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bajaric
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[*] posted on 5-13-2022 at 09:59 AM
e-bike for offroad use?


I am considering buying a "fat tire" e-bike to ride off road.

A little background: I have a truck with a camper shell. I like to park in a campground, then ride a short distance (5-10 miles) off road to various nearby locations. I had a little Honda CRF100 dirt bike, but it was too small for me. In the soft sand the rear tire would spin and it would fishtail. (I am carrying a few extra pounds..) Besides my friends all said I looked ridiculous riding that tiny little moto. What is more, even the smallest bike Honda makes was a pain to load and unload off the back of the truck using a ramp. Great little bike, though, bulletproof. I no longer have it.

Anyway, am wondering how an e-bike would work for offroad. I have watched some YouTubes and it appears that even the fat tire e-bikes are not that great in soft sand, the riders have to get off and push. I don't ride on the beach but do get into some soft sandy arroyos. A need for speed is not essential, what I want is ability to carry me and some cargo (300 pounds) and crawl over 10-20 miles of soft sand and rough single track trails. thoughts? Is a little chain driven bicycle with a Shimano derailer going to hold up in the dirt?

[Edited on 5-15-2022 by bajaric]
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[*] posted on 5-13-2022 at 10:18 AM


There is a supplier in Canada that supplies E-Bicycles with the fat Kenda tires for soft surfaces. They are pedal type bicycles and come with shocked front forks, good range and top speed of about 28kph.
Here is the link for US:
https://voltbike.com/us/yukon-core.html
Or here for Canada:
https://www.voltbike.com/

[Edited on 5-13-2022 by JDCanuck]




A century later and it's still just as applicable: Desiderata: http://mwkworks.com/desiderata.html
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[*] posted on 5-13-2022 at 10:37 AM


Quote: Originally posted by bajaric  
I am considering buying a "fat tire" e-bike to ride off road.

A little background: I have a truck with a camper shell. I like to park in a campground, then ride a short distance (5-10 miles) off road to various nearby locations. I had a little Honda CRF100 dirt bike, but it was too small for me. In the soft sand the rear tire would spin and it would fishtail. (I am 6" 2" and carrying a few extra pounds..) Besides my friends all said I looked ridiculous riding that tiny little moto. What is more, even the smallest bike Honda makes was a pain to load and unload off the back of the truck using a ramp. Great little bike, though, bulletproof. I no longer have it.

Anyway, am wondering how an e-bike would work for offroad. I have watched some YouTubes and it appears that even the fat tire e-bikes are not that great in soft sand, the riders have to get off and push. I don't ride on the beach but do get into some soft sandy arroyos. A need for speed is not essential, what I want is ability to carry me and some cargo (300 pounds) and crawl over 10-20 miles of soft sand and rough single track trails. thoughts? Is a little chain driven bicycle with a Shimano derailer going to hold up in the dirt?


Fat tires (over 3.8 inch wide) are a bit better for sand or snow. Though the fat tires make for more work when pedaling on hard dirt or pavement.

The e-bikes in usa generally come in 2 types, pedal assist and throttle-type. Some pedal-assist also have a throttle. Usa regulations limit e-power to 20 or 28 mph and limit wattage to I think 750. You can use gravity and leg power to exceed these speeds.

There are non-name-brand Chinese bikes one on market sold outside of regulations, that exceed theses speeds,… many of questionable quality, unknown brand reliability, many sold by guys on Craigslist.

If you want quality, go look at Specialized or Trek brand in bike stores. Bike shops will let you do test rides so you can see difference between pedal-assist and throttle types.

I am a bike rider, and i prefer pedal-assist types e-bikes (I have just ridden demo rides, or bikes owned by friends, I only buy bikes that require real work and can do long rides — e-bikes have limited range)

If riding a lot in desert, I suggest you buy wheel/tire that are tubeless.

Mfgs post the ranges for their bikes.

The problem with doing long bike rides on e-bikes is that they are heavy. After battery dies, you are leg pedaling a 70+ pound bike.

Also, weight of e-bikes makes them hard to lift onto roof racks, so plan on getting a rack that goes in trailer hitch.




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[*] posted on 5-13-2022 at 10:40 AM


https://www.advrider.com/the-coyote-off-road-electric-vehicl...



Outrider-Coyote-Off-Road-Electric-Vehicle-890x500.jpg - 68kB




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[*] posted on 5-13-2022 at 11:14 AM


I have a RAD Fat Bike version 1 and I love it. I use it in the same manner that you are talking about when camping in my class A RV and want to explore.

It does ride a little stiff so I lowered the tire pressure and that did the trick. I have rode and rode and it still has plenty of battery life.

If you live in the San Diego area they have a showroom next to the bike path and they let you ride various models at no charge to see which one better suits you. I give the RAD a 5 star thumbs up.

Now, for the soft and medium soft sand, it sucks. I have fallen (slow controlled fall) twice after getting bogged down in the sand. I suppose if I was going to make the whole ride in sand I could air down even more but riding on dirt with pebbles and rocks in combination with sand, that wouldn't work.

By the way, I have no affiliation with RAD bikes but love their customer service and their bikes.





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[*] posted on 5-13-2022 at 11:33 AM


I have owned a Rad Rover since June of 2019. That bike was 1399.00 including shipping to my door. It did not include sales tax. That bike is now 1999, but it now had an improved motor, hydraulic brakes and stock fenders. Rad is generally considered the largest seller of e-bike in the US with hundreds of thousands sold since 2018.

It came with 4 inch wide fat tires. Kendas. After about 1200 miles, probably about 65% dirt and 35% pavement, I replaced them with 4.8 inch wide Maxxis Minion tires. I just passed 3000 miles on these with probably a higher amount of dirt vs pavement. I have a bike stand, so I have begun switching my tires to 3 inch street tires, when I see a lot of pavement driving in my future.

I have found that with both sets of "off-road" tires, I can drop the air down to about 8 psi before the sidewalls start to lose rigidity and "waffle". But, with 8 psi, I have determined that I can rid on soft, dry sand that is as much as 4-6 inches deep, AS LONG AS THERE IS A SOLID BASE below that depth. Forget dunes. But sandy arroyos are almost always do-able because there is usually a rock base under that sand.

Of course, many bikes will go in a straight line in sand, but I have found that I can also make turns in sand and still keep going. These are not hard turns, of course. But they are not super wide, either.

Generally, on dirt, single tracks with a light coating of sand (1-2 inches), I run around 11-12 lbs. I weigh 200 lbs.

This bike is heavy, even as e-bikes go. I have upgraded to a gel seat, I have tire liners, I have tubes, I have a rack in back, I have a phone holder and I have a conventional fishing rod holder mounted to the rack frame. It probably weighs 70 lbs, including the large capacity battery. Lifting it onto a bike rack by yourself is not easy. If I have to do this, I remove the battery and the seat.

BTW, most conventional bike racks (for carrying on vehicles) will NOT accommodate the width of fat bike tires, nor the weight of them. You will probably have to upgrade your bike rack. Figure at least 250.00 for that.

The range is really good on this bike. Using one of the two eco modes, Rad claims a range of 40-50 miles......and I think that's pretty accurate. Mostly flat terrain. With the combination of single tracks that I ride, occasionally using more "juice" than eco modes to go up elevation changes, you can certainly expect 20-30 miles. This is a 48v 14ah battery for a total of 672 watts. That's more than average in the industry. I would recommend going with AT LEAST a 48v system. Stay away from 36v systems, unless you must have one.

I have encountered steep, dirt inclines where the weight of the bike, EVEN WHILE PEDALING, could not be overcome by the motor. It can stall out, as any ebike can experience.

The stock charger is only a 2amp charger at 52v (you charge at a higher voltage than your system). From a discharge down to around 10-20% (80% discharge), it will take about six hours to fully charge. But there are faster chargers available. Research on lithium batteries does indicate that charging ONLY to 80% capacity (not 100%) can gain you many more charging cycles over the life of the battery, ESPECIALLY IF THE BATTERY SITS FOR A FEW DAYS OR MORE. You just need to forecast what your riding will be over the days ahead.

And why might you "must" have a 36v system? E-bikes are broken into categories that, to a certain extent, determine where you can legally ride them. Class I bikes are GENERALLY bikes that limit speeds to 20mph and have no actual electric throttle (you must pedal to actuate the motor). This is often the class that are still using 36v systems with reduced range. But 36v is disappearing fast. These are almost always mid drive bikes, meaning that the motor is mounted at the pedal crank, instead of on the rear hub of the rear wheel.

The Rad bikes are considered Class II. Meaning they have a throttle that you can use from a standing start (there is an override button) and their electronic speed cutoff can be raised to 25 mph. These are rear hub motor bikes. They GENERALLY don't have as much torque as a mid drive bike, meaning they aren't quite as good at climbing. But this is a 750w motor, whereas most mid drives have been 500w or under. But everything is in flux.

This is not intended as a pitch for Rad, though nearly all bike reviewers give them high marks on value per dollar. I can say that I have not had one thing fail on this bike, outside of the typical maintenance of the shifting cable and the brake cable (this model was not hydraulic brakes). There might be better values out there, now. Rad is not about to tell you this is the best MTB out there. It is aluminum, not carbon fiber frame. It uses a grade of Shimano derailleur that is about three above their lowest. But it does come with decent wheels, tires, has a headlight/brake light, has fenders and the rear rack is inexpensive and strong.

Rads are still delivered only through freight, to your door, I believe. The only showroom when I bought mine was in Seattle. I live in Idaho. I did not ride it before I bought it. Assembly was simple; attach the front wheel, mount the handlebars (which were taped sideways to the frame with ALL elec./brake cables attached) and do minor adjustments to the shifter and brakes. It took me about a half hour and there are tutorials on line.

Because there ARE restrictions on where Class II bikes can ride on Federal, State and County lands, I have recently purchased a non-electirc MTB, for these situations. Another mail order bike. I am slowly headed home from Mexico to ride it. Depending on how I like it, I may relegate this e-bike to an errand bike around town and riding on the Boise Greenbelt and the occasional basic single track area.

Outside of the weight, I don't think you could go wrong with a Rad bike IF a Class II bike is what you want. They are a lot of fun.



[Edited on 5-16-2022 by Hook]
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[*] posted on 5-13-2022 at 02:45 PM


e-bikes have been a game changer for this ageing rockstar but for what you're looking for...I'd opt for another motorcycle! jmo of course;)



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[*] posted on 5-13-2022 at 06:30 PM
Bajaric, did you happen to find this thread from last year?


I posted it when I was looking around for a bike; http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=96195&got...

I strongly recommend that you find a place to rent, or at least ride one to see how it might work out for you. I bought one with the intention of getting exercise while having fun (screw those stationary bikes!) but my seventy five year old joints limit the level of workout that I can put my legs through!

What is good for my muscles and cardio, is tough on my knees and hip joints. The electric drive works surprisingly well, but I would hate to have to push that heavy bike if the battery runs down, or something else fails.

If you are anywhere near me (Nevada County CA) you are welcome to come ride mine around a bit. There are plenty of dirt roads, trails, and a few gravel river bottoms to work out on.




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[*] posted on 5-13-2022 at 06:36 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Don Pisto  
e-bikes have been a game changer for this ageing rockstar but for what you're looking for...I'd opt for another motorcycle! jmo of course;)

x2.

But, if he is itching to try, either one of the mentioned online sellers are good bang for the buck - RAD or Canadian Voltbike. RAD have an agreement with mobile service Velofix for $150 or so to do assembling and tune-up when delivering. Online sellers ship it partially assembled.

Might also want to post the question at EBR: https://electricbikereview.com/forums/
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[*] posted on 5-13-2022 at 06:58 PM


I think E bike perfect for you . Most of my dirt biker buds in CA have them. They ride real dirt bikes all day then after dinner in the desert . They pull out the e dirt bikes have a ball the short time they last. The ones they ride are 4500 to 5 grand.
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[*] posted on 5-13-2022 at 07:08 PM


I have a RadPower Mini e-bike with 4-inch tires.

When aired down somewhat, yes - it can navigate soft sandy beaches -- but just barely. I have to give it a lot of throttle to keep moving.

It's great on the back roads & canyons -- except I keep getting thorns in my tires and popping my tubes. Super frustrating.









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[*] posted on 5-13-2022 at 07:10 PM


As long as I mostly stick to the damp sand, it goes great on beaches.



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[*] posted on 5-13-2022 at 07:27 PM


I have a RadRunner electric bike with 3.5 inch tires I bought in 1999. I've only ridden it on surface streets here locally. I have an aluminum motorcycle rack that I cut down a bit so I can carry it behind my truck when I go to the desert or Baja. I don't like the handle bar fit that well. If you do get one be careful it has a lot of torque compared to a motorcycle.

There is a couple that travel Baja in an RV that has a pair of ebikes. I don't remember their name but they would have some good info for you. I corresponded with them before I bought mine. They use to be on Nomad but I haven't seen them post for a while

[Edited on 5-14-2022 by TMW]
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[*] posted on 5-13-2022 at 07:30 PM


Quote: Originally posted by geoffff  
. -- except I keep getting thorns in my tires and popping my tubes. Super frustrating. .


Tubeless is the way to go.

But it is gonna cost ya, you need tubeless compatible rims laced to your hubs, and tubeless tires, tubeless valves, tubeless rim tape, and slime (~$800(?))

200 Baja days without a flat!!!!
(but no motor) ;)


[Edited on 5-14-2022 by Bwana_John]

[Edited on 5-14-2022 by Bwana_John]
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[*] posted on 5-13-2022 at 07:33 PM


Quote: Originally posted by geoffff  
As long as I mostly stick to the damp sand, it goes great on beaches.


I would be leery of riding an ebike in damp, salt water sand.

But with a fat bike, it is not necessary.
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[*] posted on 5-13-2022 at 07:39 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Bwana_John  


Tubeless is the way to go.

But it is gonna cost ya, you need tubeless comparable rims laced to your hubs, and tubeless tires, tubeless valves, tubeless rim tape, and slime (~$800(?))

200 Baja days without a flat!!!!
(but no motor) ;)


Most good mtn bikes are sold tubeless-ready. Don’t really see non-tubeless-ready bikes anymore except on the cheapest entry-level bikes.

I would look for a tubeless-ready bike, and avoid cost of buying new wheel set and tires to go tubeless.

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[*] posted on 5-14-2022 at 07:00 AM


Thanks for all the advice. I guess I will go to the local e bike place and see what is in stock. Tubeless!

AK thanks for offer and posting the earlier thread, I had read it but forgot about it. I live about an hour from the border at Tecate (in the US) but if I ever get up to Grass Valley will stop by. We could see how many 5 gallon buckets of dirt an e bike will carry.

Really, for me a quad like a Honda Rancher would be ideal, but the limiting factor is loading it on the back of a truck with a camper shell, kind of difficult for one person. You have to push it up the ramps while holding the brake. A bike is even worse because can tip over and squash you. A quad with a winch on the front would make it easier, but they are pretty pricy and I kind of like the simplicity of an e bike versus hauling around a heavy piece of machinery, having to show the registration at the border every single time, then sometimes while they are checking the registration they bring over the dog and let it loose in the back to sniff everything. Going for simplicity.




[Edited on 5-14-2022 by bajaric]
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[*] posted on 5-14-2022 at 10:10 AM


Quote: Originally posted by geoffff  
As long as I mostly stick to the damp sand, it goes great on beaches.









Been riding a mtn. bike for yrs. What kind of attention does
it take to keep a fat tire ebike relatively clean after a beach ride?
Not getting any younger, looking at one







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[*] posted on 5-14-2022 at 02:02 PM


Only need spray with water same as dirt bike. As soon as you park it
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[*] posted on 5-14-2022 at 02:15 PM


You might be able to use a moose insert tube, worth checking into. I use a foam insert on my mountain bike. I did lose about 2 gears with them.
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