We have a blog post showing some motor differences, click here to read it.
Cabling is probably the #1 issue when something goes wrong. Good connectors, good cables, and good assembly (bike shop!) are crucial
Strain reliefs on all cable joints! Where you have a junction box or a connector, the stress is concentrated over a small area near this stiff spot on the cable. This can cause small breaks on the internal wires, causing a disconnect or a short. This is a major reason for failure.
- Strain reliefs are more expensive – you need special tooling, skilled labor, and appropriate materials to make this
- Good connectors are essential – a ball of spaghetti in the form of multi-colored wires that can all be plugged in different ways makes assembly hard, and the lack of outer insulation and reinforcement on these connectors causes stuff to break.
- Above is bad e-bike wiring looks like this.
- Good connectors also look nicer and give the bike a finished feel
- Good connectors are waterproof
- Good connectors can be plugged and unplugged hundreds of times with no problem
- Good connectors are “mated” so they cannot be plugged in backwards or to the wrong component
- Good connectors have visual differences so you can see immediately what goes where without any question when you’re putting it together
- Strain reliefs on all cable joints! Where you have a junction box or a connector, the stress is concentrated over a small area near this stiff spot on the cable. This can cause small breaks on the internal wires, causing a disconnect or a short. This is a major reason for failure.
The controller is the most complicated part on most e-bikes. It’s super high tech
- Good Controllers: higher-quality mosfets that burn up less often
- Good Controllers: higher-rated internal parts that can handle more current and more voltage
- Good Controllers: better heat-sinks and thermal paths that keep the controller cool for long life
- Good Controllers: have durable, water-proof cases
Our wheelbuilders are fully trained. Their wheels aren’t sent to customers without being touched-up by a lead wheelbuilder until they’ve been doing it for months and we know the quality is consistent
- I’ve never seen a wheel coming from overseas / amazon / ebay that is ready to go out of the box, there’s lacing errors, the wheels aren’t true, the spokes aren’t tight enough.
- We use the highest quality park tool wheelbuilding tools for consistency and check their adjustment frequently.
- The good: Stainless eyelets in the rim prevent cracks
- The good: Brass nipples don’t seize
- The good: Proper tension and true for long life
- The good: Stainless spokes, single-butted 12-13 gauge are long-lasting, don’t rust
- If your kit doesn’t come with rim tape, a torque arm, c-washers, zip-ties or cables that are long enough, you’ll need to go buy some more things.
- Does the ebay kit come with a usable throttle? If there is only a large twist throttle and you have grip shifters, time to find another throttle that will fit
IS IT A COMPLETE SYSTEM?
- That ebay kit might be cheap, but I can’t count how many times I’ve talked to guys on the phone that didn’t realize it doesn’t come with a battery. If it doesn’t include the battery, figure on spending another $300-$700. Not that cheap anymore
- And don’t forget the battery charger $$$
- And probably a rack $$
- Same for motors. Sometimes people buy a kit not realizing there’s no wheel, just a hub motor. Oops.
I take calls every week from people that need advice fixing their ebay/amazon kit. I say “call the guy who you bought it from” They say “nobody answered, so I called you.” If nobody can help you when it breaks, get ready to buy another one.
- Most amazon/ebay sellers overseas will not talk to you at all after you buy
- We sell parts that work with systems we sold years ago. It can be hard to find compatible parts for unbranded systems, if the company is even around years later
- Our systems consist of interchangable parts – any motor we sell will work with any battery or controller that we sell. We have cables for connecting different parts together, if you want to upgrade or change something, it’s simple
- We also do repairs – for example, if you break off your motor wire, we can fix it or advise you on how to fix it at home.
- The Good: large, legible displays. The Bad: no display, not useful, small display
buying from amazon/ebay/alibaba/jet/whatever often means that it’s shipping directly from overseas
- Mailing 1 kit at a time in a 24” box from china has a much larger impact than importing container loads of efficiently packed parts (wheel not laced, etc) and then assembling in the US
- Importing in bulk means ocean freight (very energy efficient)
- Importing 1 kit means air shipping (very costly to the environment)
- Do you want to wait 2-3 weeks for your kit to travel half-way around the world?
If you’re buying direct, you never know what you’re going to get. It might be very low quality. Be ready for surprises
- We’ve been selling kits since 2008 or so, and we know what’s good and we know what’s not
- During that time we’ve made improvements based on what we’ve seen – the kit is better every year
- We also avoid bad suppliers, we know where to get good parts
- We do our own USA based quality control – you’re not getting stuff straight off the manufacturing line – you’re getting stuff that we’ve done checks on before assembling and packaging for you
- Cabling is probably the #1 issue when something goes wrong. Good connectors, good cables, and good assembly (bike shop!) are crucial