Cheapest used bikes to make E-bikes?

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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arexroat1   1 µW

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Cheapest used bikes to make E-bikes?

Post by arexroat1 » Feb 19 2019 10:59pm

What are the cheapest used bike brands I can buy for an e-bike build 500w + All suggestions are appreciated.
Last edited by mark5 on Feb 19 2019 11:12pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Chalo   100 GW

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Re: Used bikes for E-bikes

Post by Chalo » Feb 19 2019 11:14pm

arexroat1 wrote:
Feb 19 2019 10:59pm
What are the cheapest used bike brands I can buy for an e-bike build 500w + All suggestions are appreciated.
Used bikes are really variable in price, from trash-day free to most of their brand new price.

Look for a 26" wheeled mountain bike with flat tires (which might only be flat from sitting around). That's a sign that the seller is just looking to be rid of it. Get one with a plain steel fork if you want a front hub motor, or minimal weight and maintenance. Suspension fork is fine if you want a rear hub motor.

Stick to brands that were sold in bike shops, not department stores or mail order. That way you know it was at least set in order one time, and isn't made from compressed garbage.
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2old   10 kW

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Re: Cheapest used bikes to make E-bikes?

Post by 2old » Feb 20 2019 12:46am

Don't know where you're located in the US, but Craigslist usually has tons of mid-90's steel-framed bikes in the $100 range. IMO, these are great for converting. As stated above, get a good brand. I've got several that were made in Japan (Diamondback Axis, Fuji Mt Fuji and Schwinn High Sierra), and have been superb.

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amberwolf   100 GW

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Re: Cheapest used bikes to make E-bikes?

Post by amberwolf » Feb 20 2019 1:37am

Goodwill and other thrift stores often have decent bikes for $20 or thereabouts; most will need some to all of the rubber bits replaced (brake pads, tires, tubes, sometimes seat and grips and such), so they'll still end up costing around $50-100 (depending on what bits you already have) once fixed up. (most of them sat around in someone's garage or yard or whatnot for decades, often are 1980s or 1990s MTBs, sometimes road bikes).

I used to buy them up just for the pieces and frames (since I build wierd bikes and stuff from them), but I still see them quite a bit.

Of course, most of the stuff is just wallyworld junk, but there are good ones in there.

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neptronix   100 GW

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Re: Cheapest used bikes to make E-bikes?

Post by neptronix » Feb 20 2019 1:28pm

I built everything using $50-$100 10-20 year old mountainbikes from craigslist early on. And i typically bought used parts from my local bicycle collective.

Only recently did i start spending.. gasp.. $200-$800 on used full suspension mountain bikes and semi recumbents on ebay.
Efficiency is everything :bolt:


My first major build: 8T MAC motor on a Trek 4500.
The new all-arounder: Leafmotor 1500w on a Turner O2 full suspension.
The monster scooter: ? on a Cannondale Semi Recumbent.

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Re: Cheapest used bikes to make E-bikes?

Post by 999zip999 » Feb 20 2019 4:30pm

Where you at I have 3 bikes for sale cheap So orange county. Ca. Make it 48v 1,000 watt motor rear. Steel frame comoly.

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motomech   1 GW

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Re: Cheapest used bikes to make E-bikes?

Post by motomech » Feb 21 2019 4:08pm

It may not be the cheapest way to go, but IMO, it doesn't cost much to get a nicer donor bike in the form of a mountain bike w/ full suspension and disc. brakes.
In general, used mountain bikes are going to be a great value. Many folks. buy them, try them out a few times, find out how much work they are and park them. Compound that with the trend of technology that is moving so fast, it has clogged Craigslist with '90's up to fairly recent mountain bikes that nobody wants. 26 inch wheels, which work so well w/ hub motors are considered de rigueur and a few ounces that matter little to Ebikers are a big deal to serious MX'ers. That which is obsolete to them are perfect for us.
I bought all three my donor bikes(a '03 and two '06's) for half of the MSRP and all three were "show room floor" condition having only been used 2 or 3 times.
I came to this past-time from the World of Japanese sport motorcycles and I like the Fox shocks, shinny linkages and other bits of Bling.
Yet still, many today promote the idea that suspension detracts from the "bicycling feel", to which I would ask, :how many ebike builds say true to the concept of "bicycle first"? At least for very long.
I would summise that thoses that give weight to the negatives of suspension , live where the roads are better that I see or maybe, just better riders. Try as I might, I'm forever hitting things I didn't see. Things that might not matter much @ 15 mph, but sting @ 25 mph. My full suspension bikes have not added much maintenance and years later, are still a joy to ride.
The fact that I love my ebikes so much probably have something to do with the rolling stock I selected to start wirth.
Motomech

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