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2016 Montague Urban folding bike with 1000W BBSHD and 13.5 AH Luna Shark pack

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    2016 Montague Urban folding bike with 1000W BBSHD and 13.5 AH Luna Shark pack

    PART ONE: WHY?

    I've been riding my bicycle for many, many years. I used to do it recreationally, because I have cystic fibrosis and bicycling is a great way to clear the thick, sticky mucus from my lungs, but when I moved to Albany NY for college I began to use my bike to get around. I never really thought about building an ebike because the ones I saw at the stores in Albany and Utica were so expensive, underpowered, slow, and had such short range. Only after deciding on a folding bike and following through with the purchase and the research did I see somebody else built a full-sized, super-powered Montague Paratrooper folding bike. It was then that I knew an electric folding bike could be made at a reasonable price that could add meaningful miles to my range and make the steep hills of upstate NY a little more manageable. I'm writing this build report from a suburb of Nashville. I began the build in New York and completed it here in Tennessee.

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    This is what you'll typically find when you look for prebuilt electric folding bikes. It's cute, but there were a number of factors that turned me away: the batteries tended to be weak (~5 AH), the motors weak (~15 MPH), the tires too small (~20 inch), and the bike folds in the middle of the frame, which weakens the structure. Enter, Montague!

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    Montague makes the folding bikes paratroopers use, aptly called the Montague Paratrooper. A friend and client of mine told me he used one in Syria, and sent me the link to check it out. I chose a different model, the Urban. It's their newest, I believe, and it has a new CLIX folding mechanism that reviewers praised as much easier to use than the folding mechanism used in older models. All Montague bikes fold under the frame, making for a more stable structure. Also, they fit in the trunk of your car. The Urban has 700C (37-622) Kenda tires, which I plan on replacing with Continental City Ride II tires. They make more surface contact with the pavement than the Kendas, and they have Continental's patented puncture protection.

    BICYCLE COST: $711 on sale, $749 now
    CONTINENTAL CITY RIDE II: $46 ($23 each)


    Having chosen which bike to electrify, I then searched for the ideal bicycle motor to meet my needs. I looked at some hub motors at a store whose name rhymes with Glamazon, but there were a number of factors that steered me away from hub motors. They change the weight distribution of your bike, and the added mass on your hub increases the likelihood of flat tires. They also require an additional controller, which means more wires, and I hate wires. On the other hand, hub motors are produced in such large numbers that they're much cheaper than mid-drive kits. Price WAS a factor, until I saw the BBSHD. There are a number of reasons why I chose a mid-drive motor: the controller is inside the unit, the motor uses your rear sprockets in pedal assist mode, it's a powerful motor fit for climbing hills, and it doesn't alter the weight distribution of your bike because it sits in the bottom bracket.

    At first, I wasn't going to get the BBSHD from LunaCycle. There was a store in China, but my cart totaled over $2,000(!) including shipping, currency conversion, and other fees. I checked out LunaCycle, and got almost the same thing for OVER $500 cheaper. I went with LunaCycle over the other shops because it's based in America (lower shipping costs, easier to return if defective), the customer service is as responsive as I've ever seen in a store (bike or otherwise), and even though some of the things are made in China (like the BBSHD), it's even cheaper than the stores based in China.

    PART TWO: HOW?

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    Installing the BBSHD in the bottom bracket was easy enough. It fit right in, no need for any spacers or anything since it's not a fat bike. Routing the wires was a breeze. Luna Cycle has a video guide on youtube, and I don't think the video missed anything.

    BBSHD COST: $700

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    One thing you need to check, besides all your connections, is your speed sensor. I believe it's supposed to be within 3-5mm of the magnet. The display returned a speed sensor error within a minute of my first test run. Luckily, my problem was just that the sensor wasn't close enough to the magnet. I just had to bump it closer.

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    I went with the 42T because I want to climb hills, but I want speed too. If the 42T Luna sprocket wasn't included for free or for a low price, I may not have made the upgrade. But I'm glad I did.

    42T CHAIN RING & SPROCKET: free upgrade.

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    I made the upgrade to the Luna full color display. I've seen pictures and videos of it in action, and it's been universally praised as a real upgrade over the stock screen you get with the BBSHD. I wanted something highly visible in daylight, and since I was going to be looking at this thing a lot during my rides, the $45 wasn't a bad price to pay for bright, full color and more customization. It was an easy install. Just read the manual, mount it and plug it in. In the above picture, you can see it seated at the center of my handlebars. On the right is the throttle, and on the left is the controller with the +/- and power buttons to control the display. You'll need to set the time and tell the computer what kind of tires and battery you're using. I have 28 inch tires, and I set the battery to UBE because I opted for the 52V Shark battery. To the left of the controls are my bell for pedestrians and horn button for cars. It's connected via wire to a horn I mounted beneath the display. It's incredibly loud, which is why I got a bell too. I want pedestrians to hear me, but I don't want to give anyone a heart attack with that loud horn. I also mounted a waterproof bluetooth speaker. The speaker itself is not in the pic above, but the mount is. It's to the left of the display, on the other side from the horn.

    LUNA FULL COLOR DISPLAY: $45 upgrade.
    INCREDIBELL: $8
    HORNIT: $30
    WATERPROOF BLUETOOTH SPEAKER: $20


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    I opted for the gear sensor upgrade, because I didn't want to fool around with braking to stop the motor so I could shift gears. The gear sensor turned out to be the hardest install; there's nothing about it in the manual, so I had to find the gear sensor manual from the manufacturer's website. If you opt for the brake sensors, then you won't get the e-brakes so you'll probably keep your rear shifter. I didn't opt for the brake sensors, so I got the ebrakes. They wouldn't fit on the bike alongside the old shifter/brake combo that came with it, so I bought a grip shifter from that store that rhymes with Jamazon. Since I had a new shifter, I had to install new cable anyway, so it ran through the gear shifter just fine. If you're using your old cable, it may not run through the gear shifter if it's crimped or frizzed at the end. It's a tight pass-through, and you'll need to cut part of your cable housing to make room for the gear shifter. Easier said than done; cable housing is tough. I used a pair of pliers and squeezed for dear life a bunch of times until the housing could be snapped apart. You can buy a tool to do this cleanly and neatly. If you do what I did, take a toothpick or small screwdriver and make sure the hole isn't pinched shut. Don't forget to put the caps on the ends of the newly snipped housing.

    GEAR SENSOR: $50
    SHIMANO REVOSHIFT 7 GEAR SHIFTER: $13


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    I got the Bafang installation and removal tool kit because I don't run a bike shop or have access to one with tools like that. In the picture above is the tool kit, a zip tie, and some dental floss. Property of MacGyver.

    BAFANG TOOL KIT: $60

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    The third most expensive component of my ebike, after the bike itself and the motor, is the battery. I opted for the 13.5 Ah 52v Shark battery with Panasonic GA cells. 13.5 Ah because I want my pedal-assisted range to be near ~30 miles. I opted for the 52V battery over the 48V because the 52V has more power. Reviewers noted that the 48V can get kind of weak when the battery runs low, whereas the 52V can maintain its power better. I chose the Shark over the other form factors because my bike doesn't have a triangle, and the Shark is so compact that once I take the battery off the cradle, my bike folds up just like it did from the factory before the motor and battery installation. It's fully functional as a folding bike, and I can easily take the battery off and keep it in a back pack so it doesn't get stolen.

    The battery installation was a little more complicated than the other components. I could have mounted it on the rear rack, but then my RackStand wouldn't fold down and my bike wouldn't fold like it did from the factory. I could have mounted it on the frame directly, but I didn't want to drill holes in it. Instead, I bought a 12 x 12 x 1/8 inch sheet of polycarbonate from that store that rhymes with Spamazon, cut it to size with a hack saw, drilled holes with a hand drill, and glued the sides to the base with acrylic glue. I used a chunk of a nice old yoga mat to pad the machine screws from the battery mount so they don't scratch the frame, and I used #10-32 TPI machine screws, 2 inches long, with nuts and washers to mount the battery cradle to the frame. It's very secure, and I'm quite proud of it. If you buy a polycarbonate sheet for your ebike build, remember to eliminate the static electricity after you peel off the protective paper coating by using a hair dryer or washing the sheet with dish soap.

    Another thing complicating the battery installation was the fact that the battery comes with wires that you have to crimp to connectors, to plug into the motor. It's not that complicated, but I did scratch my head at first because all the other components had their connectors already installed. In this case, it's just so you can choose what kind of connectors you want. I went with the XT90 sparkless connectors. For one thing sparks are scary, but for another, I'm not a fan of Anderson powerpoles or other connections like it. The red and black connectors are the same, so it's easy in low light to make the wrong connection. XT90s are a nice, bright yellow, and the plug is asymmetrical so you can't make a bad connection. I crimped one wire, then I moved the insulation sleeve over it and used a BBQ lighter to compress it. The insulation had a ratio of 3:1, which I like because it's good and tight. I then added another sleeve of the same size, then one bigger sleeve over both. After finishing the next wire the same way, I used a wide insulation sleeve to hold both wires together and hit that with the BBQ lighter too. As you can see, it's very well insulated. I just snaked the cable into the space between the frame bars, because that seemed like a good spot for it.

    52V SHARK BATTERY W/ PANASONIC GA: $546
    ACRYLIC GLUE: $7
    POLYCARBONATE SHEET: $8


    I initially wanted the Cycle Satiator to mount on the bike and charge the battery, but the only Satiators in stock anywhere were at the official site, and they were damaged (not guaranteed waterproof), so I went with the Luna charger. It has a fan and it's not waterproof (don't mount it!), but it does everything I wanted the Satiator for at only a fraction of the price.

    300W LUNA CHARGER: $80

    I didn't add a headlight or tail light to this build because I have a good USB rechargeable set from my older bike, and I like that I can mount those on my helmet if I want to. I got them from that store that rhymes with Flimflamazon. I'll probably add a mirror to my helmet, because I have a good mirror on my old bike but it plugs into the handlebars. I have the ends of my handlebars filled with these wonderful things called Winglights that add turn signals to your bike. I highly recommend them if you plan on riding at night. With the tail light mounted on the back of the bike or my helmet for reference, these turn signals make me feel much safer on the road.

    WINGLIGHTS: $35
    USB HEADLIGHT: $22
    USB TAIL LIGHT: $22


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    To protect my bike, I use two locks. One is a small U-lock made by RideLock, and one is a beast of a chain lock rated Sold Secure Gold, it's called the New York Noose by Kryptonite. It weighs about 7 pounds, and it doubles as a necklace if you want a ridiculously big gold chain to make Flava Flav jealous. I use the U-lock to lock my tires together after removing the front tire, and I use the chain lock to lock the frame to any good, solid post I find cemented into the ground. I also like to remove my battery and seatpost for extra security: the battery is expensive and relatively easy to steal, and it's much harder to steal a bike without the seatpost.

    NEW YORK NOOSE: $89
    U-LOCK: $30


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    I also mounted a bicycle alarm to the rear bar near the quick release for the rear tire. It runs on a 9V battery, and it makes a loud chirping sound if the bike is moved when the alarm is set. It has ABC keys for code entry. As you can see, I also mounted folding baskets for groceries.

    BIKE ALARM: $11
    FOLDING BASKETS: $48 ($24 each)


    PART THREE: DOES IT FOLD?!

    The most important question, after all is said and done, is: Does it fold? You bet it does! It folds just the same as it did before the motor and battery kit was installed.

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    First you take the CLIX quick release at the front tire. Pull on it. Push the tire down past the brakes, and it's off.
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    Next, pop the quick release latch dealy holding the RackStand up against the seat post. Pick your bike up, and gently slide it under the rear tire.
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    Next, take the CLIX under the seat post. Pull it out, take the seat post off, and put it in your backpack. Laugh at any thief who tries to ride a bike with no seat! MUAHAHAHA!
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    Next, put your key in the battery. Turn it, and slide it off.
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    Next, take the CLIX quick release under your frame and pull it out. Fold the frame in on the rear of the bike.
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    Last, lock your handlebars to the rear wheel with the front wheel in between. I used the velcro strap that comes with the bike for easy illustration purposes, but if I'm out and about I use the U-lock.

    PART FOUR: HOW MUCH DID IT COST?

    The bill of sale from LunaCycle came to about $1540 including $60 for shipping:
    BBSHD $699
    42T LunaCycle sprocket FREE
    Luna color display $45
    Gear Sensor $50
    BBSHD tool kit $60
    52V 13.5 Ah Shark $546
    300W Luna charger $80
    Most of the other parts are optional (except the bike itself, of course), and most of them came from that store that rhymes with Jonhammazon. I spent a total of $1,100 on these things, including shipping and tax.
    Montague Urban $711
    Continental City RIDE II x 2 $46
    Incredibell $8
    Hornit $30
    Waterproof Bluetooth speaker $20
    Shimano RevoShift 7 $13
    Acrylic glue $7
    Polycarbonate sheet $8
    Winglights $35
    Headlight $22
    Taillight $22
    New York Noose $89
    U-lock $30
    Bike alarm $11
    Folding baskets x 2 $48
    All in all, I spent about $2,640 on everything, but I don't mind because this is my main ride now and it's exactly what I was looking for. It's a very niche vehicle — an electric road bike capable of speeds up to 28-30 MPH (flat), a range of ~30 miles, and can fold up to fit in a trunk or luggage bay without compromising the integrity of the frame. I might even mount a ski under the front tire this winter and challenge the snow plow to a duel. Stay tuned.

    PART FIVE: WHAT'S NEXT?

    As fellow DIY ebike builders can attest, a build is never "done." I'm not sure what's next. Maybe I'll install a Thudbuster. The bike seems fine for a road bike with no suspension, but I haven't ridden it that much yet.
    Attached Files

    #2
    Nice, Post up a pic of the full bike and Ill add it to the compatible thread.

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      #3
      Thanks, I knew I forgot something!

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        #4
        Now that it's not raining, I can post a better quality outdoor pic of the bike. I put the new Continental tires on it, but they're much taller than the Kenda tires of the "same size." I've adjusted the rear brakes, but the front are giving me some trouble. I toed the brakes in properly and they were fine, but I heard the brakes rubbing the rim again a couple minutes ago so I'm going to check the alignment when I have time later tonight or tomorrow. As far as electronics go, everything is working great.

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          #5
          Can you please post a more detailed photo/drawing of your homebuilt battery mount?
          I am using Comic Sans ironically here

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