A few weeks ago I did an e- bike conversion for a customer on a 2012 Marrin Pioneer Trail mountain bike. He was a big guy and saw the Marrin on the Carlisle Sales Page of the EZgo-Now Web-Site. The Marrin was an exceptionally nice bike and with a frame size of 21 inch it was the largest & best built bike I had in stock. He was going to use the bike hard, for both work as well as recreation. He specified the direct drive E bike kit mounted on the rear wheel along with a 48 V lithium battery pack. After completing the bike for him I thoroughly road tested it as I do all of my conversions. He picked up & paid for the bike the next day. His price was $1,200 which was also real close to my cost for building it. Needless to say he was a very happy camper. To make a long story short this was by far was the fastest, best handling, best looking and quickest stopping e-bike conversion I had done to date. To learn more about his e-bike conversion read “Tale of(2) Two Conversions”. I was so impressed with it I began searching for another one or two of them. In addition I was anxious to try one of the NEW 2013 E-BikeKits with the electronic dash & LCD display. This time around I would build it to my specifications & attempt to re-sell it for a profit.
In about a week I had found two of them. Neither one was close to the rock bottom price I had paid for the first one but now that I knew the quality of this bike I didn’t mind paying a little more. (My 1st customer really did a good deal) I purchased a black 2011 with a 22 inch frame and a blue 2012 with a 19 inch frame. I decided to start with the 2011. The 2012 I did a few weeks ago was a blue and white color combination & looked great. This 2011 was a solid jet black & is absolutely gorgeous. The quality of the paint job is among the best I have ever seen on a bicycle, including some custom painted bikes that I have done myself.
When I start a project like this It’s usually for a customer or to replace one of my stock bikes that had been sold.
This project was going to be a little different. This bike would be for my use and it was going to be an EZgo-Now show piece. Additionally, it would be a test platform for the components I use & review. I would spend what ever additional time was required to make this project look as if had been done at the factory. It would not only be sleek, fast & beautiful, it would be fully functional, safe and practical as an everyday commuter as well. This bike dubbed the Night Rider”, would be my every day ride.
OK,… So the donor bike is this jet black 2011 Marrin Pioneer Trail mountain bike. Since this is going to be a fast commuter e-bike I would first replace the stock 26 x 2.00 MTB tires with a pair of 26 x 2.00 Kenda Kwick Roller Sports lined with Anti-Flat Slime Tube Protectors.(flats are no fun. Especially when the rear wheel has a 14lb. hub motor attached to it.) The E bike kit used would be a 1000 W direct drive unit from E-BikeKit. Since this bike would also be used for testing & gathering performance data I did not use the new 2013 E-BikeKit with LCD display as I had first intended. Instead I used an 2012 kit with a 2013 hub motor & installed a Watts-Up Meter for analyzing power use and 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)
This 2011 Marrin happened to be a 21 speed (not 24 spd like 012′s) using Shimano Gears and the Shimano trigger shifters. It was 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 provides very fluid throttle & shifting control. For a rear rack I used a double-decker rack purchased from E-BikeKit.com. I had ordered some of these at a closeout price ($24) & they turned out to be a great purchase. With a little bit of modification it bolted up as if it had been built for the bike. The lower section of this rack would get an 1/8″ Luann ply wood deck that would support my 4 12V 10 amp LiFeP04 Bamboo batteries from Clean Republic. These would lay flat across the entire deck and the controller would fasten to the underside of the deck. The top of the batteries & the wiring where covered with a heavy gauge aluminium flashing painted black. Because these batteries are built using a nicely crafted bamboo case I left the sides exposed. Unfortunately, I would later give these a brushed silver look using a vinyl covering. The naturally finished bamboo was just not in keeping with the rather edgy looking appearance of the black and silver “Night Rider” look. Although this set up does put the entire weight of all of the components at the rear of the bike by mounting the batteries tight & low on the deck the weight is kept very a low. Mounting the controller on the under side of the rack protected by a rear fender and the batteries above allowed me to not only eliminate the two rather long wiring harness extensions but it maximizes the airflow around the controller as well. This is critical to the health of any controller. Although I built this bike as a 48 V E bike I installed the batteries in such a way that I can easily remove the rear battery, switch 2 battery cables and hook up an additional 12V battery or two inside of the Axiom Appalachian Rear Panniers or a different battery pack all together. This of course VOIDS THE E-BIKEKIT WARRANTY but since it’s being done in the name of science I’m OK with it. At a later date I will probably modify or replace the E-BikeKit Controller with what ever is required to safely handle the higher voltage. For now anything over 48 volts is asking for trouble & “EASY DOES IT” will have to be the phrase for the day.
Like most mountain bikes the Marrin pioneer trail comes with exactly what is needed to speed through the brush as fast as you can take it. Lights, mirrors, kickstands, no way, that’s just added weight. Consequently in order to change the Marrin “Pioneer Trail” explorer into Marrin the “Night Rider” ultra commuter, I had to add a number of accessory items. From front to back the list looks like this:
- Pair of “26 x 2.00 Kenda Kwick Roller Sport” $46 lined with anti flat liners. The Bike Smiths EBay.com
- Pair of Anti-Flat “Slime Bicycle Tire Liners ” $11 Amazon.com
- Front Fender “THE XC Faux Carbon Fiber” $33 with custom bracket, detailed w/ black vinyl. koslowcycle EBay.com
- “Extreme LED Blinky” (CLEAR) from Planet Bike $16 set of 2 +s/h Fender mount w/custom bracket Amazon.com
- “Planet Bike Blinky adapter” $6 +s/h Amazon.com
- “Carbon Fiber Computer/Light Mount” for Extra Space $15 EBay.com
- “Bell DASHBOARD 100 12 Function Cyclocomputer“.$13 Amazon.com
- “NEW Cree XM-L T6 LED 1600-Lumens Bicycle Headlight” $26 w/ 6400mAh Bat. & 1600LM LED Amazon.com
- “Watts-Up WU100-B Meter” by R/C ELECTRONICS. $50 +s/h Painted black with custom mounting hardware.Amazon.com
- “Third Eye Bar End Bicycle Mirror“. $11 Amazon.com
- ” BICYCLE WATER BOTTLE CAGE” $7. Americas General Store Direct EBay.com
- “Aluminum Water Bottle” 28 ounce. $8 Americas General Store Direct EBay.com
- X-Lite “Mountain Bike Suspension/Shock Saddle/Seat Post” 26.8mm $28 EBay.com
- “Extreme LED RED blinky” from Planet Bike $16 set of 2 +s/h Seat mounted with custom bracket. Amazon.com
- “Planet Bike Blinky adapter” $6 Amazon.com
- “Rear Mountain Bike MTB Fender” $13 (1-set) painted black & detailed w/ vinyl with custom bracket. EBay.com
- “Rear Mount Oversize Kickstand” $17 by Greenfield SKS2BC (Black, 285mm) Amazon.com
- Double Rear Rack from E-BikeKit with new & modified mounting brackets. (discontinued)
- “Axiom Appalachian Rear panniers” 1,220 Cu. Inch. $34 Amazon.com
- Rear “BICYCLE & WALKING FLASHER safety light “. $4 Americas General Store Direct EBay.com
To look at or purchase any of the above bicycle accessories listed as Amazon.com just click on the description inside the “quote marks” & you’ll go to that section of Amazon.com. For items listed as Ebay.com, you’ll have to go to Ebay.com & paste that description into their search box. As time goes on, I’ll be reviewing most of these products. For now you can read reviews on many of these at Amazon.com. Amazon & Ebay inventories & prices are constantly changing. The prices I used are what I paid at the time of purchase. PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO SHIPPING CHARGES! FREE FREIGHT SOMEHOW DOES NOT ALWAYS TRANSLATE INTO NO-CHARGE SHIPPING.
Electric Bicycle Components:
- (4) “12v Bamboo Lithium LiFePO4 SLA Replacement Battery” $109 +s/h Clean Republic (USA)
- “Smart Charger (3.0A) for 51.2V LiFePO4 Battery” charger $86 +s/h BatterySpace.com (USA)
- “REAR MOUNTED – Direct-Drive Electric Bike Conversion Kit” $619 E-BikeKit.com (USA)
That said, even a show piece like this one must turn a profit. So let’s see what I’ve spent just on the hardware for this project.
The cost for the bicycle & the main components required for conversion are:
- (1) 2011 Marin Pioneer Trail 22″ 26″ Wheel Hardtail MTB. $297 delivered
- (4)12v Bamboo Lithium LiFePO4 SLA Replacement Battery. $440 delivered
- (1) LiFePO4 Smart Charger. $104 delivered
- (1) Double Decker E-BikeKit Rack. $24 delivered
- (1) 012 E-BikeKit w/013 Rear DD Hub Motor on 26″ rim. $424 delivered
- Main components total $1,289
The cost from the list above accessories gives me an:
- Accessories total $385
TOTAL COST OF HARDWARE $1.674
Pay close attention to these prices. Especially the bike, batteries & the kit. These are the discounted prices I was able to obtain by ordering in quantity when special pricing was offered. You’ll need this if you start looking at the advertised prices of complete e-bikes in order to intelligently gauge what you would actually be getting for your money. In other words, if the cheapest good bike you can possibly find is $200 & the cheapest kit over 300 watts delivered from China is $250 & the cheapest lithium battery from anywhere is $400 & you see bikes selling for as little as $499, well… you get the idea. So whether you build or buy should not be a decision you make because of money. Instead, base that decision on the type of things you enjoy doing & whether or not you already own a bike that you love to ride. You’ll be much happier at the end of the day.
The Bicycle accessories I installed from the first list came to $385 delivered. These prices will be very close to the prices you would pay for the same or comparable product PROVIDING you purchase everything in 1 or 2 big orders & pay close attention to the S&H charges. Otherwise you can easily spend an extra $100 in shipping alone. Amazon.com sells great products at rock bottom prices but you MUST pay super close attention to their shipping charges. The FREE or CHEAPEST shipping is never the default.
So the total cost of the materials for Night Rider comes to $1,674. End of story, right? …. Well no, not really. But It’s a good place to take a break. Stay tuned for part two.
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