My First E-Bike Experience - Entry #2

The old Diamondback . . .

My old Diamondback had been hanging in the garage for almost eight years and was totally neglected. As I waited for the Dillinger kit to arrive I took the old bike off the rack and begin inspecting it to see what I needed to do to get it road ready. I knew that the conversion kit included new brake handles with integrated on/off switches for the hub motor. (The cut-off switches in the brake handles is for safety purposes). If you have integrated shifters that are in good working order and want to keep them, Dillinger offers a pair of brake cut-off switches that you can use lieu of replacing your current shifters.

On my old mountain bike I had integrated shifters but the 7-speed shifter was not functioning so I wanted to get new shifters anyway. I ordered a couple Shimano Altus 3x7 21 speed shifters. I needed new brake cables as well so I ordered a new set. I decided to replace the old center pull brakes with new V-brakes to insure I had some good working brakes on the "new" bike. I ordered a set of Shimano Acera brakes. I wanted a more comfortable "upright" ride with the new bike so I also ordered a new set of with a 4" rise handlebars. When I looked at the old tire on the Diamondback they were flat, dry and made for mountain bike trails. Since I was going to be riding on streets and improved trails now, I ordered a new set of rubber and went with a pair of Kendra Comfort tires. The rest of the components were OK and just needed a good cleaning.

Before beginning a E-bike conversion of an old bike make sure all your components are in good working order and replace or repair as needed. You are going to want a bike that is in good condition before you start cruising the roads at 20-25 mph.

The Dillenger kit . . .

The Dillinger kit arrive in about 3 days UPS from their California warehouse. Everything was packed well and after checking to make sure everything included with the kit were present, I begin the installation. My old Diamondback had a RockShox suspension fork. I tried fitting the front hub but the fit between the dropouts was a too tight, so a little filing was done to open up the space. When I dropped the hub motor in place I discovered that the fork tapered in as it went toward the handlebars and the motor screws rubbed on the inside of the fork. I decided to file a small flat spot to clear the hub screw that was binding. After that was corrected the hub spun freely.

I then proceeded to install the battery bracket on the bottle holder bolts. No problem here, it is the easiest step. Just make sure you orient the battery bracket so that the plug receptacle is at the bottom near the pedal crank. I then installed the new brake handles, throttle and digital display. All this was simple to do. The final step was to install the peddle assist ring and sensor which turned out to be the hardest step and required a little ingenuity .

I quickly discovered that my pedal crank was too large of a diameter for the snap ring. It was also a bit rounded where the ring needed to set. I started analyzing the situation trying to figure out how to get the snap ring on the crank. Fortunately, the Shimano peddle crank was cast aluminum and I decided to try and file a flat spot on the crank where I could glue the ring. I turned the bike upside down and used a metal file (while rotating the crank) to grind away some aluminum on the inside edge of the crank next to the bike frame. In a short time I had a 3/16" flat spot created on the inside of the crank. Next I snipped off all the plastic fingers on the magnet ring and enlarged the inside diameter of the ring a bit until it fit snuggly over the crank. I then glued it in place with 5 minute epoxy and installed the snap ring retainer. In doing this step, make sure the magnet sensor ring is running true when you turn the peddle crank and that the sensor attached to the frame is within 1/8" (3mm).

After attaching the snap ring I proceeded to connect all the cables and attach them neatly to the bike frame and handlebars. With everything in place I made one final check of everything and turned the battery on. A blue light, a good sign. Next I turned on the digital display and it came to life as well showing a fully charged battery that I had been charging while installing the components. The moment of truth, time for a test ride. I set the peddle assist at level three and started peddling down the street. Within about 2 seconds I felt the hub motor start and propel me on my way. Success, everything seemed to working as advertised! I have a new E-bike!

This concludes part two of My First E-Bike Experience. In my next post I will detail my experience after the first real test ride and what changes I had to make. Stay tuned for Part 3!