Evolution of a 1st ebike....

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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Wolfeman
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Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by Wolfeman » Aug 16, 2016 6:30 pm

Edit 8-25-17
Originally I intended this post to be simple pics of what I'd done to my bike. Over time, this has changed into a blog of sorts documenting the evolution of what I believe to be a typical entry level DIY bolt on ebike conversion. I had an old mountain bike I hadn't ridden in years. After lengthy and significant health problems I got back to riding it occasionally. Then a friend let me ride his Ecospeed powered Rambler recumbent and I was hooked..... The following is what has happened since then. I've learned lots and continue to learn.

Thank you all for the advice on my first bike. From figuring out what to buy initially to making safety and performance changes, ES has been a wealth of info and encouragement. SO here's how it started, a 2005 aluminum frame Trek 4300.
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Then the big brown truck delivered the HPC Thunderbolt 2000W kit and the fun began. There were some challenges with rear disc spacing, 8 speed freewheel not fitting, etc. Soon the venerable Trek looked like this, and I was blasting the roads to work and back and ev-grinning the whole way.
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Pretty soon I was flatting rear tires almost every ride and wanting some more comfort/safety so off to Amazon I went. Here's how it's looking today.
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The additions so far include a fatter/softer Bontrager seat with a cheap suspension seat post, 2.2" x 26" Maxxis Holy Rollers, Sunlite thornproof tubes with beefier 48mm valve stems, Redline platform style BMX pedals and a Mirrorcycle bar-end mirror. All of these additions make the bike safer and more enjoyable.

If your prowling ES and contemplating a first ebike purchase/build, do it. I spent more than I planned, but everything works better than I'd hoped and the bike is everyday reliable as a commuter. Even better is the feeling that I'm getting away with something every time I ride it. I'll be riding ebikes for MANY years to come. Thanks all.
Last edited by Wolfeman on Aug 25, 2017 10:56 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by spinningmagnets » Aug 16, 2016 6:37 pm

A Suntour NCX or Thudbuster suspension seat-post may seem pricey, but they are well worth it on a hardtail frame. I think the Suntour might be slightly shorter (which can be a factor because either one will raise the seat a little) I have a cruiser frame and I still cut 1-1/2 inch off the top of the seat-tube to get seat-height low enough to be optimal.

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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by nutnspecial » Aug 16, 2016 6:40 pm

Nice job bro, well done conversion and coverage!

Ebikes are hella fun . . . and utilitarian !! . . . (and FUN) :D

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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by dogman dan » Aug 17, 2016 7:02 am

I need to build a new bike, starting with a steel frame that fits the thudbuster. Dang thing gathering dust in my garage, because the post is too thick for my old steel frames. :lol:

Wish I had that trek frame, it's a beaut. Looks like you are ready for 10,000 fun miles on that setup.

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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by Wolfeman » Aug 17, 2016 8:31 am

dogman dan wrote:I need to build a new bike, starting with a steel frame that fits the thudbuster. Dang thing gathering dust in my garage, because the post is too thick for my old steel frames. :lol:

Wish I had that trek frame, it's a beaut. Looks like you are ready for 10,000 fun miles on that setup.
Thanks Dogman :lol: . Am coming up on 400 miles already and looking forward to LOTS more.
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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by Wolfeman » Oct 23, 2016 6:27 pm

So the Trek continues it's evolution into my "ideal" everyday ebike. It's got about 725 miles on it now and I'm still having a total blast with it. With a freshly charged battery, the bike is a real ripper. The CA shows as high as 2300+ watts at WOT and 35 mph is easy to do.
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New additions since last update include an SKS Grand DAD front fender, riser bars instead of the riser stem I had on it before and Mr. Tuffy tire liners front and rear. The riser bars are wider and give a much more relaxed riding position while still letting me stand comfortably when riding on loose stuff.

I still need a good headlight (days are getting shorter), and a better charger. The 26" x 2.2" Maxxis Holy Rollers are showing some wear after 400+ miles, but they're perfect for the mix of terrain I ride on. Haven't had a flat since putting in the tire liners. Next addition will likely be a nice black rear cargo rack.

The idea of a 60v BBSHD set-up in a full suspension MTB frame is really starting to sound appealing also. Is two ebikes too many? 8)
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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by LewTwo » Oct 23, 2016 8:33 pm

Wolfeman wrote: Is two ebikes too many? 8)
Isn't two the minimum so that you still have one to ride while you are in the middle of an upgrade to the other :?: :?: :?: :shock:
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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by amberwolf » Oct 23, 2016 9:01 pm

I thought it was three, so that when something goes wrong with the spare while the upgrade is still in progress..... ;)

Or maybe that was four, so that you also have one to experiment with, too.... :lol:

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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by Wolfeman » Oct 24, 2016 10:38 am

amberwolf wrote:I thought it was three, so that when something goes wrong with the spare while the upgrade is still in progress..... ;)

Or maybe that was four, so that you also have one to experiment with, too.... :lol:
LewTwo wrote:
Wolfeman wrote: Is two ebikes too many? 8)
Isn't two the minimum so that you still have one to ride while you are in the middle of an upgrade to the other :?: :?: :?: :shock:
Thanks guys, I wasn't sure. Sounds like I have some projects in my future, muhahahahaha!
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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by eleven6 » Oct 24, 2016 3:26 pm

spinningmagnets wrote:A Suntour NCX or Thudbuster suspension seat-post may seem pricey, but they are well worth it on a hardtail frame. I think the Suntour might be slightly shorter (which can be a factor because either one will raise the seat a little) I have a cruiser frame and I still cut 1-1/2 inch off the top of the seat-tube to get seat-height low enough to be optimal.
Agreeing with spinningmagnets here. Looks like you're running with the XLC suspension post or similar, I had one too on my full suspension bike and still benefited greatly from upgrading to the Suntour NCX suspension post. I can only imagine it would be that much nicer on a hardtail.

Bike looks great btw, I'm considering building a second bike with BBSHD too on my downhill frame! Go for it!

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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by Wolfeman » Nov 09, 2016 10:56 pm

So the venerable Trek now has about 850 miles on it. I ride it to work almost every day and it never disappoints, turning the daily commute into something to look forward to. I've added a Fenix PD35 18650 powered light mounted with a Fenix ALB-10 mount. I've had several people at work ask to test ride the bike and I never say no. One friend is now shopping for a front hub motor kit and asking for build advice. I love seeing someone else's face light up when they try an ebike and realize how frickin awesome they are. Good stuff. 8)
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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by MikeSSS » Nov 10, 2016 12:27 am

Thank you very much, for posting the pics of your bike, documenting from beginning to now.

Your bike is a model for a very usable and reliable ebike. Suspension fork, seatpost and seat provide many of the benefits of full suspension, but without the pivot point play, wear and chain line problems.

Many of us are in the planning phase of our next builds and your thread is a big help.

Again, thanks for posting and best wishes on your continuing adventure.

Keep is posted.

Mike S

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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by Wolfeman » Dec 22, 2016 12:59 am

So today my bike hit 1000 miles. It, like most bikes is still work in progress. The 52 volt pack from HPC is holding up well, and cruising at 18 to 20 mph on flat ground still averages over 2 miles per aH when I'm not pinning the throttle. With the 15aH pack, range is pretty good. Today's ride was 23 miles, back and forth to the post office to drop off a package. The electronics have performed without so much as a hiccup, and I'm pretty sure the HPC controller will handle a 72v pack when Luna gets them back in stock.

I'll post a new pic of the bike after I clean off all the mud from today's ride. 8)
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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by Wolfeman » Dec 29, 2016 4:04 pm

Finally got around to taking a picture of the bike in it's current form today, mud and all. Since the last update I've added a Topeak rear rack for hauling cargo. The rack also doubles as a rear seat of sorts if I feel like being a little more aerodynamic. 8) The HPC kit is running perfectly, cruising me back and forth to work on an almost daily basis. The only other addition I'm considering right now is a Topeak rack bag.

I used to really be into motorcycles, BMWs mostly. If this bike were a motorcycle, it'd be a Kawasaki KLR 650. Not sexy, but really reliable, able to go just about anywhere, and able to haul all kinds of stuff. I keep looking at Luna's high amp BBSHD kits though and scouring the local Craigslist for a sportier bike, maybe the ebike equivalent of a Honda VFR 800. Full suspension, Schwabe Big Apples and a 52+ volt frame mounted pack. Ideas, ideas....
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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by Wolfeman » Jan 19, 2017 3:17 pm

Worked on the Trek a bit the other day. Took off the rack, the baja LED lights, the cushy seat with heavy cheap suspension post. Kind of took the bike back to basics, and took off a LOT of weight. Charged it up this morning, put it on the Yakima rack and took it to a nearby trailhead where I'd never ridden before. Lots of recent rain, so puddles everywhere. Mostly fire roads and gravel trails, beautiful scenery, lots of cool birds and great riding. Did 19 miles using about 650 watt hours. Had so much fun, I'm gonna do it again tomorrow. I did lots of pedaling, but also enjoyed opening the throttle and doing some roosting. Doubt I'll ever go back to motorcycles, ebikes are just as much fun and you can go so many more places.
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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by Wolfeman » Jan 28, 2017 11:10 am

So lately the Trek has been my escape mobile. After a challenging week at work, I put it on the back of the truck, go to a trailhead I haven't ridden before and spend the day exploring. Yesterday was mixed gravel trails, very technical single track, rolling swooping dirt trails and asphalt. Did some guerrilla charging at the halfway point, and hit my LVC point just about 100 yards from my truck. 25+ miles of pure happiness.

Things I learned on today's ride. DD hub motors are pretty darn versatile. That being said, gnarly single track is not their friend. A BBSHD, a backpack battery and some better front forks would be really cool. Ahhh, projects on the horizon. 8)
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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by Wolfeman » Mar 04, 2017 12:22 pm

Been a while since I updated this. The Trek is still running great, almost 1200 miles now.

Since the last post I finally bought a Suntour NCX seatpost which I should have done long ago. If you're on the fence trying to decide whether to get one, do it. The improvement in ride quality is HUGE. The back end is so much better I'm now wanting to get a better quality front fork. The original RST is crap. I'd love any suggestions on a good quality fork that would be compatible with my frame.

The other addition was a Luna Cycle frame bag for the battery. Lots of room inside for when I eventually upgrade to a 72V pack. Still running the 52V HPC pack for now at 45 amps. Plenty of power for everything I need. Top speed is 35 mph or 56 kph.
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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by Wolfeman » Apr 01, 2017 1:35 pm

So I just hit 1300 miles the other day. Bought a Luna advanced mini charger and installed it in the battery bag. Now when I get to work, I simply pull out the charger, set it on a hard surface and plug it in. At the end of the day, bike is charged and ready to rip. I like the 89/90/100% charge option. The 90% setting stops at about 57.2 volts. Depending on my mood, I then either cruise home and enjoy the scenery at 15-20 mph, or twist it to WFO and run at about 35 mph.

I LOVE my ebike......
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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by lester12483 » Apr 01, 2017 4:34 pm

Any tire issues? What kind of tire tube do you have?
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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by Wolfeman » Apr 02, 2017 11:57 am

lester12483 wrote:Any tire issues? What kind of tire tube do you have?
Initially I had a lot of tire issues. I now have 26" x 2.2" Maxxis Holy Rollers, Sunlite thorn resistant tubes and Mr. Tuffy tire liners. Since putting those together I haven't had a single flat in almost 1000 miles.
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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by Wolfeman » Aug 24, 2017 11:15 am

Sorry for no pic, but bike is dirty and currently has mismatched tires..... Ugh.

Anyways, this bike is still making me smile every dang time I ride it. Just hit 2000 miles the other day, right in the middle of a 30+ mile errand running ride.

Additions since last update include Avid MTB BB7 front disc brake with a 180mm Shimano disc and a Schwalbe Marathon Plus 26"x2.0" rear tire. The old Shimano front BSO (brake shaped object) was ridiculously inadequate, and the Avid setup is working great with minimal noise. The Schwalbe wasn't planned, but the rear Maxxis Holy Roller was basically bald after 1600+ miles. Even with the Mr. Tuffy tire liner it was only a matter of time before it flatted. Of course it flatted on a morning when I had 6 different things that needed doing, all in a hurry. The Marathon Plus is VERY smooth and quiet and I love the peace of mind it provides when I'm 15+ miles away from the house. Just ordered a second one for the front end.

I'm still contemplating a second bike for trail riding, but am mainly trying to concentrate on making my existing bike the best it can be. Next upgrades are a an Avid BB7 MTB disc brake for the back end and a Rockshox Recon Gold for the front end. One of the other things I want to do is a BAB (big ass battery) from Luna. The 52V 24aH pack with the GA cells seems like it'd be the perfect match for my bike. Range would be awesome..... The original 52V 15aH pack from HPC seems to be losing a little capacity. One of these days I'll carefully peel back the blue heat shrink and see what kind of cells are in there. 8)

If you don't already have an ebike, get one, seriously. If you already have one, ride safe and have fun.
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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by Wolfeman » Sep 07, 2017 7:39 pm

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Finally got around to cleaning up my everyday ride and taking a decent picture of it. Just hit 2100 miles and still LOVING this thing. The Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires I recently put on are fantastic. Now I just need to replace the rear BSO with a second Avid BB7 setup. I'll stick with the stock 160 mm disc for the rear wheel.

Knowing what I know now about e-bike and e-bike component pricing, I paid too much for my HPC kit, but I got way more performance than I expected. If I were to do the same type of conversion again, I'd do a Crystalyte Crown motor with a 52V battery and a high amperage controller.
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I'm still REALLY wanting to do a trail bike and have started looking hard at Bikesdirect fat bikes and the Luna 2 speed geared rear hub motor. It seems like that would be a great combination for slow enjoyable trail exploring on days off. I don't need to go fast on the trail bike, but would love to have good power for climbing hills. More later.
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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by anth_85 » Sep 08, 2017 6:45 am

Out of interest have you ever had a bike fit done? The position of the handle bars and seat look very upright to me, to the extent that the frame is probably too small for you?

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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by Wolfeman » Sep 08, 2017 8:47 am

anth_85 wrote:Out of interest have you ever had a bike fit done? The position of the handle bars and seat look very upright to me, to the extent that the frame is probably too small for you?
It is upright and VERY comfortable. The set-up also allows me to stand upright without hunching over.
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Re: Evolution of a 1st ebike....

Post by Wolfeman » Sep 15, 2017 10:07 pm

So the days are getting shorter and darkness comes sooner each evening. Today I brought back out my Paris-Dakar rally style light set-up and bolted it back on. I think i have enough light......
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