My wife and I rode everything we could find at our LBS looking for a bike for her. While riding all of the e-bikes, she preferred the Gates-drive Giant LaFree. I had an old Marin 700c, so I wasn't really in the market until I rode the e-bikes with her... I was immediately taken. After riding what I could find locally (non-boutique), the Giant Toughroad E (and Road E) simply felt
the best. For me, it was the most responsive of what I had ridden, felt more stable and secure at speed, and had the smoothest "bike feeling" ride. Fast-forward, my Toughroad was stolen two weeks ago and we're losing what little hope hope we had for recovery; now I'm left with the guilt of the purchase and no bike to mitigate that feeling. I'm hoping to recreate the experience of the Toughroad without the price tag of like-for-like replacing as I could barely afford/justify the original purchase.
- I'm 5' 11", 230lbs, and moderately healthy as I am an overweight semi-sedentary almost 48 year old.
- I commuted roughly 6 miles round-trip daily.
- My wife and I were taking 5-10 mile evening rides; we planned routes to increase our range to +20 mile regular rides.
- I ride paved bike trails and roads with rolling hills at an average 6% incline, max 9%.
- Neither my wife nor I are speedfreaks, we averaged 20mph.
I don't know what factors precisely led me to like the Toughroad
- I assume the geometry has quite a bit to do with my preference.
- The drop bars provided multiple hand points and felt more stable than the flats I rode (counter-intuitive, I know).
- I loved the 42t 1x11 gearing with double-tap shifters.
In pricing out Bafang mid-drives from Luna, it looks like I'll need to budget at least $1,400 for motor, a good battery pack with charger, sensors, and chainring. Trouble is, I have no idea where to begin for a cheap donor bike; my recent experience has only been with purpose-built e-bikes.
I'm hoping to find a similar geometry or "feel" of the Toughroad. The used market has tons of bikes, but I'm having trouble slogging through the results to even try and find something suitable for an e-bike conversion. What options, new or used, should I consider, and am I being naive to think that one can be found for <$500 USD? Should I abandon DIY and wait until I can afford another purpose-built?