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Thread: Help buying my first ebike

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    Question Help buying my first ebike

    Hi folks

    I'm about to get my first ebike through the halfords cycle2work scheme (it's the one my employer uses). So I am looking at options with a max spend of £3000 (schemes max amount). I will likely be buying online as a quick search on thr cycle2work independent dealer check doesn't show much in my area (central scotland).

    In terms of me: I'm male, 6ft 6inches and about 112kg in weight.

    My usage will mostly be on back paths and cycle paths. I won't be on the main road. Weather conditions in Scotland tend to be temperamental haha. Some hilly terrain but not mountain biking. Im not super fit. So looking at an urban type ebike. I like the idea of it have mudguards and pannier rack etc.

    So far, I have posted the following as options:

    Haibike Trekking 5
    Specialized Vado 3.0 IGH
    Cube Reaction Hybrid Performance 625
    Cannondale equivalent

    But I'm getting pretty overhwlemed with specs etc and not finding much in way of reviews for many of these, so hard to compare.

    So I'm just looking some advice from folk on here who perhaps can compare the bikes and tell me if they are all much of a muchness or not. And whether there are others I need to consider.

    Thank you.
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    Re: Help buying my first ebike

    No advice as it's well beyond my knowledge, but I will watch this with interest. Age and general health make biking unlikely for me, but if not for that, it'd be highly interesting.

    Have fun.
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    Re: Help buying my first ebike

    Ok this is just my own personal opinion and no first hand knowledge of any of the bikes but a good background in mtb'ing and building bikes in general.

    Forget Cannondale, usually overpriced and under specced.

    Of the other three I'd lean towards either the Haibike or Cube with a preference towards the Cube.

    Reasons:
    1. The Specialised is 2Kg's heavier than the Cube yet it has a smaller battery and less powerful (Torque) motor. Weight is not so relevant with an e-bike but you aint short or featherweight and that motor and battery need to do a lot of work (no offense ) So less weight, more powerful motor and bigger battery are key points.

    2. Cube over Haibike. It's the lightest of the 3 at 24Kg's, in my view has the best motor (Bosch) and the components are as good or better than the others. While it's battery is smaller than the Haibike (625w vs 730w) it's a lighter and better bike with a more efficient motor so that evens things out.

    3. The Cube looks like it can take more offroad abuse than either of the other two. I'm biased as I used to be a mountain biker but other two I wouldn't even take down a canal path. However I can't see an pannier mounting points on the Cube so check that out if it's really important to you.

    4. Warranties with e-bikes are really important, the electrics can & do go wrong. I've know a couple of people that needed motors & batteries replacing under warranty. Both were Specialised bikes and in both cases it was no issue with local bike shop dealing with it. Both Specialised and Cube have 2 year warranties on the electrics. Haibike not sure but beleive it's 2 yrs also.

    5. Cube are a bigger more establised brand in the UK than Haibike, they have built some fine mountain & road bikes over the years. Haibike are fairly new to the UK and as far as I'm concerned are cheapish Chinese fair with little to none R&D of their own so pays your money and takes your choice.

    So to summerise if it were my money I'd go for the Cube, if you can't fix panniers to it then use a ruck sack. I believe with the Cube it'll better suit your height and weight, you can do more with it and it'll take more abuse.

    As said all the above is personal opinion, with my mountain biking predujices and I'm only going off the specs with no first hand knowledge.
    Last edited by jimborae; 20-02-2024 at 10:20 PM.

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    Re: Help buying my first ebike

    This is probably unnecessary to point out but, I assume these are something of the order of Lithium-based batteries? If so, the usual caveats about the risks when charging, or even storing if batteries get damaged, would apply.

    I've seen, in the flesh as it were, what even tiny batteries, suitable for very small lightweight drones, are capable of when they let go, let alone batteries of thie size involved here. While I'd assume these are FAR better designed and protected, they're still at risk of damage if you have a tumble on a bike, so I'd suggest the appropriate heat and smoke detectors, etc, if charging indoors and especially unattended.

    Anyway, I imagine none of this is news so I'll leave it at that.
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    Re: Help buying my first ebike

    Quote Originally Posted by neonplanet40 View Post
    I like the idea of it have mudguards and pannier rack etc.
    Definitely a good idea on both - not fun having wet mud all over you and a sweaty back from a backpack! Something that comes with mudguards as standard will have the best fit, otherwise try and get one's with a good fit that wrap around rather than just a little flap that won't keep you clean/dry.

    Also grips and saddles can be upgraded easily for comfort. I've got a set (on my second now after many years!) of Ergon grips which are wonderful: https://www.ergonbike.com/en/product?a=griffe

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    Re: Help buying my first ebike

    If you're looking online, I think Tredz.co.uk are the online arm of Halfords, carry more brands than Halfords do, and still do the CycletoWork scheme. I know less than nowt about what e-bikes are best, but that site might open up more choice if you're feeling restricted by the choices at Halfords

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    Re: Help buying my first ebike

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen999 View Post
    This is probably unnecessary to point out but, I assume these are something of the order of Lithium-based batteries? If so, the usual caveats about the risks when charging, or even storing if batteries get damaged, would apply.

    I've seen, in the flesh as it were, what even tiny batteries, suitable for very small lightweight drones, are capable of when they let go, let alone batteries of thie size involved here. While I'd assume these are FAR better designed and protected, they're still at risk of damage if you have a tumble on a bike, so I'd suggest the appropriate heat and smoke detectors, etc, if charging indoors and especially unattended.

    Anyway, I imagine none of this is news so I'll leave it at that.
    Though by and large the cells are usually the same with 18650 being the most common (18mm diameter, 65mm long). Although there are some 21700 cells used too.

    The only time a lithium cell went for me was a 18650 in a torch. Inside that torch had too much of spring on the end which could bend and then shorted the because the casing is (negative) while that end must have been positive.

    I think the biggest danger with ebike is actually the chargers not the batteries unless they are build by someone without much knowledge / cutting too many couriers. I'd say bicycle couriers as most of them be to on DIY batteries of unknown quality.

    LifePO4 batteries would be far safer but they have about 20% or so less energy density. Nearly x10 the charge cycles though (6,000+ on good ones vs about 600-900 for normal lithium-ion cells).

    As for Bosch motors being the best... aren't they all mid-drive? So not even a (Europe legal) start throttle AFAIK presumably since the gears and chain turning by themselves is just strange?

    While those all aren't cheap bikes, I have to say that the hidden-in-the-frame batteries may look somewhat better when (and it is when) the battery goes, you are then stuck with a proprietary battery.

    At least the standard down-tube Hailong / Shark are readily available as they are made by huge Chinese mass market firms (and are fitted and assembled into packs from really nasty using poor cells to top-quality pack with good cells, and everything in between - so caveat emptor).

    The margins on batteries are huge with, for example that "American" Rad Power (most of their stuff is sourced from China and they quit the European markets) who sold a whole ebike for £900 selling the spare batteries for £500. And it's quite easy to see that the best LG / Samsung cells (which they used) cost way under £200 from fogstar and the like. Therefore their margins most be huge.
    Last edited by kompukare; 20-02-2024 at 10:49 PM.

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    Re: Help buying my first ebike

    Thanks for the info folks. I have ordered a Cube Touring Hybrid Pro 625 (2024 model). I really wanted the Kathmandu Hybrid Pro. But so many retailers charge a surcharge for using the cycle scheme (which technically they shouldn't do).

    So the Cube Kathmandu was going to cost me about £3800 - my scheme only allows £3000 tops. So I would have had to also put up £800 in cash.

    I was able to get the Cube Touring Hybrid Pro 625 for £2699 delivered. So, I went for it as I think it will be fine for me. My initial aim for getting the Kathmandu was for the stronger motor as I am 113kg. So I will be at the top end of the weight limit for most of these bikes.

    Now I just need to find a good bag for the rack.
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    Re: Help buying my first ebike

    Quote Originally Posted by neonplanet40 View Post
    Thanks for the info folks. I have ordered a Cube Touring Hybrid Pro 625 (2024 model). I really wanted the Kathmandu Hybrid Pro. But so many retailers charge a surcharge for using the cycle scheme (which technically they shouldn't do).
    The retailers charge a surcharge for using the scheme because the scheme providers charge the retailers a huge commission. Because the employers choose the scheme there previously wasn't much incentive for the scheme providers to compete on commissions - hence they take the mickey. Now it seems that retailers are pushing back by adding a surcharge to cover their losses.
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    Re: Help buying my first ebike

    I had read that this is why they did it. But I was finding some shops which had a bike on sale for say £2500. But they were then saying id have to pay a surcharge. But then asking for £3000. Well beyond the charges of the scheme.

    I have read that the scheme my work uses charges the most - I read 15% somewhere. But when getting shops to give me a price, they were coming back with a variety of prices. Some would just increase it by 15%, which I could understand. Others (such as Damien Harris) were charging 20%. Others were just making it up. I can see shops covering their charges. But others were just penalising the buyer and more than covering their charges which is poor. Yet the shop I went with in the end charged no extra fees. And their bike was a similar price to those shops which had it on sale.

    Either way, some companies are defintely milking it. Others are just covering costs which is fair. Either weay, I personally didn't lose out. My hope is only that companies taking the p* lose customers and those who aren't, do well.
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