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Why RVing with e-bikes is such a great combo.
Last year, at Winnebago’s Grand National Rally, someone let me try their electric bike. I was very skeptical before I tried it, since I consider myself to be fit enough to pedal on my own. But I have to say, I jumped on the bike and took off throughout the rally grounds like I was a teenager again – yelling “WHOA!” during my ride.
It was so easy to get going on the grassy areas and on pavement the ride was so smooth. I noticed right away that I was enjoying the scenery around me rather than trying to push through and ride the bike. I knew after that one test ride that I wanted an e-bike to take along on our RV travels.
However, when I first started shopping around for an electric bike I was immediately turned off by the price – with some costing thousands of dollars. So, I kept an eye out for an e-bike that would meet all of my needs on a budget of under $1000. I eventually found that bike: the Ecotric fat tire folding bike. And at a $780 price tag, it was significantly under budget.
Before I get into the features of the bike, let me dive into some of the reasons why I really wanted to pick up an e-bike for our travels and why I wanted it to be a fat-tire bike as well.
We have a Winnebago Vista LX 27N and it gets us out to some pretty cool places whether that be boondocking spots out in the desert or a campground just outside of town. We have always relied on our tow car to go out and explore, which works fine. Our tow car is a Ford C-max hybrid that gets great gas mileage, but I would not call it a fun car to drive.
I always thought a nice bike would be a great way to run errands or explore surrounding areas after the RV is set up. But I knew I would be limited to how far I could go and how long I could ride. This is really where the e-bike appealed to me, I knew that with an electric-assist bike I would be able to ride out faster and farther than I ever could on a standard bike.
Plus, I would be able to experience an area much different than with our car. I could jump on the bike and quickly take off on paved trails, go off-road with the fat tire on dirt roads through the woods or ride on the gravel roads of the campgrounds.
Since getting the bike, I have been able to put my backpack on and use the bike to ride to the camp office, pick up mail, run errands, and pick up a few groceries. I am finding that I am leaving the car back at the campsites more and more and using the bike instead.
The bike is just plain fun. I have the option to pedal or use a full-throttle mode like a scooter. I have taken the bike out for over 25 miles and still have had half a charge left in the battery. It is difficult not to want to yell out “Weeee!” while on it, which is almost everyone’s reaction when they try it out for the first time. I think the best way to describe the bike is that it takes out all of the hard work of biking and just leaves the fun.
When we were shopping for an e-bike, it was important for me to be able to fold and stow it away while traveling. I wanted it out of sight of prying eyes and hands. Our Vista LX 27N has a lot of storage capacity, 123 cubic feet to be exact. Both of our bikes are able to fold and stow in the rear compartment of our Vista. Actually, this bay is so large that there is even room left for our set of four snow tires for our car, two six-gallon water containers, and my tools!
Additionally, our exterior cargo bay outlets make charging our e-bikes convenient and easy. The bike has an option to remove the battery from the bike and charge it or leave it on the bike and charge. We have found it very simple to leave the battery in place and charge it outside while the bikes are parked next to the RV. And because we have a factory-installed 1,000-watt inverter, our RV doesn’t even need to be plugged into shore power to charge the bikes.
While the bikes are out of storage, we deploy our awning in case of unexpected rain – it is nice to know that the bikes will always be protected from the elements. We also chose our rear passenger jack as an anchor point to secure our bikes with a 25-ft vinyl bike cable. This allows us to lock up our bikes and move them out of the way to gain access to our cargo bays when needed.
We wanted an e-bike that was small, powerful, and easy to use. The Ecotric met all of our requirements and at $780 it was well under our $1,000 budget.
The simple one-push button to toggle from low, medium, and high power made it easy to always have the proper amount of power for any riding situation. And a twist of throttle located on the right side of the handlebar makes it a breeze to kick in a quick burst of power when needed to pass, climb a hill, or when we just want to zip around.
We were a little hesitant as to if we would like the fat tires. But since riding the bike, we would probably never go back to a standard tire size. We love the stability of them and their ability to roll over any terrain while keeping the nice and smooth ride.
All of these features combined with the adventurous places our Winnebago allows us to get to makes this bike the perfect fun addition to our RV life. We are both enjoying getting out more and exploring farther in a way we would have never been able to do before.