Thursday, July 25th, 2013 at
“Night-Rider” Ready to Rock & Roll
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.
Night Rider testing (5) 12V LiFeP04′s. Meter indicates 68.8 volts.
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) Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday, June 25th, 2013 at
Marin Factory Photo
In Corner # One we have: The MARIN Pioneer Trail ALLOY HT Series with 20.5″ frame & 26″ wheels: The Alloy HT series combines off-road durability with performance components for active riders. Lightweight, double-butted 6000 series Edge 3 tubing is mated to comfortable Marin Sport geometry, placing riders in an upright riding position. For more read the nitty-gritty from marinbikes.com
And Corner # Two is: The Mongoose Maxim with 18″ frame & 26″ wheels: Designed for peak performance under rugged conditions, the 26″, 21-speed Mongoose MGX Maxim will tackle all your off-road and in-city journeys with ease. It offers an alloy frame with both FRONT & REAR SUSPENSION. See Mongoose MAXIM for more details on this guy.
Mongoose Factory Photo
The Tale of (2) Conversions
One of biggest challenges I face with converting brand new bicycles into brand new electrically assisted vehicles is probably not what you’d expect. I have a tough time letting go of them after the sale. I become attached to them and want to continue tweaking them in until their perfect. This is of course contrary to the reason I’m building these bikes in the first place, which is to make a living from selling them. The problem is I believe, that each conversion, when finished becomes much more than the sum of its parts. Ultimately, I’m left with a bicycle that has a unique personality that is often quite different from the stock bike I started with. In short, it is now the bike that Matt built.
Take for instance two recent MTB Conversions, one of which left for a new home yesterday. The first one is a $199.00 Mongoose Maxim dual suspension MTB with an 18 frame. The 2nd one is a $499.00 MARIN Pioneer Trail front suspension hardtail MTB with an 20.5″ frame. They are both built for mountain biking 1st & anything else 2nd. They are also both sold to the same basic target market. That said, the Mongoose is very much aimed at the lower end of this market & can be purchased from places like Wal-Mart, Cosco & Toys R Us. While the MARIN is competing more in the middle of the market & will be purchased by people looking for a high quality bike under $800.00.
My over all impressions after assembling, testing, adjusting & riding both bikes where quite similar (see Carlisle Sales for reviews) so I’ll focus on the differences. The Mongoose’s additional rear suspension is the most notable difference. At high speeds it really smooths out the teeth jarring bumps. The Marin’s hardtail, on the other hand communicate’s those bump’s with great accuracy. Although neither of these bikes would be considered to be light weight, the MARIN’s weight contributes to its overall rock solid feel while the Mongoose’s weight is just,… well heavy. It is a lot of bike for a little bit of money however & does everything it’s supposed to do reasonably well. For me, the MARIN is the better bargain of the two. Yes, it’s twice the price but it does everything it’s supposed to do nearly perfectly and it has a quality feel to it that is tough to describe other than saying that it feels like a high quality piece of equipment. Both of these bikes are worth every penny of their asking price but if I could scratch together the additional money I would buy the MARIN. (See -marin-pioneer-trail-hardtail for details) Read the rest of this entry
Thursday, June 20th, 2013 at
How do I describe an E-bike when someone asks?
Well, … It’s pretty much like riding a regular bike until you’re feeling tired or lazy & then you have help. I also think it’s safer in traffic. The added speed allows you to ride with the traffic as opposed to riding on the shoulder and In heavy stop & go traffic and at intersections you have the extra boost to get going quickly. That was a big benefit for me. “The hardest part of going was getting started”. Going from a dead stop with electric assist to the speed I need to maintain balance is much shorter than pedal-power alone. (almost no distance) All in all, weather permitting it’s a realistic & healthy alternative to taking the car for many of my short trips.
Cycling and bicycles have been a passion of mine for a very long time. I’d like to tell you that I promote both cycling & e-bikes out of my love for mankind & my passion for helping to preserve the environment. Truth be known however, a few years ago when I lost my driver’s license I needed a practical way to get around. My bicycle was great but the distances were far and I would arrive at work or my destination hot tired and sweaty. Great exercise but lousy for your appearance. In addition, if my trip was not a 100% necessity I would talk myself out of what ever it was I was thinking of doing. Knowing there had to be a better way & having the luxury of an Internet connected PC at the house, I did what anybody in my position would do, I asked Google, “How can I get around without a Drivers License?”. My answer came back pretty quick. “Electric bicycles”, 36 volts of DC motivation. The rest is history.
EZgo-Now.com is a culmination of my passions, my knowledge, my work and the desire to keep pace with the ever-changing technologies used in self-propelled two and three-wheeled transportation. It is a website dedicated to cycling, electric bicycles, electric bicycle kits and the technologies tools and accessories that go along with them. I write about, work on, build and sell an alternative form of transportation called e-bikes. It’s fun, practical, safe & inexpensive. If this sounds to you like it might be worth a look. GREAT. You found a really good place to start.
Here’s a few pictures of my e- bike stuff:
Old Trek 800 Converted to an E-Bike
My First 36 volt E-Bike
Transporting Bikes W/O a Drivers License
Company Truck NOT Required
36 Volt, Gear Drive E-BikeKit on Dual Suspension Mongoose
LiFeP04 Battery Pack using 3.2V Headway Cells with BMS
Wednesday, December 12th, 2012 at
Last week I decided to bite the bullet & plunk down $100 or so for a decent headlight for my bike. Between a recent move, up grading my 36v e-bike battery to 48v & the short winter days. (That and just about impaling myself on a mailbox the other night) You can imagine how happy I was to discover that I would be able to do this for under $50.00 and still have a good light that was plenty bright and great to look at.
1200 Lumen CREE XML T6 LED Bicycle HeadLight (Amazon.com)
After about an hour of searching for “Bike Lights” & reading reviews I decided on a CREE XML T6 LED. Now with all of this newly acquired knowledge you would think that placing my order should be quick & easy. Sadly, this was not the case and this is one of the main motivators for writing this article.
For those of you that don’t necessarily want to read my entire article, use the short list below for what you must know before comparing one seemingly identical light to another. The number one thing to remember! … These are rarely identical. They look the same but there not the same. The second is a CREE XML T6 LED is a tiny little light bulb that goes inside the bike light you’re looking to buy. IT IS NOT THE PRODUCT! A hot light bulb with a tiny battery makes a tiny light. Finally this is in NOT an article trying to steer you away from a CREE XML T6 LED Bike Light or any other CREE Lighting Product. On the contrary these are fantastic products. This article is intended only to help you choose the best CREE XML T6 LED Bike Light for your money. Click here to see some of the lights available through Amazon. OR use the Red “Quick Search” Box on your right.
Steps for getting the Bike Light You Need & Want
- Read the reviews.
- The scientific measurement term “lumens” is rarely used scientifically in advertisements. Never base your decision on this # alone.
- Pay close attention to the battery type & pack size. I have seen some very cheap prices only to find that batteries were not even included.
- If you’re in the US & purchasing from Ebay be sure to buy from US Ebay sellers. In the event of a problem the ability to communicate is paramount.
- Use a credit card or PayPal. NEVER EVER USE YOUR BANK CARD! EVER.
- Read the reviews.
- Pay close attention to shipping charges & delivery times.
- Most of the product descriptions & specifications are translated from Chinese. If it sounds funny be sure to verify it.
- Copy & paste the package contents from each light you’re considering. Then compare & sort each of these items to be sure each package contains everything you need or want.
- Read the reviews.
- Look at the pictures closely & compare to the contents list. The O-ring fasteners with the pull tab are much nicer to use than the regular O-ring.
- Read the reviews. Read the rest of this entry
Monday, November 5th, 2012 at
Five years ago putting a kickstand on my road bike or mountain bike would have been sacrilegious.
Five years ago I also rode my bikes for fun or exercise when I had the time, which is to say, not very often. For the sake of conveyance I also carried an 8″ Velcro strap which I used as a parking brake in the rare event that I actually had to park my bike during a ride.
A few years ago I had a huge re-awaking and discovered that even as an adult a bicycle could be used for transportation much like when I was 14 and used it to go everywhere. E-bikes played a big role in this re-awaking but whether its electric power or pedal power a bicycle is fantastic way to get around at least 50% of the time for 80% of my trips.
This new adult and socially responsible approach to bicycling however did require a slight change to my old world philosophy of “If it doesn’t make it go faster it’s not needed”. Kickstands where right up there with saddle bags when it came to the things “that weren’t needed”. Nowadays, I wouldn’t want to be without either one of them. At the same time, however, lighter is still better, the ability to quickly install & remove something is quite important and a quality look & feel are paramount.
That said, let me tell you about this little gem of a kickstand I found on Amazon.com. It meets all three of those requirements and it will arrive in your mailbox for under ten bucks. There are a ton of kickstands available and many of them are very good. Most good kick stands are going to cost at least $20 delivered. If your LOADED bike weighs more than 70Lbs. (the majority of e-bikes) however you really shouldn’t even consider anything other than a proper center stand. Most rear kickstands are just not up to the task. A decent center stand will cost between $30 & $60 delivered. They are however worth their weight in gold when you’re trying to load your bike up with grocery bags & other items after a shopping trip. Sadly they are not something you take on & off in a matter of minutes and they can be pretty clunky looking. Read the rest of this entry