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What does it cost to make a decent E-bike?

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What does it cost to make a decent E-bike?

Old 08-12-19, 06:18 PM
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Awaqa909
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What does it cost to make a decent E-bike?

Alright, so I have a Vilano aluminum road bike with 700c tires. I live in a town near Austin, Tx. I'm not 100% on any laws, but a quick search said I can't go more then 20mph on electric only. I'm not sure how I can achieve this. Maybe assist only? Do I need insurance? I don't ride much. I've maybe put 30 miles on the bike. I usually ride around 5 miles and after that I'm fried. I'm looking into commuting on it to work. (add racks n lights for backpack n such) It's 10~miles each way. But the only way I would ever do this is, if it was an E-bike. My thought is that the 700c tires have low rolling resistance so it should be more power efficient then bikes with fat tires. But I wonder about achievable tire mileage I can get. If it works well, I would like to transfer to a nicer bike. I'm not that into bikes, but some of the $600~ Trek bikes look nice. Maybe If it was a mid drive, I could get a bike with suspension and wider tires if needed. I'd like to actually be able to do 20mph+ but I don't know about legal stuff. I've done 26mph full out on it as it is, but I've been down to 6mph in a wind. I'm also trying to compare this cost wise, to a Honda PCX 150.

Essentially I'm wondering how much I could be looking at to convert my bike to a decent E-bike. A hub setup could be in the $700 range and a mid-drive setup could be over $1000, which sounds like a LOT. Just some more rambling down below.
My main question about price is the battery. Lipo packs, buy a pack, or make your own out of 18650 or similar batteries. It being detachable would be good too, so it's not sitting outside in the 100F+ heat. I don't have definite prices for building one, but it looks like it could be done for $300, but I'm not sure how good of a battery that is. There are Turnigy lipos packs, 6s 20AH 12c, could get 2 for about $400 and run them in series. I already have a lipo charger/balancer. I've seen prebuilt packs for $800, Luna has some for $600~... Then there are mid-drive and hub motors. I would think a rear hub motor would be better then a front. But I worry about life span and actual performance. But it seems to be far cheaper than a mid-drive.

Thanks for any input,
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Old 08-12-19, 07:14 PM
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Read the thread "How to get started with affordable ebike solutions" especially what DW said, then ask questions. Normally, a rear hub is the best solution if there's no reason not to employ one (IGH, belt drive, very hilly commute etc). IMO start with a steel 26" MTB from Craigslist. You should be able to procure a hub kit and battery for $600., and $300 -$400 more if you go mid-drive
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Old 08-12-19, 07:17 PM
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momsonherbike
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Let's see if I can help give some guidance:

1. Your bike itself is going to determine what type of ebike Kit you will be able to use. Aluminum frames are not designed for the type of torque and force that a front hub drive will have on the forks. Which means you are limited to either a pedal-assist, or a rear electric hub.

2. Now, since you know you can have only a pedal assist or a rear electric hub, you will want to decide exactly how fast you want to go. If you want to go at the maximum 28 mph, which would be a class 3 electric bike, I would strongly suggest the pedal assist. The torque from speeds that quick are pretty hefty, even on the back forks, so I would say that it would be a no go for a hub drive for that speed. That speed is also a no-go for any MUPs or bike paths off of the main roads. You will be limited , generally by law, to staying on the public roads if you use assisted speed up to the max 28mph. If you want to limit yourself to an assisted 20 miles per hour, and don't care if the electric power shuts off after that and leaves you on your own to increase the speed under your own power, then you can use either rear hub drive, or pedal assist. You can also choose if you want to use a throttle only, or a throttle with pedal assist, or pedal assist only. You are also free to use the MUPs

3. Since you are in the US, then you can use an electric motor up to 750 watts. Keep in mind that the bigger the wattage, the deeper/faster the drain on your battery, which means you'll need a bigger battery to accomodate the motor which means more weight carried on your bike. I would suggest 350w to be your maximum choice, based upon what you plan to do (commuting). Less weight overall, yet still plenty of power.

4. Do yourself a favor - if you want a kit then buy a complete kit from a reputable dealer. The motor, the batteries, and the controller that are already fitted for one another . That dealer will match the proper components and will usually have a good warranty on everything. If this is your first ebike, then you really want a plug-and-play kit. If you are handy enough to do a conversion yourself, putting the pieces together, then more power to you. If not, then search out a dealer that will not only sell you the kit, but will also install it on your bike for you. Lithium batteries are not something you want to fool around with unless you know exactly what you are doing.

5. Keep in mind that a mid drive motor is hard on your drive train, and may shorten the lifespan of your chain due to the torque for which the bike itself was not designed. Keep in mind, also, that a hub drive is hard on the bike's forks, and you may well need to use torque arms for any hub over 250 watts especially on an aluminum frame.

6. If you are serious about using this bike for daily commuting, save the hassle of converting your old bike and spend your money instead on a good quality commuter ebike from a reputable manufacturer. As in all things "you get what you pay for", and a solid bike designed for a motor - while initially expensive to buy - may well be the cheapest option in the long run.

7. The nice thing about a bike over a motorcycle is: you can often take your bike inside your workplace to keep it secure. Also, if your battery craps out, you can still ride your bicycle home. It can also be put inside a car for emergency transport. Can't do that with a motorcycle.

8. You don't need vehicle insurance. You don't need a driver's license. You don't need state inspections, or registration. It's a bike, and is treated like every other bicycle in the eyes of the legal system.

Last edited by momsonherbike; 08-12-19 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 08-12-19, 08:31 PM
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You might want to check out my thread on the OneMotor system. for road bikes or light bikes, it's a no brainer imo. max weight for the biggest battery system is 6.5lbs inclusive, so you're not turning your nice riding bike into an anchor. Speeds can be locked at 20mph or up to 28mph depending on region. PAS with 9 levels. But the best part is it comes off in 5 seconds (really) leaving nothing on the bike at all, no battery, no motor, no controllers. So no theft worries. And - unlike a hub system - when you pause the PAS the motor fully retracts from the wheel so there is no cogging or drag. I absolutely love mine. Happy to answer questions if you have them; totally understand if it's not right for you, too. Oh - and you can move it to any other bike if you get a new one in the future, too.
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Old 08-13-19, 09:42 AM
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How much??? Don't ask

Lost track of the expenses for this creation. Went with a 1300W front hub motor with dual 52V batteries wired in parallel just because the frame already weighed 78lbs. With motor, batteries, ECU & rack/lock it now tips the scales at 108lbs. but somehow manages 32mph. on flats!

Doug Daut @ Electric Bike Solutions in Fairfield CA. supplied all the electronics for the conversion & was a wealth of information & a great resource for future work.
Humble beginnings.


Electronics need to breathe



ECU & battery #1


Ignition


Battery #2



Finished project
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Old 08-13-19, 11:46 AM
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Neat bike; geared motor?
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Old 08-13-19, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
You might want to check out my thread on the OneMotor system. for road bikes or light bikes, it's a no brainer imo. max weight for the biggest battery system is 6.5lbs inclusive, so you're not turning your nice riding bike into an anchor. Speeds can be locked at 20mph or up to 28mph depending on region. PAS with 9 levels. But the best part is it comes off in 5 seconds (really) leaving nothing on the bike at all, no battery, no motor, no controllers. So no theft worries. And - unlike a hub system - when you pause the PAS the motor fully retracts from the wheel so there is no cogging or drag. I absolutely love mine. Happy to answer questions if you have them; totally understand if it's not right for you, too. Oh - and you can move it to any other bike if you get a new one in the future, too.
Awaqa909 - Actually, this might be the ideal suggestion for you. Look up the specifics, and watch the video. It is far more simple than a hub drive or a pedal assist motor, requires only 1/10 of the fitting needed, is DIY, and may suit your needs perfectly.
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