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What got me here ?
A few years ago, on my way home after a long day at work, on my trusty old bicycle, fighting my way against some fierce Maritime winds. I got to thinking " There has to be a better way... ! " So i got on the internet and started my search.
I quickly realized that i was not the first to come up with the thought of wanting to power my bike.. from friction wheels.. to gear driven systems.. I explored many different options, and after weeks of reading and research i finally took the plunge and with my limited budget i purchased a used " Brushless Hub motor " .
Like a kid at christmas time, i waited anxiously for my " new to me " used wheel motor to arrive. And finally it did.. I quickly got to work on bolting it up, and realized that you get what you pay for. It was not exactly an exact fit.. After some cutting and grinding.. and alot of bad words.. i finally got it all together.
Put on my helmet, gloves, and off i went. First impressions ? well... it worked ! wow.. Nothing to do backflips over, but it sure did work and moved me along without pedaling on flat ground... Good exercise machine, you do have to pedal if you want to go more than 10 km on a charge ( Original batteries only gave me about 5-7 kms on a full charge .. gulp.. but still fun ! )
Now.. something you have to understand about me. .. i like to tinker, experiment, and i love to take things apart to see how they work.. as a kid i drove my mother nuts .
( Insert picture of very angry mother " That thing was 1 week old you %!@$ " )
So a series of events soon followed !
( Broken thumb throttle within a month or so, aparently, the previous owner also had an interest in taking things apart, this one had been " made to work ! " .. But i fixed that up in no time at all .
( Replaced 36v 7ah with 36v 12 ah Batteries, oh yeah... now things actually got interesting, These new batteries had some juice compared to the old one's.. it actually climbed hills and would go 15 to 20 km easily ). At this point i'm getting all my friends to try this thing out....
( This is what the inside looked like. ) Now, this much weight , about 30 Lbs !! gulp, makes a bicycle feel a little different. Specially when it's above your rear wheel .
( I removed some extra wires and fixed up some bad connections, bad wires on an electric bike are a bad thing.. they cost you power )
( More batteries... now 40 Lbs ! ) .. 36v was fun, but 48 sounded like it should better.. so one more 12v battery and new wires.
This was great !!! the bike was actually exactly the same speed as i could pedal on top gear, and i could just pedal along at twice the average Human's ability.. ( some guys on these fancy Roadbikes wearing spandex would have a hard time keeping up ! ) And i'm not an athelete, i weigh 170 Lbs at 5 ft 9 and work in a call centre... but this bike was faster than it was built to go, specially since it was a 50 $ Police auction leftover !
So.. a better bike : Giant ATX 890, with good V-Brakes and much better front forks than the previous bike . !
It was very clear at this point that electric bikes were actually something worth having, The Giant got me to work and back home ( 5 km each way ) for a whole year. Nothing failed. Nothing broke. I got to work on-time, every day, and took detours on my way home just for the fun of it.
I rode that bike until it was too cold to hold the handlebars.
During the winter months, i left the bike in my kitchen instead of my garage.. kept working on better things for the next summer.. and this resulted in.
( This bike was next, a Folding Bike , yep. ) .It actually folds into a small lump of metal and fits inside a nylon bag that comes with it !!! go figure !
After alot of research and many months i learned that giong up with voltage had some interesting results, more speed.. more power.. more changes to be made.. The higher voltage makes the motor turn faster, and at a certain point it's too fast to be safe or efficient.. so using a smaller wheel makes things a bit more sane. A bonus of this is leverage, the motor can get up to speed much easier with a smaller rim, and helps climb hills with ease...
All that power and a Folding bike ?
( Yes.. that is indeed a bicycle in my kitchen ! ) - This bike used a slightly different motor, a Dual-Speed motor.. It has a selection switch that gives you a High and Low speed setting.
Then came the ultimate bike, " The Norco " ..
( This is what it looked like when i got it home, the bike originally came with 26" wheels front and back.. I had the local bike shop swap the front wheel for a 24" with road tires ( 80 psi ).
This bike was yet another INCREDIBLE improvement...! Quality bicycles not only cost more money, they perform better in just about every way imaginable. Disk brakes make a big difference compared to Rim brakes, they work well cold or hot.. wet or dry. The gears shift consistently, and don't clickety click... and the suspension makes the cracks and potholes melt under you.
( This is after the first initial setup, many things have changed since then, but in April of 2006 this bike took shape )
Installed on the handlebars is a box called a " DrainBrain ", it measures how fast and far i'm traveling, how much power i used and how efficiently i'm using my batteries. This bike is why i'm doing what i'm doing now.
Update on the " Chaos "
Nov 26, 2012 blog