Newbie questions on converting to an e-bike


New member
Local time
7:46 PM
Aug 17, 2018
Hi all,

I'm new to the group and I live in the Seattle area, in the States. I'm looking to convert my existing city bike to an electric bike, mostly so I can use the motor to go up the steep hills around here. Most of my trips are under 5 miles one way. So, my questions are: what should I look for? What are things to avoid? I've done some basic googling and found a wide variety of ways to add on an electric motor but I'd like some real life experience reports to help me decide. My eventual plan is to buy a trike with cargo capacity if this initial conversion works well for me. This will let us get rid of the second car (all part of the relocalize/post carbon plan). So, any thoughts on trikes would also be appreciated.

Thanks in advance
I live in Vancouver, Washington, south of you a few hours. I have converted my mountain bike with a Wilderness Energy brush less 36v hub motor system that I purchased a few years back. There was technology out there that was quite a bit better, but I didn't want to spend the money on something that I knew nothing about. I took this system up into the mountains and rode it around. It worked very well and with exception to a few really steep hills, I was able to cruise without much effort. I am using 3 - 12v/18ah SLA batteries (extremely heavy) on a $68.00 Wal-Mart mountain bike.

It could be greatly improved by using Li batteries (much lighter), me loosing weight (250lbs) and getting a lighter bike. For $322.00, 3 years ago, This set-up told me what I needed to know. Recently one of my friends approached me and wanted to do the same. They had around $1500.00 to spend on their project so I helped them pick the right bike for the job. He has a much lighter mountain bike (alum frame) and we chose a Phoenix Brute - This is a fantastic motor for what you are wanting to do. We hooked a trailer to it, put a 250lb man in the trailer and drove up the hills that I was walking up. It is a 48v system and the difference between the it and the 36v is night and day. It is like a motorcycle on the back roads.