Hello everyone, I am strongly considering converting one of my bikes to electric drive. Since this is a considerable expense, I'd like to know what might work best in the opinions of people with experience. Any help will be very much appreciated.
Background: I have been a regular, unassisted year-round bike commuter for 6 years. Previously my commute was about 7 miles each way and I had no problem doing it daily. Now my commute is about 17 hillier miles each way and and I've decided that I'd like some help. My plan is to generally alternate days between riding the road bike and riding the converted ebike. Essentially I'd like to replace the driving I'm doing now (about half of the total miles) with assisted biking. I weigh about 190 lbs. and would like to use the assisted rides for transporting perhaps 5 lbs of stuff to work, mostly food, so the return trips will generally be lighter. Charging at work is not a problem, and preferred.
According to my Cyclometer app, these are the total ascents / descents, in ft:
To work: 590 / 322
To home: 627 / 354
Bike: The bike I'll likely convert is a Swobo Dixon, the earlier model. It has more MTB-like geometry and an internally-geared SRAM iMotion-9 hub. It is a pretty sturdy aluminum bike with disc brakes. It has a single chainring and 135mm rear dropout spacing. I know that any rear motor will mean getting rid of the IGH, but I'm OK with that. (Is there any reason a rear-wheel conversion won't work on this bike if the IGH is removed?). The wheels are 26".
What I'm after: I want to give my legs a break every other day. I'll get a sufficient amount of exercise every other day on the road bike without assist. I want a high level of assist. I want the rides to be easy. In the interest of saving time, I want the ride to be fast. 20 MPH or faster on flats would be nice. I am willing to spend what it takes to have these requirements met. I don't want to be dissapointed, but I would also like the system to not be heavier than needed. I would like a system that can handle being rained on, and that can be used in the winter, at least down to 20 degrees F. I want real world battery capacities. I don't want the battery to be adequate for my needs for just a few months before needing replacement.
For a long time I was considering the eZee front wheel kit. I like that it doesn't lock users into batteries as BionX does. I like the idea of the simple installation it would entail. What I don't like is the lack of proportional assist (like BionX has) without adding components and the strictly-rear battery mount. Even with only a rack and empty basket in the rear, this bike feels too unstable. Then again, the heavier hub motor would probably help balance this out.
More recently I was intrigued by the PL 250 Bionix kit. It's $1000, which is easy to swallow. It's got proportional assist, and it's got the downtube-mounted battery, which I like a lot. I also like the regen. But this kit looks to be lacking in power for my purpose from what I've read. Agree/disagree?
So I'm considering a more powerful BionX kit. Or maybe the eZee again. It's hard to decide without first-hand experience.
Finally, do standard freewheels work with eZee or are the freewheels unique? Because if I do a rear conversion, I need a single-speed freewheel.
Thank youm very much.