Monday, June 29, 2009

Double wall 26" rear wheel with cassette

I also picked up a double-wall 26" rear wheel with cassette mount for my bike on eBay. This was the least expensive 26" double-wall rear wheel I could find and it looks like an almost identical match to my front wheel in terms of profile. I paid $15 for it with $20 for shipping. It should be here by the end of the week.

Cane Creek S-6 Headset

When looking around for forks, I discovered that I need some way to mount the fork on the bike! I asked for a recommendation and I was told about Cane Creek. I knew of them because of their unique "Thudbuster" suspension seat.

They also make great headsets:

I picked up an S-6 headset from eBay.

Surly Instigator bike fork

I ordered a nice sturdy fork online last week. I asked for recommendations of forks from the Tidalforce group on Google. They knew this was a front hub motor setup so they recommended the Surly Instigator solid steel fork. It's designed to replace 100mm travel suspension forks so it's extra tall. It's also very wide so that it can handle 2.7" wide tires! I ordered it from here:

The price of $63.24 was the lowest I could find by about $16! Shipping brought it up to $71. I'm expecting it to be delivered today.

It's a very solid, straight tubed steel fork with strong looking dropouts. There are removable cantilever posts and also a disk brake mount.

Zefal Beam Rack

I picked up my Zefal beam rack from REI yesterday. It's a rack that clamps to the seat post of my bike. I needed this since I didn't want a regular rack with the aluminum posts clamped to the bike frame. It doesn't feel extremely heavy duty, but I will give it a try. I'm going to mount my battery/box to it and also strap it to my seat so that if it should break, the battery won't fall to the street.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Toolbox to house battery

I picked up a compact plastic toolbox to house my 36V 20AH LiFePO4 battery. I couldn't see putting such a fragile component in a rear rack either by itself or in a canvas/fabric rear rack bag so I went looking for a hard case that would fit on a rear bike rack. I found this very inexpensive toolbox at Home Depot and it fits the battery perfectly! There are even spaces for the cables that come out of the battery so that they don't have to make a hard bend to reach the BMS.

I've ordered the rear rack from REI and it should be arriving tomorrow at the local REI in Rockville.

More later!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Two more major parts to go!

Now that I've picked up the front hub motor, the frame, the battery, all the major parts for the brakes, crank, derailleur (front and rear), and handle bar and seat, all I need are two more components. One is the front fork. I've got one that I'm bidding on in eBay. The other is the rear wheel which is proving challenging.

The rear wheel needs to hold a lot of weight. My weight plus the weight of a 20 lb battery pack, rear rack and the controller. I would guess about 30 lbs for the bike, 15 lbs for the front wheel/hub and 24 lbs for the battery and rack, plus my 170 lbs and my backpack and
it adds up to quite a bit of weight: almost 250 lbs!

I'm looking for a strong 26" double wall 36H rim with 12 gauge spokes and a Suntour cassette. These are not common!

If you know of any that would fit this description, please let me know!


Thursday, June 18, 2009 LiFePO4 battery unveiling!

My 36 Volt 20 AH LiFePO4 (lithium iron phosphate) battery arrived today in a huge heavy cardboard box from Hong Kong.

It was nicely assembled if you can call duct-taping something together, nice!

I ordered a couple of extra chargers so that I wouldn't have to haul around the charger with the ebike. Star is always curious about things in boxes.

I am putting this project on hold until I can finish my certification test in a few weeks. Work before play! I may take a break here and there and update the blog as needed.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

LiFePO4 battery on the way!

I found out today that my 36V 20AH LiFePO4 battery is on it's way from Hong Kong. I ordered the expedited delivery so that it would arrive in 3 or 4 days rather than the 5-7 weeks land delivery that was free. I guess the land delivery means that it would be delivered by slow boat from China! :-)

I've already ordered a beam rack for the back for the battery pack and I've also bought a small tool box to protect the battery.

More later!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The other TF parts have arrived!

I received a large box in the mail yesterday which contained all of the other parts that oatnet had for sale to complete my S750!

They look terrific. Now all I need is either a rear hub motor or a rear wheel and a front solid or suspension fork. The fork decision depends on whether I go with a rear motor or the front motor. The front motor requires a solid steel fork whereas a rear motor would allow me to use a suspension composite or aluminum front fork. I'm heading for the local bike shop (LBS) today
to check out front forks with frame in tow.

Wish me luck!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Tidalforce Parts On Their Way!

I finally heard back from JD at Oat.Net and he says that he has everything packed and ready to go. I sent the PayPal payment today so it should be in the mail shortly. Once here, all that I need will be the front fork and the rear wheel to install the 7 speed cassete. Then assemble the whole thing and go for a ride. Oh and one more thing. I will need to receive the battery pack and to mount it to the rear via a beam rack.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Second Component

The Wavecrest Labs Tidalforce S-750 frame showed up in the mail this past week and I finally had a moment to take some photos of it. It's a beauty and in perfect shape. It had never been opened before so it is as good as brand new! Here's the "reveal!"

Here it is with the seatpost attached and some of the packing material removed. I am now waiting to order the rest of the components from Oatnet at Endless Sphere. I haven't heard from him in a couple of days so I hope he hasn't disappeared on me!


Friday, June 5, 2009

First components

In order to put together an electric bike, the first and most important component is the motor. This distinguishes the bike from every other bike out there. There are many popular brands out there: Wilderness Energy, Crystalyte, Bionx, eZee, etc. Walmart even sells electric bikes complete and ready to go!

I wanted something that was well made, and that contained virtually everything that I needed without having to mix and match the electronic components.

There are many resources on the web. Two that I frequent are: The eBike forum on Bike and the other is Endless Sphere. I also lurk on the Tidalforce Group on Google.

While lurking on the Endless Sphere's for sale board, I noticed a new dealer had set up shop and was offering their 36V 500 watt front hub motor complete with controller, throttle, brakes with engine override for $244! This was $150 less than what they normally sell for on his website. I couldn't refuse the offer and jumped on that deal and am very happy. The company is It's a fairly new storefront and Jason is a very responsive and energetic owner. He shipped the conversion kit the very next day and because he's not far from my home in Maryland, the kit arrived the day after that! I've posted some pictures here.

The very next day on Endless Sphere's forums, a user named "oatnet" posted that he had just bought a huge lot of Tidalforce frames and parts. Tidalforce was a company based in Virginia that was a pioneer in the ebike business. They forged ahead when the world wasn't quite ready for a quality ebike. Their trade name was Tidalforce but their company name was WaveCrest Labs. They folded a few years ago and sold many of their components to wholesalers who parted them out via eBay and the web. Tidalforce parts are getting harder and harder to find. So when Oatnet posted that he had frames and parts, I send a quick message to him that I was interested. He said that he wanted to sell the parts as a lot to a wholesaler since he didn't have the time to sell these components individually. I asked him to keep me in mind if he ever decided to sell individually.

In the meantime, on the Tidalforce forum, Deerfencer3 (a regular contributor to the TF forum), posted that he had a couple of Tidalforce S750 frames he wanted to sell for $50 plus shipping. The S750 was one of TF's last offerings. It was a hardtail mountain bike frame with the 750 or 1000 watt Tidalforce motor system. I quickly responded and bought a satin silver frame from Deerfencer3. It arrived last night. photos to come!

Yesterday, Oatnet sent a quick note to me saying that he was not ready to sell individually. I quickly said that I would take one of everything that he had. So, I am getting almost all the parts necessary to complete a Tidalforce S750 bike: front crankset and triple derailleurs, rear cassette, v-brakes both front and rear, seat, handlebars, pedals, brake levers and a chain!

I look forward to getting all of that so that I can start assembling my dream bike! This project is moving along very rapidly!

Start of something green!

Well here goes.

I'm starting this blog to document my ebike building/riding experience. I'm a Washington, DC area commuter who is tired of the daily rat race of catching the bus and dealing with the crowds in the Washington, DC Metro (subway) system. I recently happened upon a used eGO electric scooter on Craigslist and bought it to use as my commuting vehicle. This has been a wonderful experience. The eGO is a handsome, powerful and long range electric scooter. It has many components of a regular bicycle except that it has a monocoque designed body that holds the motor, batteries, electronics and the front fork/steering mechanism and rear wheels. It's a brilliantly simple design and it's built to last.

There is a strong network of dealers across the country and the eGO vehicles company has been in business for many years. All is good...

Except, my daily commute takes me on a bike trail that states: "No Motor Vehicles!"

This puts me in a dilemma. I'm riding what is essentially a bike. It doesn't have pedals, but it has two bicycle wheels, a bicycle handlebar, bicycle brakes, bicycle seat, everything but the pedals. I've been yelled at by riders and joggers on the bike path. Okay, I admit that I'm not a bike!

This is the issue. I need to get to work in a safe and speedy manner. I can't ride my bike to work since I can't get into the office sweaty and grimey from my trip in. The eGO was essentially perfect (except for one small issue!).

To solve this problem, I'm embarking on an adveture of putting together my own electric bicycle. It will be a true bicycle but it will contain a very quiet and unobtrusive electric hub motor contained in the front wheel. The plan is to use the bike path without being yelled at!

My other major goal is to do this without laying out the seemingly thousands of dollars needed to get a bike on the road. There are some good quality electric bikes out there, but they tend to run in the $1,500/2,500 range. That's too much for my taste and my electric engineering knowledge allows me to put together my own bike without paying others to put a package together for me.

Now, you may say that it's still a motor vehicle. True, but it's one where the motor can be stealth and I can pedal away to minimize the yellers! :-)

I'll document my progress here. Stay tuned!