Review of the Wilderness Energy 24V Brushed front hub motor kit.

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coolio
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Review of the Wilderness Energy 24V Brushed front hub motor kit.
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First, thanks for all your comments and suggestions that you’ve shared with each other on this subboard. I’ve learned a lot. Keep ‘em coming. I especially appreciate it when you post money-saving specials that you find on the net.

I’ve had this ebike kit for about 190 miles (4 months?) and I apologize for not having reviewed it earlier. Been busy and just needed to sit down and knock out this review.

Pros: Price, ease of installation, comes complete (pre-wired, batteries, hub, controller, everything)

Negs: weight, bumpiness

My weight: 175 lbs.

Price paid: $199 (+$44 shipping)

Weight of bike w/complete setup (bike, batteries, rack, controller) : 74lbs

Installation: Installed it on a Schwinn Frontier MTB. The Frontier MTB is made of hi-ten steel. Installation was straightforward with no major issues. This Frontier had “C” cut outs to handle this front hub. It went in and “sat” with the shape of the hub screws. I did not have to expand the front fork to make the hub fit. The time-consuming part is having to run the wires from the controller to the hub, handi-tie them, install the included rear rack etc. The included directions are not very helpful. The only positive is that the directions had a lot of pictures.

They say you should install the controller on the outside of the battery pack, but I put it in a under saddle bag (see pix). I think they want to avoid the controller from getting too hot. This controller gets slightly warm, but not hot to the touch. A plus for my setup is that you can hide it by zipping it up.

The thumb accelerator also works well. I cannot compare it to the twist type, since I’ve never used it, but I’ve had no problems in terms of turning it or comfort problems.

Also, I later swapped out the MTB knobbies for some smooth slick tires (60PSI max).

Speed: I can attain a max speed on flat ground of 16mph. It is somewhat hilly in my area and the hub can pull me up a slight incline at 8mph. When doing a steep hill, you have to pedal or the hub will give out. I find myself pedaling when I do all the hills anyway. Can’t stand to lose speed, I guess. The hub motor really helps out on those steep hills too.

I realize that 15 mph is not too fast, but when you considering it is pulling about 250lbs (me plus the bike), it’s pretty amazing. Also, there are safety considerations when going fast or down a hill and have to stop. For example, when braking, I think you can put a lot of stress on the side pull brakes with this weight/speed. Taking tight turns while at higher than 15mph speed and with this weight could also be hazardous as the bike could slip out from under you.

I do concede that a 36V motor could probably pull me up those steep hills without pedaling. However, the pedaling I do is so light/easy that it may not be worth it to upgrade to a 36V. It is just light pedaling and the hub motor really does “assist” you up.

Ride: I guess having so much weight on this bike makes for a bumpy experience. I swapped out the stock saddle and put in a brooks b67 because it has springs. It helped slightly, but you can still feel the bumps. I’ve thought about moving this kit to a full suspension MTB, like those cheap walmart ones, for a less bumpy ride. All I’ve found are aluminum bikes, though. Perhaps, I can switch out the front aluminum fork in those to a steel one.

Range: The kit came with 2 heavy Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries. I have not really drained out the 2-12v SLAs, but I had one long ride of about 15 miles where I found the motor wasn’t pulling me as fast as it usually does. I was home already and did not push it past 15 miles. I would guesstimate that the range is between 15-20 miles on one charge.

I do not charge my batteries while at work. They do not recommend this. I’ve been measuring the degradation of the batteries with a radio shack battery tester and they have been on the high range (85-90%) of the meter. So far, sulfination has not set in by me not recharging at work. Maybe it’s because the distance of the commute, who knows.

A definite future upgrade would be to go with lighter batteries like lithium ion. I’ve been keeping a lookout for cheap dewalt battery packs, which I know could be installed with this. Perhaps, the lighter lithium ion batteries can improve on the bumpiness as well as top speed?

Conclusion: Overall, I’m very pleased with my first ebike. My commute is 6 miles round trip. I use this hub equipped bike when I have to wear a suit and I do get to the office sweatless and not tired. Before I got this set-up I was a non-believer that a hub kit could really pull you around day in day out. I wish someone had photographed my face when I first rode it. My smile must have been ten feet wide.

I’ll try to keep updating this review if I encounter problems or perform a major upgrade. Thanks, again.

pithy
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Re: Review of the Wilderness Energy 24V Brushed front hub motor

Great post! I do hope you'll post more about your experiences with that setup. Had any problems at all with reliability? For those of us other newbies who don't want to constantly tinker with parts it's good to hear a report of a cheap setup "just working" (no offense to the tinkerers--you guys are a great help!).

coolio
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Re: Review of the Wilderness Energy 24V Brushed front hub motor

No problem at all with reliability. After my 2nd or 3rd ride one of the leads to the SLAs had come loose. The hub would not engage. It turns out that the SLAs were loose in the included battery bag and caused the lead to disconnect. I added some styrofoam back there to make it snug and the problem has not reocurred. If that happens again, I could solder the leads, but so far it's been good.

One thing I forgot to mention is that this is the brushed "BD-24" kit.

mediaman
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Re: Review of the Wilderness Energy 24V Brushed front hub motor

I have had the BD24 kit for about 2 years now. I had bought the 20" wheel version for a folding bike I was trying to convert. I ended up having to replace the front fork. It ran very well. Last year, I was experimenting with higher voltages to see what the 24volt stock controller could handle. I was looking for a 36volt controller anyway and really didn't mind burning out the 24v controller as I had a spare. I took it to 30volts. The motor responded with an increase of about 2 or 3 mph. There was no increase in heat from the controller. Ran it for a couple of days. No problems. Then I got curious. I put 36volts into the controller. The motor responded with another 2-3 mph increase in speed. On a flat run, it tops out at about 20mph. I have been running that configuration since last year till now. No problems. The controller has shown no increase in heat! Low speed torque is still about the same. (I suspect the controller still limits the current to 10 amps.) But the top end speed has gone up about 5-6 mph. Bottom line is, the stock 24 volt controller seems to be able to handle 36 volts with no problem. Torque at low speed is only slightly better but the top end speed has greatly increased. Needless to say, I have stopped searching for a new 36v controller. Even with the low torque, I am happy with it. And with the 10amp limitation, it still stretches battery usefulness per charge.

The MediaMan

coolio
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Re: Review of the Wilderness Energy 24V Brushed front motor kit.

Thanks for the update, Mediaman!

I'm starting to ride this bike more as the temperature has started warming up. I rode it some during the winter, but mostly it sat in my shed. I was very diligent to charge it at least once a month; even if I hadn't ridden it.

A couple of questions on your post: Did you replace the front fork because it did not fit or because the motor cracked it? By going to 36V you just added an extra 12V battery? You kept the same setup/24V controller? Will the charger charge 3 batteries (if you hook them up in sequence)?

I'd like to do this, but I'm kind of a newbie about these things and need some one to spell them out for me. Thanks, again.

silentguy
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Re: Review of the Wilderness Energy 24V Brushed front motor kit.

A Couple of quick questions.

How many watts is the motor ?

How much clearance do you need for the front forks ?

Has anybody tried putting these into Rock Shox ?

I have an old Bridgestone MB-1 mountain bike,
with ROck SHox, that I would like to convert to electric.

Thanks,

coolio
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Re: Review of the Wilderness Energy 24V Brushed hub motor kit.

My motor is 400W.

You need just under 4" in clearance from the front forks. Going just by memory, I think this hub is 3 7/8 inches.

As for the Rockshock, they recommend that you put it in a steel front fork. With a front suspension, you get a lot of movement up and down so it could be subject to breakage. And, you could ruin your suspension with one side or both not being able to move up and down as intended (afterwards). With steel forks, you can cold spread them apart or bring them closer together so the hub can fit.

Still, if your fork width is just at 3 7/8, I would do it. I don't think it'll be a problem. Just be ready to have a steel front fork as a back up, if it doesn't fit.

GHD1959
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Re: Review of the Wilderness Energy 24V Brushed hub motor kit.

I have a cheap beach cruiser that I love and live in the hot desert of AZ. I would like to continue riding my bike to work which is only a mile or so, but I would like an extra boost on the way home when its over 100 degrees, would this unit work ok for? I don't want to spend alot and this seems to be the most inexpensive one out there. I never recieved any email answers from We R Electrified, but when I call them they say I would have it in 4 days after ordering, but the website says longer. Also they include a free item, which the only one I am familiar with is the foam grips.

dogman
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Re: Review of the Wilderness Energy 24V Brushed hub motor kit.

The 24 volt kit is a bargain, and has the same hub motor as the others, so upgrading to higher voltage later is possible. In some ways the 24 volt kit is ideal for a cruiser type bike since they are never geared for more than about 10-12 miles an hour anyway. So a 36 volt kit leads you to just riding, and butts tend to get numb if you don't peadle. The low amp controller will save juice so you get better range. Since you have a short ride, range won't matter so much anyway, and two batteries is cheap and light. If you want to ride further at times, you could add two more batteries in parallel and go quite a ways. Or, as we now know, 36 volts seems to work with this controller. just two batteries carries nice too since you can strap one to each side, just above the rear hub, like saddlebags,or easily fit inside the frame.

Answering another previous post, to charge 36 volts you need a 36 volt charger, cheap on ebay, or a seperate 12 volt charger to do the spare battery.

Be the pack leader.
36 volt sla schwinn beach cruiser
36 volt lifepo4 mongoose mtb
24 volt sla + nicad EV Global

coolio
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Re: Review of the Wilderness Energy 24V Brushed hub motor kit.

Dogman,
You think this controller will handle an extra 12v battery? Will it get me a few more mph or more range? Both? Thanks.

GHD1959
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Re: Review of the Wilderness Energy 24V Brushed hub motor kit.

Is changing the brushes a big deal? What would you suggest for the free gift you can choose from for my type bike thru We R electrified? Will the desert have any worries as far as the batteries?

dogman
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Re: Review of the Wilderness Energy 24V Brushed hub motor kit.

According to the previous post, the 24v controller can run at 36v. Bear in mind, though, it was designed for 24, so no garantee it can, we just know at least one could.
top speed at 24v will be less than at 36, and running a24v controller at 36v will not be as fast as a 36v controller since the 24v controller is able to supply 10 amps, and the 36v controller is a 30 amp. The hub motor itself is proven to like voltages from 24v to 48v, and some are running even more than that, at the cost of brush life if its a brushed hub. Anytime you have more batteries you can make range longer, but not if you now ride faster. To get more range out of 36v, than 24 got you, you have to ride as slow as before. For really long range, 4 batteries at 24 volts would take you farthest.

I don't know about the gift, but I wish i had cushy grips now, riding 30 miles a day.
Heat won't bother the batteries too much while riding, but you want to charge them as cool as can be practiclally done. Hot charging kills batteries, boiling them, so try to let batteries cool a bit before you charge. Car batteries die in the desert because you allways have them too hot while the running car is charging it.

Changing brushes is not a big deal to the mechanically inclined. Its a bit tricky cracking the case, but after that is is simple pimple. There is a u tube video of opening the case properly. I opened mine improperly and got away with it.

Be the pack leader.
36 volt sla schwinn beach cruiser
36 volt lifepo4 mongoose mtb
24 volt sla + nicad EV Global

chas_stevenson
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Re: Review of the Wilderness Energy 24V Brushed hub motor kit.

Anytime you have more batteries you can make range longer, but not if you now ride faster. To get more range out of 36v, than 24 got you, you have to ride as slow as before. For really long range, 4 batteries at 24 volts would take you farthest.

I must disagree with the above statement. If I have a 24-volt battery pack and add another battery to the pack then I have more watt hours which will give more range even if you do ride faster. Example: 24-volts @ 12 AH is 288 watt hours(WH) adding a battery to this pack making it 36-volts @ 12 AH is 432 WH. If the e-bike uses 20 WH per mile then the bike can go about 14.4 miles on the 24-volt pack and about 21.6 miles on the 36-volt pack. This of course is only at 100% discharge which we know we do not do. The other problem is at 36-volts when running the faster speed you are using more WH per mile but not 33% more, it is less than 33% more it is closer to 18% more so if we adjust the 21.6 miles using the 18% we can only go about 17.7 miles which is still an improvement over the 24-volt pack. I have taken 2 e-bikes from 24 to 36-volts and in both cases I was able to get a similar increase in range.

Real world experience,
Grandpa Chas S.

GHD1959
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Wilderness Energy 24V Brushed front hub motor kit.

I just recieved my BD24 unit and the instructions are lousy. It says that the wire coming out of the motor should be mounted on the left side sitting on the bike, but there's only one flat washer on the motor wire side and 2 washers, one flat and the other different, on the right. Is this right? Picture looks like 2 on both sides. THERE IS ALSO A THREE WIRE CONNECTOR THAT looks like and extra connection coming out of the controller also. Better instructions?

patm0007
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Re: Wilderness Energy 24V Brushed front hub motor kit.

Just got my BD24 and it's a lot of fun.
The wire is on the left side.
I had a bad connection on the wire coming off the motor connecting to the harness. It was intermitantly bad. Took an afternoon to trouble shoot , but ended up soldering the red wire to the male pin.

I had it installed on my Specialized HardRock MTB and it looked real cool! But Re-installed it on a walmart bike with steel forks before going to 36 volts. Does't look as cool now.

patm0007
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Re: Wilderness Energy 24V Brushed front hub motor kit.

Just got my BD24 and it's a lot of fun.
The wire is on the left side.
I had a bad connection on the wire coming off the motor connecting to the harness. It was intermitantly bad. Took an afternoon to trouble shoot , but ended up soldering the red wire to the male pin.

I had it installed on my Specialized HardRock MTB and it looked real cool! But Re-installed it on a walmart bike with steel forks before going to 36 volts. Does't look as cool now.

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