Okay guys. Your hard work helping me select a kit wasn't a waste of your time - at least to me it wasn't. I bought the kit! I finally took the plunge and purchased from Terry over at Hightekbikes (lots more details and pics in my blog. See my sig). How did I finally decide to choose this kit? IT WAS MIDRANGE IN PRICE:
I bit the bullet and decided my $400-500 pricerange wasn't reasonable. The battery itself is like $350-450, right? Ugh. Still recovering from my headache about that. From what you guys told me either here or in the forum someplace, kits cost $400-$1,200 depending on lots of things. I wasn't about to spend $1k or anything close to that, so my budget was pretty much $500-$750. It hit that mark. Still tough to swallow, but hopefully I'll feel more like it's worth it once this kit's installed. Was what I got more expensive than if I were to buy from ebay or any other website or even the famous Cell_Man? Yes, but I think it was worth it. If I knew more about this electronics stuff, I might've gone to another source. Being so new though, I felt more comfortable paying a bit more for a local dealer. More on that below.I TOOK A TESTRIDE AND KNEW 36V WAS FOR ME:
Len from Electric Bike Outlet was very nice and treated me amazingly well on my test ride day. The only reason I didn't go with him is that he didn't offer the kit I was looking for. He's more local and put a lot more work into helping me and I totally would have bought from him if he was selling the stuff I was looking for. His hub kits are all 24v (He's always expanding inventory, so ask him if you're looking for something specific in the future). He's selling 'em for good deals to make room for new 36v Prodeco kits coming in for 2012. I wanted a stealth kit with a smaller sized motor which could still get some performance umph. He sells a couple kits but his company is more focused on pre-built e-bikes of which he's got a good selection. He's got great deals on demo models if anyone's looking for an e-bike in the Bay Area. Knowledgeable, professional - everything you'd want in a dealer. I recommend him. I took the test ride at 5pm and he didn't rush me at all. The limits we had were that the sun was coming down and neither one of us wanted me to be riding in the dark if we could help it. We even finished the evening off with a glass of water (although he had offered me beer too which I had turned down).
Thanks Len. I know it was bit unfair that you gave a test ride and I ended up buying from someone else, but it wasn't b/c of price b/c this thing was pricier than the kits you were offering me. It literally came down to the type of kit. Hopefully though, taking the 2.5 hours with me was worth getting a happy would-be customer who can speak highly of you. I'm no celebrity, but I'll definitely help spread the word about what you're doing for the e-bike world in the Bay Area. I'll maintain high regard for you and will point people in the direction of your shop if they're looking for pre-built bikes. I'm sure there's plenty of people who would rather just get up and go than to go through all the trouble like I did of crazy amounts of researching and still have to go through the labor of installing the kit. Oh and Len's got a few e-folding bikes too if anyone's looking for some of those. STEALTH LOOK:
I really wanted the stealth look. Not everyone cares, but I guess I'm just picky about this sorta thing. It's no secret that the bike is an ebike, but at the same time it doesn't need to be a big announcement. I want the bike to look more low key but still cool and worth a second look. The Mini Mite was almost perfect. The motor's physical size matched what I was looking for. The only way it could be better is if the spokes were black. Instead, they're bright chrome - super thick spokes look like the depth of Popsicle sticks. HIGHTEKBIKES HAD GOOD REVIEWS:
When there's positive things people say about a company and literally nothing bad (that I've read so far), then it's something you can really trust - and I did. Although I haven't had a chance to test the unit yet since it's still sitting in the garage and I'm spending time writing this update instead of installing it, I can say Terry's a down to earth fella. He's responded to my emails even during after hours answering each and every question I had. One could say I'm not the easiest customer. Terry helped me out really well. LOCAL DEALER:
Don't expect Terry to deliver the unit to your house, but he did for me. He happened to be in my area so I took him up his offer. Terry actually arrived more or less within the 2-3pm window he gave me. Terry delivered the kit to my house on a weekend! If that's not superb customer service, I don't know what is.
I can't imagine any other dealer going to my house to deliver a package in person and showing me how all the components go together. All the bad stuff I've been hearing (reading) about BMS Battery (although there were plenty of good things too) made me shy away. Plus as a newbie, I really wanted someone local. Especially since I know jack squat about this stuff, it helps to have someone local that can help me with any issues that come up. Another reason I ended up buying from Terry is b/c the correspondence happened so quickly. He literally replied to my first email w/in the hour and it was past 10pm. I know it was buy chance b/c I don't expect all dealers to carry around smart phones checking their email 24/7. A lot of it was luck, but Terry took the effort to reply during after hours which helped the sale. If I'm waiting for responses from a number of people, the first one to respond usually gets most of my attention - especially if the response is specific and geared towards my questions and aren't just generic replies.
Little teaser pic. The rest are on my blog. More to come when I finally put this thing together. Tomorrow being Halloween, I don't think this thing's coming together until Tuesday night at the earliest. I can't wait. I'm putting a 7-speed 11-34T Shimano Megarange Freewheel on this bad boy! Glad I saved it b/c they don't make 'em anymore and no one sells it (I should know b/c I called all SF bike shops looking for a second one - yes, that's over 20 shops).