Saturday, June 6, 2015

Beater e-bike for only ~$386 (batteries not included)

The 48V 1200 watt hub motor kit was $210 and the craptastic (but steel!) bike was only $176. I've got to admit, I was embarrassed to step outside with this thing. The stock "brakes" are terrible (actually they are horrific but they do make life more interesting). I wanted a beater bike to ride around town, but this is seriously downscaled more than I expected.

Anyhow, then I tried it out, and it's awesome. The front hub motor seems to be wound faster than my old Wilderness Energy hub motor on my main bike, and at 1200 watts it has great acceleration. I don't have a wheel sensor yet so I can't be sure, but the top speed seemed to be around 20-22mph at ~40V. 

The frame is tight, so it has a better turning radius than what I'm used to, everything is solidly tied down so it's silent even on uneven terrain, and I've got some crappy knobby tires with better grip and more "bounce" so the ride is just smoother and less terrifying on curves than my other bike with slick tires.

I tossed a few things: the crappy front derailleur now lives in the trash, the front wheel is now in my garden, and the crappy plastic stock brake levers were replaced with the OK e-brakes from the kit. I also replaced the brakes themselves with decent replacements from Amazon, and I upgraded the brake pads with some Kool Stops.

All it takes is two 6S RC Lipo packs (5000mah or better) to get started, so if you're already into RC helicopters or planes it would be cheap and easy to get into e-bikes. (Although if you do use RC Lipo, you should get a Cycle Analyst or some other low battery voltage warning device, to avoid the dangerous situation of over discharging your lipos.)

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