My commuter bike turned electric- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    KVW
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    My commuter bike turned electric

    I recently decided to take a gamble on an electric bike kit conversion and it turned out as good as I hoped it would.

    If you have done any searching for electric bikes, they generally are exceedingly cost prohibitive and I simply can't justify them being that the point is to save on gas/wear-and-tear on your car. Most of them cost thousands of dollars and many of them look like ugly townie bikes. Clean Republic offers a 10mi lithium-ion, 250watt kit that you can bolt up to your regular bike for a little over $500. My only gripe with them is they can be a little difficult to get a hold of (calls going to VM even during their short business hours) and slow to reply by email. And it did take a while for them to finally ship it out - I guess they get backlogged during bike season but they don't communicate that to you until you bother them.

    Anyway, overall I'm pretty happy with the outcome.

    Here's my little video review of it:



    And some pic whoring:








    One of the things I love about it is that it really doesn't look that much different than your standard mountain bike. The electric'ness of it is pretty stealth! In fact, my friend and I were discussing whether a ranger would even notice if you took this on a paved trail from which a "motorized" vehicle was not allowed. Furthermore, it only adds about 7lbs to the bike total (with the 3lb, 10mi lithium battery pack) and can still be ridden like your standard bicycle (motored hub is on a freewheel). It's also very quiet which contributes to the stealth factor.

    In this current configuration, it does max out at about 18mph (on flat land pavement) which is a little unfortunate because that is the speed I can regularly sustain on mountain bikes for long distances, anyway. I was hoping to sustain a higher avg speed. My commute times are slightly better, but only by a couple mins where it helps me sustain that speed up over the few freeway passes I have to cross that normally slow me down. As long as i stay within the motors working RPMs, I do however arrive to work FAR FAR less sweaty and tired. I also no longer get frustrated when streetlights force me to stop and kill my momentum. I'm much more inclined to not try and "make it" which sometimes in hindsight, I've noted, that it was stupid. So for me, it makes my commute inherently safer.

    Everyone who's tried it absolutely loves it. I think really the only thing that keeps this from taking off is the price. $500+ dollars for something "unnecessary" is just a pricey pill to swallow even if you can afford it - I really think if they can some how get this motor/battery combination down to the $300 dollar price range, you might see these on causal bikes. The kind of bikes your mom and dad would buy for the weekends. It's a great encourager for those loved ones who aren't very physically capable and are discouraged to go out for a bike ride on the weekends. It also would be a great equalizer if you're tired of waiting around for them all the time.

    Here's a couple pics of my buddy zipping around a parking lot who's obviously way too big for my bicycle, lol!





    Ear to ear grins all around.

    So to conclude, if you had heard about this kit and are on the fence about it, you can count me as someone who recommends it! Although, I'd recommend a bigger wheeled bike for that higher assisted speed. Now i wish I didn't sell my motobecane ti 29er. That would have made a perfect commuter bike with this electric motor!
    "Single track is for pansies!
    I blast down a mountain once, and in my wake, lies a new single track for the rest of you."-sm

  2. #2
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    I am not surprised by your top speed given the kit's power output.

    I also notice that this is NOT a pedal assist kit. How does it provide power? Do you control it via a button? Is there a control panel that regulates the power output based on how fast you're going?

    What about hub drag when you are not providing any power to the motor? Is it noticeable?

    There are two things that keep me out of ebikes and conversion kits. Yeah, cost is a factor. But I've dealt with one of these in my shop that had a Bionx pedal assist kit on the rear wheel. The thing was finicky. The dude's battery straight died completely because he didn't charge it exactly right ONE TIME. Wiring harnesses would die and need to be replaced. That bike convinced my shop to stay FAR AWAY from ebikes. Primarily because of a service standpoint. Every setup is different, and you practically need to have an electrician on staff to deal with the issues. Electronic drivetrains have been SO MUCH easier to work on for us.

  3. #3
    KVW
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    It's not a pedal assist. It's simply button activated from which you velcro on to what's most comfortable to you (usually the handlebar grip). Full on or full off - no throttle control. The power sort of eases on a so it doesn't feel out of control once it kicks on. Or it simply is not powerful enough to feel like it's out of control acceleration when full on. And there is no control panel or LCD read-out that gives you any information. It's quite basic as I'm sure that helps with the lower cost (or higher profit margins depending on how you look at it, lol). The whole kit is said to be weatherproof but I can't vouch for that. It looks like, to me at least, it would be light-to-moderate rain resistant but I wouldn't be riding in a heavy rain storm anyway.

    The hub drag, I forgot to mention about that. The company claims there is no added drag but my experience with my bike before and after, and with my general experience with all the bikes I currently have and owned in the past, my legs are telling me there is a slight bit of extra drag. But I can thankfully report, it's only slightly more than your standard front wheel hub so it's not horrible, at least. This is also easy to see if you flip the bike over and just give the wheel a healthy spin with your hand - it definitely stops spinning much sooner than your standard bicycle hub. Perhaps it has more to do with the weight of the entire motorized hub being around 6lbs. You can feel that heaviness when turning your handlebars but you get used to it pretty quickly.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ng1FRF_T4ck
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjMZ_-RmZcE

    I think, while this kit may be unappealing by its missing features (no console, no pedal assist, no braking recharge), its inherent simplicity, leaves little to fail unlike some of those things you mentioned with the e-bike in your shop. Also of course, the cost: It's not going to break the bank if you do have to buy a new cable set ($39), for example.

    It literally is just 4 components. A battery pack (like a laptop battery in a canvas bag, kill switch on bag), A shielded wire to deliver that power to your hub with a wire that branches off to an on-off switch. And a charger brick (again like your laptop). And of course the hub/motor itself. There's only so much that can fail and out of those 4 components, you can swap them out and/or warranty them.

    Here, they sell just the kit (the 4 components) without a built wheel so you can build a wheel yourself and it really shows the simplicity of it all.

    ProPack | Electric Bike Conversion Kit | Electric Bicycle | Clean Republic

    And of course they also sell all 4 components separately.

    Hub/motor $169
    10mi battery $199
    cable set $39
    Battery charger $39

    Hill Topper Electric Bike Conversion Kit | Electric Bike | Clean Republic

    So far I've only commuted to work 3 times and have mainly just fooled around with it, terrorizing the neighborhood. For this kit, I don't think any of those grievances will be a big issue here but I will certainly report back as time goes by regarding its durability. Also, it's been on the market for a few years now and many people have been actively using it since, with not too many problems reported, that I can find at least. There are also a few people who have created their own battery packs and upped the voltage to 36v (vs 24v) and the motor seems to handle it without issue so that's nice. I got the extended warranty, but that extension only covers the hub/motor and wires and not the battery (still just one year I believe). This is typical of laptop manufactures too: the laptop will have say, a 1yr warranty while the accompanying battery will only have a 90 day warranty ... or for the more robust enterprise-level laptops, a 3 year for the laptop but only 1 year max for the battery.

    Unfortunately the battery is the biggest cost. The 20-mile lithium pack cost a whopping $425! Mine is the 10-mi battery at $200 to replace. I'm hoping lithium ion battery continue to come down in price as they have over the years and I can either buy an alternative when this one dies or buy a replacement one from Clean Republic at hopefully at a slightly cheaper price.
    Last edited by KVW; 08-07-2014 at 11:44 PM.
    "Single track is for pansies!
    I blast down a mountain once, and in my wake, lies a new single track for the rest of you."-sm

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    ^^ Seems smarter to own two 10 mi packs than one 20 mi pack: save $25 and have some backup/redundancy.

  5. #5
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    A lot of people will like this, but I just don't. I have a bike to pedal, not to have help with. I just don't see the point in something like this.
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.

  6. #6
    KVW
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc View Post
    ^^ Seems smarter to own two 10 mi packs than one 20 mi pack: save $25 and have some backup/redundancy.
    It does appear that way. Although if your commute is further than 10 miles one way, you'll have to go through the trouble of pulling over and swapping them out. It only takes a few moments to do so, but yah, the added benefit is you have that backup & redundancy (not all eggs in one basket).


    Quote Originally Posted by TenSpeed View Post
    A lot of people will like this, but I just don't. I have a bike to pedal, not to have help with. I just don't see the point in something like this.
    Trust me, I wholeheartedly enjoy bicycles for what they are too - I own four other bikes (two hardtails and two full suspension) dedicated for the simple pleasure of riding bikes. In fact, I'll be going up to downieville next weekend to do exactly that! But commuting to work, dealing with traffic, I don't really consider that very fun but I'm finding this little toy makes it quite a bit more enjoyable and efficient (not showing up to work tired and sweaty). On the way home, where I don't have to worry about sweating too much and I'm in a better mood (I'm not much of an early bird & not having to go to work helps the mood, lol), I refrain from using the motor as much which gives me decent workout!
    "Single track is for pansies!
    I blast down a mountain once, and in my wake, lies a new single track for the rest of you."-sm

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by TenSpeed View Post
    A lot of people will like this, but I just don't. I have a bike to pedal, not to have help with. I just don't see the point in something like this.
    Agreed. There's two different guys I see on electric bikes all the time on my way to and from work and I pass both of them. For me, the main reason I ride to work is for the exercise. If it was purely for environmental reasons, I'd buy a Nissan Leaf or an electric scooter.

  8. #8
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    I'd get a jetpack.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

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    The batteries are expensive, in my area you are limited to a max speed of 20mph, more things to go wrong. Great idea if you have health issues, but if you are in good health you'll get faster on a non assist bike. I myself average 16+ mph so not worth it for me. I'd say spend money on clipless pedals, and faster rolling tires to increase cycling efficiency.

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    What Fuji are you riding on op?

  11. #11
    KVW
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    Quote Originally Posted by elliott436 View Post
    What Fuji are you riding on op?
    Hi Elliot, here's the exact link to the Fuji bike: Fuji Bicycles Tahoe 2.0 Shimano SLX/XT Complete Bike | Backcountry.com

    It's been a great bike and a steal at the price backcountry was selling them for at the time. My only gripe with it, as I eventually found out through some frustrating moments, is it came with a "European standard" tapered headset cup size, with a bottom cup of 55mm instead of 56mm. This meant I had to special order my bottom cup from Cane Creek, which made it unnecessarily expensive to switch out my headset to install that carbon fork.
    "Single track is for pansies!
    I blast down a mountain once, and in my wake, lies a new single track for the rest of you."-sm

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    What voltage does your motor hub run on? I'm not sure what hub you have but a lot of the motors that turn up here (limited to 250 watt, pedal assist 16mph cut out by law) are actually rated to 750 or 1000 watts and will run at 24V 250Watt and 48V 500 Watt and double the current the DC motor controller limits. Some of them will run up to 60 or 72V but thats getting close to mains AC voltage in the US and you would really want to be sure of the wiring harness.

    I think it is much cheaper to make one type of motor and use a motor control to limit power than make a huge range of differently rated motors

    In many cases it is as simple as as spending a few hundred bucks to get a good quality LiFePo battery + battery management system and an aftermarket DC motor controller with throttle and you have yourself a motor bike.
    I've seen some of those things doing what must be 30mph ~ 35mph with no pedalling
    I think some hubs have the voltage regulation and current limiting on board so it is not very easy to change them but most don't.

  13. #13
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    Re: My commuter bike turned electric

    Quote Originally Posted by KVW View Post
    Hi Elliot, here's the exact link to the Fuji bike: Fuji Bicycles Tahoe 2.0 Shimano SLX/XT Complete Bike | Backcountry.com

    It's been a great bike and a steal at the price backcountry was selling them for at the time. My only gripe with it, as I eventually found out through some frustrating moments, is it came with a "European standard" tapered headset cup size, with a bottom cup of 55mm instead of 56mm. This meant I had to special order my bottom cup from Cane Creek, which made it unnecessarily expensive to switch out my headset to install that carbon fork.
    Ok awesome I ride a Nevada 1.3

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    Bah, if you got suitable used touring/cyclocross/road bike for $500 it would made commuting easier also without the extra weight, drag and you could have added fenders to ride in inclement weather. Now you spent alot on making an ill-suited fair weather commuting, knobby tired, 120+mm hardtail mountain bike an even heavier electric assisted fair weather commuter. I don't see the point really. I could understand if you had lots of monster hills making travel by bicycle unfeasible in terms of time and effort, but even then why choose such an unsuitable bicycle for it.

    I especially don't get it now:
    Quote Originally Posted by KVW View Post
    ... I own four other bikes (two hardtails and two full suspension) dedicated for the simple pleasure of riding bikes.
    So let me get this straight, you have five books total, all of them mountain bikes ill-suited to commuting and you decided your problem is that one of them didn't have electric assist? Facepalm.

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    Guys. Different people ride for different reasons, and have different interests. I get that some of you are just too awesome and healthy to want an electric bike, but you're not everybody. IMO if it makes the difference to get someone out on 2 wheels, it's good.

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    Re: My commuter bike turned electric

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanath View Post
    Guys. Different people ride for different reasons, and have different interests. I get that some of you are just too awesome and healthy to want an electric bike, but you're not everybody. IMO if it makes the difference to get someone out on 2 wheels, it's good.
    Well said, I agree as long as your on two wheels electric or not who cares! The point is get out there and ride and enjoy the ride!

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    Well old biddies the op said it himself:
    "So far I've only commuted to work 3 times and have mainly just fooled around with it, terrorizing the neighborhood."

    He is not really using it much as signified by ONLY, and looking at the setup. And I see why, it is a fair weather commuter at best and not well optimized for the task of commuting. In many ways you can say it is even worse for commuting with this 7 lb motor+battery. I don't get the "it doesn't matter as long as you ride"(and mind you most greatly exaggerate how much they ride especially for life related tasks like commuting) ninnies, forums are not cheerleading venues. This guy paid alot to have one of his 5 MOUNTAINBIKES top out with an electric motor at the speed more road adapted bikes can easily sustain when ridden by anyone with moderate fitness. There are lots of inexperienced people on such forums and if we turn this into a cheerleading fest, they could think such a conversion is a good idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanath View Post
    Guys. Different people ride for different reasons, and have different interests. I get that some of you are just too awesome and healthy to want an electric bike, but you're not everybody. IMO if it makes the difference to get someone out on 2 wheels, it's good.
    Aloha, well said. If it gets someone out riding, I say excellent. Better than having the best chi chi bike sitting around collecting dust in some corner. It's all about TITS - Time In the Saddle. We all want more. And we certainly are all different levels and we all have to get started somewhere. Compliments on OP for posting up what he's found on his research.

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    I just don't understand why many on this board seem to go out of their way to **** on electric bike conversions. How is it bad to get people out on two wheels, when they'd otherwise sit at home? Sure, they could be getting a better workout without it. Maybe they're in poor health but still want to get out, or maybe they don't care about the exercise, or maybe they only want to pedal hard on the way home from work, or want a push for long rides/tall hills, or just think electric bikes are cool. The point is that they're different people, with different situations and different priories, and the freedom to do whatever seems best to them. If you wouldn't buy an electric bike/conversion, fine, good for you, but please do grow up and let other people make other decisions. They're not having a single detrimental effect on you.

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    @Sanath:
    Did you even read any of this thread? People who are truly infirm or incapable of pedaling on the road without electric help are not the people who have FIVE MOUNTAINBIKES. They are the type of people who would mention they got injured, they are too old, so they are selling most of their mountain bikes. Mountain biking is a lot more demanding physically than riding on pavement.

    I too am all for people using an electric bike if they are old, injured, hauling massive weight, or simply live by massive hills that deter their riding. That is by all indications not the case. And shock, if the OP say sold one or two of his mountain bikes and got a road racing and/or touring like commuter, I would bet he would ride more than with this electric converted hardtail, since *GASP*, he would have at least one bike suited for pavement. For example I have four bikes but each suited to different tasks. I even have a 16" brompton folder so I can ride on trains or get a ride by friends or families in their cars without hassle one way or part of the way(very handy in winter time or rain!). That is the difference between people like you and me, you think giving bad advice or cheerleading is help! Well, it isn't.

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    Where'd I give bad advice? Every e-bike thread includes a bunch of people down on e-bikes because they don't want one. I was just responding to the sentiment.

    How is it not helpful to "cheerlead"? Don't we want more people riding?

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    Oh man, the people on this forum. I am pretty sure someone with five mountain bikes would actually ride more if they perhaps had one folder(like I have -- for example now I can go to NYC by train and just cruise around and get things done, not as possible or easy without one), one road racing bike(like I have), and one commuting suited cyclocross/touring bike(like I want to ditch my hardtail with a rear rack for) and ditched some of the mountain bikes.

    This is thread is classic itch not asking to be scratched, niche not needing to be filled.

  23. #23
    KVW
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    I kind of half expected to see some hate regarding this thread. Like Sanath, I too have witnessed my fair share of negative responses to anything electric & bicycles. Even the articles posted by Francis Cebedo, the founder of MTBR himself, when showing off the latest and greatest e-whatever, the sheer amount of negative response outweigh the positive (or at least the haters are the most vocal about it).

    It would appear most die hard cyclists, enthusiastic enough to join bicycle forums at least, simply don't like electric bicycles in any shape or form. They see cycling and becoming fit as sort of a 'rite of passage' to even call yourself a cyclist and any motorized assistance is either ridiculous or cheating.

    Some of the points RoyFokker has pointed out, mainly the inefficiency of my choices aren't without merit however.

    It most certainly would be more cost effective to just buy a road or cyclocross bike (although I would argue the perceived pedal effort difference *still* wouldn't beat an electric assisted mtb by quite a margin). I used to own a GT Tachyon CX bicycle a few years back - it's what got me back into cycling after a 15 year hiatus. But I'm electively choosing to ride a mountain bike on the road with with all its inefficiencies included. The reasons why I do this is because:

    1) I prefer riding a sturdier, more playful, mountain-oriented bicycles on the pavement because I feel uncomfortable riding on light-duty frames & wheels w/ skinny tires.
    2) I also like the versatility of a beefier bike (cutting through grass islands, manualing over curbs, hitting an unpaved trail if it crosses my path, etc).
    3) I *greatly* prefer the look of mtb over road bikes, so this would be my shallow, vain preference.
    4) The electric motor sort of "makes up" for that elective inefficient preference of the reasons above.

    I've had the Fuji hardtail for a little over a year now and I've commuted to work with it prior to purchasing this motor a handful of times. It typically went, I would go strong for a few days but I would just get burnt out and opt to drive the car to work. This would repeat like a month later when I vowed to start cycling to work again and so on. This mostly had to do with me feeling miserable in the mornings and the *last* thing I wanted to do is go out and "exercise" on my way to work. Since I've purchased this electric motor, about 1 month ago, I've commuted to work every day on my bicycle so that's a massive change in my behavior for the positive.

    The reasons for this is I'm lazy and grumpy in the mornings (perhaps others can relate?) so now I can get to work with minimal miserable effort. I now have very little excuse now to not ride to work where before I seemed to find excuses from every corner: It's too hot... I just worked out legs last night and they are sore... I've got to bring x in to work and it's heavy... I didn't get enough sleep last night... The list goes on and on when you're just not in the mood to 'get your sweat on'.

    But most of all, if there's any take away that I want to leave those who dislike the concept (the TL: DR paragraph) The muther****er is FUN! I've *never* enjoyed commuting to work, but I do now! If you were local to me, I'd have you try it. While it may not change your mind completely, I would actually be surprised if you still felt as strongly about it as you do, and you might see what all the hoopla is about. I've had multiple bike shops tell me that e-bikes are exploding right now, in the same way when a new wheel size was starting to take off (29ers and 650bs for example). I'm sure this has to do with the cost of e-bikes coming down with faster and further options becoming available. Either way, ya'll are going to start seeing a lot more about them within the next couple years.
    Last edited by KVW; 09-03-2014 at 05:33 PM.
    "Single track is for pansies!
    I blast down a mountain once, and in my wake, lies a new single track for the rest of you."-sm

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    I realize e-bikes are a fancy new thing, but I assume that within a few years all the cheerleading will fade out, and we'll be back to Bicycles and e-Motorcycles the way it should be.



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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleJon View Post
    What voltage does your motor hub run on? I'm not sure what hub you have but a lot of the motors that turn up here (limited to 250 watt, pedal assist 16mph cut out by law) are actually rated to 750 or 1000 watts and will run at 24V 250Watt and 48V 500 Watt and double the current the DC motor controller limits. Some of them will run up to 60 or 72V but thats getting close to mains AC voltage in the US and you would really want to be sure of the wiring harness.

    I think it is much cheaper to make one type of motor and use a motor control to limit power than make a huge range of differently rated motors

    In many cases it is as simple as as spending a few hundred bucks to get a good quality LiFePo battery + battery management system and an aftermarket DC motor controller with throttle and you have yourself a motor bike.
    I've seen some of those things doing what must be 30mph ~ 35mph with no pedalling
    I think some hubs have the voltage regulation and current limiting on board so it is not very easy to change them but most don't.
    I'm unsure what motor the Clean Republic kit comes with. I believe it's made by "Fun 8" and it's only 250watts @ 24v. Eventually, maybe next year if funds allow, I would like to modify it to go faster. I'll need to learn more though before diving in to it. It seems as though you are pretty familiar with electric bicycle motors. But for me, I've just got my feet wet and now I'm hungry for more.

    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    I realize e-bikes are a fancy new thing, but I assume that within a few years all the cheerleading will fade out, and we'll be back to Bicycles and e-Motorcycles the way it should be.
    Actually, now I'm thinking e-bike upgrades are a match made in heaven to mate up with the new "fat bike" trend that's growing. I'd love a 750watt, mid drive Fat bike. It just sounds like so much fun! I've seen a few iterations of this idea on youtube. I'm hoping it continues to grow.

    "Single track is for pansies!
    I blast down a mountain once, and in my wake, lies a new single track for the rest of you."-sm

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    I'm an engineer and one of my daughters is in to model planes plus I just got my 75 year old father in law an e-bike he is too old for his foldie now. His was about $1200, no where near as stealth as yours though, he was complaining about the pedal assist, when I checked it all out online the made in China motor was exactly the same model as the 1000W bikes running at 48v, it was about $150 for a 48V DC motor controller with throttle and $300 for an additional LiFePo battery to double the input voltage and not run out of juice too quick. (all bought online) - the thing goes like the clappers. But not tested the range as yet
    Only problem is that it's illegal so I've told him not to get caught, but I would say at least 50% of the ones I see on the road are illegal here. The authorities just ignore them unless there is an accident

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    Quote Originally Posted by KVW View Post
    Some of the points RoyFokker has pointed out, mainly the inefficiency of my choices aren't without merit however. ...
    ...
    4) The electric motor sort of "makes up" for that elective inefficient preference[more like the ridiculous preference of a 120+ mm suspension mtb on the road] ...
    Well your preferences are ludicrous, but at least you acknowledge that they are ridicilous and that is a start unlike most the others who swear that they prefer to ride even full suspension on the road like there are no down-sides. If you just get past the period of adjustment you will adapt to riding skinner tires and drop-bar handlers. That is unless you are literally too infirm to ride in the position a drop-bar demands, but in that case there are other options: bullhorn, flat, riser, etc.

    Do you honestly think that is something to emulate, cheerlead or applaud? So you prefer to ride a bike for a task it is not suited for, and you fit an electric motor to "sort of" compensate?

    Quote Originally Posted by KVW View Post
    Since I've purchased this electric motor, about 1 month ago, I've commuted to work every day on my bicycle so that's a massive change in my behavior for the positive.
    I have a feeling you greatly exaggerate on how much you use it. For one you don't even have mudflaps which is all that type of hardtail can really have, something that will if you ride in the mud, block SOME of the mud. So definitely you are most likely not riding in the rain and you definitely aren't hauling much with just a seatbag and top-tube wedge. Even my 2013 Brompton M6R Black/Black(16" folding bike) can carry far more:
    Brompton folding bike, M6R
    with its rear rack and a front carrier block that can fit my 31 liter Brompton T-Bag.

    I live car-free, I can spot a bs-er. That is your most suitable bike for commuting in your mind that you choose to add the electric kit to and its not really suitable at all, despite all the money poured into it.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoyFokker View Post
    Well your preferences are ludicrous, but at least you acknowledge that they are ridicilous and that is a start unlike most the others who swear that they prefer to ride even full suspension on the road like there are no down-sides. If you just get past the period of adjustment you will adapt to riding skinner tires and drop-bar handlers. That is unless you are literally too infirm to ride in the position a drop-bar demands, but in that case there are other options: bullhorn, flat, riser, etc.

    Do you honestly think that is something to emulate, cheerlead or applaud? So you prefer to ride a bike for a task it is not suited for, and you fit an electric motor to "sort of" compensate?



    I have a feeling you greatly exaggerate on how much you use it. For one you don't even have mudflaps which is all that type of hardtail can really have, something that will if you ride in the mud, block SOME of the mud. So definitely you are most likely not riding in the rain and you definitely aren't hauling much with just a seatbag and top-tube wedge. Even my 2013 Brompton M6R Black/Black(16" folding bike) can carry far more:
    Brompton folding bike, M6R
    with its rear rack and a front carrier block that can fit my 31 liter Brompton T-Bag.

    I live car-free, I can spot a bs-er. That is your most suitable bike for commuting in your mind that you choose to add the electric kit to and its not really suitable at all, despite all the money poured into it.
    So you think I'm liar and don't believe I've commuted to work every work day (which is m-f, 12mi round trip) since I purchased this kit in the beginning of August? All because my bike isn't purpose built for the road?! LOL! Do you not see how ridiculous such a claim is? And even if it were the case, what's it to you?

    Inclement weather is not much of an issue during the hot summer days, chief. Nor is getting rain fenders that don't rely on embosses or dedicated mounts. There are a plenty of options on amazon that can achieve such a task with a simple search. Here's one example: Amazon.com : SKS Shockboard Front Bicycle Fender (Black) : Bike Fenders : Sports & Outdoors That hasn't been "an issue" for a looooong time in cycling. However, you should notice I live in sunny California where weather isn't much of a concern, especially with the 4 yr old drought we've been having. It simply does not rain much. There may have been but only 25 days of rain last winter and quite frankly, I have no desire to commute on days that exhibit anything more than a drizzle. I will gladly drive the car those days.

    Also if you look closely to the pictures, you'll see that I'm not using a suspension fork but rather a 1.7lb carbon fork although before I switched it, the Reba fork had a lockout which worked just as good (albeit 2.3 lbs heavier) so I don't see why you're so hung up on a suspension fork being so terrible on the pavement.

    I'm not seeking "applaud". Like, "hey, look at me and praise me!" No. I'm just sharing a cool cycling endeavor with fellow cyclists who also might find it interesting or may search for it later. I know before I purchased this kit, I searched mtbr forums and found little to nothing on this relatively popular electric bike kit conversion. Well now there's something that will come up in the search function. THIS THREAD. If you truly think that's what I'm here for, to seek praise for my "bad purchase", than I can see why you're trying so hard to 'put me in my place', but find that quite petty and juvenile.

    A big fat sarcastic, "Sorry, I didn't get this kit for more 'purpose built' bike for road commuting" but you should probably notice you are on MTBR, that's *Mountain Bike* Review, in case you didn't know what those acronyms stood for so don't be surprised if you find a few who prefer to ride mountain bikes, simply for the sake of loving mountain bikes even if they are a 2-3 mph slower @ same pedal effort on the pavement because of it. Quite frankly, that Brompton folding bike looks so hideous to me that I wouldn't be caught dead on that thing - I would rather take the shame train to work before riding that testosterone killing device. I understand that's just my opinion and if that somehow offends you, I'm not going to apologize.

    As far as the "money I've poured in to it", the bike was ~$550 dollars shipped, to my door. The Kit was ~$560 (cheaper than some of my suspension forks on my other bikes) to my door. When it comes to bicycles, this really isn't that much. Cheaper than that fugly folding bike you linked anyway. If you really wanted to go cheap and try an electric bike, you can do as this guy did for $675: Franken-Fixie: A Hipster Bike with a Clean Republic E-Bike Kit #fixie #ebike #cycling | Commute by Bike
    "Single track is for pansies!
    I blast down a mountain once, and in my wake, lies a new single track for the rest of you."-sm

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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleJon View Post
    I'm an engineer and one of my daughters is in to model planes plus I just got my 75 year old father in law an e-bike he is too old for his foldie now. His was about $1200, no where near as stealth as yours though, he was complaining about the pedal assist, when I checked it all out online the made in China motor was exactly the same model as the 1000W bikes running at 48v, it was about $150 for a 48V DC motor controller with throttle and $300 for an additional LiFePo battery to double the input voltage and not run out of juice too quick. (all bought online) - the thing goes like the clappers. But not tested the range as yet
    Only problem is that it's illegal so I've told him not to get caught, but I would say at least 50% of the ones I see on the road are illegal here. The authorities just ignore them unless there is an accident
    Your father-in-law has one hellva cool son-in-law to go through the trouble of building him such a beast. I can't help but picture gramps hauling balls like this guy:



    Make way! lol!
    "Single track is for pansies!
    I blast down a mountain once, and in my wake, lies a new single track for the rest of you."-sm

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    Contrary to you I actually don't use a car to do everything I do in life like say shopping. I wonder how much your seat-bag and top tube bar can hold? Almost nothing. I don't even have a car, so I couldn't use such pauce carrying capacity. That "fugly" folder has a rear rack to haul goods, a front-carrier block that can haul even more goods and dual fenders with mud flaps. It is far more suited to actually getting anything done without a car than some stupid mountain bike with knobby tires, supposedly upgraded with a carbon fork and then further installing an overly expensive motor. The Brompton is perhaps the only bicycle non-cyclists respect and admire, all the time the most unexpected people who are obviously not in the habit of pedaling stop to admire its sleek design and inquire about it. Otherwise only cyclists notice the bikes of other cyclists.

    The type of kludge flaps you linked to on Amazon don't offer much protection in inclement weather. Here is what Sheldon Brown/John Allen say about them and you should also check out what they about "fair weather" cyclists:
    Fenders For Your Bicycle
    Personally I feel they should be categorized as mud flaps that will prevent some mud or some rain as they are too far from the tire to offer true protection. But I guess the crazies who like to pretend mountain bikes are great to ride on the road have to tout them and over-estimate their inadequate protection...

    You can keep bs-ing how much you use a bicycle to get things done, but your priority of upgrades say otherwise. 6 miles on the road one way is very easy on any road adapted bicycle, but not so much on a mountain bike. That is unless you are old and/or otherwise physically incapable. I am sure in the early 20th Century most people could easily walk that far before almost everyone became infirm, sedentary cows. If you could have abandoned your weirdo biases likely you could have made your commute often without an electric motor. So sad, too bad.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanath View Post
    I just don't understand why many on this board seem to go out of their way to **** on electric bike conversions. How is it bad to get people out on two wheels, when they'd otherwise sit at home? Sure, they could be getting a better workout without it. Maybe they're in poor health but still want to get out, or maybe they don't care about the exercise, or maybe they only want to pedal hard on the way home from work, or want a push for long rides/tall hills, or just think electric bikes are cool. The point is that they're different people, with different situations and different priories, and the freedom to do whatever seems best to them. If you wouldn't buy an electric bike/conversion, fine, good for you, but please do grow up and let other people make other decisions. They're not having a single detrimental effect on you.
    I just don't want the things on multi-use/non motorized pathways or heaven forbid, singletrack. Inexperienced rider + over-torqued electric assist speed on a crowded path or natural surfaced singletrack is a recipe for disaster. These things are mopeds and don't belong on non-motorized paths or trails of any sort.

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    It's all cute, nice and fine, but can you manual with it???

    That's the real question because that front hub looks heavy. Pulling a manual into your work parking lot should get you a promotion
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by ziscwg View Post
    It's all cute, nice and fine, but can you manual with it???

    That's the real question because that front hub looks heavy. Pulling a manual into your work parking lot should get you a promotion
    It does take quite a bit more effort to manual now. Also the impact of coming back down from the manual is a little worrisome if I don't bring it back down gently. This is one of the downfalls to putting the motor on the front. Although Clean Republic *claims* this motor/hub is stout enough to handle off-road duties as long as it's not too extreme so maybe it's OK. A rear drive or better yet a mid drive motor would keep the front end light and give you some added torque to lift the front end at will. A mid-drive motor would also take advantage of your gears so it will keep assisting until you literally run out of gear and spin out.

    Speaking of mid-drive... and including the concern SteveF mentioned, emerging on the market of e-bikes are Stealth installs. The game is changing folks and one day, you may not even be able to tell if someone has a electric kit installed!




    vivax assist 4.0 - vom Bike zum leichten E-Bike

    Since it's already in the downtube, very easy to have a large battery masquerading as a water bottle, wired through the water cage bosses like so: Mit dem invisible performance package vom Rennrad zum E-Rennrad



    "With the vivax assist “Invisible Performance Package” you can invisibly transform your racing bike into an e-racing cycle. The battery, which used to be tucked away into the saddle bag, is, from 2014 onwards, available as a bottle battery and fits into the overall visual impression of the racing bike. The start button, which used to be connected by means of a cable, is now changed to a wireless one. Integrated on the handlebars of the bike it is virtually invisible and protected against dirt. And you can even position it anywhere you like. "

    And here's a mountain bike stealth kit:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...INiG-R_o#t=170
    "Single track is for pansies!
    I blast down a mountain once, and in my wake, lies a new single track for the rest of you."-sm

  34. #34
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    Every mech devise will make some noise.

    that is a lot of cash to go faster. Once you are willing to drop that kind of cash on a bike, being able to maintain 23 mph avg on your own human power starts to matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by KVW View Post
    It does take quite a bit more effort to manual now. Also the impact of coming back down from the manual is a little worrisome if I don't bring it back down gently. This is one of the downfalls to putting the motor on the front. Although Clean Republic *claims* this motor/hub is stout enough to handle off-road duties as long as it's not too extreme so maybe it's OK. A rear drive or better yet a mid drive motor would keep the front end light and give you some added torque to lift the front end at will. A mid-drive motor would also take advantage of your gears so it will keep assisting until you literally run out of gear and spin out.

    Speaking of mid-drive... and including the concern SteveF mentioned, emerging on the market of e-bikes are Stealth installs. The game is changing folks and one day, you may not even be able to tell if someone has a electric kit installed!




    vivax assist 4.0 - vom Bike zum leichten E-Bike

    Since it's already in the downtube, very easy to have a large battery masquerading as a water bottle, wired through the water cage bosses like so: Mit dem invisible performance package vom Rennrad zum E-Rennrad



    "With the vivax assist “Invisible Performance Package” you can invisibly transform your racing bike into an e-racing cycle. The battery, which used to be tucked away into the saddle bag, is, from 2014 onwards, available as a bottle battery and fits into the overall visual impression of the racing bike. The start button, which used to be connected by means of a cable, is now changed to a wireless one. Integrated on the handlebars of the bike it is virtually invisible and protected against dirt. And you can even position it anywhere you like. "

    And here's a mountain bike stealth kit:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...INiG-R_o#t=170
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveF View Post
    I just don't want the things on multi-use/non motorized pathways or heaven forbid, singletrack. Inexperienced rider + over-torqued electric assist speed on a crowded path or natural surfaced singletrack is a recipe for disaster. These things are mopeds and don't belong on non-motorized paths or trails of any sort.
    +1. If it has a motor, it belongs on the road, and the road only.
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by ziscwg View Post
    Every mech devise will make some noise.

    that is a lot of cash to go faster. Once you are willing to drop that kind of cash on a bike, being able to maintain 23 mph avg on your own human power starts to matter.
    It will make noise, but you'd struggle to hear it over the buzz of the tire. My motor is of the "geared" variety vs the direct drive, the supposed "noiser" of the two, and you can hardly hear it unless you are looking for it. I'm serious. It really IS quiet. Also, you don't have to use it in close proximity of someone if that's a concern - you can always just turn it off temporary, and pedal without assist until it's "safe".

    The cost for those stealth installs are pricey but like anything with electronics, it's only a matter of time before that price trickles down while multiple alternatives start popping up.

    Also, I've noticed many have the mindset that an electric assist has its limitations. That a better athlete can "outrun" a goob with an electric assisted bike. But if it's a mid-drive system that relies on your gears, there's no limitation. It simply is adding power to your leg power. Meaning you take the same athlete who can outrun the goob on an mid-drive electric assisted bicycle and put him on the same e-bike and he'd just go that much faster. If for example ,you can regularly maintain 23mph avg, add a 250watt motor driven to the gears to assist you and now you can simply avg a higher mph, at the same effort. You're getting the exact same work you did while maintaining a 23mph avg, but now are going ... say ~28mph. You just end up traveling further with more wind noise. Makes sense?
    "Single track is for pansies!
    I blast down a mountain once, and in my wake, lies a new single track for the rest of you."-sm

  37. #37
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    I had a conversation recently with a co-worker about the problems of modern life. Today no one does anything to maintain themselves other than work a wage and use that wage to buy everything they need. When I went to the American Museum of Natural History in NYC they had lots of exhibits of native peoples that didn't live in disgusting abstracted civilizations like ours. Could you imagine if you, your family and community actually knew how to do useful stuff like make your own simple, but yet beautiful and intricate canoes out of bark, homes out of simple local materials, woven baskets out of tine, twig or dried plant leaves, simple tools, etc.? I don't know about when I actually do something myself I feel some sense of accomplishment, and you don't feel the same when you just buy something.

    Bicycling gives you the sense, "yeah, I actually got myself here, I did this." With electric kits that feeling is not gonna be there.

  38. #38
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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by car bone View Post
    I'd get a jetpack.
    Saw this and figured it was perfect for this thread to make certain people's heads explode:





    Seems like it would be much more effective on a bicycle, does it not? It's not very stealthy or inconspicuous, but who cares when you can say, "I have a mother****in jetpack!"
    "Single track is for pansies!
    I blast down a mountain once, and in my wake, lies a new single track for the rest of you."-sm

  39. #39
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    Or you can integrate it on the bike:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKHz7wOjb9w

    I suspect the gendarmes would cite you, though. If you lived.

  40. #40
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    Or to improve stability, use a velomobile as the base:

    What you can find on Ligfiets.net?s second hand board *Update* « BentBlog

    Scroll through the pictures. Be nice to light 'em up for those tailgaters!

  41. #41
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    How is that Hill Topper kit working out for you?
    Ride while you can...

  42. #42
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    Now for something completely different & stupid & funny

    Commuting SS no brakes? e-Bikes? Roller blading to work? Why not combine these ideas from the comfort of your best office chair?



    Off topic, but I had to share and this seemed like a good idea and the right thread at the time. Enjoy. Hate to see this in winds gusting to 30 mph, though.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Fisherman View Post
    How is that Hill Topper kit working out for you?
    Still going good! Happy to report, no issues. I did take 3 weeks off from commuting due to a surgery on my leg but even better, the motor assist allowed me to get back on the bike sooner than the doctor suggested - I only pedalled on the hills or from stop lights to gain momentum, otherwise I just let pull me all the way to work. I'm just about fully recovered now and pedalling harder like before surgery. You definitely use far more battery when you don't pedal. It doesn't have a battery gauge but I can tell by how much longer it takes to recharge.


    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc View Post
    Commuting SS no brakes? e-Bikes? Roller blading to work? Why not combine these ideas from the comfort of your best office chair?

    Off topic, but I had to share and this seemed like a good idea and the right thread at the time. Enjoy. Hate to see this in winds gusting to 30 mph, though.
    Hahaha! I love it.
    "Single track is for pansies!
    I blast down a mountain once, and in my wake, lies a new single track for the rest of you."-sm

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by TenSpeed View Post
    A lot of people will like this, but I just don't. I have a bike to pedal, not to have help with. I just don't see the point in something like this.
    Could not agree more.
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  45. #45
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    I'd like to thank you all for asking me what I think about E-Bikes.

    The problem I have is the whole "I can maintain the same speed and show up to work not at all sweaty and tired." I'm in it for the escape factor and the fitness, and when I average 18 mph to work, I accomplished something. HOWEVER, I guess they're better than cars. If people are getting out and riding these to work instead of driving, that's a good thing. HOWEVER, if they start taking my Strava KOM's I'm gonna be livid (like I actually have some KOM's, right?). HOWEVER, it's cool that it gets non-fit people doing things that fit people wish they'd embrace. HOWEVER, when I broke my leg and blew up my knee, I didn't need no E-Bike for rehab. I earned it. You're gonna get more fit if you just suck it up and be slow and in pain for a while. HOWEVER, maybe they'll be a game-changer for people who are hesitant to dive straight in to riding. HOWEVER, those folks better stay off of the trails. And the sidewalks.

    All in all, I see the E-Bike as something as American as the remote control. Or the conveyor belt sidewalk in the airport. Or the drive-thru. Or pizza delivery. Whatever helps us exert the least amount of effort, we're all in.

    My last motor-driven bike was a YZF 450... For the next one I think I'm gonna go back to a two stroke (had a KTM 300 for a while)... Because if it's not a struggle to keep the front end on the ground when exiting a corner, I don't see much of a point.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by KVW View Post
    It does take quite a bit more effort to manual now. Also the impact of coming back down from the manual is a little worrisome if I don't bring it back down gently. This is one of the downfalls to putting the motor on the front. Although Clean Republic *claims* this motor/hub is stout enough to handle off-road duties as long as it's not too extreme so maybe it's OK. A rear drive or better yet a mid drive motor would keep the front end light and give you some added torque to lift the front end at will. A mid-drive motor would also take advantage of your gears so it will keep assisting until you literally run out of gear and spin out.

    Speaking of mid-drive... and including the concern SteveF mentioned, emerging on the market of e-bikes are Stealth installs. The game is changing folks and one day, you may not even be able to tell if someone has a electric kit installed!




    vivax assist 4.0 - vom Bike zum leichten E-Bike

    Since it's already in the downtube, very easy to have a large battery masquerading as a water bottle, wired through the water cage bosses like so: Mit dem invisible performance package vom Rennrad zum E-Rennrad



    "With the vivax assist “Invisible Performance Package” you can invisibly transform your racing bike into an e-racing cycle. The battery, which used to be tucked away into the saddle bag, is, from 2014 onwards, available as a bottle battery and fits into the overall visual impression of the racing bike. The start button, which used to be connected by means of a cable, is now changed to a wireless one. Integrated on the handlebars of the bike it is virtually invisible and protected against dirt. And you can even position it anywhere you like. "

    And here's a mountain bike stealth kit:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...INiG-R_o#t=170
    this was all over rbr a few years ago when someone was suspected of winning a big race with it (or most likely a prototype).
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

  47. #47
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    A bot may have brought this dead old thread back to the top but I'm glad it's here. I did not know there were kits like this and as of now I'm actively researching which kit I'm going to get for either my Trance or my Epic (most likely the Epic since the Trance sees regular trail duty after work) for commuting. I'm not concerned with others' opinions about it, it will allow me to get to work without using the car and without being sweaty. When I have to put on a meeting first thing every morning in a fairly thin shirt and I'm expected to present myself in a certain way, this makes perfect sense. On the days when I'm going in on a day off to catch up on things I would probably pedal the whole way there without assist but this is perfect for my situation. My ride is very short but when it's 90F early in the morning and over 100F on the way home, this will encourage me to ride on the days I normally take the car. I imagine just sitting there on the bike letting the motor do all the work (which wouldn't happen) I would be borderline needing a shower and a change of clothes by the time I got to work.

    My company actually supplies electric bikes that we can use for commuting for free but they're bright red beach cruiser types.

    Oh, and the Vivax assist screams stealth cheater system. It wouldn't work once people catch on, all you have to do is check the water bottle but I can't imagine what an advantage this would be during a road race even if you just tickled the assist once in a while. The cost would be nothing to a pro, and it's healthier than doping. No one would casually spot it since there's nothing to spot, especially with the wireless remote.

    I hate to face it but my parents are getting pretty old and they still take their bikes out for rides once in a while but they're very short rides due to age. I'm considering getting a couple of the cheaper $500 systems for my parents depending on how it works out for me.
    '08 Hardrock HRXC
    '09 Epic Comp
    '14 Trance SX -

  48. #48
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    Haters are gonna hate, cheaters are gonna cheat and people will never tire of sharing their opinion and a good deal of those may look down their nose at anything that is not pure pedal power. They are the ones chasing ounces and using the latest gear and accessories. Whatever.

    I wound up buying an electric Fat Bike and it has been a blast.

    It has gotten me back into riding a bike and is a great commuter.
    Your parents are awesome BuickGM. Good on you for seeing to your parents while you can. I wish I could do the same for mine.
    Ride while you can...

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