Author Topic: Electric bikes  (Read 60845 times)

Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #100 on: September 07, 2015, 03:56:41 PM »
A portion of the trail close to home (maybe first 5 miles?) has a posted 15 mph speed limit on the trail.  Not sure if it's really enforce or not.  And then there are some portions that are just rather twisty, at times going over wood bridges, etc.  These are mixed use bike trails shared by joggers, etc.  So can't really go a lot faster on those portions than I already am.  However, I'm thinking once I get within 11 miles of work I could get on a highway and maybe get up to 30mph w/ and make up for lost time.

Those trails may prohibit electric bikes - if they do, then you should consider either finding another route, or "stealth" ebike builds.  If you have a rear hub motor and panniers, you can get bags that hide the motor nicely.  It's nice for bike balance to have the battery pack up forward, but if stealth matters, you should hide the pack (or just spray paint it or something so it's not blindingly obvious).

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Agreed.  Lame!  Okay, I'll try to do more.  you have to admit 3 hrs a day of biking 5 days a week is a lot for a full-time employed mom of 3 toddlers, though, right?  but so is 2+ hrs of clown car commuting, sigh. 

It's up to you, but I'd rather ride 3 hours a day on a bicycle than drive 2-2.5 hours a day.  That's just me.

As for which bike to mod, it's up to you, but any of them would do it, and for your commute distance, the nice road bike might be the one to swap.  Seriously, it's on a trainer? :p  Get that thing outside!

Regarding the conversion, that gets a bit harder, since you've got somewhat specialized needs (long range, high speed, stealth).  Are you or your husband DIY-friendly with electronics?  If so, you can probably build something a bit easier than you can buy what you need.  If not, I'd suggest getting an integrated kit, and for your commute range, the BionX is worth considering, if you can get it speed-unlocked (stock, they limit to 20mph).  I've pinged a friend to see if the new 500W kits can be unlocked.

You also probably want to go with a pedal assist system instead of a throttle for a ride that long.  Basically, it detects how hard you're pedaling and throws in proportional effort, so it's just like a "boost" - you still put in a good bit of energy, but it goes about scooting faster for you.  I like my throttle system, but I'm running a short 5 mile commute, and I don't get into a groove even running a pedal bike.  For something like your commute, where you're going to be leaned over and running hard for long distances, pedal assist is a better solution.
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Faraday

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #101 on: September 08, 2015, 03:46:44 AM »
I have a kit in the garage right now that I'm doing same with - putting it on a flat-bar road bike with a Shimano Nexus sealed hub. The bike is already built-up to be a commuter, with a rear rack, fenders and lighting.

Unless I'm badly mistaken, the Shimano Nexus is an internally geared rear hub?  *confused*

Though I think you're referring to a geared hub motor, which is distinct from an internally geared rear hub (like the Nexus).  I'm saying a mid-drive combined with an internally geared hub makes sense, since you can use a straight chainline and hopefully avoid some of the wear/stretch you'd otherwise suffer.

You are right, I misread your comments. I thought you were talking about an internally-geared rear HUBMOTOR. My bads!
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Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #102 on: September 08, 2015, 11:47:01 AM »
Nope.  It's confusing, though.  There are two things "Geared rear hub" can refer to, both radically different.
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Clean Shaven

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #103 on: September 08, 2015, 11:54:15 AM »
Syonyk and others with experience on e-bikes -- what are your thoughts on converting a cargo bike ("longtail" style)?  Something like a Kona Ute or Surly Big Dummy.  I can't think of anything that would be much different vs. converting a standard wheelbase bike, and it might provide greater utility.  Maybe the wiring would need to be longer.

It'll definitely weigh more though...

Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #104 on: September 08, 2015, 12:58:21 PM »
Syonyk and others with experience on e-bikes -- what are your thoughts on converting a cargo bike ("longtail" style)?  Something like a Kona Ute or Surly Big Dummy.  I can't think of anything that would be much different vs. converting a standard wheelbase bike, and it might provide greater utility.  Maybe the wiring would need to be longer.

It'll definitely weigh more though...

The weight doesn't matter with a motor. :)

There's really nothing different.  A mid-drive makes a bit more sense on a cargo bike that's regularly rolling heavy as you can use the gearing, but you'll be going through chains quickly.  A torque-focused rear hub motor (the geared ones are nice for more low end torque) is also a very good option, and combined with the small wheels, makes a little hill monster.
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DMoney

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #105 on: September 08, 2015, 02:57:17 PM »
Syonyk,  I spent the afternoon in a electric bike shop test riding and chatting with the owner and employees.  I rode some Pedego's (too much like a beach cruiser, slow, clunky), an A2B (okay), Easy motion evo (okay) and Bosch cross (a little better) and THEN I got to ride the POLICE BICYCLE they had built and was sitting there waiting for the lucky officer to pick it up.  It was a Fuji-something (like a cross, Absolute maybe) with a e-RAD mid-drive kit 500w and WOW.  That thing was awesome.

So now I'm thinking about going that route.  Purchasing a Fuji cross with disc brakes (like a Silhouette 1.7 disc) and getting the eRAD kit installed.  To answer your prior question, Syonyk - no, hubby and I are not handy with electronics.    Are disc brakes a necessary safety feature if I'm going to be riding 60 miles daily at high speeds?  Or should I trim corners and get a kit installed on one of our road bikes (specialized or fuji) which don't have disc brakes?

The guy in this shop was much more in favor of the eRAD mid-drive's rather than the BionX on the hub, although he is a distributor of both.  BionX are more pricey.  But I'm worried about the eRAD tearing up the chains.  What say you?

thanks!

Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #106 on: September 08, 2015, 03:41:24 PM »
Syonyk,  I spent the afternoon in a electric bike shop test riding and chatting with the owner and employees.

Sounds fun. :)  I haven't actually spent any time in ebike specific shops.  My local shop sells one, and that's about it.  The ones that actually sell ebikes are over in Seattle, which may as well be a foreign country for how easy it is to get there.

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I rode some Pedego's (too much like a beach cruiser, slow, clunky), an A2B (okay), Easy motion evo (okay) and Bosch cross (a little better) and THEN I got to ride the POLICE BICYCLE they had built and was sitting there waiting for the lucky officer to pick it up.  It was a Fuji-something (like a cross, Absolute maybe) with a e-RAD mid-drive kit 500w and WOW.  That thing was awesome.

Yeah... it does suck that a lot of the bikes on the market seem to think you're going to be retired and pedal around your flat town on a very glacial schedule.  It's sad.

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So now I'm thinking about going that route.  Purchasing a Fuji cross with disc brakes (like a Silhouette 1.7 disc) and getting the eRAD kit installed.  To answer your prior question, Syonyk - no, hubby and I are not handy with electronics.    Are disc brakes a necessary safety feature if I'm going to be riding 60 miles daily at high speeds?  Or should I trim corners and get a kit installed on one of our road bikes (specialized or fuji) which don't have disc brakes?

Seems reasonable.  The mid-drives are definitely going to get you more speed than the commercially integrated hub motors like the BionX (sadly, federal law limits ebikes to 20mph under motor power).  Gearing is a nice thing, and if you're going to be cruising long distances, there's something to be said for being able to get up and *go* when you want.

As far as brakes go, I would highly suggest disk brakes, and preferably a set of dual piston hydraulic ones, not the cheaper cable operated ones.  It makes a big difference in being able to come down from speed quickly, and if you're commuting in the rain, it keeps the rotors dry, so you can stop NOW, instead of the wet-rim-brake style of braking which amounts to sending a telegraph to the engine room.

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The guy in this shop was much more in favor of the eRAD mid-drive's rather than the BionX on the hub, although he is a distributor of both.  BionX are more pricey.  But I'm worried about the eRAD tearing up the chains.  What say you?

A mid-drive on a road bike does seem like a good fit for your needs.  It's going to run faster on the flats, and if you're going with somewhat integrated kits, it's going to be a good bit quicker than a BionX kit.

As far as chain stretch goes, this is something I'm still working on getting data for.  I don't know anyone who commutes long distances on a mid-drive bike, and the few people I know with them have built hill climbers, not commuters.  I believe you can get around 1000 miles on a chain, but you should absolutely have a chain stretch check tool and check the chain wear regularly.  Get good at replacing them.

One thing to consider (which actually I just learned about) is that there are companies that make ebike specific chains for mid-drive systems.  Something like this: http://www.connexchain.com/en/e-bike-chains.html

I would definitely get a few of those if you're using a mid-drive.  And certainly let me know how it goes, wear-wise!

One question you might want to ask is if the BionX kits can be speed unlocked/unlimited.  Otherwise, they'll top out at 20mph (you can pedal faster if you want, but that's less useful), which isn't well suited to your commute.  If yes, that would be a good option to consider - the 500W direct drive looks like a very nice free running drive system, but only if you can get it to assist up through 30-35mph.
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Optimiser

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #107 on: September 09, 2015, 09:48:18 PM »
One thing to consider (which actually I just learned about) is that there are companies that make ebike specific chains for mid-drive systems.  Something like this: http://www.connexchain.com/en/e-bike-chains.html

Thanks for sharing this! I still really like the sound of mid drives, if it could be done reliably.

tyort1

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #108 on: September 09, 2015, 10:15:39 PM »
I bought a 3G beach cruiser bike a year ago for $399.  It basically sat in my garage after that.  I'm 43, wasn't in the greatest shape, and live in the middle of a hill.  This year I bought a front wheel hub/motor from Clean Republic (the "hill topper") and I use my bike WAY more now.  I find that I mainly use it to power through hills.  The rest of the time I don't even engage the motor, I just pedal away under manual power. 

The other time I find having the motor option is when I'm in a hurry.  In the old days I'd jump into my car to run an errand because it was "fast".  But with the option to hit the motor and pedal my heart out and I have the ability to get where I'm going almost as fast as my car would take me. 

Net result, I spent way more time on my bike and way less time in my car this past summer.
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Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #109 on: September 14, 2015, 11:17:08 PM »
How does the steering work on your bike with the motor running?  I've just finished a review of an older Schwinn Tailwind and the front drive makes things really weird while climbing hills.

http://syonyk.blogspot.com/2015/09/schwinn-tailwind-review-in-2015.html

Though... if someone isn't intimidated by battery pack repair (I document the process elsewhere on my blog) and wants a super-cheap ebike with a very, very upright riding position for use in the flatlands, you can get those for $350.

They're not great, but at $350, if you can repair the pack yourself, it's still one hell of a deal if you live in the flats.
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Embok

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #110 on: September 15, 2015, 09:04:05 AM »
Thanks for the info. Am considering an e bike for hubby, who needs to exercise, hates the gym, and is out of shape.  I like biking, as does he in theory, but he can't keep up with me, which frustrates us both.  Maybe an e bike would help?

Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #111 on: September 15, 2015, 10:08:41 AM »
Certainly! That's a common use, when one partner is in better biking shape than the other.
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Embok

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #112 on: September 15, 2015, 11:11:01 AM »
Any suggestions for an appropriate bike for a 270 lb man, approximately 5'10" tall, to use in a somewhat hilly area (suburbs of Los Angeles).  My research suggests the Pedego Intercepto, but would love any other suggestions.  We are not handy, and won't be DIYing from a kit.

Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #113 on: September 15, 2015, 11:39:50 AM »
That looks like a good option.  It's got a nice range of gears in the back, which is important for hill climbing.

If you're not going to DIY it, that probably also implies you're going to have a bike shop do a lot of your maintenance, and at that point, I'd strongly suggest sticking with whatever your local electric bike shop sells and works on.

The CurrieTech bikes are also quite solid, though I'm not terribly familiar with their new lines.

If you've got particularly steep hills, you might want to consider a mid-drive bike.  They're harder on chains, but are much better hill climbers than rear hub motors until you start putting a lot of power through the motor, which commercial bikes don't.
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Embok

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #114 on: September 15, 2015, 11:48:40 PM »
Thanks Syonyk!  I live in the same LA suburb where CurrieTech is located, and a local bike shop carries their bikes, so they are on the list to check out.  There's a Pedego dealer about 7 miles away also.  My husband truly detests exercise, but has realized that he must start doing something:  after 50, it's all maintenance!  O

abbot31

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #115 on: September 18, 2015, 02:07:50 AM »
It is great fun to have an electric bike.  I have bought this electric bike http://www.scootercity.co.uk/electric-bikes/z1-7-speed-compact-folding-electric-bike-20-black.html
I am using it for about eight months now. It is 20” speed folding bike with 250w electric motor. Its maximum speed is 25km/h which is road legal and I can ride it without a license or tax. This is really awesome bike and its affordable. I am really happy with it.

Clean Shaven

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #116 on: September 23, 2015, 12:16:39 PM »
Any thoughts on something like this?

http://dillengerelectricbikes.com/electric-bike-kits/1000w-electric-bike-kit-10ah-upgraded-by-dillenger.html

$900 for the entire package (incl battery + charger), rear wheel, disc brake compatible, twist grip throttle -- looks pretty good to me.  I could convert an existing 26" mountain bike with this kit, easily.

This kit is currently on sale for $800 from Dillenger -- I just ordered one.

I bought a cheap hybrid bike for conversion -- this Schwinn, also currently on sale at Nashbar for about $277 (with shipping):
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_583268_-1___

The Schwinn arrived a few days ago, and looks to be of decent quality, esp. for that price.  Aluminum frame, chromoly fork, weld quality on both is acceptable.  Bike has front and rear braze-on mounts for racks and fenders, though the lower left rear rack mount will take some fiddling to get it to clear the disc brake.  Cheap shifters/ derailleurs/ brakes/ crankset, but usable (low-end Shimano shifters & derailleurs, cheap Tektro cable brakes).

Hopefully this will all work well such that I'll have a powerful e-commuter bike for around $1100 total.  Will update once I've got it all together and functional.

Rollin

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #117 on: September 23, 2015, 02:27:34 PM »
Syonyk and others with experience on e-bikes -- what are your thoughts on converting a cargo bike ("longtail" style)?  Something like a Kona Ute or Surly Big Dummy.  I can't think of anything that would be much different vs. converting a standard wheelbase bike, and it might provide greater utility.  Maybe the wiring would need to be longer.

It'll definitely weigh more though...

I have an Xtracycle and a Big Dummy and both have BionX rear direct drive hub motors.  Hard to ask for anything else out of them.  If you are in hilly areas and carrying a lot of weight look to the Stoke Monkey or 8Fun mid drives.  ebikes.ca can give you some ideas.  I like my hub motors, but if I had a lot of hills and weight I'd consider the mid-drive.

BTW - just rode 110 miles Friday and Saturday on the Big Dummy - took it camping.  Way more fun than on my standard bike, as I could enjoy all that mileage and scenery and didn't need to worry about killing my legs and lungs (still a challenge though).
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Faraday

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #118 on: September 23, 2015, 10:39:19 PM »
I bought a cheap hybrid bike for conversion -- this Schwinn, also currently on sale at Nashbar for about $277 (with shipping):
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_583268_-1___

The Schwinn arrived a few days ago, and looks to be of decent quality, esp. for that price.  Aluminum frame, chromoly fork, weld quality on both is acceptable.  Bike has front and rear braze-on mounts for racks and fenders, though the lower left rear rack mount will take some fiddling to get it to clear the disc brake.  Cheap shifters/ derailleurs/ brakes/ crankset, but usable (low-end Shimano shifters & derailleurs, cheap Tektro cable brakes).

Hopefully this will all work well such that I'll have a powerful e-commuter bike for around $1100 total.  Will update once I've got it all together and functional.

That is a REMARKABLE value for the money you paid - $277 shipped and you got DISC BRAKES and trigger shifters?!?!? Nice!

Three comments:
1) You may need a shim for your rear brake disc to make it fit whatever space has  been defined.
2) The motor wheel came with a freewheel, right? Most rear motor wheels (one exception) take freewheels instead of cassettes
3) You are going to HAVE to install at least one, and maybe two, torque arms on the rear dropouts. Those teensy tiny formed dropouts aren't too friendly for use with hubmotor axles.

Good luck, and keep us posted!!!! I think you're gonna have a KILLER build!
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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #119 on: September 24, 2015, 08:04:51 AM »


This kit is currently on sale for $800 from Dillenger -- I just ordered one.

That is really tempting. I just started bike commuting one or two days a week. It isn't as bad as I thought it would be, but this would make that 50-55 minute commute so much faster.

Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #120 on: September 24, 2015, 09:29:01 AM »
It'd probably cut your 50-55 minute commute down to 40 minutes or so, if my experiences with time saved are correct.  It mostly depends on the terrain.  On a flat commute, you can often go faster yourself than with a motor (unless you build something built for free running at speed), but the real value is in chewing up hill.
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Clean Shaven

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #121 on: September 24, 2015, 10:48:15 AM »
I bought a cheap hybrid bike for conversion -- this Schwinn, also currently on sale at Nashbar for about $277 (with shipping):
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_583268_-1___

The Schwinn arrived a few days ago, and looks to be of decent quality, esp. for that price.  Aluminum frame, chromoly fork, weld quality on both is acceptable.  Bike has front and rear braze-on mounts for racks and fenders, though the lower left rear rack mount will take some fiddling to get it to clear the disc brake.  Cheap shifters/ derailleurs/ brakes/ crankset, but usable (low-end Shimano shifters & derailleurs, cheap Tektro cable brakes).

Hopefully this will all work well such that I'll have a powerful e-commuter bike for around $1100 total.  Will update once I've got it all together and functional.

That is a REMARKABLE value for the money you paid - $277 shipped and you got DISC BRAKES and trigger shifters?!?!? Nice!

Three comments:
1) You may need a shim for your rear brake disc to make it fit whatever space has  been defined.
2) The motor wheel came with a freewheel, right? Most rear motor wheels (one exception) take freewheels instead of cassettes
3) You are going to HAVE to install at least one, and maybe two, torque arms on the rear dropouts. Those teensy tiny formed dropouts aren't too friendly for use with hubmotor axles.

Good luck, and keep us posted!!!! I think you're gonna have a KILLER build!

That Nashbar Schwinn was a better deal than anything I could find elsewhere, and I don't have to cannibalize one of my existing (nicer) bikes for this project.

Re: comments - 
1) I have an assortment of small spacers I can use if needed for the disc rotor -- thanks for the heads up.
2) The Dillenger motor wheel has a freewheel hub (thread-on).  I waited for the Schwinn to arrive to see what it had before ordering the Dillenger kit; the Schwinn has a cassette hub, so I bought this Sunrace freewheel from amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001GSQL6W?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=od_aui_detailpages00

FWIW, the Schwinn has a 3x8 drivetrain, with cheap Shimano integrated shifter/brake levers. 

3) I think the Dillenger kit comes with one torque arm.  The Schwinn rear dropouts are bulky; guessing they are forged aluminum.  Hopefully the size/shape won't be a problem for fitting a torque arm.  FWIW, the Schwinn has a standard 10x135 rear spacing; standard 9x100 fork spacing.

Faraday

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #122 on: September 26, 2015, 02:43:08 PM »
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Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #123 on: September 26, 2015, 10:15:49 PM »
If you do get a freewheel remover tool, get a thin walled/deep well one.  The more normal ones often won't work with freewheels on a rear hub motor.
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Clean Shaven

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #124 on: September 28, 2015, 06:45:18 PM »
Thanks - I have a Park freewheel tool already. I'll use the Sunrace freewheel for now, as it's not cost effective to ship it back.

Faraday

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #125 on: September 28, 2015, 07:20:20 PM »
Thanks - I have a Park freewheel tool already. I'll use the Sunrace freewheel for now, as it's not cost effective to ship it back.

I have the Sunrace freewheel tool and it was too short. Now: you can get away without it if you are only installing a freewheel on the motor, but if you ever have to move or remove the freewheel (to put a spacer in, for example), then you are stuck.
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alsoknownasDean

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #126 on: October 10, 2015, 08:17:06 AM »
Are the mid-drive bikes a better option than hub drive?

I'm keen to do an ebike build at some point in the future, but we're limited to 250W for an ebike to be road legal. I'd assume that a mid drive would be a better option then as I could use the gears of the existing bike.

Are bikes with rim brakes a bad idea for electric conversions?

patrickza

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #127 on: October 10, 2015, 10:58:07 AM »
Some E-S members think building an ebike for the daily commute is mundane and boring - they go for building light motorcycles with gobs of power and publish stories about those builds that usually end in destruction of the bike.
Time to fess up. I have two of those bikes and I absolutely love them. No destruction of either one. The great thing about an ebike is you can have the power without any efficiency penalty. My 15 mile each way commute is the most fun of my day.

My small bike: https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10256
My brute: https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=45514

Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #128 on: October 10, 2015, 11:20:56 AM »
Opinions differ on mid-drives and the like.  I'll share mine.  You'll probably get an absolutely conflicting opinion from someone else. :)

Are the mid-drive bikes a better option than hub drive?

"It depends."  I don't have any mid-drive bikes, but I can push a lot of power through a hub and be fine.  At the time I was building mine, there really weren't options for heavy duty ebike chains, and I hate changing chains, so... I optimized for "not wearing the chain out every few months."

Quote
I'm keen to do an ebike build at some point in the future, but we're limited to 250W for an ebike to be road legal. I'd assume that a mid drive would be a better option then as I could use the gears of the existing bike.

If you're limited to 250W, and are planning to actually obey the limit, yes, a mid-drive setup is going to be more efficient and will get you better hill climbing by a large margin.

Quote
Are bikes with rim brakes a bad idea for electric conversions?

How hilly is your area?  I destroyed two wheels with rim brakes in the Seattle area from the grit on the road, which is why I run disc brakes now (speaking of, I need to screw with them, because one piston is sticking).  If you're fairly flat, or reasonably dry, or both, rim brakes are fine.  They're not ideal, but they'll work acceptably.

Some E-S members think building an ebike for the daily commute is mundane and boring - they go for building light motorcycles with gobs of power and publish stories about those builds that usually end in destruction of the bike.
Time to fess up. I have two of those bikes and I absolutely love them. No destruction of either one. The great thing about an ebike is you can have the power without any efficiency penalty. My 15 mile each way commute is the most fun of my day.

My small bike: https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10256
My brute: https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=45514

Neither of yours look like you could ride them in a bike lane for long without someone calling the cops...  neither, also, is remotely legal as a bike.  If you're riding them purely in the street, cool, but that is no better than riding a motorcycle - for me, bike lanes and such are the whole point.
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Clean Shaven

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #129 on: October 10, 2015, 06:40:39 PM »
I'm assembling my e bike project, and have a question : as I understand it, the torque washers (the ones with the bent tab sticking out) are supposed to fit into the dropout on the bike. Is that correct? Mine don't come anywhere near the dropouts. 

Also,  my kit didn't come with any torque arms. Are these necessary for a direct drive rear hub motor, on an aluminum hardtail? Motor is 1000w, 48v.

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #130 on: October 10, 2015, 06:58:43 PM »
Yes, the torque washers should fit into the dropouts.  And while you don't, strictly speaking, need torque arms at 1000W, you might want to consider them.  I'm pushing 1300W without them, but I really should order a set, as I've seen some damage to my axle from torque.  I *think* that was from the bike shop not properly tightening the nuts, though.
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Clean Shaven

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #131 on: October 10, 2015, 07:44:13 PM »
Thanks. I'll do some searching and see if I can locate some torque washers that'll fit, and a torque arm that'll fit on these dropouts (cast or forged aluminum, and have quite a bit of shape to them).

Clean Shaven

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #132 on: October 20, 2015, 10:54:49 PM »
As an update of sorts, I am having trouble with my ebike kit from Dillenger. The kit they shipped had exposed wiring on the cable connecting the battery to the controller. After several emails and photos (with Dillenger customer service trying to argue that the split insulation didn't really exist), they promised to send a replacement cable. It has not arrived, and Dillenger refuses to provide a tracking number, despite admitting that the package is trackable and claiming shipment one week ago.

I taped around that wire to provide some insulation while waiting for a replacement, and installed the rest of the kit. It functioned briefly (maybe 10 miles), then died. The computer screen (which controls everything) does not power on. I suspect either the computer display or the controller unit is faulty, or perhaps both.

Dillenger refuses to address the display or controller issue until I try the replacement power cable.  Since it is now temporarily insulated and conducting power (tested with multi meter), I do not see how the power cord could account for the rest of the system being completely dead.

Dillenger CS leaves much to be desired. I am quite close to opening a Paypal dispute and also pursuing a credit card chargeback.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2015, 10:57:56 PM by Clean Shaven »

cort1977

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #133 on: October 30, 2015, 10:34:48 AM »
Sorry to hear you are having trouble with Dillenger, hopefully they will fix the issue in the end.

I recently decided to get an electric bike after reading the MMM posts on the subject and taking a closer look at what I was actually paying to commute and park on the days when I drove to work.   I have always commuted to work by bicycle to a greater or lesser degree depending on the length of the commute.   I currently live in Houston and my commute is around nine miles, I am fortunate that this is almost entirely on bike paths.   Some areas of Houston can be quite bike-friendly contrary to popular belief.   Prior to getting the e-bike I found I was often only riding two days per week, if I rode Monday and Tuesday by Wednesday I would not feel much like riding to work, particularly in the summer months when the humidity can be brutal here.   Running some rough calculations and just looking at the cost of gas and parking I figured that the payback period for an e-bike kit would be less than 6 months for me so I convinced myself this would be a financially responsible decision and began to look around for kits.
The various types of kits have been much discussed here and there are valid pros and cons for most systems.   For my situation I was attracted to the idea of a kit to convert an existing bicycle as none of the dedicated e-bikes appealed to me being mostly ‘cruiser’ style bikes retailing at prices getting close to what I would pay for a car.   Also, I like to work on bicycles and felt that a conversion kit would be within my capabilities.   Looking at the kits available the Currie Izip 3 seemed to be what I was looking for, hopefully a good quality kit from a reputable manufacturer.   I believe that these are discontinued but are still available if you look around; I found them substantially reduced here: http://www.thesuperkids.com/cu24vo500wah.html.   This kit is quite nicely packaged, front wheel drive for better weight distribution and the disadvantages of the configuration such as grip on wet hills would not be a problem on my flat commute.   The kit consists of a 36V 500W geared hub motor, combined rack, control box and 11.4Ah Li-Ion battery giving a range of 20 miles.   This seemed to meet all my needs and it was $850 with shipping.
The kit was eventually ordered from superkids after the payment was initially stopped as suspicious by my bank and was shipped promptly.   The instructions were straightforward to follow, it was easy to install, if you can change a wheel and fit a rack to a bicycle you can fit this kit.   My conversion bike is an early 90’s Specialized steel frame mountain bike.   This was picked because it has stable geometry, a strong steel fork, fittings for attaching fenders and racks and cantilever brakes.   All original components but still serviceable, the brakes may not perform as well as today’s disc brakes but they are adequate for my needs.   Also, I bought the whole bike for $100 after searching for a big enough frame for a while.   
A big advantage is that this bike is unlikely to be a target for thieves.   I park in an open area close to the entrance of our building downtown, it is watched by security but there have been thefts in the past.   The battery does have a lock to lock it in the frame but it is wedged in there fairly tightly, I had to use a lever to get it out when I removed it so hopefully it is secure enough.
The installation was smooth, the only tricky part is assembling the spacer washers and reaction arm to suit the fork and holding them in place as you slide the wheel in to the fork dropouts.   You can assemble the kit with a set of hex keys and wrenches, no specialist tools are required.   After checking the spacing carefully and making sure the nuts were suitably tight it was simple to fit the rack and set up the throttle on the bars.   The cables are black and you do have two thick cables running along the bike, but I think it looks OK.   Once installed I took the bike out for a test run and it performed perfectly.   I was impressed at how the kit performed out of the box, no adjustment required.   
Riding the bike is not that different to riding a normal bike, it’s just slightly faster and you make less effort.   This was the primary goal for me allowing me to ride every day and still have some energy left at the end of the week.   Top speed under pure electric power is 20mph on the flat, I weigh about 180lbs and the base bike is 34lbs without the kit.   I tend to pedal for the most part but the intensity is less than for a non-assisted bike.   With pedal assistance I can average 21-22mph and I wouldn’t want to go any faster on a shared bike path.   My bike is legal in Texas and I yield to other users on the path happy in the knowledge I can soon zip past them when it’s clear.   The front wheel motor does not have a noticeable effect on handling, possibly the steering is a little slower but that is hardly a problem for a commuter bike.   I have found that the greater speed doesn’t make a great difference to journey times due to slowing for pedestrians and road crossings but definitely achieves my goal of bicycle commuting every day.   
Since getting the e-bike I have ridden every day and have clocked up over 500 miles so far.   By a very rough approximation of saving $10 per day on parking and gas I am well on the way to paying off the investment.   An unexpected result is that I am seriously considering getting rid of my car; it sits in the driveway unused all week.   I would thoroughly recommend this kit and the whole concept of ebikes to all mustachians, it really can make a big difference in your life.

TL, DR – The Currie Izip kits are good; I got one and am very pleased with all the money it is saving me!



Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #134 on: October 30, 2015, 12:03:32 PM »
Excellent!  Glad to hear you enjoy it!

An ebike really is much more of a car replacement than a regular bike if you aren't already retired (and therefore perhaps care about not being a sweaty mess when you get to work).

My commuter build is still holding up fine.  I had to replace the chain/rear freewheel assembly at one point, but other than that and a flat, it's been the most boring vehicle I've ever owned, which is exactly what I wanted.

I do have a cheap inline power meter on order, though - I want to actually figure out how much power I use on my commute.
My random project blog - ebikes, DIY, fans, and more: http://syonyk.blogspot.com

mara

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #135 on: November 02, 2015, 02:38:09 PM »
I'd been watching Craigslist for a few months to find a used trailer in good condition within easy driving distance, but didn't find one. I broke down and bought a new Burley Flatbed, bungied a plastic tub on it, and went on a grocery adventure today. The trailer worked out very well. (To make the day even better, a week's groceries came in at $59!) Here's a pic of the new rig.

Goldielocks

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #136 on: November 02, 2015, 02:56:39 PM »
Are the mid-drive bikes a better option than hub drive?

I'm keen to do an ebike build at some point in the future, but we're limited to 250W for an ebike to be road legal. I'd assume that a mid drive would be a better option then as I could use the gears of the existing bike.

Are bikes with rim brakes a bad idea for electric conversions?

I am going to chime in here.  We are buying another ebike and going mid-drive this time.

I installed my first hub kit in 2003, with lead acid batteries and the going kit / controller at the time.   Technology today is so far advanced compared to that, and I still LOVED it.  No problem getting uphill pulling a trailer (lived on a big hill), and that lead acid battery lasted 20 min full throttle and 1 hr on partially pedalling (such as typical commuting).


Challenges with HUB - THEN:
The bike balance is off -- the hub adds weight where you don't want it, if you are used to jumping curbs or small bumps.  Big change to a hardtail mountain bike feel.  Pedal resistance is a big problem.  If the battery dies (rare now, not then) then you have a lot more effort to get home.

Even if nothing had changed, any ebike including hub, is still a major recommendation.

But wait -- Today, you get much more -- lithium batteries, free wheel internal parts to the hub motors and lighter designs -- these are amazing upgrades.
Hub motors are QUIET.  CHEAPER than mid-drives-- use the extra $ to buy a nice charger / battery / cycle analyst.


That said, this time around, we have chosen a mid-drive.   Mainly for the bike balance and feel.
We (DH) is buying a Luna Cycle cargo bike, installing fat tires (? not sure why, but he has gravel on his commute), and a free-wheeling mid drive hub motor.   I want a Bafang (reliable / quiet)  he thinks there is better value out there....   we shall see.

ETA -- that kit in 2003 was the start of a 3 year ebike kit import / sales business.  A bit ahead of curve, but we learned a lot.  That is partly why DH wants to build the most skookum** ebike as a substitute for a motorcycle or car, that can take all 250lbs+ of him up a hill with the trailer.   We will need to overpower it for the local laws, (750W to 1000W- don't tell)  but speed limit it to the legal ebike limit.  Driving on"bike lane" on shoulder of a 2 lane industrial road with lots of large trucks.

**most skookum => regional term.  :-)

« Last Edit: November 02, 2015, 03:05:59 PM by goldielocks »

Jeremy E.

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #137 on: November 02, 2015, 05:42:20 PM »
I saw someone at the park with a fancy cargo bike one day and thought it was one of the coolest things I'd ever seen, there was a mom driving with 2 little kids on the back of the bike and a trailer full of groceries yet she was still going about 15mph, I stopped her and asked what this amazing thing was and was told it was a Yuba Spicy Curry. It's far out of my price range but I might build my own some day. Ever since then I've been obsessed with Ebikes, I'm tempted to buy one or a kit but haven't pulled the trigger yet. I currently ride my bike to work almost every day, but that's about it, I always drive to the grocery store, etc. Here are the coolest ones I've found,
1. Riide Electric bike ($1,999)
2. Izip E3 Pro Tour (coming soon) ($3,200)
3. E-Rad 500W Mid Drive conversion kit ($850) (New and improved Bafang BBS02)
4. Specialized Turbo ($3,000)
5. Easy Motion Evo Race ($2,999)
6. CUBE Reaction Hybrid HPA Pro 29 ($2,999)
7. Potentially the 2016 Izip Express or 2016 Izip E3 Dash, they weren't finalized when I last checked up on them.

Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #138 on: November 02, 2015, 09:03:37 PM »
Just do it. Build one, buy a used one, whatever. Or buy the BionX kit I'm selling.

Get something, start learning, and go from there.
My random project blog - ebikes, DIY, fans, and more: http://syonyk.blogspot.com


Jeremy E.

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #140 on: November 04, 2015, 04:22:33 PM »
Just do it. Build one, buy a used one, whatever. Or buy the BionX kit I'm selling.

Get something, start learning, and go from there.
what BionX kit are you selling? and how much?
Nvm, just dropped $2,999 on a Haibike Xduro RX 29, seems like the most unmastachian purchase of my life. But instead of doing my 17 mile commute by bike 2-3 times per week, I'll commute by bike 5 times per week instead.

Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #141 on: November 04, 2015, 04:44:32 PM »
Not relevant anymore, but a BionX PL350 kit with upgraded battery.  It's a 13.5Ah battery instead of a 9.6Ah battery, with brand new cells.

http://syonyk.blogspot.com/2015/08/rebuilding-bionx-36v-96ah-battery-pack.html

Nvm, just dropped $2,999 on a Haibike Xduro RX 29, seems like the most unmastachian purchase of my life. But instead of doing my 17 mile commute by bike 2-3 times per week, I'll commute by bike 5 times per week instead.

You'll love it!  That looks like a really solid bike.  17 miles each way, or round trip?  You'll also be able to do a lot more with the bike than just commute.  They're awesome. :)
My random project blog - ebikes, DIY, fans, and more: http://syonyk.blogspot.com

Jeremy E.

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #142 on: November 04, 2015, 08:20:50 PM »
Not relevant anymore, but a BionX PL350 kit with upgraded battery.  It's a 13.5Ah battery instead of a 9.6Ah battery, with brand new cells.

http://syonyk.blogspot.com/2015/08/rebuilding-bionx-36v-96ah-battery-pack.html

Nvm, just dropped $2,999 on a Haibike Xduro RX 29, seems like the most unmastachian purchase of my life. But instead of doing my 17 mile commute by bike 2-3 times per week, I'll commute by bike 5 times per week instead.

You'll love it!  That looks like a really solid bike.  17 miles each way, or round trip?  You'll also be able to do a lot more with the bike than just commute.  They're awesome. :)
17 miles each way, but I can charge at work. 12 Miles is on gravel, 5 miles in city. Do you think I should keep the mt. bike tires on it?

Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #143 on: November 04, 2015, 08:52:57 PM »
What kind of gravel?  Large chunks or fairly nicely packed/fine gravel?

I don't like riding on pavement with knobbies.  I'd go with a road-focused tire, thick tubes, and slime.  Heavy, but very, very puncture resistant.
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Jeremy E.

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #144 on: November 04, 2015, 09:35:19 PM »
What kind of gravel?  Large chunks or fairly nicely packed/fine gravel?

I don't like riding on pavement with knobbies.  I'd go with a road-focused tire, thick tubes, and slime.  Heavy, but very, very puncture resistant.
Large Chunks
On my current bike I have 32C tires and they work pretty well, but the current tires on the new bike are 2.25" so I think if I want tires skinnier than say 2" I'd probably need new wheels which I don't plan on doing soon. I will just stick with the tires on it and when they start to get worn out I'll decide what to do.


Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #146 on: November 05, 2015, 09:57:18 AM »
Bold, but cool!
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cort1977

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #147 on: November 18, 2015, 11:57:15 AM »
At the risk of being accused of spamming for Currie bikes I found this review: http://www.electricbikeaction.com/currie-retro-conversion-kit/   Note that you can find them under $800 now.

Mine just topped 700 miles and is running well.

Clean Shaven

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #148 on: November 18, 2015, 12:07:56 PM »
As an update of sorts, I am having trouble with my ebike kit from Dillenger. The kit they shipped had exposed wiring on the cable connecting the battery to the controller. After several emails and photos (with Dillenger customer service trying to argue that the split insulation didn't really exist), they promised to send a replacement cable. It has not arrived, and Dillenger refuses to provide a tracking number, despite admitting that the package is trackable and claiming shipment one week ago.

I taped around that wire to provide some insulation while waiting for a replacement, and installed the rest of the kit. It functioned briefly (maybe 10 miles), then died. The computer screen (which controls everything) does not power on. I suspect either the computer display or the controller unit is faulty, or perhaps both.

Dillenger refuses to address the display or controller issue until I try the replacement power cable.  Since it is now temporarily insulated and conducting power (tested with multi meter), I do not see how the power cord could account for the rest of the system being completely dead.

Dillenger CS leaves much to be desired. I am quite close to opening a Paypal dispute and also pursuing a credit card chargeback.

As a further update:

Dillenger provided the replacement power cable (discussed above), and also a replacement controller.  These replacement parts did not cure the problem -- it still doesn't work.  I have requested on multiple occasions that Dillenger either ship a complete replacement kit (and I will ship back the defective kit), or that Dillenger send a shipment call label and issue a full refund.  Dillenger refuses to do either.

Dillenger is now ignoring my emails.  I have filed both a credit card chargeback and a PayPal dispute.  It appears that PayPal is deferring to the credit card chargeback outcome.

I cannot recommend doing business with Dillenger.  Their customer service is horrible.

Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #149 on: November 23, 2015, 04:38:56 PM »
:/ That really sucks.

If my commuter build (pretty much all DIY) breaks, I can just get replacement parts.  That's a downside of going with a nice factory integrated bike - it's hard to replace things if they break.
My random project blog - ebikes, DIY, fans, and more: http://syonyk.blogspot.com