My E-bike Purchase Journey


New Member

I wanted to give back to this community by sharing my year long journey to decide upon and purchase an e-bike. Each person's journey will be different. This was how I found the right e-bike for me.

I live in Raleigh, NC and I began my e-biking journey when a friend posted on Facebook that she and her kids had rented and been riding e-bikes at a local museum. I didn't even know such a thing existed, so I went to check it out. Before long, I had bought a helmet and was inviting friends to go riding with me. I began to learn the greenway trails, and how to use Google Maps navigation in Bicycle Mode. After a couple of months, I decided I wanted to get my own bike. This site was one of the first I visited, and I watched a video review for the Rad Mission. With that bike only being a single speed (gear), I wasn't sure that would be the right bike for me. I quickly found the "Best Affordable E-Bikes" section of the website. I watched reviews for several bikes. It seemed that Rad Power Bikes was a good company with good support. They had two models I thought may be of interest to me: the Rad City and the Rad Rover. Both came in a step thru edition, which was important to me. I was a little bit concerned about ordering a bike "mail order" and having to assemble some of it myself. I know people have said it was easy, but I have some physical challenges, and I'm not a bike person. But, I figured maybe I could get one of my bike riding buddies to help me if I went that route. Even though these bikes are under $2,000, that's still a lot of money to me, and I wanted to find one somewhere where I could ride it and make sure it's the right bike for me before purchasing. There may have been closer places, but I found a place in St. George, Utah that rents Rad City Step Thru bikes. This was my first experience on an e-bike with gears, so that took a little getting used to. The place was also "self service", so there wasn't anyone to give me a basic bike overview before the ride. I rode for about 2 hours on the Snow Canyon Loop trail. It was very fun and enjoyable. Unfortunately, I didn't feel the Rad City was the right bike for me. For one, when I went up steeper hills, it really didn't have the power required and I had to get off and push. Also, when I went on a gravel trail, I felt the bike "beat me to death". Now, there are suspension settings that probably could have been adjusted, had I had someone to show me how those worked. And, in all fairness, the Rad City isn't really designed for off road paths. But, ultimately, I was disappointed and decided to keep looking for a bike.

My next stop was at my local Pedego dealer. They had some rental bikes, and I decided to take one out for a couple of hours to see how I liked it. Honestly, it wasn't comfortable for me. I really like a very upright position when riding (or else my neck hurts). I'm not even sure which model I rode, but it wasn't the right bike.

Next, I decided to give the Rad Rover Step Thru a shot. I found a place in Daytona Beach, FL that rented them. So, off to Daytona I went. I had a great day riding in the sun and on the beach. Being on the coast of Florida, the ride was on mostly flat ground, a big contrast from Snow Canyon, Utah! But, at the end of my ride, there had still been a couple of hills that I didn't feel it had the power to make it up with the throttle.

At this point, I was more specifically looking for a bike with more power. If I didn't want to pedal up a hill, I wanted to be able to hit the throttle and know it was going to make it. So, I wanted to rent a Himiway Cruiser Step Thru. I found a place at the Outer Banks, NC where I could rent one and off I went to test it out. Just like Florida, being at the coast, the terrain was mostly flat. I found the Himiway to be very responsive and powerful. No hill climbing issues. However, getting on and off (even with the step through) was challenging for my knees. So, I kept on looking.

I then saw a review on this site for a Pedego Boomerang, which featured a really low step-thru. After watching the video, I contacted my Pedego dealer again and scheduled a time to visit. This bike comes in two frame sizes, a 24 inch and a 26 inch, and I was thinking more of the 24 inch. But the dealer recommended the 26 inch for me. He offered to let me take one of the new ones for a short test ride with a sales guy. The ride was short, but the bike fit me like a glove. It was VERY comfortable. One of the things I liked about it was the handlebars were easily adjustable. There is a quick release that allows me to move them where I'm comfortable, and then lock them back in place. This helped to make for a more upright ride. I wanted to go for a longer ride, so they told me I could rent a boomerang and take it out. I came back when I had time, and took the rental out for a couple of hours. It was an older bike, and unfortunately not quite the same as the newer bike. It wasn't as comfortable. I was disappointed, as I was hoping the Boomerang was the right bike for me. But, that first ride was SO good that I didn't give up on it. I expressed to the owner my concern about the bike's hill climbing ability. It only had a 500 watt motor with vs. 750 in the other bikes I'd tested. He told me his neighborhood had some very steep hills, and invited me to come over one afternoon and go for a ride. The hills were steeper than I was expecting, and the bike handled them with ease.

So, after a little over a year of searching and researching, I decided to purchase the Pedego Boomerang. This isn't the right bike for everybody, but it was the right bike for me. A couple of considerations when it comes to Pedego bikes. They are generally more expensive than bikes that are going to be shipped directly to your house. But, for that extra money, you get a local dealer who will set up the bike for you, and support you during your ownership of the bike. My bike comes with a 5 year warranty, while most of the other bikes only had a 1 year warranty. The dealer was also helpful in the pre-sales experience, in helping me choose a 26 inch frame rather than a 24 inch frame. You have a local expert that specializes in your e-bike. You get phone tech support from their bike experts. Another thing about this bike, it has a HUGE battery: 52 volts and 17.5 amp hours! I've only ran out of battery once, and that was over 50 miles. The range is incredible. My hill climbing ability has been excellent.

The purpose of this post is not to tell you which bike to buy, but rather to encourage you to do your research, so you're happy once you finally do plunk down a huge amount of cash. I had to spend over twice the amount I originally planned to spend to get the bike that was right for me. But, it is worth the investment. Even if one bike isn't right for you, don't give up. You will eventually find the right bike. Don't assume that just because a bike has a 500 watt motor it is inferior to a bike with a 750 watt motor. I wish you all the best in your search for the perfect e-bike for you!
Sounds like you found the right bike for you, congrats. You didn’t over spend, it’s easier to spend more.
Thank you for the nice write up and congrats on the new bike! I was also very impressed with pedego and the 5 year warranty and amazing dealer staff and support. I went with a cheaper bike ($1.6k) for my first one to try it out and got a one year warranty with a local bike shop but could definitely see where my next bike is a pedego. My biggest concern was budget and not being sure how often I would ride but have fallen in love and ride often. Cheers!
Very helpful to hear of your selection process. I have not tried the boomerang and may give it a go. The Pedego place I tried did not show much interest in helping me and that put me off a bit. They were more interested in bike rentals near the beach I think. I want to find a dealer in central coast of California but there don’t appear to be any near there.
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I held out for a Pedego Platinum and I'm very glad I did. It's amazing how you can easily adjust the handlebars and seat to turn into a very relaxed fit. The suspension is also wonderful. I'm still learning about it but did take it out for a short 20 minute ride today. I live in Daytona Beach Shores and it's bike weather every day. Sadly, Florida isn't very progressive so we don't have a lot of bike paths.....but there's the beach and State Parks.