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Old 06-08-11, 12:11 PM
  #1  
oldacura
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Conversion Questions

I've recently started to consider converting an older steel framed (and steel fork), non-suspended 26" mountain bike to an electric bike.

I do a lot of bike riding but have never ridden an electric bike. I think I'm looking for electric assist (as opposed to fully electric powered).

I've seen that there are front and rear wheel hub motors. What are the advantages/disadvantages of each?

I've done a lot of wrenching on my bikes and on cars. Is there some consensus on what is the best kit?

On batteries, I'm assuming that Lead-Acid is cheapest but also heaviest. Are there any other considerations?

Thanks!
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Old 06-08-11, 08:28 PM
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Welcome to E-biking.

I don't think you'll find an ebike that is only electric (unless it's a scooter or motorcycle). All e-bikes are pedal-capable.

Having rear wheel gives much better traction in loose soil, wet surfaces, etc. because your weight is on the back.

However, installing, maintaining, and such is much easier on a front hub. If you spend most of your time on the streets, then front hub is fine.

Lead acid is great, but heavy and space-consuming. But they are cheap.

Pingbattery.com is where you can get great batteries at good prices (LifePo), but they cost about two to three times the cost of sealed lead acid.

Try ebikekit.com. I've ordered two kits from them (talk to Jason) and they are (in my opinion) the best. Why?

1. They sell a complete package (whether you get a battery from them is your choice). You can order from them and get 100% of what you need in one simple package.

2. They are put together in the USA.

The Chinese are fine people, but everytime you spend money with an American company you help the U.S. economy.


If your budget is about 500. Get the Ebike Kit SLA kit. If you have 700-900, get the EbikeKit and order a battery from Pingbattery.


You need to tell us how far you want to go and how fast. Those two questions are important.
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Old 06-09-11, 07:45 AM
  #3  
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Thanks for the info. I have since browsed more on this forum and found some of the info I requested. I also looked at the motors on eBay and they appear to be all from China. I work for an American manufacturer and would prefer to keep my money in the US if it is close.

I would think the farthest I would want to go on a charge would be 20 miles. However, I'm assuming that some of that energy would come from me (right?). If I could cruise at 20 - 25 mph, that should be OK.

If I assume that I can produce 200 watts on my own and want the motor to replace that, maybe a 250 watt motor (?). Also, I assume that a higher voltage motor would allow me to cruise at higher speeds.

I see that there are references to geared (planetary) and direct drive motors. I know that planetary gearheads can be pretty expensive (and heavy). Why would I want a geared motor?

If I put the batteries in panniers on a back rack, this should help cushion them from shock - correct?

I've since looked at Ebikekit.com and found there is a lot more info there.

By the way, I'm thinking this will be more of a toy for me rather than regular transportation.

Last edited by oldacura; 06-09-11 at 09:45 AM. Reason: Additional info
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Old 06-10-11, 10:37 AM
  #4  
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I think I understand more about electric bikes after reading more on this forum. Another question: If I have a direct drive hub motor that will pull me along at 20 mph on flat ground and I start to head downhill and want to coast and/or pedal faster, the motor will resist me. If I can just temporarily turn off the motor, won't it just freewheel (not resist me)?
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Old 06-10-11, 11:20 PM
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The direct drive hubs have a small amount of resistance. I find that the saying "hub motors feel like a 4 mph headwind when they are off" is about right although it's hard for me to tell if the resistance is from the hub motor or simply carrying around the extra weight of the motor and batteries. It feels like it's there with the power turned off to the motor too.
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Old 06-12-11, 11:26 AM
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Don't worry about "resistance". You won't feel a thing if you put as little as 20 watts into the motor, with the throttle. Its not an issue.
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Old 06-14-11, 11:46 PM
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The motor won't resist you. It'll feel almost like there is no motor at all. There is virtually no resistance.

If you are going to buy lead acid batteries for the e-bike, I wouldn't even bother getting an e-bike. Sorry to be so straight forward but lead acid sucks and you will be angry I think having spent money on it if you go that route. Just trying to save you some aggravation. Go lithium, NICD, NIMH, LIPO or don't bother.
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Old 06-17-11, 09:21 PM
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Thanks for the questions and the informed responses. I am in a similar situation as "oldacura" - avid cyclist and interested in converting an old steel hard tail into an E-bike, eventually.

I currently ride a motorized (gas) scooter for many of my errands that are either too long or too time consuming to bicycle - so I was thinking I could replace some of those trips with an E-bike.

Thanks again everyone!
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Old 06-18-11, 02:38 PM
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Whether you should keep the gas scooter or go with electric I think depends on

1) how much traffic (cars) are on the road that you need to travel on. Less traffic, the better.
2) how fast the cars go on that road
3) how much voltage you can get away with in your area...are cops nit picky about electric bikes in your area or not...I haven't had a problem in mine but I've read about people in NY city being stopped
4) can you take sidewalks the whole way. If you can, then that'd definitely be a huge plus in consideration
5) can you take bike lanes the whole way? That'd definitely be another positive.

Guys who own e-bikes in costa rica just put like 130v of lithium on their bike and they ride around just like a motorcycle because there are no laws on those things and the cops don't care. Ideally, you'd like to ride on a road that has very little traffic or slow streets. If you are going to super charge your e-bike with 130v, you are going to want to have good suspension and solid frame and wide balloon tires.
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Old 06-20-11, 01:32 PM
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Thanks morph!! All good things to consider, I appreciate it!

I will likely keep my scooter for a long time. It's very difficult where I live and living my "lifestyle" to go completely car less, nor completely scooter less or "gas less". I'm just trying with every trip made to improve on my carbon footprint. Some trips I already know I won't be able to make with E-bike - and I have much to learn about the laws around here. Found a great website: EcoWheelz that links to state laws regarding E-bikes. I have much studying to do!!

Thanks again!
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