So you finally took the plunge, and you have questions... !
Your hub motor can be installed in either the Front or the Rear wheel. Front wheel motors will require 4 " of clearance between the fork tubes. If the forks are ridgid , and made of steel , they can often be spread using various methods if you don't have quite enough room....
However, if the fork is a suspension fork, care must be taken to avoid a potentially very dangerous situation.
First thing .. get the tools ready. You will need :
A Kit :
Motor Kit <-- Click to enlarge
Take a deep breath, Installing a hub motor is not that hard to do, if you have no tools, and are really not handy with this stuff, a Local Bicycle Shop ( LBS ) will usually be willing to help for a small fee. If you happen to be close to Moncton NB, i'll be more than happy to help !
Start by taking a quick inventory of parts, make sure nothing is missing, Motor, Controller, Throttle, Battery and Charger.
Remove the existing wheel from the bike, some are quick-release, and some require tools.
TIP: If you are installing a rear wheel motor, place the chain on the smallest sproket on the rear wheel.. makes removal and re-installing the chain much easier.
Then deflate and remove the tire and tube from the original rim.
Place the valve stem of your tube onto the new Motor-Rim and pop on the tire, look at the sidewall of the tire for an arrow or direction for the thread pattern.. sometimes it makes a difference.. sometimes not. ( Nothing worse than getting it all on the bike and realizing it's wrong.. lol )
Then insert the motor axle into the frame/fork, PAY ATTENTION TO THE RED ARROW ON THE MOTOR it points wich way the motor will turn. Also be careful not to snag the wires.. take your time and get this step right.. bad things happen if it's wrong.
The axle has flat sides that should fit into the opening in the frame/fork , install the motor so that the wires exit towards the ground, or the opening in the fork/frame.
Sometimes, the axle is just a little too wide and will not fit , if this is the case, carefully file or grind the AXLE flat surface.. and NOT THE FRAME of the bike. It's usually a fraction of a mm, so not alot of material needs to be removed.. just enough to make it fit.
Check to make sure the axle seats all the way into the dropout, and then check the rim's position in the frame where the brakes are located, the rim needs to be centered between the brake pads.
Tighten the axle nuts securely ( make sure to have the washers in there ). This is very important DO NOT PLUG THE BATTERY INTO THE CONTROLLER BEFORE YOU SECURE THE MOTOR INTO THE FRAME... i canot stress this enough. Check both sides a few times, make sure they are secure.. the nuts should be tight, but do not force them to the point of stripping the threads. After your first ride.. check them again just in case.
Now you have to stand back and find a good location for the controller. Depending on your bike, front or rear wheel motor, etc. there are many options. You want to allow the controller to cool when the bike is in use, so do not bury it into a hot battery bag. Use the supplied Zip-Ties to secure it to the frame.. seat post.. handlebars.. rear rack.. making sure the wires will reach the motor.
Next it's time for the throttle. Either twist or thumb, depending on your bike. Remove the handle bar grips, these can sometimes be a real pain in the butt to remove, compressed air if you have access to it works great.. ( or even a bicycle pump can do the job ). the grips usually have a tiny hole on the end, simply blow air into the hole and the grips just pop off.. otherwise, twist.. turn.. yank.. until you get it off.
You may need to make room on the bars to make things fit, Shifters and Brake levers usually have a " Set Screw " or a tiny hex bolt that secure them to the handlebars.. look carefully for a 1 mm or 2 mm hex bolt all around.. Make things nice and neat and accessible. Engage your brakes.. shift the shifters.. twist the throttle.. make sure it all works as it's supposed to without binding or getting caught.
Now we have to route the wires, i usually twist the wires around the existing cables on the bike and follow the same path, zip ties or electrical tape will hold them in place if need be. Turn the handlebars left and right to make sure evrything will work without pulling wires out of their sockets..
The throttle, motor, and Hall wires( small round thing from the motor ) can only go in one place, so it's a simple thing to hook them up in their rightful place.
Battery placement is the next thing. Personally, i like Seat-Post-Racks, they work on suspension frames just as well as solid frames.. Axiom makes good racks.. Many kits out there provide really cheap racks that wobble and bounce, avoid these if you can. Another option is mounting the batteries inside the frame, this is another good option. The lower the battery packs.. the better the bike will handle. Touring bikes often use side saddle bags, this will leave the weight nice and low, and close to the wheel axle.
At this point, you are ready for a test spin. Do a final check to be sure that all the wires are tucked in, make sure the axle nuts are tight, tire filled with air to recomended psi. and lift the bike off the ground and spin the wheel by hand first.. make sure it spins freely. Check and adjust the brakes.. If the motor feels unusually hard to spin or makes some weird noises.. STOP and contact me. I test everything before i ship, and expect no problems, but in a rare situation something is not right. or damaged during shipping.. better to ask questions before venturing out on the roads !
Then plug in the battery. ( PS: You may notice a spark when you plug in the battery terminals, nothing to be worried about, perfectly normal, there is a large capacitor in the controller that charges up and it has this effect )
If you have an " Instant Start " controller. lift the wheel off the ground and gently give it throttle, the wheel should spin in the propr direction, and run smooth ...
If it's a " Pedal First " you can spin the wheel by hand ( or ask a friend to help hold the bike ) and try the throttle.
Put on your helmet, and give it a go !