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Ebike - Touring questions


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Hi Guys

I am hoping the collective knowledge of those in the know will be able to assist me in answering some questions?

I am “thinking” of going electric and am looking for advice, please?

What I require is a bike I can go gravel touring on and doing a maximum of 80 – 100 kms  a day. The bike will be loaded with panniers etc.


Is there a bike out there without suspension? (I have a Redshift stem and a decent suspension seatpost)

Is there a bike which will be able to use an Old Man Mountain rack?

Bike with sufficient mounting points for water bottles etc?

Will my current custom wheels be able to take the extra weight (FRM with Dynamo upfront and WTB Frequency at the rear.

Would I need special tyres or wheels? (Using Schwalbe Land Cruiser)

What size battery/motor is advisable re extra weight?

Is there a kit I could buy to convert my Planet X London Road 3 x 9 to electric as I love this bike?  (Would it be worth it, hassle free?)

New/secondhand - if available?

Any other areas I need to look at?

The itch is getting quite bad and I need something for my aging torso.

Thanks in advance

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Sepia this is certainly not an easy question to answer ....


The likes of Copperhead does those distances day after day without needing any e-assistance.  Some may need "a bit" of assistance for the hills only, while some may need more assistance throughout the day.  Well worth your while renting or borrowing an ebike and TESTING what sort of battery you need for your type of riding, both in terms of loads and hills ....


Anything more than a 250W motor will/may need multiple batteries during the day ... all depending on the amount of assistance you use.


To put some perspective to this.  On my "not-gravel-tourer" I can easily get in excess of 80km on a 500W.h battery, using minimal assist on level sections and moderate assist on hills.  Turn the boost up for faster speeds on the level and max boost for the hills it is easy to reduce that range to barely 60km.  


In terms of bikes .... you could start looking at Darrvin - 


This sounds like what you describe - https://darrvinshop.com/ebikes/darrvin-evolve


If flat bars are your thing - https://darrvinshop.com/ebikes/darrvin-evolve-cross


I opted for this one - https://darrvinshop.com/ebikes/darrvin-connect-cross


BUT ... these all only come with the 500W.h battery.  So depending on your needs you may want to cart along a second battery ...  bulky and heavy ..... thankfully Darrvin sells their batteries for R4k, as opposed to the R20k of the main name brands ....


This is my roadie, kitted with two water bottles and a spare battery -



Weekdays the battery tray is removed, unstrap two velcro straps in it just clips off.  A commuter box is clipped on, and tightened in place with one off bolt.


You specifically asked for multiple water bottles .... uhm .... the motor and battery takes a lot of frame space ....  The medium frame does not have enough height for a full size water bottle to fit upright, so I made a custom bracket to use the space available.  It was fun making a bracket for the water bottle behind the seat.


A totally different approach may be something like this, from Chilled Squirrel - https://www.chilledsquirrel.com/chilled-squirrel-ebike-shop/p/gy64ceyqqvud9sr9vopnh0ab2f7q8j

This should give you the range (depending which battery/rack combination you go for), AND it provides you with the basic carrier structure.




There is a case to be made for such a "RETROFIT" - https://www.chilledsquirrel.com/limited-edition-ebikes

Mid mount motor, with the largest rack mounted battery, onto a gravel bike of your choice ..... now you KNOW you have the frame space for the bottles, the rack for the panniers, single battery for the day .....  


Try to avoid the hub-mount motor .... it is not energy efficient on those long hills, thus you will end with range issues ...


Chilled Squirrel WILL try to up sell you to the largest motor .... :whistling:  As nice as the 500W or even the 750W motors are ... REMEMBER RANGE .... the 350W, with the correct gearing will get you there on a single battery.



Extra weight .... probably adding 10kg to the bike.  Just check if this is a deal breaker for your wheels.









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Sepia when I spoke to the staff at Chilled Squirrel I left with these thoughts (by all means use this as starting point and check if I understood them correctly):


- The mid-mount motor can be fitted to any bike

- the front chain rings are replaced with a 1x, typically a 42-tooth

- they wanted to see the donor bike .... some people do the conversion onto an older bike, with a worn chain and/or cassette ... which obviously should be replaced for optimal performance

- depending on the motor and battery combination the price range is very wide .... a 500W motor and the large battery would have been close to R30k ..... think it is about 1 or 2k cheaper for the 350W motor  (knowing what I know now about motor size and range I cant recommend the 500W) ... YES, on a long hill you will wonder why you went for a smaller motor ... but RANGE is your (potential) issue 

- YES, it is possible to buy the 500W, and program the power levels that only the last 1 or 2 assist levels use that much assist .... so many do go this route ..... just be alert about how the assist levels are programmed, and your range.





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Posted (edited)

Have a look at our new Ebikes divison.



With the added range extender you can get to your requirements.





Edited by Darkhorse Wheels
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Chris F gives you great advice - I reckon you should at least pop in/phone Chilled Squirell; they have done a LOT of conversions, including my own bike, 5+ years ago...

used to cost R20K for 500W motor/battery setup, I get GOOD range, up to 80km unloaded, but pushing/cranking it, YMMV....

As Chris F says, this gives you a 1x setup; I would avoid hub/wheel drives whee possible....

they remove front derailleur; I converted an S~Works 26”er, which used to come ready- fitted with THREE water-bottle mounts, the batter only used one of those mounting points, leaving 2 full size (750ml) mounts available, though you need to be a Yogi to reach the under-down tube one ‘in full flight...’ :)

in my case, I would have got practically little money for a (rather special) 26”er, so I extended its life into a commuter, heaps of fun, for little money...


chris g


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Posted (edited)


I did the Massive Eastern Cape Passes bikepacking route recently with a mate who did it on an ebike. I have attached his write up as there is some good stuff to be gleaned on bikepacking with an ebike. He does give the details of his ebike, but more importantly it does show that ebikes can work really well for bikeacking/touring.

Ebike Massive Eastern Cape Passes.docx

Edited by Dusty
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