So, which conversion kit is best?
I know this could start a flame-war, but I want people opinions of which kits are best for converting a bicycle.
Now, I know this is a subjective thing, so here are the parameters I am using, based on my situation/usage only:
- Commuter Bicycle use, 7-10 miles each way. In 1 year the office moves, and then it will be 20 miles each way.
- I would like to make the round trip in one charge.
- I would like to be able to at least maintain 20MPH with some effort on my part. Faster might be better in some places.
- I will be riding PCH back and forth to work, Costa Mesa to Newport Beach and back.
- I have a good durable Schwinn cross bike with 700C tires.
- I like the thumb throttle over the twist grip.
- I like the Idea of Higher Amperage/Voltage over lower. 36V or 48V I think might be the way to go.
- I like the larger motors and battery packs, but I am sticker shocked at the prices.
- I am handy electronically, So I am tempted to build some of this, but I love the Brushless hub motors, as it simplifies things greatly.
Any and all input is welcome!
The BMC hub motor seems to be very promising, but only a few have tried one and no real long range reliability record has been established. If I was going to build your bike, I think I would try it with a bumped up controller.
Otherwise the Crystallyte hub motor seems very reliable when properly installed. Not the best for steep hills.
I also like the idea of the bottom bracket drives where you can use the bike's gears. This eliminates the need for building the wheel with new spokes.
A Wilderness Energy brushless hub BL-36 on a 700c tire would definitely put you over 20mph at 36V with minimal effort. The BL-36 kits have been discontinued but you can still get them on the "Bargain Corner" of their website. The availability comes and goes but I can see a BL-36 on a 700C for $265 w/ everything.
I bought a "refurbished" BL-36 for a 26" and I was impressed with the kit quality, how quickly I installed it, and the price that I paid. It has a thumb throttle, is a brushless hub motor, and has (relatively) big batteries (12Ah) in a nice battery bag.
If you feel the need for speed at a later time, it seems like plenty of people - including myself - are running it at 48V by adding an extra cell. That increased the speed by about 25%.
Depends on what you are willing to pay for the kit. There are many choices available and I have been shopping for a kit for over a year and finally decided to electrify a Dahon folder with a Bionx kit. See my blog Dahon Mu SL folding bicycle with a Bionx PL350 kit. I did a hill test and a distance test. You may find the information helpful. But if you are looking for an average speed of at least 20 mph with only "some" effort the Bionx kit may not be for you, especially if you are looking to travel 20 miles each way when your office moves. With both test rides, I was only able to achieve an average speed of 15 to 15.2 mph depending on the riding conditions on a 20 inch wheeled bicycle. With 700C tires on your Schwinn cross bike and higher gearing you may be able to travel a bit faster, but then you will still need to do a lot of pedaling to achieve an average speed of 20 mph.
Kits that may interest you are:
http://www.powerstream.com/, They have really nice high power Li-Fe-PO4 packs that can be used on Crystalyte or Cyclone kits, which have a claimed 2000 charge/discharge cycle capacity at a fairly reasonable price.
I hope this helps your search a little. note: I am not affiliated in anyway with any of these companies, they are just kits I considered during my search for an electric conversion kit.
What kind of hills do you have to deal with, and how much do you weigh ?
20 miles twice a way on a bike is ALOT *( well.. for me it is ! ).. consider a recumbent maybe ?
But, yes, brushless hub motors are pretty slick in terms of reliability and ease of use.. the BMC motors do look quite good tho.. i plan to try one in the near future.. Long term reliability is a concern for me, needs to be proven as Fetcher indicated.
Hills or No hills.. that is the question. for now
Aka: Buzzz on old V forum !