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Sugar Creek E-Bike Maker Powers Bikes With Custom Battery Boxes

Laura Spencer
KCUR 89.3
Dave Abadie is a computer programmer by trade — and he has a passion for e-bikes.";

“Makers” is a series that shares stories of why people are compelled to create something with their own hands. 

  • Name: E-Bike KC, Dave Abadie
  • Makes: Custom battery boxes; converts regular bikes to e-bikes
  • Location: Sugar Creek, Missouri
  • Background: Freelance computer programmer
  • Number of years as a maker: 5 years as a hobby, about 7 months as a business
  • Cost: $800 - 1200
  • Speed: 20 - 25 mph
  • Distance: 15 - 20 miles on a charge

On electric bikes rather than electric cars 

"About five years ago, I got really interested in electric cars. And I saw somebody doing a project of converting an old car to electric power, and I thought that was really, really neat.

"So instead of just jumping in with both feet, I decided to do a bike project first. I did my first project, and it went really well. It worked better than I even expected it to. And I kind of forgot all about doing a car, and I just kind of focused on bikes. So I've been doing bikes ever since then." 

Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
Abadie builds custom battery boxes, like this one for his full-suspension mountain bike.

On being a maker

"I've made a custom battery box — and this one's made out of aluminum and with plastic sides to kind of fit into the triangle of the bike there ... The motor is about 12 [pounds], the battery is about 8. 

"I, personally, like to make more of a custom-type enclosure; I think it looks a little more original, it blends in a little bit better, and if it's constructed properly it will be a lot more durable than something that was just bolted on later. In that sense, that's kind of what I make." 

On the appeal of an electric bicycle 

"A lot of people don't really seem to understand why you would want to put an electric motor on a bike, past just not wanting to pedal as much. And that certainly is a big part of it. 

Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
Abadie shows off a work-in-progress that he hopes to have finished in time for Maker Faire.

"But what I usually like to tell people is that most people are not cyclists. And the difference between riding your bike and being a cyclist is quite a bit, especially on some of the hills that we have in the Kansas City area. So try to think of it more as an assist. 

"It's a true hybrid vehicle in the sense that you really get two ways of power: You can use your legs, or you can use your electric motor, or you can use both." 

Maker Faire Kansas City, Saturday and Sunday, June 24 - 25, Union Station Kansas City, 30 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City, Missouri 64108.

Laura Spencer is an arts reporter at KCUR 89.3. You can reach her on Twitter @lauraspencer.

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
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