This Raleigh was my first conversion which became a sorta test mule and I used what I learned from it to build my second E-bike based on a Kona Smoke steel framed bike. The differences between the two were only in the details which made the Raleigh redundant. After selling my third bike, a Cannondale flat-bar road bike, I was in need of a regular bike therefore I converted the Raleigh back to pedal-only power.
Yesterday was a hot day so I went on a long slow ride on my Kona/Bafang E-bike. A significant number of the 41 miles I covered were on pedal power alone which got me thinking about the Raleigh which has been sitting unused since it's "un-conversion". I figured if I could pedal a 59 pound bike a long way the 32 pound Raleigh (as equipped
in pic below) would be a breeze. Today it was significantly cooler, though still quite sticky, with only a light wind; in other words a good day for a ride.
My usual average trip speed on the Kona E-bike is in the mid/high 17's to the low 18 mph range but yesterday with a lot of miles on pedal-only power I averaged just 15.7 mph which got me to wondering where the threshold was where it would be faster to ride the conventional Raleigh bike. Today's ride was to answer that question. I took off and of course instantly noticed how much easier it was to get the lighter Raleigh up to speed. The ride though a bit harsher with the aluminum frame/steel fork/28mm tires compared to the Kona's all steel construction with 50/47mm tires wasn't bad. The first good hill, averaging around 5-6%, demonstrated why I like riding the motorized bike. The hill just seems so much longer spinning away at 8-9 mph than it does at 14 mph with the motor. The bike path I hop on to head west, an old railroad route, has a 4 mile section where it maintains a steady 1% up grade. It's along this section where on a nice summer weekend I pass countless other cyclists while riding my E-bike at a sedate 16-17 mph. Today on human power alone I was reminded why this is so. My favorite bike calculator ( http://www.noping.net/english/
) says I need 150W (a power level I can sustain for prolonged periods) to maintain 12.8 mph up a 1% grade and while I dipped to 13 mph at times I was normally maintaining 14-15 mph along this section, meaning I was indeed working hard. And that's another thing about riding sans motor
, ya never get a break when you're heading up hill or into the wind.
Anyway at the conclusion of the 18.2 mile ride I had averaged 15.9 mph, slightly faster than yesterday's much longer motor-assisted ride.
With extra motors and controllers lying around I was thinking about converting the Raleigh back to an E-bike but make it as light as possible. The bike would never be a true lightweight but with the sub-6 pound 24V GM Mini and say 5Ah of 10S LiPo (~23 mph top speed) along with some weight-saving measures, like removing the fenders and using even lighter tires, I think a 40 pound "as ridden" weight might be doable. With light use I bet I could get 30 miles of assist from it too.