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OEM E-Bike or Conversion for my Own Special Needs

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OEM E-Bike or Conversion for my Own Special Needs

Old 01-21-19, 01:01 AM
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OEM E-Bike or Conversion for my Own Special Needs

Since sustaining life-altering injuries in a high-speed car crash, I have converted and adapted to my bikes that are now in more upright positions that have helped in the spinal department. However, I have recently discovered that climbing causes pain and debilitation due to a horizontal lateral meniscus tear in the left knee and itís not going to get any better. This is not good for someone who wants to travel considerable distances pedaling a bicycle.

I have researched the many E-bike offerings and am impressed with the designs and technologies. HOWEVER, most of the bikes, and rider needs/experiences have been more typical/normal, not idiosyncratic to MY own personal needs.

My Evel Knievel days are over and I seek to use the motorization only on climbs, which, theoretically will also increase battery life. I have no desire for motor-generated high-speeds on the flats and descents.

Iím wondering if I should purchase an OEM E-bike or covert one of my touring or hardtail mountain bikes. Iíd even be open to getting another second-hand bike to specifically convert.

1) Long distance trekking/touring on tarmac, light off-road riding and "careful execution" on the technical stuff.
2) Rack and fender mounts
3) More upright reach and stack
4) 35-45mm tires
5) Butterfly handlebars / or flat bars with Ergon GP5s
6) Mechanical discs

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-21-19, 04:13 AM
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I hesitated for a year between building and buying. Eventually a gov't subsidy in conjunction with a sale reduced the price gap too much for me to resist buying. Also contributing was that I wanted a torque-controlled drive, and there weren't many aftermarket kits who could do that. And the one I found had received lukewarm reviews on the torque sensor feature.

Apart from the butterfly bars, there's a swarm of hybrids/commuters from several different manufacturers that sound like they'd have a good chance to fit your use.

I'm not too keen on mech discs though. Many bikes today have the rear caliper inside the rear triangle. For mechanical disc brakes this means the last bit of the cable housing is aimed up, and it's hard to get a good seal there.
If you're an all-weather rider, you may get annoyed at the "frequent" service this can require.
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Old 01-21-19, 08:02 AM
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I see this and am concerned:
1) Long distance trekking/touring on tarmac, light off-road riding and "careful execution" on the technical stuff.
What are you calling "Long Distance?"
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Old 01-21-19, 09:36 AM
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I've converted a few ebikes. maybe one or two each year since 2015 One of my hobbies..The advantages are that you're not constrained on speed/power. The cost of entry can be low. You can pursue lightweight bikes. Tradeoffs are very few kit bikes have torque sensing pedal assist. Most use cadence sensors. Some are good. Others are bad . Another tradeoff is looks. Hard to make it look nice when you have a clunky battery,

My bikes ride as well as what I started with. A good frame with good components makes a good ebike. The lightest hub motors are 4.5 pounds. Crank motors are 8.5 pounds. A battery might be as low as 3 pounds, but most start around 8 pounds, You don't have to obsess over light weight components. but it cannot hurt., For my riding speeds, good v-brakes are fine, but I have upgraded some older bikes where I could to mechanical disks.

Some people will argue that a regular bike conversion won't stand up to the rigors of an electric motor. Maybe true if carbon, if you ride at 30 mph, or are jumping off trails. My wife and I are going at best 15 mph on a recreational bike trails. We're fine.

Batteries are the more expensive part in a kit build. Around $400-500 for one of moderate capacity. Hub motor kits are $200-300. Mid or crank drive motors are $400-500. My first ebike cost under $500 for the motor/battery. The next one, I spent over $1000 for motor/battery. You'll want to define your speed/range expectations. Fast/far is expensive.

Last edited by Doc_Wui; 01-21-19 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 01-21-19, 11:10 AM
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Cool many brands

1) Long distance trekking/touring on tarmac, light off-road riding and "careful execution" on the technical stuff.
battery life span currently is only good for 30 miles
2) Rack and fender mounts
3) More upright reach and stack
4) 35-45mm tires
5) Butterfly handlebars / or flat bars with Ergon GP5s
6) Mechanical discs
rest of this .... shut off the computer .... and walk into bike shops ....
way up north it's elk hunters getting MTB that go up steep hills with clear cut units.. MTB + a $1700 conversion mid drive kit ..

E bikes from Trek, has Bosch & Shimano Steps mid drive motors (frames built around them) but Sun bikes is cheaper , so they stock 1..

even that the cost has many only being interested until they hear that.. you may have a wealthier neighborhood ....Film crew movie biz folks..

Retail shops change and adapt the bikes for the customer... not the factory..

AND you may actually like a recumbent rather than a diamond frame bike.. with your back injury history ..


Last edited by fietsbob; 01-21-19 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 01-21-19, 11:27 AM
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You're in socal; if you travel to the Electric Bike Center in Fullerton, Electric Cyclery in Laguna Beach, ZZZ- or whatever- in Newport Beach as well as Jax (six Trek locations in OC) and Rock n Road (four or five Specialized locations in OC), you'll have a chance to ride probably 25 different manufacturer's bikes, then maybe decide to build up one of yours, purchase an OEM or buy a bike and DIY. If I were you, I'd ride an Elby first (EBC) even though their use of a BionX motor could be a problem.
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Old 01-21-19, 02:01 PM
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So I'm doing an eBike conversion of a Specialized Hardrock Sport. I chose a Tongsheng TSDZ 2 mid-drive kit because I did not want a throttle and I wanted a natural feeling pedal activated motor system using a Torque Sensor. And to me, that is the key. Cadence sensors are too slow to catch on and not sensitive enough.

But, I will say that I am not wholly impressed. Fitting a kit to an aluminum frame is not trivial. The hydro-formed tubing and thicker walled BB make fitting somewhat tougher.

As I installed the parts I realized you could pedal it w/o battery, but there is some seal and clutch drag. Enough that I would not want to do that all day long. So it would be better to opt for PAS Level 1 and let the motor overcome internal friction of the system while you pedaled along. Pure PAS eBikes will not go anywhere without the rider pedaling. But on PAS Level 1, most will go 60 mi or so before recharging.

Would I buy one - prolly not. Even Trek with their huge dealer network might not be where you break-down. Then having to pay to have it fixed, waiting on parts to be expressed to the LBS there to do the fixing, and what if they don't get it right ... You'll be back in a day and frustrated.

Point being, for touring it would be better if you could be your own mechanic. Parts forwarded directly to you. Fix it in the Motel Room and cruise on But that means you carry your tools, added weight... Or you carry minimum special tools and buy what you need when you need it (prolly my option).

If you buy, buy a bike with battery in the frame. Better protected and out of your carry bags way

I'd go mid-drive just becasue you will be changing tires and patching tubes now and then and hub drives are not as easy. If hub drive, I'd prolly go front 250w as you are not looking for -espeed, but help. I have ridden my DIL's Gazelle in Holland with front hub and it was quite nice

Look at who offers the best and most usable torque sensing to keep the electrics and the rider in tune ...

Last edited by BrocLuno; 01-21-19 at 02:10 PM.
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Old 01-21-19, 02:25 PM
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I'd carefully evaluate whether you can buy a bike that matches your goals or not.
  • Upright... Check
  • MTB or FAT... Check
  • Discs... Check
  • Racks/Fenders... Check
  • Handlebars.... may need to work on that???
  • Long Distance? Depends a bit on weight, power use, etc. You should be able to get 50 miles or so of low power consumption. Perhaps more if you are very judicious about use.

The reasons I'd see going to homebuilt would be:
  • Weight + Upright? This might be important for your touring.
  • Cost?
  • Fun to tinker?
  • Extended battery range? Solar Chargers? Etc?

But, everything I read, the E-Bikes are going very much mainstream now, and there are some very good bikes out there. And, good used ones pop up from time to time (although I wouldn't trust a used and abused battery pack).

I agree with [MENTION=197614]fietsbob[/MENTION]. Find some local stores that sell E-Bikes, and go take a look and talk to the sales reps. Test rides? Then go back home, and do some specific internet research about brands, models, etc.

Once you start getting your goals narrowed down, the decision should become much more clear.

Something like the Vivax Assist will be one of the lightest E-Bike conversions, and could be either purchased as a motor kit, frame kit, or full bike. However, I think it's primary intent is for short term power boosts... get you over the hill, and on your way.


But, with the costs involved, I'd probably go for their full Carbon Fiber, or otherwise superlight build.
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