F.A.Q = All the Basic Stuff - Read Before You Post !

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Staff member
Dec 27, 2006
Moncton NB, Canada
** work in progress **

Pls feel free to contribute info, also.. pls pls pls try to keep the chit chat to a minimum to help simplify the cleanup afterwards... once reasonably complete, this thread will be locked..

imo this needs to be the basic stuff, not complex tech data ( we have the tech reference section for that .. )

This FAQ will cover general E-bike topics, for battery questions, pls see FAQ in Battery area soon to be created...

So, you found this forum and have a lot of questions... " Where Do I start ? " ..

First, use the search !
Forum Search
Keep it simple, use single words and be as specific as possible,

How Fast ?
According to the law in ONTARIO, CANADA ! , an electric assist bicycle should not propel you over 20 mph ( 32 km/h ).

But, depending on your location, your needs, your situation, and good common sense, speeds of up to 40 mph + ( 65 Km/h ) can be achieved !

How Far !
This is a very tough question to answer, without going into MANY DETAILS , the average E-bike ( Electric Powered Bicycle ) will travel 20 miles ( 32 km ) on a charge.

If you pedal or not, weigh a little or a lot, climb hills or stay on level ground, with or against strong winds, how much battery " ah -amphour" you carry.. this can translate into 10 miles or 50 miles !!!

Buyer beware, many places and vendors will give numbers that are " Optimal " .. ask questions, and do your research.

How Much $
Again, many factors come into play here, expect anything from 400 $ to 1200 $ or more.

Look online and compare prices, check E-bay, Ask questions ! And you will find 100's of different kits, complete bikes, parts, opinions, and everything in between, in all price ranges. As with anything, you usually get what you pay for !

A big factor in the price will concern BATTERIES !

Support is something you want to have, nothing worse than having something wrong and not be able to fix the problem. Rock bottom prices often means no support...

Do I Need A License And Registration ?
No, ebikes are considered Bicycles, and do not require a license, registration, plates, etc. You should however, wear a Helmet ! and respect the rules of the road. Ontario requires you to be 16 years or older to ride an ebike.

How Long Will It Last ?
Good news here, Brushless hub motors last a long time.. i have seen reports of 10,000 kms + and still going strong. Some electric motors have "Brushes" and some are " Brushless " .

Brushed motors have carbon brushes that need to be replace once in a while ( your power tools, car starter, etc.are brushed motors).

BrushLESS motors do not have any friction or parts that wear out except 2 bearings, one per side. These bearings are the same type used on motorcycles, and will last a VERY long time, and are cheap to replace. Chances are you will never replace them in your lifetime.

Batteries however, do have a limited life. check the BATTERIES ! section for details. The rest of the system should go on with simple battery replacement.

How much does it cost to recharge ?
Depending on the battery type and AH rating etc.. expect aprox 5 cents of electricity for a charge. Many places i have gone will gladly let me plug-in while i eat at restaurants, even if i canot get a full charge, a partial charge does extend range.

How Much Maintenance Does It Require ?
Ebikes require very little maintance other than regular bicycle stuff, cleaning your chains, brake pads, tires etc. The motor and controller are sealed and require nothing from you. Unlike a car or motorbike, no oil changes, air filter cleaning, carb tuneups.. etc.

Do I Need To Pedal All The Time ?
No. Pedaling is optional in most cases. The motors come in 2 versions, " Instant Start " and " Pedal First ", as the name implies, the Instant Start system will go as soon as you hit the throttle, and the Pedal First system will require you to pedal to 5 km/h before the throttle will work, then you can stop pedaling and enjoy the ride..

On both systems, pedaling will increase range, and be healthy, good practice with ebikes is to pedal from a dead stop no matter what. Accelerating requires more energy than maintaining speed.

Depending on your choice of motor, terrain, battery and controller, ( and your weight !! ) you may not have enough power to climb the steepest hills and will have to pedal in order to make it, but going up a hill at double your usual speed and half the effort is a real thrill !!!

Can I Ride In the Rain ?
Rain, as much as i hate to ride in the wet, it happens. Try and avoid torrential rains if you can, but the system can be weather proofed to an extent. I have not yet had a problem with rain, and i have been thru a few storms. The only problem i am currently aware of are certain model throttles.. Some have LED's for battry charge state that can short out in the rain and make the motor go. Anyone using LED throttles should also use E-BRAKES that cut the motor power when brakes are applied.

Will filling my tires with helium help ?

No.. as a matter of fact, it will cause the tires to loose pressure quickly since the .. well.. see here :


See the ES review section for different products that members have tested and reported on :

By popular demand, see this thread for a long dramatic discussion of the not so pleasant dealers to be buying from or vendors to avoid, this starts at page 1 from 2007 and at the time of this writing is 20 pages long so take note of the post date as the discussion progresses :


What Brand Should I Buy ?

Well, the most common hub motor brands out there, most of wich i've tested..

Bottom line here is that it comes down to how many watts you push thru the system, smaller motors work fine up to 500w, if you have heavy demands you need a bigger motor.. alot comes down to price, and availability..

It makes no sense to buy an X5 and only use it at 500w, you are wasting money.. if you weigh over 250 lbs and have huge mountains to climb it's a different story however.. the bigger you go the more it will cost.. like all other things.. and the choice of battery is all important if you go with high power systems..

Crystalyte ( Xlyte, Clyte, 4 series, dual speed, X5 )

They have been around for a long time, sold by a variety of vendors, Direct Drive and 2 most common motors are the 4 Series and the mighty X5, recently the addition of a lighter weight HS and HT series.. Quiet and reliable, older models were not very weather proof but more recent revisions have seals at the axle that improved.. the 4 series is the most quiet hub motor available to date that i've tried, also was available in dual speed models, they have a calling of " 404 " up to " 4013 " .. the 40 means 40mm wide magnets and the last number refers to the speed at wich it operates, 404=fast and 4013=slow

Bafang ( Mini Geared motors )

Goes by the name " Cute " or " Mini geared " or various other names, they are brushless geard motors, good for 500w or less, typically found on 250w big box store bikes and various other vendors sell them as 500w with a larger controller.. they are ok for lighter weight riders ( 200 lbs or less ) on fairly flat land ... pushed too hard the gears have been known to melt but they are a good motor for light to medium duty as they are geared and will " freewheel " so they can coast while you pedal without power use..

BionX ( Ultra Motor )

BionX has been around for a while as well, Direct Drive and they are have the controller built into the hub motor itself, this is good because it makes for simpler install, but bad because the motor and controller heat eachother up and this can cause problems with over-abuse and over heating.. Expensive, but well done, the same motrs are used on Ultra Motor bikes like the A2B metro etc.

BMC / MAC ( eZee, bmc )

Geared, brushless, larger than the Bafang, and able to tolerate more power, these are very nice and refined motors that do cost a bit more but the disk brakes with multi speed all fits in a normal bicycle frame.. not always the case with some of the others..

Golden Motor ( Magic Pie, etc )

Golden motor, oh boy, they have been around for a long time, and offer a variety of kits and pieces, most recently the " Magic Pie ", expect some dents and scratches and low prices, if you don't mind tinkering and fixing things yourself you can save at GM, but it's hit and miss..


Also been around the block, these tend to be brushed ( vs others being brushless ) and geared, mostly found on Lee Iacocca " Ebike " that was made but no longer produced, they are often 24v or 36v .. good motors.. not popular as a kit..

Nine Continents (9C)

The 9C motors have been around for a few years now and are quite popular, they are are lighter and not as powerfull as the X5, but have more poke than the clyte 4 series.. they do make a buzzzing sound when they run that you can hear at low speeds but kinda dissipates as you gather speed, i would not call them LOUD but you can hear them.. well weatherized and good for about 2000w

Wilderness Energy
Glossary by Fechter :

Ziggurat's excellent post on things to know when starting out :

Front vs Rear Hub motor by Auraslip:
How To ?

Using Rivnuts / Riv-nuts / Riv nuts / Blind Nuts / Nut-sert

Anderson Powerpoles and other Connectors :

- Torque Arms

- Wheel building for ebikes

- Tires ( mounting, and types to get.. )

- bicycle components, fixing, adjusting, etc

Thanks Katou. I made some of the changes you requested.
The reinforced fork was done by mark_aw

I posted the faq here - http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=26625

I've chosen not to add info about handling differences because they're mostly obvious and realistically it probably won't influence peoples decisions much. If you think I should add them or have any other suggestions, let me know!
As an ebike noob I have two recommendations.

Add a more complete description of this link. It's a must read.
Ziggurat's excellent post on things to know when starting out :

The FAQ needs a newbie guide to "selecting watts and volts". Looking at the conversion kits on eBay, the price difference between a 250w - 24v and 1000w - 48v is only $60. What are the reasons for buying a lower powered electric hub?
Weight of the motor
Battery requirement

Let's say the current battery budge is for 36v battery pack. Will I be sorry buying a 48v system and running it under powered? Can a 1000w system be run on lower power and stretched out like a 500w motor?

Thank you. Kevin

Ps. I recently found this page which has a lot of good explanations.

RC E-Bike Drivetrain tutorial
Please poke around the Wiki before posting a question--it may well be answered there. If a search of the wiki and the forum turns up nothing relevant, ask your question (though you may well be pointed back to a wiki article or forum thread/section if your answer is there).


Also, if you find you have relevant info to add to the wiki, please do! Especially if there was no answer to your question in the wiki, please post the question and answer there in the appropriate section to help others, or add it to an existing article if one applies to the subject.

Dont' worry about "hurting" the wiki--it isn't possible for you to permanently delete anything, as it always logs the changes so they can be put back if necessary.
****Do this before your first post or now (it's retroactive)*****
Please go to the User Control Panel, select Profile, and then enter your city, state/province, and country into the Location field (country minimum) and save ut. This will help people help you. Example: Wylie, TX, USA. Without knowing what country you are in it's hard to make any recommendations and you will waste your time and others. Thank you.
And this:

[The Hamburger is Bad!] The Hamburger is Bad

We get a lot of questions asking for quite specific recommendations on materials or components that provide far too little information for us to even guess at an answer. This is addressed in FAQ, but builders are not put off from repeating this type of question. I'm sympathetic to the needs of builders to obtain some guidance, but many of the design discussions we get into go like this:

Q: Is a 1/4 pound hamburger good?

A: That depends on the hamburger. I need more information.

Q: I told you, it's a 1/4 pound hamburger. It has a bun.

A: Do you generally like hamburgers? How old is this hamburger? Where did the hamburger come from? What is on the hamburger? Are you going to eat this hamburger or do something else with it? How hungry are you? Does it come with fries and a drink? What color is the meat? Is there fuzz growing on it? Is it hot and juicy or frozen solid? Are other people eating this same type of hamburger?

Q: Just tell me if it's good.

A: I can't tell you if it's good. You'd better leave it alone.

Q: I don't believe you.

A: Suit yourself.

Q: The hamburger was bad. You should have told me it was bad. You suck.

A: Have a nice day.

I'm pretty sure somebody will build a robot named 'Bad Hamburger' just to rub my nose in this. Really, you shouldn't bother.

To see the most recent questions or to ask a new question, go to the [Ask Aaron Home Page]

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