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Thu Sep 18, 2014, 11:37 PM


My Report on my LEEDS E-Bike kits

Last edited Sun Sep 21, 2014, 11:58 PM - Edit history (3)


I purchased a LEED E-bike conversion kit about three months ago. Do to various problems with the kit I finally had in running in the last week or so. The problem was NOT in the kit but in the installer, whose name will NOT be mention for that is finding fault and we do not want to find fault but to resolve the problem (remember that is what the Bush Administration said about Iraq after the invasion had shown it was a dumb thing to do, they did not want to look for fault, for everyone knew whose fault it was, the same in the case in this installation, we do NOT want to find WHY it was installed badly for I do not want to find fault in myself).

Bad installation of the Kit

Anyway, someone installed it wrong, when the installer looked over the part he dismissed one part as some sort of packing item instead of the critical part it was. He did save it and once he realized what it was for it as installed, but he had to fix other problems caused by his improper installation. Once that was resolved, I could operate the bike.

The Leeds E-bike kit replaces the front wheel on a bike. It is only 250 watt (about 1/3 Horsepower). It is a easy replacement. You take out the old front wheel, install the new wheel with the electric engine as its axle. Install the special washer that someone mistook as a packing piece. This washer has a hole with two flat sides and two round sides AND a lip that extends from one side. On the wheel provided by Leeds, BEFORE you put the wheel on the front fork, you take these special washers and install them on the wheel. The two flat sides fits two flat sides on the axle of the wheel, The lip is design to fit in the gap in the fork where the axle drops into when you install the wheel. The purpose of this special washer is to lock the axle so when the rest of the wheel moves, the axle does NOT.

Leeds do NOT recommend you use they electric kit on a suspension fork or a carbon fiber fork. The nature of the wheel (i.e. the special washer mentioned above) imposes some stress on the forks. Steel, is capable of taking a lot of stress, Fiber Carbon is NOT. Fiber Carbon is stronger but can NOT take the stress imposed on the fork by the operation of the electric motor.

Leeds does NOT recommend its kit be used on suspension forks. I did that and after about 20-30 miles the fork broke. The reason behind this is most suspension forks are made of aluminium. Aluminium is four times stronger then steel, but takes up three times the volume. Thus on a VOLUME basis, steel is stronger then the same VOLUME of Aluminium (about two times). Furthermore Steel is know to take constant stress and show the result of that stress over time (i.e. will show cracks before it breaks). Aluminum is know to break without any warning. This occurred to me and my suspension fork. The fork is many years old and has been abused and not properly cared for (and was cheap). I used it for about two weeks with the Electric Kit then one day it just broke. Typical of Cheap Aluminium.

Please note the Suspension fork did NOT break on a long trip, but when I started on another trip. It broke within 2/10s of a mile from the start of that trip, after going over 20 miles the week before.

I replaced it with an old solid Aluminum high end fork from the 1980s that I had around. It is a very well built Aluminum fork but it is NOT a suspension fork. It is almost as massive as a suspension fork, for it was built for some rough riding. Someone had traded it in on a suspension fork in the 1990s and I purchased it from City Cycle of Johnstown at a decent price (when I purchased it, such forks were out of style but I used it for many years till I replaced it with the cheap suspension fork I obtain from Performance when it first opened up in Pittsburgh).

I am using that Aluminium fork at the present time, I will see if holds up under the strain of the E-bike kit, but only time will tell. Please note Leed recommends only steel forks for use of its E-bike kits.

General Comments on the Kit

The kit uses a 250 watt engine with what they call a lithium Ion battery. I had purchased the kit with a "50 mile range". I suspect the 50 miles is on a flat surface with a 150 pound rider. I averaged by 20 to 30 miles before the battery died on me but I am 250 pounds AND in the mountains.

The battery cost more then the actual wheel and motor. I live in the mountains of Pennsylvania. While the Appalachians Mountains are a lot smaller then the Rockies and other mountains out west, they are still a barrier one has to get over. Thus I never expected the bike to do 50 miles.

One thing I did notice was when the Electric engine is NOT engaged, I notice drag from the front wheel. I had been using wheels with XT axles, so the drag may be because I had been using near top end axles, for the drag was slight but noticeable.

The system relies on a small button you push to activate the electric motor. After a while it does it tiresome. It is the big fault of the system. On the other hand, the alternatives would require a greater change in the bike (installation of some sort of throttle on the handlebars where the grips are). The great thing about the button if anything goes wrong your finger tends to naturally stop pushing on it.

The Battery charger gets hot quickly and stays hot. Not hot enough to burn you, but hot to the touch. It also takes six to nine hours to charge the battery.

Actual performance

When I take the bike on the Streets of Johnstown (Johnstown follows the Rivers and thus is flat compared to the surrounding mountains). I can get up to 20 mph and do NOT have to pedal on the flats. On a 1-2 % grade I can say the same. Above 2% I have to pedal to keep up the speed but it is a light pedal. Above 3% I have to pedal a lot more and actually have to start to breath heavily to aid in the movement up the grade.

Sidenote: % of grade means how many feet a grade increase in height in comparison to distance. A 1% grade is a grade that goes up 1 foot for every 100 feet. A 10% grade is one that goes up 10 feet for every 100 feet. Interstates highways MUST be below 6% EXCEPT when the Federal Government gives a wavier, but such a wavier is only up to a 7% grade. Railroads tended to be no more the 3% grade. Even in the East we have several grades on the Interstates that exceed 6%.

On one trip I take with a NON electric bike, I peddle up several grades but have to stop and get off my bike when I hit a 1/2 mile long 15 to 20 % grade. When I hit that grade with the Electric assist, I found myself breathing heavily but was able to get up the hill. i.e. with the electric assist i could bike up the 1/2 mile 15% grade, without it I could not.

On shorter 15-20% grade, the electric assist and the momentum of me when I hit those shorter grades (generally less then 1/10 of a mile) the electric Assist does help, but I also did those very short grades on my bicycle WITHOUT the electric Assist. Thus the electric motor does work, but on such short grades very marginal.

On a three mile hill climb of about 5% grade, the electric motor permitted me to stay on the bicycle and pedal up that hill. I have previously done that hill WITHOUT any electric assist and had to walk my bike up that hill for its three mile length. With the electric assist AND me peddling, I could stay on the bike as I went up the that hill.

Thus the LEED E-Bike kit is a good kit once you understand its limitations. It is NOT really usable in the mountains or anywhere where you want to go up any grades UNLESS you want to pedal almost to the same level as if you did NOT have the electric assist. In a hilly city like Pittsburgh, it could be usable if Pittsburgh ever get around to reinstalling the two incline planes they should NEVER have torn down (The Knoxville and Penn Street Inclines). Both inclines had been Vehicle Inclines (like the surviving incline in Johnstown PA) and thus designed to take on wagons pulled by horses. Automobiles could fit so could bicycles ( I took a fully loaded Suburban up the Johnstown Incline). If those two inclines still existed then these kits would work well in Pittsburgh. On the large climbs just take the incline. You can take bikes on the Monongahela Incline, but it was a passenger only incline and never design to take anything more then a human body. I like the Monongahela Incline but it has limitations given it was design for pedestrians only.

Here some photos of the Knoxville Incline, it climb Mt Washington till December 3, 1960.



The Penn Street Incline was another vehicle incline, but this one from the Strip district of Pittsburgh to the Hill District, it was closed in the early 1950s:


In Cities with flatter terrain, the Leeds E-bike kit should work well. Just a comment on the this E-bike. I am happy with my purchase but already looking for something better. ZEV out of Morgantown West Virginia has several interesting electric bicycle in addition to electric motorcycles.

ZEV (Z Electric Vehicles):

Here is there 750 Watt Electric bicycle (a WHOLE one horsepower!!!), if Pennsylvania ever passes a proposed law making this a bicycle instead of a motorcycle, I may get it. The bill has passed the State Senate but is sitting in the State House, where I suspect it will die keeping the law as it is:


I am also looking at the ZEV B-750 E Bicycle

ZEV Cargo bicycle version: Please note this comes in two "Sizes", 750 Watts for those states that says that is still a Bicycle and a 2000 and 4000 Watt bike for people who do want a true electric Motor Cycle:



-ZEV dual motor, to 2,000 watt CARGO $2400

-ZEV dual motor, 4000 watt Cargo, $2700


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Reply My Report on my LEEDS E-Bike kits (Original post)
happyslug Sep 2014 OP
w0nderer Sep 2014 #1

Response to happyslug (Original post)

Sat Sep 20, 2014, 08:12 PM

1. Nice write up, thanks

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