A little History & Perspective:
Single-wheel drive eBikes are cool; not long ago I started out with a FWD eBike – although that is a half-truth:
The kit for the second eBike (the one I call P0
) that I constructed came from eBikes.ca and it was ordered-up as a 2WD: One throttle, two CAs, two controllers (I think they were the 25A 6xIRLB4030 and highly modified), and two (F/R) 9C 2806 hubs. The assembly was arrested cos the curious part of my spirit took over and I disassembled the rear 9C hub to find out how it worked
and that’s how my first eBike became a FWD, although secretly I still pined away for a 2WD!
The frame of the eBike I ride today (P1
) was purchased at the same knowing it was going to become a 2WD – that was back in 2009
. I took the FWD eBike (P0
) to California on the first road trip as 10S18P LiPo; it had all the batteries over the rear tire which proved to be a mistake as it lead to five broken spokes; the bike and I weighed over 350 lb.s. The value of weight distribution was not lost upon me, nor was the overheating motor.Advocacy:
A single-wheel (or axle) drive makes good sense for many reasons beyond economy, simplicity, and pleasure: It’s what most of us are used to seeing being driven. Our cars are essentially rear- or front-wheel driven (ignoring the differential effects for the moment) single-axle drive. We understand the principle, it’s easy to manage, fun in the rough, in the turns, and on race day!
I have owned many single-driven vehicles: Cars, Motorcycles both On- & Off-Road, a Sand Rail, and even a Honda Odyssey modified for full race (bummer that it had no reverse). I am an advocate of this configuration!
Alternatively, I also enjoy pushing the envelope and wish to explore 2WD bikes and AWD. I own a 4x4 truck which is a godsend in the PNW, although today it’s hoisted on blocks cos in 2009 I overtly made the decision to “go green”
. To be honest, I’ve customized my 4x4 to the point that the next mods would have taken it into racing… That’s when the eBike bug bit.
The PNW is a steeply hilly place; the only level stretch of ground it seems is crossing the I-90 Floating Bridge over Lake Washington. We commonly experience blustery winds, two hundred words to describe rain, three words to describe sunshine, sometimes no summer at all (that’s three consecutive days of sunshine between July or August), and much of the time cloudy dark winter. It’s cold here, though due to the maritime clime and two large lakes it rarely drops below 23°F/-5°C for extended periods. That condition however spells for a lot of Black Ice
I was 18 years old the last time I owned a street motorcycle (a fun story all by itself). Lacking recent experience, I asked my motorcycle-driving peer last month how he deals with crappy Seattle weather: He said “I take the car to the P&R and ride the Bus.”
That just blew me away! Why not create a 2WD motorbike with traction tires?
And now you know a bit about my next project. I like what 2WD offers, plain and simple Three pages of comments and weighing in:
I find it amusing that some of these posts on this thread go to lengths doing out 2WD
: Say what you want, but unless these individuals own one and experienced scores and hundreds of miles over those wheels… how can they expect their opinions could have any value? I would appreciate if these young lads with their copious eBike knowledge would go drive one and then weigh in with meaningful experience. Be real: A couple of miles screwing around down a dirt track do not add up as “experienced”
. If the intent is to derail or debase 2WD et al then I suggest they start another thread focused on just that subject because this one is not arguing which is better
: I am not interested in that debate because it’s already predefined that we’re here to share, discuss, and improve our 2WD experiences.
Once again: The purpose of this FAQ is to demystify the concepts, point to relevant topics, and provide concise answers. I do not claim or imply that 2WD is the panacea for the masses. I do not claim or imply that “2WD is more energy-efficient than single-wheel“
and vice versa, although I do believe this is a crude statement that requires qualification. Can we talk instead about practical applications and solutions?
Finally, it is with good fortune that I have survived my recent 2WD trek. I have much to say about it objectively, and I am here to contribute. Let’s work together and share the knowledge!