Cruiser/Hybrid Conversion Thoughts

jkvt

Member
Hi folks. Happy ebiker here. I own an NCM that I am super happy with. Been tweaking it and in doing so decided it would be fun to build an ebike. It would be fun to be able to bike with my girlfriend so I'm building one that is more her style. Here's the scenario:

I'm doing this on the cheap this time around. I just grabbed a used $50 700c Wayfarer Schwinn 2015 (I know, I know) that needs some TLC. As for the ebike stuff, since I'm happy with my NCM and the support at their customer front, Leon Cycles, I was going to stick with their conversion kit (48V/500W) and get a torque arm to play it safe. They have 29" wheel kit with 25mm rims which are wide, but if I go closer to the narrow end of the compatible tire size for that rim, I should be able to match a tire size up front, which has a narrower rim. I was then thinking a rack battery, although I may go elsewhere, other than Leon for that as theirs uses DLG cells and expect a 60% capacity at 500 charges, which seems pretty low.

Mechanically, the bike needs some work. I know there is a huge stigma about doing any work to a "Walmart bike" like a Schwinn, other than what is necessary to toss it in the trash, but the frame really matched the style and price we were looking for. So, the brake tubes are a mess. I'm going to just order up some new stuff for the brakes. Get a new cog and maybe a new derailleur. We'll dress it up the way she wants it.

Anyone see any red flags with this plan? My biggest concern is the safety of the frame. It's not thick by the dropout for the derailleur, but it is a steel frame and again I'll invest in a good torque arm. My second biggest concern is if going with the wider rim is going to be ok. I don't see why it wouldn't be. I know ideal would be narrower, but the options from Leon are pretty limited.

Thanks!
 

Lightning P38

Active Member
Hi folks. Happy ebiker here. I own an NCM that I am super happy with. Been tweaking it and in doing so decided it would be fun to build an ebike. It would be fun to be able to bike with my girlfriend so I'm building one that is more her style. Here's the scenario:

I'm doing this on the cheap this time around. I just grabbed a used $50 700c Wayfarer Schwinn 2015 (I know, I know) that needs some TLC. As for the ebike stuff, since I'm happy with my NCM and the support at their customer front, Leon Cycles, I was going to stick with their conversion kit (48V/500W) and get a torque arm to play it safe. They have 29" wheel kit with 25mm rims which are wide, but if I go closer to the narrow end of the compatible tire size for that rim, I should be able to match a tire size up front, which has a narrower rim. I was then thinking a rack battery, although I may go elsewhere, other than Leon for that as theirs uses DLG cells and expect a 60% capacity at 500 charges, which seems pretty low.

Mechanically, the bike needs some work. I know there is a huge stigma about doing any work to a "Walmart bike" like a Schwinn, other than what is necessary to toss it in the trash, but the frame really matched the style and price we were looking for. So, the brake tubes are a mess. I'm going to just order up some new stuff for the brakes. Get a new cog and maybe a new derailleur. We'll dress it up the way she wants it.

Anyone see any red flags with this plan? My biggest concern is the safety of the frame. It's not thick by the dropout for the derailleur, but it is a steel frame and again I'll invest in a good torque arm. My second biggest concern is if going with the wider rim is going to be ok. I don't see why it wouldn't be. I know ideal would be narrower, but the options from Leon are pretty limited.

Thanks!
The steel frame is a good choice for an e-kit. Definitely use a torque arm.

The frame weight does not matter with an ebike....the more weight, the faster you go downhill! And the motor helps you up the hills. The brakes may need the most attention...make sure you have fresh quality pads, and good brake cables. You may find there is a lot of flex in the brake arms, and you may want to upgrade them.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Frames sold in the US suffer a severe penalty if they break and cut or stab the rider. $$$$$ lost in a court case. So such accidents are rare if not unheard of. I suffered a broken frame in 1957, before the lawyers of USA were advertising on television. It stabbed me in the belly, but did not penetrate below the skin. So steel frame welds are heavily checked by QA in whatever country they are welded in.
I've ridden US sold steel frame bikes until 2018. I lost from 213 lb to 175 lb riding steel frames 70 miles a week, since I quit working. The aluminum frame bike I'm riding now is not lighter than the previous MTB, but longer and more stable.
Main problem with a mass market bike is rim brakes. They can be upgraded to perform well in the dry, but will not stop the bike after running through a puddle. I suggest you buy a coaster brake (hub) for the front axle, to stop the bike in the rain. Modernbike.com & thebikeshopstore.com both have them from shimano & sun.
 

jkvt

Member
That's promising about the frames. I'm a little concerned about this (picture attached) that I found though. Everything seems tight, but I was going to have someone weld/braze it to be safe. This is where the seat stay goes into the dropout.
 

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