Off the shelf or doing it yourself?
As alluded to in the previous post there can be a perception of not being able to keep up when making the transition from road to mountain biking. There is certainly an element of truth in this thought process as it is a different form of fitness required in mountain-biking as you contend with the obstacles found off-road.
As with almost any market manufacturers have seen a gap and offer solutions in the form of off the shelf e-bikes; many with the prices to make you wince. These bikes are proving so popular that the brand Specialized see a time where ‘naturally aspirated’ mountain bikes will be a thing of the past. Whilst prices of these bikes have begun to reduce, the most cost effective manner to gain electric power can be through the conversion of an existing bike. There is the option to have someone do this for you, obviously there is an extra cost incurred with this option, so the cheapest course of action remains the Do It Yourself kits; particularly where you have an existing bike in the shed!
These kits come in two general flavours; mid mount and hub drive. Where the bike is intended for road or light trail use only the hub drive system is thought to be the best balance, whilst those considering venturing further ‘off piste’ will require the mid mount version. If you want or need more details on the dis/advantages of the various types a quick internet search will soon provide you with a wealth of information. Our esteemed president has completed his research and made his choice, what follows is his story as he converts to e-power.
Choice of stead
In the shed I have a couple of little used, but good quality (end of the 1990s) mountain bikes, both made by GT, one a hard tail and the other Full Suspension (FS). Predictably, I have decided to convert the FS as my first attempt.
There is a good write up on the LTS series over on Pinkbike if you want the intimate detail of the bikes. Suffice it to say that the presidents bike is an 18″ 1998 model example of a bikes sold to fulfill a light cross country role. This model is the last to feature a straight seat post and features 100mm of travel. (Is that a comfort seat and seat-post we see added there El Presidente?)
Choice of battery/motor kit
After a bit of research the best value and most popular kit appears to be that made by Bafang. They made two kinds of mid mount, the most common being the BBS02 (now BBS02B) in 250, 500 and 750 w motors; and the made tougher BBSHD 1000w. Since my old mountain bike only has about 100mm travel front and even less on the back, the latter much more expensive option was pointless, however since the price between the least and most powerful BBS02B was minimal, it made sense to go with the 48v 750W. Even in Australia there are numerous retailers offering these, and more, kits. Do your research and choose the right kit for your intended use
Having chosen your stead and your kit the next step is prepare the bike and start fitting the kit. Join us in the next post as the president continues his journey to electrification.