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E-bike Recommendations and Experiences


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We’ve recently been looking at all the e-bikes that have become available.  There is an older thread that has some information here.  I’ve read in posts about racks and transport that a number of Oliver owners have e-bikes.  Any good or bad experiences?  Recommendations on class (I’ve seen some trails that are limited to Class I)?  I’m sure this is like asking about which truck is best, but I’m more interested in features and capabilities to look for.  Mike

Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

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I'm at the looking stage also. A store near me has a Specialized Vado demo bike that fits me that I'll likely be trying for a day in the week ahead (they charge a rental fee that's applied 100% if you buy one). I'm hoping for something that's decent as an upright pavement bike as well as good for gravel (sometimes with rough bits). One thing I've heard is get a center drive (motor on crank not a wheel hub) so you can use the bike's gearing to help the motor do its best.

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Jim and  Yanna, Woodinville WA

2004 Ford E250 camper conversion

Oliver Elite II hull #709

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It is really important to get a brand that has a local dealer, these machines are not as simple as regular bikes, they can have electronic and electrical issues just like a car, and many bike shops will not work on them! I do not have an ebike yet, but I am  partial to the Yamaha ones, they have a superior warranty and are very high quality. Mid-drive with both speed and cadence sensors will give you the most natural feel. It makes you feel like Superman, with a very transparent assist. Avoid any bike with a hand throttle that can make the bike go by itself, they are illegal in many states on bicycle paths. “Pedal Assist” types only if you want to ride bike trails, and most states limit the power and motor assisted speed (tho you can pedal faster, no worries, like downhill).

Look for light overall weight and a removable battery, that makes loading and unloading a lot easier, and the battery should be stored out of the weather and out of sight (theft). I would buy this Cross Connect, it is 49 pounds with fenders and rack; since I live in an arid climate,  I would take those off and store them for the next owner, or sell them. I think it is a very sexy design too.

https://www.yamahabicycles.com/bikes/crossconnect/

The Haibikes are quite nice and are a great value, but they do not compare to the Yamahas.

https://www.haibike.com/

Watch a bunch of ebike review videos, that will teach you a lot. Don’t walk blindly into a store and just take the sales droid’s recommendation.

John Davies

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel.

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We went with the Rad E-Bikes. We picked the RadMini for my husband and the RadMini Step-Thru for myself. The bikes have the fat tires for off road or sand plus they fold. We carry them in our truck bed under a Leer Topper with only the handles folded down. When not camping we tend to buzz around in our Jeep and both will fit in the back with the seat folded down. They are mid-priced, not the cheapest bike offered and certainly not even close to the most expensive. They work great for us. They are a little heavier than some of the more expensive brands so we team lift to load them. My husband can load them by himself but it's easier with two people lifting them into the back of a 4WD truck.

radpowerbikes.com

Cindy

RV travels with plenty of room for our Blackstone Adventure Grill, Aluminum Table, Gas Firepit, Outdoor rug, 2 chairs, storage box with helmets, life vests for kayaks and more  

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photos of Jeep travel. 

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Charlie & Cindy / Cleburne, TX / 2021 Elite II Hull #743 / 2013 Ford F250 Diesel 4WD Supercab

States we've camped in our Oliver:

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  • 2 weeks later...
18 hours ago, DonnaDuane said:

A real bike may seem like too much work, but your body will thank you for it someday

It's all in how you use it. If you have the "pedal assist" type instead of throttle, and you use it to help you maybe breathe a little less hard on big hills and to just simply go further while staying within your fitness range then you can still get PLENTY of exercise on these. I have a friend who uses one to do a two hour round trip daily commute and this ultramarathoner (he did a 50 mile foot race earlier this year) reports back that the e-bike allows him to cover a daily distance he wouldn't take on as often with a non motorized bike and that he's getting great base level endurance conditioning from his commute. I've done big mountain ski tours and hikes with him this summer (the skiing was back in early July and did involve 45 minutes at the start and end of hiking with skis strapped to packs but the skiing portion was phenomenal!) and can report that he's still in great shape despite having gone to the dark side bike-wise. Here he is at about 8,500' above sea level and 3k' above the car in mid July (we ascended about 600' further before taking a long break before the very fun descent).

 

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Jim and  Yanna, Woodinville WA

2004 Ford E250 camper conversion

Oliver Elite II hull #709

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I have no direct knowledge, but I think if I were in the market right now, I'd give a close look to Cannondale's new Neo Topstone e-bikes, which seem to be getting good reviews.  I only say that because I'm lusting a bit for the regular Topstone right now.  The new 'gravel bike' category really hits the sweet spot for where I ride, and would probably fit well for travel, especially in e-bike form.  They're made for the combo pavement and not too technical trails - mild rear suspension and an optional front suspension fork.  They're essentially 90's style mountain bikes with drop handlebars.  Pricey of course, since it's Cannondale, especially for the front suspension models.  But they look sweet, don't they?

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We have the Rad Mini's Step Thru's, great e-bikes and very please with RAD and from there service per the internet, great customer satisfaction. We have had them for two years and no problems to date. We carry them in the back of the RAM with no problem, these are the folding models, but we find it easier not to fold them for loading and unloading is easier for us. Watch videos on YouTube there are plenty on this 20" model to see and checkout, the 20" model is also good for off road riding on dirt trails, don't let the size fool you, they are easy to ride. We are in our 70's and the e-bikes work well for us. RAD is the largest seller on online e-bikes, I personally went to a bike shop and rode one of there bikes, the price was way too high and the bike we rode was no way close to what we got with the RAD.  We will be taking them camping next and I will take some photos of then in the RAM to see how we carry them. Here are a few pics of our RAD'S.

trainman

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Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #489, 2019 RAM 1500, 5.7 Hemi, 4X4, Crew Cab, 5'7" bed, Towing Package, 3.92 Gears.

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@Trainman Interesting you both got the RAD bikes. This is the model I have been looking at as well. The ST model seems small for my wife and I. I am 6'1" with an inseam of 32" and she is 5'6" with an inseam of 30 inches. According to their chart the RadMini ST can be small once you break 28 inch inseam. I like the ST through as it has a spot for a water bottle where the RadMini 4 does not. @Mike and Carol As for class I have two really popular trails up by me and only allows class I and the other class II (Hiawatha Trail and Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes respectfully). So it is really case by case. But the laws really differ by state as well. Here are some resources to help. I am still trying to get this all figured out in my head as well so figured the research may help others. 


https://ebikegeneration.com/pages/e-bike-laws-in-the-usa-by-state
https://www.peopleforbikes.org/electric-bikes/state-laws

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_bicycle_laws#United_States

https://quietkat.com/blogs/articles/the-best-e-bike-trails-in-the-united-states

 

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Zodd, thanks.  The links are informative, I’ve been reading through the first one on bike laws by state and it explains the different classes nicely.  The last one has some nice videos on e-bike trails.  I’ve read it’s important to have a local dealer or at least a qualified repair shop close by.  Being close to a big city helps, but I guess reliability is important when you’re out riding trails around Moab!  Mike

Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

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Just some info on the Rad Mini's, they do have bottle holder on the up part of the frame, we do not have our water bottles there, but do have our bike locks mounted there, the frame has tapped threads there for what ever you would like to mount there. I'm 6'1" and weigh 240 with a 31" inseam and the bike fits me just find and comfortable to ride, I did change the seat for a more comfortable one, best improvement for comfort. I have ridden the Mini some 22 miles on rides and no discomfort, except my 76 year old body has normally. 

RAD does have a mobile repair service that will service your e-bike at your home and it is also used to setup a new bike if you want that service. A dealer close to you for servicing your bike might be nice, but bikes sold at these dealers are more expensive and RAD service with a phone call to them will actually get you a real person to talk with, they have 35 plus employees at there home office in Seattle. Most online sellers of e-bikes only have 3-4 employees and at times when they have no bikes to sell you a luck to get someone to answer the phone. 

E-bike are under the same regulations as a peddle bicycle, so you can ride them any place you can ride a peddle bike, but you have to obey the laws in the area you are riding. Normally you will be riding with both hikers and trail walkers, so you need to give them a good clearance when riding, plus ring you bell, or say, "on your right, or on your left", when passing. Riding in cities with bicycle lanes is the best place to ride and if bicycles are not allowed on sidewalk then neither are you. 

The RAD will go faster if you want them to by just by setting the controls on your speed controller, you can get 24 mph easily, but your controller is set at the factory to where the bike will only go 20 mph, this is where it can meet the laws for bicycles, fast it becomes a scooter and the laws are totally different for them. You can find the fast speed adjustment on YouTube for the RAD e-bikes. 

Mike and Carol, we will be at the Pineknot Rally in Grapeland, Texas this fall and will be bring our RAD there to ride, hope you will be there, there will probably be some 5-6 Oliver's there. Plus anyone wanting to talk about e-bikes is welcome to send me and email and I will get back with you, we are going camping tomorrow and will be gone till Friday. I studied the RAD's for six months before we purchased one and found as much info as I could about them, very happy we went with RAD.

Trainman

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Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #489, 2019 RAM 1500, 5.7 Hemi, 4X4, Crew Cab, 5'7" bed, Towing Package, 3.92 Gears.

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1 hour ago, Trainman said:

Mike and Carol, we will be at the Pineknot Rally in Grapeland, Texas this fall and will be bring our RAD there to ride, hope you will be there, there will probably be some 5-6 Oliver's there. Plus anyone wanting to talk about e-bikes is welcome to send me and email and I will get back with you, we are going camping tomorrow and will be gone till Friday. I studied the RAD's for six months before we purchased one and found as much info as I could about them, very happy we went with RAD.

Trainman

We’re leaving in a couple of weeks for Colorado to camp with our son and his family and then on to Taos, New Mexico.  We’ll be gone until the end of October so we’ll miss Pineknot this year.  ☹️  Mike

Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

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