Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
reluctantsuburban   10 mW

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Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by reluctantsuburban » Sep 27 2018 1:51pm

Hey ES! (think I posted this in the wrong forum earlier...my bad)

I am honestly a little intimidated to post this because there is still so much I don't know. I have been lurking for a month, trying to read as much as I can, but sorry in advance for my gaps in knowledge. For reference, I am 28, in decent shape although a new cyclist, 6'1", 165 lbs in the Dallas, TX area.

I currently do a mixed commute, biking 2 miles to the train, taking the train into downtown Dallas, and then ride 2 miles through downtown into the office. I have been doing this consistently since January as a trial run to see if I will actually commute regularly on a bike in all types of weather and moods--so far, so good.

I would love to move from a mixed commute with public transit to biking the whole way to work, and I think an ebike can make that happen. Currently, my commute is 50 minutes door to door when I take the train. I ride with a Topeak rear rack and bag, and use my bag for lunch, a change of clothes, and other miscellaneous stuff. If I were to bike on roads (mostly residential) it would be 15 miles one way. If I were to deviate to all bike paths, it would be 20 miles one way. Both routes would be very flat, on paved roads with a fair amount of bad quality cement and potholes (more on the road than the paths). My wife wants me to take the bike paths because she is worried about unobservant drivers. I want to take the roads because I think my speed will be limited to be safe on bike paths that are frequented by joggers.

I want to keep my overall commute to the same or less time than my current commute, meaning if I take the 15 mile route, I am hoping for an average trip speed of at least 20 mph (including traffic stops). I think this would mean an average cruising speed of ~25mph. I am not interested in building a hotrod, just a commuter that will allow me to navigate city streets safely along with traffic, arriving to work not a sweaty mess. I think this means I don't need to go much faster than 28mph as top speed, though my expectations may be off--feel free to correct me. I also want to be able to pedal the whole trip meaningfully, meaning decent PAS as well as a gearing set up that doesn't leave me meaninglessly spinning at top speed while the motor does all the work.

For this build, I will be purchasing a bike to convert, as my current ride is a Giant Via 1 https://bikepedia.com/QuickBike/BikeSpe ... em=1405952, which I think may be too stiff of a ride given the quality of the city streets at my top speeds, and the 3 speed IGH will likely not provide enough of a gear ratio. The bike I have been looking at is a Jubilee 8 Speed with Disc brakes from bikesdirect http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/mot ... -bikes.htm. My ideal bike will have an IGH (I prefer it for maintenance and aesthetics), a front fork (for riding city streets), disc brakes (stopping power), and will allow fenders and a rear rack (although I am fine to just use P clamps if there are no eyelets).

Ideally, I would spend no more than $1500 including the cost of the bike purchase and all accessories (fenders, rack, bag, etc.) Looking at pre-build bikes, the Juiced CCS/X seems to have a lot of what I'm looking for. If it weren't for the price, the lack of IGH, and wanting to wrench around a bit, I think that's the direction I would go. But it seems like DIY will be more fun and more bang for buck. Chas58's 25^3 build has really intrigued me as a starting point, and lots of related builds have been most of what I have studied.

I think what I am looking for is a front hub motor so I can accommodate the IGH. I really don't need a mid-drive given how flat my commute is, and I think I will be okay without a rear hub. I was really interested in the Q100/Q128 and that Bafang BPM, but I am wondering if a cheap eBay kit would do the job just as well. I have also been looking at a 48V/17aH battery pack from em3ev. Not sure what I want to do for a controller--the advice that I have been able to find on the forums often seems a bit outdated.

Can you all help me out here?:
  • What have I forgotten? What am I not considering?
  • Do I need a front fork to commute comfortably at this speed? Chas58's had none, but he may be made of stronger stuff than me :)
  • What motor will suit my needs at my price point? I have been stuck in analysis paralysis here
  • Will I be safe riding on city and residential roads where traffic has maximum speeds of 40mph? I will map my commute to neighborhoods as much as possible
  • Would you recommend a different bike than the Jubilee 8? In particular I want to make sure the gear ratio on the Nexus 8 is high enough so that I can meaningfully pedal at my top speeds
  • What PAS do I need if my goal is to meaningfully pedal at all points in the ride?
  • Please feel free to tell me what electronic components I need with the motor you recommend. I get lost once we start talking about controllers.
Thanks to you all!
Trying to build my first commuter. Goal is mid-20s mph cruising for 20 miles, to arrive at work (semi) Sweat-Free, while pedaling all the way. $1.5k is the budget (bike, accessories, and electronics).

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MadRhino   100 GW

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Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by MadRhino » Sep 27 2018 5:27pm

You will not need 8 speed. 3 are more than enough on the flat with a motor.
Building with a front motor is not best with a suspension fork, but it can be done.
If you would accept a derailer, I would say build with a rear motor.
1500$ would be put to much better use if you didn't have to buy a bike.
Batteries to make the ride back and forth at avg 20 mph a windy day, will be expansive.
If you can charge at work, you can save money on battery size.
If you are not familiar with building and tuning things, buy a kit so all components are matched.
Find a used bike that is quality, even if it has to be old to meet your budget.
It is much cheaper to fix a good old bike, than upgrading crap.
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
Current bikes
Street:
Trek Session 10 mod. Variable geometry. 70mph
Dirt:
Santa Cruz V10. 50mph

reluctantsuburban   10 mW

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Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by reluctantsuburban » Sep 27 2018 7:35pm

Thanks for the reply, MadRhino. Would you mind clarifying a couple of things for me?
You will not need 8 speed. 3 are more than enough on the flat with a motor.
On my current commute with just leg power, I feel like I want a larger gear ratio without a motor on long flats (I pedal to where my cadence is too fast/not adding much speed). Will I still be able to meaningfully pedal if I stick with my current 3 speed?
If you would accept a derailer, I would say build with a rear motor.
Why do you prefer rear hub? Initially I thought having a front hub would help spread weight over the bike since I will have panniers regularly. Just curious.
Building with a front motor is not best with a suspension fork, but it can be done.
Do you think suspension is necessary given what I've described for road conditions and speeds? Seems like the population on here is pretty split. Maybe I'd be good enough with a seat suspension post?
If you can charge at work, you can save money on battery size.
I can charge at work, so good news there.
If you are not familiar with building and tuning things, buy a kit so all components are matched.
Find a used bike that is quality, even if it has to be old to meet your budget.
Any kits or bikes in particular you would recommend?

Again, thanks!
Trying to build my first commuter. Goal is mid-20s mph cruising for 20 miles, to arrive at work (semi) Sweat-Free, while pedaling all the way. $1.5k is the budget (bike, accessories, and electronics).

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wturber   10 MW

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Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by wturber » Sep 27 2018 8:29pm

Your commute is similar in length to mine (15-16 miles) and your target times and speeds are similar. The main difference is that I have more hills.

Your goal of a "no-sweat" ride with something like Chas58's 25^3 light build seems somewhat inconsistent with your commute time goals. You'll need either more battery and watts to the motor or you are going to have to pedal harder and sweat quite a bit. You are right to estimate that you are going to have to cruise at around 25 mph most of the time in order to have a 20 mph trip average. At that speed you be using around 500-600 watts of battery power and getting about 25 wh/mi on a regular upright bike. You can do a bit better if you get into a more aerodynamic position.

Given the above, I think your battery choice is marginal if you expect it to make a round trip with it. However, if you can charge at work and/or don't mind perhaps sometimes finishing the ride home on leg power only, that it should be fine. That said, simply lowering your speed goals to an 18.5 - 19 mph overall average with stops and 23 mph average typical cruising can get you around a 20 wh/mi average consumption. This is the average range I've generally settled into given my route and that I'm dealing with hills.

I favor safety over speed. My primary measure of a route's safety is the degree to which it avoids interactions with cars - especially high speed ones. My bike route is 16 miles. My car commute to the same place is about 14.5 miles. I could ride that same route. But I won't. I'd stop ebike commuting first. I'm happy to ride an extra mile and a half to reduce my car exposure and use bike lanes.

I suggest scouting your possible routes by either riding them on weekends or during commute times. Leave extra early if you scout on your bike. Either that, or bike/bus in to work, and ride home on the bike exclusively. If you have access to a car, I'd suggest driving your intended route in a car so you can judge traffic conditions to and from. This all assumes that you've already pre-scouted with Google maps or something similar. Doing that is great, but is also generally not sufficient IMO.
"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

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amberwolf   100 GW

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Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by amberwolf » Sep 27 2018 9:04pm

reluctantsuburban wrote:
Sep 27 2018 7:35pm


On my current commute with just leg power, I feel like I want a larger gear ratio without a motor on long flats (I pedal to where my cadence is too fast/not adding much speed). Will I still be able to meaningfully pedal if I stick with my current 3 speed?
If you can presently pedal to the speed you want with your present front and rear chainring/sprocket sizes, then you can still do it with the motor.

If you can't presently pedal to that speed, then you won't be able to contribute while doing that with the motor. You can fix this by going to a larger front chainring--how much larger you can determine via either proportional math with your present speed and chainring size/ratio vs the desired speed, or you can look at the charts on places like http://sheldonbrown.com, etc.

The taller front chainring will make it a tad harder to start from a stop, but with the motor that won't matter.



Why do you prefer rear hub? Initially I thought having a front hub would help spread weight over the bike since I will have panniers regularly. Just curious.
The weight spread can be helpful, and it gives you 2WD, but you will have to get used to the handling change. In turns you may need let off the power, especially if it's wet, or you may lose traction and on the front that means you lose steering control.

The extra weight of a hubmotor in a suspension fork will cause it to react slower to bumps.

The torque of the motor against the fork legs vs stanchions can cause stiction, especially on cheap forks, causing the suspension to not react correctly to smaller bumps (and bigger ones during acceleration). The better designed the fork is, the less of a problem this is.

Most usable suspension forks are alloy lowers and dropouts, so you have to use good torque arms that prevent any motion of the axle against hte dropouts, or it can break them off.

Do you think suspension is necessary given what I've described for road conditions and speeds? Seems like the population on here is pretty split. Maybe I'd be good enough with a seat suspension post?
If you have perfectly smooth roads, no suspension is needed. If you have potholes, then the heavier the bike is, and the bigger and more sharp-edged those potholes are, the more likely it is to get wheel damage from the potholes. Also, the shocks can vibrate things loose on the bike, though that's easy enough to prevent by regular checks/maintenance if necessary.

A suspension seat post, like a THudbuster, will help *you* not feel the road bumps, at least, but it doesn't take much load off the rest of teh bike or wheels.

Fatter tires (more air volume) will help some, though.


I havne't ridden in DFW since I was a little kid (decades ago), so I have no idea what roads are like now--but around Irving where I was most of the time they tended to be poor quality on the back streets, better on the main ones.

Here in Phoenix, road quality varies a lot, but almost always there's "heat waves" in the pavement on main roads, especially near and at/in intersections, driveways, turnoffs, etc., and those are sometimes as bad or worse than most of the potholes--and are at the road edges where I have to ride. Broken a few wheels on them; usually just damaged rims but sometimes spokes, axles, etc. Only one bike I've ever had was full suspension; the rest were hardtail or no suspension at all. The trike is only frotn suspension, though the fatter moped tires in back help with some things, the smaller diameter makes others worse.

If you don't have any problems now with riding at the speeds you want on the roads you need to ride on, then no worries about changing the type of bike you ride on.

But if you do have problems now, they'll be worse with more weight.

If you haven't ridden at the speeds you want on the roads you intend to ride on, then you should either plan for worse conditions than you think you need to, or test ride them first to find out what you need.



Regarding route choice, though...I have ridden in traffic on the roads on regular bikes all the time, before going to ebikes, and it isn't safe. You must assume that no one sees you, and that every car that passes you is going to either squish you or turn in front of you, or change lanes into you, until they are past you. If there's a lot of cars, you're going to be spending your whole ride watching out for them, becuase they aren't watching out for you. That's really really tiring. Doing that for 30-60 minutes or more a day would be exhausting.

Then there's all the drivers pulling out of driveways, who are only looking for other cars (if even that).

Then there's the pedestrians (and other cyclists) that just walk or ride right off the sidewalk in front of you, because they're not looking either.

So wherever you can, I recommend taking side streets parallel to the main roads, if you can't take the bike paths.

I'd also recommend really good mirrors that are in your view at all times, that don't shake and vibrate making their view unusable.

Most especially, I recommend lighting.

Really really good lighting.

Not so much bright, as large surface area, day and night.

And turn signals and brake lights--large surface area ones that are daylight visible, but not blinding at night.

Nobody knows what hand signals mean, but everybody knows what the blinking lights mean. You can't assume they *see* them, or that they *care*, but they will at least *understand* them, and that's more than half the battle.

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MadRhino   100 GW

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Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by MadRhino » Sep 27 2018 9:19pm

Those who want to add some leg power to a hub motor build, are usually replacing the chain ring with a bigger one to reduce the cadence. You will start on pretty high gear, since the motor does accelerate easily. A 3 speed is enough, those with power above 1kw are mostly using only one.

At the speed that you plan to ride, a suspension is not a must if the streets are nice. Yet, many who build a first ebike, soon regret not to havd one. A short travel fork is enough. A suspension seat post is easy and cheap to add later if you feel the need. Mtb size tires are making for a better traction, comfort, puncture resistance.

So, for your requirements I would build on an old Dirt Jumper size large, put it on 24 inch wheels, motor on the rear, battery in the frame triangle. You don't need an expansive kit. Any 1000w dd hub kit will do. Saving on the bike and kit, will let you buy a better battery.

Ps. A dirt jumper bike is a robust hard tail MB with a good front suspension. Early 2000 years had produced very good ones that you can buy cheap today. When you see a large for sale, check the blue book to know how much it was worth when new. It is a good indication of the components quality if you don't know them. Check the adds on pinkbike and other mtb specialty websites. Even a large DJ will feel small for a tall guy. Tune your cockpit with a long stem and a layback seat post. This will make it a very good ride.
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
Current bikes
Street:
Trek Session 10 mod. Variable geometry. 70mph
Dirt:
Santa Cruz V10. 50mph

markz   100 GW

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Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by markz » Sep 27 2018 9:28pm

You will not need 8 speed. 3 are more than enough on the flat with a motor.
I have been riding with ZERO Speeds on my bicycle for the last couple months now. No chain installed, but maybe I will get around to doing that soon.

The other day I hung 8 two liter(0.5G) water bottles off my left handlebar, using 4 doubled bags.

When I did have gears to use, yes, 3 or 4 gears is all you need.
Last edited by markz on Sep 27 2018 9:30pm, edited 1 time in total.

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motomech   1 GW

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Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by motomech » Sep 27 2018 9:30pm

reluctantsuburban wrote:
Sep 27 2018 1:51pm
Hey ES! (think I posted this in the wrong forum earlier...my bad)

I am honestly a little intimidated to post this because there is still so much I don't know. I have been lurking for a month, trying to read as much as I can, but sorry in advance for my gaps in knowledge. For reference, I am 28, in decent shape although a new cyclist, 6'1", 165 lbs in the Dallas, TX area.

I currently do a mixed commute, biking 2 miles to the train, taking the train into downtown Dallas, and then ride 2 miles through downtown into the office. I have been doing this consistently since January as a trial run to see if I will actually commute regularly on a bike in all types of weather and moods--so far, so good.

I would love to move from a mixed commute with public transit to biking the whole way to work, and I think an ebike can make that happen. Currently, my commute is 50 minutes door to door when I take the train. I ride with a Topeak rear rack and bag, and use my bag for lunch, a change of clothes, and other miscellaneous stuff. If I were to bike on roads (mostly residential) it would be 15 miles one way. If I were to deviate to all bike paths, it would be 20 miles one way. Both routes would be very flat, on paved roads with a fair amount of bad quality cement and potholes (more on the road than the paths). My wife wants me to take the bike paths because she is worried about unobservant drivers. I want to take the roads because I think my speed will be limited to be safe on bike paths that are frequented by joggers.

I want to keep my overall commute to the same or less time than my current commute, meaning if I take the 15 mile route, I am hoping for an average trip speed of at least 20 mph (including traffic stops). I think this would mean an average cruising speed of ~25mph. I am not interested in building a hotrod, just a commuter that will allow me to navigate city streets safely along with traffic, arriving to work not a sweaty mess. I think this means I don't need to go much faster than 28mph as top speed, though my expectations may be off--feel free to correct me. I also want to be able to pedal the whole trip meaningfully, meaning decent PAS as well as a gearing set up that doesn't leave me meaninglessly spinning at top speed while the motor does all the work.

For this build, I will be purchasing a bike to convert, as my current ride is a Giant Via 1 https://bikepedia.com/QuickBike/BikeSpe ... em=1405952, which I think may be too stiff of a ride given the quality of the city streets at my top speeds, and the 3 speed IGH will likely not provide enough of a gear ratio. The bike I have been looking at is a Jubilee 8 Speed with Disc brakes from bikesdirect http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/mot ... -bikes.htm. My ideal bike will have an IGH (I prefer it for maintenance and aesthetics), a front fork (for riding city streets), disc brakes (stopping power), and will allow fenders and a rear rack (although I am fine to just use P clamps if there are no eyelets).

Ideally, I would spend no more than $1500 including the cost of the bike purchase and all accessories (fenders, rack, bag, etc.) Looking at pre-build bikes, the Juiced CCS/X seems to have a lot of what I'm looking for. If it weren't for the price, the lack of IGH, and wanting to wrench around a bit, I think that's the direction I would go. But it seems like DIY will be more fun and more bang for buck. Chas58's 25^3 build has really intrigued me as a starting point, and lots of related builds have been most of what I have studied.

I think what I am looking for is a front hub motor so I can accommodate the IGH. I really don't need a mid-drive given how flat my commute is, and I think I will be okay without a rear hub. I was really interested in the Q100/Q128 and that Bafang BPM, but I am wondering if a cheap eBay kit would do the job just as well. I have also been looking at a 48V/17aH battery pack from em3ev. Not sure what I want to do for a controller--the advice that I have been able to find on the forums often seems a bit outdated.

Can you all help me out here?:
  • What have I forgotten? What am I not considering?
  • Do I need a front fork to commute comfortably at this speed? Chas58's had none, but he may be made of stronger stuff than me :)
  • What motor will suit my needs at my price point? I have been stuck in analysis paralysis here
  • Will I be safe riding on city and residential roads where traffic has maximum speeds of 40mph? I will map my commute to neighborhoods as much as possible
  • Would you recommend a different bike than the Jubilee 8? In particular I want to make sure the gear ratio on the Nexus 8 is high enough so that I can meaningfully pedal at my top speeds
  • What PAS do I need if my goal is to meaningfully pedal at all points in the ride?
  • Please feel free to tell me what electronic components I need with the motor you recommend. I get lost once we start talking about controllers.
Thanks to you all!
No real hills makes things much, much easier. You don't need a lot of power, so a mini-motor system will get the job done. But that is understanding that you are not going to mix it up in traffic. If you want to do that any more than a quick sneaky couple of blocks here and there, then you need to think sm. electric motorcycle and more money and more build.
If you are like most of us, you are going to like riding your ebike so much that searching out routes is part of the fun and over time you will be able to find a short-cut here and there and trim some time. I like to ride in the 22 to 24 mph range, fast enough to be entertaining and feel like you are getting somewhere, but not so fast that cars mis-judge your speed and pull out in frt. of you. And yes, even at those modest speed you want a suspension fort. Actually, for the same reason a frt fork is a benefit, a rear shock is too. I've known chas58 for a long time and unless you are a top 10% rider, lower your goals a bit, at least to start. Chas58 gets about 5 mph more speed than me on the same motor and battery! Look, there will probably be a time when you get caught out at nite and than means hitting the ocassional pothole @ speed and your butt(and maybe spine)will thank you for starting with a full suspension. I don't know how big mountain biking is a Dallas, but here in Az it's big and there are always lot's of used mountain bikes on Craigslist. The technology has moved so fast in a last few years, that serious riders consider bikes 5 or 10 years old to be obsolete, especially the ones w/ 26" tires(which is what you want). Add to that, lot's of folks want to try mountain biking, find out how much work it is and park the thing after a couple of rides. I have no trouble finding low use MTB's that are 5 to 10 years old for about half of the MSRP, which makes them one of the best values in ebiking.
Taking into consideration your budget, I would go w/ a Q100H frt. and a rear Li-Ion rack battery to balance the bike. I've used both frt and rear mini-motors and if total system power is kept below 1000 Watts, a frt. mount works just fine. The one big deal, it the mounting, which requires care. I am not suggesting a frt. mount to free up the rear wheel for fancy gear-sets(or hubs) or even a lot of gears. The fact is, when on the motor(which you will be all the time), only two or three gears are needed. In fact, w/ no hills, 0nly two are needed, even w/ just a mini-motor. Actually, when urban commuting, super light road bikes are not really want you want. Weight doesn't matter much, it's comfort and reliability that matters. And both of those bring us to the critical issue of tires. You will need to figure into your somewhat meager budget for some good "flat-guard" tires w/ thick tubes. And lot's of other little things that you haven't thought of yet that will also eat into your budget.
Full suspension or not, if this type of ebike appeals to you, let us know and we can go into things like which battery(figure 1 1/2 miles per Ah and size accordingly), which store(Probably BMS Battery)and how to deal with them, torque arms and how to mount an Emotor(frt. or rear).
Hint;you can fill out the cart @ BMS Battery and "dry
order" to see what the total cost might be. Freight is a big part of the cost(approx. 50% of the cost of the parts) when ordering from China.
Last edited by motomech on Sep 27 2018 9:38pm, edited 2 times in total.
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

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motomech   1 GW

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Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by motomech » Sep 27 2018 9:33pm

I totally agree w/ madrhino's idea of an kool urban commuter, but I just can't see how to do that on a $1500 budget. And building wheels is probably better for your the second build(you will get addicted:)when one has a little more experience.
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

reluctantsuburban   10 mW

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Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by reluctantsuburban » Sep 27 2018 10:09pm

wturber wrote:
Sep 27 2018 8:29pm
Your commute is similar in length to mine (15-16 miles) and your target times and speeds are similar. The main difference is that I have more hills.

Your goal of a "no-sweat" ride with something like Chas58's 25^3 light build seems somewhat inconsistent with your commute time goals. You'll need either more battery and watts to the motor or you are going to have to pedal harder and sweat quite a bit. You are right to estimate that you are going to have to cruise at around 25 mph most of the time in order to have a 20 mph trip average. At that speed you be using around 500-600 watts of battery power and getting about 25 wh/mi on a regular upright bike. You can do a bit better if you get into a more aerodynamic position.

Given the above, I think your battery choice is marginal if you expect it to make a round trip with it. However, if you can charge at work and/or don't mind perhaps sometimes finishing the ride home on leg power only, that it should be fine. That said, simply lowering your speed goals to an 18.5 - 19 mph overall average with stops and 23 mph average typical cruising can get you around a 20 wh/mi average consumption. This is the average range I've generally settled into given my route and that I'm dealing with hills.

I favor safety over speed. My primary measure of a route's safety is the degree to which it avoids interactions with cars - especially high speed ones. My bike route is 16 miles. My car commute to the same place is about 14.5 miles. I could ride that same route. But I won't. I'd stop ebike commuting first. I'm happy to ride an extra mile and a half to reduce my car exposure and use bike lanes.

I suggest scouting your possible routes by either riding them on weekends or during commute times. Leave extra early if you scout on your bike. Either that, or bike/bus in to work, and ride home on the bike exclusively. If you have access to a car, I'd suggest driving your intended route in a car so you can judge traffic conditions to and from. This all assumes that you've already pre-scouted with Google maps or something similar. Doing that is great, but is also generally not sufficient IMO.
Thanks for the reply wturber. Good to have your perspective given the similar length of commute.

Would a generic, 1000W ebay motor allow for less sweat during the ride? I guess I have competing desires here--on the one hand I don't want to build a pseudo motorcycle, on the other I don't want to sweat a bunch before work in the Texas heat. If forced to choose, I would take no sweat over adding my own leg power. Is it correct to assume that if I want more of a workout on the ride home I can just select a lower PAS / speed setting?

All that being said, lowering my average speed goal to 19 mph doesn't sound terrible by any means.

So, this is something that is confusing me--maybe it's a matter of local terminology--but when you are referring to your bike route, are you on dedicated bike paths the whole way? Residential streets? I ask because my options are either:
  • major roads (~35-45 mph cars)--not really an option
  • residential roads parallel to major roads
  • jogging trails
I feel like none of these really afford a great option. Right now I am leaning towards residential roads, which will put me closer to 17 miles. To your point, I need to get out and scout it in person, as soon as I can get a free weekend.
Trying to build my first commuter. Goal is mid-20s mph cruising for 20 miles, to arrive at work (semi) Sweat-Free, while pedaling all the way. $1.5k is the budget (bike, accessories, and electronics).

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Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by reluctantsuburban » Sep 27 2018 10:18pm

If you can't presently pedal to that speed, then you won't be able to contribute while doing that with the motor. You can fix this by going to a larger front chainring--how much larger you can determine via either proportional math with your present speed and chainring size/ratio vs the desired speed, or you can look at the charts on places like http://sheldonbrown.com, etc.
Seems like I will need a larger chain ring. I have checked out sheldonbrown's stuff, most of it goes right over my head. Really trying to understand it, though.
Here in Phoenix, road quality varies a lot, but almost always there's "heat waves" in the pavement on main roads, especially near and at/in intersections, driveways, turnoffs, etc., and those are sometimes as bad or worse than most of the potholes--and are at the road edges where I have to ride.
This sounds very similar to where I ride, although perhaps if I do a good job of mapping our a route with mostly residential, I can get away without suspension. Seems unlikely, though.


Regarding route choice, though...I have ridden in traffic on the roads on regular bikes all the time, before going to ebikes, and it isn't safe. You must assume that no one sees you, and that every car that passes you is going to either squish you or turn in front of you, or change lanes into you, until they are past you. If there's a lot of cars, you're going to be spending your whole ride watching out for them, becuase they aren't watching out for you. That's really really tiring. Doing that for 30-60 minutes or more a day would be exhausting.
Yep, this is the big thing that held me back from originally pulling the trigger on a pre-built bike. I would be able to justify increasing my budget if I could with confidence know that I could safely ride the whole distance, but I don't think it's the case, and it's hard to test my route on human power alone unless I want to give up a weekend. Looks like that's what I'll be doing.
Trying to build my first commuter. Goal is mid-20s mph cruising for 20 miles, to arrive at work (semi) Sweat-Free, while pedaling all the way. $1.5k is the budget (bike, accessories, and electronics).

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Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by reluctantsuburban » Sep 27 2018 10:23pm

MadRhino wrote:
Sep 27 2018 9:19pm
So, for your requirements I would build on an old Dirt Jumper size large, put it on 24 inch wheels, motor on the rear, battery in the frame triangle. You don't need an expansive kit. Any 1000w dd hub kit will do. Saving on the bike and kit, will let you buy a better battery.

Ps. A dirt jumper bike is a robust hard tail MB with a good front suspension. Early 2000 years had produced very good ones that you can buy cheap today. When you see a large for sale, check the blue book to know how much it was worth when new. It is a good indication of the components quality if you don't know them. Check the adds on pinkbike and other mtb specialty websites. Even a large DJ will feel small for a tall guy. Tune your cockpit with a long stem and a layback seat post. This will make it a very good ride.
Thanks for the breakdown--I am not very familiar with mountain bikes, but I do scan Craigslist often to see if anything seems like a good find and to familiarize myself with the market. I see a fair amount of Diamondbacks, KHSs, and Konas. I will continue to look for a deal there, in accordance with what you mention here.

Overall, at my budget, what you're proposing seems the most reasonable (although, I don't know why, I really like the idea of the mini-motor...maybe it's just because it's a less obvious ebike).

Any thoughts on the bikesdirect bike I linked above? Used dirt jumper still better?

At this point, I am guessing ~$400 bike, ~$300 hub motor and controller (ebay kit), ~$600 battery, and $200 for accessories. Thoughts?
Trying to build my first commuter. Goal is mid-20s mph cruising for 20 miles, to arrive at work (semi) Sweat-Free, while pedaling all the way. $1.5k is the budget (bike, accessories, and electronics).

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Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by reluctantsuburban » Sep 27 2018 10:31pm

motomech wrote:
Sep 27 2018 9:30pm
No real hills makes things much, much easier. You don't need a lot of power, so a mini-motor system will get the job done. But that is understanding that you are not going to mix it up in traffic. If you want to do that any more than a quick sneaky couple of blocks here and there, then you need to think sm. electric motorcycle and more money and more build.
If you are like most of us, you are going to like riding your ebike so much that searching out routes is part of the fun and over time you will be able to find a short-cut here and there and trim some time. I like to ride in the 22 to 24 mph range, fast enough to be entertaining and feel like you are getting somewhere, but not so fast that cars mis-judge your speed and pull out in frt. of you. And yes, even at those modest speed you want a suspension fort. Actually, for the same reason a frt fork is a benefit, a rear shock is too. I've known chas58 for a long time and unless you are a top 10% rider, lower your goals a bit, at least to start. Chas58 gets about 5 mph more speed than me on the same motor and battery! Look, there will probably be a time when you get caught out at nite and than means hitting the ocassional pothole @ speed and your butt(and maybe spine)will thank you for starting with a full suspension. I don't know how big mountain biking is a Dallas, but here in Az it's big and there are always lot's of used mountain bikes on Craigslist. The technology has moved so fast in a last few years, that serious riders consider bikes 5 or 10 years old to be obsolete, especially the ones w/ 26" tires(which is what you want). Add to that, lot's of folks want to try mountain biking, find out how much work it is and park the thing after a couple of rides. I have no trouble finding low use MTB's that are 5 to 10 years old for about half of the MSRP, which makes them one of the best values in ebiking.
Taking into consideration your budget, I would go w/ a Q100H frt. and a rear Li-Ion rack battery to balance the bike. I've used both frt and rear mini-motors and if total system power is kept below 1000 Watts, a frt. mount works just fine. The one big deal, it the mounting, which requires care. I am not suggesting a frt. mount to free up the rear wheel for fancy gear-sets(or hubs) or even a lot of gears. The fact is, when on the motor(which you will be all the time), only two or three gears are needed. In fact, w/ no hills, 0nly two are needed, even w/ just a mini-motor. Actually, when urban commuting, super light road bikes are not really want you want. Weight doesn't matter much, it's comfort and reliability that matters. And both of those bring us to the critical issue of tires. You will need to figure into your somewhat meager budget for some good "flat-guard" tires w/ thick tubes. And lot's of other little things that you haven't thought of yet that will also eat into your budget.
Full suspension or not, if this type of ebike appeals to you, let us know and we can go into things like which battery(figure 1 1/2 miles per Ah and size accordingly), which store(Probably BMS Battery)and how to deal with them, torque arms and how to mount an Emotor(frt. or rear).
Hint;you can fill out the cart @ BMS Battery and "dry
order" to see what the total cost might be. Freight is a big part of the cost(approx. 50% of the cost of the parts) when ordering from China.
Thanks for the reply motomech. Reading a lot of your stuff on here has been very helpful to me.

To clarify, would you recommend going the route madrhino is suggesting, with a hardtail and ebay dd kit, or something more along the q100h route? Both seem to have their positives, but perhaps the ebay kit is more straightforward, especially for my price and build? Or maybe they are not mutually exclusive and I am musinderstanding.

I have played around on BMS and was pretty shocked by the shipping cost, but that was also when I was pairing with a more expensive battery from Luna on my budget sheet. Buying all from BMS may help shave that down.

Ha, I do not think I am in the top 10% of cyclists. Looking at chad58's build, I think I could throw out the 25 pound goal--really I am after the ~25 mph and 25 mile range. My current ride is a more relaxed posture and is not really a road bike, which I enjoy, to your point of comfort and reliability.

Let me know if you have thoughts between the q100 or an ebay kit, or if there are particular bikes I should be on the lookout for. I don't see many full suspension bikes with a large enough triangle come across the DFW Craigslist, mostly hardtails. I think going for suspension given the local roads is appealing to me. Interested to know where to take it from here. Again, thanks.
Trying to build my first commuter. Goal is mid-20s mph cruising for 20 miles, to arrive at work (semi) Sweat-Free, while pedaling all the way. $1.5k is the budget (bike, accessories, and electronics).

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Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by motomech » Sep 27 2018 11:43pm


To clarify, would you recommend going the route madrhino is suggesting, with a hardtail and ebay dd kit, or something more along the q100h route?
Well, they both have their advantages. I always thought the DD motor would be great for the open road, touring, where you might pedal for miles w/out stopping, but all my motors have been geared, minis mostly and a couple of Ezee's(bigger geared, like a BPM). I like their stealthiness and the free coasting. Sometimes I ride "point and shoot", pedal like Hell (PAS), and then coast for a couple of blocks. Deffinately a mini if you go the frt. mount route(less weight swinging around).
I just remembered this kit, we were talking about on another thread:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/ebikeling-36V- ... 0800250059
The Ebiking kit motor, I believe, is a clone of a MXUS motor, but that is incidental, because the quality is good enough. And for sure, the price is right. But I have a few issues w/ it. The controller is huge, certainly larger than it needs to be. I am fairly certain that that motor would be a mid-speed (260) motor, which is what you want. The thing about minis, you want to hit the compromise of motor speed, whl. size and system Volts just right. A mid-speed in a 26" whl. on 48 Volts should top out(No wind) around 23 mph and if you can get something like an 11T X 48T gear combo, you can add a mph or two w/ your legs. You could go w/ big whl.s and be around the 25 mph you want at the loss of some torque. W/ no hills, that would be NBD, but it would be slower off the line. To me, staying w/ 26" whl.s and going to a 52 Volt pack would be a better option. Or just stay w/ 26"/48V and be happy w/ 23 mph. I think chas was/is using a high speed mini, but they just don't work out well for us mere mortals.
I don't see many full suspension bikes with a large enough triangle come across the DFW Craigslist, mostly hardtails. I think going for suspension given the local roads is appealing to me. Interested to know where to take it from here.
Yeah, An open triangle full suspension MTB is the Holly Grail of donor bikes. You really have to look for mid 2000's models like the Giant Anthem or some Trek models. My 2003 Rocky Mountain Edge is one of the best ever made and I treasure it(see link below). BUT, my first build was a frt. mini(the great MXUS, RIP) and a rear rack pack. It was so well balanced you could one hand it in the middle of the top tube and it would stay perfectly level.
MTB/rear rack batt./frt. mini is the easiest of installs and makes for a pretty good ride.
I would recommend, if you went with a BMS Battery, try and budget the Panasonic cells.
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

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Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by wturber » Sep 28 2018 2:16am

reluctantsuburban wrote:
Sep 27 2018 10:09pm

Thanks for the reply wturber. Good to have your perspective given the similar length of commute.

Would a generic, 1000W ebay motor allow for less sweat during the ride? I guess I have competing desires here--on the one hand I don't want to build a pseudo motorcycle, on the other I don't want to sweat a bunch before work in the Texas heat. If forced to choose, I would take no sweat over adding my own leg power. Is it correct to assume that if I want more of a workout on the ride home I can just select a lower PAS / speed setting?
Anything that can handle 500 watts battery input or a bit more should work fine for you as a low to no sweat ride.
reluctantsuburban wrote:
Sep 27 2018 10:09pm

So, this is something that is confusing me--maybe it's a matter of local terminology--but when you are referring to your bike route, are you on dedicated bike paths the whole way? Residential streets? I ask because my options are either:
  • major roads (~35-45 mph cars)--not really an option
  • residential roads parallel to major roads
  • jogging trails
I'm fortunate in that the town I live in (Fountain Hills) and the city I commute to (Scottsdale) have both done a good job of putting in bike lanes. I'm guessing that my route uses about 75% bike lanes or sidewalks. Here's a link to one of my rides in last week.
http://www.sportstracklive.com/track/ma ... 00679/full
reluctantsuburban wrote:
Sep 27 2018 10:09pm
I feel like none of these really afford a great option. Right now I am leaning towards residential roads, which will put me closer to 17 miles. To your point, I need to get out and scout it in person, as soon as I can get a free weekend.
I'd estimate that about half of my route is residential or quasi-residential.

I use a KT controller and its PAS system.
PAS Level 1 is about 150 watts (used for long moderate downhills or flats with tailwind)
Level 2 is about 250 watts (flats and tailwinds)
Level 3 is about 400 watts (slight uphills, headwinds and when I want to go fast on flats)
Level 4 is about 650 watts (uphills, strong headwinds etc.)
I don't use Level 5. I get max power of about 950 watts by twisting the throttle while pedaling.

I tend to pedal fairly hard getting my heart rate up in the 115 to 125 bpm range. I bring a change of clothes (though I keep shirts at work) and do a simple cleanup before changing. I don't mind it if I do a fair bit of sweating. A good part of the reason for my commuting is to get the exercise.
"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

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Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by reluctantsuburban » Sep 28 2018 9:19am

I like their stealthiness and the free coasting. Sometimes I ride "point and shoot", pedal like Hell (PAS), and then coast for a couple of blocks. Deffinately a mini if you go the frt. mount route(less weight swinging around).
Can you not coast on a DD? That might be a deal breaker for me--I tend to pedal like you described--ride up to speed and let it coast for a bit.
I am fairly certain that that motor would be a mid-speed (260) motor, which is what you want. The thing about minis, you want to hit the compromise of motor speed, whl. size and system Volts just right.
Mid-speed is desirable based on the speed that I generally travel? My cadence? To my uneducated mind, faster = better, all else being equal.
A mid-speed in a 26" whl. on 48 Volts should top out(No wind) around 23 mph and if you can get something like an 11T X 48T gear combo, you can add a mph or two w/ your legs. You could go w/ big whl.s and be around the 25 mph you want at the loss of some torque. W/ no hills, that would be NBD, but it would be slower off the line. To me, staying w/ 26" whl.s and going to a 52 Volt pack would be a better option. Or just stay w/ 26"/48V and be happy w/ 23 mph. I think chas was/is using a high speed mini, but they just don't work out well for us mere mortals.
Any guess as to what I would get for cruising speed on the 52V pack? Additionally, why do you like the 26" wheel over, say, 27.5"? Just curious.

Yeah, An open triangle full suspension MTB is the Holly Grail of donor bikes. You really have to look for mid 2000's models like the Giant Anthem or some Trek models. My 2003 Rocky Mountain Edge is one of the best ever made and I treasure it(see link below). BUT, my first build was a frt. mini(the great MXUS, RIP) and a rear rack pack. It was so well balanced you could one hand it in the middle of the top tube and it would stay perfectly level.
Poked around a bit on Craigslist and found some MTBs that had high original MSRPs. I'll post one example hardtail and softail. In particular, the softail was interesting to me, as it seems to have a big triangle. I don't really know what I'm looking for here, so let me know if any features are make it or break it.

BMC Softail: https://dallas.craigslist.org/ftw/bik/d ... 93848.html
Trek 8000: https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/bik/d ... 23509.html
MTB/rear rack batt./frt. mini is the easiest of installs and makes for a pretty good ride.
Seems to me I have 3 options:
  • Do my originally proposed Bikes Direct 8 speed IGH with front hub mini. No one seemed to like that idea.
  • Convert my current Giant Via 1 with a front hub mini. Probably need upgraded tires, thudbuster, and a larger crank, but this would be the most economical.
  • Take your advice on the easiest build and go MTB/rear rack batt/frt mini or front ebay kit. Seems this may be the most reasonable?
I guess I am still confused as to what would push me to ebay kit vs mini. Just the form factor? Price? They both seem to be giving me the same commuting speed.

Anyone want to weigh in as to which is best for my desire of flat commute, 20 miles one way, ability to charge at work, at mid 20s cruising speed while meaningfully pedalling?
Trying to build my first commuter. Goal is mid-20s mph cruising for 20 miles, to arrive at work (semi) Sweat-Free, while pedaling all the way. $1.5k is the budget (bike, accessories, and electronics).

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Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by reluctantsuburban » Sep 28 2018 9:36am

Anything that can handle 500 watts battery input or a bit more should work fine for you as a low to no sweat ride.
Awesome, thank you. Perhaps the ebay kit that motomech posted above?
I'm fortunate in that the town I live in (Fountain Hills) and the city I commute to (Scottsdale) have both done a good job of putting in bike lanes. I'm guessing that my route uses about 75% bike lanes or sidewalks. Here's a link to one of my rides in last week.
http://www.sportstracklive.com/track/ma ... 00679/full
Thanks so much for linking your ride--very helpful. Seems like the residential portions are fairly similar. There's a big lack of bike lanes here, unfortunately. How do you find the sidewalks? Does the front fork suspension work well enough? If I could ride comfortably on sidewalks for several blocks at a time, I think I could string all of my residential roads together. I had categorically written them off because I assumed the ride would be too rough.
I use a KT controller and its PAS system.
PAS Level 1 is about 150 watts (used for long moderate downhills or flats with tailwind)
Level 2 is about 250 watts (flats and tailwinds)
Level 3 is about 400 watts (slight uphills, headwinds and when I want to go fast on flats)
Level 4 is about 650 watts (uphills, strong headwinds etc.)
I don't use Level 5. I get max power of about 950 watts by twisting the throttle while pedaling.

I tend to pedal fairly hard getting my heart rate up in the 115 to 125 bpm range. I bring a change of clothes (though I keep shirts at work) and do a simple cleanup before changing. I don't mind it if I do a fair bit of sweating. A good part of the reason for my commuting is to get the exercise.
Thanks for the stats. In seeing you post this, I realize that I do want a workout. That's the whole reason I'm looking into this and not a motorcycle. Maybe I need to remove my no sweat requirement. I'll have to look into KT Controllers. Anything I should no about compatibility issues with specific motors, batteries, etc.?
Trying to build my first commuter. Goal is mid-20s mph cruising for 20 miles, to arrive at work (semi) Sweat-Free, while pedaling all the way. $1.5k is the budget (bike, accessories, and electronics).

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Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by donn » Sep 28 2018 10:33am

reluctantsuburban wrote:
Sep 28 2018 9:36am
If I could ride comfortably on sidewalks for several blocks at a time, I think I could string all of my residential roads together. I had categorically written them off because I assumed the ride would be too rough.
This is the kind of thing you will have to work out as you go along. I wouldn't consider a route that went for blocks on a sidewalk, especially at speeds over about 8 mph, but it might be fine on the sidewalks you're looking at.

The thing to look out for, though, is the illusion of safety. The danger from vehicles is as much or more from cross traffic. If you ride fairly smart, overtaking traffic on an arterial might be scary but not as dangerous, and the faster you can go, the easier it is to make it work. The very thing that makes some of these roads and paths seem safe, also puts drivers in a pretty casual frame of mind. I don't know how intersections are controlled in your residential street grid, but here it's a sort of Russian roulette - people cruise through them just betting on the low odds of a collision. They will sometimes pause and look - at the road, where they could expect to spot a vehicle, not the sidewalk - but often they don't, and here the faster you go, the greater your odds of an unpleasant surprise. I'm talking about my neighborhood, though, not yours, so you decide.

I'm another one wishing for suspension. I don't think I'd put a front hub motor on telescoping forks. I got a kit with hub and controller, and in retrospect that was an even better idea than I realized at the time - there's a lot of knowledge that goes into a good match there.

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Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by reluctantsuburban » Sep 28 2018 10:49am

donn wrote:
Sep 28 2018 10:33am
They will sometimes pause and look - at the road, where they could expect to spot a vehicle, not the sidewalk - but often they don't, and here the faster you go, the greater your odds of an unpleasant surprise. I'm talking about my neighborhood, though, not yours, so you decide.

I'm another one wishing for suspension. I don't think I'd put a front hub motor on telescoping forks. I got a kit with hub and controller, and in retrospect that was an even better idea than I realized at the time - there's a lot of knowledge that goes into a good match there.
Thanks for the input, Donn. I think you're right that I will have to try to feel it out. I wish I could try for a while before putting some serious money in, but looks like I will try to build something that can handle my worst case scenarios instead of planning for the best. I think that has me leaning towards FS, or at the very least hard tail with front suspension and a rear hub. Looks like my IGH dreams are gone :)

What kit did you end up going with?
Trying to build my first commuter. Goal is mid-20s mph cruising for 20 miles, to arrive at work (semi) Sweat-Free, while pedaling all the way. $1.5k is the budget (bike, accessories, and electronics).

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Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by donn » Sep 28 2018 11:13am

reluctantsuburban wrote:
Sep 28 2018 10:49am
What kit did you end up going with?
Local one-man operation, West Coast Electric Cycles. He doesn't appear to be selling the kit as such any more, though. "1500W" direct drive hub. My experience with that level of power is, so far, it's really nice to have it, but on the average trip I'd barely notice the difference if I had a legal "750W" configuration, assuming it would really deliver in the upper 600W range I seem to frequently use on ca. 5% grades, which are unavoidable around here. I don't really ride all that fast, 18 mph is probably a more representative cruising speed. I'm riding a recumbent, so it isn't as much of an ordeal as it seems to be for some people, and it's OK if it takes a few minutes longer.

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Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by reluctantsuburban » Sep 28 2018 11:23am

donn wrote:
Sep 28 2018 11:13am
reluctantsuburban wrote:
Sep 28 2018 10:49am
What kit did you end up going with?
Local one-man operation, West Coast Electric Cycles. He doesn't appear to be selling the kit as such any more, though. "1500W" direct drive hub. My experience with that level of power is, so far, it's really nice to have it, but on the average trip I'd barely notice the difference if I had a legal "750W" configuration, assuming it would really deliver in the upper 600W range I seem to frequently use on ca. 5% grades, which are unavoidable around here. I don't really ride all that fast, 18 mph is probably a more representative cruising speed. I'm riding a recumbent, so it isn't as much of an ordeal as it seems to be for some people, and it's OK if it takes a few minutes longer.
Ah, I reached out Barent when I first started shopping around. Looks like he makes/assembles some quality stuff. At the time I was pretty set on IGH so we didn't pursue it much further. Maybe I should reach out again.
Trying to build my first commuter. Goal is mid-20s mph cruising for 20 miles, to arrive at work (semi) Sweat-Free, while pedaling all the way. $1.5k is the budget (bike, accessories, and electronics).

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Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by amberwolf » Sep 28 2018 4:35pm

FWIW, Barent is a member here, if it makes any difference:
memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=34791

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Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by reluctantsuburban » Sep 28 2018 8:16pm

amberwolf wrote:
Sep 28 2018 4:35pm
FWIW, Barent is a member here, if it makes any difference:
memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=34791
Thanks for the connection, Amber! I had seen his builds referenced but hadn't figured out which user.
Trying to build my first commuter. Goal is mid-20s mph cruising for 20 miles, to arrive at work (semi) Sweat-Free, while pedaling all the way. $1.5k is the budget (bike, accessories, and electronics).

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Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by wturber » Sep 28 2018 11:35pm

reluctantsuburban wrote:
Sep 28 2018 9:36am
Awesome, thank you. Perhaps the ebay kit that motomech posted above?
Looks fine. Personally I'm a fan of the KT systems that use the LCD3, LCD5, and LCD6, because these systems are highly configurable/flexible given their relatively low price. Also, their PAS systems seem to work fairly well as non-torque systems go. I have no opinion about the system in the kit because it don't know anything about it. It might be way more configurable for all I know.
reluctantsuburban wrote:
Sep 28 2018 9:36am
How do you find the sidewalks? Does the front fork suspension work well enough?
As with most bike safety issues, one of the main questions to answer relating to sidewalks is how they interface with cars. One big issue is that sidewalks put you closer to driveways. Drivers seldom stop before crossing a sidewalk. So that's a big danger which means you either need a clear view of cars that might exit a driveway, need to ride more slowly (10-12 mph) or both. If your corners have ramps, that creates a situation where you are once again closer to cars as you ride off of those ramps and are coming from a place where drivers aren't looking. Plus, you are three to four feet closer to intersecting cars. The sidewalks I ride on tend to be :
1) Long, wide and largely devoid of driveways and intersecting streets and usually safely usable at 20 mph type speeds
or
2) Only used at low speeds (due to pedestrians, driveways and intersections) for short distances when traffic is heavy.

I think a suspension front fork is a great idea for an e-bike. I like mine a lot and mine is a cheap-o piece of s... as far as front suspension forks go.
reluctantsuburban wrote:
Sep 28 2018 9:36am
Thanks for the stats. In seeing you post this, I realize that I do want a workout. That's the whole reason I'm looking into this and not a motorcycle. Maybe I need to remove my no sweat requirement. I'll have to look into KT Controllers. Anything I should no about compatibility issues with specific motors, batteries, etc.?
I'm only a bit more than a year into e-biking. Though I have racked up 4500 miles in that time and have a lot of previous bike riding experience. So I feel fairly confident in my advise for choosing routes, practical day-to-day considerations, what helps to make a commuter e-bike a viable car replacement or near replacement, etc. There are others on this forum that have way more specific information about kits, systems and motors.

My understanding is that just about any controller and battery will work with just about any motor. The advantage of buying a kit as a first-timer is that the important settings that might be confusing are pre-configured. So you can get things up and running functionally pretty easy. I went the e-cheap-o route on batteries and put together my own pannier battery system. That saved me a fair bit of money and I'm happy with it and I have pretty good range. But it was a hassle and my bike was fiddly until I finally got all that settled. Also, those battery deals are now gone. So you really can't do what I did and get the same cost advantage.
"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

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MadRhino   100 GW

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Posts: 6458
Joined: Sep 03 2010 5:28pm
Location: Montreal QC Canada

Re: Help Me Build My Daily Commuter?

Post by MadRhino » Sep 29 2018 7:22pm

reluctantsuburban wrote:
Sep 27 2018 10:23pm
MadRhino wrote:
Sep 27 2018 9:19pm
So, for your requirements I would build on an old Dirt Jumper size large, put it on 24 inch wheels, motor on the rear, battery in the frame triangle. You don't need an expansive kit. Any 1000w dd hub kit will do. Saving on the bike and kit, will let you buy a better battery.

Ps. A dirt jumper bike is a robust hard tail MB with a good front suspension. Early 2000 years had produced very good ones that you can buy cheap today. When you see a large for sale, check the blue book to know how much it was worth when new. It is a good indication of the components quality if you don't know them. Check the adds on pinkbike and other mtb specialty websites. Even a large DJ will feel small for a tall guy. Tune your cockpit with a long stem and a layback seat post. This will make it a very good ride.
Thanks for the breakdown--I am not very familiar with mountain bikes, but I do scan Craigslist often to see if anything seems like a good find and to familiarize myself with the market. I see a fair amount of Diamondbacks, KHSs, and Konas. I will continue to look for a deal there, in accordance with what you mention here.

Overall, at my budget, what you're proposing seems the most reasonable (although, I don't know why, I really like the idea of the mini-motor...maybe it's just because it's a less obvious ebike).

Any thoughts on the bikesdirect bike I linked above? Used dirt jumper still better?

At this point, I am guessing ~$400 bike, ~$300 hub motor and controller (ebay kit), ~$600 battery, and $200 for accessories. Thoughts?
As you can see now, different riders and different builders have different opinions. You will have to make an idea by yourself after considering pros and cons.

A 15 yr old quality bike, is 100 times better than a brand new piece of sh*t that will never be good should you upgrade it indefinitely.
Pay 4 or 5 hundred bucks on an old bke that was 2000$, and with maintenance/tuning you can make it ride better than a 3000$ bike that you’d buy new today.

I like DD hubs because they last, and survive amazing abuse. They are upgrade ready, for you can feed them many times their rated power. They are minimal maintenance because they are built with few parts, no clutch nor plastic gears, no toy size motor that has no contact with the outside to shed the heat.

I like the motor on the rear because bikes and horses and anything that you ride, are best rides with powerful hind and light handling front.

One thing I know, is that anything people build, they like riding. But I also know, that most had never had a chance to ride a good bike. I mean a good bike by the standards of a rider who had tried hundreds of bikes in many riding sports. Give yourself a chance, avoiding like sh*t any cheap crap wallbikes and such. Not because you can’t build an acceptable commuter with some of them, but because good horses are making better riders, who in return get to know how to tune good horses. :wink:
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
Current bikes
Street:
Trek Session 10 mod. Variable geometry. 70mph
Dirt:
Santa Cruz V10. 50mph

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