Friday, April 30, 2010

New Profile Shot

I haven't posted a shot of my bike in a while so I thought I'd post one now. It's not complete yet. I still have to rewire everything and install a new brake line to the new rear Avid disc brakes. However, it's looking very nice and clean now with the rear motor and disc.

I've also received the Chain Thong and one of the two mini keychain video cameras so will post about those soon.

More later,

Thursday, April 29, 2010

72V is next!

I received my 72V 35A 9 FET Lyen's Edition Infineon controller fully loaded with the CA connector, USB-TTL programming cable, and the 3 speed switch option. Now all I need to do is to wire my batteries up for 72V and connect everything.

When I took my 37V Bosch Fat Pack cells apart last night to rewire them, I noticed that I didn't make a very good connection with at least two of the six packs in my old 6P configuration. The wires just fell off of the soldered connections I had made. They were "cold soldered" or not making a very good connection if at all. So with my new TriCrimp Anderson Powerpole crimper, I took everything apart and put Powerpoles on everything.

Along with my new Bosch Fat Pack, I have about 50 Konion/Sony 18650VT cells which are what is used in the BFP packs. The configuration inside the BFP is 10S2P (10 serially connected 3.7V 1.1AH cells for 37V 1.1AH and another 10S 1.1AH pack in parallel for a total of 37V 2.2AH per BFP). I wanted to create at least one additional pack from these cells. Luckily, Doctorbass had sent me 4 complete 5S Makita packs so that I could more easily assemble my final configuration of 10S2P. I was able to assemble the two 10S packs last night but ran out of time in hooking them up in parallel.

Also, I need to create a harness that allows me to hook the packs up either in 2S4P for 72V 8.8AH or 8P for 36V 17.6AH. I've picked up a 4PDT 20A heavy duty switch which might do the job but haven't decided if that's the way to go or not. The switch (if I implement it, will allow easier recharging since I have 36V chargers).

More later,

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Disc Rotor Spacing on a Tidalforce S frame

I took some photos of the clearance between the disc rotor and the support brace on the S-750 frame. It's tight, but certainly wide enough to easily clear the frame. Because of the less rigid structure (less material) in the 160mm rotor vs. the 180mm rotor, I put another washer in between the frame and the motor/rotor to allow for just a bit more clearance. I realized that there might be some deflection in the rotor when the brake is applied so thought it wise to adjust the spacing.

More later,

Rear Motor Mounted With Disc Rotor!

I finally got some time to put the 160mm rotor from on to my Tidalforce bike. It was a bit more challenging with the 160mm rotor because the rotor has less substance than the 180mm disc. I had to be much more careful and I used a slightly different number of spacer discs in order to get it to fit properly. Now, I need to take it to the LBS to get them to cut some custom brake cables and to possibly help me with mounting my rear Freddy Fenders since they don't fit along with the disc brakes. The rotor and disc brake are buried behind the rear rack and the fender guides.

Here's the Tidalforce bike full view from the front.

More later

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chain Thong, Chain What?!?!?

I've always wanted a light and easy way to prevent chain grease from getting on my dress pants so went searching for a solution. I happened upon this little device which seems to fit the bill. It's called a "Chain Thong" which is very small and minimalistic, but which still does the job. It weighs only 14 grams and just barely fits over the chain to prevent grease from transferring over.

It's in the mail so hopefully, I'll have it soon to see how well it works. It's designed for 48-53T chainrings so should work well with my 52T Tiagra.

More later,

160mm rear disc rotor arrived!

Thanks to Jason and Roger at, who graciously sent me a 160mm rear disc rotor. I'm finally ready to install the rear wheel and the disc brake and try it out. This matches the look of my front disc rotor beautifully. It's too late to mount it tonight. Perhaps tomorrow.

I'm still waiting for Lyen's 72V controller which has the Cycle Analyst connector and the USB-TTL programming cable and the 3 speed switch. It should be arriving Tuesday or Wednesday of this week!


Another Bosch Fat Pack 36V BAT836 joins the family!

I was lucky enough to grab another Bosch Fat Pack 36V Litheon BAT836 pack recently. These are getting harder and harder to find at reasonable prices. I would guess that their days are numbered. I hope my setup lasts me a few more years!

More later,

Monday, April 26, 2010

Video cameras are the next upgrade!

With what happened on my last ride, I decided to add a couple of video cameras to my helmet/bike to document my rides. I found a review online for a small keychain camera that seemed to give pretty good image quality considering its small size and the price was right so I bought two.

I'll report back on them when I install them and get them running.



Friday, April 23, 2010

Tips for riding your bike in traffic from REI

I received an email from REI that included this great article on riding your bike in traffic.

I can't disagree with anything that they say except to signal that your stopping. Some times you need both hands to stop the bike and using one of your hands to signal braking means that you have reduced your stopping power. Not a great idea!

More later,
(who has no affiliation with REI except that he's a happy member)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Almost there, small snag...

I swapped out the rear wheel with the rear 9C motor. Before I began, I thought that the biggest issue would be trying to fit the rear disc brake wheel into the TF frame. Many have tried to do this without success or they had to resort to cutting out the support brace from the frame shown here. I had already marked the frame support with a Sharpie to prepare for cutting it. But upon closer review, I saw that the support is flush with the frame and really didn't protrude out any further than the chain stay or seat stay tubes. Cutting the support wasn't really necessary and would weaken the frame at this most critical point.

It was fairly easy to swap the tube and tire from the old non-motorized rear wheel. It was also fairly easy to drop the whole assembly into the rear dropouts with the bike upside down. The only thing one needs to do is to place two of the thicker washers that are standard with the well thought out motors inside the dropout and one of the very thin washers that are standard on the e-BikeKit on the outside of the frame. With this arrangement of the washers, the disc brake rotor clears the support and the support does not need to be cut! You do need to push the dropouts out a tiny bit (1 or 2mm) for the motor to drop into the dropouts. This didn't take much effort, but is something you may need to do.

On my upgraded front crank (52T), which is actually a road crank versus a mountain bike crank, in order for the highest (smallest) rear gear to work with the standard dérailleur, I needed to put one thick washer inside the frame on the crank side. Without this washer, the dérailleur didn't allow the chain to reach the highest gear! Again, an easy placement and a small tug on the stays to allow the dropout to let the wheel to drop into place.

The only thing that stopped me from finishing the job last night was that I discovered that I had a 180mm rear disc mounted and the disc brake adapter that I had didn't allow the Avid to mount to the posts designed for it on the frame. I need the 160mm disc brake rotor. Also, I need to have a brake cable cut and fitted for the new disc brake. This is a very inexpensive item that the bike shop said they could make for $2!

More later,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New Avid BB7 160mm front disc brake mounted

Along with the Manitou front fork comes the Avid BB7 front disc brakes! I've needed to have front discs brakes for a long time now. With the weight and power of my ebike, the old caliper brakes were wearing out very quickly. I had to replace the pads both front and back every six weeks with the old setup. I hope to improve my braking and improve the durability of my brakes!

The Avid BB7 is a very popular and low priced disc brake system which is available just about everywhere on the net. I bought these on eBay. The Manitou fork has disc brake mounts which allow you to attach the brake without a 90° adapter. This simplifies the attachment of the actual brakes to the fork.

More later,

New front fork and transition to rear motor

I had a small bit of time last night after I picked up my bike from the local bike shop (LBS) and I removed the front motor to mount the front non-motorized Bontrager wheel with the disc brake rotor. The new Manitou Trance front fork is certainly much taller than the Surly Instigator and the bike now has a much more aggressive look to it. I took it for a quick ride and the front suspension has very controlled damping action. It doesn't feel squishy and the extra height of it gives me more of an upright feel. It should improve my visibility in traffic and the front damping will certainly be welcome in my daily commute.

The next steps coming up are:

  1. Mount the rear motor
  2. Mount the rear Avid disc brake
  3. Install the Cycle Analyst instead of the DrainBrain
  4. Install the additional Bosch Fat Pack and DoctorBass Sony/Konion 18650VT cells
  5. Install the 4PDT switch so that I can switch between 36V and 72V
  6. Install the Lyens Edition 72V controller
Lots of work, but all fun and all part of the learning experience.

More later,

Monday, April 19, 2010

PowerWerx Tricrimp on the way

I just found this Tri-Crimp online with a bunch of Anderson Powerpole connectors in 15-30 and 45 amp sizes. If you don't know, Anderson Powerpole connectors are great for ebike usage since they are very reliable, easy to mix and match, and are very flexible. The key advantage is that you can make them for any of your connectors including the hall sensors from your motor, the power connections between your controller and battery, between your battery and motor, between your charger and battery, etc. They are keyed so that it's very difficult to connect them incorrectly and they are very durable despite the fact that they are relatively small.

The Tri-Crimp allows you to make the power connections very easily and because it's designed specifically for the Powerpoles, it will optimize the connection so there won't be any weak links or need for soldering (which is what I had been doing).

More later,

Avid BB7 mounted on Manitou Trance front fork

Here's a shot of the Avid BB7 mounted on the front fork. Now all I need is the brake cable!

More later,

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Manitou Trance 3 front suspension fork

I picked up a used Manitou Trance 3 front suspension fork from GCinDC this morning and mounted the disk brake Bontrager front wheel today! Next, the bike goes to the shop to have the new fork mounted!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Interesting and dangerous encounter

On my way in to work on Wednesday, I came up to a stop light with a right turn lane. I stopped at the red light in between the lane that goes straight through and the right turn lane so as to not block right turning cars. I try and be considerate and not be a target of frustration for drivers. I noticed that there was a minivan in the right turn lane. As the light changed, the minivan went straight and cut me off! He went straight in a right turn only lane. I was a bit perturbed, but since it wasn't a dangerous maneuver for me (he pulled out quickly), I didn't let it bother me. As I approached it further on, the minivan was stuck behind a bus. I noticed that he was pulling his car over to the left and it looked as if he was thinking of passing the bus in a double yellow lane! I stopped and watched him do just that! He passed the stopped bus and crossed a double yellow lane!

The thought occurred to me that there are always folks who will push limits or outright break the law. It's wise to assume that this will happen and not assume anything.. Be ever alert and vigilant for bad drivers and drivers who don't regard the law or the safety of other drivers or even bicyclists.

Assume the worst and stay safe!

More later,

First ride of the year April 14, 2010

I finally rode my bike to work on Wednesday of this week. I spent a bit of time to make sure the bike was functioning, however, forgot to check the tire pressure! Both tires were very low, in fact, the front tire didn't have any measurable pressure in it!  It's a miracle I made it safely. The rear tire was better at around 20 lbs, but still very low. It's a tribute to the Schwalbe Big Apple 26x2.35" tires that they worked as well as they did at such low pressure.

I need to start work on converting to the rear motor now that I have most of the parts I need to do the job. I have the front disk brake enabled wheel, the rear motor, the brake adapter to allow me to use the Avid BB7 on the rear motor with disk brakes, the 72V controller, etc. I've also got on order, more spare Bosch Fat Pack cells to complete my 72V conversion.

More later,

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A biker and pedestrian killed in Washington, DC in the past week!

Be careful out there, folks!

A biker and a pedestrian have been killed here in Washington, DC in the past week!

The biker was run over by a 5 ton police tank.

The pedestrian was killed by a Volkswagen.

As a reminder, here are my guidelines for safe riding:

1. Always ride with great caution. Don't assume that drivers can see you or care about your safety!
2. Don't take any unnecessary chances. Bike riding in car/truck traffic is dangerous enough. If you take unnecessary chances, you increase your risk of being hurt or killed.goes up exponentially!
3. Be seen! I always ride with all of my lights on. I have 5 on my bike.
  • A pair of handlebar mounted MagicShine P7 headlights. One flashing and the other steady.
  • A helmet mounted front facing Coast mini-spotlight. I can turn my head and point to whatever I'm looking at so that I have a better chance of being seen.
  • A helmet mounted rear Planet Bike Super Blinkie. It has a very intense focused sweet spot that hits a fairly large area behind me and moves with my head so that I increase the coverage area.
  • I also have a Walmart Bell bike mounted tail light which I'm replacing with a Super Blinkie clone from China.
I also have my "Blinder" tail lights which I haven't fully implemented yet. It's working, but I haven't come up with a workable mount for my bike. When I have it completed, I'll post a note here. The "Blinder" really does what it's name implies!

Be safe, be seen, be happy!


Monday, April 12, 2010

Tiagra 52T mounted on my TF

I finally took a couple of pictures of the Tiagra 52T crankset mounted on my Tidalforce ebike.

They are really huge and I can pedal much easier now with the bike at full power. Of course, when I step up to 72V, I will probably not be able to keep up again!

I plan on riding my bike to work tomorrow.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Avid BB7 disc brakes front and rear!

I finally had a chance to ride my ebike for a short period of time today. I had to drop my car off at the garage and needed a way to get home. I loaded up the bike into the car and headed to the garage. I rode back home on it in short order!

As for the next upgrade, I picked up a pair of Avid BB7 Disc Brakes from eBay and they should be arriving shortly. I can't wait to mount the rear motor and front wheel with disc brakes. Right now, my V-brakes last only 6 weeks before I need to replace them. With disc brakes, I hope to eliminate this need, at least for a few months instead of a few weeks.

More later,