Ebike touring anyone? (1 Viewer)


Emperor of the North Pole
Nov 4, 2006
Mostly in New Bedford, Mass when home.
Now most cyclist purists hate the idea of long distance bike touring via an ebike. Since this website is about stretching the possibilities of travel & enlightenment I doubt we will have too many who are against it. I personally do not have the budget for an ebike but am seriously considering saving up for one. Sure there is an independence & sense of accomplishment & camaraderie that comes with pedaling over great distances, but... its not for everyone though, perhaps an ebike is a upgraded & more efficient mode? Maybe it could be perceived as lazy, niche & bordering on the bourgeois but no one bats an eye at car,bus,rv owners who rubbertramp and or travel this way?

For those like me who are unable to obtain a drivers license to operate a car, motorcycle or even a moped legally across country. {Now before all you say if its just a motorized bicycle under 49cc you are not required to blah, blah, blah. Heres the skinny about intrastate travel on a sub 49cc moped/scooter; ;its legal (providing your right to operate has not been revoked & only "within" your home state where you reside & can get a sticker)}. So crossing state lines while on a distance trip with such a motorized vehicle gets really unfeasible (for me). I do like that most states have not complicated Electric bicycles with too much bureaucracy and or licensing. Some states require dot/motorcycle helmets while operating ebikes & some require a license but its about 12 states or so that require a license with some changing to not needing one soon. I have attached the wiki page for ebike laws as they apply to individual states. Electric bicycle laws - Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_bicycle_laws#State_requirements_for_use I am sure that these are never enforced if ever but do know how police can & occasionally do harass budget travelers regardless of their mode of travel. Being almost silent & still having the ability to pedal & or appear to be pedaling will most likely keep ebikes in the gray area for awhile. To further complicate any legality is the Watt output of the electric motors & if any LEO would ever go as far as to inspect & or determine the operators actual & specific legality. My thoughts is that regardless if its 750watt, 1kwatt or 1500 & 2kwatt that one would never be exceeding the speed limit on a fully laded touring bike. The goal is balancing out speed & battery life to actually get to a destination by nightfall to charge over night as you sleep. Now I would really hate to save all my money & outfit an electric touring rig to have it impounded in some state because I am not licensed or the bike is not registered somehow in that state.

After watching a YT video about this dude who built a DIY electric bike with large solar charger & trailer I started thinking, why not? Hes a bit heavy & a bit old & he smokes cigars so hes not exactly a human specimen of bike touring fitness but hes doing it.

I started researching cargo ebikes like seen here The Best Electric Cargo Bikes for a Family - https://www.wired.com/gallery/best-electric-cargo-bikes/ and 2019 RadWagon Electric Cargo Bike - https://www.radpowerbikes.com/products/radwagon-electric-cargo-bike Then I came across some home built larger tire MTBs with ebike conversion kits. I am unsure what the best overall ebike setup (mid ride versus hub motor) touring geometry, battery, computer, speed controller. I actually just obtained a Diamondback Overdrive MTB 29r today so maybe I am halfway there? (note: I didnt get the DB-OD:EXC 29r {see link} just a hardtail DBOD 29r MTB Diamondback Overdrive EXC Electric Bike | REI Outlet - https://www.rei.com/rei-garage/product/896387/diamondback-overdrive-exc-electric-bike

The integration of panniers and traditional bike touring gear could probably be used on any number of ebikes. Weight is most likely always a factor while touring even on an ebike as most likely your battery life will diminish based on your bikes base weight + rider+ gear payload. The tires seem to be very large & most likely really hard to pedal over any distance.

Range & speed seems to be the biggest advantage of ebike touring versus traditional cycle touring. Ebike touring seems to be capable of matching most seasoned bike touring cyclists who average 100 miles a day but also the ability to do even better with Pedal assist, shedding weight & possibly streamlining to narrower tires for less rolling road resistance (could be a safety issue, lol). I am thinking like hookworm style tires for trad 27.5/29r MTBs. Cost wise it seems pricey to get into it (regardless is converting or buying a purpose buile electric bike) and pricey to maintain such a vehicle over long distances of hard traveling. Obviously Lars Wikstrom has learned many lessons from many hard miles traveled, building versus buying a store bought ebike etc. With ebikes getting more popular & battery technology improving, the cost of ebikes is getting more & more affordable. I assume that with the larger capacity batteries in the 52volt-72volt range that by keeping speeds down could help to preserve amp/hours and or range. Then again with the larger batteries comes even more cost & weight.

For us at STP who travel & stealth camp already, use free 110 volt electrical outlets at Walmarts & or anywhere else for charging phones & devices already, it seems like a perfect match. I would love to see any ebike touring rigs & or hear from practical experience touring with ebikes in this thread.
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Jun 14, 2016
Cincinnati ,OH
I love bike touring favorite means of travel I've ever done by far. E bike travels sound awesome due to the less strain on you physically especially knees. But, the thought having to recharge daily seems a hassle always have to have a destination u can charge. An most e bikes I've road once there dead it's even more strain yo pedal regularly. With my pup being older and much fatter these days I have definitely thought about the idea. But no budget to throw down atm
. Keep us updated on what/if u do!

Deleted member 14481

I deleted myself
Fuck gatekeepers. Everyone should do what they want and what's best for them.

I've looked into e-bike touring, and there are some many different types of e-bikes and different types of settings. You can motor through and have to recharge everyday, or you can only have on the hill assist, and rechange every few days. Some bikes didn't even have pedals. You can also rig up what it effectively an e-bike / low mileage scooter hybrid (might even just gas or used cooking oil).

Personally, I want to see where battery tech goes in the near future because e-bike still have the issue of being too heavy for. And, if/ when the battery cuts out going uphill that would be the worst thing for me. I'm a foolish type to feel almighty when I have something like this, so I'll have all kinds of carry-on weight, because going uphill is no problem with the hill assist, but when I don't have it anymore, my shit will over. :rolleyes:

Matt Derrick

Semi-retired traveler
Staff member
Aug 4, 2006
Austin, TX
what about a combination of pedaling and a gas engine kit? seen some folks talk about going long distance that way. seems like you could pedal the flat parts and turn on the engine for hills and whatnot?


Mar 18, 2019
Merced, CA
Hell yeah man. Thanks for getting this post up, gives me some new ideas to work into potential nearish future plans 👌

Older Than Dirt

Mar 5, 2019
I have been thinking about ebikes, being 60, and not able to do those 100 mile days anymore except along the shore, and struggling to do more than 30 with hills/mountains. I'm doing the C & O Canal towpath trail in Maryland in two weeks but that's a rare long (184.5 miles) downhill ride (with a few climbs where the canal has locks).

The one i have been looking at is a Hilltopper conversion kit, which is $699 for complete front wheel kit (wheel (most normal sizes), battery, throttle, cables) with "20+ miles" range without pedaling, 16 lbs:

I first heard of this brand via a bike shop on a very steep hill in Brattleboro, Vermont, that said they sold lots of them.

My charging-while-touring plan is: go to the local public library and read while i charge.


Aug 11, 2019
Tigard, OR.
I'm interested in getting a front wheel hub to convert my bicycle into an ebike but not sure if the added weight is worth it if charging it up becomes an issue. Any thoughts? Also I agree with one response I saw, do what makes you happy and hopefully doesn't negatively impact others.


Aug 11, 2019
Tigard, OR.
what about a combination of pedaling and a gas engine kit? seen some folks talk about going long distance that way. seems like you could pedal the flat parts and turn on the engine for hills and whatnot?
I was thing of getting a gas engine kit myself, but it seems like gas engine bicycles were less accepted, legally, which could make traveling harder. But I personally don't have any experience either way yet.


Feb 18, 2019
Pacific Coast Hwy
I know you're looking for electric but I've heard of gas engine setups which let the engine be removed, from what I've heard they usually have a small wheel attached to an engine, which is in turn attached to the rear triangle. The rear wheel supposedly drives the rear wheel thriufh friction, though that'd probably eat up your tire. If it doesn't interfere with youe pack/bags I'd look into that. That also avoids the extra chain spinning around when the engine isn't in use. My concern w/ an ebike is the extra weight when your battery dies. If you could get the cash I think a setup that uses a rear trailer with solar to recharge a second battery while the other is in use would be really cool

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