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Old 07-16-12, 01:37 PM   #1
yup
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chain drive, belt drive or hub motor

I know this has been discussed time and time again but i have done a lot of research and can't come to a decision so I would like some help.

So basically i live in a hilly area and have to pass about 7-9km in each direction every day. I't doesn't rain much so I don't have to worry about that, and it is all road (though not the best in some places). I would like to still be able to ride without the motor as well.
I am quite handy but my budget is quite low. what would you go with and why?

I am inclined to just get a front hub so that I don't need to fix my pedal to allow free gliding of the chain, but I am not sure the downsides of the hub are worth it.

I'd really appriciate some input as well as a link to a cheap international online supplier, and on that note, does anyone know if this would be reliable?

Thanks for the help you all.
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Old 07-16-12, 03:31 PM   #2
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I had a cyclone motor and didn't like it. I had two controllers (the kind built on to the motor) burn out. There were other issues such as the mounting bracket slipping and chain falling off. It required me to fool around with my bottom bracket instead of using a dead-reliable sealed bottom bracket. I avoided still more problems by not using the chainring-freewheel (the thing that lets the motor and chainring turn while the pedals stay still)

Hub motors will not damage your frame IF you get a rear hub motor or you use a front motor and you have a steel front fork. (aluminum is not a good choice).

I am quite happy with my hub motor setup and it has more than enough torque for hill climbing without pedaling (although I do usually pedal).

I bought it on ebay and it was shipped to the USA from China. I would recommend you buy from ebay and have your systemm shipped from China as well.

I weigh 135 pounds which puts less stress on my bike and requires less torque / power than heavier riders will require. However, the system i bought (48 volt 750 watt motor, 48v20Ah lifepo4 battery) is powerful enough for a much bigger rider.
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Old 07-17-12, 08:55 AM   #3
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You need to give more info. Hilly to you maybe flat to me, where do you live? How heavy are you? Do you carry loads on the bike? Do you have a bike already, if so, which? Etc. etc.
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Old 07-17-12, 12:55 PM   #4
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So I weigh about 170 pounds, hilly is hilly I live in Jerusalem.I usually have a 10 pound pack with me or more.
I have a bike but i cant get the specks right now (you can see I am not an expert but I do know it is a good frame. I must check if the fork is allumanim (how do I do that? with a magnet?)

cerewa:
Is there a reason a cyclone would heat up more than a hub? is it because of the chain friction?
can you give me a recommendation on an ebay supplier?

thanks.
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Old 07-17-12, 02:48 PM   #5
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A magnet is a very good way to determine if your fork is steel.
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Old 07-18-12, 11:58 AM   #6
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sun-thing28 is the supplier i bought from. I would recommend them again.

The two problems i had with their kit: i bought a separate motor--kit and battery+charger, and it turned out they did not supply connectors to hook the battery up to the motor. (i had to buy connectors myself and use my soldering iron). This problem would probably be avoided if you buy a motor+battery kit. also the LED lamp they supplied stopped working after a couple weeks. I didn't misuse it in any way.

With respect to cyclone overheating ... actually i don't think it's a problem provided you use the system as designed. However when i used it as designed the controller died (the original one and the replacement i bought). If you used a higher power controller (more watts or more amps) you might cause it to overheat.
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Old 07-19-12, 08:57 AM   #7
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IF your mechanical talent is limited look for a good quality rear hub motor, controller, pack and throttle kit. Be careful on EBay...lots of crap being sold but also some good stuff. But if you have the time and talent a good chain drive will do a lot better on hills and the falts do to the correct usage of the bikes gearing. I have used Cyclone kits (small 360w) and they worked fine even on hills that you could hardly walk up let alone ride a bike up. This is not to say I recommend they though. They can be a hassle if you don't set them up properly. But there are a ton of other chain drive setup to consider. I personally prefer to buy a motor and make my own custom setup for the bike. I will be starting my 5th ebike build this winter. But as I said if you don't think building is your thing don't do it. BTW, Belt is quiter then chain but a lot harder and way more expensive to work with.

Bob
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Old 07-19-12, 04:00 PM   #8
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Hi yup.....I'm using the Crystylte 500W front hub motor in the 16"wheel on my BOB trailer
I use my E-BOB when touring. The EZEE Lit Ion 36V 10ah battery is bolted to the trailer deck, still lots of room for hauling, the 25a controller is also with the batt. The thumb throttle and the Cycle Analyst is mounted on my ride. The best part for me is being able to get 100K+ on a single charge, thats using the motor sparingly, mostly hill assist....the hub motor is nearly silent as well
Attached Images
File Type: jpg On The Road Again... June 2011 002.jpg (105.0 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg Tour #2 July 6-9 003.jpg (101.0 KB, 20 views)
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Old 10-12-12, 01:41 AM   #9
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cool pics

thank you all, i'm still working on it, will update soon with pics hopefully
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Old 10-19-12, 06:16 PM   #10
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I've had good luck with my 350watt Cyclone motor but I used the recumbent model that is mounted midway between the crank and the rear wheel with two chain loops and a double stage freewheel assembly on the motor shaft so that modifying the crank to be a freewheeling crank is unnecessary. You will need a long tail bike or at the very least a touring frame with enough room between the crank and rear wheel to mount the motor that way. I have heard that the lower wattage cyclone motors are less prone to failure of the controller built inside the motor housing then the higher wattage models so conceivably that is why I haven't had any on those problems.

Hub motors used as hub motors are okay, but not for very hilly areas. I live in NorthWest Montana which is not just hilly but rather mountainous. Where I encounter grades as steep as 20% or more in some areas so only the most overpowered hub-motors have even a chance and even then they are inefficient while hill climbing and tend to over-heat. Israel in many areas is also very mountainous (I have corresponded in the past over the internet with a fellow motor assisted bicycle enthusiast in the Gallilee and traded tips) and Jerusalem is after all built on what we over the Rockies would refer to as a steep foot-hill. Long story short, you will either need a powerful 1,000 watt or more hub-motor preferably one wound for torque not speed such as the Crystallite "Brute" motor or a much better option would be a hub-motor used as a mid-mount such as a stoker-monkey set-up or a drop loop frame set-up like the very first Harley-Davidson motorized bicycles (that still had pedals too) only with a electric hub-motor in the drop loop of the frame forward of the crank instead of a gasoline motor.

I would strongly suggest you stay the heck away from a belt drive set-up with the only exception being those that use a toothed belt. The set-ups I have seen using a belt drive with the one exception of one toothed belt drive that was analogous to a chain drive set-up all had belts that slipped and had more loss in friction then even a traditional roller-on-tire friction drive set-up.
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Old 10-20-12, 10:25 AM   #11
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Thanks!
I have already gone ahead and ordered this as I need it ASAP for my daily schedule. I hope it will do the job, If not, you live and you learn. I plan on motorizing another bike in the future so all these tips will continue to come in handy. I will try to post pics as soon as it is assembled.

thank you again
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Old 10-20-12, 11:41 AM   #12
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Those mount-it-yourself bottom bracket drives with quite exposed motors, gears and wiring might be usable in warm climate away from weather elements like California or other dry climate but qute useless in North and wet climates.
The problem is what is going to happen to such drive costantly splashed while ridden in puddles of rain not to mention North climate, just use your imagination just looking at installation video.
Panasonic or Bosh BB drives are very well protected from weather elements , gears, wiring and all, because they are factory built with very high quality components and hardware like stainless steel bolts and nuts, fully sealed. So they last thousands of kilometers with virtually no maintenance.
Try it on your kit.
Price tell it all - $400??? Really???
For sure you will not keep your hands clean when you ride on this , because costant tweeking, tightening and lubricating.
Everthing exposed.

Last edited by powell; 10-20-12 at 01:20 PM.
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Old 10-22-12, 02:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yup View Post
Thanks!
I have already gone ahead and ordered this as I need it ASAP for my daily schedule. I hope it will do the job, If not, you live and you learn. I plan on motorizing another bike in the future so all these tips will continue to come in handy. I will try to post pics as soon as it is assembled.

thank you again
Basically that set-up mounts in the same position as a drop loop frame motor only without a drop loop built into the frame to surround and protect the motor. Jerusalem is a fairly dry climate so you shouldn't have the problems the rest of us could have in our wetter climates (if you want to know about electrical problems and rain talk to the guys in Western Oregon where it rains like 300+ out of 365 days a year sometimes more then an inch a day). I think the main thing you will have to watch out for is to be careful not to ride over any really big bumps because the motor is mounted down low forward of the crank and as I said the frame doesn't loop around it to protect it from a hit.

Anyway keep us up to date as to how that particular product works out for you since it is rather attractively priced for a crank drive setup.
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