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e-bike for 4' tall rider

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e-bike for 4' tall rider

Old 06-07-19, 08:29 PM
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cobalt123
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e-bike for 4' tall rider

hello all,
My 18 year old daughter with down syndrome is only 4' tall. I've been thinking an e-bike might be a good solution for her since low muscle tone means she tires out quickly. However, finding a kids e-bike that is not a little kid motor cycle thing is not so easy.

So, I'm thinking of maybe a retrofit of an e-bike kit onto something (yet to be determined) might be good.

Desires:
- proportional drive, and not a "throttle" - I don't want the bike to be able to get away from her if she panics. so, if she stops peddling I want it to stop driving.
- limit on top speed
- range >10 miles reliably, 20 would be great.
- single speed gearing preferred.

I'm open to kits or complete bikes, even trikes (she'd likely need training wheels).

Thoughts?

Last edited by cobalt123; 06-07-19 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 06-07-19, 08:45 PM
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Seems like you could probably do something with parts made for electrifying a 20" folder, transplanted to a pre-teen size frame? 24" hub motors also seem to be available.

Or would it perhaps be possible to set a folder up with suitably compact reach?

Would a tandem be an option? I believe there are things like auxiliary cranks placed higher for shorter riders

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Old 06-07-19, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
Seems like you could probably do something with parts made for electrifying a 20" folder, transplanted to a pre-teen size frame? 24" hub motors also seem to be available.

Or would it perhaps be possible to set a folder up with suitably compact reach?

Would a tandem be an option? I believe there are things like auxiliary cranks placed higher for shorter riders
I should have added: I visited "Clever Cycles" in Portland last week (great shop, super helpful). We talked about some different options including tandem. I don't like the tandem idea because transporting the bike is a problem. It's so big... And with the difference in height I think it would need to be custom.

He showed me some cargo bikes that can be fitted with a seat on the rear rack and running boards.

Then he showed me an electric version (the Tern https://www.ternbicycles.com/us/bikes/471/gsd-s10-0). And invited me for a test ride. It was so great. And after I left the shop I started thinking with an e-bike Kate might be able to ride on her own. That would be a great boost to her.

I really appreciated the gentleman I spoke with at Clever Cycles. Good advice and he really thought about the issues. I'll likely go back to him and put the question to him about an ebike for Kate.
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Old 06-07-19, 10:27 PM
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You might talk to Jason at ebikekit; his company produces a trike that might be of interest. Otherwise you should be able to find a kit / bike combo that would be ideal. ebikesca probably make the best PAS system with a torque sensor and have an extensive variety of hub motor systems. Both companies have excellent CS.
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Old 06-08-19, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by 2old View Post
You might talk to Jason at ebikekit; his company produces a trike that might be of interest. Otherwise you should be able to find a kit / bike combo that would be ideal. ebikesca probably make the best PAS system with a torque sensor and have an extensive variety of hub motor systems. Both companies have excellent CS.
Thanks, that ebikesca site has good, clear info that is helpful!
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Old 06-08-19, 08:01 PM
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suggestions for 4' tall rider

Hi,
I am 4'11" and somewhat familiar with needs of short people! One bike you might look at is the Sanyo Eneloop ebike. It's old now, and not very powerful, but easy to ride and quite light and approachable. Very low step over height. I do ebike rides through Airbnb here in Boston and I have one which I bring out for riders who are timid. There was one on Ebay for a while at $750, which I think is too high for the age it is (2008, probably) but you could keep your eyes out for one. Battery life would be an issue but you can have it re-celled for about 400 or so.

I also have a Kalkhoff Sahel compact bike and that's also an option for a smaller rider. I had an 11 year old riding it the other day - I think he was probably 4'5" or so. Unfortunately Kalkhoff has stopped dealing in the US but you might find a used one.
You should also look into the Haibike Hard 4 mountain bike - 24" wheels, and designed precisely for kids with a 12 MPH maximum speed. They were on sale last year - maybe they have been discontinued for who wants to spend $3000 for kids' ebike? but you might find one somewhere. I would have perhaps gotten one for myself except for the 12 MPH speed limitation. I'm a new member so not allowed to post a URL but if you go to electricbikereviewDOTcom and search for haibike hard 4 you'll find the review by Court Rye of this bike. It's quite flashy bright yellow - I would love it!
Good luck finding a bike for your kid! Let us know what you find!
Susie
Susie
Susie
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Old 06-08-19, 08:04 PM
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Hi again Cobalt,
I just see that you're in MA - I'm in Jamaica Plain and if you'd like to try the Sanyo Eneloop bike or the Kalkhoff Sahel you're very welcome to come by. Let me know - best wishes,
Susie
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Old 06-08-19, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by susiefoster View Post
Hi again Cobalt,
I just see that you're in MA - I'm in Jamaica Plain and if you'd like to try the Sanyo Eneloop bike or the Kalkhoff Sahel you're very welcome to come by. Let me know - best wishes,
Susie
thank you Susie that is a very kind offer! I will let you know!
Thanks for the pointers!
Matt
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Old 06-08-19, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by susiefoster View Post
Hi again Cobalt,
I just see that you're in MA - I'm in Jamaica Plain and if you'd like to try the Sanyo Eneloop bike or the Kalkhoff Sahel you're very welcome to come by. Let me know - best wishes,
Susie
since you are in the boston area, do you know any local shops that are really big in e-bikes?
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Old 06-08-19, 09:08 PM
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while this might be too small for my daughter I thought some might like to know that Bike Friday makes a bike that they can fit with an e-bike upgrade that is gear specifically for people with inseems less than 23". https://www.bikefriday.com/folding-b...ecialty-bantam

That's cool they have this category.
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Old 06-09-19, 08:35 AM
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Hi
Belmont Wheelworks probably has the largest selection in Boston including Raleigh which are cheap and easy to ride. They also have a repair guy but they're a bit selective in which bikes they will work on.... . Try not to go there on a weekend, if possible! It's super busy then, and they are crusty to start with and on the weekends, they can get a bit gruff. 'Nuff said. Ebikes of new England in Derry NH and goodales also in NH would be good places to try, esp ebikes of NewEngland, which has a wide selection. There's a Haibike dealer in Brockton, and I found a Haibike hard 4 for $1799 on line last night at ebikes508 in Brockton.(UPDATE-- that bike seems to be gone..... )Also one for $999 at eboomelectricbikes but I wonder if it's really in stock... That is the only bike I know of designed for smaller people. Good luck and let me know what you find!
I had another thought - if she already has a bike which fits, you could put a kit on it - for example, ebikekit has a 16", 20" and 24" inch option for both front and rear wheels. I have an early (2012) kit which has tremendous power and will get me up to 25 MPH, and they have now added a PAS sensor to the kit. It only took me a few hours to put it together as a complete newbie (minus the PAS which was not available then). These are powerful motors but I think you can set it so that it doesn't exceed a certain speed. the Ebike kit people will happily assist you in deciding about this. Lunacycle is another place for a kit and they get excellent reviews. I'm sure there's a kit section of this forum with tons of other suggestions.
all best wishes,
Susie
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Old 06-09-19, 12:18 PM
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Cool

Option: get a bike that fits then add the motorization to it..


Looks like the Electric Brompton was well thought out..

they're quite adjustable for fitting various sized owners.. though frame length is just one

Bike Friday makes several frame lengths and a variety of handle bar & seat masts ,

(in Oregon)






...

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Old 06-09-19, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by susiefoster View Post
Hi
Belmont Wheelworks probably has the largest selection in Boston including Raleigh which are cheap and easy to ride. They also have a repair guy but they're a bit selective in which bikes they will work on.... . Try not to go there on a weekend, if possible! It's super busy then, and they are crusty to start with and on the weekends, they can get a bit gruff. 'Nuff said. Ebikes of new England in Derry NH and goodales also in NH would be good places to try, esp ebikes of NewEngland, which has a wide selection. There's a Haibike dealer in Brockton, and I found a Haibike hard 4 for $1799 on line last night at ebikes508 in Brockton.(UPDATE-- that bike seems to be gone..... )Also one for $999 at eboomelectricbikes but I wonder if it's really in stock... That is the only bike I know of designed for smaller people. Good luck and let me know what you find!
I had another thought - if she already has a bike which fits, you could put a kit on it - for example, ebikekit has a 16", 20" and 24" inch option for both front and rear wheels. I have an early (2012) kit which has tremendous power and will get me up to 25 MPH, and they have now added a PAS sensor to the kit. It only took me a few hours to put it together as a complete newbie (minus the PAS which was not available then). These are powerful motors but I think you can set it so that it doesn't exceed a certain speed. the Ebike kit people will happily assist you in deciding about this. Lunacycle is another place for a kit and they get excellent reviews. I'm sure there's a kit section of this forum with tons of other suggestions.
all best wishes,
Susie
super helpful. Thanks!
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Old 06-09-19, 01:54 PM
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Impulse is out of the U.S. Market and getting support for it is not easy so while the Sahel Compact would generally be a great option in Europe in the U.S. it is a don't buy. We sold Kalkhoff for a while and now are having to deal with the lack of support and hard to find parts and customers who are less than happy because it takes a long time to get stuff if we can. It did have a long battery life when the battery would stay locked and not damage the mounting (we have had three in for the same issue in the past 2 months or so)

I don't know availability in the U.S. currently but the Haibike SDURO Hard Four is a great option. We built one up a year and half ago for a client and it was a blast. It is a quality bike with a decent motor and battery and ok parts on it in a 24" wheel size to fit smaller riders. A much better move than a kit bike.

We had also considered building up a 24" Specialized Como for smaller riders because it is an excellent platform and would be perfect for sizing down a bit but we haven't yet built it but if you are interested send me a private message and we can certainly do some chatting off thread about it.
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Old 06-09-19, 01:57 PM
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That sounds like a great idea
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Old 06-09-19, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by cobalt123 View Post
while this might be too small for my daughter I thought some might like to know that Bike Friday makes a bike that they can fit with an e-bike upgrade that is gear specifically for people with inseems less than 23". https://www.bikefriday.com/folding-b...ecialty-bantam

That's cool they have this category.
I was going to suggest an Electric Bantam.

But, I think Bike Friday can electrify all of their bikes... probably.

So you could go with something like a 20" New World Tourist, and add an E-Assist, and have the frame built to your daughter's size.

The company is very responsive with their customer service, and you could send them a query, assuming it fits within your needs and budget.
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Old 06-09-19, 02:01 PM
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There are, of course, a number of E-Scooters. But, I'm not sure if that fits within your needs.

How is your daughter's overall stability?

There are both electric upright trikes, and electric recumbent trikes.
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Old 06-09-19, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
How is your daughter's overall stability?
not that good... and low confidence on the bike doesn't help. But she rides so slow that she's not stable. It's a bad loop... that's why I'm hoping an ebike will give her some needed speed which will give her stability and then confidence.
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Old 06-09-19, 09:51 PM
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Agree that finding a well-fitting bike, then "electrifying" it is a good idea. One other consideration that was helpful for my daughter (albeit at a much younger age) was to have her on a "half-bike" (or whatever they're called) that was attached to the seatpost of my bike. We rode blissfully together off road for about a year like that, then she started on a two-wheeler. Sounds a little crazy, but might give your daughter the stability and confidence she needs.
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Old 06-10-19, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by cobalt123 View Post
I don't like the tandem idea because transporting the bike is a problem. It's so big... And with the difference in height I think it would need to be custom.
A Hase Pino could work, it has a short 57" wheelbase so you could load it on a wider hitch rack like a swagman xtc-2 which fits up to 66" wheelbase, it's available with a child crankset with freewheel ideal for shorter stokers, lots of US dealers, the ebike Steps version uses the excellent Shimano Steps motor but is expensive so you could order the Allround pedal version and have it converted with a kit motor for 2/3 the cost of the Pino Steps.

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Old 06-10-19, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by cobalt123 View Post
not that good... and low confidence on the bike doesn't help. But she rides so slow that she's not stable. It's a bad loop... that's why I'm hoping an ebike will give her some needed speed which will give her stability and then confidence.
I presume you have issues with legs and arms. So, while going < 5 MPH can be a problem, going > 10 MPH may also be a problem.

Kudos that you were able to teach her how to ride (I think).

Toe straps? Clipless?

I'd be reluctant to give her a $3K custom bike that could be very difficult to resell as a big experiment.

So, I'd probably look at an E-Bike conversion kit, on perhaps a 24" MTB. Pedal Assist, of course. You don't need a lot of power. 300 to 500W?

Or, the trikes.

Not as much core strengthening with the trikes, but balance isn't as big of an issue either.

This Varibike trike would be a load of fun (works with both arms and legs).

Varibike Shop - Varibike recumbent full body trike



Whew, not the cheapest out there. No electric assist, but perhaps that could be added.

I'm not seeing a lot of adjustment. The crankset appears to bolt on, whether that is enough adjustment???
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Old 06-10-19, 08:38 PM
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The folks at Geo orbital made some fun trikes that look like a big wheel kids bike but use their front wheel. Something like that could be fun for a shorter person with stability issues.

-SP
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