Comparing DIY vs Commercial E-Bike options for my 1st Ebike

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
Post Reply
User avatar
goosenoose   100 mW

100 mW
Posts: 44
Joined: Mar 11 2017 9:13am
Location: london, uk

Comparing DIY vs Commercial E-Bike options for my 1st Ebike

Post by goosenoose » Mar 11 2017 9:28pm

Curious how the two compare. Am deliberating between a DIY DD hub kit with the TDM sensor and a Juiced Bikes Crosscurrent or Copenhagen Wheel for a car-replacement loaded commuter purposed ebike. Commute is 7-10 miles one way (14-20 miles round trip)...

My budget is ~$1,200 (<$1500 minus cost of a Cycle Satiator)
My donor bikes are either a singlespeed Wabi Classic or my project bike 26er that I might build up... http://wabicycles.com/shop/bicycles/wab ... -standard/
https://stlouis.craigslist.org/bik/6022381685.html

Current view of either path below

DIY DD Hub Build (US$830.74) + 48v 17.5ah battery (US$830.74 from LunaCycle)
Pros:
- Stronger/faster, non-governed motor (9C+... also considering All-Axle from GRIN but more $$ and still in beta)
- Modularity (in case of Copenhagen Wheel)... I can access, service, and replace/upgrade parts/battery as desired with more options*
- Will probably be fun to build and tinker :)
- Regen! Save my brake calipers!
- BIGGER MOAR POWERFUL BATTERY YEAH? (inner Bruno)... possibly better battery cells used through luna/e3mev

Cons:
- Modularity (in case of Copenhagen Wheel)... I can access, service, and replace/upgrade parts/battery as desired with more options*
- My donor bike has caliper brakes/my wife is concerned I'mma gonna go too fast and kill myself....
- Cable/component management (i.e. clean looking bicycle)
- Complexity of setting up desired features... (torque sensor)
- Connectors/adaptors/Sourcing parts from different vendors.. wait time... ebikes.ca for motor/accessories, battery from e3emv/lunacycle
- Rust?... long-term durability performance concern

Copenhagen Wheel ($1,248.00 w/ shipping if bought before March 23... promotional period)
Pros:
- Clean, single integrated solution*
- Sensible assist levels
- Seems to be good integrated torque sensor capability
- Regen! Save my brake calipers, already configured.. easy!
- Can use my existing bike which I'm comfortable with... since not as fast, not as concerned about road calipers

Cons:
- Concerned about battery life/lack of modularity for user changeout.. 5aH battery... 30 mile range?
- Not exciting assist levels
- Range issues inherent with battery size/modularity
- Donor bike has road calipers... weaker motor, but still.. possible braking concerns?
- Sealed better? Less rust issues? Concerned about warranty wording with regard to water damage

Juiced Bikes Crosscurrent ($1,100)
Pros:
- Complete bike... allows me to save my single speed wabi as back-up commuter bike.
- Integrated torque sensor/PAS assist... supposedly real close to a normal bike in ride feel
- More appropriate commuter bike features (rack mounts... I found out I cannot fit my old bike rack/panniers on Wabi since no mounts)
- Hydraulic disc brakes.. probably lot safer
- Faster than copenhagen
- Modular systems.. battery... motor... torque sensors... *
Stock battery .. 7aH... possible to use as backup later

Cons:
- Hydraulic disc brake maintenance?
- Not as fast as ungoverned DIY hub set-up..
- Geared hub... no regen :(
- *Proprietary modular systems... replacement/upgrade batteries little more costly (48v 17.5ah @ $999.00)..

Based on these values... broke out into requirements matrix: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing

1st Place - Crosscurrent
2nd Place - DIY DD Hub
3rd Place - DIY Mid Drive Build Option
4th Place - Copenhagen Wheel
Last edited by goosenoose on Mar 12 2017 2:52am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
motomech   1 GW

1 GW
Posts: 3464
Joined: Sep 11 2010 12:21am
Location: Punta Cana Baja Mexico

Re: Comparing DIY vs Commercial E-Bike options for my 1st Eb

Post by motomech » Mar 11 2017 11:25pm

Motomech


'07 GT Idive 4 4.0, Q100H 201 frt. mounted, 14S Multistar LiPoly, elifebike 9-FET 20A controller. Mean Well HLG-320H-54A, Crazy Bobs on Alex DM32's 21 to 22 MPH. viewtopic.php?f=3&t=28151&p=1373714&hilit=Idrive#p13737

Recumbent Bicycle Source   100 W

100 W
Posts: 148
Joined: Mar 15 2011 11:16pm
Location: Vegas
Contact:

Re: Comparing DIY vs Commercial E-Bike options for my 1st Eb

Post by Recumbent Bicycle Source » Mar 12 2017 1:10am

Do you have tools and skills?

I wouldn't get anything less than a 10ah Lithium 50 Volt 14S pack. Mileage claims are always over rated.

Pre-built bikes have poor battery monitoring in General. A Cycle Analyst is worth every penny.

Cycle Satiator is great... but spendy on your budget. Why not invest in a Cycle Analyst and a Charger that matches your battery choice?

The Juiced Bike is a "speed winding" 350 Geared. Not going to be a demon up hills... will likely need to do some assist pedaling when hills get steep.

Direct Drive motors are heavy and better suited to Mountain Style Bikes. I don't know where you live, but you can usually find a good deal on an older Diamond Frame Trek, Specalized, Felt, or Similar. and still be in your budget range. They will generally have a better spec'd component set than the new purpose built ebikes. I'm very fond of Mountain components in the XT Range or Mid Range Sram... very durable stuff.

Be sure your bike has a steel fork if you mount up front. Rear wheel builds will usually be a freewheel in the 6 to 8 speed range. So gearing isn't much of an issue. Don't expect it to handle like a regular bike especially if you get a heavy DD. But once you go electric it's hard to go back.

There is a lot to know... but there is one constant no matter what you do you will encounter problems and learn and want something else.

Surface604 is a bit above your range but I like the Specs for the money... don't like proprietary battery/controllers though.
Rad Bikes in Seattle are Cheap, but okay for the money... but again just above your range.

Maintenance and repair is important to consider.

I'd look closer at Motors from Ebikes.ca and Em3EV and maybe Luna and find a kit that works best for what you want to do... and don't leave out Torque Arms and C Washers and tools you'll need. Then find a bike to match the kit Specs you like. I'm working on an Electra Townie Build right now that I bought off Craigslist and a Mac Motor with a 12AH EM3EV battery and I'll be right at your budget when I'm done including Cycle Analyst.

I expect to get at least 5 years out of it with few problems once done. I do always spend more on tires (At least the tire on the motorized wheel), because servicing flats is a PITA!

There is a ton of info here by looking at other people's builds.

I also wouldn't rule out a nice Diamond Frame or even a Cruiser with Luna's Bafang Mid Drive kit and California E-bikes Bafang mounting adapter.

Put a Basket and a Bell on it and you can smile and laugh at the Spandex Crowd as you pass them up hills... they love being passed up hills.
Recumbent Bikes - My Recumbent Bike site for people who want to know more about them.

User avatar
goosenoose   100 mW

100 mW
Posts: 44
Joined: Mar 11 2017 9:13am
Location: london, uk

Re: Comparing DIY vs Commercial E-Bike options for my 1st Eb

Post by goosenoose » Mar 12 2017 1:48am

Recumbent Bicycle Source wrote:Do you have tools and skills?


I have most tools required for general bicycle mx... still need a torque wrench though >_>
Recumbent Bicycle Source wrote: I wouldn't get anything less than a 10ah Lithium 50 Volt 14S pack. Mileage claims are always over rated.

Pre-built bikes have poor battery monitoring in General. A Cycle Analyst is worth every penny.
Agreed. I ranked the DIY kits high on my matrix for both those reasons.
Recumbent Bicycle Source wrote:Cycle Satiator is great... but spendy on your budget. Why not invest in a Cycle Analyst and a Charger that matches your battery choice?


Oops, my cost quotes no longer include the satiator.. forgot to edit that out in post. Good point though that I can monitor through the CA.
Recumbent Bicycle Source wrote:The Juiced Bike is a "speed winding" 350 Geared. Not going to be a demon up hills... will likely need to do some assist pedaling when hills get steep.

Direct Drive motors are heavy and better suited to Mountain Style Bikes. I don't know where you live, but you can usually find a good deal on an older Diamond Frame Trek, Specalized, Felt, or Similar. and still be in your budget range. They will generally have a better spec'd component set than the new purpose built ebikes. I'm very fond of Mountain components in the XT Range or Mid Range Sram... very durable stuff.

Be sure your bike has a steel fork if you mount up front. Rear wheel builds will usually be a freewheel in the 6 to 8 speed range. So gearing isn't much of an issue. Don't expect it to handle like a regular bike especially if you get a heavy DD. But once you go electric it's hard to go back.


I'm interested in a front hub motor + torque sensing build for this reason--I don't want to lose focus on the pedaling/bicycle aspect and range. I also want the reliability component that if the motor fails in some way, I can pedal home.. or vice versa.. if I cannot pedal, I can throttle my way back.

My donor bikes (i have two) are both rigid steel. One is an old 80s MTB (Nishiki Alien) and the other is a newer Wabi Classic single speed road bike. I did also quote and matrix out a DIY Mid Drive build considering the BBS02, however I've since discounted them after considering opinions of a couple of ebike commuters and Justin himself (for reason of maintaining the separate integrity bicycle / electric motor drivetrain systems). Only problem with my donor bikes are they use vbrakes/road calipers... which should be fine probably, but by the time I invest in another donor bike/mods for those 'base bike safety features', I'm eating into budget that could be used for a better pre-built system.. that's where the Crosscurrent got a lot of points on my requirements matrix. There's a time/money/warranty valuation too.
Recumbent Bicycle Source wrote:There is a lot to know... but there is one constant no matter what you do you will encounter problems and learn and want something else.

Surface604 is a bit above your range but I like the Specs for the money... don't like proprietary battery/controllers though.
Rad Bikes in Seattle are Cheap, but okay for the money... but again just above your range.

Maintenance and repair is important to consider.

I'd look closer at Motors from Ebikes.ca and Em3EV and maybe Luna and find a kit that works best for what you want to do... and don't leave out Torque Arms and C Washers and tools you'll need. Then find a bike to match the kit Specs you like. I'm working on an Electra Townie Build right now that I bought off Craigslist and a Mac Motor with a 12AH EM3EV battery and I'll be right at your budget when I'm done including Cycle Analyst.

I expect to get at least 5 years out of it with few problems once done. I do always spend more on tires (At least the tire on the motorized wheel), because servicing flats is a PITA!

There is a ton of info here by looking at other people's builds.

I also wouldn't rule out a nice Diamond Frame or even a Cruiser with Luna's Bafang Mid Drive kit and California E-bikes Bafang mounting adapter.

Put a Basket and a Bell on it and you can smile and laugh at the Spandex Crowd as you pass them up hills... they love being passed up hills.
Thanks for the reply.. agree on most points. Going to retool some build quotes on the DIY end to see what I can do. I'm interested in the DIY more than the Crosscurrent, honestly... but the feature that it is a solid platform (hydraulic brakes, tuned torque sensor, rack and fender mounts, and has speed pedelec capability) check off most of my needs without need for me to tinker... that said.. loaded, that 350 W motor might not be nearly as eager to hit that 28mph in realistic scenario vs a DIY 500 w hub/750 w mid drive...

Back to drawing board, :D

ScooterMan101   10 MW

10 MW
Posts: 2063
Joined: Oct 06 2012 4:45pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Comparing DIY vs Commercial E-Bike options for my 1st Eb

Post by ScooterMan101 » Mar 12 2017 2:31am

After reading your posts,

The Nishiki Alien would be better to convert.

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&sit ... dh2l-vO_9M:

The Classic Looking Road Bike might have 130mm drop out spacing , the Alien most likely has 135 mm spacing in the rear which is what hub motors have.

If you do want a front hub motor, then you can just buy an aftermarket steel fork, like the Surly Instigator, or similar fork.

However many people like rear drive better.

You do not need disc brakes, on the wheel that will be your hub, front or rear. You Just need to get a good/quality Rim and good aftermarket brake pads for your brakes, or just get new , Cyclocross brakes, since now that I go back and look at your bike that looks to be what would fit , for Rim's there have been improvements get one with a machined brake surface. ( and it is better to build up a wheel, if you do not want to do it, where you live there are probably enough professional wheel builders, since many in the world of Road Biking like to have hand built wheels ) .

For the reason you state , that you want to pedal with motor off sometimes / or because of a brake down, or low battery, your best bet is a light weight ...
Geared Motor. 350-450 watt motor will work for what you state your distance .
14s ( 52 volt ) battery at least. depending on winding of motor maybe 16s pack. ( 16s would have to be custom made, and be used with a Cycle Analyst since most motor kit displays only work up to 52 volt packs, but that is no problem ) 10 + amp hour pack is best 11 amp -12 amp would be good .

Look at / Read the Q100/Q100c CST motor threads.
My first conversion ... Sold

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=71378&p=1077497&hil ... 1#p1077497

It's 2018 already, ( now 2019 ) lets get some real , improved e-bike / e-velomobile / e-motorcycle designs .

docw009   100 kW

100 kW
Posts: 1328
Joined: Aug 02 2015 7:43am
Location: Chicago area suburbs.

Re: Comparing DIY vs Commercial E-Bike options for my 1st Eb

Post by docw009 » Mar 12 2017 6:10pm

From scanning the Golden motor user manual, are the controllers really set up for pedal assist? It seems after it's working, it stays there until you reset the controller power. Also appears to act like a cruise control.

I realize Luna is all about power though, and these have it. I'm sure most owners don't care to pedal these 12 to 18 pound DD motors.

999zip999   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 9698
Joined: Jan 10 2010 1:40pm
Location: Dana Point So. Cal

Re: Comparing DIY vs Commercial E-Bike options for my 1st Eb

Post by 999zip999 » Mar 12 2017 9:05pm

Where do you live ?

2old   100 kW

100 kW
Posts: 1313
Joined: Jul 19 2014 3:20pm
Location: Socal

Re: Comparing DIY vs Commercial E-Bike options for my 1st Eb

Post by 2old » Mar 12 2017 11:45pm

I've tested three Juiced Cross Currents and they rode very well. That said, I wasn't in the market for a new bike (have enough) and didn't purchase one. If your commute doesn't have long or steep hills, the CC is a good consideration IMO.

User avatar
goosenoose   100 mW

100 mW
Posts: 44
Joined: Mar 11 2017 9:13am
Location: london, uk

Re: Comparing DIY vs Commercial E-Bike options for my 1st Eb

Post by goosenoose » Mar 13 2017 11:45am

I am not considering a Golden Motor at all.

I live in the greater St Louis, MO area.

If I go with a DIY Hub, it'll be through ebikes.ca. If mid drive, probably Lunacycle.

Thank you for the feedback on the Crosscurrents.

flat tire   1 MW

1 MW
Posts: 1968
Joined: Feb 26 2014 12:20am

Re: Comparing DIY vs Commercial E-Bike options for my 1st Eb

Post by flat tire » Mar 13 2017 1:22pm

If I were you:

1) $300 bike off craiglist
2) $300 leafmotor
3) $200 sine wave controller
4) $600 DIY battery, ~1KWh capacity.

You'll be a little over budget but that bike will kill dismember and hide the corpse of a $1200 commercial ebike.

User avatar
Matador   100 kW

100 kW
Posts: 1040
Joined: Jun 29 2016 10:00pm

Re: Comparing DIY vs Commercial E-Bike options for my 1st Eb

Post by Matador » Mar 13 2017 6:15pm

flat tire wrote:If I were you:

1) $300 bike off craiglist
2) $300 leafmotor
3) $200 sine wave controller
4) $600 DIY battery, ~1KWh capacity.

You'll be a little over budget but that bike will kill dismember and hide the corpse of a $1200 commercial ebike.
Aounds good ! Don't buy new, but rather high quality used... more power !

User avatar
goosenoose   100 mW

100 mW
Posts: 44
Joined: Mar 11 2017 9:13am
Location: london, uk

Re: Comparing DIY vs Commercial E-Bike options for my 1st Eb

Post by goosenoose » Mar 13 2017 10:51pm

Been reading into the leaf mirror. Holy butts.

Any issues with installing it on front fork?

Can out run off a 48v 17.4ah 18560 based battery?

Considering buying just the hub ($275 shipped) from leaf motor (to save on shipping weight).. +100 to get laced to wheel here..

Spokes, controller, throttle and CA3 from Grin..($350)... 188mm spokes 14g sound right?

And topping off with a battery pack from Luna ... 48v 17.5ah Panasonic ga pack... Approx $550

User avatar
agniusm   10 MW

10 MW
Posts: 2444
Joined: Apr 16 2011 3:06pm
Location: Lithuania, Zarasai
Contact:

Re: Comparing DIY vs Commercial E-Bike options for my 1st Eb

Post by agniusm » Mar 14 2017 10:19am

there is new mxus 3 4t for sale with a controller for 365usd. If you watch for sale section, you could get some decent components for less. your bill is for main components only. you have to account for switches, wiring, connectors, bms, lights, dcdc, etc. its doable if you dont mind getting dirty and result for given price would outperform oem stuff by far

flat tire   1 MW

1 MW
Posts: 1968
Joined: Feb 26 2014 12:20am

Re: Comparing DIY vs Commercial E-Bike options for my 1st Eb

Post by flat tire » Mar 14 2017 1:00pm

Don't put your motor in the front, it's a huge mistake. The bike will have crappy handling compared to power in the rear and you won't be able to wheelie it which you'll eventually want to after getting comfortable with the power.

docw009   100 kW

100 kW
Posts: 1328
Joined: Aug 02 2015 7:43am
Location: Chicago area suburbs.

Re: Comparing DIY vs Commercial E-Bike options for my 1st Eb

Post by docw009 » Mar 14 2017 5:00pm

Forget those silly DD motors. Just got an email from Luna. BBS02 750W and 13.5AH Shark battery for $750. Overstock sale. No more when gone. Your budget is met. Not much in Mizzou that a BBS02 750 cannot handle. Smart charger is extra. No satiator needed.

https://lunacycle.com/bafang-bbs02-kit/

flat tire   1 MW

1 MW
Posts: 1968
Joined: Feb 26 2014 12:20am

Re: Comparing DIY vs Commercial E-Bike options for my 1st Eb

Post by flat tire » Mar 14 2017 5:09pm

Yeah, that's cool except a Leafmotor on 5KW will smoke the shit out of a 750W bafang AND have enough torque to pull power wheelies from a dead stop.

Mid drives are only good if you either have ridiculous hills OR you have both advanced riding skills and really nice bike with awesome suspension and want to take advantage of the mass centralization / favorable CG that a mid drive can make easy to obtain. If you don't have both the skills and the nice bike you won't see much advantage from a mid drive other than the versatility of the gearing.

User avatar
tomjasz   10 GW

10 GW
Posts: 4274
Joined: Mar 29 2014 1:45pm
Location: Out riding, MN USA
Contact:

Re: Comparing DIY vs Commercial E-Bike options for my 1st Eb

Post by tomjasz » Apr 15 2017 1:29pm

docw009 wrote:Forget those silly DD motors. Just got an email from Luna. BBS02 750W and 13.5AH Shark battery for $750. Overstock sale. No more when gone. Your budget is met. Not much in Mizzou that a BBS02 750 cannot handle. Smart charger is extra. No satiator needed.

https://lunacycle.com/bafang-bbs02-kit/
The satiator is a far better product. Kingpan charger fails and the warranty isn't that great. For anyone getting into the hobby the satiate is a great tool. A CA is also a great tool but it can't charge and help preserve battery life. Having a charger as robust as the satiapotr for travel and touring, charging a full range of batteries 12V-60V. It could be mounted on a bike. It's really an unbeatable piece of kit. When others die the Grin charger rocks on. I charged my 52V this morning, will get my 36V batts up and ready this afternoon and tomorrow do a 6 hour balance charge on my sleeping for the winter 48V packs. What other charger can do that AND charge at whatever percentage I want. 80? 90? 75? 50? my choice. I used oit to prep them for storage too.
I'd already spent $200 on chargers that died out of warranty. One had a fuse holder with a fuse, but was never connected. $65 charger. Funny how we'll go on about ht e best cell, the best motor, proper spoke, great frames and then a cheap charger.
Thanks Justin_le we're here thanks to you. All the best to the mods for their tireless work keeping it on an even keel.

User avatar
lester12483   10 kW

10 kW
Posts: 944
Joined: Jan 30 2009 1:45am
Location: Chicago, IL USA

Re: Comparing DIY vs Commercial E-Bike options for my 1st Eb

Post by lester12483 » Apr 15 2017 2:01pm

Build your own. Its not hard, and very rewarding when you take it for a ride. :D
MT6 Hybrid- Electric Bicycle 48V
48V 23AH AllCell Lithium Manganese Battery Pack
http://www.chicagoelectricbicycles.com

flat tire   1 MW

1 MW
Posts: 1968
Joined: Feb 26 2014 12:20am

Re: Comparing DIY vs Commercial E-Bike options for my 1st Eb

Post by flat tire » Apr 15 2017 3:01pm

They don't compare. End of story.

User avatar
goosenoose   100 mW

100 mW
Posts: 44
Joined: Mar 11 2017 9:13am
Location: london, uk

Re: Comparing DIY vs Commercial E-Bike options for my 1st Eb

Post by goosenoose » Feb 22 2018 11:50am

flat tire wrote:
Mar 13 2017 1:22pm
If I were you:

1) $300 bike off craiglist
2) $300 leafmotor
3) $200 sine wave controller
4) $600 DIY battery, ~1KWh capacity.

You'll be a little over budget but that bike will kill dismember and hide the corpse of a $1200 commercial ebike.
Hello... Was curious if there was a sine wave controller you'd recommend for the leaf motor? Would it be comparable to just get the new discounted 9c kit from grin which includes controller, throttle?

I live somewhere where I'll have to build my own battery right now (Doha)... But planning on getting larger lithium kit when I get back stateside

Post Reply