Recommend a DIY kit source for my 1st build please

#1
I am new to the e bike world and want to try my hand at converting a K2 Easy Street 'comfort bike' that I bought from REI a few years ago. Great, comfortable bicycle with front suspention, Suntour seat shock and SRAM drivetrain.
Some of the specs of the bike:
Crankset: SR Suntour XCC, 42/34/24
Rear Cogs: 13-34, 7-speed
Bottom Bracket: Sealed cartridge
Shifters: SRAM 3.0 twist shifters
Front Derailleur: Shimano C050
Rear Derailleur: SRAM 3.0
Tires: Kenda Komfort, 26x2.1

I am doing this as a kind of "proof of concept" to challenge myself and learn. If successful, I might build more using similar bicycles that I can find, to start a little rental business.

What would you "pros" recommend? Which company would you recommend for sourcing kits or parts? I'm pretty good as a bike mechanic, have tools and a small garage. TIA !
K2 Easy Street Bike.jpg
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
#2
Which company would you recommend for sourcing kits or parts?
Luna Cycle would be my choice of vendor. One of the easiest kits to install is the Bafang BBS series mid-drive. If you are thinking of doing a rental business make certain the controller is programmed to conform to the legal speed limit in your state/city. Good luck!

Court J.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
#3
Real hills and off-road hills require a mid-drive. For everything else, hubs generally suffice.

Most DIY vendors are looking for the higher margin products. The simple reality is that the Chinese make maybe 20 million motors a year for the home market. Most are simple hubs. They don't show up in the US. Grin, in Canada, sells a decent selection of hubs. The Golden Motors are very easy to work with because they are slim, take cassettes or freewheels, and mount disk rotors or rim brakes. Also, the controller is inside the motor, so a few connections and you are done with the wiring. Similar for the BBS stuff. The MAC is not marketed very well, but it's the best combo in a lot of ways, tough, light, and efficient. There are tons of motors, like Bafangs, around $120 a pop. Buy them all. Have some fun. A well designed step-through is more universal. The riding experience matters. I think anybody with a rental business should be in the business of selling those bikes. Not much downside, and test rides sell bikes.

Little things matter a lot. Can you get good throttles, safe throttles, or decent PAS systems? Can you mount the batteries? Batteries may matter a lot more than motors. Batteries cost a lot.

Can you limit power? Get great tires and do anything you can to prevent flats.

The ebike market is over-saturated. No sane person wants to sell ebikes right now. But rentals are locked to the local market so if you find the right spot, it should work better. Maybe not great...
 
#4
Thanks for the replies. Opens up a whole new world with more choices than I ever imagined. Then, I see this, from Luna:
IMG_0142.JPG

Of course the mind reels at the potential FUN of this thing. I am, after all, a long time motorcyclist, who has only recently discovered this e-bike world. Their Electro Enduro kit (the frame) seems like a great platform for a build of a very powerful e-bike. Hmmmm.
 
#5
I too was a motorcyclist and thought I wanted a twist throttle. A nice gentleman over on the Luna forum pointed out that these are not motorcycles and a twist throttle could get you in trouble when walking the bike around, etc.. I took his advice with my BBSHD build and agree with the logic. Just a thought. One other thought, a BBSHD would be way too much power for a rental bike. Good Luck !!
 
#6
Too much power... guess it depends on who you are renting to, and where. I've yet to get on one that powerful, being new to all this, but yes, renting powerful bikes to the usual tourist crowd to ride around a popular town would worry me. Checking out some of the controllers, it seems you might be able to program it for each rider or have a switch you could lock at a level, to keep power in check?

And the throttle is not the only issue when walking the bike. My pedal assist Stromer ST1 took a surprising jump when the pedal caught a fence pole. No big deal but it's a bit of a surprise when your bike displays a life of its own!

Lots to consider and as @George S. said 'buy them all, have some fun.' Great suggestion @George S. !
 

Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
#7
I'd avoid that frame, but it's sold by several sources. EM3ev, Luna, and others. For a few more dollars there are better frames and frame geometry. Your REI bike would be a perfect BBSHD build, but these days I'm drifting away from the Mid Drives since I don't need the climbing ability and they are more fiddily and have more problems. I'm getting interested in MAC motors. They can climb and are far less maintenance. AND can be powered up for more speed if needed. I have two BBSHD and several 01 and 02's. I've been spared the mid drive problems others have had but the parts availability has me a bit spooked. Luna is doing an OK job of making parts available but even they have shortages.
I have several batteries and without question the EM3ev are better builds. Luna's work and we'll have a better idea after they've been around a year or two. The best builds I have are from EM3ev and Lectric. But their price pushes many to Luna. I also like Unit Pack Power for batteries direct from China. I've sent dozens of EU buyers to them and they've proven to be reliable. I have several of theirs too.
 

Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
#9
Hey mate, I'm looking at buying from Unit Pack Power, are you able to confirm the are using genuine brand name cells? Thank you.
Yes. Request the cell you want. The do sell brands unknown to most eBike folks. Several resellers sell these at the same prices as "brand name". Some China cells are more expensive than LG, Samsung, Panasonic, etc. Just ask for what you want.
 
#11
Nobody has mentioned Dillenger kits. I'm pretty close to pressing the buy button on a bbs02 with 48v 11.6ah battery and bbs tool kit for $928. I like that they have a distribution center in southern California, no slow boat from China.
 
#12
Nobody has mentioned Dillenger kits. I'm pretty close to pressing the buy button on a bbs02 with 48v 11.6ah battery and bbs tool kit for $928. I like that they have a distribution center in southern California, no slow boat from China.
Sorry this was missed. If you haven't pulled the pin google Dillinger reviews.
 

Chris Hammond

Well-Known Member
#14
Okay, I am reviving this thread and changing a bit.
I am getting ready to hop into ebiking and am looking to do a build.
I am a long distance high speed commuter. Thus after others have provided some info, I have decided on a direct drive hub motor build.
I am looking for input into a good kit for the build. My preferences are for a 52V battery with as many amp Hr as reasonable for the price.
I have been doing research on Grin Tech site and their kits, and am just starting to learn about EM3EV. Pricing seems better with EM3EV, but support and configurability seems better with Grin.
I would appreciate any real world experience with these 2, or other reliable possibilities. I am not interested in anything from Alibaba/ Aliexpress/ ebay, as I have read too many bad reviews in only a few weeks of research.
Thanks for your help.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
#15
The word "reasonable" is never in the same sentence as "battery" with an ebike. It's the highest price component. Good luck.
 

Chris Hammond

Well-Known Member
#17
My commute is 30 miles each way. I can recharge at work. I'd like my cruise speed to be as fast as possible, with sustainable vigorous pedal assistance. Seems like that will probably be between 26 and 32 mph, depending on setup and external factors (wind, hills, etc.)
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
#18
Okay, I am reviving this thread and changing a bit.
I am getting ready to hop into ebiking and am looking to do a build.
I am a long distance high speed commuter. Thus after others have provided some info, I have decided on a direct drive hub motor build.
I am looking for input into a good kit for the build. My preferences are for a 52V battery with as many amp Hr as reasonable for the price.
I have been doing research on Grin Tech site and their kits, and am just starting to learn about EM3EV. Pricing seems better with EM3EV, but support and configurability seems better with Grin.
I would appreciate any real world experience with these 2, or other reliable possibilities. I am not interested in anything from Alibaba/ Aliexpress/ ebay, as I have read too many bad reviews in only a few weeks of research.
Thanks for your help.
I use Grin because they have the best hub motor going, the Any Axle. It is the lightest DD motor and DD is what I prefer for high speed road riding. Here are my bikes, V1 (black with 48v, 25a, 9c) and V2 (silver with 52v, 25a, AnyAxle).
F0C556F2-B06E-4962-BA3D-8C3A60E8C080.jpg


I only have the 10ah shark battery on V2 and the 11ah Dolphin on V1 and they both will do 30 miles averaging 25 mph +/-. But I would get a 13.5 today if I was in the market to have a little more on tap for a longer ride or a faster short one.

Top speed on both bikes is north of 30 and they will climb hills fast and efficiently if you pedal along in the correct gearing. FYI I prefer to use just a throttle for my road bikes and the cruise control function of the CA3. That way my cadence is set by me and my desired output at all times. I find this important when spinning higher cadence. On my mtb i have a torque sensing system that works great at lower cadence but at higher ones the "magic legs" feeling is too plastic and I find it hard to settle in. But on that bike I never really do much road and for what I do it is fine.

HL batteries are pretty much the gold standard right now it seems. They use both Panasonic and Sanyo cells so be sure you know what you are getting 3200mah is the happy medium. I got the shark from Grin but that was because I was there at their place of business. If I was to buy a battery today I would seek out as close a one that meets my criteria and get it, hopefully by driving to get it.

E bike tech is progressing at a rapid pace and these bikes are what I would consider to be future proofed in that the biggest advancement on the horizon is battery chemistry and these "kit" type batteries will be among the first to adopt the new 21700 cells due out this year. And arguably the cheapest way to subscribe.
 

Chris Hammond

Well-Known Member
#19
A couple of quick questions for you JRA.
Why did you choose a front hub over a rear hub?
How are you able to provide any meaningful pedal assist at cruising speeds with the small front chainrings on those bikes?
Is "HL batteries" a brand or type. I haven't seen that acronym.
Thanks.
 

Chris Hammond

Well-Known Member
#20
Court J.
Sorry I just realized I needed to provide more info.
This will be a ground up build.
I am likely to buy this bike from bikes direct for the platform, but I am open to suggestions for better options.
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/elite_adventure.htm
I would like to keep the total build price $2K or less, but I have some flexibility there in order to get it right the first time. The BD bike is $400, sot that leaves me with $1600 for the conversion, and the add on's for a good commuter, ie. lights, fenders, etc.
Thanks for any help.