Home repair of cheap e-bikes

Brewerpaul

Member
I really want an ebike but I'm at a point where,for financial reasons, buying an inexpensive bike online from Amazon or Walmart makes the most sense. I'd probably have to do all of my own repairs and maintenance because the only local shops that sell ebikes won't work on the cheapies. I guess I can't blame them.
I've worked on my analog bikes for years so I'm not too worried about those parts. I'm a bit concerned about repairing the electrical parts: hub motor,controller,battery.
Anyone here done electrical repairs on the inexpensive bikes?
Do you know any resources for learning how to do those repairs?
I've been thinking that buying an extended warranty (3 years) for around $60 from Amazon or Walmart would make sense in this case. Anyone done that?
I"d welcome any and all recommendations! I know that most would recommend saving for a better bike, but that's not in the cards right now.
 

monroe350

New Member
Hello, I was in pretty much the same situation as you. I saved for a long time to afford what I bought. I don't consider myself a bike mechanic but I know the basics. I bought a schwinn monroe 350 from Walmart when it went on sale and a extra warranty so far I have not had a single issue so I cannot say how well they support the warranty. It is a fairly simple bike and I love it. I have about 250 miles on it. It is not an ebike I recommend for everyone because of the lack of features but the components seem to be of decent quality especially the battery and the 350w motor makes pedaling way easier. From what I understand hub motors are quite reliable, and replacing the battery is fairly straight forward and long as you know where to get parts. I would also look into used ebikes if you can find one in your area. I would definitely recommend the Schwinn Monroe 350 and 250 while they are on sale, but not at the regular price. What is your budget for your bike?


This is the bike I bought.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Schwinn-...e-Speed-700c-Electric-Bicycle-Large/292209472
 

Brewerpaul

Member
Hello, I was in pretty much the same situation as you. I saved for a long time to afford what I bought. I don't consider myself a bike mechanic but I know the basics. I bought a schwinn monroe 350 from Walmart when it went on sale and a extra warranty so far I have not had a single issue so I cannot say how well they support the warranty. It is a fairly simple bike and I love it. I have about 250 miles on it. It is not an ebike I recommend for everyone because of the lack of features but the components seem to be of decent quality especially the battery and the 350w motor makes pedaling way easier. From what I understand hub motors are quite reliable, and replacing the battery is fairly straight forward and long as you know where to get parts. I would also look into used ebikes if you can find one in your area. I would definitely recommend the Schwinn Monroe 350 and 250 while they are on sale, but not at the regular price. What is your budget for your bike?


This is the bike I bought.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Schwinn-...e-Speed-700c-Electric-Bicycle-Large/292209472
I need to stay under $1000. I'd prefer in the Ancheer price range;$600—800.
I'd definitely need more than one speed for our hilly area but I'm pretty familiar with derailleurs.
Folding would be a plus for easy transport. Also, I need a small frame for my 5'2". My 16" analog hybrid bike is fine.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
Electrical troubleshooting could be the most difficult task. There are mechanical issues with the motor if it is a geared hub motor, but everything else is just replacing the failed electrical part. Then the issue of parts availability from Walmart and Amazon. You have to have some knowledge of compatibility if factory parts are only available from China. Many displays look the same, but there can be protocol language differences. That can be solved by replacing the display and the controller with generic, but then there is connector compatibility. Saving money on a cheap bike is one thing, but it's a false saving if the bike becomes a dust collector while it's disabled and you try to find components. I find very people heed this warning, because their mind is made up before they even come here to ask a question. Just consider what happens if you crash and take out an Ancheer throttle. Any idea where you would get a replacement? Maybe Walmart's warranty covers physical damage?
 
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monroe350

New Member
I need to stay under $1000. I'd prefer in the Ancheer price range;$600—800.
I'd definitely need more than one speed for our hilly area but I'm pretty familiar with derailleurs.
Folding would be a plus for easy transport. Also, I need a small frame for my 5'2". My 16" analog hybrid bike is fine.
Yes I would stay away from the Schwinn Monroe because of your height. I am 5'5" and the small frame runs kind of big. It depends how hilly the area is you live. I was pleasantly surprised how good it is at climbing hills even without gears. If you live in a mountainous area I would want gears however.
 

rcdanner

Active Member
I purchased the Schwinn Monroe 350 a few months back in my early search for an ebike. I returned it. Found better ebike for less money on Amazon. Rattan 26in at $685 with discount coupon. They are now $999. It was a decent bike I rode for 500 miles. But I just barely fit the ebike. I sold that and tried various other ebikes. Until I found the Aventon Pace 500. It comes in 3 sizes and 2 models. It is currently $1399. Very nice bike. Over 800 miles with no problems. Aventon now has the Pace 350 with a smaller motor and mechanical disk brakes for $999. Different sizes and models available. There are 10% discount coupons available. Rumors are that Aventon will raise prices 1 Sep and of course, tariffs will probably affect prices upward. The Pace 500 and 350 are quality ebikes. Far superior to Ancheer and Rattan and Scwhinn and other under $1000 ebikes I have seen.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
At the low end you throw away and replace major electrical components. With a motor/controller/throttle/wheel kit running $220 if something craters you just order another. Stay away from displays, they cause incompatibilities where another part won't work. Also leak and fog up in the rain. My $189 DD kit had only 3 LED's on the throttle to show battery charge. Works fine in the rain. Compatible with another hub kit that I liked the geared hub motor but hated the controller, PAS & display. Installing a PAS magnet plate on the crank may be beyond your skills, it really strained mine. My 1970's huffy crank was incompatible with the PAS pickup for modern 3 piece cranks and I had to wallow out the center hole, install shims & glue, and make a pickup mount hanging from the kickstand hole. Modern 3 piece cranks often require special tools to remove. I've never been able to get mine apart and I have a 2 jaw puller.
You can save $$$ by buying a used bike at the charity resale shop. Some keep them, some just throw them in the metal bin. Flea markets also have them for a little more money. You usually need to replace the tires tubes & cables which are rusted, sometimes the chain.
It simplifies things to buy a front hub motor, so the derailleur is not messed up. A cheap steel frame should have adequate strength in the fork.
I built my first conversion for $250 plus the $630 17 AH battery from luna. The Huffy savannah 10 speed was $20. I tried to scrimp on the battery at first and ended up with two piles of garbage from Amazon & ebay. Got the money back from Amazon because it was so bad I figured out the 5 A discharge limit in under 30 days. Buy battery from luna in the US or ebikes.ca in canada. Or ebikeling sells whole kits with a battery, haven't tried his battery but he has been around a long time. My geared hub motor was from him, the one I hated the PAS & display of. I like the motor, use the controller & throttle from the DD kit. The DD motor dragged too much unpowered and I hated the selection of 7 speed gear clusters, mostly 14 to 28. My 8 speed cluster is 11 to 32, allows me to assist the motor at 15 mph without shifting the front derailleur, and grind up 15% grades with 60 lb supplies on the back. 8 speed sprocket won't fit with a rear hub motor, I ordered & put away several.
Be aware 7 speed shimano rears common on cheap bikes tend to unscrew and drop the balls. Fortunately I was only 4 miles from home, pushed it that far. The 6 speed rears before that tended to break the axle, since it was 8 mm at the thinnest part. Did that too when I weighed 200 lb. I'm down to 160 now with all the bike riding I do, retirement is wonderful.
 
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6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Northeast Pennsylvania
Doing your own work is great but it assumes parts are obtainable and will be in the foreseeable future. Many bike parts are generic and readily available but some are proprietary and could be difficult to obtain. Just something to keep in mind.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
I'll chime in with indianajo. A complete 500W motor kit is relatively inexpensive, under $200. It can replace everything on an inexpensive ebike, If you just need a controller, $75 should cover it plus a compatible display.

The cost is adding electrical testing and soldering to your skill set. A solder iron, wire strippers, and multimeter will be about $50. I've been soldering since I built a one tube radio kit back in 7th grade, so the idea of current running thru wires from a battery is ingrained.

And these days, you can learn anything via youtube.