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  1. #1
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    First time E-Bike buyer

    I am looking to get my first E-Bike by the end of this year so that is why I joined. I want your opinions on what is a good first bike. not really looking to spend more than 2000 but the less the better.(feel free to post anything in price thought I'd like to see all the options) I saw a few online for 300-500 new but I supposed those are all garbage correct? It will be primarily used for a 7 mile commute mostly flat but little up hills. Would like it to look like a regular bike and the higher top speed the better. Also I want to be able to get on and ride it the full 7 miles without having to pedal if that is possible. If not I guess i'll be doing some light pedaling. I think that is it for now. All help is greatly appreciated

    I was just doing a little more research and see that no stock bike really goes over 20mph. I would like to be able to go at least 30mph, so any suggestions on a cheap e-bike like one from izip.com or ezip.com that can be upgraded to go faster would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by GTR2EBIKE; 12-04-09 at 10:25 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTR2EBIKE View Post
    I am looking to get my first E-Bike by the end of this year so that is why I joined. I want your opinions on what is a good first bike. not really looking to spend more than 2000 but the less the better.(feel free to post anything in price thought I'd like to see all the options) I saw a few online for 300-500 new but I supposed those are all garbage correct? It will be primarily used for a 7 mile commute mostly flat but little up hills. Would like it to look like a regular bike and the higher top speed the better. Also I want to be able to get on and ride it the full 7 miles without having to pedal if that is possible. If not I guess i'll be doing some light pedaling. I think that is it for now. All help is greatly appreciated

    I was just doing a little more research and see that no stock bike really goes over 20mph. I would like to be able to go at least 30mph, so any suggestions on a cheap e-bike like one from izip.com or ezip.com that can be upgraded to go faster would be greatly appreciated.
    Currie, which makes the iZips and eZips, has more expensive bikes with hub motors and LiION batteries in their stable of products. However, for an entry level bike you can't beat their low-cost bikes. They use a non-hub motor that has great torque. This summer, I actually installed the Currie conversion kit on my 21-speed moutain bike (if you have an existing bike you can get the Currie conversion kit from the SuperKids for $279.99 with free shipping, that's where I got mine this summer). I retired to the northern US Rockies (I'm west of Glacier National Park) and found I wasn't riding my bike too much because the hills were killing my knees. I now ride it all the time and have put over 600 miles on it since mid-July. I'm not interested in speed, I need help on the hills, but I can get 17 MPH riding aggressive knobby tires (using smoother road tires would probably add 2MPH, but I ride unimproved, gravel forest roads a lot and need the traction of knobby tires). My top speed may be a bit higher because I have 21 gears--the eZip and iZip (along with many e-bikes) has 7 gears. The lower-end Currie bikes come with an SLA battery pack that is mounted to the rack system. You can upgrade to LIFEPO4, if you want to. Before spending that kind of money though, I'd make sure you think you'll be using the bike regularly. LIFEPO4 batteries are incredibly expensive. I will probably build my own LIFEPO4 battery pack using prismatic cells this winter, along with an ABS case that can slide into the Currie rack (I like the fact that their rack mounted battery system keeps the weight of the batteries positioned low, it helps with the handling of the bike).

    If you're new to commuting and aren't really sure whether you'll make a commitment to it, I wouldn't spend a huge amount of money on an e-bike. They depreciate just as much as a car driven off the dealer's lot. Also, check your state's statutes. If you get an e-bike or conversion kit capable of going over 20 MPH, your state may classify it as a moped and require it to be insured and licensed.

    FYI, this is a picture of my bike with the Currie kit installed (and pogies--handlebar mitts--for winter riding). I always have panniers on my bike and you really don't notice the motor. Good luck.

    Last edited by nwmtnbkr; 12-04-09 at 08:57 PM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by nwmtnbkr View Post
    Currie, which makes the iZips and eZips, has more expensive bikes with hub motors and LiION batteries in their stable of products. However, for an entry level bike you can't beat their low-cost bikes. They use a non-hub motor that has great torque. This summer, I actually installed the Currie conversion kit on my 21-speed moutain bike (if you have an existing bike you can get the Currie conversion kit from the SuperKids for $279.99 with free shipping, that's where I got mine this summer). I retired to the northern US Rockies (I'm west of Glacier National Park) and found I wasn't riding my bike too much because the hills were killing my knees. I now ride it all the time and have put over 600 miles on it since mid-July. I'm not interested in speed, I need help on the hills, but I can get 17 MPH riding aggressive knobby tires (using smoother road tires would probably add 2MPH, but I ride unimproved, gravel forest roads a lot and need the traction of knobby tires). My top speed may be a bit higher because I have 21 gears--the eZip and iZip (along with many e-bikes) has 7 gears. The lower-end Currie bikes come with an SLA battery pack that is mounted to the rack system. You can upgrade to LIFEPO4, if you want to. Before spending that kind of money though, I'd make sure you think you'll be using the bike regularly. LIFEPO4 batteries are incredibly expensive. I will probably build my own LIFEPO4 battery pack using prismatic cells this winter, along with an ABS case that can slide into the Currie rack (I like the fact that their rack mounted battery system keeps the weight of the batteries positioned low, it helps with the handling of the bike).

    If you're new to commuting and aren't really sure whether you'll make a commitment to it, I wouldn't spend a huge amount of money on an e-bike. They depreciate just as much as a car driven off the dealer's lot. Also, check your state's statutes. If you get an e-bike or conversion kit capable of going over 20 MPH, your state may classify it as a moped and require it to be insured and licensed.

    FYI, this is a picture of my bike with the Currie kit installed (and pogies--handlebar mitts--for winter riding). I always have panniers on my bike and you really don't notice the motor. Good luck.

    Thank you for your input, anyone else here? I am making the commitment to do it, I am going GREEN. I am not to concerned about having to insure it if it goes over 20mph I doubt i'll get clocked on radar. So for a 7 miles ride on paved roads would you spend anymore than what the izip or ezip bikes cost or they will get the job done. I would just like a little more speed 15mph is not enough 25 I could deal with anything I can do to one of those to get it going that fast?
    Also is the izip and ezip the kind of electric bike you don't always have to pedal on. So if I don't feel like pedaling can I just stop pedaling and it will take me where I want to go?
    Last edited by GTR2EBIKE; 12-05-09 at 07:35 AM.

  4. #4
    Lost? No, seeing America.
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    Cheap, practical way- install a hub motor kit (9C, Amped, whatever). If you want to go 25 without pedaling, use a 48v10ah battery. My 36v15ah holds me at 21-22 without pedaling on flats. I pedal it up to 24-25 without a lot of effort. 7 miles of riding feels like about 3. Most kits like this are not pedal-assist (meaning you have to pedal if you want to move) but have a throttle that you engage (thumb, half-twist, full-twist) to the degree you want. My thumb throttle makes a slight angle to the grip shift so it kind of gets stuck when fully engaged. I know it's not the safest, but I like the cruise-control nature it affords, especially in the very cold mornings.
    '02 Fuji Finest AL
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  5. #5
    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucasgo View Post
    Cheap, practical way- install a hub motor kit (9C, Amped, whatever). If you want to go 25 without pedaling, use a 48v10ah battery. My 36v15ah holds me at 21-22 without pedaling on flats. I pedal it up to 24-25 without a lot of effort. 7 miles of riding feels like about 3. Most kits like this are not pedal-assist (meaning you have to pedal if you want to move) but have a throttle that you engage (thumb, half-twist, full-twist) to the degree you want. My thumb throttle makes a slight angle to the grip shift so it kind of gets stuck when fully engaged. I know it's not the safest, but I like the cruise-control nature it affords, especially in the very cold mornings.
    There are some good hub motor kits out there, including Amped. However, if you decide to convert and existing bike with a hub motor kit you need to make sure that you do not use a front hub motor on a bike with an aluminum or suspension fork. Their drop outs are cast and subject to failure (due to torque) without warning, resulting in loss of control and possible injury; torque arms won't protect you. Here's a photo of a failed aluminum fork that had torque arms installed. Fortunately, the rider wasn't thrown into traffic and sustained only minor injuries. He posted this photo on his blog.

    Even steel drop outs can fail over time due to torque but they're stronger than aluminum. Rear hub motors are safer (although there are some who argue that no hub motor is safe). With any hub motor, front or rear, it's critical that you use torque arms.

    FYI--If you're in NY, you should be aware that there currently is a total ban on riding electric bikes in the streets. Some here have said that NYC police were turning a blind eye to enforcement. However, someone posted on the Endless Sphere forums that they were stopped on the streets in NYC last weekend and their bike and Ping battery were almost confiscated. So I don't know if the situation is starting to shift in NYC. There currently are 2 bills in the NY Legislature that would lift the ban (at least in part), the bill in the Assembly has passed but the one in the Senate has stalled. The bills differ and the Senate bill would only lift the ban on e-bikes that travel under 20 MPH. The Senate bill also mandates the use of helmets for e-bike riders and prohibits anyone under 16 from operating an e-bike.

  6. #6
    Lost? No, seeing America.
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    Seems like we should post a sticky notice on the forum: DO NOT USE HUB MOTORS ON ALUMINUM FORKS. Adding to that, I would probably never buy a front motor, I just don't trust the forces involved.
    My rear hub is stealthy- hidden by the rear pannier. And I don't just ride the throttle uphill, appearing to defy gravity. That's just asking to be noticed.
    I believe the bills are the same... it was passed by the Assembly, then had to go through approval by the Senate, where it is stuck in committee. I think the phrasing is that the motor can't assist above 20mph.
    '02 Fuji Finest AL
    '97 Trek Multitrack w/Amped rear 500w 36v15ah Ping
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    It seems the way to go if you want speed is the buy a regular bike and convert it. Even though I have the skills to do it if it ever broke down in the middle of a ride I would be pissed. So their is no way to mod one fo those bikes to do what I want?

  8. #8
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    Are their any companies that would be an E-Bike to my specifications? I'm thinking of something that goes a little faster now

  9. #9
    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTR2EBIKE View Post
    It seems the way to go if you want speed is the buy a regular bike and convert it. Even though I have the skills to do it if it ever broke down in the middle of a ride I would be pissed. So their is no way to mod one fo those bikes to do what I want?
    My guess is you'll be limited in the size of a hub motor that comes on a pre-made bike. Why? Most are manufactured in China and sold worldwide. Europe and other parts of the world have even more stringent limits on the size of hub motor that's lawful on an electric bicycle. As a result, many pre-made electric bikes tend to have a 250W hub motor. Those with larger motors that are sold in the US have controllers that limit speed to 20 MPH max so that they only have to meet Federal safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Administration. If their e-bikes can travel over 20 MPH or have motors larger than 750W, they must meet the more stringent safety standards for mopeds and motorcycles set by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, which generally means a beefy motorcycle-style frame, better brakes, lights, turn signals, horns, the whole shebang. At a minimum, you'd probably need to change out the controller and throttle to get more speed from a standard, pre-made e-bike. Currie's iZip Express has a 750W motor and a 36V18AH LiON battery. Currie's limited the top speed to 20 MPH, probably through the controller and throttle. With a 750W motor, changing the controller and throttle and adding a higher capacity battery might get you more speed. However, that bike costs almost $4,000.

    Again, if you're in NY, watch out. There's a complete ban on the use of e-bikes in the state and according to one e-bike owner in NYC who posted in the Endless Sphere form, the NYC police may be starting to enforce the ban.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the heads up but I doubt i'll be bothered I dont live in NYC I live in a rural area. If the local police even know about this law i'm sure they will just tell me to take it home.

  11. #11
    P7 Fanboy JinbaIttai's Avatar
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    Some stock bikes won't over 20 at 36 volts, because this about their top speed.

    Sometimes that 20 mph limit is tied into a federal law requiring that all ebikes sold in the US not be capable of going above 20 mph. these kits tend to have a silly speed limiter, which is defeated by simply unplugging the connection. But then you might hit 22 mph on it.


    A 48 Volt Lithium battery combined with most typical hub motor kits should get you to 25+ mph on level ground, no pedaling. You'll have to slow down to under 20 and help pedal on the hills, depending on how steep, but it will feel like you are riding a normal bike on level ground while doing it.
    Last edited by JinbaIttai; 12-13-09 at 11:05 PM.

  12. #12
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    Just found a cheap brand new 08 so I bought it. Where can I get the right 12 volt battery for the mod?

  13. #13
    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
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    GTR2EBIKE,

    Currie changed the controller they used in the '08 models so there's a very good chance that the controller won't run on 36V.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by nwmtnbkr View Post
    GTR2EBIKE,

    Currie changed the controller they used in the '08 models so there's a very good chance that the controller won't run on 36V.
    HAHA seriously I thought it was only the new ones. that's why I bought that one geez I can't catch a break. Is their any way of telling? besides running 36v. If I run 36 on a controller that just wont accept it could it fry it?

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