Looking for "new" used bike for electric conversion

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
Post Reply
User avatar
CUDAcores89   1 W

1 W
Posts: 51
Joined: Aug 28 2016 12:48pm

Looking for "new" used bike for electric conversion

Post by CUDAcores89 » Feb 16 2018 10:00pm

Howdy folks, I don't come here often if you can tell by my post count.

A few years ago, I built an electric bike out of a 1996 Marin mountain bike I got off of craigslist and used it to commute to where I work. I used one of those cheap 1000w front wheel kits from ebay and it worked great. In fact as far as I know, it continues to work to this day.

Long story short, I ended up selling the bike for more than I paid to build it. I was riding around town one day and this guy saw me ebike and said it was really cool, he wondered if he could buy it. I shot out a price of "I don't know, $1000?".

For some reason this man said yes :shock: . (It costs me probably $400 to build the entire thing). I'm not sure if this guy just didn't know what ebikes cost, or if he just didn't care. Doesn't matter to me. I just made a profit off of something I used every day for the past 2 years. :D

It's been a month now, and as far as I know, the bike is still working for him. I now have been driving my car to work instead, but that's not nearly as much fun now is it?

Time to build another ebike!

Since i'm just a commuter (no off road or huge hills to climb for me) those cheap ebay kits seem to work fine for my purposes. My commute is 10 miles round trip on mostly flat roads, so I have already bought another rear wheel 1000w kit from ebay since it worked last time, and will likely work again.

Probably looking to spend no more than $100 on the "donor" bike for conversion itself. That's why I'm going used.

off to craigslist we go!

For reference, I am looking for a 26" mountain bike with a nice triangular space in the frame to mount my new battery, so I try to look for older mountain bikes as they tend to have larger triangular frames. I also live in the Plymouth-canton area in Michigan, so I wouldn't want to drive more than an hour from aound there to buy a bike.

Bike I currently am looking at is the Gary fisher (trek makes these apparently) mountain bike for $85:
https://offerup.com/item/detail/380075324/?ref=Search

There is also a trek 830 mountain bike for $75:
https://offerup.com/item/detail/296424162/?ref=Search

Royce Union mountain bike for $25. I have a spare seat :
https://offerup.com/item/detail/354138016/?ref=Search

$100 almost new aspen mountain bike. The problem is I am 5'7" and i'm not sure if this bike will fit me. Or whether the wheels are 26":
https://offerup.com/item/detail/426836672/?ref=Search

A $130 (looks) brand new Nishiki bike:
https://us.letgo.com/en/i/gray-and-red- ... 3684c1539d

Super cheap Magna front-suspension bike for $20:
https://offerup.com/item/detail/368278890/?ref=Search

Other possible bikes:
https://detroit.craigslist.org/mcb/bik/ ... 67610.html
https://detroit.craigslist.org/mcb/bik/ ... 78844.html
https://detroit.craigslist.org/okl/bik/ ... 72007.html
https://detroit.craigslist.org/okl/bik/ ... 47943.html
https://offerup.com/item/detail/355793059/?ref=Search
https://toledo.craigslist.org/bik/d/gt- ... 61828.html
https://detroit.craigslist.org/mcb/bik/ ... 61993.html



Which one would be best? I don't have to go the craigslist route either. I could go around to my local thrift stores and look for bikes there as well. Right now it's the middle of winter so bikes are cheap because nobody is thinking about going outdoors yet. That makes it a good time to buy. Also, I haven't checked other websites like letgo or offerup yet so if anyone finds a bike on there that looks promising, maybe i'll get that instead.

EDIT: my other option would be to go with an el-cheapo walmart bike like this:

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Huffy-26-Nig ... /119411493

It DOES have front disc brakes, something I have read is important for an ebike, but then again, my rim brakes on my old bike did hold up for the job just fine. Just don't be a idiot and floor the brakes 1 meter from a street intersection and I was okay. I've also read some horror stories about these bikes being poorly assembled, so they don't have the best reputation.

Any input would help. Thanks everyone.
Last edited by CUDAcores89 on Feb 17 2018 9:08am, edited 12 times in total.

12-C   100 W

100 W
Posts: 160
Joined: Oct 14 2016 9:22pm

Re: Looking for "new" used bike for electric conversion

Post by 12-C » Feb 17 2018 12:39am

!! If I know it only cost you $400 I would have offered a lot less.....








JK. :lol:

maybe check out police auctions too.... might be able to pick something for a real bargain!

User avatar
dogman dan   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 34366
Joined: May 17 2008 12:53pm
Location: Las Cruces New Mexico USA

Re: Looking for "new" used bike for electric conversion

Post by dogman dan » Feb 19 2018 8:34am

Might look into new, for a 7 speed beach cruiser. You'd be surprised how good a commuter they can be. Fenders are nice! and so is a welded on rear rack that is really sturdy.

The margaritaville has the rack, but more room for battery in this one.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/26-Men-s-BCA ... e/44781895

2old   10 kW

10 kW
Posts: 859
Joined: Jul 19 2014 3:20pm
Location: Socal

Re: Looking for "new" used bike for electric conversion

Post by 2old » Feb 19 2018 11:09am

Steel framed MTB from a major manufacturer (like the Trek 830 if it's steel) that fits you comfortably. Others have good success with "Walmart" bikes, but why save a few bucks for much lower quality frame and components?

User avatar
CUDAcores89   1 W

1 W
Posts: 51
Joined: Aug 28 2016 12:48pm

Re: Looking for "new" used bike for electric conversion

Post by CUDAcores89 » Feb 19 2018 5:33pm

2old wrote:
Feb 19 2018 11:09am
Steel framed MTB from a major manufacturer (like the Trek 830 if it's steel) that fits you comfortably. Others have good success with "Walmart" bikes, but why save a few bucks for much lower quality frame and components?
That's kind of the reason I like going used. Since cars are how people get around here, plenty of folks buy quality-branded bikes (trek, Giant, specialized) bikes and ride them for a summer, them put the bike away never to be used again.

My last bike was from 1996 and aside from some dirt, the thing looked almost new when I bought it. I guess it comes down to:

Do you want to buy a used bike made with quality parts from brands like Shimano and Bontrager?

Do you want to buy a likely shoddily assembled walmart bike for around the same price with who the hell knows what brand parts?

Also, those same walmart bikes are often REALLY cheap on the secondary markets anyway. I've seen other mongoose and schwinn bikes from walmart go for like, $25 used.

I think i'm gonna pick up that gary fisher bike and throw some torque arms on the rear where the hub motor will go. It's got quality parts and a front suspension, something I do like to have on newer bikes (on my old 96' marin bike, you could feel every single pebble on the road I swear :wink: ).

Thanks for the help.

User avatar
wturber   100 kW

100 kW
Posts: 1335
Joined: Aug 23 2017 8:52pm
Location: Fountain Hills,AZ
Contact:

Re: Looking for "new" used bike for electric conversion

Post by wturber » Feb 19 2018 7:50pm

There is no easy answer. I think buying a good quality used bike is a fine Idea. After all, that's what I did. But if you don't know much about what you are looking at or for, you could find some nasty surprises. You should factor in the cost of doing some maintenance on the bike.

Also, keep in mind that items that are really valuable on a regular bike because they are strong and light frequently have diminished value on an e-bike where strength and durability tend to be more important than weight - especially as motor power starts to exceed what human beans produce (the 500 watt and above range.)
"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

torker   1 MW

1 MW
Posts: 1541
Joined: Oct 16 2008 8:46pm
Location: Udall, Ks.

Re: Looking for "new" used bike for electric conversion

Post by torker » Feb 19 2018 8:44pm

That Gary Fisher looks like my Giant Rincon. I run an old E-Bikekit DD hub on the back on 36 volts. I fabbed some torque arms using some heavy washers that came with the hub. I welded small tabs on the washers so I could bolt them to the dropouts.

Bike works good . Rim brakes are not great. The Manitou fork is meh? 2.35 tires help ..
Dave When I die I want to slide in sideways yelling WooHoo what a ride !

Giant Rincon w rear 9C 6*10 10s Lipo 30+ amps
Specialized FSR Comp 9C 6*10 15s x 50A 3300 W :)
http://s18.photobucket.com/user/rolinfu ... t=3&page=1

User avatar
dogman dan   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 34366
Joined: May 17 2008 12:53pm
Location: Las Cruces New Mexico USA

Re: Looking for "new" used bike for electric conversion

Post by dogman dan » Feb 20 2018 8:40am

I agree, the trek 820, or similar bike better for a commuter than nearly any MTB sold at Walmart. My first year commuting I got about 6 months from each walbike I got hold of. The frames die.

Which is why I suggested a 7 speed cruiser, if you are buying a Walmart bike in the sub 200 bucks category. Its steel frames lifespan ( or the trek) is likely to be a lifetime, unless actually used at the beach.

so why the cruiser?
1 you have zero need for 21 gears, 7 is plenty.
2 it has substantially more room for battery in the frame, than an MTB, even the trek.
3 it has fenders, which can be priceless on a commuter bike.
4 its steel, so you can easily add stuff, like a welded on rear rack, disk brake mounts, etc. This is also true of the Trek. But as for brakes, the v brakes on that cheap 7 speed cruiser will stop you fine.

DO NOT buy the coaster brake bike, unless you plan to weld on disk brakes, etc.

Also, the front wheel on that cheep bike will be shit. Do plan to upgrade with a better wheel, off some old mtb. (preferably a disk wheel) The rear wheel will already be replaced if planning a hub motor bike.

e-beach   100 MW

100 MW
Posts: 2705
Joined: Jan 10 2012 9:48pm
Location: Any Los Angeles area beach I am at. Or Santa Monica or possibly the south bay beaches.

Re: Looking for "new" used bike for electric conversion

Post by e-beach » Feb 20 2018 11:04am

That Wahoo should be fine unless the dropouts are weird. I never had the chance to get a good look at them. Make sure the cheap Chinese hub motor will fit in the rear dropout as it is hard to stretch a alloy frame. You may have to file the dropout deeper to center the motor axle on the dropout slot. If the battery fits in the frame, you should be good to go and make improvements as you desire.

:D
Favorite Quote: "This is L.A., sugar. There is no 'over the top." --- Chris Erskine

Current build: Liahona w/ cheap front suspension and suspension seat post. Yescomusa 36v 800w generic front hub motor. 15ah Headway triangle mounted pack. Tronsung 30 amp,

Previous Build:1992 Trek Antelope 800 - Bone Crusher (no suspension) - Yescomusa 800 watt 36 volt front wheel kit. Don't do it! Get suspension!!!

999zip999   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 8350
Joined: Jan 10 2010 1:40pm
Location: Dana Point So. Cal

Re: Looking for "new" used bike for electric conversion

Post by 999zip999 » Feb 20 2018 2:55pm

On some mountain bikes they don't leave enough room for a nut on the rear wheel by the derailleur make sure there's enough clearance by the derailleur that you can put a nut on your axle. Then make sure that you have enough room between the rear wheel and the Steep seatpost for your controller some mountain bikes have very small area there for your controller

Post Reply