My "misaventure" in e-biking

Originally this was going to be a very different post... outlining the past six months, issues with members of the community, and so forth. But I'm setting that aside for now to just talk about where I'm finally at. Having a working e-bike that I like and enjoy riding.

Instead I'm just going to focus on the current bike. An Aventon Aventure.

When I got it the chain was too short stretching the derailleur out straight and bending the mount. In fact I'm reasonably certain that the chain it came with isn't even an 8 speed chain as it's thicker and has no flex. The brakes didn't work, the front one barely engaging and the rear being totally nonfunctional. Their support has ranged from vague to nonexistent, my local bike shop I don't trust and wanted $185 just to look at it, so I was 100% reliant on fixing this myself. In fact I ordered online specifically because I don't trust any "LBS" within a two hour drive of my location.

The chain was easy, I was planning on swapping that out anyways and I ended up having to splice links in from a second chain to reach the correct length. Using two master links also meant I could swap out the smaller section when I did my planned upgrade to a 52 tooth chainring and better cranks. The front brake the only problem was the nut holding the hose on was unscrewed about three turns, so it was bleeding pressure there. Bleed kit, some proper oil, and tightening the nut fixed that right up.

The rear brake caliper was completely seized. Disassembling it the piston itself wasn't frozen but the bladder to push it out didn't inflate, despite there being no obvious leaks. I suspect some sort of clog between the hose and the bladder. Since their support wasn't responsing I broke down, ordered a cheap rear kit off amazon that used the same caliper -- since nobody would sell me JUST that part. Swapping that in, doing a proper fill and pumping out the bubbles, and I've got working rear brakes. Woo-hoo, I can ride!

I thought there was something also wrong with the motor side of things when I took it for a ride in an abandoned lot before I made any of the repairs. The fixes to the drive-train in terms of swapping the derailleur mount for the spare the bike shipped with and a proper length / style chain seems to have cleared things up.

From there once I got 60 miles on it to be sure it wasn't going to die -- like my first few bikes I had to return -- I started swapping out the furniture.

And yeah, I didn't go nuts cleaning it up post-ride to take the pics. It's a bicycle, not a supermodel that needs airbrushing.

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The panniers are at an odd angle because the arms to mount to the frame are about 4" shorter than need be. I could have got the one from Aventon with the bike, but I already had this "fat tire" compatible one. The arms are threaded so I'll be able to correct that with some 5" long bolts and some steel shims.

The seat is temporary and just something I had lying around. Still and improvement over the arse-busting sheet of cardboard butt-floss it came with. . This one is better, but still has those two raised "bumps" to apply all the force of sitting on the "sit bones"... nonsensical design and ergonomics since whilst YES, most of the force of sitting is placed there, that's no reason to make it WORSE by placing ALL the force there. I've got a proper "cupping" seat coming, which despite being dirt cheap will likely better fit me. That way I'm not screaming about how much it hurts my coccyx like Deputy Dawg. Which is EXACTLY what those flat narrow seats do to my back.

And that's the thing, you like the narrow seat, good on you. I like the wider seat, good on me. We're not all shaped the same, we're not all in the same physical condition. I've gotten too much advice based on fanboy cultism preferences and not on ... well... reality.

Making much more of an impact was my adding a suspension post. Sure it's a bargain basement one off Amazon, but it works. Big trick, if you just put a little wash of 3-in-1 on the exposed shaft, after three or four compressions it gets as smooth and effective as more expensive ones. Not sure how long that will last or if I'm washing away grease inside it, but it's not like taking one of these apart to redo the grease and such is rocket science. It's a freaking air dampener.

Also readily apparent is my covering up the side yellow stripes with red reflective tape. Easy change, easy to remove back to stock, and improves your ability to be seen at night. Important since I oft ride around 3AM as it's actually safer than daytime riding.

The drivetrain:
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You can see the extended cheap chinese teflon covered chain (which I waxed), how I swapped out both cheap plastic pulleys in the derailleur for smaller metal ones which greatly smoothed out the shifting, my el-cheapo lightweight 52 tooth chainring replacing the pathetically small 46 it came with, , and a cheap set of aluminum cranks. The laugh being these bargain basement cranks and chainwheel knocked 2 and a half pounds off the bike.

And yes I'm also using light-up pedals. Those of you about to kvetch about how 'cheap" they are can kiss right off. I used an identical pair on my beach cruiser for a decade, and they're in fine shape.

I swapped out the bars for a beach cruiser set.

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Widening the stance and improving the comfort. The Aventure -- at least the "small" I got" feels like a bit shorter a bike, so to normalize out the cruiser bars I used the longest adjustable neck I could find at a reasonable price.

These bars are cute as they're a set I took off another bike over a decade ago because the chrome was peeling off them, and were sitting on the floor of my garage ever since. They were a hideous pile of rust with any traces of the chrome completely gone, and I was about to toss them in the trash and just order a new set, when I said "No, you can fix these!" I should have grabbed a before pic... but a pass of rust remover and steel wool, further pass with scotch-brite and pine sol (sounds weird, trust me!), pressure wash and dry, filler and primer, sand, prime again, two coats of satin black, and they look great!

You can see I went with a cheap set of paddle grips, I've got peasant tastes, these are actually what's most comfortable for me, I've had a set on my old cruiser for years without problem, and if they do magically have the rubber break down they're $5 to replace. Naturally I added "sticky fingers" to the brake handles, and I dived into my parts bin to find some anodized red headset rings that I alternated with some "carbon fiber" patterned ones.

The switch to the wider bars meant the control pad couldn't reach since it's got a very short cable from the display, but honestly out at the grip it was hard to use without taking your hand off the bars anyways. My thumb just didn't reach that far, and mashing around could never hit the right buttons anyways. I might take the time to make a custom replacement with cherry speed silver switches, but that's a ways off.

Also see the red stripe on the top tube? I masked off the yellow one it came with and just shot it with three coats of candy apple red and two coats of clear sealer. The original pattern shows through the translucent candy paint. It's hidden under the bag, but the "Aventure" text can still be clearly seen through it. Given I've got a medication induced parkinsonism I'm rather proud of that paint job, simple as it is.

We take a look from the other side...

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And you get a better look at my replacement light. These run around $30 to $40 and with a single cree T6 they're way brighter than most stock lights that come with e-bikes. I'm powering it off a battery in the tube bag for now, as I haven't had time to sit down with my multimeter to see what the stock light was getting for juice. I'm hoping it's somewhere between 4.6 and 9.6 volts as that's what this light can handle, but in all likelihood it's the raw 48v just like the Nakto's I had to return. For now it's enough to get me out and riding.

The cruiser bars are narrower at the join to the neck than the stock bars, but I keep all my old tubes because you never know when you will need some scrap rubber for patches, spacers, etc. Cut out two strips, wrap them around the bars held in place with a small piece of electrical tape, and on the display went. It actually looks like it bounces around less, making me think the rubber is absorbing some of the vibration.

The hose for the rear brake is right at it's limit of length, I figure this spring I'll replace it with a new one three or four inches longer, but for now that's fine. I was quite pleased that they gave me as much slack on the wiring and hoses as they did, as most e-bikes I've looked at have no slack even on short-bars.

So that's my beast in it's current configuration. It's a shame Aventon's support is nonexistant as despite it being a "Cheap" (according to some people here) bike with "cheap" parts, it's a really good starting point and would be a complete bargain if they just stood behind their products. I'd actually be singing its praises and making fun of bikes twice its cost, if they just got off their tuchas and answered support tickets.

I can forgive things like hydraulic brakes not working after shipping, or a simple chain screwup... but you take the little issues that should be easily resolved and pair it with little to no legitimate support, and it mars what could otherwise be a great product.

Though such "great support" isn't worth an extra two grand for basically the same or even an inferior bike. That's why I have such problems with the rich asshats bragging about owning half-dozen four-thousand dollar bikes to a cripple saving up two years worth of disability and side-jobs they shouldn't be doing just to get one.

I swear, the effete elitist "rich man's sport" attitude wears thin REALLY quick.

Something only further exacerbated by the "oh just bring it to your local LBS" as if the ONE remaining one in town is trustworthy, as if I'm able to transport the bike the 20-50 miles to neighboring ones as if they're any better, as if I'm magically not qualified to actually fix things if I just get the parts, etc, etc...

Though that's not fair to the local shop. Good people, try to be helpful, but half the time I go in there it's like we're talking two different languages. For example I ask for a rear-rack for a fat bike, the owner starts showing me racks for mounting bicycles on pickup tailgates. I ask the woman behind the counter to hand me four SRAM 8 speed master links, she has to go get the tech from out back to make sure the ones I'm pointing at are "correct", and then hands me just two of them.

I miss the other two shops that went under and/or moved out of town.
Good on you my friend! The bike snobs that overpay for underperforming bikes DO indeed get old fast. They tell me my ECOTRIC will be failing me any minute now lol. Why? Because I paid $1200.00 and not $5000.00? I got mine 2.5 years ago and it has been flawless. With some comfort upgrades, this bike has more then paid for itself. Sorry you don't have a decent shop nearby. We have many bike shops in the Wa/Or areas. I take mine to one that donates part of their profits to the city for more bike lanes and trails. They do all my work for a great price. Just $100.00 for a complete tuneup and brake bleeding. They check and fix everything on it, once a year. I got lucky there. On night riding, me and my gf love doing the bike trails at night. We both have lots of lights. It's so peaceful at midnight with very little traffic to deal with. The trails are empty and we just cruise along, listening to mp3 players and it's very relaxing. I know why you like it so much. My gf also has an Ecotric. She has the Peacedove 350 watts. Mine is the Seagull 1000 watts. She weighs about 120, I'm double that and we have steep streets out here. No real problems with either bike. Good service from Oakland Ca. Will buy again from them for sure. Very well made bikes for the $. Keep on riding-seeya out there!
Jason, this is my beast. I have it setup alot like your bike with suspension up front and under the wide gel saddle. The handlebars are from Jones Bikes, a small company out here, (down I-5 a way's to Grants Pass Or.) and make for a great ride, and easy on the arms. The stem is raised and the bars sweep back to me for a comfortble ride, mile after mile. I threw out the stock may (and ususally do)-pop tires, and got Big Bens. Schwalbe double lined tires. 2.5 years. Not one flat! You may want to look into these. The lights are for the night rides, we do alot. (Cygolite) Lottsa fun, and peaceful as hell out there at midnight, as you know. So, yes, us poor folk can own these great bikes too! It is actually pretty easy to get a good ebike for less than $2000.000. But you got to get the right one. Like anything else. I just lucked out on this bike. Didn't know s*it about these things till I got one, but I needed extra power for the hills here, having had numerous joint surgeries done. I weight 250, the bike is 70, and the motor 1000w. We climb any and every hill with assist no problem. Not bad for $1200.00. lol Ecotric makes them tough, with Shimano parts. Keep up the positive posts my friend. This site needs that kind of attitude much more than all the snob sniping I see. Real shame when people need to rip into other people's fun machines just to make themselves feel good about being ripped off at the overpriced bike shops. I got this bike in a box and had it together in 2 hours. Charged up, aired up, and down the road by nightfall-lol-Love it!


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