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Ecky 09-05-2015 09:01 PM

First foray into electric bikes, need advice
I haven't properly researched this yet, so please excuse any dumb questions. I'll likely update my post as I come across information on my own.

My wife and I are suddenly in need of additional transportation, and an electric bike fits the bill. My budget is limited but flexible. In the near term, I just need to be able to get to work. Right now the weather is nice, and it looks like I might not need more than maybe 15 miles of range, but it won't be long before things start getting cold. Because if this, I was thinking of doing things in stages: First, the electric system, attached to a beater. While the weather remains nice, I'll be shopping around for a recumbent trike, or possibly a velomobile into which I can transplant.

However, my wife spotted something on the local craigslist for $300, in need of a battery:

E BIKE for sale, fantastic working cond.

Is this worth considering, or should I start from scratch?

Frank Lee 09-05-2015 09:08 PM

Looks like a good deal to me. You might want to price out a replacement battery pack first so it doesn't come as a shock after the fact.

ME_Andy 09-05-2015 10:01 PM

That sounds like a good deal to me. If you build your own, it would be ~$300 for a decent new road bike from (they're cheap) plus $350 for an eBay motor kit plus ~$400 for a lithium-ion battery. $1050 total. At least that's what I was considering.

Ecky 09-05-2015 11:36 PM


Originally Posted by ME_Andy (Post 492342)
That sounds like a good deal to me. If you build your own, it would be ~$300 for a decent new road bike from (they're cheap) plus $350 for an eBay motor kit plus ~$400 for a lithium-ion battery. $1050 total. At least that's what I was considering.

Right, but how much of it can I reuse? I'm thinking this isn't as nice as a $350 road bike, and it would be a shame if I couldn't take it apart, and had to rebuy components.

On the other hand, I suppose I can always flip it for more than I paid.

ME_Andy 09-06-2015 02:17 AM

Let's dig into the details here. If I were building my own:

1. Motobecane Track single-speed bike ($309 from
2. 1000W wheel-motor kit ($379, eBay)
3. Lithium battery+charger ($450, eBay)
Total: $1238

That's a nice bike but it's very simple. No kickstand, no quick-release wheels, etc. That's what I like because it keeps the bike nice and light, but maybe you want more frills. It's also single-speed, which is fantastic unless you have big hills to deal with. The battery is a lot lighter than the Craigslist bike and the top speed isn't limited to 18mph.

If I bought the Craigslist Ebike LE, I would immediately strip off the kickstand and change the front suspension for a rigid fork. (Maybe you would keep the fork if you like a comfy ride.) That would probably drop 7 pounds off its weight. I would also strip off the reflectors and replace the seat... all personal preference. Apparently the battery is only good for 5000 miles. That's not much.

In the end, I suppose it depends on your budget. Is 1k a stretch?

Ecky 09-06-2015 02:38 AM

No, it isn't, and that looks like a reasonable build. The ebike would likely come close to that after replacing the battery anyway. I do have hills to deal with, but they're not too extreme. I'd probably opt for a variant with gears though.

Grant-53 09-07-2015 11:13 AM

It looks like the parts from the ebike alone would be worth $300. How much would it cost to ship from Vermont? What service and parts are available in your area?

My experience with suspension forks is they add 2-3 lbs but that depends on which units are being compared. Reflectors weigh very little and used properly could save a life.

The EV Global company went out of production in 2004. A page in indicated they have a limited supply of parts and have devised some replacement solutions of their own including battery packs.
Reviews of the time indicate these were well designed machines.

Ecky 09-07-2015 01:30 PM

I should update my location; It's actually in town and wouldn't need shipping.

vskid3 09-10-2015 02:06 AM

What kind of speed are you wanting to get? The Craigslist bike is great if you want something that looks nice and functions fairly well, but you'll be limited on your top speed with it as-is. Definitely go with some kind of lithium battery for it or any other ebike. Lead acid was a necessary evil back then, no reason to suffer with it today.

I built my ebike to be more of an electric motorcycle with pedals than an electric assisted bike. Top speed of ~32MPH on flat ground (I limited it to ~28MPH), bare minimum 20 miles of real range (not the "20 miles of you pedaling and going 10MPH" range). $300 for the conversion kit, $650 for the high quality 48v 15Ah LiFePO4 battery, $100-200 for misc parts (different tires, connectors), and I believe my wife's hardtail mountain bike was $350. Motor and bike have almost 1000 miles and the battery has over 1600 miles. Biggest issue with both bikes was thorns in the tires, but Slime in the tubes pretty much eliminated the thorn flats.

Frank Lee 09-10-2015 03:05 AM

Looks to me like he wants to do a commute that's 7.5 miles one way.

@20mph = 22min 30sec
@30mph = 15min 0sec

Only he can decide what 7.5 minutes is worth to him, assuming e-Bike cruises at 20 and homebuilt can cruise 30.

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