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Discussion Starter #1
Just a thread to review my electric assist bicycle build. :)

First of course .. How did I come up with that '2,000 MPGe' ?

When the electric assist is doing about ~90% of the work it consumes about ~14 wh / mile from the battery.

1 Gallon of gasoline has the chemical energy of about ~36 kwh .. of course it varies with % of Ethanol , temperature , additives , etc.

Conservative ~35kwh / 14wh = ~2,500 MPGe

But don't forget the losses from 'pump' (ie outlet).

2500 * ~90% Energy Efficient Charger = ~2,250 MPGe 'pumped'

And sense I only did ~10% of the work.
~2250 x 0.90 = ~2,025 MPGe ... and than I rounded down to 2,000 MPGe

Of course I could do 100% of the work myself .. and sometimes I do .. but , most of the time I fall in the middle ... 10% < Ian < 90%.

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And second , before I get into the build details.

Why do it?

I know that every one of those steep hills I used to walk my bicycle up was something I remembered and discouraged me from even going on the next bicycle ride.

I know that at the end of the ride being exhausted , tired, etc .. was also something I would remember next time and was also discouraging me from going out again .. or even worse .. being exhausted and tired but still __ miles from the end of the bike ride.

Soo .. I know that the 'assistance' will (and has) encouraged me to get out more often .. any % > 0 is better than nothing.

If I'm going to spend money to get some exercise .. It seems to me spending it in this direction is better net effect than just paying a gym membership , or buying conventional home exercise equipment.

I'm a complete fair weather cyclist .. I want to enjoy it .. not make it a chore to be dreaded .. soo I avoid bicycling in the rain , very hot or very cold weather , etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Is this the bike we saw at Mike's last summer ?

How 'bout some pics :)
Yup ... Tweaked a bit over the winter ... Swapped external controller for a hub internal controller .. and added regenerative braking .. cleaned up wiring a bit too.

It's a patch work .. not a bike I just bought as one product somewhere.

Because there isn't allot of room OEM in the Insight .. or small apartments .. I went with a folding Aluminum framed bicycle as a base.

There are allot of options out there for folding bicycles .. But one of the other things I wanted to improve from previous bicycles was the whole bicycle chain thing .. I've had numerous problems with bicycle chains over the ears .. derail , not shift well , always the 1st thing to dust out .. and folded up a greasy chain just makes a mess on clothes and car interior.

So I went with a shaft drive instead of a conventional chain and with a 8 speed planetary gear in the rear wheel... Whole base bicycle is available from Rhode Island Dynamic Bicycle .. as the 'Side Kick 8'.

Image from Dynamic Site:


Between the shaft drive and the Shimano 8 speed rear sealed hub .. It's all sealed up out of the elements .. and solves all those problems I used to have with bicycle chains :D

Image bellow of it as the 1st version of this eBike folded up when I first put it together back in 2012 ... Prior to this last winter's upgrades / tweaks ... This wasn't my 1st eBike but , far better over all than earlier versions / models.

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More to come.
 

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Looking forward to progress. Ive considered buying a ready made one, but most have half the weight capacity of the person it would carry around. Ive also entertained the idea of DIY, but it can easily cost you a few hundred to almost a grand when you start to piece it together. :mad:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Looking forward to progress. Ive considered buying a ready made one, but most have half the weight capacity of the person it would carry around. Ive also entertained the idea of DIY, but it can easily cost you a few hundred to almost a grand when you start to piece it together. :mad:
Ready made or DIY is all personal choice.

DIY can be a chunk of time .. but for me that's fun time (ie a pro) .. to others that time would be a con.

DIY can potentially save $ .. especially the more 'custom' you make it.

For weight capacity .. You can always get one of those toe behind bicycle trailers for lots more weight caring capacity.

eBike's are never going to be as light or as Cheap $ ... as a regular bike .. no way around that .. motors and batteries have additional weight and $.

The rider would only care about the weight after the battery is empty .. prior to that the energy stored in the battery more than offsets it's own weight and more... effectively making it much easier to bicycle at any given speed or distance.

For example .. My eBike stuff ... Motor , control electronics, wiring , controls, meters, Batteries , racking , cases, etc ... all together added a bit over 25 Lbs of additional weight to the bicycle.

But with my 36v 12Ah LiFePO4 battery .. I can go 20-25 miles with me only doing 1/10 of the work ... or I could go 40-50 Miles with me only doing 1/2 the work... I feel that is plenty of range (with buffer) for me... Regenerative braking is tracking a ~5% increase in range using that when I need to brake instead of old school friction brakes.

You could reduce weight with less battery and/or less powerful motor .. etc ... just becomes a question of how much you want the EV side to be able to help / assist ... and how far you'd like to have for a good range with safety buffer... or some people have gone the other way ... heavier with more powerful motors for faster and larger battery energy storage capacity for longer assist ranges.

In general ... given the human pedal power capacity ... Any eBike that can sustain about 250Watts of assist will be able to do about ~1/2 the work for you , at the same bicycle speeds ... any eBike that can sustain about 400-500 Watts gets into the rage of you only needing to do 1/10 the work at the same bicycle speeds... over 500 Watts is just for faster than normal bicycle speeds.

As for the additional cost ... just depends on what you are comparing it to.

For the $ I can't buy a car and fuel it for trip to the store and back for even remotely as low cost $ as the eBike can do the same trip ... 2,000 MPGe is crazy low cost $ per mile.

For the $ year after year cumulative adding cost to go to a gym .. I also can't remotely compete with how low cost $ the eBike can do the same (but more fun) exercise.

Compared to just a 100% pure bicycle .. sure that beats the eBike ... if you use it as often for those same trips ... I am honest with myself and know I wouldn't make those trips via bicycle if I was 100% bicycle... in nice weather I've even eBike commuted .. also something I honestly never would be motivated enough to do with a 100% pure bicycle.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Very nice. Chainless shaft drive is very interesting.
Thanks.

I had considered one other possible path to achieve similar to shaft drive effects ... a all electrical connection ... ie generator at pedal .. and just electrical connections ... but , in the end I went with the shaft.

In case of electrical failure or empty battery .. I still have a functional shaft drive bicycle.

And .. The pedal to wheel efficiency is better with the shaft than electrical option .. at bicycle speeds.

I've toyed with the idea of a pedal generator in my Insight .. but that's pretty complicated for such a small benefit ... I realistically only sustain about ~100Watts of human pedal power for any extended period of time... to move a bicycle that works .. to move about ~2,000 pounds that's a tiny drop in the bucket.

The shaft has worked beautifully / flawlessly / cleanly / etc ... I acknowledge it is a like 2 lbs or so heavier than a conventional bicycle chain drive ... but it is WAY worth it to me for all the pros I get out of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I like to have data .. so I opted for the Cycle Analyst meter / instrumentation.
Link

Works wonderfully. :D

I also got and like the optional Cycle Lumenator Link ... that easily plugs into the Cycle Analyst , so I don't have to run an additional power line to it .. I often avoid riding at night and such ... but it's nice to have it should I want it ... The full power 10W 1,000 Lumens is like car head light ... But thankfully has variable lower power brightness settings .. and the built in DC-DC converter gives it a nice wide input range 15V to 100V.

I use one of the 12 LED EctroLights Link usually set of flashing mode for the rear facing light... It also has the nice DC-DC included.

This way all my lights , meters, etc ... all feed off of the one central battery ... makes it more convenient to charge just one thing.

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The 'normal' Cycle Analyst is fine for eBike ... but I also have 2nd Cycle Analyst they customized many years ago for up to ~40kw .. ~200v and ~200A , with GPS , and data logging to a SD memory card .. But that's eventually for a non-eBike project in the future ... I think they now offer customized units up to a max of something like ~350v and ~400A (~140kw).
 

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AH HA, data acquisition!!! :evil: Reminds me of the time I put a bicycle odometer on my manual sport wheelchair and logged data on speed, miles traveled, estimated calories burned, etc, etc, etc. That was fun.

Yeah, Ive been meaning to get something street legal as a back up for fun like a moped gas or electric or an ebike with a 400 lb weight limit. I was close to buying a lithium moped in 07 so I could charge it indoors, but it would take 10 thousand miles to break even on the cost.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
but it would take 10 thousand miles to break even on the cost.
While this is always a good aspect to consider .. as a responsible / rational person .. not all things in life have a good 'pay back' ... virtually no one goes to the movies expecting to get paid $ back at the end .. no matter how long the movie , no matter how many movies you go to .. etc .. etc .. the entertainment value is not usually part of people's 'pay back' analysis .. but it should be.

Also .. remember .. something that is $ better .. even if it takes the long run to get there .. is still financially better.

As for a ~400 Lbs rider weight capacity .. That is not 'normal' for most bicycles .. so one should look for one specifically rated for that .. but there are some that are not significantly more expensive than a regular bicycle... $580 Link

A complete pre-made kit that should take about ~10 minutes to install might cost around ~$1,000 ... could be pieced / DIY for less than 1/2 that .. if one enjoys the DIY project , because it will eat many many hours.

Even at ~$1,600 ... that really isn't 'bad' compared to all that you get for that.
YMCA gym membership is about ~$600 per year every year.

An eBike that helps to do useful 'trips' .. groceries , etc ... is better in my mind than just a gym membership .. I get more back from taking the trips .. even if they cost the same.

At the extremely high 1-2 thousand MPGe it cost for fuel .. that beats just about any other powered / fueled vehicle.

Even the easy pre-made kit should break even in about 2 to 3 years ... which is effectively about a ~25% interest rate from a financial PoV.

But .. it isn't free (time or money) .. and $ does grow on trees yet .. and there are only soo many hours in a day .. soo it is also completely understandable if someone chooses to spend their time / money $ on something else.
 

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Yeah, I imagine an ebike is a better start for someone not in shape to get out and accomplish several goals at once. I had a 21 speed bike and finally had a gear I could petal and not get winded, legs too tired and make good progress. :)

Well bang for the buck would go to a gas powered moped or scooter. Sometimes electric products lack in the performance area related to gas-o-line powered devices. Then again some of those 50cc powered scooters arent any better. :D

The link led to a blank page, but Im still interested in your progress.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Im still interested in your progress.
:)
I also added a 'trunk' ... Shaky-Hand Video Uploaded to YouTube ... Link

It's a rear rack storage bag that also includes side saddle bags ... this has about ~14 Liters of (in the bag) storage volume .. plus I have bungee tie down points so I can also add some external storage tied down on top of it as well ... that external is where I put the 2-4 person pop-tent and sleeping roll , when I took the bike out to Mike's Last year.

Although I did keep the separate mid-frame point beverage holder , so my tasty beverage doesn't have to use any of the cargo room ... and it is more convenient to access as beverage is desired on any given trip.

This 'trunk' ... allows me to carry roughly ~3 grocery bags worth of shopping stuff .. and thanks to the e-assist I still don't have to struggle to bicycle that extra cargo weight home later ... Sure I can do 100% of the pedal work if I want .. but I can also do only 10% of it if I don't want .. knowing I have that 'power-insurance' , encourages me to do it far more often than I would if it were just a pure bicycle.

They also sell tow behind bicycle trailer if someone really needs lots of cargo capacity .. but for me the 'trunk' is enough.

Yeah, I imagine an ebike is a better start for someone not in shape to get out and accomplish several goals at once.
That's me. :)

Well bang for the buck would go to a gas powered moped or scooter. Sometimes electric products lack in the performance area related to gas-o-line powered devices.
Maybe.
But .. I am still part of that above 'accomplish several goals at once' thing .. a straight (no pedal) scooter can't do that.

The link led to a blank page
The link went to a random example I found of a bicycle build for those ~400 Lbs riders.
Oversized Chairs | Big & Tall Lifestyle Accessories - Living XL
They have several models .. the previous link was for the $579.95 model... which is not 'bad' $ than the average adult bicycle .. just designed to accommodate a potentially heavier rider.

Worksman® Men's Heavy-Duty Bicycle

Item # X1943

• 400-lb. stationary weight capacity*
• 20" 16G steel tube frame is heavier than standard bikes
• coaster brake
• 13”-wide, thickly padded, dual-coiled comfort seat
• precision sealed crank set for smoother pedaling and greater durability
• clincher wheels and steel spokes are 50% thicker than conventional models
• wheel size: 26" diameter, 2¼"w
• protected ½" x 3/16" chain and 3/16" front sprocket
• Kevlar™-belted Sup-r-tires with puncture-resistant dura-tubes
• ergonomic upright handlebars allow for full-vision pedaling
• easy assembly instructions included
• manufacturer's warranty: 1 year on frame, 90 days on parts against manufacturer's defect (but no warranty on tubes and tires)
• weighs approx. 52 lbs.
Made in USA.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
No Flat Foam Tires.

I replaced my front wheel with one .. but not the back.

The pros are that I don't have to worry about front flat tires again.

The Cons .. A conventional Pneumatic/Air tire distributes the force of pot holes, bumps, etc .. over about ~1/3 of the wheel rim and spokes .. a Foam tire only distributed the force over about ~1/10 of the wheel rim and spokes .. soo it does increase the risk of rim/ spoke damage .. but removes the risk of flat tires.

My current bike's design put about ~3/4 of the weight o the rear wheel .. this means that the front wheel is a far less likely location to have forces to damage that rim .. even from only ~1/10 of the rim and spokes .. and with the majority of my weight still supported on the rear with a 'flat resistant' but still a pneumatic/air tire.

YMMV .. but in my own risk assessment .. it seems to me flat tires have been historically a much more likely event than rim / spoke damage .. that may change now that I'm shifting more risk to the rims and spokes .. but only time will tell.

Leaves are starting to change color around here .. probably won't be much longer until the season ends for this fair weather cyclist. :(
 

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Hi Ian,

Nice ebike! I really like the shaft drive IGH system.

Well bang for the buck would go to a gas powered moped or scooter. Sometimes electric products lack in the performance area related to gas-o-line powered devices.
Disagree!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnGvSEcldzQ
Ebike that completes the standing quarter mile in 11.502 seconds at 110.56mph vs a Tesla P85
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKAMus3oSdw
Uploaded on Apr 17, 2010

Here is my latest E-bike/tadpole trike. It is 20,000 watts (about 28hp). This video is a simple demonstration of what can be accomplished with electric propulsion.
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5313
A beautiful ebike!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hi Ian,

Nice ebike! I really like the shaft drive IGH system.
Thanks :D

I do too .. In all my year prior to going shaft drive .. the chain was always the least reliable part of any bicycle I had .. Needing the most maintenance of all other bicycle items .. and still failing more often than all others .. and making the most mess on clothes and such.

I do freely admit to anyone considering it that a shaft drive adds a few pounds to the bicycle .. but it is 100% worth it to me.

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The one other type of drive system I've sometimes thought I might want to try someday .. is completely electrical connection .. small ~100 Watt-ish or so generator at pedals and a ~800 Watt motor at the wheels .. all on a solar recumbent velemobile .. But .. I am very satisfied so far with my current setup for now .. and have many many other projects .. Soo I don't know how many years before I will ever get around to doing any serious/significant work on that other one .. I've already put over 1,000 miles on this eBike .. still in great shape .. now with brand new tires .. I'm expecting to have at least several thousand more miles out of it.
 

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Have you ever tried a velomobile? It seems like one of those mated with a small electric motor would have a pretty impressive speed, economy, and range.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Have you ever tried a velomobile? It seems like one of those mated with a small electric motor would have a pretty impressive speed, economy, and range.
I really do greatly like the concept of velomobiles for allot of reasons ..
Greater % of year usable.
Better protection from elements.
Better Aerodynamics.
etc.

But .. it isn't the lack of pros .. but a few of the cons that have kept going velomobile very low on my 'to do' list.

Based on the one's I've seen:

#1> Cost .. For the Time / Money a velomobile would cost me .. I can do allot of other projects on my list ... Now eventually as I continue to slowly chip away at those other projects , I might work my way down to the velomobile ... but for now .. there are allot of other projects higher on my list competing for my Time / Money.

#2> None of the Velombiles I've seen would fit in the hatch of my Insight in order to transport to bike trails / parks / etc .. I don't do this all the time .. but I do from time to time .. which is why I got the folding bike I have now ... I have a few ideas on making a velomobile that would fit .. but that just pushes me back to that Time/Cost thing above again .. Another alternativeto address that issue .. is a velomobile like vehicle that has performance closer to a car than bicycle .. that way there wouldn't be the need to 'transport' it in my car .. Something Twike like perhaps .. But .. Again .. for the Cost/Time of such a vehicle .. I could do lots and lots of other projects on my list.
 

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At $750 and without the risk of never getting anything, I'd buy it now.

At $2250 (the "real" price), nope.
 
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