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Conversion v Stock E-Bike

Old 08-06-22, 03:59 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by portals View Post
I live in West End of Glasgow, from lunchtime until darkness it's impossible to travel more than 100yards from my flat without seeing multiple delivery guys at all times of day on ebikes (deliveroo/just-eat/uber etc.), I would suggest that probably 80% I see in total are conversions, they're easy to spot with the large battery on down frame and quite a few of them have a second battery on top of frame near headset too. Clearly there are a lot of illegal bikes being used, 250W motors are small, 750W+ motors are much larger in diameter so easy to spot.

My issue with buying OEM is that you cannot get anything much above the 250W legal limit if that's what you're after re power so you're limited to a kit, I have 1500W and 52V 17/5AH Samsung battery on donor bike, total cost was under 1000 for kite/battery/respray/new forks/breaks/tyres etc. I built it myself and took to LBS for safety check, it's good to learn about the mechanics of the bike and I did spend a few bob on tools however did have issues with rear axle and spinout, currently about to put second torque arm on.

There are some places that sell prebuilt kits with more power - maybe that's worth looking at too as you've got a kit but didn't need to build it

I found the electrical part simple, just plug in all the connectors - you cannot really go wrong with kit I bought.

Battery guarantees tent to be 3months, I'd hardly used the battery in 3 months as will still finishing off build, however I am glad that I bought Samsung given the battery lives in my flat.
Thanks!
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Old 08-07-22, 02:51 PM
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Just for interest (I hope) and not to distract from the main issue, but I've seen many e-bikes while riding off road (obviously all recreational) and AFAICT never a DIY, but all OEM mid-drives. On the other hand about 99% of the bikes I've seen on bike paths have been rear hub drive models.
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Old 08-07-22, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by 2old View Post
Just for interest (I hope) and not to distract from the main issue, but I've seen many e-bikes while riding off road (obviously all recreational) and AFAICT never a DIY, but all OEM mid-drives. On the other hand about 99% of the bikes I've seen on bike paths have been rear hub drive models.
I would never take my rear hub off-road (I can see a spinout happening very quickly), I try not to even bump over kerbs that I don't have to as I don't want to stress dropouts or bump the battery and stress the screws in drinks holder, I try to keep the ride as smooth as possible. One thing the Council has done over the years is at all junctions reduce the level of the pavement so you have ramps, I believe this is to comply with Disability legislation however, good for cyclists too!

Last edited by portals; 08-07-22 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 08-08-22, 09:34 AM
  #29  
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I've ridden several rear hub systems off road, both OEM and DIY, and the ride is horrendous (to me) because the rear of the bike feels like concrete with the extra weight. Smooth dirt trails are OK, but not anything with eroded terrain.
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Old 08-08-22, 03:28 PM
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I take my hub motored ebikes off road frequently, I find them similar to riding my dirt bike, just point the front wheel to where you want to go and open that throttle.
No need to try to pedal through the rough sections, no need to worry about whether you're in the right gear or if you need to shift.

On my mid drive ebike, I have wider range of speed, but I need to pay careful attention to which gear I'm in; whether I need to shift before a steep hill, or PAS up a steep/technical section.
And if I do rely on the motor 100%, I need to make sure the chain doesn't snap under the high-output motor, nobody likes to fix a broken chain on the trail while it's hot & humid out.

Weight distribution of hub vs mid motor never really bother me, I'm used to 250 lb. dirt bikes & 50-60 lb. downhill MTBs in the trails.
Either way, both motor types require practice for operator to take full advantage of its performance.
I would never say one motor type is horrendous vs another if I haven't put in the hours to learn how to operate it to its potentials.

Last edited by cat0020; 08-09-22 at 06:48 AM.
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Old 08-11-22, 08:43 PM
  #31  
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There are many factors to consider in this decision, and a lot of good points have been brought up in the thread.

Here's one consideration that I don't think was mentioned yet. Sometimes you cannot find a factory built e-bike that's to your liking; only a conversion will meet all your criteria.

My wife and I recently spent some time shopping around to find her an e-bike. We had some pretty specific parameters in mind.

We wanted at least 26" wheels, and preferably 700c. So all the small wheel e-bikes are out.

She needs a really low step frame. No conventional double diamonds or even mid-step.

We also wanted mid drive, not a hub motor.

And she needs a bike that fits her small body. She's 4'9" tall, which puts her on about a 44cm frame. Most bikes nowadays are sized nominally, rather than with a number measurement, so we found she needs an eXtra Small. Most of the e-bike possibilities we looked at are only offered as far down as Small (no XS). The manufacturer's recommendations usually say someone as short as 5' or maybe 4'10" can ride comfortably--not small enough. An exception is Trek. She rides an XS size Trek FX3 hybrid (non e-bike), which she loves, so we looked at some similar models in their e-bike line. Many Treks are offered in standard and electrified versions, with a + added to the model name to differentiate them. We found that an XS size Verve+ 2 or Verve+ 3 could work well for her. The trouble is that those models cost $3000, give or take a few hundred. The battery that comes standard with them would give her a range of about 30 miles, according to the estimators we checked. An additional battery costs about $600 to $800 and would be necessary for her to get the 60 or 70 mile range she wants. So we were looking at nearly $4000. The bikes are really nice and come with some good features, but to us that is a lot of money.

I read up on Bafang kits, specifically the BBS-02. (This is a 750w motor, and they also offer a 1000w in the BBS-HD). Installing one of these on a bike my wife already owns would guarantee the fit is right. We decided to go with this option. We did not put it on the FX3, but on her older Schwinn mountain bike that had been sent into semi-retirement. The whole kit came to about $1000, including a cargo rack, which is necessary to carry the battery, because her frame does not have room to accommodate it. This system is more powerful than the Bosch that comes on Trek's factory e-bikes. For the $1k we spent, we got one battery that will offer a range of about 30 miles. To double that range by adding a second battery will require us to spend only an additional $400 to $500. We figure this setup is not as sleek or elegant as a new factory e-bike, but the total cost will be $1500 as opposed to $3500+.

The BBS-02 kit was fairly easy to install, but it needed a few minor custom modifications to work with her frame--nothing that a moderately experienced mechanic like me can't easily handle. I found the rack that Bafang sells for $60 is just okay. I don't really trust it to hold up over bumpy roads with the 8 lb. battery on it, so I fabricated some custom supports to beef it up. Now it is quite solid. ($6 at Lowe's and an hour or two of extra work.)

She's ridden the e-conversion four or five times now, for a total of about 20 miles. We have everything pretty well dialed in, and she loves it. Soon we'll start going on longer and more adventurous rides, and will then see if Bafang is really as good as we hope.

My apologies to those who have read a similar thread I posted recently and noticed a lot of overlap. I wanted to add some context to my remarks here, which are meant to address the specific questions posed by this OP.

For what it's worth, some other models of factory e-bikes that we were really impressed with (had they come in small enough sizes) include Specialized Como and several models from Gazelle.

Last edited by Broctoon; 08-11-22 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 08-12-22, 07:25 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
We wanted at least 26" wheels, and preferably 700c. So all the small wheel e-bikes are out.

She needs a really low step frame. No conventional double diamonds or even mid-step.

We also wanted mid drive, not a hub motor.
I'm curious, why write-off the smaller wheel ebikes? have you or your wife tried different wheel sized ebikes for decent amount in comparison?

Similarly mid vs hub motor, have you or your wife tried either to give decent comparison?

My wife is 4'11", we've been cycling together since 2006, we ride together about 1k to 2k miles annually since.
I've built her a few acoustic bicycles including road, MTB, commuter, recumbents, tandem & ebikes;
some of them are folding versions for when we used to travel with our bikes prior to COVID.
Most of the bikes I built for wife are less expensive (under $2k), find the smallest quality frame and build with components that I can find for the best fitting of her needs.
Her road bike has 650c wheels, her MTB has 24" wheels, her recumbent has 26" & 20" wheels, so does the tandem we ride together.
I ride a 20" folding bike in my daily commute in NYC, my commuting cargo ebike has 20x4" hub motor wheels, but they ride more like 24" wheels with much suspension travel in the wide tires.
We are not strangers to smaller wheeled bikes and for the advantage of more durable wheels, more compact sizing that take up less room when they are not ridden, easier to transport, those are all valid reasons to have smaller wheels.
On ebikes, wife & I have been riding together mostly on rails-to-trail paths, no single track trails yet.
Longest distance on a single ride was about 34 miles, out & back kinda ride.
Wife feels that riding an ebike is cheating, but welcomes it when the hills are present.
She's kept it on PAS mode most of the time, not used to using the throttle on a 16" or 14" wheeled ebike.
Wife does enjoy the small compact size of the micro ebikes, low standover height, small stature allow he to be instantly comfortable with maneuvering the ebike without need of instructions. She plays with the ebike controls on her own, I just ride behind or next to her to answer questions.
Now she feel that she can ride faster on her acoustic bikes since she can keep a higher pace on her ebike (20+mph) easily.

If a sub $1K compact hub driven ebike the gets delivered to my driveway allows the wife to have a safe & comfortable first experience with ebike and suits her needs, that's
a win for me, no need to spend more time & money trying to convert an acoustic bike that may or may not be designed for the extra stress of a motor/battery can exert on the acoustic frame.
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Old 08-12-22, 04:08 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by cat0020 View Post
I'm curious, why write-off the smaller wheel ebikes? have you or your wife tried different wheel sized ebikes for decent amount in comparison?

Just not our style. We looked at lots of different designs. She didn't care for any of the 16" or 20" models, and I didn't either.


Originally Posted by cat0020 View Post
Similarly mid vs hub motor, have you or your wife tried either to give decent comparison?

I read up on the pros and cons, and talked to some people. Then concluded that mid drive is best for the kind of riding we do.


Originally Posted by cat0020 View Post
If a sub $1K compact hub driven ebike the gets delivered to my driveway allows the wife to have a safe & comfortable first experience with ebike and suits her needs, that's
a win for me, no need to spend more time & money trying to convert an acoustic bike that may or may not be designed for the extra stress of a motor/battery can exert on the acoustic frame.
To quote some minor social media celebrity, "Okay. Well that's you. But on the other hand, me? I'm finna turn up [for a Bafang kit]."

I don't think there's anything wrong with most of the myriad styles and models of bikes available today. It's wonderful that we have such a variety to choose from. My wife and I just have certain types that we prefer. It's because, well, we prefer them.
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Old 08-13-22, 02:03 PM
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Broctoon, I doubt your wife will encounter anything but bliss with her BBS02. I just built a hardtail for my son with one (52V, 14 ah battery) and he loves it. This is the third BBS02 in the family and all have been 100% reliable with no maintenance. On the other hand, my daughter wanted a coaster brake hub so hers has a front hub model (Dillenger kit). Surprisingly (to me), the 36V, 17 ah battery is still going strong after five years.

Last edited by 2old; 08-13-22 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 08-15-22, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by 2old View Post
Broctoon, I doubt your wife will encounter anything but bliss with her BBS02. I just built a hardtail for my son with one (52V, 14 ah battery) and he loves it. This is the third BBS02 in the family and all have been 100% reliable with no maintenance. On the other hand, my daughter wanted a coaster brake hub so hers has a front hub model (Dillenger kit). Surprisingly (to me), the 36V, 17 ah battery is still going strong after five years.
Is the BBS02 kit easy to install? any modification required or plug and play?
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Old 08-15-22, 05:23 PM
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You need to be familiar with bottom brackets (BB) and have the required tools (or have bike shop assistance). This isn't rocket science. There are YouTube videos that will guide you as well as looking at Sheldon Brown's site to learn about BB. It's easier if your bike has a 68 mm BB because you can use the "jam nut" to secure the main nut affixing the system (this isn't possible with 73 mm BB). As above you need to really crank on these nuts (IMO) to ensure the system doesn't loosen (don't ask me how I know) and sometimes need to fiddle with the bolts and washers holding the plate against the BB. Hopefully Broctoon will answer too since he just completed an installation, and DW has performed one too. One thing: it's worth the effort.

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Old 08-15-22, 05:31 PM
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Good to know, I installed hub motors but never mid drive.
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Old 08-15-22, 05:35 PM
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Look at some YouTube videos (I think Luna Cycle has good ones) to familiarize yourself with the operations, and we'll always try to assist here.
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Old 08-15-22, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by 2old View Post
Look at some YouTube videos (I think Luna Cycle has good ones) to familiarize yourself with the operations, and we'll always try to assist here.
Sure, Thank you.
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Old 08-16-22, 10:14 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
Just not our style. We looked at lots of different designs. She didn't care for any of the 16" or 20" models, and I didn't either.
IME, style usually comes with compromise in function.

Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
I read up on the pros and cons, and talked to some people. Then concluded that mid drive is best for the kind of riding we do.
Cycling experience is not easily translated into something that you can read about, especially when it comes to how a ebike perform for your specific riding.
What specific king of riding do you do?

Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
To quote some minor social media celebrity, "Okay. Well that's you. But on the other hand, me? I'm finna turn up [for a Bafang kit].

I don't follow any social media celeb, for good reasons, too. They may be good at being a celeb, but do they know about specifics of your riding?


Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
I don't think there's anything wrong with most of the myriad styles and models of bikes available today. It's wonderful that we have such a variety to choose from. My wife and I just have certain types that we prefer. It's because, well, we prefer them.

It makes sense to me that preference comes with actual trials, if you've never tried to ride one type of ebike vs another, do you honestly know your preference?
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Old 08-16-22, 10:41 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by cat0020 View Post
It makes sense to me that preference comes with actual trials, if you've never tried to ride one type of ebike vs another, do you honestly know your preference?
Yes, we tried a few. Not enough to become experts, but we’re pretty happy with the gamble we took. I appreciate your concern, and I believe my wife will do fine with this conversion. So far no regrets at all.

When we think of larger diameter wheels and mid drive motors, we picture something like this:



Fat little wheels and hub motors call to mind something more like this:



Maybe this is unfair, but regardless, I’d say it’s a big part of why we set our criteria the way we did. Also, there’s a vastly bigger selection of 26 inch tires available. And we have more options if we ever have to replace a wheel or borrow one from one of our other bikes. (The critical part isn’t integral to a wheel). More reasons too, but I’ll leave it at that.

Last edited by Broctoon; 08-22-22 at 07:50 PM.
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