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Pictorial examples of bike frame suitability

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    Pictorial examples of bike frame suitability

    A random selection of frames with pros/cons for each



    This lacks a center area for mounting a good sized battery. You would probably need to use a backpack battery to make it work.
    It is also rim brake so the pads would need upgraded (kool stop makes a pad specific for electric) in order to be safe.


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    Another example of a partial step through frame. Good for getting on the bike, bad for putting lithium in the center triangle.
    Unlike the previous example this does not have a curved top tube so in theory you might be able to mount a midsize hardcase pack on the top tube, but it would not be ideal due to the high center of gravity.


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    This one is not bad. Not great, but it is workable. The large triangle is very nice for adding any possible size of battery, even one capable of going 50 miles.
    It does have rim brakes which could use an upgrade, and the fork is not suspension so you will feel the bumps at the higher speeds typical of an electric bike. But you can swap out the fork easily enough as a later upgrade, and any aftermarket suspension fork will have mounts for disk brake calipers, so you can in theory upgrade this over time, for the most part.

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    A little better than previous pic. Still has a large center triangle, but it has entry-level suspension on the front fork as well as a suspension seatpost. Those would certainly be appreciated over the rough ride of the bike with no suspension. Still has rim brakes though. Additionally if you take a look at how the front fork works, the dropouts are not exactly vertical. So you would not want to use a front hubmotor on this. However both this and the previous frame appear to have both the bottom bracket shell standard and the chainstay design to allow use of BBS02, BBSHD and Cyclone (these tend to be what most people prefer anyway)
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    Not recommended. While you do have chainstay clearance for a bbsxx, the poor design means your only option is a backpack battery.
    On top of that it is inexplicably both a full suspension bike and a rim brake bike.

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    This is probably a good choice. This is a hardtail MTB with disc brakes and a decent sized triangle, while still having a slight top tube angle for easily getting on and off of the bike.
    This offers an easy upgrade path if you want to make improvements without it being a huge hassle. While being a cable disc brake system this could be easily upgraded with hydraulic brakes, which can be mounted in maybe 10 minutes by most folks with no prior experience needed. Same with the rotors, you could upgrade with larger 203mm rotors and this would take very little time to do, only requiring an allen key. A suspension seatpost can be added for additional suspension if needed, and it looks like it has enough chainstay clearance for typical mid drive motors.

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    Not ideal. This is a carbon fiber frame which poses several problems.
    The drop bars will be a problem if you want to install ebrake levers, install throttle, or orient the display.
    Also has rim brakes, and the bottom bracket shell is likely to be something like pressfit. While none of these issues are necessarily impossible to overcome without some work, there are better options.

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    This one is not bad, though it will depend on how much work you want to put into it and what sort of kit you want to install. For example you could replace the front with a hubmotor (though in this case it would spoil the aesthetic to some extent) and you would be good with the huge amount of potential battery space in the center. It is notable here that since this type of bike has only a coaster brake you would NOT be able to put a mid drive on it, since most mid drives freewheel if you backpedal.

    While front hubs are not particularly ideal for all circumstances (such as accelerating under load without spinning out) it is an option.

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    This may be a good choice. While it does not have suspension, with fatbikes you can lower tire pressure to compensate for it. This does have an affect on range though since it increases rolling resistance. You do have a large triangle in this bike so you can fit a decent sized battery to make up for it. Also depending on the dropout width you may be able to switch to a suspension fork relatively easily, for example the rockshox bluto or the luna lander.

    One thing to note on a fatbike frame like this is that due to the larger tire size, the chainstay flares out a lot more than it would on a typical bike. Some mid drive kits (particularly bbsxx kits) can pose some difficulty on a frame like this as part of the kit housing (the secondary reduction housing) can often hit the chainstay and prevent full insertion into the bottom bracket shell. Sometimes this can mean needing to contact the seller to see if you can do a bare motor size exchange if you need to use a lot of spacers to take up any gaps. While we cannot speak for the entire ebike industry, if you buy from Luna the BBSHD bare motor can usually be exchanged if need be as long as it's in original condition.


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    While this would need brake upgrades, it is possible to mount bbs02 and bbshd on this. Where you mount the battery may be a bit more of a challenge, and might require extensions (remember to use large wire if extending power wiring). Additionally, you would need to figure out where to mount the display and throttle. Often on bbsxx with a bike like this you will also need other extensions, like display extension, harness extension. Usually you would need to place the motor first, then figure out how much extra length you need versus a more typical build.
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    This bike is about 50 years old. While a clever person could probably figure out a battery mount solution somewhere in there, you do also need to keep in mind that this is possible to be using an old bottom bracket shell standard, often called the american style eccentric. If you are mounting BBSHD or BBS02 you may be able to use this adapter if that turns out to be the case. Additionally this bike uses drum brakes though which would not be recommended for speeds of 30-40 MPH.
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    This is probably a very suitable frame. Suspension fork, disc brakes with potential for upgrading to hydros and/or big rotors, decent sized frame and it is still somewhat classed as "step thru". It is also very likely that most bikes like this have standard BSA bottom bracket shell (the most common standard by far on hardtail MTBs), and with standard chainstay. Which is to say you would probably not have much problems installing a mid drive. This particular bike puts the shell somewhat towards the rear of the downtube so you will have less bottom clearance from the motor if going with bbshd or bbs02, but not a huge deal, just means you might need to dismount if going over very large downed trees (which you may want to do anyway)
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    Also a good frame. Still got disc brakes and front suspension as well as a good area for battery mounting and what appears to be enough chainstay clearance to fit most mid drive kits. Unlike the previous frame this puts the BB shell more forward, enabling you to rotate the motor housing upward so you have more clearance to jump over trees, curbs etc.

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