Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Another change of plans

I received the booster pack batteries from Doctorbass on the endless-sphere.com forums. However, I found out that these aren't enough to create a strong and equivalent booster pack for my 37V 13AH main Bosch Fat Packs. I would need another 6 or so packs bringing the total cost up to the mid $150 range. I've decided to bag that for now and switch to a 72V configuration with the rear 9C motor. This should give me the necessary range and speed to get me to and from work.

More later,

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Booster packs have arrived!

After a two week wait, my Konion/Sony/Makita 18V booster packs have arrived from Canada. These added to my 37V packs should give me around 55V of voltage instead of the 48V that I have now with my Bosch Fat Packs and 12V SLA battery. I need to open them up to get to them. These packs are labelled Makita, however, they have the Sony/Konion cells inside. These packs are from a battery repair/return place and salvaged for their (hopefully) good cells inside. They are all fairly well used (if you can conclude anything by looking at their cases). All of them have issues. Either one or more of the cells in the packs are bad or the battery management system board (BMS) has gone bad. It's easy to find out. If each of the cells measures over 3V individually then, they are ok. If they are under 3V, then they have died. If all the cells test OK, then it's the BMS board. Simple!

I discovered that they are screwed to each other with Torx TR screws. The TR stands for tamper resistant. They have center pins in the middle of torx hole so that a normal Torx screwdriver won't work. The bit can't sink fully to engage the screw. I've just ordered a Torx TR set to open these up.

As you can see, they are considerably smaller than the Bosch Fat packs on the left. The Makita packs only contain 5 cells, I believe. I'll let you know once I open them up.

More later,

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rain, rain again...

Well, it's been raining solidly for over a week here in DC... at least on work days. I was out sick yesterday with a sore throat and the weather today is gorgeous, but chilly. The temperature was 33° F this morning. That's less than 1° C! The thought of riding with a sore throat at that temperature just wasn't appealing so I bagged it for today. I'm waiting for my Bosch booster pack cells to arrive. The plan is to add 6 18V 13.2AH packs to my 6 37V 13.2AH pack for a total of 55V 13.2AH. That should give me a nice speed boost and also add to my range a bit. The 12V lead acid battery booster pack isn't giving me it's full 18AH of power so I run out at the most critical point near the end of my 13 mile commute. Hopefully this will give me all 13.2AH of power at 55V. I'll report back when I find out!

More later,

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Shimano Tiagra 30-42-52 crankset

My eBike is very fast when it is freshly charged and starting the ride. In fact, it's so fast that I can barely keep up with it when I'm pedaling. I really need to crank pretty fast just to act as if I'm actually adding some power to the ride! In an effort to reduce my cadence, I've just bought a larger crankset for my bike. It's the Shimano Tiagra 30-42-52 crankset. This should allow me to pedal at a more normal tempo when going fast. My current crankset tops out at 48T.

More later,

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Seat tube shims

When I bought my Thudbuster, I grabbed the cheapest one I could find that I could fit onto my bike. The one I picked up on eBay ($43 shipped) was 27.2mm. I found out that my seat tube on my bike was 30.6mm. I shimmed the space with some aluminum sheeting that I cut and rolled up to fit the space. It works, however, it slips and I can tell that the bike seat is dropping lower and lower after each ride. I finally went ahead and bought the proper 27.2mm to 30.6mm shim from Thudbuster.com. This should help to hold the seat tube in place and not slip anymore. It of course will look a lot better.

More later,

iO fell through but other TFs appear!

The guy I was planning on buying the iO from sold it out from under me! Bummer. However, two other TF bikes have appeared. A red S-750 and a black M-750. One local, one in Florida. They should end up being around the same price when the show up here.

More later,

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Double the light!

I picked up an extra Magicshine light head to augment my existing one. This doubles the amount of light that I will be putting out to around 1,800 lumens. I haven't tried it at night yet, but I can't wait!'''

Theoretically, this should reduce the battery life to about half, but since I'm only using them for about 1.5 hours a day and most of that time in blink mode, I don't think it should be a problem. I'm also planning on adding a DC-DC converter from my 48V main pack down to the 9V range that these lights need.

More later,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rain, rain, go away!

No bike commuting today! The remnants of tropical storm Ida are passing over my area now and it's a steady downpour. I don't mind a little drizzle, but a steady rain reduces visibility, increases road slickness, and generally makes drivers less smart! Hopefully, it will dry out by tomorrow. Sigh. I got in the car and drove to work today.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tidalforce iO bike?

My eBikeKit motor on the front wheel has been acting up lately and is making a kind of a bus or truck braking noise when I'm accelerating. It's hard to explain and I can't record it easily since it only happens when I accelerate hard and my hands are busy steering!

I've spotted a Tidalforce iO on Craigslist and am thinking about buying it. It's got a beach cruiser frame but can be modded to ride more like a regular bike. The frame on the iO has a nice big open area for placing batteries in the middle of the frame. The motor on the TF bikes are also very famously, totally silent.

I hope to be able to report that I've picked it up and am modding it for my purposes shortly!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Two Motors and a Battery Wheel

I received the new correctly spoked E-BikeKit.com wheel yesterday and since I had the bad one and the Tidalforce battery hub wheel I thought I'd take a picture of all three.

The one on the left has the bad lacing. The one in the middle is the very large Tidalforce battery hub wheel, and the one on the right has the correct lacing and also the much larger 180mm disc rotor.

More later,

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Life at 48V is better

After a day of heavy rains, I decided to ride in today in the light mist. I have to say that the bike feels completely different and much better with 48V of batteries. I can keep up with traffic and the hills become much more manageable. The extra weight of the 12V lead acid battery isn't significant and the bike still feels very agile. I'm tempted to rearrange my 36V Bosch Fat Pack cells into a 55.5V 8.0AH pack to see if 55.5V feels better than the 48V pack now.

More later,

Monday, October 26, 2009

New battery in use!

I spent about 3 hours last night rewiring my new Bosch Fat Pack 36V batteries for my new commute today. It fits nicely into the Topeak MTX rack bag and the wires are almost invisible. I used about 6.5AH of power on the way in at 36V, it didn't feel as peppy as my old 48V SLA setup, however, the lightness of the pack at around 15 lbs certainly made the bike feel much peppier and much easier to lift and move when stationary. I think I'll need to up the voltage to at least 48 if not 55.5V to increase my power since there are many more significant hills going across town.

More photos later,

Another interesting exchange

I was on my way in to work this morning and I passed a school bus full of kids on it's way to Nicholas Orem Middle School. As I passed, I heard some kids yelling at me. I smiled and continued on my way. As the bus passed me again, something flew out of the bus and hit my backpack! I thought it was just road debris at first, but then realized it was something the kids threw. I'll be sure to be more careful next time!

More later,

New Commute Route

I started at my new job today in New Carrollton. It's a 12.5 mile commute and it's a LOT more challenging to get to work. In my old job, I could head straight down Connecticut Avenue for 8 miles and be in to work in about half an hour. Now, I travel across town through a series of smaller streets with many more traffic lights and narrower streets. It's a lot hillier as well. There is one particular hill that is about a mile away from my new office that is very challenging both for myself and my eBike. I'll need to beef up the battery and my legs! :-)

More later,

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Blinder is done!

I finally (with some help) figured out how to solder the wires to the driver board and The Blinder now works! I've posted a video here:


Here it is sitting on the battery case. I need to come up with a water proof case for the LEDs and driver board.

More later,

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Noisey rear motor

I was very happy to have mounted the rear motor onto my eBike over the weekend. I didn't have a chance to actually wire it in for power, but at least I could use it as a rear wheel!

I took off for work on Monday morning only to find something was making a noise. First, it was fairly quiet, but the more I rode, the louder the sound became. Until it became unbearable about half a mile from the house. I had to turn around and head home and take the eGO in.

I then spent the evening trying to figure out what was wrong. Here's a sample of the sounds the ebike was making:

I called Jason at eBikeKit.com and he will be shipping me out another rear motor, one that he has tuned. The problem is that in this latest batch of motors, 9C (the OEM in China) used the same length spokes when they should have used 2 different legths of spokes. By using only one, the longer ones were not seated correctly in the rim and would squeak very loudly once weight is applied to the bike.

More later.

My New Bike Route to My New Office!

I've found a very nice bike route mapping website called www.mapmyride.com. It's handy for finding distance and terrain information about a route that you are planning. It's based on Google Maps so it's very comprehensive. Here's my new route:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Are two motors better than one?!?

I started to install my new rear motor over the weekend and ran into a couple of issues. First, the disc wheel rubbed against the frame. A quick email to ebikekit.com got me a response. I need to put more spacers in the axle to move the disc away from the frame. Simple.

That worked pretty well except that I can't get the disc caliper to center on the wheel now. However, while this is going on, I've got an ebike with two hub motors! This is highly unusual and needs to be documented! (Of course, I won't be riding it like this, but it sure is fun to look at!


New rear pack and batteries

I returned some equipment to REI to find that they are having a sale this weekend. I picked up a new Topeak MTX rear pack that fits on my Topeak Explorer MTX Disc Mount compatible rack. There's a slide mount for the pack that makes installing and removing the pack a snap.

Also, my new Bosch Fat Pack 36V batteries (all 6) fit in the pack absolutely perfectly. It's as if they were made for each other!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

More Rear Hub Motor Pix

In addition to the motor on the rear hub and the freewheel 6 speed cassette, I also have the disc brake mounted on the other side. Here are some shots of the disc mounted on the motor/hub.

Here's a closer shot of the cassette.

I hope to be able to mount the motor and new batteries this weekend.

More later.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Topeak Disc Brake Compatible Rack

With the purchase and eventual installation of the eBikeKit rear hub motor with disc brakes, I will need to upgrade my rear rack to the Topeak disc brake compatible Explorer rack. The major (and only) difference between the disc brake and no disc brake model is the installation of the spacers where the rack attaches to the frame. The disc brake model has about a one inch spacer which allows the disc brake to be mounted to the frame.

Rear Hub Motor from eBikeKit.com

In my long range plan, I wish to move the front hub motor to the rear as well as mount the new Bosch battery in the bike's frame triangle which should help distribute the load from it's high rear center of gravity to a more balanced COG. To that end I've puchased a rear 6 cassette rear hub motor from eBikeKit.com. The plan is to replace the front wheel with either the Tidalforce front hub battery or with a front wheel with disc brakes. The new motor has disc brake mounts and a new disc brake unit. That should help eliminate the rapid brake wear that I'm experiencing now and hopefully improving stopping distances!

"The Blinder"

My next project is to build a powerful red tail light. One of the biggest problems with most bike accidents involves drivers not being able to see cyclists. Many cyclists don't even wear helmets let alone put lights on their bikes to aid visibility. I am firmly in the camp of "the more the merrier."

So far, I've got two lights on my helmet: a Planet Bike Superflash rear blinking LED light and a front mounted Coast 1W LED head light. On the front of the bike is the Magic Shine HA-III P7 900 lumen headlight. On the rear is a cheap Bell tail ight which is why I'm building "The Blinder."

The Blinder is 3 high powered red LEDs mounted in it's own case that puts out a brilliant amount of light. The driver circuitry will produce 6 patterns and use a LiFePO4 3.6V 5 AH battery pack. The three LEDs and one driver board look like this now.

 Eventually, they will be mounted inside a small waterproof housing pointed to the back. That should keep drivers away! I may also mount three facing in different directions since each one is bright enough to be seen easily all by itself. With 3 pointing in different directions, I increase my chances of being seen.

Photos of my newish ThudBuster mounted

Here's a photo of my new/used ThudBuster. I was able to grab it off of eBay for $43 shipped which is about $100 less than new. These haven't changed functionally since they were introduced in 1996. I'm very happy with the ride so far.

Bought a Bosch Fat Pack BAT836 Battery Set

I replaced my Vpower.HK batteries with a set of Bosch Fat Pack 36V BAT836 6.6Ah batteries. They are much smaller and significantly lighter than the Vpower.HK LiFePO4 batteries. They can handle huge amperage outputs and are self balancing so no BMS is necessary. Simpler is always better.

Included with the packs are 2 Tenergy chargers so I don't have to lug them to and from the office.

The best part of all this is that I can wire the packs up to be 72V 6.6AH which should really speed up my commute to work!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sold my Vpower.hk battery on eBay

I wasn't happy with the power that the Vpower.hk 36V 20AH battery was giving me so I sold it on eBay. I got pretty much what I paid for it so I'm happy. I'm now looking for a 48V or higher 10AH battery since that's all that I really need. I'm trying to reduce the weight and increase the power and reliability of the battery pack. This all started when I tried my 48V 3.3AH NiMH battery pack with my eBike. The power was amazing and the ride was wonderful since the bike was a fairly normal weight. The weight of the sealed lead-acid battery is a bit much at times, resulting in sluggish starts and a very bumpy ride.

As soon as I've found what I'm looking for, I'll post something.

More later,

Thudbuster first day

The Thudbuster I bought on eBay last week arrived yesterday. It looks very much like the one above. I installed it last night. I had to improvise a shim for it since the post is a smaller diameter than my previous seatpost. I used a long strip of some aluminum duct sheathing to form a shim. I took it for my usual commute in this morning and it works surprisingly well. The biggest surprise is that you don't really feel it working. I noticed that I didn't need to raise my butt off of the seat when going over bumps now. I just don't feel them in my backside!

My wrists are still getting the brunt of it though since I don't have a suspension front fork. That is next on the agenda since I am planning on switching to a rear hub motor. The combination of the front suspension fork and the rear hub motor should produce a nice smooth ride.

More later,

Friday, October 2, 2009

Front Battery Hub

Bill on the TF forums was nice enough to offer first-come, first-served, a free used TF front battery hub. I quickly asked him for it and it finally arrived a few days ago. This guy is hefty! I'm not sure what condition it is in, but I suspect that it isn't working very well. I plan on taking it apart to see what's going on inside and to either replace the batteries (there are 30 8AH NiMH D sized cells) or gut it and just use it as a front wheel.

We will see what happens when I open it up!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thudbuster at last!

After many months and many failed attempts to find a used Thudbuster seatpost, I finally won one on eBay! YEAH!

If you don't know, the ThudBuster suspension seatpost is a very unique device. It is based on a cantilever design rather than the typical spring loaded design of other suspension seatposts. With the cantilever, there is no "stiction" for the seatpost to actually start working. Stiction is the phenomena of momentum not activating a compression until a certain threshold of downward force is applied. With the ThudBuster, the suspension is free to start compressing with very little force. This means a much smoother ride than a typical spring loaded seatpost.

The other very important factor in the ThudBuster's superiority is that it has 3" of suspension travel. Most other spring loaded seatposts have between .75" to 1" of suspension travel. The word most often associated with the ThudBuster is "plush!"

I'll post some photos when it arrives.

More later,

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Another Interesting Exchange

I had to go home early so that I could go to a job interview yesterday so was on the road a lot sooner than normal. First of all, the number of parked cars on major thoroughfares at 1:00 PM is amazing! Normally empty curb lanes are packed with parked cars. I am not used to that and rode as far into the middle lane as I felt comfortable. I don't like the thought of being "doored" by anyone who isn't aware of a cyclist coming towards them.

Anyway, when I was on the last major double yellow lined street in my neighborhood, I was blasting along at 28 mph (3mph over the legal speed limit), a Ford Focus passed me in the middle lane, honking their horn! The middle lane is past the double-yellow line so I was very surprised and looked over. The woman was driving at least 35 mph (10 mph over the speed limit) and was on the wrong side of the road! She was waving her arms at me as if to shoo me off the road! I was speechless!

As you know, cyclists have every right to the road as drivers do. I was not hindering her because I was going faster than the legal speed limit. I was on the right side of the road! :-) I couldn't figure out why she was trying to wave me off?!

I got home fine and it gave me a good chuckle to think about it!

More later.

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Topeak Explorer MTX Rack!

I thought I had a fairly solid rack with the Megarack that I bought from L.L. Bean, however, it can't take the beating that I've given it on my Tidalforce bike. The screws that allow it to adjust to different frame sizes just won't stay tight. The two thin bars that attach to the frame by the brake mounts are also very flimsy and can't keep the 25 lbs of batteries I carry stable. I worry about the whole assembly wobbling free one day. So I asked around on the boards and found out that the Topeak Explorer MTX frame is an inexpensive but sturdy one piece frame. I bought it from my REI store and mounted it over the weekend. It's a much more solid rack. The two bars that attach near the brake mounts are twice as thick and much longer than the Megarack's bars. There are very solid large headed hex screws which mount to the frame. I put in a couple of lock washers and some Loctite to help hold the screws in so I don't have to worry about it. It seems the extra heavy duty welding and the three stays make a huge difference in the solidity of the rack.

Now when I go over bumps, the rack and my battery pack does not wobble one bit. It feels much tighter and more controlled. I still need to reduce the weight of the battery some since it still isn't great going over potholes or manhole covers, but the ride is much steadier now.

Thanks JD on Endless-sphere.com


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Full regalia and in a suit too!

Here's a photo that my wife took of me yesterday. I had meetings at the office so I had to wear
a suit for the first time. Looks very impressive, no? :-)

The MagicShine 900 Lumen P7 LED Headlight Arrived!

I had a package waiting for me when I got home last night. The MagicShine P7 headlight arrived! The box was a bit bashed, but the contents survived intact. I'll have more photos later. This thing is definitely bright!
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Saturday, September 19, 2009


You must watch this video. A man built this robot in his basement in 4 months!

Truly awe inspiring...


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fun exchange on the way home last night

I was blasting home last night at almost 30 mph most of the way and was keeping up with the rush hour traffic pretty well. Near my home, I stopped at a traffic light and a BMW pulled up beside me. The driver rolled down the window and said that I'd been following him for about 5 miles now. I reminded him that he pulled up next to me so I was technically leading him! We had a good laugh. I told him that I was testing out the higher voltage bike at speed and the light bulb went off and he gave a big OH! Of course, that's why I was able to go so fast! We had a good long laugh before the light changed and I blasted past him. He turned on the next street!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

48V rules!

I took my jury-rigged 48V pack and put it on my Tidalforce today for the ride in. The pack consists of the ebikekit.com 36 volt 12AH sealed lead-acid battery pack with an additional 12V 18AH SLA battery in series with it for a total of 48V. It was an exhilerating ride and a blast to be able to easily keep up with rush hour traffic. I also felt safer because I could pass parked cars at regular traffic speeds instead of slowing down to wait for an opening in traffic.

All-in-all, a very satisfying experience. I like 48 volts on my ebike. All I need now is to reduce the weight by swapping out the SLAs for lithium.

More later,

Friday, September 11, 2009

900 Lumen Headlight Ready To Ship!

I just checked on my order for the MagicShine 900 lumen headlight from dealextreme and it is ready to be shipped. Packages from China tend to take about a week to get here so I am eagerly awaiting it's arrival next week.

Here's a shot of a country road lit by the MagicShine...


Monday, September 7, 2009

48 Volt NiMH Test Results!

I installed the two 24V NiMH 3.3AH packs in series for a 48V 3.3AH pack and took my ebike out for a spin. First, it accelerated quite rapidly. The bike felt light and nimble and it performed quite well. The flats were 27 mph and the downhill sections were 29-32 mph. Very nice! However, I could only get about 2.5 AH out of the pack. It was 5 miles but the pack was sagging very badly at the end dropping down to the 34V range. Both batteries were also very warm almost hot to the touch. Obviously, they were quite stressed by it all!

So for short quick rides, I may use the 2x24V NiMH, but for long hauls, use the LiFePO4 pack.

More later,

48 Volt Test Results!

I took the ebike out for a test ride at 48 volts yesterday. On the flats, I was able to get up to 27 mph. On slight downhill sections, it was up to 29 mph. Not too bad. However, the extra weight made the bike very top heavy and sluggish to get started.

I had a thought while riding. I have an old set of 24V 3.3A Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries which I used to use with my old Amplifier A7 stand up scooter. They are very small and compact. Two of them in series would produce 48V and be very easy to easy to place and carry on the ebike.

I discovered during my first week of commuting with the ebike that I was only using 4AH on the way in to work and 4.5AH on the way back. This 48V NiMH pack would provide enough juice if used judiciously.

More later,

Sunday, September 6, 2009

48 Volt Test!

I wanted to see how much faster a 48V battery would push the 36V 500W motor. I emailed Jason at ebikekit.com and found out that I need up install Anderson PowerPoles in place of the 3 standard bullet connectors on the controller. Jason also stated that the controller was 48V capable as it is. No modifications needed! The bullet connectors didn't seem to critical for a test so I plugged in an extra heavy duty 12V 18AH sealed lead acid battery in series with the 36V 12AH battery to make a 48V battery. This is the result of an unhindered speed test!

With a 36V battery fresh off the charger, the ebikekit motor did 28.6 mph. With the 48V battery fresh off the charger, the ebikekit motor did 36.3 mph! That's a 7.7 mph improvement. I need to give it a test ride in the morning to see if it responds the way I expect it to. Right now, I can get up to almost exactly 23 mph on level ground. If the 25% improvement holds up in the real world, I should get close to 30 mph at 48V!

More later,

Headlight and Taillight Setup

I've just added some lighting to my bike helmet to help me be seen better by automobiles. It consists of a Coast 1W Luxeon headlight powered by 3 AAA batteries. I've also added a Planet Bike Superflash taillight which I've mounted to my helmet instead of the bike. I've got two other lights that I plan on mounting on my battery pack and on the rear rack. I needed something small and light, yet powerful enough to not make me feel odd about the extra weight on top and put out a ton of light. This seems to fill the bill.

I've posted a video here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Now that the ebike is running smoothly. I'm thinking about upgrades! :-)

The first thing that sounds interesting is to increase the voltage of the bike to 48V from the current 36V. 36V is fine, however, I'm always looking for a bit more oomph. That being said, the other problem with my 36V battery is the weight. The 36V battery weighs 21 lbs. That doesn't sound like a huge amount, however, I'm finding that I'm only using about 3.5Amps on my ride in! That's a lot less than I expected. I can reduce the size of the battery and increase the speed if I were to switch to a 48V 10 or 15AH battery.

The other important thing to think about now is lighting. The hours of daylight here in Washington, DC is shrinking and lights will be necessary soon. Both front and rear lights. I found this very interesting light online.

It's supposedly a 900 lumen light in a relatively tiny package for only $80. That sounds like an amazing bargin and I may need to try it out to see how well it works!

More later.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Found the problem!

Fooling around with the LiFePO4 pack last night revealed the problem. It's an intermittent connection!

I could move the BMS by the battery and the unit would come alive. I then did a tiny bit more digging and found the source. The main out ground wire was not fully connected. I will rewire this junction with 45A Anderson PowerPoles.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hiccup in the works

I took my newly completed ebike down to my LBS to inflate the tires. You're probably asking why I have to do that?!?! :-)

The rear rim has a very deep V profile. The air valve doesn't protrude enough out of the rim for a normal bike pump nozzle to fit. The LBS has an air pump with a very shallow nozzle. I can get air in with that.

Anyway, I did that and had a very nice discussion with a man in the parking lot for a few minutes. On the way back home, I was going along at a good clip and hit a bump in the sidewalk. I immediately lost power! I looked down at the DrainBrain battery meter and saw that I had "Low Voltage." I stopped and tried wiggling the connectors thinking there was an intermittent open circuit, but couldn't find one. I rode it back home and found that the battery was not right. It was only showing 33.6V when it should be around 40V.


I've contacted V.Power.HK and they have responded by having me check the BMS to see what the individual cell groups are showing...

In the meantime, I have ordered a "backup" 36V SLA (sealed lead acid) system from Jason at eBikeKit.com. I just couldn't be without my ride for that long. The SLAs are 24 lbs and have 12AH of power. That should be enough to get me to work and home again comfortably.

More later.

Monday, August 24, 2009

It's done!

I was able to complete the electronic connections yesterday and got to try out the new bike yesterday evening. It's a very sweet ride. Smooth and quiet. The bike looks and rides like a Cadillac. It took a while to get used to the initial weight of the bike. It's not light! However, it gets up to speed quickly and if I pedal just a bit, it runs very, very fast.

I picked up a bike handlebar camera mount so will be taking some bike mounted video soon.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Almost there!

I dropped off my ebike at the LBS (local bike shop) this morning and they were able to complete the bike enough to ride! I took it for a ride with my girls this afternoon and it works great! The ride is very smooth because of the huge balloontires from Schwalbe. I can now start assembling the electronics on to the bike.

The LBS connected and adjusted the brakes and the front and rear derailleurs. It's a sweet machine!

Torque Arm Installed

I spent a couple of hours last night putting the torque arm onto the front fork of my ebike. I think it looks terrific and should work very well.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Torque Arms have arrived

After what seems like a really long time, I finally received the torque arms from e-BikeKit.com.

They are surprisingly heavy and strong looking. A terrific deal at only $14. I bought two and plan to put one on each side. Here are some close up pictures of one.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Torque Arms

In putting the bike together, I ran into a problem with the standard torque arms that come with the e-bikekit.com's front hub motor. There are two standard torque arms, one for each side of the motor. However, the angle that these torque arms cover doesn't fit the front fork angle of the Surly Instigator front fork. I needed to upgrade these torque arms to ones that have either an adjustable angle or come perfectly matched to the Surly Instigator fork. I didn't know how to measure the angle so am ordering these from Jason at e-bikekit.com. He should have them next week. I need to finalize the rear battery rack situation soon since that will be the next holdup. I'm making good progress though.

Tire inflation and assembly

I put the bike roughly together last week just to see how it would look. I had a problem inflating the rear Schwalbe Big Apple with the 26" x 2.5" puncture resistant tube. The valve didn't stick up above the rim far enough to actually clamp a tire pump nozzle to it! I went looking for a Schrader valve extender or something similar to get me going.I went back to a great little bike shop called "City Bikes of Chevy Chase." There, I met Arsenio Bartolome who is a wonderfully helpful bike fanatic. I showed him the problem and his first idea was to order a bike tube with a longer valve. I told him that this was a 26" x 2.5" wide puncture resistant tube. I doubted that he could actually find a different tube with a longer valve!
He had an idea. There is a air hose right at the front door of the store. I had tried an air hose at the local gas station but the center of the air hose valve was too deeply set for it to actually turn on to inject air into the tire. The valve that Arsenio was using had a very shallow center valve actuator so he was able to inflate the tire!

I put the bike together and connected and ran all of the cables from the brake/shifter handle grips through the cable guides which are neatly covered with two rubber flanges. The cable guides route the mass of wiring through two openings in the main tube of the bike so that they are very neat looking and don't interfere with lifting the bike since the wires are internal to the frame. A very neat and helpful idea.

Here's the front opening and flange.

Here's the rear opening and flange.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Assembly started

I had a chance to bring the bike to my local bike shop (LBS) over the weekend to have the front headset and fork installed. I have to say that City Bikes of Chevy Chase is a very nice shop that has a great service bay. They have four techs there working full time and they were very nice to take my bike as soon as I walked in. Thanks guys!

Here's a picture of the bike on the first day of assembly. You can see the front hub motor mounted on the Surly Instigator front fork. I've got Schwalbe Big Apple 26" x 2.35" Balloonbike tires mounted front and rear. I couldn't quite inflate the rear tire because of the height of the double-wall rim. I haven't attached the brakes or the derailleurs either. I also need to mount the battery and connect up all the electronics. I did it quickly just to see how it would look. I think it looks kind of street ready!

More later.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009


You will be glad to know that I passed my certification test and am now a certified Project Management Professional.

After ordering all the parts for my eBike, I forgot to order one, well actually two things for my e-Ride. Tires! I have been reading about many different models but chose some very unusual tires. They're called "Schwalbe Big Apple" tires. They are 26" x 2.35" and are a new tire type called "Balloonbike" tires. They are very large and have a puncture resistant Kevlar belt. There is also a very thoughtful reflective strip built into the tire.

The reasoning behind this tire is that it has a very soft compliant ride. My eBike won't have a suspension front fork and is a hardtail. With all of the additional weight of the motor and batteries and myself, I thought that a bit of a softer ride would be beneficial.

I have to fix my eGO which needs some new brushes before I can focus on assembling my new ride. The first thing I need is to mount the headset and front fork to the frame.