Experience with ebike ?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Experience with ebike ?

    I am a senior rider (71 to be exact) and still love the sport, although finding myself walking more, both steep ups and risky downs. My riding group (58-72 yo, all men) have recently switched to ebikes and are tremendously enjoying them. At least one had started to worry about how hard his heart was working on the climbs, and is having a worry-free blast on the ebike. With lots of encouragement, I got a top of the line ebike, and while I enjoy it on fireroad and easy double track, I do not like it at all on technical singletrack or steep downhill. Our bikes are all around 45-48 lbs, but I am 115 lb with gear,64 inches tall, and they are 70-74 inches and average 200 lbs. I haven't seen much written about this, but I'm thinking the weight and size of even the Small ebike is making it very difficult for me to ride safely in anything but beginner terrain. Has anyone else had a similar experience ? I have fallen twice on sections that I'm sure I would not have fallen on with my regular bike. Once the bike starts to go off center for any reason, the weight makes it hard to control. It feels like a huge tanker barely under control going downhill, even if I'm going as slowly as possible and still keep the bike upright. It seems a comparable bike weight for my friends would be over 70 lbs (!!!!) And don't get me started on how hard it is to get the darned thing over fences/stepovers, not to mention onto my bike rack. The industry seems to be oblivious...although I don't see them pushing ebikes for kids which is probably informative. The Spec SL wasn't out when I bought my bike, and that probably would be better, but the Small is still a bigger frame than I prefer...not to mention $$$

  2. #2
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    This doesn't help much with your current situation, however Revel propulsion has a 9# net weight gain kit that you can add to your standard bike. It also has a quick release system leaving you with 2 bikes in 1. Good luck.

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  3. #3
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    Sorry to hear this Julie. I don't have an e-bike but I think they can be awesome for keeping people out there riding! If you haven't had it very long, perhaps you need more time in the saddle to get used to the handling. I would spend alot of time on the easy trails first. Going as slow as possible often makes bikes harder to control rather than easier, a little momentum can be your friend. But be safe! I feel you on lifting over obstacles, maybe pair up with your friends for those? A homemade ramp or even a pet ramp (some collapse easily) or BMX jump ramp would help with loading onto the bike rack. Anther possibility besides a lighter bike would be an e-fatbike, which has gobs of traction. Mt friend got the Norco VLT Bigfoot and loves it, but I have not looked at the size charts. In the meanwhile I hope you are out enjoying the trails you are comfortable on!

  4. #4
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    I think maybe I can help a little. I am 5í6Ē 115 lbs 56 years old. I purchased my first e-bike at the beginning of 2018, Specialized Levo, and recently sold it to get a Levo SL. Really at your size you might consider the Alu SL in an XS. What I find really adds stability to the bike is some plus size tires on wide rims. I run 27.5 x 3.0 rocket Ronís on i45 rims. I have tried narrow tires and or rims but I am constantly fighting to keep the bikes weight centered. I run the tires at 10 psi for amazing traction. With this type of rim/tire combo I had complete confidence in the Levo. With that being said the Levo SL was made for you. I love the motor on that bike and how it feels and handles like a normal bike. Mine is a comp carbon with some mods and it weighs 36 lbs ready to ride and with just the internal battery 50 miles 4000 feet is normal. But if you get a set of 27.5 x 3 tires/ wheels you could always switch them over to the SL when you get one. What bike are you riding now and what wheel/tire combo?


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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julie View Post
    I am a senior rider (71 to be exact) and still love the sport, although finding myself walking more, both steep ups and risky downs. My riding group (58-72 yo, all men) have recently switched to ebikes and are tremendously enjoying them. At least one had started to worry about how hard his heart was working on the climbs, and is having a worry-free blast on the ebike. With lots of encouragement, I got a top of the line ebike, and while I enjoy it on fireroad and easy double track, I do not like it at all on technical singletrack or steep downhill. Our bikes are all around 45-48 lbs, but I am 115 lb with gear,64 inches tall, and they are 70-74 inches and average 200 lbs. I haven't seen much written about this, but I'm thinking the weight and size of even the Small ebike is making it very difficult for me to ride safely in anything but beginner terrain. Has anyone else had a similar experience ? I have fallen twice on sections that I'm sure I would not have fallen on with my regular bike. Once the bike starts to go off center for any reason, the weight makes it hard to control. It feels like a huge tanker barely under control going downhill, even if I'm going as slowly as possible and still keep the bike upright. It seems a comparable bike weight for my friends would be over 70 lbs (!!!!) And don't get me started on how hard it is to get the darned thing over fences/stepovers, not to mention onto my bike rack. The industry seems to be oblivious...although I don't see them pushing ebikes for kids which is probably informative. The Spec SL wasn't out when I bought my bike, and that probably would be better, but the Small is still a bigger frame than I prefer...not to mention $$$
    Yeah, when i got my ebike, i feel over a few times as i wasn't used to the weight of the bike.

    Didn't take long though.

    Now i feel that I'm invincible on the down and have a lot of fun on the up.

    I have a 180 mm front and rear travel, probably 52 lbs.

    My wife has the same bike, she weighs 135, loves it.

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  6. #6
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    Interesting !

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    Hi Jill I appreciate your insights/experience ! Iím definitely considering 27.5 wheels, and Iím trying to locate a Small SL that I can demo at least on pavement with hills. I currently have a Small S Works Turbo Levo with the shortest stem. I changed the brake pads to organics as I found the originals very grabby and stronger than I needed. I also changed out the front Butcher 2.5 for a Maxxis HighRoller II after the Butcher let go unexpectedly a couple of times. The standover is ok but not great, and the bike feels like a small motorcycle to me. It is way overpowered for my weight in Turbo and the higher end of Trail. I enjoy it in open, mildly technical terrain, but dislike it in tight switchbacks, singletrack requiring agility around obstacles and ruts, off camber hillside trails and such.

  8. #8
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    Julie, I am in Irvine and have a small comp carbon LEVO SL you could take on a ride. Just send me a private message and we can set something up.

    Another thing you should check is the suspension. I have found that all of the tunes are firmer on the Ebike, but at 115 lbs you really do not need that. Too harsh of suspension and you will just be wrestling the bike the entire time.

    I do agree with you that the Levo feels like a small dirt bike, just way too much power and weight for your size. The Levo SL feels like a bike. The weird thing is I was really worried that the SL would be way under powered and I would need to run on turbo, nope 30% is more than enough.

    Have Fun! Jill


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  9. #9
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    This thread really raises an interesting point: Namely that adding 250W to a 115# rider has a far different effect than adding 250W to a 215# rider.

    This is something that should be taken in to consideration when purchasing an e-bike.

    Maybe smaller bikes should just come with smaller/ lighter motors and battery packs?

    I do think that someone who is only 5'4" tall is (much) better served by 27.5" wheels rather than 29ers for general trail riding.

  10. #10
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    Interestingly, although the original Turbo Levo had 27.5 wheels, Specialized no longer recommends using them due to the increase in pedal strikes. Even with 29 inch wheels, I noticed more strikes than with my analogue bikes, but that was remedied when I changed to thin flat pedals. Some folks are going to 155 cranks vs the 165 that come with the bike, even on the 29 wheels. What you suggest makes great sense though !!

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