Custom long-range cruiser build - go ahead, judge me

Still trying to figure out what to buy. I really want internal gears and think since I'm over 300 pounds I'll be happiest with a powerful mid-drive. Here's one option I've come up with that seems to get close to what I'm looking for. It doesn't have disc brakes, but I've never had them before and am not especially convinced I need them. What else am I missing?

$500 shipped - This bike with aluminum frame and 8-speed internal shimano hub: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/Mango/longboard8_cruisers_bikes.htm

$1670 shipped - BBS02 with 50V 24.8Ah Triangle Pack battery.

Maybe another $50 or so for kevlar tires and pre-slimed tubes after the first flat pisses me off. Saddle, rack, lights I'll take off my current bike. Might want to get some fenders for another $15-60 depending.

It's basically a Pedego Interceptor with more power and a double the battery size for half the price.
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
The cycling world has had many a debate about frame materials-- steel/aluminum alloy/carbon fiber/titanium and much of this centers around what the application is. With a little research, I think you'll find that a stronger frame built with Cro-Mo steel will be a more durable ride for you than one with an aluminum or tensile steel like the bikes you list above. Found a couple of pretty cool articles on bike frame materials that will help you decide what's best for you . www.bikeroar.com/tips/frame-materials-and-what-to-buy or another article: https://www.missionbicycle.com/blog/oversimplified-steel-vs-aluminum .
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
Still trying to figure out what to buy. I really want internal gears and think since I'm over 300 pounds I'll be happiest with a powerful mid-drive. Here's one option I've come up with that seems to get close to what I'm looking for. It doesn't have disc brakes, but I've never had them before and am not especially convinced I need them. What else am I missing?

$500 shipped - This bike with aluminum frame and 8-speed internal shimano hub: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/Mango/longboard8_cruisers_bikes.htm

$1670 shipped - BBS02 with 50V 24.8Ah Triangle Pack battery.

Maybe another $50 or so for kevlar tires and pre-slimed tubes after the first flat pisses me off. Saddle, rack, lights I'll take off my current bike. Might want to get some fenders for another $15-60 depending.

It's basically a Pedego Interceptor with more power and a double the battery size for half the price.

Matthew, a bike store could really help you find a bicycle style that works for YOU.. Not some walmart junk.. Trek, Giant, Specialized or something like that. If you're willing to spend $1600 on the eBike kit, you should be willing to spend to buy a decent bike to start. A good shop will fit you to a bike.

Once you have the bike you like, find a reliable kit from an American supplier selling BB or Bionx or whatever.. Reason being you could ask them what the best choice is for you.

Disc brakes are the way to go.. Esp if youre going over 20 mph all the time... Have fun!!
 
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Ultimately if I go e-bike I'll probably buy a Pedego Interceptor. It has external gears which I hate, hub motor which I suspect will work a LOT harder to haul my fat a$$ not nearly as far, and costs twice as much as I think it should. But I'm getting too old to build and maintain a bike myself. Having read some of the poorly translated kit manuals, I'm not really up for such a big project. At this point it's more likely I won't get one at all for a few years if ever. I dropped out of the Mac vs. PC fight a few years ago and went Chromebook so I can toss it out and replace worry-free if it goes belly up. When someone comes out with the Chromebook of e-bikes I'll be on it.
 

Chandlee EBS

Active Member
The cycling world has had many a debate about frame materials-- steel/aluminum alloy/carbon fiber/titanium and much of this centers around what the application is. With a little research, I think you'll find that a stronger frame built with Cro-Mo steel will be a more durable ride for you than one with an aluminum or tensile steel like the bikes you list above. Found a couple of pretty cool articles on bike frame materials that will help you decide what's best for you . www.bikeroar.com/tips/frame-materials-and-what-to-buy or another article: https://www.missionbicycle.com/blog/oversimplified-steel-vs-aluminum .

Ann, I have a buddy here that custom builds steel frames: http://silentcycles.com/

I can't believe how light they are! The idea that steel has to be heavy is a myth.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Hi Matt,

I think I've read most or all your posts and your needs are not as big a deal as you think. I know Balto. very well and your size with a city commute is not a deal breaker for an ebike. A storm bike, your size and going north on Charles Street from Pratt to Mount Vernon would be a deal breaker. A non disk brake bike, your size and a trip down Coldspring Lane or Northern Pkwy hill would be a deal breaker.

I'm not trying to minimize your situation but you are complicating this too much. I think you are on the right track thinking about the Pedego or possibly something with an aluminum frame, chromoly fork and a 500w geared hub like:
https://www.zizebikes.com
(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)
Very cool bike, stylish and 400lb. weight capacity. I've read accounts where people have either gotten back into shape or have maintained condition with ebikes. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water, cut off your nose to spite your face, give up the ship!

Good luck!
 
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JoePah

Well-Known Member
Hi Matt,

I think I've read most or all your posts and your needs are not as big a deal as you think. I know Balto. very well and your size with a city commute is not a deal breaker for an ebike. A storm bike, your size and going north on Charles Street from Pratt to Mount Vernon would be a deal breaker. A non disk brake bike, your size and a trip down Coldspring Lane or Northern Pkwy hill would be a deal breaker.

I'm not trying to minimize your situation but you are complicating this too much. I think you are on the right track thinking about the Pedego or possibly something with an aluminum frame, chromoly fork and a 500w geared hub like:
https://www.zizebikes.com
(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)
Very cool bike, stylish and 400lb. weight capacity. I've read accounts where people have either gotten back into shape or have maintained condition with ebikes. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water, cut off your nose to spite your face, give up the ship!

Good luck!


Looks pretty good.. Have you ridden this bike or one from this company? never heard of them before.

@Court have you ever ridden this before? you know everything!
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
Ann, I have a buddy here that custom builds steel frames: http://silentcycles.com/

I can't believe how light they are! The idea that steel has to be heavy is a myth.

If you know who the great frame builders are you can find them cheap on craigslist... Bought Mercier, Austro Daimler and LeMond chrome moly bikes very reasonably. my problem is that I don't sell anything!

Also Serrota... Just need to look for frames with the Campagnolo fork ends.. those frame builders wouldn't spend the money on campy bits unless they were building great, lightweight bikes.
 
Hi Matt,

I think I've read most or all your posts and your needs are not as big a deal as you think. I know Balto. very well and your size with a city commute is not a deal breaker for an ebike. A storm bike, your size and going north on Charles Street from Pratt to Mount Vernon would be a deal breaker. A non disk brake bike, your size and a trip down Coldspring Lane or Northern Pkwy hill would be a deal breaker.

I'm not trying to minimize your situation but you are complicating this too much. I think you are on the right track thinking about the Pedego or possibly something with an aluminum frame, chromoly fork and a 500w geared hub like:
https://www.zizebikes.com

Good luck!
Thanks. Looks like they've taken an iZip Zuma and swapped out some of the components. I rode a Zuma at Race Pace bikes in Columbia on Sunday. It was okay, but has only one level of pedal assist and is pretty basic. It's already way over priced, so beefing up the components and leaving the power system unchanged seems to be a little strange. Not sure how far 36V 10A is going to take someone weighing 400#.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Matthew, not sure what you test rode but I can only assume it was a 2014 bike. The 2015 has 3 level PAS and throttle along with the upgraded components that Zize installs on the Zuma, backed by Currie and Zize Bikes. One other thing I was very surprised to see was this in the bike description: "Because we want to be sure your Zized! Zuma 2.0 is correctly assembled, we will, at no additional charge to you, ship it to a local bike shop near you and have them build it and show you how to use it when you pick it up." Remarkable in this day and age.

If you consider a bike with these specs as being "way over priced" at 2550.00 USD, I truly do not know what you expect to find.

Good luck!
 

PowerMe

Well-Known Member
I'm still stuck on the title of this thread... Why so defensive? Who is judging you? No one, as far as I can see. People here just want to be helpful and answer questions to the best of their ability.
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
@Matthew Kreger , we've sold a lot of Zumas at my shop and whether they were small or large riders, folks universally called it one of the most comfortable ebikes they'd ever ridden. The 2014/15 models do come with multiple PAS choices, so I agree with J.R. that you may have ridden an earlier model. These frames are extremely sturdy as is Currie Tech's cargo bike, the E3 Metro. Both bikes have a nice, upright position in the saddle so the ride and the bike feel balanced. Also, the battery below the seatpost improves the bike's handling with better weight distribution. If you take a real close look at the specs of the Zize Zuma, it really looks like the only things they changed were the saddle and maybe, the pedals. Zize doesn't list what seatpost change was made, but the standard one from Currie is not bad. Whatever bike you choose, just get out there have fun and ride!
 
Got a new coffee maker to replace the one that broke a couple of days ago so I'm not nearly as grumpy this morning. I'm not actually that price sensitive, I just don't want to spend a lot of money for a bike that is a collection of compromises from my point of view. So I'll back up and try to describe what I really want and why I think I want it. This combination of things isn't available at any price on the existing e-bikes I've seen, which is why I've been thinking about buying components and building it myself.
  • Internally geared hub in the rear. Needs to be more than 3-speed so I have a reasonable granny gear on the low end. Even if I wasn't looking at crank-forward frames, I'm not a stand-up-and-pedal type of guy.
  • Crank-forward frame. I rode a Linear recumbent for a while but it's too long and weird. I like the idea of semi-recumbent comfort in a "normal looking" bike with standard components.
  • Lots of torque and extra power that I may never need or use. This and the facts that I weigh over 300# and I want a sealed internally geared hub (see bullet 1) lead me to mid-drive, specifically Bafang 750W. And as big a battery as I can afford.
  • Multiple levels of pedal assist. I intend to ride a century on this every once in a while. I want to make sure I can ride it like a real bike as long as possible and only dial in the assistance as I need it (see gears and extra power above). I want to be able to make it last all day.
Ideally I'd also like the e-kit parts to support:
  • Power feeds for front and rear lights and phone. Should I get a dynamo in the front hub too?
  • I don't know if I care about crank vs. torque sensors never having tried the latter, but I'll assume there's a reason to want both.
  • A thumb throttle that works while in pedal-assist mode so I can goose it a little when I want. Not sure why I think I want this. At most it's a very low priority.
  • Bluetooth connection to my phone with all the data I could care to consume about the system.
  • Interface between the gears and motor so I don't have to think about shifting. Maybe an automatic transmission like the NuVinci with H|Sync.
Probably several other things I've forgotten or haven't thought of yet. I think I can get most of this today, with the possible exception of the last two.

Based on the excellent feedback from you folks and follow-up reading I've been doing here are some refinements to my original specs/shopping list.

Frame: sounds like I probably want to stick to steel for strength if I'm converting a regular bike to an e-bike. I could buy a RAMS crank forward aluminum frameset for $1200 if someone can come up with a convincing reason why it's worth 5x the price of an Electra Cruiser 1. The Cruiser doesn't look quite as beefy as the Townie frame, but it has the right geometry and not many extras to throw away. It's certainly cheap @ $275 MSRP. I'd love to hear other frame suggestions. And I'd really like to make that limited edition Mickey Mouse Huffy work, but am not sure it's crank-forward enough even if the cheap aluminum frame would hold up.

Gearing / wheels: it seems I probably want to avoid the Shimano Nexus because V or roller brakes may not be ideal. Rohloff is almost certainly overkill for me. So, Alfine. On the fence if I'd want more than 8-speeds to sustain pedaling over 20mph. Alfine 8 apparently cruises at about 20mph in 8th gear, Alfine 11 up to 27mph in 11th. Both seem geared about the same in 1st. Probably better off getting the 11 and not using the higher gears than the 8 and wishing I had them. Looking on Amazon I can get a German-built 26" 36 spoke wheel with Alfine 11 for about $600. For another $200 I could get a matching front wheel with a Shimano dynamo hub.

E-kit: for now, stick with the original $1670 Bafang kit with 50V 24.8Ah battery

Other: assume another $700 or so for disc brakes, fenders, cables, kevlar tires, other random missing parts and beer.

Somewhere in the $3500 range, which is about what a new Pedego Interceptor with fenders and the 48V 15Ah battery would cost me.
 

Kaldeem

Active Member
I believe you just described the Stromer St2 with a aftermarket crank set for more gearing and better usage of the battery life utilizing the gears, however, they don't do throttle so meh. I'm some-what in the same position you are in. I'm 290 lbs, and my top contenders are the Stromer St1 Platinum, Pedego Interceptor 2, and a DIY BBOS 2 750w. If I didn't have a bad shipping experience with my Volton Alation 500, I would own an eBike. You should check them out anyways as they have a good bike with above average components and a price to match.

Ps. If I could afford it, I'd purchase the Stealth Bomber for shits and giggles.

Good luck.
 
The ST2 is about as close as I've seen to everything I want in one package, but it's a little rich for my blood and it still has sort of a road bike geometry and saddle. The Stealth is definitely not on my wishlist. No interest in going that fast on a bicycle! :)

So I bought this bike:
http://www.beachbikes.net/products/...eed-Matte-Black-Mens-26-Cruiser-Bike-230.html
Steel frame, even more aggressively feet-forward than the Electra, and it has gears and brakes already. If I like the ride I'll probably get a BBS02 next and convert the bike as is. Then later I can order a wheelset with internal gears, disc brakes, etc. as things develop.
The bike was right at $300 shipped. and should arrive in a couple days. I got a very nice email from Beachbikes.net last night saying:
"... I’m emailing to introduce myself and to also let you know that we’ll have a mechanic and a ride specialist assigned to you with the next week.The mechanic will be able to answer any questions you have with your bike and assembly.Your ride specialist will be there to share an idea for your first ride. I’ll be here as well if you need any help with those things, or if you just want to talk about bikes..."​
I wonder what they'll say when I tell them I intend to put a motor on it. When I sent an email to bikesdirect.com asking for wheel and bottom bracket sizes because I was thinking about electrifying one of their bikes they didn't answer my questions and said installing a motor would void the warranty.
 

Kaldeem

Active Member
That's a sweet looking bike! Have you read up in BBOS2 forums? There a some good reads about the N360 nuvinchi internally geared hub, being used with the 750w. Anyways good luck man.
 
The bike was right at $300 shipped. and should arrive in a couple days. I got a very nice email from Beachbikes.net last night saying:
"... I’m emailing to introduce myself and to also let you know that we’ll have a mechanic and a ride specialist assigned to you with the next week.The mechanic will be able to answer any questions you have with your bike and assembly.Your ride specialist will be there to share an idea for your first ride. I’ll be here as well if you need any help with those things, or if you just want to talk about bikes..."​
I wonder what they'll say when I tell them I intend to put a motor on it. When I sent an email to bikesdirect.com asking for wheel and bottom bracket sizes because I was thinking about electrifying one of their bikes they didn't answer my questions and said installing a motor would void the warranty.
Encouraging response:
"Adding an electric kit sounds awesome! Let me know how it goes! Hopefully you're able to get out and ride soon, send me some photos when you get the kit assembled and working! Don't hesitate to let me know if there is anything you need in the future! "​
 
That's a sweet looking bike! Have you read up in BBOS2 forums? There a some good reads about the N360 nuvinchi internally geared hub, being used with the 750w. Anyways good luck man.
I'm definitely fascinated with the NuVinci. There are mixed reviews out there on it with and without the mid-drive. I have no doubt this will be an expensive learning process...
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
Like that seat tube angle @Matthew Kreger ! When Electra took every other bike & frame company to court over their patented 'pedal forward' design it snuffed out a bunch of nice, comfortable riding bikes. At your height, that seat tube angle won't be a problem, so hopefully a Bafang kit will work. Electric Bike Review has a good video and review of an ebike outfitted with both the BBSO2 750 watt kit and a NuVinci rear hub http://electricridereview.com which will give you some insight to how your bike might feel retrofitted with both. Don't get grumpy if Beachbikes hasn't sent you specs on the bottom bracket, just measure it yourself--if its 68-73mm, then the Bafang motor kit will fit. Have to say that the engineers at NuVinci are a very creative group. We got to test a prototype system added to a 130lb Ego Vehicle scooter, factory spec'd with a 1500 watt brushed motor -- that combo upped the speed several mph and definitely conquered the hills at a lower motor temperature than the stock setup. It will be interesting to hear how a conversion system works for you.