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Tom
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Tom
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PostTue May 17, 2011 11:58 am 
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I haven't kept up with the technology so not sure who might be putting out the best geared hubs right now.  Here is the ride I put together 2 years ago.


Ashamed to say I never finished putting it all together (still need to hook up all the wires and add a torque arm).  Put about $2K into it ($500 for the bike, $1000 for the hub motor/controller, and $500 for the battery).  I'm guessing geared hub costs have come down and battery technology has gotten better.

If I could do it over I'd probably have someone put the bike together and pay a little more.  In particular I'd want a solution that puts the battery in the frame for better handling (as opposed to all that weight in the back) like these setups.
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kite
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kite
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PostWed Jun 01, 2011 7:38 pm 
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Tom, thats a nice looking ride...

How may watts is the motor and what kind of controller did you go with?

I have thinking on upgrading my old 500watt BMC motor and 12amp controller to one of the new 1500watt setups or a Crystalyte 5000 Series gear less motor. been looking around to see what else is out there?

Was wondering if you had any input.

my battery pack is 15ah 36volt LiFePO4 and its in good shape so i am limited on my ctrl & motor voltage
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Tom
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Tom
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PostWed Jun 01, 2011 9:00 pm 
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Mine is a BMC 600W 48V geared hub, 36V 25A controller, and 36V20Ah LiFePO4 "ping v2" battery rated at <2c.  Not necessarily matched components - I got stuck with a 36V controller (was supposed to be 48V) so went with a 36V battery.  Unless the Crystalyte hubs have shed a lot of weight I wouldn't go with anything but a geared hub for logging road use.
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kite
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PostWed Jun 01, 2011 9:17 pm 
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You need to hook the wires up that thing should be a kick to ride

thank you for the input, I think I probably just go with a new BMC V2-T motor and Kelly 24-72V 40-75A 4.5 KW Controller
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Tom
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Tom
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PostWed Jun 01, 2011 9:27 pm 
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I'm 99% sure that's what I have (BMC V2-T).  It's sold under various names.  Let me know how that controller works out.  My battery has just sat dormant for 2 years / fully charged (apparently not a good combination) so may have lost some capacity.  Might want to do some research before buying.  This seems to be the most active ebike forum out there:

http://endless-sphere.com/forums/
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Slugman
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Joined: 27 Mar 2003
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Slugman
Slower than ever
PostWed Jun 01, 2011 9:40 pm 
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Tom, sounds like you should sell that bike, at a sacrifice price...... hmmm.gif




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kite
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PostThu Jun 02, 2011 8:07 am 
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Tom thank you for the link
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forest gnome
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forest gnome
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PostThu Jun 02, 2011 9:28 am 
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why is the batt.$ 500!!?? sounds like double the price of what it should be...
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Hulksmash
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Hulksmash
Cleaning up.
PostThu Jun 02, 2011 9:37 am 
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forest gnome wrote:
why is the batt.$ 500!!?? sounds like double the price of what it should be...


How many lithium AA batteries will it take to power your bike 20 miles?

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Tom
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Tom
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PostWed Oct 03, 2018 7:05 pm 
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Time for a 7 year bump on this thread.  My initial foray into the e-bike world started 10 years ago.  As noted above, I bought a hub motor kit online, a cheap full suspension bike, and some lithium ion battery packs (from drill kits) as well as another battery I bought on ebay from china.  I made some progress with the build (thumbnail above, sorry the larger size got imageshacked).

One of the issues I had was where to put the battery.  I tested putting it in the seat post bag but it made the bike so top heavy and unwieldy it was concerning given how heavy the bike and rear hub motor was to begin with.  I was hoping to eventually figure out a way to secure the battery packs to the frame but got sidetracked and lost interest (if anyone wants an old e-bike to tinker with for a song let me know).

Fast forward to this summer, I saw an intriguing looking e-bike on display at Costco.  It's was pretty light for an e-bike (43 pounds per scale at costco), well balanced with the battery in the frame, very stealth, and the price was pretty reasonable for an e-bike.

https://www.costco.com/Jetson-Adventure-Electric-Bike.product.100370011.html


I also checked out the Genze bikes when they had a roadshow at Costco.  I liked that they had more power and battery capacity than the Jetson bike while still being reasonably stealth, but were a bit heavier and lacked front suspension which was a deal breaker for me.

https://www.costco.com/genze-bikes-schedule.html

A month later I decided to order the Jetson bike from Costco.  What did I have to lose given the Costco return policy?  A week or so later my bike arrived.  It came mostly assembled and was easy to put together.  After letting it charge overnight I took it out for a ride and it was a lot of fun.  I was feeling pretty good about the purchase.  No throttle but you didn't really need it.  Just click on the up/down buttons to select how much assist you want and pedal.  I rode it for a few miles on a relatively flat road and then up a few hills in my neighborhood.  It struggled somewhat on hills.  I really had to pedal hard and crank up the assist to keep the motor from bogging down on one steep section.  Near the end of my ride I decided to give it more of a torture test riding it partially down a very steep hill and then back up to see how it handled things.  About half way up the motor started to groan and make strange noises.  I got off the bike and pushed it up the rest of the way thinking perhaps the battery might be out of juice.  Once I got back to flat ground I started pedaling again but the motor still made strange noises when the pedal assist kicked in.  Seems the motor had burned out.  Back to Costco this would go!

I was pretty bummed as I was really hoping this bike would work out.  I just wanted a lighter e-bike for casual use I could easily throw in the back of my 4 runner (or lift on/of a bike rack without feeling like I was lifting or transporting a tank).  I didn't need a bike on steroids to commute to work, but it needed to be able to conquer hills.

I started to seriously consider the surface 604 shred which was highly rated on ectricbikereview:

https://electricbikereview.com/surface-604/shred/

It looked like it had adequate power and decent components, but I just didn't like how much more it weighed.  The website specs say 55 pounds (which seemed optimistic).  As I poked around on the surface 604 site I noticed the Boar.  Just a couple pounds more with fornt and rear racks to haul my gear up the MFK road ha!  Just kidding (sadly not e-bike legal).  As I googled further I found Karl Gesslein's blog mentioning the Boar.

https://electricbike-blog.com/2016/12/26/no-one-gives-a-rats-ass-about-your-street-legal-ebike-build-something-awesome/

"A bike I would never buy and I was even rude enough to refuse to test"

As Karl says, nothing against the folks at Surface 604 (and to be fair it was an older model of the Boar) but after reading some of Karl's other posts it opened my eyes the to the reality I shouldn't be looking at bikes with heavy rear hub motors if I wanted to conquer hills (or rear hub motors at all for that matter). I started looking at bikes with mid-drive motors.

Enter the Volton El Legs Express.  Similar weight as the Costco Jetson bike (edit: Volton claims 41 pounds, true weight is closer to 48 pounds) but with a more powerful motor and battery (also hidden in the frame).  While it incorporates an old-skool BBS01 mid-drive motor that isn't as powerful as later generations, from what I've read it really isn't that far behind in terms of power and saves a bit of weight. I can't opine on the components not being a bike guru but hey seemed decent. I found a good deal on the bike from a Volton reseller on ebay for around $1400 shipped.  It's priced a little higher on the Volton site.

https://voltonbicycles.com/shop/el-legs-express/


I've had the bike for a month or so. I'll post some pictures later but it looks just like the manufacturer photo above.  Very stealth for an e-bike.  Color is "deep blue" but it looks more black to me.  My initial impressions of this bike are..  I really like it, enough to give it a shout out here.  It's light enough that I can toss it in the back of my 4runner with relative ease.  I can pedal it without assist, but to offset the weight handicap vs. a normal bike I keep the pedal assist on low to keep it from feeling too sluggish.  It's great when going up inclines to bump the assist and feel like superman.  The battery is powerful enough to get me where I want to go and back.  I've ridden it from Issaquah to Bellevue a few times without breaking much of a sweat and still had plenty of battery left when I got back.  The Avid disc brakes are entry level but do what they should do and similarly for the front shock  Components seem good value for the money.  Fenders are a nice touch. Tires are wide enough to ride just fine on gravel and seem to be a good compromise for on/off pavement use. The mid-drive motor takes advantage of the bike's gearing so I can downshift on hills and easily conquer them.  Today I pedaled it up the very steep ~1 mile hill near my house in second to lowest gear and it handled it like a champ with pedal assist set to 5 (out of 10).  About the only negative I'd say about this bike vs. the Costco Jetson is the pedal assist isn't as smooth.  The newer mid drive motors have torque sensing to deliver smoother assist but the bikes with those motors are also much heavier.  For example, note the alation max mid drive that Volton sells is at least 20 pounds heavier!

Before I purchased my El Legs Express I had a brief phone conversation with Joe the owner at Volton.  He mentioned the El Legs Express has been out for a few years and while it's one of his personal favorites, it never sold that well so they are discontinuing it. I think that's a shame but I'm guessing what sells in the e-bike market is really cheap junk or more powerful bikes with bigger motors and battery packs.  I started to go that direction myself almost investing in Volton's a-trail before having a reality check of what was important to me.

Hope this helps anyone else that might be considering an e-bike.  I am by no means an expert and perhaps others here with e-bikes could chime in with their experiences and thoughts.
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Bernardo
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Bernardo
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PostThu Oct 04, 2018 3:44 pm 
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That's interesting.  Keep us posted!
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Slim
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Slim
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PostSat Oct 06, 2018 4:56 pm 
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In July, I bought a 2018 Rad Rover to replace my Honda Trail 90.   It was $1499 at the time but they have since bumped the price by $200 to compensate for the e-bike tariff.  They offer test rides at the Ballard store so I took it from the store across the locks up to Discovery park.  At first, I wasn't wild about the fat tires because of the added friction.  But they do really help with stability. After the test ride,  I was sold. I upgraded the stock Kendas to some Maxxis tires and have not had issues with flats which typically plague fat tire bikes.   I would have preferred a mid-drive bike but my main use is on forest roads so a rear hub motor is acceptable.  It has both a throttle and pedal assist.   The throttle is useful for starting on inclines.  I also like that it is a local company so if there is a problem, I can take it to Ballard for service.  It is a beast though; it weighs in at 66 lbs. But still fits in the back of my Subaru.   

My first good ride was a trip of about 15 miles with 1500' of elevation on a forest road near Cle Elum.  It did just great using about 50% of the battery.   


I looked long and hard about building my own bike going the mid-drive route and buying components from Luna Cycle.  But when all was said and done, it would have cost me more and I would have had to do the work myself. And given my time commitments it probably wouldn't have happened this summer.

Lots of guys will spend way more than $1500 on a high end road bike so I figured it was worth a try.   It probably won't be my last e-bike given the way the technology is evolving.

~Slim

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Riverside Laker
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Riverside Laker
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PostSat Oct 06, 2018 11:18 pm 
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I do a lot of non-E cycling and noticing lots of e-bikes out there. Even saw them riding up Mt Ventoux in Provence Alps. I wish I could keep up on the leg powered bike. They appear to be a game changer and exploding in popularity.
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treeswarper
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treeswarper
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PostSun Oct 07, 2018 11:20 am 
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A friend and I rented e-bikes at Ocean Shores.  I was hooked that easily.

I wanted a fold up bike.  That way I could haul it in my pickup along with other stuff and pull my trailer.  I didn't shop much.  I ordered a Rad Mini about a year ago, right when the weather turned.

I've almost got 600 miles on it.  I use it to run around Omak and Okanogan, and  for playing on roads in the woods. I can run the dog so she actually gets a bit tired by riding on the forest roads and also the ski trails, which are old roads. 

Yes, it is heavy.  But, I had to figure out a way to load my kayaks so I figured out how to load and unload the bike.  I fold it up and unfold it while it is in the back of the pickup.  I use a home made ramp to load it.  I think I will buy a lighter aluminum ramp.

I worry about getting a flat.  I had one but in a good place.  The local bike guy "Localized" my bike by putting in heavy duty liners and Slime.  He also did a tune up on it.

I've had trouble with the rear brake cable, but know how to adjust it. The worst thing about the bike is that people will sideline me to ask questions about it so I don't get into the store or home too quick sometimes.

I just have a lot of fun with it.  I hope it lasts.  It isn't at all stealthy though--I don't know if it would pass as an acoustical bike, but most folks have no idea.  I've ridden on the Republic Rail to Trail where it is good to have fat tires, and then on the paved trails around Ft. Stevens.  Both had signs about No Motorized but sometimes that doesn't mean E-bikes, I think.  The WA State law says they are considered to be bicycles unless otherwise specified.

I use the throttle to get going.  It comes in handy to get through intersections quickly on a heavy bike.

On a ski "trail".
On the Republic trail.

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treeswarper
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treeswarper
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PostMon Oct 08, 2018 4:47 am 
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Dunno if you know about it, but here is a forum and it has threads on specific brands with pros and cons entered by users.

https://electricbikereview.com/forum/

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