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New to E-Bikes, Convert or build from scratch?

Old 04-13-21, 10:05 AM
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Blindsay
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New to E-Bikes, Convert or build from scratch?

Hey All,

Interested in E-Bikes, Currently I have a 2013 Trek Fuel EX 7 and I am trying to decide on converting my current bike vs building from scratch (I like building things so buying a new factory one does not really interest me). I like the look of the beefier ones but I think that might be overkill haha (I can't post pictures yet since I just joined).

I do not want a mid drive setup, I would like to retain the ability to pedal and speed wise I don't need some crazy 60mph bike but I would like something that could do like around 40ish. I would note that I am also around 300lbs so I am sure I need to factor that in.

If I did build from scratch, not sure if there are any parts from my current bike that I could salvage?

Thoughts?

Thanks!
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Old 04-13-21, 10:35 AM
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northernjeep
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If you like the bike you own, that does make it a good candidate for a kit. Your speed requirements may be a bit unrealistic though. Perhaps look into an electric scooter. Moving on from the scooter thing though, sounds like a geared hub motor may be something you might want to look into. A lot is determined by the type of riding you do mostly. If it's mainly trails a mid drive is a good choice. Mainly urban or even gravel then a hub motor is a good choice. They come in front or rear drive, each has benefits. The front version is easy, just remove your wheel and install. The rear is similar, but since flats are a bit more common on the rear it's a bit more complicated of a removal with the wires, etc. Only a geared hub will allow you to pedal with the power off and cause little to no drag. Torque arms are a must, one is good 2 are better, especially if you pick the front drive. Speaking of front drive, steel forks are safest, alum or suspension forks are usually not recommended.. The torque from the motor can break a fork, even steel forks need the torque brackets to prevent the motor from bending the dropouts.

Back to the speed thing. Speed takes power and will drain your battery quickly compared to normal slower speeds. Good luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 04-13-21, 11:03 AM
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The Trek isn't a great choice IMO because it has an aluminum rear triangle and you would need two well-reinforced torque arms. For 40 mph, go to endless sphere; we're <35 mph advocates mostly here. The only feasible system for that speed is a large rear hub motor, and big battery which you'll have a nice challenge finding a location to mount..
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Old 04-13-21, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Blindsay View Post

I do not want a mid drive setup,
Might I ask why? My wife and I both have mid drive motors. They are also pedelecs, so you have to pedal to get power. No throttle. A mid drive gets to use your gearing. Which reduces power consumption.

Ours are also both 250 watts. I can see going to 350 or even 500 watts, but the more power you have, the quicker the battery goes flat. And you don't really need tons of power. If you want to go real fast, a scooter or e-motorcyle would be a better choice. A class 3 pedelec will get you to 28mph, that's plenty fast on a bicycle.

In any case, good luck.
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Old 04-13-21, 04:47 PM
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I have been riding motorcycles since 1999, not a stranger to going fast on 2-wheel among traffic.
6-7 years ago, I converted my downhill MTB into a high-speed street sled.
83v battery, capable of 40+mph on flat pavement with me onboard, (175 lb.)

I figure a downhill bike would handle the stress of extra speed on pavement better than regular MTB converted.
If you're not used to riding among traffic at higher speed than you can pedal on your own, you can easily get into trouble well beyond imagined with a high-speed capable e-bike.
300 lb. going at 40 mph; you will need some serious brakes to slow you down.
Start off with something sturdy, slower.. if you still need more speed after few hundred miles ridden, then look for other options.
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Old 04-13-21, 08:07 PM
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300lbs is a poor candidate for a hub drive of any sort and hub drives are a poor candidate for a modern e-bike.

There are plenty of really awesome options out there for e-bikes of quality that can handle significant weight so you might look at some of the nicer Bosch and Brose equipped bikes that will handle your weight. The Tern HSD comes to mind and some of the Riese and Muller stuff can be ordered with a heavy duty kit for heavier riders. The Specialized Como can handle a decent amount of weight but 300lbs might be pushing it a touch but will certainly be a lot better than a kit slapped onto a random bike.
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Old 04-16-21, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
300lbs is a poor candidate for a hub drive of any sort and hub drives are a poor candidate for a modern e-bike.
I wish you would quit posting things like this.

I weigh 240# and ride a mountain bike with a hub drive kit on it. With racks and gear bike is over 60#. I often tow trailers full of scavenged fire wood with it. Owned the bike for a year, it is absolutely awesome, zero problems with the kit, flies me up hills like a homesick angel.

Not everybody can afford the expensive bikes you sell at your shop.
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Old 04-16-21, 10:04 AM
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FME, you can achieve 35 or so mph with a 52V, 1000w rear hub system (front might work too, but I don't like the safety aspects). The hub motors are inexpensive and durable since they're direct drive and have basically one moving part (mine is six years old with no problems). That's as fast as I want to go on a bicycle (except maybe off road on an MTB down a hill). Other positive aspects is they can be repaired if you ever encounter a problem and, since you DIY on a bike frame, you're not burdened with an overweight piece of junk.
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Old 04-16-21, 07:01 PM
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The Gmac motor is a collaboration between Bikeswift and Grin with Mac motor. It is one of two geared hub motors with a locked clutch so you can use regen. Because of the 5/1 ratio of the motor to the wheel. You can set it up with 10%-15% regen vs only about 5% regen on a direct drive motor. You need not file or dremel out your rear stays, because it uses a solid 10mm rear axle. Grin has an extensive right up on it Here .
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Old 04-17-21, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Pop N Wood View Post
I wish you would quit posting things like this.

I weigh 240# and ride a mountain bike with a hub drive kit on it. With racks and gear bike is over 60#. I often tow trailers full of scavenged fire wood with it. Owned the bike for a year, it is absolutely awesome, zero problems with the kit, flies me up hills like a homesick angel.

Not everybody can afford the expensive bikes you sell at your shop.
Nope sorry not going to stop posting these things. I know people are fanatical about their kits because they think they are great. I get that certainly when you invest in that sort of stuff you want it to be the best thing in the world but having worked on hub drives for years I can say I wouldn't recommend them for someone 300lbs+. You are going to have a tough time convincing me that 2x or 1x with a massive weight in the hub is a strong durable wheel and better than a mid drive set up.
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Old 04-17-21, 02:28 PM
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Didn't need to file anything for my rear hub system and not interested in regen. My reticence with a big front conversion is that any problem could be catastrophic. Also, Grin way overcharges for their products IMO.
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Old 04-17-21, 03:18 PM
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Oops, sorry, my bad. meant to say I have a mid drive

Glad we agree mid drive kits are the bomb.
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