front wheel drive, no gears?

Rob Page

New Member
I just bought a Dillinger 350w front wheel drive kit. Initially my intention was to put it on my ancient Specialized Hybrid to help my aging knees on my daily commute to work. But now I'm thinking, as long as I'm doing this, why not go all the way and make it comfortable too? So I was thinking of putting the kit on a beach cruiser -- like a lightweight aluminum Trek Pure S that I saw at my local bike shop. So here's my question:

This particular cruiser has no gears. If my front tire is pulling me along in pedal assist, won't I eventually get going so fast I won't be able to keep up pedaling cause I can't shift to higher gears?
Almost every bike that is converted will go 'too fast' with the motor, for standard gearing. It depends on how fast you want to go. The Dillenger should have a throttle, so you can use that.

Obviously, you can swap the gears on a one speed for something that works better, or just get a set of gears with the bike. I think a lot of people make cruiser bikes, like Bikes Direct. BD is very popular with kit builders.

Maybe try the Specialized and see how it works. You can get handlebar extenders, or 'cruiser handlebars'. Some people like the pedal forward design, the 'flat foot'.

Have some fun with it.:D There's a learning curve before you know what to do with power on a bike.
Good points all George! The only thing I would add is that single speed bikes typically have horizontal dropouts and multi-speed have vertical dropouts. With horizontal dropouts it limits your options for adding gears and will generally be more expensive to add them as well.
Thanks for you advice guys. George I checked out Bikes Direct, thanks for that tip. Makes me nervous to buy a bike without actually riding it first but maybe that's the way to go.

Looking at this bike though, for example, ( it brings up another question: I noticed it has combo break/shifter levers. My kit includes it's own break levers that cut the motor. What do DIY'ers around here do in that situation?
It brings up another question: I noticed it has combo break/shifter levers. My kit includes it's own break levers that cut the motor. What do DIY'ers around here do in that situation?

Generally, DIY'ers will use the e-brake levers and that is often a down grade. They do sell these little modules that attach to the existing cable and shut off the controller when the brakes are activated. And some controllers, I understand, won't even start the motor unless the brakes are hooked up (and off).

You really want the cutouts for safety. I'm still getting used to a powered bike and sometimes have it on during a slow sharp turn more slow turn. Watch out!
I finally decided on a Sun Rover crank-forward cruiser and I love it. Added a Dillinger 350w kit to it. So far it seems perfect to me. I rode to work this morning and made it there 2 minutes faster than my fastest time by car in traffic.
Cool! I love those crank forward bikes, they're comfortable rides even without a kit. Nice to be able to sneak around traffic when you have an ebike :). What kind of hills can you climb on this Dillenger kit? and what average range? Please post a couple of pics of your conversion!
I guess things worked out with the 26 inch wheel. The smaller wheels have some advantages with motors. That's a frame I like, after riding a basic Townie. I'll bookmark Sun Rover. Nice prices. Curiously, the shop where I tested a Townie is also a Sun Rover dealer. I'd rather not go online. I figured a low power front wheel would be really good with the Townie, but now I'm trying to talk myself out of anything beyond the one ebike I have.

I have a front drive Mac, steel fork. I've done 1500 miles on the Bikes Direct frame. Nothing has worn out. The Marathon Plus tires are somewhat worn, but no flats. Cheap disk brakes are fine. Wheels needed truing by the shop. I average 15 mph, so nothing is getting stressed. I talked about getting Tektro hydraulics, but there is a clearance issue and the mechanicals seem to do the job. They don't seem to set the Townie or Cruisers up with disks, so much.

I think the basic stuff works pretty well.
There is less maintenance with mechanical disk brakes.

Not necessarily. I had to adjust the pads just once or twice on my Neo Jumper and nothing else for almost ~3000 miles.
Haven't done anything on my ST2 for 3000 miles.
If you look at what people had to go through on Izip'll see it's a constant adjustment of the cables.
You're citing an individual bike with problems, that isn't representative of the whole.
I have bikes with mech disks for 10 years without doing any more than tightening a thumbwheel to adjust for stretch.
They both use wearable brake pads, other than that you have cables that stretch but seldom have to be replace versus hydraulic fluid that is hydroscopic and needs to be replaced fairly frequently, not to mention bleeding to rid air bubbles and possible fluid leaks from seals failing. Oh and a master cylinder to push the fluid through the system.
I've read plenty of accounts of mushy brake problems and multiple bleedings trying to get air out of hydraulic brake setups.
hmmmmm ;)
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What kind of hills can you climb on this Dillenger kit?
Oh, Ann, sorry, I just noticed your question about the hills. This is the only ebike I've ever ridden so I have nothing to compare to but with the 350W I feel like I do have to pedal. I live in a fairly flat area with just a few hills so it's not a big deal. It helps FOR SURE, but it just feels like if I don't contribute I'll burn the thing out. Not a very scientific appraisal but that's the best I can do! Maybe all ebikes are that way on hills.