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Old 01-04-10, 10:12 AM   #1
1-track-mind
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Ideal bike for conversion

What do you feel is the best type bike to convert to a ebike ?
old steel mountain bike
hybrid
commuter
recumbent
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Old 01-04-10, 11:44 AM   #2
nicobie
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I'm partial to pedal forward cruisers with the slightly longer frames like an Electra Townie 21
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Old 01-04-10, 12:57 PM   #3
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Mtn bike (front suspension only) aluminum frame, add torque arms, even steel frame drop outs will fail.
Mtn bikes usually have wider rims for bigger tires like Schwalbe BA's or Maxxis Hookworms.
They have front suspension which is good.
If you want higher speeds, usually, they have mounts for disc's (e.g. large rotor 8" disc brakes)
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Old 01-04-10, 02:47 PM   #4
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Mtn bike (front suspension only) aluminum frame, add torque arms, even steel frame drop outs will fail.
Mtn bikes usually have wider rims for bigger tires like Schwalbe BA's or Maxxis Hookworms.
They have front suspension which is good.
If you want higher speeds, usually, they have mounts for disc's (e.g. large rotor 8" disc brakes)
On a mountain bike with an aluminum suspension fork you don't want to put a hub motor on the front wheel. Do the install on the rear wheel. The drop outs are cast and easily susceptible to failure without notice--torque arms won't help you.

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Old 01-04-10, 03:50 PM   #5
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I think a recumbent is the way to go, if you could only choose one. I have six ebikes, one 16" folder, one 20" Giant Revive, one Walmart Mongoose MTB, one beach cruiser Nexus, a 20/16 recumbent and and a 26/20 EZ sport CX recumbent. For comfort and range and efficiency the big recumbent wins hands down. The others are better in town. The nice thing with the recumbent is that I can put dual Ping batteries 48/15Ahr directly under the seat, very low down on the bike, and still use my rear rack and basket combo for two panniers and a basket on top. The aero definitely makes a meaningful efficiency difference. With a big Apple tire on the back it is very comfortable as well. I'm good now for 70 miles of range averaging 20mph with moderate pedalling in moderately hilly terrain, in total comfort. The MTB is nice with dual suspension as well and front disk brake. I have an assortment of Crystalyte and Nine continent motors. The Nine C is more waterproof which is thus better with Halls - start immediate is better on recumbents to get help moving when they are a bit wobbly - otherwise I would go sensorless/pedal-first for better reliability/no Halls. I have a geared brushed on the Revive - it is my best urban shopper bike I would say. The small folder is good when I go to Arizona in my van. So each bike has a niche. I am awed by the big recumbent though, and can load up dual pings and 40 pounds of gear on to the chromolly frame and head out of town. Or attach a Bob trailer to it and haul the batteries on there. I love my lithium iron phosphate Pings running in parallel through a diode. At one C on them each, with 48 volts, I can pull about 1100 watts and go easy on them.
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Old 01-05-10, 10:08 AM   #6
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I think a recumbent is the way to go, if you could only choose one. I have six ebikes, one 16" folder, one 20" Giant Revive, one Walmart Mongoose MTB, one beach cruiser Nexus, a 20/16 recumbent and and a 26/20 EZ sport CX recumbent. For comfort and range and efficiency the big recumbent wins hands down. The others are better in town. The nice thing with the recumbent is that I can put dual Ping batteries 48/15Ahr directly under the seat, very low down on the bike, and still use my rear rack and basket combo for two panniers and a basket on top. The aero definitely makes a meaningful efficiency difference. With a big Apple tire on the back it is very comfortable as well. I'm good now for 70 miles of range averaging 20mph with moderate pedalling in moderately hilly terrain, in total comfort. The MTB is nice with dual suspension as well and front disk brake. I have an assortment of Crystalyte and Nine continent motors. The Nine C is more waterproof which is thus better with Halls - start immediate is better on recumbents to get help moving when they are a bit wobbly - otherwise I would go sensorless/pedal-first for better reliability/no Halls. I have a geared brushed on the Revive - it is my best urban shopper bike I would say. The small folder is good when I go to Arizona in my van. So each bike has a niche. I am awed by the big recumbent though, and can load up dual pings and 40 pounds of gear on to the chromolly frame and head out of town. Or attach a Bob trailer to it and haul the batteries on there. I love my lithium iron phosphate Pings running in parallel through a diode. At one C on them each, with 48 volts, I can pull about 1100 watts and go easy on them.
Good comparisons. That confirms what I've read elswhere about e-recumbents, but I've never ridden one.
That range is eye-popping... and has me wondering about the feasibility of fully-loaded touring with a Bob trailer.
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Old 01-05-10, 03:17 PM   #7
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I didn't mention them, but I'm surprised that touring bikes are rarely mentioned. The Raleigh Sojourn for example looks like a great candidate for a conversion kit.
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Old 01-05-10, 06:01 PM   #8
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I would liket to second the recumbent suggestion. My son rides a Lightfoot World Traveler with a cyclone 500. Most comfortble bike I have ever ridden. Using 24 volts you can get the big batteries with a lot of amps giving you super range.
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Old 01-12-10, 04:45 PM   #9
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My current bike is a ca. 1984 Miyata Ridge Runner. I think the key is to start with a bike that can carry a lot of weight and be stable. A long wheelbase and a lot of rake to the fork are things that an old Schwinn cruiser, a touring bike and a 1980's mountain bike have in common. The Miyat is much more comfortable than the 1997 Rockhopper I used to have the motor on.
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Old 01-13-10, 03:06 AM   #10
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If weight & rolling resistance are not your enemies, then go with a full suspension mountain bike. However, I preferred foldability, least rolling resistance, lightweight, and maximum power utilization. So I built myself a 2007 Dahon Cadenza with 700c wheels upgrade, a non-hub motor, and high density LiPo battery pack. I optimized my ebike for daily commute in San Francisco to work.
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Old 01-13-10, 09:39 AM   #11
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If you have a steel bike with big tires there's no need for a suspension! At least to my crotchety old mind. Geometry that will handle a lot of weight with style and grace is still key. My bike, 30+ pounds of lead acid batteries, a last-generation Wilderness Energy hub motor and an old fat guy on top is close to a 300 pound juggernaut. The 1997 Rockhopper was nimble and a bit twitchy without the motor, and rough riding and a little unstable with the motor, etc. The long wheelbase and slack headtube angle of the Miyata makes a huge difference, while the steel frame soak up a lot of the shocks.
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Old 01-21-10, 08:49 PM   #12
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How about a full suspension with big fat tires? That's how I'm doing my 2nd conversion. The first is a 26in scwinn searcher w/front suspension and it's still too bumpy on gravel roads w/potholes. I'm sure it won't be as efficient, but I'll compensate with more battery power....but, that's just my opinion
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Old 01-22-10, 01:44 AM   #13
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For me it's always been about mountain bike with slicks. Mainly because I like the non-hub motors versatility being that I live in an area with some decent hills. I prefer zero suspension just because in my budget range the suspension systems are junk. I'd go with a secondhand bike off craigslist for your first build, cheap and disposable. You should be able to get a really nice bike for around $50-75. I've had my cyclone 500W for about a week now and so far the only thing that has me down is the weather preventing me from riding more
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