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How Hard Can You Ride A DIY E Bike? | Homebuild In The Bike Park

How Hard Can You Ride A DIY E Bike? | Homebuild In The Bike Park

– Here on EMBN we’re lucky enough to ride some of the best ebikes out there. But those bikes come at quite a price for that performance. On the other end of the spectrum, we’ve got those ebike home-build kits. They got us thinking, “How capable are those
bikes out on the trail?” Especially with turning up that dial and pushing them to their limits. So, today, we’re hammering
the ebike home-build kit hard. (upbeat music) So, for today’s ride, we’re starting pretty simple. We’re hitting the roads first, then we’re going to the fire roads, then we’re going to do a
little bit of cross-country on some nice trails around here. Then, we’re heading to the bike park, turning that dial up to 11, and getting some air underneath
the wheels of this beast, to see how it handles it. But let’s take a quick look at the bike. This is a bike that I had kicking around in the back of my shed, and I thought it was about
time we electrify this thing. So, the main frame is
the aluminum hardtail. Now this is an aggressive hardtail. I mean, it’s equally at
home smashing it downhill as it is pumping out the miles. Upfront, we’ve got 160mm Rockshox Lyrik, rolling on 27.5 wheels,
with Maxxis Aggressor tires. It’s got hydraulic brakes to slow it down, and the rear hub motor is
a thousand watts power, and that’s coming from Cyclotricity. It’s got five different
power levels on there, from “Off” all the way up to “Level Five”, which is going to power this
bike at pretty good speed. It has both pedal assist
and throttle options, meaning that you can press the button, not pedal, and go along at quite a pace. And finally, powering it, it’s got a 48-volt 12-amp power battery. All the electrical items on this bike is roughly coming in at £750. Now, that includes the battery, the motor, the LCD unit and the speed controller. It’s pretty simple to convert any bike to an ebike these days. However, this kind of
kit is usually suited to more of that commuter style, fire roads and the basic kind of trails you’re going to find out on the hills. However, I’ve combined it
with a pretty capable frame, a big fork and a strong wheel set. Time to go and find out how
capable this bike really is. (upbeat music) So, first up, the road test on this bike. Now, this bike is absolutely flying along, and I’m not even in the
highest power mode settings. It simply made that big hill
climb an absolute breeze. Now, I’m finding the power delivery, it’s a bit more kind of surgy than the regular kind of e-mountain bike, meaning that it is taking
a few pedal revolutions to actually engage that drive. And once the power is there, it starts off on quite
a big hit initially. So, I think, when we’re
hitting the off-road stuff, could get a little interesting. Let’s take it to the fire road. (mellow music) Fire roads. Essentially the same as the roads. This bike is well within its limits here. We’ve had a load of fun, smashed out a load of miles. Every hill has been an absolute breeze. This bike is nowhere near it’s limits. So, time to take it to
some more serious off-road. I found this nice, steep,
smooth fire road climb. Now, on a standard mountain bike, this would be quite a slog, but this bike, got it in high power mode now, it’s absolutely flying up here. One thing I do know, it’s, you got to keep that cadence up, otherwise that motor assist
definitely drops off. So, a steep, smooth fire road climb is not a problem at all for this bike. However, I think if that climb gets a little bit more steeper and a little bit more technical, you might see this bike actually struggle. So, let’s go find out. Right, so we found this technical climb. It’s littered with logs. It’s got rocks on it. It’s looking pretty slippy and wet. Few loose bits on there. So it is pretty tech, and it’s pretty steep, too. Now, I want to hit this on a standard, mid-drive, e-mountain bike. It is quite a struggle. Let’s see how that home-build fares. Okay, so I’m in my easiest gear. I’ve got the highest power mode selected. We’re going to give this climb a go. Let’s get into it, then. All right, let’s go. (bike wheels whirring) – Whoo! Well, I’m pretty surprised
the hub drive bug made it up there quite as easy as that. Now, it’s pretty slippy,
it’s pretty steep, and there’s loads of
chances to break traction. What I found with the hub drive, you got a lot of weight in the back wheel, so you got your weight down low and you’re sat down on your seat, and the weight of that motor, combined, it gives a pretty good grip. As long as you keep that cadence up, the bike’s going to drive
to the top of the hill. I think, if it becomes
a little bit more tech, and a lot slower, and a bit more steppy, where you got to try and winch that weight off that back wheel up these steps, that’s when this bike is going to suffer. (upbeat music) – Whoo! Right, that’s the natural, single track trails out of the way, and that was a load of fun, definitely a lot more fun
than a standard mountain bike. But a couple of things
I did notice on that run was the weight of the back wheel, especially on this square edge hitch. Definitely feel that wheel doesn’t want to roll over quite as nice. And on those little drops, you also feel the weight
of the back wheel. And also, the mis-balance
of the weight on the bike. I found one of those,
like, off-camber section that I went into. Got my weight back slightly. Me, with my weight back, and the motor weight down low, kind of caused that front
end to go super light, especially at some of those
faster corners, as well. I do notice that light
for an uncompetitive, standard e-mountain bike. And also, sometimes, doesn’t quite deliver the same, instantaneous power, is what I’m used to, too. So, it did catch me out on
some of that technical stuff. The drive wasn’t there where I needed. But, having said that, absolute blast. And I think we’re still
well within it’s limits. I think we turn up that dial, get some air under it’s wheels, hit the bike park. One thing I think we might struggle with with this bike, is all that fun we can have, you know, out on the
trails or the car parks, jibbing around, doing
the wheelies, manuals and bunny-hops. I think it’s going to be
quite an effort on this. So let’s give them a go in this car park. See how we get on. (mellow music) – Ooh, my god! (chuckling) So, looks like this bike
can wheelie, it can manual. But one thing it definitely
is struggling with is the bunny-hop. You got a lot of weight
in that back wheel, meaning the front just
keeps up nice and light, but bringing that back
wheel up to the same height simply isn’t possible because of all that weight
and the motor of the hub. This is Wind Hill Bike Park, home to some of the biggest
drops and jumps in the UK. It’s got trails from blue to red to black. It literally has it hall. Now, usually, I’ll be at this
spot on a mid-drive bike, something like my specialized Kenevo, a big bike that can
handle the biggest hits. Now, today I’m obviously on something a little bit different,
the home-build bike. We’re going to see how hard we can do it. We’re going to start on the blue. We’re going to turn it up to the red, and maybe the black. So this is Blutopia. It’s a blue run here
at Wind Hill Bike Park. (upbeat music) Wow! All right, so that’s the
blue run all dialed in. I’ve done a few laps of it, actually. Been breezing back up this
climb back to the top. Load of laps. It has been a load of fun. I still don’t think we’re
quite on the limits yet. But a couple of things I
have noticed about the bike is how heavy that back wheel
is when you’re in the air. Now, I’ve jumped a few of
the smaller table tops, and I can actually feel the
back of the bike dropping away, so there’s a lot of
weight in that back wheel. I think you could adjust to this, but me, coming from a
mid-drive e-mountain bike, it is quite hard at the minute. So, I think we’re heading
toward the limits, but not quite there yet. We’re going to turn that dial up one more, and start to hit the red run. Now this is a more progressive run. It’s got some bigger jumps. It’s a lot of high speed. Are we going to find the
limits of the hub drive? I think this could be the one. (mellow music) Well, that’s the red run complete, and I feel that this bike is
properly on it’s limits now. I mean, some of those jumps,
I’m quite back wheel down, with the front wheel quite high. It’s not giving me a lot of confidence. Definitely not looking
too stylish, either. So, I’m going to leave it there. I was hoping to go to the black run, but I think if you’re
going to be attempting the black run stuff, then I think that’s when
those mid-drive bikes are going to come into their own. They’re not only going to ride better and give you a more
balanced feeling in the air, they’re obviously going to
inspire your confidence, as well. Big part of riding this bike today, here, is obviously skill level, as well. I think if you are a lesser skilled rider, you will actually improve your
skills on a mid-drive bike, rather than a hub-drive bike. (mellow music) So, who are these home build kits for? They’re a great way to convert
a standard mountain bike into an ebike. It’s also a fairly cheap way of dipping your toes into the ebike world. However, you need to think about how capable the kit is going to be. Some of the cheaper kits will have low-grade
batteries, weak motors, and reliability could become an issue, especially in bad weather. It’s definitely the case of you get what you pay for when it comes to these kits. Something to think about is what bike you’re going
to put the kit on initially, and think about the components
that are already on it. We found components that were fine for
standard mountain bike use, simply couldn’t hack it when it comes to added weight
of the e-mountain bike. Such things as brakes, tires and cranks, you really need to make sure
the bike and the components can take the extra load of the kit. However, the home-build
was great fun on the roads, fire roads and cross-country style trails. Definitely put a smile on my face and injected pace into some
otherwise boring trails. It also took the sting out
of the nastiest of climbs. Perfect for the commute or
the average weekend blast. But, it was when we rode bigger
features, techier climbs, and upped the pace and
started pushing hard, we started to find the
limits of this bike. Whilst the home build kits
are a great, cheap option, they’ll never give you the performance, confidence and reliability as an off-the-shelf
manufactured e-mountain bike. But it’s been a good day out. Let us know if you’ve enjoyed this video. Drop some comments in the box below about all your hub-drive exploits. Give us a thumbs-up. If you want to stick around
and check out another video, check out “Hammering Hardtails”, that one’s playing down here. Click the globe in the
middle of the screen to subscribe to EMBN.

53 comments on “How Hard Can You Ride A DIY E Bike? | Homebuild In The Bike Park

  1. Couldn't agree more about the hub drives being more of a commuter. One thing I had noticed with a few cheap kits the spokes tend to come loose and some am weak and do snap. So doing jumps and such I'd advise against it unless you know how to rebuild wheels and may have already changed the rear spokes and rim to something stronger. One thing I will say the diy builds are pretty reliable I've only had spokes come loose which can happen on any bike but the off the shelf bikes I'm in a group on Facebook and I'm forever seeing people with warnings popping up on the bike which ends in tears as the bike has had to have a new motor and been sent off for repair which isn't a quick turn around one guy had bought a bike and then 2 weeks later it was Sent in for repair didn't get it back till nearly a month and half later

  2. Then why not for the next video, do a homebuild mid drive, you could easy make a full suspension mid drive that could easy rock on the trails and be a 1/5 of the price of the retail bikes.

  3. Kinda disappointing you chose this bike. A few months ago you showed a viewer's Santa Cruz 5010 and Nukeproof Scout which were both converted with BBS bafang motors. At the time you guys (mainly Steve) scoffed at what seemed like really well done conversions.

    Then you make a videos with a hacked together hub drive bike, and act like this is a real comparison between home made vs pre built.

    You've already established that hub drives are rubbish for real trail riding (Greyp). So why even make this video?

  4. Great video again guys. Most definitely need to a a diy middrive conversion as well my bike is a diy giant trance full sus with a bbshd motor 1000w and you could hit the black trial no problem I have 3 different size batteries also so I switch to a lighter battery if I'm going to jumping and going down fast flowing trials.

    I believe I have the motor settings perfectly set up for off road riding maybe I could lend chris my bike for a feature????

  5. Any chance you can review the 2020 turbo levo comp as this is what I'm looking at as my first ebike and first bike I will have owned for 25 year's.👍

  6. you shouldnt be comparing this to a standard mountain bike as the uses and purposes of each are different. Focus the video more on the conversion to an E bike rather than saying why it is better than a conventional bike.

  7. Great video and none to soon, has added some legitimacy to the channel. Also nice to see a good rider on the bike giving fair judgement and not someone who would just pan it and make up fake issues. Few things, you got ripped off on that kit, should be closer to $750 AU not pounds. Also for those considering, the back wheel weighs around 7kg so put a tough tire on it and keep your pressure high and don't be smacking big drops, rock gardens and curbs, I've cracked the rim on mine currently fitted to a Giant AC2 downhill bike, great fun.

  8. I noticed you hit the throttle starting off and let off when the PAS engaged. Handy for that what? Avoid cadence sensing systems at all costs is my best advice. They just don't provide a natural pedal feel as compared to a torque sensing one and suffer off road because of that. I have two hub motor bikes of the same rating but they are mounted to the front wheel. They are what they call gravel bikes these days and used on all terrain and have been ridden from sea level to 12k elevation. I don't use any PAS however, just a throttle which of course is legal here in the states. I can set the wattage output I desire via the throttle and then pedal away as I see fit without having the motor dictate my cadence which is generally 20-30 rpm's higher than when I ride my mtb. The front wheel drive aspect, actually AWD because I pedal in the appropriate gear ratio along with, works great. 3k miles on the one bike with a carbon fiber rigid fork btw. The other bike has tool less removal capability also due to an integrated torque arm and ability to accept 10, 12, 15 and 20mm axle standards. Torque arms to keep the axles in the drop outs are a very important part of a proper hub install but can really slow down a wheel change as compared to a mid drive.

  9. just buy a decent second-hand downhill bike and then you have the base for a good ebike for 10 times less money than a mid-drive and have fun racing up hills with your mates amaxing fun less chance of injuries

  10. DIY EBIKE lol if your really gonna diy it get a bafang will go way harder than a hub moter plus you have way more tork for the hills from a mid-drive

  11. Hardtail with heavy hubmotor in rear wheel, not very smart for off road guys. You should use proper ebike frame for this. If you contact me, I will supply you withebike frame for your DIY project for free!

  12. Why have you put a hub motor on a Mountain bike?
    Everyone (I thought) knows that mid drives go on Mountain bikes, so you can use the gears and not destroy the motor.

    750w Tongsheng torque sensing mid motor is £250 delivered, plus however much you want to spend on a battery…….. call it £450 all in (£200 branded battery).

  13. Thanks, EMBN, for looking at these homemade hot rods. It makes a lot of sense for a lot of us to get into ebikes like this, modding an old bike in the quiver into a snappy one with a motor and a battery.

  14. Edit: this is a crap build. I build e bikes for a living.

    Absolutely hate your 70s 80s background transfer scene music. Its horrid and too loud. I been a fan since this channel started and I dislike this video the most because of it.

  15. Nice Video. You can hammer it much harder by avoiding the use of a hub-motor (when not limited by the frame) and a battery in this position.
    I did about 15 conversions over the last years, there is nearly no hardtail and only few FS-bikes where a Bafang BBS does not fit with some tricks. Batteries can be bought in a triangle shape which fits perfectly into the frame above the bottom bracket, for hardtails the water-bottle-shape works fine with the existing bore-holes for the bottle-holder. Gives 85 % of the function of a bike from the catalogue for 35 % of the price. No need to scrap the old but gold machine, bring it to new life.

  16. Great vid! Does seem like a good option to be able to get out and explore trails. That said I love my Levo.🤘
    I would like to see you take that same bike and do a mid drive conversion just to compare.
    Keep up the great vids.

  17. So in conclusion, get a Bafang motor and if black diamonds are not your thing (like me) you can save $4000 – $8000.

  18. I have a high torque geared hub drive on my old downhill bike, it pushes out 90nm of torque and is a lot lighter than those big heavy DD hubs.
    It tears climbs all the way until the bottom gear crawler tech climbs that midrives cope with, you have to learn to carry speed and I constantly beat friends on midrives simply because I have learnt to hit faster and hang on.

  19. Interesting film Chris. Very important though, did you use the throttle, and the Pedal assist together on the hills? Irrelevant what power assist you were in, power level 1will do it, trust me, ( They have to be used together.) You will then get immensely much better climbing ability out of the hub drive. Everything else looked pretty good, not withstanding the fact that you're not totally in your comfort zone on hub drives, and hardtail hub drives at that! I thought your run looked very smooth out there.

  20. Try a Frey ex 1000 or am1000 with mid bafang motor built in torque sensing 100 watts or there m600.20 with 500 watt motor please

  21. That's better far more fair and ACCURATE assessment of the diy build kits….now do the EXACT same rerun with a 1500w bafang mid drive both hard tail and on the likes of a demo 8 frame….Of course you are getting paid to spin up this review a bit as your tone has changed a lot compared with about a yr ago unpaid!……As above it would be an interesting content

  22. Can you do a video on how to avoid falling down when riding on a snowy trail in the winter where people have created a bunch of snow ruts that have gotten a bit icy around the edges? I had that problem today and yesterday, even with 2.2" studded tires, and I cannot figure out what else I can do to improve the situation. I was just fish-tailing all over the place.

  23. Lots of weird conclusions in this video and very patchy information, kits can be 3 types of motor, mid drive, direct drive hub and geared hub and the hub motors can be put on the front or rear both with advantages and disadvantages to where you put it. A direct drive hub motor has no moving parts except the axle in the middle and are known for incredible reliability often performing well without service for 10s of thousands of miles to compare the reliability of those to a mid mount motor which often has plastic gearing, sometimes even belts and put a huge amount of torque through the chain causing premature wear is ridiculous. The direct drive hub is almost always going to be more reliable. A geared motor hub is much lighter, using planetary gears to increase torque, its not as strong as direct drive but probably still stronger than mid-drive.

    I suggest anyone not take much advice from this video and look elsewhere however the best off-road e-bike motor is mid-drive and that is what should have been tested in this video, a decent bafang mid-mount motor.

    Another video to keep the sponsors happy.

  24. Thank you for not going the Steve Jones route on the video and giving it a fair shake. Unlike the previous comparison video of that silver hub drive.

  25. BBS HD bafang mid drive cost a lot less than cyc and ego kit. The kit push 1500 watts 150nm ! Got one on my Fatboy carbon 10 speed 4.6 tires 10/36 cassette and a 30T at the crank. I weight 250 lbs and it's strong even with a 36 at the crank. I do prefer my Rocky powerplay A70…the flow is better. The system is 48 volts and got incredible tractable power. It's transparent too 109 nm but feel as strong if not more than the BBS HD. My powerplay is geared with 10/50 cassette and a 34T at the crank. Gearing changes everything.

  26. Bafang bbshd 1000 watt mid drive 48v 17.5ah you wont look back unless the cops are chasing you!!! The Tesla of ebike kits…

  27. are you serious??!!! is that the best you could come up with? why not using a GT zaskar then? that way it would have been even funnier!!!

  28. I have punished my 39 lps total weight, planet X frame with bafang 500w motor attached, for 3 years now, no problems out of the ordinary till now ( its featured in THE VAULT In ep. 36 embn) ride safe

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