Ebikes... I'm a hairs breadth from buying, advice please (UK)

Discussion in 'The Guru's Pub' started by Mufflore, Jan 2, 2020.

  1. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    I used to bike a lot but havent done much for over 10 years and need to do some keep fit.
    I'm not overweight at near 70Kg, just a trifle unfit.
    I still have 2 mountain bikes but where I live now is so hilly its prohibitive despite having superb woodland, but its so steep!
    I've been studying Ebikes for the past few days to put the fun back in and have made a lot of headway.
    My needs are local commuting, shopping and off road fun. Also seeing some good views to draw cos I recently found I'm ok at art.
    Shopping runs will become a good way to get exercise.
    Perhaps I will get back into using my none powered bikes after a while.

    I'd love to get a US spec or better bike (750W+) but the law in the UK is strict, 250W continuous max or you can get done for no tax, MOT, insurance, license maybe and not wearing a helmet. Yep pants, it becomes a motorbike over 250W.
    And points on license which means insurance for my car is much more expensive.
    Not going this route.
    So this puts the max aided speed at only 15mph darn.

    At the moment I am settled on the NCM Moscow Plus for many reasons:
    https://leoncycle.co.uk/NCM-Moscow-Plus-275-Electric-Mountain-Bike-E-Bike-250W-48V-16Ah-768Wh-silver

    Great quality equipment (gears/tyres/seat/frame/brakes..., apart from the forks which I may replace)
    High quality battery and motor @ 48V, 55Nm 250W
    Mountain bike
    Boosts strongly up hills, suggested peak at 350W
    Battery range is very good at 768Wh, minimum of 40miles up to 90
    Comes in 27.5" and 29" versions. I'll get the 27.5" so less impetus is required to accelerate.
    Reliable as far as can be told (I dont think it has been out for a year but I'm not finding any bad reports apart from spoke tightness issues)
    Practically all user reviews are glowing, even those that have had high end bikes. Magazines love it
    You can actually buy it in the UK!

    At just over £1200 with the current sale, and a spec beating bikes over £2K (apart from the forks), its serious value.
    I cant find anything else near this price for the quality which makes it a good prospect for upgrades and will still cost less.


    Have I missed something important?
    ie other bikes worth considering, a problem with this bike, my interpretation of the specs?
    Advice is much appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2020
  2. Loobyluggs

    Loobyluggs Ancient Guru

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    Anything electric gets a brucie bonus from me.
     
  3. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    lol, I have a shaver, double Brucie!
     
  4. The Laughing Ma

    The Laughing Ma Ancient Guru

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    How much are you willing to spend because the bike spec itself is nothing impressive, all lower to mid tier at best Shimano Acera equipment which is about two or three steps from bottom. The Textro brakes are in general fine certainly better than the mince that Clarks are pushing out nowadays. I would be wary of the combination of Shcwalbe tyres and an Ebike with integrated rear drive hub, to say you're not going to have fun getting those things off when it comes to changing a tyre is an understatement and I would certainly question the claimed mileage of 90miles on that 400w battery, you'll be lucky if you get half that on standard usgae.

    If you can stretch it I would get the Voodoo Bizango E. the bike spec itself is much better, forks, brakes, drive components are all two or three steps above the stuff on the bike you've listed, it has an integrated BB Bosch drive system which will be far more reliable (Bosch has one of these drive modules immersed in water that still runs) and should you need to ever change that rear tyre you'll have a much easier job, no faffing about with wiring looms, no man handling ton and half weight of wheel.

    Downsides are that it's a 29er so great if your going to be doing a lot of off road stuff, not so great if you're going to be using it on the roads although it does have Rockshocks with a full lock out which the specs and pictures for the Moscow look like it has Suntour XC forks which only have rebound adjusters and not a full lock out, it's hard to tell as the spec has a question mark suggesting they don't know what forks the bike has.
     

  5. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    I'll go up to £2K on my first bike if there is a definite benefit.
    I didnt mean to infer the Moscow Plus competes with high end gear just that people who have had much better bikes are very happy with it. The parts are great quality for the price is what I meant to say, not in the overall scheme :)
    I'm ok with stripdowns, I've rebuilt a few motor bikes and cars. I plan on getting better tubeless tyres once the stock ones have worn.
    The battery is 48V 16A, 768Wh btw, not 400Wh. It should get near the claimed mileage in eco mode on a flat, a fair bit less on my hills. I need close to 55 miles tough riding to have enough range as it ages, any more is a bonus.
    2 good reasons a larger battery rather than 2 smaller: It lasts longer without a charge so gets less charge wear and is much more convenient. Not pushing each cell so hard also reduces wear.
    I would go through a single 400W pretty quick and would lose convenience.
    The size of the battery on this bike and the efficient motor make it such good value.

    400W battery will need an upgrade pushing the price near my max but I appreciate the other benefits.
    The rated 75Nm motor wouldnt be road legal on the UK version surely? (edit: actually it is, the Moscow Plus motor also boosts to around 75Nm)
    Being a mid placed motor concerns me.
    One of my biggest bugbears with bikes on hills is replacing chains, sprockets and cranksets early. They all must be changed at the same time if one wears otherwise they all very quickly wear to the worst worn parts level.
    Because of this I have been looking at rear hub motors to save the chain/sprockets rather than put a lot more load on them.
    Perhaps my thinking on this is wrong?
    I'm interested in your opinion.

    Yeah, I really want smaller than 28" wheels if possible, but compromises might be needed.
    The snappier acceleration is sweet on a smaller wheel due to less rotational mass.
    I was planning on changing the forks anyway, I'm not a fan of sprung front shocks.

    I'm not after perfection yet. a decent enough bike to do a few off road tricks and see me to shops/events over 25 miles away.
    If I enjoy it enough I might go high end in a few years.
    I may even keep this for road trips and get a 1KW for off road because I live on the edge of a lot of hilly woodland, that would be amazing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2020
  6. The Laughing Ma

    The Laughing Ma Ancient Guru

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    Ahh that explains where the cash is going then, I must have mis read something somewhere no idea where I though it was 400w. As for the rest of the bike specs, I wouldn't say they are that great if you stripped the electric motor parts off you have a £300 - £400 bike at best. Just to put it in context to upgrade from the forks on the Moscow to those on the Bizango E you would need to spend £200+ which is as close as it comes to the difference in price, add in that you also have a much better bike underneath with a better drive system, albeit it with a smaller battery.

    Not really sure it would make a real difference, it comes down really to using the gears correctly and making sure you maintain the drive components. Since I referenced the Bizango E you'll find that it uses a much wider gear range, 10 spd Deore with a much larger 1st gear 36t and a matching smaller 10th 11t. Although the Moscow doesn't say how many gears it has if it's claiming Acera full spec then that means it's max will be 8spd on an 11-32t ratio, if you're lucky it'll have a mega range with a 34t 1st gear which will help with claimbing but I am pretty sure the Mega Range cassettes where mostly stuck on to Hybrids. The bad news is that 11-32t is the standard on a lot of mid range bikes which have the advantage of having 3 additional chain rings at the front to give a suitable selection of gear ratios. That means that under certain circumstances the Moscow is going to have to fall back on it;s motor to fill in the gaps that not having the 2 additional crankset rings.The Bizango E is pretty much the same as the bog standard Bizango, it has a smaller drive cog but the 1 / 10 ratio means that you keep the full range of gears for standard purposes and won't have to fall back on the motor any where near as much to fill in the gaps.

    Just remember the Bizango is a 29er it's designed for climbing over 'boulders' and not for kick ass speed.

    It's an offset of costs, the exposed hubs on the rear means they take a lot more abuse, you also risk issues with dirt and debris caused by the torque / crank sensors on these sort of hubs being located in the open on the front crank set so yes you'll save money on wear and tear on the chain and drive components but you'll have to take in to consideration that you'll have to spend more time cleaning and maintaining the areas around the hub and especially the crank / torque sensor areas also be aware that you have a considerably additional mass located on the back wheel so you do run an increased risk of buckling it, I'd also be concerned if you've read reports of spokes either being over or under tightened. Talking of mass your concerns about the increased size of the 29er won;t make a huge difference in the real world, especially on an Ebike, I would doubt you would ever notice the difference. It comes down to weather you will spend more time off roading and if you are what sort of off roading you're doing.

    To be honest it's a tough one if the Erange is the issue I doubt you're going to find much that will match it for the price, you just have to take in to account that the bike underneath it is a pretty run of the mile machine and that the electric motor will also be there to fill in the gaps created ironically by the installation of the motor. You can get cheaper Ebikes with matching or infact better underlying bike spec but the key thing with this one is the Ecomponent specifically the battery and that seems to be were the majority of the cash is going.

    What I would strongly recommend before buying is checking out how readily available spares are, how easy it is to get hold of them and how much they cost (especially the battery packs), who can service the bikes in the UK, what kind of diagnostics are available for the Ecomponents and what their warranty conditions for them are.
     
  7. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    Battery size is quite important, I'm trying to avoid getting stuck with a 4 Stone+ bike far from home within these hills.
    Something I forgot to mention which has a lot to do with why I want a rear hub motor: A chain break or mangle still gives me an easy route to civilisation using the walk feature with a rear hub motor. A crank powered bike would be more likely to suffer this and wont be able to help get home. Made more important as the woods are sometimes not safe where I live.
    I'll see what battery options there are for the Bizango E anyway, its growing on me. Thanks for the heads up.

    The Moscow Plus is an 8 cassette and x3 crank, 24 gears total.
    Specs: https://ncmbikes.de/produkt/ncm-moscow-plus-275
    (There is a little more info at the bottom of the page)
    [​IMG]

    Keeping it clean is easy with 2 outside water sources to quickly douse it with after a run.
    Spoke tightness issues from new wont be a problem, I would give any bike a thorough checkup/service before use. I buckled enough wheels in my youth!

    Servicing might be an issue, a wise point you made.
    I'm going off the Moscow, NCM respond quite quickly but fob my questions off, they dont give the same service here as the US side.
    It appears all they want to do is sell kits direct from China.
    I will report back what they say about servicing the motor, I fear I know the answer.

    Do you know any rear motor hub bikes worth considering with at least 600Wh battery, up to £2K, perhaps a bit more?
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
  8. XenthorX

    XenthorX Ancient Guru

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    What's your height? wish i was 70kg lol.
     
  9. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    5' 9" / 175cm
    lol, I wish I was a bit heavier for the right reasons.
    I used to be 80Kg at my peak of fitness, that would be nice.
     
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  10. XenthorX

    XenthorX Ancient Guru

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    180cm/75kg here, and it's not muscle i'm telling you lol... Trying to go down to 70kg, let's see where my new year resolutions will bring me !
    Trying to run a bit every day, just did 1Hour tonight, i'm crushed.

    Good luck with your ebike!
     
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  11. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    Thanks.
    An Ebike might be just what you need, a fun way to exercise.
    Thats my plan :)
     
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  12. Fox2232

    Fox2232 Ancient Guru

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    Joyor X5s here. It can do 15/25/35hm/h, but I am using 25km/h mode since that's local legal limit for electric "helpers".
    And it is where it has farthest travel distance.

    I have it for few years and it is quite good. I'd say that eBikes are better for most use cases.

    Battery specs which you have in #7 are quite awesome. But it comes at price of 29kg. You should consider lifting that. As it may be bit problematic due to shape.
    And I like that price for what I see there too.
     
  13. HeavyHemi

    HeavyHemi Ancient Guru

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    "I still have 2 mountain bikes but where I live now is so hilly...." I had to stop there....:p
     
  14. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    lol yeah, my current level of fitness doesnt cut it, I'm missing 15Kg of meat!
    The plan is to get fit and enjoy it even more with an Ebike, go further, do more.
    I've just been discussing it with a friend who is trying to lose his mid life spread, a light flicked on in his head.
     
  15. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    Haha fantastic but isnt it a bit dangerous?
    I wouldnt take it into the woods lol.

    Yeah the bike I have been looking at is a good prospect because of the price, battery and it has some off road scope.
    29Kg seems high compared to others but a lot of ebike specs cheat by removing the battery (4Kg) and other items. At least this one is honest in that regard.
    But I am concerned over where and how to service the motor, I should hopefully know more tomorrow.
    I'm looking at other bikes because I dont think I'll be happy with the answer.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020

  16. Fox2232

    Fox2232 Ancient Guru

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    You can bet. It is not suited for anything else than streets. And going down even on road makes you feel that 25km/h is a lot.
    On bikes 40km+ feels OK, on paddle scooter you have respect from speed.
     
  17. anticupidon

    anticupidon Ancient Guru

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    Have you heard about Bafang?.
    They offer a full conversion kit, and way cheaper than buying a new e-bike.
    Could it be a serious alternative.
     
  18. ZXRaziel

    ZXRaziel Member Guru

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    I am thinking about getting one too , I have tested few and absolutely love it , I don't mind using my legs it's a good exercise but when you going up few steep hills it's exhausting and legs are killing me the next day , with a electric bike I was doing wheelies up the hill in the lakes district it was so much fun and still a good e xcercise just with a little bit of help when you need it .
     
  19. Fox2232

    Fox2232 Ancient Guru

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    I would advise against any conversion kit that adds external motor. Has extra gears/chains to transfer power. They always break and have low power efficiency.
    Over years, it has been proven that only really durable and good solution is to have motor integrated directly in wheel. (same axis)
    There are conversion kits like that too.
     
  20. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    Yes, they make high quality motors and kits, thanks for mentioning.
    I strongly considered converting one of my mountain bikes and looked up a lot of kits, but my bikes are 20 years old and not very high spec, who knows what weaknesses are hidden.
    I've decided to spend a bit more anyway to get what I want :)
     

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