Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 56 total)
  • Commuter E-Bike – Give me some advice!
  • v7fmp
    Full Member

    Hey everyone,

    So a bit of a brain fart here, so bare with…..

    I work approx. 13 miles from home. I drive everyday. I have threatened to ride on numerous occasions, but despite my best intentions, it doesn’t happen.

    So my current brain wave is to look at a commuter e-bike. But due to my dislike of e-bikes (the usual reasons) i have very little knowledge of if this would benefit me on my ride to work.

    The 13-ish miles is basically flat and i would say 95% on cycle paths, so smooth tarmac all the way. What i would ideally like to achieve is to cover the distance in around 45 minutes and ideally without cracking too much of a sweat (although i will change clothes once at work).

    Is this achievable? Will the ebike give me sufficient assistance to stop the sweat and cover the distance in a timely manner? Will the ebike give me a phycological boost on the mornings when im lacking enthusiasm (say over riding a non motor assisted bike)

    Or am i better off using my gravel bike with some road tyres on it, dealing with the sweat and gain a bit of cardio….?

    And finally, is it a false economy to spend 2-3k on an e-commuter, rather than the wear, tear, fuel and associated costs of running my car (Golf R for reference).

    Any advice, feedback or similar experiences greatly received…..

    convert
    Full Member

    I’d say in every other reason apart from time it’s a win. But cycle paths (presumably with some stop and starts, fiddly corners and road crossings) and getting 13 miles done in 45mins is not going to happen. 17mph+ moving average is going some and your ebike would not be helping you due to the speed limiter (apart from the significant help accelerating you back up to cruising pace after every slow down). Ebike or no ebike having to get 13 miles done in 45mins will make a cycle commute stressful.

    If you can cool your jets and work with a 55min commute then I’d say great. Depending on your job (and the weather) add another 10mins and you could get there without the need to change from a sweat perspective.

    couchy
    Free Member

    A HT ebike on full setting will do what you want. I use a specialized turbo levo HT for a similar journey occasionally. If you ran a euro spec one you could sit at 20mph and easily do it in 45mins. If you run a UK one they run out of assist at 15.5mph so you’d be a little over 45 mins. You’ll always have to put effort in but on fast rolling tyres and full assist you won’t arrive sweaty. Same as any bike you can out in as much or as little effort as you need. You can get a good HT for £2500. Ignoring the legal side you can set the turbo levo HT to euro spec 20mph limit for assist or no limit for assist easily with an app.

    Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    Ebikes are horrible on the flat IME, I only ever commute on mine if I go offroad and over the hill, otherwise the flat barred commuter is better.

    My commute is 8.5 miles, pancake flat cycle path.

    escrs
    Free Member

    Personally id chuck some road tyres on the gravel bike and use that

    I commute 10 miles each way, 5 days a week in all weathers, good clothing (summer and winter) makes a huge difference, im lucky that i have a shower at work but have also just stripped washed in the toilets before when the shower was broken for a month

    I love my e bike but there is no way id use it for commuting, the 15.5mph cut off would be annoying

    Well worth using a normal bike to help improve cardio and you have the bonus of saving fuel and wear and tear on your Golf R, i have a Focus ST3 (280BHP) and it only does around 4k a year so a big saving on fuel, parts etc.. which then can be spent on bikes!

    n0b0dy0ftheg0at
    Free Member

    I hope you have more secure bike sheds at work than I do.

    fasthaggis
    Full Member

    Personally id chuck some road tyres on the gravel bike and use that

    This^^

    The trick about commuting (if you can)is making it part of your life,it then becomes the norm.
    Oh and –>>(30ish yrs of commuting has paid for my bikes many times over) 🙂

    intheborders
    Free Member

    If you’ve already a gravel bike, why not just try it one day?

    If you’ve to buy slicks (and wheels), then that’s a relatively cheap way of establishing to feasibility for you – even if you just do it on ‘good’ weather days.

    wbo
    Free Member

    Euro spec 20mph?? 25kph and sort your maths out 😉 I’d go with what Convert said… 55 mins and an ebike is ideal.

    The gravel bike will also be good, but on those mornings it’s blowing 12 an hour the ebike will make it easier to get out the door.

    v7fmp
    Full Member

    cheers for the feedback folks!

    Seems a split of opinion. The 45mins travel time has some scope to be longer, it was just the ideal time in my mind.

    When the assist cuts out at 15.5mph, is there literally nothing? Or is it still assisting up to that speed and therefore taking the edge off? Would i have to put all the effort in to maintain 17mph or would i only be adding the effort for the extra 2mph… if that makes sense? Apologies for my ignorance!

    I have done the route previously on my gravel bike and it took about an hour, but this was during the weekend and with little care for avoiding sweat or whatnot.

    Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    When the assist cuts out at 15.5mph, is there literally nothing?

    Yes.

    I have a local strava e-segment along a coastal path, average speed on my KOM time is over 16mph, it is one of the hardest workouts for that 2 minutes you will do, pedalling a 22kg FSer with no assist!.

    alan1977
    Free Member

    i dont do it often
    but my 10.5 mile commute takes a bout 45 mins on a flat bar gravel/hybrid bike, on gravel tyres, xc wheels, honestly so fast and light its different to riding a normal MTB, I think my average is above e bike cutoff, although theres a couple of hills it would help.. if i was considering an ebike it would be more a commuter or gravel bike style rather than lugging a full on MTB about

    argee
    Full Member

    Broke my hardtail last month, used my full sus ebike to get to work a similar distance for 2 days, it was not a pleasant experience, all those dreams of turning up without needing a shower were ruined as on flatish tarmac routes, i was going over 15.5 almost all the time, only hills allowed the motor to kick in, even trying to back off to go under 15.5 just felt unnatural, as you aren’t going at your usual cadence, it just felt weird to do.

    I can see why folk derestrict now, would never do it as you are on a seriously shaky peg if you hit someone whilst on your bike, but for commuting it would be good to get to 20mph freely with the motor running.

    Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    The one time on my commute that it would work is the southerly commute home in strong winds, ebike makes mince of headwinds.

    v7fmp
    Full Member

    again, thanks for the info.

    Sounds like the 15.5 limit is the sticking block. Whilst i’m no Cevendish, i would like to think i can easily maintain over that speed (even if not by much). I wouldn’t be comfortable with a sneaky chip.

    So looks like this one is dead in the water to me. Sounds like i need some slicks for my gravel bike and some mudgaurds!

    iamtheresurrection
    Full Member

    The one time on my commute that it would work is the southerly commute home in strong winds, ebike makes mince of headwinds.

    This. I ride in on a normal bike without arriving in a sweat, I tend to commute most months in jeans and a t-shirt or jacket (only 8 miles though). I just pootle in and decide on the route back depending on what sort of day I’ve had and what bike I’ve taken, and how hard I want to ride home.

    If it’s blowing a hoolie though (or if I’m under the weather) I grab the Decoy and just sit and spin on that, makes a windy commute not windy at all.

    School runs mean I’ve been in the car more than I’d like this term. If I had £5k burning a hole, I’d be buying a Tern GSD for those days and dropping the kids off half way on that.

    alan1977
    Free Member

    i dotn even think id bother with slicks.. i used wtb byways once.. hated it.. felt so much nicer on gravelking SKs

    dyna-ti
    Full Member

    Ribble ?

    https://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/ribble-hybrid-al-e-fully-loaded/

    Yeah, 15.5mph is more of a potter, but you can do 15.5mph into a strong headwind and overtake everyone else 😉

    I’d to use my manual bike the other week and it was an unenjoyable slog. Wind was terrible and i must have been doing 5mph for the 4 mile journey- uphill i might add. On me ebike i dont even notice it.

    convert
    Full Member

    Sounds like the 15.5 limit is the sticking block. Whilst i’m no Cevendish, i would like to think i can easily maintain over that speed (even if not by much). I wouldn’t be comfortable with a sneaky chip.

    You sure about that?

    I have done the route previously on my gravel bike and it took about an hour, but this was during the weekend and with little care for avoiding sweat or whatnot

    So you averaged only 13mph and got there sweaty.

    If a commuter specific ebike gets you there at 15mph average without being sweaty (and dryer from the guards, and with a pannier full of clothes and your packed lunch and shopping on the way home), from what you have written it’s going to perform way over your human power capabilities.

    v7fmp
    Full Member

    @covert – yeah, seeing it all written down, maybe i am over estimating my speed/power on a bike. And when you take into account headwinds etc.

    I guess my reservations are the fear of buying one to find out that i am cutting the motor out, as per @agree has mentioned. And that was on a MTB.

    Ideally a test ride would be ideal, but i believe there are limited options with regards to that.

    Or to try again on my gravel bike with a more realistic goal in mind IE: either covering the distance in 45-60mins, or covering the distance without breaking a major sweat and seeing how long it takes.

    mos
    Full Member

    I’ve been commuting regularly 15Miles each way on a Canyon Endurace ON for the last 6 months, 750ft 1 way & 1200ft the other.
    Going the 750ft direction I’m probably 5 mins slower because of the time I spend riding a 34lb bike with 38mm gravel tyres over 15.5 mph, but I’m less tired.
    Going the other way its around 5 mins faster because I spend longer going uphill with assistance.
    HR average is around 10bpm lower each way but I wouldn’t want to start the day without a shower.
    If I was running road tyres I could probably get 2 days of commuting out of it on middle assistance.
    Removing the battery pack to charge every time is a PITA.
    Fazua connectivity with other devices is w@nk.
    If I had my time again I’d probably get a Trek E-Caliber 9.6 instead of a road bike & fit skinny mtb tyres as I might use it once my driving ban ends but I’ve no interest in riding the Endurace On for fun as its too heavy/slow above the limit.
    I weigh 90kg.

    hooli
    Full Member

    I’d say do it a few times on your gravel bike and see how you go, e-bike or not it is still the best part of an hour in the cold and wet and it isn’t for everybody.

    Add in some time to get the bike out, get kitted up, make sure you have work clothes packed. Then when yo get to work you need to get changed, store kit – potentially wet kit that you need to put back on at the end of the day. There are also extra things to think of like charging lights, maintaining the bike and a good bit more washing.

    Sounds like I am trying to put you off, I’m not but there is more to it than buying a nice new bike 🙂 I go through phases where I just cant be bothered and would rather drive, then I have spells where I really enjoy it and find it rounds my day off nicely and puts me in a good mood.

    TroutWrestler
    Free Member

    I commute 8 miles with 45m climbing one way, and about 100m climbing on the other. It takes me about 30 mins in, and 35 home. My average speed never exceeds 25.5kmph. I ride a Pinnacle Arkose Alfine 8 with Conti Tour Ride 47c tyres.

    I also have an emtb, so appreciate that the e-assist would be very welcome when the headwind is bad.

    MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    My best time for my 12 mile flattish commute on a regular bike is 45 minutes, and that involved a few lights being in my favour and making a proper effort. A legal ebike won’t be quicker due to the limiter.

    convert
    Full Member

    A legal ebike won’t be quicker due to the limiter.

    If that was the only criteria to judge it by. When the obvious significant change is…

    and making a proper effort.

    The commuter ebike would match you in a sit up and beg position, with a bag or two of shopping without getting too much of a sweat on.

    retrorick
    Full Member

    I was considering an e bike for for my 12 Mike commute. I can cycle the distance in 45/50 min on a normal bike. The E would assist on the uphills and acceleration from traffic lights. Might shave off 5 -10 min.
    I bought a 125cc scooter 6 yrs ago and it was the best commuting decision I made. I had a full motorcycle licence anyway so it made sense to buy one when I saw the efficiency mpg compared to the car.
    My job entails shifts so riding to work at 4am doesn’t appeal nor does a 2am ride home.
    The scooter is great, cheap to run, cheap to buy 🤔 compared to an e bike, gets me home in sub 30 min.
    I think I’ll be going all in on an electric scooter this year, pricey but even cheaper on fuel, same speeds, probably higher insurance cost? No more petrol buying tho which is becoming more expensive and an avoidance of the future clean air zone charges around Manchester.

    I’d like to cycle more often but the times I work and the cost of the e bike compared to the scooter is a problem I can’t resolve 🤔

    Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    That sounds a great commute solution Rick, I’d love to try one.

    tjagain
    Full Member

    with a legal ebike over that distance you can set it up so you don’t break a sweat on your commute.  But you won’t be any quicker than if you had a fastish road bike unless your route is hilly. Upping the speed to 20 mph works well around town but decreases range and encourages me to ride like an arse 🙂 Mine is now set up legal,

    It is quite nice tho just pootling along barely turning the pedals and doing 15 mph.  Makes for a relaxed ride to work

    mdavids
    Free Member

    My experience: been doing a 15 mile each way flat commute for many years, mostly on an old road bike then a gravel bike. Average about 3 out of 5 days, then drive the days where it’s too wet/windy or I’m too tired. Takes me about an hour give or take 10 minutes.
    Now do the same journey on a fat tired full sus ebike, probably the most inappropriate style of bike for commuting but I’ve got a motor so it doesn’t matter, it also means it gets used for weekend fun riding as well. Still takes me about an hour, spend most of it sitting just above the limiter at about 16.5 mph. The motor helps getting up to speed at the various points where I’ve had to stop for traffic for example. I arrive non sweaty and less tired. The ride home now takes in 2 decent hills and is almost entirely off-road, something I’d almost never be bothered to do on a manual bike. It used to be such a chore riding home after a tiring day at work, now it’s something I look forward to, I also feel safer as less time spent mingling with the traffic. I don’t care about the wind anymore, it used to be the first thing I’d check before deciding whether to ride or drive.
    Riding to work regularly saves me about £50 – £75 per month in petrol, I’ve had my car 6 years and only put 20000 miles on it so I’ve saved depreciation and maintenance costs.

    DrP
    Full Member

    @v7fmp

    I assume you’re heading from S’ham either east or west??
    The issue with taking the coast road is GENERALLY one way is lovely due to tail wind, then head wind in the other direction!

    I can generally do Worthing to Brighton in about 40min (20km), but the power requirements are MUCH more heading Brighton -> Worthing, and takes about 44min…

    I’m going to be moving to Hove soon, and want to cycle most days..I’ll have to cool my horses if I’ll be doing that regularly INTO the wind!

    I think an EB WILL benefit when heading into teh wind.
    My OH often rides the route on our ED (trek HT with chunky tyres mind) and it’s a MUCH nicer trip for her.

    How tall are you? if you’re about 5’4″ you can borrow our EB to try?!

    DrP

    jameso
    Full Member

    I work approx. 13 miles from home. I drive everyday. I have threatened to ride on numerous occasions, but despite my best intentions, it doesn’t happen.

    Ride your current bike at least once before buying an e-bike, FFS : )

    26 miles a day over 2 rides isn’t much but doing it 5 days a week is.

    I’ll be in a similar position soon, 10 miles of cycle path and lanes to the train station. Intend to ride some days and expect I’ll get an e-bike for the days I want to be on the bike but want to relax. There’s a lot of good in starting and finishing the day both on the bike and pedaling easily.
    You’ll cruise up to 15-16mph and stay there but it’s fine. Riding doesn’t need to be about high av speeds all the time and an e-bike is great for this. Doesn’t need to be an expensive one either and a single-speed might do it.

    v7fmp
    Full Member

    Thanks for more experiences and info guys.


    @retrorick
    – i borrowed my old mans scooter for a couple of weeks and whilst it served a purpose, i didnt overly enjoy the experience all that much. Plus its the ongoing costs, so fuel (albeit less that the car), servicing, insurance etc etc. Maybe i will take a look at the electric options tho.


    @DrP
    – live in Durrington and work in Bognor, so my commute would be into the wind in the morning! I am 5’9″, so might be a bit cramped on your EB, but i appreciate the offer!

    I think once spring has sprung i will try a few rides in on my gravel bike and see how that pans out. Then go from there.

    All this info is definitely food for thought. And makes me more determined to leave the car at home more often!

    DrP
    Full Member

    Hmm… yeah heading Bognor way is a slightly less nice route isn’t it…the a259 can be a bit pants..

    Well, good luck with it all

    DrP

    v7fmp
    Full Member

    @DrP – there is nothing nice about travelling or being in Bognor! 😛

    dave661350
    Free Member

    OP, if you have decent parking at work, maybe start by driving to work and cycling home..then cycle in the next day and drive home. Just a variation on splitting driving and cycling (but obviously leaves you car-less overnight)

    littledave
    Free Member

    I commute by ebike when I do not have a stinking cold. This is basically to get some fresh air rather than save money as my car is an EV.

    Many of the points above regarding speed limiters are valid. It does feel weird and slow on the flat but headwinds are a non issue.

    You need to ride ebikes with a different mindset, settle at the limit and chill out.

    I purchased a Giant hybrid as it had a low front end, many ebikes are too upright if you are an experienced cyclist. (I am only 5 foot and a bit tall so I also wanted a bike with ‘GIANT’ written on it!

    ahsat
    Full Member

    My commute is 12 miles, mainly on canal but with a big climb in the last 2 miles on the way home. As a result I tend to ride in (also riding east so tend to get a tail wind!) and get the train home. But I am only doing it once or twice a week, with WFH the other days. Means I can enjoy my weekend riding for fun, otherwise I’d be trashed. I have thought about an ebike to get me back home, but reality is at the end of a long day, spinning down to the station is a lot easier and more pleasant in the dark (and in covid world there is always room on the trains for my bike!)

    gordimhor
    Full Member

    Last year I was commuting 9 hilly miles to and from work. Took me about 30 min each way on my cube e touring bike. Arrived at work no sweat . Good set of waterproofs dealt with the rain. If I really wanted to I could maybe have shaved 5 min off the time by using turbo to get up the hills and gettin my chin(s) as close to the bar as possible on the downhill. Hybrid style bike made descending like this a bit less than comfortable though.
    The bike itself is practical,comfortable, well made and reliable

    v7fmp
    Full Member

    So after a bit more thought, the option of a train in and a ride home sounds more appealing and negates the want/need to buy a commuter bike, as i can use my already mentioned gravel bike.

    Looks like around £130 for a monthly ticket to get the train….. i didnt realise public transport was so pricey! But still cheaper than running my car, its better for the environment and i get to ride my bike, so overall a win!

    This may sound totally retarded, but do all trains accept bikes (as you can tell, i dont travel on them often!!)

    ahsat
    Full Member

    It very much depends on the train company whether you need to book a slot or not. LNER – total nightmare, only takes 2 bikes and need to pre book. Northern rail, which runs my commuting line, takes bikes without booking and is pretty chilled most of the time about there being more than 2 (unless it’s totally rammed or course).

    Check the company that runs your line.

    Do you need to go in every day? There are also some new flexible tickets if you don’t. And your work might have a staff train ticket option. Advantage of this is if the train doesn’t run, you do have your bike as a back up option.

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