Help me decide between the Sparrow conversion kit or the Mongoose/Currie bike.

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Joined: 05/01/2007
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Long time lurker, first time poster. Like a lot of you, I'm committed to using less gasoline and am an avid biker.

Being a student, money is a consideration so I'm considering the entry level sparrow front hub motor conversion kit ($399) or the Mongoose bike with the Currie motor that is on sale at Walmart for $279 (I think COSTCO also has it and maybe the currie site; all around this price).

My commute is 3 miles one-way. There are maybe 2-3 hills, but nothing steep. The grade of these hills is about the grade on the pedestrian overpasses when you cross a 6 lane highway. I weigh about 175 lbs. Main motivation: I'd like to commute on an ebike so I won't be getting to school all sweaty. Especially on days when I have to do my work-study job. I wouldn't mind leaving the bike at school if my options don't provide me enough juice to get back home. Pedalling home with a heavy tapped-out bike would be ok too since a shower awaits.

The attraction of the Mongoose is that it comes with a bike and is cheaper. From seeing the video on the curry site, it sounds kinda loud. Is this loudness distracting? A bike trail that I take says "no motorized vehicles". I'm afraid some little old lady will turn me in if I zoom by her in the loud mongoose. I believe also that you have to assemble the entire bike. I don't mind doing this, but putting together a bike would be harder than installing a hub. Another con to the mongoose bike is that it may be a little heavy (90lbs?). There are sites that say 70 lbs. others say 90. What is it? Not sure if you can remove the electric components from the mongoose when the motor has worn down. Perhaps sell the bike later to defray some costs?

The attraction of the Sparrow is that you can install it on any number of sturdy steel bikes. I have a mountain/hybrid that would be ideal. Also, you can always move the hub to another bike. From looking at the electricrider.com site, these sparrows run quiet. The sparrow also adds 20lbs to a bike so it sounds like a lighter option.

No one in my area sells ebikes so I can't go out and test drive these, either.

For someone just starting out with electric bikes and my particulars, which is the better option? Thanks in advance.

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boodydarn's picture
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Joined: 05/02/2007
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Re: Help me decide between the Sparrow conversion kit or the Mon

I have a 26" trek mb which i added 36v nimh batteries and a 20 amp controller and a front wheel brushless crystalyte motor. I love this setup. I bought a mongoose for my wife. Since i live in a very hilly college town I figured i could sell it if i did not like it. It is 24 v sla batteries. at my weight (280) the 36 v carries me further 12 miles. vs 8 on the mongoose. But, the mongoose is easier to pedal, and pulls me up the hills faster. I do not like the twist throttle, I even took it apart to see if i could soften the spring but i could not. It is harder to keep at full throttle than my thumb throttle, an easy remedy though. The other perplexing thing is the gears are backwards. 1st is the highgear for road speed and 7th is for extreme hills and the gears are spring loaded wanting to keep jumping back to 1st at the slightest touch and since the gears and throttle are on the same side, it happens frequently. I think i will put them on opposite sides. Other than that, it rides better than my trek because it has shocks in the front shock. I did improve both rides with a bigger saddle to aid and comfort my big-old behind. lol

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Joined: 05/01/2007
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Re: Help me decide between the Sparrow conversion kit or the Mon

Thanks, boodydarn.

Which is louder?

Also, which one has the twist throttle? The mongoose or the front hub.

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Joined: 11/18/2006
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Re: Help me decide between the Sparrow conversion kit or the Mon

I've never tried an ungeared brushed hub motor like the sparrow, but if your going for stealth then brushless hub's are very quiet. Have look at the go-hub kit http://www.largoscooters.com/go-hubkits.html or try www.ebikes.ca and look at the 408 motor which has similar specs to the sparrow. also worth going for nimh if you can afford it , roughly three times as light as lead for the same range.

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Joined: 04/17/2007
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Re: Help me decide between the Sparrow conversion kit or the Mon

My 36 volt brushless front hub helps a lot on hills but once you hit a really steep one the motor will cut out because it needs a minimum rpm. Which means you can't go up real steep hills period. The hill you describe does not sound very steep. If you think hills are going to be your biggest problem, geared systems have more mechanical advantage, but is sounds like the 24 volt system might be a bit limiting. You got lucky finding a guy who owns both and can compare them: The geared will get up hills easier but has less range and is noisier.

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Re: Help me decide between the Sparrow conversion kit or the Mon

" once you hit a really steep one the motor will cut out because it needs a minimum rpm"

That down to the controller design. You can buy ones that are 'instant start' a don't do this. The motor is happy at any rpm, though, as you say, hub motors are generally poorer hill climbers than geared motors.

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Re: Help me decide between the Sparrow conversion kit or the Mon

Good point, Nick

Where do you get your hair cut?

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Re: Help me decide between the Sparrow conversion kit or the Mon

Do you think its a bit long :jawdrop:

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