With the realization that my new job is only twelve kilometers (7.5 miles) from home, I’ve started looking at biking options to get there and back on better weather days. Living in Halton Hills, the name fits the location, and I’d have to deal with some rolling hills no matter which direction I take to get out of town.
Add to that, the knowledge that I’ll mostly have to drive on the gravel surface along the roads to stay safe from the transport trucks that drive like maniacs, and I’m looking at decent mountain bikes or hybrid bikes mentioned here versus a lighter city bike.
If I pick up a mountain bike, and peddle at a reasonable speed, I could make it to work in less than three quarters of an hour (45 mins). This would be great exercise for me, and would make days easier for both Annie and I as we continue to be a one vehicle family.
Then I started thinking about electric assist bikes. I don’t mean those scooters with peddles, but mountain bikes or hybrid bikes that have electric motors. The cost would be higher, but it could be used to help shave time off my commute, propel me home if needed after a long day, and get me up hills with less effort.
After doing some research, I found the Motorino 48 Volt LTn ebike. At nearly $2300, it is far more expensive than I could afford to spend on a bike. I’ve purchased a used car for a similar price before, but it does come with some nice features and looks exactly how I pictured my ideal e-bike.
From the Motorino website:
The MOTORINO LTn is equipped with a larger 500W high-torque motor, the highest power allowed in its class. And, unlike most e-bicycles on the market, the Motorino LTn is one of very few to feature a drive system based on a 48V Lithium-Ion battery pack, as opposed to the 24V or 36V systems typically seen. The high pack capacity of 12 Amp-hours combined with the higher voltage translates into more total energy storage and therefore more range: over 30 km on electric power alone is possible, more than doubling with moderate pedaling. The easy-to-handle battery pack can be quickly unlocked and removed from its carrier to be charged wherever convenient or swapped for a spare.
The Motorino 48 Volt LTn could get me to work and back on a single charge, has the power to move someone of my weight without destroying the maximum speed of 32 Kph and looks like it is a durable platform.
There are plenty of both advantages and disadvantages of a system like this when compared with purchasing a used car. The biggest disadvantage is that an e-bike isn’t ideal for getting to work or home in the rain, wind, sleet, snow, or hail. But unlike a car, it doesn’t require insurance, maintenance costs would be low, and provides some much needed exercise.
There are cheaper e-bikes out there that I could purchase, but at over 280 pounds, very few of the more traditional bike systems wouldn’t work well as they come with smaller motors. The scooter designs all have peddles as an afterthought, and I expect to do a fair share of the propulsion to get some exercise, so those wouldn’t work.
Even just purchasing a regular bike, especially one of quality, will be fairly costly, with some of the more reasonable ones costing around five hundred dollars.
My biggest concern about purchasing a traditional bike is that I’ll spend a bunch of money, only to find out that biking nearly two hours a day is beyond my abilities and it’ll go nearly unused for years at a time.
Annie and I can’t afford to be a two car family right now, and I don’t want the added pressure of adding an additional five or six hundred dollars onto our monthly set expenses if we can avoid it. Our current plan is that one of us will drop off the other at work and then go to their own. This means that instead of the car having to do an hour round trip commute for Annie, it’ll have to do nearly two hours per day for the two of us. I’m not sure what that’ll mean in gas, maintenance, and overall wear and tear.
I am not sure the route we will take, Annie and I haven’t discussed it all too much yet, and no matter which solution we choose, the winter will come around again and cause us to need to re-evaluate. Sometimes I wish I lived somewhere without seasons…