Electric Bikes - Amped Vs Wilderness BL-36 -- which one?
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I've decided to give this a shot but can't decide between these two setups. It seems for a little more you're getting a complete setup including SLA's with the Wilderness setup (I would use SLA's with the amped kit at first too)
What are the benifits of the two?
Also, is there an advantage in gearing when selecting a rear hub? Can I change gears to affect the motor where if I had a front hub gearing wouldnt do anything?
Also, are these systems "pedal assists"? I ride a road bike for health, fitness, and fun. I will only be using the electric bike for commuting, but would enjoy being able to add my own power to the bike to get it going over 20mph easily?
08-24-08, 01:48 PM
I've got both a BD-36 and a BL-36. Both of them came with wheels that were so far out of round that I considered them unusable. I spent about 2 hours each truing up the wheels. Both of the battery chargers were defective, one just out of the box, one after a month of use. They're supposed to be supplying warranty replacements, but haven't seen them yet. The WE motors seem strong and have so far been reliable. My brushed motor has about 500 miles on it with no problem. The brushless one is less than 100 miles.
I've not seen the Ampedbike kit, but from what I've read and can determine by information online, it's likely considerably higher quality than the W.E. kits. The only drawback is that you have to put together your own battery pack. The Ampedbike kit also includes brake levels that provide a motor cutoff. This would probably be nice to have, but it's definitely not a necessity if you're just running 36 volts. My brakes are powerful enough to stop the motor even if the throttle did stick, albiet it would take significantly longer to stop with the motor pulling. If I was running 48v, I'd probably value those brake lever cutoffs a lot more.
The rear hub motor doesn't provide any gearing, it's the same performance as the front hub motor. It might be harder to find a frame to fit the rear hub, and you might have to tweak your derailleur to make it work with the new gear cluster. There's also a very uneven weight distribution with both a rear hub motor and a rear mounted battery pack. If you use lead acid batteries, your looking at about 25 pounds of weight which is usually mounted on a rear rack. Off road, I would much prefer a rear hub motor. When climbing on dirt, the front wheel can break loose. It makes your ride a lot more interesting. You can actually control a bike with the front wheel spinning, but it's a skill that I would prefer not to have to learn. It's only a problem on really steep dirt. Also, if you've got aluminum forks, most people tell you not to install a front hub motor. The torque of the motor can break the aluminum dropouts and your front wheel can fall off. Ouch.
From first hand experience, I can tell you that the quality of the W.E. wheels and battery chargers is marginal at best. The battery pack, controls, and motors seem to be good. The kit comes with a rather minimal but adequate set of instructions. I've not been overly impressed with their service so far regarding the battery charger replacements. If I had it to do over again, I think I would go with Ampedbikes kit because it appears to be better value, although a little more expensive overall. If you're on a budget and don't mind tinkering with stuff, the WE kit could save you some money and probably work OK after you've got the bugs out of it.
08-24-08, 06:32 PM
I just watched the video on the Ampebikes site where it explains that the brake levers that cutoff the motor prevent you from breaking the dropouts due to over torque. Now that I understand what they are for, I think I would value those brake levers a lot more. Particularly if you were installing this kit on a less than top quality steel mountain bike fork.
08-24-08, 07:28 PM
Right out of the box my wheel was junk even after true-ing at the LBS. I also had to order an e-crazyman controller because that too failed from the start. I would not recommend WE. Good luck!
08-25-08, 07:22 AM
I have the WE BL 36. My wheel spins true--maybe this has been improved, but has a noticable seam in the rim that is annoying when braking, but tolerable. My first charger didn't work right out of the box. My second is marginal--I believe it cuts off to early. I just got the third in, which I haven't tried yet becaue I have to put new connectors on it (not using the RCA-looking connectors they provide, I'm using Deans). I also hit a bump and broke the plastic paddle on the thumb throttle off when the shock of the bump pushed my thumb hard against it. Just got my replacement. I bought through itelectric.ca and have been working with Ken to rectify these problems. I ordered a steel non-suspension fork from a bike shop rather than take a chance using the suspension.
Hopefully I have all my problems behind me now. When it works it works well. I'd recommend using fairly wide tires if your roads aren't in good shape. I was using Bontrager inverts (1.5 inch) which were very rough with all that extra weight. It would even loosen up my headset after a few miles. I have fat commuter/confort tires now and it's really smooth so far (but kicks up every bit of road grit onto my pants now). The brushless controller is also quite large. Not sure if it is smaller on other brands.
08-29-08, 11:05 PM
I ride the amped kit. I bought a bl-36 off of ebay and had problems with the rim staying true. Mine is instant start. I commute 9-12 miles each way to work (depending on which store I need to goto) no problems yet and Im close to the 2k mile mark.
The reason the BL-36 was out of whack is because they use a cheap rim and spokes. It wouldnt really cost much to add a high end double walled rim and 12G spokes.
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