When a bike arrives in our shop it will be displayed on our "Featured bike page". Previously, we would write up each bike in detail as it went through the process of conversion. We have decided to provide the details of our conversion process under the page, "How we convert bikes.
Alvin Carpenter, CEO
People ask us all the time about what bikes make the best conversions. Often, it is thought only expensive bikes can be converted to electric but actually it is just the opposite. What we look for is tire size, frame quality, and wheel integrity. This bike is a good example. It is not an expensive bike but it has a very good frame, wheels are very nice, can accommodate large tires, has a good braking system, and it is a 9 speed. Any bike with a 7, 8, 9, is adequate for these powerful Bafang motors.
Not to mention names but some bikes that come from large department stores are of such poor quality they should not be ridden at all much less converted to electric.
When bikes, like the one above, come into our shop for conversion we look at it and think, "not only can I make this into an electric bike but I can also make it into a better bike." To understand that thought process you have to love bikes...
As you can see this bike already has a hub motor. Hub motorsn are very limited in performance and in this case top speed is 15mph. We are going to install a Bafang BBS02b 750 watt motor and a 52v 17.5 battery and bring this monster up to speed.
This is a fantastic bike built by Giant that has been kept in exceptional condition. Bikes like these are a challenge to convert to electric but when we are finished they cannot be matched. This bike has 26" wheels which were the standard wheel for mountain bikes until the advent of the 27.5 and the 29'r wheels. We like the 26 because it puts the rider lower to the ground allowing for better control of the bike. Our first challenge is battery placement. However, we have built bikes of this size and configuration in the past so we have a plan in place.
This was a very nice build. When people would enter the shop and see this bike on the work stand they would comment on what a beautiful bike it is. We thought so also. This bike is an Xsmall frame so we knew it would be difficult. When you have such a small frame with 26 inch tires you can hardly notice the size because everything is in proper proportion.I did not even know I was working on a Xsmall bike until I started the cabling. All electrical cables are the same size so when you have an Xsmall bike it seems like too much cable. However, there is always a way to route cables in the most natural and unobtrusive way.
As I was preparing to test ride this bike it started to rain. I said to myself..."It's a mountain bike...they can ride in all sorts of weather and conditions. Off I went. Fast, smooth and very comfortable with the full suspension. Those nobbie tires roared as I flew down the road at 28ph. What a day...
We just love these older bikes. The mountain bike movement is relatively new (late 1980's) and we get to see a lot of the history of these bikes as they come into our shop. This bike is awesome. They yellow wheelset is quite an addition to this bike and is quite unique. A couple of interesting notes on this bike. The stem is a beautiful (and expensive) titanium component with a 120mm reach. That is a very long stem for a short bike. Another note is...where are you going to put the battery? We have a 42v 10.5Ah with Samsung cells, side release battery we use in tight spaces. It will be tight but we can get it to fit.
The most difficult aspect of this build was the battery placement. I used a side release battery and slowly filed away parts of the base plate that allowed us to use this versatile battery. It took three hours to get the battery and frame to work together. We decided to go with a Lekkie chainring for a couple of reasons. First, it is the best chainring on the market and far superior to the stock Bafang stamped steel chainring. Second, the owner of this bike lives far away and if his chain starts to fall from the stock chainring we would be too far away to service his bike. So, we we acted preemptively by using a Lekkie. A Lekkie chainring, with its narrow/wide tooth profile, is so good at holding the chain it makes chain keepers obsolete. In addition....the Lekkie chainring looks great on this bike.
On the test ride I took it up to 28mph before slowing. It rides smooth. I am always concerned about the rear suspension because I do not know the condition. However, the rear suspension on this bike work like new. A powerful and fun bike to ride.
This bike is in near new condition and at first glance it appears to be a pretty much standard conversion.However, many times what appears to be a simple conversion to electric turns out to be a complicated process. On this bike it was the chainline. To establish a correct chainline we worked with a number options. We can move the motor outboard but we cannot move it inboard. We needed to move the chain more to the center of the cassette. First we worked with our spacers. Spacers can only do so much and your other option is the chain ring. A stock chain ring has very little inset but sometimes will work to establish the best chainline. One time a client wanted a Lekkie chain ring on his bike that was to be converted to electric. When we built his bike there was a problem: The inset of the Lekkie was too deep to work on his bike. The only chain ring that would work was the stock Bafang chain ring. When he came to pick up his bike and I explained to hime why there was no Lekkie he was disappointed. I said to him, "I will give you a lifetime supply of stock chainrings for your bike." That cheered hime right up.
The chainring that best fit this bike was the Lekkie 36T. On the test ride the first thing you notice is it is very fast. Because of the smaller chain ring up front it will go from 0 to 28mph very quickly. On test rides I will use volunteers. If the same person tests bikes over and over they might miss something so I like to use some unsuspecting person and say, "Try this bike and tell me what you think. I had three other riders take this bike around the block and all three came back with big smiles on their face and a "Wow...that was fast."
Great bike, great build.
I love the Ghost Bike. They are very well thought out in design. For example, the cables are routed in a channel on the bottom of the downtube. Internal cable routing is always a bad idea but is very common among bike manufacturers. Internal cable routing just means you have no access to your cable if you need to replace them. I cannot think of any bicycle that benefits from internal cable routing.
This bike will be finished today. While working on it I ask one of our mechanics to look up the cost of the bike. Sometimes when we find the perfect bike for converting to electric we will purchase the bikes or the framesets and build them for our own eBike sales. This bike is one of those bikes. Looking forward to finishing and test riding it late today.
As expected this bike is fast and rides great. I was asked yesterday "what bike is the most common converted to electric?" The answer is the hard tail mountain bike. First, the hard tail mountain bike is far less expensive than a full suspension mountain bike. Bear in mind a full suspension bike also has to keep up with the maintenance of that rear suspension which can be very expensive to repair or replace. Second, the mountain bike allows for wide tires and an upright riding position. Most road bikes, and some city bikes do not have enough room for wide tires. Wide tires are a great benefit to an electric bikes as they allow a greater measure of safety and comfort.