Changing up my EBikes

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My first electric bike is a Specialized used bike that has an add-on front motor and simple throttle. It is still running and has a considerable range. It is not an aluminum ultralight but I basically like the bike and it convinced me that everything I suspected about ebikes was true!

What I suspected was: that I would ride more - because I would have less resistance to the idea of going for pretty much any ride I wanted to go on - in other words - I no longer really care if it's a fairly long ride because I don't really worry about running out of steam out somewhere I'd rather not be. I also don't fear hilly areas or rougher areas - it's kind of a cross between biking and motocross.

So next, I bought a "real" ebike - a used Ecotric in Like New condition and it has been excellent as well - all things considered.

Now I know that I like EBikes - without question. And now I intend to invest a bit more (and sell all the ebikes I have at this time).

One of the key reasons that I am on this site is that is wanted your input on the following:

Basically, what I see mainly in the market are inexpensive "heavy steel bikes" that have been created as e-bikes and sell for premium prices that make no sense to me, unless I was selling them.
I am leaning heavily toward buying a good light strong aluminum bike like my son's Trek that I can lift easily and adding a hub motor (probably in the rear), with the battery on a rear stand like the original Specialized ebike I bought (as shown in the pictures).

Specifically for myself, I am looking at something like a Specialized Stumpjumper full suspension Aluminum Alloy bike - they can be found in very good condition used for less than $1,000, and can easily handle my 200 pounds. I am familiar with front, mid, and rear motors and I am leaning toward a rear hub motor (though I have had no problem with the front hub bike I own).

I do prefer an upright riding position, it is actually mandatory: My wrists cannot take a pounding and the seat I MUST use, has to be a noseless seat or I go numb down south.

I'm really wondering if I have overlooked something regarding putting a good rear hub motor on a solid light well made bike. On my first bike, the Specialized, without the big battery it is just a couple of pounds heavier than it was originally. So when I put it on the bike rack with the battery inside the car, it is still just a light "normal" bike. Am I missing something? Is there a good reason for all the heavy steel bikes in the e-bike category other than manufacturing and seller cost ratio considerations?

It does not seem to be any real concern regarding the strength of the bike: a well made tough light bike can easily handle a motor and normal judicious biking by a reasonable adult - particularly with full suspension.

Anyway!

I look forward to your input and ideas and any DYI stuff you might recommend. I will probably have it professionally installed here in the Bay Area of San Francisco or anywhere within 500 miles.

Thank you in advance!!
 

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I love crank forward frames with BBSxx series motors. In my support days we sold scores of kits to San Francisco residents. Quite a few to a fellow that rents bikes and does tours there. Kitted Electra bikes are super comfy. No hand or arm pressure. Total upright view of traffic. TSDZ2 is another option. But BBSHD can do ANY hill there.
 
On Saturday I purchased a cargo bike South of the park but because of the Bluegrass Festival had to ride it to Ocean Beach, past Cliff House and up Sea Cliff to the GG Bridge. There were 40mph winds on the bridge, head on. I made it to Larkspur with 5 min. to spare to catch the train back to Petaluma. I will be converting it to a mid-drive. Mid-drives are better for hills and wind because the motor goes through the gears. @tomjasz is a highly respected and knowledgeable member. He is correct about crank forward. A Specialized Roll is also a super comfy bike with a 'lax geometry' and upright position without pressure on the hands. Here is one Roll that I made electric and here is an Electra that I made electric. I name bikes and call this Electra, Klunker. If you want to know who is saying these things you can look me up and read reviews on Google Maps. Search: Petaluma, 5-star, Bike, Conversion.
 

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My second or third ebike was an old Stump I dusted off from the back of my garage.
20170810_132255.jpg


I put a Cyclone on it, though. That was my first mid drive bike and I picked one of the least noob-friendly motors to use for the build, but it was a great learning experience. I made plenty of mistakes, not the least of which was using that rack for the battery, which never worked right.
IMG_20171105_060809_cropped.jpg

Looking at the triangle now, I see a perfect place to put a Wolf Pack style battery like I did on this bike that I built earlier this year:
280709018_5212225418866974_9132776841906156112_n.jpg

About that big hub you want: Look around at the e-mtb's that are out there in the world. With the exception of the Steralth Bomber, its clones and light e-motorcycles, nobody uses a hub motor. The ones that do use a BIG one in the back with a gigantic battery that is 72v, 96v and lots of amp hours. They are not meant for pedaling and that huge motor really takes it out of being a bicycle. They are a kick in the ass but you throttle them and the pedals are vestigial. MTB ebikes use mid drives. And for your first build I strongly recommend a BBSHD like I used on the red bike. If you are a bit adventurous and have more money to spend, the Cyc X1 v3 that just came out is, I think, finally ready for prime time. I have a Cyc v1 on my Guerrilla Gravity Smash, and while its rewarding to ride the motor kit hasn't been a consumer-oriented product until now.
 
I recently did a duel clutch torque sensor 48Volt motor on a red mountain bike with 750Watts. Keeping weight low and centered is ideal. The rack pack does not work. Then bike will want to flip on corners. For most rides a 350W mid-drive is fine. Look for the wire management on the 48V, 750W, 10.5Amp/Hour red Trek. But the Trek mountain bike, MTB, does not have a lax geometry, geo, of the kind that @tomjasz recommends with the pedals forwards. @m@Robertson is also one of the very most respected members of EBR. Listen to these experts. These are the best and they know.
 

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Thank you all for the great responses!!! When I have time to look more closely at all of this i will get back to you. Thanks for the great pictures - this is exactly what i was hoping for!
 
My second or third ebike was an old Stump I dusted off from the back of my garage.
View attachment 137212

I put a Cyclone on it, though. That was my first mid drive bike and I picked one of the least noob-friendly motors to use for the build, but it was a great learning experience. I made plenty of mistakes, not the least of which was using that rack for the battery, which never worked right.
View attachment 137213
Looking at the triangle now, I see a perfect place to put a Wolf Pack style battery like I did on this bike that I built earlier this year:
View attachment 137214
About that big hub you want: Look around at the e-mtb's that are out there in the world. With the exception of the Steralth Bomber, its clones and light e-motorcycles, nobody uses a hub motor. The ones that do use a BIG one in the back with a gigantic battery that is 72v, 96v and lots of amp hours. They are not meant for pedaling and that huge motor really takes it out of being a bicycle. They are a kick in the ass but you throttle them and the pedals are vestigial. MTB ebikes use mid drives. And for your first build I strongly recommend a BBSHD like I used on the red bike. If you are a bit adventurous and have more money to spend, the Cyc X1 v3 that just came out is, I think, finally ready for prime time. I have a Cyc v1 on my Guerrilla Gravity Smash, and while its rewarding to ride the motor kit hasn't been a consumer-oriented product until now.
Found your build of this on Tales of Two Wheels!
This is pretty much the bee's knees - i have to go deep into this - looks perfect! Can this be a fairly upright ride? (different handle bars)
 
Can this be a fairly upright ride? (different handle bars)
Which one? The Stump or the Tracer? I guess the answer is 'kind of' on both of them. Sadly, the Stump was murdered while it was undergoing shakedown cruises. T-boned by an inattentive motorist while commuting home about a month after build completion, so I never had any chance to evolve it.

The Intense Tracer on the other hand I have done quite a bit of fooling around with. In terms of an upright position, I NEVER use steering tube extensions as they introduce an obvious (to some at least) point of catastrophic failure. I also don't use adjustable stems for the same reason, and I've actually seen those fail during severe braking events. With that said, I'm no stranger to using an angled stem, which has no safety issues. I've used more than one Ritchey 30-degree stem and they are of good quality, and I now have one on that bike. Note the bar position is STILL not particularly upright thanks to the long extension I want for proper leg position on street pedaling. This bike also now wears some good smooth-rolling Maxxis Aggressor knobbies so its sure-footed in dirt, which the Pickups were not. Still silent and smooth on pavement, too.
PXL_20220526_161923060.jpg


The next move to bring position further upright is an uncut steering tube. If you are buying a fork, don't cut the steering tube. Use spacers to get the bars up higher along with that angled stem. Then, put a handlebar bag on to hide your sins. It is very effective, and you can dispense with the idea of wearing a paper bag over your head. Note I put the same bag on the Tracer as well as 2Fat below. Thanks to the photo angle you will have to surmise the uncut tube's protrusion above the top tube is there since you can't see it. On that bike it also has a 30-degree Ritchey stem but reach on that bike, given its long top tube, required something like a 60mm stem so not much elevation gained from that part.

PXL_20211030_164834508.jpg

the next step would be a riser handlebar, but I have never felt the need to go so far.
 
I think what i really am looking for is a "Cruiser". An upright design with handlebars that come back a fair amount.
For me, it has to have full suspension. Can you really take something like a SumpJumper (mtb) and make it an upright cruiser?

I'm torn between a rear hub and mid-drive: apparently, a mid-drive bike needs to be "driven properly" and shifted properly or you can damage things fairly easily.
I like the power and shifting capabilities - but, I have no problem with the pedal assist and throttle combo on the ecotric with 8 gears for pedalling.
Also - we all like the Specialized we have with just a front hub - though it has a push throttle and i definitely prefer a twist. The battery on it goes on easily without the need to remove the seat to get it off. It seems obvious that a rear hub is better than a front hub, though it is not as easy to install.

All of our bikes need to be pretty easily ridden by whoever they are loaned to - though most of the time I will be the rider of the one i am considering here and it will be "customized" for me - and purchase for my size: 5'10" 203 pounds

Also - is anybody using regenerative braking? I've seen them on several bikes
 
Regen sounds like a good idea until you look at it closely. They are heavy and do not preform. Would you have regen on an electric drill? There is a thread on a Schwinn Cruiser build that is good. Look for it. Yes, with a mid you need to shift. That is good because the gears are working for your advantage. A thumb throttle is much safer than a twist. I like the accelerator in my foot, with pedal pressure, just like a Tesla, immediate, without cumbersome disabled person hand controls.
 
For me, it has to have full suspension. Can you really take something like a SumpJumper (mtb) and make it an upright cruiser?
Well... no. But if you are willing to get creative and keep at it you might be able to do a decent job of faking it.

For example... go a different direction than I did (all of the things I described will still work). Get all of your rise out of a riser handlebar. Look around for a BMX riser handlebar, for instance. Like this one:


There are many others that do a similar thing to what that one will, and they will look quite a bit different as well. The point is those handlebars have a mild pullback and a huge rise all by themselves. Angle them back 15 degrees and you have more pullback. BUT... this sort of thing is an experiment. Expect to try and fail a couple of times until you get something that feels right.

Notice how I went oversized on the tires for the two FS bikes I pictured above. 2.4" vs. probably the 1.75" they originally had. You will need to know enough about wheel/tire fitment to figure out the max you can get away with between your chainstays and forks.

If you are serious about a truly upright cruiser, take a moment and look at how far behind your seat tube your back wheel is. If its tight up to it, then you will be shifting your weight backward over the wheel, which will not end well. Cruisers have lonnnnng chainstays that put the back wheel well behind the rider.
It seems obvious that a rear hub is better than a front hub, though it is not as easy to install.
In some ways it is. A front hub will be powering a motor that does not have the majority of your weight on it, so its traction-challenged. However, a front wheel with electric motor and a rear wheel with a human motor means you have a 2wd bike. If you like to pedal, its a big advantage to be able to have two wheels working together to power the bike. If you just want to have the motor do the work while you engage the throttle then its no contest... power the back wheel.
 
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I use regen BRAKING on front hub drive 1000W converted Trek Pure Electra clone. I like it. But learned quickly it can be to powerful. But adds to the front rim brakes.
 
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