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Help! My first e-bike - which one?! Would LOVE your opinions/advice for my budget

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Help! My first e-bike - which one?! Would LOVE your opinions/advice for my budget

Old 06-23-11, 11:17 AM
  #1  
SarahLou
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Help! My first e-bike - which one?! Would LOVE your opinions/advice for my budget

Ok, I'm a girly, and I don't know much about bikes, except what I"m trying to glean from these forums. My budget is $2k MAX and I realize this limits my options. I live in a rural area off a very steep, dirt, pot-holed road. When riding my old cheap bike, I can't make it back up the hill without getting off to push which really kills my motivation to go for a ride.

I'm looking to get exercise, so will mostly pedal except on the very steep parts of the hills. I'd also like to ride to the post office, so after 2 miles of dirt road it is then paved.

I rode a friends E-Moto Ridge 2.0 - it got me back up the hill no problem, but I didn't like how it handled on the rough road at all. I basically have to brake all the way down the road (1 mile) and my old Mongoose seems to handle better than the E-Moto did.

At the moment, I'm looking at EG bikes (Barcelona, BaliX3, Milan)...the fellow at Eco-Wheelz is very helpful which does make a difference, R Martin bikes (anyone tried the MiPower or R10?) even though I'd really like a Kalkhoff because I've read really good thinks about it on the UK sites. Unfortunately, cannot afford a Kalkhoff.

Someone has thrown a Sanyo Eneloop (sp) to consider, Ezee (looks good but too pricey), and the bike shop down the road is selling a Giant e-bike.

In summary: needs to be good on the bumps, stable/safe going down hill, enough power to get me up the hill with some amount of sweat and grunting, reliable and long lasting because to me, $2k is a lot of money. I HAVE NO NEED TO GO FAST!

EG bikes have full suspension and 21 gears. Nearly all others don't in that price range, and I dont' think any others have more than 8 gears. Maybe we don't need that many gears?

I'm also confused about whether crank drive or hub is best bet, but perhaps in my price range only hub is possible.

I imagine I'll do about 30 miles or so a week. I don't care for a thottle or not. Goal is to get fit and have fun doing it.

I would so appreciate any thoughts, or any "stay away from "x" bike, or consider "x" bike.

THANK YOU SO MUCH!

PS. I'm 5'7" and weigh 125lbs.

Last edited by SarahLou; 06-23-11 at 01:50 PM. Reason: More info
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Old 06-23-11, 01:39 PM
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I am providing links to the one's I'm considering in case anyone is kind enough to review/respond. I'm drawn to the Barcelona due to price, full suspension, and disc brakes but don't know enough to know what else to really look for.

eZee TorQII
Kalkhoff Pro Connect (would only buy this is everyone thinks it is SO MUCH better than all other cheaper choices)
EG Barcelona
EG BaliX3
R Martin new A110
R Martin MiPower
Sanyo Eneloop
eZee LiV
ezee Sprint
eZee Forza
Or any recommendations in the $2k budget...

Last edited by SarahLou; 06-23-11 at 01:47 PM.
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Old 06-23-11, 02:26 PM
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If you like the bike you have consider putting a electric motor kit on it. I put the ezzee hub motor on my bike about a month ago. Just today my husband got the hill eraser, goes by another name but can't think of it. All of our equipment came from Cycle 9 https://www.cycle9.com/ Call and talk to them they were very helpful. My bike is a Big Dummy my husband's is a Trek cruiser. His motor kit cost more than the bike but he loves his bike, loves it even more now.
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Old 06-23-11, 04:19 PM
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I think the best value is using a bicycle you already own/ like and buying a complete kit to put on your bike. Since you are a female and dont need to go very fast, this should be a easy and inexpensive project.

Your bodyweight is very light and you could go with a easy to install front wheel complete kit . I would go with at least a 500 watt / 36 volt setup front wheel drive kit off ebay with lifepo4 36 volt - 15A/h battery ...a kit like this should be around the $600 price range delivered to your door. Then all you do is take off your front wheel and put on the brushless hub motor front wheel...hook up a few wires and mount your battery/controller and your ready to go . IMHO...electric bicycles are perfect for people like yourself...you weigh under 150 lbs...dont need to go very fast. Remember though, its always nice to have more power/speed then you need, then less....

you may be able to get away with a 250- 300 watt kit...but I think its best to go with a 500 watt kit.....since it wont cost much more and isnt any harder to install on your bicycle.

Last edited by sunnyday; 06-23-11 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 06-23-11, 04:24 PM
  #5  
Allen
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I have a Panasonic system electric bike, the same that the Kalkhoff uses.
I'm in the Kalkhoff camp. Fantastic system.
Also if you ever wish to convert you bike to a cargo hauler (add an Xtracycle or pull trailers) the Panasonic (kalkohoff) drives are in a world of their own compared to other systems.
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Old 06-23-11, 04:29 PM
  #6  
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I did a quick search on ebay for you....heres a complete system { without battery...... I have never bought from this seller, but I think the kit he is selling would have plenty of power for you and you can order a front mount setup...

https://cgi.ebay.com/500W-ELECTRIC-BI...item35b23c784c


if you search on ebay...I bet you could find a complete setup with battery for around $600 delivered. A front wheel drive kit is easy to install . I think a 36 volt -500 watt setup with a lifepo4 36 volt / 15 A/h battery would be great for your needs.


so if you have a bicycle you currently like...you can just pruchase the kit and save alot of $$$$$...

or you can get a used bicycle off craigslist / want ads and then add your kit..

or buy the bike and kit as one unit, which seems to cost a bit more...

Last edited by sunnyday; 06-23-11 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 06-24-11, 06:13 AM
  #7  
SarahLou
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Hey - thanks to you all for your input. My Mongoose is really old and not a good bike, so I wouldn't want to add a kit to it. I'm really wondering, since forking out so much cash, if I should just bite the bullet and get a decent, ready-made pedelec. What does anyone think of Trek compared to Kalkhoff? Trek is a little less expensive and I've found 2010 models for sale (Fx & Valencia). I read the Valencia reviews. Trouble is, most folks are using bikes for paved roads and don't have the very steep, rural dirt road thing that we have in Vermont.

It looks like I"d have to spend upwards of $3k for a dirt-roadworthy Kalkhoff which I just can't do.

A dual (mtn/road) bike would be ideal. I suppose I could buy a good one and fit it with a Bionx or Panasonic.

Seriously, I am spending way too much time on the net researching this stuff. I need a bike consultant!

Allen G - where did you get your Panasonic and what bike did you fit it to? Is it something I could purchase and have a local bike store do? Are there any other bikes in the USA that use the more advanced motors like Panasonic?

AGGGGHGHGHGHGH!
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Old 06-24-11, 09:52 AM
  #8  
Allen
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Originally Posted by SarahLou View Post

Allen G - where did you get your Panasonic and what bike did you fit it to? Is it something I could purchase and have a local bike store do? Are there any other bikes in the USA that use the more advanced motors like Panasonic?

AGGGGHGHGHGHGH!
Sorry, Sarah. The Panasonic systems are only on frames specially made to fit them.

Note the large distance between the seat tube and the rear wheels where the battery is mounted. There is also a mounting plate for the motor behind the cranks (pedals) that is not found on regular frames.
My bike is an older Giant. Giant no longer contracts with Panasonic for their ebikes. At the moment the only Panasonic drive ebikes available in the US are Klakhoffs.

Here are the two great advantages the Panasonic system has over other ebikes.

1.) The motor is inline to the chain. This allows the motor to be able to take advantage of the bikes gearing the same as you do. This allows the motor to have considerably more torque than an equally powered hub motor. I have two electric bikes, my chain drive Giant and a Biria (a German made utility bike) with a Heinzmann hub motor. The Heinzmann's motor is a 400 watt motor, the Panasonic is 325 watt. The Panasonic system is noticeably superior pulling a load.

2.) Panasonic's pedelic system is the best I've ever used (I've ridden maybe 8 different ebikes). It uses a pressure sensor in the bottom bracket (thats where the cranks are attached to the bike frame). The harder you pedal the more juice that goes to the motor. It is a completely intuitive system. There is no trying to match your pedaling speed to the motor's speed. I bought my Giant originally when I was strength training while recovering from a spinal injury. I could pedal easily and still make it up the hills. As I became stronger I would pedal harder and make it up the hills faster or pull larger loads; very similar to how one gets fit on a regular bicycle, just the hills were not daunting while I was getting stronger. I live down a few miles of dirt road in the Georgia foothills by the way. The best thing you can do for dirt roads on any bike is run the fattest tires you can fit and put some fenders on the frame.

I still use my Giant as my heavy hauler. I've carried some insane loads with it. 400 pounds of potting soil being the largest load (others include things like bringing home a BBQ smoker, a 9 x 12 foot rug, and 50 lbs of dog food every week along with the rest of my groceries).

All that said, Trek makes a fine frame and uses quality motors in their ebikes. Trek v. Kalkhoff is a little bit of an apples v. oranges comparison.
If you just want a bike to help you up the hills and not be so sweaty when you get to work, the Trek is going to suit you just fine.
If you want a bike that can haul like a Grand Canyon pack mule and has already been fit with all the bells and whistles (fenders, racks, lights, generator hubs, etc.) then the Kalkhoff would be at the top of my list. But it is made in Germany and comes with a German made price.

Long story short: if you can afford the Trek and not the Kalkhoff, get the Trek--it's a fine bike. If you can afford the Kalkhoff you won't feel cheated by the price and it will give you years of service.

**edit** one more thing to add--kits. If you are not going to install the kit yourself it's cheaper and faster to buy an already made ebike than pay the labor to have the LBS (local bike shop) fit the kit to a new frame. If you wish to do the work yourself, kits are the least expensive option.

Last edited by Allen; 06-24-11 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 06-24-11, 12:12 PM
  #9  
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Allen I can't thank you enough for this information - it is incredibly helpful. I really trust your judgment though, because when I was going up the steep bumpy hill on my friend's e-moto, I was afraid of breaking it/the gears. Are there ANY other producers of drive/crank/inline motors or is Kalkhoff it?

Ok, so I think Trek uses BionX 350w and has regen braking, rear hub motor but no real suspension that I can tell.
Giant: I can't make sense of their specs. Who makes the motor, and is it hub?
Kalkhoff - everything you said! Which model though, do you think? They do have a 2 yr warranty which is appealing and could offset the cost
And tell me if you would, what do you think of R Martin's MiPower and EG's BaliX3?

Beer is on me if you're ever in VT!
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Old 06-24-11, 01:01 PM
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Allen
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I've never ridden a R. Martin or EG's BaliX3 so I can't give you empirical knowledge there. Both bikes have rear hub motors. Even though those motors are on the rear hub they are direct drive (the motor does not take advantage of the bike's gearing).

Don't be so hung up on suspension. Unless you are planning on using it on trails (not dirt roads, trails) you really don't need suspension.
Fat tires and a sprung saddle (or a suspension seat post) will do quite well. Go to the LBS and test ride a skinny tire road bike and then a fat tire cruiser. All of the cruiser's soft squishy ride is coming from the tires alone. Fat tires and a sprung saddle go a very long way when it comes to ride comfort (FYI Wallingford has a 6 month no questions asked return policy for Brooks saddles--Brooks has been in business for 100+ years--do a forum search on Brooks and you will find post after post praising them).

I've never been sold on regen. Others have and swear by it, but in my opinion one's range is not extended more than a few hundred yards to maybe a mile. To me regen is more marketing than function. Take that with a grain of salt. Others love their regen, but to me one does not get enough out of it to warrant the expense.

I don't know who the specific manufacturer of Giant's hubs is. It is listed as a syncdrive and it has a clutch that disengages the motor for drag free coasting. Giant is a good company that built its reputation making quality products. I'm sure the hub is a good one and it is a front hub motor.

As far as which Kalkhoff, the Tasman is their least expensive model and its components are over the top, hydraulic brakes (over kill), Shimano Nexus IGH (internal gear hub--very high quality), suspension seat post, dynamo front hub (it powers the lights, which come standard--never need to change batteries for the lights and front hub motors can't be fit with a hub dynamo), good rack, fenders, coat guard, and a wheel lock (really nice to have if you don't want to lug around a chain or u-lock in low crime areas). If you wish to later add an Xtracycle Free Radical cargo hauler to the bike it will fit fine. Trailers will attach easily too (sometimes that's difficult with rear hub motors).
If you add up all the things that come standard with the Tasman compared to adding them to a bare bike the price is not that far off. The dyno hub for instance, to add that to a normal bike the hub is going to cost near $100.00. Add labor, rim, and spokes and it is going to bring that price closer to $250.00 for the front wheel alone.

Last edited by Allen; 06-24-11 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 06-24-11, 02:59 PM
  #11  
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Another option that may be in line with the Trek is the Schwinn Searcher. It was on sale for $999 at Performance Bike. Someone on here bought one recently. Don't know if they have any locations in VT, though. I believe it came with smooth type tires.
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Old 06-24-11, 03:11 PM
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Edit to my above post: there are other chain drive bikes on the market, all that I know of are kits and none have the pressure sensor throttle save Panasonic.
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Old 06-24-11, 03:26 PM
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You guys rock. Thank you so much. I'm going to check out all of your above recommendations.
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Old 06-24-11, 06:50 PM
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I think you should choose the Ezee kit which is about $1200 and install it on your bike. It's not very hard. It's the best on hills and it's very good quality. Also, the battery is very convenient and easy to use.

https://ebikes.ca/store/store_ezee.php

I wouldn't choose a ready-made e-bike. They are usually underpowered. Better to build your own with a kit.
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Old 06-25-11, 06:53 AM
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Someone pointed out a great tool to me to get the grade which is, apparently, going from 1% to 7% - how steep is that to you guys of the biking world? That's sort of grade is pretty common on our dirt roads in VT.

My bike is a very old (13 years or so) cheap Mongoose so I'm not sure adding a kit to that would be good. I'd have to pay for someone to help me so when you add it all up, it would probably come to $2k.

Interestingly, someone on Endless Sphere mentioned that R Martin's R10 is a "drive through the bottom bracket so uses the gears". The R10 is the very first bike I considered and is going for a good price, but delivery is 5 weeks out and VT summer is running out quickly.

Last edited by SarahLou; 06-25-11 at 07:05 AM.
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Old 06-25-11, 10:23 AM
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I hope you guys aren't getting tired of me yet. I'm almost there (making a decision):

Somebody has recommended a Rayos to me: https://www.electricrider.com/electrec/index.htm

Allen: It looks like the R10 by R Martin does what we want, or am I reading this incorrectly? "Our "R" model bikes (R10, R12-a, R13) use a patented high efficiency motor that is mounted on the bottom bracket (pedal crank).
They power the bike through the front chain ring so that your gears can operate along with the motor. This provides very high torque for
hills in your lower gears. You reach the top speed as you shift to your higher gears. This technology is only available on higher end
electric bikes."

I wonder why they didn't put the same thing on their new MiPower. Hmmm.

Of the Kalkhoff's, should I be concerned that the Tasman is described as an "urban cruiser" when I'll be riding on rough roads etc? It seems like the Tasman has more bells & whistles than the Agattu, but the Agattu is 2011 model. Do you mind giving your opinion on which of these might be better suited to me?

Schwinn at $999.00 sounds appealing although I've read that this might not give me enough help up steep hills (to me, 7% is steep but perhaps that isn't steep to the bike...?).

So, it's down to:
- Kalkhoff (Agattu or Tasman...) $2600 ish
- R Martin R10...maybe $1100 ish...not sure on the miPower but for a few hundred more you can get the Kalkhoff. MiPower has a bigger motor, but doesn't use the gears to drive
- Trek F+ or Valencia or 7200 ($2600 ish)

I wonder if I put this on the poll board...

REMOVED:
- Schwinn - even though my purse strings are complaining. Just reading too many bad things and have come to trust the brit AtoB reviews
- Ezee Forza - not very impressive review on AtoB

Last edited by SarahLou; 06-25-11 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 06-25-11, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by AllenG View Post
As far as which Kalkhoff, the Tasman is their least expensive model and its components are over the top, hydraulic brakes (over kill), Shimano Nexus IGH (internal gear hub--very high quality), suspension seat post, dynamo front hub (it powers the lights, which come standard--never need to change batteries for the lights and front hub motors can't be fit with a hub dynamo), good rack, fenders, coat guard, and a wheel lock (really nice to have if you don't want to lug around a chain or u-lock in low crime areas). If you wish to later add an Xtracycle Free Radical cargo hauler to the bike it will fit fine. Trailers will attach easily too (sometimes that's difficult with rear hub motors).
If you add up all the things that come standard with the Tasman compared to adding them to a bare bike the price is not that far off. The dyno hub for instance, to add that to a normal bike the hub is going to cost near $100.00. Add labor, rim, and spokes and it is going to bring that price closer to $250.00 for the front wheel alone.
Allen - Hi - I just got off the phone Kalkhoff. The guy was really trying to sell me the Sahel because of my bumpy road conditions; when I mentioned the Tasman or Agattu he was concerned about getting lots of flats. Ugh. So when he got the message that the Sahel was WAY over my price range, he switched to the Tasman. Ok, so now I'm worried about the flat tire thing. Was he using that as a ploy to get me to buy the more expensive bike, or is it a genuine concern?! I suppose I could get different tires but geez, at that price, I don't really want to spend more money on the bike. Any thoughts?
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Old 06-25-11, 03:36 PM
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Flats? you shouldn't choose an e-bike based on whether it's prone to getting flats because there are all kinds of tube liners that you can put inside your tire to prevent those, anyway. Sounds like he was just making up stuff. Probably has a list of stuff to rattle off to change your mind.

Where did you say you lived? I live in Indiana. If you live in Indiana and you wanted to get a kit, I'd build it for for $50 plus gas to get to where you are or bring it to my house.

Take your time. It took me like 2 months before I bought my e-bike kit. I bought a crystalyte hub motor and put it on. My first hub motor, I installed it on a 1993 mountain bike. So as long as you took care of the bike, I don't think 13 yr old is that bad at all.

One of the things to consider is what you will be doing with it. You need to think about convenience if you are planning on leaving the bike in a public area....AKA look for an e-bike where the lithium battery is removable and can be carried inside. The battery is the most expensive part and most likely to be stolen. The wheels can be locked up with a chain but not the battery.

Last edited by morph999; 06-25-11 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 06-25-11, 03:54 PM
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You should try https://us.itselectric.ca and ask them to build you a nice sleek bike that's ready made. I've seen them build some really good e-bikes. Ask them what their prices are for ready-made e-bike. That way, you'll get a very good powerful one that you know will get you up the hill.

They have both a canadian and a store in the USA. Here is their e-mail. info@itselectric.ca
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Old 06-25-11, 04:59 PM
  #20  
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I will respond once more, even though it seems as though you ignored most of my comments.


a person who only weighs about 125 lbs, isnt gonna have to much worry about most electric bikes/ bike kits, having enough power to get them up hilly roads/ inclines. Any functioning 500 watt / 36 volt setup should be more then enough to transport you up hilly roads.....ecspecially since you have admitted that you WANT to be pedal assisting most of the time. Your body weight doesnt warrant your concerns about a brushless hub motor being inadequate for hills. I weigh 280 lbs and on the steepest hills in my mountainous area, all I have to do is lightly pedal assist and I make it up the hills with no problem.

IMHO...if you purchase a brand new bike with electric already installed, you will be spending more money then neccessary. as i mentioned to you earlier...you can take your time and find a nice used bicycle, that you like, off craiglsit / ebay for $200 or less..and then purchase a complete electric brushless hub kit off ebay { 36 volt/ 500 watt ** that is a front mount system for about $700 with a 36 volt/ 15 A/h Lifepo4 battery. It shouldnt take more then 30 minutes to put the front tire.brushless hub on and attach your controller/ wires / battery and throttle control.


so the choice is yours..spend alot more for a kit already preassembled..or spend 30 minutes of assembly time and save alot of $$$$$$$ .

If you buy the kit brand new and buy the used bike seperately, you should be under the $1000 price range.

if you still want to spend more money...then just upgrade your lifepo4 battery to a 36 -48 volt setup that is 20-40 A/h rated...and you will now have a electric bike that should be able to cover a distance of 60 miles or more on one charge , since your bodyweight is so low.

Id suggest you take your time and consider all options before jumping right in....

Last edited by sunnyday; 06-25-11 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 06-25-11, 05:01 PM
  #21  
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and yes, flat tires are probably the most common headache ....I had 2 flat tires happen on my 2nd and 3rd outing on my new electric bike...I decided it wasnt gonna happen again, so I went with airless solid tires from Amerityre...

now flat tires are a thing of the past......with your light body weight, I would think these solid airless tires may be something for you to investigate. I love mine.
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Old 06-25-11, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by SarahLou View Post
Allen I can't thank you enough for this information - it is incredibly helpful. I really trust your judgment though, because when I was going up the steep bumpy hill on my friend's e-moto, I was afraid of breaking it/the gears. Are there ANY other producers of drive/crank/inline motors or is Kalkhoff it?

Ok, so I think Trek uses BionX 350w and has regen braking, rear hub motor but no real suspension that I can tell.
Giant: I can't make sense of their specs. Who makes the motor, and is it hub?
Kalkhoff - everything you said! Which model though, do you think? They do have a 2 yr warranty which is appealing and could offset the cost
And tell me if you would, what do you think of R Martin's MiPower and EG's BaliX3?

Beer is on me if you're ever in VT!
IMHO..you shouldnt even be cosidering a regen braking setup....you would be paying extra money for something you dont need....your 125 lb bodyweight is the biggest positive you could possibly have for this hobby.....at your bodyweight , almost any 500 watt - 36 volt setup is gonna provide you with plenty of power/ speed...dont pizz your money away on regen braking...you would be better off upgrading from a 15 A/ h lifepo4 to a 30 -40 A/h lifepo4 battery....with that amount of A./hs and your light bodyweight , you would be able to cover ALOT of distance on one charge and you wouldnt need regen braking.
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Old 06-25-11, 05:11 PM
  #23  
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oh...IMHO..its better to go with a 500 watt /36 volt setup then a 250/300 watt - 24 volt setup....Yes, its possible that a 300 watt setup will be adequate , but its ALWAYS best to have a bit more power/ speed then you think you will need. If you go with a 300 watt setup
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Old 06-25-11, 06:16 PM
  #24  
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Sarah,

First off, I built my e-Bike for about $1300 on the old frame I had. My total cost (with trailer) was much over that, but first things first.

Factors to consider: Length of ride and topology. The battery and motor required for the ride. Weight and size, average wind resistance and weather, the type of bicycle (mountain bike, recumbent) and so on. The convenience of a kit versus what you have to learn. Anyways, bicycle maintenance is a must. You need to learn some basic electrical knowledge and you have to be willing to learn from you mistakes or those of others.

I chose my hub, controller, other electronics and such and built my first bike. I blew a controller apart ($125 replacement) because a $5 part failed and I didn't know any better, went through the next one (blew on the first good hill) and upgraded to a beefier unit. Be happy to show you a map (includes elevations, etc) of my longest ride without pedalling - about 30 mi. I also have friends who are bike couriers with electric bikes and they bring a lot of their problems to me.
You've had great advice from Morph - I got my motor and controller from the site he gave you, but I made several changes. Their staff seem knowledgeable and helpful. Their service is prompt and I can't say any more good things without sounding like an advert.

'Nuff said. Now my recommendation.

Frame - Do not worry about your old frame, how much does it weigh? Is it steel or chrome-alloy? In either case, a rear wheel drive kit will work for you. I learned a lesson here though and had to rebuild the wheel, new spokes and rim on the old motor. Proper straightening and re-tensioning in a bike shop (or learn to do it yourself, it's easy) would have solved it before this would have caused a problem. My batteries weigh 20 lbs and the motor is 28lbs, so the back of my bike needs a beefy rim (I'm 180 lbs) - especially with the frost heaves and potholes I go through every day at an average speed of 20 mph. Big tires also help - Mine are 2.25", road slicks and inflated under the max inflation to solve my problem of them popping going over curbs. My rim is Crystallite - they are pretty beefy and I found one easily in a local store for e-Bikes. The spokes you can get usually made to length in any big bike store, but beware, they may not have the heavier guage you will needs for an e-Bike due to weight and road conditions.

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Old 06-25-11, 07:19 PM
  #25  
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Sunnyday - thank you for your update and I'm sorry - I wasn't ignoring you...I guess I just wasn't allowing myself to consider a kit. I have so little spare time, so the thought of tinkering with a bike to get it running (along with all the other things around here that need tinkering with) is more of a dissuasion than appeal. I just want to jump on and go. If I knew someone close, here in Vermont, who could help me build one and be there when something went wrong, for less money than buying a ready-built, then I would of course consider that an option. From reading other posts, it isn't as simple as just throwing on a wheel and plugging in some wires (and where do you put those wires on a kit? I mean (sorry this is probably dumb) but what do you encase them in?) and tinkering is needed.

I was hoping (probably very naively) that if I bought a quality ready-built (Kalkhoff?) that I would be able to just jump on and go.

BUT

Morph...thank you for your info too. Before I bite the bullet, I will call Itselectric to ask about having one made, although I need to educate myself about what makes a decent bike (non-electric) in the first place. I mean, I have no idea what the difference is between my old cheap Mongoose and my friend's new E Moto, but when I rode his E Moto down the steep hill, it seemed way more rigid and less flexible than my old Mongoose. All I know is that I preferred the feel to the Mongoose (obviously this feel would change if I added weight) but I don't know what to attribute that to (weight/tires/suspension/what?!).

It's hard, when not a biker in the first place, to know what to trust and so, although more money, in some ways you get peace of mind splurging on a German built, well-known and reputable bike that gives 2 years warranty.

At this point the decision process is becoming painful! Maybe I just need to buy a cheap pre-built (back to the Barcelona by EG) and consider it as a practice run until I get a better feel of it all. Although I've found no complaints at all about the Kalkhoff (except price!).

And I live in Vermont - I don't have much time before winter! I'm not hard core and will not be riding in below zero temps!

Yours, Gratefully, Dazed and Confused
Sarah
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