My 3,500 Felt E-Bike Review

My Felt E-Bike Review

Felt Sporte 95 S

 


3,500 Mile Review of Felt Sport E 95 Shimano Steps


after 3,500 miles on the Felt Sport-E 95s 

and I am generally impressed with it.    But I not feeling good about Felt discontinuing the model.


Very High quality bike with very good Shimano Components 


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.

H-Bar



Stem -

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! ).

Pedals -

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.

Saddle -

The standard saddle was fine, but I added the Brooks Saddle that I am very
comfortable with.


Accessories -

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


It has worked out well so far 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. (I was hoping that Surly would make a frame/complete bike that supported the Shimano Steps system. 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

Spoke issues:

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.  Replaced all the rear wheel spokes and spoke nipples with quality replacements. 
at 1,700 miles I have had no additional spoke issues ... yet.

No additional spoke issues at 3,500 miles



Shimano Steps System


The Steps Electric assist is simply just 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

Averaging about 14 mph, I was able to complete a 65 mile stretch with the battery still having
power and the indicator showing I had 10 miles of assist in ECO mode.

For my touring, this would be a reasonably good 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 3,500 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).

I also use a Jackery Solar Generator 300 to charge the Shimano Steps battery when I am camping.  
It is able to charge the Shimano Battery to about 30% in a couple of hours.  
A solar panel is used to charge the Jackery 300. 

This is a good option to be able to add power to the e-Bike when your are away from the grid... 
or just use to have a "solar powered" e-bike.


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 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. For me that is plenty fast for touring and running errands.  It helps letting
me keep up with younger riders where before I would not, or they would need to slow down me - not good.  Basically, it keeps you out there riding more, enjoying the outdoors, biking for errands, staying active and off the couch and out of the car.

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. It is like going back a few years in time...


Now the major factor is "where can I plug this in to recharge the battery" after about 60 miles. If only we didn't have to take the Battery Charger with us on the tours.  Longer battery life and an easier way to charge will be the future improvements.


Things that have Broken or issues:

- 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 rear brake 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.

The Future

There are many more options now for e-bikes for touring then there was a few years ago.  But the big issue still remains:  

Range and battery.  
It is hard to find replacement batteries or an additional battery that can be packed easily for range issues.  
There are competing motors and electric configurations now in the market. 
I imagine that a few will emerge as the winners.   If I was going to get a new touring setup, at the moment, I would strongly consider the new Jones e-bike configuration using the Bafang motor and battery.   


The Jones bikes are awesome (love the Jones H-Bar)  and Jeff Jones knows how to build a great touring bike.  I have never ridden a e-bike with the Bafang motor, but they seem to have a huge following and more availability of motors & batteries then Shimano or the Bosch.

After 3,500 miles on an electric bike, I do not see myself not having an Electric Pedal Assist bicycle. 

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