Electric Bike or Conversion Kit?

Hey,
I'm looking at getting an E-Bike, and I'm not sure if I should buy an E-Bike, or convert my current bike into an E-Bike.
I live in NSW (bordering ACT), so the bike/kit must be a maximum of 250W (or maybe I could cap a 1000W to 250W while on the road?)
I need help in finding the right option for me.

For some context, I will be going up an inclined hill for about 800 m, and I won't require a range greater than 15 km. I am fairly fit, and have ridden a bike to the destination before, but it's a huge pain going up the hill.
My maximum budget is $1000, however that's still stretching it.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated,
Thanks :)

Comments

  • I thought long and hard about this and decided that trying to get all the parts from grey market sellers, still spend $1,000'ish and try to make it work myself in a non-seamless or clean setup just isn't worth the punt.

    Ended up selling my regular bike and waiting for stock on the e-bike I want. You may want to consider that too.

    This appears to be the bike of choice for most food delivery people around Sydney CBD (I've noticed a lot): https://www.leoncycle.com.au/NCM-Moscow-Electric-Mountain-Bi...

    You can get them for cheaper used as well but depends how much you can get for your own one to meet your budget.

    This is the one I really want for the bike trails in Ku-Ring-Gai and Royal National Park rides but never in stock:

    https://www.leoncycle.com.au/ncm-aspen-plus-fat-electric-bik...

    I'm sure there's better ones out there (VALK seems to be the second most popular brand) but haven't looked into them too much yet as doesn't seem to have a reputable authorised seller here.

    https://www.mytopia.com.au/valk-maxxis-velo-shimano-36v-250w...

    • I see. Are there any E-Bikes you can recommend for under $750? I know the quality won't be great, but as long as it can get me from point A to point B (in the rain), then I'll be perfectly happy :)

      • I'm not very well versed in the market offerings unfortunately and tend to stay away from low quality unknown Chinese brands as a rule so wouldn't know. Might be ideal to pop into a local bike shop and have a look around. Most will let you test ride them too.

        • Aspen Plus finally came back into stock and pulled the trigger. Got 10% off ordering 2 which is great. Here's hoping it's actually decent. We'll see.

      • $750 is where you are starting to get an acceptable conventional bike. I don't see how you could have a fit for purpose E-bike for that price.

  • Electric bike.
    Easier dealing with warranties, they can't claim user installation error.

  • My father and brother both built their own electric bikes. They are quite amazing machines, but very heavy, and very very often have problems. I'd go mad trying to solve the issues they deal with. Sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly. Electric issues and stuff, lots of wiring that can go wrong.

  • Also depends on what bike the kit is going on, being what kind of motor.

    A wheel hub motor is easier to install than one for the crankshaft.

    I love finding excuses to teardown my mountain bikes and rebuild them, even just to clean and re-grease.

    I wanted a bafang kit for one of the bikes, but in the end just bought an ebike as they're cleaner looking too amongst other things.

    If it's just for commuting, Aldi were selling ebikes a few weeks back and some stores still have stock (Melbourne).

  • +3

    I love DIY'ing as much as I can as I learn heaps throughout the process plus it usually ends up being exactly what I want and at a quality far higher than most off-the-shelf versions and is sometimes a bit cheaper… however in this case I too would recommend you just go get an e-Bike and ride away happy. Less hassle, less effort, warranty included and these days usually far cheaper than you can DIY anyway!

    I've built 5-6 eBikes for friends & family plus a couple for myself including front hub drive, rear hub drive and mid drive versions. Some geared yet others single-speed. 24V, 36V & 48V versions. A couple with custom built batteries of my own design using RC Hobby packs and others just with dumb, big & heavy off-the-shelf batteries. All have turned out really well but I've gotta say my fully custom, mid-drive versions seem to work the best and turn most heads :) All these were over 2-3 years ago however when my wife recently asked me to electrify her current bike I was very surprised at the cost & quality of fully-built, off-the-shelf eBikes nowadays. You can get an entire eBike for only $100-200 more than buying all the bits yourself to bolt onto an existing bike! Crazy… but I still went for the DIY option as I want to use my old mid-drive motor (Bafang) and I want to build another custom battery pack for her to keep the size & weight down as she only needs about 3-5Ah for her very short trips.

    • Alright! It would be very convinent to just buy a bike and ride away with it, but I can't decide which one. I'm also not sure what Watts, Volts and mAh does. Is more = better?
      Also, if you don't mind could you please recommend some good pre-built E-Bikes? Preferably under $750.
      Also, I can ride E-Bikes in the rain right?

      Thanks :)

      • You wont need much to give you an effortless boost up the 800m hill, 250W will be fine but of course it isn't going to keep you moving at 40kph up that hill. The Bafang 750W mid-mount motor I've used is seriously far too powerful for general cycling but of course that's why most systems allow you to program them to define exactly how you want them to behave. Pedal assist has settings so you can dial it up or down as much as you desire but in saying that it's always nice to have extra power for those time you want a quick burst ;) Seriously though, a 250W eBike should be fine as it will possibly work really hard up the hill to meet your expectations but then just cruise for the rest of the ride… but of course YMMV.

        I'd have to go hunting for eBikes for you but I'm a bit busy today so that may have to wait although from what I heard the cheapies from ALDI seemed OK. And yes, they're fine to ride in the rain.

  • This entirely depends on how happy you are with your current bike.

    If it's a well maintained quality one that's the right type for the way you are using it, then it's a no-brainer - go for the kit.

    If it's a K-Mart special then it will be cheaper and less hassle to get another one like it with somebody else (typically the importer) already having done the conversion. Cheap e-bikes are built around (hard to maintain) cheap components, just like cheap regular bikes.

    If its a good bike but just the wrong type for you (eg mountain bike for road commuting) then sell it to help fund a good quality designed-for-ebike machine. Hub motors, in particular, have a lot of advantages over wheel motors.

  • The aldi one recently was only 7.5amp battery and seemed much more of a compromise for a big box retailer that you could return to store for warranty. The fortis at Kogan was better for the price, but I have heard mixed opinions on the return process. If you are travelling to Sydney you can check out Progear from Lifespan Fitness- I went to Melb store and they let you try before you buy. The price point is at 1200 but if you liked it you can get it via Harvey Norman for 999 at present but with a 99 delivery fee. Lifespan price matched HN with the delivery cost so I saved 100. Good Luck

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