Need advice on budget conversion kit.

jenwill

New Member
I have an old Bridgestone CB-1 that I love. I'd like to add an ebike kit just to give it a boost and extend my range because I'm not in great shape and have joint issues. My whole experience with e-bikes is I rented one on a recent vacation to Catalina Island in CA, and I loved it!

My riding area around the Seattle region is fairly hilly. My riding will be mostly streets and bike paths, with some gravel and dirt side paths. No hard-core mountain biking, but I do need to go off-pavement sometimes.

I'd like to change the bike's no-motor behavior as little as possible. That is, when the motor is off, it would be great if it feels about the same as it did before I added the kit. Is this possible? I've seen that some kits change the bike into a single speed, and that's definitely not ok with me; I use my gears all the time and intend to keep doing so.

If I can keep the cost to $1000 or less I'll be happy. I could go up to $1500 for the right features, but not much more.

Ideally I'd like both throttle control and pedal assist, but I'd like control over the level of both. I like most of the features of the Dillenger 350W Geared Electric Bike Kit reviewed on this site, except I'm concerned about the inability to turn off the pedal assist. Does anyone have experience with this kit, and can you tell me more about the riding experience with the pedal assist on the lowest setting? Is it a big boost over no motor, or is it very small? And how hard is it to switch between pedal assist and motor completely off?

Any other kits I should check out?

Thank you!

Jennifer W.
Redmond WA
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
Hi,

I recently did an MAC conversion to a Bikes Direct hybrid. The kit came from EM3ev, and I went with the front hub. I believe your bike has a steel fork, which is ideal. I switched to steel and added a torque arm.

With no disk brakes this is generally very simple. I looked at the Dillenger. They were vague on the motor, but now list a manufacturer. Their battery is a medium grade pack with Headway cells, a decent Chinese company.

The bike goes back, so not clear about any of the spacing, but spacing is generally a disk caliper problem. Dillenger's chat was helpful, based in the US. I believe they ship from the US. Their kit is quite cheap.

The MAC might run $500 with shipping, by itself, but finding a battery other than the one's on that site might be more trouble than it is worth. Their shipping is fairly high for batteries, and somewhat slow. It's a more premium motor and battery, for quite a bit more money.

The basic MAC version has a throttle and a cruise control that you set like in a car. The stuff for pedal assist would be extra, and there are people who could help like @flymeaway.

These motors are clutched, I believe, but in any event the motor is disengaged almost completely when the throttle is shut down. I ended up adding 15 pounds. The motor is heavy.

Really, it's about what Court says in the Dillenger review, either kit. Remove the tire, put it on the kit wheel. There are a lot of wires, but everything is in a plug and play end, with only one possibility for each plug. I put the wires in a handlebar bag.

I liked keeping the 27 gears on my bike, and the front gears are actually more useful with electric power. Overall, not much reason to drift over $1,000.

elite mac.jpg
 

Greg A

Member
Hey Jennifer,

If you wanted local help building your bike, I was impressed with Mad Boy bikes in Seattle. They build a lot of electric assist bikes, as well as those electric tricycle taxi's that you always see tourists riding around in downtown Seattle.

Their shop is on 1st Ave. right behind the Seahawks Stadium.
I'd bet he could build you what you want.

Here's the link;
(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)
 

jenwill

New Member
George and Greg,
Thanks for your comments! I'll look into that kit and that shop. I'm still gathering info and mulling over my options.
 

jenwill

New Member
Thank you everyone for your comments! I ended up going in a completely different direction when I realized I had a $900 dividend at REI waiting for me to spend it. (I know, how do you forget about $900? That dividend just appears at the end of each year because I pay for my whole life through my REI credit card. That's why I keep it around. And sometimes I forget it. It's a really great surprise.)
That brought the cost of their full ebikes down *almost* into my preferred price range. :) So I bought an iZip e3 Zuma on Saturday. And I. Love. It. I rode it into downtown Redmond, and back up the BIG HILL that has kept me from riding my bike into town for 20 years. What a joy.
 

jenwill

New Member
I should say, the Zuma was the 4th bike I test drove before making a decision. The Diamondback Lindau was nice, but the Zuma felt more zippy, and rode more like my old bike. I tried a 2013 model of the iZip e3 Metro, but it felt... clunky? Maybe I would have liked it better with the large front cargo basket removed. But I was also concerned about the battery being stuck inside the bike frame, making it harder to replace if it eventually degrades.
 

stevenast

Well-Known Member
Thank you everyone for your comments! I ended up going in a completely different direction when I realized I had a $900 dividend at REI waiting for me to spend it. (I know, how do you forget about $900? That dividend just appears at the end of each year because I pay for my whole life through my REI credit card. That's why I keep it around. And sometimes I forget it. It's a really great surprise.)
That brought the cost of their full ebikes down *almost* into my preferred price range. :) So I bought an iZip e3 Zuma on Saturday. And I. Love. It. I rode it into downtown Redmond, and back up the BIG HILL that has kept me from riding my bike into town for 20 years. What a joy.
Congratulations, you picked it a bike that has good manufacturer support and bought it from a store that offers good support ... wise shopping! Strong e-bike, good hill climber for a hub motor. :)