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Discussion Starter #1
I recently decided to take a gamble on an electric bike kit conversion and it turned out as good as I hoped it would. :)

If you have done any searching for electric bikes, they generally are exceedingly cost prohibitive and I simply can't justify them being that the point is to save on gas/wear-and-tear on your car. Most of them cost thousands of dollars and many of them look like ugly townie bikes. Clean Republic offers a 10mi lithium-ion, 250watt kit that you can bolt up to your regular bike for a little over $500. My only gripe with them is they can be a little difficult to get a hold of (calls going to VM even during their short business hours) and slow to reply by email. And it did take a while for them to finally ship it out - I guess they get backlogged during bike season but they don't communicate that to you until you bother them.

Anyway, overall I'm pretty happy with the outcome.

Here's my little video review of it:


And some pic whoring:








One of the things I love about it is that it really doesn't look that much different than your standard mountain bike. The electric'ness of it is pretty stealth! In fact, my friend and I were discussing whether a ranger would even notice if you took this on a paved trail from which a "motorized" vehicle was not allowed. Furthermore, it only adds about 7lbs to the bike total (with the 3lb, 10mi lithium battery pack) and can still be ridden like your standard bicycle (motored hub is on a freewheel). It's also very quiet which contributes to the stealth factor. ;)

In this current configuration, it does max out at about 18mph (on flat land pavement) which is a little unfortunate because that is the speed I can regularly sustain on mountain bikes for long distances, anyway. I was hoping to sustain a higher avg speed. My commute times are slightly better, but only by a couple mins where it helps me sustain that speed up over the few freeway passes I have to cross that normally slow me down. As long as i stay within the motors working RPMs, I do however arrive to work FAR FAR less sweaty and tired. I also no longer get frustrated when streetlights force me to stop and kill my momentum. :) I'm much more inclined to not try and "make it" which sometimes in hindsight, I've noted, that it was stupid. So for me, it makes my commute inherently safer.

Everyone who's tried it absolutely loves it. I think really the only thing that keeps this from taking off is the price. $500+ dollars for something "unnecessary" is just a pricey pill to swallow even if you can afford it - I really think if they can some how get this motor/battery combination down to the $300 dollar price range, you might see these on causal bikes. The kind of bikes your mom and dad would buy for the weekends. It's a great encourager for those loved ones who aren't very physically capable and are discouraged to go out for a bike ride on the weekends. It also would be a great equalizer if you're tired of waiting around for them all the time.

Here's a couple pics of my buddy zipping around a parking lot who's obviously way too big for my bicycle, lol!





Ear to ear grins all around. :)

So to conclude, if you had heard about this kit and are on the fence about it, you can count me as someone who recommends it! Although, I'd recommend a bigger wheeled bike for that higher assisted speed. Now i wish I didn't sell my motobecane ti 29er. That would have made a perfect commuter bike with this electric motor!
 

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since 4/10/2009
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I am not surprised by your top speed given the kit's power output.

I also notice that this is NOT a pedal assist kit. How does it provide power? Do you control it via a button? Is there a control panel that regulates the power output based on how fast you're going?

What about hub drag when you are not providing any power to the motor? Is it noticeable?

There are two things that keep me out of ebikes and conversion kits. Yeah, cost is a factor. But I've dealt with one of these in my shop that had a Bionx pedal assist kit on the rear wheel. The thing was finicky. The dude's battery straight died completely because he didn't charge it exactly right ONE TIME. Wiring harnesses would die and need to be replaced. That bike convinced my shop to stay FAR AWAY from ebikes. Primarily because of a service standpoint. Every setup is different, and you practically need to have an electrician on staff to deal with the issues. Electronic drivetrains have been SO MUCH easier to work on for us.
 

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Law abiding citizen
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
It's not a pedal assist. It's simply button activated from which you velcro on to what's most comfortable to you (usually the handlebar grip). Full on or full off - no throttle control. The power sort of eases on a so it doesn't feel out of control once it kicks on. Or it simply is not powerful enough to feel like it's out of control acceleration when full on. And there is no control panel or LCD read-out that gives you any information. It's quite basic as I'm sure that helps with the lower cost (or higher profit margins depending on how you look at it, lol). The whole kit is said to be weatherproof but I can't vouch for that. It looks like, to me at least, it would be light-to-moderate rain resistant but I wouldn't be riding in a heavy rain storm anyway.

The hub drag, I forgot to mention about that. The company claims there is no added drag but my experience with my bike before and after, and with my general experience with all the bikes I currently have and owned in the past, my legs are telling me there is a slight bit of extra drag. But I can thankfully report, it's only slightly more than your standard front wheel hub so it's not horrible, at least. This is also easy to see if you flip the bike over and just give the wheel a healthy spin with your hand - it definitely stops spinning much sooner than your standard bicycle hub. Perhaps it has more to do with the weight of the entire motorized hub being around 6lbs. :eekster: You can feel that heaviness when turning your handlebars but you get used to it pretty quickly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ng1FRF_T4ck
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjMZ_-RmZcE

I think, while this kit may be unappealing by its missing features (no console, no pedal assist, no braking recharge), its inherent simplicity, leaves little to fail unlike some of those things you mentioned with the e-bike in your shop. Also of course, the cost: It's not going to break the bank if you do have to buy a new cable set ($39), for example.

It literally is just 4 components. A battery pack (like a laptop battery in a canvas bag, kill switch on bag), A shielded wire to deliver that power to your hub with a wire that branches off to an on-off switch. And a charger brick (again like your laptop). And of course the hub/motor itself. There's only so much that can fail and out of those 4 components, you can swap them out and/or warranty them.

Here, they sell just the kit (the 4 components) without a built wheel so you can build a wheel yourself and it really shows the simplicity of it all.

ProPack | Electric Bike Conversion Kit | Electric Bicycle | Clean Republic

And of course they also sell all 4 components separately.

Hub/motor $169
10mi battery $199
cable set $39
Battery charger $39

Hill Topper Electric Bike Conversion Kit | Electric Bike | Clean Republic

So far I've only commuted to work 3 times and have mainly just fooled around with it, terrorizing the neighborhood. :D For this kit, I don't think any of those grievances will be a big issue here but I will certainly report back as time goes by regarding its durability. Also, it's been on the market for a few years now and many people have been actively using it since, with not too many problems reported, that I can find at least. There are also a few people who have created their own battery packs and upped the voltage to 36v (vs 24v) and the motor seems to handle it without issue so that's nice. I got the extended warranty, but that extension only covers the hub/motor and wires and not the battery (still just one year I believe). This is typical of laptop manufactures too: the laptop will have say, a 1yr warranty while the accompanying battery will only have a 90 day warranty ... or for the more robust enterprise-level laptops, a 3 year for the laptop but only 1 year max for the battery.

Unfortunately the battery is the biggest cost. The 20-mile lithium pack cost a whopping $425! Mine is the 10-mi battery at $200 to replace. I'm hoping lithium ion battery continue to come down in price as they have over the years and I can either buy an alternative when this one dies or buy a replacement one from Clean Republic at hopefully at a slightly cheaper price.
 

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I'd rather be on my bike
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A lot of people will like this, but I just don't. I have a bike to pedal, not to have help with. I just don't see the point in something like this.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
^^ Seems smarter to own two 10 mi packs than one 20 mi pack: save $25 and have some backup/redundancy.
It does appear that way. Although if your commute is further than 10 miles one way, you'll have to go through the trouble of pulling over and swapping them out. It only takes a few moments to do so, but yah, the added benefit is you have that backup & redundancy (not all eggs in one basket).


A lot of people will like this, but I just don't. I have a bike to pedal, not to have help with. I just don't see the point in something like this.
Trust me, I wholeheartedly enjoy bicycles for what they are too - I own four other bikes (two hardtails and two full suspension) dedicated for the simple pleasure of riding bikes. In fact, I'll be going up to downieville next weekend to do exactly that! :) But commuting to work, dealing with traffic, I don't really consider that very fun but I'm finding this little toy makes it quite a bit more enjoyable and efficient (not showing up to work tired and sweaty). On the way home, where I don't have to worry about sweating too much and I'm in a better mood (I'm not much of an early bird & not having to go to work helps the mood, lol), I refrain from using the motor as much which gives me decent workout!
 

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A lot of people will like this, but I just don't. I have a bike to pedal, not to have help with. I just don't see the point in something like this.
Agreed. There's two different guys I see on electric bikes all the time on my way to and from work and I pass both of them. For me, the main reason I ride to work is for the exercise. If it was purely for environmental reasons, I'd buy a Nissan Leaf or an electric scooter.
 

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The batteries are expensive, in my area you are limited to a max speed of 20mph, more things to go wrong. Great idea if you have health issues, but if you are in good health you'll get faster on a non assist bike. I myself average 16+ mph so not worth it for me. I'd say spend money on clipless pedals, and faster rolling tires to increase cycling efficiency.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
What Fuji are you riding on op?
Hi Elliot, here's the exact link to the Fuji bike: Fuji Bicycles Tahoe 2.0 Shimano SLX/XT Complete Bike | Backcountry.com

It's been a great bike and a steal at the price backcountry was selling them for at the time. My only gripe with it, as I eventually found out through some frustrating moments, is it came with a "European standard" tapered headset cup size, with a bottom cup of 55mm instead of 56mm. This meant I had to special order my bottom cup from Cane Creek, which made it unnecessarily expensive to switch out my headset to install that carbon fork.
 

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What voltage does your motor hub run on? I'm not sure what hub you have but a lot of the motors that turn up here (limited to 250 watt, pedal assist 16mph cut out by law) are actually rated to 750 or 1000 watts and will run at 24V 250Watt and 48V 500 Watt and double the current the DC motor controller limits. Some of them will run up to 60 or 72V but thats getting close to mains AC voltage in the US and you would really want to be sure of the wiring harness.

I think it is much cheaper to make one type of motor and use a motor control to limit power than make a huge range of differently rated motors

In many cases it is as simple as as spending a few hundred bucks to get a good quality LiFePo battery + battery management system and an aftermarket DC motor controller with throttle and you have yourself a motor bike.
I've seen some of those things doing what must be 30mph ~ 35mph with no pedalling
I think some hubs have the voltage regulation and current limiting on board so it is not very easy to change them but most don't.
 

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Hi Elliot, here's the exact link to the Fuji bike: Fuji Bicycles Tahoe 2.0 Shimano SLX/XT Complete Bike | Backcountry.com

It's been a great bike and a steal at the price backcountry was selling them for at the time. My only gripe with it, as I eventually found out through some frustrating moments, is it came with a "European standard" tapered headset cup size, with a bottom cup of 55mm instead of 56mm. This meant I had to special order my bottom cup from Cane Creek, which made it unnecessarily expensive to switch out my headset to install that carbon fork.
Ok awesome I ride a Nevada 1.3
 

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Bah, if you got suitable used touring/cyclocross/road bike for $500 it would made commuting easier also without the extra weight, drag and you could have added fenders to ride in inclement weather. Now you spent alot on making an ill-suited fair weather commuting, knobby tired, 120+mm hardtail mountain bike an even heavier electric assisted fair weather commuter. I don't see the point really. I could understand if you had lots of monster hills making travel by bicycle unfeasible in terms of time and effort, but even then why choose such an unsuitable bicycle for it.

I especially don't get it now:
... I own four other bikes (two hardtails and two full suspension) dedicated for the simple pleasure of riding bikes.
So let me get this straight, you have five books total, all of them mountain bikes ill-suited to commuting and you decided your problem is that one of them didn't have electric assist? Facepalm.
 

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Guys. Different people ride for different reasons, and have different interests. I get that some of you are just too awesome and healthy to want an electric bike, but you're not everybody. IMO if it makes the difference to get someone out on 2 wheels, it's good.
 

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Guys. Different people ride for different reasons, and have different interests. I get that some of you are just too awesome and healthy to want an electric bike, but you're not everybody. IMO if it makes the difference to get someone out on 2 wheels, it's good.
Well said, I agree as long as your on two wheels electric or not who cares! The point is get out there and ride and enjoy the ride!
 

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Well old biddies the op said it himself:
"So far I've only commuted to work 3 times and have mainly just fooled around with it, terrorizing the neighborhood."

He is not really using it much as signified by ONLY, and looking at the setup. And I see why, it is a fair weather commuter at best and not well optimized for the task of commuting. In many ways you can say it is even worse for commuting with this 7 lb motor+battery. I don't get the "it doesn't matter as long as you ride"(and mind you most greatly exaggerate how much they ride especially for life related tasks like commuting) ninnies, forums are not cheerleading venues. This guy paid alot to have one of his 5 MOUNTAINBIKES top out with an electric motor at the speed more road adapted bikes can easily sustain when ridden by anyone with moderate fitness. There are lots of inexperienced people on such forums and if we turn this into a cheerleading fest, they could think such a conversion is a good idea.
 

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Guys. Different people ride for different reasons, and have different interests. I get that some of you are just too awesome and healthy to want an electric bike, but you're not everybody. IMO if it makes the difference to get someone out on 2 wheels, it's good.
Aloha, well said. If it gets someone out riding, I say excellent. Better than having the best chi chi bike sitting around collecting dust in some corner. It's all about TITS - Time In the Saddle. We all want more. And we certainly are all different levels and we all have to get started somewhere. Compliments on OP for posting up what he's found on his research.
 

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I just don't understand why many on this board seem to go out of their way to **** on electric bike conversions. How is it bad to get people out on two wheels, when they'd otherwise sit at home? Sure, they could be getting a better workout without it. Maybe they're in poor health but still want to get out, or maybe they don't care about the exercise, or maybe they only want to pedal hard on the way home from work, or want a push for long rides/tall hills, or just think electric bikes are cool. The point is that they're different people, with different situations and different priories, and the freedom to do whatever seems best to them. If you wouldn't buy an electric bike/conversion, fine, good for you, but please do grow up and let other people make other decisions. They're not having a single detrimental effect on you.
 

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@Sanath:
Did you even read any of this thread? People who are truly infirm or incapable of pedaling on the road without electric help are not the people who have FIVE MOUNTAINBIKES. They are the type of people who would mention they got injured, they are too old, so they are selling most of their mountain bikes. Mountain biking is a lot more demanding physically than riding on pavement.

I too am all for people using an electric bike if they are old, injured, hauling massive weight, or simply live by massive hills that deter their riding. That is by all indications not the case. And shock, if the OP say sold one or two of his mountain bikes and got a road racing and/or touring like commuter, I would bet he would ride more than with this electric converted hardtail, since *GASP*, he would have at least one bike suited for pavement. For example I have four bikes but each suited to different tasks. I even have a 16" brompton folder so I can ride on trains or get a ride by friends or families in their cars without hassle one way or part of the way(very handy in winter time or rain!). That is the difference between people like you and me, you think giving bad advice or cheerleading is help! Well, it isn't.
 
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