Re: Canada My situation; legal questions about Ontario
If you haven't, take a look at the Endless-Sphere site. If it is powered by electricity they know about it. There are three threads about ebikes, general discussion, technical and out drives which is a separate electric motor that drives through your chainring using double chainrings and a free wheel.
A lot of the guys are hardcore envelope pushers. There is an electric motorcycle or two that beat up on road rockets on a regular basis but they will help a guy starting out with the most basic information.
The problem with lead acid car batteries are many. As you said weight and size are the start. They don't hold as much power as a lithium battery that you can hold under your arm. The weight will drag your batteries down more quickly since you have to haul them around and the recharge cycles are about 300 if you don't discharge them too far where a lithium battery can be charged anywhere between 700 and 1500 times even if you draw them lower than a lead acid battery.
This depends of course on the battery technology that is used.
You are right. Cheap and electric bike should never used in the same sentence. It's just not likely to happen. Kind of like 16 and cheap insurance.
Golden Motors, Ping and Emissions-Free/Cell Man handle batteries and are well known in the hobby for being honest and standing behind their products. Remember other than GM they are in China and the shipping is extra.
You may get more answers if you start posting on the electric threads of the forum. A lot of very knowledgeable people keep an eye on them to see what is happening where they don't look through the whole forum.
Hope you are up on two wheels soon.