Conversion Kit For Carbon Fork Hybrid Bike?

PowerMe

Well-Known Member
Hi all,

I want to see if a conversion of a Specialized hybrid bike (hybrid between road/city), 700c tires, approximately 22 lbs, to an ebike is possible and what kit(s) would work.

Frame: aluminum
Fork: carbon
Gearing: 10 x 2 SRAM cassette, SRAM deraileurs
Brakes: regular pull brakes.
Terrain: 90% Paved paths and road, 10% converted rails to paths.
Distance: 15 to 20 mi on average
Speed: 10mph - 16mph
Weight of rider: 180
Expected use: assist pedaling, rider will be pedaling 97% of the time.

The front hub kits (350W or 500W) appear to be the easiest with a drop in of a front tire. However, I don't know if that is feasible/possible with a carbon fork?

No bike mechanic skills, so installation of anything more complex than front wheel will need some assistance, though LBS already said they do not install any ebike type kit and won't, not even on the side.

Thoughts and opinions on best kit type for bike with a carbon fork? (was looking at Hilltopper).

Thanks in advance.
 

Shea N Encinitas

Active Member
See if you can find an e-bike or sub 50cc motor bike builder on Craig's List, by their ads to sell bikes, (or post your own help wanted) then ask them for an estimate or bid, or even just offer $100? You may find a character or good mech, so proceed with caution.

Maybe one of the new BionX D 500 systems (you did not mention budget) will fit your requirements. A cro-mo fork may be advised as there are adapters to hold the axle from spinning and better to bend than break out on the road. I realize that system exceeds your specs, but why not have more than you need. -S
 
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PowerMe

Well-Known Member
Thank you Shea for the response.

My goal is to not start switching out major parts of my bike, if at all possible. If my bike, as is, with a carbon fork, will not work with any kind of ebike conversion kit then I will stop my hunt. I just purchased this bike a month ago and do not want to start doing mods other than replacing a wheel with a electric hub wheel, supplied as part of a kit.

I'm open to a back wheel system, though I know the installation will not be something I can do myself.

Budget is somewhat open but would like to keep costs to $1,200 or less if possible. I know the front wheel options do tend to be less.
 

Shea N Encinitas

Active Member
Well I don't ride carbon handlebars on my roadbike for the same point I'm making to you, better to bend than SNAP! I think your position on the matter of parts and mods indicates you may not want to go with a retrofit, maybe sell the 'new' bike, take a bit of a loss, then pick out a completed ebike. If we were neighbors I'd walk you through it and gain the experience myself. Good Luck, -S
 

PowerMe

Well-Known Member
I agree possible damage to a bike would be the worst possible outcome.

I read the various websites of the most popular kits and none of them specify the bikes they will work with in terms of materials (i.e. use a bike that is steel only, do not use any bikes with carbon parts, especially the fork), which is why I've come here to ask what options exist, if any, as I'm sure there are lots of people with aluminum frame/carbon fork bikes who are looking at conversions.

The other option, I suppose, is to acquire a second (cheap) bike that is older and has no carbon and use that as a bike to convert. Perhaps that's what a lot of people have been doing.

One reason I wanted to use my existing bike was to avoid the cost of purchasing a new ebike, as their cost is quite high. They look like great fun, but spending $1800 - $5000 is simply not going to happen, so it's either convert a bike with a kit or forget the whole matter.
 

Shea N Encinitas

Active Member
I agree possible damage to a bike would be the worst possible outcome.

No, damage to your body or someone else' would be the worst possible outcome.

Maybe keep your powder dry for now and keep an eye on CL ads, I saw a two motor MTN bike, batteries, charge et all for $400 today. I should get it just for the batteries. -S

EDIT: Just as an interest point, it was an E+, and the front hub housing contained the batteries. That would be an interesting design in terms of balance, front wheel dampening. -S
 
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JoePah

Well-Known Member
Thank you Shea for the response.

My goal is to not start switching out major parts of my bike, if at all possible. If my bike, as is, with a carbon fork, will not work with any kind of ebike conversion kit then I will stop my hunt. I just purchased this bike a month ago and do not want to start doing mods other than replacing a wheel with a electric hub wheel, supplied as part of a kit.

I'm open to a back wheel system, though I know the installation will not be something I can do myself.

Budget is somewhat open but would like to keep costs to $1,200 or less if possible. I know the front wheel options do tend to be less.

The busted carbon hall of shame: http://www.bustedcarbon.com

Avoid cf as the mounting points. Small rear gear hub motor would be the best choice. Your 22 lb bike will become a 40 lb ebike. Still not too bad.
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
The front hub kits (350W or 500W) appear to be the easiest with a drop in of a front tire. However, I don't know if that is feasible/possible with a carbon fork?

No bike mechanic skills, so installation of anything more complex than front wheel will need some assistance, though LBS already said they do not install any ebike type kit and won't, not even on the side.

Thoughts and opinions on best kit type for bike with a carbon fork? (was looking at Hilltopper).

Thanks in advance.

Let me pose a question, perhaps someone has experience and can respond. If you put a motor on the front wheel you will probably change the steering and handling of the bike...perhaps substantially???? Think about it, you just hung a large amount of weight on the front wheel, does the bike become more cumbersome to maneuver??? I've never ridden a bike with a front wheel motor, but I can imagine more problems then with a rear wheel motor.

Court J.

ps...you've also dramatically changed the weight distribution of the bike. Turning at higher speeds into a dicey situation.....?????????
 
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PowerMe

Well-Known Member
I don't know if putting 6 to 9 lbs on the front "dramatically" changes the weight distribution or not. Not an engineer. It doesn't seem like a lot of extra weight, but maybe it is. These smaller conversion kits (250 - 300w) are being successfully used by people so clearly it's possible. The Hilltopper folks discourage the use of their kits on bikes with carbon forks, but concede that a portion of their customers do use kits on all kinds of bikes, even those with carbon forks, and that is true just from reading dedicated forums of that product.

I'm not going to risk such a thing on my bike. If I decide to get an ebike kit it will either have to be designed for the rear wheel or I will have to acquire a 2nd bike altogether, one with a steel or at least a cro-moly fork--something that can easily be used in such a conversion.
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
I don't know if putting 6 to 9 lbs on the front "dramatically" changes the weight distribution or not.

That's why I put in the question marks, I've never ridden a front wheel motored bike. I do ride a tandem with a heavy battery over the rear wheel and don't care for the installation. Far better to put the battery as low as possible on the frame. Since people do use front wheel motors they "work", and maybe the handling isn't changed much.

Court J.
 
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