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Old 10-26-2012, 08:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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There are a ton of options ... I'd start with considering what you want ... not just from the finished product but from the process.

Meaning for some people like me the conversion , the modifications , etc ... where fun activities in and of themselves ... I wanted to do them.

That isn't the case for everyone ... many people are all about the use it ready.

The use it ready by far is easier and such ... it will save some headaches that end up happening in a 'project' ... the quality of the project will depend heavily on the skill and time invested of the project builder ... but a project does allow you to customize much more than a ready made product ever could.

If you don't have a specific need for it ... I would recommend avoiding the folding bicycles ... some are not bad ... but unless you specifically need that feature it will just cost more money and have bike design compromises you don't need.

That having been said mine is a folding ebike ... I personally prefer it , for a few reasons ... but there are cons to them ... so if you don't need that feature don't bother with it.

My bike is chainless ... It has a drive shaft going to a mini 8 speed transmission built into the rear wheel ... I like it for the removing of the chain issues , maintenance , grease and dirt , etc ... but it isn't free ... so if you are used to and don't mind the comparatively minor issues with bicycle chains ... just stick to those , it opens up a lot more options for you.

Make sure the bike itself a base is comfortable ... if it starts off uncomfortable , it is likely to always be uncomfortable.

If you only are considering some assist to make those bike rides and commutes easier and such ... and you are not looking for an electric scooter where you don't plan to pedal at all ... Then there is not much reason to go with anything more than the mini motors rated around 200 to 300 watts.

If you want that scooter like pure EV like mode with zero pedal power from you ... than that is when the higher over 300 watt motors can become useful.

Be mindful that many places will legally consider a ebike with more than about 700watt rated motor as a scooter or moped like device , and may not be allowed on bike trails and paths ... where as many places a eBike under 700 watt rated motor is still legally a bicycle and can still use those bike trails and paths and such.

Regenerative braking on a bicycle is mostly useful if you plan to use it for training ... meaning if you get in great shape and you want a hard work out , you can use that extra resistance for additional exercise the human efforts ... other wise it can pick up a bit more energy efficiency ... but there is usually a price to pay for that feature ... a price larger than the price of electrical kwh are ever to likely recover ... so it is good for some applications ... but if that isn't your thing ... it is a feature that might not be worth the cost.

Many eBikes that do not have regenerative braking instead offer a better free wheel ... allowing the bike to coast further and generally require less energy to go a mile ... this better free wheel often tends to be not as expensive as the regenerative braking feature.

There are some nice power monitors and displays ... I like my Cycle Analyst ... but most of the eBike kits have safety minimums already built into the electronics ... so , such a fairly expensive monitor is mainly for the user ... it has nice features that I like and wanted ... but it may not be cost effective for many people ... who mainly are just going from point A to point B... and having a monitor that logs the distance tells you your speed monitors battery voltage amps Ah watts wh etc ... those things are not worth it to everybody.

Make sure you put a little consideration into weather proofing / resistance ... even if you don't plan to use it in the rain ... there are some simple and easy steps that can be taken ... things that can be useful latter if you get caught by an unexpected shower and such.

There are many battery options as well ... but keep in mind the use and application ... 100 watts of assist for ~15 miles at ~10 MPH is only 150Wh of battery power ... even 300 Watts under the same conditions is only ~450Wh ... unless you want a very long range ... or you are going up into the over 300Watt pure EV like scooter range ... there really is extremely little need for anything more than ~500Wh of battery power ... from 36V this is at most about ~14Ah ... But if you are going to do it make sure you have at least enough to able to use it freely ... I'd say about ~200Wh as a free use entry point for a under 300Watt just giving assist to your pedal efforts type of riding ... at 36V this is ~5.5Ah.

So once you have some ideas of the basic kinds of things you are looking for ... do and don't want ... etc ... then I think you can take those choices to go out and look at specific options and models , etc.
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