Archive for 'Conversions'

GEARS & SPROCKET SIZES & OTHER PRACTICAL MATTERS

What is Cadence and what role does it play with my E- bike?

Cluster & Crank

Speed or Power?
It’s all in the gears.

Park Tool FR-1

The proper tools makes changing gears easy.

It’s how fast you spin your legs & it effects comfort, range, speed, fun, exercise & endurance. It also keeps  those in uniform from thinking too hard about how you manage to go 25 mph without moving your legs.

With all of the information available on E bikes and e- bike conversions I find it puzzling that the topic of selecting gear ratios for our e-bikes is so seldom discussed. Part of this, I’m sure stems from the fact that the majority of today’s E bike conversions are front or rear wheel hub motors and run completely independent of the bikes original drive-train. In addition to a lack of a physical attachment, the subject of cadence, gear ratios, crank sets, freewheels and the 100 year history of everything just mentioned would be large enough to dictate a forum dedicated to that alone. However, whether it’s independent or just to complicated, people, pedals & gears must remain an integrate part of the bicycle’s drive-train. Check out any road bike or mountain bike forum or website and pedal RPM, (cadence) gearing and shifting will be discussed in great detail, yet most electric bike forums rarely discuss the subjects at all. This is, in my opinion an oversight that needs addressed. Regardless of which E-Bike Kit you choose for your conversion project, in order to get the best range and most performance from your newly converted bike, your legs must remain a part of the equation. Since every rider has a certain speed at which they like to spin their legs and we don’t ride in a vacuum we need gears in order to maintain that speed. At this point you might be tempted to say that the hub motor is now doing what the legs and gears were doing before and you would be right. Except that this is not a motorcycle. It’s an electrically assisted bicycle.

That said, I did not pay too much attention to the gearing on my 1st e-bike conversion either. It was on an 1990 Mongoose with a 500 watt Crystalyte hub motor on the front. My gears actually quit working properly after about 6 months from lack of use. I mean aside from needing a place to rest my feet, I’m only going to peddle when I’m climbing a grade or my battery dies. I was far more focused on things like the battery voltage, amps, motor controllers, etc. Perhaps it was the “motor head” in me but It was only after the novelty of the electric motor had worn off and I got into the routine of using my bike for practical transportation that I began to pay attention to practical items like range, cargo capacity, comfort, etc. Let’s face it, in retrospect, the primary reason for electrifying my bike was to increase it’s practicality. NOT taking pedal power into consideration was ,…….. well, very unpractical. Read the rest of this entry

Night-Ride

“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.

electrically covered Marin Bicycle

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

The Tale of (2) Conversions

Marin Pioneer Trail

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 Maxim

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

An E-Bike – The Short description

How do I describe an E-bike when someone asks?

Matt

Hmm……, well

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:

 

Battery Bag

Battery Bag

Old Trek 800 Converted to an E-Bike

Old Trek 800 Converted to an E-Bike

First E-Bike

My First 36 volt E-Bike

RideKick

Transporting Bikes W/O a Drivers License

Ready for Work

Company Truck NOT Required

Elect. Mongoose

36 Volt, Gear Drive E-BikeKit on Dual Suspension Mongoose

 

24v Headway LiFePO4 Battery Pack

LiFeP04 Battery Pack using 3.2V Headway Cells with BMS

New Post – New 2013 E-BikeKit Model

E-BikeKit Inventory

E-BikeKits waiting for installation

Work In Progress

A Schwinn about to be “Converted”

 

The last two months have been real busy with buying, stocking  and converting new bicycles into e-bikes.  In addition to building them, testing them, reviewing & writing about them. I also advertise, sell and even deliver them. This has allowed me little time for writing much of anything let alone writing these posts which I enjoy. My writing has been focused on the sales oriented interior pages of this blog. I know that’s not acceptable for a blog that’s supposed to be “Posting” Fresh Content” daily. Fortunately there is  fresh content in EZgo-Now  it’s just NOT found on this front page that displays posts NOT pages. A shortcoming of the template I’m using for sure & one that must be fixed soon.  Until then I’ll work harder at keeping both of these sections current.

So, anyway the other week I decided to place a text ad with Google that would appear along side of the search results when somebody did a search for e-bike kits. The whole purpose of which is to increase my on-line sales of the e-bike kits I use and sell from E-BikeKit. Naturally this got me reviewing E-BikeKit.com web-site for up-dated information & prices. This is what I learned.

Jason at E-BikeKit.com has just “Officially Announced” his NEW 2013 E-BikeKit.  Now the E-BikeKit.com e bike kits have often been considered by many to be one of the best kits you can buy.  My Take?…. After using and selling them for a number of years I  believe, that for the money, they are the best. End of Story.

Starting the 3rd week of June 2013 all E-BikeKit Models will include among other things, an LCD display that eliminates the need for optional equipment like an speedometer/odometer, battery fuel gauge, volt/amp meter or power on indicator light. It also has a 5 position level assist which can greatly increase your battery range. The display is also back-lit which allows for easy viewing night or day & includes 5 trouble indicator lights at the top of the screen for pin pointing problems. The unit is user programmable allowing you to set it up the way you want it. E-BikeKit has even upgraded their controller and improved their already almost perfect electrical connectors. It’s this constant attention to detail that really sets E-BikeKit.com apart from their competition. Please watch the following video for complete details on the 2013 upgrades.

 

Although I have not seen the new 2013 Model I do have had a lot of experience with the 2012 Model. See below for my recent E-BikeKit conversions. You’ll notice that two of them are using  an electronic meter on the handlebar. So far this season I have wired up 2 battery fuel gauges, 1 Watts-Up Meter & 1  electronic speedometer. None of these will be needed any longer with the New 2013 Model.

Read the rest of this entry

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