Were You Moving Away From E-Bikes, What Traditional Bicycle Would You Buy?

Thank you very much. Never.
You're not the target market. But really, just because you don't understand the products is no justification to degrade them. I mean, all this talk about how upgrading a bike is 'spoiling' it. Thats clearly a comment grounded in emotion rather than analysis. On a positive note it is wise to stay out of waters deeper than you can swim in. We can't all be competent at everything.
 
People typically "upgrade" their e-bikes as they do not understand the design. They would start with installing a sofa-saddle instead of the sporty firm saddle, and raising the handlebars because they do not want to ride in a sporty position the e-bike was designed for. I do not want to elaborate more.

I will not discuss cheap crap or DIY either. I'm spoilt with the quality of high technology culture bikes from major brands.

Sorry for being harsh but I am not the person to save two cents to lose ten dollar.
 
This website does not inspire confidence. Ever heard of Dengfu carbon frames? (Just asking - I would not spend my hard earned money for an inexpensive Chinese carbon frame -- saw them broken). If I buy a traditional bike, it has to be from a major brand bought locally with local service and warranty.

For instance, Specialized offers carbon e-bikes made from FACT 9r, 11r or 12r carbon fibre. Now, I might ask what makes the 9r frame different from the 12r frame? The difference in the price is astonishing!
Their web site is sort of sketchy. I bought a mountain bike from them several years ago, it was an excellent bike with good components that arrived in perfect condition with no adjustments needed for hundreds less than any comparable LBS bike. I'm not a mechanic but I've never come across any bicycle issue that I couldn't address myself and I'm pretty sure that there is nothing that a LBS mechanic could do that I can't so other than warranty issues I have no need for a LBS. I'm more concerned with this bike due to carbon construction and warranty might be a problem, I don't know. There are very few user reviews of the frame but the couple I found for this bike as well as for a bikesdirect "motobecane" branded carbon were all very positive with no reported problems. Bikesdirect regularly gets bashed on bike forums from those who have never even seen one of their bikes but those who have actually purchased from them, including me, are typically happy with their experience.
 
I think the issue for me is the bikesdirect is a purely American website?
You see, I would not even buy from Canyon, which is a respected but online brand of Germany...

I could look at Marin bikes. A family member works for Marin in Poland.
 
Bike "Brands" I like and would consider buying:

Surly:


Salsa:


Otso:


Now to more "Bespoke" bikes (usually these are special ordered and you might have a 1-year lead time to get your bike):

Co-Motion (of course):


Breadwinner:


Stinner:


Sklar:


There are lots of cottage industry custom bike frame makers in the states. Yes, most of those will be steel frames because it is easier to build custom frames from steel. But also because they are custom frames they can be precisely sized to your proportions and weight. You should expect to get CAD drawings of your bike for your approval before they cut tubing. What you get for that money is a bike that fits you perfectly. Whether that is worth the money to you is for you to answer. All I can say is that if you ever get a custom bike you probably won't go back.
 
FWIW:
Not the bike frame that I'm interested in but a bikesdirect carbon nonetheless

From a person who went from an ebike to a bikesdirect carbon

here's a recent one with the same frame as the one I'm interested in but with cable brakes and different drive train (that I wouldn't be interested in).

I had read a more detailed owner review of the gravity frame that I'm interested in but can't find it now. All positive.
 
Bike "Brands" I like and would consider buying:

Surly:


Salsa:


Otso:


Now to more "Bespoke" bikes (usually these are special ordered and you might have a 1-year lead time to get your bike):

Co-Motion (of course):


Breadwinner:


Stinner:


Sklar:


There are lots of cottage industry custom bike frame makers in the states. Yes, most of those will be steel frames because it is easier to build custom frames from steel. But also because they are custom frames they can be precisely sized to your proportions and weight. You should expect to get CAD drawings of your bike for your approval before they cut tubing. What you get for that money is a bike that fits you perfectly. Whether that is worth the money to you is for you to answer. All I can say is that if you ever get a custom bike you probably won't go back.
Mr. Coffee:
If I wanted a 15 kg pedal bike, I would just remove the main battery from my Vado SL, get rid of fenders and rear rack :) I had a pleasure to ride together with a nice man on a steel Marin gravel bike. Even if #steelisreal, the man was actually upset about his decision of buying a steel frame bike. Now, he is looking at 9 kg carbon Specialized bikes.

A nice collection of brands. Do you think any of them sells in Europe? Because Marin does. I've heard of Surly but the other brands sound quite exotic to me :)
 
A nice collection of brands. Do you think any of them sells in Europe? Because Marin does. I've heard of Surly but the other brands sound quite exotic to me :)
Co-Motion for sure sells in Europe. I think you can order them from bike shops in the Netherlands and the UK. Oh, and Co-Motion sells an electric tandem too.

For the other bespoke brands you usually deal direct with the manufacturer. Most of the people I know who purchased a Sklar or Breadwinner actually traveled to the factory to get sized and order their bike. Custom frames from the likes of Breadwinner or Stinner can be $4000-$5000 and full builds often are more than $10000. Is that worth it? Is carbon fiber better? All I can say is that there is a lot of value in having a bike that fits you perfectly and is dialed in 100 percent to be exactly what you want. So if you know what you want and have body proportions where mass-produced bike sizing often does not work then I'd argue it is a great thing.
 
Is carbon fiber better?
It is certainly lightweight. My activities involve carrying bikes. It is actually a part of a gravel marathon: places where you have to carry your bike. A sandy hill, a river, a steep staircase.
 
Mr. Coffee:
If I wanted a 15 kg pedal bike, I would just remove the main battery from my Vado SL, get rid of fenders and rear rack :) I had a pleasure to ride together with a nice man on a steel Marin gravel bike. Even if #steelisreal, the man was actually upset about his decision of buying a steel frame bike. Now, he is looking at 9 kg carbon Specialized bikes.
Weight is the only real reason that I've semi seriously looked at buying a carbon. One review indicated that the bike I'm interested in weighs in at 19ish# which is about as heavy as I would want. Feb 2020 I was riding my BH/Yamaha gravel bike in Saguaro East national park near Tucson without the battery. Some ladies in a car stopped at a view point seemed impressed that I was bicycling around the park until they saw that I was riding an ebike and then made some negative comments - even though I pointed out that I was riding without a battery on what was essentially a heavy 33-34# bike without the battery. People are funny like that, no matter.
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Let us know what you decide and if you buy, what your experience is.
 
It is certainly lightweight. My activities involve carrying bikes. It is actually a part of a gravel marathon: places where you have to carry your bike. A sandy hill, a river, a steep staircase.
This Stinner Refugio build, with a steel frame and carbon fork, weighs in at 8.5kg (18.8lbs):


And yes, you can get carbon bike builds that are much lighter. But 18.8lbs is pretty light (and half the weight of my Co-Motion Pinion Belt Drive bike that I swear is part Winnebago).

The Refugio is a beautiful bike. I guarantee that after ten minutes riding it you would kill your mom to own one.
 
Let us know what you decide and if you buy, what your experience is.
It is an eight month perspective... Meanwhile, I intend riding my Vado SL in the OFF mode whenever I can to improve my fitness and get used to slower rides.
I'm currently interested in Specialized Sirrus X 5.0 or 4.0 but I wouldn't buy any bike now without at least symbolically demo riding it to determine the frame size and the overall feel. As I said, the Diverge EVO was not for me; buying it would be a costly mistake!
 
I still have my old Dekra shaft drive that I try to ride fairly frequently. It is not fancy and I have it set up very “old school” style with an analog Speedo. I will upgrade the 3 speed Shimano Nexus internal gear hub to an 8 speed for more flexibility. Nonetheless I just love the old bike.
 

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It is an eight month perspective... Meanwhile, I intend riding my Vado SL in the OFF mode whenever I can to improve my fitness and get used to slower rides.
I'm currently interested in Specialized Sirrus X 5.0 or 4.0 but I wouldn't buy any bike now without at least symbolically demo riding it to determine the frame size and the overall feel. As I said, the Diverge EVO was not for me; buying it would be a costly mistake!
The only thing that has stopped me from buying is what my wife would say, and me knowing that she was right.
 
i ride bikes for two purposes - practical (to get around, run errands, transport my younger daughter, to and from work) and pleasure, which for me comes from exercise, seeing beautiful places, going very, very fast, getting fresh air, etc. for the former, i would only rarely substitute an analog bike - i mostly ride to work on my analog bike but i am not pedaling up 20% grades in the city with 50+lb of child/cargo. for the latter, there is not much purpose for an e-bike. i live a short warm-up ride from (literally!) world class road bike routes, from the actual birthplace of modern mountain biking, and the city proper has many, many miles of car-free or nearly car free roads. a ride from 30 minutes to 8 hours is readily available, and the only purpose of doing so on an ebike would be to do a 6 hour route in 5 hours and 30 minutes instead 😄

i've put just about 10,000 miles on this road bike since i got it last year. i had taken to riding my turbo creo with the motor off, and let me tell you, it was a JOY to switch to completely silent bike that weighed half as much. the level of design that goes into a higher end carbon road bike, optimized for a balance of speed, stiffness, comfort, handling, and weight over many decades of experience puts every e-bike i've ever ridden to shame. you push down on the pedals and the bike springs forward and the bike is so light (especially relative to my 185lb!) that on smooth pavement it seriously feels about as close as flying as anything human powered can. it's like it's not even there. there really isn't another/different non-electric bike i'd buy, this one is really the only one i need.

not long after getting it :
0869-bike.jpg


the only thing i don't love is that the subtle matte/irridescent qualities of the finish are way too subtle. it's basically grey lol.

6839-aethos.jpg


i also ride this bike to and from work most days. a short detour on the way home last week :
1077-murtha.jpg


on a longer, typical weekend ride over mt tamalpais:

0737-rest.jpg


basically flying on earth, in the forest
0735-rollin.jpg


as an interesting aside, although the geometry of the aethos is somewhat more aggressive than a creo, i have the two bikes set up very, very similarly. same tires, same cockpit, same seatpost, same saddle, same pedals. i've lowered and lengthened the front of the aethos a bit since this picture but you can see how close they are... other than the one on the left weighing exactly 14 pounds and the one on the right 28....

twoBikes.jpg
 
'Your biggest mistake Stefan was you got used to a pretty high speed on your e-bikes but didn't understand the process of getting fit starts from very slow rides...' was a friendly remark of my cycling friend on our group ride of yesterday -- 'When you were demo riding a Diverge EVO, you started from expert level terrain; that's why you failed your test' -- he added. After we completed our group ride, the friend could complete his ride on the leg power only, making 142 km on the day.

Yesterday has turned out to be a breaktrough day for me. Confronted with two very slow riders in the group, I switched the assistance OFF on my Vado SL and was happily pedalling on my own leg power for 60 km in a mixed terrain consisting in 50% of gravel roads. Despite my medical condition, I found I was capable of pedalling better than two other riders in the group even if the dry weight of my Vado SL was 17 kg, and the fully loaded e-bike was far heavier than that! That has opened my eyes: Could I buy a good pedal bike and be successfully riding it at lower speed? My calories burnt on the 60 km ride were the same as if that were a 100 km assisted Vado SL trip!

There was an important factor that made me happy riding my Vado SL unpowered: the bike is perfectly fit to my body, and I can assume ideal riding position on my bike. It is still a heavy bicycle.
----------------
Yes, I was demo riding a Diverge EVO. The bicycle rode in the rough terrain as a dream. It was comfortable with the regard to the compliance (no vibration whatsoever!) It held on very rough surfaces perfectly. Yet... My riding position felt weird: very upright with arms spread on very wide handlebars. It was not my bicycle. It was not for me. I came back from a relatively short ride totally exhausted. While I had a big grin on my face on the return from my unassisted Vado SL ride.

No reason to buy a new bicycle now with the Winter approaching fast. I could think of buying a pedal bike for the Spring. Now, will I feel good on a new traditional bike?
  • A bike type - gravel capable, lighweight, flat handlebars
  • Bike geometry - issue
  • Bike size - issue
Now I know the Diverge Evo is a no-go for me. Two demo rides and I hated that bike. Specialized Sirrus X 5.0, carbon, promised compliance? A Sirrus X 4.0, more traditional, still lightweight, great specs, too? Or just ride my Vado SL unassisted, or even with the main battery removed?

I would be grateful if you shared your experiences as e-bikers that occassionally ride their traditional bicycles. Do you ride them often? What makes you ride a traditional bike when you own an e-bike? Tell your stories! I will be glad to hear them!
Past 6 years or so:
1) IGH 3 speed 50 lb e-bike : fine for 10-20 mile rides, mainly used by spouse
2) Geared 50 lb 28 mph e-bike: enjoyed for 12k+ miles, and did enjoy it for higher speed riding. Got some exercise, but heavy bikes still feel cumbersome
3) Single Speed Carbon Belt Drive 33 lb e-bike: now this is more like it! Quick, light manueverable, and that much more fun by being more responsive. Even able to ride motor off for flats or gentle hills. Was doing an 100 mile ride, ran out of battery power at 80 miles, and rode last 20 miles motor off…difficult, but do-able. Was the next step in really improving my fitness. At 8k miles. Great bike, but now use mainly on rest days, for commuting/shopping, or casual rides with spouse.
3) Next bike, track-based single speed traditional bike, under 18 lbs, but with freewheel and brakes. The lightness, responsiveness, joyful climbing with a light bike, are things that make this my favorite and now most used bike.
4) Newest bike, a 21-22 lb geared Canyon bike. Can get up any hill, more versatile than my single speed, and generally a very good bike. BUT, that extra 4-5 lbs compared to my single speed, really does seem to make a difference. Don’t ride as often, except for fast club rides, where the gearing is needed.

Bottom-line: a traditional bike under ~18 lbs (8 kg) is the sweet spot for a really fun to ride, responsive, easier to accelerate or climb bike, that for me is what makes me want to ride the traditional bike most of the time now. Even lighter is better, if $$$ is not an issue.
 
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I brought both a Wilier Carbon road bike and a Yamaha Cross Core to Acadia National Park in early October. I wanted to ride the Park Loop Road on the traditional road bike and use the ebike on the carriage roads.

The Loop Road is a little more than 31 miles including Cadillac Mountain. I have alway ridden the Loop Road on a road bike and for me, a large portion of the pleasure is getting to the top of the mountain by my own effort.

Basically, I tend to find a traditional bicycle to be more satisfying and the ebike to be more relaxing. I still enjoy both. My Cross Core is not stock, (the only original parts are the frame and motor). It does very well as a flat bar gravel bike. The Wilier is a nimble, light and sporty road bike. Each has its purpose and I would have a hard time choosing between them. Fortunately, I don’t have to.

Here is the Acadia Loop Road by road bike. It wouldn’t mean the same thing to me if I were to have assistance for the ride up Cadillac Mountain, but I also know that at some time in the not so distant future I may need the assistance in order to get up there, and that would be fine too, so to address the question, it doesn’t always have to be one or the other. You don’t have to move away from an ebike to enjoy a traditional bike and there is nothing like a traditional Italian road bike, so that is still my preference.
 
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'86 Hutch Trickstar, selling mine was one of the biggest mistakes i ever made!
As a collector item, for sure :)
Basically, I tend to find a traditional bicycle to be more satisfying and the ebike to be more relaxing.
Now as I started consistently riding my Vado SL in the OFF mode, it gives me a lot of pleasure. Yes, it is a struggle for me to just climb nearest overpasses (but I can do it!); riding in total silence on an unassisted e-bike that behaves as if it were just a pedal bicycle is exhilarating! No doubt my past intensive riding e-bikes with gradually reduced assistance brings its fruit. I'm actually scared to mount my full power Vado and use it (or just switch to ECO mode for my Vado SL).

Well, I'm exaggerating. I would not be able to climb any serious hill without the motor assistance, and really long rides at low speed between the daybreak and sunset are not possible, not with the shorter days. I think a 100 km unassisted ride with my current shape does not look feasible yet.

Yes, I intend to research pedal bikes (with the intent to buy one of them) but as it is now, I'm so glad I own a Vado SL! It is like tailor-made for me, and -- don't forget -- I still have that little "+" button near to my finger :)

As the weather permits, I intend to increase the distance pedalled on every riding day. It was 8 km, then 10 km... Let us see when I would have had enough! :)
 
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