Help me plan a build..

ForestGnome22

New Member
Hi Ebike community,

I have just discovered this forum after awhile of research, I am glad I did! I would like some opinions/assistance in planning my build that will be carried out and completed by Fall of 2017.

Here is the environment my bike will face:
Daily commute of less than 20 miles (college campus)
Chance of rain or snow, much more likely for rain
Up and down steep hills
Bumpy brick roads and potholes

I presume that the first step is finding a donor bike. I am on a college budget but have about a grand to get everything I need. I really like the look of some classic beach cruisers but am not a fan of their lack of suspension, and lack of disk brakes. Does anyone have any bike recommendations? Should I consider finding individual parts (frame, fork, wheels, etc?)
 

Shoestring

Active Member
Hello ForestGnome, here are a few of {my} recommendations:
1) ditch the beach cruiser format, for daily comute with hills and rough road, you need something a little more aggressive. the easiest and most available for your budget would be a used mtb with rack mounts/ large triangle. this gives you a place for battery extra clothing etc. front suspension and disk brakes are minimum requirements (IMO)
2) save a little more money, A grand for the whole deal is cutting it close, you could do it but I'm not sure you would be satisfied for long. a good used mtb can be had in the $2-300 dollar range. a good quality geared hub kit (allows freewheeling) $5-800 range, from a well known and reputable vendor. Like wise, the battery (most important component) $400- whatever! I'm assuming your commute 20 miles is round trip. If you are peddling a reasonable amount 10-12 amp hrs should do it.

FYI I am running an Ebike kit hub system, the kit has been bullet proof for over two yrs now. its plug and play, connections are very tight and clean. Its plenty powerful and fast, it's a little pricey and there are plenty of other options, do your homework. good luck!

There are a lot of more experienced ebikers here on EBR, I sure some will be helping out soon.
 

Jason Dean

New Member
Hi ForestGnome,

Daily commute of less than 20 miles (college campus) - 350W-500W Ebike motor match with 36V15Ah or 48V12Ah Lithium ion battery packs
Chance of rain or snow, much more likely for rain
Chance of rain or snow, much more likely for rain
Up and down steep hills
Bumpy brick roads and potholes
- Mountain bike or fatbike will be great acoording to the situation you discribed,Radpower Bicycle recommended.

Anything about lithium ion batteries and motors I can give you assistance.
 
Hi ForrestGnomre!
Good luck on your build whatever you decide! But for what it's worth, here is my $.02.
I am a mid-drive aficionado, so of course I will recommend one. Especially since you have hills. Hubs are great, just finished a hub build this morning, but unless you build a fairly powerful one, you will be wanting more when you hit those hills. A mid-drive allows you to use the bikes rear derailleur, and so, gives you better climbing ability. The Bafang BBSHD has all the power you will likely ever need, and combined with a full suspension bike will be quite comfortable on rough bumpy roads. I recently completed a build with a Bafang on a Trek top fuel 98. The bike is carbon and very light it is full suspension and once nice fat balloon tires were install (Schwalbe Big Apples) it rides like a Cadillac! I live on top of a very steep hill, (22% grade) and it will carry my 210lbs up it with no problems. You might think this would cost a small fortune, but the bike was picked up on Craigslist for $700, which, with the cost of the drive, battery (52v 20Ah) and a few accessories put the total at approx. $2000. Not Cheap, but not that expensive when you consider all you get. If it is too much you could down size slightly and go with a 750 watt bafang BBS02 and smaller battery(48v 14Ah), saving yourself about 200-300 bucks. Still too much? How about a bafang BBS01 at 500watts with a 36v 10-15Ah battery, which will save you another $200. Get a less expensive bike and you should be able to build one for $1200-1500, maybe less. Do your homework before you buy! Here is a picture of my hub build, Crystalyte 4060, 72v 14Ah battery and Lyen 10Kw controller. NOT for the faint of heart! Capable of 50mph, but kept to reasonable speeds (20mph) using pedal assist, it has plenty on tap to conquer those hills!Craig 2 build.jpeg
 

Trail Cruiser

Well-Known Member
Hi Ebike community,

I have just discovered this forum after awhile of research, I am glad I did! I would like some opinions/assistance in planning my build that will be carried out and completed by Fall of 2017.

Here is the environment my bike will face:
Daily commute of less than 20 miles (college campus)
Chance of rain or snow, much more likely for rain
Up and down steep hills
Bumpy brick roads and potholes

I presume that the first step is finding a donor bike. I am on a college budget but have about a grand to get everything I need. I really like the look of some classic beach cruisers but am not a fan of their lack of suspension, and lack of disk brakes. Does anyone have any bike recommendations? Should I consider finding individual parts (frame, fork, wheels, etc?)
I would suggest you look for a donor bike that you like. Preferably with a large triangle for the battery and then put on a kit. A complete kit with the battery is about $770, and that is with a stealthy geared hub motor (reasonable for hills).
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There is another hub drive option which is a direct drive but it is heavy and power hungry (depletes battery quickly).
Here's the pros and cons between 2 hub drives.
And third option is the mid drive kit which is more complicated and needs TLC on operating the bike and wears down the chain and cassette quickly, but a favorite by many experienced DIYers who already had other ebikes..
 
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Duncan

New Member
For my first ebike, I used a front hub motor kit.
The bike I got at an auction. Typically you local police will have an auction for bike and such, its a great place to get a bike.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
I think it's pretty hard to buy a new bike, put a kit on it, and beat the price of a no frills e-bike like this...but it's the fun of building them that I enjoy.
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Building up a bike from individual parts gets expensive, unless they're free. Sort of like the above example. The whole is cheaper than the sum of its parts.

Find a nice used bike for under $100. Lots of quality unloved older bikes out there. Don't buy from an enthusiast. Buy it from someone who needs the room in the garage.

It should only take a few days at most to assemble your bike, and Fall 2017 is far away, so read up on the advantages and tradeoffs of the various motor types.

Unless you want to cruise at 30 mph w/o pedaling for an hour, $1000 is a nice budget. Big speed and long range cost money.