Mtn Bike Advice needed; Help choose my next ebike

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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mikereidis   1 kW

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Mtn Bike Advice needed; Help choose my next ebike

Post by mikereidis » Sep 05 2008 4:41pm

Please help me choose my new ebike conversion:

My recumbent project http://www.endless-sphere.com/forums/vi ... f=3&t=5749 is on hold due to various things I need to fix, like handling, braking, battery placement, a broken pulley gear etc.

My 20" wheel Kids mountain bike project http://www.endless-sphere.com/forums/vi ... f=6&t=6224 is REALLY fun and works well, except the size is a bit small. I'm looking at ways to alleviate the size issues, but I'm not sure I will be entirely happy with that bike, and it's supposed to go to my son (minus motor etc.?) within a year or two anyway.

So I'm thinking of an adult 26" mountain bike, with full suspension (or maybe front only is OK?) with a 406 front motor.

Given my recent successes in buying cheap bikes at thrift stores and fixing them up a bit, I'm considering whatever I can find cheap and used first. I'd consider a new bike, but only if it's a good deal for me, I can't find an acceptable used bike, and the bike costs under $400, preferably $200 or less. At thrift stores, bikes are rarely more than $25, but I may have no luck finding a decent adult mtn bike there; mostly kids bikes there.

I want to be able to easily handle mud, dirt and gravel roads at least as well as this kids mountain bike, preferably much better. I'd also like to try REAL mountain bike trails in this area and other "sub-par" biking surfaces. Snow/ice capability would be cool too, with studs. :) I'm not expecting to do jumps or other crazy stuff, but who knows ?

So does an adult 26" mtn bike seem right for this usage ? Most seem to be aluminum frame. Is that OK ? I know aluminum forks are an issue. Any adult mtn bikes with steel frames or can/should I just convert fork to steel unit ?

I guess shifter/gear quality is less of an issue as I will be mostly motoring. V-brakes are probably preferred.

Any brands/models to recommend ?

Thanks !
Last edited by mikereidis on Sep 06 2008 9:05am, edited 2 times in total.

nutsandvolts  

Re: Please help choose my new ebike conversion

Post by nutsandvolts » Sep 05 2008 4:54pm

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Last edited by nutsandvolts on Oct 17 2009 5:07am, edited 1 time in total.

mikereidis   1 kW

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Re: Please help choose my new ebike conversion

Post by mikereidis » Sep 06 2008 9:02am

nutsandvolts wrote:
mikereidis wrote:I'm considering whatever I can find cheap and used first.
http://www.re-cycles.ca/
http://www.bikedump.com/
mikereidis wrote:I'd also like to try REAL mountain bike trails in this area
Rude awakening with my bike, never again, thought I was going to crash. Up until recently I wanted to do a downhill conversion for this, but now I am interested in 29er, the big wheels make bumps smaller. Was looking at karate monkey at phat moose the other day:
Thanks for the local references. I'll have to check out recycles and bikedump.

Over $600 and 29" wheels etc. is too exotic for me. Was checking MTBReview and see there are XC Mtn bikes that are half-decent (according to mtn bike afficianados) in the $300-$600 range new. Perhaps I could find one of these, or something similar used in the $100-$300 range.

In that price range, it appears gears/shifters will be sub-par, but doesn't matter too much for ebiking. Some are single speed ! I'd consider that, except I want to be able to climb nasty hills with foot power if my electric system dies or runs out of battery. I'm NOT so sure I want coaster brakes, however interesting that might be ! :) I understand how that might be good on real mtn bike trails however. Back coaster only ? And internally geared rear hub could be fine too.

Also, that price range, most aren't happy with front shocks and replace them. I wonder if some shocks are better with lots of weight on the front wheel with the heavy motor ? I guess sprung to unsprung weight ratio on ebike driven wheels is rather low, and there is not much that can be done about the unsprung weight (with a hub motor at least).


There are SO many mtn bike ads on local for-sale websites, it's hard to pick through the variety and find what might be best and best deal for me. I WANT a cheap bike, but a good one, preferrably used very little by some yuppy or whatever who just wants a bit of cash and to make room. Perhaps fall/early winter is best time to get a deal on used bike.

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andys   100 W

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Re: Mtn Bike Advice needed; Help choose my next ebike

Post by andys » Sep 06 2008 9:18am

A front hub motor on an off road mountain bike may want to spin the front tire when climbing on dirt trails. I just went through wanting the same thing you do, and ended up going with a vintage Trek 950 single track steel frame bike. the 930 and 970 will work too. here is a link to one for sale

http://cgi.ebay.com/A-TREK-USA-1996-SIN ... dZViewItem

I put a rear geared motor on mine. It is amazing off road, as it can climb anything and the weight is better balanced with the light weight 8 pound motor in rear and batteries in the frame. I went with a seatpost shock instead of full suspension, because I couldn't get an affordable FS frame with the right configuration for doing a clean install of battery pack within the frame. (didn't want the wrapped up in duct tape or garbage bag look) I am still keeping my out for a FS frame that will work.

http://www.evalbum.com/preview.php?vid=1916

I did this one up more than you seem to be planning to do, but building a good riding off road bike is harder to do than making one for the streets. I rode it yesterday in Wildcat canyon and Tilden park here in the SF Bay Area east bay. it is a total blast.

Cheap full suspension bikes are all junk. the forks they come with are junk, the rear shock is basically a spring holder, and the pivot points will wear out quickly.

nutsandvolts  

Re: Mtn Bike Advice needed; Help choose my next ebike

Post by nutsandvolts » Sep 06 2008 2:33pm

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Last edited by nutsandvolts on Oct 17 2009 5:08am, edited 1 time in total.

mikereidis   1 kW

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Re: Mtn Bike Advice needed; Help choose my next ebike

Post by mikereidis » Sep 07 2008 8:57am

andys wrote:A front hub motor on an off road mountain bike may want to spin the front tire when climbing on dirt trails. I just went through wanting the same thing you do, and ended up going with a vintage Trek 950 single track steel frame bike. the 930 and 970 will work too. here is a link to one for sale

http://cgi.ebay.com/A-TREK-USA-1996-SIN ... dZViewItem

I put a rear geared motor on mine. It is amazing off road, as it can climb anything and the weight is better balanced with the light weight 8 pound motor in rear and batteries in the frame. I went with a seatpost shock instead of full suspension, because I couldn't get an affordable FS frame with the right configuration for doing a clean install of battery pack within the frame. (didn't want the wrapped up in duct tape or garbage bag look) I am still keeping my out for a FS frame that will work.

http://www.evalbum.com/preview.php?vid=1916

Thanks andys. Hmm, late 1990s Trek 930, 950 or 970, with FS and seatpost shock. Sample Ebay price $200 with shipping. Sounds Good ! :)

Yes, I guess a rear geared motor would be good for this application. I'm REALLY not looking to burn up the trails doing off road stuff though, and I want to keep things simple and inexpensive, so I think I'll stick with a front hub motor, probably XLye 406 on 26" wheel, using my 80volt batt pack.

I got some flack when I posted on the MTBR forums, ranging from "get off your lazy ass and pedal" to "You'll wreck our precious mtn bike trails". :) Some were more polite and some even a bit helpful. Got a recommendation that a DH bike would be expensive but very comfortable with lots of weight capability. I like simple and inexpensive though, but extra comfort would be nice, if it's affordable. (Wife figures I've spent enough on biking this summer; probably $2500+ now.)

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