hen I go to the Lunacycle factory I make it a point to ride every ebike I can get my hands on (including one that they were probably building just for you). That’s right, I got my grubby potato chip fingers all over your ebike and rode it up a bunch of stairs and jumped some curbs before that bike was shipped to you. *evil laugh*
I really like Kyle, the head bike builder at Lunacycle, he is funny, tall, good-looking and most importantly he laughs at my jokes even when I’m really not funny. Kyle is a little obsessive about detail when building ebikes and he likes to make them look super clean, running cables inside the frame whenever he can and keeping the rat’s nest of cables down to a minimum. I’m the polar opposite and I try to make my bikes look as Fugly as possible to deter any bike thieves or women who might accidentally think it would be a good idea to breed with me. Kyle and I talk quite a bit about ebikes when I’m there and I recently asked him what his favorite ebike was and he said “my personal Giant Roam”. I wasn’t even thinking of testing the Roam since it is more of a skinny tired road bike and not a trail bike. I grabbed Kyle’s stock Ludicrous Giant Roam with 2-inch road tires and took it out for a spin and I found that I really enjoyed it. I liked it so much I decided I was even going to write an article about it, which is saying a lot for any crappy skinny-tired road bike.
The irony here is that the Giant Roam (available here for $2489 w/out the extra $250 Ludicrous controller) is sold ‘for offroad use only’. I’m quite certain that this is to try to dodge any liability that Lunacycle might get into for selling an ebike that is way above the 750 Watt limit for the USA. With the Ludicrous option, this ebike will put out 2500W peak and about 1500W all day long without melting down. Without the Ludicrous, it is 1500W peak motor and about 1000W with the PAS on the highest assist level. I’ve ridden the BBSHD extensively and I can tell you that you would be absolutely insane to buy this ebike (or any Luna ebike) without getting the Ludicrous controller option. You can only get this controller with a Luna bike, and it makes the BBSHD go from a ho-hum drive unit to a ‘holy crap this is awesome’ drive unit. I haven’t ridden my Ludicrous fatbikes since last winter and I was out on the road testing them at the higher power levels and I got the bike to wheelie accidently on the highest power level and ended up running after my ebike on the road trying to kill the power with the rear brakes. There is no other PAS ebike on the market that I know of that is going to accidentally wheelie on you without touching the throttle. I digress.
The Roam Fusion is built out of the Giant Roam and then a BBSHD and a giant custom Fusion battery are added. The battery on the Roam is pretty special as it uses the newer & larger 21700 format cells to pack 34Ah into a pretty small triangle. I built a commuter out of a $300 Bikes Direct Bike and then threw a BBS02 on it with a 52T chainring and called it Orange Crush. I get about 17 miles of level riding at 25mph average and it eats up 11Ah. One of the big problems with ebikes is that if you want to go faster you consume a lot more power. While the BBSHD Ludicrous can easily go 40mph the Roam Fusion feels most comfortable between 30 and 35mph. Kyle’s bike had full 2″ street tires on it and not the skinny-ass tires that the stock Roam comes with. Although the front fork is a cheap steel spring fork, it seemed to work surprisingly well. I haven’t had good luck with steel spring forks lasting much more than 5 years without locking up, with the average fork locking up after about 2 years. Giant sells pretty high-quality stuff so it’s likely you’ll get more than 2 years out of this fork.
Typically when I go out on my commuter I just throw every battery I can find into my rear milk crate and swap them out as they die. With the Roam Fusion the massive 34Ah battery should easily be good for 30 miles at 35mph and closer to 50 miles if you go 30mph. If you ration out your power (like I never seem to be able to do) then you can milk this giant battery for probably 100 miles. I just don’t know of any ebike that weighs less than 100lbs with a battery this big, and certainly nothing in this price range. The Roam is designed for one thing and one thing only, long distance high-speed commuting.
I threw a BBSHD (non-ludicrous) on my skinny tired racing bike and called it the Death Trap 2000. This bike had 120psi in the tubes and you could feel every pebble with the carbon front fork. In all honesty, it was absolutely terrifying to ride this thing at 40mph so it was quickly dismantled. The Giant Roam is still scary at 40mph but it is not ‘piss your pants’ kind of sketchy. At 30-35mph the bike is downright comfy and I feel like a tough double-walled ebike specific 2″ tire at around 40psi would do wonders for the feeling of comfort at higher speeds.
The front and rear brakes on the stock Roam are both 160mm which is too small in my opinion. Get some 180mm rotors and spacers on ebay and throw them on, it will cost less than $30 and it will dramatically decrease your stopping distance. The Roam would also really benefit from a Thudbuster LT seatpost which will absorb some of the bigger bumps in the road.
- Bike is fast, scary fast with the Ludicrous controller
- Climbs hills with massive power in lower gears
- Battery is insanely large at 52v & 34Ah (1768Wh) and also potted to make it shockproof & waterproof and has a fancy magnetic charge port
- 29″ wheels seem to roll over everything
- With 2″ tires it feels surprisingly stable at 35mph
- Clean cable routing
- Steel cassette didn’t skip at all in the higher gears
- Seriously competitively priced for this kind of power and battery life
- Heavy at 65lbs+ (I didn’t weigh it so I can’t confirm this number)
- Small 160mm stock rotors
- Steel spring fork with not a lot of travel
- Need to upgrade skinny tires to fatter 2″ tires for safety
- Not sexy like the Apex
- Cheapish derailleur
- Warranty? What warranty? Pay extra to get more than 30 days of warranty
If you’re looking to go a long way and want a bike that has a big battery and a very powerful motor then the Luna Roam might be a good option. This ebike is like nothing else on the market right now. Because the tires are skinny people sort of expect it to be going fast. If you dress up in colorful spandex then no one will probably give you a second look unless you live in NYC where cops have a serious hard-on for giving bicyclists tickets, like 51,841 summons in 3 years. The irony here is that there still has not been a single ebike death in NYC that I know of (yet).
I guess if they keep confiscating all the ebikes then maybe there never will be an ebike death in NYC. 90% of all bicycle accidents could be prevented if only people would buy a car like everyone else.
The only thing I hate worse than riding the stationary bike in the gym, is sitting in traffic, in my car, trying desperately to get to the gym.
Man, do I hate hunting season. I’m about ready to break down and just attach some antlers to my helmet and hit the singletrack trails again.