Which Bike for Ebike Conversion?


New Member
Hello all! Tuna's first post.
I'd like to know opinions which would be a better as a mid-motor 750w w/torque sensor commuter ebike conversion. A Surly 2012 26" Disc Trucker or an Ozark Trail Vibe 27.5" ($300).
I have watched many YT videos posted by High Voltage DIY Electric Bikes and Vehicles. Kind of leaning toward the ToSeven DM02 currently w/48V battery.
Due to pickleball injury, I may not regain full strength in my left leg for pedaling. I have a good mechanical aptitude, have confidence and own many tools. I've viewed 100+ pages of posts on EBR-DIY builds. I know I might have to figure in different bars, maybe a stem, cables and some hardware. Long story short, I'm looking for the most reliable kit capable to reach 28-32mph.

I’m 6’ tall and 230lbs. I used to be fairly athletic and am a mild risk taker.

Goal: Build a nice bike that surpasses a commercial version near the $2.5k-$4k US price range. I ask for help later on components. Thanks Tuna


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I am not an expert at all, but you know the Surly has much better bones than the Walmart special. And I expect would be far easier to add fenders and rack to use as a commuter.
I've put motors on two Walmart bikes. While they're OK now, I wish I had started with a better bike, Ended up replacing everything on one, and almost everything on the other,

I'm interested in the DM02 and have been following it on a facebook group. It seems that Toseven needs some smarts. Some simple tasks like resetting a trip odometer appear to require a dozen button presses.
I just saw how the Ozark Trail Vibe ($300) and 29'er ($400) popularity has blown up on YT and seem to be a tough find. Attached are some shots of my dressed Disc Trucker during RAGBRAI 2017 when I road as the mule for my pal who rode a wheelie on his pedal power only mountain bike for 64% of the distance. Proud to say we raised over $5k for Camp Courageous, https://campcourageous.org/

Seems I need to join CYC and ToSeven Facebook groups since they post updates and prioritize their support via Messenger. I've noticed this on other foreign products vended in the USA like Silicon Power PC components.

Have any of you joined a Discord forum like High Voltage DIY Electric Bikes? Is Discord fairly safe? Google doesn't rate it very well, but that could be just Google.
Thanks for the replies.


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discord seems a bit hard to "back and forth" with( my 2 pennies) buy a good prebuilt bike and motor on happily!
At 6'2" & 230#, from experience, I suggest you look at bikes with 36 hole rims. Wheels with 36 spokes are capable of handling more weight than 34 or 32 hole rims. The weight rating of a bike may be capable of handling a riders weight, but keep in mind the extra weight of the gear you carry. Also, some bikes include the weight of the bike itself in their ratings, which reduces their effective carrying capacity. E-bikes allow you to ride longer and farther, which may mean carrying extra gear, like tools ,a spare battery, etc. It adds up quickly. Personally, I wouldn't consider a bike with a weight rating less than 350#
Besides the # of spokes, some bikes have spokes made of car batteries & old wire in the "steel". Some have pure carbon iron steel. Guess which kind stretches more? Country of origin does not determine quality, my yubabike came from China and the original spokes are 11000 miles old and never were adjusted. 14 ga, the thinnest kind.
May be difficult to find out weight rating. My yubabike had a 400 lb rating but I only found out when I unpacked it. Was painted on the frame.
Some brands are notorious for stretched spokes, and repeated cable adjustment, some are not. You should be able to find a used top 9 bike to convert on craigslist or facebook. Trek, Giant, Cannondale, Specialized, Kona, Yamaha, R&M, Gazelle, Yuba, others may have other suggestions. IMHO used e-bikes are the one with the flaky electrical problems nobody could fix. Much safer getting a used pedal bike and adding a new electrical kit.
At your weight, it would be advantageous to get a frame that will clear 2.4" tires, of at least 26" diameter. Some 2.4" are available that can be pressurized to 55 psi or more. My bodaboda will only clear 2.1"x26" tires, which are fine for my 160 lb and 80 lb loads of spares+water+groceries or ag supplies. 27 or 27.5 tires will ride a little better if you have longer legs. Fat tires, 3" or more, have a 25 or 30 psi limit, no more weight capacity than 2.4" and drag badly.
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You have to know what you're buying but I have a 2008 Walmart special with about 10,000 mi pre electrification and near 12,000mi post BBS02B install.
In this time I did upgrade the suspension, but not because it failed.
The only failure in 22,000mi /15 years were 2 spokes... and this bike was riden hard on and off trail and often abused. I'd even say the spoke failures could have been avoided if I had checked them which I never did until the first failure in 2020. Hubs still roll silent and true.
The Disc Trucker with its chromoly frame/fork is going to be a light-years-better bike than any Wal Mart Special. Hands down, no two ways about it. That is also a bike I would do a DIY build and have some hope of not needing a wheel rebuild. If you are using the factory-spec Novatec hubs then those should have a steel cassette body underneath, which is ONE of the important things you want for a survivable wheel build. Maybe enough to let them be and use them long term. The DT is after all meant to be something of a heavy hauler (tourer). The 68mm bottom bracket and straight down tube means you can fit ANY mid drive onto it, pretty much.

On wheel strength, yes on paper a 36H rim is better than a 32H, but 36H rims that are *quality* builds are few and far between. In fact they are very difficult to get built I have found, as there are 32H quality wheel builds always within easy reach, but the opposite is true of 36H. This has proven true so much that all of my cargo bike builds over the last few years have been 32H. BTW I weigh 235 now and used to be at 265. Add in to that cargo loads up to 100 lbs. 32H with proper rims, spokes and a good wheel build is going to be fine. What I'd call proper is say a SunRingle MTX39 and a DT Swiss 350 hub. Ideally a 350 Hybrid for its beefed up construction, solid 24 pt ratchet and steel cassette body. But I have built basic 350 Classics and upgraded to the steel cassette and with the factory 18 pt ratchet the hubs/wheels are plenty strong to take the beating a BBSxx hands out.

With all of that said, I think the DT has 36H wheels factory stock.

This is part of a much larger story. Start here. I just added some more on 11 speed configs today as the Shimano Linkglide is a candidate for a mid drive reinforced chain that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

Don't be so sold on torque sensing. The BBSxx motors can be heavily customized to the point they are ideal for a cyclist who prizes the pedaling experience, which is the opposite of how they behave out of the box. Cyc motors (Photon, X1, Stealth) all have torque sensors but if you lurk at the Cyc user group for a couple weeks you will come away with the impression that they have bugs in those motors, and you'd be right. You mentioned the High Voltage channel. Look to Cap's in-detail assessment of the Photon. And recognize that Cyc's use of their customer base as beta testers goes all the way back to their original X1 Pro (of which I own a v1.0, so I have been around this particular block more than a little).

The ToSeven motors show promise but I personally would let a year or so go by to see what arrows the pioneers get shot in the back with. Let someone else find the bugs or buy into the motors that have v1.0 pedal assist programming. If those motors turn out to be winners there are sure to be many improvements as the user population climbs from near zero, which is where it is now.
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Have any of you joined a Discord forum like High Voltage DIY Electric Bikes? Is Discord fairly safe? Google doesn't rate it very well, but that could be just Google.
Thanks for the replies.
Yes I'm a member there. Think of Discord as forum software that behaves like a FidoNet BBS message board from the late 1980's (pre-internet... I used to be a sysop back then so I lived that dream). Even though my web site has its own sub-forum there I could never get used to the archaic way it operates.

None of that means its bad in any way. There are extremely knowledgeable people on there, and in particular if you want to know anything about the High Voltage Kit stuff, thats the place to go.
I am still holding off on the ToSeven so that the problems emerge and can be rectified with V2.1. I would be inclined to down tune the DM02 so that the bike parts hold up and the motor. It is common, and my case too when I started, for beginners to think that more is more. Eating up drivetrains every three weeks is fun but not for long. Crashing at over 24 doubles the risk of death and it makes crashing more likely. Even if you don't die that time, broken bones are no fun. I am not in a big rush to spend time in the ER. Russian roulette has a 1:6 chance, 17%, the same as death at 32 mph. Being a veg for life on tubes does not qualify as death.

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If you elect to go hub-style motor, the only advise I can offer is to avoid carbon fiber frames with a 130mm rear dropout spread. The narrow dropout will severely limit your options.
Here is another Ozark Trail bike that might be very good for an ebike conversion.
G.1 Explorer / 700C Gravel bike. $248.00
This is my next conversion for my wife, a Biria. They advertise it at 32 pounds. We're looking for easy dismount.

I have the bike delivered in the box, but I haven't opened it yet. They selll an e-version with front hubmotor and battery in the rear rack for $1999. I've already got motors and spare batteries sitting around already paid for so that's my plan. Probably use a rear drive motor, but if there is enough space between the rear tire and downtube, maybe a TSDZ2 mid drive will fit. I'd have to order one of those though,

My Trek 7.7fx hybrid fitted with the Geeko 350W rear hub kit w/10Ah battery.


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The pedals look too far back relative to the seat on the Bria; is pedalling OK? How long are the cranks?