Short; Steep Hills; On a Budget


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I would like to get an ebike, but I’m feeling overwhelmed with the information and choices. It would be much appreciated if someone can send me in the right direction.

I’m not super athletic. I do have a manual pedal bike,(Trek FX,) that I ride regularly, but I’m not up for doing my full commute on it.

I’m only 5’3” tall – my inseam seems to be normal for my height, but my reach is longer (probably more similar to someone 5’6” – 5’7”ish), so I’d probably like a bike with a low standover height (mid-step?), but a longer distance from seat to handlebars, (maybe an adjustable stem or an upright position???)

My budget is $2,000 +/-

I will commute from home to school to work and back home. In my opinion, my commute has steep hills. I have detailed my commute’s elevation changes below to give you a better idea. The majority of my route is on paved roads. The section from school to work is mostly through a state park and I can either take a paved road or dirt single track. A short portion (0.4mi) of the route from work to home is on the shoulder of a 4-lane, 45mph road(reality = 55mph), but there’s also a poorly maintained crushed stone multi-use path, that I have the option to take instead. The rest of the roads are mostly quiet roads through small towns and windy rural roads (all paved) – I prefer paved roads, but having the option to use stone/dirt paths occasionally is nice too.

I would like a speed pedelec (can go over 20mph) and a throttle would be nice (but not totally necessary.) I can re-charge at both school and work, so battery life is not a huge deal, but of course I’d prefer if I could do the whole day on a single charge. Lights, fenders, rear racks are all things I will need. No 700c wheels – I’ve got clown feet and I’m tired of them interfering when I make tight turns. We do get snow; I plan to keep riding in winter, (except I don’t work from Thanksgiving to Easter.)

Straight up, I don’t know where to start with information on mid-drive vs hub drive, number of teeth, forks, etc. I’m not mechanical or detail-oriented. I’d like an e-bike to be reliable and low maintenance. I want to get on and ride and not worry about the technical aspects.

Please guide me. Thank you!!!!!!!!

As promised, this is what the elevation changes on my commute are numerically:
Part 1: Home to School
0.3mi uphill avg grade 4%, max grade 10%
2.6mi downhill avg grade 4%, max grade 13%
1.2mi mostly flat
0.4mi slight uphill avg grade 3%, max grade 4%
0.6mi downhill avg grade 4%, max grade 8%
1.3mi mostly flat
0.3mi uphill avg grade 6%, max grade 9%
0.2mi downhill avg grade 14%, max grade 17% (yes 17%, this is not a typo.)
0.6mi mostly flat
1.4mi uphill avg grade 4%, max grade 8%
0.5mi mostly flat
0.4mi downhill avg grade 8%, max grade 9%
0.9mi uphill avg grade 4%, max grade 9%

Distance: 10.7mi
Min elevation: 807.7ft
Max elevation: 1514.2ft
Total Gain: 1209ft
Max Climbing Grade: 10%

Part 2: School to Work (I have a maximum of 65 minutes to do this section.)
2.0mi undulating
0.3mi downhill avg grade 7%, max grade 10%
0.5mi uphill avg grade 5%, max grade 10%
0.5mi downhill avg grade 5%, max grade 9%
0.3mi uphill avg grade 8%, max grade 16% (again, this is not a typo.)
0.4mi downhill avg grade 6%, max grade 10%
0.9mi uphill avg grade 10%, max grade 15%(not a typo)
1.5mi downhill avg grade 7%, max grade 13%
0.9mi uphill avg grade 6%, max grade 8%
0.6mi downhill avg grade 7%, max grade 12%
0.2mi uphill avg grade 6%, max grade 6%
0.7mi slight downhill avg grade 3%, max grade 7%
0.4mi slight uphill avg grade 3%, max grade 5%
0.2mi mostly flat

Distance: 9.4mi
Min elevation: 897.1ft
Max elevation: 1488.4ft
Total Gain: 1812ft
Max Climbing Grade: 16%

Part 3: Work to Home
0.2mi mostly flat
0.5mi downhill avg grade 4%, max grade 7%
1.8mi undulating
0.2mi uphill avg grade 6%, max grade 6%
0.4mi mostly flat
2.8mi undulating
0.5mi downhill avg grade 6%, max grade 9%
0.9mi mostly flat
0.8mi uphill avg grade 7%, max grade 11%
0.7mi mostly flat
0.4mi uphill avg grade 4%, max grade 6%
4.7mi mostly flat
1.2mi uphill avg grade 6%, max grade 10%

Distance: 15.1mi
Min elevation: 771.1ft
Max elevation: 1487.8ft
Total Gain: 1921ft
Max Climbing Grade: 11%
Use the motor simulator for geared hub motors. MAC and eZee would be my choice. Other here with OEM builds can suggest which bikes use those motors.
The Blix Aveny is within your budget and seems to meet all of your requirements except the "speed pedelec". The Aveny provides assist up to 20 MPH (throttle and/or pedal assist).

Whatever you decide to consider, find a local shop that carry's the brands/models you are interested in and take some test rides. It is the only way to be sure that it is the correct fit.
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Thanks for the input. I am going to go try out a Magnum Metro next Saturday. It's about an hour and a half car drive to the LBS that carries Magnum bikes; I'm hoping it'll be suited to my needs... I'm still open to more input.
Your grades are totally do-able on an ebike. I live in a very hilly area and find grades above 20% to be difficult, and those under 15% to be a breeze, with those in between requiring more pedaling and tolerating a reduced speed (significantly reduced for higher percentage grades).

Hub drives are great for commuting, and I love the throttle for commuting also. Super to get a quick and speedy start for city intersections.

On the high MPH 4 lane road versus the crushed gravel mix-used path, I would cheerfully take the latter.

BTW, my bike also goes up to 24.9, but I almost never go over an assisted 20mph in my commute, though I do go faster than that unassisted when riding downhill.

Do lots of test-riding and that will make things clearer. Happy shopping!
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Like Amy said, any of the grades you describe are negligible on an ebike.

Any speed pedelec will do the job you describe. Go to the speed pedelec section on EBR and look around. My advice to people is, find some bikes that you like the looks of. You have to narrow your search down somehow. That's as good a way as any. And you're going to want a bike that you like being seen on anyway. Then look at price. There are a number of speed pedelecs in the price range you mention. Then consider accessories. Do they come with fenders, rear rack, lights, etc.? You're going to want those things for a commuting bike.

Don't worry too much about mid-drive, hub drive, etc. Some people with particular needs may choose one of them to meet that need. For most of us, any motor will do the job, so long as the bike meets our requirements in other areas.

At some point you will have to decide whether you want to buy local or order online. You have a lot more choice if you go the online route, but better service options if you buy local. I'm fortunate that my LBS is willing to work on my bike even though I bought it online. 95% of normal maintenance on an ebike is the same as on any bike.

As far as specific suggestions go, very few of us have extensive experience. A few of us do and they are worth listening to if they chime in. The rest of us just know what we know about the bikes we have. I have a Juiced BIkes CrossCurrent S, and my wife has a Pedego City Commuter. They are both good bikes. I can't say that they are better or worse than another because I have no basis for comparison other than reviews I've read or videos I've watched, and you can do that yourself and draw your own conclusions.

I will say this, though: If I were buying a bike today, I'd go with the CrossCurrent X. Hard to beat the value for the money. I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to upgrade without spending a lot more money and ending up with my current bike sitting around unused.
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I wish posters would indicate GD, gear drive, or DD direct drive. So many models and it’s hard to keep up with motors used. I have noticed more Macs (GD) I own or have owned 3 versions of GD, 3 DD, and more than a half dozen BBSxx drives. The 1000W MXUS DD is a gutless wonder on a hill. It does make a difference when choosing a motor. In thousands of support and sales emails I’ve communicated with dozens of dissapointed riders. Hills being the biggest issue facing unhappy customers. Use the simulator, it’s verified accurate. DD motors can get hot fast on grades. My little MXUS 350w GD is a better climber than the 1000w DD.
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