Author Topic: Electric Assist Kits  (Read 4259 times)

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Offline dayjack119

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Electric Assist Kits
« on: January 05, 2017, 07:07:35 pm »
After five long distance tours across the USA since retirement, I'm doing research for this year's 4,400 mile adventure in the electric assist motor kit realm for my REI Novara Safari. I'm 73. I can get away with it. I don't see any problem with not being a purest, not when I have to cross the Great Smokey Mountains, the Rockies, the Cascades, and the Sierra Nevada's, all on one ride. I'm tired of pushing up steep grades, and it burns up so much time. From what I have gathered so far, there are models that can be used on either wheel. I'm looking at a front wheel application, only because I have finally gotten my rear wheel just right to handle all the weight with extra spokes and heavy duty rim. "If it works, don't mess with it." The electric assist companies make great claims of distance and speed. If I could find one that actually produced only half their results, I would be thrilled. I understand that these setups are for the 'commuter' market and not touring applications. I have not found a manufacturer so far that is confident enough to recommend their product. It seems to me that if a 'commuter' product made it all the way from ocean to ocean on a lightly loaded bike, this would speak well for durability and quality. A go-getter should jump on this. ...Are there any ideas out there to further my search?

Offline Old Guy New Hobby

Re: Electric Assist Kits
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2017, 08:20:28 am »
I talked to my LBS about a similar kit. He said it took a lot of pedaling effort before the electric assist kicked in. I don't know the characteristics of this kit. But it points out the importance of trying before you buy, and the value added by your LBS.

Offline pmac

Re: Electric Assist Kits
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2017, 01:19:07 pm »
I am actively looking for an ebike to be used by wife for touring.  While I looked at hub wheel systems, I decided that a dedicated ebike with a mid-drive system is more functional, albeit, more expensive option, particularly for distance touring.  I think the advantage of mid-drive system is that the bike functions more like a regular bike, without a throttle and regular bike wheels. I think one advantage of a hub kit is that you probably have more control over the battery capacity. Plus, if you like the bike you have, you can convert it.  You could also consider using mid-drive conversion system.

In considering the range question, the big issue is battery capacity.  A 400 wh lithium battery on a pedal assist (only works while you're pedaling, no throttle) should be good for about 35 to 50 real world miles depending on several factors including, the degree of assist used, the amount of climbing required, total weight of rider and gear, wind, etc.  If you turn the assist off on the flats and only use it for climbs you could extend the range, perhaps significantly.  You can always carry a spare battery with you to double your assisted range.  It is my understanding that most batteries can be charged to about 80% in 90 minutes, with a full charge taking about an hour.

You might want to visit, which is a very informative on ebikes, and issues regarding kits, dedicated ebikes, batteries, etc.

Offline BobG

Re: Electric Assist Kits
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2017, 06:44:11 pm »
Jack, I just found your thread in the archives. Bumping it just because I'm now in the same situation as you. I've toured across the US E to W four times, N to S once and S to N once. Suddenly at 68 I have a permanently damaged femoral nerve from a fall. I've been nowhere on my bike for the past two years aside from short rides in and out of town.

I've installed a BionX D-500 retrofit kit on my Bruce Gordon Rock'n'Road in an effort to get back into the game. Requires 135mm MTB rear axle spacing but your Safari may well have that.

Only a few test rides so far as I bought it back in November just before the snow came. I ride around town and up the White Mt hills now like a 25 year old!

I'm guessing that it will have a range of up to 50 miles with judicious use of the higher assist levels on hills combined with lower assist levels on the flats. A 25 mile loop from home with several steep hills using high assist consumes just over half a battery. That's without the added weight of touring gear. Manufacturer says it has a range of 55-75 miles but that would happen only using the lowest level of assist on the flats.  My battery is 48 volts, 11.6 amp hours= 556.8 watt hours. Motor is 500 watts. The assist is seamless and almost instant when the pedals are turned. "Mountain Mode" is like turning on the turbo charger but will drain the battery fast.

Based upon the above estimate I would expect on tour to need overnight lodging with electricity every 40-50 miles or so. Sooner carrying a lot of gear. Further if able to ride on the old fashioned way with an empty tank, unassisted with an extra 17 pounds of motor and battery. I'm still learning it's range. Will report back with updates in the Spring.