A converted 26-inch MTB e-bike
IntroductionMany people refrain from using their bike to get to school or work, simply because the distance is a bit too far, or because it involves ascending steep hills. With an electric bike, everything suddenly gets more reachable, and you'll find yourself pedaling away where you earlier would drive your car. A new electric bike can be very expensive, but converting your existing bike can be done for a fraction of the cost if you have some basic electromechanical skills and motivation.
Front-, mid- and rear driveA front or rear drive e-bike is most commonly seen, and has its motor placed in the wheel hub. This makes installation very easy, and it doesn't take up much space on the bike. A mid drive is a more complex installation where the motor is connected to the bike chain. In other words, you get the benefit of being able to change the gearing of the motor, but with more hassle.
Direct drive or geared hub motorBrushless hub motors (used for front- and rear drive) can typically be categorized into geared- or direct drive motors. The two different kinds have their own pros and cons:
PartsFor this build, it was chosen to use a geared brushless hub motor for rear drive, and lithium polymer RC battery packs.
First experiencesThe setup has been working perfectly since it was installed, and it provides a lot of torque. The steepest hills can be climbed at 15-20 km/h with practically no pedal assistance. The top speed is somewhere around 23-24 km/h, which is pretty low for a 500 W motor, but just below the legal limit at 25 km/h in the EU, and a perfectly acceptable compromise as the motor is geared for climbing. The range is hard to estimate, but I would guess 20 km with medium ascent, and 10 km with steep climbing.