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The Cheap-E Muscle Bike

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    The Cheap-E Muscle Bike

    Hello all, I’m starting a build thread here for my first attempt, and hopefully to help at least some other cheap sucker like me in the future.

    I’ve just pulled the trigger on ordering significantly more than I expected, and plan on playing with a few setups and seeing how compatible different cheap kits and wheels seem to be. Most of what I am doing is very clearly not the proper way things should be done, the result will be far from efficient, and is mostly a cheap fun learning project to get into a new hobby, before I go out and get a nicer bike and do it right (if I ever feel the need)

    The parts I’ve chosen so far, were picked because of their low cost, and how fast they could get to me(all Amazon one day shipping items)

    Almost everything going onto this bike will eventually be removed and replaced, and the parts will most likely find use in other projects down the line, for now this is a project for being as fast and as cheap as possible, while ending up with a functional e bike capable of making very short trips.

    24v 250w chain drive complete kit minus batteries for 105, I expect that there’s a 50/50 chance that this is not compatible with my cheap muscle bike frame and rear coaster brake wheel.

    24/36v kit with everything but batteries and a motor for 86

    small (8-10”, unclear from ad) scooter motorized wheel for 124usd (I wouldn’t recommend it, I only chose this because it can be here tomorrow, I would prefer a 16” wheel, but they seem pricey and harder to find, and I would have gotten a 12” scooter wheel for about 90, but it would mean a week before I could even test things, so a different front wheel will probably be ordered soon)

    I plan on using existing 40v lawn mower batteries to power the 36v kit and front wheel, and I ordered 2 12v 18ah batteries to run in series for the 24v chain drive motor. Again, this is largely for testing, learning, and comparison, so although it sounds impractical and pointless to put two speed controllers, and two different types or batteries, there is no part of this build that is practical for the time being.

    higher voltage, higher wattage, and higher quality parts are most likely in the future, but this may be suitable long term for its intended purpose anyway.

    I’m hoping to pick the bike up today and get some measurements and good pictures, and tomorrow evening when the parts arrive I can start taking some pictures and lining things up to start a proper build thread.
    Attached Files

    Quick update, as expected there was some trouble which should be easy enough to resolve, but it will mean a bit of waiting.

    The chain drive kit arrived with either a bad controller or a bad throttle, lights and everything work properly when installed, but the motor doesn't respond to the throttle, power directly to the motor works fine. So some more parts should be here soon to resolve that, the motor is mounted, and currently it's set up in a way I believe is illegal, as the kit is for a single speed and I haven't got a single speed wheel yet, and the coaster hub doesnt work properly for the second freewheel adapter for the motor, so until I have a new wheel, the motor is hooked up straight to the wheel and the pedals arent connected.

    I can't make a lot of noise or mess in my apartment, and I'll have to grind a little bit away from the front forks to fit the scooter wheel, but I should be able to do that Thursday or Friday, and by then should have more sorted and put together on the bike.


      She's ghetto, no brakes, not set up right, but it works great and made it to work with no noticable drop in charge. Will see how much charge is left when I get home tonight, probably plenty, but the lead acid batteries will still be replaced very soon.(24v for the chain drive, 36v is going to be for the front, probably)
      Attached Files


        Waiting on some better wheels, but I've been able to get a lot of testing done and answer most of my questions from the beginning of this build.

        I wasn't sure of the compatibity of cheap kits and parts, and didn't seem to get a lot of solid answers other than it being a hit or miss, but so far I've had no issues with parts from different kits being direct plug and play.

        So far that has consisted of two 24v brushed chain drive kits(identical), a 36v brushless kit and a random scooter wheel, one 24v kit had the controller replaced with a cheap 36v brushed controller of a different brand, everything plugged right it and works great(motor is at risk of being burned out, I do understand that, this is an assessment of compatibility, not longevity or efficiency)

        This is by no means a great solution to any bike builds, but it does at least answer most of my questions, and probably a few other people like me, who are just interested in building a decent bare minimum e bike as cheap as can be. Realistically I can comfortably ride either bike at least a mile or so and know I have plenty of battery to get home, and that is with the brushed 24v chain drive kits, and a 40v greenworks lawn tool battery, and excluding the cost of the bike, all the parts and even a few tools should be possible to purchase easily for under $200.

        The only guidance I would offer, is to be sure you start with a bike that is well suited to the rest of your parts. My first bike is a coaster brake bike which is not well suited to having brakes added. After weighing all of my options, I stumbled upon a set of two used 18" brushless wheels with drum brakes, and when they arrive I believe they will be the best solution for adding brakes to the bike to make it safe, without spending hours fabricating and fitting brackets, hoping they will work well. I also am considering heavier duty springer front forks since I expect the weakest link in my bike will be those flimsy forks fighting a motor and a drum brake.