To build or buy? Trying to make a shopping list

nelf

Finding my (electric) wheels
Apr 2, 2021
18
0
Northumberland
Hi everyone

I've been reading up on ebikes for the past few weeks and cannot decide if I want to buy a prebuilt ebike or buy a brand new hardtail mountain bike and a conversion kit. I do not currently own a bicycle to upgrade.

I'm aware of the whole legal ebike speed and motor wattage limits - I will be using it on private land so that's not an issue! ;)

So when reading up, UK ebikes are labelled as 250w 15.5mph however are they only software limits? Sometimes not even the case with bafang? Originally I wrote off buying from the UK as I assumed they were all going to be limited but that may not be the case? I was eyeing up @Woosh conversion kits or a prebuilt ebike.

If I must buy a kit from outside the UK for better power then aliexpress for the conversion kit and the UK for a battery pack is the plan so far.

Getting a prebuilt ebike is of course easier however doing it myself might result in a cheaper cost and/or better/more powerful hardware right?

Installing the conversion kit is not an issue, I have the help of someone experienced.


Info:
Budget <£1,500 for everything, ideally
6'4 / 195 cm | 240lbs / 17 stone
Bike usage: Private road, private off-road, basically everything so I figured a hardtail mountain bike with a suspension seat-post is the better choice.

I was writing up a list of things that i'd like for this bike - so far they are:

Rear hub
Battery mounted in the triangle (not in a bag)
Hydraulic disc brakes - with sensors for the motor etc
Mud guards
LCD screen - Colour & USB power out
Throttle (that doesn't require turning of the peddles first)
Ability to add a speed limit on the motor/throttle (I do want to be safe!)
The option to add a rear pannier rack in future

Likely 3" wide tyres - Originally I was wanting a fat tyre bike for the added comfort/braking however the added weight and whatnot might make it worse for going off-road? I figure a 3" will still give those benefits without being too heavy - happy to hear people's opinions!

Wheel size 29"?
Frame size 23-24"?
Single ring chainset?
How many gears etc?

That's all I can think of right now! Thanks for reading - i'm happy to hear if anyone has any suggestions.
 
Last edited:

overlander

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 22, 2009
528
40
Cannot advise on the kit but can advise on MTB for tall people. Your the same height as me, if it’s a MTB you are looking at maximum 21”. For a road bike your looking at 23”-25” but better to try them out for size.
 

Scorpio

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 13, 2020
321
140
Portugal Algarve (temporary)
Hi, if your off-road is mainly gravel tracks or similar maybe look at a hybrid bike. A mountain bike makes sense if you're using it for proper off-road.
I'm same height as you and similar weight, I'm using a decent 29er mountain bike on a mix of B-roads and gravel tracks but soon realised that a more upright postion / higher bars would have suited me better.

Tyres - I swapped my 2.2" chunky tyres for 1.9" semi-slicks as I found the wide tyres great on mud but not on the routes I normally use. The bike came with wide tires on narrow rims but they always felt too wide for the rim, I don't think my frame has space to go much bigger than 2.2"
 

vfr400

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 12, 2011
9,822
3,951
Basildon
It doesn't make sense to buy a new bike to convert to electric. There are plenty of used ones on Ebay, Gumtree, Scpock, Facebook, etc, which would be substantially cheaper and you won't worry so much when you have to drill or file the frame.
 
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nelf

Finding my (electric) wheels
Apr 2, 2021
18
0
Northumberland
Cannot advise on the kit but can advise on MTB for tall people. Your the same height as me, if it’s a MTB you are looking at maximum 21”. For a road bike your looking at 23”-25” but better to try them out for size.
Ah, that's some good info!

Now to decide if a dropper post or suspension post is best - dropper&suspension is quite expensive. :D

Hi, if your off-road is mainly gravel tracks or similar maybe look at a hybrid bike. A mountain bike makes sense if you're using it for proper off-road.
I'm same height as you and similar weight, I'm using a decent 29er mountain bike on a mix of B-roads and gravel tracks but soon realised that a more upright postion / higher bars would have suited me better.

Tyres - I swapped my 2.2" chunky tyres for 1.9" semi-slicks as I found the wide tyres great on mud but not on the routes I normally use. The bike came with wide tires on narrow rims but they always felt too wide for the rim, I don't think my frame has space to go much bigger than 2.2"
Hybrid bikes look pretty good although I kind of want a MTB not necessarily for going off-road now, but having the option in the near future when i'm in shape. How have you found the braking distance change when you went to a narrower tyre?

It doesn't make sense to buy a new bike to convert to electric. There are plenty of used ones on Ebay, Gumtree, Scpock, Facebook, etc, which would be substantially cheaper and you won't worry so much when you have to drill or file the frame.
I totally agree however i've been having a look at used bikes in my area and they are mostly kids or women's or on occasion a really old ebike - covid and the recent decent weather has likely gotten people buying them up. I don't have a car so i'm really limited on the distance of sellers.

I'm totally okay with paying more for a new bike however, I view it as a long term investment and will have no issues with putting some holes in it for extra support.
 

Scorpio

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 13, 2020
321
140
Portugal Algarve (temporary)
Hi, fair point about mountain bike / hybrid - you have a better idea of what will suit you, now & in the future.

I've not found any difference on braking after changing tyres but I ride fairly gentle so no emergency stops etc, one surprise is how quickly the brake pads wear down (big heavy bike / rider / shopping, going fast, lots of miles).

When buying I'd say hydraulic disk brakes are a "must have", elec bikes are heavier and faster than non-elec so good disk brakes are essential for me (unless it's a lazy "town" bike that just potters around).
 
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Deleted member 33385

Guest
It doesn't make sense to buy a new bike to convert to electric. There are plenty of used ones on Ebay, Gumtree, Scpock, Facebook, etc, which would be substantially cheaper and you won't worry so much when you have to drill or file the frame.

I agree - I converted a bike I bought from a friend many years ago, and if I end up destroying the frame, I'll simply source a second Dahon Helios P8 on ebay or Gumtree, or some other well made light folding bike, with 20" wheels.
 
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nelf

Finding my (electric) wheels
Apr 2, 2021
18
0
Northumberland
I can get my hands on a GT avalanche 3.0 hardtail mountain bike that I used to own a decade ago. Not sure on the size yet, gonna take a look at it over the weekend. Originally I disregarded it because I thought it was full suspension. :confused:

Will need to upgrade the brakes from mechanical disc to hydraulic disc and maybe some other stuff, but all in all a lot cheaper than buying a new bicycle (and 3 month+ waiting list) or trying to find a used one.

When I have the bicycle I can then start looking at conversion kits that'll fit it.
 

quackstar84

Pedelecer
Mar 6, 2014
221
13
38
I can get my hands on a GT avalanche 3.0 hardtail mountain bike that I used to own a decade ago.
Here's my gt. It's currently kaput at the moment however. Id like something larger even thought this is a 20... however it says 20 center to top i just noticed. Im 6.1" and if feels too small. 26" hub kits still seem to be popular over 27.5 or 29 for some reason.
 

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nelf

Finding my (electric) wheels
Apr 2, 2021
18
0
Northumberland
Here's my gt. It's currently kaput at the moment however. Id like something larger even thought this is a 20... however it says 20 center to top i just noticed. Im 6.1" and if feels too small. 26" hub kits still seem to be popular over 27.5 or 29 for some reason.
Oh interesting! I'll look for that sticker when I get the bike this weekend.

Did you find the conversion pretty straight forward? You bought the kit from aliexpress right?
 

quackstar84

Pedelecer
Mar 6, 2014
221
13
38
Oh interesting! I'll look for that sticker when I get the bike this weekend.

Did you find the conversion pretty straight forward? You bought the kit from aliexpress right?
I believe this is how you measure mt bike frames? Please correct me if incorrect (view pictures). Road bikes seem to be in CM.

I bought it from here back in 2018. https://yosepower.com/collections/e-bike-conversion-kit

They sell a different version now, I prefer and have the lcd3 and kt controller kit. I watched videos YouTube and had the correct tools so it was easy enough. Im a novice. Mounting the battery was a pain. You're meant to drill more holes further up the water bottles holder and fit rivet nuts however I just cabled tied it. I dont recommend you do that thought. Listen to people who know what they are doing on here lol.
 

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