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Electric bike for the wife

jj93jj93 Posts: 35
edited July 2019 in MTB general
Has anybody had any dealings with electric bikes? In particular... conversion kits?

The score is that my wife wants to come cycling with me and I don't want to go at girly pace. She's got an old f/s 26" wheel mountain bike that's actually not too bad (for a cheapo), and she finds it very comfortable. Rather than buy a crappy 20" wheel shopper that will feel every bump (£600+ at the low end) I think converting her bike is the most sensible option.

I've seen kits on the web but they don't seem to include the battery and charger. Can anybody recommend a kit that comes with a battery and charger and be good for assisted riding up to 30 miles?

Any other advise (other than telling her to get fitter)?

Thanks.

Posts

  • PhilipPirripPhilipPirrip Posts: 616
    I've one of these fitted to an old 26" wheel mtb (have written about it here before);

    https://www.swytchbike.com/p/universal- ... rsion-kit/

    Everything included and easy to fit.

    I was an early supporter so had one of the first kits which wasn't without its faults but support is good and parts replaced without problems.
  • jj93jj93 Posts: 35
    Philip... have you got a link to your write up? Kit looks good mate!
  • MidnightMidnight Posts: 80
    The problem with all rechargeable batteries is that they all have a life, how many times they can be charged, some as low as 100 times some say 1000 and I didn't say BIKE batteries here I said batteries.

    As a photographer who has used rechargeables from the earliest NiCd to the latest LiPo and Lion as an astronomer my concern with this tech at the moment is new ones come along every week, as will battery cars.

    Will the battery you have with your kit you spend £500 to £2000 be available in 18 months time if/when yours packs up or do you start again ?
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Who is talking about buying a £500 to £2000 battery ??
  • MidnightMidnight Posts: 80
    cougie wrote:
    Who is talking about buying a £500 to £2000 battery ??


    I never said battery, where did I state battery, I was saying bike 500-1000-2000-5000 whatever I never mentioned a battery costing that..............did I, I clearly stated battery life

    with your kit you spend £500 to £2000

    Clearly states "with your kit" KIT being Bike or whatever
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    We are talking about a conversion kit for an old mtb. It's not like it needs to fit into anything.
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,028
    Whether you succeed with a conversion kit or give up and buy a used emtb, having a battery is no substitute for skill. Your wife will be just as slow descending as she is now. Covering rough ground may be a margin faster, but not much. The bike will be heaver and you may have to lift it over gates etc for her. Unless the bike will have walk assist, then pushing up steep hills will be much harder.

    But she may be faster uphill than you! :lol:
  • MidnightMidnight Posts: 80
    Whether you succeed with a conversion kit or give up and buy a used emtb, having a battery is no substitute for skill. Your wife will be just as slow descending as she is now. Covering rough ground may be a margin faster, but not much. The bike will be heaver and you may have to lift it over gates etc for her. Unless the bike will have walk assist, then pushing up steep hills will be much harder.

    But she may be faster uphill than you! :lol:


    If this is the case why electric, there have to be benefits
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,028
    edited July 2019
    Midnight wrote:
    Whether you succeed with a conversion kit or give up and buy a used emtb, having a battery is no substitute for skill. Your wife will be just as slow descending as she is now. Covering rough ground may be a margin faster, but not much. The bike will be heaver and you may have to lift it over gates etc for her. Unless the bike will have walk assist, then pushing up steep hills will be much harder.

    But she may be faster uphill than you! :lol:


    If this is the case why electric, there have to be benefits

    Yes there most definitely is! I believe that there are myths about electric bikes. They help the lame to walk and the sick to be healed, beginners can do amazing things:- powering past experienced climbers and ascending un-climbable tracks for example. Yes, maybe, but only if they had the skills in the first place. Give an emtb to a newbie and you risk having to carry them home.

    I have an electric mtb and it has been one of the best things I've bought for years. After resisting getting one for years and trying everything else to overcome my osteo-arthritis in my knees, I finally got one in Jan this year. I have gone from being able to manage 10 miles in the woods and then needing 2-3 days of recovery time. To 20+ miles on successive days, and no knee pain! (Mind you, I'm still on the pain killers, gels and KT tape!)
    But you don't need to be physically challenged to benefit from an e-bike. They can help someone keep up with a stronger or fitter person on a clockwork bike. They can help an individual get two fast rides in of an evening when before they could only manage one. As has been shown on one of the MTB websites, by allowing you to power up steep hills instead of pushing, they can allow you to get two descents in the same time that you only used to get one. There are a wide variety of e-Bikes, but none of them make up for a lack of skill in riding a bike. This is especially true for mtb. Beginners can get themselves in a world of hurt on an emtb. They can arrive at corners and obstacles way too fast. They loop out on steep climbs and then a heavy bike lands on them. There are some new skills to be learned too.

    Enough! Don't take my word for it, try one! various companies have test days; go on one!. Every single person I have let have a go on my emtb all came back with a big smile. Even ordinary bike riders who have never gone mtb "get it" after only a few hundred yards.
  • larkimlarkim Posts: 2,304
    Midnight wrote:
    The problem with all rechargeable batteries is that they all have a life, how many times they can be charged, some as low as 100 times some say 1000 and I didn't say BIKE batteries here I said batteries.

    As a photographer who has used rechargeables from the earliest NiCd to the latest LiPo and Lion as an astronomer my concern with this tech at the moment is new ones come along every week, as will battery cars.

    Will the battery you have with your kit you spend £500 to £2000 be available in 18 months time if/when yours packs up or do you start again ?
    That concern doesn't seem to be stopping sales of Teslas, Nissan Leaf, Jaguar iPace cars, etc, nor mobile phones which are commonly recharged many many more times, or laptops. Or indeed the countless eMTBs that are being snapped up and used both as private purchases and by hire firms.

    I think you're seeing a problem which isn't there. Yes, perhaps with a 5 year old or 10 year old eMTB kit you may find you struggle, but by that time you've probably got your money's worth out of it!
    2015 Canyon Nerve AL 6.0 (son #1's)
    2011 Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc (son #3s)
    2013 Decathlon Triban 3 (red) (mine)
    2019 Hoy Bonaly 26" Disc (son #2s)
    2018 Voodoo Bizango (mine)
    2018 Voodoo Maji (wife's)
  • jj93jj93 Posts: 35
    Thank you for your opinions re electric bikes. My wife has no plans to go off road or silly speed so no probs there. She just wants to be able to come riding on light trails and river paths. Around 20 miles round trip is far too much for her on a normal bike so an electric bike on low assist is the answer. My days of 40 mile trips on my MB are behind me now. 20 miles on a nice Sunday afternoon, or even a warm summer evening is plenty. She likes the comfort of her full sus MB so the silly 16 or 20 inch shoppers are a no-no.

    My main concern is the life of the battery. I'm struggling with the thought of buying a £600 conversion kit or an even more expensive complete new bike only to have to buy a new £200 - £300 battery after 1 year.

    Everything 2nd hand on ebay can be virtually guaranteed to need a new battery.

    Think it will have to be a kit but have to convince myself I'm not throwing money away.
  • LeighPingLeighPing Posts: 5
    jj93 wrote:
    Thank you for your opinions re electric bikes. My wife has no plans to go off road or silly speed so no probs there. She just wants to be able to come riding on light trails and river paths. Around 20 miles round trip is far too much for her on a normal bike so an electric bike on low assist is the answer. My days of 40 mile trips on my MB are behind me now. 20 miles on a nice Sunday afternoon, or even a warm summer evening is plenty. She likes the comfort of her full sus MB so the silly 16 or 20 inch shoppers are a no-no.

    My main concern is the life of the battery. I'm struggling with the thought of buying a £600 conversion kit or an even more expensive complete new bike only to have to buy a new £200 - £300 battery after 1 year.

    Everything 2nd hand on ebay can be virtually guaranteed to need a new battery.

    Think it will have to be a kit but have to convince myself I'm not throwing money away.

    @ jj93 Let me throw in here.. :)

    I've 3 ebikes. One is an off roader with a rear hub, rear wheel drive, and the other two are street legal with front hubs, front wheel drive. But they all go off road from time to time and they all have aftermarket gel saddles and suspension seatposts fitted. I mostly use them for riding with my dog. Over 8k miles so far. That's another story. However, I've just started taking my good lady out with me for, as much as, 10 mile bike rides. Prior to that she'd never been on a bike for more than ten minutes in her lifetime and she has a knee and hip disability. :shock:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byEl2bw5mRw

    My two street legal bikes are kit bikes. They have thumb throttles fitted to them, as the video shows. One kit is fitted to an old 2007 Carrera MTB that was 50 quid off ebay. The transplanted kit came off a crash damaged cyclotricity ebike and the whole thing cost £400. It's done around 1500 miles so far. The other is a woman's specialist bike with an oxydrive kit on it. That's done a couple of thousand miles so far. They're both on the original batteries. Batteries can be recelled by Jimmy at BGA for a few hundred quid or so. You can get his firm's details over at the pedelec forum when that time comes. Both of my batteries are still good for now and have no sign of losing charge to date.

    I'd recommend that you have a look on the UK pedelec forum for reasonable kits that would suit your needs, advice on how to fit them and so on. If you're a bike park rider, you'll maybe want a good MTB as a base to mount a kit on. Or one of the new mid drive e-mtb's. I find that they're much more expensive. Obviously you get what you pay for and they have guarantees with them. Mine, as I've said are just 'old bangers'. But they do a great job for my needs. I'm 'LeighPing' on youtube if you want to have a look. Good luck. :)


    Going around the park with my dog. :D
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RS6-Y2HBzR4
  • PhilipPirripPhilipPirrip Posts: 616
    jj93 wrote:
    Thank you for your opinions re electric bikes. My wife has no plans to go off road or silly speed so no probs there. She just wants to be able to come riding on light trails and river paths. Around 20 miles round trip is far too much for her on a normal bike so an electric bike on low assist is the answer. My days of 40 mile trips on my MB are behind me now. 20 miles on a nice Sunday afternoon, or even a warm summer evening is plenty. She likes the comfort of her full sus MB so the silly 16 or 20 inch shoppers are a no-no.

    My main concern is the life of the battery. I'm struggling with the thought of buying a £600 conversion kit or an even more expensive complete new bike only to have to buy a new £200 - £300 battery after 1 year.

    Everything 2nd hand on ebay can be virtually guaranteed to need a new battery.

    Think it will have to be a kit but have to convince myself I'm not throwing money away.
    What price do you put on your, and your wife's health and happiness? Believe me, an electric bike puts the fun back into casual cycling which is good for both your physical and mental wellbeing, and for your suggested intention I'd say they are ideal.

    The battery will not die within a year (unless it is faulty, so possibly a warranty matter anyway) otherwise no-one would buy them. I've had mine for nearly a year and use mine pretty much daily setting it to full assist* over 10-35 miles each time. After 1,900 miles and being run low then fully charged many times, I was out this morning and did 35 miles and still had around 25% of battery left at the end. I'm content that despite the abuse I give it the battery shows no noticeable signs of capacity depletion and shows no intention of expiring anytime soon.

    With your intended use of a lower level of assistance just on weekend rides the likelihood is the battery won't drain so quickly so you won't need to be charging it so frequently as I do thereby extending its life further.


    *Even when set to full assist, on tarmac and fast trails I'm riding at a speed where the actual assistance is often between 25% to zero. Only on steep gradients and from standing starts does full assist give its 400 watts assistance.
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