Ideas for low cost bike

Pammykins

New Member
Hello all. New person here. I have been doing a lot of looking into getting or building an electric bike but the costs are overwhelming for my budget. I work full time and walk to work. It takes about 35-45 minutes to walk there and want an easier method to get there and home, as well as going to Tue store and what not in town. I have a family to take care of and rent and all the bills that come with it, so cost is a big thing when I make $10 an hour. I am not looking for anything over the top. Just something in the 10-20 mph range that can go 20-40 miles per charge. I can get my hands on a good bike and what not, but the other parts I am in need of assistance with. I see the kits online and the prices are not bad, but none come with a battery. I do understand a new battery is the expensive part, but what other alternatives are possible, for example a used motorcycle battery or golf cart battery/motor, or other alternatives? My price range is limited though, as you can tell from what I sad earlier. Something in the range of $150-$200 would be best if possible. Any help would be great. Thank you for your time.
 

Paul E.

Active Member
for example a used motorcycle battery or golf cart battery/motor, or other alternatives? My price range is limited though, as you can tell from what I sad earlier. Something in the range of $150-$200 would be best if possible. Any help would be great. Thank you for your time.

I'd say a repurposed lead acid battery of any kind is a total nonstarter: very low capacity per pound. If you want 20-40 miles per charge, it probably has to be lithium which means it probably has to be more than $150-$200.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Check want ads and Craigslist in your area for a used ebike with a lithium ion battery. I don't think you'll likely get an ebike worth having for under $500, but you never know!
 
D

Deleted member 803

Guest
IMHO your budget does not allow you to consider an ebike.
 

Pammykins

New Member
Just curious, but what about used or possibly donated parts? I am just trying to find the best possible solution. As far as range for miles, even 10-15 per charge would be fine since everything is within a 5 mile radius of where I live. Just too far to walk and lots of hills and what not for just a normal bike.
 

Kaldeem

Active Member
@86 and still kicking Really man? We are here to help people discover eBikes and be helpful. There are plenty of options for her, that you might have overlooked because of your bicycle elitism.

@Pammykins How far do you travel on foot to work? Also check google maps for your foot path and look at the steepness grades, 5%, 10% etc. Telling us there are hills does not really help. Additionally, take that 200$ budget and put it aside in a jar while you research ebikes to find one that suits your needs/budget. When you have like 1200$ or 1800 then you can buy a 100$ bicycle and a 1100-1400 $ Bafang BBso2 ebike kit, or if you check out this link to other bikes here on the EBR main page, you might find something you like/fits your $$budget and then you can visit a local bike shop or local eBike shop and go from there.
 
D

Deleted member 803

Guest
@86 and still kicking Really man? We are here to help people discover eBikes and be helpful. There are plenty of options for her, that you might have overlooked because of your bicycle elitism.

@Pammykins How far do you travel on foot to work? Also check google maps for your foot path and look at the steepness grades, 5%, 10% etc. Telling us there are hills does not really help. Additionally, take that 200$ budget and put it aside in a jar while you research ebikes to find one that suits your needs/budget. When you have like 1200$ or 1800 then you can buy a 100$ bicycle and a 1100-1400 $ Bafang BBso2 ebike kit, or if you check out this link to other bikes here on the EBR main page, you might find something you like/fits your $$budget and then you can visit a local bike shop or local eBike shop and go from there.
I'm eager to learn. Tell me what $200 buys that makes a bike fully ebike capable and ready to ride.
 

Adrian

Active Member
I think the best that you can hope for on such a low budget is a used ebike that someone is selling very cheap - be careful with these though as there are a huge number of pitfalls to be wary of buying used if you're not bike/e-bike savvy, but you could always be lucky to pick up a bargain.

As mentioned above, the least inexpensive you can probably get will be a self conversion kit but something that can do hills well, with a battery will cost more than $500 - probably quite a bit more if you want to buy from a place that is reliable will give you good support.

If you're not technically minded and you can't get help from people who are you'll also have to pay a shop to put it together for you.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
I've seen used e-Zip/SLA bikes advertised for $500 and lithium ion versions for $800. Either would do the job and are made well by a good company.
 

Kaldeem

Active Member
Here's an option. Remember you get what you pay for, but if you can get something to tide you over until tax return or you have saved up, than that is your best option. This kit is like 470$.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
I don't know if bikes, or ebikes, ever fall into the 'community development' arena, where people work cooperatively to make bikes available for transportation. The logical choice is to get a decent bike, ride it, and then worry about the electric parts, later on. To build a low speed ebike, you need some sort of hub motor and some sort of battery.

The sad fact is that review sites don't really explore the most basic areas in the ebike market. You can buy a couple of 8ah LIPO batteries for $150, but no one can really recommend them for beginners. They are fairly dangerous. A step up is Chinese LiFePO batteries. I've seen lower capacity, roughly 10 amp hour (36v) for around $200. I ordered a 15 ah Lifepo, and it showed up this morning. At some point, I will do a review.

The ebike market is changing very rapidly. I honestly expect to see a combination of a $100 motor and a $200 lithium battery, on a basic bike, for around $500. You may have heard of the Storm. It was $700. That should mean kits for under $300. Luna Cycles is offering quality cells in packs around $280, and I think it is just a matter of time before a combination of US builders and Chinese vendors push prices down to $200 for a small 36v pack. I'd like to see some reviews of the low cost packs that are out there right now. Again, I will do some sort of review of the Lifepo pack I got this morning.

Again, I would try to find a used and older decent quality bike. If you can find a bike shop that takes trades, they will eventually have something at a decent price. If you are a little handy, you may find the parts. There are interesting videos on YouTube, true scroungers.

Maybe you can form an Internet group, say on Facebook, for people looking to build very low cost ebikes. I think any kind of community will find solutions much faster than people on their own. Best of luck. Let us know if you have questions or come up with a great idea.
 

MLB

Well-Known Member
There are lots of bikes with combustion engines out there. Old weed wacker and blower motors etc.

And some ingenius e motors using electic drills and such.

Google $500 e bike and see what you get for ideas.
 

jazz

Well-Known Member
Start off by getting a decent used solid bike (steel) off Craigslist. Use that for now instead of walking to work. Then save money. When you have enough convert it to an eBike.
 

David1

Active Member
There is a woman from China I think that keeps providing her contact info. on this site.All those millions of e-bikers over there can't be paying exorbitant prices. Get one shipped over here, but then you are stuck with keeping it running . Just a thought. Shipping cost might rule this out. Sorry I don't have her contact info. Maybe some will post it.
 
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Pammykins

New Member
Actually, you have all really helped me out. I was actually thinking of getting a solid bike to start off with and save some money to get a good conversion kit. You guys have actually made my think about it more. I was also thinking of doing something along the lines of a community program or donations as well. I never really looked into his far it actually is from my home to work, just that it takes about 35-45 minutes. As far as hills, I live in central NY, in a collage town. Not many bike shops around, but the way I get to work is the fastest and straightest. I understand where everyone is coming from though and I appreciate the advice. I am planning on looking at a couple of bikes this weekend. One thing I was really thinking of though is also being able to pedal as well. So I guess a pedal assist option is a thought.
 

jazz

Well-Known Member
Sounds like you are on the right track. You will be happier in the end doing it the right way from the beginning.
 

tinasdude

Active Member
Keep doing your research. Then when the time comes you will be ready. This site, endless sphere, electric bike report, and others are good sources of info. When buying a used e-bike you won't know about the battery life or how the battery has been treated. Factor that into the purchase price
 

Pammykins

New Member
There is a woman from China I think that keeps providing her contact info. on this site.All those millions of e-bikers over there can't be paying exorbitant prices. Get one shipped over here, but then you are stuck with keeping it running . Just a thought. Shipping cost might rule this out. Sorry I don't have her contact info. Maybe some will post it.
Actually would like to find her info as well. Might be worth looking into.
 

MLB

Well-Known Member
Start off by getting a decent used solid bike (steel) off Craigslist. Use that for now instead of walking to work. Then save money. When you have enough convert it to an eBike.

+1 45 minutes of walking would mean less than 4 miles for most people. That's an easy and comfortable regular bike ride for almost anyone with physical limitations. If you've been walking that twice a day, you're doubtlessly in good enough shape to pedal that with ease.
I have 3 wonderful E bikes, but I only use them on rides longer than 10 miles, you just don't need them for less than that. UNLESS you have hills! (I'm flatttttt)