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.