comparing ebike kits

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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Nick R.   10 mW

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comparing ebike kits

Post by Nick R. » Mar 24 2018 9:33am

I'm thinking about converting my trike to a etrike and see a huge difference between the Chinese hub kits (on ebay and Amazon) and the Falco and Luna kits and wonder if the more expensive kits are worth it or just a waste of money. Mainly my needs are for cruising only, Too old for anything else LOL, thanks for any help narrowing down my search. Nick R.

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Re: comparing ebike kits

Post by amberwolf » Mar 24 2018 1:34pm

Without more info on your actual trike, usage needs (terrain, wind, range needed, traffic conditions, weight (yours and the trike's), acceleration time needed, etc), it's difficult to give any specfic recommendations.

The only general thing I can say is that if you buy from on-continent / in-country vendors, you at least have the potential to get warranty service, especially on the batteries. Otherwise, shipping costs and methods are so high/impractical that you might as well toss it and buy new ones if anything goes wrong (unless you fix it yourself).

Quality varies even from "name brand" vendors, and some of them exaggerate or lie or even invent specifications, just like the ebay / alibaba stuff, so you have to be careful to check what it really is, and ask questions about whether it will do what you really need it to do, before you buy.

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Re: comparing ebike kits

Post by Nick R. » Mar 24 2018 7:32pm

Thanks for the reply Amberwolf, my needs are small;I'll be 90yrs old in Sept,I live in Fla. so terrain is flat, max speed about 20 to 25mph,I weigh 172lbs, desire about 30 to 40 mi round trip, I've read a lot of good things about the Falco kit but not sure how much is hype, and at $2,200.00 and being a newbie I would like some help so not to make a dumb mistake. Thanks again Nick R.

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Re: comparing ebike kits

Post by amberwolf » Mar 25 2018 1:10am

Nick R. wrote:
Mar 24 2018 7:32pm
Thanks for the reply Amberwolf, my needs are small;I'll be 90yrs old in Sept,I live in Fla. so terrain is flat, max speed about 20 to 25mph
Depending on the trike and wheel size/design (your post doesn't give any info on these) then many, perhaps most, of the non-speed-limited kits would be able to do this, running off a 48v (13s) or 52v (14s) battery pack.

I'm just a bit over half your age ;) but don't have great speed needs--just great torque / power needs for hauling heavy stuff (and/or big dogs), and for quick acceleration so I don't get angry drivers behind me at traffic lights, and I can get across teh intersection as fast as or faster than they can.

I weigh 172lbs, desire about 30 to 40 mi round trip,
That's the potentially expensive part--you'll need a 20Ah+ battery to do that, assuming no winds and no hills and minimal air resistance from the trike (if it's at least somewhat aerodynamic, and not like my SB Cruiser trike). You'd have to determine that, or post up details of your trike so we could help figure that out.

If your trike is more like mine (see link in my signature), then it'll take significantly more power to keep it moving at the speeds you want, and you'll need around twice that amount of battery, or more.

It's also a good idea to have at least a 25% margin for error, so that much more battery capacity for either detours, or winds, or just pack aging (loses capacity as it ages).


Another note: Depending on your trike design, it may not be safe to ride any faster than 10 or 15MPH, because a lot of the common delta types found at walmart and the like are so twitchy and tippy that just a tiny bit of steering input at those speeds will end up flipping/rolling you on your side. Making an actual turn above just a few MPH would do this too.

Mine's long with small rear wheels slightly wider spaced than the common trikes, and built with heavy stuff at teh outer edges adn bottom and center, so I can turn at almost 20MPH at intersections, and it rides safely at up to 20mPH (probably faster, but that's the limit here).

But I used to have a short tippy one, and used a trike kit on a long low bike that *should* have been ok but was not, was instead very tippy even at really slow speeds.

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Re: comparing ebike kits

Post by ScooterMan101 » Mar 25 2018 1:51am

Nick,

For what you want to do, and living in Florida , a simple rear Mac motor 6T will work perfectly for you, there are kits available that have the Mac hub motor as part of the kit.

52 volt battery pack .

Just looked at the Luna Website/News today and they have some great news,
they are now making their own battery packs, with wires instead of nickel strips , they are calling it a " Wolf Pack " Eric says in the article that the Wolf packs are only available now if you buy a motor kit from them, but will be available in the future to buy alone.
My first conversion ...

https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 1#p1077497

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

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Re: comparing ebike kits

Post by ScooterMan101 » Mar 25 2018 2:02am

My first conversion ...

https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 1#p1077497

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

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Re: comparing ebike kits

Post by amberwolf » Mar 25 2018 2:05am

ScooterMan101 wrote:
Mar 25 2018 1:51am
a simple rear Mac motor 6T will work perfectly for you,
That entirely depends on what trike he has and how it mounts it's wheels.

If it is a delta trike and uses a live-axle for the rear wheels, a rear hubmotor won't work without some modification of the frame and wheel area.

If it is a delta trike and has typical front fork then a front hubmotor can work, with sufficient torque arms and possible dropout modification (filing/etc), but depending on trike design/layout and where the weight is, it might not have the best traction (especially when the roads are wet).

If it is a tadpole trike and uses typical rear dropouts, then a rear hubmotor can work, again with suffient torque arms/dropout mod/etc).

As for the speed it'd reach, that will depend on the wheelsize as well as the battery voltage (and motor winding).


So until we know details about the trike we can't be sure what will or won't work on it.

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Re: comparing ebike kits

Post by ScooterMan101 » Mar 25 2018 2:10am

Amberwolf,

I had already guessed that he is riding a tadpole design, one of the biggest Mfg's of tadpole trikes are located right in central Florida, near Orlando.
Of course I could be wrong on that guess, but wanted to steer him in the direction of the lighter weight Mac geared hub motor as soon as possible , instead of that very expensive Falco DD hub, since he has no hills to go up and is not hauling allot of weight so he really does not need a heavy DD hub motor.
My first conversion ...

https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 1#p1077497

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

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Chalo   100 GW

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Re: comparing ebike kits

Post by Chalo » Mar 25 2018 4:35am

ScooterMan101 wrote:
Mar 25 2018 2:10am
I had already guessed that he is riding a tadpole design, one of the biggest Mfg's of tadpole trikes are located right in central Florida, near Orlando.
They also make granny trikes. If it's one of those (or any kind of upright trike less than 4 feet wide), Amberwolf's caveats about range will apply, and it will also be a bad idea to go 20-25 mph.
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

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dogman dan   100 GW

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Re: comparing ebike kits

Post by dogman dan » Mar 25 2018 8:20am

FWIW, there is a US based vendor that specializes in kits for both types of trikes. They also sell ready to ride e trikes, that start with the sun trikes line.

I used to work there, so of course my opinion is biased. But for a trike, they are the only guys in the US that make a business of converting trikes.

Everybody else will have a bike kit. Those work great on tadpole trikes, but not on deltas.

Since I don't work there anymore, I can now at least say who they are on the forum, ebikekit.com They also sell a specialty electric trike, that caters to the needs of folks who have a mobility scooter in the house, that is libertytrike.com.

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Re: comparing ebike kits

Post by wesnewell » Mar 25 2018 9:18am

First of all, they're all Chinese hub kits and they're all basically the same. For $200 or less you can get a direct drive kit that should last many years. I've got 7 years and 25K+ miles on my 1000W kit. So yes, it's a waste of money to spend more than that for what you want. See Need Advice in sig.
Need Advice? https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... =3&t=66302
Mongoose 26" Ledge 2.1 mtb bike $99, yescomusa.com 48V 1000W rear hub kit $200, Hua Tong 72V 40A controller $35, 10ah 24s lipo $217=~43mph, range=45 miles @ 20mph. 25K miles and still going strong.
Huffy Fortress 3.0 with MXUS 3000 4T motor, 24s lipo, 96V 60A controller. Total cost with extras <$700. Top speed ~50mph
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Re: comparing ebike kits

Post by ScooterMan101 » Mar 25 2018 12:14pm

I did not even think about a granny trike since that is something I would never buy and have not seen in a long time.

If it is a Granny Type trike, then for sure he is stuck with a front hub, and I would not go over 12 mph if riding something like that. they look like they are going to tip over when in the past I have seen someone making a turn o one of those, even at slow speeds.

If it is a Granny type of trike, then a heavy Direct Drive hub is a bad idea for a couple of reasons. And even a Mac front hub motor would have more power than you would want on one of those types of trikes.

That leaves a motor more like the Q128, or a small geared hub front motor from Grin Technologies , if going on a Granny type of trike.

Nick R. , see if you can take a picture of your trike and attach the photo on a reply .

At 90 years old you are going to want a lighter weight motor to put on anything you have to push around while parking since e-bike conversions typically do not have a reverse mode.


Chalo wrote:
Mar 25 2018 4:35am

They also make granny trikes. If it's one of those (or any kind of upright trike less than 4 feet wide), Amberwolf's caveats about range will apply, and it will also be a bad idea to go 20-25 mph.
My first conversion ...

https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 1#p1077497

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

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Re: comparing ebike kits

Post by amberwolf » Mar 25 2018 10:04pm

ScooterMan101 wrote:
Mar 25 2018 12:14pm
I did not even think about a granny trike since that is something I would never buy and have not seen in a long time.
They're pretty common--probably the most common kind of trike around, since there's a number of BSO versions of them (wallyworld sells several, some electric).

The rear wheel mount/transfer axle/etc on my SB Cruiser came from a "trike kit" that turned a regular bike into one of those. (ti's the same one that had been on my tippy Delta Tripper, and the tippy long trike made using CrazyBike2).

since e-bike conversions typically do not have a reverse mode.
If a DD motor is used, then many controllers have a reverse wire that can be hooked up to a handlebar control. It's not all that useful on most ebikes, but on etrikes it certainly is. :)

I use this function on SB Cruiser for both motors, with the "horn" button wired up as a momentary reverse--just press and hold it while using the throttles, and I can use the motors to back up. Very handy when heavily loaded or I have to back up a slope (like in some parking lots).



But until Nick posts what his trike actually is, it's all moot.

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Re: comparing ebike kits

Post by Chalo » Mar 26 2018 12:58pm

I don't think I've ever met a 90 year old person who could get in and out of say a Windcheetah or KMX without help. Such a person would be super awesome, though.
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

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Re: comparing ebike kits

Post by Nick R. » Apr 11 2018 5:39pm

Thank You All for your very informative posts. My trike is a Catrike Expedition with a 26" rear wheel, so Scooterman was right, and yes Chalo I have no trouble getting in or out of my trike but as you probably know you don't do these with any amount of dignity LOL! Thank God I'm still driving and have most all my original reflexes and good health. I was just about to give up and forget this project when I stumbled on this branch of the forum, and holy s--t!! I stumbled on some of the most knowledgable group of ebikers on this forum: (I am humbled). I am so glad you mentioned Mac motors, I called Luna the other day and got someone (forgot his name) and explained what I wanted, but he seemed very put off that I was not a pro or someone that knew little about bike kits, so we hung up without any info, I also crossed him off my list but liked what I saw on a printout of that system, I guess I asked a few stupid questions.I am mechanically inclined but very dumb with electrical things, one of my questions is that I read somewhere that a T10 mac kit motor is better for Florida flat terrain and was not listed as part of their kit. The reason for this kit; about a week ago I finished a 17 mi trip which left me totally exhausted for the next 3 days( on the return trip I had a 20mph head wind typical Fla winter/spring weather) my quest is to electrify my trike, I read Denmam's post about his Mac10 monster kit which intrigued me so that is when I called Luna. my needs are about 20mph or less about 30-35mi range W/med torque (to cross streets quickly), I know I sound like a pain in the you know where but would like any help I can get. Sorry for the long and boring post, with all my respect Nick R.

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Re: comparing ebike kits

Post by ScooterMan101 » Apr 12 2018 1:38am

Nick,

Good to see that you are on a well build and designed trike.

That looks like a great trike to put a electric hub motor on.
https://www.catrike.com/expedition
I see that it does not have suspension , so I would keep the speeds lower than 20, not because it would not handle the speed , but because the higher the speed you go the more sore your body will be after the ride. I am experiencing that now with two wheels .

Since you have not had any luck with Luna , You can get the Mac motor and all the other components from the place that has been selling the Mac motor for years ... Em3ev.com
I forgot the owners name, but when I have e-mailed them Paul who works there is very helpful. and I mean Very . They are in China , But have english speaking people since the owner is British , living and doing business there.
The 10 T Mac would be very good on your rear, they make a version that takes a cassette so if you have more cogs than 7 on the rear the cassette version is easier to just transfer your cassette over to it.
I believe they now make a kit that uses the HiGo Connectors, also called waterprof connectors. I would get that one. Easier to get them to build up the wheel for you , even if shipping is more. Their battery packs are also of good quality.
You can e-mail them and ask Paul to ensure that you get all the right components and that they are all plug and play, which with HiGo connectors is easier, just pay attention to the two arrows on the plugs.

I hope I can live to the same age as you, even a little older in fact, and still be riding bikes in my 90's .
I salute you for that accomplishment .
My first conversion ...

https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 1#p1077497

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

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Re: comparing ebike kits

Post by teklektik » Apr 12 2018 1:45pm

Nick R. wrote:
Mar 24 2018 7:32pm
...,I live in Fla. so terrain is flat, max speed about 20 to 25mph,I weigh 172lbs, desire about 30 to 40 mi round trip,
...My trike is a Catrike Expedition with a 26" rear wheel
ScooterMan101 wrote:
Apr 12 2018 1:38am
...You can get the Mac motor and all the other components from the place that has been selling the Mac motor for years ... Em3ev.com
I forgot the owners name, but when I have e-mailed them Paul who works there is very helpful. and I mean Very . They are in China , But have english speaking people since the owner is British , living and doing business there.
The 10 T Mac would be very good on your rear, they make a version that takes a cassette so if you have more cogs than 7 on the rear the cassette version is easier to just transfer your cassette over to it.
Stay away from Falco - they are unique with their 5 phase system that flies in the face of the industry-standard 3 phase approach, offers little real advantage, and locks you into their motor/controller pair. You will not be able to replace either without replacing both.

+1 for EM3EV
Paul Lynch is the British guy who owns EM3EV and a longtime ES member. He has worked closely with Mac for many years and is the primary reason for the many upgrades to the motor. EM3EV has always built their own batteries, has been shipping batteries with cell-level fusing for some time, and their balance leads have been fused for many years. These are top quality batteries from a long time manufacturer (not reseller).

You don't want a DD motor - if anything craps out on your ride, you don't want motor drag getting home. This may not normally be a big thing, but in your situation it doesn't appear to be a good choice. In contrast, a gear motor will give you freewheeling to disengage the motor when pedaling - the Mac and eZee motors are the biggest. There are smaller gear motors out there that would work for your application but here's some thoughts going down the Mac path...

The most popular choices in the Mac line are the 8T and 10T. The 6T is a very fast motor best suited for smaller wheels and the 12T is really slow and needs higher voltage to make good speed. The 6T and 12T are arguably not good choices for your application. Considering your speed requirement, an 8T at 36V or 10T at 50V should work out fine.

Taking a quick look at the simulator and your stated needs, here's a quick run using a Mac 10T and 50V 14.3Ah battery on the flat and assuming you are not pedaling at all.


floridaTrike_10T_50V14-3Ah.png
Click image to bring up this configuration in the ebikes.ca simulator
floridaTrike_10T_50V14-3Ah.png (73.38 KiB) Viewed 849 times



There's a lot of stuff there, but the biggies for the 30,000ft view are the 44mi range and the 27mph top speed. You want to choose a top speed about 125% of your highest cruising speed so a good max cruising speed with this setup would be 80% of 27.7mph = 22mph. This gives you some headroom to be able to accelerate since the motor isn't spun out with nothing left to give.

Your battery will age and you probably will only be charging it to 90% to get longer life so the estimated 44mile range is going to be no more than 40mi if you run wide open at top speed for the whole time. Assuming a much more conservative 78% throttle to get the 22mph max cruising speed mentioned above, your range will be a max of 60 miles or so. Here you can play with the Ah rating of the battery to get the range you want. Anyhow, you get the drift - the bit of extra power above your base requirement will be welcome in the face of headwinds, etc. that will eat up power PDQ.

Depending on how handy you are, you could add a Cycle Analyst 3 and a Sempu torque sensing crank to add PAS and other features, but that's in the 'add-on' category that you might approach later. Anyhow, you can get all the parts from EM3EV for one-stop shopping. If you get a CA3 for it, it will come pre-configured for your setup and ready to go.

Anyhow - one possible solution. There are many opinions, but I encourage you to try out recommendation in the ebikes.ca simulator to see if they will do the job for you.

Best of luck with your project. :D
Visit Grin Technologies at www.ebikes.ca
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Re: comparing ebike kits

Post by slacker » Apr 12 2018 2:06pm

Please you make sure to use torque arms as catrike expedition has aluminum dropouts and without t-arms you will strip your drop outs. Good luck in your endeavor.

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Re: comparing ebike kits

Post by teklektik » Apr 12 2018 3:30pm

slacker wrote:
Apr 12 2018 2:06pm
Please you make sure to use torque arms as catrike expedition has aluminum dropouts and without t-arms you will strip your drop outs.
+1 on the TA's.
You will also want to put a snug fitting washer on the inside of your dropouts on each side so the narrow motor shaft shoulder won't sink into the aluminum dropout.

catTrikeRear.jpg
catTrikeRear.jpg (169.33 KiB) Viewed 818 times

Your dropouts are pretty unencumbered, so you have a few options there. Take a look on the Grin Tech site to pick TA's that will work best. The V4's would work fine, but it almost looks like the base plate of V2 front TA's could be drilled to engage the fender stay hole without using the extra arm piece, but that's just a guess. The Canadian shipping will probably make buying the Grin TAs from EM3EV a better deal - once you're in the shipping game from China, you might as well just fill the box with goodies - the little stuff is essentially no cost shipping.

In the category of 'goodies' I would recommend picking up a few parts you may not need - just to expedite assembly.
  1. some axle spacers in case you need to get some freewheel/cassette clearance
    (Grin Tech SpaceWash3 and SpaceWash5 or equivalent)
  2. An ebike tester so you can (later) diagnose motor/controller issues (if/when you need it, you won't want to wait to get it...)
Normally I'd add a brake spacer to that list, but it looks like you have no rear brake, so that's a freebie...

You will also likely need to do a tiny bit of filing on your dropouts to get the motor shaft to seat better. Here's a couple of posts about that stuff:
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 7#p1145413
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 4#p1359674
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Re: comparing ebike kits

Post by Nick R. » Apr 13 2018 1:55pm

WOW!! That graph blew my mind, I will leave that type of research to the pro's. Big question is:I read somewhere that the battery Wh should equal or come close to the motor Watts. Most of what I read on the net are from people like yourselves, however there are some that will respond when they should not. Everyone that gave me help on this forum was SPOT ON. I think I will delay my build a couple weeks so I can get answers to nagging questions which make for a better build. Thanks for all your gracious help. Nick R.

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Re: comparing ebike kits

Post by dogman dan » Apr 14 2018 8:52am

That's not a bad rule of thumb, I had not heard of that one. However, it would not apply to really weak cells, like a home made pack from used laptop cells.

At a minimum, most of todays kits need at least 10 ah, or close to it. 15 ah, if you want the battery to be lasting a bit longer. And that kind of continues on up to really large batteries. What I mean is, even if your rate of discharge per cell is low, the thing still likes it better if it gets even lower. But most any battery made for e bikes today can do 2c discharge rates when they must. Like up that hill.

Most of the commonly available kits with 500w rated motors pull 20-25 amps. So a 10 ah pack will max discharge at a rate of about 2 x its size in ah. This is called c rate, for a 10 ah pack 1c is 10 amps, for 2c its 20 amps, and so on. Anything under 2c is generally fine for a good lithium battery intended for a bike.

My other rule of thumb is for range. for 36v batteries, 1 ah = one mile. You can and will go farther, but if you use this rule to size your battery for your range, you will not over use your battery very often on rides. On that windy day you will need more, and then you will have it.

If you want more speed, then get a 48v kit. for 48v, 3/4 ah goes one mile.

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