I should like to qualify myself as having the best experience with cross-country, endurance and commuting with MtBs… and no other (so there is no confusion; I’m not going to talk about speed racing ‘round tracks etc.) Allow me to abstractly answer the proposition of efficiency from philosophical perspective:
Things like wind and rain and weight and drag and physical size and shape will color any bike’s efficiency the same, so let’s discard these as being obvious.
Break the bike down into components, and align it towards the goals. We have a frame, a power system requiring integration, a concern for safety, and the will to make it happen. All affect my efficiency at production.
Whether I use 2WD or single, I want the best bang for the buck in power distribution from the batteries to the controller to the motor and back again for regen. Thus I focus on large conductors from A to B to C with quality connections. The controller circuit board has all the beneficial upgrades possible: Typically rated for 100V 40A+ per wheel (enough for my needs). Allow me to re-emphasize: Big phatty traces, big mombo caps, excellent power-in and –out. The last thing I want to worry about is voltage sags when I needs the power. I don’t want to melt phase wires or char connectors. An added luxury, if possible – I’d upgrade the phase wires to the motor (total pain in the butt, but worth it). Now I have improved my drive system to the maximum service potential for the components purchased. System resistance can never be lower. Good placement of my 12-FET controller will ensure that it does not get too hot. I’ve made my cabling as short as possible using phatty wire gauge: Can’t make any better – We’re Done. Anything other improvement we do to this bike and ryder is sheer gravy.
Commuting is an aggressive effort that consumes much power. Many people don’t think of it, but adding good forward lighting, brake lighting, and indicators is adding efficiency and safety by communicating intention. This directly impacts the economy of motion and allows for an ebiker to correctly flow with traffic at lower speeds. There’s no guesswork; drivers understand the language and gestures without interpretation, hesitancy, or fear. In Washington State, bikes are legally allowed (as opposed to required) to mount brake lights and indicators, and it just makes good sense. No riding on the sidewalk or margin (unless traffic is moving faster), no waiting at crosswalks, no dorkin’ around acting like a regular bike. The power is there: Use it and enjoy.
To go the maximum distance means that I pedal always. Maybe after 4 hours, I might coast to give myself a well-deserved break, though for the most part… I’m balls-to-the-walls pedaling hard as I can to push the bike and myself, aggressively. At the end of the ride there is both a great hunger and even greater thirst to be quenched. I will sleep well and soundly too. During these marathon events, when I’m in focus, in stride, channeling all thought, all purpose, all sweat forward onward without end, I think of myself as the embodiment of a thoroughbred stallion built for one function: To Win!
Earlier I said I wouldn’t talk about speed racing, but this, what I am discussing is a personal race against myself and no other (although I certainly enjoy passing others). So being the horse and acting out the part is the most efficient that I can be as an augmented man with his machine, and it cannot be achieved without breathing and focus and diet.
Efficiencies at this point dwell into personal preferences and features. Bike frame, seat, posture, baggage, farings, shoes, sex (not really, I just wanted to see if yer reading), and riding gear. These are intangibles that are unique to each of us. Take identical twins, outfit them the same, spin them up and turn them loose – they will perform differently because we can’t control the mind.
- Mount the best power system possibly onto the bike of choice. It’s better if you do the mods that way when it breaks you’ll know what to fix.
- Illuminate and indicate legally, peacefully coexisting in traffic.
- Get your mind into the game. Take no prisoners.
If you can accomplish these three concepts, it’s given that your bike, frame, components, and garments will match the quality of your commitment. Then will you be as efficient as possibly, and in Nirvana
Cheers brother. KF