Building your own ebike the best way
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Ebike Motor Placement?
E-bikes are available in a variety of styles, which means you can tailor your ebike to suit your preferences. E-bike conversion kits come in three distinct varieties, starting with the simplest and most straightforward to the most challenging and comprehensive:
Front hub (shown above):
- Replacing the front wheel means removing and replacing it with a motor-equipped replacement.
- To make a similar change to your bicycle, you’ll need to replace the rear wheel (in addition to getting a new freewheel or cassette cogs).
- The motor is positioned in the bike’s bottom bracket, below the pedals.
Each setup has its pros and cons (see the tables below). The more you know about your bike, and how hilly and far your typical ride will be, the easier your choice will be. The hard part is forecasting how much power and range you’ll want once you’re into biking.
It’s not uncommon for those looking to start biking again even after 10- 20 years love it so much that they end up riding thousands of miles. It seems people always want more once they start riding ebikes. It is because of this we always recommend starting with the largest capacity battery you can afford.
Pro & Con
- Easiest installation of any ebike kit
- Torque arms may be needed. These are additional metal bracing used to secure the dropouts to the motor
- Great option for commuting, road riding, paths or boarwalks
- Easy repair if something goes wrong with the motor.
- Can potentially be less traction on steep hills when mixed with poor road conditions
- Lower cost than rear hubs or mid-drives
- Easier to overheat “cheap” motors
- More battery-placement options
- Discreet look thanks to a smaller motor
- Limited in power (500 watts or less recommended)
Pro & Con
- Easier to install than mid-drives motors
- Changing tires become more inconvenient and needed more
- Provides better weight distribution for hills and rain
- Larger motors make heavier bikes and back heavy
- Higher power ranges are available
- Torque arms needed for higher torque motors
- Drive-train and wheel components may be cheaper quality
- replacement of cog wheel is needed
Pro & Con
- You can use your bike’s gears to find the right balance between torque and speed.
- Much faster drivetrain wear and tear.
- Will have to replace components more
- Better weight distribution
- Users may experience less clearance under the bike
- Allows for larger torque motors.
- Good option for mountain/trail/hill riding
- More complicated install and experience needed
A lot of users like the mid drive motors until they realize the complexity involved and the extra wear and tear it can create. A lot of mid-drive motors require extra DIY abilities vs hub motors. Front hub ebike kits are notably easier to install and are price competitive. These hub motors are practical for most users and experience levels.
How will you control the motor?
The main types of e-bike power control are throttle and cadence sensor (PAS). Some kits have more than one option and other kits offer a combination of each.
It operates as a switch, lever, or handlebar twist that allows the user to apply power without pedaling. You may notice delivery riders utilizing throttle riding. It may consumes a lot more energy in the short term, but is a great option if the bike rider gets tired, has injuries or wants a relaxing ride.
Cadence sensor or PAS:
The motor is turned on when you begin pedaling, and off when you stop, giving more power the faster you pedal. A lot of ebikes you see will have a controller that allows the rider to choose how much assist they want. This is more hands-free than using a throttle, but can feel less powerful when starting from an intersection or from slow speeds.
How much battery power do you need?
Once you’ve decided on the type of motor choosing how much battery capacity you require is the most important next step. Watt ratings are used to measure the amount of power generated by motors. Voltage and amp-hour measurements are used to calculate battery capacity.
NO 1: Motor ratings on ebikes are often over rated and many countries even have limits. Many manufacturers advertise a motor’s “continuous” power rather than its raw potential. The more accurate way to compare ebikes is to consider the voltage and current (amperage) for hill-climbing and top speeds, as well as watt-hours for battery
NO 2: The amount of power you require varies depending on a variety of variables, such as your body weight, the bike’s weight, and your pedaling strength. In general 24 volt setups are made for very casual riders whereas 36-48 volt setups are useful for hills or more throttle riding.
If your looking for an electric moped experience you ultimately should be looking at a 750Wh setup, which can get you 25-28mph almost entirely through the throttle. A 350 watt motor with a 36v battery can go 20-25 with full throttle, but may have more difficulty with higher grade hills and will require some pedaling.
Should you buy an e-bike conversion kit?
Should you buy an e-bike conversion kit?
The simple answer is yes! But don’t try to “save money” by looking for cheaper batteries and motors when you’re buying an ebike kit—it’s almost always a mistake. It is agreed across the board that it’s much better to invest in a quality battery from the start. Not only will it be more effective, but it’ll also be safer in the long run.
Most bike batteries are made up of a group of 18650 cells that work together with a battery-management system. The final product is then packaged into various shapes, depending on the brand. Some reputable battery brands and ebike sellers use high-quality cells from LG, Panasonic, and Samsung. We suggest avoiding Chinese cells in general. Sellers of cheaper kits often use cells from lesser-known manufacturers that have reduced capacity, voltage, and lifespan. Furthermore, their controllers can be just as dodgy. Choosing a dealer with a good reputation and quality parts is key.
It’s common to be able to purchase motors, batteries, controllers, wires, throttles, sensors and other accessories separately. However, unless you have a few conversions already done we think a pre-made kit form is better. The manufacturers of the kits have spent time testing how components work together and they are usually accessible for troubleshooting if any issues should happen. For instance Zoomy Bike has spent 5+ years sourcing and fine tuning its controllers, motors and batteries.