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Full Suspension With Throttle and Rear Rack?

Posted: Oct 27 2019 3:56pm
by formula101
From what I can tell, there are only three models commercially available which fit this description (pictures below). Each has a significant drawback:

1. fat tire: too wide of a Q factor? (potentially bad for knees)

2. 27.5+ ridiculous standover height (33")

3. stepover: strange geometry? It looks like there is a single size. Or maybe not. Hard to tell from their website.

Are there any North American based brands which offer a model with the three features I list: full suspension, throttle, rear rack? I haven't seen any so far. I don't even know if a suspended rear triangle can be designed to actually support a rear rack with panniers and typical cargo weight ( up to 55 lbs).

Alternatively, I suppose I could just buy a very large, well padded backpack for hauling stuff, although that might be fatiguing for longer trips. The luxury of a rack bag and panniers is difficult to forego once you've used them.

From what I can tell, Frey is my only option, at $4K, 3 models.

This frey fat ebike with 4.8"! tires: ... 685cdmVtkY

A second frey model with 27.5+ tires:

Third frey:

Re: Full Suspension With Throttle and Rear Rack?

Posted: Oct 27 2019 7:11pm
by MikeSSS
Your bike wants are reasonable, but hard to build.

Because a full suspension bike has suspension travel, its bottom bracket must be higher above the ground than that of a non suspended bike. When the suspension is compressed as happens in some riding conditions, the bottom bracket will be closer to the ground than when riding on level pavement but it must still be as high as that of a rigid bike to prevent pedal strike and big ring strike. If the seat to bottom bracket distance is adjusted to give proper leg extension, because the bottom bracket is necessarily higher above the ground, toe touch to the ground will probably require leaning the bike.

Toe touch is a problem for me on my rigid bikes and is a much bigger problem on my full suspension bike...when the seat to bottom bracket distance is adjusted for good leg extension when pedaling.

It's not just bikes, toe touch is much more difficult on my XT 225 motorcycle than on the People 200S scooter that I had. The scooter had a harsh ride because its suspension travel was too short. The XT has much more suspension travel and resulting far better ride than the scooter but toe touch and throwing a leg over the seat is far more difficult than with the scooter.

I really wish there was a good solution to the good ride and easy toe touch dilemma.

Re: Full Suspension With Throttle and Rear Rack?

Posted: Oct 27 2019 8:24pm
by sleepy_tired
This is why I like the idea of owning multiple bikes. It's really impossible to have a very nice bike that is a do-everything be-everything bike.

Full suspension bikes are great if you want to go fast off road.

But if you want practical bicycle you are going to want racks, full coverage fenders, probably even a front basket. For that you need places to put all that stuff. And that isn't going to work with suspension.

So the solution to this is simple. Have a rigid bike that is optimized for doing stuff. And then have a fun bike for the times when you want to do jumps and bomb around on trails.

The upside is that a practical bicycle is also really cheap. So you don't have to worry about locking it up outside at night or places were people may want to steal your seat and other components. You don't have to worry about it being rained on or knocked over. etc etc.

Re: Full Suspension With Throttle and Rear Rack?

Posted: Oct 27 2019 11:07pm
by MikeSSS
There it is, nail squarely hit on the head.

I was just out riding a rigid bike, pedal powered, but with a Haro suspension seatpost, rode up a steep street, coasted down and climbed it again, it felt sooo good! That said, I do like riding full suspension on the street, its ride quality is a lot better than the rigid bikes. Other than too tall saddle height, the FS is excellent for street and trail riding, but not for carrying stuff. The rigid ebike is my carry bike, stuff goes in the battery bag and in a messenger bag. Carry capacity is limited but that means more bike trips to the store. Multiple bikes are a lot of fun.

Re: Full Suspension With Throttle and Rear Rack?

Posted: Oct 27 2019 11:49pm
by MadRhino
Cargo is best on a trailer when you have a FS bike. Doesn’t mean a FS bike can't be built for cargo, but its suspension would need to be tuned every time the cargo weight does change.

Re: Full Suspension With Throttle and Rear Rack?

Posted: Oct 28 2019 7:08am
by dogman dan
Looking at the bikes, I get the idea he wants to ride a rough trail carrying 55 pounds in panniers.

None of those bikes can do that. Well, you could, but it would kind of suck. Its tricky to ride rough roads with a full load on. More like 30 pounds in panniers is the max weight in my experience. More just affects handling way too much even on the street.

If you want to go get groceries on paved roads, definitely get a bike that can carry a bob trailer.

For street, longtails eliminate the need for suspension, and can carry cargo.. And often carry trailers good too. But being able to ride the street to the dirt hauling your trailer, then still ride some moderate trails or dirt roads using a semi knobby tires is a plus. Lastly, trailers make great mounts for some solar panels, if you are really planning some long tours to the boonies.

Re: Full Suspension With Throttle and Rear Rack?

Posted: Oct 28 2019 12:19pm
by formula101
This is some brilliant, outside the box thinking. :thumb:

I hadn't considered a trailer before. Perhaps it's time to do some investigating.

I am concerned about how linkages and bushings would hold up supporting a rear rack, bag and panniers fully loaded. Perhaps a trailer is the better answer.

A cargo bike is interesting, too. Many can be purchased at affordable prices. I wonder if those could work as legit two seaters?

Perhaps I'm asking too much of the humble bicycle.

Re: Full Suspension With Throttle and Rear Rack?

Posted: Oct 28 2019 12:44pm
by sleepy_tired
If you have front and rear racks on a normal bicycle you can carry around epic levels of stuff. I really like baskets, too. Because if you add a cover on bungees you can just throw stuff in there pretty carelessly and it'll 'just work'. I've had a milk crate I used for that stuff for like 20 years.

Cargo bikes are sexy as hell. Always have wanted a longtail. There are front loaders as well.

Long tails don't seem to impact ride-ability much, if any. So if you want to have a cargo bike that rides and handles like a normal bike then that is the way to go. Also I think there is a big advantage in ride comfort. With a normal bike and the real wheel right under you then every bump is fully translated into the seat. So if the rear tire goes up 1 inch, so does the saddle. But on a long tail the tire is far away from you, so you are more like in the middle of a lever.. so the rear tire goes up 1 inch, your saddle only goes up a half a inch. Or something like that.

Front loader, Dutch-style, would be perfect if you want something to haul big bulk loads. Like boxes of stuff. They have a flat bottom in front so you can load stuff up pretty high. It's also really nice to have the load in front of you so you can see what is going on. It's really hard for me to keep a eye on cargo on a rear rack while riding. It's really easy to lose something and not notice it gone for miles.

Also there are weird forks you can swap out that allow a 20 inch front wheel on a normal bike with a gigantic front rack for holding stuff.

In terms of hauling capacity I don't think anything approaches a really good trailer. Get something heavy duty and balance the load correctly (so bumps don't try to lift your rear tire up off the ground) being able to haul around a quarter of a ton is a distinct possibility. You have to be a lot more mindful of the trailer then you would be on a long tail bike, but that's the trade off.

The one-wheel style trailer is probably good for medium loads and you want to be as nimble as possible.

Re: Full Suspension With Throttle and Rear Rack?

Posted: Oct 29 2019 8:06am
by dogman dan
You can carry epic shit in panniers on normal bikes, at pedal speed loaded down. Like 15 mph. Put 50 pounds on the rack and panniers of many bikes, and ride it 30 mph. Wobble city, look down and watch that top tube flex like its rubber.

A typical ready made cargo bike can carry twice as much, comfortably, at speeds to 25 mph. Still some wobble at the fastest speed and a big load, but tolerable and controllable. Even just a touring frame will do a lot better with the load on it. ( like a surly long haul trucker frame)

But, to be honest, 30 mph is a bit sketchy with a full trailer too. This is what led me to build a progression of stronger and stronger homemade cargo bikes. The last one could pull 200 pounds at 20 mph. With that load, wouldn't go 30. The second to last one could do 35 mph with 30 pounds on a one wheel trailer.
Long cruiser with trailer.JPG
Long cruiser with trailer.JPG (275.71 KiB) Viewed 1135 times
Of course, this forum is mostly home builders. The building is 90% of the fun.

If you do change your idea to a cargo bike, look at the Yuba Spicy Curry. Yuba makes great cargo bikes, and the curry can climb with a heavy load. But in general, cargo bikes are not made to be fast. That is part of why I built that longtail cruiser.

Back to the FS bike idea, I did a lot of long rides, including many thousands of commute miles, on a sturdy full suspension bike. It was just limited to lighter cargo, 15 pounds of battery on top, and another 15 pounds or so in the panniers. The load was carried on a seat post rack by adding additional struts, reinforcing it to carry the weight on the frame, not the swingarm. It could carry 50 pounds no problem, but riding with 50 pounds had to be slow. 30 pounds, and I could cruise 25 mph no problems.
Giant OS 3 Ebikekit build.jpg
Giant OS 3 Ebikekit build.jpg (95.89 KiB) Viewed 1133 times
You could easily set up Frey 2 or 3 with the same type rack, and brace it back to the frame. It does lock the seat height in one position though.

FWIW, even though bike 2 is 27.5 inch wheels, it could run a set of 26" disc brake wheels without any big problems.

Re: Full Suspension With Throttle and Rear Rack?

Posted: Oct 29 2019 12:12pm
by formula101
Thanks, dan. Excellent build suggestions!

I also find custom build DIY solutions to be preferable to mass produced when your needs are very specific and/or idiosyncratic. Well done!

If I wanted to get real crazy, I could set up a full suspension with rear rack, bag, panniers AND a trailer.

Re: Full Suspension With Throttle and Rear Rack?

Posted: Oct 30 2019 8:18am
by dogman dan
Exactly what I was saying. Nothing wrong with the bikes you had in mind. Just put the rack on the frame and seat, and keep it down to 30 pounds on it. Trailer for more.

Re: Full Suspension With Throttle and Rear Rack?

Posted: Nov 04 2019 4:35pm
by formula101
I would love to see a well engineered mid tail that could accommodate a second passenger and/or larger panniers that had excellent power. Something like JuicedBikes' power + Riese and Muller level engineering. But the e-bike market is so price sensitive we won't see something like that.

Re: Full Suspension With Throttle and Rear Rack?

Posted: Nov 05 2019 3:02am
by Balmorhea
formula101 wrote:
Nov 04 2019 4:35pm
I would love to see a well engineered mid tail that could accommodate a second passenger and/or larger panniers that had excellent power.
No amount of "engineering" will compensate for the weight distribution and mass difference between passenger and no passenger, if there's suspension. You'd have to be able to change both spring rate and damping rate according to load. The only reason cars and trucks make it work is because their gross weight to empty weight ratio is so pitiful.

There's a reason cargo bikes don't have suspension. It simply doesn't work in that application. Engineering being about results, the best engineered cargo bikes are rigid. Want a great mid tail cargo bike with plenty of power? Try a Kona Ute with BBSHD or 6 turn Leaf Bike hub motor.

Re: Full Suspension With Throttle and Rear Rack?

Posted: Nov 05 2019 7:43am
by dogman dan
Longtail cargo bikes don't need suspension much for street riding. This is because the saddle just rocks back and forth, as you ride over typical road bumps, like heat cracks. On regular bikes, it jams that saddle up your ass on every crack you hit. So riding faster, like many do on ebikes, full suspension is nice. Or a cargo bike.

Re the high power cargo bike, its easy to build one. Easiest way is just buy a longtail. Then slap a 2000w capable DD motor on it. Works great, and will continue till I wear out two large motors I have. Well, I won't live long enough to do that.

I like to weld modifications to steel frames, so building cargo bikes is just something I do in the winter, just for the fun of it. One I built was full suspension. It did well, able to ride down washboard dirt roads pretty good, even fully loaded, and at 30 mph.

But I didn't do that much of that kind of riding, so later on I kept building hardtail long bikes, and putting only front shocks on some of them. Best one here. All it needed for a passenger is foot pegs.
Finished cargo mixte..jpg
Finished cargo mixte..jpg (133.85 KiB) Viewed 981 times

Re: Full Suspension With Throttle and Rear Rack?

Posted: Nov 05 2019 7:54am
by Ianhill

Hardtail fatbike is the one for me, swap the front suspension to alu solid fork for simplicity and just enjoy it before upgrading to a grin phase runner and then the battery when it's time is up.

Price is reasonable for the level of tech 150mm front forks with 15mm through axle are for middle tier bikes so the components ain tea bag fair play.