Folding eBike Suggestions for a Technomadic RV Garage?

George S.

Well-Known Member
I am starting to look into conversion options - but I am a bit wary having never done any "bike mechanic" work, and I don't want to take on a big project that gets between us and being able to enjoy our bikes.

Given enough time I'm sure I'd be able, and would enjoy the process. But instant gratification is very appealing too, and spare time is lacking.

As for the ATV's.... It is true that a LOT of RVers seem to copy what we do and buy what we buy.... But I don't think a lot of the ATV crowd are typically our audience. But, hmmm, maybe. Fewer loud ATV's around would be great!

- Chris
Chris,

You seem to have two choices. The first is simple, and it is the 20 inch wheel. There are many competitors, the prices are fine, no need to build. I don't know if you rode that Mariner in Santa Fe. The overall experience with a 20 inch wheel won't vary too much. I'm thinking in terms of rocky areas or areas of loose dirt. If you think the 20 inch will handle that, there isn't too much to do but find the model you want, based on capacity, sizing, the battery size, and the throttle/pedal assist issues. There are other things and there are also ways to customize the bike, even the tires.

The 24 or 26 inch folder seems to come down to the Tern and the Montague stuff. I don't know if these even fit in your space. If so, there are several ways to convert them. There are two types of motors. One type is built into the wheel. The other type goes where the pedal mechanism goes, the bottom bracket.

For kits, the degree of difficulty can vary. They sell front hub motors on the basis that you take off the existing wheel, change out the tire and tube to the motorized wheel, then install the new wheel. Just slide it in. Front hubs should be reinforced, so that is an extra step. You may have to adjust the brake mounts. There are similar issues on a rear install, plus the cluster of sprockets has to be replaced. I haven't done the rear hub.

If you go with a mid-drive, and replace the bottom bracket, the hard part is getting the existing structure out. But any competent shop has the tools and they can just remove what is there. At that point, you are really looking at one choice, the Bafang BBS series. In theory, it slides into the bottom bracket and you tighten it down. There are tons of videos on YouTube showing how this is done.

If you want to do something like this you have several choices. If you are in Arizona, you could get the installation done by Lectric Cycles. You could ask @Chris Head if he has done an installation on the Tern or Montague, how it might work out. LC is a premium, full service vendor. They will do the whole installation, if that is what you want, assuming it can be done. LC will sell you a battery with a nice mount. Since the controller on the BBS series is inside the motor, there are two basic things to mount, plus a display, motor cut-off gadgets, a throttle. Most of this is wire management and getting things right on the handlebars. Lectric Cycles is headquartered in Tempe, I believe.

The discount option is dealing with a company like EM3ev or LunaCycle. They will sell you a motor and a battery in a package. A lot would depend on how you could mount the battery. There are bags that mount on the top tube, or bags/baskets that mount in front, often with Velcro. If you have the motor you can get the bottom bracket cleared at any shop, and go from there. It's not much work. People sometimes have to scrub the bottom bracket, work it a bit. Other than that, you might just look at the instruction videos, maybe follow along.

You may find fender kits. Not sure. You can't do this if you can't fit the Tern Joe or Montague Paratrooper in your space. If you can't, then look at the 20 inch bikes and try to simulate the terrain you would be riding over.

It's disappointing that this won't start to limit the ATV population in the deserts, but what can you do? Ebikes are pretty low impact, but very satisfying. Just match what you need to do, if you can.

I noticed Court was asked a question about folders and mid-drives here (comments):

http://electricbikereview.com/e-rad/350-watt-mid-drive-conversion-kit/
 
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Chris,
I noticed Court was asked a question about folders and mid-drives here (comments):

http://electricbikereview.com/e-rad/350-watt-mid-drive-conversion-kit/

His response lays out my biggest worry doing a conversion onto a folding bike frame:

"Whenever you do a conversion yourself there’s the extra time to adjust things and get it right… sometimes it simply won’t work with your frame and other times it works but the wires create a messy look. It’s all fine if you’re into that and a mid-drive will give you power and efficiency that some hub motors may not but given the smaller wheel size of most folding bikes you get a mechanical advantage with a hub that you don’t on bikes with larger wheels."

Buying a folding bike and conversion kit separately is a lot of time and money to gamble on something that might not work well or at all together in the end, or which will end up looking sloppy.

But I am still keeping the thought of doing a conversion as an option - and am writing to various companies for more info.

I'm a bit disappointed at the poor customer service some bike companies seem to have... For example - the SSR Motorsports Trail Viper has no folding size specs posted online, and I've written them twice and have not gotten a response with details.

If a company can't answer prospective customer questions - how likely are they to offer ongoing support to paying customers?

Not cool.

But what is cool is the awesome in depth responses you've given - lots of great food for thought. Thank you!

- Chris
 

Jim123

Member
technomadia chris, An example is Giant bikes. They don't give weights, only a message that it depends on stuff. I think the idea for keeping these pieces of information secret is that competitors will lie about weight or size. And keeping the data private stops a lied about stat from being compared against.
 

RavingRoo

Member
I forget to post back with the folded dimensions of the e-Joe Epik SE. My Epik SE folded measures: 36" long x 21" wide x 35" high

However, that 35" height can be as little as 26".

36" is from the fold to the edge of the front wheel (which sits back slightly further than the back wheel when folded).
21" is from the folded pedal on one side to the outward most brake lever on the handle bars on the other side (the cables do extend out another few inches, but I did not include that in the width).
35" is from the ground to the top of the seat (where I have it adjusted). However, if the seat is removed via quick release, the fold at the stem becomes the highest point, which is 26" from the ground.

Also, the front wheel can be removed via quick release. That appears to shave off about 4" on the length. In that case, along with the seat being removed, the most compact folded measurements would be: 32"x21"x26".

So, not exactly the most compact folded bike, but it's just compact enough for me to transport it in the back of my subcompact (Honda Fit) without folding the rear seats down and without removing the seat or front wheel.
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
Yes, the ProdecoTech Mariner 500 does not have pedal assist; however, that 500 watt hub motor has exceptional torque, more than on any of the 350 watt powered folders on your list. Don't know if you got to test ride one with the newest Samsung battery pack and redesigned rear rack. Much more sane design with a real, usable rack. If the suspension seat post wasn't quite high enough for you, Chris, that's an easy upgrade that will still keep the bike the right size for your wife. We have 4 customers, ranging in height from 5'4" to over 6' tall and weights from low 100's to well over 200 and this folding bike handles it. We did decide to retrofit a couple of them with different folding pedals, since the original set were pretty wimpy! but that's an inexpensive change (on the order of $20). With the 9-speed hub, it's not a difficult bike to pedal even without power, given that it's only 48lbs. The folding dimensions from Prodeco Tech are 36" x 29" x 16" and that's without removing the front wheel, which if you choose to do that (quick release and disc brakes) is easy and would make the bike even smaller. The hydraulic disc brakes can be serviced by any regular bike shop, so no show stopper there and I would recommend putting in tire liners (Mr. Tuffy or some other brand) to reduce the need to deal with flats. If you feel that the tire tread isn't what you want for some trails, then it's easy to get a shop to install different tires.

The Phantom X2 is another folding bike with full size wheels and a quick release front wheel that would be another option to consider. It has a single top bar similar to the Montague frame and your 5'5" wife would fit on it. At 5'4" myself, I feel just a hair stretched out on the bike but can ride it. Given the power of both of these ebikes don't write them off until you've actually ridden some of the bikes with the smaller motors. Just my 2 cents worth! :D
 

Nirmala

Active Member
I would second Ann's suggestion that you consider bikes with a bigger motor. I weigh about 180 and my Magnum Ui5 with the 350 watt motor is just adequate, and does bog down sometimes on the hills around here. I actually pre-ordered one of the smallest ShareRoller's I mentioned above ( http://igg.me/at/shareroller/x/12713097 ) to put on the front wheel of my bike for more power on the hills.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
Chris and Cherie,

The new Prodeco Mariner is interesting. My only real advice is to determine how well a 20 inch wheel might work when you are not on pavement. There have been a couple of recent installations of the BBS02. One was done by Lectric Cycles, just a turnkey deal, as I recall. In the other case, they got the drive by mail, but had the bottom bracket removed by a shop. He said it took about an hour. I believe they now have husband and wife ebikes with the same deal.

Totally depends on how things fit in the space, and how well the larger wheels work, versus the smaller. Many of the 20 inch wheel bikes are low power. That's a good second level issue. Trying to stay focused here. :D

Glad you may continue the blogs. The technical stuff, like the LiFePo system, is hard to find anywhere else. Really appreciate seeing some of that stuff. It's a great reality check to know how difficult it can be to build what you've built.

http://electricbikereview.com/community/threads/bbs02-conversion-on-a-giant-mtb.2896/

http://electricbikereview.com/community/threads/smiling-with-e-rad-750w.3122/

Best,

George
 
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I forget to post back with the folded dimensions of the e-Joe Epik SE. My Epik SE folded measures: 36" long x 21" wide x 35" high

However, that 35" height can be as little as 26".

So, not exactly the most compact folded bike, but it's just compact enough for me to transport it in the back of my subcompact (Honda Fit) without folding the rear seats down and without removing the seat or front wheel.

Now I am wondering if I could fit two eJoes in a space 32" wide - the other dimensions seem fine, but will two bikes be able to mesh together to fit into the tight space?

It would be great to be able to fit two bikes into the back of a Mini Cooper with the seat folded down too. I wonder if that will be possible?

We are going to visit Cycles2Go in Tucson in the next week to test out the eJoe and the Tern + BionX, and maybe a few others too.

Wish us luck!

- Chris
 

RavingRoo

Member
Now I am wondering if I could fit two eJoes in a space 32" wide - the other dimensions seem fine, but will two bikes be able to mesh together to fit into the tight space?

It would be great to be able to fit two bikes into the back of a Mini Cooper with the seat folded down too. I wonder if that will be possible?

We are going to visit Cycles2Go in Tucson in the next week to test out the eJoe and the Tern + BionX, and maybe a few others too.

Wish us luck!

- Chris

I'm not sure if two will fit side-by-side if constrained by 32". Two side-by-side would be 42", but it's probably possible to situation them in a way that makes that less than 40", but 32" seems a stretch. Good luck!
 
I'm not sure if two will fit side-by-side if constrained by 32". Two side-by-side would be 42", but it's probably possible to situation them in a way that makes that less than 40", but 32" seems a stretch. Good luck!

eJoe emailed me saying the Epic SE folds to be 17" wide. I wonder why the discrepancy with what you measured? Hmmm...

Hopefully we will get to ride / fold one in person soon.

Thanks!

- Chris
 

RavingRoo

Member
eJoe emailed me saying the Epic SE folds to be 17" wide. I wonder why the discrepancy with what you measured? Hmmm...

Hopefully we will get to ride / fold one in person soon.

Thanks!

- Chris

Not sure. I can check again when I get home, but I measured it twice. I would say the majority of the bike's folded width is indeed within 17", but the very edge of the brake lever on one side and the folded pedal on the other was definitely several inches wider than that.
 

Marty

Member
Don't know if this will help, but I find with my folding electric bike I have to loosen the handlebars and turn them sideways to get in it's space behind the other bikes. It s a full size bike with 26" wheels.

I have tried this bike in the back of a Mini and it fits!
 

RavingRoo

Member
eJoe emailed me saying the Epic SE folds to be 17" wide. I wonder why the discrepancy with what you measured? Hmmm...

I just measured again, and indeed, it's 21" from the brake lever on one side to the folded pedal on the other side. Even from the brake lever to the derailleur it's nearly 20".
 
FYI - we ended up buying two E-Joe Epic SE's. Two of them just barely fit in the back of a Mini Cooper, and with less than an inch to spare into our cargo bay.

Overall we are loving them - but there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Now I am trying to track down accessories that fit the cut-down size - the first cargo baskets I tried got in the way of peddling. The hunt continues...

- Chris
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
FYI - we ended up buying two E-Joe Epic SE's. Two of them just barely fit in the back of a Mini Cooper, and with less than an inch to spare into our cargo bay.

Overall we are loving them - but there is still plenty of room for improvement.
Seems like, in general, people who buy ebikes love ebikes. Not sure why we argue so much, on this forum, given that fact. :) Honestly, I can't believe you could fit two bikes or ebikes in the back of a Mini. For travel that's got to be a huge asset, since the car can take you 'close enough'.

Not sure what kind of tires you might try for dirt, if you wanted something a little more stable. But, like you say, work on the details. Enjoy the ride.
 

Marty

Member
Hi
I think you will find that, while there are a lot of conversions out there, there are also a lot of ebikes in the market, just about every configuration imaginable. Be careful of doing a conversion, it's easy to wind up with an inferior bike.

What looks to be a viable alternate is a device Court reviewed that is meant to attach to the front wheel of those city bikes they have for rent in New York City (and now Santa Monica). There's an adapter to put on almost any bike or even a scooter. The specs look really good, and, Court seemed to like it. There seemed to be little reason not to like it. I'd search his review for that.

I find that some times people want an electric bike to be all things and everything at once, which is impossible. You have to select the attributes you want and look for a solution that fits that.

To me, weight is the big thing. Bulk too. I find the simplest and light bike I have (pictured) is my favorite. Although I have a full size folding bike that fits in the back of my Honda Civic I took to Burning man, thinking I'd find someone who wanted to take it home with them. After spending a lot of time on that bike, and finding several people who ask if I'd sell it, I decided to take it home.

I guess if you want a bike that does different and opposing things, you have to have more than one bike.

As far as dealers goes, Yelp is your friend. Almost everyone is happy with their bike to start with, some are never happy for the wrong reasons, read carefully. Some seem to be honest, but will pick your pocket if your back is turned. A lot of them don't seem to know the subject. It's a minefield.

The electric bike dealer that I went away from with the most respect is Kevin at "The Electric Cyclery" in Laguna Beach.

Happy hunting
Marty
 
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vincent713

Active Member
Here's a folding ebike that has similar specs to the E-Joe but only cost half as much. The Cemoto E08 Folding ebike.

(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)

Cemoto E08.jpg