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Converting a Sirrus Elite

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Converting a Sirrus Elite

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Old 03-07-18, 11:06 PM
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Converting a Sirrus Elite

I've never owned an E-bike, and I'm really interested in owning one. I currently own a 2012 Masi Evoluzione road bike, and a 2015 Sirrus Elite hybrid.

I'm 67, and have been away from cycling for about six years. I now live in hilly Reno, Nevada, and want to return to cycling. I entertained getting a recumbent trike, but wasn't thrilled with having no local dealers.

Then I heard about E-bikes. I took a quick test on a Specialized model and fell in love. The grin on my face told me everything I needed to know. But the price of a new bike is probably $2,000 and up (those that I like).

So I have begun my research and YouTube videos and have really gotten excited. Then I thought - well, maybe I could convert the Sirrus. I like the bike, it's very low mileage (bought in 2015 and ridden a bit on local MUPS). Seems like it would work as a conversion - is that correct?

That said, I'm notmechanically minded. I'm not a wrench. BUT - I do have a good friend who is good with tools and such. He's an engineer by trade, and he's willing to lend a hand. So I have three newbie questions:

1. Is this bike a worthy candidate for a conversion?

2. What's the approximate range in costs for kits? - any recommendations of brands, models, etc.?

3. Is this something my friend and I could probably tackle, or is it a project for someone who's been working on bikes for a long time? I can trade in the Sirrus at my local LBS towards the purchase of a new E-bike if I want to go that way.

Thanks in advance. Just trying to explore my options. I'm sure I'll think of more questions!
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Old 03-08-18, 07:27 AM
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Your engineer friend can easily do it. I'd suggest the Bafang BBS02 mid drive, but I don't know if your Sirius bottom bracket is a standard type. Most are though. As an e-bike conversion, the Sirius is great. Many of us convert bikes that aren't half as nice as yours. It's all about usage though. I don't ride my bikes at 30 mph. I ride them at bike speeds. And as an engineer myself, I insist that everything works.

With a mid-drive, you will lose the three speed derailleur up front, and only have the six speed derailleur in back. This is plenty given that the motor will more than double/triple any power you contribute. Set a Bafang up for 9 level pedal assist, and there should be a pedal assist level that matches your preferred biking speed. You have to order the optional hydraulic brake levers which have an electrical switch to shut off the motor when the brakes are engaged. It also features a throttle. Motor/battery should be a little over $1000.

Tools required are a $10 crank puller and a $6 chain breaker. You might want the special wrench used to tighten up the BBS02 fasteners ...$20.

The other mid drive candidate is the Tong Sheng TDSZ2. It features torque sensor on the pedals. Never seen one, so can't say anything about it.

If money is tight, hub motors are less money. Maybe $100-150 less. You cannot use a front drive,, as the Sirius has carbon forks. A 500w geared motor would be my choice for a recreational bike rider.

I own more than a few ebike conversions, one of them being a Bafang BBS02 and 250W-500W geared rear motors. Probably a half dozen batteries too.
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Old 03-08-18, 11:01 AM
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Thanks for your really thorough and useful response. Like you, I don't see myself riding at 30 mph. I'm more of a 15-16 mph kind of guy. You've given me great food for thought. Thanks!
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Old 03-08-18, 02:05 PM
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Digital - In order to help you decide, there are some things I would need to know.

If you wanted to buy a truck, I would ask do you need to haul several hundred pounds, a hundred tons, or go 4-wheelin'?

If you wanted to buy a computer, I would ask do you want to play the latest video games, record hi-def video, just surf the net, and do you need it to be portable?

In each case, there are VERY different types of equipment best suited to do the job.

So, just what exactly do you wish the new e-bike to do?

One thing a lot of newbs have a hard time getting a handle on, is that a high-end standard bicycle is expensively engineered to be as light as possible, with low speeds in mind. A motor gives a minimum of 2-3 times human leg power, possibly several times that, and makes higher speeds and higher average speeds much easier. Light weight, expensive components are no longer a requirement, and to the extent that they sacrifice strength for weight, are actually a negative. On an E-Bike, steel is far superior to aluminum or carbon. It bends before breaking instead of suddenly letting go completely.

I don't think there is a single commercial ebike with any carbon components. They are neither necessary nor recommended.

20mph compared to 15mph does not seem like such a big difference, until you hit the pavement or a solid object at that speed.

Hills to climb, height and distance and slope, and your weight, also desired range, are major factors to consider and can dramatically alter recommendations.
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Old 03-08-18, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Nelson37 View Post
Digital - In order to help you decide, there are some things I would need to know.

If you wanted to buy a truck, I would ask do you need to haul several hundred pounds, a hundred tons, or go 4-wheelin'?

If you wanted to buy a computer, I would ask do you want to play the latest video games, record hi-def video, just surf the net, and do you need it to be portable?

In each case, there are VERY different types of equipment best suited to do the job.

So, just what exactly do you wish the new e-bike to do?

One thing a lot of newbs have a hard time getting a handle on, is that a high-end standard bicycle is expensively engineered to be as light as possible, with low speeds in mind. A motor gives a minimum of 2-3 times human leg power, possibly several times that, and makes higher speeds and higher average speeds much easier. Light weight, expensive components are no longer a requirement, and to the extent that they sacrifice strength for weight, are actually a negative. On an E-Bike, steel is far superior to aluminum or carbon. It bends before breaking instead of suddenly letting go completely.

I don't think there is a single commercial ebike with any carbon components. They are neither necessary nor recommended.

20mph compared to 15mph does not seem like such a big difference, until you hit the pavement or a solid object at that speed.

Hills to climb, height and distance and slope, and your weight, also desired range, are major factors to consider and can dramatically alter recommendations.
Good questions; I'll do my best to answer.

I ride bikes because it's fun. I like the feeling, almost like being a little kid again.

I'm not a racer. I don't like to go fast downhill. I ride recreationally. I got back into cycling at age 55 or so, to have fun and to get some exercise. Those reasons still hold true today.

But now I'm 67. I've survived a heart attack and I feel good. But I haven't exercised in quite a while. I view getting back on the bike as a way of doing some conditioning (and having fun).

I live in an area of a lot of hills. Right out of my garage down the drive is a pretty steep, but short hill. The neighborhood is quiet - but hilly. I've been thinking the electric bike would help smooth out those hills. When I tried riding the Sirrus a couple of years ago, the only way I could make it happen was to transport it to a small reservoir a few miles away with a MUP, and ride around that. Fun, yes, but the fact that I couldn't ride right out of my garage was off-putting, and I didn't ride as often as I would have otherwise.

So, in sum: I'm a recreational rider, not interested in speed, but very interested in an assist to smooth out the terrain. When I was riding in my late fifties, I would ride 10 mile rides 3-5 times a week, and perhaps a 20-25 mile ride on the weekends. I loved exploring San Diego back then by bike. Would love to explore Reno the same way - with a little help from an electric motor.

Does that help?
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Old 03-08-18, 03:53 PM
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Some, but still need more. How much you weigh is an important decision factor. 150, or 250, changes the recommendation.

Same with length and height of hills, same. If you had a 15mph tailwind, on a good day, could you maintain 10 mph uphill, and crest it in 2-3 minutes? Or are we talking 5mph, with the tailwind on a good day, and a 10-15 minute climb?

Recommend checking the simulator at ebikes.ca.

I am not a fan of crank drives. LOTS of shifting required, MUCH additional wear on drive train components, requires more maintenance and more frequent replacement, failure means a long walk.

One factor is that I live in the flatlands of Florida. Biggest hill I have is a highway overpass.

Another is that the biggest POS craptoid vendor in the industry pushes crank-drives like nobody's business.

A small, geared hub is an easier install, leaves the bike more "bike-like", does not stress the drive train, and most failure modes leave the bike still ride-able. If you can change a tire, you can install a hub motor. A crank-drive requires removing the entire crank assembly, not something most people have done many times.
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Old 03-08-18, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Nelson37 View Post
Some, but still need more. How much you weigh is an important decision factor. 150, or 250, changes the recommendation.

Same with length and height of hills, same. If you had a 15mph tailwind, on a good day, could you maintain 10 mph uphill, and crest it in 2-3 minutes? Or are we talking 5mph, with the tailwind on a good day, and a 10-15 minute climb?

Recommend checking the simulator at ebikes.ca.

I am not a fan of crank drives. LOTS of shifting required, MUCH additional wear on drive train components, requires more maintenance and more frequent replacement, failure means a long walk.

One factor is that I live in the flatlands of Florida. Biggest hill I have is a highway overpass.

Another is that the biggest POS craptoid vendor in the industry pushes crank-drives like nobody's business.

A small, geared hub is an easier install, leaves the bike more "bike-like", does not stress the drive train, and most failure modes leave the bike still ride-able. If you can change a tire, you can install a hub motor. A crank-drive requires removing the entire crank assembly, not something most people have done many times.
Okay, here goes:

Weight: 235.

It's very windy here, quite often. Not unusual to have 15-20 mph winds. More than that, I'd stay off the bike. I live in the foothills of a place called Mt. Rose at an elevation of about 5,200 feet. The hills can be quite long, but I'm not sure how to estimate that. One I do know nearby is about a mile long, rising about 400 feet in that distance.

Back when I rode the Sirrus on flat land, I would average about 12 mph with no to modest wind for at least ten miles without significant fatigue. Avoided hills, so I can't tell you how well I could do that.
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Old 03-08-18, 04:31 PM
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i just converted my Sirrus. It was pretty easy. I went with the Bafang mid drive from Luna. The bottom bracket was to an issue at all. The battery mount was a little trick but I can send pictures of how I did it. I didn't install the throttle, as I really just wanted pedal assist. I have rim brakes which seem weak, so I'm going to upgrade the pads. It's working out really well.
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Old 03-08-18, 04:34 PM
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Here's a picture.

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Old 03-08-18, 04:35 PM
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BTW, I left the front derailer on to use as a chain stay.
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Old 03-08-18, 04:36 PM
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Ooph. The load, the winds, the hills, that pushes to the crank-drive, or something like a Mac 12t. That is a high-torque, low-speed motor. Rule of thumb is to maintain at least 50% of unloaded speed (which is neither really unloaded nor is it top speed, but everybody uses it) while hill-climbing to avoid overheating.

Crank-drives beat this problem by downshifting, at the cost of a few drawbacks mentioned earlier.

Give you a name of a solid, reputable vendor with a long history in the industry and a sterling reputation. Paul, at Em3EV. Website is a bit funky, he is based in China but a native Englishman. Virtually all these kits come from China.

I would message Paul what you have, and the info from your last two posts, include the health situation, and ask for a recommendation for hub, or crank-drive, and battery. He has some of the best batteries in the industry, also reliable, multi-level chargers for longer life.

Another is Justin Le at ebikes.ca. He is a bit of a boutique vendor, but sells quality merchandise much of which is developed in-house. I would also request a recommendation from him.

Definitely install the throttle. There will likely be times when pedaling is just not a recommended option.

Both of those websites contain a wealth of valuable information on things you haven't even thought of yet.
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Old 03-08-18, 04:56 PM
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Just saw the pictures. I was assuming you had disk brakes. Damn, IMO that is a real problem.

Kool-Stop Salmon pads are supposed to be the best, but a heavy bike going downhill, often - Disc brakes likely necessary.

That bike is not too different from my Crossroads, on flat ground I burn up a lot of rim brake pads. Downhill on the Sanibel bridge I get up over 35mph, that's tapping the brakes a few times and I am 70 lbs lighter, and it is only about 60 feet high, but fairly steep and short.

Makes a Direct-drive hub with regen braking an option worth considering. Or a different bike. Or maybe you like a little hi-speed coasting on the downhills?
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Old 03-10-18, 11:54 AM
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Anyone ride an E-bike?

As I get ready to return to cycling after a three years absence and a relatively minor heart attack, I'm sorting out my options.

I've concluded that it's time to sell the Mazi; it's just too much bike for me in the foreseeable future here in hilly, windy Reno. I'm having the Specialized hybrid tuned up and will be picking it up today.

The "problem" with the hybrid is that I can't easily ride it right out of my garage because I live in mountain foothills and the hills are just too much for me. I've lost a lot of my fitness from my days living in San Diego. I know I can recover some, or maybe all of that, but until then, I'm forced to transport my bike to a flat MUP 5-6 miles away in order to ride. The hassle of loading/unloading the bike just to ride it will dissuade me, I know, from spontaneous rides.

All of which got me thinking...

First, I considered moving to a 'bent. Or even a 'bent trike. These bikes would be far more comfortable, from what I can tell. But they don't solve the "ride out of the garage" problem, as far as I can tell. And, there is NO local LBS store where I can test ride, purchase, and service a bike like this.

That led to me to begin exploring electric bikes. Especially when used simply as peddle-assist, it would seem a bike such as this would allow me to enjoy all aspects of cycling, on the road or on a MUP, with a "little help from my friends," (the motor).

I've been looking at an e-bike made by Specialized, and will also be looking at Trek as well as others, such as Raleigh.

I'm not sold on the idea yet - they're expensive, for one thing. But I am intrigued about them. Wondering if there are any e-bike riders on the 50+ Forum. While a part of me thinks of them as somehow "cheating" another part of me has me convinced that if I had one, I'd be out on the road FAR more often this spring. I think of an e-bike as something like an escalator or a moving sidewalk. Sure, the motor is helping you along, but you can still use your own power to walk as well. You just get somewhere faster and aren't out of breath when you get there.

Interested in your thoughts and insight. Thanks!
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Old 03-10-18, 12:26 PM
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Converted Mountain bikes are a popular thing with Hunters, during Elk Season, Around Here ..

As they are allowed behind timber company gated roads, where a petrol motorized bike is not ...


2018 will see every brand wanting a slice of that market ... MUP/ Rail-Trail conversions with out hills , hub motors OK..

real hills, need Mid drive.. (so you have the gears on the back wheel too)

https://www.lectriccycles.com/ makes mid drive conversion kits... they're in Vegas... My Friend buys those for installation here

motor, Bafang, in 350 to 1KW in power.. also increasing in price of course..



...
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Old 03-10-18, 12:43 PM
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I have been riding my E-Bike for 6 years, and love it.

The wife has been riding hers for 3 years and loves it too.

There are basically two different types now and three different ways the power is configured to be applied, thus some research is required to make sure you get the one that works the way you want to use it...

A hub motor, good for someone who want's some assist but still wants to put most of the pedaling effort into the ride, a mid-drive motor for someone who wants/needs more assist for bigger hills.

How the power is applied means a lot to me but most people don't seem to care.

Throttle; you can pedal or not.

Crank rotational sensor; you must pedal, but how much effort you actually apply into pedaling doesn't matter for controlling output of motor.

Pressure sensor in crank or hub; my preferred method, as power input is TOTALY controlled by how much pressure you put onto the pedals, 100% just like riding a real bicycle, depending on assist level chosen it's like riding with the wind on level roads or like someone pedaling with you up hills.

Power, to me anything more than a 350 watt motor makes it a moped, JMO... a throttle makes it a moped, JMO... and unless you actually need more motor or a throttle, it fails it's intended use as a bicycle... IMO

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Old 03-10-18, 12:59 PM
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I'm pretty sure I don't want to convert my Sirrus, although it appears to be an excellent candidate for it. Let's just say I'm "mechanically challenged" and leave it at that.

I appreciate the two posts above. Based on @350htrr's comments, it would appear to best option for me is a mid-drive. I want to pedal but I'd appreciate a little boost from time to time. I think the pressure sensor makes good sense for me as well. Will continue to do the research. Thanks so far!
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Old 03-25-18, 01:38 AM
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Converted my Giant Fastroad Comax 1 using a 350W front hub. Its not a plug and play conversion since my bike has a bit different geometry that the kit requires(but might easy for your bike). I got it running after a few days. Pedal assist is awesome. 10 deg hill?? Doable! Im even heavier than you. I now go out and bike twice a week instead of once a month and can control my level of workout.

I was going for the mid drive but my bottom bracket needs special adaptors to work, I also thought that being heavier would place more stress on the drive train with the mid drives, so I eventually went with the front hub motor kit.

Im building a second bike and looking at either the Sirrus or the Cannondale quick series.
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