Budget Buys - 1st eBike

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Piedmont Highlands


Post your best tips to budget buys!
 
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@J.R. It really depends on what you want to achieve. Each ridder is so very different. Some have disabilities. Some want to replace a car. For some it is around town, for others sport. The very largest added value is taking a cargo bike, upgrading everything, installing a good mid-drive and HQ battery and selling it, so it can transform lives and do its magic out in the world. You will have taken something that is largely useless and will be transforming it as by alchemy into something highly useful and valuable. For example a $600 bike can be made into a $3400 bike. These are some of my cargo transformations.
 

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My perfect budget ebike is the Rad Runner models. If I get another ebike it'll be a Rad Runner Plus. But for now I have an electric kick scooter. No exercise of any kind but it does everything I need it to do.

What are you trying to do? Is it relacing a current regular bike?
 
@sc00ter, I put the motor between the pedals so power is geared like a regular bike. Those are powerful electric bikes except the one with the Golden Gate Bridge. I have yet to convert that one. The teal one with the leather saddle is a Bafang HD. The rest have torque sensors. I remove the ugly connectors. You can see the motor on the Big Dummy. It was my first cargo conversion. The first thing the guy did was take it up Mt. Tam with 80-pounds of dog food.
 
@J.R. It really depends on what you want to achieve. Each ridder is so very different. Some have disabilities. Some want to replace a car. For some it is around town, for others sport. The very largest added value is taking a cargo bike, upgrading everything, installing a good mid-drive and HQ battery and selling it, so it can transform lives and do its magic out in the world. You will have taken something that is largely useless and will be transforming it as by alchemy into something highly useful and valuable. For example a $600 bike can be made into a $3400 bike. These are some of my cargo transformations.
I have always wanted a Surly Big Dummy. No need for it, just like it. I'm waiting for you to build one of these:

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If we lived in the same town I'd make sure we were the best of friends😉 You do loan your friends bikes?
My perfect budget ebike is the Rad Runner models. If I get another ebike it'll be a Rad Runner Plus. But for now I have an electric kick scooter. No exercise of any kind but it does everything I need it to do.

What are you trying to do? Is it relacing a current regular bike?
I've got ebikes in the stable, I'm hoping this could offer some tips to people shopping for their first in a tough economy. Thanks for contributing an option!
 
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I have always wanted a Surly Big Dummy. No need for it, just like it. I'm waiting for you to build one of these:

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If we lived in the same town I'd make sure we were the best of friends😉 You do loan your friends bikes?

I've got ebikes in the stable, I'm hoping this could offer some tips to people shopping for their first in a tough economy. Thanks for contributing an option!
I went car free in January of 2018. It is like skinny dipping. So liberating. I have saved thousands each year since. One must just jump in with a willingness (the traumatized, oppressed lack) for taking risks. My first eclectic bike was $299 new from Dick's Sporting Goods it got a BBS02. Each one got better from there. Sure bets do not exist on the low end. A $600 bike has been recalled because of fires. The Ancher was junk, with no real Battery Management System chip to save $2.55. Junk is not an investment, it is a waste of resources. I made a bike for a particular mom, without her knowing. It was just for her in everyway. Then I loaned it to her for free for a week. She couldn't do her life without it. I rented a bike last week for two-days. The guy was blown away, doing 60 miles each day of coastal hills and trails. The Surly Big Dummy is cool.
 
The trouble with bargain electric bikes, is that you are likely buying the same components that equip a $200 kiddie unpowered bike from the discount store. Spokes, rims, cables, chains, can be made of grey metal that is stretchier than real steel or aluminum. Crank arms can be plastic. Constant repeated adjustment results. As a small person I rode the kiddie MTB's from discount stores for 30 years, viewing the constant adjustments as normal. I broke a shimano 6 speed rear axle at my enormous 180 lb, and a shimano 7 speed rear axle the bearing race came unscrewed, dropped the balls, and stranded me as a result of the cost cutting design.
As a result of an upgrade to a yuba stretch frame cargo bike, I stumbled onto a brand that bought real components. I paid $1500 for a non electric bike, and suddenly I don't have to do all that maintenance. It is not the country of origin of the components. Somehow yuba QA department bought a set of components that last, stay straight, and don't stretch. The 8 speed shimano rear axle included has been no trouble over 9500 miles. The chain lasted 5000 miles. The cables spokes rims cranks & pedals are original. BTW initial electric conversion cost $840. I'm still using the $630 battery 4 years later. The derailleur takeup (sram) was destroyed by a stick, no fault of the design. I have changed the shifter from thumb push to twist, which included changing the cable. Twice, since the cable end frayed.
You can make some determination of what brands use kiddie quality parts by looking at the brand forum "known problems and solutions" threads. Some lists are very long, some are zero or one post. You have to divide that result by the number of bikes sold by that brand, which is unknown at this time. The inclusion of the shimano 7 speed rear axle, that has no locknut on the threaded bearing race, can be determined from the bicycle feature list.
 
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I went car free in January of 2018. It is like skinny dipping. So liberating. I have saved thousands each year since. One must just jump in with a willingness (the traumatized, oppressed lack) for taking risks. My first eclectic bike was $299 new from Dick's Sporting Goods it got a BBS02. Each one got better from there. Sure bets do not exist on the low end. A $600 bike has been recalled because of fires. The Ancher was junk, with no real Battery Management System chip to save $2.55. Junk is not an investment, it is a waste of resources. I made a bike for a particular mom, without her knowing. It was just for her in everyway. Then I loaned it to her for free for a week. She couldn't do her life without it. I rented a bike last week for two-days. The guy was blown away, doing 60 miles each day of coastal hills and trails. The Surly Big Dummy is cool.
I tend to agree going too cheap can be more costly in the long run, that's why I thought the video was good advice. Going used has its pitfalls, but a wise and knowledgeable person can get a good deal. They also touch on building like you do, start with a quality platform and build quality for less. Right now is a good time to buy used, all those pandemic bought bikes are hitting the market. Just have to be careful and know batteries. The big brands have apps that will show charge cycles and health. The apps are free downloads.
 
There are people who purchased Pelotons in the height of the pandemic and others who purchased bikes. The ones who purchased bikes are now ready to upgrade because they are experiencing the fun and utility and have developed more discernment about bikes. Components on these bikes can easily upgraded and they can be converted. That is a bargain. A bike I purchased from another county will be finding a new home a few blocks away in the same neighborhood it came from, after major upgrades. The ones who purchased Pelotons are hurting with a big useless object that only serves as a place to hang laundry indoors. That is unless you put a skateboard under it!
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There are people who purchased Pelotons in the height of the pandemic and others who purchased bikes. The ones who purchased bikes are now ready to upgrade because they are experiencing the fun and utility and have developed more discernment about bikes. Components on these bikes can easily upgraded and they can be converted. That is a bargain. A bike I purchased from another county will be finding a new home a few blocks away in the same neighborhood it came from, after major upgrades. The ones who purchased Pelotons are hurting with a big useless object that only serves as a place to hang laundry indoors. That is unless you put a skateboard under it!
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So true.
A few years ago I purchased an indoor exercise bike (not overpriced Peleton!) with the intent to keep in cycling shape all winter. Borrring!! Made it about 3 weeks. However, I was pleasantly surprised how many pairs of newly laundered leggings would fit as a drying rack. 😃😆
 
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