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I am planning to build a DIY e-bike for my work commute and have the electronics already figured out (which motor, ESC, battery).

After work I want to go directly to my other activities. Until now I simply threw a backpack or two into the trunk and it was no worry. But now I am not sure how to transport my equipment comfortably as I don't like wearing a backpack during cycling.

The bike I will convert does not have a pannier rack yet, so I am open for options. Are there some backpack mounts to the side of the rear wheel? Or some saddle bags one can use as a backpack? I don't know what my options are on this end.

My requirements are more or less simple:

  • waterproof storage for my equipment during commute
  • should have about 60l of storage volume (I used two about 30l backpacks before)
  • easy to take with me

Also I am not quite sure yet where to put the batteries (they are 3 cuboids, about 17.5 x 7.5 x 4.5cm and 1.3kg each). I fear they will be too bulky to be put inside the frame triangle and then also a bit unconvenient to remove for charging. My fallback plan is to put them inside whatever containment I use for my equipment.

I hope you can point me in the right direction, because I have no idea what bike luggage transportation options are out there. :)

  • I'm fairly certain we've got a similar question already but can't immediately find it. We have definitely discussed backpack panniers before (here and here) – Chris H May 7 '18 at 15:58
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    Panniers are the obvious choice, though it depends to a degree on how the e-bike is set up. Some have the battery packs on a rack behind the seat, making a rack-top bag impractical, but still allowing panniers. And note that "low-rider" front panniers are a good option in many cases. Be wary of any scheme that puts the weight high on the bike -- the lower the better. – Daniel R Hicks May 7 '18 at 16:45
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    60 Litres is a lot. Is it all necessary? Can you leave your stuff there? – Criggie May 8 '18 at 7:01
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    I usually have one bag, so clipped on one side of my rear rack, and I have never noticed my bike being out of balance. At times I am to lazy to get my bike in the proper position to attach the bag and I just clip it on the other side of the rack and still no problems. (Side note, I have been riding with this kind of load most of my life.) – Willeke May 8 '18 at 15:54
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    @Criggie: 60L is not that much, especially if you carry bulky stuff like shoes, jackets, helmet, groceries etc. The famous Ortlieb BackRollers apparently have 70L per pair: ortlieb.com/en/Back-Roller%20Pro%20Classic – Michael May 9 '18 at 11:35
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Many people who are hacking their own ebikes either use bottle shaped batteries that fit inside the diamond frame but are limited in capacity due to size, or they use some of the rear rack solutions pictured. Note that many of these rear racks are designed around the batteries and are a package deal. This arrangement isn’t ideal because they give your ebike a high center of gravity but sometimes you don’t have a choice.

battery rack

You could also try to emulate how the Sondors ebike has a hard triangular shaped box in the diamond frame that is quite capacious - here it has a bottle battery but many people have stuffed them with RC type square lipos:

sondors


For your luggage, 60liters is a lot.... That’s a cube of 40cm (15.8”) in each dimension. You could split it into two panniers of 20x40x40cm but it’s still quite a lot.

Have you considered pulling a small trailer? Or using a Dutch style cargo ebike? Both options have considerably more cargo space than a standard bicycle.

trailer

dutcv bike

  • Common roll-top panniers are a little under 30l each. A bar bag or large saddlebag would make up the rest. That's much easier than a trailer. But +1 because the rest is spot on – Chris H May 8 '18 at 6:35
  • The rear battery packs are pretty bad - lots of weight added high up, and its over (or behind!) the rear axle leading to top heaviness and interesting handling. Mounting batteries low down in the frame is great, even under the down tube if its properly protected. May have to fabricate a mount. – Criggie May 8 '18 at 7:04
  • Additional - some ebike riders wear their batteries in a backpack with a tether cable. For cold conditions that may be necessary to keep the batteries at useful operating temperatures. – Criggie May 8 '18 at 7:05
  • Thank you for your detailed answer @RoboKaren. I see your point. I will see if I can fit the batteries inside the diamond frame and build a casing around it, else there would probably be too much weight in the rear. I mostly travel only with my 30l backpack, only sometimes I take the second with me. I already have a bike, so a cargo bike wouldn't be a good option. Also I don't really like trailers as I still want to be "nimble" while cycling. But pannier bags look like a good option, I will definitely look into them. – LeoDJ May 8 '18 at 9:23
  • One option for batteries I have seen in the Netherlands is double panniers in which one holds the batteries and the other is available for luggage. It is not often done, I think only one main bike producer uses it. – Willeke May 8 '18 at 15:52

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