Can you buy just an e-frame?


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8:04 AM
Aug 15, 2020
I would like to build up an e-gravel bike and have all i need but the frame. I want a frame that uses either the Shimano or Bosch motors, preferably in carbon with an integrated battery. Is this available anywhere?
At this time.... I don't think so. Very hard to do and demand is low. Not huge upside either
I just priced all the STePS e8000 parts needed on eBay and it comes to $2000, I’m sure one of those Chinese frames isn’t more than $500, so for $2500 I swap out trick parts from another bike and I am in the game at a pretty high end for a hell of a lot less than $10,000. Seems like a pretty good upside to me

As much as I like a torque assist Pedelec for mtb and how it works and keeps the weight balance centralized and low for off road use I far prefer a hub motor for my road bikes. Primarily because with the higher cadence associated with road riding, and yes I ride lot's of gravé, the Pedelec system doesn't feel natural to me at those rpm's and so I use a front hub motor with no PAS which leaves the drive train up to me as to how I want it to feel.

I do think that the current crop of eRoad bikes is not headed in the right direction based on my personal 5k of riding time on my bikes. I have the bikes set up with at throttle, gasp, that makes the motor my b**ch. Through my display/controller I can set it to cruise control mode so that I can adjust it to the amount of power I want based on my cadence, range goals and terrain and not have to constantly fiddle with it. The system I use has the ability to set the watt limits to 250/500/750/1000 also and truth be told I mostly ride in the 500w mode. A bit more sluggish off the line than the higher watt settings but once you get up to speed I am generally using half that or a bit more. I can climb steep roads at a reasonable pace @ 350w and use my input and gearing that allows for a sort of symbiotic relationship between me and the motor and never feel like the motor is overriding or underperforming.

This is all in the interest of range and the display I use gives me actual information on the amount of watts I am using at any given time and also the ah's used which let's me know based on my experience with the system just how far I can go and how fast I can go to get there. Calculates my wh/mi on the fly also which is like mpg for a car and helpful for range calcs on the fly.

As fast as the e system thing is developing I also am able to adapt my bikes to emerging technology as it occurs rather than having to buy a whole new bike. I am not all that concerned about internal batteries and "stealth" look because I came out of the eBike closet quite awhile ago. I am after the performance I want and not having to spend a bunch of money on basically. Both the bikes pictured below came in at under $2500.

road e-bike builds.jpg

And another bonus is that putting together these bikes I have learned how e systems actually work and can do the maintenance on them myself.
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Zinn will build one for you. It won't be cheap, but it will be exactly what you want.
Okay, I know of these guys, but how do you choose? Three different motor/battery types. Are they plug and play, just build it and go? Does it come with a charger?

I’d give on of those a shot if the price was right.
Most of those Chinese frame websites are selling OEM quantities. I've never found one that ships just one. If you do find one that will sell you a single item, good luck with it arriving with no damage, and good luck getting any help if it *is* damaged. BTW, if you look closely, those are not even photos of frames, those are digitized CAD drawings. Those guys may not even have ever produced one of those frames. They probably know a guy who knows a guy who works for one of the handful of companies able to produce a frame like that, and they think they can just send them a CAD drawing and get a frame back that actually works.

There was a guy at Veloswap last year who had bought a bunch of Chinese 29'er frames and was trying to sell them. He said it was a terrible experience.

I don't know what Zinn would charge you to build a Titanium frame, but at least you would know what you were getting, and I'm sure he would be willing to give you advice on the electronics. Since the motor/battery/electronics run around $2K, just add $2K to whatever build you would want.