Maintenance bull

Jun 10, 2013
184
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Sussex
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MH
van conversion
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Festivals
I went in a chain sports shop yesterday, saw they had ebikes and asked if they had folding ebiked. They service ebikes and the obviously knowledgeable man at the bike service counter told me that they don't rate folding evoke quality and have trouble getting parts apart from one make so the only folding bike make he'd recommend (which to be fair to him they don't sell) is .... (I forget the name offhand it will, come to me) at 3.5k each. I'm just never going to leave £7k of bikes unattended.

On reflection I think there's an element of bull and elitism here and maybe to be fair an element of problems around independent maintenance but I don't accept that some of the ebike makes mentioned on fun are just no good and unmaintanable even though costing 600, 800, 1400 etc.
 
Feb 22, 2011
3,776
3,911
Newcastle under Lyme
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15,397
MH
Hymer B544 A Class
Exp
Since 2015
7k is an awful lot of money for a pair of bikes.
If they are your first ebikes I`d get a couple of the cheapies first and see how you like them.
I bought on second hand ebike from a funster, it came from Decathlon and I`m very impressed with it.
I`d looked at Kalkhoff which are excellent bikes but again a lot of money new.
I think there are more makers entering the ebike market and prices are getting more competative.
 
Jan 28, 2008
6,334
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walthamstow east london
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1,353
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renault burstner delphin
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7 years campers before that
Running gear on cheap bikes is all from a generic parts bin so i cant see that much of a problem

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Sep 12, 2016
1,602
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Chesterfield England Tellus 3
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45,091
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Lunar Roadstar 800
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10000 miles and 300 nights in 3 years
We have E Bikes and I do do most of my own servicing including the chain ring sensor which actually you would think is an expensive piece of the kit is freely available on Ebay just make sure you know how many magnets you need as there is a big variety.

BUT we have looked at local bike repair shops but we too have heard a lot of Bull5h1t about how they are not easy to get parts for or are difficult to set up
We may need new bikes next year and we know where we are heading as there is one supply company that gives you free servicing for the life of the bike so even second had they are sorted
 
Mar 26, 2018
214
422
Ormskilrk
Funster No
53,013
MH
Swift Voyager 685FB
I built my own ebike from a kit.

The motor is the most expensive part and new ones are available easily from eBay.
The battery is a generic ebike battery.
The controler and display is £40.
The pedal sensor is easily available as above.

Other than that it is a normal bike with normal bike parts. Nothing you can't service yourself.....and I did this weekend, swapping a broken spoke, as well as replacing worn brake pads.

500 miles since build and counting.
 
Dec 13, 2019
35
30
Northumberland
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67,346
MH
C Class
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Newbie
We got one at the NEC show three years ago. From memory, it was £800 and it works a treat.

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Mar 24, 2010
792
369
stoke on trent
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10,775
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relay lwb pvc
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6 years
I built my own ebike from a kit.

The motor is the most expensive part and new ones are available easily from eBay.
The battery is a generic ebike battery.
The controler and display is £40.
The pedal sensor is easily available as above.

Other than that it is a normal bike with normal bike parts. Nothing you can't service yourself.....and I did this weekend, swapping a broken spoke, as well as replacing worn brake pads.

500 miles since build and counting.
As a matter of interest how much did it cost you to build your own ?
 

Steve N Tracy

LIFE MEMBER
Jun 1, 2015
693
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Southampton
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36,661
MH
A Class
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4 Years
Our first electric bikes were £399.00 Hoppers from Tesco, I did not expect much but they far exceeded our expectations, they never fell apart or broke down, the range was a fairly respectable 25 to 30 miles, we did hundreds of miles on them over the years we had them and even ride them up some of the Cols in France.
 
Jan 22, 2019
165
424
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58,167
MH
Adria PVC
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Rented a few times...now an owner.
I'm not sure what this is about ? Are we talking ebikes or folding ebikes?

Adding a battery to a normal bike to make an ebike is not that challenging and I agree 3.5K seems steep for a reasonable one. But I suspect folding bikes - as the original question was about - is a whole different ball game.
Much, much smaller market and much more difficult to integrate the battery and motors and do it cheaply enough to make a profit...and crucially, to do it whilst keeping spare parts available for the next 5-7 years ...
 
Aug 6, 2013
8,382
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Kendal, Cumbria
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27,352
MH
A Class
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since 1999
I'm not sure what this is about ? Are we talking ebikes or folding ebikes?

Adding a battery to a normal bike to make an ebike is not that challenging and I agree 3.5K seems steep for a reasonable one. But I suspect folding bikes - as the original question was about - is a whole different ball game.
Much, much smaller market and much more difficult to integrate the battery and motors and do it cheaply enough to make a profit...and crucially, to do it whilst keeping spare parts available for the next 5-7 years ...
Still easily possible DiY. The motors will fit any wheel. The batteries simply unplug.
 
Reactions: two
Sep 11, 2018
106
69
Nr Bath
Funster No
56,124
MH
Hymer B654
Exp
Since the late 70's
The £3.5k ebike mentioned by the op is probably a Brompton. The guy in the sports store was clearly only stating his opinion, as they don’t sell them. Most reviews rate their normal folders as best, so he has good reason to express that view.
A non e brompton is now £1400 plus I think, but kits are available to convert them from just under £500.
We carry two Bromptons and have had one of them for 10 years now. The perfect folder if you ignor the price. I plan to get e kits for them this year.
There are plenty of perfectly usable e folders for sensible money. As most lower cost bikes are made in China - using many of the same common parts - I find it odd the big stores appear to be ignoring them.

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Jan 22, 2019
165
424
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58,167
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Adria PVC
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Rented a few times...now an owner.
When I was sourcing bikes for a very big chain last time, very few bikes came from China. The EU in its infinite wisdom slapped enormous tariffs on any complete bikes out of China ....presumably to protect the massive (non-existent) EU bike producers....
It was a case of constantly staying one step ahead of the EU inspectors so places like Thailand, Tunisia, Philippines, Sri Lanka.... but bloody hard to do and to ensure that you could ensure you had years of spares guaranteed.
 
OP
ToBoldlyGo
Jun 10, 2013
184
87
Sussex
Funster No
26,431
MH
van conversion
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Festivals
Thanks everyone and sorry for the delay in replying. I've looked at some 3*
reviews for £900 bikes from Halfords and Decathlon and things were failing after only
1-1.5 years so and actually I've just looked at the very first review on Decathlon and
the purchaser obviously liked the bike but took it back as the electrics
failed twice. Neither of us are proper cyclists and my oh would be unimpressed
if I bought things where the electrics failed 10 miles from the campsite.

Figaro On the other hand you've been very happy with yours ... maybe one gets Friday bikes :}
Yes 7k is too much for me, ok it's not a huge amount in the scheme of motorhoming
costs, but I may wait until the autumn to see if prices have come down at all.

Madcaravanner. Thanks, I don't know how to maintain ordinary bikes but it's something I wouldn't
mind trying on ebikes, I've always liked a bit of tinkering with our campervans. Why do you think you
may to move to new bikes?

Steve and Tacy wow, you really did well there! I think both of us would be pretty happy
with flattish terrain but it's the hills that's one of the reasons I'll get ebikes.

Neil. What was the kit? I'd thought of folding bikes so for security I could keep them in the
van garage but I think it would be great if I could apply kits to our existing manual bikes. It
sounds a bit of a struggle putting ebikes on a bike rack though.

BnBJwf. What did you get?

Ernesto. We're talking about cheaper vs more expensive bikes and ease of otherwise of
parts and maintainability. I think bike shop I went to saying they can't get parts for
cheaper folders is probably true. This thread is kind of moving me from folders to converting
my existing bikes!

Peppadog. The folding ebike they mentioned. It wasn't a Brompton, something like a Tern
I think they said, I saw one in a different shop a few weeks ago ... let me just google ..
yes this is it ... wow the tern looks cheap in this selection look at the carbon one eg! :

Sussex ebike shop

I really like the conversion idea, we'd keep our existing bikes that we're familiar and comfortable
with but zippyfy them.

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Dec 13, 2019
35
30
Northumberland
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67,346
MH
C Class
Exp
Newbie
I cannot remember but I bought it at the NEC show off a stand. The guy was from Coventry (no further comment there) and was very helpful.
I am nowhere near said bike for two weeks but will send all of the information through when I get back. It is now three years old and works great. It us certainly well built.
 
Sep 12, 2016
1,602
2,622
Chesterfield England Tellus 3
Funster No
45,091
MH
Lunar Roadstar 800
Exp
10000 miles and 300 nights in 3 years
Thanks everyone and sorry for the delay in replying. I've looked at some 3*
reviews for £900 bikes from Halfords and Decathlon and things were failing after only
1-1.5 years so and actually I've just looked at the very first review on Decathlon and
the purchaser obviously liked the bike but took it back as the electrics
failed twice. Neither of us are proper cyclists and my oh would be unimpressed
if I bought things where the electrics failed 10 miles from the campsite.

Madcaravanner. Thanks, I don't know how to maintain ordinary bikes but it's something I wouldn't
mind trying on ebikes, I've always liked a bit of tinkering with our campervans. Why do you think you
may to move to new bikes?

We got 2 second user bikes for £600 (£300 each)
After a few years the batteries loose power (yes new batteries are available BUT)
We are looking for a different frame shape Getting a mountain bike frame for me is preference)
and better gearing (the simple 6 speed Shimano is poorly matched for output - I'm trying to get back to cycling as I used to be)


Does that tell you more
 
OP
ToBoldlyGo
Jun 10, 2013
184
87
Sussex
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26,431
MH
van conversion
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Festivals
Thanks. I really like the idea of keeping our existing bikes. I think we'll do 1 or 2 trips with our bikes as--is (we need to build dome basjc bycling dkills/fitness) and them convert them. I've just been looking at some conversion vids and it doesn't look too hard to do.

I cannot remember but I bought it at the NEC show off a stand. The guy was from Coventry (no further comment there) and was very helpful.
I am nowhere near said bike for two weeks but will send all of the information through when I get back. It is now three years old and works great. It us certainly well built.

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OP
ToBoldlyGo
Jun 10, 2013
184
87
Sussex
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van conversion
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Festivals
That was a pretty good learning experience for just 300 each. The reason we started getting interested in ebikes was we were walking ours up a hill in the Lake District and this oldish guy (similar age to us) came whooshing up the hill at surprising speed wow he must be fit we were saying. His mtb looked lovely in green and I instantly wanted one until I later looked in shops and one can easily spend 3-5k. He said he felt it had reintroduced the fun of cycling and taken 20 years off him.

We got 2 second user bikes for £600 (£300 each)
After a few years the batteries loose power (yes new batteries are available BUT)
We are looking for a different frame shape Getting a mountain bike frame for me is preference)
and better gearing (the simple 6 speed Shimano is poorly matched for output - I'm trying to get back to cycling as I used to be)


Does that tell you more
 

two

Aug 4, 2011
3,312
1,527
West Midlands
Funster No
17,624
MH
A-Class Fiat
I bought a cheap bike some time ago and the bearings failed repeatedly. If you don't use them much you'd probably be OK.
I then bought a Kalkhoff and that lasted only 1000miles, so even the dearer ones aren't necessarily much better (the auto gear change failed). Now trying Riese & Muller (not cheap, either) which has been sound, so far.
If you want compact bike, rather than a folder, R&M offer a 'Tinker' which compacts to a small flat-ish shape (the handlebars fold away) and is universal size. Worth a look if you can afford it. Quality does not come cheap. The snag with the e-Brompton is that the drive is to the front wheel and I think the better solution is to the rear (where the weight is). Best of all (in theory) is to drive through the hub and let the motor take advantage of the gears.
Don't believe the claims made for range. Will you always be riding on the flat, in warm weather and requiring minimal assistance? Even half the claimed range might be optimistic. If you are only going to the local shops, fine, but e-bikes are even heavier to push and walking boots are much cheaper for short distances.
 
Sep 12, 2016
1,602
2,622
Chesterfield England Tellus 3
Funster No
45,091
MH
Lunar Roadstar 800
Exp
10000 miles and 300 nights in 3 years
That was a pretty good learning experience for just 300 each. The reason we started getting interested in ebikes was we were walking ours up a hill in the Lake District and this oldish guy (similar age to us) came whooshing up the hill at surprising speed wow he must be fit we were saying. His mtb looked lovely in green and I instantly wanted one until I later looked in shops and one can easily spend 3-5k. He said he felt it had reintroduced the fun of cycling and taken 20 years off him.
Before I was critically ill in 2010 We as a family cycled all over
I myself had 2 MTB and 1 road bike
our kids all had bikes as did their kids

AND I serviced the LOT so it doesn't matter what bikes you get the key thing is to check regularly keep all bearings adjusted and greased, keep them clean - a hosepipe and brush is good, a GENTLE pressure was is OK, but a FULL POWER BLASTER pressure washer isn't as it washes out lube and unless you fill everything up again you get rust and bearings fail.

" years ago I was in a mobility scooter, then started using an Electric Bike and I'm progressing well can walk a little all thanks to the E bike

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Mar 26, 2018
214
422
Ormskilrk
Funster No
53,013
MH
Swift Voyager 685FB
Neil. What was the kit? I'd thought of folding bikes so for security I could keep them in the van garage but I think it would be great if I could apply kits to our existing manual bikes. It
sounds a bit of a struggle putting ebikes on a bike rack though.
I got the kits from eBay - plenty to choose from. Ours are rear hub motors but with a folding bike you may be better off with a front hub motor as the wires don't need to go over the bend. Our kits cost less than £350 with the battery and included - hub motor, brake levers with cut out switch, pedal sensor, thumb throttle, and controller/display. Took less than an hour to build and mine has now clocked over 500 miles since build.

The bike went from 14kg to about 19kg with the kit fitted but no battery. I can still lift that on to my MH bike rack which sits at chest height.
 
Nov 10, 2014
58
41
Pershore
Funster No
34,184
MH
Pilote 700c
Exp
3 years
marc4242 Check out PoweredBicycles online or at most shows. He has been around for years, has a shop in Nottingham and is really helpful. Great reliable bikes.
 
OP
ToBoldlyGo
Jun 10, 2013
184
87
Sussex
Funster No
26,431
MH
van conversion
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Festivals
You've had a surprising amount of problems given how expensive the vehicles are. Reminds me of motor homes actually!

The tinker looks good but it's far too expensive for me, it's a lot cheaper trying to get the 2 of us leaner and fitter. I think my limit is about 1k per bike.

Thanks for the tip about battery range, I was looking at reviews on some ebike conversion kits and there were several saying that range claims are not real. In practice I'd think about 20-30 miles including hills is what we'd want so I guess I'll look for a 50 mile battery rather than a 30 mile one which us what I naively was going to get.

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two

Aug 4, 2011
3,312
1,527
West Midlands
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17,624
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A-Class Fiat
Keep an eye out for second-hand models. Their price falls off alarmingly. If you're extremely unlucky, you might have to get a new battery - try to check that out first.
 
Mar 26, 2018
214
422
Ormskilrk
Funster No
53,013
MH
Swift Voyager 685FB
If it helps here are my range figures.....

Battery is 36v @ 15ah = 540 watt/hours.

1. On the flat with power level 1 I am using 60 watts and doing 15mph
2. On a gentle hill power level 1 I am using 60 watts and am doing 10mph
3. On a steeper hill power level 2 I am using 100 watts and doing 10mph
4. Into the wind on a hill power level 3 I am using 150 watts and doing 12mph
5. Into the wind on a steep hill power level 4 I am using 200 watts and doing 12mph
6. Into a gale on a steep hill power level 5 I am using 250watts and doing 10 - 12mph

You can work out the range by diving 540 by the wattage and multiplying by the speed. So In 1. above I would get 540/60 = 9 hours @ 15mph = 135miles!

Of course in practise you will never get the ideal figures above as you never ride all on the flat with the wind on your back. Your weight and riding style make a bit of difference.

As a real world example today I rode from Crosby Baths to Southport, had a coffee in Starbucks, Lord Street, then rode the length of Lord Street and back to Crosby Baths. A total of 29.08 miles - 14 miles there, 15.08 back.
Going there the wind (what there was at 9am) was on my back and the road from Ainsdale to Southport is gently down hill. I was in power level 1 easily doing 16 - 18 mph a lot of the time and at that speed I am not using any power although the gauge shows 10 watts going somewhere. I got to Southport and I still showed a 3/4 battery.
Coming back a gale had started blowing and it was in my face up hill from Southport to Ainsdale and all the way along the coast to Crosby. I was in power level 3 or 4 for a lot of the journey, only dropping down to 1 through Ainsdale Forest and Hightown. I was doing 12 - 14 mph with slow sections of 8 - 10 mph. I got back to my car with a quarter battery showing.

I hope this helps in some way.
 

two

Aug 4, 2011
3,312
1,527
West Midlands
Funster No
17,624
MH
A-Class Fiat
I assume that your battery is a premium one, not typical of many bikes (better BMS and higher capacity).
I found that our range fell off dramatically (from 120miles) in very cold weather and very steep hills - probably not the conditions that many might use them in. We could ride 60 miles without concern, but acquired range anxiety when the conditions were against us (around 30 miles).

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OP
ToBoldlyGo
Jun 10, 2013
184
87
Sussex
Funster No
26,431
MH
van conversion
Exp
Festivals
Yes that's very interesting, thanks Neil. It shows there's a lot more to range than I'd ever have thought of. How do you change different power levels and how do you remember what you were using? What bike do you have btw?

If it helps here are my range figures.....

Battery is 36v @ 15ah = 540 watt/hours.

1. On the flat with power level 1 I am using 60 watts and doing 15mph
2. On a gentle hill power level 1 I am using 60 watts and am doing 10mph
3. On a steeper hill power level 2 I am using 100 watts and doing 10mph
4. Into the wind on a hill power level 3 I am using 150 watts and doing 12mph
5. Into the wind on a steep hill power level 4 I am using 200 watts and doing 12mph
6. Into a gale on a steep hill power level 5 I am using 250watts and doing 10 - 12mph

You can work out the range by diving 540 by the wattage and multiplying by the speed. So In 1. above I would get 540/60 = 9 hours @ 15mph = 135miles!

Of course in practise you will never get the ideal figures above as you never ride all on the flat with the wind on your back. Your weight and riding style make a bit of difference.

As a real world example today I rode from Crosby Baths to Southport, had a coffee in Starbucks, Lord Street, then rode the length of Lord Street and back to Crosby Baths. A total of 29.08 miles - 14 miles there, 15.08 back.
Going there the wind (what there was at 9am) was on my back and the road from Ainsdale to Southport is gently down hill. I was in power level 1 easily doing 16 - 18 mph a lot of the time and at that speed I am not using any power although the gauge shows 10 watts going somewhere. I got to Southport and I still showed a 3/4 battery.
Coming back a gale had started blowing and it was in my face up hill from Southport to Ainsdale and all the way along the coast to Crosby. I was in power level 3 or 4 for a lot of the journey, only dropping down to 1 through Ainsdale Forest and Hightown. I was doing 12 - 14 mph with slow sections of 8 - 10 mph. I got back to my car with a quarter battery showing.

I hope this helps in some way.
 
Mar 26, 2018
214
422
Ormskilrk
Funster No
53,013
MH
Swift Voyager 685FB
There is an lcd display on the handlebars that tells me power level, temp, distance, speed etc. The up/on/down button is to the side of the lcd.
My bike is a Cube CLS LTD with an eBay electric kit fitted to it.

BMS is Battery Management System.

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