Electra Townie conversion with kit from Bluenergy

stanmiller

Member
After a few years of lurking around here and endless-sphere, I finally took the plunge and converted my Electra Townie to an e-bike. I’m now over 530 634 1386 2000 miles in and couldn’t be happier.

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I had ridden this Townie and prior Trek Pure thousands of miles and along the way tuned the drive train to an 8-speed 11-32t cassette (Shimano), 38t chain ring (Absolute Black), and X7 derailleur (SRAM). This configuration has been great for flats and hills alike. And since the e-conversion the bike continues to be well balanced, now flattens hills, and cruises near 30 mph/48 kph at the highest PAS.

I settled on a 500W Bafang rear hub kit from Bluenergy. It had everything I needed less the optional battery. I chose to source the battery elsewhere to allow for extra vetting.

Bluenergy has an online store hosted at Aliexpress, but you can also find their kits through resellers on Amazon.

Bluenergy at AliExpress.com

The trickiest part of the conversion was the disc brake. My Townie doesn’t have a disc brake mount. To workaround I installed an adapter from A2Z. So far it’s been solid.

To power things, I picked up a 48v/13Ah battery from vendor Joyisi on Amazon. The battery has LG cells and has behaved well through a half-a-dozen charge cycles. I’ve taken it over 40 miles on a charge with bars remaining.

Amazon: Joyisi 48v 13Ah battery

Total cost for the conversion was just over $800 including the BB5 disc brake kit.

If you’re looking to go electric on an e-curious budget, this is a kit I would recommend.
 

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Mike's E-Bikes

Well-Known Member
Not many people know this, but Magnum has a great kit, with basically the same quality and components as are on their ebikes. 500 watt motor, 48v, and includes rear rack battery. And since they are here in US, their warranty actually means something, where anything Alibaba, aliexpress, even the same guys who offer stuff on amazon, are all out of China, and so good luck ever getting any replacement, repairs, parts, or refund.
 

ebikemom

Administrator
Staff member
I heard that Pedego started their business by doing conversions of Electra ebikes, till Electra made them stop doing that...
 

stanmiller

Member
Not many people know this, but Magnum has a great kit, with basically the same quality and components as are on their ebikes. 500 watt motor, 48v, and includes rear rack battery. And since they are here in US, their warranty actually means something, where anything Alibaba, aliexpress, even the same guys who offer stuff on amazon, are all out of China, and so good luck ever getting any replacement, repairs, parts, or refund.
Buying a conversion kit from any online vendor is a leap-of-faith.

As an outsider, I knew one can’t appreciate a new technology until you buy-in. My goal was how to get started with ebike tech at a reasonable cost? And it not be a science project.

You could get this kit from Magnum, but that’s $1100. An expensive guess to get wrong. No doubt the kit would work, but the battery in the rear makes the bike back-end heavy. It’s no longer balanced. And is that a freewheel or cassette hub?

https://www.magnumbikes.com/product/magnum-bikes-r2-conversion-kit/

Without a battery, getting started with Bluenergy is under $400. You get brand name Bafang parts, standard e-bus cables with Higo connectors. If a part breaks or the controller was crap I figured I could swap them out. Then later I would sort out the battery mounting, form factor, and battery vendor (Luna?) once I knew the base kit wasn’t junk.

Except for the odd “code 30” error (which I can reset on-the-fly) operation has been flawless. The code 30 may be that I paired the mid-drive Bafang Ultra DP-C18 display with a rear hub motor. It happens so infrequently I haven’t investigated further.

At $800 for the kit + battery, the cost of the experiment decreases daily. Now at 634 miles or $1.26/mile.

And recently, I converted my wife’s Trek Pure to Bluenergy. She loves it
 

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harryS

Well-Known Member
You answered my question in the second post, about getting a motor compatible with cassettes.

Both bikes look great to me. Happy riding!
 

stanmiller

Member
Awesome! 👍
How's the wheel quality? Comes all setup huh?
The wheel arrived true and ready to install. Just add a brake disc.

My wheel had held up pretty well until recently. I broke my first spoke around 1200 miles. Then at 1900 broke three more. Charlotte Cycles repaired the wheel both times and sourced compatible 12g spokes from from Pedego.

As we speak, I'm trying my hand at building my first wheel with SAPIM strong spokes from Grin and an Alex rim to replace the Bluenergy wheel.

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The only issue we've had with the Bluenergy kits is we occasionally get a Code 30 error (Display<->Controller comm error). It will happen a couple times one ride. Then I won't see it again for weeks. Maybe a firmware update is available for the controller? but I haven't reached out to Bluenergy yet. You can reset the controller in motion so it hasn't caused enough drama to act.
 
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Browneye

Active Member
I keep looking at the rear hub conversion kits...
350 or 500 watt?
36 or 48 volts?

I test rode a 350w bafang hub ebike - an Aventon Pace 350, and it was plenty for the wife's bike - she'll get in trouble with THAT much power. I know they are 36 volt. I'm leaning toward 48v, and could go 500 watt, but what I want to know is for a 350 they have them in both 36 and 48 volts - what would be the performance difference?

About ready to pull the trigger on one of these and get it on the way.
 

stanmiller

Member
I keep looking at the rear hub conversion kits...
350 or 500 watt?
36 or 48 volts?
I need to defer to others here for more specifics on the trade-offs.

I chose a 250w/36v for my wife's bike because the motor weighs a bit less and one could get a viable 36v battery in a small water bottle form factor. A similar 48v battery would never fit her bike as you would need too many cells. Plus, 36v batteries usually cost less.

If it fits the budget and you have room for a 48v battery, I would get a 48v/500w combo. You can limit the output by choosing a lower pedal assist.

I had a wheel custom built for her bike because the Trek Pure spokes are silver and uses rim brakes. The pre-built wheels are black with black spokes and disc brake only.
 
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Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
Plus, 36v batteries usually cost less.
Actually cell for cell they are no cheaper. Using a 3500Mah cell in a 36v packs a lot of mileage.

Recently I’ve had a string of 36v BBS01A service calls. Quite a few happy old farts loving life between 15 and 20MPH.
FWIW, my newest step through is a 36V MAC gear drive. I still ride 36v mid drives. My folder project, wanting as light as possible and a mid drive, 36v 250w (10s3p = 30cells.) Half the cells needed for a useful 48v.
The MAC could run on 36v, 48v, and 52v. My new EM3ev 36v Reention case pack holds 17Ah which gives me incredible mileage with a 36V. No weight concern there. And again 20mph with a load of torque keeps me grinning.

I wish more ebike companies used variable voltage controller and motors. So, I build. As an aside I didn’t save a nickel by building with high quality components. I’m thinking of adding an onboard Satiator. There goes the budget...completely over the top.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
If you don't need the top speed, and only want to ride for an hour, that 10S-2P in a small bottle in your wife's bike works fine. We've done the Chicago lakefront ride, which is about 30 miles, on 36V10AH (30 cell) packs in the longer bottle style.

Last year, I bought black Saphim spokes/nipples to match a black motor/rim. Gotta look good, eveb though we're slow.
 

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stanmiller

Member
If you don't need the top speed, and only want to ride for an hour, that 10S-2P in a small bottle in your wife's bike works fine. We've done the Chicago lakefront ride, which is about 30 miles, on 36V10AH (30 cell) packs in the longer bottle style.
Another option would be to get a second bottle battery and stow in her rack bag. But so far our rides have been under 15 mi. Also, her battery charges fast. So, it's plausible we could charge up onsite while enjoying an extended brunch.