Retired and new to ebikes

red

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DNG here, looking to learn. About me: Fair electronics experience, long-ago bike technician, new to ebike power systems. Long-time motorcycle rider, but now I want something greener. Searching for a reasonably-priced fat-tire ebike; recommendations welcome here. I'd prefer gearing that helps the motor, not just the rider. Do not want pedal-assist (that much, I do know). :cool: Thanks . . .
 
Welcome to the forum! Electronic knowledge will definitely come in handy when owning an ebike. I would probably look around the forum to see which fat ebikes some of the other members are riding.
 
"A,"

Not a lot of money here, just a small pension. It would be an around-town bike, not MX. I'm guessing US$ 2k or more for a complete bike, unless I build it myself from a thrift-store bike. I can do that, sure, but the batteries will be the killer expense. I'm leaning towards a mid-drive if I build, as long as it has a pedal freewheel and maybe two chainrings there. Taking all recommendations, of course.

Here is a question (or two) . . . I have seen the rear bike hubs with internal gears. I am not sure the geared hubs would handle motor power all that well. Has anybody tested those things for internal power losses, or durability? I do know that cars lose a lot of horsepower between the crankshaft and the road. I do not doubt the bike (internal hub) transmissions work as intended, but in my experience, I was pedaling harder when using transmission gears, than with the 1:1 "gear" in the first bike transmission offerings (Sturmey-Archer and Shimano). Pedal cadence was the real advantage there, not the level of effort needed. Any testing or reviews on these aspects of bike tech? Thanks for any help.
 
"A,"

Not a lot of money here, just a small pension. It would be an around-town bike, not MX. I'm guessing US$ 2k or more for a complete bike, unless I build it myself from a thrift-store bike. I can do that, sure, but the batteries will be the killer expense. I'm leaning towards a mid-drive if I build, as long as it has a pedal freewheel and maybe two chainrings there. Taking all recommendations, of course.

Here is a question (or two) . . . I have seen the rear bike hubs with internal gears. I am not sure the geared hubs would handle motor power all that well. Has anybody tested those things for internal power losses, or durability? I do know that cars lose a lot of horsepower between the crankshaft and the road. I do not doubt the bike (internal hub) transmissions work as intended, but in my experience, I was pedaling harder when using transmission gears, than with the 1:1 "gear" in the first bike transmission offerings (Sturmey-Archer and Shimano). Pedal cadence was the real advantage there, not the level of effort needed. Any testing or reviews on these aspects of bike tech? Thanks for any help.
I actually looked at one of these today and may go in and put a downpayment on it tomorrow:

I'd wish for prolly a 1000w instead of a 500w one but when i rode one today i was extremely impressed.
 
Welcome, that looks like a nice bike, possibly one I would have bought myself if I'd been aware of it when I was shopping.

Torque-Sensor, mid-drive, bikes like that one are nearly indistinguishable from riding a "traditional" bike but they do still have some riding quirks. I strongly recommend you spend some time tooling around a parking lot (as in a few hours not a few minutes). You'll want to make sure your brakes are bedded in [see link] and then practice maneuvering, **stopping**, starting, and generally getting a good strong feel for how the bike rides before you go out onto any roads/sidewalks/multi-use paths.

I especially stress practicing stopping-from-speed because a heavier eBike takes more distance to stop than you might expect. Please, I'm begging you, LEARN your braking distances BEFORE you hit the road/sidewalk/trail.

eBikes also demand a bit more maintenance and monitoring as compared to a traditional bike. I cover a bit of the "what and why" in this writeup [see link]

Finally, fire safety. The odds of a well cared for battery pack going into runaway status are extremely low but even so I strongly recommend that you put some thought and care into charging and storage. Don't charge anyplace you can't afford to have a fire and buy a timer for your charger so that, no matter what, it doesn't just keep charging forever. [Battery pack care]
 
CloneWerks,

Thanks for the new-guy advice. I agree, and I have ridden bikes and motorcycles for most of my life. I would have hoped that better batteries and chargers would have eliminated the fire hazard when charging by now, but I can adapt.

Still looking for the right rig for me: throttle only (PAS occasionally, maybe), freewheel, and two chainrings at the front. I'm a disabled vet, so any bike that requires constant pedaling on the flats must be medically unacceptable for me. I am willing and able to build, with the right components. Thanks.
 
The two chainrings might be a challenge, that doesn't seem to be a popular option in eBikes.

As I understand it nearly all of the mid-drives are PAS only because the motor turns the crankset to provide power. I have heard of a mid-drive clutch system, I think Specialized makes them, but I've honestly never seen one in person, so for a throttle only option you may be looking at a rear hub-drive system (hopefully if someone knows more than me they will chime in).

The down side to hub motors is that they generally have cadence sensors not torque sensors. Cadence sensors are basically on/off to a pre-selected speed whereas torque sensors detect how hard you are pushing and assist more "on a curve" like a traditional bike.

Cadence sensor systems has a small additional learning curve to get used to their behavior as the system can sometimes provide power when you don't really want it (like noodling around a parking lot at slow speed waiting for someone to catch up).
 
The two chainrings might be a challenge, that doesn't seem to be a popular option in eBikes.

As I understand it nearly all of the mid-drives are PAS only because the motor turns the crankset to provide power. I have heard of a mid-drive clutch system, I think Specialized makes them, but I've honestly never seen one in person, so for a throttle only option you may be looking at a rear hub-drive system (hopefully if someone knows more than me they will chime in).
CloneWerks,

I realize this link shows a homemade rig, but I may not be the only guy in the market for two chainrings, throttle, and freewheel mid-drive set-up. For me this is about ideal, other than the geek appearance of the system. Like the bike, too. Not sure where the batteries went. Details below.


mid drive 750 watt DC brushed motor electric bike 1/4" 5T chain drive on homemade freewheel cranks
with 80T sprocket (5T:80T) spinning the 18T chain ring powering the 11-34T rear wheel cassette.
 
CloneWerks,

Apparently that first video does not use the front derailleur. Not what I had hoped. This pedal assembly is built to do that.

 
Well might as well look at these motors too, but i dont really know if it has 2 usable chainring sprockets......

 
It sounds like you have a very similar background and criteria that I did. I settled on an Ariel Rider X-52. So far, I am good with my decision.
 

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Catseye,

Thanks, that Ariel Rider X-52 has some good features. but I have pretty much decided against hub motors.
We have some local hills, and big summer heat. The air is thin here (4800 MSL), so what gets hot, stays hot longer.
The plan here is to have gearing that helps reduce the motor's efforts, not just the rider's effort.
 
I think hub motor has its flaws, but for a budget of $2k, you're really limited in choices with mid-drive motor or complete ebikes.
I commute in NYC metro area, where hub motor ebikes are far more popular among the delivery workers that ride in all weather, from triple digit heat to sub-freezing temp, 24/7, and depend on their ebikes to make a living.
If these hub motors are not reliable, likely they won't be so popular among those whos' livelyhood depend on the vehicle they choose to use.
Depending on your weight & cycling ability; if you're not riding in technical terrain and able to keep a fairly cadence by shifting into gear prior encountering hills, hub motor can provide plenty of assist to conquer hills, as long as you expect to be climbing hills at 20+ mph.

With a $2K budget, you can find a decent hub motor ebike that suits city commute, cruises 20 mph with PAS, if fat tires are a must, I think the Fiido T1 would suit you. I've had one since NOV 2021, little over 800 miles logged.
It's capable of faster speed than I need for NYC commute, 750w motor, large battery capacity, magnesium cast wheels so no lose spokes over time and under $1.8k complete bike shipped to your door.
vMeZjtO.jpg
 
I think hub motor has its flaws, but for a budget of $2k, you're really limited in choices with mid-drive motor or complete ebikes.
If these hub motors are not reliable, likely they won't be so popular among those whos' livelyhood depend on the vehicle they choose to use.
Depending on your weight & cycling ability; if you're not riding in technical terrain and able to keep a fairly cadence by shifting into gear prior encountering hills, hub motor can provide plenty of assist to conquer hills, as long as you expect to be climbing hills at 20+ mph.
With a $2K budget, you can find a decent hub motor ebike that suits city commute, cruises 20 mph with PAS, if fat tires are a must,
It's capable of faster speed than I need for NYC commute, 750w motor, large battery capacity, magnesium cast wheels so no lose spokes over time and under $1.8k complete bike shipped to your door.
"A,"

Thanks, but PAS is just NOT a realistic option here. There are days when I can pedal a bit, but the days when I can't are becoming more frequent with passing time (as battle damage comes home to roost). An ebike really needs a throttle, when the leg power fails. No question about the reliability of hub motors, but they lose out on starting torque (from a stop) and heat (for both controller and motor).

This is not NYC; this is Rocky Mountain country, and even our "flat roads" in town are not that flat. There is no need to climb hills at 20+ mph here. Any climbing speed faster than walking will be fine by me. I'd want gearing that eases the load on both rider and motor system. Hope to be ignored by the cops, on all aspects of Ebiking.

My search for an ebike or mid-drive kit has only started lately. So far, the CYC X1 Stealth kit looks reasonable for my needs, although I may need less motor power to be legal here. Cost will still be an issue, there. The budget (credit card) can stretch slightly, but it is not endless. Recommendations that can accommodate me are welcome here. Thanks again.
 
The Fiido T1 does have a thumb throttle, sustained throttle usage (heat) is never a concern for me, at (170 lb.), even climbing the hills near West Point, NY.
3 levels of power output for the Fiido T1 and top speed of 28+ mph (depending on rider weigh).
Stock gearing of 50x28 is decent for me to climb the steeper hills near me at single digit mph speed.

Depending on how much the rider weigh, performance of mid-drive motor can suffer, too.
These days, with the value of hub motor ebikes, you can easily find something capable for general on pavement usage.
Seems to me most mid-drive ebikes are mostly PAS, with torque sensor that gauge power output of the motor as you pedal; makes more sense if you want to rely on throttle operation, hub motor is the better option. That way the motor can still propel the ebike when the chain is kaput.
 
"A,"

OMG! Are you serious? That FIDO is a mini-bike! Is that thing really so inherently unstable, or is that dude pedaling with his heels? His bike oscillates constantly, whenever he is pedaling. I doubt seriously that he could ride that FIDO no-hands and pedal, even with PAS. I have a 27" Silk Speed road racer, and yes it is old, but even now I can ride laps in a flat parking lot with it, no-hands. The level of pedaling he did is cringeworthy to me, and even on high assist, that young healthy guy was winded! Badly winded! If I did that much work pedaling, I'd be on crutches for the next day(s), but maybe that is difficult to understand. Trust me, war is bad for your health.

You are welcome to your PAS, but I need to follow my own path.
Obviously, if that FIDO is "good," then no PAS will fit the bill for me.
You have settled any possible debate on PAS, right there.
Hopefully, I can convert a standard bike into a decent ebike, using a mid-drive kit.
I will pedal it as best I can, but not constantly. Recommendations are welcome here.
Thanks.
 
Searching for a reasonably-priced fat-tire ebike;

Those are your words from your original post.
If you want to pedal as little as possible; a mini-bike (like a Honda Grom?) maybe just what you need.
I suspect that video was shot with a helmet mounted camera, which would let video oscillate with every body/head movement of the rider.
If all you see are the negatives, maybe you need to be little more specific about what you're after.

1. What is your weight? Do you expect to carry much cargo (weight) on your rides? to determine motor power output.
2. What is a general distance of your rides? to determine battery capacity.
3. Are your rides mostly on-pavement? or do you plan on riding technical trails?

Given the info you've provided so far that you want a fat tire ebike from your original post,
and a $2k budget from following post; that seems to me is the Fiido T1.
With 20Ah battery capacity, Fiido T1 allows more range with throttle operation without PAS.
Whether one PAS system is good or bad for you, the best way to determine is to get a test ride yourself.
Good luck with your search, I'm out.
 
"A,"

You cut my quote too short. It says
"Searching for a reasonably-priced fat-tire ebike; recommendations welcome here. I'd prefer gearing that helps the motor, not just the rider. Do not want pedal-assist (that much, I do know)." Also,, in post #4,
"It would be an around-town bike, not MX."
Sorry if you won't help, but we should each follow our own paths. Be at peace. Best wishes.
My search continues . . .
 
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