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Best "sole vehicle" ebike for short rider, under 28" inseam
I have been searching for almost a year now for an ebike that can be my only vehicle. I live in a rural area, far from shopping and friends. That means even my shortest trip will be at least 30 miles round trip, more often 50 miles round trip with no chance of charging before heading home. To visit friends, it is at minimum 40 miles one way, and I want to travel even further to go to events.

The terrain here in upstate NY is hilly and I must climb some steep hills to get home at the end. There are a few routes that require going over washboard dirt roads for about 2 miles but the rest is good paved roads. I will often be hauling groceries, using a child trailer and buying a lot at once, so I figure upwards of 60 -80 lbs, especially if I add my dog (30 lbs.).
Oh yes, I also have advanced osteoarthritis in my hands, so I need vibration damping and need some sweep on the handlebars,as well as a bike that is as light as possible (for lifting). Yes, I know it is a lot to ask for!

So this is what I have tried.

I ordered a Turbo Vado 4.0 so-called step through (really a mid-step) from the Pro's Closet, after telling the ride-guide that my bike inseam is 27.75" . They recommended this bike as fitting me.
I loved the ride, the natural feel of assist, and I got up the first two big hills from my house in 1st level assist! I am an energetic rider. BUT, not only didn't I have standover height; the mid-step bar was hard against my crotch and pressing hard all the way up my pubic bone in front! Stopping where the ground sloped on one side meant I went over sideways!!!

I got a ride to a bike chain 135 miles away to try out the Gazelle Medeo line. I love the Deore shifters, the easiest for my hands, and european engineering. And their Small sizes are rated for 4' 10" persons. I used to be almost 5' 2", now 4' 11 1/2" (as we age loss of space between spinal vertebrae). I should have even been able to ride the closed frame. Not only could I not even straddle the closed frame, I had a similar problem to the Vado with the Mid-step. I rode the Medeo T10 and liked it, though only in the flat parking lot. Strangely, the assist seemed less than the Turbo Vado, perhaps because the Gazelles are class 1 and the Vado is class 3? Higher torque motor in the Vado? The only Gazelle step-throughs they had, however, were the belt-driven ones (C-8) which I tried and hated the very upright position as well as the logey feel. I want a derailleur!

Now, if you are still with me, I am thinking that if I go up to the Gazelle Ultimate T10 in a step through, that I will have my derailleur, my Deore shifters, and a front fork, as well as range.
There is a bike shop about 40 miles away that carries Trek, the Verve +4s looks good but no suspension, although the Trek website says "maximum compatible fork travel 50mm." Does that mean I can upgrade to a shock fork? And it does come in a step-through XS, as well as being lighter than the Gazelle.

But no one around here has the Gazelle line. A shop about 100 miles away will order one; I can rent a car to go there and try it out, or I could order from an online shop to be shipped to me. However, I've been burned before buying online.

One other choice I have is to buy from Upway, who has a great deal on the previous model of Gazelle Ultimate T10. The difference in the previous model is the "unishock" with only 40 mm of travel and no lockout, and the smaller 500wh battery. Although reviewers have said that shock works fine, it looks to me like a great deal of vibration even on blacktop where there are just minor cracks in the pavement. How can I know if that is enough cushion for me on the dirt roads? If it isn't, will that head tube accommodate a shock fork? It's a great deal, $2,000 cheaper, which would give me some money for upgrades and even an extra battery but is it worth it?

So many Questions!!!!

Who here might have enough knowledge of any of these bikes, or these physical limitations, to give me some advice?

Thanks for reading this and any help you can offer figuring this out. I need to be able to travel!!!

Happy riding,
, I just had to post a reply in order to subscribe to my own thread. Couldn't figure out any other way

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