Newbie looking for the truth

jfny1978

Active Member
Region
USA
Hi, I am sorry if this has been discussed ad nauseam, but I wanted to start my own discussion based on my recent experiences.

I live in upstate NY and I want an ebike soon. I have visited 3 shops in the past 2 days, none of them particularly focusing on ebikes, and have spent countless hours online.

Most of the shop owners tell you to stay away from conversion kits, but I am not sure if they understand my needs well, and they all direct me to a pre-built ebike.

One problem with that for me is that I don't think I want the weight of a regular ebike.

From what I have seen online, I feel like I should be able to get used a bike that was good when it was built and is well maintained, and put on a 250 Watt Leeds or Hilltopper front wheel conversion kit, and have my bike feel like a regular bike, but have it help me get up hills a heck of a lot better, and that's really all that I want.

Am I missing something? I hope I don't come off as too naive. :)
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
The Hilltopper 36v kit is relatively simple to install provided you start with a compatible fork with open vertical dropouts. You would need to use the throttle anytime you want motor assist because it does not have a PAS pedal assist sensor. The added weight on the hub of your front wheel will make steering a little heavier. The battery is light and together the motor + battery add I think they say 13lb to the weight of your pedal bicycle.
 

jfny1978

Active Member
Region
USA
Thank you, Dewey. I would imagine any bike that originally retailed at $500 or more that was built in the past 2 decades has a frame that can handle this, as long as the fork is compatible. Would that sound right?
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
You should test ride one first, before buying. And test it on a twenty minute sustained climb. Are there any group rides of eBikes in your area? This way you can talk to people and probably ride various bikes. Front hubs make going up curbs or bumps difficult. Steering is less stable and there is some torque steer, which can fatigue aluminum. You would want at least one torque arm. These can be found on eBay.
 

jfny1978

Active Member
Region
USA
Thank you. I don't know if there are any eBike specific group rides, but I know enough people around here who are into bikes in general that I should be able to find out. I will see if anyone has a converted bike. Great idea.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
A LBS has no idea of your mechanical and electrical troubleshooting ability. Or even if you have specific bicycle tools. I'm sure everyone that comes in says they can install a kit, since it's just a bicycle and how hard can it be? Then a few come in a couple of weeks latter asking if the shop can get the bike running. When the LBS presents them with a bill for $200-$300, the person goes ballistic. It's then a lose/lose for the dealer. There is no incentive at all for them to recommend DIY. If you've spent countless hours on the internet, then you must be fully versed in kits. Go ahead and buy one and see how it goes.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
It will be a little heavier when you pick it up. It might slip on loose stuff going uphill, but then again, iy is a Hilltopper and not very powerful. A steel fork is best for front motors. BE advised that strong motors will rip a alloy fork apart.

Wow. The Leeds site is sneaky. It's not clear that you have tp buy the electronics separately.

This is not a bad kit. I have one, Only three pedal assist levels. They sell it in 26".

Also in rear driver. I think that's better for safety.

You can run it on 36V batteries. I bought an ebikeling kkit in 2015 and the wheel has never needed to come off the bike. No flats. No motor issues. Just a beater bike that won't attract chicks and was under $500. Probably won't climb big hills.

El Trek (1 of 1).JPG
 

grover

New Member
Region
USA
Hi, I am sorry if this has been discussed ad nauseam, but I wanted to start my own discussion based on my recent experiences.

I live in upstate NY and I want an ebike soon. I have visited 3 shops in the past 2 days, none of them particularly focusing on ebikes, and have spent countless hours online.

Most of the shop owners tell you to stay away from conversion kits, but I am not sure if they understand my needs well, and they all direct me to a pre-built ebike.

One problem with that for me is that I don't think I want the weight of a regular ebike.

From what I have seen online, I feel like I should be able to get used a bike that was good when it was built and is well maintained, and put on a 250 Watt Leeds or Hilltopper front wheel conversion kit, and have my bike feel like a regular bike, but have it help me get up hills a heck of a lot better, and that's really all that I want.

Am I missing something? I hope I don't come off as too naive. :)
I had looked at, and rode non-conversion kits: Aventon, Trek, Giant, Electra. All are very different riding style. I like the mid-drives that use torque to get a real feel of bike riding, but the cost is not prohibitive for me. Aventon and Ride1up is a close comparison to a conversion kit and comparable in price (if you need to purchase a good donor bike).
I've done 3 conversion kits so far, because I had 3 good bikes in my possession that I, and my wife, really like and it fits my riding style. I really like the 500w geared hub conversion kit the best.
The best part, for me, is that I can buy a bike that fits my riding style, and if I ever choose to switch bikes, I just move the kit on over, and vice versa. Conversion kits give great flexibility, along with adding accessories.
If Aventon or Ride1up had a bike that fits my riding style, I may have bought one of those. Aventon does have a downfall with me, which is a non-zero throttle start.
 

jfny1978

Active Member
Region
USA
I had looked at, and rode non-conversion kits: Aventon, Trek, Giant, Electra. All are very different riding style. I like the mid-drives that use torque to get a real feel of bike riding, but the cost is not prohibitive for me. Aventon and Ride1up is a close comparison to a conversion kit and comparable in price (if you need to purchase a good donor bike).
I've done 3 conversion kits so far, because I had 3 good bikes in my possession that I, and my wife, really like and it fits my riding style. I really like the 500w geared hub conversion kit the best.
The best part, for me, is that I can buy a bike that fits my riding style, and if I ever choose to switch bikes, I just move the kit on over, and vice versa. Conversion kits give great flexibility, along with adding accessories.
If Aventon or Ride1up had a bike that fits my riding style, I may have bought one of those. Aventon does have a downfall with me, which is a non-zero throttle start.
Thank you, Grover. What brand and model conversion kits did you use?
 

grover

New Member
Region
USA
Thank you, Grover. What brand and model conversion kits did you use?
all Ebikeling. They have great support, and are US company. Also, not that it matters, but their company is close to where I live (Chicago). I have 2 front 500w geared hub, and 1 1200w DD. I like the smoothness of the 1200w, but pedaling w/o electric engaged is a little tougher.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I normally do not install brake cutout levers or switches. They add a bunch of ugly wires and are not needed on most builds. But if you are doing a front motor you will want a front cut out lever or front and rear levers. It is a good safety precaution for these builds. The one I am making now will have no visible wires (thru-frame) and zero zip ties. As mentioned by Grover the best ones have the 'throttle' in the pedals so you just push to go faster regardless of pedaling speed.
 

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indianajo

Well-Known Member
. Front hubs make going up curbs or bumps difficult. Steering is less stable and there is some torque steer, which can fatigue aluminum. You would want at least one torque arm. These can be found on eBay.
Huh? unstable steering? Torque steer? Why would anybody over 18 ride over a curb?
I've got a front hub motor. When I put 18 lb battery hung from the handlebars, it was hard to steer on grass under 3 mph. Don't do that. Don't put a front hub motor on a plastic or titanium fork. (carbon fiber is mostly plastic). Aluminum, support very well with torque arms. I have a torque arm on my steel fork.
Most important in converting bikes, use a frame with disk brakes. Rim brakes don't work in the rain. I'm sorry, I've hated them since forced into them in 1966. Disk brakes do work in the rain, and at 25 mph or so that is important. My hub motor won't drag me that fast, but I peak at 35 mph downhill if the pavement is really good and there is no chance of cross traffic.
My wiring & mount brackets are so ugly nobody has tried to steal the bike in 3 years of shopping & parking on the street at volunteer job. Someone twice tried to steal the battery but couldn't figure out which of the 18 screws were important.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
It will be a little heavier when you pick it up. It might slip on loose stuff going uphill, but then again, iy is a Hilltopper and not very powerful. A steel fork is best for front motors. BE advised that strong motors will rip a alloy fork apart.

Wow. The Leeds site is sneaky. It's not clear that you have tp buy the electronics separately.

This is not a bad kit. I have one, Only three pedal assist levels. They sell it in 26".

Also in rear driver. I think that's better for safety.

You can run it on 36V batteries. I bought an ebikeling kkit in 2015 and the wheel has never needed to come off the bike. No flats. No motor issues. Just a beater bike that won't attract chicks and was under $500. Probably won't climb big hills.

View attachment 79937
I saw a guy yesterday with baby chickens and U-magnets on his socks because they were Chick Magnet socks.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I do not install throttles either - torque sensors only. Feels like a regular bike, acoustic/electric.
The last throttle I installed was for a disabled guy on his adult trike and it had levers. It was an ugly mess of wires, but safe.
 

Mike_V

Active Member
Hi, I am sorry if this has been discussed ad nauseam, but I wanted to start my own discussion based on my recent experiences.

I live in upstate NY and I want an ebike soon. I have visited 3 shops in the past 2 days, none of them particularly focusing on ebikes, and have spent countless hours online.

Most of the shop owners tell you to stay away from conversion kits, but I am not sure if they understand my needs well, and they all direct me to a pre-built ebike.

One problem with that for me is that I don't think I want the weight of a regular ebike.

From what I have seen online, I feel like I should be able to get used a bike that was good when it was built and is well maintained, and put on a 250 Watt Leeds or Hilltopper front wheel conversion kit, and have my bike feel like a regular bike, but have it help me get up hills a heck of a lot better, and that's really all that I want.

Am I missing something? I hope I don't come off as too naive. :)
I'm originally from upstate: is your terrain just hilly or very steep or mountainous ?
The weight of your eBike will be pushed ( with you along and battery ) by your motor, it's great !
I would suggest 500W to 750W motor
48V battery
Min. 22A controller sending ~= 1,056W @ 48V avg.
 

jfny1978

Active Member
Region
USA
I'm originally from upstate: is your terrain just hilly or very steep or mountainous ?
The weight of your eBike will be pushed ( with you along and battery ) by your motor, it's great !
I would suggest 500W to 750W motor
48V battery
Min. 22A controller sending ~= 1,056W @ 48V avg.
I'm in the Mid-Hudson Valley. There's plenty of flat, and plenty of steep hills and mountains, so I'd love to be able to tackle it all.

Based on the great feedback on this thread, I am thinking of getting this 500W option from Ebikeling, with Rear mount:


Then I might get something like this to build it off of:

 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I have an 85 schwinn MTB frame I wore out. small. That frame has rim brakes.
My first conversion was ebikeling geared hub motor, 48 v 1300 W. He wont sell the 48 v ones anymore. Lasted 4500 miles before a gear wore out. I was able to pedal out 6 miles & home 30 miles unpowered broken, although it wouldn't push backwards. Try that on a Bosch!
Other warning, do not ride front hub motor power on across ice, black ice, wet rock wet steel wet lumber (bridge decks) extreme mud. It will slide sideways & possibly throw you. I walk the bike on many of those surfaces. I had to stay home last week; ice everywhere piled up on bike & walkways by helpful city street dept and property owners. Everybody owns an SUV, right? I don't.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
I’ve thankfully not experienced WOT (wide open throttle) but I have had my cheap Bafang thumb throttle stick when I accidentally installed it too close to the adjacent controls, bit of a hairy moment until I turned it off with a firm shove. I fitted ebrake sensors to cut power when I brake.
 

jfny1978

Active Member
Region
USA
I have an 85 schwinn MTB frame I wore out. small. That frame has rim brakes.
My first conversion was ebikeling geared hub motor, 48 v 1300 W. He wont sell the 48 v ones anymore. Lasted 4500 miles before a gear wore out. I was able to pedal out 6 miles & home 30 miles unpowered broken, although it wouldn't push backwards. Try that on a Bosch!
Other warning, do not ride front hub motor power on across ice, black ice, wet rock wet steel wet lumber (bridge decks) extreme mud. It will slide sideways & possibly throw you. I walk the bike on many of those surfaces. I had to stay home last week; ice everywhere piled up on bike & walkways by helpful city street dept and property owners. Everybody owns an SUV, right? I don't.
Thank you. I guess I should look for at least V Brakes, and hopefully Hydraulic brakes?