Companies and ebike models that support or would facilitate upgrades - particularly with batteries or motors

Stuart B

Member
It seems like with e-bikes, the moment you buy your bike, you lock yourself into todays technology, soon to be yesterday's technology. And of course, tomorrow's technology is already in development.

We all understand how key e-bike components like motors and batteries and display mechanisms have a habit of too soon becoming obsolete. Part of the allure of a company like Watt Wagons is that they build in the notion of upgrading as part of what they are selling when you buy an e-bike today. They support such upgrades across time, in their case, to the best of my knowledge, offering upgrades on as many components or other features that turn your crank, so to speak. There are costs involved of course, as we would expect, both shipping and component parts, but supporting future change has huge value, as tomorrow's technologies will be vastly superior to today's and ebike technology particularly is advancing quickly. So if its a game changer for you, you can in fact have access.

Impacting the importance of supporting upgrades, I do not have the ability to upgrade an e-bike, though I know some of you do.

What other companies recognize the value of supporting you as it relates to future upgrades of your current bike or the one you are about to buy, and what companies are designing their ebikes keeping in mind potential future upgrades. So that you can take advantage of future technological improvements efficiently, keeping the cost of such upgrades under control.

For some components it may not be feasible or reasonable.

Thoughts and examples are welcome.

thx,

Stuart
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
I would say hub driven ebikes are more future proof than other ebikes with specifically designed mid drive motor and battery casing.

Reention is popular one, but I found that Hailong powered ebikes are more future proof, beause of less specific design.

Also BBSHD or BBS02 powered ebikes are kind of future proof, depending on which one you're talking about.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
"Companies and ebike models that support or would facilitate upgrades - particularly with batteries or motors"
or
"Companies and smartphone models that support or would facilitate upgrades - particularly with batteries or processors".
Name one.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
"Companies and ebike models that support or would facilitate upgrades - particularly with batteries or motors"
or
"Companies and smartphone models that support or would facilitate upgrades - particularly with batteries or processors".
Name one.
I hope ebikes aren't disposable like cell phones.
 

MartsEbike

Active Member
Region
United Kingdom
May I ask you, my British friend, what is your ride and for how long?
Well, I have one in the garage with zero miles on it yet :) , waiting on batteries, they're arriving Monday. That's a Frey EX.

My old bike is coming up for 5 years old Cyclotricity Stealth 1000w hub drive. The bike itself is very basic, effectively an e-bike "kit" on a new standard low-end bike..
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
While you could upgrade your old bike with a new motor, battery, controller, you wouldn't be able -- I think -- do the same to Frey after the five years... It is the price for getting e-bike with far greater capabilities, like your EX. It's a worrying thought.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
It seems to me that someone should be able to come up with a fully programmable controller / display package that could be used on almost any hub drive bike. The form factor could be an issue but most e-bikes I've seen have a dedicated controller housing of some sort. Mid drive bikes present something of a challenge though since the motor and controller are often integrated.
 

MartsEbike

Active Member
Region
United Kingdom
While you could upgrade your old bike with a new motor, battery, controller, you wouldn't be able -- I think -- do the same to Frey after the five years... It is the price for getting e-bike with far greater capabilities, like your EX. It's a worrying thought.
The old bike is still staying. Ultimately the problem with it was it is slightly too small for me - I was always conscious of it. 26" wheels, Medium Frame, and I'm 6'3 - so on the limits sizing wise. I will be giving this to my brother. I do have plans for upgrading it. Larger Battery, Controller etc... Considering it was a cheap ebike, its been bulletproof over the years, not even a puncture, so its served me well.

Your right, the EX starts from a much spec and is an all round much better quality bike, but I do have upgrades planned for the EX. Upgrading to 52v, changing to X1 Controller being quite high on the list.

I wonder were we will be in 5 years time. This market moves pretty quick, so I wonder what new brakes, suspension, maybe even motors that could be available? One thing for certain, there is so much more choice to choose from now than when I purchased my last bike, and I don't see it slowing down any time soon.

Like anything, it all comes down to price.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Re: programmable controllers. KT controllers offer a lot of custom "programability" without going way over the top (to the point you need an engineering degree), and come with your choice of several displays the seem pretty much state of the art. Too, the Bafang controllers that are built in to their bigger mid drives (BBSxx and Ultra) also offer pretty much complete customization (bordering on over the top/too much) and state of the art displays.

Agree that hub drives will very likely be more upgradeable for the average DIY'er (take one off, replace it with the next, all set to go w/prelaced rim sized to your spec.) , and the BBSxx bikes are the same way. Nothing propietary going on there......

Bottom line, while there is a lot of proprietary stuff on the market, I see e-bikes in general as VERY upgradeable. Just keep your eyes open when buying your bike.
 

Stuart B

Member
And yet I see very few companies marketing how upgradable their bikes are - as part of the allure of their e-bikes. Will they continue to support older models, with modern battery components adapted to fit into older and clunkier e-bikes. I don't know, the production numbers may not support the business case. I think individuals will be able to upgrade or modify their own bikes, as long as you have the know how, but there is too much money in selling a new bike rather than supporting upgrades to an older one. With some exceptions of course. Some companies will use upgradability as part of their platform. They get my vote, and depending on the price, perhaps my money.
 

pmcdonald

Well-Known Member
Ebikes = phones, for what I suspect are all the same reasons: volume efficiency, a controllable, quality user experience, and programmed obsolescence. OEM Ebikes have a shelf life, either when they get too expensive to repair or when newer, shinier models catch our attention.

I rode my analog bike, an Apollo Summit a bog strandard hybrid, for 26 years. Nothing serious, just daily commuting of a few kays on and off over the years. Original everything, including chain and cassette. That'll never happen with an ebike. The technology, reliability and chemical lifespan measures in years, not decades.

I've made peace with this. Although I'm going to be very cranky if I get less than 5 years from my current Ebike.

You may get more from a DIY job. But then factor in the opportunity cost of the hours invested..
 
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JayVee

Well-Known Member
While you could upgrade your old bike with a new motor, battery, controller, you wouldn't be able -- I think -- do the same to Frey after the five years... It is the price for getting e-bike with far greater capabilities, like your EX. It's a worrying thought.

Actually, many components on the Frey can at least be changed for equal components. The M620 drive can be bought online, unlike most Bosch, Brose, Yamaha, Shimano drives. And the price is still reasonable. It's too bad Frey doesn't make a lighter commuter bike... I'd be a candidate.

I would like to buy a Yamaha PW 87 drive online, but it's not possible. The PW SE is available and would work, but I'd have to change the front light, remote, and display. Frey is not a bad bet for maintaining an e-bike longterm.

As for getting my LBS to replace a drive, good luck with that. If it squeaks, it still works (according to them).
 

Dallant

Well-Known Member
My approach has always been a bit different. I’ve always bought the best I could afford to do the job I needed it to, be it computers, cell phones, cameras, cars, etc.
Each has their purpose, their capability. I expect them to do their job and last and they generally do but “this too shall pass” applies to most everything eventually. It’s rare that I try any real upgrades other than firmware and I expect that and better batteries (other than consumables like tires & chains) to be the major updates in the long haul. Ultimately, when they can‘t do the job, I’ll attempt to fix or replace parts but this constant search/desire/need to “mod things” just isn’t in me. It generally means a lot less junk laying around my place and everything works correctly because I haven’t been tearing it apart to “improve” it!
One example is my old Silverado truck. It’s a truck, not a hot rod, not a custom, not an antique. I use it as a truck and as long as it’s maintained and maintainable, I’ll always keep it. But I’m not going to add a new sound system w/navigation, etc. or a supercharger (ok, maybe some day if I listen to my son-in-law long enough!😳) but you get the idea!
 

Dallant

Well-Known Member
Ebikes = phones, for what I suspect are all the same reasons: volume efficiency, a controllable, quality user experience, and programmed obsolescence. OEM Ebikes have a shelf life, either when they get too expensive to repair or when newer, shinier models catch our attention.

I rode my analog bike, an Apollo Summit a bog strandard hybrid, for 26 years. Nothing serious, just daily commuting of a few kays on and off over the years. Original everything, including chain and cassette. That'll never happen with an ebike. The technology, reliability and chemical lifespan measures in years, not decades.

I've made peace with this. Although I'm going to be very cranky if I get less than 5 years from my current Ebike.

You may get more from a DIY job. But then factor in the opportunity cost of the hours invested..
I beg to differ...
Other than the batteries, I believe many of today’s ebikes have the potential to last very long into the future, depending on how they’re ridden and cared for. My Allant, for instance, is a very rugged aluminum frame with a solid motor, great wheels, gearing and other components. And, so long as it’s not too abused, it should easily last a decade or more. The batteries are the biggest concern for me. That said, I recently bought battery replacements for a couple of older (10 + years at least) laptops and they fit and work perfectly. I’m betting some folks see this future opportunity and will make batteries that hopefully will work with Bosch’s proprietary controllers in the future. Until then I’ll buy a few extras to keep on the shelf and hope for the best.
 

CodyDog

Well-Known Member
I don't believe the trend will be to offer aftermarket upgradable parts to the general ebike crowd. Replaceable maybe, but that is controlled by rapid technology change. Companies manufacture things that there is a demand (very high quantity) for. There is no profit in short runs.
 

pmcdonald

Well-Known Member
I beg to differ...
Other than the batteries, I believe many of today’s ebikes have the potential to last very long into the future, depending on how they’re ridden and cared for. My Allant, for instance, is a very rugged aluminum frame with a solid motor, great wheels, gearing and other components. And, so long as it’s not too abused, it should easily last a decade or more. The batteries are the biggest concern for me. That said, I recently bought battery replacements for a couple of older (10 + years at least) laptops and they fit and work perfectly. I’m betting some folks see this future opportunity and will make batteries that hopefully will work with Bosch’s proprietary controllers in the future. Until then I’ll buy a few extras to keep on the shelf and hope for the best.
Another imperfect analogy then, I admit. As with users still rocking their iPhone 4, replacing home buttons and batteries as they need, I'm sure there'll be people who prefer to keep their bikes kicking along in a similar manner.

My impression is, when faced with replacing a big ticket item out of warranty (ie. a $1k battery or motor, or heaven forbid, both) many will deem it throwing good money after bad and simply buy a new bike.

I was in the situation with a 5 year old bike where the Dapu motor failed. No one would touch repair regionally, the bike distributor had long shut up shop, and I was looking at $1.2k to import a new motor on a bike that cost me $1.75k. Plus the battery was on the way out, so make that ~$2.3k on repairs.

I took that $2.3k and put it towards a (reputedly) reliable mid drive.

The point being the big ticket components on ebikes are those most likely to fail, and as the other components age repair becomes a diminishingly attractive prospect. Sadly.

I'd LOVE to get a decade or more from my Explore. With careful battery use perhaps I can. I'm just not expecting to.
 
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