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The Ultimate Do It Yourself Ebike Guide: Learn How To Build Your Own Electric Bicycle Paperback – December 8, 2013
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On the second build, the bike had lawyer lips. I got some washers from Canada, and they were expensive with the shipping. Toll points out that you can file the lips off the fork. I would have tried that, for sure, but random filing is not something I would normally do. I ran into a problem with a front hub and a cheap suspension fork. That cost me money for a steel fork. Things like that happen and a book like this saves time and grief.
I don’t know why some things are not part of the structure of ebikes. For example, Toll mentions that Lifepo4 batteries are more expensive than standard 18650 type batteries. Well, it depends. The pouch cells that are made in China for ebike batteries are very cheap. I have one, and it has proven to be the most reliable of all my packs. It’s holding 90% capacity after two years, the voltage swings are much less than performance 18650 cells. I’m not sure I think the author has studied this enough. I’m not recommending the China Lifepo because the weight is very high, but I have had great results from my 36v 15 ah Lifepo on all my bikes.
I’m not sure this book gives people the more basic options, either. Buying the basic stuff is not that easy. I can get Golden Motor (I have 2) or a MAC motor (I have 1). These are fairly readily available. The Bafang geared motors are not sourced very well in the US, or from really known Asian dealers like EM3ev. I don’t know why, because they are a good basic geared motor, but people might want a laced hub, a matching controller, and the other little parts. Most of the US DIY is very upscale.
This is obvious with Bafang mid-drives. It is easy to spend around a thousand dollars for a BBSHD, given extra parts, tools, maybe labor at a shop. That’s not really basic DIY, in my book. There are other mid-drives, but no one is developing them into the US DIY market. Bafang has a monopoly, in a lot of ways, and the prices are rather stable for a product whose production and development costs have been paid down.
The other area of concern for me is batteries. I don’t think a lot of people need a performance battery. Anyone who thinks a GA cell is a great performance cell might want to look at the cycles and capacity chart in the Panasonic data sheet. Performance cells are not simple. If people want to stay within a very low budget, Toll offers few choices. I have used Titan Flight packs, 4 in series and parallel. You have to build a charger, but it’s a $200 type deal. There are cells on Ebay, either ‘remainder’ cells or cells from vaper sites. There are the Chinese Lifepo. Maybe the Vruzend system will work. There is Battery Blocs and that company builds small packs.
It’s a small group of people who ‘run’ ebikes, even the DIY side. Are people getting great deals, great options, great choices? I say ‘NO’. Toll is a decent man with a lot of good knowledge, but I don’t know how a new builder could get good deals from this book. For me, the book is just too tied to the ebike establishment. I like the book and heartily recommend it, but understand that there may be limitations if you want to build the best DIY possible for the least money.