Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 16 of 16
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    13
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Question Trade-offs in electrifying bikes and suggestions welcome

    Hello all:
    First, I want a good, fast, folding, solid bike that's stiff and fun to ride, preferably with an Alfine or similar hub. Then I want to put an electric motor on it, all for less than $2K. The packages I've seen (bike and usually a BionX conversion are too expensive). I've spent the past weeks looking at as many options and here is what I've found.
    For a rear mounted motor, the choices are many (Xootr Swift, Bike Fridays, the 26" wheel Dahons, etc.) but you have to use a derailleur system. Fairly reliable, lots of gears, if you want them, but messy. This bike will spend a lot of time in the trunk of my car.
    For a front mounted motor -- necessary if I stick with the hub shifter -- Danny at Amped Bikes says that the common aluminum fork is an accident waiting to happen. If so, you need a steel fork, but I can't find a good folder that comes with one.
    So, here's the questions: if I stick with the hub idea, can I easily swap out the stock aluminum fork for a steel one? Is Danny being overly cautious? One bike shop owner who sells electric bikes (BikeFold in Laguna Beach, CA) says that virtually no shops are installing front mount motors; too many problems with stress on the fork, regardless of what they're made of. This advice nudges me back toward the derailleur option.
    I would welcome any thoughts on this conundrum.
    Cheers, Richard

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mr York's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    197
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have an amped motor on my 26" bike (non-folding). It has a steel frame, but I also use the torque arm. Even though I have steel it still felt like it would rip itself out without one.

    I don't have an answer about finding a steel fork, but maybe with a torque arm on each side of the motor?

  3. #3
    Senior Member GTALuigi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    GTA
    My Bikes
    Dahon Mu SL 08 / Matrix 08
    Posts
    765
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Thumbs up

    You've probably figured out my setup from my siggie.

    like you i've done lots of research, but in the end i went with the BionX, it's a clean and slick solution.
    the rest you have to fiddle with too many 3rd party components that might and or might not work properly.

    that asides, there was always the problem of the battery pack, and most of the other brands does not provide a reliable power regeneration, some doesn't even offer it.

    originally i also wanted a Front wheel motor instead of the rear one, but after i figured out the difference, i went with the rear motor instead, my goal was to get assistance only on the high long steep hills, i don't really use the system for the rest of the ways.

    a front mounted motor will only drag you at one speed regardless if you pedal or not, a rear motor can be configured for assistance only.

    i didn't want an Electric Motorcycle, but an Electric Bike, slight but big difference between the 2.

    those E-bike you see so much are mostly behaving like a Motorcycle, you press the button and you go ZOOOM!... but most of it maxes out at city limit speed (25km/h), unless you build your own.

    I specially hate those ebikes rolling on the park paths that looks like a gas scooter. those over sized e-scooter slow like a turtle, taking up all the space..... also you don't get the benefit of doing exercise that you would normally receive by riding a normal bike.

    Anyways back on topic if regenerative power is not a big issue for you, then any ebike rear wheel will work well for you.

    you will have to design and build your own battery pack, if you don't go with the BionX kit.

    You'll also need a 3rd party controller to manipulate the e-wheel + battery power.
    most of those 3rd party kits usually looks ... weird.

    the BionX has a nice polished look, i specially like the build in speed computer, chrono, time, distance, battery level, power level, etc, etc.... controller.

    i find myself using all of its features all the time, whenever i swap out my bionx wheel with a regular wheel, i miss all the function of the build in computer, and i can't find a regular computer that can show me all the same information.

    when i ride for fun with my family, i use s regular wheel, i only use the BionX for my daily commute.
    i'm ditching the car for the bike

    However i still wanted a folding bike, due its nice and simple package to be able to stuff it into any trunk.

    i was surprised the whole bike was able to fit into a small sub compact car trunk, being a 26" and all.
    the 20" fits anywhere, even in a IKEA blue bag

    Anyways check with your LBS, the BionX are not that expensive. they start at around $1000, depending which retailer you go to.

    The P250 or PL250 with the Li-ion battery would have been more than enough for me (i just found out)
    I'm using the PL350, planning to get a PL500 for my 20"


    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Solomon View Post
    Hello all:
    First, I want a good, fast, folding, solid bike that's stiff and fun to ride, preferably with an Alfine or similar hub. Then I want to put an electric motor on it, all for less than $2K. The packages I've seen (bike and usually a BionX conversion are too expensive). I've spent the past weeks looking at as many options and here is what I've found.
    For a rear mounted motor, the choices are many (Xootr Swift, Bike Fridays, the 26" wheel Dahons, etc.) but you have to use a derailleur system. Fairly reliable, lots of gears, if you want them, but messy. This bike will spend a lot of time in the trunk of my car.
    For a front mounted motor -- necessary if I stick with the hub shifter -- Danny at Amped Bikes says that the common aluminum fork is an accident waiting to happen. If so, you need a steel fork, but I can't find a good folder that comes with one.
    So, here's the questions: if I stick with the hub idea, can I easily swap out the stock aluminum fork for a steel one? Is Danny being overly cautious? One bike shop owner who sells electric bikes (BikeFold in Laguna Beach, CA) says that virtually no shops are installing front mount motors; too many problems with stress on the fork, regardless of what they're made of. This advice nudges me back toward the derailleur option.
    I would welcome any thoughts on this conundrum.
    Cheers, Richard
    Mu SL Gone in 10 sec!
    Matrix The perfect commuter bike for all terrain!

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    13
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    your bikes

    Hi GTALuigi:
    Thanks for your post; info like that is very helpful. It looks like your 20" is a Dahon Curve. I'm curious, what kind of 20" and 26" folders do you have? And, if the 250 watt motor is more than enough, why are you planning on installing the 500 on your new 20"?
    Thanks for this additional information.
    Good riding, Richard

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    13
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Thanks for the responses and another question

    Very helpful info; thanks! OK, I've now learned that I can get a Xootr Swift folder with a steel fork (direct from the designer, Peter Reich, who customizes them). Do you folks think that I would still need a torque arm for a front wheel mounted motor?

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    168
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Solomon View Post
    Very helpful info; thanks! OK, I've now learned that I can get a Xootr Swift folder with a steel fork (direct from the designer, Peter Reich, who customizes them). Do you folks think that I would still need a torque arm for a front wheel mounted motor?
    It's like an extra $25. Why wouldn't you?

  7. #7
    Senior Member misslexi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    218
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by GTALuigi View Post
    a front mounted motor will only drag you at one speed regardless if you pedal or not, a rear motor can be configured for assistance only.
    GTA, can you elaborate on your statement please? Maybe an example would help, I'm not understanding the difference you described. Probably 'cause I'm a dum-bass sometimes

  8. #8
    Senior Member GTALuigi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    GTA
    My Bikes
    Dahon Mu SL 08 / Matrix 08
    Posts
    765
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    in a more simplified way, a front motor is click a button and it drags you. (like a motorcycle)

    a rear motor can be used either as a button activation (like the front drive motor) or automatic assist as you pedal (like normal bike function, always going on downhill or flat even when you are going up).
    Mu SL Gone in 10 sec!
    Matrix The perfect commuter bike for all terrain!

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    13
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    front vs rear mounted motor

    As I understand it, a front-mounted motor pulls you at the speed determined by the "throttle", from slow to as fast as allowable by the controller, etc. In other words, with a front mount motor, you are not limited to a simple "off" or "on" (at max speed). GTA is correct in that you can't have pedal assist with a front mount motor, but if all one needs is some power to get up that particularly big hill, this system would be simpler and would give me the advantage of an internal hub for gearing. Is this correct?
    Richard

  10. #10
    Senior Member misslexi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    218
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by GTALuigi View Post
    in a more simplified way, a front motor is click a button and it drags you. (like a motorcycle)

    a rear motor can be used either as a button activation (like the front drive motor) or automatic assist as you pedal (like normal bike function, always going on downhill or flat even when you are going up).
    Got ya, that part I knew about, it just wasn't clear to me you were talking about pedal assist for the rear.

    I vaguely recall reading that someone had come up with a way to have a front motor work as if it were in pedal assist mode. I'm not certain how the rear motor senses pedaling but if it is, or could be done electronically, I can't see a reason why it couldn't be applied to a front motor as well.

  11. #11
    Senior Member 15rms's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    267
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I believe the Schwinn electric bike is a peddle assist front hub.

  12. #12
    Senior Member misslexi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    218
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If considering NuVinci, consider Rohlof Speedhub too, lighter and more gear inch range than NuVinci.

    What I like most about Rohlof is it's best to change the gears when not pedaling, nice feature when I forget to gear down before stopping on a hill

  13. #13
    Administrator Allen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Atomic batteries to power; turbines to speed
    My Bikes
    Salsa La Raza, Panasonic Electric, Bria, Bamboo touring, Bamboo cargo
    Posts
    4,755
    Mentioned
    5 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You can change gears without pedaling on all internal gear hubs.

  14. #14
    Senior Member misslexi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    218
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by AllenG View Post
    You can change gears without pedaling on all internal gear hubs.
    Thanks, I didn't know that.

    I went Rohlof from a standard 21 speed cassette/derailleur; changing gears without pedaling took me a while to get used to, now I'd never go back.

    My next mod will be to move the throttle to the left hand, that should make it more natural to ease off the "gas" while changing gears.

  15. #15
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    13
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Trade-offs in electrifying a folder

    I hadn't heard of the NuVinci, so thanks for the tip. I'll explore that. I have considered the Rohloff, but unless I mount it on a much cheaper bike and/or drop the motor, it's beyond my price range. Also, are you convinced that the extra gears and gear range are worth the money? It certainly seems worth twice the cost of the NuVinci or Alfine, but 3-4 times as much?
    Thanks to all for an interesting thread.
    Richard

  16. #16
    Senior Member misslexi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    218
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    There are a couple of things to consider when looking at Rohloff versus NuVinci:

    1. Maximum allowable torque. In my case I have an Ecospeed mid-drive, I may have the equivalent of 2 or 3 Lance Armstrongs pushing the pedals. I would have needed a tandem bike version of the NuVinci to handle that. Rohlof, no problem.

    2. LBS dealers. When I was looking, it was "yes, we can order that" with NuVinci, and "when would you like it done?" with Rohloff. So lets say it breaks, who ya gonna call? Me, not being a mechanic, will happily pay the premium to know I'm covered.

    Installed Rohloff price was about $1200, not sure what NuVinci wants these days.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •