chas58 wrote:Ah, Houston. My home town...
As for me, born & reared, still with family. During my February visit, I made a point of getting a MetroCard and exploring the gains Houston has made towards pubic transit. And making their city bicycle friendly. Anyway, in Worcester, my goal also was to be car-free and use public transit for longer trips. Having buses with bicycle racks made that possible.
I used to have little difficulty with my Gary Fisher Gitchee with a 36V 500 watt hub motor and battery. But my latest build, a MAC 8T, OSN A123 48V on Trek Shift 3 did in fact increase the weight. I too wanted a really good wheel, and after extensive research, settled on an Alexrims DX32 with a Maxxis 2.5" Hookworm and downhill tubes. But its the 48 volt 20ah battery that added the real weight.
FYI, the Alexrims DX32 is the strongest rim they make, and an option for a MAC lace by EM3ev.com, so a good choice. And love those Maxxis Hookworms.
The weight of it now makes it difficult to lift onto the bus rack. Like others, I keep a pedal-only bicycle around, a Ross Mt. Whitney classic Chromoly frame bike in beautiful chrome. I had intended to put a motor on it, which is why I bought it, for its chromoly frame. But it was such a lovely bike and light-weight, I'm keeping it as is. And increasingly using it when I travel by bus for an errand. I can usually navigate by bus to within 2 miles of my destination and a 2 mile pedal is OK by me.
The long shot in the way of advise: 1> you seem to be on the right track, so trust your judgement, 2> get your weenie weight advantage by reducing the size of your battery, and 3> for Houston, get a really good wheel build, like can be had with a Alexrims DX32 w/Maxxis tires, or compatible.
You only need 5 miles of range, so get a battery that does that and no more. A battery in the 9-12 amp-hour range should suffice.