Common bike builds

A comparison of the carbon footprint of electric bikes and bicycles

Kits

Ebay kits

 

Hub motor:

    A hub motor comes laced into a standard bicycle wheel. Just swap out the tire and tube from your normal wheel, and drop the hub motor into your bike! Direct drive hub motors are typically three pole single speed brushless permanent magnet DC motors. They are super reliable and can travel thousands of miles with zero maintenance. The most popular hubs can be had for as little as $200, and the biggest x5 hubs can be as much as $500.

Controller:

    The controller is the magic little box that allows the raw copper, magnets, and electrons in the motor to function effecienctly and precisely. These are often zip tied to the bike some where it can get air flow. You have lots of options for controllers. They range from low powered $50 units all the way up to motorcycle powered $1k monsters. You can get a decent USB programmable, regenerative braking, Infenion controller for around $100

Throttle and ebrake:

    Throttles obviously make the motor go. Ebrakes are normal bicycle brake levers with an on/off sensor. This shuts down the motor, and triggers regen braking. There are several options for throttles, but only one style of ebrake lever. 

Torque arm:

    A torque arm reinforces the drop out of the bicycle frame. Bicycle are built to withstand extreme downward force on the dropouts, but not a rotational force from the axle of a hub motor. Torque arms are essential for a safe ebike build. There are several varieties. For high powered bikes it's best to build your own. 

Battery:

    More than any other part of the bike, the battery will define how fast and how far you can go. A trouble free, light weight, and long lasting battery pack is the key to a satisfying and successful ebike build. The plug and play options offer a great value for those that just want a worry free bike, but for a truly powerful bike you'll need to build your own battery pack. You can spend anywhere between $100 and $1000 for a good battery pack.

Ebike kit:

    A kit is a great choice for a first bike. They include components that work well together, and can be significantly cheaper than buying separately. Typically they include everything excluding the battery! Pricing can range from $250 for a kit direct from China to $500 for a quality kit from an American retailer.


So you want to build an ebike?

Common bike builds: There are lots of options available. Get a feel for what type of bike suits your needs.

Speed and range estimates: It's fairly easy to get an estimate of the speed and range you can achieve with a kit. 

Battery placement: The only real modification you'll need to make to your bike is a place to put the battery!

Safety upgrades: Above twenty five miles per hour things become increasingly hairy. Upgraded tires, brakes, and lights are a must. The faster you go the more expensive these components are.

  • Tires; an easy, inexpensive upgrade with a big effect on safety and comfort. 
  • High powered lights; normal bicycle lights won't cut it for night riding. 
  • Brakes; most bikes come with cheap brakes.
  • Drive train; to pedal at high speeds comfortably requires a few mods.
  • Accessories; fenders, kickstands, and mirrors. 
Torque arms and plates: For any high powered bike you'll need to make your own torque arm. Even for low powered bikes it's almost always more secure to make your own.























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