Building an Ebike with LaVita boost

Ebikes, yep, I think they are ace. I said it. And I think you should too.

A little while back I wrote about how I think retrofit ebike kits are going to start coming into their own. I could see huge benefit in manufacturing a kit that didn’t require the rider to fork out on a new mass produced bike creating waste and increasing carbon footprint. All with the added benefit of being able to upgrade the bike you love to ride.

So, my idea is to transform an old 26” wheel MTB to an ebike in a super subtle way. With as minimal amount of components and weight as possible. Having a quick scout I found the companies Switch and Cytronex. Both did the job but weren’t particularly sleek or light. The switch kit lumped a bag of batteries on the bars, and the Cytronex had a few too many wires and looked bulky. The switch was also front wheel drive. From experience these have too much of an effect on handling, they try to pull the wheel straight when activated. I also wanted to avoid one of the naff bottom bracket mounted crank sensors, they look poor and are very exposed to damage. I kept searching and finally came across the the LaVitaBoost kit on eBay.

The LaVita are a U.K. startup based in south London and their kit was just what I wanted. It has a battery with an inbuilt controller, a motor with inbuilt sensor, and no unnecessary wires or switches. Plus the battery is disguised nicely as a water bottle mounted to the frame. Super simplistic. With the release of LaVitaVelo’s boost kit the rider has the ability to switch between a regular and “boosted” bike as easily as if you were changing a wheel.

So here’s a quick link to the LaVitaBoost website so you can check it out for yourself CLICK ME!

What am I building it into then? I have picked up a 1989 Jamis Dakar Sport made from Tange Prestige tubing. It’s chrome plated and super nice, lightweight too. Tange prestige is heavily butted (tube walls reduced in thickness to minimum where possible to improve weight) high quality tubeset still used today by custom frame builders. It has ample tyre space and enough room for the battery.

Not pretty but plenty of potential

And what will be my build spec? As you have guessed I’m a fan of aliexpress and the goal is to build as lightweight as possible. I’ve chosen a few of my favourite pieces of finishing kit: silicon grips, carbon straight handlebars, carbon seatpost, and carbon saddle. All helping to increase comfort and reduce weight.

Carbon…. Light and comfortable

Due to headset being 1” threaded I will be using my usual favourite, a Tange Falcon sealed unit. Cranks and bottom bracket are from Chinese brand Fovno as a bit of an experiment fitted with a GXP style direct mount chainring. Gearing is being simplified to a singlespeed setup, and finally brakes wise I have a full setup of Shimano Deore VBrakes that are minimalistic.

A2Z single-speed conversion and tange seiki falcon sealed headset
Fovno Goblin crankset…. First time using these

Now to the power unit and method of delivery, the wheels. I have already sourced Hutchinson tyres (as always!) but need to finalise the wheel build. Rear hub is accounted for in the form of the LaVitaBoost motor but front is to be decided, as are rims. I’d like to go wide, black, low profile rims to give the tyres a wider section. Obviously all in rim brake format, so watch this space to see what choice I make…..

Hutchinson…. Always. There’s no better!

So far I have got to cleaning up the frame and polishing before I clear coat it. My super sis in law is reworking the decals, and the parts pile is growing by the day! I’m hoping to have the build finished by the end of March to get in some April shredding. Watch this space…… I’ll keep you informed!

BC

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