Build-a-bike or buy-a-bike? Which bike? 1000 watt mid-drive

bpmcallorum

New Member
Region
USA
I am looking for the closest thing to an undercover e-scooter available; meaning you don’t really have to pedal at all.

1000 watt mid-drive motor. No limiters.

Twist throttle. Strong battery.

I can’t really see why I would not put a Bafang 1000 watt motor kit on a commuter bike and hide the battery in a back rack bag???

$1,500-$2,500 tops

Bafang’s 1000 watt kit is $1k and a used commuter bike is $250-1k. I’m assuming other people don’t go that route because they are not mechanically inclined???

Has anyone here done this?

The price difference between adding a motor to a used bike and buying a new pre-built 1000 watt bike is like $1-4k of “magical markup”.

With that said….

I’m currently looking at the $3k Dost Drop Chain. That’s the best I’ve found so far. They say they ship in a week or so! You can set it to a Class 3 mode so there is no speed limiting.

Downsides are….the Dost only has a 750 watt motor….it has a lever throttle instead of twist, and it looks like what a thief would steal. I’ve had 2 much less attractive bikes stolen already. That aside, it seems like it would be a good bike for me.

The Biktrix Juggernaut is interesting to me at $4k. It looks like it would attract both police and thieves alike though. I don’t like the big tires.

Maybe the Magnum Scout? Other Magnums?

I’ve looked at bikes like the Frey CC which has great specs but is extremely hard to get.

I used to think the Sondors LX was what I wanted until I found out they limit the speed electronically.

Wattwagon looks great but really pricey. $7k.

Same with the FLX Blade 2.0. $7

I find the fat tire thing annoying. 4” tires on every bike with a 1000 watt motor is ridiculous. It’s like putting up a sign that says you have a big motor for police and thieves.

There are some interesting buys with a 750 watt rear hub motor in the <$2500 range. Aventure, Ride1Up 700 series($1700), Rad City, etc. Do you like your rear hub motor? To me, Mid-drive just seems the better engineering solution to actually use the bike’s gears effectively.

In terms of buying a bike that visually looks “similar” to a “normal” commuter bike…but with a 1000 watt mid drive motor. What do you recommend? Under $4000.

Why would I NOT just build a 1000 watt bike with Bafang’s motor kit and a used commuter bike with disc brakes for well under $2000?

I’ve done way more complex looking things in the past. Lots of bike repair and motor scooter repair. I’ve never added a motor to a bike before though. Bafang’s video looks simple to me.

Is it a headache to convert a bike?
 

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indianajo

Well-Known Member
Most states have adopted the 3 class system promoted by somebody, requiring e-bikes to be <750 w. Above that they are mopeds requiring moped endorsed operator's license, license plate, insurance, better helmet, banned from trails & bike lanes, blah blah blah.
You can still buy a 1000 w motor and hope you don't get caught on road. I haven't been. The fiction is that high power motors are used off-road. Luna sells a lot of hot bikes aimed at the Mojave desert. Installing a kit allows one to build more of a bike looking product that doesn't scream "racer".
I installed a 1300 w geared hub motor on an existing bike with disk brakes. Cost about $840 with 17.5 ah battery. I carry the battery in a frame of aluminum angle hung off the front for better balance. Main machining was making the torque arm & fork clamp for same. I cut & drilled the angle and installed machine screws make a battery box & make it thief resistant. Theft has been attempted twice both failures.
Mid drive installation requires more tools & machine work. I didn't want mid-drive, most of the aftermarket mid-drive motors like bafang drag when ridden unpowered. See diy kits threads below for some people that have done mid drives.
I ride unpowered 80% of the time, reserving the electricity for days when the wind is 25 mph in my face. Others want a stealth motor scooter. I just saw a segment on PBS news by a writer named Jong about the one of 330 US citizens that died of Covid. Primarily they were ethnic or old. I'm both ethnic & old: I caught the **** thing when vaccines were reserved for 80 year olds in nursing homes. I was wearing a N95 mask in a hardware store with one clerk that "was never sick". I dragged around for 157 days of fever fatigue & dizzyness but didn't need a hospital or oxygen therapy. I survived probably because I work my *** off pedaling the bike 70 miles a week unpowered & toughening my heart & lungs. Two guys I know that died were old fat piggies that visited the fast food joint 4 times daily for another hit of cloresterol. The one nice thing I can say about an electric bike you never pedal, you are burning abundant coal, natural gas, or wind power, not scarce oil products.
If you want a legal ride, there are lots of built products that work and are reliable. Look at the brand forums to avoid the dog brands with high problem count. To beat the 3 class system wattage limit, you have to build it yourself, while it is still legal to buy kits. The supply of 1000 w mac12t motors, my second ride, has dried up inside the US as far as I can tell. Not a race motor, more of a grocery getter, which is what I do. Was great for dragging 170 lb me, 60 lb groceries 94 lb bike motor battery bags racks tools water spares, up 15% grades without help on the days when my knees were bothering me.
 
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Alton

New Member
Region
United Kingdom
Hi, yes I have done this. I agree, off the shelf ebikes are not worth the price.
I used a BBSHD on an old MTB frame and built the bike up around that to work well. 200mm brake disc rotors with Avid BB7 calipers. Designed and built the battery box myself. 46T Lekkie Bling Ring up front and a 12-36 9-speed Shimano steel cassette takes care of all road hills near me (fairly steep) and can get up to just over 60kmh on the flat. 31.5Ah battery gives a range of 80km on full power (average speed 37kph) with no range anxiety. 1.75" e-bike road specific tyres. I weigh 170lbs. Front shocks on the forks and a parellelogram suspension seat post make for a comfortable ride (which could be made more plush with a larger tyre and tube on the back). I use it to commute to work every day. Cost me the equivalent of just over $3500 and it has paid for itself in a year or so in saved fuel costs. The whole project was a joy and lots of fun. Not too difficult if I can do it! I've done another one for a friend.
 

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harryS

Well-Known Member
Never rode a BBSHD, but own a BBS02 750W.

Sure, you can do it. Batteries are tough to hide with a pannier bag, and rip apart the cheaper bags, Buy a good one. Maybe put two smaller ones inside each bag for balance. Upgrade your cable disk brakes to hydraulic. A cheap zoom caliper is better than a Avid BB7.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Petaluma, CA
@bpmcallorum, You may not get everything that you want on your current list, but may still end up with something better than a bike made by using your current list. 750W is the maximum for a "bike" that is using a bike lane and does not require a license plate. 750 is a lot and ruining a drivetrain with more is not better for the drivetrain. Yes, you could run a 1,000W which is fine, until someone or something gets hurt. Then you are screwed. A BBS02 is about $450, freeing up resources for better quality components. Back rack bags are unstable making the bike want to flip on corners at speed. The weight is also out at one end so the momentum throws off steering an S. Stealthy batteries are available. The can be low and centered for handling. Twist throttles seem attractive until you are walking the bike, say through a doorway and you accidently twist, say to go over a threshold. Then the bike will shoot into the air and as you hold on it twists the throttle more. Unlike a motorcycle it is easy to forget that it is on because there is no audible que. Here are three bikes I have recently made electric. Two are at the legal limit for power. And yes, they are electric with active batteries in these photos. The fatties have throttles.
 

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bpmcallorum

New Member
Region
USA
Glad this thread is still goin’. I ended up ordering a Radwagon 4. I was positive I was gunna order a Grizzly until I saw a post from someone much taller than me saying he is on tiptoes on both sides on the Grizzly. Radwagon mods on my mind are new motorcycle tires and motorcycle tubes, a seat-back for the cargo, an Eggrider, and a second battery tucked above the controller (which people are mounting facing underneath instead). Thank you for writing. I know these threads help people cuz they help me:) The Radwagon seems like it could be powered up without looking like a racing motorcycle…pannier bags hanging over the motor…just an innocent looking cargo bike.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
I think the answer here might have something to do with your vision. Battery in a bag is OK? The home built look? Or would you prefer something with the battery built into the down tube so it's semi concealed?

As far as the home built look, you can take your time here and do a really nice job, leaving you with a pretty nice looking bike.

As far as a reasonably priced 1000w non fatty:

or if you don't need all that power, something like this might work out well for you. BBS02 has a rock solid reputation-
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Petaluma, CA
Radwagon 4
Not bad for 2 Grand. As long as you are flat landing you will be fine. These are very popular. Climbers require a mid-drive and can do so with less than half the nominal watts while out running more powerful hub-drives with heavy batteries. I have a taste for lighter systems. I am in the San Francisco area where we have seismically active hills. The orange one is a conversion of a Sweet Curry into a Spicy. Check the hygiene at the HB for messy connectors and look for sloppy wiring in the final photo.
 

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tomjasz

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Minnesnowta
most of the aftermarket mid-drive motors like bafang drag when ridden unpowered.
NO! Far less than ANY version hub motor. Please stop repeating that!
Mid drive installation requires more tools & machine work.
no again. Standard bike tools any home full service shop should have.

But as usual I enjoy your posts otherwise.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Petaluma, CA
Please stop repeating that!
I get the perception even though it is an illusion. If someone shines a light in your eye at night, you will have a after glow. If you turn off your motor it will suck because you have adjusted to having it.
 
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AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Mid drive installation requires more tools & machine work. I didn't want mid-drive, most of the aftermarket mid-drive motors like bafang drag when ridden unpowered. See diy kits threads below for some people that have done mid drives.
Where in the world are you getting this idea? A Bafang mid drive is NO different than your MAC or any other geared hub. There's a clutch that disengages to prevent that.
 

mikeschn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
SE Michigan
I am looking for the closest thing to an undercover e-scooter available; meaning you don’t really have to pedal at all.
@bpmcallorum

Undercover ebike? I used to think I wanted the same thing. I was going to go the water bottle battery route with a mid drive. But my wife convinced me that anyone that is looking for an ebike knows exactly what they are looking for. So you'll never truly be undercover.

Building an ebike is not hard. I built this up one morning using a MTB that I had in the basement. It is a super comfortable, full suspension bike. I used the 750W BBS02 Bafang mid motor. It is fast, scary fast. I even put a throttle on it so I could pretend it was a mini bike/motor cycle. It's still scary fast.

But then I realized that I wasn't getting as much exercise I wanted. Even without using the throttle the BBS02 motor is cadence driven so you really don't have to excert any force on the pedals, you just have to ghost pedal. Some people will argue that it's still exercise, yeah, but I want more exercise.

So my next build will be a mid drive with a torque sensor... i.e. the TSDZ2. I already have the kit and the bike. 2 bikes actually, and I can't decide which one I want to build up. But I digress...

Could you build up an ebike with a motor that you really wouldn't have to pedal. Sure you could. Here is mine... notice the twist throttle!!!

IMG_3608.JPG


IMG_3605.JPG

Mike...
 
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PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Petaluma, CA
@mikeschn, Coastal N. California has very high winds today. I just repaired a guy's hub-motor system with a rear torque sensor for free in exchange for taking a test ride. We did major climbs and had those flattening 21 Mph winds. Feels like 40! With lightweight stealthy bikes we only needed 350W motors, so we could get away with smaller batteries. And with Big Bens you do not need a rear suspension to ride out the rough stuff. His bike's PAS was not working because there was crud on the cog magnet. It took 2 minutes to fix. The key was that the Speedometer was also not working.
 

mikeschn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
SE Michigan
@mikeschn, Coastal N. California has very high winds today. I just repaired a guy's hub-motor system with a rear torque sensor for free in exchange for taking a test ride. We did major climbs and had those flattening 21 Mph winds. Feels like 40! With lightweight stealthy bikes we only needed 350W motors, so we could get away with smaller batteries. And with Big Bens you do not need a rear suspension to ride out the rough stuff. His bike's PAS was not working because there was crud on the cog magnet. It took 2 minutes to fix. The key was that the Speedometer was also not working.
One of my future ebikes, which I don't have the hardware for yet, I want it to be a little bit stealthy looking. I know I'm not fooling anyone, but if I am only going for a 12 mile ride, instead of a 20 mile ride, I would use the stealth bike with the bottle battery, which I have not found yet.

This guy in Hamburg built a Fischer, which looks a lot like a Pomona. I have my Pomona at the powder coaters now, getting gloss black on it. I'll be sure to start a new thread when I get it back. Anyway, the Fischer looks like this:

I wouldn't do the front hub, I'd do a mid drive, 250W or 350W depending on what I can find.

Screen Shot 2022-04-30 at 4.59.19 PM.png


Mike...
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Petaluma, CA
Here is a Ti with 85Nm.
 

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mikeschn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
SE Michigan
That looks good. I've never tried TI. The rear rack looks like it was designed for a FS MTB, but your bike is a hardtail. That's heck of a powerful mid drive motor you have in there... I need to build up mine, so I have a baseline to compare it to. The kit that I have will probably go on my Giant Cypress DX. I'll have to start a thread for that soon too! Ha!

Mike...
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Minnesnowta
I wouldn't do the front hub
Underrated builds. I’ve been riding a MXUS 1000W front direct drive on a Trek Pure flatfoot for 5 years. I like the ride and performance. For someone here in Minnesnowta small cities without hills to climb a 250-350W front gear drive is a winner. I has a greenbikekit 250W waiting for a wheel build. My 250W MXUS came from a customer that returned it when she felt 20MPH was dangerously fast. These little hub motors make for very cool and stealthy 2wd.
 

mikeschn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
SE Michigan
Underrated builds. I’ve been riding a MXUS 1000W front direct drive on a Trek Pure flatfoot for 5 years. I like the ride and performance. For someone here in Minnesnowta small cities without hills to climb a 250-350W front gear drive is a winner. I has a greenbikekit 250W waiting for a wheel build. My 250W MXUS came from a customer that returned it when she felt 20MPH was dangerously fast. These little hub motors make for very cool and stealthy 2wd.
@tomjasz

I've never had a hub drive... so I can't comment on them. I started with mid drive. I have a Giant E+ with the torque sensor, when I decided to build the Bafang with the cadence sensor. I decided I didn't like the feel of cadence powered bikes. Have they brought torque sensors over to hub drive bike kits yet? It looks like your greenbikekit is a Bafang with cadence sensing?

I just checked out the Trek pure flatfoot. That is wild, the crank is so far forward. so you have all the weight on the saddle?

Mike...
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
This looks like a goods spot to drop this link. I'm finishing up the final installments now and will be releasing the four Build Day installments and overview possibly all at once. The final chapter is also done and just waiting on some pics so this in-depth how-to project guide is in the final stretch.


I do want to make the following observation based on the original post above: Using a big motor and surrounding it with a crappy cheap bicycle is going to yield crappy results, one way or the other. Maybe it will be wheels that can't handle a pothole at speed, or a snapped chain and the Walk of Shame home. Build smart and you have something you can depend on for a long time.