Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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kauaicycler   10 W

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Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by kauaicycler » Jul 20 2019 12:34pm

I'm considering retiring to Costa Rica and I want to build an ebike as a car replacement. I haven't decided exactly where I want to live put the pacific coast is my most likely choice. When I lived in Hawaii my daily driver was a Jeep so I could drive on the back roads and beaches. I want something similar to that so I can explore my new home, carry my groceries and run errands. I would love a fat tire trike but given what I've read about road conditions and not wanting to attract a lot of attention I've decided against a trike. I think a good compromise would be a semi-recumbent fat tire beach cruiser. Maybe something like this https://www.electrabike.com/bikes/cruis ... t-tire-7d# Image but I'm here for suggestions.

I'm looking for advice on a motor(s) setup, I'm 5'11" and 245lbs. I would like to take advantage of regenerative braking but I'm concerned a DD hub motor wouldn't be able to handle the mountainous terrain of the country. Dependability is a primary concern so I'm a little worried about mid drives and geared hub motors. I'm thinking maybe two DD hub motors would meet my needs but I really don't know.

Thanks to all who replied to my previous post, viewtopic.php?f=3&t=100373&p=1468885#p1468885, I've nixed this plan mostly because of the idea of being alone so much of the time is not appealling. I originally thought I could socialize at the campgrounds and places I stay but, after much research, doing this full time is too expensive for me to live comfortably.

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Re: Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by markz » Jul 20 2019 5:10pm

The Leaf 1500W motor is direct drive and a great motor, but perhaps the rear MXUS 3000W would be better, then add Ferrfluid from www.ebikes.ca (Canada). Laced into a quality Alex DM24 26" and Sapim spokes, from the same place. You'd require lots of power (for the hills you mentioned) so the Kelly controllers are good, look at the 60V or 72V with 50A (or more). Then you'd need a sufficient battery to power all that, go to EM3EV for the battery to suit the motor + controller setup.

Mid drives are wonderful for hilly area's, but direct drives will last a long long time. There are some people in this forum who live in Costa Rica, so they'd give you lots of expert advice too. I'd go with a high powered direct drive rear hub motor, whether it be MXUS 3000W or MXUS 5000W or the QS motors.

It seems to me that stealth is not really that important, in terms of everything else except theft.
That being said, a mid drive would stick out.
A direct drive rear hub motor, can be hidden behind panneir bags on the rear rack!

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Re: Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by markz » Jul 20 2019 5:11pm

There is the Electra Townie 21D so you can get 3 gears on the crank, and 7 gears on the back.
Much better then the 7 gears on a 1 gear crank.

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Re: Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by kauaicycler » Jul 21 2019 12:38pm

markz wrote:
Jul 20 2019 5:10pm
The Leaf 1500W motor is direct drive and a great motor, but perhaps the rear MXUS 3000W would be better, then add Ferrfluid from www.ebikes.ca (Canada). Laced into a quality Alex DM24 26" and Sapim spokes, from the same place. You'd require lots of power (for the hills you mentioned) so the Kelly controllers are good, look at the 60V or 72V with 50A (or more). Then you'd need a sufficient battery to power all that, go to EM3EV for the battery to suit the motor + controller setup.

Mid drives are wonderful for hilly area's, but direct drives will last a long long time. There are some people in this forum who live in Costa Rica, so they'd give you lots of expert advice too. I'd go with a high powered direct drive rear hub motor, whether it be MXUS 3000W or MXUS 5000W or the QS motors.

It seems to me that stealth is not really that important, in terms of everything else except theft.
That being said, a mid drive would stick out.
A direct drive rear hub motor, can be hidden behind panneir bags on the rear rack!
Thanks! Just the kind of information I was looking for. I'm now researching some of your recommendations. I'm leaning towards the 5000w motors because I'd rather have too much power vs too little. It looks like 5000w motors requires 72v batteries and controllers?

Motor: Any major differences between MXUS motors or a QS equivalent? I'll pay more if it lasts longer and is more reliable.

Controller: I'm looking at the KLS60??S and KLS72??S, any of these looks like it would work. Any other Kelly controller you would recommend for this setup? Can I use a cycle analyst with the Kelly controllers?

Battery: EM3EV doesn't list any 60v batteries.

Stealth: Wasn't my intention but it seems like a good idea now that you mention it, it's more about blending in on a two wheel vs a three wheeler.

Costa Rica: I plan on moving there as a pensinado retiree so I believe I could bring this bike with me. I know I can't fly with the battery so I'd have to ship it by sea, I live in Florida. I'd love to hear from some riders that live in Costa Rica about the bike build, ebike laws, online shopping or whatever.

I'm sure I'll have more questions as I narrow my choices down.

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Re: Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by RunForTheHills » Jul 21 2019 12:40pm

It's fun to plan ahead for a big move like that. However, the smart thing to do would be to wait until you get there to determine the best way to get around. Every town has it's quirks and the locals will have worked it out long ago.

https://costa-rica-guide.com/bicycle/dont-ride-here/

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Re: Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by 999zip999 » Jul 21 2019 12:54pm

You might be better off with a gas motor as Costa Rica does not have ebike parts. And ebikes can be a problem and for new people.

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Re: Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by kauaicycler » Jul 21 2019 2:12pm

RunForTheHills wrote:
Jul 21 2019 12:40pm
It's fun to plan ahead for a big move like that. However, the smart thing to do would be to wait until you get there to determine the best way to get around. Every town has it's quirks and the locals will have worked it out long ago.

https://costa-rica-guide.com/bicycle/dont-ride-here/
I'm definitely going there to check things out before I move. I was hoping I could use the bike here while I save up to move there. Looks like the smart move is to go there before I decide on transportation. That's what I get for assuming bikes are everywhere.

I've heard that the roads are dangerous, most of what I heard was about the pan-am highway. It appears, from the link, that the roads around San Jose are the most dangerous. Narrow and dangerous were big factors when I decided against a trike. I hear the bus system is very good so taking it might be the best option for when I need to go there. I'm hoping to live along the pacific coast.

Great input! Thanks!

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Re: Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by kauaicycler » Jul 21 2019 2:33pm

999zip999 wrote:
Jul 21 2019 12:54pm
You might be better off with a gas motor as Costa Rica does not have ebike parts. And ebikes can be a problem and for new people.
I heard it's expensive to own and maintain a car there and I've never ridden a motorcycle or scooter although I could learn. I was also hoping to be as friendly to the environment as possible and avoid gas.

I'm hoping to hear from people that live there about online shopping since most parts seem to come from china anyway. I could possibly have friends or family ship me parts but I need to find out more about duties and customs.

Great point about parts, I will eventually need them at some point. Thanks!

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Re: Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by John in CR » Jul 21 2019 3:15pm

kauaicycler wrote:
Jul 21 2019 2:33pm
999zip999 wrote:
Jul 21 2019 12:54pm
You might be better off with a gas motor as Costa Rica does not have ebike parts. And ebikes can be a problem and for new people.
I heard it's expensive to own and maintain a car there and I've never ridden a motorcycle or scooter although I could learn. I was also hoping to be as friendly to the environment as possible and avoid gas.

I'm hoping to hear from people that live there about online shopping since most parts seem to come from china anyway. I could possibly have friends or family ship me parts but I need to find out more about duties and customs.

Great point about parts, I will eventually need them at some point. Thanks!
The requirements are simple, an electric motor with 5kw output or more makes it a motorcycle, no pedal requirements, just a helmet, and at night reflective jacket and lights. Just don't ride like an ass, to help maintain the favorable treatment. Retain the motor paperwork, so you have something to show the motor rating.

Down at beach level is where things are mostly flat, so it just depends where you live as to how well a hubmotor stands up.

Unless you're moving with a container full of personal stuff, I wouldn't worry about building it before coming down. Shipping adds up in a hurry. I've been riding electric for 11 years here in CR, and other than helping during our move last year, the car has been parked for over 3 years now.

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Re: Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by markz » Jul 21 2019 10:36pm

kauaicycler wrote:
Jul 21 2019 12:38pm
Thanks! Just the kind of information I was looking for. I'm now researching some of your recommendations. I'm leaning towards the 5000w motors because I'd rather have too much power vs too little. It looks like 5000w motors requires 72v batteries and controllers?
Go with the MXUS 5kw motor, straight from the MXUS factory, https://mxus.en.alibaba.com/?spm=a2700. ... 1090PQ3bbz


Motor: Any major differences between MXUS motors or a QS equivalent? I'll pay more if it lasts longer and is more reliable.
No differences, but the mxus is better


Controller: I'm looking at the KLS60??S and KLS72??S, any of these looks like it would work. Any other Kelly controller you would recommend for this setup? Can I use a cycle analyst with the Kelly controllers?
The KLS is good, just different power levels, depends on the battery you buy. Sinewave controller makes it silent. Regen braking saves on brake pads.


Battery: EM3EV doesn't list any 60v batteries.
They'll probably make anything you want.


Stealth: Wasn't my intention but it seems like a good idea now that you mention it, it's more about blending in on a two wheel vs a three wheeler.
Its more about keeping up with traffic.
Remember to have two of everything!
4xThrottles, 2xcontrollers, 2xcheap digital volt meter, torque arms or build your own, 2x soldering iron, 1lb of solder, lots of heat shrink, thin wire gauge for throttles, sense, thick gauge wire for phase, $20 ebike tester, cheap spare frame, lots of wheels, spare seat

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Re: Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by kauaicycler » Jul 22 2019 3:23pm

John in CR wrote:
Jul 21 2019 3:15pm

The requirements are simple, an electric motor with 5kw output or more makes it a motorcycle, no pedal requirements, just a helmet, and at night reflective jacket and lights. Just don't ride like an ass, to help maintain the favorable treatment. Retain the motor paperwork, so you have something to show the motor rating.

Down at beach level is where things are mostly flat, so it just depends where you live as to how well a hubmotor stands up.

Unless you're moving with a container full of personal stuff, I wouldn't worry about building it before coming down. Shipping adds up in a hurry. I've been riding electric for 11 years here in CR, and other than helping during our move last year, the car has been parked for over 3 years now.
Thanks for replying John, I was hoping to hear from someone that actually lives there. From a post on another forum I was lead to believe 5kw was still a ebike. After your post I decided to see if I can find something official and I found this site https://licenciascr.com/licencias-y-ley ... electrica/. Even having this I'm confused because it says up to 5kw is a bike. So is 4.9kw a bike but 5kw is a motorcycle? A little vague, especially with google translate (I'm learning Spanish but very beginner). I don't have a motorcycle license here so I guess I would need to take some tests or something if I go with a 5kw motor.

Given the above, and the fact I don't know where I'll actually be living or may move to later, do you think a 3kw motor would handle a large percentage of the country?

Seeing as you've been riding ebikes there for 11 years I assume ordering parts from alibaba and other online shopping is practical. If your familiar with US prices for em3v or similar battery suppliers how does the price compare to there?

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Re: Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by kauaicycler » Jul 22 2019 3:29pm

markz wrote:
Jul 21 2019 10:36pm
Remember to have two of everything!
4xThrottles, 2xcontrollers, 2xcheap digital volt meter, torque arms or build your own, 2x soldering iron, 1lb of solder, lots of heat shrink, thin wire gauge for throttles, sense, thick gauge wire for phase, $20 ebike tester, cheap spare frame, lots of wheels, spare seat
Thanks for the link and clarifications! Great list of parts to keep on hand. Having spares makes sense since this will be my daily driver.

Do you think an aluminum frame, like the one referenced above, will be able to handle a 5kw or even a 3kw motor?

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Re: Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by 999zip999 » Jul 22 2019 5:56pm

I run a mixes 3000 v3 4t with a 72 volt battery 20 ah battery I get about 25 or I can get 50 miles depends how I use the throttle. Brust of 6,000 watts @ 80amps. A D.D motor works for years. Get a great battery maybe made out of leaf cells from a car. ?

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Re: Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by motomech » Jul 22 2019 6:47pm

I lived and worked all over Latin Amer. for 20 years, 7 of those years in Playa de Coco
(Playa de Locos), Guanacaste (NW CR). A lot of those places, I shipped an Ebike because the Co. I was working for was shipping a container anyway, but I didn't have an Ebike in CR and I don't think it would have worked that well. First off, it rains pretty much all the time during the rainy season (about 5 months) and the roads turn into a morass of mud and are often covered w/ a foot or two of water. An ebike would be cool in the sm. beach towns like Coco, Tamarindo and Flamingo during the dry season, but I don't think I would want to ride out of town. There are no shoulders on any of the roads and the roads and drivers in CR are notoriously bad.
Yes, cars are stupid expensive for what you get and the impuestos are so high it's not practical to ship one in.
Although I owned a Jeep (money pit) and a Bronco (totaled), most of the time I rode motorcycles. One nice thing about CR, is non-residents can own vehicles. By far, the easiest and cheapest way to get around is to buy a new 150cc to 200cc Chinese enduro for $1500 to $2000 US. Every sm. city (like Liberia) sells them in Dept. stores and the really cool thing is, when you buy the bike, it comes w/ a year's registration and insurance included in the purchase price! In Nicaragua, where I couldn't own a vehicle, i would just ride it and sell it before the reg. expired and buy another.
No, these are not Hondas, but I have owned at least 5 different ones and never had a major problem. Besides, there are "hole in the wall" shops all over Latin Amer. and they fix them for very little money.
My advice is, you are going to have enough problems moving to CR (How's your spanish) w/out trying to rely on an Ebike for transpo. Ebikes always seem to need something, whic is not that big a deal in the States where it's easy to get parts, but in Latin Amer., you will wait and pay to get stuff. Also, although I can't explain why, things electrical seem to always take a sh!t faster in Latin Amer.
I always thought I would retire in CR, but I ended up in Mexico. I just got tired of the Gov. there playing games w/ the Expat requirements.
It is a great place if you are a healthy single guy though:)
Note: If this sounds like something you might want to do, I would recommend getting a MC driving permit in the States before you go.
Second note: Scooters can work also, they are easier to carry groceries on and when it's raining, you can sort of stay dry w/ just a poncho. The little whl.s are a downside as they tend to fall into the potholes, which are everywhere.
P.S. I don't think a person can ride/drive anything legally on the beaches in CR.
Motomech

'03 Rocky Mountain Edge 2WD 260 Q100H frt and Ezee V1 rear 2 Elifebike 20A & 25A 9-FET controllers 12S/10Ah Multistar Lipo rear 4Ah Turnigy frt Luna Cyclops Extra lite Alex 24DM rims, Crazy Bobs run ghetto tubeless. 25 mph. Mean Well HLG-320H-54A
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... =3&t=83430
'07 GT Idive 4 4.0, Q100C 201 14S LiPoly elifebike 9-FET 20A controller. 23 MPH.
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 4#p1378484

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Re: Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by markz » Jul 22 2019 9:07pm

I would go with a steel frame, easier to weld to, plus steel is stronger. Look for a Downhill mountain bike, full suspension. Have a cheap second frame ready to go that you know the motor can fit into.

Oh and remember this, the 5kw motors require a 165mm rear dropout spacing!

kauaicycler wrote:
Jul 22 2019 3:29pm
markz wrote:
Jul 21 2019 10:36pm
Remember to have two of everything!
4xThrottles, 2xcontrollers, 2xcheap digital volt meter, torque arms or build your own, 2x soldering iron, 1lb of solder, lots of heat shrink, thin wire gauge for throttles, sense, thick gauge wire for phase, $20 ebike tester, cheap spare frame, lots of wheels, spare seat
Thanks for the link and clarifications! Great list of parts to keep on hand. Having spares makes sense since this will be my daily driver.

Do you think an aluminum frame, like the one referenced above, will be able to handle a 5kw or even a 3kw motor?

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Re: Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by markz » Jul 23 2019 3:41pm

I feel deflated with my motor out of service and smelling a not nice burnt winding hue.
Now I have to resort to taking the bus :(
Well I have to resort to taking the bus, and riding my normal fat bike :(

When you get whatever your going to get, be sure to install a temp probe into the motor, and have it hooked up to the controller to save you from that burnt winding aroma.

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Re: Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by kauaicycler » Jul 24 2019 12:23pm

motomech wrote:
Jul 22 2019 6:47pm

Although I owned a Jeep (money pit) and a Bronco (totaled), most of the time I rode motorcycles. One nice thing about CR, is non-residents can own vehicles. By far, the easiest and cheapest way to get around is to buy a new 150cc to 200cc Chinese enduro for $1500 to $2000 US. Every sm. city (like Liberia) sells them in Dept. stores and the really cool thing is, when you buy the bike, it comes w/ a year's registration and insurance included in the purchase price! In Nicaragua, where I couldn't own a vehicle, i would just ride it and sell it before the reg. expired and buy another.

Note: If this sounds like something you might want to do, I would recommend getting a MC driving permit in the States before you go.
Second note: Scooters can work also, they are easier to carry groceries on and when it's raining, you can sort of stay dry w/ just a poncho. The little whl.s are a downside as they tend to fall into the potholes, which are everywhere.
P.S. I don't think a person can ride/drive anything legally on the beaches in CR.
Great information! Based on what you and John have said I think my best bet is to get a MC license before I go. The cheap Chinese enduros sounds like the way to go. As John said I could just build my ebike there. So my new plan is buy an enduro when I get there and possibly build an ebike later (or not). Being by the beach would definitely be corrosive to anything electrical.

I'm so glad I posted here! Now I need to figure out how to get a motorcycle license here in Florida without owning a motorcycle. :wink:

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Re: Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by kauaicycler » Jul 24 2019 12:24pm

markz wrote:
Jul 23 2019 3:41pm
I feel deflated with my motor out of service and smelling a not nice burnt winding hue.
Now I have to resort to taking the bus :(
Well I have to resort to taking the bus, and riding my normal fat bike :(

When you get whatever your going to get, be sure to install a temp probe into the motor, and have it hooked up to the controller to save you from that burnt winding aroma.
I feel for you!

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Re: Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by motomech » Jul 24 2019 12:44pm

kauaicycler wrote:
Jul 24 2019 12:23pm
motomech wrote:
Jul 22 2019 6:47pm

Although I owned a Jeep (money pit) and a Bronco (totaled), most of the time I rode motorcycles. One nice thing about CR, is non-residents can own vehicles. By far, the easiest and cheapest way to get around is to buy a new 150cc to 200cc Chinese enduro for $1500 to $2000 US. Every sm. city (like Liberia) sells them in Dept. stores and the really cool thing is, when you buy the bike, it comes w/ a year's registration and insurance included in the purchase price! In Nicaragua, where I couldn't own a vehicle, i would just ride it and sell it before the reg. expired and buy another.

Note: If this sounds like something you might want to do, I would recommend getting a MC driving permit in the States before you go.
Second note: Scooters can work also, they are easier to carry groceries on and when it's raining, you can sort of stay dry w/ just a poncho. The little whl.s are a downside as they tend to fall into the potholes, which are everywhere.
P.S. I don't think a person can ride/drive anything legally on the beaches in CR.
Great information! Based on what you and John have said I think my best bet is to get a MC license before I go. The cheap Chinese enduros sounds like the way to go. As John said I could just build my ebike there. So my new plan is buy an enduro when I get there and possibly build an ebike later (or not). Being by the beach would definitely be corrosive to anything electrical.

I'm so glad I posted here! Now I need to figure out how to get a motorcycle license here in Florida without owning a motorcycle. :wink:
Most areas have riding courses where they supply the bike to take the test on, some sponsered by the State.
It is very generous of john to offer to help you, he certainly is knowledgeable. I would point out that he lives outside San Jose, a grueling 5 or 6 hr. drive from Guanacaste. But for most folks that live out in the Pacific beach towns, there comes a time when going to the "Big Pineapple" becomes necessary.
Motomech

'03 Rocky Mountain Edge 2WD 260 Q100H frt and Ezee V1 rear 2 Elifebike 20A & 25A 9-FET controllers 12S/10Ah Multistar Lipo rear 4Ah Turnigy frt Luna Cyclops Extra lite Alex 24DM rims, Crazy Bobs run ghetto tubeless. 25 mph. Mean Well HLG-320H-54A
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... =3&t=83430
'07 GT Idive 4 4.0, Q100C 201 14S LiPoly elifebike 9-FET 20A controller. 23 MPH.
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 4#p1378484

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Re: Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by kauaicycler » Jul 24 2019 1:43pm

motomech wrote:
Jul 24 2019 12:44pm
It is very generous of john to offer to help you, he certainly is knowledgeable. I would point out that he lives outside San Jose, a grueling 5 or 6 hr. drive from Guanacaste. But for most folks that live out in the Pacific beach towns, there comes a time when going to the "Big Pineapple" becomes necessary.
I think what John was saying is that I could build an ebike in Costa Rica, not necessarily with his help, but maybe some advice. :wink:

I hear the bus system is good so when I do have to go to the "Big Pineapple" it'll probably be by bus.

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Re: Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by markz » Jul 24 2019 5:17pm

It is not a matter if the bus system is good, its a matter of do the buses have bicycle racks.
In British Columbia province of Canada, every single bus has a bike rack. It doesnt matter if its the short buses, regular buses or double length bus, each and every bus has a bike rack. Move over one Province, to Alberta, and you may have to wait 45 minutes and hope a bus comes with a bike rack. When I burnt my motor, I had to wait for buses with bike racks on them, took a few hrs of waiting as each bus went by with no bike rack. Luckily I was at a spot where there were multiple bus routes. But if I was in a community where they only use short buses, I would have been S.O.L. and would have to call a cab. I've been very lucky so far as to not call a cab to take me to the city train station.

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Re: Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by spinningmagnets » Jul 24 2019 6:20pm

There is nothing wrong with 60V or even 72V (16S and 20S). I like 52V 14S battery packs for several reasons. I am happy at riding my local streets at a top speed of 30-MPH (my normal cruising speed is about 18-MPH, but 30-MPH helps with cars bearing down on me).

Inverters that will convert 13S/14S into 120V AC or 240V AC are readily available and affordable. Solar panels and charge controllers that work with 13S/14S are also available (a 14S top charge is 58.8V, but I recommend 57V max for extended pack life, roughly 90% charge).

I'd rather make a street rod out of a 13S + 13S = 26S, rather than 16S or 20S. It's hard to find someone who will ship pre-assembled battery packs to Costa Rica (among many other similar places), but it's not hard to get the parts. Consider buying a kWeld/Malectrics spot-welder that uses a car battery as the power source, and buying 18650's to assemble your own packs. You could become the battery guy in CR....

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Re: Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by Tommm » Jul 24 2019 8:12pm

The mxus 3k is more like 2400w compared to the qs 3k 3000w. The mxus is smaller, lighter and has less copper and magnet mass.

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Re: Tropical Mountain & Beach Daily Driver

Post by 999zip999 » Jul 24 2019 8:48pm

Yes to start a cheapes not cheap m/c to pull you up a hill. In Florida they sell m/c and talk some one in to a short test ride the take same time at the e-bike place in Florida and test for Free. Free. first. Free oh it takes time.
You do ride bikes ?

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High Power Motors that Fit 135mm Dropouts

Post by kauaicycler » Aug 27 2019 10:26am

The bike referenced in this post has 135mm dropouts and an aluminum frame. The high power motors recommended here require wider dropouts. Does anyone have any recommendations for a high power motor (3000 watts) that fits in 135mm dropouts?

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