Hello and some rather specific questions


TimVW

Newbie
Jul 11, 2019
89
28
Warwickshire
Ride
TBA
Hello all

Not sure whether to put this here or in General. I have just signed up having read the posts for a little while, sorry for the long first post.

I have some rather specific questions having recently had surgery for bowel cancer ( I am being specific as it gives an indication of the area affected, core, butt, general loss of strength during recovery etc) the but am being real positive about moving forward. I am going to need some help to get back to fitness and cycling is one of areas I really enjoy, although not so much on the road so previously as part of triathlon and off road.

Anyway, I am considering an EMTB (full suspension rather than HT) as I think that it will get me out and exercising (currently limited to short dog walking and about to start Pilates for my healing core), plus I think that I maybe able to adjust the motor support down as I get more fit and so get the right level of exercise for my recovery.

Where I want some input is in a number of areas. The key being that I am about 5’ 5’ tall with a 30” inseam and I am struggling with sizing. The default is XS, but geo seems a bit different from various brands with XS seat tubes from c390mm to 420mm ish and stand over heights (where quoted) are longer than my inseam!. I also prefer to be more stretched out, but don’t know if this is right for an EMTB, or whether 30mm of extra reach on a small, say, actually makes that much difference. The unfortunately, my current situation precludes travelling to visit my ‘not so’ lbs to try bikes out, so any thoughts appreciated.

Next, is my idea of an EMTB as a way back to fitness the right move at all? Have I ignored things like having to muscle a heavy-ish bike around etc ( I would be riding out from home initially, so no loading issues). Is it logical that I can tailor the pedal support to my level of fitness and strength?

I guess there is also the 2020 bikes chestnut do I jump or do I wait, but I see some 2020 bikes that look appealing (Commencal Meta Power) are not due until Feb 2020 is also a question for me.

Again, sorry for the long post and I would be happy to provide any more info you think would help.

Tim
 
  • Like
Reactions: Joeyrotundo

R120

Moderator
Patreon
Subscriber
Apr 13, 2018
6,048
593
Surrey
Hi Tim

The simple answer is that if you are just riding along normally, towpaths, single track, and nothing too technical then the extra weight of an EMTB is not that noticeable - where it is noticeable irrespective of riding, is lifting over a gate, or onto a car rack, into boot of car etc.

The weight gets more noticeable if you are jumping, wheelies, manuals, etc.

The extra weight of the bikes makes them a lot more planted and stable though.

The motors have different power settings, normally 3 levels, for example on the Shimano system Eco, Trail, and Boost. This means you can tailor the power settings to what you want, from very minimal assistance, to you putting in minimal effort.

The reality of riding them is that most people like a power level that's giving just enough assistance, and doesn't feel unnatural. What the bikes generally allow you to do is to ride harder and further without needing to stop for as many breathers, so you can ride to your limits rather than wearing yourself out.

Obviously if you ride around in Boost/Turbo the whole time the battery will run out quicker. Its height climbed rather than overall distance that really affects the range, if you are mostly ring flat stuff you can go a long way, but going hard climbs will drain the battery much faster.

One bonus of your size is that another of the big impacts on battery life is rider weight, so bigger guys and gals will get less range out of their bikes than smaller ones.

Geometry varys so much, but there will be a bike that works for you, a Vitus E-Sommett in a small probably has the longest reach vs standover on the market.

In terms of what to buy and waiting, I would be tempted to wait and see given how many new bikes are being launched at the moment, but also be tempted to pick up something now if the right bike comes up in the sales/heavily discounted.
 

Colin-T-Woods

Newbie
Jun 15, 2019
35
28
58
North Shropshire
Ride
Turbo Levo carbon
Hi Tim, welcome. I think an emtb would be a great way to help re-build your strength. I have a minor heart condition which, combined with getting older, made it difficult to carry on trail running due to becoming dizzy. I got my bikes out but struggled on the climbs due to dizziness also. Got an EMTB and there's no stopping me now. Really glad i got full sus too, so comfortable and still easy to ride on the road as it doesn't bob up and down because the power is so smooth.

with regards to size, my wife bought an emtb last week as she was so impressed with mine and she went for a 'mans' Specialized Levo in small. She's 5'4'' and inseam is 29.5''. She can still use the dropper post fully extended. reach is fine too. The dropper post may help you get on too, I drop it, swing my leg over and then pop the post back up as i move off. (i'm 58 years old and not as flexible as I once was). If you want to stretch out a bit just fit a different stem, however, in the early days you may be more comfortable being a little more upright.

We did the 'wait and see what's coming' but decided that time is precious and there's always something new coming out. I see that Rutland Cycles have some big discounts now on their website. I think improvements will be incremental. As a side note we both bought Levo's mainly because of the Brose motor with is so quiet and smooth. Just get your bike and go ride!

The bikes are heavy, but if you can easily manouvre them without lifting you won't notice the difference against any other bike.

Wishing you all the best with your recovery,

Colin.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Macone

TimVW

Newbie
Jul 11, 2019
89
28
Warwickshire
Ride
TBA
R120 and Colin, thank you both for your replies.

As an ex biker, I am used to managing weight when manoeuvring, but just slightly nervous of putting too much strain on my core while it is still healing. This will only improve though, so is a short term issue and the question is would it be too much right now - I suspect not.

Colin - the direct size comparison with your wife is really helpful as is knowing the model of EMTB that she rides as I can look at the geo and compare with other brands.

I am leaning towards getting on with it and finding the right bike now, although some are due in September which coincides with completing chemo🙂. I quite like the Focus Jam 2 which seems to be available shortly with 2020 Bosch power, or, available now with Shimano and free additional battery (small battery wouldn’t be an issue right now). But then I like so many of them!

Tim
 

Macone

E*POWAH Master
Oct 28, 2018
143
213
Wellington New Zealand
Ride
Focus Jam2
Hi Tim, welcome. I think an emtb would be a great way to help re-build your strength. I have a minor heart condition which, combined with getting older, made it difficult to carry on trail running due to becoming dizzy. I got my bikes out but struggled on the climbs due to dizziness also. Got an EMTB and there's no stopping me now. Really glad i got full sus too, so comfortable and still easy to ride on the road as it doesn't bob up and down because the power is so smooth.

with regards to size, my wife bought an emtb last week as she was so impressed with mine and she went for a 'mans' Specialized Levo in small. She's 5'4'' and inseam is 29.5''. She can still use the dropper post fully extended. reach is fine too. The dropper post may help you get on too, I drop it, swing my leg over and then pop the post back up as i move off. (i'm 58 years old and not as flexible as I once was). If you want to stretch out a bit just fit a different stem, however, in the early days you may be more comfortable being a little more upright.

We did the 'wait and see what's coming' but decided that time is precious and there's always something new coming out. I see that Rutland Cycles have some big discounts now on their website. I think improvements will be incremental. As a side note we both bought Levo's mainly because of the Brose motor with is so quiet and smooth. Just get your bike and go ride!

The bikes are heavy, but if you can easily manouvre them without lifting you won't notice the difference against any other bike.

Wishing you all the best with your recovery,

Colin.
Hey Tim. Like he said. Cheers and good luck, all the best - Mac
 

TimVW

Newbie
Jul 11, 2019
89
28
Warwickshire
Ride
TBA
Colin - I’ve just looked at the small Levo geo and the seat tube length is 380mm. This was one of the points that I was finding difficult as XS and S sizes for different makes seem to vary between high 380mm and around 420 mm (Canyon).

Are you able to say whether additional seat tube length, of up to 40mm, would be an issue for your wife, or, would it just mean that the dropper doesn’t go as low but actually this wouldn’t be an issue in practice please?

Thanks Tim
 

Zimmerframe

MUPPET
Subscriber
Jun 12, 2019
4,665
563
Brittany, France
Ride
Kenevo 1.3
but just slightly nervous of putting too much strain on my core while it is still healing.
Hi Tim,

I fractured my Pelvis in March and was supposed to be on 6 weeks bed rest and couldn't really walk without excruciating pain. BUT ! with the dropper down I could just slide onto the bike over the back wheel (couldn't lift leg). So I could still take the dog for slow walks. Using the assistance meant I could vary the effort required from virtually zero to more as I started my rehabilitation.

For me the one huge thing I wished for was Full suspension. With the hardtail every tiny bump was agony. I used to dream of full suspension ....
 

Colin-T-Woods

Newbie
Jun 15, 2019
35
28
58
North Shropshire
Ride
Turbo Levo carbon
Tim, I think the additional seat tube length would probably be on the limit to enable full use of the dropper post, however after her first ride yesterday she did say the saddle could go up a bit, and of course, you are slightly taller. She's at work at the moment but when she comes home I could raise the seat post in the tube 40mm (it's at its lowest at the moment) and see if she can till use the full dropper length (on the small Levo's it's a 125mm dropper whereas the larger frames are all 150mm). Being a grandmother she doesn't see herself as a downhill demon so if we would have had to replace the dropper with a conventional seatpost as they are on the women's Levo's that wouldn't be an issue for her. However, for you, I think a dropper may help you mount/dismount,I know it does me. We did consider just using the dropper to set the saddle height for her because as a yoga practitioner she doesn't have a problem swinging her leg over if you'll excuse the expression.

As an aside, she's a surgical nurse, and I'm sure she would re-iterate any advice you get about ensuring your surgery is fully healed before pushing yourself no matter how well you feel.
The day after my vasectomy I went wandering around a car show and ended up in such pain I was unable to walk back to my car unaided!!!! On that note...
Colin.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Zimmerframe

Mikerb

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
May 16, 2019
1,908
393
Weymouth
Ride
Specialized Levo
If your lbs is too far away to try some bikes for size why not reach out to local riders.....perhaps where they ride, or a local club.
 

TimVW

Newbie
Jul 11, 2019
89
28
Warwickshire
Ride
TBA
Once again, thanks all, I appreciate all the input.

Full suspension is a must, not just for my currently rather painful butt, which apparently may take up to 12 months to fully heal, but also for future ‘development’.

Colin, thanks again, there is so much here that resonates with me. Also need to pick up some Yoga or Pilates as a means of gentle core strengthening, and I too have been a touch over ambitious with attempting stuff too soon usually resulting in painful consequences 😏.

I have tried some friends (who are amazingly supportive🙂) and some locals, but my size has been an issue with most being size M or above.
 

SquireRides

E*POWAH BOSS
Subscriber
Sep 4, 2018
428
413
UK
Next, is my idea of an EMTB as a way back to fitness the right move at all? Have I ignored things like having to muscle a heavy-ish bike around etc
I'd say this depends on your current confidence and experience with bikes. My other half bought an ebike last year, after never really being much of a cyclist. So combining her lack of experience with how bikes handle (particularly at low speed or when getting on/off) and the weight, she fell off or dropped the bikes a few times.

That said, it's not like handling a motorbike or even a scooter. My cargo bike takes some lugging, but my eMTB just feels like a slightly heavier bike when being dragged in/out of the shed.
 

TimVW

Newbie
Jul 11, 2019
89
28
Warwickshire
Ride
TBA
I'd say this depends on your current confidence and experience with bikes. My other half bought an ebike last year, after never really being much of a cyclist. So combining her lack of experience with how bikes handle (particularly at low speed or when getting on/off) and the weight, she fell off or dropped the bikes a few times.

That said, it's not like handling a motorbike or even a scooter. My cargo bike takes some lugging, but my eMTB just feels like a slightly heavier bike when being dragged in/out of the shed.
Thanks, I was meaning are from the pot that my surgery was partly abdominal so the stresses and strains placed on that area might be prohibitive and negate the benefit of having an assisted bike for getting back to exercise.

i have many years experience of motorcycles on everything from sports bikes to trials and also road and mountains bike cycling, so happy with confidence and experience.
 

tedturbine

Well-known member
Subscriber
May 8, 2019
133
178
Worthing
Ride
Still deciding
I think, if possible, you need to ask your surgeon or contact the specific questions about mtb'ing, ebike weight and other factors for your personal situation. I had a spinal op last year and at my last followup I asked my neurosurgeon about mtb ing. He said that there are risks, as with anything but would be much happier with me getting out mountain biking than sitting around doing nothing. For my case he said no running, jogging etc.

For me now, an emtb is perfect as I've always loved being offroad on 2 wheels and this makes it easy to get out and vary the assistance depending on how hard I want to work. I also cover more ground more quickly and it's all fun with no more boring hard slogs uphill. I'm more excited and keen to get out riding now than anytime in the last 25 years or so and it's having a positive impact on my general state of mind.
 

Mikerb

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
May 16, 2019
1,908
393
Weymouth
Ride
Specialized Levo
There are some things you can do to ease the seating problem. Maybe not ideal for technical riding but for gentle beginnings you could sort things like gel pad undershorts and gel saddles like the Selle range....even a suspension seat post. Run the suspension at a greater than normal sag could also soften the ride. Depending which area of your posterier needs most protection could also influence your riding position, for example, more upright or more forward and hence your choice of reach measurement within reason. It does sound like you would be best sticking to tarmac or at least very smooth trails to start with so the ability to fit some fast rolling tyres...maybe hybrids ...could be a good idea. I suffered from a prostate infection years ago so can sympathise with some of your seating issues but clearly not the greater extent of your surgery so good luck with your recovery.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Zimmerframe

Evolution Stu

E*POWAH Master
Jun 30, 2019
212
203
Blackpool. U.K.
Ride
Giant Trance E3 pro.
Some great replies on here guys!
I have damaged knees and back and have bought an E-Bike to get me back to fitness with the ultimate aim of re-visiting as many as possible of my 400+ summits... on a mountain bike. I have made a start and I am loving it. You can have as little or as much assistance as you like, so on training days I use my Suunto Ambit to monitor my heart rate via the Suunto belt, and when it tells me to up my heart rate I dial the assistance down, and when it tells me I am heading for a coronary, I dial it back up.

When it pours down and i am losing the will to live, I dial it up high and head for the car effortlessly! I Love it!

I can't really add anything more of any value to the discussion to be honest, other than I am on a medium framed full sus Giant Trance E3 with my 30" inside leg and its just right for seating height but I am 5'10.

The full suspension makes it a joy to ride, my hardtail clockwork bike is just a source of impact pain for my back now.

It may also be worth noting that the Giant Phone App allows you to vary all the 5 assistance levels to your own preference.

I have mine set at 50 / 125 / 200 / 300 / 360%

Best of luck for your recovery mate.
 

Gary

🚴 COAT 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
Patreon
Author
Mar 29, 2018
6,382
563
from the internet
Ride
ESommet VR
seat tube length is just one part of your conundrum to look at.
Seatpost insertion depth will also play a part in what will work for you (and with how long a dropper post).

As for your seating discomfort. the more you ride the stronger you will get. the more you ride stood up the stronger your core will get.
most folk seem to think Emtbs need to be ridden seated more than an non ebike. this is nonsense. it's entirely down to the rider and how they want to ride. Assist helps seated or standing. the main difference when riding standing on an emtb is there's LESS pedal resistance when climbing due to the motor assist. drop it into a lower mode or higher gear and it starts to feel more natural (more like a normal bike i mean)
 
Last edited:

TimVW

Newbie
Jul 11, 2019
89
28
Warwickshire
Ride
TBA
I think, if possible, you need to ask your surgeon or contact the specific questions about mtb'ing, ebike weight and other factors for your personal situation. I had a spinal op last year and at my last followup I asked my neurosurgeon about mtb ing. He said that there are risks, as with anything but would be much happier with me getting out mountain biking than sitting around doing nothing. For my case he said no running, jogging etc.

For me now, an emtb is perfect as I've always loved being offroad on 2 wheels and this makes it easy to get out and vary the assistance depending on how hard I want to work. I also cover more ground more quickly and it's all fun with no more boring hard slogs uphill. I'm more excited and keen to get out riding now than anytime in the last 25 years or so and it's having a positive impact on my general state of mind.
Yes, that is very much like the feedback from my surgical team, however, as they are not MTB'ers, they can only comment generally on the pressures of cycling: pressure on sit bones, stress on abdomen from peddling, mount / dismount etc, but not the incidental impact of riding a heavier EMTB and the effect of riding trails.

I think that the reality is that as long as I am sensible and start on flatter better paved surfaces and build as my recovery allows, then it will be fine. Just need to exercise some control; which I am not very good at!
 

tedturbine

Well-known member
Subscriber
May 8, 2019
133
178
Worthing
Ride
Still deciding
I think that the reality is that as long as I am sensible and start on flatter better paved surfaces and build as my recovery allows, then it will be fine. Just need to exercise some control; which I am not very good at!
Exactly that in my opinion, start carefully and build on it as you feel able to. Good luck with control bit, I'm finding that quite difficult :LOL:
 

TimVW

Newbie
Jul 11, 2019
89
28
Warwickshire
Ride
TBA
of luck for your recovery mate.
Thanks Stu

seat tube lenght is just one part of your conundrum to look at.
Seatpost insertion depth will also play a part in what will work for you (and with how long a dropper post).

As for your seating discomfort. the more you ride the stronger you will get. the more you ride stood up the stronger your core will get.
most folk seem to think Emtbs need to be ridden seated more than an non ebike. this is noinsense. it's entirely down to the rider and how they want to ride. Assist helps seated or standing. the main difference when riding standing on an emtb is there's LESS pedal resistance when climbing due to the motor assist. drop it into a lower mode or higher gear and it starts to feel more natural (more like a normal bike i mean)
Thanks, on the seat post insertion depth, do you mean how far into the seat tube the seat post will go and therfore how much that adds to the seat height both extended and then dropped? so as Colin has offered, if he raises the seat post in the seat tube of his wife's bike by 40mm (it's at its lowest at the moment) this would be similar to a longer seat tube and he can see if see if full dropper length remains available and what the extended / dropped height would be?

I am not too bad with seat comfort now with the help of padded shorts and a seat that I find relatively comfortable (Specialised Ronin) borrowed to try, by a friend.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Titch mortimer

Gary

🚴 COAT 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
Patreon
Author
Mar 29, 2018
6,382
563
from the internet
Ride
ESommet VR
Thanks, on the seat post insertion depth, do you mean how far into the seat tube the seat post will go and therfore how much that adds to the seat height both extended and then dropped?
yes.

Also be aware. the cable and actuator on stealth dropper posts also play a role in how deep a dropper can be inserted.
so as Colin has offered, if he raises the seat post in the seat tube of his wife's bike by 40mm (it's at its lowest at the moment) this would be similar to a longer seat tube and he can see if see if full dropper length remains available and what the extended / dropped height would be?
probably. Depends on other differences in manufacture/design between model frame sizes too a little.

I am not too bad with seat comfort now with the help of padded shorts and a seat that I find relatively comfortable (Specialised Ronin) borrowed to try, by a friend.
Cool. glad to hear you're improving.
don't discount standing more though. standing helps with balance and generally makes you both a stronger and better rider. ;)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Zimmerframe

Bean

Active member
Jul 21, 2018
43
128
Hull, UK
Ride
Turbo Levo
My wife is 5ft 3in, leg of 30in, and she is also using a medium Levo. We have reduced pressure in rear shock a bit to drop tail end and she can put feet down easy.
The One Up dropper fits a bit closer to seat post as well I think but we found suspension adjustment sorted size.

Course I get to play catch-up still as running my Camber til later in year when I will move to ebike as crushed discs, and age, catching up with me.
 

TimVW

Newbie
Jul 11, 2019
89
28
Warwickshire
Ride
TBA
Cool. glad to hear you're improving.
don't discount standing more though. standing helps with balance and generally makes you both a stronger and better rider. ;)
Having done some motocross and trials previously, plus analogue mtb, I’m a big fan of standing. As you say it helps with balance and strength, plus, it moves the CoG from your butt, to the foot pegs ( or, in this case, pedals).
 

TimVW

Newbie
Jul 11, 2019
89
28
Warwickshire
Ride
TBA
My wife is 5ft 3in, leg of 30in, and she is also using a medium Levo. We have reduced pressure in rear shock a bit to drop tail end and she can put feet down easy.
The One Up dropper fits a bit closer to seat post as well I think but we found suspension adjustment sorted size.

Course I get to play catch-up still as running my Camber til later in year when I will move to ebike as crushed discs, and age, catching up with me.
Thanks, how is standover on the medium Levo with a 30” inseam; I see that you reduced rear shock pressure, but does this mess with geo (dropping the rear) and it might not be great for my 70 kg’s!
 

Mikerb

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
May 16, 2019
1,908
393
Weymouth
Ride
Specialized Levo
Since riding my Levo rather than my analogue Cube Stereo sl 140 on exactly the same trails I have noticed what parts of my ageing body feel the effects most. My general energy loss is less despite on average covering twice the distance. My legs hardly suffer muscle fatigue at all despite normally climbing the same distance as descending. I windsurf so my core is pretty fit anyway. Where I feel the impact most is shoulders and neck...probably through too much death grip! The walk assist is usefull for those occasions when you need to manoeuvre the bike ....normally on a failed or impossible bit of a climb but for those in recovery mode also just getting the bike out to ride. Without the gnarly downhills I therefore think an e mtb can be a very controllable form of fun and exercise for convalescents
 

Colin-T-Woods

Newbie
Jun 15, 2019
35
28
58
North Shropshire
Ride
Turbo Levo carbon
Tim, photo showing the seat post on the small Levo as far down as it will go. It seems to be restricted by the suspension link. So, add the 125mm for the dropper post and you have 165mm with the dropper post in the fully up position.
Colin.

seat post.JPG
 
  • Like
Reactions: Zimmerframe

Wiltshire Warrior

E*POWAH Elite
Jul 3, 2018
467
253
Swindon
Ride
Mottera LT
[QUOTE="I windsurf so my core is pretty fit anyway. Where I feel the impact most is shoulders and neck...probably through too much death grip! [/QUOTE]

Get a harness - that makes a huge difference and enables you to surf for much longer before you arms give out!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bean

TimVW

Newbie
Jul 11, 2019
89
28
Warwickshire
Ride
TBA
[QUOTE="I windsurf so my core is pretty fit anyway. Where I feel the impact most is shoulders and neck...probably through too much death grip!
Get a harness - that makes a huge difference and enables you to surf for much longer before you arms give out![/QUOTE]

I don’t think that Mike meant his neck and shoulders are affected by windsurfing, more by gripping the handlebars, but as a wind surfer / sailor myself, I agree about using a harness for less arm pull.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mikerb