Well, after way too much research, much of it at this awesome site, and also after driving most of the people in my life a little crazy, I took the plunge and bought an electric bike. I picked it up a few weeks ago.
And I think it’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
I wrote about all this for Better Humans at Medium, which you can read here: How an E-Bike Got Me off the Couch and Back in Love with Exercise. Maybe that article brought you to this little corner of madness. If so, howdy.
What’s not in the Better Humans piece is what I actually bought. But I can share here that I ended up with a 2020 Specialized Turbo Vado 3.0. It’s this one: https://www.specialized.com/us/en/turbo-vado-3-0/p/170305?color=274059-170305.
I love, love, love this bike. Mostly because it feels like a “bicycle,” and it looks like one too; the battery is hidden in the frame so it’s not so obvious. I’ve been puttering around on an old Walmart-special mountain bike for years. But this thing is so polished and comfortable, shifts great, very solid and I feel totally in command. And I can hardly hear the motor. Specialized uses a Brose, which some argue is the quiet one (other e-bikes use motors from Bosch, Yamaha, or Bafang, if you’re keeping score). What I do know is that I went through the park, past lots of people, and had to use the bell because nobody looked up or even noticed me coming behind them (and I’m too shy to yell, “Hey get outta the way!). I even turned off the motor support at one point on a flat surface, doing about 15 MPH – no difference in sound.
It does not feel heavy at all. It FEELS like you’re on a lightweight bike. But this is deceptive – heavy is heavy. I came to a rolling stop once and turned onto a sidewalk, and being unused to hydraulic brakes, I hit them hard and I almost went down. So it takes a little while to get the feel of things, especially if you’re an amateur like me.
Honestly, I found the whole e-bike thing seriously daunting — and kind of fun to learn about, too — because there are so many options and e-bikes are still evolving. Seems like each year brings innovations and changes. Not in the price – they are expensive! Which is a shame. Because I think the more people ride them, the better we’ll all be, in a “change yourself, change the world” kind of way.
I’ve done about 65 miles so far. I posted my early experiences on this forum, so read along there if you like – but I’ll also post updates here as I keep learning, adding accessories, and riding – assuming it actually gets above 45 degrees in New Jersey at some point for f$&$‘s sake!