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Old 04-05-2014, 12:01 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info, BarelyAWake. I guess I'll keep the Magic Pie in mind, but I'm leaning towards the ~$250 ebay kits. They're almost half the price of the MP3+shipping and I haven't seen really any complaints about them.

I checked out my Walmart's bike selection, only 3 bikes with front discs, a 26", 27.5", and 29". I pulled the 26" Genesis V2100 off the rack to check the frame size and it was well into my groin even with me on my toes (I'm only 5' 4"). Seemed like a decent enough bike, but way too tall for me. I didn't even try the other two because they looked just as bad for frame size.

I also went to the bike shop where I bought my current bike, a 26" Giant Revel 3, to check with them how much a disc conversion would be. They pretty much confirmed what I'd read online. It would cost nearly as much as another decent bike after the fork, wheel, and brakes.

So now I'm kind of stuck. The v-brakes on my bike are fine right now, but many people recommend disc brakes for an ebike, especially at the speeds I'm shooting for. I would much rather buy another bike that has disc brakes than spend about the same amount to add them to my bike, but it would be even better to use my existing bike as it is.

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Old 04-06-2014, 07:26 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I'd not worry too much about it vskid3, Giants are fine bicycles & the charm of the hub drives is they're so easy to transfer over to another should you later decide to change. It irks me to say this, but v-brakes do work perfectly well - if stopping power is insufficient, better pads can be had.

I dislike them for other reasons, perhaps not as applicable to a first ebike experiment - persistent maladjustment, long term rim wear, wet conditions, ice & snow pack. As a year-round daily rider/commuter these take precedence but for you, perhaps not so much if all you wish is to stop in a timely fashion lol

If budget is a concern, I'd spend the difference in better/larger batteries then switch the Giant to disk as smaller upgrades like that can come later.

The half-price ebay "no name" drives can be a good deal, again LiFePO4 batteries the critical & expensive bit - but as you prolly well know, with generic ebay stuff "you buy your ticket, you take your chance" & hope for the best... I did so w/my hybrid taddy's drive as it's MP2 usurped & on another bike (s'posed to be just testing, couldn't bear to take it back off Mongo lol) and it's been... good enough

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Old 04-06-2014, 07:13 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Hm, rain is pretty rare here and snow is almost out of the question, so those advantages don't really apply for me. Using the bike as is is definitely the cheapest way to go. Then I can consider converting to discs when the rim wears out since I'll need to buy a new wheel anyway. I guess we'll just see how long that takes.

I'm for sure going to go with a quality battery like a Ping. 48v 15Ah like yours should be plenty. I could probably get away with even less Ah because I could charge at least for an hour between most of the ~5 mile trips, but I want to keep the battery at a discharge rate its happy with. Even if the battery needs replaced every couple years, I'll still be cheaper than just the gas for the Insight.

I'm going to keep doing some research on the motor, but I'm really leaning towards the ebay ones. I just can't quite justify the higher price for the others. If the total for the MP3 was a little lower I would probably go with it, but there isn't enough to make it worth spending almost twice as much (again, in my opinion).
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:22 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I have had aluminum rims last for decades. Just keep them clean and touch up with sand paper if needed. Good pads make a big difference. Wear comes from grit. If you get a brush type DC motor consider polishing the commutator to reduce brush wear and resistance.
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Old 04-07-2014, 04:38 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I agree Grant-53, the difficulty being with the motorization of a bicycle not only do speeds increase, usage (distance) does as well - both drastically accelerating the "normal" wear of any parts that function via friction, including disc brake pads & rotors. However, when your "rotor" is your rim itself the consequences can be a bit more troublesome.

Here's some of my earlier lessons regarding the long-term usage of rim brakes with motor assisted bicycles;



...and the result of single-wall rims;



Miraculously, these "lessons" were relatively painless for me & again, for localized, low speed and/or intermittent use rim brakes will suffice. I hope I don't seem presumptuous as I only hope to spare others the trouble, expense & potential injury I've caused myself by mine ignorance - particularly when the alternative if preemptive is so comparatively inexpensive.

Two very reputable, low cost double wall rim & disc brake wheel vendors I've had great satisfaction with - I generally buy the rims alone & lace to existing hubs, or other aftermarket hubs of better quality;

Alex Rims (or Alexrims)
Amazon.com: Alex Rims: Sports & Outdoors

Weinmann
Amazon.com: Weinmann: Sports & Outdoors

I do so greatly prefer to learn from the errors of others, as I do still make so many of my own lol

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Old 04-07-2014, 05:28 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vskid3 View Post
Hm, rain is pretty rare here and snow is almost out of the question, so those advantages don't really apply for me. Using the bike as is is definitely the cheapest way to go. Then I can consider converting to discs when the rim wears out since I'll need to buy a new wheel anyway. I guess we'll just see how long that takes.

I'm for sure going to go with a quality battery like a Ping. 48v 15Ah like yours should be plenty. I could probably get away with even less Ah because I could charge at least for an hour between most of the ~5 mile trips, but I want to keep the battery at a discharge rate its happy with. Even if the battery needs replaced every couple years, I'll still be cheaper than just the gas for the Insight.

I'm going to keep doing some research on the motor, but I'm really leaning towards the ebay ones. I just can't quite justify the higher price for the others. If the total for the MP3 was a little lower I would probably go with it, but there isn't enough to make it worth spending almost twice as much (again, in my opinion).
Please don't get spooked by my above post regarding brakes & rims, I'm hard on bikes & average at a minimum five thousand miles a year, in all environments & conditions, usually at least three times the speed of your average bicyclist... so consequences present themselves to me a bit sooner and in a little more exciting fashion then is the norm, I s'pose I could be called the "worst case scenario" lol

Generally, SLA (sealed lead acid) is only good for about 300 cycles, whereas lithium is around 1000 & LiFePO4 roughly 2000, without memory effect or thermal instability of other lithium variants - so you'll not need replace such a pack for a very long time given your expected usage.

I agree many hub motors shouldn't cost what they do, the MP kits a "middle ground" they're not nearly as costly as some, not as inexpensive as others they're still a touch more costly then I personally think they should be given they're basically just brushless electric motors w/fancy controllers... Some of the MPs features are quite nice for prolonged ebike use & commuting, there's a plethora of fail-safe functions that may still allow you to limp home if there's a fault in controls, pack or motor, the cruise control very handy for maximizing efficiency via throttle control, the integrated lighting nice for those that don't wish to bother creating their own.

On the other hand these fancy features aren't needful for all riders, in fact that's another reason I also chose a "generic" for my hybrid build as those "extras" weren't helpful at all, what good is a cruse control on a secondary system, lighting when it's already had.

The only troublesome bit is the questionable nature of many ebay vendors, bought sight unseen there's no real way to tell what you're getting until you've gotten it & their return policies, warranties & reputation as random as the internet itself - one botched order & failed return would pay the difference between that and a more reputable product, then again if successful you get a massive savings...

Your call - I've done it myself & doubtlessly will again, I've gotten burnt and I've gotten great deals too... I jus' can't in good faith recommend such save to say, be sure to read the comments
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Old 04-09-2014, 11:18 AM   #27 (permalink)
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The fatigue strength of aluminum comes in to play over time verses surface wear. Maintaining good spoke tension and tire inflation helps. A full suspension frame may help reduce impacts at higher speeds. The suspension stem and seat post on my 2000 Jamis Aragon along with sealed bearings has contributed to long and trouble free commuting at 10-12 mph. You may be running at up to 30 mph with more weight. Look for components suited for serious downhill riding.
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Old 04-10-2014, 08:17 PM   #28 (permalink)
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My rims are double wall, so they do have that going for them. In any case, they should last long enough to give me a break from spending money on the bike after converting it. Something people often cite as a reason for going with discs is the added weight of an ebike. Fortunately for me, I'm only about 130lbs and my bike is 34lbs, so even with the motor and batteries, I'll only be at about 200-220lbs total.

I rode my bike to and from work yesterday after lunch. The speed to be able to keep up with traffic would be nice (most drivers gave a good amount of space when passing, though). The biggest drawbacks are the heat and wind. It was only 80F but I felt like dying because I was riding in uniform and had a backpack on. I can do without the backpack (just couldn't find something smaller to put on the rear rack), but I'm pretty much stuck with the uniform. Wind was either calm or at my back on the way to work, but was about 10MPH against me going home, which hurt my time. I decided the knobby tires have to go, they feel pretty unstable at 15+MPH. I'm thinking of getting Continental Double Fighter 2's to replace them. Reviews are pretty good for them and they help with rolling resistance a ton. Only con is they don't last a super long time, but not bad for the price and performance.

I'm currently considering a Crystalyte motor kit from ebikes.ca. They're more than the ebay kits and the MP3, but are held in higher regard from what I've seen. And they come with a Cycle Analyst (pretty much the ebike version of a SGII) which is $120 on its own. Pretty much set on the 48v 15Ah Ping battery.
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Old 04-11-2014, 02:35 AM   #29 (permalink)
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I've heard many great things of the Crystalyte, it seems the hub of choice for novice & modder alike - it may not be a budget choice, but a safe one regarding known quality & preformance w/o doubt

I'm forced to run knobbies in the winter but I did try a few "hybrid" tires similar to the Conti you've linked above as I do still like to trail, even if just the path to my shop which can get quite ugly at times - thing is, I never quite managed to find one that didn't end up being uncomfortable as the transition from slick to knob whilst leaning to turn at speed is disconcerting at best, dangerous if unaware (loaned ride or whatever) & despite trying a few different variants of hybrid slick/semislick & mild/aggressive lugs... they all seemed "the worst of both" rather then the best, but that's pure personal preference - I'm sure it's something folks get used to, even love.

For wear, these were one of the best I tried as the center slick is as thick as the knobs are tall - it seems to last near forever but it's an extreme transition;


Kenda Kross Plus Hybrid Wire Bead Bicycle Tire

I'm switching back to these on everything 26" I have as I do with great joy every spring season as it's a sure sign of sunny summertime to come - these too last seemingly forever, slightly harder compound then you'd expect of a semi slick they're also quite thick in the treaded area;


Kenda K838 Slick Wire Bead Bicycle Tire
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Old 04-11-2014, 10:25 PM   #30 (permalink)
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I went ahead and got the Double Fighters. They look like they're between the tires you posted as far as aggressiveness of the side lugs. They should be arriving tomorrow, so we'll see how they do. My biggest worry is getting a flat from the goat head thorns we have here, but the other day the road didn't seem to have many/any on it, so hopefully these tires will do ok. I've looked at those Kenda K838's before and they look pretty good. If the thorns don't cause me any problems with the Double Fighters, I'll probably try them next. If thorns turn out to be more of a problem than I'm anticipating, then something beast like Schwalbe Marathon Plus' might be in my future.

Still not sure which kit to get. I would prefer to keep the total for the kit and battery under $1000, but that gets difficult with a nearly $600 battery...

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