My Felt E-Bike Review
Felt Sporte 95 S
(The bicycle was sold
and hopefully will continue to be a very good E-Bike)
5,000 Mile Review
of Felt Sport E 95
"For now, after 5,000 miles on the Felt Sport-E 95 with the Shimano Steps 6000 series, I have moved on to the Custom E-Trucker. The Felt Sport-E did very good and will probably continue to be a good fit for someone."
After 5,000 miles on the Felt Sport-E 95s,
I am generally impressed with it. But I am not feeling good about Felt discontinuing the model.
I'm not feeling good about the discontinuing of the Shimano Steps 6000 series motor and the frame change for the newer Shimano Steps motors.
I'm not feeling good about the Shimano battery options & availability.
I am still waiting for that "break out company" to have the go-to Touring E-Bike.
I had hopes it would be Surly. Things began to look that way with their E-Cargo Bike "the Big Easy" but so far, no touring option. I contacted them and they responded asking questions about usage and desired frame... so maybe someday we might see a Surly E-Bike -- maybe the Surly E-Calypso or Surly E-Trucker. (I ended up creating my own E-Trucker)
I feel that E-Bikes have a future in the industry.
As an 'old guy' I really need and appreciate that boost an E-Bike can give.
Battery Life is always a concern.
About 50 miles a day is what I plan for touring. You have to plan around that.
One complaint that I have with Shimano is with Battery availability. There is no place to purchase batteries for Shimano Steps... at least that I have been able to find. It would be very useful to have a second battery for touring. A few businesses have services to rebuild batteries or buy second batteries, but they all say 'not for Shimano'.
Another issue is with battery capacity/ size.
Concerning Battery Size:
A recommendation for Shimano: Have options of Battery capacities -sizes that would fit into the Bicycle Power unit connection. Being able to purchase batteries that would provide power for common short trips (10 miles, 20 miles) would make it easy to match the ride/distance to the battery for less weight during the ride.
Having the additional battery size options would be useful to "add a few more miles" for touring bikes.
Another Recommendation would be for Shimano to have a Solar charging port on the Battery or Chargers. That would be great for touring if the second battery could be charging from a solar panel draped over panniers while riding.
There are more and more options happing now in the industry & it will be interesting to see what comes about.
Spoke issues with the Felt Sport-E:
Within the 1st 250 miles, a rear wheel spoke broke.
I was able to tape it up, and ride home. I got a replacement spoke, and replaced it.
At about 350 miles, another spoke broke, I bought a few replacements, replaced the spoke, taped the others to the rack just in case. At about 750 miles, another spoke broke, I replaced it, and knew the next spoke break would indicate the need for a wheel rebuild.
at 1,250 miles, another spoke broke. I had the LBS rebuild the wheel. They indicated that factory wheel builds are not always the best. I the replaced all the rear wheel spokes and spoke nipples with quality replacements.
No additional spoke issues at 5,000 miles
The Hydraulic Brakes, I am not a fan of.
I have had to have them bleed 3 times. I still prefer the standard mechanical disc brakes for the Touring bike. On the Custom E-Trucker, the Rim Brakes are working fine for the touring and errands.
Things that have Broken or issues with the Felt Sport-E:
- Front Fender has broken at the fork. It appears that the small vibration over time had weaken the connection area to the point where is snapped.
- Break lever snapped off when bike fell.
- I had to bleed the brakes 3 times.
- you go through a few brake pads with the disc brakes.
- there are no mounts for bags on the front fork... that is an issue for touring.
- Chain Break - twice
The Build on the Bike:
The modifications that were made:
Jones H-Bar -
This was done to give an upright riding position with more hand position options
for long distance touring.
These Handlebars are awesome.
This was done to give a more secure handlebar setting and also allow for the StemCaptain Thermometer
(gotta know the temperature and if you are looking for an easy addition/function to add to a bike this is perfect- great holiday gift! ).
Added RockBros pedals replacing the standard slippery pedals. This was a change from the clipless that I have been using on my other bicycles (LHT & Fargo) for years. But with this bike it is working out well. After 4,000, I really like these pedals
The standard saddle was fine, but I added the Brooks saddle that I am very
all of the touring items that I have used before, work fine with the Felt.
Acorn handlebar and saddle bags, Garmin, Ortlieb Back-Roller Classic Panniers
The Felt has worked out well as a Touring Bike.
It handles the load well but does lack the front fork braze-ons, and other braze-ons like rack mounts to water bottle cage bosses to spare spoke holders that I really use on my Surly Long Haul Trucker.
Parts for the Felt Sport-E 95 (click here for parts list)
Shimano Steps System
The Steps Electric assist is simply great. You have the fingertip option of how much assist is needed.
OFF - ECO - NORMAL - HIGH
For flat riding, riding with no assist just feels like a normal touring bike. Fully loaded, it just
goes down the road. On a recent Katy Trail ride (mostly flat- crushed limestone surface)
riding in the OFF position was done at about 11-12 mph.
Selecting ECO mode increased the mph to 14.
Selecting NORMAL mode increased it to 16.
Selecting HIGH mode increased it to 19
In a fairly flat area, fully loaded, averaging about 14 mph, I'm able to complete a 65 mile stretch with the battery indicator showing I had 5 miles of assist in ECO mode.
For my touring, this is a reasonably day, then I would need to charge up the battery.
The battery has held up pretty well even after having been charged up many times over the 5,000 miles of riding. The range is still an issue for touring and you have to carry the charger with you.
It is heavy and a large item to have to pack away (see this).
The E-Bike Advantage:
For me, the advantage of an e-bike is the options that it opens up for more advanced age riders.
Noise Level- You can hear the Shimano motor and each level of assist is a bit louder... but not really too loud, as other riders say they are not hearing it when I ride with them.
With the Shimano Steps system, the assist stops at 20 mph. It is the hills that the Shimano Steps system really helps. The hills that often are a challenge, and get the heart rate too high are now manageable with an e-bike. It is okay to taking routes that over time were often avoided. You do not get the same "workout", you are not covered with sweat, and too tired to move at the end of the ride, but you do indeed get a workout. And you control the assist level. Bottom line, the terrain is no longer the major factor in planning rides.
With the Shimano Steps 6000 motor with about 50 Nm power, steep hills are still difficult to manage especially as I am getting older. This was one of the reasons I built a custom E-Trucker that better met my needs.
There are many more options now for e-bikes for touring then there was a few years ago. But the big issue still remains Power, Range and battery.
For now, after 5,000 miles on the Felt Sport-E 95 with the Shimano Steps 6000 series I have moved on to the Custom E-Trucker. The Felt Sport-E did very good and will probably continue to be a good fit for someone.