Introduction

The process of converting standard bikes to electric bikes

Everyday we are busy converting standard bikes to electric. We keep a pictorial record of every bike we build along with notes. Often we are building several bikes at the same time and it becomes impossible to display all of them on this page.  We do our best to post as many bikes as possible on this website with as much details as possible.


Please Note: After a period of time these bikes are moved to our "Past Bafang Conversion" page.


When writing up these bikes we try to be as honest as possible in our appraisal of the bike and the conversion process. As of this writing over 4,000 people read of these bike conversions to electric every week. We hope this site may help others understand the process of converting a standard bike to electric. 

Advocate Lorax titanium

Arrival

Custom bottom bracket adaptor

Custom bottom bracket adaptor

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This is a beautiful titanium bike that will make for a great electric bike conversion. We have worked with titanium in the past so there should not be any surprises. Locking down the motor does require additional steps as the frame is harder than the fixing plate. Remember, a steel fixing plate is pressed into the aluminum bottom bracket shell and that is what locks the motor in place/ However, titanium is harder than steel making the steel fixing plate ineffectual. We have several different methods of locking a motor in place so frame material is no obstacle.

Custom bottom bracket adaptor

Custom bottom bracket adaptor

Custom bottom bracket adaptor

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This bike has a press fit BB86 bottom bracket. That means there are no adaptors on the market that will allow a Bafang mid drive. As you can see, we make our own adaptors allowing us to convert bikes that have this standard. Because of the large bb shell a special motor with a longer axel will be required. These wide bottom brackets are found on any bike that has sweeping chainstays such as fat bikes. The purpose of the wide bb is to prevent the heel of the rider from coming in contact with the chainstay. Some bb are as wide as 120mm. The most common size of a bb is 68mm or 73mm.

Tip: Removing drop bars

Custom bottom bracket adaptor

Tip: Removing drop bars

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On this bike we will be replacing the drop bars with flat bars. When removing drop bars do not remove the bar tape, housing or cables. Just disconnect the cables and the stem faceplate and remove as a whole. Now, they will be much easier  to reinstall on another bike. 

Replace missing bolts

Replace missing bolts

Tip: Removing drop bars

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This a very simple task that will always make the bike look complete. At risk of repeating myself...everyone that works on bakes has in front of him/her a tray filled with nuts, bolts, and washers of all sizes and it only takes a second to find the right part for the right hole. Also, every hole on a frame that is sealed means one less hole for water intrusion. 

Ready to build

Replace missing bolts

Ready to build

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As we all know...shipping is very slow right now. This is the second bike in a week where I had to order a special part (motor w/extension axle). Patience is the word for the day.

update....

Replace missing bolts

Ready to build

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Did you know sloths are the worlds slowest moving mammals? 


Shipping has slowed to a crawl. I was just notified our wholesale company just ceased operations. That means we are limited to parts on hand. My opinion is let's do whatever it takes to slow or stop this virus. A thousand eBikes is not worth a single life. This bike is our last one and we are waiting on a motor. The motor may arrive tomorrow or it may arrive next month. Delivery drivers are becoming ill, factory workers at Amazon, Fed Express, and Ups are being infected. Every delivery we do receive I thank them and give them a tip. Let's all stay indoors and do our part to help all the medical workers, delivery workers, and all the others who make it possible for us to see a better tomorrow.  

Specialized Arial

Arrival

On the stand

On the stand

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This bike belongs to a very nice young family and we are going to convert it into an electric bike for them. We have built this model before and are aware of the battery placement requirement. This bike will require a "side load" battery. A side load battery requires less room as it does not slide forward in order to install. Even though it is smaller it comes with powerful Samsung 35E cells and a 30 battery management system.

On the stand

On the stand

On the stand

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This is a bike with a small frame. When the bike first came in I looked at it and thought I could fit a side load battery on the downtube. Sometimes, I am wrong as it is not that easy to measure. There are many things to consider. For example the angle of the top tube relative to the seat tube may position the battery so far forward that it will hit the toptube. Therefore, always start with the battery if fitting is questionable. I have seen it come down to a few millimeters. 

Nice fit

On the stand

Is it crooked?

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And there you go. What would happen if it did not fit? There are a few choices we offer our clients. We have a very powerful behind the saddle battery or we can mount the battery on top of the toptube. 


Now that we know the battery will fit we can begin to build this bike.

Is it crooked?

Bottom bracket removal

Is it crooked?

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Removing the crank arms can be daunting. This is a crank arm removal tool. You have to be very careful lest you strio the threads. Does this look crooked? If it is, then for certain the threads will be stripped and then the crank arm will have to be cut off. Even though it looks crooked, it is not. Always, insure the crank arm removal tool is as far in as you get it! This crank arm was VERY tight and was capable of stripping the threads easily had I not used this tool correctly.

Bottom bracket removal

Bottom bracket removal

Bottom bracket removal

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We never remove any bottom bracket without the bottom bracket socket firmly attached to the bottom bracket. This is done by running bolt that is threaded for the axle spindle in to the axle itself. Only then can you safely apply the force needed to remove a bottom bracket. This bottom, like the crank arms, was on VERY tight! This is a new bike and the parts should not be that difficult to remove. The pedals, the cranks, and now the bottom bracket were on too tight. People always ask if I think one could do their own conversion. Under certain circumstance the answer is a yes but with a lot of stipulations. There are so many complications in converting a bike to electric it is best to have it done by a professional.

Uh oh

Bottom bracket removal

Bottom bracket removal

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This is a cable guide that is under the bottom bracket. This guide handles the hydraulic brake line and the rear derailleur. This guide prevents the motor from being inserted. You have to come up with a solution and you cannot allow the motor to impede the brake line or the shift cable. First, we reroute the brake line. Hydraulic lines are simple to reroute because they are basically a hose. Not true for the shift cable. There can be no sudden turns fo a shift cable. What we do is remove the guide, reroute the brake line, and then use cable housing to run underneath the motor and up to the first cable stop. We then use Cobra Flex Route to tie everything together.

Do not let this happen

Remember to flush cut the zip ties

Do not let this happen

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As you can see the motor is sitting on top of the hydraulic brake line. If, in the future, that motor moves it will pinch off the brake line and the result will be...no rear brakes. We snip the Ziptie hold thing brake line, install the motor, and then put the brake line on the outside of the M33 nut. 

Speed Sensor

Remember to flush cut the zip ties

Do not let this happen

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When attaching a speed sensor use the largest Zip ties you can fit in the slots that hold it in place. Just about every bike we see that comes in for repairs from other builders the speed sensor is loose. Large Zip ties mean you can pull them very tight without snapping. Also, do not telescope the speed sensor. If the speed sensor reaches too far it is easy to break when removing the wheel. 

Remember to flush cut the zip ties

Remember to flush cut the zip ties

Remember to flush cut the zip ties

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If you do not cut Zip ties flush then they become sharp little edges that can cut a finger or leg. In my opinion, failure to cut all Zip ties flush is dereliction and there is no excuse. When we are washing a bike the one thing we are constantly watching for is sharp Zip ties; as we know they will slice are hands. It is not that hard to do it right.

Spoke magnet and sensor

Finished bike and test ride

Remember to flush cut the zip ties

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It took an hour to set up this magnet and sensor. Why so long? Often (very often) the sensor is too long and hits the magnet. Therefore we have to modify the entire setup. Other times the magnet is too far from the sensor. We do not like to telescope the sensor so we have come up with a method that will all the sensor to reach the magnet without the use of the extension feature. As you can see...it was worth the extra time. Perfect setup.

Finished bike and test ride

Finished bike and test ride

Finished bike and test ride

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Hey Pop...did you remember to wash your hands?

Final thoughts

Finished bike and test ride

Finished bike and test ride

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Please remember to stay at home as much as possible...You humans can be annoying at times  but I would miss you terribly were something to happen.

Turner 5 spot

Arrival

Bottom bracket removal

Assessment

turner 5 spot bafang conversion

This is the legendary Turner 5 spot. David Turner, a formal professional mountain bike racer built his first mountain bike in 1992 and it became a cult favorite among the mountain bike elite. We are looking forward to converting this classic into an awesome electric bike.

Assessment

Bottom bracket removal

Assessment

turner 5 spot on the work stand

Here, on the stand we will assess the bike to insure a motor will in fact be able to be installed. Often, bikes like these will have physical obstruction that prevent the motor being installed. First we remove the pedals, crank arms, and the bottom bracket then we insert the motor to see if it will fit. What do we do if it does not fit and cannot be adapted? We reassemble the bike, clean the bike, tune up the bike and calibrate the brakes...for free. It's our way of saying thanks for choosing our firm.

Bottom bracket removal

Bottom bracket removal

Bottom bracket removal

bottom bracket removal

IMPORTANT: Do not attempt to remove a bottom bracket without some means of holding the bottom bracket socket firmly against the splined bottom bracket cup. On this type of bottom bracket, where our standard method of securing will not work, we take a long bolt and secure it on both sides to hold the socket tight against the cup. So far, everything on this bike has been removed without any difficulty. 

On the work stand

On the work stand

Bottom bracket removal

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Now we are ready to begin the build. The bike has been cleaned and inspected. This bike has been well maintained. We noticed a couple of spokes have been replaced, and the brake fluid in the rear brake was insufficient. Other than that we are ready to get started.

Motor placement

On the work stand

Battery placement

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Nice fit. Sometimes working with full suspension bikes you expect difficulties at every turn. This bike is just the opposite. The bottom bracket, cranks, pedals, all were removed without any difficulties. The motor has no obstructions and every part of this bike functions well. This is a very well constructed bike. The frame seems indestructible. Even the derailleur hanger is the largest I have seen. Going to an interesting test ride.

Battery placement

On the work stand

Battery placement

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All of Alameda County is on a "Shelter in Place" order and that means we had to close our shop. No problem as we will do everything in our power to help with mediating the Coronavirus. We spent all day yesterday moving the shop tools and inventory to my home so I could finish the last three bikes. We are thankful for our understanding clients. Here is the Turner 5 spot we have been working on and will finish soon.

Why we inspect

Presta stem savers

Why we inspect

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There you go...see that tiny wire? That will work its way into the inner tube and the result will be a flat tire. After a flat, the tire is checked throughly for thorns or glass and having found none the new tube is installed and after a hundred miles...another flat. This is why we inspect everything when we convert a bike to electric. 

Uh oh...

Presta stem savers

Why we inspect

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When I removed the nut that holds the stem in place I discovered the nut was covering up the fact that a Presta tube was used in a wheel intended for a Schrader tube. The valves are different. You can use a Presta tube in a Schrader wheel but you have to use an adaptor. If you leave the adaptor off it will result in a blowout...not a flat...a blowout. Blowouts are dangerous. 

Presta stem savers

Presta stem savers

Presta stem savers

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These are the wheel inserts that are used to allow a Presta tube to be used in a wheel that was designed for a Schrader tube. You could use a Presta tube in the front and a Schraeder in the back but then you would have to carry two tubes on a ride in case of a flat, and two different methods of inflation. 

Almost finished

Ready for the test ride

Presta stem savers

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Some of the bikes we build will require special parts. We keep a number of shifters in stock but in this case we need a unique part. Sram shifters will not work with Shimano derailleurs as the pull ratio is different. There are exceptions to this rule. On this bike there is a Shimano rear derailleur and a Shram 9 speed twist shifter and the pull ratio is right on the spot. 

Ready for the test ride

Ready for the test ride

Ready for the test ride

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This bike went through a lot of changes before it was finished. We tried to refresh the older Avid Juicy brakes but they were just a bit old and needed replacing. We replaced the brakes with a set of new Shimano hydraulics. The Sram Rocket shifter also did not meet the standards of newer shifter. It was replaced with a new Shimano shifter with 1:1 cable pull to match the derailleur. The bike is finished and was test ride was as expected. 

Final thoughts...

Ready for the test ride

Ready for the test ride

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Thanks for the patience of the owner of this bike. This would have been a 1-2 day build under normal conditions, instead it took over a week from start to finish. Normal no longer exists. Even the pick up of the finished bike is complicated. Last night while in conversation with the owner he said, "We have to approach every person as if they have the virus." He is right. This bike will be wiped down with disinfectant, handled with gloves, and set aside. A new normal, and new way of receiving bikes, and a new way of delivering a finished bike. 

Specialized Sequoia

Arrival

Surly Hurdy Gurdy

Dropouts

Specialized Sequoia

This is a beautiful XL Specialized Sequoia. Right away we know special tools will be required for the build. It is in fantastic condition and will make for a challenging build. A lot of custom work has been done on this bike and we will work with our components to preserve all the elements of this bike. This is a 30 year old bike so we will be inspecting the frameset very carefully. After washing the bike it was dissembled. The frame and fork was gone over with a soft cloth and a pick searching for any hairline cracks. Everything looks great. 

Dropouts

Surly Hurdy Gurdy

Dropouts

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The picture above is of a horizontal dropout. The problem with horizontal dropouts is they tend to pull free under heavy pedaling and move the wheel towards the chainstay. If you lock the wheel in very tight it can stay in place without movement. However, will it stay in place with a 750w motor? No...not even for a moment. Fortunately, there are devices made that will hold the wheel in place. For some reason Surly Bikes continues to make a model that has these types of dropouts and people constantly complain the wheel will not stay in place. Surly Bikes has made an adaptor as a remedy and it works very well.

Surly Hurdy Gurdy

Surly Hurdy Gurdy

Surly Hurdy Gurdy

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A little difficult to see how this works. It works by providing a stop for the quick release. We have used this device on a number of bikes with forward facing dropouts and we have yet to see one fail. The one we use is made by Surly Bikes and is called a Hurdy Gurdy.

Special tools

Prime bare steel

Surly Hurdy Gurdy

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This old school bottom bracket required 3 special tools for removal. When I say special I do not mean they are not common in all bike shops. What I mean is that for the most part it is rare we see this type of bottom bracket in our shop. It posed no problem to remove and was in remarkable good condition given its age.

Prime bare steel

Prime bare steel

Prime bare steel

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The was a repaired chainstay. Since we were rebuilding the bike we thought it wise to prime the bare metal before finishing assembly. It does not take long and if we neglect this small item it would mean a lot more work for the owner. 

Finished bike

Prime bare steel

Prime bare steel

specialized sequoia bafang conversion

I think this is one of the most beautiful bikes we have converted. We did everything we could to preserve the beauty of the bike. We used the wide sweeping bar end shift cable housing as guide for our housing. We kept the brake levers and used a green button as the motor cut-off.  This bike is a beautiful combination of an electric bike and a Specialized classic.

Specialized Rockhopper

Arrival

Cleaning and inspecting

Cleaning and inspecting

specialized Rockhopper

The older Rockhoppers were well made bike. This is a good example of an earlier Rockhopper. Other than a few obvious  problems with this bike (cables, cable housing) it is ready to go.

Cleaning and inspecting

Cleaning and inspecting

Cleaning and inspecting

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This is the "before" picture of the rear derailleur. We take the derailleur, chain, and cassette and clean them in an ultrasonic machine. This machine rids the parts of all debris. 

After cleaning

Cleaning and inspecting

The unseen problem

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As you can see, the parts come out like they were new. This allows us to inspect each part. Why is this important? Because it is pointless to convert a bike to electric that will not shift properly. 

The unseen problem

Finished bike and test ride

The unseen problem

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Look closely at this picture...do you see the problem? The tip of one of the teeth is broken off. This is why we inspect every part of the bike. This bike never would have shifted correctly.

Finished bike and test ride

Finished bike and test ride

Finished bike and test ride

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All finished as planned and test ride was great. We replaced the older off road tires with all terrain Schwalbe Marathon Plus Electric bike tires and what a difference. As I have always said: Tires are the best improvement for any bike.

Final thoughts....

Finished bike and test ride

Finished bike and test ride

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Weight to an electric bike is meaningless. The Bafang 750 watt motor has power to spare. Therefore, always opt for the largest eBike rated tires with the greatest amount of flat protection. They weigh more...but with these powerful motors it simply does matter.

Fuji Absolute 2.0

Arrival

Cleaning and inspecting

Cleaning and inspecting

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This is a well cared for bike and is in top condition. The Fuji bike company began in Japan in 1899. The owner of the company named the bikes "Fuji" after Mt. Fuji in Japan. The name implied strength and endurance.  


We will be adding aBBS02 750 watt motor, the powerful 52v 17Ah battery and new tires. 

Cleaning and inspecting

Cleaning and inspecting

Cleaning and inspecting

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Notice the bottom bracket has been removed prior to cleaning. This allows us to get a better look at the condition of the frame. Is this important? A bike came in the other day with a cracked frame. Sometimes, what is though of as cracked paint is in fact, a cracked frame. There is no point in building any bike that is not a safe bike. This frameset looks great

Rebuilding the brakes

Cleaning and inspecting

Motor and battery placement

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These are linear rim brakes. They look great when polished and they work great. However, they are a bit sluggish. We always remove the brake arms on every bike with this style of brakes and re-grease the posts. If the springs have become weak we set the pin on these brakes to the uppermost position. 

Motor and battery placement

Motor and battery placement

Motor and battery placement

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The motor installed without issues. It is difficult to see but the top tube is oval shaped with the narrow section at the top. In order to set a battery on such a small contact area we use a 1/4 inch thick rubber strip as an interface between the battery base plate and the top tube. This holds the battery firmly in place. 

Broken spring

Motor and battery placement

Final thoughts

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While calibrating the brakes a sudden snap sound occurred and we all looked up. It was the tension spring. This does not happen often. Because one spring snapped we decided to replace the caliper arms on both front and back. On the test ride, everything was smooth and powerful. We made a couple of adjustments to the shifting index and it's ready to go. 

Final thoughts

Motor and battery placement

Final thoughts

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Every time we see a part fail we ask, "What would have happened if this part failed while under power?" In the case of the spring, nothing would have happed that would put the rider in jeopardy. A return spring causes the brake arm to return to its open position. If the spring is bent or broken the brake shoe will drag against the rim. 

Surly Big Dummy Cargo Bike

Arrival

First cleaning and inspection

First cleaning and inspection

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This is a Surly cargo bike in excellent condition and it will make for a great electric bike. We cannot wait to get started.

First cleaning and inspection

First cleaning and inspection

First cleaning and inspection

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This bike will be used to transport children so it gets triple inspection. One of the things we look for are any evidence of spiders. Any bike that has been in storage can become a home to many creatures and we do not want an unwelcome visit to frighten the children. This bike looks good and shows no damage or excessive wear. 

Cleaning the parts

First cleaning and inspection

Cleaning the parts

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This is what a cassette looks like after cleaning. For chainrings, chainsets, and cassettes we use an ultrasonic tank. On this cassette the first thing we noticed upon removal is the small screw that hold the individual cogs together had come loose. We cleaned the cogs and then reinserted the small pin that holds everything together.  

Trimming Zip ties

Motor and battery installation

Cleaning the parts

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These small cutters are called by a few different name but what they are used for is to snip zip ties flush. Why is that important? Zip ties, if not cut flush leave a very sharp edge that can easily cut a finger or hand. This bike will carry a child. It is a categorical imperative that every zip tie is cut flush for the sake of the child. One day I received a email from an irate bike builder who said, "You are the only one who cares about those things." I do not believe that for a moment. Every bike mechanic I know is sympathetic of the rider, not just the bike. 

Replaced the rear tire...

Motor and battery installation

Motor and battery installation

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The rear tire on this bike seemed to be in good condition and it was difficult to justify replacing it. However, on a cargo bike the rear tire has to be a flatless model because in the event of a flat replacing a tube is very difficult. With a child on the back it is not possible to wait for someone to come to the rescue. As I researched the tire I saw it was a $20 tire that is no longer in production. Therefore, I put a Schwalbe Marathon 440 flat less electric bike rated tire on the back. The front tire is a Schwalbe Big Ben tire which should be fine.

Motor and battery installation

Motor and battery installation

Motor and battery installation

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This is a very nice looking bike and it is in very fine condition. The only thing about the Surly cargo bike that is odd is the wheel locks. The wheel locks take a whole 5 seconds to overcome without the key. It would be much easier for the owner of these bikes to repair a flat if it had quick releases rather than wheel lock. Other than that, Surly has built a quality cargo bike that just lends itself to conversion to an eBike. 

Cableing for esthetics

Cableing for esthetics

Cableing for esthetics

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Running cables on a bike can be a taunting task for every builder. There always seem to be too much cable and no where to put it. We have come up with our own novel methods of cabling that are functional and meet our standard of esthetics. Cargo bikes are the easiest of all bikes to cable due to the size of the frame. We are often ask why we do not charge more to convert a cargo bike to electric. There is your answer...they are simpler to convert. Because of their size there is plenty of room for motor, battery and cable. Granted...they do take up a fair bit of space in our build area and they are heavy. Can't have it all, as my Mother used to say.

Finished and test ride

Cableing for esthetics

Cableing for esthetics

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I like everything about this bike. The owner has kept it in great condition and the only thing deficient was the rear tire. Rear tires on a cargo bike have to pretty much puncture proof  as they are very difficult to remove. The bike itself performs like it was made to be electric powered. The reason for this is the long wheelbase makes for a very comfortable and controlled ride. On this bike I would be tempted to ride on throttle only as it cruises so well. I decided to add so bar tape to the monkey bars to give some grip to those small hands of the future passenger. 

Final thoughts

Cableing for esthetics

Final thoughts

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We like converting cargo bikes to electric. They are not that difficult as there is plenty of room on the frame to attach the battery and route the cable. We know they will perform very well and our clients will be pleased. Sometimes we will have as many as 4 cargo bikes on the floor at the same time resulting in a bit of cramped space. That said...we always look forward to the next cargo bike that comes through our door.

Specialized Epic Comp

Arrival

Successful crank removal

Arrival

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Beautiful bike. This is an expensive, well made bike that will make for a fantastic conversion. Odd as it may seem but the more expensive the bike the greater the difficulty to convert to electric. There are reason for that but there is insufficient space to go through them. With that in mind, we are not sure what problems we may encounter.

Problem

Successful crank removal

Arrival

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Self extracting cranks are used on higher bikes because they allow removal of the crank arm without any special tools. They work great...sometimes. Self extracting cranks have a tendency to not work at all, making it impossible to remove the crank.  The procedure: Tighten the cap by turning in the direction of the arrow. Insert a 6-8mm hex and turn the inner bolt counterclockwise. This action should push against the cap freeing the crank. In the case of this bike we have it soaking overnight in penetrating fluid and will try again in the morning.

Successful crank removal

Successful crank removal

Successful crank removal

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We are fortunate to have been successful in the removal of the crank. Last night I removed the retaining cap, soaked the crank inner bolt in penetrating fluid. This morning I set the bike up in such a way that it would allow me to apply tremendous force to the 8mm hex wrench. Then we heard a load "snap" The crank began to move. Success...this time.


Warning: Applying force to anything on a bike can result to injury. It is best to et your local bike shop remove a stuck crank arm bolt. 

Ready to begin

Cassette before Ultrasonic cleaning

Successful crank removal

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This frame is very light. A very light frame means very thin aluminum walls. This has to be taken into consideration if we need to add Rivnuts. We always remove the brake pads for inspection. Front pads look good but rear are worn. Usually front brakes wear out sooner than the front. With disc brakes the rear wear out before the front.

Cassette before Ultrasonic cleaning

Cassette before Ultrasonic cleaning

Cassette before Ultrasonic cleaning

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This cassette needs cleaning. All cassette on all bikes we convert are removed from the bike and cleaned in an ultrasonic tank. This is included in our builds. The reason for this is when we finish a conversion it has to shift correctly. Therefore, the complete drivetrain must be in top shape.

Cassette after Ultrasonic cleaning

Cassette before Ultrasonic cleaning

Cassette before Ultrasonic cleaning

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A dirty drive train is not the sign of neglect...it is the sign of use. When you buy a bike you should ride that bike and enjoy it as much as you can, In the process you will get parts dirty and greasy. The chain lubricant contaminates the entire drivetrain and this, in turn, attracts dust, dirt, and everything imaginable. Bike become dirty and worn through use...but that is what we bout them for in the first place.

First broken Sram Powerlink

First broken Sram Powerlink

First broken Sram Powerlink

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I have never seen a Sram Powerlink, KMC quick link, or other removable link break. Notice...the pin fell out. This is an 11 speed chain and the link was not strong enough to support the power of a rider who is approximately 200 pounds.  There are many professional mechanics who believed the 9 speed cassette should be the maximum allowed on any bike and anything above 9 speeds causes the chain to be too thin and the cassette cogs to close together. This type of failure should never happen. Were we not able to discover this the owner of the bike would have snapped the chain on his next ride. Broken chains are more than a nuisance...they can be dangerous.

Motor installation

First broken Sram Powerlink

First broken Sram Powerlink

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We did get the motor installed today but we forgot to take a picture. That happens every now and then. This is a very difficult build. While setting the motor we wanted to roll it forward but every attempt pushed the motor at an angle. That means an irregular bottom bracket shell. No problem as you usually shave off a few mm's and all is well. However, this motor is sitting right on a weld. Because of that we had to devise a way to set the motor aft of the weld. It was a 4 hour job to get the motor installed. Once installed we rerouted the shift cable and installed the shift sensor. The good news is it seems there is room for a full sized downtube battery. Preliminary measurements suggested a smaller side load battery.

Finished bike

First broken Sram Powerlink

Finished bike

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I finished this bike today. I hot the shop at 6AM determined to bring this bike to completion. The owner is a very interesting man. A professional Chef with an eye to detail. I knew he would look this bike over carefully and consider each part of the conversion carefully. I was looking forward to the test ride as that is always the proof of the pudding. I thought I would take a chance and email the owner the bike was finished....without a test ride. It was raining out and I had to wait for a break in the weather. Finally...a break in the weather. Off I went. This bike has 29 inch wheels and a XLarge frame. Rolling over the bumps with the large tires...no problem. accelerates like a rocket ship. Awesome build of a great electric bike if I say so myself.

Kona Kickapoo Delux

Arrival

Bottom bracket stuck

Bottom bracket stuck

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We will begin today with this interesting bike. As a child I remember the term "Kickapoo Joy Juice" from the Little Abner comics. 


One of our concerns about this bike is its irregular chainstays...one is higher than the other. We have built this type of bikes multiple times but each bike is different.

Bottom bracket stuck

Bottom bracket stuck

Bottom bracket stuck

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The drive side BB is firmly stuck. When this occurs it is imperative you use some kind of device to hold the socket in place while you apply pressure to the wrench. We use the largest box wrench available. Here we took a Bottom Bracket press ran it through the shell and locked the socket firmly against the threads. Failure to do this can result in stripped threads. 

On the work stand

Bottom bracket stuck

Motor and Battery installed

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The motor fits without any obstructions. This bike will require a 2mm spacer to insure the motor does not come into contact with the chainstay. This is common but it also changes the chainline. Chainline is one of the most important factors on any build. A proper chainline will go straight from the chainring to the middle cog. Under human power there is some deviance allowed but under the power of an electric motor every deviance is amplified.

Motor and Battery installed

Motor and Battery installed

Motor and Battery installed

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While installing the motor we decided to use a motor brace. The attachment of the motor brace to the axle caused it to come into contact with the pivot arm. We took the part to our our machine shop and made necessary adjustments. The point is...always look very closely on any full suspension eBike conversions as they are bikes with moving parts on the frame. Hard tail bike frames are always static and are more predictable.

Finish and test ride

Motor and Battery installed

Finish and test ride

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Was not quite able to finish by end of the bay as predicted. But, as long as I own this business each bike will have all the time required for the completion of each bike to electric. Sometimes we will pull a motor off a bike because we would like to change the cable truck from one location to another for purpose of esthetics. Or, we may decide to replace a part that is just not equal to the other parts on the bike. For example, the new chain we just put on is jumping on the worn cassette. Replacing a cassette can take well over an hour if frozen, and some bike just removing the rear wheel is difficult and time consuming.

Final thoughts

Motor and Battery installed

Finish and test ride

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This is a baby Hippo kiss.


There is no picture that cheers me up more than of this baby Hippo.

Bianchi ocelot

Arrival

On the workstand

On the workstand

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We are always asked how bad can a bike be and still be converted to an electric bike. About the only thing that cannot be repaired is the frame. We always begin with the frame. Apart from the frame everything else is a component. This bike has a very good frame. Other things such as cables, brakes, cable housing, will need attention. It may seem a lot but parts are just not that expensive. We did notice a wobble in the front wheel. Often that is only a matter of tightening the bearings but we will give it a close inspections.

On the workstand

On the workstand

On the workstand

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This bike has undergone its first cleaning and initial inspection. The chain, as expected, has reach the end of it use and will need replacement. The rear cassette went into the Ultrasonic and came out looking new. The rear derailleur also went into the tank and has been cleaned and lubricated. We will see how it does once it is on the bike. Sometimes the tension springs are just to weak with time to carry on.  So far so good.

Rust removal

On the workstand

Rust removal

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We try to remove as much rust as we can find on a bike. It is not that difficult not that time consuming. It helps with not just esthetics but also stops further degradation of the metal.

Tires

New brakes, cables and cable housing

Rust removal

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To test a tire we let the air out then pinch the tire. Look at the size of these cracks. This tire, once inflated, and weight put on them would have a very high probability of failure. The tires on this bike, most likely, original to the bike.

New brakes, cables and cable housing

New brakes, cables and cable housing

New brakes, cables and cable housing

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This sounds expensive...it is not. Brakes use springs and springs weaken with age even if the bikes is never used. The springs on the brakes on this bike were not responsive enough to return the brake in an open position. Other than that, these types of brakes are powerful and sufficient for any electric bike.

Replace those rusty bolts

New brakes, cables and cable housing

New brakes, cables and cable housing

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Things like replacing rusty bolts (when possible) is so fast and easy I think it should be a common practice among builders of electric bikes. I say that because all of us have a tray at our work stations filled with a verity of nuts and bolts we have collected over time and it does not cost anything to put them to good use.

Bent derailleur hanger

Finished bike and test ride

Finished bike and test ride

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The hanger on this bike looks new. However when we checked for alignment is was bent far out of line. Bent hanger are very common. A bike with a bent hanger will never shift correctly. We check every hanger because when we are calibrating the shifter on a finished conversion we want it to shift as smooth and as quiet as possible.

Finished bike and test ride

Finished bike and test ride

Finished bike and test ride

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The bike is finished and came out well.  On the initial test ride we agreed the initial set up of the grips were incorrect. We made a custom grip and it did not allow for proper reach to the control pad. This is important as you should never have to remove your hand away from the brake to to anything on a bike. After installing a different bar grip the send test ride was great. 

Final thoughts

Finished bike and test ride

Final thoughts

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When we have a bike on the floor with rust people always ask why we are converting it. First, rust can be a surface feature that can be removed and arrested. Many times rust is more of a cosmetic problem that a material problem. We have only seen one bike where the rust was so advanced there was little left of the frame. I told the owner, "Yes, we can convert this bike." "However, we would have to replace the wheels, tires, tubes, cables, seatpost, saddle, shifters, cassette, derailleur, bar, stem, and definitely the frame."

BMC Alpen challenge Belt Drive

Arrival

Belt drive with IGH 8 speed

Belt drive with IGH 8 speed

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Please Note: Details of this build are proprietary. Therefore it is not possible for us to supply a lot of details.  We were able to convert this bike to electric with the assistance of the owner of a electric bike manufacturing company who builds electric, belt driven, bikes similar to the one we have built

Belt drive with IGH 8 speed

Belt drive with IGH 8 speed

Belt drive with IGH 8 speed

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This is a belt drive system with an internally geared hub (IGH) by Shimano. There are many things that have to come together for a build such as this. For example; the tolerance of the belt, spacing the motor, adjusting the chainring, the use of small spacers and small washers, locking the motor in place without a fixing plate. This build took 4 days and we have one more specialist scheduled for Tuesday. 

Battery placement

Belt drive with IGH 8 speed

Battery placement

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This is not a round toptube. This toptube is narrow at the top and wide at the bottom. Under normal circumstances it would not be possible to firmly attach a battery to such a small contact point. We have developed a method of achieving a very strong connection between the battery baseplate and the bike tube regardless of shape.  

Motor installed

Motor installed

Battery placement

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Installing the motor is only the beginning. In the end we finished the bike. Time of build...4 days. Results? Lecture from my CPA about losing money on builds. 

Finished bike

Motor installed

Final thoughts

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This bike is an extra large and was a bit difficult to ride. However, it rides smooth and shifts well. Working with IGH one has to be careful while shifting, even with the installed shift sensor, as the hubs are very complex.

Final thoughts

Motor installed

Final thoughts

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Every now and then I am chastised for taking on builds I know will end up costing us money. My accountant has grown used this being a part of the business. while others question my business model. Building a knowledge base for converting a bike to electric means that you will accept any challenge. Once we we say "yes" to any bike we will successfully carry out the build no matter what it takes. In the end, the client receives an awesome electric bike and we receive knowledge and experience. I think that is a pretty fair for both parties.  

Specialized Roll

Arrival

On the work stand

On the work stand

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This one of our favorite bikes and we have converted over 50 of these to electric. It is very comfortable, has large tires, and is favored by men and women.

On the work stand

On the work stand

On the work stand

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This bike cleaned up very nice and looks beautiful. There are no apparent problems as the bike has been well cared for in the past. This bike has a size small frame. A small frame means additional steps have to be undertaken to secure the battery as the current bosses are too close to the bottom of the downtube. Not a problem as it is only a matter of adding a Rivnut as an attachment point.

Battery placement

On the work stand

Finishing the bike

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The battery placement on this bike was a bit different than the other Specialized Roll bikes we have converted. We have converted many Roll's to electric and 95% of them are size medium. This is a size small frame and that means the distance of bottom of the downtube in relation to the bosses preinstalled on the bike will not matchup with the battery baseplate. Not a problem but Rivnut must be placed in the frame to secure the battery. 

Finishing the bike

Finishing the bike

Finishing the bike

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Beautiful bike. We loved the color of this bike and everything on the build went without any difficulties. We certainly cannot say that about every bike. 

Test ride

Finishing the bike

Final thoughts

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I ask Isabella, one of our mechanics, to test the bike as she is the shortest on our staff and this is a small bike. She returned with a positive report but did mention the brakes were making noise. We put the bike back on the stand and recalibrated the brake and now the bike is like new....only better.

Final thoughts

Finishing the bike

Final thoughts

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What had made the Specialized Roll such a popular bike for conversion is the way it is designed,. Specialized designed a bike that rides as if it has suspension but in fact there is no suspension. They accomplished this by raking the seatpost, front fork, and even the saddle, in order to remove pressure off the front of the bike. Then, they added large 27.5 2.3mm tires. The result is a bike that has no suspension but rides as if it did.

Diamondback Hook

Arrival

Important

Important

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Beautiful bike. This is a new bike and we will be converting it to electric using a Bafang BBSHD 750 watt motor and a 48v 17.5 battery with Samsung 35E cell group. 

Important

Important

Important

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Never allow the motor case come into contact with the chainstay. It can touch it...but ONLY touch it. You want to be able to see daylight between the motor housing and the chainstay. In this case we had to use two spaces to move the motor out in order to have the desired clearance. Remember...when you move a motor outboard you chill change the chainline. 

Important

Important

Battery and motor installation

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See the motor brace touching the downtube? That will eventually cut a hole straight into the downtube. You cannot move the motor as that is not possible so you have to tilt the motor back and insert a spacer under the motor and then lock the motor in place. We us a 1 inch by 1/8 inch aluminum plate for this purpose. The length of the spacers is determined by the shape of the bottom bracket in relation to the motor.. 

Battery and motor installation

Battery and motor installation

Battery and motor installation

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As you can see, this bike is coming along without delay. It is a new bike that was shipped directly yo our shop. Everything is new so we had to do little extra work

Finished and test ride

Battery and motor installation

Finished and test ride

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Nice....today the bike is scheduled for its test ride. After riding the bike on its test run I can declare this is one very nice bike. I do think the Diamondback brand is one of the bikes that is underestimated. Beautiful red paint and equipped with excellent components and at a very good price. 

Final Thoughts

Battery and motor installation

Finished and test ride

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When this bike first came in I saw the very small single chainring and thought "chainline issues." However, no chainline issues at all and, in fact a stock chainring was used. Seems like no matter how many of these bikes you convert there are always surprises and some of them are of the "good" kind. 

Trek Navigator 2.0

Arrival

Yikes...Bottom bracket

Yikes...Bottom bracket

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This will be the third Trek Navigator we will have built this week. Each one of them is different. First glance at this bike indicates battery placement will be difficult. Notice the round bend in the downtube. A battery baseplate has to be flat. There are a few methods we use to achieve battery attachment on a rounded downtube but they are all very time consuming. Not a problem. Everything else looks good and should be a smooth conversion.

Yikes...Bottom bracket

Yikes...Bottom bracket

Yikes...Bottom bracket

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Everything was coming off so easily....pedals, crank arms...then came the bottom bracket. As you see we never attempt to remove a bottom bracket without locking the socket to the axle. The teeth on the bottom bracket are very shallow and can strip easily. In addition, if the socket slips while force is being applied injury can occur. This bottom bracket was tight to the point I wondered if it was frozen. Eventually it came free. If you attempt to remove a bottom bracket yourself, it might be best to take it to your local bike shop. 

Ready to build

Yikes...Bottom bracket

Freewheel replacement

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Wheels inspected and cleaned, deraileur, chain, and cassette in the Ultrasonic tank for deep cleaning, headset checked, brakes inspected, fame inspected and polished. This bike is ready to build.

Freewheel replacement

Freewheel replacement

Freewheel replacement

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If one were shopping for the worst freewheel to put on an electric bike then this is it. The teeth order is: 14,16,18,20,22,24,34. It is the last jump from 24T to a whopping 34T that causes problems in shifting and chainline. We have even seen that large cog bend as there is nothing supporting it. We replaced this freewheel with a 14X28 which allows for better shifting.

Battery placement

Freewheel replacement

Motor installation

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.....One...hour....later....finally have the battery mounted. Over the years we have developed all sorts of techniques to allow a heavy battery to be placed on such an irregular surface. However, there is simply no "one size fits all" answer to every bike.

Motor installation

Freewheel replacement

Motor installation

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Here is where you have to pay close attention to the cables. Cables, shift and brake, run underneath the motor and you have to insure that the cables are no compressed at any point. We use three different methods to achieve this. First you have to secure the motor in such a way it will not move...ever. Often people bring their bikes to us for repair and the first thing we notice is movement in the motor. All mid drive motors must be secured in such a fashion they do not move. We have developed special methods that we guarantee your motor will stay in place for the life of the bike.