What's the best E-bike bicycle type for touring+camping?

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thunderstorm80   1 kW

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What's the best E-bike bicycle type for touring+camping?

Post by thunderstorm80 » Nov 07 2018 6:19am

Hi,
I have two ready E-bikes and I wonder which one should be better for long distance touring trip.
I want to discuss it from several points of view: Mechanical longevity (mostly from vibrations and road shocks to the motor, battery, and the cargo), how easy it is to source parts, frame geometry, and tires reliability (also being anti-flat).
I ride mostly on roads, but could and would like occasionally (if it's not a road-bike) to go on light off-roads.

I know full suspension could have been the best, but it doesn't have the space or was designed to carry so much weight. (I tried - the rear suspension sags a lot when you put a lot of load behind the seat post)
I also thought about cargo-bike but those seriously limit the places you can get your bikes to: Hostels, hotels, narrow stair-cases, trains, buses... And I never leave my bike outside to the elements (of nature and of people)

So I left with the option of a standard hard-tail touring bike with 700x45c tires (Schwalbe Marathon plus), or, a rigid fat-bike with 26x4inch tires.

1. The touring bike can benefit from the reliability of the anti-puncture tires, and the option of having just a Grin-Hub on the front or having also an ezee motor on the rear. The ezee motor fits the modern 10 speed cassette with no problems.
While going on flats only the GrinHub would be used and it has a very small cogging torque for a pedal-along bike.
And last positive - it has big frame with lots of storage space.
One drawback is that the Grin-Hub is quite limiting in it's torque outputs for the weight of the vehicle (can get easily to 170kg including the rider), and it's regen performance would be quite poor as well.
The biggest drawback is that the skinny 700x45c tires could be a serious problem on bad road parts, and it's probably better to avoid even the light off-roads at all. (Not because the tires wouldn't survive, but because means much more (and stronger) mechanical vibrations to the entire bike - especially to all the electronics and the cargo)

2. The Fat-Bike lets you go everywhere and their tires cushion the entire mass of the bike means you can be more certain no bolt will break loose, any wire (connector) might prematurely fail, the bananas in the bags will stay solid, etc...
Since the front dropout is 135mm (like standard rear bike), I placed there a TC4080 which is a capable motor for the task (and for regen'ing steep downhills), and I get the bonus that the rear cassette doesn't need to be downgraded to a chinese screw-on freewheels...
The rear motor there is a geared Bafang G60 which fits the modern cassette and can assist the TC4080 on steep uphills. The only downside about that Bafang is that it's phase wires are super skinny - in the order of 1-1.5mm^2, and I wonder what the Chinese that designed it thought to themselves... I wonder if I could draw there 40A and sustain it, otherwise it's quite useless for that task. (it's actual winding speed is 9.3rpm/V, not 8.2rpm/V as written on it's specs so it needs even more current via those skinny wires).
The Fat-Bike downside is that it's frame is quite small so there is not much space for a battery inside it. (although I was able to fit 18S 20Ah A123 prismatic cells, but it protrudes and almost hits the knees when I ride standing up)
Another downside is that there are no Schwalbe anti-puncture tires for fat-bikes, but I found a neat solution by placing specially cut suede liners between the tires and the tube. This is supposed to be proof against any kind of road debris, even sharp bolts or nails.
The last downside is that it could be hard to impossible to source replacement parts for the fat-bike - especially the front derailleur hanger but also tubes/tires/rims. (This fat-bike has 3 chain-rings, just like normal touring bike)
I also wonder if the frame geometry of the Fat-bike isn't optimized for long-distance cycling, but I don't understand about this so much.

What do you think?
Would you go with the Fat-Bike, or the Touring-Bike?

StuRat   100 W

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Re: What's the best E-bike bicycle type for touring+camping?

Post by StuRat » Nov 07 2018 4:21pm

thunderstorm80 wrote:
Nov 07 2018 6:19am

What do you think?
Would you go with the Fat-Bike, or the Touring-Bike?
Touring frames generally are longer wheelbase, for heavy-loaded stability and pannier/heal clearance, plus they have all the braze-on mounts for racks, bottles, mudguards. You want all these things if you're touring.

Lots of touring frames are now designed with 'plus' size tyres. (In between fat and normal, 2.5-3 inch.) That's ideal for spares, you can easily find a 2 inch tyre that will work for now.
3-inch tyres set up tubeless is what I'd go for. Although I can't say enough about schwalbe marathons, they really do justkeep going, over 10,000k on mine and still plenty of life.

I'd also lose the front sus fork. Get a sus seat post. Or just one of those ladies seats with the big springs, perfect for e-touring cause your not really worried about peddling efficiency.

Motors, if you go 2wd, consider middrive for efficient gearing usage. And grin up front for flatland efficiency and regen.

Have fun!

thunderstorm80   1 kW

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Re: What's the best E-bike bicycle type for touring+camping?

Post by thunderstorm80 » Nov 08 2018 7:41am

StuRat wrote:
Nov 07 2018 4:21pm
thunderstorm80 wrote:
Nov 07 2018 6:19am

What do you think?
Would you go with the Fat-Bike, or the Touring-Bike?
Touring frames generally are longer wheelbase, for heavy-loaded stability and pannier/heal clearance, plus they have all the braze-on mounts for racks, bottles, mudguards. You want all these things if you're touring.

Lots of touring frames are now designed with 'plus' size tyres. (In between fat and normal, 2.5-3 inch.) That's ideal for spares, you can easily find a 2 inch tyre that will work for now.
3-inch tyres set up tubeless is what I'd go for. Although I can't say enough about schwalbe marathons, they really do justkeep going, over 10,000k on mine and still plenty of life.

I'd also lose the front sus fork. Get a sus seat post. Or just one of those ladies seats with the big springs, perfect for e-touring cause your not really worried about peddling efficiency.

Motors, if you go 2wd, consider middrive for efficient gearing usage. And grin up front for flatland efficiency and regen.

Have fun!
Actually, the fat-frame has brazes for water bottles as well as thread holes for rear rack, which I already use.
The front fork is rigid steel which doesn't have eyelets, but it's easy to create them with p-clamps. (although it's not ideal, but it has proven to be stable and not drift over the rides)
There is an option for mud-guards, but I have yet to find a mud-guard for them.... I just found few places on the internet selling those, and for very high prices.... (100$ for a rear mudguard. That's insane)
But it seems you are right about the plus sized touring bikes. If those exist, it's probably the best solution.

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