Narrowing down choices. . .

mhk

New Member
New to the forum--very helpful resource! Forgive me for any naiveté; I'm in the information-gathering stage and there's a whole lot I don't know.

I bought a Radwagon for my wife a couple years ago, which we love. I understand it's not a high quality piece of cycling machinery, but it serves its purpose. I'm an avid "traditional" cyclist (mostly mtb, but also gravel and some road), and sometimes bike commute to work, but sweat/weather/lack of motivation keeps me from riding as much as I'd like. When my wife isn't using the Radwagon, I enjoy using it for commuting, and still get a decent workout on the hills, ending up more active than I would have been otherwise. For that reason I've been contemplating an e-bike for myself, trying to familiarize myself with options. I don't need a cargo/utility bike--rear rack will suit me fine. I also would like to hit as low a price point as possible, trying for that sweet mix of quality and value.

I first considered another Rad product, but then thought I might be able to save a few dollars and get more of what I want: a traditional bike I can swap parts out from my other bikes if needed. I have looked at bikes direct, and am interested in the Shimano mid drive they have. I then realized Bafang makes a lot of the motors on their other e-bikes, which led me to the mid drive conversion kit idea. I have an extra commuter style bike--Kona Smoke--currently set up as a rigid fixed gear mountain bike I seldom use (imagine that) that would be a great candidate for the mid drive . . . but then started reading info on here that would discourage me from the Bafang (warranty issues with a manufacturer so far away, no local service/repair work). I can service the bikes currently in my stable, with the exception of electrical work on the Radwagon.

I would put gears (derailleur/cassette) as well as the 750w mid-drive on the Kona and be ready to roll for $800, on a bike with quality components, which seems attractive to me at this point. Please let me know what else I should be thinking about.

Thanks in advance
 

mbouck

Member
You want a mid-drive - better hill climbing and the rest of the bike is just a normal bike. The Bafang BBSHD is probably your best bet for what you're describing - a very reliable motor and plenty of community/industry support. The quickest way to do this is to get a ready-to-roll conversion kit and then add it your donor bike. I'd highly recommend looking at Luna's offerings:

 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: mhk

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
If you build a kit bike, I'm pretty sure you'll find the electrical part of the Rad isn't nearly as complicated as it looks at first glance. You don't have to understand all the electronics involved. If you have just the basics on what's going on externally, you can diagnose the entire bike by process of elimination. The fact Rad offers the level of support they offer doesn't hurt anything either.

Mid drive vs. geared hub call is more of a struggle. That's going to have to be made based on your 'druthers. Maybe how often you find yourself off road in the hills, where you need that granny gear to make it?

Myself, I don't find myself back in the hills often. There's too much riding that's much easier on this old body available in the areas I haunt most frequently. I love being out on the 2 tracks, but I can ride those easily and still avoid the big hills. I went with a MAC geared hub as they are offered with different winds that allow them to be built for the speed you want. In my case, I have no use for anything over about 20mph so I went with their 12t wind. It offers great torque at low speeds as the motor has been built with that purpose in mind. I bring it up as you don't see an awful lot about them until you get into the custom stuff and they're an option you might want to look into prior to making your call. They aren't something you're going to find on Amazon....

Too, after building a couple of "kit" bikes on my own, I saw and fell in love with Rad's City. After riding/owning it for a bit, it's received major renovations twice now, and the MAC 12t geared rear hub is now powering it. Point being, I found it an awesome bike to ride, and have used it as a "base" to build a pretty much custom e-bike built to exactly my want's/needs - without breaking the bank. The fact Rad uses very few proprietary parts has been a huge part in the success of this project. -Al
 

mhk

New Member
You want a mid-drive - better hill climbing and the rest of the bike is just a normal bike. The Bafang BBSHD is probably your best bet for what you're describing - a very reliable motor and plenty of community/industry support. The quickest way to do this is to get a ready-to-roll conversion kit and then add it your donor bike. I'd highly recommend looking at Luna's offerings:


Why the BBSHD over the BBS02? 750w seems like plenty (it's on our Radwagon, which is a very heavy cargo bike, and seems fine to me), so I'm curious why you recommend the 1000w motor. Thanks