First E-Bike - Doing DIY BBSHD - Critique my plan

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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Re: First E-Bike - Doing DIY BBSHD - Critique my plan

Post by E-HP » May 08 2019 9:15am

furcifer wrote:
May 08 2019 1:19am

I've ridden old chromo 10 speeds, and mountain bikes as well as aluminum.
Maybe start simple. I'd be interested in how many years and miles you've ridden on a hardtail ebike and a full suspension ebike. I'm somewhat familiar with the experience of other folks on the thread, who have ridden ebikes for over a decade and tens of thousands of miles, which does carry some weight or add context to their advice. Being a newbie myself, I take such things into consideration, so I'm sure the OP would be interested as well.

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Re: First E-Bike - Doing DIY BBSHD - Critique my plan

Post by furcifer » May 08 2019 3:20pm

E-HP wrote:
May 08 2019 9:15am
Maybe start simple. I'd be interested in how many years and miles you've ridden on a hardtail ebike and a full suspension ebike. I'm somewhat familiar with the experience of other folks on the thread, who have ridden ebikes for over a decade and tens of thousands of miles, which does carry some weight or add context to their advice. Being a newbie myself, I take such things into consideration, so I'm sure the OP would be interested as well.
I'm new to ebikes specifically. I've ridden hardtail mountain bikes, with and without front suspension since my first Norco Bigfoot in the 80's. Through the 90's I rode mostly road bikes, KHS, Bianchi, Cannondale, when I wasn't riding 250cc or less motorcycles. Through the noughts I rode hardtail mountain bikes with and without 50cc kits, primarily for commuting, along with motorcycles up to 650cc (DT400, GT185, RD400, Secca 650 Turbo, NX250) I built a 700c hybrid in 2004ish and commuted on that for a couple years while I went to school and worked at a bike shop. Around 2008 I got into mopeds. I switched up to a GSXR750 around 2012 and road that for a year, along with the 700c hybrid. Back to mopeds more recently and finally ebikes.
My interest in ebikes stems from a lot of years or riding rigid frame bicycles and small displacement motorcycles. I probably have over 100 000 miles on the two. I have a BSc. Physics/math, a mechanical engineering diploma "technologist" in Power Engineering and I'm currently back studying a BASc. Mechanical. specializing in Automotive and hope to move into Electric Automotive once the program launches in the next year or two. I hope to at least do some post grad work in Electric Automotive field.
So my experience is primarily on either side of the 1000-4000W range. Human powered bikes, or ICE powered bikes from about 3-17hp.
And this is basically where the argument stemmed from. I find the more powerful ebikes I've ridden are more closely approximated by mopeds than bicycles. The whole ride experience, especially in traffic, is very similar to a moped in terms of speed. Even with small displacement motorcycles, in the city you can zip around, but you're typically doing less than 40mph, on average. I must admit, I probably have some bias towards using a full suspension bike for an ebike because I am used to riding at similar speeds with much better performance between my legs. And I'd rather do maintenance than deal with a mechanical failure.
If I had to estimate, I probably have 5000 miles on a motorized bicycle, another 10 000 on mopeds and 40 000 miles on bikes less than 250cc's. It's hard to say how many miles I have on rigid frame bikes, probably more time but less miles I would guess.
Hope this helps.

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Re: First E-Bike - Doing DIY BBSHD - Critique my plan

Post by E-HP » May 08 2019 3:32pm

furcifer wrote:
May 08 2019 3:20pm
I'm new to ebikes specifically.
OK, so we're both newbies. That's helpful.

You might want to try some bigger tires on your rig. When I went from 1.9 to 2.2 it made a huge difference in ride quality. I recently went from 2.2 to 2.5 (Crazy Bobs), but didn't see as big an improvement, but realized I'd only tried them with the high end of the recommended pressure range. I dropped them to 35 psi in the back and 30 in the front, and now any ruts less that 3" (vertical) on the paved paths a ride on are almost completely soaked up by the tires, but they still have good grip if you dive hard into a corner.

EDIT: I also only detected about a 3% increase in rolling resistance going from 60 psi to 35 psi, based on top speeds.

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Re: First E-Bike - Doing DIY BBSHD - Critique my plan

Post by furcifer » May 08 2019 4:58pm

E-HP wrote:
May 08 2019 3:32pm
furcifer wrote:
May 08 2019 3:20pm
I'm new to ebikes specifically.
OK, so we're both newbies. That's helpful.

You might want to try some bigger tires on your rig. When I went from 1.9 to 2.2 it made a huge difference in ride quality. I recently went from 2.2 to 2.5 (Crazy Bobs), but didn't see as big an improvement, but realized I'd only tried them with the high end of the recommended pressure range. I dropped them to 35 psi in the back and 30 in the front, and now any ruts less that 3" (vertical) on the paved paths a ride on are almost completely soaked up by the tires, but they still have good grip if you dive hard into a corner.

EDIT: I also only detected about a 3% increase in rolling resistance going from 60 psi to 35 psi, based on top speeds.
You're effectively adding suspension by reducing tire pressure. (less psi mean the tire gives more ie. bouncy) You give up control, especially in turns, and reducing tire pressure with the added weight you run a much higher risk of getting a flat tire. That's a really poor trade off to make on a commuter bike.
If someone chooses to go this route they're better off using a fat bike, that's what they are designed for.

eta: I'm curious why you're leaning towards the less obvious solution? Is it a matter of money? If you could afford a full suspension bike and knew how to maintain it, would you be looking less towards the Band-Aid solution? I know you're new to riding but that shouldn't preclude you from understanding how adding suspension to one wheel is better than none, and how adding suspension to 2 wheels is better than 1. It's a simple matter of progression and it shouldn't take you a million miles of banging your scrotum off a seat to figure it out. Most of the men that ride road bikes suffer from decreased sperm count and sensitivity in their genitals because they ride rigid frame bikes.

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Re: First E-Bike - Doing DIY BBSHD - Critique my plan

Post by E-HP » May 08 2019 9:32pm

furcifer wrote:
May 08 2019 4:58pm
E-HP wrote:
May 08 2019 3:32pm
furcifer wrote:
May 08 2019 3:20pm
I'm new to ebikes specifically.
OK, so we're both newbies. That's helpful.

You might want to try some bigger tires on your rig. When I went from 1.9 to 2.2 it made a huge difference in ride quality. I recently went from 2.2 to 2.5 (Crazy Bobs), but didn't see as big an improvement, but realized I'd only tried them with the high end of the recommended pressure range. I dropped them to 35 psi in the back and 30 in the front, and now any ruts less that 3" (vertical) on the paved paths a ride on are almost completely soaked up by the tires, but they still have good grip if you dive hard into a corner.

EDIT: I also only detected about a 3% increase in rolling resistance going from 60 psi to 35 psi, based on top speeds.
You're effectively adding suspension by reducing tire pressure. (less psi mean the tire gives more ie. bouncy) You give up control, especially in turns, and reducing tire pressure with the added weight you run a much higher risk of getting a flat tire. That's a really poor trade off to make on a commuter bike.
I'm just saying, if you're riding around on those skinny hard tires, with the added weight of an ebike conversion, then a lot of people would think that's less than ideal (or whatever word you think fits). What's the reasoning on why you chose them?

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Re: First E-Bike - Doing DIY BBSHD - Critique my plan

Post by furcifer » May 09 2019 6:51am

E-HP wrote:
May 08 2019 9:32pm
I'm just saying, if you're riding around on those skinny hard tires, with the added weight of an ebike conversion, then a lot of people would think that's less than ideal (or whatever word you think fits). What's the reasoning on why you chose them?
They've pretty much a top of the line 26" road tire. A wire bead clincher with hard case and kevlar puncture protection, a bit of tread and a high durometer compound, max pressure 80psi. They're a happy medium between the SR1 super slick and the T1 road tire they currently sell. One of the best tires I've ever rode, I'm note sure what I'll do when they're gone, they don't make them anymore.

Why would a tire engineered for road use, ridden on the road be less than ideal? All the material and build characteristics are designed for road use and higher speeds.

I'm curious what "a lot of people would think" are ideal? You haven't been specific but based on what you've said it sounds like you're running a trail tire at very low pressure. Which is by all metrics "off road" and/or lighter load.

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Re: First E-Bike - Doing DIY BBSHD - Critique my plan

Post by E-HP » May 09 2019 9:23am

furcifer wrote:
May 09 2019 6:51am
E-HP wrote:
May 08 2019 9:32pm
I'm just saying, if you're riding around on those skinny hard tires, with the added weight of an ebike conversion, then a lot of people would think that's less than ideal (or whatever word you think fits). What's the reasoning on why you chose them?
They've pretty much a top of the line 26" road tire. A wire bead clincher with hard case and kevlar puncture protection, a bit of tread and a high durometer compound, max pressure 80psi. They're a happy medium between the SR1 super slick and the T1 road tire they currently sell. One of the best tires I've ever rode, I'm note sure what I'll do when they're gone, they don't make them anymore.

Why would a tire engineered for road use, ridden on the road be less than ideal? All the material and build characteristics are designed for road use and higher speeds.

I'm curious what "a lot of people would think" are ideal? You haven't been specific but based on what you've said it sounds like you're running a trail tire at very low pressure. Which is by all metrics "off road" and/or lighter load.
I have a tire graveyard in my garage that I've acquired over decades from trying different tires. I've been trying to avoid adding to it by doing more reading before buying more tires for my ebike, and the build threads are pretty good to see how others have evolved in their tire choices. Especially the riders putting on mega-miles. A lot of them eventually land on Schwalbe tires or some on Maxxis tires, like Hookworms. Only bikes I see with skinny tires like yours are the super lightweight builds using road bikes, small geared hubs and tiny lipo packs.

You know from riding motorcycles (same goes for cars) how a stiffer sidewall improves handling. These Schwalbes are like day and night compared to any tire I've tried. The entire casing is heavy duty and no flexing or rolling on hard corners. I've lowered the pressure not for comfort, but for better side traction, since I crashed hard on my ebike 3 weeks ago, mainly because I was running too high pressure. They didn't hook up on the transition between the dirt shoulder and pavement, when I was trying to give a father and little son a wide berth when passing them, but when the shoulder became a sharp drop off and I transitioned back to the pavement the edge wouldn't catch (where my previous tires with side knobs would have no problem). I tried the transition a couple more times with lower pressure now that my leg is healed, and no problems. Side benefit is a much more comfortable ride, but no loss in handling due to the stiff sidewalls.

Bottom line, I've used the experience of the forum to not contribute to my tire graveyard, and land on a tire that has improved my own ebike riding experience.

Last thing for your consideration, I happen to hire quite a few engineers. The most successful ones are the ones that maintain an open mind and realize there's more than one way to skin a cat, and if their solution isn't acceptable (to the business), they can quickly pivot and solve the problem another way. Sure, maybe bigger tires are "suspension", but it's a way to solve a few problems with having a bike with a lot of extra weight on board, and in my case a hard tail frame. I find it another acceptable solution given the parameters I'm working within. Personally, I think you've given up on the problem too quickly.

PS. If you've had many big crashes on your motorcycles, one thing I noticed that my ebike, maybe because of the mass, crashes like a motorcycle. Not flipping around, just a big mass of weight sliding with a lot of momentum. I had a few crashes at 70-80 mph, and I swear it felt the same (but with a lot less skin lost), especially when it grinds to a halt, literally.

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Re: First E-Bike - Doing DIY BBSHD - Critique my plan

Post by furcifer » May 09 2019 3:45pm

E-HP wrote:
May 09 2019 9:23am
furcifer wrote:
May 09 2019 6:51am
E-HP wrote:
May 08 2019 9:32pm
I'm just saying, if you're riding around on those skinny hard tires, with the added weight of an ebike conversion, then a lot of people would think that's less than ideal (or whatever word you think fits). What's the reasoning on why you chose them?
They've pretty much a top of the line 26" road tire. A wire bead clincher with hard case and kevlar puncture protection, a bit of tread and a high durometer compound, max pressure 80psi. They're a happy medium between the SR1 super slick and the T1 road tire they currently sell. One of the best tires I've ever rode, I'm note sure what I'll do when they're gone, they don't make them anymore.

Why would a tire engineered for road use, ridden on the road be less than ideal? All the material and build characteristics are designed for road use and higher speeds.

I'm curious what "a lot of people would think" are ideal? You haven't been specific but based on what you've said it sounds like you're running a trail tire at very low pressure. Which is by all metrics "off road" and/or lighter load.
I have a tire graveyard in my garage that I've acquired over decades from trying different tires. I've been trying to avoid adding to it by doing more reading before buying more tires for my ebike, and the build threads are pretty good to see how others have evolved in their tire choices. Especially the riders putting on mega-miles. A lot of them eventually land on Schwalbe tires or some on Maxxis tires, like Hookworms. Only bikes I see with skinny tires like yours are the super lightweight builds using road bikes, small geared hubs and tiny lipo packs.

You know from riding motorcycles (same goes for cars) how a stiffer sidewall improves handling. These Schwalbes are like day and night compared to any tire I've tried. The entire casing is heavy duty and no flexing or rolling on hard corners. I've lowered the pressure not for comfort, but for better side traction, since I crashed hard on my ebike 3 weeks ago, mainly because I was running too high pressure. They didn't hook up on the transition between the dirt shoulder and pavement, when I was trying to give a father and little son a wide berth when passing them, but when the shoulder became a sharp drop off and I transitioned back to the pavement the edge wouldn't catch (where my previous tires with side knobs would have no problem). I tried the transition a couple more times with lower pressure now that my leg is healed, and no problems. Side benefit is a much more comfortable ride, but no loss in handling due to the stiff sidewalls.

Bottom line, I've used the experience of the forum to not contribute to my tire graveyard, and land on a tire that has improved my own ebike riding experience.

Last thing for your consideration, I happen to hire quite a few engineers. The most successful ones are the ones that maintain an open mind and realize there's more than one way to skin a cat, and if their solution isn't acceptable (to the business), they can quickly pivot and solve the problem another way. Sure, maybe bigger tires are "suspension", but it's a way to solve a few problems with having a bike with a lot of extra weight on board, and in my case a hard tail frame. I find it another acceptable solution given the parameters I'm working within. Personally, I think you've given up on the problem too quickly.

PS. If you've had many big crashes on your motorcycles, one thing I noticed that my ebike, maybe because of the mass, crashes like a motorcycle. Not flipping around, just a big mass of weight sliding with a lot of momentum. I had a few crashes at 70-80 mph, and I swear it felt the same (but with a lot less skin lost), especially when it grinds to a halt, literally.
I haven't "given up" on the problem. Perhaps I haven't stated this clearly, but I'm not willing to make sacrifices to important ride characteristics like handling in order to avoid adopting the correct technology.
I didn't have this motor running for a week before I started looking for different tires. It was winter and I needed something to grab a bit more in the snow. Snow tires, at least studded ones are pretty expensive. I settled on a tire with an aggressive tread that looked like it wouldn't collect snow.
They actually worked pretty good. At least until I need some braking one day and I hit the brake. I didn't realize it at the time, but the next day I discovered I left half the tread on the road. Good tread but they're extremely soft.
So I do agree with you in the sense that there are better tires out there. I agree, 1.5" is a little narrow, I wish they were 2" or even 2.5. but they never came in that size. Road tires typically run more narrow. A touring tire makes more sense, all things being equal.
I'm going to order another set today probably. I haven't found another frame yet and I need to run this frame for now. I'll keep your advice in mind and I'll report back with my results.
However, regardless of what tires you use, they're going to perform better on a FS frame than a rigid. That's a simple, verifiable, proven fact.
I think maybe you're putting too much emphasis on miles ridden and aren't looking at the specifics. I'm speaking to using a BBSHD for what I would consider "high mileage" commuting. I don't think you see any difference and might be using what you know about touring and trying to apply it to commuting. I would make a strong argument that touring is a different form of riding. In my experience commuting is a lot more hostile and aggressive. I wouldn't say touring is a Sunday ride but it's more akin to it than commuting. This is of course entirely subjective and there are many factors involved so I'm speaking in more general terms.

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Re: First E-Bike - Doing DIY BBSHD - Critique my plan

Post by furcifer » May 09 2019 4:15pm

I went with a Schwalbe Big Ben 2.15". It's comparable to the tires I'm running, slightly more tread maybe, and considerably wider. A $110 experiment, but they seem to be properly engineered for road riding on faster ebikes. Well worth it if they can save me $1000 on a FS build.

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Re: First E-Bike - Doing DIY BBSHD - Critique my plan

Post by E-HP » May 09 2019 10:51pm

furcifer wrote:
May 09 2019 4:15pm
I went with a Schwalbe Big Ben 2.15". It's comparable to the tires I'm running, slightly more tread maybe, and considerably wider. A $110 experiment, but they seem to be properly engineered for road riding on faster ebikes. Well worth it if they can save me $1000 on a FS build.
I think you'll feel a difference. Spend some time testing different tire pressures to get them dialed in. :thumb:

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Re: First E-Bike - Doing DIY BBSHD - Critique my plan

Post by furcifer » May 15 2019 5:05pm

E-HP wrote:
May 09 2019 10:51pm
I think you'll feel a difference. Spend some time testing different tire pressures to get them dialed in. :thumb:
Got them installed today.

The Schwalbe Big Ben are a pretty good tire. A lot of feedback on Amazon saying they're bad in the rain but they seem to be a pretty decent compound. They're not as good as the Bontrager Satellite Elites I was riding but they seem to be a quality tire.

The ride is noticeably smoother. I'm running them at full pressure, which is actually 55psi not 70. Even at full pressure they take a lot of the sharp jolts out, which is definitely something I was concerned about over the long haul. Vibration is bad for the bike and hard on the rider. I haven't gone far but I'd say under normal riding half I what I used to feel is not longer noticeable.

I haven't gone on a long ride yet, but yes, you need to ride as fat a quality tire as you can on an ebike. I don't see much of a difference in terms of speed, less acceleration maybe but the same top speed. Gearing has much more impact in this area.

I'm much more inclined to say it's doable to use a hardtail as a commuter if you max out your tire width. Unfortunately, I think the available tire selection makes full suspension even more desirable. I'd say it's similar to running a road bike or an enduro. With ebikes being relatively slow to "road bikes", why wouldn't you rather ride an enduro? I would much rather be able to cut across a few corners and not have to ride the pegs every single time I see a bump.

Seems vaguely similar to my early car days. "I don't need a luxury car, I want something fast and tight". You get older an wiser and end up in a luxury car and all of sudden heated steering wheels make more sense than having zero body roll in a turn.

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Re: First E-Bike - Doing DIY BBSHD - Critique my plan

Post by E-HP » May 15 2019 6:32pm

furcifer wrote:
May 15 2019 5:05pm
I haven't gone far but I'd say under normal riding half I what I used to feel is not longer noticeable.

I would much rather be able to cut across a few corners and not have to ride the pegs every single time I see a bump.

Seems vaguely similar to my early car days. "I don't need a luxury car, I want something fast and tight". You get older an wiser and end up in a luxury car and all of sudden heated steering wheels make more sense than having zero body roll in a turn.
Cool, At least it sounds like riding is more enjoyable, or less painful now. :thumb:

If you noticed an improvement at 55 psi, then you'll feel even a bigger difference if you experiment with pressures. The last week or so, I've been purposefully staying on the saddle over some bigger bumps, and the tires still soak up the major jolts. I also have a cheapo suspension seat post that helps a little too, but the tires make a bigger difference.

I agree, we get older and wiser and willing to put up with less discomfort,but as much as I like my wife's heated seats, I still like my old truck, and the long wheelbase makes for a smooth ride :D

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Re: First E-Bike - Doing DIY BBSHD - Critique my plan

Post by furcifer » May 15 2019 7:07pm

E-HP wrote:
May 15 2019 6:32pm
furcifer wrote:
May 15 2019 5:05pm
I haven't gone far but I'd say under normal riding half I what I used to feel is not longer noticeable.

I would much rather be able to cut across a few corners and not have to ride the pegs every single time I see a bump.

Seems vaguely similar to my early car days. "I don't need a luxury car, I want something fast and tight". You get older an wiser and end up in a luxury car and all of sudden heated steering wheels make more sense than having zero body roll in a turn.
Cool, At least it sounds like riding is more enjoyable, or less painful now. :thumb:

If you noticed an improvement at 55 psi, then you'll feel even a bigger difference if you experiment with pressures. The last week or so, I've been purposefully staying on the saddle over some bigger bumps, and the tires still soak up the major jolts. I also have a cheapo suspension seat post that helps a little too, but the tires make a bigger difference.

I agree, we get older and wiser and willing to put up with less discomfort,but as much as I like my wife's heated seats, I still like my old truck, and the long wheelbase makes for a smooth ride :D
I think you've hit the nail on the head, short wheel base and long have a HUGE impact on ride.

My partner had a Smart Car, which I enjoyed driving. But it seemed to fall into holes other cars would rise out of. As slow as it is I think a long wheelbase is the only solution.

I'm riding this bike a lot harder now without the same reservations. I've changed the front shock. It's much better but still, what's the catch?

ETA: Unfortunately I've discovered these Schwalbe Big Ben tires are terrible in the corners. I went into a turn and they started to slide out from under me. I think this is why people are saying they're bad in the rain, it was dry yesterday, but if it was wet I would have crashed.
This is another important area of vehicle technology that hasn't been implemented in bicycles because the lower speeds don't require it. The sidewalls on motorcycle tires flare out to maintain contact in turns. At 25km/h, which is what they are rated for, it's not an issue. At 35-40 km/h in a 90 degree turn you start to run out of tread.

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