Author Topic: Best Bikes for Ebike Conversion?  (Read 11608 times)

Mega

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Best Bikes for Ebike Conversion?
« on: April 30, 2017, 05:31:56 PM »
So I finally have a bike-able commute to work (12 km instead of 65km!). Now I need your knowledge on what type of bike to get...

To actually bike to work I will have to carry my kids in a bike trailer to drop them off at school (scored one on Craigslist for $40). To make sure I can make it to work on time while dropping the kids off, combined with ~10 years of clown commuting, I know I need an ebike.

My current bike is a 20 year old "ridged" mountain bike that I have hated since I was a kid. It has always made my butt and wrists hurt when riding for extended times. if I am going to be riding this all the time I want it to be comfortable.

Based on reading the MMM's ebike articles, I will definitely convert a regular bike to an ebike, I guess using the BBSHD.

So what bike should I get?

What are the restrictions to doing a mid drive conversion?

Are those new fangled mountain bikes with suspension way more comfortable than ridged mountain bikes?

Do I need disc breaks?

Is a $200 Walmart special worth getting vs other bikes?

Sydneystache

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Re: Best Bikes for Ebike Conversion?
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2017, 06:09:58 PM »
Buy an e-bike, don't even think about converting a $200 Walmart bike. You're looking to replace a car, so spending money on an e-bike will be worth it in the long run as opposed to going for the lowest spec bike you can buy. If that were the case, see if you can convert your existing mountain bike into an e-bike. It sounds as if you need a proper bike fit for your current bike. Buying another BSO won't allow you love to your ride.

EfficiencyNerd

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Re: Best Bikes for Ebike Conversion?
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2017, 09:58:34 PM »
Converting a regular bike into an ebike with the BBSHD is so much fun! I just completed this process a couple months ago and have been absolutely loving it - I commute 50 km round trip currently. I have a Kona Fire Mountain trail bike, which is a hard-tail. I'd definitely recommend something with full suspension, as at some point I'll probably get one of those and switch my kit over to that. For now, I can put up with the bumps. You definitely want a solid bike - aka not something from Walmart. I personally can't say what used brands/bikes are good, personally I'd just look at what's on Craigslist and then do some research on the bike/brand to read reviews. You'll probably be looking at trail/mountain bikes - but not the Mongoose/Huffy/whatever Walmart carries. There are lots of solid brands that I've never even heard of. Disc brakes are a no-brainer, you want to be able to stop quick. Another main consideration is having room for the battery in the middle part - if you look at the batteries from LunaCycle, they have great measurements, just make sure the rear shock (assuming it's a full-suspension bike) won't ever hit where the battery will sit. My battery is huge and takes up nearly the whole triangle of my hard-tail, but they have ones that are water bottle shaped.

I'm still learning myself, but I've learned lots and have tons of information for you if you're interested. It sounds like you're where I was a few months ago, just looking into it. Feel free to fire any questions you may have my way, and I'll do my best to help out. Perhaps we could even arrange a meetup sometime if you wanted to check my build out and/or help you assemble your kit as I'm not too far from you (downtown Toronto currently, moving to somewhere in Scarborough in a couple months).
 
In answer to your questions:

What bike... ha! Tons of options. Whatever is sturdy and a decent price on craigslist (I'd look to spend $400-$800 for something solid that's a decent deal).

The main restriction with a mid-drive is the size of the "bottom bracket", aka the part of the frame that the pedals attach to. Unless you're looking at a fat bike (with huge 4 inch tires or so) you probably won't have to worry about that, it will either be 68 mm or 70 mm and the main kit from Luna Cycle fits both of those. The other issue is that you now have lots of power on the chain, so you may want to upgrade from the stock one to something more sturdy so you don't snap it. I haven't specifically measured my chain for wear yet, but haven't seen any other signs of wear either (the gear teeth start looking different).

Full suspension is definitely more comfortable on your rear end when you hit a pot hole, or anything other than smooth pavement for that matter. Good front suspension is also much nicer on your wrists.

I'd definitely do disc brakes - I have hydraulic (aka fluid in the tubes rather than a cable), personally I think mechanical disc brakes (with a cable) are easier to fuss with but supposedly not quite as nice.

You do not want a Walmart special. Like I said, you're going to have a lot more power that just your legs, which is what all these bikes were designed for. Best case you'd end up breaking something that didn't cause you to crash. Worst case you'd snap an axle or a few spokes and hit the road while going at a pretty good clip - not good! You want a strong bike with strong parts.

Mega

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Re: Best Bikes for Ebike Conversion?
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2017, 05:44:39 AM »
Wow! Thank you so much for the detailed response! I will definitely get a safe bike.

Just curious, how long does your commute take one way?

And did you ship everything from Luna to Canada, or did you buy local?

EfficiencyNerd

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Re: Best Bikes for Ebike Conversion?
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2017, 07:26:22 AM »
Currently my commute is almost exactly 26 km one way, and it takes me about 55-65 minutes depending on traffic and wind. That's from downtown Toronto (Bay St & Bloor) up to Morningside in Scarborough. I'm in the process of trying to find a faster route, mostly by not hitting so many traffic lights (currently I go through around 70 each way). I'm typically cruising about 40 km/h and the traffic lights take up a good chunk of my commute. I have the BBSHD programmed for 1500 W max output. I usually use the throttle to get up to speed, then once I'm in the gear I want I turn up the pedal assist to maintain my speed (usually 300-500W according to the display).

Granted going faster than 32 km/h with the motor, as well as having it output more than 500W, is not really legal in Toronto, but I haven't had any issues with cops - I just try not to go speeding by them, and generally am always pedalling or at least "clown pedalling" (pedalling slow enough to not have any resistance). One time I went through a spot that was two lanes going into one for a lane blockage, and had traffic behind me. It was uphill, so I was nailing the throttle in order to not disrupt traffic too much until it got back to 2 lanes and I could move over. I crested the hill doing over 50 km/h and saw a cop sitting right there, but he didn't budge. In any case, it's up to you if you want to stay truly legal or not (not sure if the same rules apply where you are).

I did ship from Luna to Canada, and made the mistake of having them ship UPS as UPS charged a nearly $100 "brokerage fee" in order to charge the duty. If you have them ship US Postal Service to Canada Post (for the battery they can't, but that could be shipped separately) there is a chance it won't even get inspected for duty charge, but even if it does you at least won't get hit with a huge brokerage fee. I looked for something local that had the BBSHD but couldn't really find anything comparable, especially since Luna has nice spacers and such in their kit.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 07:28:53 AM by EfficiencyNerd »

EfficiencyNerd

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Re: Best Bikes for Ebike Conversion?
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2017, 10:20:26 AM »
As far as what bike to get, here's a great place to start for the BBSHD. I was looking for this list and finally found the link.

https://electricbike.com/forum/forum/builds/ebike-building-directions/7635-bikes-that-are-compatible-with-a-bbshd-and-bbso2-kits

Mega

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Re: Best Bikes for Ebike Conversion?
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2017, 08:20:46 PM »
Well, thought I would give anyone who finds this thread and update.

I got the job, and was lucky enough to find a used ebuke conversion with a BBS02 and 48v 15Ah battery. Battery has been confirmed to be in good condition. On a Trek Navigator 2.0 total price was $850 Canadian. So a good cost savings compared to buying new.

I have biked to work twice now and it is awesome. For an extra time cost of 5-7 minutes, I get a total workoyt of 35 minutes twice a day.

I definitely recommend.

Note: I would also recommend a bike with rear suspension, and a battery that sits between you legs. I rubbed a hole in the battery casing, and had to cover it with one of those spray rubber sealants.

BikeFanatic

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Re: Best Bikes for Ebike Conversion?
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2017, 04:12:23 AM »
That is a great price for your ebike. a nice battery too, 15 amp hours will get you 20-30 miles!
I would recommend to not leave battery fully charged more than a couple of days, I have researched and it seems that the newer batteries like to be in a state of half charge for longevity. Have fun out there.

EfficiencyNerd

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Re: Best Bikes for Ebike Conversion?
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2017, 06:44:18 AM »
That's awesome! A great price on a great bike. Enjoy it.

I'm curious, how is the traffic when biking in Burlington? I recently moved to Markham, so my commute shortened a bit to 20 km. I've found my commute to be so much nicer as there are bike lanes (on non-busy, neighbourhood roads) and trails and side streets I can take almost the entire way to work.

Congrats on joining the daily biking crowd! Even with an e-bike, I bet you'll find it has a huge impact on your general health and fitness level.

jamesbond007

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Re: Best Bikes for Ebike Conversion?
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2017, 10:43:19 AM »
I bought my hardtail from Diamondback (on the delivery truck now :)) with disc brakes and all for $339 shipped. I also ordered the BBS02 750W and a 52V 17.5AH Panasonic GA from LunaCycle. I hope I get everything I need by tomorrow. I will convert mine this Sunday :)