Which ebike for me?
August 24, 2022 1:19 PM   Subscribe

If I've got a 22 mile commute with about 400 feet climb on it (all in the middle third) on gravel roads, what ebike could you recommend to me?

I'm currently driving on the paved, no shoulder, lots of blind little hills and curves, country "highway"... the biking distance is just a little much for regular / daily cycling, so I am looking at an ebike option. I would not take the paved road on my bicycle, but rather stick to the parallel running gravel and or dirt roads, so I would want a "hybrid" or "gravel" model with the clearance for bigger tires.
posted by J0 to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
How often do you think you'll be riding the commute? Only on nice days, or in all weather?
posted by craven_morhead at 1:21 PM on August 24, 2022

I only hear good things about Rad Power Bikes. I'd add more lights.
posted by flimflam at 1:27 PM on August 24, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I’m a huge fan of my Diamondback Union 2. I would recommend trying out as many as you can in person. I figured I’d buy a cheaper bike but after trying several of them I fell in love with this pricier model. No regrets—it’s changed the way I feel about biking and keeps it from feeling like a chore to go up big hills or go long distances. I do ride it mostly on paved roads but have ridden it on gravel or dirt roads too without trouble. It has built-in lights that are super bright.
posted by music for skeletons at 1:31 PM on August 24, 2022 [2 favorites]

I have a pair of Juiced RipRacers and I am in LOVE with them. They look like little BMX bikes but I have done 20+ mile rides comfortably. And the battery is big - 52V/15Ah. The fat tires have taken me on dirt, and gravel, and pavement comfortably. And it is a thrill to cruise up a hill at 20+ mph.

If you want a more traditional commuter frame/bike, their RipCurrent gets good reviews, too.

(PS I'm happy to "refer" you - not sure if that still stacks with sale price but that's how I got mine and it did the trick.)
posted by AgentRocket at 2:40 PM on August 24, 2022

Best answer: The Canyon Grail looks pretty good. The Cairn BRAVe is a little more mtb-adjacent (ships with 2.35" tires), if that's a thing you're into.
posted by box at 2:44 PM on August 24, 2022

Best answer: What’s your budget? Giant Has some good options. Or the Trek Verve. Just make sure you get a Class 3 ebike (28mph top boost speed).
posted by TDIpod at 2:46 PM on August 24, 2022

At 22 miles, battery life will be your main limiting factor. I used a Stromer ebike (ca. 2018 version of the ST1) for my 15-mile commute and quickly learned that its 50-mile advertised range didn’t apply to the maximum-assist mode I used to keep up with cars on part of the route. The real range is more like 25 miles so I bought a second battery charger for my desk at work to ensure an always-fresh battery.
posted by migurski at 3:11 PM on August 24, 2022 [3 favorites]

I just got a Bluejay classic ebike and it's fantastic. I'd suggest taking a look at their sport model. I'd for sure consider that a top option if I was going to use an ebook on gravel.

Ultimately, though, for this amount of time on the bike, it's really important that this bike feels comfortable. The best bike is one that feels good and that you want to ride. There's no way to figure that out other than to ride a few different ebikes. Do you have a local shop?
posted by bluedaisy at 4:06 PM on August 24, 2022

I've got a Radrunner 2 and the big tires should do well on gravel. There are no "gears" per se, so if you want to go faster than 15 MPH or so on level ground you'll have to pedal comically fast. But for hilly terrain that's not a big concern, and the assist works fine. Also the battery lasts only about 20 miles with moderate assist. It's got a sturdy rack that could support a backpack with a second battery, though. Oh! And I already blew a fuse on the battery, but that might be because I accidentally stuck my key in the charge port and made a spark...
posted by credulous at 5:50 PM on August 24, 2022

I have a Benno Boost and LOVE it. It can carry anything you might need on a long commute and works well in off-road conditions. You would need to recharge the battery at work, but should be able to get 22 miles to work even on the highest assistance level without a problem. I have the Class 1 model and average around 17 mph without breaking a sweat. The Class 3 model has a faster motor and says it can go up to 28 mph, though assuming the gearing is the same on both models, I think you would have to spin your pedals pretty fast to get to that speed.
posted by mjcon at 9:24 AM on August 25, 2022

Lots of good suggestions here, and I'd like to make one more. If you buy a DTC (direct to consumer) bike like a Rad or Aventon, have it assembled by a bike mechanic at a local shop.

I'm a bike mechanic and some of the DTC bikes we've assembled legitimately could not have been made safe, let alone optimal, by a lay rider.

Not all shops will assemble a bike they didn't sell, so call around and make a plan before you buy.
posted by workerant at 10:45 AM on August 25, 2022

Response by poster: Thanks for your answers! Looks like the main thing is to find a shop and try some out!
posted by J0 at 10:36 AM on September 20, 2022

« Older birthday dinner in Seaport?   |   Tipping etiquette if price is based on stylist... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.