This thread is where I will document my progress on building my first e-bike.
My goal is to build a decent electric bike that I can use for my 17 miles (each way) commute. The route is 95%+ on a bike trail so there are almost no traffic lights, etc. I commute along this trail on my road bike 1-2x/wk but am simply too tired and unmotivated to ride any more than that. I am hoping that this project will give me the motivation to commute more via bike than car.
I would like to build a fairly good quality bike trying to balance expenses and quality. I don't generally plan to go for the cheapest option (e.g. ebay motor, SLA batteries, etc.) but also not the most expensive option (bionx kit, etc.).
My initial thread asking for advice, etc.: http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=27426
I started doing research on 4/27/2011. I have 3 bikes at home but 2 of them were immediately ruled out for ebike conversion (1 Cervelo RS road bike, 1 Trek 6500 mountain bike, 1 cheap costco mountain bike). I use the Cervelo and Trek fairly often and don't want to convert them. The cheap costco bike is possible but it's just too cheap of a bike. I wanted something nice so I decided to get a new frame as well. The TidalForce frames look nice and seem built for e-bikes so I decided on one of those. I contact oatnet and it turned out that he lives a few miles from me. We arranged for a local pickup but realized that his local pickup place is 2 blocks from my house so he offered to just deliver in person! I went with the TF S-750 kit that includes the fork, handlebars, brakes, cables, seat post, saddle, etc. I also purchased his additional option for an extra sturdy kick stand + quick release front wheel.
For the motor, I decided to go with a 9c 2807 rear hub motor mounted on a wheel. It is from e-bikekits. I went with the advice from Edward Lyen in the group who basically summed it up by recommending the 2807 over the 2806 because the gearless hub would allow me to grow later if I choose to add more power, etc. It's also more durable, can handle regenerative braking, etc.
Rather than go with the standard kit from e-bikekits or e-bikes (which I think are fine), I choose to upgrade the controller to one of Lyen's controllers. I believe that this will allow me to have more control and have the ability to increase power in the future if I choose to do so. While doing this, I also purchased other accessories that Edward Lyen carriers including throttle, electric brake lever, torque arm, CycleAnalyst, etc.
For the battery, this is where things got complicated. I was pretty much set on getting a LiFePo4 48v 20ah battery from Ping. However, I did not like the 3 week wait (I tend to be a bit impatient). I was also not happy about the weight. I contemplated a local but relatively unknown source (John from Golden Oasis in the Chicago suburb of Hoffman Estates (search on ES for "48V LiFePo4 ebay")) but he didn't have the battery in stock. This is when I decided to go lipo instead. I realize the increased danger in lipo but I am a very careful and conservative person by nature so I think I will be ok as long as I tread carefully and slowly.
I purchased 8 turnigy 6s 5000mah 20c lipo packs from hobbyking. I also purchased some stuff like battery medic, voltage detectors, diagnostic meters, voltage analyzers, charger, etc.
I think I have most of the major spending out of the way. Here is the summary so far (edit: removed prices):
TidalForce S-750 frame, fork, bars, seat post, saddle, brakes, kick stand, front rim, pedals, etc. from oatnet
9C 2807 motor / wheel from e-bikekits - $240
9 FET 72V Infineon Brushless Controller (LYEN's Edition), CycleAnalyst, throttle, torque arm, e brake levers, usb-ttl adapter, speed switch
8 Turnigy 6c 5000 mah 20c lipo packs from HobbyKing
charger, battery medic, voltage detectors, diagnostic meters, voltage analyzers, etc. - $149.54
Total so far: $1000+
However, maybe it's just my justification of spending but I think the actual spend on building an e-bike if you already have a bike (so you want to convert) is closer to $1000-$1200. Stuff like the CycleAnalyst isn't necessary and some of the tools are things that aren't totally necessary either. I already have all of the bike tools so I don't need to spend anything there. I also consider everything outside of the core stuff to be accessories (like a helmet, lock, gloves, etc.).
The frame is here. Everything else is in the mail. I expect most (if not all) of this stuff to be here within about 1 week.