Hey Johnnynerd out community, just wanted to post my final build and some pictures, and thank you Johhny personally for inspiring me to get back into cycling, and Im so happy I found your youtube channel, and was able to rekindle my love for cycling, and I had so much fun converting (well mostly riding) this folding mtn bike, I learned so much about bikes in the process. Montague makes an impeccable solid folding mountain bike, the best in my view, that is both lightweight and high quality, very cool design. It is not cheap though, not for everyone, and after all my upgrades its just over $4k. I know the performance of this beast in terms of power and speed outdoes any premade big name ebikes, by alot and I saved 1000s compared to their retail price. Furthermore when you go custom diy emtb, you are not locked to the manufacturers integrated battery and motor system which you cannot change. This way you can swap any part, put a kit on another bike, and upgrade to the better ebike kits later on as technology improves. My experience on some gnarly trails recently has showcased its performance, shredding mtn sides and trails like nobodys business, even off roading. Ive reached about 55-60 kph on flat ground using only motor with the 42T Lekkie ring (11-36t rear cogs on a 10 speed).... It climbs steep mtn trails decently with only pedal assist 2/3, and throttle is handy when the goin gets tough... I programmed the controller with the EM3EV black profile, works very smooth (I recommend carefully re flashing the controller with this profile because the stock profile can be quite lurchy, overpowered out of the box). PAS 1-3 keeps it quite energy efficient to extend your battery range.
The main advice I can give DIY ebikers is find the MTB frame that fits you (mostly hard tails for ebike conversions), has the features and components you want, figure out your use case and range requirements, add the proper ebike kit, do the comfort upgrades on the bike that suit you, add a suspension seatpost to a hardtail, put tannus armor around your tire tubes, learn to be your own bike mechanic, and you will be glad you did...
Overall, I love the bike and the route I went, I hope this inspires someone else. So much damn fun! People who see my bike are blown away... for good reason. It kicks major ass. I love when I make the absolute right choice, no buyers remorse. Its very clear, custom ebike conversion is the way to go. It was overwhelming at first trying to figure out how to get into ebiking. Fortunately I found this channel and got the proper suggestions. Turns out its a lot easier to find a suitable quality mtb frame that fits you, has the features and components you want, and to add an ebike kit to it, rather than sifting through hundreds of premade ebike models, few of which will tick all the boxes you want.
*UPDATE June/22 Notes: So Im finding theres always ways to improve your bike or and riding experience. Quite complex the world of mtbiking and ebikes, and especially just one very important part, the front fork. -Just want to emphasize for anyone reading this, safety is important when it comes to diy ebike conversions. You dont want to do things without planning and thinking. Be aware your bike weight is going to add at least add 20-30 lbs with a ebike kit. With the kind of speeds, torque and mass involved, extra caution and knowledge of components and frames is important. Avoid carbon frames for ebikes, due to higher probability of snapping during a wreck, and full susp frames like Santa Cruz Hightower are a good example of whats not suitable for conversion, not to mention the poor BB mounting angle for the motor. Avoid putting a ebike kit on a cheap (walmart ugh) frame with no suspension, which is very suboptimal. I think a solid frame and keeping weight low, under 60 lbs ideally is key, and a tapered front fork for extra rigidity for ebike safety and handling.
Update July/22 Notes: While this has been a very fun project, my first foray into custom ebike scene, and my first entry level hardtail, there is more to be desired. For the rough rocky downcountry terrain I ride, full suspension is much more optimal. Unfortunately I could not put a tapered headset on the Paratrooper meaning its stuck with QR skewer wheels which is not ideal. That and the lack of rear suspension, and lacking some other modern features make this bike not optimal for some use cases. Good commuter and trail bike, not for hardcore rough mtb. Great experience though learning everything about bikes, the parts, how to service them, to service and dial in the air suspension fork, etc. Learned a ton, but I have moved on to my dream bike which is now complete - a world of difference, life changing.... check it out . Cheers, happy converting, ride safe, have fun everyone. https://www.johnnynerdout.com/forum/general-ebike-forum/victory-part-deux
Cheers, happy converting, ride safe, have fun everyone.