Help Me Build a California E-Bike!

Discussion in 'Electric Bicycles' started by E5P3R, Sep 20, 2016.

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  1. E5P3R

    E5P3R Guest

    Hey! I'm a 17 year old from California looking to put together an e-bike for transportation until I'm able to actually drive, (6 months to a year) and probably afterwords too. I was doing a bit of reading and saw that e-bikes are legal here w/out a license going up to 750 watts and 28 mph! That's awesome! The thing is, I'm running on a bit of a budget. I have around $700 I can shell out on the project, though can probably get up to $1000 if absolutely necessary. I'd prefer to stick on the lower end of things though.

    I will need a bike frame. I'll be on the lookout on Craigslist, but if I'm looking to buy it new, (online, something like amazon) where would I look, what kind of bike would I be looking for, and what is the price range? Suggestions and links to bike frames would be great!

    And what about the whole motor part? I know motors and batteries are a whole different deal. If possible, I'd like to be able to go the fastest legally possible, though I don't know what's the most practical option for this. Do they even still 750 watt engines or would I be looking for something around 500? And what kind of batteries work best for a budget? Like I said before, links and suggestions would be great.

    That's about it, thanks for the read and I'm looking forward to your replies! :)

  2. GGH

    GGH Guest

    I would try to find a good used hardtail mountain bike on craigslist for starters. You can probably find something decent for around $150. Your budget of $700 or so, is going to limit you to hub motors (which is fine). There are some reasonably priced hub motor kits on eBay, that have the motor pre-laced into a wheel, which makes the installation much easier. Just be sure to get torque arms to keep the axle from spinning in the dropouts.

    Not sure, but I think you could get a serviceable kit for about $250 minus the battery. That would leave you with about $400 for your battery which should get you a nice lithium pack with some range. There is an outfit in SoCal called Luna Cycle that has good stuff and knowledgeable people. I would recommend them for battery packs. If you are nearby, maybe you could pick up the pack in person and save yourself the shipping premium for lithium batteries as they are considered hazardous shipment.

    Finally, there is an eBike forum called "Endless Sphere." When you think you've found a good kit to buy off of eBay or wherever, I would run it by them and ask for opinions. Somebody there will probably know everything about it and either say it's good or recommend something better.

    Good Luck
  3. GGH

    GGH Guest

    OK it was late when I replied and my arithmetic was off by $100. So the scenario I outlined would cost you about $800, not $700.

    A little more about hub motors...They come in either direct drive or geared varieties. Nice thing about the geared ones is that they freewheel when not under power. The direct drive units will create a bit of drag when coasting, but not too bad. Advantage of the direct drive motors is their simplicity (fewer moving parts) which tends to make them more reliable. Also, if your controller supports regenerative braking, you can do that with DD hubs. REGEN won't add much to your range, but it does make an effective brake which will save wear and tear on brake pads etc.