NIGHT-RIDER – 2011 22″ Marrin Pioneer Trail w/26″ Wheels – An E-Bike Conversion Built 4 A Fast Commute
The Marrin Pioneer Trail has got to be one of the best $600 hardtail MTB’s on the market. Considering they routinely sell for $400 makes them a steal. When I first met one of these I said “I was super pleased when I put this bike together. The build quality, fit & finish are exceptional for a $400.00 bike”. Read marrin-pioneer-trail for the details. Later I did an e-bike conversion for a customer with one & made the statement “Because OMG is this thing fast. It’s the “Ultimate Urban Guerrilla Bicycle” if ever there was one.” For more on that project read the tale-of-2-conversions.
Now I have a 2011 for conversion & this project is different from most in that it will be for me. It’ll be my transportation as well as a test platform for many of the components I use & review. More importantly & most significantly, it is a Show Piece for promoting the EZgo-Now.com web-site & shop. This bike must look as if it is a high-end, factory built E-Bike. Sleek, fast, fully functional, safe and practical for everyday commuter use. I dubbed it the “Night Rider” & it would be my every day ride.
OK,… So the donor bike is this jet black 2011 Marrin Pioneer Trail mountain bike. it’s a large VERY SHINY BLACK bike with a 22″ frame, Suntour XCT, front suspension, 21 Spd. Shimano shifters & gears & Shimano V brakes. Since this is to be a fast commuter e-bike, I first replaced the stock Geax Saguaro, 26 x 2.0” rubber with a pair of 26 x 2.0” Kenda Kwick Roller Sports lined with Anti-Flat Slime Tube Protectors. (flats are no fun, especially when the rear wheel has a 14 lb. hub motor attached to it.) The E bike kit used would be a 500/1000 Watt direct drive unit from E-BikeKit. Since this bike would also be used for testing & gathering performance data I decided not use the 2013 E-BikeKit with the new LCD display as I had first intended but used the 2012 kit with a 2013 Rear D.D. hub motor instead. I installed a Watts-Up Meter for analyzing power use & battery health along side of a Bell 12 function cycling computer for gathering performance data. The power (for now) would come from (4) 12V 10Ah Bamboo Cased LiFePO4 batteries built & sold by Clean Republic. (The Hill Topper guys)
The 2011 Marrin’s 21 speed Shimano Drive Train is a perfect match for the 14/28 7 Speed Shimano Gear Cluster that comes on the new 2013 E-BikeKits. Because the Marrin uses trigger shifters I was able to use the twist style throttle. This combination of shifting & throttle control provides an exceptionally smooth integration of leg-power with e-power. (I’ll soon be replacing this 14/28 rear cluster with an 11/28 cluster for better high spd. integration.) For a rear rack I used a double-decker rack from E-BikeKit.com. I replaced the mounting brackets with my own & added a 1/8″ Luann ply wood deck on the lower section to support my (4) 12V 10 amp LiFeP04 Bamboo batteries from Clean Republic. These would lay flat across the entire deck and the E-Bike Controller would fasten to the underside of the deck. The top of the batteries & the wiring were covered with a heavy gauge aluminum flashing painted black. Because these batteries are built using a nicely crafted bamboo case I left the sides exposed. Unfortunately, the naturally finished bamboo was just not in keeping with the rather edgy looking appearance of Night-Rider & I would later give these a buffed aluminum look using a silver vinyl covering & some black detailing tape.
This configuration does put the entire weight of all of the components at the rear. That said, by mounting the batteries flat, tight & on the lower section of the rear rack, this weight is kept low & just above & mostly in front of the 14 lb. rear hub & axle. Additionally the Marrin’s frame geometry, like most bike frames, places the seat post just in front of the rear wheel to position the saddle just over the front half of that wheel. This distributes the rider’s weight from that area to a point directly above the front wheel. Not only does this provide a person of my size with good initial weight distribution, the Marrin’s roomy frame size allows for lots of rider adjustments to the bike as well as some “on-the-fly” fine tuning called body english. This weight distribution is also hugely beneficial in jumping obstacles like curbs, downed tree limbs, road kill, etc. Maneuvering your bike while dismounted is easier as well. Even though this bike is heavy for a bike, by using the rear weight bias with the rear brake, you can easily stand you bike on its tail & spin it around ,any which way you’d like. STEPS? No problem. With the rear wheel drive & the rear weight bias, just a slight twist of the throttle helps to pull it & you up the steepest flight of steps. In my opinion, the argument of weight & balance made by many that states; “the weight of an e-bike (using hub motors) should be evenly distributed by placing the batteries & the hub motor at opposite ends of the bikes geometry” just,… well, just doesn’t carry much weight.
Like most mountain bikes the Marrin Pioneer Trail comes with exactly what is needed to speed down that trail or through the brush, as fast as you can ride. Lights, mirrors, kickstands, gauges are all added weight. Consequently in order to change the Marrin “Pioneer Trail” explorer into Marrin the “Night Rider” ultra-commuter, it was necessary to add a few accessory items along with a number of misc. brackets, paint, decal vinyl, fasteners, wire, electrical connectors, shrink tube & zip ties. The list of the options is long & the work is very involved. For the complete story on the Night-Rider E-Bike Conversion read WWW.COMINGSOON. For a complete story about Night-Rider & one mans route to owning a HIGH PERFORMANCE E-BIKE read Night-Rider – a 2 part story.
OR browse the following pictures:
Schwinn Sierra DSX E-BikeKit Conversion Front Drive, 36 Volt, small frame & 26″ wheels
The Schwinn Sierra DSX adult comfort bicycle is a wonderful bike with or without the electric drive. Its uni-sex design with a step through frame and up right riding position make it extremely comfortable for both men and women large or small. For this conversion and most of the E bike conversions that I do I used an E bike System from E-BikeKit.com. The Battery Pack included in the base price of their kit is a high quality, but heavy (17lbs.) 36 volt 9 amp SLA Battery Pack. E-BikeKit.com also offers an optional 36 volt 15 amp Li-Ion Battery from Allcell. The Allcell Battery is a very high quality & light weight (7.2 lbs.) US built (Chicago) lithium-ion battery but it is very pricey. ($698.00)This particular conversion was done for a small (5’ 3”) women with a $1,200 budget. She loved the way this Schwinn DSX sat-up high & the way it rode & handled. However the standard 17 lb. battery pack was just too heavy for her to handle & the $698.00 Allcell Battery was simply not in the budget.
Not to worry, the E-BikeKit will work with any 36 or 48 volt battery so I built her a custom 36 volt 10 amp LiFeP04 battery pack using 3 12 volt 10 amp LiFeP04 batteries from Clean Republic. These are also a very good lithium-ion battery built in the US & I was able to include them for just $177.00. Many of the miscellaneous items I used for this conversion such as the rear rack & rear kick stand came from The Bike Commuter Store at Amazon.com. The total bill for this conversion including the bike came to $1,326.65. Please see HOT BIKE – PEDALING IS AN OPTION on our local sales page.
A Basket Case no more. I got this bike for a terrific price or so I thought because it had a bent rim & bad tire. It was supposed to be a 2012, 19″ Mongoose XR200 display model. When I unboxed it I found an 18″ Mongoose MAXIM. As for the “display model” description. I think they meant “demonstrator model”. Like maybe it was demo’d at the Baja 200? Needless to say it took a lot of parts & a lot of work. But hey, it was fun. Here’ the short list. I installed Shimano front and rear V brakes, new Bell Cables, two Lexco alloy crank arms & Avinir Pedals, a pair of SRAM racing grips along with some big & grippy Continental Vertical 26 x 2.3 tires & tubes. Then I out fitted it with a brand new gear drive E-BikeKit hub laced to their eyeleted double-walled rear rim with 13 gauge stainless steel spokes & 7-Speed Freewheel . Although not required I decided to install some optional stainless steel torque arms for additional strength. I finished up with an E-BikeKit throttle, their controller & dummy proof wiring, a rack, a battery bag and 36 volts of LiFeP04 battery power & a battery gauge. Finally I took it for a test spin. When all was said & done I couldn’t have been happier. This thing is great. You wouldn’t believe the torque. I’m no light weight kid & I was flying through our big back yard with big knarley tree roots, landscape timbers & curbs at like 18 MPH & never felt out of control. It looks good, few people will know it’s anything other than a mountain bike, it rides great & it’s quite light for an e-bike. (54 lbs.). I know I won’t get my money back out of this but it was a good education & lot of fun. It’s definitely something I’m proud to associate the EZgo-Now name with. The total bill for this conversion including the bike came to $996.00. Please see Mongoose MAXIM E-BikeKit Conversion on our local sales page for complete details.
Schwinn Crest Urban Men’s Hybrid E-Bike Conversion 17″ Frame, 700c Wheels
The Schwinn Crest Urban Men’s Hybrid turned out to be a great bike for an electric drive conversion. This time around I went with a complete E-Bike-Kit Conversion right down to their SLA Batteries. Since this was to be a low cost commuter bike I chose their 500 to 1000 watt direct rear kit & their 48 volt 9 amp SLA Batteries. Because of the weight I decided to split their 48 volt battery pack (4 12V 9 amp SLA batteries) into 2 packs & place them inside a pair of AXIOM – APPALACIAN Panniers. Since I’m a little fanatical about things looking good I had to build a pair of light weight battery box to support the dense weight of the batteries. I tried installing a simple floor to the bags but they simply would not hang straight or square. See bottom picture. The end result happens to be a very nicely balanced bike with a lot of speed, decent range & low price. The panniers also give you some additional storage space & will easily handle the much lighter lithium batteries if you decide to upgrade. The bill with bike for this conversion came to $1.121.00. See Ready For Commuting for complete details.
This is what’s in our driveway at the moment. To demonstrate the full potential of this amazing & amazingly simple form of alternative transportation I use e-bikes almost exclusively for all of my local runs. Since some items are too much for a pair of saddle bags or rear rack I also use the very neat RideKick Trailer on many of my runs. Although it’s designed to turn any bike you own into an e-bike it of course can also be hooked up to your existing e-bike. Since I sometimes have to deliver or pick up bicycles I made a 5th wheel attachment for towing bicycles that simply sets in the bottom of the RideKick Trailer. (lid removed) Then I remove the wheel of the bike being transported a re-bolt the forks to the 5th wheel attachment. The front wheel gets strapped to the side of the bike being towed & sits atop of the now secured pedals. (DON’T BACK-UP) I also use a small ratchet strap & cinch the top of the fork tube to the RideKick Trailer frame where the lid had been. I have to say, this is one slick way to transport an extra bike. Outside of making sure your brakes are up to the task of stopping this load & not backing up, it is one very smooth ride. Oh yeah. An E-Trailer + an E-Bike = very quick acceleration to 20 MPH. Did I invent the worlds very first “Bicycle Tow Dolly”? I doubt it although I have never seen this done. If you have or have seen something similar or interesting, please let me know. I’d be happy to post any of your experiences or photos on the EZgo-Now Web-Site. I’ll be writing more about the RideKick Trailer in a future article. For now you can read NEW RIDEKICK TRAILER That’s Ready To Roll.
Trek 800 18 Spd. Women’s Mountain Bike with 24 Volt Electric Conversion Kit
LADIES, STARTING TODAY MAKE ALL YOUR RIDING DOWN HILL with this fully Camouflaged Electric Bike Installation. It Looks Like a Stock Bike, Rides & Pedals Like a Stock Bike, Sounds Like a Stock Bike, But Goes Like there’s a gust of wind at your back with just a Push of a Button. The total weight of Bike, Kit, Battery Pack & Accessories is a very light (for an e-bikie) 45 Lbs. The LiFePO4 Batteries, BMS & Motor Controller are Tucked Inside of the Rear Bike Bag. Battery Cover doubles as Shelf for small tools, supplies & personal items. The two small wires are tucked tight to underside of frame w/blk cable ties & the 4.5” Geared Hub Motor is small enough to go un-noticed by most passer by’s.