Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pedal power

On my last post LS from Down and Out In A Brave New World asked about the E- bike and I promised a reply post, so for you mate and anyone else interested here it is.
The e-bike is built around an old mountain bike frame that has been fitted with a hub motor. This motor is laced into the middle of the bikes front wheel. The axle of the motor is then secured to the bikes front forks. When power is provided it spins the wheel around the axle, driving the bike forward. This is a brush-less hub motor and is designed to provide peak efficiency rating of around 85%.


The hub motor was part of a kit I brought from DLM Energy (since vanished from view but you can get the same stuff here) and came already laced/spoked into a 26 inch rim. The kit included three 12AH 12V lead acid batteries in a battery bag, controller with connectors, twist grip throttle, battery cables and electric brakes. The batteries are wired in series to provide 36V, officially the motor is 200 watts  ;-).  Also provided was a charger, extra long stand and pack rack.


The cost of the kit was $850 and I think well worth the money, when compared with the registration and running cost of a car. The e-bike is incredibly cheap to run, costing only about 2c per kilometer. With batteries full, it will travel around 32 kilometers without peddling or around 55 kilometers in pedal assist mode. No taxes, no parking problems, no licensing, no pollution and the motor is virtually silent.


This bike can scoot along a bit and the granny that rides it has been clocked at 40km/h on the flat. She scares the bejezzes out of the local triathlon riders on their training ride as she breezes past them like they were standing still. She also had the local BMX kids stonkered as to why they couldn't keep up with her, until I spilled the beans to one of them in an unguarded moment.


The e bike is Jan's work bike and because she works shifts it gets used a bit at night, a decent light is a must. The lights I use on all my bikes are home made 12volt 20W-halogen with a 23-degree spread. The spotlights, switches and connectors I buy from Jaycar electronics and mount the whole set-up in a piece of tube from a broken hang glider keel. The lights were initially run off a cheap battery drill pack that provided about 30 minutes of light, more than enough for Jan to get to work and back. I have since made up my own battery packs that run a bit longer per charge. Anyone interested in building their own bike light set-up can find information here at the The fat hippy's home made bike lights.

I'll do the rest of my bikes in another post sometime soon.

4 comments:

nevyn May 12, 2010 at 10:23 AM  

I'm jealous. I have an electric power assist bike and I still have to pedal the bloody thing.

Does riding at night bother your wife? I work nights and have thought about riding my bike but I'm not quite game enough.

LS May 12, 2010 at 3:06 PM  

Thanks for posting the details of the bike Jonesy. That's a great little setup.
It is great to see practical, real world applications of electric vehicles.

Here's a really nice small petrol conversion of a bike that you might like:

http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2010/05/erics_motorized_bike_conversion.html

jonesy May 13, 2010 at 9:00 PM  

Hi nevyn,
peddling's good, it stops your knezzels seizing up :-)

Riding at night is not a problem for us as the town is small, there's not much traffic and hardly any hoons to worry about. With her shift work there is usually only one leg of the trip in darkness.

The bikes all have good lights back and front along with good reflectors in the wheels for side illumination. We both practice defensive riding (treat everything else on the road as if they are out to get you) and at all times be aware of what's going on around you; no walk-man stuck in your ear.

I think a bike is as safe as any other form of transport as long as you take proper care and the bike is kept in good repair. Once you get used to it it's a nicer way to get around and you soon work your life into the speed of the bike.

The home made lights are the way to go and are not that difficult to make yourself. Those el-cheapo 12 vot drill sets will give you a good set of batteries, charger and a handy small drill for those odd jobs. http://www.gmcompany.com/index.cfm?module=products&pid=170

jonesy May 14, 2010 at 8:54 PM  

Hi LS,
that's a neat conversion of a vintage frame. I did look at petrol motors but shied away from them because of the noise factor (I like quiet) and I think the electric motor will be more reliable. So far my setup has been exactly that, the batteries being the only part that wears out. The controller malfunction was just carelessness on my part. A bit more care in securing the wiring would have been in order.

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