Pros & Cons


Staff member
I am not a DIY-er, but would suggest using a make that offers after-care to the customer, replacement parts, etc.


Well-Known Member
No experience with direct drive motors, but have read they are quiet, simple, and fast, if you have a big enough battery. Although that kit doesn't support it, direct drive motors can use the motor as a brake. The other thing I have seen is that they are big (for hub motors) and heavy, and the larger ones are hard to pedal if your battery quits. Well, that's what happens when the motor can also be a brake. I've also read that some are not good for riding with slower companions. Their sweet spot is too fast. Depends on the controller though.

Very few sellers of kit motors really offer much care. They're making about $50 bucks on it at best, and I suspect half the complaints come from owners who abused the stuff. Maybe Thomas Jaszewski can offer more insight. Basically, you hope to get a kit that works.

If Cyborg is looking to build a fast bike, mainly to be ridden with throttle, my opinion is that a direct drive is one way to get there.
Cyborg, I did a similar conversion a few months ago to what you are thinking of doing.

My budget limited me to using SLA batteries (4 x 12V 16Ahr). Maximum speed was not that important to me due to our congested traffic in Cebu.

With a direct drive motor kit properly fitted, you should have little or no need for after-sales service.

Although I have not yet been stuck with a flat battery, I have no problem using peddle power alone (with electric power switched off). A bit more peddle effort is needed but this is due to the added mass of my heavy batteries, not resistance in the hub drive.

I am very happy with my conversion. If you require any further advice, just ask.


Active Member
I have one of those 1000 W DD motors. It is heavy & powerful. LY-1000-48v it says on the side. Tops out about 20 mph in my 26" wheel. I bought the kit without the PAS crank pickup; holding the throttle long distances can be hard on my thumb. Cheap PAS is jerky and I found level 1 too fast for my roads, but on good pavement I can cut PAS on and relax my hands at 11 mph. You can see left I put the battery on the front bodaboda hanger, the motor is hidden under the panniers. Conversion wasn't hard but I have a klein crimp tool for the dorman bullet battery connectors. I still need a 92" brake cable for the rear brake since mine is a cargo bike. You can't buy a yuba bodaboda with a hub motor, you have to buy mid-drive which is all electricity all the time or call a cab.
I had the motor bind up while peddling out of town to pick up my battery. There is no thrust bearing or thrust ledge inside the motor. The motor covers are not strong enough to resist pinch from the frame. I solved this by grinding back the external diameter change (ledge) on the motor to fit inside my 130 mm dropout with thrust washers also inside the frame. So the ledge and washers carry the pinch of the frame, not the motor covers. Took about 2 afternoons with a hand grinder. Use safety glasses. Pity the manufacturer couldn't do that, but if the motor cost $10 more they wouldn't get any sales.
I pedal nearly everwhere except when wind is >12 mph in my face or my trip is longer than 25 miles. The DD motor drags me down 1 to 2 sprockets over no motor. I would prefer a geared hub drive for self-propulsion, but the cheap versions of those have disappeared. The gearmotors at luna seem to be fat motors not suited to 130 mm rear frames. I had a gearmotor from ebikeling, I never got over 11 miles with it before total failure. Might have been the two batteries fault, I haven't been out there where the geared motor is with the new working lunacycle battery yet.
I had the DD system quit in a rainstorm 3 miles into a 30 mile trip last week. I had it under a lawnmower cover the night before, should have been okay. Battery voltage showed green LED(>48 v) the whole time, just no torque from the motor. I pedaled home, pushing the bike up some hills intended to let the motor take. I was taking the longer, hillier, route with less traffic since the visibility was so bad & I had a motor (HA!) The next day I left it out in the rain at work, and it started working on the way home. ???? So these cheap kits only stop working when you really need them. What the ****, my dd motor wheel was only $189. It was the battery that was $630. Don't save money on the battery, buy from lunacycle in US, grintech in CA, or em3ev if you're in HK. I got one **** battery from Amazon and another from E-bay. The lunacycle battery costs 2.2 X as much as the previous batteries, and actually works.
Oh, the wheels are high crown, you'll need long stem tubes to replace a bad one on the road. Available in this county only on e-bay.
Another quibble, the sprocket set that came with the motor is 14:28 7 speed. I can't pedal fast enough to help the motor over 12 mph with a 14 sprocket, and 28 won't get me up a steep hill without electricity. I've bought 4 different sprockets with more gear range, and none of them would fit in the frame. All were too fat. So I'm stuck with 14:28. I have a 3 speed front sprocket, so no help there.
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Well-Known Member
I'm on a fixed income but have a decade of bike shop experience. My DIY ebike candidate is a mid 90's Schwinn 6 speed cruiser with F & R cantilever brakes. What are the pros and cons of using this rear hub motor kit from ebay - Thanks in advance for your help.
I've done 3 conversions now (the latest an '18 Rad City using a 1500w DD kit), and would suggest that the kits that include the LCD3 display and compatible controller are well worth the extra money, compared to kit prices without.

The low speed issue indianjo mentions above can be totally tuned out with the LCD3 set up. My bikes will run slow enough (on PAS or thumb throttle) where it becomes difficult to maintain your balance. The amount of power to the motor can be controlled/limited very easily.

I prefer to start with a bike that has disk brakes, but that's because my bikes are used in a hilly area (a personal preference).

The kit supplier I prefer, not the cheapest, and not the most expensive. Has a good reputation for supplying quality parts and taking care of issues:


New Member
I don't have a hub kit. I use a BBS-02 mid-drive with 15000+KM on it, so I cannot vouch for the hub. I can say that a mid-drive is harder on the hardware and I can speak volumes about how to avoid most of the problems as I've learned the hard way as to which parts to use. A mid-drive motor like the BBS-02 has great ability to climb hills compared to hubs and driving against the high winds is easy as well.

If you plan on using it every day, hydraulic Disk brakes are a must in my opinion. Disk brakes will work in all weather conditions while others do not. Hydraulic is best because the mechanism for mechanical brakes will eventually jam up and stop working. I say this from experience on both points. They can be expensive if you buy locally but I ordered some shimanos on aliexpress and they work great. It would cost about $60 for front and back. Just make sure you watch for which side the brake levers are specified since European bikes place the rear brake on the left side.

I bought my batteries from aliexpress as well and they work just fine. My first one lasted 2 years with heavy daily usage. My second battery is still going strong after a year but I might have to replace a bad cell as of yesterday. These things happen regardless of battery sources. I don't believe the stories about China batteries not being good enough.
My experience with Sky Technologies have been good so far.
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Nova Haibike

Well-Known Member
If you plan on using it every day, hydraulic Disk brakes are a must in my opinion.
His bike does not have the mounts for disc brakes.

There are very cheap e-bikes available these days, and it is easy enough to find one on sale or closeout. IMHO unless the donor bike is pretty decent, or you just like to tinker, it is better to find a sub-$1K new e-bike.


New Member
His bike does not have the mounts for disc brakes.

There are very cheap e-bikes available these days, and it is easy enough to find one on sale or closeout. IMHO unless the donor bike is pretty decent, or you just like to tinker, it is better to find a sub-$1K new e-bike.
I'm just not sure you can find a pre-made bike with much power for less than 1k. It would likely have a small motor compared to what you would get with a kit. In this case much much smaller. If you are willing to tinker, a DIY kit is a huge money saver and you get more power for your dollar. I got my donor bike for $250 Canadian used and it's holding up great. My first one was a super cheap bike ($25 used) and eventually, the frame broke. Just don't underestimate the maintenance.