New Member Introduction from Central Massachussetts

Riding Fat

New member
Local time
9:23 AM
Joined
Aug 9, 2023
Messages
10
Location
Central Massachussetts
Hello all.

Been lurking here for a few weeks to help understand what I would need to convert my Salsa Mukluk to an ebike.

I have been an avid cyclist for 20-30 years and ride at least once a week. I have multiple purely self-powered bikes at the moment. I am a product designer and mechanical engineer. I live in the rolling hills of central Massachusetts.

My goal for the bike is to be able to complete my 14mi commute to work with an effort equivalent to a 45min brisk walk. The ride back home I will apply more effort since I can shower when I get home. I am hoping to make riding to work and back easier to talk myself into for environmental reasons and to shed some weight.

The bike is a fat tire bike that is about 10 years old. The wheel size is 26" and the tires are 4" wide. I will be carrying my laptop, a change of clothes, 6 cups of coffee in a thermos, and my lunch in rear panniers. My total weight with gear and unmodified bike will be approx. 250lbs.

My commute will be over a mixture of secondary roads and back roads with speed limits that vary from 25 to 40mph. These roads are not terribly busy so drivers feel safe going 10mi/hr over the limit. Most of the roads have no shoulder but relatively good asphalt. My total accent to work will be 738 feet, and a decent of 834 feet. The worst grades will be two sections at a 6% grade that are about 1.5mi each. The good thing is that the descents on the other side of each hill are also at 6% for about a mile and a half. I would like to maintain a minimum speed of 25mi/hr over the entire route on the way to work. The ride home I can ride more leisurely but with increased effort. I can charge the battery at work if needed.

Based on my testing of available ebikes at local bike shops and what their hill climbing abilities seemed to be, I think I need the following:
  1. 3000w hub drive with compatible controller. I have found this kit on Amazon that appears to fit the bill based on the reviews and my testing of other hub drives.
  2. For a battery I think a 72v battery is required for these larger controllers and motors. It would appear that 40ah would be a minimum requirement, but at 50ah the current rating of the batteries and cost go up. What I am finding is that the triangle shaped battery cases are too small for the frame of my bike.
If you think I can get away with a 2.5kw or maybe lower kit, I would be interested in your feedback! The lower power would allow me to use a smaller battery that would fit my frame.

Thanks,

Rob
 
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Welcome to the club Rob! I put a motor on one of mine bikes too. It was such a great decision. I built a 1000w bafang kit with a 52V 17.5 ah battery. I can go 20 mi. without pedaling, easy. (200lbs). 60-70 mi. with pedaling. I've done 28 miles round trip pedaling 50% of the time and riding at max power the other 50%. My batt was at 55-59% capacity after the ride. My cruising speed is about 15-22 mph depending on grade. I can get up to 30 mph without pedaling.

The 17.5 ah batt weighs about 10 lbs. It fits in the frame. My bike is a hardtail mtn bike with front suspension.

Fair warning_ 30 mph on an electric bike in any traffic would feel pretty hairy to me. 20 mph is cruising pretty fast. There are pictures of it on JohnnyNerdout's ebike forum. Search Gary Fisher Cobia 29. It looks a little different now as I am still tinkering with it.
 
Major:

Is the terrain you ride similar to what I described?

I too am about a beer or two short of 200lbs...

I am comfortable at speed. I used to finish a 100mi bike ride in about 5.5 hours when I was 20lbs lighter. I mountain bike down hill and gravel ride some deep decents in VT.

Based on your comments I may be able to consider 2.5kw or maybe 1.5kw.

Thanks!

Rob
 
Major:

Is the terrain you ride similar to what I described?

I too am about a beer or two short of 200lbs...

I am comfortable at speed. I used to finish a 100mi bike ride in about 5.5 hours when I was 20lbs lighter. I mountain bike down hill and gravel ride some deep decents in VT.

Based on your comments I may be able to consider 2.5kw or maybe 1.5kw.

Thanks!

Rob
Rob,

I'm riding hilly terrain. None of my climbs are 1.5 miles. Look on Google's topographic layer in Truxton, NY. Labrador state forest. That's the area I ride, mostly. I'm doing access and logging roads. My top speed without pedaling was on flat terrain. I'd feel safe on 52v 17.5ah for 15 miles without pedaling pretty much anywhere in that area. I'm pretty sure I could do more, but I haven't done it to say so. It really depends on how much goose you're giving the motor. I'm riding for fun though, but more like a slow dirt bike while im out in Truxton. I think you are dialing in the size of the motor and battery correctly.

One big change I needed to get used to was the new weight distribution on the bike. Having 1 battery throws your balance off. I imagine 2 would be harder to distribute on your frame and rear tire, but I know people do it all the time. I think its one of the reasons I'm less comfortable at the higher speed.

The conversion itself is fun. You can get some pretty sweet stuff to add to your bike. For example I bought a fancier 42 tooth front sproket and an eggrider controller.

All and all what I have come to believe is keeping the rpms up is the best way to travel. In top pedal assist (100% motor capacity, no speed limiter) I ride in 3rd gear mostly. On flatter terrain, I'm going 20 ish in that gear and the motor does not get hot. If you go 72v you will have more rpms in those really torquey gears. It will help you get your consistent max speed goals and still keep the heat build up from the motor.
 
The NBPower 3000w conversion is almost finished. I just have to wait for the weatherproof box for the controller, do a little more wire packaging, install some flat pedals, a kickstand, and maybe trim or tuck in all of the straps. Took it on a 5mi test ride yesterday after the roads had dried a bit.
0930231747~2.jpg

The good:
  • I have no doubt that it will top out at over 50mph on the flats...this is going to be fun!!
  • I like that the pedal assist is not instantaneous. Gives me some confidence that the bike will not launch as soon as I pedal.
  • At pedal assist level 3/5 I can still feel like my 80rpm pedaling is helping out. At this level the max speed is about 12-15, even on hills. This is where I will ride most of the time. Level 4 takes me to 20mph. My chain ring is too small to contribute at 80rpm cadence.
  • Love the smooth rolling tires. I have them at max pressure of 20psi.
  • Love the display.
  • Glad I bought a thumb throttle.
  • Anne at NBPower was very responsive to my questions.
The bad:
  • I have no doubt that it will top out at over 50mph on the flats...scary fast!! Will require self control to not open it up at every opportunity.
  • Priority*****The brakes need an upgrade to a larger OD. Fat bikes typically have smaller disks...don't know why.****
  • I think I need a bigger large chain ring if I want to contribute to the pedal assist at 4/5. Need to look at options for a fat bike that will allow me a larger chainring than a 36 tooth.
  • Not used to the weight distribution on this bike with the added weight. I tried to keep the weight low and centered. Before the conversion this bike felt very stable at any speed, now it feels a bit twitchy on turns, but still stable on straights..
  • I wish I could get a freehub and cassette with more than 7 gears. If I have to pedal this myself, I would be struggling on hills.
  • The control module is too far from the handgrips to allow use while at speed. Need to figure out how to modify it to get it closer or suck it up and mount it on the right side, but upside down.
If I have specific questions about some of the NBPower literature and the unexplained connections out of the controller, I will need a primer on the forum structure. Some of my questions could go in multiple places. Should I just stick to the "Hub Drive Kits" forum?

Thanks to all who commented earlier.

Rob
 
I have a NBPower
The NBPower 3000w conversion is almost finished. I just have to wait for the weatherproof box for the controller, do a little more wire packaging, install some flat pedals, a kickstand, and maybe trim or tuck in all of the straps. Took it on a 5mi test ride yesterday after the roads had dried a bit.
View attachment 11013
The good:
  • I have no doubt that it will top out at over 50mph on the flats...this is going to be fun!!
  • I like that the pedal assist is not instantaneous. Gives me some confidence that the bike will not launch as soon as I pedal.
  • At pedal assist level 3/5 I can still feel like my 80rpm pedaling is helping out. At this level the max speed is about 12-15, even on hills. This is where I will ride most of the time. Level 4 takes me to 20mph. My chain ring is too small to contribute at 80rpm cadence.
  • Love the smooth rolling tires. I have them at max pressure of 20psi.
  • Love the display.
  • Glad I bought a thumb throttle.
  • Anne at NBPower was very responsive to my questions.
The bad:
  • I have no doubt that it will top out at over 50mph on the flats...scary fast!! Will require self control to not open it up at every opportunity.
  • Priority*****The brakes need an upgrade to a larger OD. Fat bikes typically have smaller disks...don't know why.****
  • I think I need a bigger large chain ring if I want to contribute to the pedal assist at 4/5. Need to look at options for a fat bike that will allow me a larger chainring than a 36 tooth.
  • Not used to the weight distribution on this bike with the added weight. I tried to keep the weight low and centered. Before the conversion this bike felt very stable at any speed, now it feels a bit twitchy on turns, but still stable on straights..
  • I wish I could get a freehub and cassette with more than 7 gears. If I have to pedal this myself, I would be struggling on hills.
  • The control module is too far from the handgrips to allow use while at speed. Need to figure out how to modify it to get it closer or suck it up and mount it on the right side, but upside down.
If I have specific questions about some of the NBPower literature and the unexplained connections out of the controller, I will need a primer on the forum structure. Some of my questions could go in multiple places. Should I just stick to the "Hub Drive Kits" forum?

Thanks to all who commented earlier.

Rob
Welcome to the forums man! :cool:
 
Ok how do ya like the sabvaton controller or did you get another different one with that kit?

I have a 2000w (i think it's really 1800w though) from NBPower.
I like it but the sabvaton eats up the batrteries if not set correctly. For sure look into XOD ebike brake systems

200mm will be a big enough rotor.

Stay Safe out there man! :cool:
 
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Ok how do ya like the sabvaton controller or did you get another different one with that kit?

I have a 2000w (i think it's really 1800w though) from NBPower.
I like it but the sabvaton eats up the batrteries if not set correctly. For sure look into XOD ebike brake systems

200mm will be a big enough rotor.

Stay Safe out there man! :cool:
I did get the Sabvaton controller. I don't have another controller to compare it to.

The controller did cut out at one point on my ride at the top of a long climb that I tried to do at level 5. I had the controller set up incorrectly. I wasn't paying attention and set the controller up for a 60v battery. My battery is 72v, but the BMS can only handle about 60a. For a 3000w motor I guess I should have had a 80a BMS. I am guessing this is why it cut out.
 
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Probably my last post on this thread.

Found the code to unlock the controller. Set the max speed at 72kph (45mph) from 99kph. Set the assist levels to 9 from 5.

Finally rode the bike to work. Averaged 17mph. At level 6 the PA cut out at 25-26mph with me ghost pedaling. Some of the steeper hills were at 19-22mph with minimal pedal pressure, but high cadence. Carried loaded panniers and backpack. Total of bike, rider, and gear probably 300lbs.

Overall very happy. The handling of the fat bike at speed will take getting used to. I need bigger brakes, a slightly bigger chain ring, a cover for the controller, a thru axle front wheel, and some stainless steel dropouts before I call this done.
 
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