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  1. #1
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    Any bought one of those electric-bike conversion kit?

    Well, I was bored today and browsed the Bike section on Craigslist. Yep, one thing led to another and next thing I knew I want to get another bike now, and not just any cool MTB-ish bike but a beach cruiser. There's this cool olive drab cruiser that has this classy or should I say classic look. I'm thinking of getting it and converting it to an electric, if that's doable. It doesn't apear to have any handlebar brakes, so I think it brakes by reversing the crank--whatever that braking is called. I want to get it as my new errand/commuter bike since my Specialized appears to be too fancy for my commuting needs. I thought I would use it as a city bike but I'm too afraid to do anything with it in the city other than just joyriding or going to the post office, which lets me take the bike inside. Silly me, it has some red shiny Kore skewers and a Thompson seatpost, to name a few bling parts, that I don't feel comfortable leaving it unattended in public areas. My clunker of an electric bike is sorta out of commision due to the battery charger crapping out, so I can't charge the battery. So, I guess that's my justification to buy another bike. I could do well without the e-conversion, but I'd like that to be a possibility with this bike. Are most conversion kits universal fit?

  2. #2
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    just get a scooter.
    keep it pushin'

  3. #3
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    I rode a ZAP powered electric converted bicycle across Iowa for the RAGBRAI with a trailer with a solar panel on it. It a big heavy old school bicycle. The other bike a regular old roadie, basically the ZAP barely made up for the tremendous added weight and kept up with the road bikes just fine. WIZZ past, slowdown, everyone catches up, repeat. Basically you start killing the battery unless you have some sort of charging mechanism. It was fun and unique but I would just take the bike (or a scooter) personally...

  4. #4
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    I've seen those electric kits.. looks like they have some sort of attachment for the front wheel. I think I would be tempted to hit the trails on one, haha.

  5. #5
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    Front hub motors sometimes will not work with a suspension fork. Do your research before you buy.
    Rear hub motors are being auctioned on EBay these days, and many are disk brake compatible.
    I don't like the appearance of most purpose-built ebikes. I'd rather add a kit to an existing bike.
    "I don't suffer from insanity!I rather enjoy it."

  6. #6
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    Amped Bikes is my choice, check them out.

    I have put together one of the kits for my dad on a cheap garage sale bike, and it has done very well.

    I would always prefer to get a bike that I like and THEN add a kit, and I would steer clear of most of the kits you see on Ebay, mainly you need to take into consideration of two things:

    1 ) Durability: Fist off, the bike must be suitable for a kit. (your high dollar ultra light weight carbon frame/forks might not be a good choice ) If your going to use a front hub motor, you have to use steel forks, aluminum drop-outs and front hub motors definitely do NOT mix! I prefer a rear hub motor personally, more to the install, but more efficient pushing than pulling, and you can use an aluminum frame, just have to check that yours meets the size requirements listed on any of the kit's sites.

    I don't care how powerful the motor is, or how much claimed range it has, and neither will you if your breaking spokes, bending rims and breaking throttles. Many of the "good deals" are really under-built and don't forget, a GOOD motor will actually deliver the amount of watts to the rear wheel, a cheap motor will not. Also, brushless motors not only eliminate the maintenance of replacing the brushes, they are also much MUCH more efficient, not to mention VERY quiet, so a good 500 watt brushless can have better performance than a cheap 1000 Watt motor. Also, there is a huge difference depending on what kind of riding your going to do, as to what type of motor you get. If your climbing a lot of hills or pulling a trailer, geared motors are going to be most practical. If you have very little hills, and want more top end, go with a gear-less or Direct Drive (DD) motor. There are 24v kits, and 250w and smaller motors, but as long as your not restricted by law (UK, AUS and most of Europe or some states have more restrictions) get a good 36 volt 500w + motor. In the US, your restrictions are no more than 1000w of output (that's actual power at the rear wheel, not the motor size) and no more than 20 MPH with no pedaling to be allowed to use it just as any other bicycle.

    IMHO, if your not planing on pedaling, get a scooter, or a motor cycle. If your just wanting to have some help getting up the hills or extending your range, then an E-Bike should be a good option for you. Some people really go hog-wild and have E-Bikes that do 40MPH+ with no pedaling, that is silly to me, why not just buy a scooter that is going to be more efficient using gas, but if your just looking for a nice gas free alternative to commute, and get some exercise in the process, I'd say try a good E-Bike kit and you will be hooked.

    2 ) Battery chemistry and Power: This is another deal breaker. You can have the best E-Bike kit in the world, but if you don't have the juice to get the performance you want, it's worthless. ANY E-Bike is going to be heavier than your standard bike, most hub motors are going to weigh about 15 - 20 lbs, and then you add another 15 pounds for batteries just to give you minimal performance. If you skimp on the battery, your just making a VERY heavy bike that goes slow on it's own, and after a few miles gives you a major work-out getting home. That means, you need a battery that is going to have at least 10 Amp Hours, and 36 volts. This being said, the "sweet spot" for efficiency and power to weight practicality (meaning giving enough added power to justify the added weight) your looking at 15 Amp Hours (AH) and 48v. Lots of the kits come with Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries. Trust me, save your money and get a good Lithium-Ion battery or if you don't mind the potential for BBQ'n your privates if they cook-off, get Lithium Polymer. The first battery set we had for my dad's project (three 12 volt SLA's) weighed 34lbs alone! The SLA's seem great at first, they are cheap, easy to find but in the end, the $80 - $150+ you spend will be MUCH better off for a good Li-Ion pack that is going to weigh 30% less. After 1 year of use, the SLA's are at about 50%, and much longer and you will have to replace them, costing that same $80-$150 every other year. Many people get sticker shock because a decent battery is going to be in the $600+ range, but you get what you pay for. The Li-Ion packs will last for 2000+ charges (generally 5-7+ years) so in the end, they are cheaper. There are also Nickel Metal Hydrate batteries, which are in the middle of the road as far as weight and performance, but are only good for about 1000 charges, and cost nearly as much as the Li-Ion. Lithium Polymer are the champs when it comes to raw performance, but at the price of a short life (600-800 charges) and depending on how hard they are worked, they will be at about 50% of capacity after a year or so just like the SLA's ... oh ya and are known to fire up the BBQ if they are over-charged, over-discharged, or punctured from physical damage!!! The latest in Li-Ion battery technology and most commonly used for E-Bikes is Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4). These batteries are going to make you the most happy IMHO, but there are several options out there, most kits can be purchased with a battery designed for them (best way to go unless you like LOTS of research and soldiering your own batts together).

    There are people using over 100v and 50 AH's but there no longer bicycles, they are ultra lightweight motorcycles that have low reliability and generally tear themselves apart pushing the limits of their drive-train, not to mention they weigh in the neighborhood of 150lbs!!

    Me personally, I have Fibromyalgia, and when it's acting up, I have trouble getting out of bed, much less biking 30 - 60 mile trips, so I am going for an ultra lightweight pedal assist E-Bike, I do 30 - 60 mile trips on my Nishiki now, on a good day, but I would love to have an extra boost going up the many hills here in Oregon City.

    I have had really good experiences with Amped Bikes (ampedbikes.com) and the owner is a stand-up guy with a reasonably priced product.

    Other people have had good experiences with E-Bikekit.com, but I can't speak from experience.

    If you want a lot of E-Bike info, go Here:
    http://endless-sphere.com/forums/

    Look under the E-Bike section. There are people using E-Bikes for everything from commuting to MTB trail riding.

  7. #7
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    Hi This is my first post. I was hesitant about posting about my electric assist bike as many of the people here are purists. I have a prosthetic lower leg (below the knee) and need the help on occasion keeping pace at 20 mph. I Have one of the Ampedbikes Direct drive motors but I also bought the high end geared motor they sell because it freewheels 100% so I just use it sparingly, up steep hills, keeping pace when my legs start burning etc.

    But I can Highly suggest ampedbikes they were on the ball with shipping, quality and general help.

    James R.

  8. #8
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    The Amped website was impressive for the following reasons:
    I like a rear hub motor
    They focus only on 36v 500w kits
    The disk brake mount is six bolt, instead of spin on
    The large photo gallery displays a variety of ways to mount batteries and controllers
    The price is right and you don't have to deal with Ebay.

    I'm still commuting on a 2 stroke assisted bike, but looking at ekits.
    "I don't suffer from insanity!I rather enjoy it."

  9. #9
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    About 4 years ago I built a Wilderness energy conversion kit onto a trek 3500.

    You have to use steel forks for a front hub motor or the torque will break your forks.

    If you are gonna do any kind of trail riding you have to remember ur bike will be 50 pounds heavier and u have no suspension, this will mostly likely be a commute or slash urban kamikaze bike.

    A 36 volt SLA battery (3x12v) gets you going about 24mph on flat level on a 26 inch rims. You can get going to 30mph if you pedal like a *****.

    The SLA battery WILL die on you very quickly if you dont recharge it after every use, which is the most annoying thing about them, second comes their weight.

    I went from getting 10 miles range to barely 1 mile range after about 1.5 years.

    Surprisingly enough if u run out of juice, pedaling ur bike is not a problem at all unless u have to go up hill. it is a *****, also the motors do not provide any kind of drag if u want to peddle only to save battery juice.

  10. #10
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    I had an idea. Can you mount one of the front hub motors on a Cannondale bike with the Headshock fork, since the movement is in the steering tube? Seems you could also use a front hub motor with one of the vintage Girvin forks, where movement is in the head tube area.
    Any way, a front hub motor would give you an all wheel drive mountain bike to help with the climbs. That would be sweet.
    "I don't suffer from insanity!I rather enjoy it."

  11. #11
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    You can mount a hub motor in a front fork, any front fork, as long as you rig up torque arm. Think the old style arm associated with coaster brakes. The reason is that if the torque of the motor is kept in check it will not tear apart the dropouts.

    But the two wheel drive feature is nice and noticeable also in some situations. If you get a controller and motor that has regen capability then you can use the motor as a front brake also but don't count on the regen to get you alot of extra battery time however.

    Also the use of a front hub helps to distribute the weight bias more evenly because generally the best place for the battery pack is on a rack in the rear. You can get a full setup now that weighs in at less than 25 lbs. that will provide up to a 50 mile range too. Batteries are the key and they are coming down in weight and price and rising in performance by leaps and bounds thanks to the millions of e bikes that are being made for the Asian and EU markets and the help of engineering from the cell phone/lap top industry.
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  12. #12
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    "Other people have had good experiences with E-Bikekit.com, but I can't speak from experience."

    I did. I'm in the process of writing up something on my kit, and will post it here when I'm done. I saw someone on an Ampedbike kit the other day, and they liked them, too.

  13. #13
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    Right now Ampedbikes is the best kit you can find in the States. They are on their 4th generation of Direct drive motors and from what lightcycle says the geared motor is the best around. I didnt want to post it but they gave me mine for free as I am disabled.

    I cant speak highly enough of them.

  14. #14
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    There are many fine suppliers of ebike motors. I have to mention FalconEV for custom applications. Always get a lithium battery.

  15. #15
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    Don't buy from Amped Bikes.

    Their connectors are the cheapest ones you can by and they can disconnect, which can result in a very expensive short circuit. Additionally, I've heard horror stories about their support, or lack thereof. Just buy a kit off eBay.

  16. #16
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    I disagree. Amped bikes is great!!

    Glavin- Are you leaving out any details about your system?? So now what? You can't blame yourself so you have to blame someone right??


    Quote Originally Posted by Glavin
    Don't buy from Amped Bikes.

    Their connectors are the cheapest ones you can by and they can disconnect, which can result in a very expensive short circuit. Additionally, I've heard horror stories about their support, or lack thereof. Just buy a kit off eBay.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by zracing
    I disagree. Amped bikes is great!!

    Glavin- Are you leaving out any details about your system?? So now what? You can't blame yourself so you have to blame someone right??
    I haven't said anything about my system. It's a stock Amped Bikes system, period. People asked for feedback, I gave it.The connectors he ships with are crap, this is common knowledge to a lot of people I've talked to. Search around and you'll see. They come loose and short out, then he gets to charge you another $55 for another controller.

    Why would you attack me? You know nothing about my system.

  18. #18
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    I ordered the rear direct drive kit from http://ampedbikes.com and I have had no issues at all with my connectors coming loose. I've put about 1600 miles on the kit so far commuting to work. I would recommend buying a kit from them. Here's my rig:

    Photobucket

  19. #19
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    AZ Rider - Clean build. Did you order the SLA bricks from Amped-Bikes or order batteries elsewhere?
    "I don't suffer from insanity!I rather enjoy it."

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheelbender6
    AZ Rider - Clean build. Did you order the SLA bricks from Amped-Bikes or order batteries elsewhere?
    Thanks, I used the sla's that came with the kit for awhile but then I swapped them out for three of these for a reduction in weight of about 8lbs:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/12V-10AH-SCOOTER...item2eae4c872a

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