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  1. #1
    Senior Member veganheart's Avatar
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    my dilemma: electric conversion or not?

    In september I will be a Teacher on Call and will have to get calls at 5:30 am to be at the school by 8:00. Currently, I am riding 18km to university each way. Sometimes, like today, I was too wiped to ride home so i put my bike on the front rack of the bus. I am seriously considering buying an electric conversion kit for my bike. It will give me a range of 48km and a top speed of 32km/ph. The whole unit weighs 36 lbs.

    see this link if you like
    http://www.ellinar.com/bikes/default.htm

    I know that riding longer distances will not always be fun. So the electric assist would be nice. And when i just want a regular bike i can just swap out the front wheel and take off the battery pack.

    Am I just wimping out? Should i just ride normally, without the e assist or should i take pleasure in that extra power?

    Thanks for your opinions
    May You Live in Winds of Gentle Peace

  2. #2
    The Flying Scot chewa's Avatar
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    From what I know of electric bikes the power comes with the disadvantage of weight. It'll be less enjoyable to pedal unless it's one where the electric motor "assists" pedalling.
    plus je vois les hommes, plus j'admire les chiens

    1985 Custom built 531c Audax/fast tourer.
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    (YES I LIKE STEEL)
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  3. #3
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    I've often thought that the electric-assisted bicycle might be a very smart option for someone who already uses bicycle transportation, but rides such long distances that they cannot use human power on every trip. But I have not had any experience owning one, so I cannot intelligently comment on it's promises and pitfalls.

    Theoretically, for example, I come home from work on my bike and need to go back out, unplanned. I might be too tired to get back on my bike and ride to the store, so I quickly change clothes and hop on my electric bike.

    I would like the opportunity to prove this theory. I've read that the electicity to recharge the battery costs only pennies. Also, you can run lights and horns off the battery, no?

    No worries

  4. #4
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    www.electricrecbikes.com

    They will answer ANY questions you have. Give Keith a call at the store. He is the resident Electric Bike EXPERT!!

    From what I have experienced, the electric assist bikes are TERRIBLE. The power is jerky...and its completely inconsistent.

    Instead of doing a conversion, you really should look at just purchasing a whole electric bike at www.electricrecbikes.com

    In the end, it is definately worth it. There are so many little problems with installing the conversion kits. Everything has to be perfect for them to adapt to each other and 9 times out of 10 that is not the case.

    HTH

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    oh yeah, and if you tell him that you are from these forums and that Nathan sent you, he *might* give you a discount.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Get a Vespa

  7. #7
    Daswadimtomba! creep dog's Avatar
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    "Get a Vespa" you might as well if you are going this route. ride hard when you can and ride the Vespa when you need a rest day.
    "Lord, I am so tired. How long can this go on?"

  8. #8
    Senior Member veganheart's Avatar
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    the internal combustion engine is not the route i want to go. A large part of the reason i cycle is to be sure that my ecological footprint is as small as possible. Also, I had a scooter 2 yrs ago and they are dangerous. One pothole at high speed or a careless driver and you are hooped at those speeds.
    May You Live in Winds of Gentle Peace

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by veganheart
    the internal combustion engine is not the route i want to go. A large part of the reason i cycle is to be sure that my ecological footprint is as small as possible. Also, I had a scooter 2 yrs ago and they are dangerous. One pothole at high speed or a careless driver and you are hooped at those speeds.
    are you going to check out www.electricrecbikes.com by any chance?

  10. #10
    Senior Member veganheart's Avatar
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    yes, i've checked out that website before, but the conversion kit with the link in my original post, in my research experience, gets the best range/top speed for the price. Plus, you can easily swap out the front wheel (that has the 12 LB hub motor) and take off the battery, thus leaving you with the original bike with a few cables attached
    May You Live in Winds of Gentle Peace

  11. #11
    meb
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    Quote Originally Posted by veganheart
    In september I will be a Teacher on Call and will have to get calls at 5:30 am to be at the school by 8:00. Currently, I am riding 18km to university each way. Sometimes, like today, I was too wiped to ride home so i put my bike on the front rack of the bus. I am seriously considering buying an electric conversion kit for my bike. It will give me a range of 48km and a top speed of 32km/ph. The whole unit weighs 36 lbs.

    see this link if you like
    http://www.ellinar.com/bikes/default.htm

    I know that riding longer distances will not always be fun. So the electric assist would be nice. And when i just want a regular bike i can just swap out the front wheel and take off the battery pack.

    Am I just wimping out? Should i just ride normally, without the e assist or should i take pleasure in that extra power?

    Thanks for your opinions

    Someone posted for an opinion on that hub a few months ago.

    The price is good, hub motor is the way to go. The downside is its 10 lbs heavier than comparable power and battery capacity units. The range expectation is probably overoptmistic like many other electric bike claims. 25-30 km should be more realistic.
    Wit the extra weight, if you travel more than 5 km beyond the range of your batteries, you've put in more work than without batteries so keep that in mind. Extra battery packs could solve that issue.

    Crystallite and Heinzmann (Heinzmann is usually expensive) have rear hub motor/Shimano cassette recieving combinations that should be ideal substitutions for a rear wheel. I've never priced Crystallyte, but do so as that might be lighter and if not much more might be the better buy.

    The quick on and off of ETC and Bikit could be awfully convenient if you install and de-install the units a lot. I remember a BC poster a couple years ago on an ev forum had trouble with the ETC in the rain- it would short out and die till dry.

    If in a very hilly area, the ZAP DX model's regenerative braking might merrit consideration.

    Try also:
    EVsolutions.net
    NYCEwheels.com
    EVDeals.com
    Powerassist.com
    electricvehiclesnw.com/
    www.electric-bikes.com/habitat.htm

  12. #12
    meb
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    I omitted, Crystallyte and Heinzmann have front hub motor units too, which is easier to instal/deinstall than rear units.

  13. #13
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Shop around, Veganheart. So many options.

    I just thought: why convert your existing bike? Why not find a good used bike on the cheap, have a shop fix it up, then convert that bike? Then you'll have two bikes.
    No worries

  14. #14
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    I am serious about converting a good quality used bike into an electric bike. I will still ride my little rear off on my bicycle, but with the electric bike, I can forget about needing a car (expensive and wasteful) or mass transit (slow and inconvenient) as backup.

    If there is any vehicle the car companies should be fighting, or trying to prohibit it from the road or bog it down in insurance and licensing, it is the electric bicycle. It's got to be the cheapest form of transportation around, next to a regular bicycle. I could go to work for about 10 cents or less (after the bike pays for itself in a year or so,) and I live 14 miles or so from my job.
    No worries

  15. #15
    meb
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
    I am serious about converting a good quality used bike into an electric bike. I will still ride my little rear off on my bicycle, but with the electric bike, I can forget about needing a car (expensive and wasteful) or mass transit (slow and inconvenient) as backup.

    If there is any vehicle the car companies should be fighting, or trying to prohibit it from the road or bog it down in insurance and licensing, it is the electric bicycle. It's got to be the cheapest form of transportation around, next to a regular bicycle. I could go to work for about 10 cents or less (after the bike pays for itself in a year or so,) and I live 14 miles or so from my job.
    5-6 cents worth of electricity. But depreciate battery over 300 cycles lifetime lead acid or 1000 cycles NiMH, about 15-30 cents of battery wear per commute. Plus standard bicycle parts.

    I'm also finding some standard parts wearing faster with the electric. I'm replacing rear tires at 300-400 miles. Brake shoes go quicker too.

    I've also gone through chains and sprockets rapidly-but that appears to be a transient learning curve issue (downshift even when you don't need the ratio so that you can spread the load over more teeth/links).

    Still cheaper than a car, but you estimates are low.

  16. #16
    Failed Bike Mechanic
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    I'm going to make a couple of assumptions: You are talking about either UBC or (gasp) SFU.

    The motor you are looking at will give you a good boost on the flats, but don't expect a lot of hill-climbing torque. If you are riding up to SFU - forget it! UBC should be OK, but if you are coming form East Van (also an assumption), you may find that that last hill up from Alma will drain your batteries.

    meb is right that Heinzmann's are the best hub motors, but pricey. I'm currently testing a Heinzmann with a juiced up controller that will pull me (180 lbs) up a 15% grade at 24 km/h with no pedaling! Yowza - really torquey and lotsa fun. On the same hill, a hub motor very similar to the one you are looking at (Crystalyte) will not even begin to climb without rider help. The crystalyte is about $1300 cheaper, so...

    I think a hub motor is a great way to go because, as you've pointed out, the de-installation is so easy and your bike is back to (just about) normal.

  17. #17
    meb
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    Quote Originally Posted by mekki
    I'm going to make a couple of assumptions: You are talking about either UBC or (gasp) SFU.

    The motor you are looking at will give you a good boost on the flats, but don't expect a lot of hill-climbing torque. If you are riding up to SFU - forget it! UBC should be OK, but if you are coming form East Van (also an assumption), you may find that that last hill up from Alma will drain your batteries.

    meb is right that Heinzmann's are the best hub motors, but pricey. I'm currently testing a Heinzmann with a juiced up controller that will pull me (180 lbs) up a 15% grade at 24 km/h with no pedaling! Yowza - really torquey and lotsa fun. On the same hill, a hub motor very similar to the one you are looking at (Crystalyte) will not even begin to climb without rider help. The crystalyte is about $1300 cheaper, so...

    I think a hub motor is a great way to go because, as you've pointed out, the de-installation is so easy and your bike is back to (just about) normal.
    Mekki - How much power is in that Heinzmann that takes you up a 15 % grade at 24 km/h?

    BTW- Yeh I did say Heinzmann is the best hub motor available on a different thread. Mekki was recalling a post I made on a differing thread from this and one in which this thread'se OP was not a party, so Mekki is not a leaping into attribution left field from my pricey statement on this thread.

  18. #18
    Failed Bike Mechanic
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    The Heinzmann motor is rated at 499W, but we're running it with a custom 36V controller that delivers ~40A peak and about ~20A continuous. We don't have an ammeter hooked up yet, so I don't know exactly what we're pulling, but the Heinzmann has totally blown me away. We have a 21% grade right in front of our shop, and I can ride nice and easy on the big chainring at 28 km/h. Wow!

    Sorry to put words in your mouth (on this thread) about the Heinzmann, but it really is the ultimate If they can get the price down, I don't think there would be any contest.

  19. #19
    Bike Happy DanFromDetroit's Avatar
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    How about one of these electric scooters instead. They are cheap and seem feasible for an 18km commute. These are fancier and more expensive bikes, scooters, and karts.

    Dan
    There is nothing homlier than the face on your last dime.
    --John Wildcat, Greenback Friend

  20. #20
    meb
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanFromDetroit
    How about one of these electric scooters instead. They are cheap and seem feasible for an 18km commute. These are fancier and more expensive bikes, scooters, and karts.

    Dan
    Electric scooters without the pedals lack the legal exceptions carved out for e-bikes/pedelecs.
    Electric scooters don't have the benefit of range supllied by the combo of pedals and electrics, or the ability to continue via pedals after the battery has died.

    The Currie scooters you showed are comparably priced to the Currie kits discussed earlier.

    The Currie and Zap bikes shown on the web page you cited could be viable alternatives to a Currie or Zap kit, but this owner of Currie bikes and scooter is recommending the hub motor approaches. Zap's roller drive is the least efficient drive on the market. Currie has the freewheel on the wrong side of the electric's chain drive, so you still have to drive the electric chain whenever the motor isn't in use.

    The front hub motors can be substituted faster than Currie or Zap, only Bikit or ETC (ETC is now out of business with EV deals being the last dealer still having significant inventory) can be taken off and on quicker. I've heard of hill slip problems with Bikit's sidewall drive, and the OP appears to have some hill issues.

  21. #21
    meb
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    Quote Originally Posted by veganheart
    In september I will be a Teacher on Call and will have to get calls at 5:30 am to be at the school by 8:00. Currently, I am riding 18km to university each way. Sometimes, like today, I was too wiped to ride home so i put my bike on the front rack of the bus. I am seriously considering buying an electric conversion kit for my bike. It will give me a range of 48km and a top speed of 32km/ph. The whole unit weighs 36 lbs.

    see this link if you like
    http://www.ellinar.com/bikes/default.htm

    I know that riding longer distances will not always be fun. So the electric assist would be nice. And when i just want a regular bike i can just swap out the front wheel and take off the battery pack.

    Am I just wimping out? Should i just ride normally, without the e assist or should i take pleasure in that extra power?

    Thanks for your opinions
    veganheart,

    I've heard some reports about the system you enquired about.
    One person reported some throttle failure after 2 month-motor worked if he bypassed the throttle.

    Also am hearing the unit has more vibration under acceleration than Crystallite.

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