Kit vs Purpose Built

Good morning.
I'm a old guy wanting to get a ebike or a kit. I'm 68 years young, around 5'8 and 250 lbs. I bike mostly in the summer on flats. My current bike is a 26" men's Schwinn.
I'm thinking of buying a Biria Low Step 7 speed Aluminum bike. This bike has steel forks, and then buying a kit for it. I like the idea of the Low Step.
The bike is about $600 and from what I can find, the kit would be about $1000. ( 500 Watt Leed's, E-Bike Kit, EBO etc.)
I have seen a few bikes in the $1400-$1800 price range, so the question is Kit or Build??
I'm a little leary of buying a bike unseen or not ridden.
Please share you thoughts, opinions, and recommendations.
Thank you.
Ken
 

dm nelson

Active Member
Good morning.
I'm a old guy wanting to get a ebike or a kit. I'm 68 years young, around 5'8 and 250 lbs. I bike mostly in the summer on flats. My current bike is a 26" men's Schwinn.
I'm thinking of buying a Biria Low Step 7 speed Aluminum bike. This bike has steel forks, and then buying a kit for it. I like the idea of the Low Step.
The bike is about $600 and from what I can find, the kit would be about $1000. ( 500 Watt Leed's, E-Bike Kit, EBO etc.)
I have seen a few bikes in the $1400-$1800 price range, so the question is Kit or Build??
I'm a little leary of buying a bike unseen or not ridden.
Please share you thoughts, opinions, and recommendations.
Thank you.
Ken
E-bikes can be a lot of fun. DIY experience varies with bike expertise. Perhaps taking some test rides, if it's possible, nearby. Many ready-made bikes are not much more than DIY these days. When bikes arrive in the mail many find they need to do a bit of tuning them up or even replacing damaged parts. Yet, they end up being happy ebikers. I would also check out recent reviews to help make a decision, Ken. Good luck :)
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
Does the kit have PAS? Does PAS work with throttle override? What display looks like? What motor? Does it include battery? Are you OK with heavy battery on rear rack or will you attach it to downtube and if so, is downtube sturdy enough?

The difference btw a good kit and purposely made ebike with similarly good components could be from $200 to $1000. At $300-400 it might be not worth the trouble especially if you're not into DIY.

When the difference is more than $500 it means there is something in ebike (often a lot) made purposely different than in a stock prototype. Frame reinforced in all the right places, wires hidden in the frame tube. Often battery hidden/integrated in the frame (though I have reservations about this, namely - you're stuck with one and only battery model).

Step-through THAT low is rare indeed. My friend was considering Biria but low ground clearance scarred him off. Try slightly higher commercial step-through, there are decent cruising models in 1.5-2.0K range.
 

Alphbetadog

Active Member
I installed EBO kits on my both mine and my wife's 80's & 90's ridged mountain bikes. We absolutely love them, especially after putting on my comfortable upright handlebars, comfortable seats, and better rolling tires. If you are reasonably handy and and already have a decent bike to install it on, and kits is a very good way to go. I also own a full suspension Haibike emtb which is fantastic in the dirt, but the EBO kitted bikes work outstanding on the pavement or smooth trails.
Did you know Biria offers your low-step with a top-of-the-line Bionx drive system?
 
Thanks all. I'm still in the "I don't know where I'm going" yet . A Biria bike with a Bionx installed is $2800. I read somewhere Bionx kits have proprietary components.
Please keep up the reply's.
I'll keep you posted
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Hi Ken, from Central PA.

BionX is a very good system with a sophisticated PAS. It is all proprietary, but there are services available here in the US to rebuild the batteries, years down the road, should you need it. I don't think you'd be disappointed with it.

If you're looking at kits, E-Bike Kit is a Philadelphia Company, owned and operated by a native Philadelphian. You should be able to get all the support you could need, from them. I have a friend with their 500 watt geared rear hub kit and it's powerful for hills and is a 28 mph drive. I do think (so does he) it's way too much power and torque for use on the front. At peak it'll pull a 1000 watts.

Hope you find what you're looking for!
 
If I remember correctly E-Bike kit doesn't offer PAS and is a few hundred more than other kits.
It shouldn't be this hard to buy a bike or kit. I looked around on the net at various kit companies and still don't which one to buy. It's a guessing game. I'm looking for someone to say "buy this kit, it's great", is not happening.
It's the same with ebikes. There are great reviews here and elsewhere, but I can't find the bike to sit or test ride. I've written to manufactures to ask where I can see their products and I get no replays I'm in a major city and I went to the largest ebike store and they had a few of their preferred brands, and then only one model of those brands.
I only wanna buy 1 bike or kit, but I don't think it should be this hard to spend $1000 t0 $2000.
 

JohnT

Active Member
Choosing between production bikes and DIY and choosing which kit depends a lot on your wants and skills. DIY is less money but more time and skill. The less handy you are, the more time it will take. Less expensive kits might mean a higher risk of issues that will need to be solved.

I own a Pedego store. Most of our customers don't want to learn all the tech stuff involved in choosing and installing a kit. They're willing to pay a bit more for a proven product with reputable support, so they can spend their time riding, not wrenching and researching.

My first ebike was a conversion using a kit from Electric Bike Technologies (ebikekit.com). I chose them for a similar reason. The cost was a little more, but they had a reputation for providing a quality product and quality customer service. I didn't mind doing the work myself, but if I had questions, I wanted to know there would be someone I could reach for help. I did have a couple questions, and they were prompt and helpful with their replies.

Regarding PAS, I thought I'd heard they were introducing that feature, but maybe I'm mistaken or maybe they haven't done it yet.

I can't tell you which kit is best for you, but I'd recommend a geared hub, and they're a quality source for geared hub kits. Going local can be a big plus if you need to exchange anything.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
I can't add to what John said, other than to say I agree completely. One of the most refreshing things about this forum is members provide information and not 'this is the best, forget the rest' advice. Personally I like the geared hubs, over direct drive. I own both. I also like torque sensing PAS, over cadence PAS or throttle and won't accept anything less. At this stage of DIY, you can't get torque sensing easily or cheaply. I don't even think there are any sellers in the US, offering a DIY torque sensor. For that reason alone I'd buy a complete bike. This is the perfect time of year to find deals.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
Build or buy ....

When you build and buy everything new, both the seller of bike and the kit need to make their margin to stay in business, and you may have two shipping charges. Also at this time of year, shops should be more willing to negotiate on a complete bike. MSRP is the suggested price, and the business cycles certainly determine what you pay. So your savings on a build can vary.

If you like bikes, an e-bike kind of sells itself when test ridden. For me, it was a whole new world when I got on one. Of course, I like anything that has wheels.

Anyway, summer is over where I live. Fall is almost gone. My observation on this is that time flies fast when we are 68 years young. If you have the money to spend on an e-bike, then get one. Trade up if you want something better down the road.

I think my wife would love getting on/off a Biria. Put a small hub motor up front. Battery on rear rack to preserve the looks of the step thru. Putter along at an easy 12 mph. I'm sold, if it comes with a steel fork.
 
Biria'e web site says the fork is "Hi-Ten unicrown". I think that is steel, probably cheep steel. I'm thinking "unicrown" refers to fork and stem are all one piece. Not Sure.
I have one more ebike store to check out this week. It's a small place.