What to buy if I like Biketown?

Anyone have suggestions for brand and models that would be similar to Biketown PDX, either normal or e-assist?

I never enjoyed cycling as an adult until I discovered bike share bikes: Divvy (Chicago), Donkey Republic (Berlin), and Biketown here. The bikes in Chicago and Berlin were normal while the Biketown bikes here are e-assist (at least since I arrived last November). I find all of these bikes very comfortable: step-thru frame, handle bars that angle back (but not severely like a beach cruiser) and large spring seat.

I like riding mostly upright so I can see traffic and also take pressure off my palms and wrists (I’ve had RSI problems from programming too much). I work from home so cycling is just recreational for me and I don’t care too much about efficiency or speed.

The problem with Biketown I can’t cycle from Old Town down to Sellwood because it is out of the the service area. Well, I can bike through there but if I stop for more than 15 minutes the rental times out and charges $25 fine for parking out of service area :frowning: Which is why I am thinking I should just buy a damn bike :slight_smile:

I have found out from Lyft that Divvy and Biketown are custom designed and not something sold to consumers. I tried Electra at Trek but I don’t like how far forward the pedals are (“flat foot” they call it). I have come across some e-bikes like Gazelle that do look similar to Biketown but they are over $3,000. I am not sure I would get over being worried about it constantly when parked in public.

Any other brands I should look at? Either normal or e-assist?

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Any decent quality e-bike is going to cost around $3000 or more. The cheaper ones are just that, cheap. Caveat emptor.

One option that is similar in terms of riding position and step-thru frame would be the Kona Coco (bike) or Ecoco (ebike). The saddle isn’t super squishy, but a squishy replacement would only be $30 - $50.

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Hi, Drew. Joe Bike and Clever Cycles in Portland both do lots of business in upright commuter type bikes, but other shops also have experienced people who can help with that choice and bikes to test ride.

Brandwise, have you looked at Public, Linus, or Brooklyn? Folders (Brompton, Bike Friday) are also often configured for upright riding. There are more choices, too.

The upright that most interests me is the Biria Easy Boarding, due to its incredibly low step-through: Easy Boarding | Biria Bikes, especially the EB Lite 8 with internal Nexus 8-speed hub. Way lighter than bikeshare bikes, too.

And yeah, parking around town…get and use a good U-lock and register the bike’s serial number on Bike Index and 529 Garage. An insurance rider helps with any worry.

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Hi Matt- we respectfully beg to differ. Sure, I have skin in the game as the rep of a sub-$3k ebike brand, but I could easily point out another half-dozen good options for under $3k (in addition to the sweet Ecoco) for riders looking to get a reliable bike.
Just as with analog bikes a frequent/heavy-duty rider might trash the entry-level option, but there are a ton of potential riders who could be well-served by the functionality of an ebike in the sub $3k range.

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Does anyone know what the purchase price of the e-assist BikeTown bikes were?

Here’s a sub $2000 selection of ebikes

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I, too, was curious about this question. In trying to find ebikes with comparable geometry (which seemed to be a priority for you) I actually put a photo of a Biketown bike into Google Images to look for “similar images.” From there it was some digging and scrolling and exploring, with a lot of clicking through to investigate the ones I found. Eventually found the KBO Breeze Step-Thru. I have not yet pulled the trigger on one, but I have read quite a few positive reviews (with a price of ~$1500) To repeat: I do not necessarily recommend this bike – just sharing my search with you.

I encourage you to do more research on it but perhaps this helps get you started. I am still thinking about it …

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Hi Drew,

Thanks for sharing this question, and I hope that you will also share what you decide to do. I know I am curious to learn more about ebikes and the consideration process for buying one, and I bet others are too. Like you, I have ridden the Divvy bikes in Chicago and the Biketown bikes here in Portland, and I was surprised that I liked riding them. They were comfortable and quicker than I thought they would be. I normally ride traditional (non-e-assist) bikes, so I have nothing to add about purchase prices or quality, but I wanted to chime in to second what Alan says. I was in Clever Cycles today (picked up a front basket) and was impressed by the selection of both regular and e-assist bikes. I spent extra time just gawking at the beautiful bikes. All sorts of styles, including the stepthrough frame that you like.

Having lived in some high bike-theft places, I like the Kryptonite NY series and have both U-Lock and chain locks. Since you’re thinking about e-assist, you don’t have to worry about the extra weight.

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Thanks for all the suggestions. I’ve not yet purchased a bike. I’ve been to a few shops around town but stock is pretty limited. I did try the RadPower is at the Go By Bike valet service by the OHSU tram. They let you take it out for 30 minutes if show ID. I did like it and felt it was pretty close to the BikeTown bikes.

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Hey there! Did you ever get an ebike? Just thought your story might be fun to share on BikePortland if you did end up buying one and/or were willing to share about it.