Best electric for the money

Discussion in 'Electric Bicycles' started by dougsr.874, May 8, 2010.

  1. dougsr.874

    dougsr.874 Active Member

    I have been using gas engines for about 2 yrs. Now I find that in Florida I must have a license to operate them...Not really clear on electric YET. Does anyone know for sure about Florida....Also, on Ebay their is a hub drive for about $400....they call it a this the best way to go?....Much closer to me in Pensacola is a similar motor for a similar price.....any comments please. I am 65 yrs old and weight about 180lbs...I just want to be able to go to the grocery store and Walmart....about a 10 mile round trip.

  2. vegaspaddy

    vegaspaddy Member

    hi doug, when it comes to electric...

    some of the major factors you have to consider,the terrain you will be riding on and the battery source you hook your motor up to, and how much money you are willing to sink into your new ride. Paying more upfront can be costly but works out in the long run.

    The terrain matters because if you dont pedal assist on hills your battery will wear out pretty quickly. The Pegasus wheel and kit itself is fine but it comes with sla acid batteries 3 * 12 volt, thats allot of weight to have on the back, makes for an unstable ride until you get up to speed.

    I am in the process of converting a wallyworld special for my buddy, we just added a new steel front fork and are waiting for the final parts to come in, total cost with the retrofitted bike included will be close to $1300, but a big chunk of that is in a lipo4 ping battery. Costly up front but since he can not drive for another 2 years, it works out at $50 a month, plus this setup should last for at least 3-4 years if he looks after the battery pack.

    Head over to endless sphere forum and hit the product reviews that will give you an idea of the type of ride or kit you can build within certain budgets, because when it comes to these bikes the cost is deadly compared to the gas motors .

    I think it is important to have an allocated amount to spend that way you will be happy with your bike, otherwise when your sla'a burn out 6 months down the road you wont be mad for not upgrading to a better battery source or buying a bigger motor etc.....

    Goodluck VP.
  3. moondog

    moondog Member

    Electric is OK without a license up to 750 watts, but as long as you are a careful driver I don't see getting a ticket for overwatting anytime soon.

    With oil pouring into the gulf I have about had it with gas.

    I have one of these and like it a lot.
    Last edited: May 11, 2010
  4. safe

    safe Active Member


    I have over 7,500 miles using SLA's with a custom frame. (I've gone through a few sets of SLA's) The main reason for not using them is that existing bicycles can't carry them well as they need to be mounted in the middle of the bike. It's the same problem with hub motors in that too much weight in a bad location distrupts handling.

    As a result most entry level ebikes that use too small SLA's try to operate them at high discharge rates which tends to wear them out quickly. The desired discharge rate is about 1C which means the controller current limit should match your battery AH figure. So a 20 Ah battery should have a 20 amp current limit to make 1C. Most entry level ebikes use 20 Ah batteries and try to get away with 30 amp controllers.

    So to say SLA's "don't work" on ebikes is a sort of half truth... they don't work well because of present circumstances.

    Other options besides LiFePO4 are NiCads or NiMh. The NiCads have the advantage of being "idiot proof" in that if you leave them in your garage they won't go bad on you. LiFePO4 batteries live a life on the razors edge because if they are overcharged or are allowed to become undercharged they fail.

    There are many, many cases of people investing $1000's into expensive batteries only to make some simple mistake and lose the investment.

    So the "bottom line" is that if you are a true entry level person you might start with the base product and see how that goes, then consider an upgrade after you have become very aware of the downsides.

    Most people would not be happy to discover their $1000 battery went bad on them...
    Last edited: May 12, 2010
  5. moondog

    moondog Member

  6. safe

    safe Active Member

    SubC's tend to have higher continous "C" rates.

    Apparently the "D" cells have some patent on them that restricts their design... the better cells are in the SubC size.

    Check these:

    I've used them and they work reliably. About 1%-5% of the cells will fail after six months of heavy use and so you would need to identify the bad cell and replace it as needed.

    All battery chemistries fail... it's a statistical reality... the trick is in designing things so that when a small part of the battery fails that it doesn't bring the whole pack down.

    With LiFePO4 packs they use another layer of cell balancers to protect the individual cells. With something like NiCads you can just let one cell fail and replace it and that brings it back up to top level performance. So in a sense a manually assembled pack involves more maintainence but is less costly. They're also "idiot proof" because it's pretty hard to really break them except by wearing them out.

    It all comes down to tradeoffs... your money or your time...



    (sadly the prices have jumped 50% compared to when I bought mine)


    Don't forget the LiFePO4 though or the Lipo if you want maximum performance:

    ...the prices are actually pretty good and for the more sophisticated builder who is okay with a little danger they are okay. Just don't get into them without some serious research. Lipo is the type that can catch fire and burn down your garage... so be careful if you go that way. LiFePO4 is the same price, but will not meltdown. Lithium is also really, really lightweight.


    Also, there are a lot of prebuilt packs around by various suppliers.

    Shop around... compare... then make an educated decision...
    Last edited: May 12, 2010
  7. moondog

    moondog Member

  8. safe

    safe Active Member

    I've built my own solderless tubes that are spring loaded. It was a lot of work and though they work well and allow for easy replacement I can't recommend them for beginners.

    Here's a great thing to look into...

    Replace your SLA's (12V 20AH) with LiFePO4 in the same size:

    At $120 each that's expensive compared to SLA, but they only weigh 6.6lbs (rather than 13lbs) and would supply roughly double capacity.

    It's a good idea for someone with a WalMart ebike who wants to upgrade to LiFePO4 without many major changes. (they would fit my old bike)
    Last edited: May 12, 2010
  9. dougsr.874

    dougsr.874 Active Member

    I was considering using batteries that are used for lawn mower or garden tractor...these are available at most parts houses for about $20. each....what do you think?
  10. vegaspaddy

    vegaspaddy Member

    simply put, those type of batteries are like a starter battery which we have in our cars, they deliver a high output in a short spurt, enough to start our engines. Putting these batteries on a bike will cause them to run out of juice pretty quick !!!!!

    The batteries we use for electric bikes are deep cycle batteries designed to hold there charge longer and enable you to travel futher on your bike.
  11. safe

    safe Active Member

    He's (vegaspaddy) right.... you need "Deep Cycle" batteries... the type they use in cars for starting are designed for maximum amps, but not for deep discharge.

    It's worth considering all battery chemistries:

    ...get a "degree" in battery knowledge. (doesn't take that long)
  12. Tanaka40

    Tanaka40 Member

    For SLA batts, try Rage Battery. Jerry lewis at the san diego location is very helpful. I also agree with SAFE about Battery Univeristy. That site will get you up to speed fast.
    Last edited: May 13, 2010
  13. moondog

    moondog Member

    Not all batteries are born equal.

    Online there is a lot of info about the sla batteries on the ezip trailz, most of it not good.

    Mine are still hanging in there.

    I don't want to replace them with batteries with a lot of warnings and that include a fireproof case.

    One of my friends has his own business and likes to use the new tools and the new batteries.

    He has a box of them that went bad and won't charge. He says they worked then all the sudden they won't charge so he replaces them.

    My bike is 24V and 450W so they say. That should not be more than 20 amps ? It has a 30 amp controller and a 40 amp fuse.

    How much current should the batteries I pick be able to dump ?

    The ones I showed said 30 amps. Is that not enough ?

    Thanks :helmet:
  14. safe

    safe Active Member

    "30Amps Continuous High Drain Capability (3C High Discharge Rate Means Lower Impedance)"

    That's from the link... yes... wow... they have upgraded their batteries since I last checked, they used to be just 1C. (about a year ago)

    Those would work.

    I stand corrected, those are pretty good and 20 of them would just make a pack of 24 volts. So the total price ends up $120, plus you will need a charger which will add $20 or there abouts.
  15. moondog

    moondog Member

    Thanks, I am going to give them a try. I will let everyone know how they work ! :cool:
  16. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    I am in the process of rebuilding a "personal mobility" scooter for an 84 year old lady who is the mother of my next door neighbor. She has had it about 12 years, been through 5 sets of batteries on it, and it finally died on her. He is absolutely NOT mechanically inclined, so he asked me too look at it.

    The motor is a reversible 24V 1 HP industrial motor with an attached gear casing , and the darned thing needed brushes, the commutator re-surfaced, and the gear box cleaned and re-lubed. I'm waiting on the brushes now. I went looking for good batteries for it, and found West Coast Batteries. They sell Odyssey brand military spec'd dry cell (AGM) batteries in a variety of sizes and amp hour apacities, at fair prices.

    They are about as good as SLA batteries get.
  17. moondog

    moondog Member

    Unexpected results with the sla powered Ezip Trailz.

    When I first started riding I would use the motor a lot.

    I started using the motor less and less.

    Now I like to do my around the block 10 mile ride without running the motor at all.

    Yesterday I took my light weight Raleigh ( no motor ) for the ride.

    Wow ! ! ! The light weight Raleigh is faster than ever ! ! !

    P.S. I can travel well over 20 miles with the Trailz on a single charge ! ! ! :D

    Riding the sla powered Ezip Trailz has got me in the best bike riding shape I have ever been in ! ! ! :D

    Trailz = Best electric for the money :bowdown:
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2010