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Basic questions - electronic motor for a road bike?

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Basic questions - electronic motor for a road bike?

Old 09-04-14, 12:11 PM
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traxx00
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Basic questions - electronic motor for a road bike?

I have a thin-tire road bike and ride around 1,000 miles per year, with my longest rides being about 70 miles. I live in a part of town with poor bicycle routes. The main road near me has a 35mph speed limit with 2 lanes in both directions, no sidewalks, and is heavy traffic. I feel relatively safe on the flat and downhill spots where I can ride above 20mph, but in the uphill sections I'm only able to reach 10 to 15mph and it feels unsafe as cars quickly approach and pass me. The result is I end up riding my bike a lot less than I would like. If I had a motor assist that could give me a boost on uphill portions, I would ride my bike a lot more.

Here are my questions:
1. Is this a typical use-case for an ebike? I would be doing pedal-only 95% of the time I'm riding.

2. What are the considerations in terms resistance caused by adding a motor? Obviously there is added weight, but does the motor mechanism itself also add resistance? For my use, I think whatever motor would add the least resistance when turned off would be best.

3. Are there any ebike options for a thin tire road bikes? Everything I've seen (on Amazon, Alibaba, etc) are hybrid or very fat tires.

Thanks in advance for any answers!
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Old 09-04-14, 01:40 PM
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350htrr
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1; Probably not, or so would I suspect most people use more assist than their pedal effort...
2; Some hub motors do have some noticeable resistance to turning when not in use, but the better ones BionX, Falco have reduced it to un-noticeable...
3; You can put on practically any type of tire you want...

Last edited by 350htrr; 09-04-14 at 07:20 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 09-05-14, 08:15 AM
  #3  
traxx00
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Thanks for the reply 350htrr - can you tell me what "hub motor" is? Are all bicycle motors hub motors?

It looks like BionX and Falco are hard to find online (or at least not on Amazon). The nearest dealer is several hundred miles from me as well
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Old 09-05-14, 08:53 AM
  #4  
350htrr
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Hub motor is an electric motor in the hub of the bike wheel. Electric Motor Bike, Electric Power Bike, Electric Bicycle and E-Bike http://ridebionx.com/
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Old 09-05-14, 12:26 PM
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dilkes
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A few thoughts below:
1. Is this a typical use-case for an ebike? I would be doing pedal-only 95% of the time I'm riding.
Probably not..most would use the motor a lot more.

2. What are the considerations in terms resistance caused by adding a motor? Obviously there is added weight, but does the motor mechanism itself also add resistance? For my use, I think whatever motor would add the least resistance when turned off would be best.
Generally speaking a geared hub motor will have little if any resistance to pedaling while a direct drive motor will have some. Geared motors are generally smaller and lighter, may be a bit noisier, and may not last as long under stress conditions. It sounds to me that for you a smallish (350W) geared motor would be a good fit.

3. Are there any ebike options for a thin tire road bikes? Everything I've seen (on Amazon, Alibaba, etc) are hybrid or very fat tires.
Most kits come with a new wheel (no tire) with the motor mounted already. The idea is you swap your existing wheel (front or rear) for the new one and put the existing tire back on. You can optionally buy the motor separately and lace it yourself into an existing wheel. You will be talking about new (shorter) spokes plus the work of building/truing the wheel.

If you buy a kit where the wheel is already built (let's say a front wheel kit) and you want to have something similar to what you have on the back, you will need to pay attention to what type/quality/colour of wheel they will be shipping you (and of course that your existing narrow tires will fit. If you have a high performance road bike, it is unlikely the standard wheel they would send you with the e bike kit would be of the same quality as what is on the bike now.

You may also want to consider a "pedelec sensor" meaning that the level of assistance provided is automatically determined by the stress on pedaling. Usually you can set multiple assist levels depending on how hard you want to work. The alternative (and more common) is throttle only mode, although they can co-exist.

Last edited by dilkes; 09-05-14 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 09-11-14, 11:37 PM
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[COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]1) I have no idea of what is "typical" use for an e-bike. Some like to rely on electric power much, or nearly all, of the time. Others enjoy cycling but find a need for occasional power to help with heavy cargo load, headwinds or most commonly, hills. In the situation that you describe electric power could be very useful.[/COLOR]

[COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]2) With a geared hub motor resistance is usually insignificant. Direct drive hub motors have more noticeable residence. On Mid-drive e-bikes resistance is usually insignificant.[/COLOR]

[COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]3) E-bikes often have fatter tires because some are quite heavy and/or it is nice to smooth the ride a bit when running at the higher speeds some e-bikes are capable of.[/COLOR]

[COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]There is a huge range of choices when shopping for an e-bike or building one yourself. There is a simple economical kit (I have no relationship with, or interest in, the company and have not tried the kit myself) that might be worth taking a look at to adapt your current bike. Whether it would be a good choice would depend on the steepness of your hills (not too steep, could give the help you need) and the material (steel is best, I wouldn't use a different material) your fork is made from. It is inexpensive, light weight, simple to install but it may not give the power and/ speed that you seek. I think it a good option for a person who is a cyclist 1st, but has an occasional need for a little help:[/COLOR]

Clean Republic Hill Topper Review

[COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Although many people put more than a 250W hub motor on the front many feel that if you need more power from a hub motor it should go in the rear. There are many options, they tend to be more complex and costly but I am sure that you can get good advice I you choose to go that route. Personally, I am not a big fan of the idea of more powerful rear hub drives on bikes with narrow tires. I think they are great for mountain bikes, not so much for road bikes. Weight can be very heavy in back especially if the battery is carried on a rear rack, which is common but I am not a fan of that placement.[/COLOR]

[COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Another possibility that could work with your existing road bike is a mid-drive setup. The advantage of mid-drive is that allows you to provide power through you the gearing on your bike, rather. For about twice (for the least powerful version and smallest battery) the price of the front hub system linked above you can get a pretty lightweight well balanced system that will be good for climbing and if you want it can also provide high speed. Again, I have no affilication with the company:[/COLOR]

8Fun BBS02 750w Mid-Drive Kit Review

[COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]So there's a brief intro - others can probably add more / better info and alternative points of view. If you really want to get into it, you'll probably want to visit this site, but be forewarned, there is a mountain of info:[/COLOR]

Endless-sphere.com ? Index page
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Old 09-12-14, 06:55 AM
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Read electricbike.com to find out about hub motors. Paul @ em3ev.com is an experienced wheel builder and could probably accommodate you, but the kit - including battery - will cost about $1000 with shipping. You might also consider bmsbattery.com if you decide to build the wheel yourself (they are one of the few companies that I've found who have a rear motor that uses a cassette - look for CST in the description - if you decide to go that way) You could use their Q350H motor with controller etc plus battery for about $500 and have the wheel built to your specification.

Last edited by 2old; 09-12-14 at 06:59 AM.
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Old 09-12-14, 05:32 PM
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The Hill Topper, suggested by DDD above, could be a good consideration too since you can get a kit with a lightweight battery (only 24V though) and motor, then lace it to the rim of your choice.
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Old 09-17-14, 10:01 AM
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I would advise a Bottom Bracket drive. Better weight distribution, better power, no uppowered resistance, and it retains more flexibility in rear wheel gearing options.

Thin tires are not a good idea for ANY road bike on poor roads. Consider getting slim profile road tires that are more puncture resistant, and offer a less jarring ride. Remember, motors add not only weight, but significant torque and stress to frames, gear trains and wheels.
for minor assistance up gentles hills a 250 or 350 watt motor would be fine... But don't kid yourself into thinking you will only use the motor 5% of the time. Once you Have that power available, you will find that it HALVES your travel time to anywhere... And that it dramatically increases your ability to carry additional weight... Say, panniers full of groceries. While on a long ride you might have to carefully ration your power usage, you will find that you ride the bike way more often on shorter trips where power assist the whole route makes the bike a viable alternative to hopping in the car.
So I would advise planning on plenty of battery power to offer yourself the greatest potential for future usage.
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Old 02-10-15, 06:16 PM
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Hey Sculptingman.

Have recently been considering an assist to my Ajax to help encourage me to ride it more. I live on a hill, and all riding requires me to eventually come back up at the end—and it's discouraging me.

I came across your posts on this forum and joined to ask you a few questions.

I know you did the convert almost a year ago, and I was wondering a few things:
1- Would you do anything differently today because of current technology? Better battery, something other than 8Fun, etc.
2- What else did you consider before you decided on the 8Fun?
3- Any issues with your install? And problems with the Alfine?
4- Am I free to use any battery that matches the specs? ex: PowerPack 300 and PowerPack 400 ? the batteries for the Bosch eBike Systems

And oh BTW: Mine has a belt drive. Did you replace it? Is this a problem?

Thanks for your help.

Jim C
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Old 02-14-15, 08:10 PM
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I am 73 and use my road bike for rides with less that 7% ascents. If it is hilly, I use my ebike with PA. I would say I peddle with no assist about 70% of the time.
For a racing style ebike get a BH Easy Motion Neo Racer, it is what I have. It came with 700x23 tires, 3 flats in 2 weeks, now it has 700x32 tires, no flats and a smoother ride.
tom in sunny CA
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Old 02-14-15, 08:19 PM
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For what has changed:

Motors are pretty similar, but
more people are using mid-drives which are good for hills and might be great for you.

For a hub motor, there is a new two speed hub motor, which can help if you want to ride on hills but don't like the mid drive:
https://www.electricbike.com/2-speed-e-matic-xiongda/

Batteries - not too much change. Lithum ion seems to get a little better, and LiFePo4 has the longest life. Really, read around that web site and see what you can learn.

https://www.electricbike.com/2014-year-in-review/

some battery info:
http://www.electricbike.com/high-cur...ries-not-lipo/
http://www.electricbike.com/lithium-cobalt-manganese/
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Old 02-14-15, 08:28 PM
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Don't worry, eventually the sand will fall out of your vagina and you will be able to ride in traffic like a normal human being.
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