2022 Ebike Recommendations?

Before you pull-out your soapbox to rant, this is for my wife. We’re trying to live a bit more car-lite and I figure this would make it a bit easier to ditch it if we are going places that are a bit further than she would otherwise want to ride.

We live near a 60-ish mile long multi-use paved trail which is mostly where this will be used. Class 1 is sufficient - don’t think she would want to be going faster than 20 ever (and the ‘speed limit’ on the trail is 15). Ideally shooting for ~2500 (or under). Looking both new and used though not really sure what to make sure to look for when looking uses. Would ultimately leave it up to my wife based on how comfortable she feels riding it (or ultimately what paint job she likes). Preference is to get something at an LBS or the like (I like to shop local), but have built a dozen bikes over the years so could do online if it seemed like the right bike.

Anyway, wanted to see if anyone around here has much experience or insight with ebikes. The list of ones to check out so far is:

Giant Roam E+ (or the step through version)

Trek Verve+ 2 (or the step through version)

Cannondale Quick Neo SL 2

Cannondale Adventure Neo 4

Cannondale Treadwell Neo

Specialized Turbo Como (a bit over budget but have seen some used around here)

Specialized Turbo Vado (a bit over budget but have seen some used around here)

Co-op Cycles CTY e2.1 Electric Bike

I have a 2020 Turbo Vado 4.0, and it’s a great bike. I have never been able to kill the battery–my last 50 mile ride only used up about half of the battery (although that totally depends on how much boost you use. Since it is a pedalec, no boost without rider pedalling, it feels like normal riding except you feel much stronger and faster which is really fun. I use it to do zone 2 endurance rides outdoors since I can maintain a cadence and adjust the boost to keep the watts at training level. Also, it feels like your driving a convertible car with all the power assist stuff (I was used to rim brakes). It has cargo capacity and is a great bike for shopping trips.

However…it weighs 59 pounds. It can be too heavy for a road bike work stand. You can’t put on one shoulder to carry it partly because of shape, portruding bolt heads on the underside of the top tube that are not shoulder friendly, so I recommend adding upper body work to your training.

The Vado 3 is essentially the same bike, and the Como is more cruiser. All are meant as really nice cruiser bikes rather than the newer more roadie models that would look good on a group ride.

Any electric bike is better than no bike, and I’m pretty sure that they are all fun!

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I’ve been looking at ebikes recently and I would say the motor and battery plays the biggest part in bike choice. Personally I would go for the best motor & battery your budget allows for, bigger the battery, the more options you have with the bike.
Brakes is a hot topic for me, eBikes are heavy and I personally wouldn’t want rubbish brakes. Your wife may not be going flat out on the downhills but I would want some reliable stoppers, not some cheap and nasty cable operated brakes.
I don’t know how the bikes you’ve listed compare, but what I do know from the enduro ebikes I’ve looked at is Specialized charge a ridiculous amount of money compared to other brands so make sure to have a good look around.

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Second all of this, especially motor and brakes. A bunch of bike brands are making what I think of as “catch-up” ebikes–they are putting a hub motor in the back wheel and calling it an ebike, playing catch-up because they didn’t catch the original wave. These are hasty solutions compared to bikes made for having a motor from the ground up.

Motor in or at bottom bracket and maker reputation are things to consider carefully. Bosch and Brose are reputable. Others may be also, I don’t know. As far as brakes, you must have hydraulic disc, mechanical brakes are insufficient. Brakes should be some brand of mtn brake, road brakes may not be enough.

The comment about Specialized pricing is deserved, but the Vado and Como are really well-made with high parts availability and many places to get repairs if needed. No matter where you go, parts and assistance are easier than if you choose a catch-up bike like an Orbea or a Wilier which are basically road bikes with stuff attached for a quick sale. The thing about top tier bikes is that they all charge way too much, but beware of saving $$ with hasty design and off-brand components and motors.

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I bought a Trek Domane+ ALR with my wife - she loves it. It’s heavier than the carbon version, but still “only” 15,2 kg. Shimano 105, hydraulic disc brakes. Fazua battery + motor. It was 6k CAD. We used to ride with me doodling in the back, now she pulls me and barely notices when I get dropped.

Edit: that’s far above your target price.

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Thanks for some ideas and good things to think about. I’ve got an Urban Arrow cargo bike I use to ride to work and pick up my daughter from daycare. It’s been a lot of fun, much easier to interact with her than when she was in the pull-behind trailer

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