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Electric Bike Project - Need Opinion

Meer123

Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2007
Messages
75
Greetings, you all have been very generous with your advice and opinions when I've requested assistance on my "gas" projects. The world of "electric" powered bikes is new to me but I am very curious and I hope to use your enthusiasm as a resource.

My 2-stroke gas projects all worked out, I have a 48cc (aka 50cc) and a 70cc (aka 80cc) - I still have them, both are mounted on older MTB's and are both fully functional rides. The bug to build an electric powered bike has been festering deep inside me due to 2 factors - both of my MTB's are bigger then I feel comfortable with and the local constabulary in Fairfax VA (northern VA) frowns on my gas powered bikes and electric powered bikes are silent so they might allow me to fly under the radar and enjoy reduced harassment ?

I'm a DIY'fer of average ability - I built my last 2 gas bikes and change my own oil in my van/car. I am 5'10 and around 235lbs, 38 years old and in about average physical condition (i.e. … I can do push-ups and sit-ups but maybe not as many as before) and I want to build a powered bike that I can commute on. It needs to be reasonably quick (although it does not need to be a rocket and I am not looking to race anyone/anything) and it need to have enough reserves to carry me to and from my work (around 17 miles total with one medium hill) without being depleted. My gas bikes all have enough power to make this commute exciting and the range has never been a problem. But they are loud just get too much attention and I often get the dreaded "you smell like gas" comments as I ride up the elevator to my office.

Here's my question … the most affordable "real" electric kits appear to be the 500W/600W hub mounted motors of Chinese origin. I see many e-sellers carrying them and I see them on Ebay as well. I know many of you are familiar with them and I'd love to know what you think of them. How many of you would purchase them again ? How do these electric kits handle moisture (from riding in inclement weather) or is it not viable ? What is the longevity I should expect from one of these budget kits or does spending 2x the amount really equal to 2x better quality and lifespan ? What is your opinion of them compared to those kits that are frame mounted and send power through the bikes transmission ? Are there other options I should consider besides those I've mentioned ? Can popular kits based on the BD36/BL36 be used with other controllers/batteries in case I yearn for more performance at a later date and would that route be simple to do or is it better to go "all out" and break the budget right from the get-go ? Are there specific bikes anyone would like to recommend to be the foundation of an electric bike project ? I am not yet set on which kit to buy and have been doing quite a bit of reading on different types of kits in order to compare the performance of a BD36/BL36 style kit vs. a kit from Cyclone (for example) … prices vary wildly from almost reasonable to nearly "used motorcycle" territory and I suspect real opinions of real builders and riders will be more helpful then me looking at random blogs and me attempting to interpret it to fit my curiosities ?

Any other tips/suggestions/recommendations ? Any favorite bikes/frames ... any favorite kits or sellers ? Tips on specific parts/components in light of the daily commuter nature of the bike I hope to build ? Any enthusiasts (electric or gas) in the Northern VA area that can help an enthusiast of average skill ? or someone I can pay to help complete my bike (in case I'm in over my head and can't complete it) .... hahaha

Thanks again and in advance - I appreciate the advice and opinions.

Al

PS … I will have 2 motorized (2 strokes) MTB's for sale shortly - both are fully functional and are ready to ride … the 48cc is on a large steel frame (best for someone 5'11 or taller) and the 70cc is on an XL steel frame (best for someone 6'1 or taller) … both bikes have gone over 30mph (although I normally cruise in the low to mid 20's) and neither have any "issues" needing serious work. If I write anymore about them, I may be reprimanded and be to re-post this on the "For Sale" section (and I will if/when I have pics) so I'll just say write me if you are in interested and are in the VA/DC/MD area.
 
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Ypedal

Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2008
Messages
148
cool.. at least you have a reasonable grasp on reality ! ( I get way too many emails from people expecting 100 km range on a 200 $ ebike ! lol )

But. one important factor = How long is your commute, and can you charge at work ?

Hub motors come in 4 flavors.

- Brushed
- Brushless
- Brushed-Geared
- Brushless-Geared.

My daily driver has well over 3500 $ in it.. and no end in sight.. but this is a lithium battery with a 1000 $ full suspension bike..

http://www.ypedal.com/Projects.htm

check the Chaos page.

But for a starting point the BL36 is a good kit, not as cheap as it used to be tho.. www.ebikes.ca is a good place to start for crystalyte or an eZee..

I should have some cyclones in hand within a few weeks hopefully so i can compare side-by side.. but no experience on those yet.

Range and budget... oh the joys..
 
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sparky

Active Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
1,429
If you can build some 2-stroke bikes... you can DEFINITELY build an electric bike yourself.

You should be able to fly anywhere in the States, under or above the radar, with an electric motor. It's defined in federal law as a consumer product, not a vehicle. Virginia, or even the city you live in, could have their own law against them... but as long as you catch a competent judge or have enough money for appeals, you shouldn't need a lawyer.

In terms of longevity, I don't think you should be worried about anything going bad other than the battery. I've never actually seen a "burnt" electric motor... usually there's something else wrong with the system, like a switch, wire, or power source. Electric motors really should last A LOT longer than most 2-strokes.
 

Meer123

Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2007
Messages
75
well ...

thanks for the prompt reply and looking to see if anyone else would like to chime in ... with regards to being relistic ... I am a motorhead at heart and have had all sorts of 4x4 oddities (including a classic Bronco and a Land cruiser and a Discovery - for better or wrose, all lifted and modified) and was also an autocrosser who cut his teeth on BMW 2002's and older RWD Corollas. Did I mention I had a nice Kawasaki Ninja so I know what the 2 wheel world is about ? Anyway - I'm a daddy now (of 2 babies)and a certain amount of evil (ie - responsibility) is now a part of my life that I need to reconcile with myself ... most of my vices are gone and I drive a new minivan and a 100k mile Accord ... but bikes are not yet out of the question so I'm trying to maximize this loophole through "Motorizing Bikes" ... I have two 2-strokes and now want to try electrics ... I dont need a rocket and I know they wont 100 miles per charge ... but if they happen to be fun to ride and allow me to get to work and back (ie ... 50 minutes - 16 mile total - per charge) with power to spare - this would be an ideal "electric bike" situation ... I also dont want this to become a "big moeny thing" (blurring the lines between a bicycle project or a cafe racer motorcycle project ?) so I have to work in that "angle" into all my blurbs ... hahaha
 
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Ypedal

Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2008
Messages
148
16 miles = totally do-able..! ( Even with Lead Acid 12ah.. don't get 7ah.. they will not cut it )

Better yet.. Nicad

More expensive but even better = lithium

Alot of stop and go .. or a straight line shot to work ?
 

Meer123

Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2007
Messages
75
significant amount of stop and go but not quite "New York City" style stop and go ... regarding the motor/hub kit ... do you have much exp with a BL36 and or BD36 ? Is it durable ? Is it designed for a certain number of volts/amps or can we vary that part of the equation in the name of more speed or more distance ? I see the 600W version a lot but I know they have them in other strengths - is the 500W acceptable for the purpose ?
 
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Ypedal

Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2008
Messages
148
BD - Brushed
BL - Brushless

The brushed motors are cheaper, simple controller, you can even bypass the controller and hook up a direct switch on/off to the motor from the battery !

the Brushless motors however, have 3 power wires and 5 " hall " wires to tell the controller what speed the motor is going at.. also more quiet.

The brushless motors are more efficient, and will last for ever... no friction.. no brushes to wear out etc.. it's basically a big electo-magnet riding on sealed bearings.

I recommend the BL over the BD.

The motor is rated at 500w.. but trust me.. you can push way more than that on a brushless motor without any problems.. you just need a bigger controller and larger batteries ! hehe..
 

Ypedal

Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2008
Messages
148
About the wattage.

Volts x Amps = Watts.

So 36v x 20amps(controller limited ) = 700w peak power but 500w once you hit cruising speeds..

If you run the same motor at 48v x 20 amps = 950w peak power output.

More volts = faster RPM = more speed

More Amps = increased thrust, or more watts ..

I have a bike with 72v 40 amps = 2800w !!!!

And have a few controllers getting modded for 100v 80amps = you figure it out weeeeee...!
 

Meer123

Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2007
Messages
75
wow - lots of wiggle room to say the least ! So for the sake of conversation, I get a BL36 kit ... I need to get a bigger or higher capacity controller and this will allow me to run more juice .. correct ? And if this is the case, the upgraded controllers are available ? And with regards to the power source, I realize there's tons of different "types" of batteries but buget (and logic) may only allow me to consider the SLA type (maybe NICAD but that's a big maybe) ... do SLA's (and NICAD's) come in higher voltage or more Amps or do I just get more of them and add the number of batteries ? I suspect both avenues are being used BUT even the standard set-ups weigh a ton (or nearly a ton) and I dont want it to be purely a powered conveyance - it should still be a "bicycle" just in case I choose to pedal it ? ... as unlikely as that might be ... hahaha
 

Ypedal

Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2008
Messages
148
Without going into too much detail.

I suggest 48v on a brushless hub motor.

The Wilderness Energy 36v controller will tolerate up to 48v.. over 48v requires a different controller. WE does not offer anything more than 48v to my knowledge. ( the motor can take it, but the controller has to be matched up.. not easy )

If you go with a crystalyte, similar thing.. up to 48v on standard controller then you get into the 72v thing..

That said.

You can use a 72v controller, but run it at anything from 36 to 90v ! as long as the lvc ( Low Voltage cutoff ) is set to 29v.

48v is the MAX you want to put on a front fork.. and even then. i recommend a rear wheel motor personally.. but if you know what you are doing and are half decent with tools and what not.. ya know.. play safe !!!!

Another option is the BMC / Puma / eZee , geared motors, they run well at 36v because of the geared reduction..

1st option : WE BL36 with 48v and 12ah sla's. 500 to 600 $

2nd option : 48v crystalyte 407 or 408 ( in a 26" rim ) at 20 amps. and 8ah Nicads www.ebikes.ca is the only place i know who sells nicads and test them before they ship on proper equipment. 600 to 800

3rd option : eZee with lithium 1200 $

Just like the gas powered rigs.. options are plenty !

500w is plenty, compared to a 49cc 4 stroke it would be similar.

--

sidenote.. 12ah sla's and 8ah nicads will give similar range. sla will not be able to provide it's rated capacity at the rate of discharge these bikes take. Nicads will !
 
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