E-bikes?

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
Well, my head is spinning from all the E-bikes out there. Every time I think I've found them all a few more pop up.

Now the cheapskate (and tinkerer) in me is rearing its ugly head and considering a conversion of my existing GT mountain bike. My current bike has V-brakes (rim brakes) BUT the fork and rear frame (it's front suspended/hard tail) both have attaching points for disc calipers so a disc brake conversion is possible. For those of you out there who are bicycle tinkerers, the conversion from V-brakes to discs just requires installing the calipers and new wheels with discs, correct? (I'm not considering hydraulic brakes, just mechanical.) Seems like most of the E-bike conversion kits consist of a wheel (front or rear) with a motor on it, a controller and the requisite wiring. From what I can see the wheels that come with e-bike kits are already set up for discs so that would mean I'd just have to get the calipers right?

The two biggest draws for me regarding a build-my-own approach would be lower cost and also lower weight. I mean, I can't believe an electric motor in the wheel is going to add 30+ lbs to my bike weight. Current bike weighs 35lbs and the lightest E-bikes I'm finding are in the ~60 - 65 lb range.
 

F350joe

Adventurer
Battery and motor each weight about 10lbs, add wiring and controller and there you go. I would strongly consider a mid hub motor. I have a rear hub and it super heavy, even going off curbs is nerve racking the way it hits so hard. That said, some people like the ride better from a rear hub. You could also go 2x2 in the future, which could be fun. Luna makes good stuff, check out their kits and give them a call, I’m sure they will get sell you everything you need for your bike. They also have forums you could check out. https://lunacycle.com/motors/
 

Dalardan

New member
Just did a e-bike conversion on my old Devinci Desperado as a gift for my wife. She can't wait the 8 months we still need to wait until winter is over in Canada.

1200$CAD was quite reasonable for the conversion, must be under 1k in USD. Would I have been in the US, I would have checked that site : https://lunacycle.com/ Seems the best one on service.
On price, the best one seems https://em3ev.com/
 

mdmead

Adventurer
This was discussed in an earlier thread with regard to U.S. National Parks allowing, then disallowing e-bikes on bicycle approved trails.
Am I missing something? The latest I can find seems to indicates e-bikes (as long as being pedaled) are allowed in National Parks on bike trails.
 

AbleGuy

Too Much Fun Club, founder
Am I missing something? The latest I can find seems to indicates e-bikes (as long as being pedaled) are allowed in National Parks on bike trails.
Yup!


“On August 30, the National Park Service announced a new electric bicycle (e-bike) policy for national parks, expanding recreational opportunities and accessibility. The policy supports Secretary’s Order 3376 (PDF), signed by U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt on August 29, 2019, that directs Department of the Interior (DOI) bureaus to create a clear and consistent e-bike policy on all federal lands managed by the department. The policy also supports Secretary’s Order 3366 (PDF) to increase recreational opportunities on public lands.

This new policy will enhance fun and healthy recreational opportunities for visitors to our national parks and support active transportation options.

  • E-bikes make bicycle travel easier and more efficient, because they allow bicyclists to travel farther with less effort.
  • E-bikes provide expanded options for visitors who wish to ride a bicycle but may be limited because of physical fitness, age, disability, or convenience.
  • When used as an alternative to gasoline- or diesel-powered modes of transportation, e-bikes can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel consumption, improve air quality, and support active modes of transportation for park staff and visitors.
  • Similar to traditional bicycles, e-bikes can decrease traffic congestion, reduce the demand for vehicle parking spaces, and increase the number and visibility of cyclists on the road.
Parks are beginning to implement the new policy, so be sure to check with the park you’re visiting for details about where e-bikes are permitted and any other considerations specific to that park. Similar to traditional bicycles, e-bikes are not allowed in designated wilderness areas. During the implementation period, park superintendents will work with their local communities, staff, and partners to determine best practices and guidance for e-bike use in their parks. Superintendents will retain the right to limit, restrict, or impose conditions of bicycle use to ensure visitor safety and resource protection. Read the frequently asked questions below for more information about the policy.”

Full Policy Letter :
 

shade

Well-known member
I thought the NPS had put a hold on e-bikes until some issues were resolved, but I guess not.
Here's the thread where the NPS e-bike announcement was discussed:


The NPS is being challenged on allowing e-bikes. PEER seems to be at the front of opposition, and have several articles on the subject, this one in particular:

https://www.peer.org/new-park-service-e-bike-order-invalid/

They have a long list of other articles on the topic, with some referring to specific parks:


NPS use is a hot enough point of contention that I'd check with staff at a park before assuming it's allowed. They may be, but with all of the legal hubbub, I'd still check on arrival.
 
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Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
NPS use is a hot enough point of contention that I'd check with staff at a park before assuming it's allowed. They may be, but with all of the legal hubbub, I'd still check on arrival.
I plan on doing the exact opposite of that.

Until and unless I see a sign that clearly and explicitly prohibits e-bikes, I'm going to presume they are allowed. ;)

Have you been in a National Park lately? Rangers have much more important things to do than to examine each bicycle to see if it's electric or not.

In fact, I suspect that one of the reasons the NPS doesn't want a strict rule on banning e-bikes is because enforcement is going to be a nightmare. Many e-bikes are indistinguishable from non-powered bikes if you are more than 10' away from them.
 

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DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
I thought the NPS had put a hold on e-bikes until some issues were resolved, but I guess not.
Here's the thread where the NPS e-bike announcement was discussed:
Current situation in just one popular NPS unit.

 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
I watched a few more YouTube videos last night of e-bike builds. It really doesn't look that difficult. Seems like it would be easy to convert my current GT mountain bike.

However, crunching the numbers, the story isn't quite so rosy. Here's what I mean:

The rear wheel hub kit (I wouldn't get a front wheel kit, too easy to break the fork at the bolt) costs a little under $200 on Amazon. Sounds great but then a decent Li-Ion battery is going to run ~ $350 minimum. So we're at ~$550 now.

Then I looked at the kit, and it includes a large controller that goes on the right side for the throttle. Well, that won't work on my old bike because it has Shimano "trigger" shifters with integrated brake levers - which also means that the brake levers that come with the kit (which cuts off the power to the motor when the brakes are engaged) can't be used. Not necessarily a deal breaker but a bit of a PITA.

Also, my trigger shifters sit in the same place on the handlebar that the LCD screen and controller sot. So I either have to figure a way to get all that stuff onto the right handlebar grip, or I have to convert my current trigger shifters into grip shifters (which I'm sure can be done, although most people go the other way from grips TO trigger shifters) which is another expense and another hassle. Call it probably at least $100 to do the trigger-to-grip conversion unless I buy used parts (and having never done such a conversion, I don't even know if it's possible) and who knows how many hours in the garage. So now we're at ~ $650.

Then I noticed that all the current E-bikes available have disc brakes, probably for a good reason. My GT has mounting points for disc brake calipers but switching to discs (or even just a disc for the front wheel) would require me to buy the disc brake kit AND a new front wheel. Call it another $100 or so. Now up to $750.

And finally I noticed that all the current E-bikes have nicely integrated LCD head and tail lights. Adding my own would be, what, another $50 or so? So total investment if I "roll my own" is likely to be circa $800 PLUS the bicycle I already have, PLUS God-only-knows how many hours in the garage trying to get it to work, vs. $1500 for the turn-key bike.
 

shade

Well-known member
I plan on doing the exact opposite of that.

Until and unless I see a sign that clearly and explicitly prohibits e-bikes, I'm going to presume they are allowed. ;)

Have you been in a National Park lately? Rangers have much more important things to do than to examine each bicycle to see if it's electric or not.

In fact, I suspect that one of the reasons the NPS doesn't want a strict rule on banning e-bikes is because enforcement is going to be a nightmare. Many e-bikes are indistinguishable from non-powered bikes if you are more than 10' away from them.
I've been to a national park lately. I think there will be problems once rental fleets hit high use areas, but we'll see how the adoption of e-bikes goes.

I was wrong about the ban being in place, but there is push back on them. I always try to follow the rules, so for me, if they weren't allowed, I wouldn't use one. I agree that rangers have much more important things to do, and I don't want to add to their burden.
 

F350joe

Adventurer
I watched a few more YouTube videos last night of e-bike builds. It really doesn't look that difficult. Seems like it would be easy to convert my current GT mountain bike.

However, crunching the numbers, the story isn't quite so rosy. Here's what I mean:

The rear wheel hub kit (I wouldn't get a front wheel kit, too easy to break the fork at the bolt) costs a little under $200 on Amazon. Sounds great but then a decent Li-Ion battery is going to run ~ $350 minimum. So we're at ~$550 now.

Then I looked at the kit, and it includes a large controller that goes on the right side for the throttle. Well, that won't work on my old bike because it has Shimano "trigger" shifters with integrated brake levers - which also means that the brake levers that come with the kit (which cuts off the power to the motor when the brakes are engaged) can't be used. Not necessarily a deal breaker but a bit of a PITA.

Also, my trigger shifters sit in the same place on the handlebar that the LCD screen and controller sot. So I either have to figure a way to get all that stuff onto the right handlebar grip, or I have to convert my current trigger shifters into grip shifters (which I'm sure can be done, although most people go the other way from grips TO trigger shifters) which is another expense and another hassle. Call it probably at least $100 to do the trigger-to-grip conversion unless I buy used parts (and having never done such a conversion, I don't even know if it's possible) and who knows how many hours in the garage. So now we're at ~ $650.

Then I noticed that all the current E-bikes available have disc brakes, probably for a good reason. My GT has mounting points for disc brake calipers but switching to discs (or even just a disc for the front wheel) would require me to buy the disc brake kit AND a new front wheel. Call it another $100 or so. Now up to $750.

And finally I noticed that all the current E-bikes have nicely integrated LCD head and tail lights. Adding my own would be, what, another $50 or so? So total investment if I "roll my own" is likely to be circa $800 PLUS the bicycle I already have, PLUS God-only-knows how many hours in the garage trying to get it to work, vs. $1500 for the turn-key bike.
If you spent 1500 on a kit you would have one badass ebike with a huge battery. You would also get the built not bought badge. Or spend the $750 and get a couple batteries. The money you save on labor and a frame can go into the build. Nothing you mentioned can’t be easily solved. You will want new parts on the old frame and should consider that extra expense and labor to upgrade the old frame. It will be powered, you want good brakes.
 

AbleGuy

Too Much Fun Club, founder
Well, after you’ve broken the bank on buying that e-bike, then you can start saving to buy the $7,500 aquatic version:
C8756128-63EE-4A97-85CA-B964C12F0B83.jpeg

Introducing the Manta HYDROFOILER™ XE-1
The world’s first Hydrofoil Bike, with electric assist, that replicates the cycling experience on water.


And did I mention that it costs only about $7,500 US to buy one? That’s a pretty pricey cost for the bragging rights to be the first kool kid on the block to own one of these new toys.

A2817AA9-A794-4CF3-8A8F-781024AE0178.jpeg
 

shade

Well-known member
$7500 isn't too bad when compared to other diversionary toys.


Better perfect your Submerged Launch technique in anything other than smooth water. I can see how the electric assist would help dig it out of the hole.
 

Howard70

Adventurer
I’m curious about the rationale behind assuming E-Bikes should be allowed wherever bicycles are allowed.

Is it because they have the potential of being partially powered by the rider? If that is the case, should a traditional moped with an internal combustion engine be allowed in the same places?

Is it because they are electrically powered and thus quiet? If that is the case, should electric motorcycles be allowed in the same places?

Is it some combination of factors - they are electrically powered (quiet) and have the potential of being partially powered by the rider? Thus excluding electric motorcycles (no power from the rider) and traditional mopeds (not quiet)?

I don’t mean to start an argument - I’m just honestly curious about the proposal!

Thanks, Howard
 
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