Vintage Electric

Rat Rod

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They look awesome, but as with all of these e-bikes...the cost is so prohibitive to the average customer.

Who of us would spend $5000 on a boutique built e-bike instead of building our own for a fifth of the cost.

I guess if I was rich and wanted something to goof around on at my beach house I might buy one.

But man....when I think about that money and what else I could buy with it, it's hard to justify that kind of an investment.
 
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Commercial e-bikes are perishingly expensive, but they don't all have to be. My commuter uses an Aotema/Wilderness energy kit which was something like 200.00 oneBay and after years of getting by with lead acid batteries I sprung for a lithium iron phosphate pack which was 375.00 BUT will be cheaper in the long run and perform a lot better. It's interesting chemistry and worth looking up if you have an interest. All of this is mounted on a 1983 Univega mountain bike- the long wheelbase and slack geometry help it carry the extra weight better than most. I'm not going 35mph, but a reliable 17 to 20. Really eliminates almost any excuse not to take the bike and counteracts the 25 mph headwind on the way home. The commercial e-bikes seem to be selling well, but not to me at that price point. I see a lot around town, and an e-bike store has been open for a few years just up the street:
http://newwheel.net/
 
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Jul 11, 2010
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Most definitely cool looking! Maybe I could do something similar with my build. Using a Phoenix Racer Front hub motor. I have 4 SLA I need to figure where to mount rather than side saddlebags. I thought of the center mount but wasn't sure how to do so, Thanks for this post Ren-Man. Here is my build thus far.



Option: Would like to Electrify my Shelby Hiawatha Racer:) Truly a Vin-New Bike.
 
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Jul 11, 2010
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This is how far I got this morning. Building-up my 1947 Shelby Hiawatha into an electrified bike. Now to figure mounting the batteries, speed controller, etc. It's like trying to fit 100gallons of water into a 75gallon tank:/


 

OCD

Nov 21, 2009
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There are lots of commercially available triangular bags made to hold cells, you could buy batteries and build your own pack. Headway and some other Lifepo4 cells can be screwed together without special tools or spot welding in whatever configuration/shape you need. Other than that you're likely looking at rear rack mount which can change handling quite a bit unless you have a tiny pack. Don't waste your money on lead batteries go LiPo, LiFePo4 or LiMin as you can recharge some up to 2000 cycles and still retain 80% capacity. The more expensive chemistries are cheaper in the long run. You should consider torque arms to protect your fork, you don't want the wheel to pull itself out of the dropouts, especially if you decide to run 48 volt or higher.

I've ridden one of those board tracker style e-bikes. They are expensive, but finely detailed and feel smooth and solid. Even the quality of the chrome is well beyond what you usually see on bicycle parts, it's motorcycle show quality. The guy I know ordered a larger pack (15 amp/hr) to extend his range. It's about as powerful as my 3000 watt bike. At $6k or whatever, for someone that can't build their own it's not bad if you add up the cost of the parts and the battery box casting. The frame starts out as a Felt cruiser and are hand reworked to build the bike, it would be hard even for the best of us to reproduce it at home. It's quite easy to spend a similar amount on a high end mountain bike now.

This was my first attempt to spread weight around the bike while keeping it down low before I went LiFePo4:
 
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Jul 11, 2010
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Here is an update of my Vin-New e-Bike Build, I was thinking Rear Mount of the batteries (4-SLA Currently have is why not Lithium at the moment), Controller Mid Frame area, Wires etc could be hidden under the wood panel tank. Truss support for the front end. More than likely to change the seat to a more low profile one and laid back further.
 
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OCD

Nov 21, 2009
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No reason to not use what you already have! At least your finished product will look a heck of a lot more stylish than my first attempt and with your hub motor up front, it'll help to balance the weight. I'm assuming that's the controller on the seat post and 2 x 12 volt batteries either side of the rear axle.
 

OCD

Nov 21, 2009
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Don't worry, you'll have a blast once it's up and running. According to their website the Phoenix has a crytalyte motor, those things can run up to 5000 watts and more without trouble. I hope you're limiting it to about 1000 watts @ 48 volts or you may snap your forks. I'll be waiting for pics of the 'e-bike grin' we're always talking about...:113:
 

The Renaissance Man

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How about this then? Hellcats little beer runner pushing 3000 watts@72volts. Hits 55mph for 20 miles easy.

Cool bike!
I hate to admit that I'm getting old, but I suppose that's the reason that 55mph on a vintage bicycle (even with modern upgrades) makes me nervous. :chicken: I wouldn't have thought twice about it earlier in my life!
 
Jul 11, 2010
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Exactly right, who would ever thought a 5-8MPH Vintage Cruiser at a speed of 50-55MPH! Scary but I like it! I may have to take Kev Higgins idea of no Chain drive/sprocket it's definitely in my way of my build, and possibly mount my Motor to the rear. I may need to mockup something similar.

Thanks Kev.