (the equivalent of touring, road, cruiser etc bikes from the last few decades) will get lighter and simpler, more like regular bikes, staying in class 1 or something similar that allows them to be used anywhere an unpowered bicycle can be.

there’s definitely a place for both!
Yup, and we just bought a heavy cargo bike. For getting around town our acoustic bikes are perfect, that is until the Texas summer hits.. in April (lol). At that point we just won't be able to use them for commuting the same way, or we'll show up drenched in sweat.

If we get another e-bike it will be an SL. Creo 2, Skitch, etc. Both are rocket ships and could even handle small/medium grocery loads.
 
Yup, and we just bought a heavy cargo bike. For getting around town our acoustic bikes are perfect, that is until the Texas summer hits.. in April (lol). At that point we just won't be able to use them for commuting the same way, or we'll show up drenched in sweat.

If we get another e-bike it will be an SL. Creo 2, Skitch, etc. Both are rocket ships and could even handle small/medium grocery loads.

we don't have summer here, but we do have really steep hills, which is an interesting case because the weight really works against you too. no matter how powerful the bike it actually is not that fun riding an 80lb bike with a 50lb kid and some groceries on the back up a 20% grade in traffic. when you come to a stop suddenly, 300+lb to balance, and i'm a reasonably big human. physics is a cold, harsh mistress.

i think some innovation is needed in the space - is there a better "do-it-all" utility bike that rides more like a regular bike, easier to maneuver, park, balance, etc. there's a guy in our building (office) that rides in with a front loader basket cargo bike, and it takes the parking spaces of about 8 bikes in the bike room, is almost impossible to maneuver into the bike room if anyone else is nearby and so on.
 
It's the weight of the rider.
Look at it this way you can have a 40 pound $10k ebike but you are 200+ pounds.
Do the math. I'm 150lb riding 60lb ebike my cardio is good and I can maintain 20-25 mph to go a good distance.
My point is Stefan needs to shed some weight. He can get a light ebike but I doubt it if it makes a difference even if he moves away from heavy bikes.

not the same thing. your body weight is connected to your body, distributed evenly, under the direct control of your muscles. the bike is dead weight laterally, only able to power itself forward through the rear wheel. the total weight matters to rate of acceleration and speed up a hill, but the bike weight matters a lot to bike handling, maneuvering, parking, loading, etc.

i'm 180lb, and have a 14lb regular bike and a 24lb ebike and have ridden 70+lb ebikes. even the difference between the 14 and 24 is much different than gaining 10lb of body weight...
 
Before and after polished crank arms. 90Nm cargo motor. Lightweight, no throttle, torque sensor.
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not the same thing. your body weight is connected to your body, distributed evenly, under the direct control of your muscles. the bike is dead weight laterally, only able to power itself forward through the rear wheel. the total weight matters to rate of acceleration and speed up a hill, but the bike weight matters a lot to bike handling, maneuvering, parking, loading, etc.

i'm 180lb, and have a 14lb regular bike and a 24lb ebike and have ridden 70+lb ebikes. even the difference between the 14 and 24 is much different than gaining 10lb of body weight...
I've seen giant killer whales with their massive weight plowing in deep water.
I see your point. Carry your weight.
 
This thread has become very pertinent to me since the theft of my 2021 Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0. I have been thinking a lot about what I would really like in a new ebike, and some of the answers have surprised me!
Am I interested in an ebike with a throttle……absolutely NOT! I found that the approach Specialized has chosed to take regarding ebikes is very much in line with what I want. Something that closely mimics riding a conventional bicycle.
Am I interested in a class 3 Pedelec that will zip along with eboost at 45kph? Not really, for me, competing with traffic on arterials is not much fun. Medellin has an amazing system of bike lanes, and 30kph/20mph is more than adequate for me cycling on those bike paths.
Am I interested in active suspension bits, ie suspension fork, suspension seatpost, rear triangle suspension? No, that stuff is foreign to my experience as a bicyclist. If I really wanted suspension plus speed, I would be looking at a emotorcycle.
I find that for me the sweet spot for ebikes is best described by a couple simple acronyms:
“Light is Right“. Colin Chapman
”KISS”. Keep it simple stupid…..Anonymous
and if money were no option, I would have already ordered a Lemond Prolog!
Riding lightweight single-speed e-bikes and traditional bikes have been a game changer for me. Enjoy them so much, that I got rid of my geared e-bike, and ride SS bikes 90% of the time. If you’re committed to fitness and your heart and mind is willing, you’ll lose weight, get rid of belly fat, and build strength.

Have a geared traditional bike, but mainly use that for fast club rides, where the SS gearing isn’t enough for the range of terrain and the higher speeds.

Stats from a month last year with the SS e-bike, though I have been riding my SS analog bike much more this year. Hill climbing is still very do-able, though over 10% grades take a quite a bit of effort on your part.
RoadsterJulyStats.jpg


If you are in a country that has availability, these are my favorite rides at a very effective cost and weight for the price:

SS Analog Bike
~18 lbs, $625 on sale

SS E-bike
~33 lbs, $895 on sale, assist up to 24mph
 
A guy with one of my bikes, back in the day, would ride a single speed mountain bike up Mt. Tam fire roads and single track. The first mountain bike was built in 1953 by John Finely Scott. He later strongly influenced the originators of the modern mountain bike in Marin. And was a first investor.
 
Riding lightweight single-speed e-bikes and traditional bikes have been a game changer for me. Enjoy them so much, that I got rid of my geared e-bike, and ride SS bikes 90% of the time. If you’re committed to fitness and your heart and mind is willing, you’ll lose weight, get rid of belly fat, and build strength.

Have a geared traditional bike, but mainly use that for fast club rides, where the SS gearing isn’t enough for the range of terrain and the higher speeds.

Stats from a month last year with the SS e-bike, though I have been riding my SS analog bike much more this year. Hill climbing is still very do-able, though over 10% grades take a quite a bit of effort on your part.
View attachment 167262

If you are in a country that has availability, these are my favorite rides at a very effective cost and weight for the price:

SS Analog Bike
~18 lbs, $625 on sale

SS E-bike
~33 lbs, $895 on sale, assist up to 24mph
I suspect that I would hate a single speed, but that roadster is still a very tempting bike.
 
roadster is still a very tempting
I agree that it does look nice. I need at least three speeds where I live. A lot of people ghost pedal hub-drives, so they are not really using gears anyway. That British racing green bike fully accessorized was weighed today at Mike's Bikes. It came in at 42 pounds, two ounces.
 
Have you noticed how many EBR Fora users say they decrease their assistance, pedal long segments on the flat unassisted, or even (shudder!) start riding unpowered bikes again? Trust me: Had I good legs, I would instantly buy a 9 kg gravel bike and gave up e-bikes. The point is, my legs will never improve again; I always must ride with some electrical assistance.

I've looked to my past notes. When the Specialized SL ("superlightweight") e-bikes became available, and especially when the Vado SL was introduced, I thought a low power e-bikes were not for me. I found a note from January 18th 2021 where I wrote "It is not for me. I do not think I would have ever bought one of those!" Only five months later, I bought a Vado SL, and that really changed my perspective. I started noticing the "full power" e-bikes felt overly heavy to me.

There is no doubt I would have never used a low power e-bike in these situations:
  • Extreme climbs and long mountain road trips
  • Very fast rides with my gravel Cycling Club
  • Big rides such as the Imperial Century
  • Any serious commute as the time is money, and you better do not come to work sweated :)
Otherwise, the lightweight e-bike is my first choice, as I can always take it in my hand, carry it downstairs and just ride.

The lightweight e-bike brings me back to the times I was an active healthy cyclist riding a traditional hybrid bicycle; only I ride much faster on my Vado Sl. compared. I do not think I would ever buy a very expensive traditional bike without the knowledge of the modern technology incorporated in my lightweight e-bike (a Centerlock brake rotor? Oh my!); I'm very fond of hydraulic disc brakes, modern drivetrain, thru-axles etc :)

Yes, my Vado SL is not a speed e-bike (unless I turn at least 80% of assistance on and also turn the speed derestrictor on; it costs a lot of the battery charge). The lightweight e-bike is susceptible to headwind, same as an unpowered bike. It is not a great climber either. Still, the feeling of riding a relatively lightweight e-bike is the closest to the traditional bike; such rides give me a good workout and make me stronger.

There is no greater joy than to switch to my full power Vado and zoom at speed almost effortlessly. Why do I have a feeling I'm cheating though? Riding my Vado 6.0 feels too easy!

The last thing: the e-bike weight. Whenever I have to lift my full power e-bike and carry it, I'm about to cry from despair and humiliation. I can lift & carry my low power e-bike with no issue.
While the lightweight e-bike handles so easily in rough terrain, the heavy one is a bone-shaker despite of the suspension...

Now I think of people buying dual-battery, full suspension, very heavy SUV e-bikes. Good for them. I move away from heavy e-bikes whenever I can!
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As everybody has different needs, means (like owning a garage), riding urban vs suburban, gravel, forest, off road, I will welcome you sharing your own experiences!
I am on a E-bike to keep up with my wife on her regular bike. It is pretty much the same as my old non electric bike, except it has a small battery for hills and wicked headwinds. At 35 pounds it does not stress out old bike rack. The battery is good for 50 miles, about the same as my butt on a bike seat. I just have to keep up with the wife, 13-14 mph.
 
I suspect that I would hate a single speed, but that roadster is still a very tempting bike.
I'm with PSm - really like single speeds. In fact I have 4. Two ebikes (the regular Roadster V2 and the non throttle gravel one) and two non-ebikes. But the regular V2 is my favorite. So simple. For me it's a really easy bike to ride. Even with it's high gearing it takes hills better than I thought it would. Most of my rides are at no assist or level one. Can't remember the last time I was in level 5 or 4 for that matter.

I think you'd like it - especially at the present cost.
 
So simple
That is also what I like about it that bike. And it is what I strive for. The color scheme of that green bike was originally three colors. I took it down to three, Green, Black & Silver. That is it. Like a three chord anthem such as Get Back A,D,G.
 
Actually Stefan, I dont think there is room for both, as some point the american lust for more speed, more power, and more range pushes the ”bike” right out of ebike, and moves it clearly into emotorcycle.
It was @mschwett but thank you for your interesting opinion!

My point is Stefan needs to shed some weight. He can get a light ebike but I doubt it if it makes a difference even if he moves away from heavy bikes.
I would do that were it possible. Still, read the answer of @mschwett. The feeling of a lightweight and a heavy e-bike is totally different. Moreover, you cannot lift & carry a heavy e-bike. Also, I can pedal a lightweight e-bike unassisted while it is impractical for a heavy one (at least for me).
 
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I guess for me, the pertinent point is this: i have ridden high quality road bikes (DeRosa, Cannondale, Specialized, Davidson) and high quality street motorcycles (Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, Triumph) for decades and I loved both. But for me as a retired mid-70’s cyclist what I enjoy is the feel of a lightweight road bike with a nice little eboost to help these 73 year old knees up the hills.
for me, nothing beats the feeling of riding a light, responsive, comfortable, and simple road bike, with the aforementioned eboost.
A Specialized e-version of the Crux Expert with a flat bar would be just about the cats pajamas!
 
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Every day, I inch closer and closer to listing my Vado for sale. Absolutely love the bike, but now that I've finally settled on a do-it-all human-powered bike, I find myself grabbing that one virtually every day. The Vado, sadly, is now relegated to the occasional "recovery ride," where I want to ride but don't feel like putting in all of the work. I suspect this might change when the southern US heat and humidity return...

Yet, I am really (finally) getting an urge to have a lightweight ebike that I can pedal mostly unassisted for some longer/tougher rides. Will be watching for an aluminum Creo2 or other comparable bike.
 
Actually Stefan, I dont think there is room for both, as some point the american lust for more speed, more power, and more range pushes the ”bike” right out of ebike, and moves it clearly into emotorcycle.
have to agree,just look at the "brodozer" trend.
 
Just back from a Gran Fondo on a Vado SL, where 2/3 of the trip was inside a big forest :)

View attachment 150115

Low power? Yes? Slow ride? Yes. Doable? Yes. My Vado SL handled the rough terrain like a dream!


Prove it. Perhaps something on Strava?
ah vados again( have to recapitulate my vado supply, snow too deep anyway- calling snowbird[spread your tiny wings and fly away, take the snow back with you]
 
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