First Ebike Project - Some advice needed

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Mordy   1 µW

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First Ebike Project - Some advice needed

Post by Mordy » Jun 18 2018 6:45pm

Hi Everyone,

New to the forums and somewhat addicted :D

I have been trawling forums and surfing youtube looking at the various options and have come to ask the wise ones for some advice.
Below I will give some details as to what I am looking at currently and a few alternatives as well as what the bike will be used for etc.

The main reason I want to do this is because it looks incredibly fun and there are a host of different options to play around with.
I was thinking of a way to get some exercise during the week and happened upon ebikes when I was searching for MTB's and I was instantly hooked! Then I thought wait a gosh darn minute - this can be perfect for commuting to work!

So the idea came to me that hey I can use this for work over some gravel and tar roads and pedal some of it to get a workout in (preferably on the way home) and at the same time save a bit on petrol and general wear and tear on my vehicle. I worked it out and I can roughly pay the cost of the bike back in about a year(thinking about repairs, tyres and so forth on the bike as well).

Please bare with me below, time for my noobness to shine.

What the bike will be used for:

commuting to work, some offroad(some gravel on the way to work), maybe more offroad on the weekends.

My weight, how far, terrain:

I weigh 80kgs/176lbs and my commute is about 8km's/4.9miles one way so a total of about 16km's/10miles a day. There are a few steepish uphills.

So here are my options currently - any advice is appreciated :)


1.Trek 4300 2013, Medium frame, 26er - ... sc/details

I have my eyes on a few others but they are all 29ers.

The Trek is the most enticing as it's a 26" and I also really like the design.

The big thing here is the 29er(excuse the pun), the conversion kit I am getting is a 26" (I can get it locally rather than ordering it online otherwise I would just order the one that fits the bike).
My question is how easy is moving the motor to the 29" wheel? Is that a mission?

Motor :

I live in South Africa - I found someone who bought a motor from aliexpress and never used it.

Here's the link: ... 4c4digMO5u

I am really not sure on the quality of the motor or what it is, I tried doing some research but ZLZLMOTOR didn't give me much info.
I am going to try and have a look at it this weekend and check all the parts, maybe get some more info on the controller.
A switch at a later stage to have speed settings, low-mid-sport kinda thing would be nice.
Might be asking a bit too much from that motor but a top speed between 50kmph and 60kmph will be great (also depends on which battery I get/build).


I have a few options here. I can order one from EM3EV but the shipping times are a guess.
My local options are Lipo and self-made li-ion battery packs. Really not too sure on what to use just yet...

For the lipo batteries there are a few hobby shops here that I can source them from. The main one being
I was thinking of 4 x 4S1P 10000mah batteries in series to get 59.2V 10Ah. I am still looking at a few different configs, maybe 2 x 4S1P and 1 x 6S1P.
The controller doesn't seem to mention amp rating, but I am guessing it's 20A.

I can buy these batteries locally but they are a bit expensive (around 8-10usd for 1 x 3000mah 3.6v).
I would also order the vruzend battery building kit (x2) and would build a 52V 20A battery

BOSCH battery packs:
I can get 18v and 36v battery packs locally, a bit pricey but decent alternative and it seems like a pretty easy set up.

I think this option would be the best, I have done quite a bit of research and their batteries look great and their options rock.
The big issue is delivery time - having no idea how long it will take to get to South Africa. The motor I mentioned above took 8 months to arrive.
I know this also varies from vendor to vendor, anyone on here from SA and ordered batteries from them? :D

My battery knowledge is not all there yet and I still get a bit confused when I look at some set ups but I am learning slowly.

I will get a triangle bike bag for the batteries and if I get Lipo batteries I will make sure they are protected/padded to reduce the risk of damaging them.

So I have covered Bicycle, motor+accessories and batteries... Is there anything I missed?

This will be my first ebike project. In future I want to plan and build more of a high-powered enduro ebike similar to sur ron and stealth ebikes. There are lots of AWESOME and inspiring builds on here.

Really appreciate any advice. Thanks for taking the time to read through this long winded post.

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motomech   1 GW

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Re: First Ebike Project - Some advice needed

Post by motomech » Jun 18 2018 8:30pm

You might want to look at this on-going thread recently started;
As far as the donor bike is concerned, here is the States, used mountain bikes are a "dime a dozen", especially ones w/ 26"wheels, which the serious trails guys consider obsolete. Maybe that is not the case where you live.
Don't know about those LiPoly brands. Most of us buy it from the World-wide vendor Hobby King, sticking to well known brands like Turnigy, Zippy and Multistar. The Multistar is especially well suited to Ebikes, at least the ones w/out super high discharge rates. It trades lower discharge rates for a smaller form factor, lighter weight and lower volatility. It's also available in large capacity bricks like 10 Ah, 16 Ah and 20 Ah. Great for staying w/ 1P or 2P strings w/ large capacity packs.
Hobby King might even have free shipping to SA, they do to the States.
For Li-Ion packs, ck out BMS Battery. You can "trial run of the order to see what the shipping will be.
The Packs from Em3ev are great, as are the Mac geared motors. If you want to do lot's of meaaningful pedaling, you really want to go w/ a Geared motor.

'03 Rocky Mountain Edge 2WD 260 Q100H frt and Ezee V1 rear 2 Elifebike 20A & 25A 9-FET controllers 12S/10Ah Multistar Lipo rear 4Ah Turnigy frt Luna Cyclops Extra lite Alex 24DM rims, Crazy Bobs run ghetto tubeless. 25 mph. Mean Well HLG-320H-54A ... =3&t=83430
'07 GT Idive 4 4.0, Q100C 201 14S LiPoly elifebike 9-FET 20A controller. 23 MPH. ... 4#p1378484

81forest   100 W

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Re: First Ebike Project - Some advice needed

Post by 81forest » Jun 19 2018 12:50pm

I’m working on my first ebike project as well, and also ended up going with a DD front hub motor like yours. I got a lot of great advice on here that I will try to pass along:

Front hub motor is not ideal for mountain biking, because traction can be a little squirrelly and your front wheel will weigh a ton. I chose it anyway because mine is a cargo bike that will rarely go off-road. I don’t think you’ll want that dd motor in a 29” wheel; apparently they need to spin faster or risk heating up. Bigger wheel means less efficient motor. If you end up doing a mid drive, then 29er all the way!!

Em3ev is awesome, but also check out AllCell battery packs. Best deal I found.

The Cycle Analyst is a rad product and worth the money.

Good luck!

wheeliepete   1 mW

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Re: First Ebike Project - Some advice needed

Post by wheeliepete » Jun 19 2018 2:15pm

That motor/controller you linked to looks more like needing 30/40 amp from your battery. At the speed you want to reach you will need to look at 72v battery minimum, if the controller will take it. If you have hills to climb, then DD motors are not always the best option.

Mordy   1 µW

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Re: First Ebike Project - Some advice needed

Post by Mordy » Jun 19 2018 4:18pm

Thanks for the replies.

@Mototech, tried the cart trial for shipping costs and the best option seems to be BMSBattery with shipping. Also keeping an eye on the other ebike advice thread you mentioned. Hobby king unfortunately does not ship to SA, no matter what warehouse I chose it had no shipping options. Chatted to their live support and all they asked was about the regulation around it. Em3ev and BMSBattery use Fedex and DHL and they have their own rules for batteries that they will sort out with the vendor anyway. So I think BMSBattery is first prize for now, checked some feedback about them on the forum and couldn't find anything negative really. Oh yes and 26ers are still quite common around these parts, luckily!

@81Forest - the motor is a rear hub motor, their descriptions and lists are all over the place but the part number for the motor listed in the description at the top is G-S021 which is the same part number right under rare hub motor. The package list also states rear spoke hub motor.
Thanks for the advice, I think I will stick with the trek 26" then :D Will also see what Allcell has to offer.

@wheeliepete - thanks - will definitely look into that, I think there are a few places locally I can source higher rated controllers from. As for the battery I might just have to go lipo for starters for that sweet 72v, only issue is they are quite pricey compared to importing a li-ion pack.

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dogman dan   100 GW

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Re: First Ebike Project - Some advice needed

Post by dogman dan » Jun 20 2018 5:32am

Sound advice so far from all. Stick to 26", but not so much because 29" wheel hub motor is hard to find. The reason is that hub motors work best in smaller wheels, like 20". 26" still fine, but no need to make the wheel even bigger when you are already heading towards the size the hub motor works less good in. Also other reasons, like tires might be cheaper. If you run your commute on off road tires, they will wear out super fast. Sticky tires for off road are soft.

Your commute is relatively short, which is good for the battery cost. You won't need more than 10 ah. Lipo a good idea if you can get that localy where you are, just study the risks and don't keep them inside your house. At least, never charge them inside. Do not go with 16 cells. That will be too high voltage for your bikes controller. (assuming its a 48v) 12s ( 12 cells in series) is the minimum, and 14s is about the max. 13s is the industry standard, but a bit awkward sometimes to do in lipo. you can do 4s +4s+5s to get 13s.

In any case, sounds like you can't get lipo shipped in. EM3ev would be the best vendor for an 18650 pack, for sure.

You can save money with the e bike, but you might spend even more on the addiction. Since your commute is short, the savings won't be so much. But the fun is worth whatever the cost you can afford. Your car will last longer even if you only save 10 miles a day of wear on it. If nothing else, you can put off repairs till more convenient in time, or money.

Go for it. your plan is very sound. And fun.

Mordy   1 µW

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Re: First Ebike Project - Some advice needed

Post by Mordy » Jun 25 2018 5:29pm

Thanks Dan, appreciate all the advice.

I am going to go grab the motor tomorrow and I am still awaiting a response from the Trek bicycle seller. I will definitely keep this thread updated with the ebike build.

@dogman dan is there a wheel that would be ideal for both scenarios? Some offroad and some tar/pavement?

13S sounds like the way to go then for lipo. I am also considering buying a li-ion pack from BMS or EM3ev as it seems like an all around safer, longer lasting and less prone to damage pack. Will have to see what the costs will be and make a decision from there. The shipping costs of EM3ev are really impressive compared to almost all the other sites I have visited.

Haha, yes the addiction, I have been staying up until sparrow farts in the morning for the last few weeks gathering info and reading ebike build posts. If it bites harder when I have the bike I might want to build another one post haste :lol: I think the money I save (average of $100 a month on petrol) will just pay for the bike over a few months of using it for the work commute. The biggest benefit will be for my health and fitness.

Once again thanks for the advice!

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