Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Dead Motors Arrive!

Woohoo! Icecube57 over on was trying to get rid of a dead motor with a broken stator. I thought about it for 5 seconds and bought it from him. He didn't include the mangled and broken stator because he had another buyer for it. I received it last night. Along with that motor, I bought the replacement parts needed from e-bikekit. Of course, it's not that straightforward. The parts I got to fix the motor aren't exactly 100% either so I will have to spend some time in ripping them apart to find out what exactly is wrong.

Along with Icecube57's rim and rotor, are photos of the replacement motor and stator along with a 8Fun motor that Veloman was giving away.

Here are the photos.  So many motors, so little time!

Dead Stator with unknown connectors...


 Connector to unknown motor

 New additions to the family portrain!
 Notice the slightly larger 8Fun rim
 The 8Fun 29er is behind the 26" e-bikekit motor with the drilled cover
The 8Fun has a nice rim from Alexrims. The DC19.

Riding the Tidalforce iO on a beautiful Fall morning

I took the red Tidalforce iO cruiser bike out for a ride on a beautiful early Fall morning this past Saturday and made a video. Everyone was out riding or walking and the weather couldn't have been more perfect! There was also a yard sale going on in the neighborhood.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The easiest way to work on a Tidalforce bike's motor and battery

I was working on my red S-750X bike over the weekend when I realized that it's much easier to mount and dismount the wheels and battery when the bike is upside down and sitting on the handlebars and seat! I had mounted the front battery into the front fork and it wasn't fully seated all the way into the dropout and so wasn't centered quite right. After I flipped the bike over (not an easy task considering the weight of the bike), I was able to easily mount and center both the front battery wheel and the rear motor into their dropouts. It's very easy to tell when they are in. They drop in with a solid clunk and don't wobble at all! I simply tightened the quick releases and voila. Done.

Swapping out a Tidalforce hub battery

The Tidalforce M-750X bike I picked up had a supposedly weak front hub battery. I swapped the front hub with my red S-750X front hub just so it would have a known good battery. I then took the supposedly weak battery and replaced it with the other known good front hub battery I have. I opened up both and took a couple of pictures of the two packs as well as close ups of the suspect pack from the silver M-750X.

The bad battery was supposedly replaced with a reconditioned one and from the looks of it, wasn't soldered particularly well. There are lots of uneven solder joints and lots of bubbles in the solder. Typically this is caused by an inadequate soldering iron (not enough wattage) or bad soldering technique. I prefer smooth, even, shiny and bubble free solder joints.

Side by side (good on the left, bad on the right)

Good battery with center axle nut and wheel bearing mounted

bad battery without center axle nut or wheel bearing

Solder joint on bad battery

Solder joint on bad battery

Solder joint on bad battery

Solder joint on bad battery

Solder joint on bad battery

Solder joint on bad battery

After swapping out the center axle rod and nut, it was pretty smooth sailing.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Updated and Cleaned Up Silver Tidalforce S-750X

I spent a couple of hours last night updating my new satin silver S-750X. I swapped out the dying front hub battery with the NOS (new old stock) battery I picked up a few months ago. It runs great! I also swapped out the matching rear motor so that the wheels match. I know, I know but I like it to look consistent. I also cleaned up a lot of fine dirt from the bike. It was probably sitting for many months in a dusty environment. It looks much better now! Although you may not notice a huge difference unless you look closely.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Why Do I LOVE Tidalforce Bikes!

I had a thought when I picked up the Tidalforce S-750X bike from a local Craigslist seller.

"Why do I LOVE Tidalforce bikes?"

This is an obvious question now that I have 6 of them!

Let me try to itemize why they are so addictive and I'll also list some things I don't like about them just to show that I'm not completely obsessed with them.

  1. They are completely silent in operation. I know that they sound like they make quite a bit of noise when I video them in my basement rec room, however, when you're outside, it is in essence, completely silent. This is very different from every other electric bike I've ever tried.
  2. They have a very smooth ride. The mass of the battery and motor being located low on the bike makes for a very smooth and elegant ride. This is hard to describe since it's more of a sensation than something easily described.
  3. The power curve is very smooth and highly predictable. I love the thumb throttle as well since all that is required is a slight press in order to make it go.
  4. They are built as elegantly and as beautifully as any machine I've ever used. Each piece of the system is beautifully rugged and built to last a long time. The motor and battery housings are extremely rugged and not built to last a few weeks but for many, many years of service.
  5. The bikes (M-750, S-750 and iO) are beautifully made. Each weld and component of the bike is high quality. I've never had one suffer any component breakdowns or any part go bad. Tires and brake pads excepted.
  1. They are very heavy. Both the motor and the hub battery are very heavy which contributes to giving the bikes a solid feel. They are hard to move without power!
  2. The front hub batteries sag significantly and don't provide top speed in the X version of the bikes.
  3. The front hub batteries are not easily fixable with new cells. In fact, I would say that they are not replaceable unless you have very specialized equipment and the necessary skills. You'll need a battery capacity checker such as a West Mountain CBA or equivalent and also a tab welder to reweld replacement cells or build a new pack. Those are two pieces of equipment that come to mind immediately.
  4. They have caliper brakes and not disc brakes. The front hub battery is 100mm wide with no room to mount a disc brake and the rear motor hub is 135mm wide with no room to mount a disc brake either. All three bikes (M-750, S-750 and iO) come with suspension front forks which have disc brake mounts!
  5. The "Turbo" button needs to have one more setting for X versions of the bike. On an X bike, when you're in normal mode, the top speed is 19.5mph. When in Turbo mode the top speed is essentially unlimited up to the max that the battery/controller can provide. However, I could use a non-X bike's normal mode which limits speed to 12.5mph. A 12.5mph speed would hopfully maximize range too.
  6. A Cycle Analyst (which I consider an essential piece of equipment for any electric bike) from Grin Technology isn't included with the bike as standard equipment.
This kind of sums up the pros and cons of the bike. As you can tell, I believe the strengths far outweight the weaknesses of the Tidalforce line of electric bikes.

As you can also see, many of the Tidalforce bike's shortcomings can be overcome.

  • #1, 2, and 3 can be overcome with a 3rd party battery that is lighter, higher capacity and lower sag. The external battery should be mounted on the front of the bike to maintain the wonderful balance of the Tidalforce.
  • #4 can be overcome by replacing the front hub battery with a regular wheel and installing disc brakes on the front of the bike.
  • #5 can be overcome by feathering the throttle and/or using the cruise control function.
  • #6 can be easily overcome by buying a Cycle Analyst and installing it using instructions I've posted here.
The Tidalforce, even with all of these shortcomings is a magnificent bicycle. It's not the fastest, lightest, longest range electric bike out there, but it is a classic and deserves to be test ridden at least once and once you've done that, you will be enamored of the bike as much as I am! You will also love the fact that you can buy it on your local Craigslist for a song even though it's barely used! :)

More later,

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Picked up the Tidalforce S-750X!

I finally picked up the Tidalforce S-750X. The seller was very patient with me while I scraped up the money to cover the rest of the cost after my initial down payment. Here are the photos almost as it came to me. It is covered in a layer of dirt. The only thing I did was to replace the flat front tire. It seems the tube was missing the stem and valve! It looked like someone ripped the old one off! The pictures were taken after I fixed the flat. I haven't ridden it yet. The battery is pretty well worn out though.



Rear wheel

Front wheel

The vaunted "X"

Rear motor

48T crank


Console during powerup