Old, not obsolete!!!!

Neeko DeVinchi

Active Member
Region
United Kingdom
So I started a similar thread on EMTB Furoms with a somewhat positive success. But I figure that EBR would be a better and appropriate place to continue the theme over here.

Hopefully, this thread will give confidence to both veteran and new comers to ebikes that (subject to maintenance), ebikes can last longer than what some may perceive as 'it'll break or you'll have problems after your warranty has expired'.

To that end, I've recently taken on a new project that should hopefully stimulate conversation and provide confidence to most who may potentially fall into this scenario.
20220203_155602.jpg


This is a G-Tech eScent electric mountain bike. Owned by my friend and maintained for a good couple of years. As such, the bike works both mechanically and electrically. However, upon my friend demoing newer ebikes (to which he was almost going to buy one of mine off me), I asked the question, "what's wrong with your ebike?".

We got talking and ultimately he expressed concern for the following:-
1. Future proof - The bike (by design), can only use the bottle styled batteries which by nower days standards, lacks in capacity. Ultimately, to get the range, he would need to take 3 additional batteries which ultimately each battery retails for near £300 (x3=£900 for a 36v 7amp battery).
2. Power - this, is pretty much straightforward. The bike uses a Bafang hub motor capable of 500w. Here is the thing, his batteries would never allow him to achieve 500w so technically, my friend has never experienced the motor at peak output.
Versatility - What can I say, I'm a hardtail fan #hardtailforlife . The point being (subject to your requirements), it is very easy to modify aspects of a hardtail more easily than full suspension without worrying about rear tyre/rear triangle interfering with a pannier rack for example. In my friend's case, he wants something like a weekday touring/commuter & weekend warrior.
4. Using the newest products - I'll be honest with you all, I've managed to secure components from brands who they have generously donated for this project. More will be revealed soon.
And lastly,
Price - Obviously, true upgrade should be perceived as an investment. Ensuring that you are getting the best experience possible out of your ebike. But I appreciate that 2022 will be the year many of us will start to penny pinch. So I've set a budget of £500 (1/4 of how much my friend was prepared to spend on a new ebike). The bike cost him near £900 so within a period of 2 years (excluding cost of maintenance), £1400 max.

I'll be sure to keep you all posted as to how I get on and I'll link the video to this thread 👍🏿.

But I digress, please share your thoughts, stories and testimonials of your ebike (converted, pre-built or upgraded) and how long you've owned it for ESPECIALLY IF ITS FROM 2017+

Thanks for swinging by this thread and look forward to hearing from each of you ✌🏿
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Welcome to the site.
My yuba bodaboda was bought 12/17 and received 1/18. I ride about 2000 miles a year. I added a DD hubmotor about 3/19 on the rear, and a 17.5 ah battery mounted on the front rack. I didn't like DD due to the unpowered drag and the 7 speed 28 to 14 rear sprocket freewheel. My bike came with 8 speed 32 to 11, and I climb 15% grades with up to 80 lb supplies, so I use the 32 sometimes. I changed to a $221 "1300 W" geared hub motor on the front, from another bike that I didn't like. The gears in the motor wore out in 2 1/2 years. I was able to ride it to summer camp & back home again unpowered.
A replacement 1000 w Mac12T was very impressive, but came with an ASI controller. The rain shorted pins on the controller 7/21 and burned them off into the motor wire harness. I miss the 12T, it was great climbing hills. I can't find another on in the US, only pallets of 8 on alibaba. I now have a $45 "500 w" bafang front hub motor, used from a uber scrap campaign. I have the same luna battery I bought 7/18.
I've worn out 5 pairs of tires, one set of brake pads, 15 or 20 tubes, an aftermarket twist shifter (sunlite). Thumb shifters cause a cyst over my thumb joint. One 8 speed chain wore out in 5000 miles. I broke a front fender with my foot. Other than that, I just ride 3 to 6 trips a week. I shop, commute to summer camp, and go to church & concerts off the bike. Not when there is ice on the roads.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
For $241USD or £177, your friend could go to 17Ah. Or he could go up to 48V, depending on what his controller can do. I believe these ship with cradle and charger.


upp.jpg
 

Neeko DeVinchi

Active Member
Region
United Kingdom
I've already sourced the new battery and controller @harryS, but many thanks for your recommendation 👍🏿.
@indianajo, that's brilliant 😀. Truly your above message is a testament to how ebikes have aided in your mobility as well as demonstrating that items on the bike will eventually need replacing and/or upgrading. You would honour me if you could share a pic of your ebike.

In the meantime, I've had a look through some old photos of mine and found this.
IMG-20190330-WA0000.jpg


This is me on my Remington MXPro taken March 30th 2019 (although I think I brought the bike back in 2018).
I still have it and it gets used by family members nowadays.

Here's what the bike looks like now
20210620_151408.jpg


Still works, still going strong and yes, 'old, not obsolete'.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Here is the bike I'm riding now, in green. This is in 2018 when I still had the rear DD hub motor on the back. See the battery hung off the front, and the controller mounted under the seat to keep off rain. There are more wires wrapped to the upper bar to the front now, with the motor up front. The avatar and the thumb functions cut off the battery, but if you click on the green bike pic you can see the whole battery mount.
Here is the cruiser I converted in 2017 with a 18 lb 17.5 AH battery mounted between the front fork and the handlebars. It was not a success, partially because both LIfePO4 batteries I bought were garbage. Neither would supply even 5 amps before the voltage collapsed. Also steering a 18 lb battery on my rutted grass driveway out at the summer camp was too difficult. The green bodaboda has bosses in the frame to hang a front basket without steering. I made an aluminum frame to hang up there to carry the Luna LiIon 17.5 ah battery. The ASI controller that burnt the pins, I had to mount it under the battery because the harness was too short to reach under the seat. Rain burnt 2 pins right off.
 

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Neeko DeVinchi

Active Member
Region
United Kingdom
Hmmm!!!
Interesting @indianajo. I can see that your conversation have not been without their fair share of hick-ups.

Allow me to ponder your build for a day or so to see if anything comes to mind in terms of battery and controller placement on your frames and cross-reference it with what is available.
Ultimately, I wouldn't dream of you drilling any holes in the frame as this could weaken parts of the alloy frame. But I'm sure I'll come up with a solution which may give you peace of mind without worrying about voltage cutoff, weight distribution or connector issues.

Bare with me Indianajo. I'll get back to you shortly 👍🏿
 
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indianajo

Well-Known Member
Hmmm!!!
Interesting @indianajo.
Ultimately, I wouldn't dream of you drilling any holes in the frame as this could weaken parts of the alloy frame. But I'm sure I'll come up with a solution which may give you peace of mind without worrying about voltage cutoff, weight distribution or connector issues.
👍🏿
Yuba welded bosses in the frame for 6 mm or 1/4" bolts. I didn't drill anything. Front basket is an accessory for cargo bikes. I like having weight on the front. It helps to balance weight in the back when I push the bike out of the garage. The previous 4 bicycles dumped me on my chin because the front wheel wouldn't stay straight when it hit obstructions. MTB & cruisers don't have enough weight on the front to center the wheel, and "quick" steering of ALL 26" frames sold since 1946(?) makes the wheel prone to snap sideways. The cruiser shown did it once. Why I wanted an 18 lb battery up there. I didn't like steering it.
I had trouble with XT60 & XT90 connectors falling off the battery. I cut those off and went to crimped dorman insulated .250" flag terminals, and crimped .157" dorman bullet connectors. No problems. The rain problem was a ASI connector that had pins .050" apart. Too close for 48 v difference in the rain. Don't buy ASI controllers. ASI is great for deserts, where lunabike customers mostly ride.
 
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Neeko DeVinchi

Active Member
Region
United Kingdom
Yuba welded bosses in the frame for 6 mm or 1/4" bolts. I didn't drill anything. Front basket is an accessory for cargo bikes. I like having weight on the front. It helps to balance weight in the back when I push the bike out of the garage. The previous 4 bicycles dumped me on my chin because the front wheel wouldn't stay straight when it hit obstructions. MTB & cruisers don't have enough weight on the front to center the wheel, and "quick" steering of ALL 26" frames sold since 1946(?) makes the wheel prone to snap sideways. The cruiser shown did it once. Why I wanted an 18 lb battery up there. I didn't like steering it.
Gottya. I'll bare that in mind with my recommendations. I'm just looking up the yuba bodaboda. Bare with me as I try to work out the frame (relying on Google images at the moment but I know riders older than myself who have a near encyclopedic memory of every single bike made 😅).
I'll keep you posted 👍🏿
 

Neeko DeVinchi

Active Member
Region
United Kingdom
Before,
20220203_155545.jpg

After 😀
20220206_162556.jpg


The weight (considering the battery and controller have been replaced), roughly remains the same. So handling shouldn't be impeded.
The G-Tech now has a display which allows the level of assist to be toggled via remote compared to toggling it via the battery.
16441652579555165659177908890892.jpg
1644165323782954343420914954675.jpg
16441653748814642224570487642221.jpg


And the icing on the cake, I was able to retain the bottom bracket torque sensor 😄
16441654853327093868138588669558.jpg


I hope my friend likes his upgraded ebike.

Wait, what am I saying!!!
I'm not finished. We still need to upgrade the mechanical components.

I'll keep you all posted ✌🏿
 

Catalyzt

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Is that a front or rear hub motor? I'm guessing rear, because most folks do not put even small front hub motors on aluminum suspension forks, but just wanted to confirm. That thing is tiny!

I find that during the winter, I'm riding what I call my "kit bike" a lot more than I expected after getting my second e-bike, a mid-drive. The kit bike is a 40 pound (formerly 30) mid-90's Trek 930 with a Hiltopper 250 W front hub throttle drive-- totally bare bones, no metering of any kind, throttle seems to have three positions, "barely" "somewhat" and "max." I added a late-90s Girvin Flexstem and cheap-o suspension seat post. Range is about 15 miles with 1,200 - 1,500 feet of vertical for a fit 64 year old pedaling hard at times, and handles short to moderate 15% grades no problem in granny gear-- it can do almost 20% for very short segments. I do not think front hub would work very well if it was more powerful, but in some situations-- sharp hairpin curves-- the all-wheel drive handles shockingly well. The mid-drive can probably corner as well, but it lacks the satisfying snap you get from using the throttle and human power as you exit a curve-- the kit bike is faster exiting turns, or that's what it feels like.

Anything over 10 miles, I ride my mid-drive (which I'm also crazy about), but during my busy season, when I have limited workout time, I'm all about the 20-30 minute fitness ride. For those, why put the extra miles and hours on the big, expensive 418 Wh battery on my mid-drive if I don't have to-- particularly if I don't need the range or I'm not riding trails where full suspension-- or even conventional front-fork suspension-- is mandatory or well-advised? Also, even though my mid-drive is only six pounds heavier, if I'm really fighting the clock, the Trek is easier to grab and go-- it's leaning against the wall, I don't have to yank it out of the stand, and it's just faster to get out the door. The point you make about the ease of upgrades or replacement parts is a good one-- Clean Republic makes a replacement battery (with a controller) that's about 12.5 pounds heavier, and is a few watt-hours more powerful for $300 or $400. Replacing the big Shimano battery, (and later replacing the motor, when I get more feeble and need more than 40 nm of torque) will be more expensive, so I'm happy to kick that can down the road.

The problem for me with that bike is suspension. The Girvin is a lot better than nothing, but still not enough for bad pavements and tree roots even on the more gentle paths near my house. I'm actually considering getting a contemporary, and far more expensive, seat and stem suspension with more travel, though that might help with traction as well. Is it worth spending maybe another $500 or $800 on that bike? I sort of think so, even for someone like me who does very little of his own work. (I mounted the battery and dressed the cables, but had the shop mount the front hub motor just because I trusted them to file the front dropouts.)
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
I think you wasted some money on those tiny fenders, especially that on one the back. Water and mud don't come off the tire in a tiny narrow stream. The front one may just keep the bottom of the steerer tube clean.
 

Neeko DeVinchi

Active Member
Region
United Kingdom
I think you wasted some money on those tiny fenders, especially that on one the back. Water and mud don't come off the tire in a tiny narrow stream. The front one may just keep the bottom of the steerer tube clean.
That's a good point.
I'll see if Mudhugger have something more appropriate 👍🏿
 

Neeko DeVinchi

Active Member
Region
United Kingdom
Is that a front or rear hub motor? I'm guessing rear, because most folks do not put even small front hub motors on aluminum suspension forks, but just wanted to confirm. That thing is tiny!

I find that during the winter, I'm riding what I call my "kit bike" a lot more than I expected after getting my second e-bike, a mid-drive. The kit bike is a 40 pound (formerly 30) mid-90's Trek 930 with a Hiltopper 250 W front hub throttle drive-- totally bare bones, no metering of any kind, throttle seems to have three positions, "barely" "somewhat" and "max." I added a late-90s Girvin Flexstem and cheap-o suspension seat post. Range is about 15 miles with 1,200 - 1,500 feet of vertical for a fit 64 year old pedaling hard at times, and handles short to moderate 15% grades no problem in granny gear-- it can do almost 20% for very short segments. I do not think front hub would work very well if it was more powerful, but in some situations-- sharp hairpin curves-- the all-wheel drive handles shockingly well. The mid-drive can probably corner as well, but it lacks the satisfying snap you get from using the throttle and human power as you exit a curve-- the kit bike is faster exiting turns, or that's what it feels like.

Anything over 10 miles, I ride my mid-drive (which I'm also crazy about), but during my busy season, when I have limited workout time, I'm all about the 20-30 minute fitness ride. For those, why put the extra miles and hours on the big, expensive 418 Wh battery on my mid-drive if I don't have to-- particularly if I don't need the range or I'm not riding trails where full suspension-- or even conventional front-fork suspension-- is mandatory or well-advised? Also, even though my mid-drive is only six pounds heavier, if I'm really fighting the clock, the Trek is easier to grab and go-- it's leaning against the wall, I don't have to yank it out of the stand, and it's just faster to get out the door. The point you make about the ease of upgrades or replacement parts is a good one-- Clean Republic makes a replacement battery (with a controller) that's about 12.5 pounds heavier, and is a few watt-hours more powerful for $300 or $400. Replacing the big Shimano battery, (and later replacing the motor, when I get more feeble and need more than 40 nm of torque) will be more expensive, so I'm happy to kick that can down the road.

The problem for me with that bike is suspension. The Girvin is a lot better than nothing, but still not enough for bad pavements and tree roots even on the more gentle paths near my house. I'm actually considering getting a contemporary, and far more expensive, seat and stem suspension with more travel, though that might help with traction as well. Is it worth spending maybe another $500 or $800 on that bike? I sort of think so, even for someone like me who does very little of his own work. (I mounted the battery and dressed the cables, but had the shop mount the front hub motor just because I trusted them to file the front dropouts.)
Its a bafang rear hub motor. 500w. Ironically, this hub motor comes with a shimano freehub body compared to many which use a freewheel.

I am leaning towards better suspension forks however, my concern is that the headtube is designed for a straight steerer fork. Cane Creek and hope do make an adapter which can convert it into a tapered steerer tube. However, this will adjust the bikes geometry which may have an adverse effect on steering and handling (positive or negative effect remains unclear due to the lack of geometry table available online).
The wire loom can support a throttle. But I'll leave that to my friend should he wish for one.

You have given me an idea @Catalyzt concerning suspension. However, it will involve building a new rear wheel with wider rims. This could increase comfort. But I'll need to whip out the tape measure again to confirm what the biggest tyre could fit in the frame 👍🏿