New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

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Matt_D
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New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby Matt_D » Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:08 pm

Afternoon all,

After a few years of recreational riding, I've started commuting daily to Brisbane CBD for work (~10ks each way). 90% dedicated bike paths and nothing really too challenging, but there's about 5 hills that makes me think about a more enjoyable commute on an Ebike.

I've spent 2 weeks researching, visited 3 bike shops, and test ridden at least 6 models of electric bike and thought I would share my findings. I am new to daily commuting to work and transitioning from my Norco flat T-bar road hybrid bike (non-electric). I have been loving the ride to/from work but I have a few hills that put a dampener on my enjoyment of daily cycling (not to mention getting overtaken continuously by the lycra crew and more fit commuters than I!).

So here are my final two favourites:

1. Merida e-Spresso SPORT 410

http://www.99bikes.com.au/bikes-2017-bi ... -red-black

*36v / Bosch Performance Line (60Nm max torque) / 400Wh batt - Mid drive, more commuter style than EMTB. Motor ltd to 25km/h.

-----------------------------
2. Earth T-Rex 48v 29 Speed EMTB

https://electricbikesbrisbane.com.au/co ... 29-sp-emtb

*48v / 500w motor / ~700Wh batt - Rear hub driven fast EMTB (off road ONLY / not street legal). Very popular (the shop had 2 waiting to be picked up and a new shipment coming this week). I could only test ride it's little 36v brother but it still felt like an amazing ride. Top assisted speed - 35-40km/h :twisted: .

---------------------

I've read many posts about modding the Bosch motor (Badass Box) - and yes, very likely voiding my 2 yr warranty, I wondered if it would not be easier to choose the mountain bike style and negate the need for any modification? I like the idea of assisted cruising around 30-35kmh. (**Note I ride responsibly and safely and would not attract unwanted attention. Just a bit of help up hills is the main thing I want. I simply find 25kmh a little underwhelming when the motor cuts out and the added weight of an ebike becomes apparent :( ).

After reading many threads about hub vs mid drive motors, there seems to be a majority vote for the mid drive (I LOVED the hub drive, but did notice that at least the 36v did bog down a little on the steep hills during a test ride). This may not be an issue on the stupidly powerful motor of the T-Rex in the link though.

Anyway if there are any other recommendations for a daily commuter, let me know what you think.

HUB (rear):

Other than the obvious legal ramifications of riding the Earth 48v T-Rex on bike paths, nothing even comes close (short of Stealth 80kmh bikes....madness!). But maintenence costs, changing a flat and potential bogging down on slopes does concern me with rear hubs.

MID-DRIVE:

I am attracted to a 500Wh battery and the Boasch CX line mid drive (75nm / 300% extra torque). I haven't been able to test ride a CX yet, only the next motor down - Performance Line. It was still pretty impresseive. Just the usual dissapointment after 25kmh.

Budget - $3-4K.

Also leaning towards 29ER rims. I'm 6ft4 and need largest frame I can get my hands on.

Other options:

http://www.99bikes.com.au/bike17-cube-r ... y-flashred

https://electricbikesbrisbane.com.au/co ... ctric-bike

Apologies for the long post, but I hope some other Ebike potential customers find this helpful....I had a LOT of research in my head and I had to spill it somehow :)

Any comments or feedback welcome. Please don't be too harsh - I'm new around here.

Cheers.

Matt
Last edited by Matt_D on Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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ComradeSpear
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Re: New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby ComradeSpear » Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:08 pm

I bought an ebike 3 months ago

Mid drive 250w and fits my commute really well with a mixture of bike tracks and Street riding. It's Shimano steps with an affine di2 8 speed. The racks, chain guard and fenders made the commuting much better ie water splash protection from the tyres and chain and less sweating without a backpack.

250w was adequate for me and if I want some training then I turn off the power and pedal to push 25kgs :lol:

ChrisR24
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Re: New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby ChrisR24 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:35 pm

I got an ebike earlier this year and commute a 2-4 days a week to work - 20kms each way. It's got the Bosch Mid drive system - CX with the 500Wh battery. It certainly flattens the hills and makes the ride more enjoyable. With a bit of battery management I can get 2 days of riding without recharging (use max assist on hills).

I do not like the 25km/hr cut to the assist and frankly think it's damn stupid - I see so many riders speeding past me along the bike paths that I wonder what moron thought it would be a good idea for such a limit. Of course that can't be fixed without a mod that's not legal - like the choices that can be found on ebiketuning.com, e.g. say, the ASA eSpeed.

Another issue I've found is that the gearing is too low. If you're in top gear then you have to peddle like a lunatic to get over 45 to 50 km/hr. There is at least a legal solution to that for my bike - swap the front chain ring out to one with more teeth. Which is what I plan to do tomorrow since the parts and tools required have finally turned up in the mail. :)

Even with these issues, I still find it more preferable to public transport. And without the motor assist I couldn't handle the distances involved or the amount of riding I can do.

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Matt_D
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Re: New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby Matt_D » Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:01 am

Great comments and feedback thanks guys. I would like to know the model of the bikes you purchased if you don't mind.

Chris i know what you mean about max cadence to get a decent high speed with low gearing. Good luck with changing the front ring. Doesn't this void your warranty on the CX though?

The Earth bike in my post has a 24 speed Shimano setup which should address the issue of low gearing. I would expect this to be a common problem with any CX if you want to speed things up a little.

Let me know how you get on anyway. The CX is still very appealing to me. The gear shift detection is a pretty cool feature. Even on the Bosch website it lists a speed model in the Performance Line that can do 45kmh assisted speeds (probably not available here though).

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Re: New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby trailgumby » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:11 am

Bear in mind with any mod that the consequences from a legal perspective can be quite dire when you're caught. With the increasing popularity of assisted bikes, police attention is inevitable.

Because the law is framed as "all powered vehicles must be registered, with the following exceptions..." the onus of proof is reversed under the Acts Interpretation Acts of each state in Australia. This means the police don't have to prove a thing if they ping you, you have to prove that you fit the exception.

Given that you would fail with a modded bike that is still powered at over 25km/hr, you would be looking at conviction for operating a vehicle while unlicensed and uninsured, and operating an unregistered vehicle. With that on your record, it would severely curtail your job prospects for any public company that does background checks - which is increasingly the case these days.

Is it worth it? I'd suggest not- short term convenience for severe long term pain. If you want to go faster, pedal harder or get a road bike.

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Matt_D
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Re: New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby Matt_D » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:41 am

I hear you trailgumby. You've raised several valid points there. There's every chance I'll stick to the stock version of the bike and I'm sure the assistance uphill will outweigh the cons of assisted pedalling cutting out after 25kmh.

ChrisR24
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Re: New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby ChrisR24 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:14 pm

Matt_D wrote:Chris i know what you mean about max cadence to get a decent high speed with low gearing. Good luck with changing the front ring. Doesn't this void your warranty on the CX though?


I don't know - it's supposed to be a replacement bosch chain ring, but that just might be sales-speak. It's a two year warranty anyway and I'm almost half way through it.

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Matt_D
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Re: New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby Matt_D » Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:23 pm

Have you installed it yet Chris? Nothing like a long weekend to get all the time you need to get the new gear in. Yeah i thought warranty was void the second you remove the housing on the Bosch motors, but i could be wrong. Ive seen a few videos on top speeds after changing the front ring and it's an impressive speed increase.

Good luck with it. Look fwd to hearing some results.

ChrisR24
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Re: New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby ChrisR24 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:34 pm

Matt_D wrote:Great comments and feedback thanks guys. I would like to know the model of the bikes you purchased if you don't mind.


Forgot this bit, so here's the details:

Haibike xDuro Trekking RX 2016 - It's got everything set up on it for commuting. Bit expensive though, but I'm about 1/3rd of the way to "paying it off", i.e, by not using public transport, not paying to go to the gym and replacing some car trips.

ChrisR24
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Re: New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby ChrisR24 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:39 pm

Matt_D wrote:Have you installed it yet Chris? Nothing like a long weekend to get all the time you need to get the new gear in. Yeah i thought warranty was void the second you remove the housing on the Bosch motors, but i could be wrong. Ive seen a few videos on top speeds after changing the front ring and it's an impressive speed increase.

Good luck with it. Look fwd to hearing some results.


I did it today and it was time consuming for various reasons (e.g. using the spider tool to get to the chain ring was extremely difficult and I've never swapped a chain before, etc). It's raining here so I haven't gone for a real ride to test it, but a quick up/down the street felt very good indeed.

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Matt_D
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Re: New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby Matt_D » Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:05 pm

Well done mate. Yep i saw a few YouTube vids of pros doing the same. It had me thinking...they make it look easy...!? But i wouldn't be brave enough to try it myself :roll:

Hope the weather improves this week so you can give her a blast and get to 40ks without the accompanying heart failure!

The Haibikes are a top end product with a price tag to match. Well done on a great quality bike that should see many enjoyable cycling years ahead of you.

Who knows...i might help you pay it off when it comes time to me installing a larger chain ring :lol:

ChrisR24
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Re: New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby ChrisR24 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:58 pm

Just back from a test ride. Certainly a better ride. I did a couple of my nearby "big" hills and had no problems climbing them. I think I might have had a gear spare as well.

And on the downhill bits I could pick up more speed easily and had a higher top speed. Doesn't affect my cruising speed along the flat bits of course, but there's more capacity there to grow into now.

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Re: New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby Matt_D » Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:04 pm

Awesome. Great to hear some positive results from your hard work Chris.
Last edited by Matt_D on Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

RobertL
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Re: New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby RobertL » Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:57 pm

ChrisR24 wrote:Just back from a test ride. Certainly a better ride. I did a couple of my nearby "big" hills and had no problems climbing them. I think I might have had a gear spare as well.

And on the downhill bits I could pick up more speed easily and had a higher top speed. Doesn't affect my cruising speed along the flat bits of course, but there's more capacity there to grow into now.


Chris - your commute sounds a bit like mine. I'm in Brisbane, and I ride about 9.5km, with hills involved. (Of course there are hills, it's Brisbane!!)

Just remember that you will get fitter with practice. You may rapidly get to the point where you are happy to use a normal bike for that commute and save the e-bike for something tougher.

ChrisR24
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Re: New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby ChrisR24 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:38 pm

RobertL wrote:Chris - your commute sounds a bit like mine. I'm in Brisbane, and I ride about 9.5km, with hills involved. (Of course there are hills, it's Brisbane!!)

Just remember that you will get fitter with practice. You may rapidly get to the point where you are happy to use a normal bike for that commute and save the e-bike for something tougher.


Highly unlikely. :) If I get fitter I'll just go faster. I can't foresee myself ever being able to go up some of these hills at >25km/hr so I'll always get benefit from the assist.

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Mububban
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Re: New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby Mububban » Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:40 pm

ChrisR24 wrote:
RobertL wrote:Chris - your commute sounds a bit like mine. I'm in Brisbane, and I ride about 9.5km, with hills involved. (Of course there are hills, it's Brisbane!!)

Just remember that you will get fitter with practice. You may rapidly get to the point where you are happy to use a normal bike for that commute and save the e-bike for something tougher.


Highly unlikely. :) If I get fitter I'll just go faster. I can't foresee myself ever being able to go up some of these hills at >25km/hr so I'll always get benefit from the assist.


Never say never, RobertL's "warning" is exactly what happened to me :D

I converted my old MTB with a 200W front wheel motor, used it for commuting and loved it. You just don't slow down for hills.
The flipside is I got frustrated trying to do anything above 30kph with 20kg of bike and no more assistance.

So I bought myself a road bike, and now I hurt up the hills (it's a good hurt!) but am faster on the flats, so my commute time is pretty much the same.
Now the MTB is my workhorse, it helps me tow a trailer of stuff when we go on family holidays, and to boost the kids up the hills, or to go to the shops.

Mind you, I never would have had the confidence to go buy a roadie if the ebike hadn't got me off my backside and back riding.
When you are driving your car, you are not stuck IN traffic - you ARE the traffic!!!

ChrisR24
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Re: New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby ChrisR24 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:38 pm

Mububban wrote:
ChrisR24 wrote:
RobertL wrote:Chris - your commute sounds a bit like mine. I'm in Brisbane, and I ride about 9.5km, with hills involved. (Of course there are hills, it's Brisbane!!)

Just remember that you will get fitter with practice. You may rapidly get to the point where you are happy to use a normal bike for that commute and save the e-bike for something tougher.


Highly unlikely. :) If I get fitter I'll just go faster. I can't foresee myself ever being able to go up some of these hills at >25km/hr so I'll always get benefit from the assist.


Never say never, RobertL's "warning" is exactly what happened to me :D

I converted my old MTB with a 200W front wheel motor, used it for commuting and loved it. You just don't slow down for hills.
The flipside is I got frustrated trying to do anything above 30kph with 20kg of bike and no more assistance.

So I bought myself a road bike, and now I hurt up the hills (it's a good hurt!) but am faster on the flats, so my commute time is pretty much the same.
Now the MTB is my workhorse, it helps me tow a trailer of stuff when we go on family holidays, and to boost the kids up the hills, or to go to the shops.

Mind you, I never would have had the confidence to go buy a roadie if the ebike hadn't got me off my backside and back riding.


Well technically I did say "highly unlikely", not "never" ;)

Realistically though I'm getting a bit too old (+health issues) to expect to do well without an ebike. At least, as you mention, it gets you off your backside and actually riding. A recent doctor visit I had the best BP result I've had in years, so it's a great positive.

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Mububban
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Re: New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby Mububban » Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:36 pm

ChrisR24 wrote:Realistically though I'm getting a bit too old (+health issues) to expect to do well without an ebike. At least, as you mention, it gets you off your backside and actually riding. A recent doctor visit I had the best BP result I've had in years, so it's a great positive.


My ebike motor is actually off the bike at the moment (I'm actually riding my MTB off road!!!), but I am a massive huge fan of them for exactly that reason - it gets pretty much ANYONE on a bike. Age, injury, weight and fitness barriers are erased.
When I get too old for my scrawny legs to ride a road bike, I'll just buy an ebike and keep on riding :)

People who hate ebikes are missing the point - they get more bums on bike seats and out of car seats! The more people who cycle, the less agro there'll be towards cyclists, and more will be spent on cycling infrastructure. Win win.

I hope you get many years of enjoyment from your new bike :)
When you are driving your car, you are not stuck IN traffic - you ARE the traffic!!!

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Re: New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby diventare » Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:00 pm

Mububban wrote:
ChrisR24 wrote:Realistically though I'm getting a bit too old (+health issues) to expect to do well without an ebike. At least, as you mention, it gets you off your backside and actually riding. A recent doctor visit I had the best BP result I've had in years, so it's a great positive.


My ebike motor is actually off the bike at the moment (I'm actually riding my MTB off road!!!), but I am a massive huge fan of them for exactly that reason - it gets pretty much ANYONE on a bike. Age, injury, weight and fitness barriers are erased.
When I get too old for my scrawny legs to ride a road bike, I'll just buy an ebike and keep on riding :)

People who hate ebikes are missing the point - they get more bums on bike seats and out of car seats! The more people who cycle, the less agro there'll be towards cyclists, and more will be spent on cycling infrastructure. Win win.

I hope you get many years of enjoyment from your new bike :)


So true
Image

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Matt_D
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Re: New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby Matt_D » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:23 am

I spent a 3rd day test riding another three ebike models at Milton yesterday.

I thought from the reading I had done that this Earth Trex beast was going to the answer to everything I had researched:

https://electricbikesbrisbane.com.au/co ... 29-sp-emtb

But for whatever reason I found it a little large heavy and sluggish. Probably because of the huge 29er fat tyres, the HUD said I was doing 27kmh, but it felt more like about 15kmh (possibly due to the cadence I'm used to on my current Norco Tbar – but it just felt a little slow).

The Focus Jarifa felt a little lighter but I think again the 29er tyres made it feel slower than what it was. It was good to finally try a Bosch CX motor however – very nice :)

https://electricbikesbrisbane.com.au/co ... ctric-bike

As a last ditch effort to try a more commuter styled bike (the style that is actually designed for what I want it for!), I tried the Orbea that they had a good special (ex demo):

https://electricbikesbrisbane.com.au/co ... ance-500wh

Like the other two, this had 29er tyres but more commuter styled (Kenda 1052) and immediately felt the difference with the smoother roll. This does not have the CX, but the Performance line (60Nm). Still pretty torquey and featured the 500Wh battery.

It's a little over my budget so I'm now thinking I might wait a few months and see what th 2018 range brings at both EBB and 99 Bike stores.

I researched the 2018 Cube Reaction series and damn there's some sexy photos from a trade show earlier this year:

https://www.emtb-news.de/news/en/cube-p ... photo-6021

Not sure if the model will make it to AU, but take a look at the Reaction Hybrid Pro Allroad 500:

https://fotos.emtb-news.de/p/6014

...it looks the ducks nuts. Very smooth lines and the battery is better moulded into the down tube – even allowing room for a bottle holder!

Anyway – after trying about 9 models of bikes over the past month, I am content to get more exercise on the pushy with my daily commute until I find the perfect fit.

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Matt_D
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Re: New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby Matt_D » Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:11 pm

UPDATE:

I stumbled across an AU bike selling forum and discovered that Giant do E-Bikes!

I had never even considered them (thinking they mainly did high-end road bikes), so with a lot of research under the belt, I visited my local Giant retailer (Tom Wallace Cycles - Lutwyche) and took the Giant Quick E+ for a spin:

Image

Image

http://www.tomwallacecycles.com.au/au/quick-eplus-25-km-h-2018

With a few small mods (saddle / grips) I think I have found the combination of just about everything I had been looking for in a commuter bike. It is unique in that it features a Yamaha SyncDrive Sport motor (80Nm torque) and a 500w battery. I've put down a deposit on a 2018 Giant Quick E+ (XL) and I should see it come in this week.

I was going to wait for the 2018 Cube Reaction Hybrid Pro 500 http://www.99bikes.com.au/cube-reaction-hybrid-pro-500-black-grey-2018, butI would have to convert it to a commuter bike (mud guards, road tyres etc). It is one of the few bikes featuring the powerful Bosch CX (75Nm) motor. But the 2018 Cube bikes are still 6-8 weeks away, and even worse they said that the largest size (23" / XXL) was coming into the country in such limited stocks (2 bikes!) that I would not be guaranteed one unless I put a deposit down on a bike I'd never even seen!! No thanks....

The local Giant store really looked after me and had all the time in the world to explain all the ins & outs of the Giant. The bike just reeks of quality components and I think I will be happy with it for many years to come.

Cheers,

Matt

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Re: New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby NOVISCOTT » Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:38 am

G'day Matt,
Congrats on the purchase, looks like a nice commuter rig.

I've recently converted to the E-bike crowd also and while there was some trepidation at the price, I'm really glad I did. I used to commute on my road bike until the M2 was shut. I don't feel comfortable mixing it too much with cars along the back streets on a carbon clipped in. So as a result I stopped riding just about all together. I have young kids and the wife and I both work, so weekends I don't like spending time away from the family on a solo activity.

The E-bike gives me the confidence to get back out there and being a MTB I can jump gutters and switch between paths and road depending on the safest route along the way. It also opens up the bush tracks though Pennant Hills Park / Lave cove NP for a really pleasant ride away from smelly cages. And if I'm running late, it's not too laborious on the open sections of the M2.

The effort an exercise is still there. Not as much as the roadie, but far more than the car or motorbike. And you can push as hard as you like. Afterall, it is still 50-60km and about 2 hours worth of effort.

I went with the Trek Powerfly 5. Brilliant bike, and awesome to take on camping trips for bashing around state forests or National Parks too.

Cheers,
Paul

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Matt_D
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Re: New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby Matt_D » Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:30 pm

Thanks for the input and feedback Paul. I have not seen the Trek E-bike until now. That is one hot lookin machine!

I note it features the Bosch CX motor and a 500w battery. That is a very sweet and powerful combo that will see you through for many years I would expect.

I actually like your Trek Powerfly better than the Cube I was looking at. The battery seamlessly fits into the downtube, just a really good looking bike IMO.

Anyway I will post some feedback on my first ride into work once I pick my new beasty up from the local shop.

Cheers and thanks for the info,

Matt

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Re: New Commuter - Ebike advice before purchase.

Postby RobertL » Tue Nov 07, 2017 4:53 pm

Matt_D wrote:UPDATE:
I visited my local Giant retailer (Tom Wallace Cycles - Lutwyche)


Tom Wallace are my local Giant dealer too. Not that I have a Giant - I only go there for the occasional service, or bits and pieces - but I've always been very happy with the service that I've got.

Enjoy!

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