XL, tall, middle-aged woman seeks suitable step-thru e-bike ;-)


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What a great site and forums! I've asked Court to review the Electra Loft Go! with step-through frame. Wanting to get into some semblance of shape again after too many years at a desk job, I would like to find an electric bicycle to be gentle on my knees when needed on starts and hills. Otherwise I plan to pedal with minimal assist. I am female, age 57, 5'10" large-frame and 260# so need a sturdy ride to run errands, exercise and for general cruising. From searching specs and forums so far, I need a 500 w motor and 48 v 15 amp battery. My budget is in the $2500 - $3500ish range. I also plan to retire and buy a van-sized RV in the next year or two, and will take my e-bike along on a rear-mount track rack (?) for supplemental transportation within parks and shorter-range sight-seeing. I'm concerned cruiser handlebars may be too wide for this rack style. This site has enabled me to do lots of homework and I have narrowed choices to Pedego Step-Thru Interceptor, City Commuter or Comfort Cruiser, or Electra Loft Go! or Townie Go! I'm not confident about the weight capacity of some of the other brands (Raleigh and Izip) with local dealers in Iowa. Appreciating your insight and advice,
Take a look at an Elby. Superior build quality and performance. Efficient, easy to mount, and comes with a full throttle if you want. If you want to see reviews on the Elby you can check out the review on this site or visit our website at (Link Removed - No Longer Exists). The rear rack on the Elby is very solid and can hold large panniers for stuff like groceries with no problem at all.
Because I want to buy from a local dealer, I went to Ichi Bike in Des Moines' East Village today. They were out of Pedego models so I test rode the Izip E3 Vibe+ on a medium frame and the E3 Path Plus commuter on a large frame. I definitely need the large frame. Not being an aggressive rider, the frames felt very sturdy. It was my first time on an e-bike and was thrilling, a bit scary, and reassuring all at once. I loved that I could start from a stop quickly and get up the steep local hill without any difficulty. Wow, those can fly downhill! :D I really liked the cush of the Vibe with fatter tires and had no problem on the hill with it, even at low to mid-throttle. Maybe I didn't shift correctly on the Path, but without throttle, the pedal assist was not quite as helpful on the hill. This was probably my error but I love the option of either or both pedal assist & throttle on the Vibe. I wouldn't have any problem with either of these bikes and felt very comfortable with the upright position, but would go with the Vibe over the Path because of the softer ride over pavement bumps and the throttle assist. Either would need a suspension post and softer seat. ;) I ordered a Pedego 28" step-thru City Commuter to try without purchase obligation. When it arrives I will test them against each other. I am HOOKED! :p
You have a good selection of Ebikes there, if you don't mind another suggestion the GazelleNL C7 HMB has a large step through frame size for riders up to 6' 2" and 275lb. The double down tube provides more reinforcement and less frame flex than other step through designs. It has a heavy duty wide kickstand and a lockable headset so the handlebars don't move if you're loading a front basket. The fully enclosed chain case will keep your pants leg clean and protect the chain from grit. The internal gear hub means you can change down gear when you are stopped without having to pedal which is helpful if you are starting off up hill or standing at a stop light. The Bosch motor and 500 battery are a good system combining torque and cadence sensing, the hydraulic rim brakes will bring you and groceries to a stop, and diagnostics and servicing can be done at any shop with a Bosch certified technician. I test rode a Gazelle Arroyo at last years Ebike Expo and was impressed with the quality, comfortable riding position, responsive pedal assist, and attention to detail, but this design is stronger, weather and salt water tested so will stand up well to being hung off the back of an RV, although it is fairly heavy at 62lb despite the aluminum frame and fenders so you might like to consider a trailer hitch mounted platform bike rack. Here is Court's review.
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Just would like to highlight a (subtle) remark by 86: it wouldn't hurt to have a throttle. Townie Go has no throttle. I think no ebikes with Bosch motor do. Might not matter for younger and sportier crowd.
Agreed. After test riding one with and one without, I do prefer one with a throttle option. I think the Pedego has both pedal assist and throttle, which would be ideal. For the flats is it possible to use neither so I can get a workout? Thank you all so much for helping with this process!
Themis - yes. Most any ebike will let you pedal without hitting a throttle or without activating PAS. Though, it will be a little more workout than with a regular bike, 'cause it's heavier.
Thank you, Alex. That makes it even better. Court was kind enough to recommend a bike rack, which is also the one my dealer recommends for me so I don't have to lift so much. The Thule 9932 EasyFold.
Court knows his racks. There is no rush to order expensive rack, if this is not for looks. Call local car rack store. They would often have the same Thule used or open-box.

Didn't want to over-complicate it with motor, but "some" motors resist to non-powered pedaling more than others. They are called direct-drive motors. OTH, geared hub motor you won't feel. Pedego have both types.

There could be other suitable step-through beside Pedego, with same battery and 500W motor, with prices varying from 1,800 to 3,500.
Townie Go (yes, no throttle) has a nice feature that you won't see often, so-called flat-foot position. Bottom bracket is moved few inches forward form the seat tube. They patented this, and few other guys patented the same before the Townie, and you'll see this on (probably) a dozen other models and brands. Don't want to start another copyright debate here, - just FYI.
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Thule 9032 EasyFold.

That's a well designed platform hitch rack, similar to the Transit Transporter rack I bought from Performance Bike a few years ago but with the added convenience of pull out loading ramps.