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BBS02+Kona Splice+a bunch of aftermarket bike parts=super fun trail/commuter bike

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    BBS02+Kona Splice+a bunch of aftermarket bike parts=super fun trail/commuter bike

    Following are the results of my first foray into electric bikedom. Hope you learn/enjoy from it.

    In short…. I am 110% thrilled.. Truly, the finished bike it’s capabilities, and the experiences that it made, and makes possible are beyond my expectations and imagination.

    I started on this e-bike build project because my left knee is wearing out. I don’t want to stop riding, and I don’t want to get a knee replacement….yet J
    I am 60 yrs. old. I enjoy outdoor activities. Especially, skiing, hiking, biking, camping, etc. All things that require happy knees.

    About a month ago I was riding up the long grade to work and my knee started talking to me.. It was not happy, and was saying things that I will not repeat here. So, I started looking into bikes that could provide some assist up the hills.

    I was encouraged when I found the Luna Cycle web page with links to rider blogs and articles about the technology, issues and limitations.. Super helpful and informative. Several other knowledgeable suppliers out there, but Luna-Cycle has made the endeavor affordable, and offers lots of great products and guidance. They truly are leaders in the field of e-bike development and riding.

    After pawing through a bunch of blogs and articles, I decided on the following goals.

    1. To twist a famous phrase… I wanted it to be “About the bike”. I.e.… The bike needed to be comfortable and fun to ride without a battery or motor.
    2. The bike needed to be good for commuting on paved trails and streets as well as on moderately rough off-road trails… Not super technical stuff, but trails in the woods that we have around our home in Redmond, Wa.
    3. I wanted the bike to be stealthy… Not so obviously an e-bike

    I decided to convert my wife’s bike first, so that she could run circles around me first… but as I started into the project, my wife wisely suggested that I convert my bike first J
    So here’s the short story on my first E-bike build

    It was clear to me pretty quickly that my current bike (a 1986 10 speed road bike) was not going to fill the bill. People in the know about e-bikes just frowned and shook their heads when I told them that I wanted to add a motor to my bike… So I heeded their warnings and started looking for a good bike to build on. I decided on the Kona Splice for the following reasons:
    1. The frame geometry fit my body geometry better than anything else out there.
    2. The Splice would handle 2” wide tires for off-road and load bearing.
    3. Solid, well gusseted frame.
    4. Lots of “braze-ons”
    5. 29” wheels. (my pref.)
    6. I got a great deal from my friend Greg at Eastside Ski and Sport.

    Once I got the bike, I changed/added the following to make it into the bike that I really wanted to ride.
    · Swapped out the relatively low-end front forks that came on the Splice for Suntour Epixon with remote lockout. (I wanted the lockout and air adjustable forks that were not too heavy or expensive… best I could find for ~$200 and so far, I’m very happy with them)
    · 29x2.0 Continental Contact Safety System tires… These are awesome.. smooth in the middle for quiet ride and low rolling resistance, and knobby on the sides for grip when making turns in dirt or sinking into mud / gravel. I think of them as the bike tire equivalent of a “mullet” All business up front and all party on the sides and back. J
    · 65cm Planet Bike fenders (Added 1.5” nylon wire clamps to the front forks to enable mounting fenders) We have LOTS of rain in Seattle. Commuting without fenders is a very wet proposition.
    · Blackburn rear rack (Tried four, yes four racks before I settled on this one. Not perfect, but solid and high quality mounting system and hardware)
    · Planet bike A.R.S. Classic seat (Ahhh…)
    · Ergon GP-2 grips (You must try these.. Huge difference in hand comfort. Took about four adjustments to get them in the right position. Once there.. Really nice)
    With all of the bike mods done I rode it around and adjusted grips and seat to get things comfortable.. At this point I was really encouraged because the bike was really fun to ride. (Goal #1)

    Then I got on with the e-conversion..
    I bought a 750 watt mid drive kit from Luna Cycle and “Lekie Bling Ring” straight away. Based on the blogs that I read, the Bafang mid drive is a bit over geared with a 46T chain ring. We live in the Seattle area….”Hills r Us” so I just spent the money for the 42 tooth ring up front.
    Contrary to popular practice and advice. I decided not to go with the biggest battery I could because
    1. I plan to peddle a lot, so I did not think that I would need super battery capacity.
    2. A really big battery would compromise my goals. I wanted stealth and off-road capability.
    3. Big batteries cost more $$
    4. Since I was going to peddle a lot… I wanted my water bottle on the down tube !
    I ended up using an 11.5AH 52V rectangular pack that would fit against my vertical frame member. It was relatively light weight, (goodness for off-road), I believed it would have the range I needed for my daily commute or jaunts into the woods.. and if we were going long distance, a second pack could be stashed in my rack bag as a spare tank. (PS… I was right about the range… Rode hard on and off-road for 40 miles in two days on one charge with plenty of power left in the pack.

    A few other things that I did to help me reach my bike goals…
    I heat formed a three sided battery “cage” out of 0.125” ABS and mounted it to the water bottle cage braze-ons on the vertical frame tube.
    I wrapped the battery in ¼” closed cell foam, than put it in a bag that I found on Amazon, that miraculously was the perfect size for the padded battery. I also put a piece of stiff white foam in the bag under the bottom of the pack to cushion where the weight of the pack is sitting on the bottom bracket.
    (this white foam was gleaned from the packaging that Luna Cycle used to send me the battery) BTW… Very well packaged for shipment by LunaJ
    A simple snap-clasp strap that came with the bag is used to hold the battery into its’s cage.
    Happily, this setup performed flawlessly throughout a reasonably rough day of trail riding.

    I made small brake handle hoods out of aluminum for mounting the Bafang power cutout safety switches

    I also found some very nifty (an inexpensive) cable trough that helped make my bike to not look like a Christmas tree all wrapped in wires.

    I made a bunch of motor spacers out of various thickness of aluminum so that I could optimize chain alignment and chain stay clearance. (turns out that I could have just bought these from Luna Cycle J) But since I did it… all you need is some aluminum sheet, two hole saws (one for the inner diameter and one for the outer diameter), a vice and a block of hardwood to make these. I ended up with near perfect chain alignment from the front chain ring to my center gear on the rear cluster. In use, shifting is very very smooth. I love the power interrupt switch for shifting. The operation is absolutely perfect, and I have yet to throw the chain.

    Again, after riding on flats and hills in dirt, gravel, shale and commuting to work on my e-bike for the first time…. I am thrilled ! (Goal #2 accomplished)
    My boss at work came into my office this morning, looked at my bike and said… “I thought you were going to build and electric bike?”
    Riding up the Hwy 520 grade to work (it’s a separate bike trail) I passed multiple strong riders on very nice bikes… At the stop light at the top of the hill, one of them asked me how the Hell I could climb like that. I smiled and said: “It’s all about the bike” (Goal #3 accomplished)
    This bike is a terrain flattener, range extender, time saver and opportunity creator.

    I can’t wait to build a bike for my wife so that we can experience the trails together. She is an adventurer and will absolutely love this.

    Special thanks again to my wife for supporting my three week e- build obsession !..or was it four weeks ? , and to:
    · Eric and team at Luna Cycle
    · Greg and team at Eastside Ski & Sport.
    · Cliff at Lekkie

    I'll post some photos later.

    A few photos from the first day out. I have a lot more photos and some video from the build process that I will share in future posts.... Ride on!


      Awesome post Arboh! Your enthusiasm mirrors what a lot of us feel. Thanks for sharing your blow by blow and decision making process. Great stuff. I look forward to more pics.
      Do something that is good for your health, good for your wallet and good for the planet - get an e-bike.


        A few photos and tips from my build.


          More photos from my build... brake sensor mounting and wire management.


          • PoweredRide
            PoweredRide commented
            Editing a comment
            Did you really need those aluminum hoods on the brakes? Have you seen the way luna mounts those sensors on the hydraulic brakes they sell?

          • PoweredRide
            PoweredRide commented
            Editing a comment
            Interesting use of cordmate. I have never seen that done before.

          NIce work ! love the attention to detail...


            Thanks to all for the nice comments and great questions. ... To the question about the brake hoods.. I have not seen how Luna does the brake sensors for hyd. brakes. It may be that the hoods are not needed. That would be great. Less parts is goodness. I love to tinker so much that sometimes I re-invent the wheel...or create stuff that is not really needed.. But I have fun doing it :-) Can someone point me to a description of the "Luna way" on Hyd. brake sensor mounting?

            Also, I have been having an absolute BLAST commuting to work. What used to be a drag, is now something that I really look forward to. Interestingly, it took me a while to find a good route. The route that I used to take before I became a LUNAtic was downhill from our home... (no sweat first thing in the morning) but it put me onto a bike line that was part of an arterial road with 40mph limit. Lots of commuters going 45mph in cars reading texts or putting on makeup. Not a great place to be on a bike... So I started going up and over the hill (no problem now that I'm a LUNAtic) and jumping on a dedicated bike trail... I found that this was not ideal either... People walking or on bikes going 15mph.... when I'm going 25. FINALLY, I sat down at my computer and studied the road maps to find a route that is ideal... It consists of bike/walking trails in the woods that are empty when I commute, residential streets with little to no traffic, and a very short stretch of dedicated bike lane that is walled off from the freeway that runs parallel to it. My bike commute time is about 25 minutes.. which is about the same as my car commute time, but a LOT more fun.


              After a few hundred miles of riding, I made my first performance upgrade.....BRAKES. I went from 160 front and rear to 203 front and 180 rear. Now I can go faster :-)


                LUNAtic!? (*coffee spews over computer keyboard)...that's funny. We should get some T-shirts made up. I gotta say, if my Electra/BBSHD bike was stolen, I'd have to go out and replace everything exactly as it was. I have a second ebike that is a hot rod, but...the BBSHD is my steady commuter that gets used the most. People don't even realize its electric as I cruise by, and I never break a sweat on the hills...


                  If you make the shirt... I will buy it.


                    FYI... I just received a BBSHD. I'm going to use the 02 in the bike I am building for my wife, and throw to HD on mine... Also.. I snatched a fully laced 27.5" rear wheel with disc and freewheel off of ebay for $25. I am going to replace my 29" rear wheel with this (keeping 29r up front). main reasons are
                    1) slight drive ratio reduction
                    2) More tire to fender clearance.
                    3) Because I want to. :-)


                      Great write up.

                      i am using the BBSHD and the 42T sprocket and I might switch back to the steel 46T sprocket for more top end speed. Small sprocket is 11T on my bike and I top out at 25mph, unless I peddle like a banshee.

                      I am the exact opposite with regards to roads...

                      I ride on a road with a 50 mph speed limit with a wide shoulder. Cars are doing 55 mph+. The speed doesn't bother me but I did add a mirror to the bike and since it is a high speed road, it is mostly straight which allows me to see cars coming from a long distance and keep track of them. It also allows them plenty of opportunity to see me.

                      What does concern me are the 30mph roads with tons of intersections. I have to be much more careful around cars who might not see me as they change lanes or enter/exit the road. Accidents are known to occur around intersections.

                      I do think water is important and I will reconfigure my battery so I can use one of the two water bottle mounts. I carry water in my rear saddle bags but it means I must stop to drink.

                      I agree that the Ergon grips are amazing because they reduce the pressure on your hands. I went with the GP1 version and I had to adjust them to make sure my wrists are nearly straight to avoid nerve issues.

                      Yet to do is fenders and I do like Planet Bike products. I will have to look into them.

                      I also don't use a power cut for switching gears. I don't think it is needed since the rear derailleur is not on the power side of the chain. So far, so good.


                      • Lance Tesla
                        Lance Tesla commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Portland Design Works, PDW, also make very useful fenders...........

                        Top tip: most front fenders are stamped from sheet plastic and held onto your forks with tie-wraps. If you have more than one bike you can buy one fender and use it to trace out another from plastic sheet. I buy those flexible cutting boards that you can roll up and put in a drawer from a housewares store, they come in various colors and are pretty cheap too. They're easy to cut with scissors and a paper punch makes nice holes.

                      About 250 miles on the bike now and have made a few changes...
                      ​1) Found a nice 27.5" wheel "takeoff" on e-bay and used it to replace the 29 on the back. for better fender clearance. (It was so tight with the 29 that the SS fender mounting bolt was being ground away by dirt and sand.
                      2) Added a shock absorbing seat post (Suntour). Very nice...

                      Other note is that the "new" 27.5 wheel has steel grommets around the spoke nipple holes. I am told by my LBS that this is a good thing for e-bikes as they have seen a few with cracks in the rim around the spoke nipples. Since I am upgrading to BBSHD.. I thought that this would be a timely change.


                        Waiting at a stop light yesterday another rider pulled up, checked out my bike and said... "that is a really bad-ass bike". First I thanked him for the compliment, then told him about Luna and suggested that he could build whatever he wanted too. That's what I love about DIY..Do your own thing! He seemed excited to do so. Another convert?


                          Upgraded to the HD this weekend and lost ~3 lbs.... Here's how....

                          -5 lbs... I lost 5 lbs of personal fat from the first month of riding...(and changing my diet)
                          -3.5 lbs...I started using one of the 6ah cube-batts instead of my 11.5 AH brick. One "cube" has all the power that I need for my commute. And... with my trough style battery cradle and a parallel battery cable, I can stack a second cube for longer trips... both will fit in the trough... modular power cubes :-) For super long rides, I can use two 11.5AH bricks. One on the rack and one in the trough. ...and a mini in my pannier for backup.

                          Net that out with the added weight of the HD, and the Bafang steel discus chain ring... and I shed a few total lbs, while gaining considerable torque and about 4mph top end.