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!