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Old 01-28-2007, 09:51 PM   #1
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What is the best bicycle motor?

I've been thinking about getting a bicycle hub motor for a while now for a hybrid/tribrid idea that I would like to build, and it turns out that my dad is also looking for some sort of bicycle motor for a warm weather commuter vehicle, so I was wondering if anyone has any exprince with bicycle motors that they really liked.
I rather like the hub motor design like golden motor sells, this past summer I talked to a guy who really liked his, but he didn't have the battery pack along or something, so I couldn't take it for a ride.
About 11 years back I bought a ZAP electric bicycle kit, it worked pretty good for what was avalible, of course it had a heavy battery, and low power, inefficent motors that used a friction roller on the rear wheel, it was extreamly simple, but an all around bad design.
Idealy I would like a rear hub motor, altho having a front wheel would be ok, 30mph would be nice as that is what is allowed in wisconsin, some states it's only 20mph, and I have my own ideas for a battery pack, a motor controler with regeneritive braking would be great.
I just spent a bit of time looking at the electricrider web page and rather like what they have, and altho there prices are a bit higher then I was hoping for, it does sound like they are being more real about how there product will perform, and that it might be of a higher quality then some of the others.
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Old 01-28-2007, 11:56 PM   #2
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Not really OT, but I was thinking about the same project, and given the cost, I thought it'd be better to go with a electric scooter motor/controller mounted on a rack with a chain-driven flip-flop hub, the motor being on the fixed side. That way the cost could be kept down, parts would be easily replaced (If the hub motor goes, where can a new one be bought?), the gearing/battery type/motor power would be the rider's choice, and efficiency would still be pretty high (No friction drive).
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Old 01-29-2007, 05:24 AM   #3
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No idea what's best, but you might check out SRAM...I know they had an in-hub motor a few years ago.
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Old 01-29-2007, 07:09 AM   #4
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Regen is neat, but as you already know (because you're a hypermiler), an efficient driver rarely if ever uses regen.

Also it adds to the complexity and cost of the system.

I've done a little research on this topic, and I'd choose the simplest controller/motor option, ie pedal start (simplifies the controller even further, and extends range).
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Old 01-29-2007, 08:16 AM   #5
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For my senior design project, we looked at a few hub motors - the best our group found as far as robustness was one made by Wavecrest, but they were very pricy.

We ended up designing our bike with an electric scooter motor and a secondary chain drive to the pedals. Our bike did use regenerative braking, but we were still working the bugs out of the system by the time the final presentation rolled around.

I agree with Darin - K.I.S.S. - and find a motor with an integrated controller already...our research showed it would be difficult if we mixed up or built our own controller.

Pedal starts are wonderful for battery life, and although we really wanted that power start, we never got a great result.
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Old 01-29-2007, 08:43 AM   #6
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if I was building my own throtle controle for the motorcontroler, I would be tempted to make basicly a spring loaded leaver with a idler that pushes the tops half of the drive chain down (the part of the chain that is under tention when you pedal) so that to a point, the harder you pedal, the faster you go, stop pedaling, and the motor stops running, pedal lightly, and the motor turns slow.

are there any 1/2 to 1hp electric motors that have controlers avalible that would work well for an electric bicycle? I would like to try to keep the whole system under $600 if possible, not including the bicycle, as I already have a number of bicycles I can use for this project.
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Old 01-29-2007, 08:51 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by DaX View Post
For my senior design project, we looked at a few hub motors - the best our group found as far as robustness was one made by Wavecrest, but they were very pricy.

do you remember what the price was? cheapest motor I've found is around $80 (from golden motor) but I'm disapointed with their low top speed (no load motor rpm give something like 22mph, put a load on there and it will drop) and unsure about there quality, and I've looked at motors that go as high in price as $1,700 for a kit to retrofit a bicycle (very nice, has enough power to alow you to tow a trailer as well) so I know that the price on them will varry a great deal, in my ideal world, if I can find an electric motor, and controler that work well together for around $300-500 then I would be happy.
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Old 01-29-2007, 10:07 AM   #8
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I can't remember the price. Go to the website and call up one of their dealers. When I get home tonight I'll look back through my report and see if I can find some notes on it - we did do a competitor's cost comparison somewhere.
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Old 01-29-2007, 11:01 AM   #9
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Don't expect 30mph speeds from a hub motor as they tend to be in the 400 watt range and it will melt trying to pump that much power into something with that low an efficiency. I spent (wasted) years telling guys on zappy and other chat groups that most of the little motors are in the 60-80 % efficiency and 80% only at low speeds and you end up with heaters more than motors. You have to get a good brushless design with about 1000 watts or more continuous and either drive the rear wheel directly with a over powered motor or get some gearing working with a smaller motor i.e. through the chain drive or a 5 speed hub with separate chain drive input for the motor.
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Old 01-29-2007, 01:54 PM   #10
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my current favorit motor is a 3 phase brushless hub motor with over 1000 watts of peek output.
I've thought about useing a "normal" motor, part of the truble is finding a controler that will match them, and then they reduce your bicycles carring capacity if you have both a motor, and battery pack on the rack, and part of my idea is to have two battery packs, a short trip pack, and a long trip pack to save weight and space, or idealy get a rear hub motor, that can take a disk brake on the lefthand side, and mount another sprocket to it, have a 25-35cc over head cam honda mini 4 stroke engine that either turns a generator to run the hub motor, then can shift to a direct drive to the hub once you are up to speed, but as it is right now, I just want a bicycle motor and controler.
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