This article could go in the Ebike Nerd blog, but wanted a change of pace. Last Summer after tearing my Achilles tendon, I planned to convert my 50 MPH Electric Enduro Bike (EEB) from a rear hub motor to a mid-drive setup. I was going to work on this project while I was recovering at home during the Pandemic. My level of mobility was a lot lower than I anticipated and recovery was tough. I did not feel up to working on the bikes much last Fall or over the Winter. Between COVID-19 and getting hurt, it’s fair to say my motivation had some “resistance.”
As Horace (and Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society) said, ‘seize the day and don’t wait for tomorrow’. After some slow and steady progress with PT and with the nicer Spring weather, I got inspired to improve our bike stable and the trails in our backyard. The last push came when my brother-in-law got himself a sweet high-end mountain bike. I decided to not worry about the cost, it’s not “that” much and we can afford it. Also, I knew that it would provide years of recreation without too many ongoing expenses.
Over the past few years, I have slowly acquired more technical skills to work on my bikes, both Ebikes and “analog“. With the help of YouTube and other online resources, I have learned how to work on everything from bottom brackets to headsets, derailleurs to hydraulic brakes. It’s not always pretty, and may involve some swearing along the way, but I have to admit the build is definitely part of the enjoyment. Each build will have a series of challenges that may require a new skill or a new piece of equipment. Once you have the knowledge and the right tools, it gets easier and it feels good to make things work smoothly.
The process to convert the EEB to a mid-drive (Bafang BBSHD from Luna Cycles) went well, and I will cover the technical details on the Ebike Nerd blog, but wanted to share how it felt to ride it and see the vision come to fruition. It was so satisfying to make it work, although there were many hurdles along the way. The scope (and cost) of the project increased, but the end result is well worth it. Top speed is down somewhat, but the bike is much lighter, more nimble, and climbs much better.
The picture above is from my first ride on my local trails with the new motor, dropper seat post working, hydraulic brakes installed, and new 9 speed Box groupset. I had some anxiety that it would not meet my expectations and the effort (and cost) would have been excessive, but tearing through the trails and railing the turns felt awesome. Still have some items to work through and other upgrades to install later, but like a financial plan, these things are always a work in progress. 🙂
On a shakedown run, a rock or branch flew up and hit me square on the bad Achilles. I felt a sharp pain and panic, but thankfully it subsided and I was okay. After some colorful comments that were luckily in the seclusion of the woods, I decided to cover myself for future rides, so I wear an elbow pad backwards on my right ankle. It works, meaning now that I have padding on I can guarantee I won’t get hit any more (at least in that spot!).
This is definitely a pastime I will devote more time to once I reach (an early) retirement. Besides the fun factor, there is also the health benefit, particularly for my pedal bikes. 🙂 The ongoing costs are manageable, although I will have to restrain myself from buying or upgrading too much, haha.
|Disclaimer: I am not a financial planner and content on this site is meant to provide food for thought, not professional advice. I share my experiences to show what worked so far and what didn’t, YMMV. Please consult your financial advisor or tax professional as needed.|