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A Rookie Would Greatly Appreciate the Input of You Experts

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    A Rookie Would Greatly Appreciate the Input of You Experts

    Hi folks—new member here. I could really use your help, so I would greatly appreciate it if you would take the time to read what follows.

    I’m a 60-year-old guy in Daytona Beach, Florida, and I need to get an electric bike; for a few months it’s going to be my sole means of transportation. I’m pretty committed to going forward, so I started investigating the matter about a month ago.

    I’m truly impressed with the level to which you folks have brought the science of electric bike development, and even more impressed with the level to which you’ve brought the art of designing and building these things. So, again, I am here seeking out the help of you, the experts.

    I’m just not sure in what direction I should go—build, or buy new or used. I’d love to acquire, one way or the other, one of those magnificent ebikes I see that (seemingly) rightly go for thousands. And even more thousands. But the truth is that for the moment—for this autumn of 2016, my budget is in the $600–$800 range.

    All of the riding I’ll be doing will be on paved, almost entirely level streets. Most of my trips will be in the 5–10 mile range; none will involve mud or snow. Twenty to twenty-five MPH will do just fine. My health has been declining for a while now, so much, if not most of the go is going to have to be provided by the motor.

    Earlier in life, I built two different kit airplanes—one fabric and wood, and another all-metal. While I did pull it off, after having gone through those experiences, I realize that I’m just not that much of a work-with-my-hands builder kinda guy. What that means is that if I were to buy a kit to mount on an existing bike, I could probably pull it off, but not if I have to design, innovate, and/or create a significant number of solutions to building problems. I’ve got too much on my plate right now to spend more than about 40–60 hours total on building (if I can help it)—and since I don’t know what the heck I’m doing, that would be equal to about less than ten of your build-hours. Otherwise, I’d find some way, by hook or crook to get one of those BBSHD mid-drive units. Now those units appear to be the bomb!

    So here it is: Would any or all of you be so helpful as to suggest some names of bikes, and/or names of kits that I should be looking at? How much power do I need—24, 36, 48 volts? How much battery do I need? I guess the question really is: With the tiny budget that I have available to me, if I were to start with a $100 bike (a $300 bike that I buy used for $100), what combination of motor and battery would you suggest that I get with the other $700 I have available to me?

    The really important thing I want to avoid is spending my money with the wrong people, and wind up with a bike that doesn’t work at all, then having no warranty or even company support to fall back on. Through reading online forums, I seem to have gotten the impression that a Mac kit would be a fairly safe bet.

    Finally, should I be looking at those little electric scooters that are legal because they have pedals somewhere on the thing? I’m pretty sure, though, that I’d rather have a real bike.

    Anyway, I’d love to get your thoughts. Please help!

    Thank you.

    P.S. I feel just a tad foolish, in that right after I posted this, I happened upon your article about the Mac EM3ev, so I guess that answers that question. Is that a difficult kit to install on a basic bike frame? Also, on the link provided in the article, there are a number of choices of controllers, motor rpm speeds, and T number. How will I know what goes with what, so I'll know what to order? And I'd still like any additional input that any of you have.

    Thanks again.
    Last edited by Daytona eCycler; 08-19-2016, 09:13 PM.

    The first thing that comes to mind after reading your post need a bigger budget for a build. I'm 15 years older and I have a lot of tools.
    I seem to have collected a lot of hobbies over the years but building or working on a bike wasn't one of them. There are a number of specialized bike tools that you will need for a build. That'll be a few bucks and honestly I'm not up on the costs of the available kits but with the kit and a battery and bike and tools plus stuff you didn't think you'd need I'd say you're at or more than your budget. I would look on CL for a used electric bike. Your requirements aren't that much but stay away from lead-acid battery's.


      Sondors is probably your best bet. I've never ridden one but reviews are good and it should easily meet your needs. Plus Luna has many upgrade options if your budget and needs expand in the future.


        How about a Smart Pie kit with a mighty mini battery? Simple install and stay within your budget.


          I have 3 ebikes, and my Smart Pie installation is my favorite. I have a 52V battery (don't get anything less) and it has plenty of power for street riding incl small hills. It is also light weight and has the longest range. I did a front wheel installation which is much simpler, and don't have to mess (less cost) with free wheels, etc.


            You sound like a perfect fit for a Sondors. Your trips are in range with the upgrade 36v 11.5ah battery. The Sondors have a litany of upgrade components, parts and great online forum support. I can even tote my collies 50# bags of Pedigree dog food, on my 20 mi commute into town. Maintaince is pretty minimal and you can channel the Wright Brothers when you adjust the brakes or lube and tension the chain. )) Don't think the fat tire version is only for Muscle Beach or the Frozen Tundra, most are ridden on streets and Trailway/Bikepaths. There are Narrow and Thin versions available and custom options, lighter alum frame and suspension fork.
            Last edited by Reddy_Kilowatt; 08-20-2016, 08:30 AM.


              I've built several e-bikes using frames we had hanging from the garage rafters. In a build vs buy situation, it's tough to beat the Sondors pricing. What is it. $699 for a single speed fat or thin bike? But it's easy to beat their delivery schedule, which is collect enough money for a group buy, order, wait for the boat to arrive, and then ship.

              In my old age, time is money. Gotta have it now. I also gotta have gears, and Sondors stuff is mostly one speed, which is OK if one plans to use the motor all the time. I agree that it will meet your stated needs. Me, I need that gear shifter.

              I have no problem with enthusiasts and their four thousand dollar bikes, but I believe that used 40 pound steel frame mountain bikes should be almost free. Look for them at estate and garage sales. If you can get a cheap, but rideable donor, it's possible to do a $300 battery and a $200 motor/wheel kit. Shipped prices. My first project cost that much, and so will the next one. Add a few bucks to make the brakes and tires safe.

              If you built kit airplanes, you know more about safety and good build techniques than most of us. When you got hinges and levers that need to work at 100 mph and a mile in the sky, how hard can it be to set a clearance on a v-brake or disk brake, or turn the screws on a derailleur so the chain doesn't skip? Basic bike technology is high school stuff. That's what my nephew did at the local bike shop when he was 16. Think 4-6 hours of build time, unless you like making things look factory spec.

              Good luck and be safe riding in Daytona. My 70 year old friend still drives down to FL for the winter. I've had two or three close calls riding with him, and even one close call last month when I drove by his subdivison (in my car) and he came out w/o looking.


                Well since you aren't going to be pedaling the one speed Sondors isn't really a factor. What would be a factor I would think is the bike itself. Your 60 year old frame might not fit the Sondors frame. If the bike isn't comfortable nothing else matters. I would look at a Smart Pie on a cruiser type bike. Make it easy on yourself for instalation and get a front wheel kit.


                • Louis
                  Louis commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Best advice. Just do the front of the most comfortable bike. I do a pair of Grin torque arms on my front builds. Overbuilt and very safe. The rest of the torque arms are just not up to snuff.

                For your needs, and very easy installation, I honestly would recommend a Magic Pie Edge 48v kit with a 52v 14ah Shark Pack battery. The kit is only $400 and the battery is $500. The Golden Motor Magic Pie can be installed on any standard bicycle that has a normal clamping rear dropout in about 15 minutes. The only tool you need to install the Magic Pie kit is an adjustable wrench for the axle. The Edge is sold as a "500 Watt" kit, but right out the box it will actually run at 1KW. So, more power than you need for legal flat road riding and will easily run you up to 30MPH if you want to. The reason I recommend the Shark Pack battery is because it is a very low profile battery that will mount where the two standard water bottle battery screws are on the down tube of almost every bike that has been made. The whole setup can fit anything from a 100$ walmart bike to a $5000 performance bike if you really wanted to upgrade that much. The other reason I like the hub motors for cheap builds is because the break regeneration ability. The mid drive motors cannot do brale regen. The hub motor brake regen is independent of the mechanical clamps so if you have cheap rim stop brakes it isn't a big deal because the brake regen will easily slow you down from 30mph to 1mph far better than even cheap rotors will. The combo will easily get you 35+ miles of range on just throttle or even more if you use it with peddle assist. I have achieved over 100 miles on my older MagicPie kit running it as a 250w peddle assist and using throttle for hills. So, if this interests you, you can find the Magic Pie kit at:


                and the Shark Pack 52v battery at:

                Distributors and builders of high power electric bikes and trail bikes plus parts

                Hope this helps!

                Edit: btw, the 48v Magic Pie will work with the 52v Shark pack because the limit for the Magic Pie is actually 60v Max. The Shark Pack will come out to 58v fully charged and works just fine.

                Also, go with the rear wheel as the rear wheel will have better traction when under power. the front motors can get away from you pretty easily if you end up in a low traction situation, so, I dont recommend them.
                Last edited by DCMoore; 09-03-2016, 11:40 PM.