Considering an e bike or conversion kit

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eldinerocheapo
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Considering an e bike or conversion kit

Post by eldinerocheapo »

Hi, we've been on whole house solar for a year now, and have excess energy every month. We plan to purchase a used Leaf in the fall, but in the meantime, I've been researching E bikes. Wow, what an education and how much is out there. Does anyone here own an ebike, or converted their existing bicycle over to electric? It looks fun and exciting, so I'd be curious to know if anyone here has taken the plunge. Please share your story and adventure!
"Dream, Dare, Do."
bloom2708
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Re: Considering an e bike or conversion kit

Post by bloom2708 »

I have non-electric bikes. I like the fitness aspect.

But, there are compelling reasons for adding an electric bike to your transportation options.

https://us.brompton.com/bikes/brompton- ... n-electric

Not cheap, but if I was going "all in" on an electric bike you can take anywhere, it would be a Brompton Electric.

Another site I follow:

https://www.radpowerbikes.com/
Last edited by bloom2708 on Tue Apr 16, 2019 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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pgi
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Re: Considering an e bike or conversion kit

Post by pgi »

Have had an ebike for a couple months and love it. Can get about 60 miles /charge. Ebike store sold 15+ brands but said Pelago and Magnum were the 2 that never came back for repairs other than for occasional flat tire. Pelago=Cadillac. Decided on Magnum Cruiser because of 2/3 cost of Pelago and mid mount battery seemed to provide better balance when handling bike. Both brands have independant throttle and pedal assist.
Only downside to ebike is that they're heavy.
123
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Re: Considering an e bike or conversion kit

Post by 123 »

While it has to be granted that there may be some individuals who need an e-bite instead of a regular bike due to physical limitations when I'm out riding my regular bike the thing that strikes me about those on e-bikes is that they really aren't likely to get much exercise (it shows that they haven't and probably don't want any). I will grant that they may get some benefit from being out in the fresh air but that's about it.
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4nursebee
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Re: Considering an e bike or conversion kit

Post by 4nursebee »

How about an Organic Elf?
https://organictransit.com/
Pale Blue Dot
cyclist
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Re: Considering an e bike or conversion kit

Post by cyclist »

I'm a long-time e-biker. Conversions can be certainly be done (I've done two) but you need to be handy and/or accept compromises in performance and reliability. If you are serious about converting a bike you already love, you can't do better than to consult the folks at ebikes.ca. They really know their stuff.

There are lots of purpose-built ebikes that are simply terrific, but plan to spend big bucks on them. $4-5k gets you a pretty nice purpose-built ebike.

There are cheaper ebikes, but the reality is that you need a good-sized lithium battery, which is expensive. You also are going to pay - one way or another - if you want slick integration of battery, motor, and control electronics. And if you get all those things on a cheap bike you won't want to ride it anyway. (You really do want a stout frame, comfy seat, excellent brakes, and all the other bits that make a good bike a pleasure to ride.) Personally, I'm a big fan of systems that provide assist based on how hard you're pedaling, rather than throttle-only systems.

Some folks are happy with simple drop-in conversion kits like the Copenhagen Wheel. To my mind, their integration with your smartphone can be a bit dodgy, you're putting all the extra weight at the rear of the bike rather than centering the battery weight low on the frame where it will have minimum impact on bike handling, and you're putting the motor and electronics (which generate heat) in the same enclosure as the battery (which doesn't like heat.) Like I said, some folks like that approach, but it's not what I'd recommend.

If you've got $$ to spend, there are great high-end ebikes. If you want a conversion and you're willing to do some learning and hands-on work, check out ebikes.ca.
Jack FFR1846
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Re: Considering an e bike or conversion kit

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

I came this close (fingers really close together) to buying an e Bike at a shop in Londondery, NH. At the time, they had a bike with a modest 250W assist motor and relatively small seat mounted battery. What I liked was that it was the closest to a "real" bike by design. It weighed only 32 pounds (not light by racing road bike standards, but for electrics, yes). At about $900, it wasn't expensive. My wife convinced me that with all the 16 year old girls driving Wrangler Rubicons while LOLing on their phones, did I really want to come off the trails and go on the road. I decided no. We have no bike trails where I would need to go.

A co worker built his bike and took a new job in Boston. He's been commuting by bike over a combination of bike trails and roadways from Woburn, MA into near downtown crossing for almost 2 years now. He's rebuilt the back wheel as it was popping spokes, so went to heavier spokes. I don't remember the power, but he did tell me he could easily hit 35. So an e Bike can be a real mode of transport. He converted a "real" bike to a mid drive.
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skierrex
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Re: Considering an e bike or conversion kit

Post by skierrex »

I rode all the store-bought ones I could find, and none had quite enough power. Most of them are 350 or 500 watts.

I found a guy who has done tons of conversions over the years in Boulder.

Last year, I bought a 2012 Santa Cruz Nomad with a carbon fiber frame on Craigslist. By far the nicest bike I have ever ridden.

I had the guy put on an 1800 watt Bafang kit from Lunacycle. It is super fast and super fun! I use the gears to match the motor contribution to my own, so I still get a good workout, I just go twice as far as I would otherwise. I very rarely use it in throttle only.

Plus, I ride it almost every day when the trails are dry. Even if I didn't ride it, taking it out of the car and putting it back in is more exercise than I used to get!

I think all-in I was at around $3000. Money well spent.

My favorite of the store-bought bikes I rode was the Bulls.

The pedal assist on the store-bought bikes is more intuitive than the conversion I have, the harder you pedal, the more it assists. Mine, I have to use the gears to match my effort to the motor. I got used to it pretty quickly.

Most of the store-bought bikes quit assisting at 20 miles per hour, which is way too soon. As soon as it starts to get fun, the motor cuts out!

Even with the larger motor, it is still very much a bicycle, just more fun.
Point
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Re: Considering an e bike or conversion kit

Post by Point »

Very pleased with my RadPower bike. It is great up hills, down, on streets and bike paths. Lighting is great. Rides smooth. I’ve climbed some serious mountains with it too. Pricing is great. It is well built and easy to do the final assembly out of the box.

https://www.radpowerbikes.com/
KlangFool
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Re: Considering an e bike or conversion kit

Post by KlangFool »

123 wrote: Tue Apr 16, 2019 3:26 pm While it has to be granted that there may be some individuals who need an e-bite instead of a regular bike due to physical limitations when I'm out riding my regular bike the thing that strikes me about those on e-bikes is that they really aren't likely to get much exercise (it shows that they haven't and probably don't want any). I will grant that they may get some benefit from being out in the fresh air but that's about it.
123,

I disagreed. In my neighborhood, with an electric bike, I substitute my car drive to the local library and so on with the electric bike drive. I get more exercise that way.

KlangFool
KlangFool
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Re: Considering an e bike or conversion kit

Post by KlangFool »

eldinerocheapo wrote: Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:42 pm Hi, we've been on whole house solar for a year now, and have excess energy every month. We plan to purchase a used Leaf in the fall, but in the meantime, I've been researching E bikes. Wow, what an education and how much is out there. Does anyone here own an ebike, or converted their existing bicycle over to electric? It looks fun and exciting, so I'd be curious to know if anyone here has taken the plunge. Please share your story and adventure!
eldinerocheapo ,

I bought an A2B Kuo+ folding electric bike for $1,700.

https://www.wearea2b.com/index.php/uk/e ... b-kuo-plus

It is cheaper to buy an e-bike than the conversion kit.

KlangFool
stoptothink
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Re: Considering an e bike or conversion kit

Post by stoptothink »

Watching this thread with major interest. Wife has already agreed to let me spend a serious amount of money ($5k+) on an e-assist bike as soon as we pay off the house (ETA, about 3 years). I already walk commute and do almost all my errands on a bike, this will be my primary mode of transportation and a lot of fun. I'm thinking something like the Luna Apex https://lunacycle.com/luna-apex/, I'm sure the technology will improve rapidly in the next few years.
Atilla
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Re: Considering an e bike or conversion kit

Post by Atilla »

I looked at conversion kits - meh. After riding a purpose-built e-bike I would never do a kit unless I liked to really fiddle with crap. I see all kinds of problems with functionality.

Last year me and the wife got Magnum brand bikes. I got the Peak model and she got the Ui6. Different styles of bike but same motor and battery.

The Magnum's 500 watt nominal, 700 watt peak motor is plenty powerful. In the lowest pedal assist (1 out of 6) I do 13-15 MPH with moderate pedaling on level paths. At level 6 with pedaling you can hit 28 mph.

Magnum's 48 watt, 13 AH battery so far has been good for more range than I care to ride. In warm weather I ride 30+ miles on level 1 assist and still have 4 bars out of 5 on the battery meter. Cold weather cuts that down noticeably, but still - capacity has been more than adequate.

Did almost 2,500 miles last year both on and off road, and only problems were flat tires (factory tires are crap); and the return spring on the thumb throttle broke. Tire swap to something better is a no-brainer and fixing the throttle was a piece of cake.

Price out the door from the local e-bike shop was about $400 less each than full retail. Call it $3-grandish for 2 relatively serious and definitely durable (so far) electric bikes. :beer
highercall
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Re: Considering an e bike or conversion kit

Post by highercall »

I purchased a left over 2017 Haibike cross 4.0 last year and love it. I was an avid road and mountain biker(still have those bikes) but since getting lyme disease my joints and strength is not the same. I changed front chain ring to a 42" from the 38" since I was maxing out the gears. It flattens the hills and you can get a good work out by keep power level on eco. I have several friends who have same bike and one fellow has a full suspension all mountain Haibike ebike. I like the way the yamaha motor feels. Would highly recommend one.
ThankYouJack
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Re: Considering an e bike or conversion kit

Post by ThankYouJack »

I don’t own one. Just a heads up if you plan on taking them off road - they’re frowned upon by most mountain bikers and I’m sure hikers and banned from most trails.

But I think it would be great if more people used bikes for transportation. Sort of like Copenhagen
mgensler
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Re: Considering an e bike or conversion kit

Post by mgensler »

I've ridden my ebike 1000+ miles since I received it last September. It's a Wallerang. My wife bought a Blix. Make sure you go with the mid-drive as they are more balanced and reliable.
WhyNotUs
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Re: Considering an e bike or conversion kit

Post by WhyNotUs »

I have a Haibike Trekking 6.0 among other bikes. It is really fun and has made longer rides more fun. Also am all solar and have an electric car (Leaf) :sharebeer :sharebeer

There are people who stick their nose up about them, I used to be one, but fewer people of that ilk each year. An experience riding one in the mountains in Portugal made me aware of the riding characteristics and benefits.

It is not the only bike that I ride but it has made long rides with my spouse a pleasure. Not in a commuting situation but people who are also appreciate the technology. You can use as much or little assist as you like.

There are many, many brands as the popularity is exploding overseas. A while back I read that 50% of all new bikes sold in Europe are ebikes.

I have a Class One bike and my spouse has a Class Three. Mine requires more work and has a governor set for lower speed. Without knowing your use or budget no way to comment on particular bikes, electricbikereview.com has an overwhelming amount of info but there are simpler approaches based on your riding and budget.
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financeidiot
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Re: Considering an e bike or conversion kit

Post by financeidiot »

I got a pre-built Lunacycle during the last Black Friday sale. I have a huge smile whenever I ride and I'm always looking for another excuse to go out. Highly recommend getting one if you're in an urban area, especially if you have bike lanes. I chose to buy the pre-built vs. a conversion kit because Luna built it better than I would have for not much more than cost of parts. During rush hour I'm covering 60 minutes of gridlocked traffic in 20 minutes.

In terms of exercise, I used to ride a regular bike to work. Now I'm putting in the same amount of effort, but going twice as fast. It's a shorter ride time per commute, but I ride more and carry heavy loads like groceries. I have no qualms over biking to work in nicer clothes because it's easier to control sweat.

I also recommend some some cheap safety glasses for night/cloudy day riding that's too dark for sunglasses. Riding at higher speeds without glasses is no fun (especially in winter).
gtd98765
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Re: Considering an e bike or conversion kit

Post by gtd98765 »

My wife loves her Pedego e-bike, since she can ride it eight miles to work three seasons without getting sweaty. We bought it used for $1500 to replace a cheap ($800) Chinese e-bike that broke after three years.

A key factor in your purchase decision should be to buy a brand that can be repaired near you. These things can be complicated, and if something goes wrong with one of the electronic parts it may not be self-serviceable (that's what happened to the Chinese bike - we could not get spare parts for the pedal control unit).
oaktechnical
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Re: Considering an e bike or conversion kit

Post by oaktechnical »

My Giant Quick-E+ has pedal-assist up to 27mph and is super fun to ride. I find myself substituting the bike in place of car trips. My car commute is normally 13 - 16 minutes. I'm able to take a slightly shorter route by bike and my e-bike commute times are typically 16-21 minutes. My record is 15 minutes. Pulling a trailer behind the Quick-E works great for groceries.

It has been maintenance-free except for a punctured rear inner tube. While I was there for the flat tire, the bike shop updated the firmware of the electronics: but there was no discernable difference afterward.

I expected that the batteries would wear down and offer less boost or shorter range but, 1,000 miles in, that hasn't happened.

Someone mentioned Pedego as the Cadillac. Maybe so, but my first choice, having removed any budget constraints, would be the Trek Super Commuter.

Owner tips:
Yes, you have to pedal and exert yourself (at least on mine).
Remove the battery when hauling the bike on a car rack.
Remove the battery from your house while you're away on vacation. I figure this massive battery has the same combustible potential as laptop and cellphone batteries do.
Allow for motorists to mis-judge your speed. I think drivers are accustomed to bikes moving at 15 mph. They pull out in front of me on a regular basis. Oh, make sure the brakes are good. My bike has hydraulic disc brakes and I really use them.
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BigFoot48
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Re: Considering an e bike or conversion kit

Post by BigFoot48 »

I bought a $600 Hill Topper conversion kit 4 years ago for the wife's Electra Townie bike to help her keep up with me. It was a 15-minute job to install, replacing the front wheel with one with a motor in the hub and strapping on the battery and on/off switch. It has a 10 mile range but with only temporary use during our rides this has never been an issue. I had to replace the battery after 3 years for $150 but otherwise it has worked well. https://www.electric-bike-kit.com/
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