Donor for tall guys

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rootshell   100 mW

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Donor for tall guys

Post by rootshell » May 26 2019 2:26pm

Hey everyone. Long time lurker, but finally taking the plunge to build my first ebike.

I've been and EV owner for years, and with the surge in popularity comes lack of convenient close charger availability at times. I'm finding myself commuting from the multi-charging station to my building, more and more. An ebike would be perfect for the task. My ebike commute would be really no more than 2 miles per day round trip, so range dictates the number of times per month I need to bring the battery home to charge.

My car is a small compact (Leaf), but the bike would not be transported much and remain on campus. Also, I'm a tall guy at 6'3" 230lbs, so a compact bike will not be practical in terms of comfort. I'm just not having a lot of luck finding a large frame used donor.

To summarize my ebike needs:
  • Short distances, maybe 10-20 miles to reduce frequency of charging. Will tote battery home to charge.
  • Donor needs to support my size and height, 6'3" 230lbs.
  • No real requirements in regards to speed, maybe 15-25mph. This is about convenience really.
  • No hills on my commute, just what you would expect on varying surface streets.
  • Trying to keep under a $700 budget.


I have found some bargain steel frame donors on CL such as this: https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/bik/d/ ... 73224.html

I figure for $40, I can replace any parts that may need service and still keep it a budget build. The 20" frame does concern me though as being too small for my size.

Not opposed to buying a new donor and doing the conversion, if that's more cost effective than trying to find a 22" used donor.

Any advice appreciated. Thanks.

-Eric

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by flat tire » May 26 2019 5:26pm

Ride your bike more and don't leave it places. This will have the advantage of getting you to a reasonable weight and also help avoid the bike being stolen.

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neptronix   100 GW

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by neptronix » May 26 2019 5:51pm

6 foot 3, eh? you need an extra large.. and yes, those are hard to find.. finding frames for builds has dogged me for years, but through persistence, i usually find a frame hanging out on ebay. :)

Unfortunately these larger bikes don't fit too well in cars though.

22" or larger is what you'll need.
"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." - Dalai Lama

My first major build: 1.6kW 8T MAC motor on a Trek 4500.
The new all-arounder: Leafmotor 1500w @ 4kW on a Turner O2 full suspension.
The monster scooter: 20" eZee on a Cannondale Semi Recumbent.
Whipper-snapper: ? on a lightweight BikeE Semi Recumbent

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Chalo   100 GW

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by Chalo » May 26 2019 6:18pm

flat tire wrote:
May 26 2019 5:26pm
Ride your bike more and don't leave it places. This will have the advantage of getting you to a reasonable weight and also help avoid the bike being stolen.
230 pounds is a pretty normal weight for a 6'3" man with a large frame.

But yes-- leaving a bike regularly in the same place in a campus area is a very good formula for getting it ripped off.
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by neptronix » May 26 2019 6:26pm

For this application i'd probably build an electric skateboard or folding scooter instead. Once you get done riding it, you carry it into wherever you're going. Might be a better 'last mile' transport vehicle..
"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." - Dalai Lama

My first major build: 1.6kW 8T MAC motor on a Trek 4500.
The new all-arounder: Leafmotor 1500w @ 4kW on a Turner O2 full suspension.
The monster scooter: 20" eZee on a Cannondale Semi Recumbent.
Whipper-snapper: ? on a lightweight BikeE Semi Recumbent

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rootshell   100 mW

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by rootshell » May 26 2019 6:30pm

flat tire wrote:
May 26 2019 5:26pm
Ride your bike more and don't leave it places. This will have the advantage of getting you to a reasonable weight and also help avoid the bike being stolen.
I'm not overweight and there is NO chance of the bike getting stolen where I work. But thanks for assuming I am obese in replying to my first post and not addressing any of my questions.

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by Chalo » May 26 2019 6:40pm

rootshell wrote:
May 26 2019 6:30pm
flat tire wrote:
May 26 2019 5:26pm
Ride your bike more and don't leave it places. This will have the advantage of getting you to a reasonable weight and also help avoid the bike being stolen.
I'm not overweight and there is NO chance of the bike getting stolen where I work. But thanks for assuming I am obese in replying to my first post and not addressing any of my questions.
Using a motorized vehicle for a one mile trip in reliably mild weather without significant hills is something a lazy sedentary person might do. So it's not an unreasonable guess.
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

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rootshell   100 mW

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by rootshell » May 26 2019 6:52pm

Chalo wrote:
May 26 2019 6:40pm
rootshell wrote:
May 26 2019 6:30pm
flat tire wrote:
May 26 2019 5:26pm
Ride your bike more and don't leave it places. This will have the advantage of getting you to a reasonable weight and also help avoid the bike being stolen.
I'm not overweight and there is NO chance of the bike getting stolen where I work. But thanks for assuming I am obese in replying to my first post and not addressing any of my questions.
Using a motorized vehicle for a one mile trip in reliably mild weather without significant hills is something a lazy sedentary person might do. So it's not an unreasonable guess.
Correct. But telling a total stranger that they are overweight and should exercise more is simply rude. Is that something you would do to a someone you just met? It's not advice I solicited.

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rootshell   100 mW

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by rootshell » May 26 2019 6:56pm

neptronix wrote:
May 26 2019 6:26pm
For this application i'd probably build an electric skateboard or folding scooter instead. Once you get done riding it, you carry it into wherever you're going. Might be a better 'last mile' transport vehicle..
Thanks, but I feel more comfortable on a bike than scooter or skateboard.

This bike will be left at work and will be quite safe there. There are communal bikes about, but there never seem to be any at my source or destination. Plus, having an electronics background and a well stocked garage/shop, I thought this would be a fun project.

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rootshell   100 mW

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by rootshell » May 26 2019 7:02pm

neptronix wrote:
May 26 2019 5:51pm
6 foot 3, eh? you need an extra large.. and yes, those are hard to find.. finding frames for builds has dogged me for years, but through persistence, i usually find a frame hanging out on ebay. :)

Unfortunately these larger bikes don't fit too well in cars though.

22" or larger is what you'll need.
I have no issue purchasing a 22" bike new, but at that point, does it become impractical to build than to buy an ebike outright. I can transport the bike to work in my van and it will be left there, so size it not really a big issue.

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by neptronix » May 26 2019 7:16pm

rootshell wrote:
May 26 2019 7:02pm
I have no issue purchasing a 22" bike new, but at that point, does it become impractical to build than to buy an ebike outright. I can transport the bike to work in my van and it will be left there, so size it not really a big issue.
Well it's a matter of your patience to money/frugalness ratio then.

If you want a basic mountain bike hardtail, and can't find one used in your size, but want a step up from walmart quality, bikesdirect and bikeisland are two good choices. ( their websites appear to be having problems today, but check back later )
A half decent hardtail bike will run you $200-$400 over there.

ps don't take too much offense from the peanut gallery over here..
67245881.jpg
67245881.jpg (59.69 KiB) Viewed 1282 times
"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." - Dalai Lama

My first major build: 1.6kW 8T MAC motor on a Trek 4500.
The new all-arounder: Leafmotor 1500w @ 4kW on a Turner O2 full suspension.
The monster scooter: 20" eZee on a Cannondale Semi Recumbent.
Whipper-snapper: ? on a lightweight BikeE Semi Recumbent

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rootshell   100 mW

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by rootshell » May 26 2019 7:46pm

neptronix wrote:
May 26 2019 7:16pm
rootshell wrote:
May 26 2019 7:02pm
I have no issue purchasing a 22" bike new, but at that point, does it become impractical to build than to buy an ebike outright. I can transport the bike to work in my van and it will be left there, so size it not really a big issue.
Well it's a matter of your patience to money/frugalness ratio then.

If you want a basic mountain bike hardtail, and can't find one used in your size, but want a step up from walmart quality, bikesdirect and bikeisland are two good choices. ( their websites appear to be having problems today, but check back later )
A half decent hardtail bike will run you $200-$400 over there.

ps don't take too much offense from the peanut gallery over here..

67245881.jpg
Thank you.

I've been checking CL and ebay for a while with little luck, so I thought perhaps other tall guys might have some insight on what worked for them, or perhaps frames that were sized smaller, but were more accommodating for tall people. Also, there may be challenges on doing conversions on +22" frames that I'm not aware of. Just trying to lean on the experiences of others before spending hundreds of dollars and hours of effort.

I just want to avoid another one of 'those' projects. The ones where you're out to save money doing it yourself and end up spending twice as much money and hours of time to end up with a frankenstein built from the home depot hardware and lumber section.

I'm familiar with bikesdirect, but was unaware of bikeisland. I'll browse around.

No problem with the peanut gallery. Just addressing a misconception. :wink:

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by AHicks » May 26 2019 8:13pm

I went the new bike for a donor route because I wanted decent resale as well as disk brakes for the area I ride. I found this bike to have plenty of quality, nothing mickey mouse about it that I saw. I sold it for what I had into it after riding it several hundred miles because it was too tall for me. I'm a hundred pounds heavier, 2 inches shorter, and I'm betting a few years older. I used a 1000w kit purchased through Amazon to convert it. Cost was about 1000 by time I put a seat and other misc parts to convert it to a more upright position. More details available if you are interested.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/29-Mens-Schw ... /153585860

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by RunForTheHills » May 26 2019 8:16pm


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rootshell   100 mW

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by rootshell » May 26 2019 8:47pm

AHicks wrote:
May 26 2019 8:13pm
I went the new bike for a donor route because I wanted decent resale as well as disk brakes for the area I ride. I found this bike to have plenty of quality, nothing mickey mouse about it that I saw. I sold it for what I had into it after riding it several hundred miles because it was too tall for me. I'm a hundred pounds heavier, 2 inches shorter, and I'm betting a few years older. I used a 1000w kit purchased through Amazon to convert it. Cost was about 1000 by time I put a seat and other misc parts to convert it to a more upright position. More details available if you are interested.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/29-Mens-Schw ... /153585860
I think my only apprehension with the Walmart selection I browsed was the lack of steel in their inventory. I've had steel frame bikes in the past and they just felt more stable than their aluminum counterparts. But I haven't purchased or ridden a new bike in over 10 years, so perhaps the quality is better than I suspect.

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rootshell   100 mW

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by rootshell » May 26 2019 8:56pm

RunForTheHills wrote:
May 26 2019 8:16pm
This one might work:

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/d/ ... 55224.html
Thank you. Nice find, I owned a mogoose back in the 80's. I've contacted the seller for pics and a bottom line.

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by neptronix » May 26 2019 9:08pm

My favorite bike for your kind of build would have been built in the late 90's to mid 2001's out of chromoly steel.

Treks, cannondales, surly's.. etc.
Get one with a nice front suspension fork and you will have a pretty decent ride quality at 25mph.
"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." - Dalai Lama

My first major build: 1.6kW 8T MAC motor on a Trek 4500.
The new all-arounder: Leafmotor 1500w @ 4kW on a Turner O2 full suspension.
The monster scooter: 20" eZee on a Cannondale Semi Recumbent.
Whipper-snapper: ? on a lightweight BikeE Semi Recumbent

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by wturber » May 26 2019 9:13pm

neptronix wrote:
May 26 2019 6:26pm
For this application i'd probably build an electric skateboard or folding scooter instead. Once you get done riding it, you carry it into wherever you're going. Might be a better 'last mile' transport vehicle..
That was my first thought too.
"Commuter - DC Booster"
Iron Horse 3.0 hardtail - 48V / 1000W / 470rpm generic Chinese DD Hub motor (ebay)
8 x 36v 4.3ah 10s 2P battery packs - 1500W 30A DC Boost Converter delivers 54v and about 1000 watts peak
53T/42T Sakae Road cranks - 30mph+ on flats
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=90369

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rootshell   100 mW

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by rootshell » May 26 2019 9:20pm

neptronix wrote:
May 26 2019 9:08pm
My favorite bike for your kind of build would have been built in the late 90's to mid 2001's out of chromoly steel.

Treks, cannondales, surly's.. etc.
Get one with a nice front suspension fork and you will have a pretty decent ride quality at 25mph.
Agreed. One of my first bikes in the 80's was a Haro Freestyler Master and that thing took one hell of a punishment.

I found another Ad by the seller posted by RunForTheHills with a pic. Looks like it has seen better days:

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/d/ ... 93049.html

Here's another I found:

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/d/ ... 88566.html
Last edited by rootshell on May 26 2019 9:27pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by wturber » May 26 2019 9:24pm

Given the modest requirements, the main thing is just to find a solid bike that fits (you, the rider). You could go front hub, real hub, geared or direct drive. Any of these would work just fine for short to medium trips on relatively flat ground.

If we assume an inexpensive kit from ebay or elsewhere for around $250 and a bike for $200, That leaves only $250 for the battery.
You can find donor bikes cheaper, but there's usually a reason. They aren't as high quality to begin with, they are abused, or they need more extensive repair.

Your $700 budget might be doable, but it will be tough.

One other thing to consider is looking for an existing e-bike. If you are married to your $700 budget, then patience in looking for the right donor will be key. You might consider looking in thrift stores, and garage sales. Also, some communities have bike "savior" programs where they will help you build a bike from donor parts.

https://www.bikesaviours.org/
"Commuter - DC Booster"
Iron Horse 3.0 hardtail - 48V / 1000W / 470rpm generic Chinese DD Hub motor (ebay)
8 x 36v 4.3ah 10s 2P battery packs - 1500W 30A DC Boost Converter delivers 54v and about 1000 watts peak
53T/42T Sakae Road cranks - 30mph+ on flats
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=90369

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by neptronix » May 26 2019 9:27pm

Make sure you get something designed with a front suspension fork in mind. Because after 20mph, the ride can get pretty bumpy.

Also, damn, that is a lot of money for a >25 year old bike. I see those in thrift stores sometimes here in Utah going for $50.. don't know about your area.

Check this out. Not chromoly, but has all modern parts and front suspension:
https://bikeisland.com/cgi-bin/BKTK_STO ... rodID=2464
"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." - Dalai Lama

My first major build: 1.6kW 8T MAC motor on a Trek 4500.
The new all-arounder: Leafmotor 1500w @ 4kW on a Turner O2 full suspension.
The monster scooter: 20" eZee on a Cannondale Semi Recumbent.
Whipper-snapper: ? on a lightweight BikeE Semi Recumbent

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by RunForTheHills » May 26 2019 9:28pm

rootshell wrote:
May 26 2019 9:20pm
Agreed. One of my first bikes in the 80's was a Haro Freestyler Master and that thing took one hell of a punishment.

I found another Ad by the seller posted by RunForTheHills with a pic. Looks like it has seen better days:

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/d/ ... 93049.html
Some people do that to a commuter bike intentionally to make it less likely to get stolen. The components look like they are in good shape. Given how hard it is to find a bike in your size, you could always have it powder coated if you want to make it pretty. That runs a couple of hundred dollars. Or you could just sand it and rattle can it.

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by RunForTheHills » May 26 2019 9:30pm

neptronix wrote:
May 26 2019 9:27pm
Make sure you get something designed with a front suspension fork in mind. Because after 20mph, the ride can get pretty bumpy.

Also, damn, that is a lot of money for a >25 year old bike. I see those in thrift stores sometimes here in Utah going for $50.. don't know about your area.

Check this out. Not chromoly, but has all modern parts and front suspension:
https://bikeisland.com/cgi-bin/BKTK_STO ... rodID=2464
The Bay Area is more expensive for sure, but he could negotiate the price down based on the appearance. Does a front suspension matter that much for a 1 mile commute? He could just fatter tires with lower pressure.

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by wturber » May 26 2019 9:32pm

I would add that cruising for used bikes on Facebook' Marketplace might be worthwhile as well.
"Commuter - DC Booster"
Iron Horse 3.0 hardtail - 48V / 1000W / 470rpm generic Chinese DD Hub motor (ebay)
8 x 36v 4.3ah 10s 2P battery packs - 1500W 30A DC Boost Converter delivers 54v and about 1000 watts peak
53T/42T Sakae Road cranks - 30mph+ on flats
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=90369

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Re: Donor for tall guys

Post by e-beach » May 26 2019 9:40pm

Sounds like a large mountain bike will work for you. I roll around on a Trek 4500 21" because it has a large triangle to put my batteries and a nice big flat spot on the rear dropout to mount a torque arm.

A 21" frame would work for you, 22" would be better. As for unexpected problems, they more often occur when using a full suspension bike that has no good place for a torque arm.

If you are not riding far per ride an old steel framed mountain bike or old road bike with no suspension could work. Put an upright handlebar on it and you will be fine. Steel frames are easier to adjust if your inexpensive hub motor is too wide for the dropouts. Aluminum frames don't spread well. They crack instead. How do you know if a frame is steel? Put a magnet on it.

You also haven't mentioned your speed desires because speed and torque costs more money. A smallish motor can be powered by a smallish battery but they won't have umph to push you up any big hills.

Also for a little more money you could buy a premade e-bike.

:D :bolt:
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Past: Trek 4500 Yescomusa 36v 800w front DD.
Liahona, Yescomusa 36v 800w generic front DD.
1992 Trek 800, Yescomusa 800w 36v front DD.

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