I wanted to share with you Guys what I am working on; If you remember a couple months ago I asked what you guys would like me to work on next. Well, I got a lot of good input and I spent a bit of time talking to some specific people about this new project. Here are the primary suggestions I recieved;
#1 Not high power. Many people want a federally legal system.
#2 Find other motor options to add to my normal Astro motors.
#3 Mutiple ratios.
#4 Light weight.
#5 Low cost.
Ok, it will be very difficult to meet all of those challenges. However, I can meet most of them. Here is what I have been designing (trying to meet as many of these suggestions as possible).
I am designing a complete crank drive system.
Here is the list of components related to this;
#1 Motor. This system will be compatible with Astro motors, but for those who are looking for lower power, lower cost, and lighter weight while retaining quality, it will also be compatible with a small outrunner based on a standard Maxx Products outrunner. This motor will retail for under $200. The normal motor is $180. However, my motor will use a longer shaft and a few other minor changes. Also, this motor is readily available and I can pick them up 15 minutes from my house! And if someone manages to smoke the motor, the stator/windings retail for $50 and are easy to replace! This motor uses high-end bearings and is, overall, a very high quality motor! I am thrilled to find this option so close to my house. Also, these motors have been tested in very dirty environments. So, I am confident it will run well in this application. It is also a very quiet motor.
#2 The drive itself is based on my V4 drive, but with a few specific changes; First, it will be lightened a bit. Second, the ratio of my V4 drive is 4 to 1. This drive will be a belt drive 9.5 to 1 ratio from motor to jackshaft. Then it will use a 13 tooth freewheel to crank chain drive. This will allow for a deep enough ratio in just two stages to match pedal cadence while retaining high enough RPM to make use of a relatively small motor. Also, this new drive will retain my proven slipper clutch in hard-coated aluminum to save weight. That will help protect the pedal drive system and prevent unwanted wheelies if set properly.
#3 The drive unit will mount firmly to the bottom bracket bearing cups on each side with a simple strap holding it up to the bottom of the downtube. This system should fit 90%+ of the frames out there including some very odd styles. It will easily adapt to either 68mm or 73mm bottom brackets. Lastly, the drive will not hang below the bottom bracket. It will tuck up to the frame very well without screwing up ground clearance. It should also be relatively quiet.
#4 The freewheeling crank. This is one thing I am really excited about! It will use a second support bearing to eliminate the overloaded freewheel bearing issue that is so common with freewheeling cranks. It will also use standard 130mm BCD chainrings for multiple ratio options. I am very excited to have come up with a solution to the FW crank bearing issue. I am not the first to do this, but I think it is the first to be readily available. My system will come with this new FW crank system and a new lengthened bottom bracket.
I am planning on making this availble in a couple different kits. First it will be available without electronics for those who want to find their own controller and batteries. Second, it will be available as a complete kit with battery pack and charger as a complete bolt-on system. The battery will be mounted to water bottle bosses and will be either 6S or 8S (to be determined).
This system will come as a kit with complete assembly instructions, setup instructions, and tuning instructions.
This is not a concept, it is already completely designed and most parts are in the que for manufacture. I have the pulleys in stock right now.
I was planning on leaving this as a secret until it wwas ready for market. However, I have found the need to ask for more input and I wanted to run some things by a wider audience than just the few guys I have told so far. Also, this has become a very large project. I am shocked how many individual suppliers, machineshops, and manufacturers I have had to become connected with to make this happen. I wanted to share this with you so you guys know what I am working on and why it is taking so long. I am used to developing and refining drive systems. However, the actual drive system is the smaller portion of what this project entails.
At any rate, I am pushing to make the highest quality crank drive that uses the stock derailer and pedal system that I can while keeping an eye on the cost. It looks like the kit consisting of motor, drive unit, FW cranks with chainrings, all mounts, motor and all hardware will come in at around $1,500. With a basic lipo pack, mount and charger it will be around $2,000. I wanted to make sure the quality remained really high. But, I wanted to try to keep costs down. My goal with this system is to make sure nothing needs to be upgraded. I want it to run reliably and smoothly right out of the box. I know $1,500 may not seem like low cost. But, the quality and quantity of components used dictates this. That being said, I find the cost of a couple systems out there to be obscene and I am trying to offer as much as I possibly can for the best price I can while covering the huge development time related to this project. What I am trying to achieve is the best, most complete non-hub system with features asked for by most people. That will help increase quantity, lower cost, and increase product availability while reducing wait time.
Oh, I am about a month and 1/2 away from having a prototype system complete for testing and another month for production.
Also, this is not replacing my current drives. It is an additional system to add to my line.
What are your thoughts?
1% of the world's population can think "Outside the box". The rest are firmly stuck within the box. Where are you?