I am new to this board, but I did try to search for "vanguard" before I posted this to make sure this topic wasn't beat to death. I would be suprised if this video hasn't been posted here, maybe the search is fubar?
I live in South FL and am looking to build a bike to get around my area without being totally covered in sweat in the summer. I came upon this "Vanguard Hybrid" that was being built in Santa Monica, CA. The webpage seems to be down ( www.vanguardbicycles.com ) but he has some pictures up on MySpace . This bike is a little too "chopper" looking for me (leather satchels, huge front fork, etc), but I enjoy an extended beach cruiser for the comfort factor moreso than the look.
I am new to the entire electric bike movement, but I have a background in engineering and am soaking up all the information like a sponge.
I have a ton of questions, but I'll limit this first post to a few:
-This bike seems to be the from Felt, but I'm not sure the exact model (Felt Bicycles). I'm definitely looking for something cheaper... any opinions on a good beach cruiser to add a hub motor to? Anything that doesn't rust would be a huge plus. I'm already scouring craigslist.
-I have read numerous posts comparing front vs rear hub placement, but in an area like South FL that is very flat and using a heavier bike (beach cruiser), would you all still go with a rear hub motor? And using an electric bike in flat area, do you want to have gears or will a single speed suffice? In my head having a motor driven front wheel and pedal powered rear wheel for all wheel drive would be great... but I don't have any real world experience.
-While I am not in love with the BionX kit (as seems like I can do better for my intended use at 1/3 the price DIY), I do like how the battery mounts to the frame instead of sitting on a rear bike rack in a bag. Is there any battery kits out there that mount like this? Should I just resign myself to the fact that the battery will be over the back wheel or in saddlebags on the side (wouldn't they bounce a lot)?
-I am still researching batteries and motors... hopefully I'll make the right choice. Florida law states that an electric bike that doesn't go over 20mph is street legal and subject to the same laws as bicycles. I can limit myself when the cops are around if it goes a little faster... and there are tons of road bikes around here that I have seen going faster than 20mph so I'm not really worried.
Thanks in advance for all your help. Anything you can add or any advice would be great. If you think I'm an idiot for wanting a beach cruiser let me know...
The issue with front versus rear hub is a) ease of install, b) a powerful hub motor mounted in the front requires a strong front fork or else a torque arm. It's very easy to do front hub motor install. However the rear end on bicycles are stronger and can more easily accept a strong motor. It's happened that strong motors mounted in a normal front fork has resulted in the fork breaking.
For the speed .. a lot practically depends on if your local police really understand the law. If your police are like the ones in my area the details of limits on bicycle capabilities aren't really known. I would say the typical experience is that so long as it looks like a bicycle, and it's not going overly fast, that you could exceed the limits and not be caught. As some say it's not illegal unless you get caught. But if you were going 45 miles/hr on a bicycle that's likely to catch the attention of police and get you a conversation with them.