E-bike - Where do I start?


As of yesterday, I’ve moved to South Vancouver — in the opposite corner of the city to VHS.

I already bike a lot but I have a single gear freewheel bike. Should I get an electric assist of some kind?

I have a second single-speed franken-bike that was built at OCB. I wouldn’t mind retrofitting it with some electrics. I would also consider a more “complete” e-bike as a kit, or as something that’s ready-to-ride.

Suggestions? Recommendations?


Electric could help, but if you have a place to mount a rear derailleur on either bike it would really give you options, gears are your friends.

Depending where you are that climb from marine up to anywhere is a bastard. I ended up swapping over to a wide range mountain rear derailleur and cassette on my road bike. Now my gearing is 36 front to 34 in the back in low and I can climb most any hill in the city, albeit very slowly.

Do you happen to be near the skytrain? If you are going counterflow to rush you can take your bike on and ride the last 20 minutes to the space.


I live around 49th and Fraser, it’s only Down-Up going to work and back, rather than Up-Down-Up-Down if you’re further south. :slight_smile:

I used to ride to work pretty regularly until my knees started complaining every day. If you can ride up a hill for 10 minutes without serious pain, you’d probably be fine with a 20- (2x10) or 27-speed (3x9) commuter style bike and not necessarily need the e-assist. :wink:

If you want something a little more hackery, check out https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2191603, he has several youtube videos about it too. :slight_smile:


If you go eBike kits there are lots of options.

I got my eBike kit from Grin eBikes.ca They are a local ebike parts supplier very close to MakerLabs on Powell/Cordova St. Great support.

Another good place for kits is EBikeBC

If you do decide to go electric I would recommend a bike that has at minimum a front fork shock absorber as you will find bumps and potholes will take their toll at higher speeds.

I’d recommend a battery that can give you at least 40-50km on one charge. At least 10-12Ah. Mine is 16Ah and I can get about 80km on a 100% charge which takes about 4 hours.

Lots of places in Van are selling full ebikes ready to ride for around $2K which is hard to beat.

If you want to give my eBike a test ride let me know.

Your ride from South Van to VHS would be about 25-30 minutes depending on what kit you get.
I popped down to the Fraser River one evening. I was going at a pretty good clip at in a few spots. 55 mins of moving time and 21km. Note that purchased eBikes are speed limited to 31km per hour.


My parents have adult sized trikes (they are now their 80’s so balance is everything) and my dad ordered the “Hill Topper” kit for them. Front drive hub with wheel, wiring, battery and button.
A simple swap of the front wheel, route the wires and find a place for the battery.


Funny, I was just about to place an order for my new system later today…

I’ve built a couple over the years. Initially a large front hub system, then a rear friction drive using an arduino/lipo’s/large RC motor, then a modified Bionx setup. At the end of the day, I have found I like a lightweight setup, which rides like a normal bike, mainly for encouragement when wet/rainy/uphill to UBC/I’m running late. This is made somewhat easier by the fact that I have a drop bar cyclocross style bike. The larger MTB setups are also good, including the BBS02 setups which several friends have built and use fairly often. However at the end of the day I’m going with the a small 48V cassette motor (Q100CST), sine wave controller, and 48/52V 6Ah system. Results of the simulation here: https://www.ebikes.ca/tools/simulator.html?bopen=false&motor=MCUTE36V_328&batt=cust_52_0.2_6&wheel=700c&frame=road&mass=90&grade=5 I’ll try it for a while and see how I like it, and hopefully won’t blow any of the caps in the controller as the 52V packs are right on the edge when hot of the charger.

As far as suppliers, I agree Grin is great. They sort through all the various suppliers to make sure things work and are integrated properly, are a local business, and have great tech support/tools. I believe they even rescued the endless sphere forums when they were in trouble. I tend to go with BMS battery for parts, and Luna for packs more recently, mainly due to cost. The product probably isn’t as good, but I don’t mind tinkering a bit!