Author Topic: eBikes for touring  (Read 640 times)

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Offline gottobike

eBikes for touring
« on: July 16, 2020, 01:11:27 pm »
Anyone have any tips for touring with an eBike?
I've been riding a Trek Crossrip+ pedelec for about a year and it seems pretty adaptable for bicycle touring. Found I could keep up with most mountain bikes with the electric assist either off or at lowest setting. Also learned that I could ride all day on a single charge by only boosting power when needed on climbs.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2020, 01:20:58 pm by gottobike »

Offline RonK

Re: eBikes for touring
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2020, 04:40:50 pm »
This couple have toured over 27,000 km on e-bikes.


http://ebikecycletourists.com/
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

Offline TCS

Re: eBikes for touring
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2020, 02:02:20 pm »
Our hosts here, Adventure Cycling, seem pretty hep on ebikes.  They called the $7200, 70 pound weight Riese & Muller Delite GT NuVinci a 'harbinger of a bright future'.  I guess both bike touring and the organization have changed a lot since Bikecentennial 76, when "people rode whatever bikes were in their garage, and they all worked pretty well as 'touring bikes'."

A few points off the top of my head concerning some special 'e' parts of ebike touring:

1) There may be an issue with getting to the start of a tour or getting home from a tour.  I read Amtrak now will haul ebikes under 50 pounds weight, but only accepts roll-on or checked baggage bikes at limited stations.  A brief check indicates the intrastate bus companies won't haul batteries, nor will airlines.  It's possible on some freight companies to ship ebike batteries ahead separately as hazardous cargo.

2) On the latest ebikes, technology is making range a non-issue, but an ebike tourist can't yet be blind to it.  (I see Specialized now has models with an advertised range of 120 miles under, of course, specified conditions.  YMMV)

3) Even with aftermarket fast chargers, recharging still takes hours and requires secure access to an electrical outlet.  Logistics of this has to be planned into a tour.

4) States and even municipalities have different laws and regulations governing the use of ebikes.  As an extreme case, one could leave Atlanta pleasantly and legally riding a Class 1 ebike on the Silver Comet Trail.  As soon as the rider crosses the state line into Alabama, they are operating an unlicensed, unregistered, uninsured motorcycle - possibly without a motorcycle operator's license - illegally on a bike path!  So for the present at least, an ebike tourist has to check out the laws of the jurisdictions they are considering touring through.  I see your Trek Crossrip+ is listed as a Class 3 bike, so this would be especially important for you as the laws for Class 3 are much different in most places.

5) In a mixed tour group of standard bikes and ebikes, the riders will have a divide concerning challenges surmounted and experiences shared.  Just something to be sensitive to.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2020, 12:08:23 pm by TCS »
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline SwampYankee

Re: eBikes for touring
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2020, 02:56:44 pm »
We are hoping so.... just took my wife's bike (Rivendell Betty Foy) into a shop to be converted to an e-assist ride. Tech is telling me it will be a good option for 40 - 50 miles/day with assist only. Will give you all a review in a month.
Travel well, kjr

Offline TCS

Re: eBikes for touring
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2020, 03:24:48 pm »
One general observation.  I've read a number of travelogs of ebike tourists who said they only used the lowest assist setting, and only for uphills.

Our example Trek Crossrip+ retails for $4200 and weighs 40 pound plus the weight of the recharger brought along on tour.  A $4200 gravel or endurance road bike will weigh 18 pounds or less. 
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline BikePacker

Re: eBikes for touring
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2020, 04:43:40 pm »
I recognize that the question I am about to post is probably kinda on the order of inquiring,
"How high is up?" : );
however, please indulge me?
Here goes ~
On level pavement what is the typical high end sustained (say 4 hours) speed that would be reasonably anticipated from an e-bike with say 80 pounds of gear/food/water & a 200 pound rider?
- Many thanks.

Offline RonK

eBikes for touring
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2020, 06:09:30 pm »
Depending on the class, e-bike (pedelec) assistance is restricted to 20 or 28 mph in the US. With the assistance those speeds are easily attained. For how long/far depends on the size of the batteries, but obviously the fast you go the sooner the batteries are depleted.
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

Offline TCS

Re: eBikes for touring
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2020, 10:21:44 am »
There are lots of variables, but I've read an elite, professional bicycle racer can put out maybe some 400 Watts over the course of a race.  A bicycle tourist is typically more in the 100 Watt range for a day of touring.

Our OP's Trek Crossrip+ is a Class 3 ebike with an electric-assist system rated at 350 Watts continuous.  So you see by adding the tourist's 100 Watts to the bike's 350 Watts (with the assist turned up to maximum) exceeds the output of the top-tier racer.

Weight isn't a big factor 'on level pavement'.  At the velocities achievable by ebikes, aerodynamics will be.
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline El_Chupacabra

Re: eBikes for touring
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2020, 09:15:43 pm »
We are hoping so.... just took my wife's bike (Rivendell Betty Foy) into a shop to be converted to an e-assist ride. Tech is telling me it will be a good option for 40 - 50 miles/day with assist only. Will give you all a review in a month.
I bet Grant Petersen would love to have a pic of the ebike conversion Rivendell.  Please email one to him.

Offline gottobike

Re: eBikes for touring
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2020, 11:54:29 pm »
Currently I am running a Trek Crossrip+ for day trips and found that it took 5-10 mph off my high speed and basically added it to my slow climbing speeds. For example, on a descent I might do 35-40 mph on my road bike but with my eBike, only 30 mph. However, when climbing I might only be doing 5 mph on my road bike but 10-15 mph on my eBike.
The benefit of higher speed with less effort when climbing is that I no longer pulse out on the climb nor do I overheat.
Of course, the downside is that the battery does not last very long.
To reduce the impact on battery I've been working on finding a minimum acceptable speed and it seems with the gearing on the Crossrip+ and a 30-40 lb load , about 6 mph is where I need a boost. On the flats and descents I do not need to use any battery power and ride in Off mode. When my speed drops below 6 mph on climbs, which is typically over 2% grade, I set to the lowest power setting of Eco. If grade increases and exceeds 4%, my speed drops back to 6 mph and I set to next higher power setting of Tour. As grade exceeds 6%, I move up to Sport power setting and anything over 8% grade gets the highest power Turbo mode.
This allows me to ride all day with only a single charge and although it drops my average day trip speed from ~12 mph to ~10 mph, it is still worthwhile to keep my pulse in check and reduce overheating on climbs.
With this scheme, it seems touring with a single battery is possible but very dependent on getting access to AC power to recharge every night.

« Last Edit: July 20, 2020, 12:32:03 pm by gottobike »

Offline SwampYankee

Re: eBikes for touring
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2020, 11:20:42 am »
As promised here is a small update on the e-assist conversion of my wife’s Rivendell. We added a battery (29ah) and crank set all of which weighed in at about 22lbs. Rode 54 miles with 1,850 elevation gain in 5 hours. Only used the easiest as assist on hills. It appeared the battery was about 95% spent when we were done.

I am not sure if this is helpful.  we are just learning but this gave us an indication that a 60 mile day trail is a doable. Planning to do Albany to Buffalo in August.
Travel well, kjr

Offline adventure124

Re: eBikes for touring
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2020, 11:13:13 am »
Hello,

I think e-bikes are great for the same routes as bikes with the only difference that it is nice for tours that go uphill as well.