2WD Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

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2WD Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby amberwolf » Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:19 am

Image

This is a project that's been in the works since the beginning of this year, based partly on previous projects, partly on web research, but mostly on whatever I happened to have on hand when I started it, and what I acquire as I go along.

I already posted a series of pics including how it looks today over at the Before/After build thread, in this post:
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=235&p=185210#p185210
I'll put any new ones anyone wants to see in *this* thread.

It's pretty functional already, but could stand serious improvement (most of which would require parts or tools I don't yet have).

Keep in mind that there are two big limitations on it. The first is that I have no money to spend on it (really, I'm awfully strapped for money these days, and it only gets worse as time goes on!), and the second is that part of the goal of the project is to use only recycled parts from other things, wherever possible, rather than anything new.

A third goal, but not a limitation, is to be as outlandish in the reuse of things for totally different purposes than they were designed to do, wherever possible. :)

A fourth goal is to make it as undesirable a theft target as possible, and I think I probably have achieved that fairly well, given it's appearance. :) Unlike my first attempts at various mods (prior to starting the project blog) using my regular upright road bike, where I tried to make it all pretty and neat, stylish, etc, which resulted in pretty much everything I ever added to it being stolen off of it while I was inside various places (though never the whole bike), I went the ugly path, which seems to have stopped the problem ever since.

There is already a build log with photos, test videos, and huge walls of text describing ideas and the way things turned out, as well as problems I ran into and solutions to them wherever I found those (some are never solved properly). I can point to specific posts there if anyone doesn't want to read thru it to find information, but has questions, and can answer here with information for stuff that isn't answered (or not fully) there. The blog goes back over a year and a half before *this* project started, as it is for *all* of my ebike quest projects. The early ones were pretty dumb ideas, so ignore those. ;)

I can also post new pics or videos of anything anyone needs to see, as long as it doesn't involve me actually riding the bike to get them as I have no one else to operate the camera for me, and can't leave it out anywhere (not around here) to do the video as I ride by.

I had discovered this site a while back, and have done some research here on motors and batteries, but somehow missed most of the electric bike stuff. :roll: Most other places I've gone to that either invited me (FreakBikeNation) or that I found extremely useful (DIYElectricCar, Ladyada) or seemed promising but died stillborn (PCBPolice and e-Bents.net), all turned out to be dead ends for posting up this project to garner interest and possible help with some things I simply don't know how to do, or haven't figured out how to do within the limitations of my available materials, goals, and tools.

So if there's any interest in this project here, I'll start posting some questions that perhaps members here can help answer.
Last edited by amberwolf on Mon May 15, 2017 12:56 am, edited 1 time in total. View post history.
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Re: Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby dogman dan » Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:04 am

Lovelly, Gotta love a frankenbike. You have seen the ride across canada thread in epic topics, in the general section? Cool if you came up with the same thing independently.
For those that still don't know, I work online, for E-bikekit.com

Frankenbike longtail
http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... cing+betty.

bolt on longtail viewtopic.php?f=6&t=74584

The mixte long tail. viewtopic.php?f=6&t=74384

Beach cruiser converted to long tail. viewtopic.php?f=6&t=67049&p=1045572&hilit=Longtail+beach+cruiser#p1045572
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Re: Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby amberwolf » Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:22 am

That thread (via hackaday) is actually what led me to this part of the forum, a few days ago!

I am still reading it, only a few pages in right now. I am amazed at his journey (even that he would *consider* doing it!). I doubt I could ever do something similar.

I like his bike; I guess ours slightly resemble each other, but his is more elegant (and probably a LOT lighter). Mine's just a pile of junk welded and bolted together as I acquire it and figure out what object from something else can be used on it for a completely unintended purpose. ;) I'm not far enough along to have seen if his bike is that much like mine in all the other ways, though, so to me it doesn't seem the same.

I don't much like hub motors, though, simply because there's no option (with the ones I've seen so far) to drive them via multiple gears for better hill climbing with lower current draw, by running them at their more efficient higher speeds. They're lighter, I suppose, but I'd guess they require a bigger battery pack for those hills. Back when I was starting the never-pursued cieling-fan-to-BLDC-motor conversion project, I hadn't considered any of that.

So I use my geared-down motors instead, even though they lose some efficiency by doing that (and add noise). I've a feeling that since I don't *usually* have to do much in the way of hills here in Phoenix, the hubmotor would be fairly efficient. The starts and stops make it less so, though, as I am in normal traffic for almost all of my journeys, and there are a lot of stop signs and traffic lights along the less-travelled roads I tend to stick to during the day.

(At night I'm not afraid of even major roads, simply because I'm so well-lit that most seem to think I'm a slow-moving motorcycle and give me the whole lane, whereas in the daytime they often crowd me pretty close in the same situation, enough to nearly clip my mirror and cargo pod, and for their passage-displaced air to push even this heavy bike around).
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Re: Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby spinningmagnets » Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:10 am

Your blog has a lot of creative and useful ideas for the budget builder. I recently bought some thorn tape from the LBS for inside my tires, and I asked them about the bike parts piled next to the trash bin. They said I could take anything I wanted, so I grabbed 4 frames to take home. After I cannibalized many small parts I threw the frames away. In the past I have taken 2 bad bikes to make one good one for a neighbor's kid who's bike had been stolen.

One frame was an aluminum mountain bike. It was clearly strong, and suprisingly light. Rather than upgrade your current bike, you might consider building a better second bike using what you've learned?

Here are some past threads that a creative guy like you might enjoy: Wooden bike frames, DIY longtail, home carbon fiber simplified, Grinhill's RC drive.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=10697
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9673
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=10906
viewtopic.php?f=28&t=10635
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Re: Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby amberwolf » Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:07 pm

spinningmagnets wrote:I recently bought some thorn tape from the LBS for inside my tires, and I asked them about the bike parts piled next to the trash bin. They said I could take anything I wanted, so I grabbed 4 frames to take home. After I cannibalized many small parts I threw the frames away.

I did this once at an LBS, which is where I got both the frames for my current bike, but haven't found one near enough to me nowadays that does this. :( That LBS changed owners.

One frame was an aluminum mountain bike. It was clearly strong, and suprisingly light. Rather than upgrade your current bike, you might consider building a better second bike using what you've learned?

Oh, I have plans for a second version but I have yet to get any other frames with square-taper BBs, which are required to do what I am doing with the drivetrain. Whatever I get has to be steel for now, as it's all I can weld with my setup, and any frame I get must be modified pretty heavily to do this second version, and no other method I've got available is strong enough for the loads it must take.

I have my existing upright Columbia road bike (for backup) that's aluminum frame, and it's fairly light, but it is not as light as a good steel touring bike frame. Stronger, most likely, though--I've put it thru hell and it hasn't broken yet.

I'm going to put a post up on the project blog with the design ideas I've sketched up most recently. Hopefully I'll get that posted tonite, but might not, with some work on a pedal/crank chainring freewheel I need to finish.

Here are some past threads that a creative guy like you might enjoy: Wooden bike frames, DIY longtail, home carbon fiber simplified, Grinhill's RC drive.
[/quote]
Those look interesting. I'm slowly sifting thru the threads on ES, and finding a lot of gems (and also people that have already done various parts of the work I have done, and found it's disadvantages/etc, which I wish I had known of before I did it myself. ;) ) I'll be reading the ones you've pointed out as I have time (there are a lot of things going on around here right now).
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Re: Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby amberwolf » Thu Aug 27, 2009 4:59 am

Got more work done on the bike today, but too tired to type up anything other than my post at the blog:
http://electricle.blogspot.com/2009/08/ ... utoff.html
Pics and stuff, too.

Basically got the controller in a smaller case, changed the MOSFETs for an experiment, added a brake-lever motor-cutoff, described my recharging method of madness, and a few other things.
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Re: Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby amberwolf » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:29 pm

OK, so today was too hot to deal with so I just took some pictures of it as it is right now, out in the sun where you can actually *see* it:
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EDIT: fixed the constantly-breaking image links with attached images instead
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Re: Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby amberwolf » Sat Sep 26, 2009 3:36 am

Ok, lots and lots of changes since last time. Details of the changes are in my project blog at http://electricle.blogspot.com, but here's some highlights, in imagery. Please ask questions if you have any!
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Re: Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby amberwolf » Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:51 am

A completely random thought regarding the name and looks of the bike:

I am seriously considering a mutation of the CrazyBike into the Junkyard Wolf, with "fairing" that would look like a wolf leaping/running, with it's legs over the front wheel in a kind of pounce position, rear legs astride the rear wheel as if having just leapt into the air. Head would be right where the lighting is now. Then my seat would end up just over the curved back.

I think a prototype version of this look is in order first, and then when I rebuild the bike "from scratch" to improve all the many things that need it from this prototype, I can make a better more permanent version of the "wolf fairing".
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Re: Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby amberwolf » Sat Nov 07, 2009 5:05 pm

Nothing on the fairing yet, but lots of stuff changed on the bike, including a change from 2-pole to 4-pole powerchair motor.

WAY more torque, enough to force me to change the worn chain and sprockets on the bike's shiftable-gear wheel-drivetrain, due to severe chain-skip that didn't happen even on steep hills with the other motor's max output *plus* pedalling.

If I slam on the throttle in the right gear, I can even get it to spin out just a little bit, on some of the old looser-topped pavement, if the batteries are at full charge, as long as I don't have the back end loaded down.


In other news before all this, I've bent a couple of cheap rims (one aluminum and one steel) and one steel axle, because of potholes and such that couldnt' be avoided, due to the weight of this bike and no rear suspension. :(

I definitely need to come up with a suspension on this that leaves the rear wheel able to avoid such severe shocks. Something that suspends the cargo pods, and doesn't leave them on the pivoting part. The only one I can think of right now would put the rear axle directly onto a pair of plates mounted to the ends of some (unfortunately heavy) shocks I have, and some framework to give that a good pivot point. I don't think I could make it work well with only one side shocked, and there's not enough room to use only one of the shocks under the seat to the frame, totally outside the wheel diameter. Maybe if I passed it just under the sling of the seat but above the seat frame, but then my butt would be riding on the shock. No thanks. ;)

The big problem is that these pods need the stability of the rear triangle being fixed to the rest of the frame in order to carry the cargo I sometimes need to move around, so it is not going to work unless I leave that frame and build a totally new rear wheel frame that will still fit within the original triangle.

Or else, move the whole rear wheel back further (it's already a danged long bike!) and affix the pivot to the dropouts, with the shocks pushing against some tubing welded to the ex-seatpost. Physically it would work, but hte bike would be about a foot or so longer. Maybe nine feet total!
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Re: Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby SpeedEBikes » Sat Nov 07, 2009 10:42 pm

That's shockingly craptacular! I love it.

If I had to guess though, you're eventually going to get sucked into throwing some money at it. Perhaps for a stout rear wheel or at least a fat tire. In the mean time you might reduce the breakage by shifting some weight forward onto the front. Ought to be possible to hang at least some of your battery in the front.
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Re: Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby amberwolf » Sun Nov 08, 2009 1:07 am

SpeedEBikes wrote:If I had to guess though, you're eventually going to get sucked into throwing some money at it. Perhaps for a stout rear wheel or at least a fat tire.

I actually did spend a little, for some road "slick" tires a friend saw when he was physically at the All Electronics store in California; I bought four of them so I'd have A) spares and/or B) enough for a trike later if I needed them. My "project justification" for using these specific tires is that they are not really new, in that they were removed from wheels for Currie chopper ebikes, although never ridden on, and probably never even installed on the bikes before being sold to AE as surplus. ;)

I also have spent money (that I can't really afford but had to spend anyway due to the extreme deal I'll certainly never find again) on Li-Ion cells to replace the heavy SLA with, and (assuming they get them back in stock) a Turnigy Watt Meter (rather have a CA but I REALLY can't spend that much; I'd literally starve if I did). My project justification for using these specific batteries is that they are also not "new" but rather pulls from packs intended for a totally different application.


In the mean time you might reduce the breakage by shifting some weight forward onto the front. Ought to be possible to hang at least some of your battery in the front.

I already have all the weight I can put forward as far as it will go, without putting it higher than I would like due to handling concerns, since anything forward of the handlebars has to go above where my legs and feet move for pedalling, and above and behind the front wheel for turning.

The only possible thing I really considered doing is cutting the top tube of the front frame, bending it upward so it's join with the handlebar stem headtube would be a few inches higher and rewelding it (with some extra tube to fill in the gap). That would give me just enough space to put a fourth 12V 17Ah SLA in there to turn it into a 48V machine. But that's another 15 pounds of weight for not all that much gain.

If I made a small lockable metal box bolted between the front top and down tubes, I could store the several pounds of tools I always carry, and maybe the air pump, but that's negligible compared to the rest of the weight that is still back there (me plus any cargo I carry, which could be over 100 pounds of stuff sometimes).

Instead, I first tried out the 4-pole motor in place of the 2-pole, and that gives me all the extra torque/etc I'd've expected from 48Volting the 2-pole, and more, plus more power headroom to not worry about cooking it, only adding another 5 pounds at most (probably not even that much).

It seems to be more efficient than the 2-pole, as I managed that 24+ mile trip with only a partial recharge halfway thru, and still had PLENTY of power left when I got home. Goosing the throttle at startup pulled full power until at speed, and I could still reach full speed (20MPH).

The exact same trip with the 2-pole motor and the same partial recharge time, in *warmer weather* (that makes my SLAs work marginally better) left me with *some* power left when I got home, but not as much (goosing the throttle at startup would not even pull 12A very long; the batteries were too low. I could not get nearly full speed out of the bike, something around 15 or 16MPH).


I'm going to be reducing the weight by about as much as one, perhaps two, of the SLA batteries, so 15-30 pounds, once I build the Li-Ion packs out of cells (first I have to find or build a BMS). That will help even more.

But the thing that would help prevent damage the most, short of drastic weight reductions that would eliminate all cargo carrying abilities, would be to give the bike rear suspension, so the wheel can "move out of the way" of bumps and whatnot, without the full load of the bike's mass to push out of the way first, which I think is the main reason for the damage to that wheel. Front wheel has hit some of the same holes the rear has, but due primarily to the suspension (and less weight on it, I suppose) it has not been destroyed, just knocked out of true a little now and then (relatively easy to fix).
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Re: Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby amberwolf » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:40 pm

Ok, I broke the bike today. :( :cry: :oops:
http://electricle.blogspot.com/2009/11/ ... chain.html
Everything was very happy yesterday, for the most part, and I had successfully ridden over a dozen miles on the new 4-pole motor and redone drivetrain, testing it for strength and whatnot in the next to highest gear for almost all of the trip, including startups, with essentially no problems I didn't reasonably expect.

Then today I leave for work, and not 1/8 mile into the trip, I get cut off by a truck making an unsignalled right turn around me (without stopping or slowing) at a 4-way stop I was just coming up to. I braked easily without any danger, but I ended up stopped in the highest gear. I'd used that from a complete stop yesterday without problems, but today I guess the strain was just too much, and the front chainring, the largest one, FOLDED like I was trying to make a taco. :shock:

It also bent the middle ring, by pulling it with the bolts holding the large ring onto the set.
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Fortunately it didn't damage the granny ring, which is the one actually swaged to the crank, so I was able to run the bike to and from work on that ring and the next-to-highest rear ring.

Because both rings are so small, there was so much extra chain I had to actually take links out so it wouldn't pop off the rings from the torque. :roll: I never had a reason to try this combination before, so didn't realize that would ever be a problem. I think I need a different derailer to take up the slack better.

To get around 11MPH max speed, which sucked in traffic but it was better than not getting to work at all. I even still made it with almost 20 minutes to spare.

But whatever torque all this put on the bike must be twisting the frame slightly, because it causes the chain to pop off the motor drivetrain a LOT, due to the misalignment, so I definitely have to fix the alignment problems (see the blog for mentions and discussions about that part).

I may be able to fix the ring, by hammering it back flat, but I won't trust it anymore. So I think I am going to change the whole 3-ring set to the one off my upright bike; it's a larger ring set and will fix my speed problems too, but will take out some of the hill-climbing ability I have (not that I have used that a lot yet, but I know I will need it at some point).

I wish I had the spider-type cranks with bolt-on rings, rather than these swaged-on rings, with at best non-standard bolt-ons, and at worst just riveted together, but these are all that came on any of the scrapped bikes I've scrounged up so far.
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Re: Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby amberwolf » Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:45 am

As usual, there are more updates on the blog than here; I keep forgetting to post them in this thread too. :(

Here's another disaster to share, also on my blog:

I have been having balanced karma of late--every time something really good happens, something equally bad compensates.

Yesterday on the way home from work the bike's rear chain (regular bike drivetrain part) somehow derailed and got tangled up, which actually pulled the entire right end of the rear axle and the derailer bolted to it off the dropouts and bent the rim up against the chainstay on the other side (the left end stayed bolted in), and then everything jammed and both bottom-leg MOSFETs blew.

The power meter registered over 3500 watts peak, 153 amps peak, which is a more than any of it is rated for--the MOSFETs I installed in my 2QD are only rated at 80A continuous, and can handle ~150A for *maybe* a second absolute max, with sufficient cooling (which they don't have in my setup, by any means). So it's no surprise they blew up.

All that only took about half a second as I was accelerating away from an intersection, crossing two lanes to get to a left turn I have to make to get home without going down a very busy stretch of road.

Then I had to drag the bike across the rest of the lane (while cars that weren't yet coming when this all started kept trying to go around me instead of letting me get out of their way!), up onto the concrete median, and spend an HOUR with traffic roaring by me, while untangling the chain enough to get the wheel off, unbend the rim and true it enough to get it able to roll. Then I had to take out around 6" of chain due to bent and broken links, and set it up to run only in lower gear in front since it was now too short for the big ring. Plus I had to take the motor chain off, since my pedals are linked to it and it is nigh impossible to pedal the bike without the motor running otherwise.

After that it was a heck of a ride home, at about 9MPH, which is just above the unstable speed of the bike, and I was totally worn out when I got home (and then had to go to a different job as handyman for someone else).

I didn't have the camera with me to take pics of the chain/etc, but wow, it was awful looking. It looked like someone had hit my rear wheel from behind and then stepped on it sideways, but it was just from being yanked so hard by the chain as it tangled.

The frame and dropouts all appear intact, but the wheel was seriously messed up. I will need to take it completely apart, restraighten the rim, and then re-lace it to get it back to anything close to really true.

The derailer cage was slightly bent but not badly, but the bolt that secures it to the little shaped nut that recesses into the dropout behind the axle had sheared thru as it was all pulled out. I am just lucky that I carry spare nuts/bolts in the toolkit, one of which happens to be the same thread pitch and diameter as that bolt--it is a bolt from a rackmount kit--it's so long that it prevents use of the highest (smallest) sprocket on the rear cassette, but as I had to pedal with no assist there was no way I was going to be shifting up that high anyway.

I guess the good news is that I *could* fix the problem on the road well enough to get home.


Here's some pics of the controller with toasty MOSFETs, before repair. I still haven't had time to go back and fix it yet; just replacing the MOSFETs and gate resistors (whcih also burned open as they are supposed to) didn't fix it. I'm too tired to try more now, after another day of work. Tomorrow and the next day I have to go help do a roof and some other things, so I won't be able to do it then, either. Fri and Sat I'm working again, so I don't know when I will find the time to finish troubleshooting it. Maybe Sunday. Should be easy, when I have time and am not too worn out to concentrate. (writing this post has taken several tries).
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A close up of the damaged area. The discoloration around the screw on one MOSFET is actually the melted remains of the plastic insulator ring...it's still not shorted to the heatsink, but that insulator is totally destroyed from the heat.
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This blown LiFePO4 BMS (sent by an Endless Sphere forum member) arrived today:
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All that is known about it's problem is that a puff of magic smoke escaped from it somewhere, but not specifically where. With luck it's the MOSFETs, as those I have around here already.
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Once I find and fix the blown part(s), then if I can figure out how to change it's HVC and LVC voltages to match those of my Li-Ion cells, I can use it as a BMS for my custom-built pack.

First, I just need to invent a time-machine that gives me extra time to do everything and still get enough rest....
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Re: Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby SpeedEBikes » Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:32 pm

Do you know if your controller was supposed to do current limiting and if so what the limit was? I put fuses on my packs usually sized at about 5 to 10 amps greater than the current limit of the controller. Once in a great while I blow a fuse, but I don't know if the fuses are actually saving the controller.
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Re: Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby amberwolf » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:28 am

SpeedEBikes wrote:Do you know if your controller was supposed to do current limiting and if so what the limit was? I put fuses on my packs usually sized at about 5 to 10 amps greater than the current limit of the controller. Once in a great while I blow a fuse, but I don't know if the fuses are actually saving the controller.

Yes; it's self-limiting (based on the RDSon of whatever MOSFET is installed) but it takes time for the limit to "kick in", as it is allowable for short overcurrent spikes for it. However, this massive spike was too fast for it to do anything about. Even my 100A circuit breaker never popped.

The only reason I do not have a fuse as well as the circuit breaker is because I did not want to have to keep replacing them as I experimented with the bike, or be stuck on the road without a fuse to replace it with if I blew more than I carried as spares. (Sure, I could wire around the fuse, but that would defeat the purpose of *having* a fuse).

So I stuck to the large CB instead, and I know that it does pop after a couple of seconds of current that's close to 100A. It just wasn't fast enough to deal with this problem. :(

I only have 4 100A fuses around here; then two 130A fuses, after that it goes down to 20A and 30A breakers, and little 1A fuses. The little breakers won't even let me startup from a stop even pedalling my legs off in lower gear. ;) With the older motor they were sufficient to let the motor do the startup with only my usual pedalling help, but it wasn't nearly as powerful as this one is, which can do the startup by itself but draws a lot more current to do so. After I'm out of those fuses, well, I'm out, and then unprotected again cuz I'd have to wire around it.

So I'm looking into some ways to get the 2QD to actively limit current instantaneously, which will also let me "program" it via analog electronics to whatever limit I wish; essentially what the CA does.
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Re: Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby amberwolf » Wed Dec 30, 2009 7:03 am

Since I have had so very little time to work on anything recently, I haven't finished my controller or the physical repairs to the bike. I started repairs and found the major problems were just the power output section, and one minor problem that kept anything from working right was a 9.1V zener diode that was only allowing 1.45V!

Fixed that and got the main section working again, and now just need to finish the power section. I have wanted to use a different case for a while, so now is my chance. I have a couple of posts about it on my Electricle blog, with photos, but basically I'm cutting the power section off the 2QD, mounting the MOSFETs on the inside sides of the extruded aluminum case off an old Jensen 300W AC inverter for cigarette lighter jacks, replacing the tiny cap I had with three larger capacity ones off an old UPS, and mounting it all inside that Jensen case, to seal it up against weather and still give it a way to get rid of heat.

Since it is taking a while to make the holders for the FETs to line them up and keep them tightly against the case inside, and to polish the aluminum and the FETs for flatness and smoothness (for better heat transfer, since I have to use thermally conductive / electrically insulative pads, too), I decided to take a quick look again at the Curtis 1204-410 I have had for a few months with little time to troubleshoot.

I let it sit on the bench powered on (but not doing anything as it doesn't respond to input), for a while, and suddenly it started working, the motor attached to it began slowly spinning (the throtle was just a regular pot set to barely on). Apparently once it got warm enough (from me having the oven on to warm up the room), a connection was made well enough to start working.

There are six interconnect wires between the Curtis logic board and it's power board, two carry B+ and two ground, and the other two carry signals. One is the PWM output to the FETs, and the other looks like a feedback from the FETs as it is time-shifted just a tiny bit late (which I can barely see at all with my old 531A), but identical to the PWM waveform.

The solder joints on them must've been flexed or vibrated enough to crack them, so they would only make connections good enough to work when warm or hot. Over 85F, anyway. Under that, they might work and might not. I reflowed the solder and now they always work.

Since it's a 36-48V 225A controller for brushed PMDC motors, it can be used in place of the 2QD, so for now I put it on CrazyBike2 and verified it works with the bike. I can use it until I finish the 2QD rehousing.

Now I need to build a new rear wheel, move the chain and some shifters and stuff from one of the spare bikes I got for parts from someone for Christmas, and finalize the new throttle control setup, and CB2 will be ready to ride more than just for tests.
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Re: Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby amberwolf » Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:27 am

First up is a wheel relacing, to replace the badly damaged (destroyed, really) wheel currently on CB2. It's a standard wheel build, except that it is using thicker stainless ones donated to me that are for a wheelchair wheel.

It required a bit of creative relacing that may affect wheel strength as a whole, as these spokes are for a 540 rim, where mine is a 507, I think. I had to install them as crossed pairs where normally they'd be parallel pairs, in the typical 2-cross pattern, so that they would not be so long as to poke thru the tube. ;)

It still gives parallel pairs, just not the same ones as the originals--basically works out as if you went backwards for lacing, going *across* the hub instead of out from it. If that makes sense.

The rim and hub were from the previous CB2 rear wheel, which had a bent axle and a slightly bent rim. I fixed the rim with some working of tension on the original spokes and rebending of the rim, and then I used the axle and bearings from the rear wheel of the Magna 26" I just got as a parts bike a few posts back. I used the Shimano 6-speed cassette from the other (Huffy) parts bike, as it has the shifting-ease type edges to teeth and whatnot, where the Falcon 6-speed cassette on the Magna is all flat edges and plain teeth.

I still have to pull the tire/tube/protection strip off the damaged wheel and put it on this one.


While I was at it, I also decided to do something about having to pedal too fast for comfort or to be able to assist the motor, with the motor at full speed, due to the nearly 1:1 pedal to drivetrain system. I swapped out the single-ring crank I had on the front, and installed the 3-ring from the Magna, which gives me the outer large ring that is one and a half full chain links larger than the single (which also gives me the ability to make a properly tensioned chain, instead of one with a lot of sag).

However, this larger ring is leftward just far enough to cause interference with the motor chain. So I have to move the motor chain leftward, too. The only way to do that is to move the receiver rings on the jackshaft leftward, so I pulled the slightly longer BB axle (crankshaft) off the Magna and replaced the one already on CB2's jackshaft with it. That moves the whole receiver ring set leftward about 1 cm or so.

Then I had to take off the motor's drive ring hub, so I can install spacers on the shaft that push it leftward the same amount. I have not yet done this part yet, as I was too worn out by then.

Once that's done, I can reassemble the drivetrain and have spacing that should allow all the chains to clear each other and remain taut, and in line, removing one more problem that has plagued me since the beginning in one fashion or another. I'm apparently terrible at making good chainlines. :-(


Then I have to look into one more problem:

The last time I started doing a chainline test before the chainline modifications, using the motor to drive the chains at a slow speed so I could watch them pass and move, I heard a clicking noise, and whenever I heard it, the motors' gearbox output shaft stopped for an instant.

It is possible that there is something wrong in the gearbox and something is slipping, but I doubt it as there is no sign of it in other noises I would expect to hear from a wear problem like that, and there is no problem at all when there is no load.

However, it does seem possible that the coupler between motor and gearbox could be at fault. It is made so that both the gearbox and the motor have shafts that are slotted all the way thru, in the center, for about 1/4" or deeper. Into these slots fit a steel tab about 1.5" or so long, which fit together to form a + sign. They are cast into a rubber disc, which is itself enclosed in a pair of metal "cups" with a hole in the center just large enough for the shafts to fit thru from each side.

This makes a flexible coupler that can transmit power but isolate vibration and shocks from the motor shaft, but it is possible for this coupler to fail. I have not yet taken off the motor to examine the coupler's current condition, but I suspect I will find enough wear or damage to cause a problem, probably caused by that last disaster which I am repairing. It did not show a problem in the inital tests of the motor with the Curtis, but all I did was some "bench tests" and then some riding around the block slowly.

If the coupler is bad, I do have another one somewhere around here, if I can find it. I might be able to make one, too, as it is a simple construction.



Again, while I am at it, I also intend to add a fourth battery to the system, which for now will be clamped down inside the rightside rear cargo pod, at the front inside corner. Later when I have more time, I will try moving it plus the third (rearmost center area) battery up to the front in that dual-battery case over the top tube just behind the front headstock.

That will give me 48V. I don't need the speed this could give, but it will mean I don't have to use full travel on the throttle pot to get my original full speed (simplifying setting up the new throttle pot and arm lever), and can "lock out" the higher throttle speeds with a physical adjustment or set screw.

It will also give me more range, since I can use higher voltage to lower the current draw from the batteries for the same power output, decreasing the Peukert effect on them, as well as the additional power from simply having one more battery.


One more benefit is that it will allow me to install both 24V chargers on the bike for opportunity charging, each one wired across two of the 4 x 12V series 48V pack.


Yet another benefit is that I will no longer need the laptop adapter wired in series with the CFL/battery hookup just to start them, so I can leave it off if I choose, or leave it on for even brighter lights.

As bright as the taillight already is, I think I will have to wire the laptop adapter only to the headlight, and take it off the taillight.
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Re: Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby amberwolf » Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:40 am

Well, stuff as usual did not work out as planned:
http://electricle.blogspot.com/2010/01/ ... -evil.html
I am way too tired to try posting it here with pics, too, but it's all at that link. :(
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Re: Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby JohnH » Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:33 pm

First let me say: your ability to fabricate and adapt really amazes me. I read the full post on your linked blog, and I do have one observation that may be of some use to you. I own a recumbent bike that uses a mid-drive, and on it (and others I know of) two chains are never allowed to occupy adjacent chainrings or cogs, because they *will* rub. One solution would be to use a relatively large "granny" ring and run one chain there, and the other to the big ring (you could use a "middle" ring in the big ring location if it makes your ratios better). Another, if you really need the granny left free, is to use a set of thin (maybe 2mm?) chainring spacers between the big ring and the spider. These spacers are expensive for what they are, but cheap relative to other things - maybe $10 - $15 for a set of 5. You may even me able to figure a way to use washers or some other scrap bits to substitute, to meet your "repurpose" ethic. I don't think you'd want to give up the chain guides you fabricated, but you would certainly cut down on chain-chain interference if you could get the rings a few more mm apart.

Hope this helps,
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Re: Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby amberwolf » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:19 pm

JohnH wrote:First let me say: your ability to fabricate and adapt really amazes me.


Thanks--it's kind of out of necessity, since I don't normally have any money to spend on it at all. When I started the project, I *did* have some money but that was quickly corrected by our worsening job market, which got way worse for me this past summer, along with other things.

That said, it's also quite a bit of fun figuring out ways to repurpose things, and it's almost a kind of game now to see how many things I can mis-use to do something I want to do. ;) Sometimes I may even use something repurposed even when I have something actually designed for it. :lol:



I read the full post on your linked blog, and I do have one observation that may be of some use to you. I own a recumbent bike that uses a mid-drive, and on it (and others I know of) two chains are never allowed to occupy adjacent chainrings or cogs, because they *will* rub.


Yes; if I had regular removable rings and spiders, or enough three-ring sets, I would have been able to keep them apart.

I *did* have them separated by a whole chainring once, but due to gearing needs had to move the triple to the right side to get a granny ring there, and a smaller second gear, for when I need to pedal or go up hills.

Then the double ring (whose inner gear is about the same size the outer gear on the triple!) was moved to the left side, and thus began my clearance issues (though the were never a real problem until this last disaster, which was due to my own lack of ability to align the chainlines properly).


One solution would be to use a relatively large "granny" ring and run one chain there, and the other to the big ring (you could use a "middle" ring in the big ring location if it makes your ratios better).

If I had regular removable rings and spiders, this would be fairly easy to do. But only one of my cranks even *has* (as designed) removable rings, and it is the double that was just damaged. The rest are all built as swaged-on and bolted-together rings.

If I had a triple with a large enough motor-end ring (52t) I would have used it there, and used a smaller pedal ring to run to the granny, but none of my square-taper triples are that large.

I am currently working out what will be needed for the trike being designed to replace CB2, so when I know what I'll have left over, I will be redoing the gearing on CB2 with a different setup entirely, which should fix the problems, I hope. :)

It basically involves doing the above, using a smaller triple on the left side just as on the right, and using the granny for the pedals and the large outer for the motor, but will need a smaller gear at the motor itself to get the right drivetrain speeds out of the smaller outer on the triple.

Another, if you really need the granny left free, is to use a set of thin (maybe 2mm?) chainring spacers between the big ring and the spider. These spacers are expensive for what they are, but cheap relative to other things - maybe $10 - $15 for a set of 5. You may even me able to figure a way to use washers or some other scrap bits to substitute, to meet your "repurpose" ethic. I don't think you'd want to give up the chain guides you fabricated, but you would certainly cut down on chain-chain interference if you could get the rings a few more mm apart.


It definitely would. I had originally wanted to space the chainrings apart more, but nothing I have available here would work to do it in a way that would handle the torque loads, so I left it alone and just tried to improve the clearance with the guides. Would probably have worked if I had had the motor chain aligned, which it obviously was not. :(


I definitely appreciate the feedback, even though the stuff I have (and my lack of budget) doesn't allow me to use the ideas yet. :)

What I *really* wanted to do when I started this whole thing was to fabricate a small metal piece to entirely replace the crank/triple on the left side, and just thread a pair of single-speed freewheels on there, with spacer rings as needed to align with the pedal and motor chains.

All it is is a cylinder about 3" long at most, threaded for freewheels along it's entire outer length. The right end would be milled out for square-taper cranks, and the left end milled out round and threaded inside for the standard crank-removal tool to thread in to remove it if needed, and for a socket wrench to reach the nut or bolt that secures it to the crankshaft (just as in a crank).

A pair of locknuts from other bottom brackets, along with spacer rings if needed, would be used to jam the leftmost freewheel in place, keeping it from unthreading itself as it is used. Thus, no southpaw freewheels are required, and it could be used for *any* regular singlespeed freewheels, as many as you needed to fit onto it up to it's full length.

I could lathe the main cylinder, and probably even file out the square-taper part by hand. But I cannot thread either part, as I don't have the tools for that. So the idea goes unused, until someday I can afford the taps and dies for the purpose, or pay someone to make it.
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Re: Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby amberwolf » Sun Jan 10, 2010 3:24 am

Today while helping a friend move stuff, I scored a couple of nice but very beat up bikes that happen to have square taper cranks with...bolt-on spider/chainrings!

One is a larger triple than the other, and I think it is aluminum or some alloy for the rings (as well as the spider/crank. I can actually wiggle it side to side between spider legs.
DSC02379 sakae sx triple with spider.JPG
DSC02379 sakae sx triple with spider.JPG (113.62 KiB) Viewed 24488 times

The other triple is much harder, does not wiggle, and has that darker brownish tinge of titanium, although I am sure it is just plated or anodized to that color rather than actually being made of titanium. I sure wish it was, as I doubt I could break it if it was. ;) The crank/spider is still aluminum/alloy, which is fine. It's a lot smaller rings though, so I'll need to use the smaller ring on the motor, maybe even cut it off and replace with an even smaller one.
DSC02373 Shimano triple with spider.JPG
DSC02373 Shimano triple with spider.JPG (104.29 KiB) Viewed 24489 times

There are a number of other nifty parts on the bikes, too, including even the frames, which appear to be nice cromoly, and are light enough I can pick them up onehanded even with the whole bike together, though I can't carry them far (I'm a wimp and my knees and joints hurt a lot).

One has Shimano trigger shifters, but they don't seem to be working. If they require tension on the cables to work, then that's why, as the nuts on the derailers are loosened and not holding the cables in place, plus the cable housings are not in good shape. The trigger shifters are part of the brake lever mounts, too. The cap on one is missing; hopefully it is only a cover and not a functional part.
DSC02370 Shimano trigger shifter right.JPG
DSC02370 Shimano trigger shifter right.JPG (68.38 KiB) Viewed 24489 times

These may end up being perfect shifters for the trike, since I will not have my hands in my field of vision with the tank style underseat steering, so I also can't see what gear things are in or what position the shifter lever is in. A trigger shifter always returns back to "home" after each shift, so it would be easier to shift with "blind". In theory. I've never used one.

The other has Deore lever shifters for a 6-speed rear cassette and a front triple, which is what I have on the CrazyBike2 right now. The Deore shifter I have on CB2 is for an 8-speed and thus doesn't shift properly due to differnet ring spacing (I dont' have anything with an 8-speed cassette).
DSC02375 shimano deore 6-speed shifter .JPG
DSC02375 shimano deore 6-speed shifter .JPG (61.16 KiB) Viewed 24487 times

One uses vbrakes, one uses side-pull linears with the noodle. The vbrakes appear to be almost new pads, the others have some medium wear on them.
DSC02377 shimano v-brakes near new pads.JPG
DSC02377 shimano v-brakes near new pads.JPG (154.83 KiB) Viewed 24488 times

There is only one good tire on there, a Kenda something-or-other. The others are typical knobby stuff, though one of them is much less so than the others.

The Schwinn is a non-suspension bike, and the Trek is a hardtail with front shock forks that don't appear to work. They are labeled Skareb (I think--parts of the lettering are worn off), and appear to be hydraulic rather than spring. There is a lever on the top of one of them that probably was supposed to adjust the ride/travel, but that is missing on the other one. I would guess that if I can rebuild them they'd be nice shocks.
DSC02372 Skareb shocks (not working).JPG
DSC02372 Skareb shocks (not working).JPG (126.16 KiB) Viewed 24487 times

One bike has wide-flanged hubs, which could come in handy for bolting diskc brakes to via adapters, but neither has any disk brake mounting holes on the hubs. The shock fork above has the mounting for the brake calipers, though. They're all 26" wheels with aluminum rims and hubs. Don't know if the spokes are good ones or not. I'd bet they are better than the cheap junk on most of the wheels I have.
DSC02378 rear triangle wheel derailer brakes.JPG
DSC02378 rear triangle wheel derailer brakes.JPG (130.14 KiB) Viewed 24486 times

I have not yet checked to see if either is a freehub or if they're freewheel cassettes. The former would be nice.

DSC02380 shimano deore 6-speed derailer.JPG
DSC02380 shimano deore 6-speed derailer.JPG (122.79 KiB) Viewed 24485 times

I was also donated some more wheelchair parts, including a lever for my throttle
DSC02354 Throttle Off.JPG
DSC02354 Throttle Off.JPG (116.32 KiB) Viewed 24488 times

and some interesting actuated "gas" (probably hydraulic) springs.
DSC02361 Actuated Gas Springs.JPG
DSC02361 Actuated Gas Springs.JPG (88.97 KiB) Viewed 24488 times

The springs are neat because they have a little push rod in the center of the strut, which must be pushed in before the strut can move. This is done for ride-height adjustments on the chairs they come from (using a cable and lever similar to bike brake levers but smaller), but the nice bit about this feature for me is that they would let me "disable" the spring action if the bike was too heavily loaded to work without bottoming out, simply by raising the lockout lever.

Or they could be used solely for their ride-height adjustment ability, and not as springs at all. That would let me explore different front and rear heights to see what worked out better for height for clearance of road debris, curbs, etc, vs stability in turns, before permanently building that height into the frame (if ever).
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Re: Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby amberwolf » Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:04 pm

I found a manual online for that shock fork, and turns out it's both pneumatic (for the actual suspension) and hydraulic (for the damping). So I aired it up via schrader valve in the top left fork to about 100PSI based on the manual and some posts found on an MTB forum, and it now operates as a shock. :)

I haven't opened it up to check the oil, but I suspect it's empty or near so (or the valves are bad) as there is no damping at all, regardless of the red knob setting. That knob should set the damping level.

It appears based on the manual to be easy to disassemble to check it out and/or fix, once I have time to clear off a table to lay out all the (presumably oily) parts. :)



Turns out the rear hubs on both are regular freewheels, and I suspect they are not the original cassettes, either, as neither one even has much in the way of the little shifting-helper-ridges and contours on any of the sprockets--they're pretty much flat on the Trek, and just have the twisted tips on the Schwinn.

I'm pretty sure they're not the original rims on the Trek, either, as one is a VERY cheap steel rim that has a horrible welded seam, and one of the cheap steel spokes on it is broken at the hub (others look like they're close). The cones are worn badly, too, either that or there aren't any bearings on the cassette side. ;)

The ones on the Schwinn could be original hubs/rims, they appear to be at least decent quality ones and both match. Spokes seem a lot better steel, as they don't just bend (even the loose ones) with finger pressure.

The crank rings on the Trek do appear to be very hard metal on the largest ring--it does not even have it's tooth count stamped in it as the two smaller rings (of a different color metal) do. It is stickered as a Shimano Hyperdrive C. It's a 42T, and the others are 34 and 24. There is minor damage (chipping?) on certain teeth and tips, but it is in better shape than most of the rings I already have around here.

Being a Hyperdrive C tells me more certainly that the original wheel/cassette isn't on the back, because AFAIK these were meant for an 11T rear smallest sprocket.

The rings on the Schwinn are larger, at 48T, 38T, 28T, but are definitely weaker than the Hyperdrive rings.

I am going to see if I can work out a new driveline for the motor/pedals using the Hyperglide as the receiver. Kind of a waste, as it won't be used for any shifting. :)

I will probably just put the old strong single-ring cranks back on the pedals.


I did a little bit of cleaning of the trigger shifters, and now they work fine. Just had dirt in there keeping the mechanism from moving the ratchet. I'll have to make a cover for the right (rear) shifter, or that will continue to be a bad problem.
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Re: Semi-Recumbent Recycled-Parts Cargo eBike: "CrazyBike2"

Postby amberwolf » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:39 am

I decided for now that enough of the Schwinn was intact and in good shape that I'd spend a couple of hours and fit it out as a rideable spare bike, even though it is has no suspension at all, and is a regular straight-top (men's style) bike, which is really hard for me to get my leg up and over.
DSC02390 Schwinn Sierra Fixed up side.JPG
DSC02390 Schwinn Sierra Fixed up side.JPG (128.52 KiB) Viewed 24454 times

But it is very light. Even with the little rack I stuck on there, which is cheap steel and about 2 or 3 pounds by itself, plus the Stanley light full of 12 AA batteries, I can still lift it with one hand (not with my backpack/helmet on there, though).

I stuck the original front Kenda road tire off of DayGlo Avenger on there, as it is a lot better than the disintegrating front tire it had, and the Kenda Krossroads off the Trek, which is slightly better than the Kenda Road. Unfortunately, this Kenda Krossroads has the same problem my other Kenda Kross tires had--the sidewalls are not made right, and they shed bits of rubber off the fibers, eventually splitting along the diagonal fiber lines and coming open far enough to let the tube bulge out. This one is going to need patching inside just like the other two do.

I like the tire *style*, but their QC and/or sidewall design sucks. I sure wouldn't buy Kenda tires new, based on my experiences with all the ones I have had so far, including the pair that came new on DayGlo Avenger when I originally got it as a new-in-box Columbia Comfort Bike back in 2005 (of which the front tire on this bike is one).

That front wheel has the Slime thorn-resistant pre-slimed tube in it, too, as the original thin tube in there had several patches already, and was sticking to the inside of the disintegrating tire such that I didn't trust it.

This is what it looks like with no flash, and it's lights on.
DSC02388  Schwinn Sierra Fixed up side lights.JPG
DSC02388 Schwinn Sierra Fixed up side lights.JPG (86.5 KiB) Viewed 24454 times

My helmet light is on, too, and it is shining at the chair's right arm. It's a very diffuse LED light, without much of a spot. Lights up stuff close fairly well, and does a decent job of lighting up reflective road signs, license plates, etc, but not the actual road.

The Stanley light *does* have a really good beam, enough so that you can clearly see it on the wall in front of the bike (only a foot away, but still)
DSC02383  Schwinn Sierra Fixed up rear.JPG
DSC02383 Schwinn Sierra Fixed up rear.JPG (99.76 KiB) Viewed 24457 times

That spot stays a spot far enough away that I can't see enough light back from it to be useful, probably about 50 feet on road surfaces, farther on lighter-colored objects and much much farther on reflective ones.

It's a point source light from a distance, and quite bright; I keep it pointed at the ground about 20 feet ahead most of the time on the roads. Farther on unlit trails/canals. It's clamped to the bars with 2 hose clamps, like my other flashlights have been, and like the little red one is clamped to the junction of cargo rack and rear triangle.

I had to replace the sheaths for the shifter cables, though the cables themselves were fine. I swapped out the freewheel cassette for the one off the Trek, as the one on the Schwinn was very noisy, and the one on the Trek was virtually silent. I'm sure the original would work better if I serviced it, but I wanted to try the bike out for a bit before it got too late tonight, and I was getting hungry.

I tested it out for a few miles tonight, going to the store and stuff, and it worked well. Only problem I had was that the "Primus" thick tube that was already in the Kenda tire in back blew a hole (slit, actually) too big for even Slime to save it. I had to flip the bike over, peel the tire off the rim, and patch it, about a mile into the trip. No problems after that.

The hole was about 1/3 of the way up from the inside circumference of the tube, and looked like it was from someone using a screwdriver as a tire-iron, but on these tires and rims it's not even necessary to do that. They easily roll off the rims when deflated, which makes for easy fixing if something goes wrong, like above. I didn't even have to take the wheel off. I didn't see the mark when I originally swapped this onto the Schwinn's rim, but I did not look that closely at it. My mistake. :(

This bike is actually a joy to ride--it is so light and is geared right that I can start up without much knee pain, as long as I am not carrying anything. Adding the backpack with toolkit, pump, etc, plus wearing longjohn bottoms & top under the jeans and tye-dye long-sleeve sweater (for warmth in the chilly evening, made worse by the breeze from riding), was enough to make it harder to ride but still better than DayGlo Avenger even without it's cargo pod and rack.

I *don't* like the lower handlebars, though, so I will have to do something about that. The stem is already most of the way up, though, so I can't get enough height from it to help. I will probably have to change the handlebars to something that reaches farther up/back.

It is quite a tall bike and is not a joy to get onto. I can barely stand astride it, with the top tube against the seam of my pants. Wouldn't wanna slip off the seat. ;-)

I also don't like the seat, which is the original Schwinn narrow hard seat. Like all of them, it doesn't fit me and it's also slippery, so I can't seem to stay on it. It's a quick-release so I will probably use my shock-post seat if it fits in this tube (it might not). That seat is wider and at least somewhat tolerable for longer rides than a couple of miles. This one is mildly painful after only about a mile and a half; I probably could not ride it longer than 5 miles even if my life depended on it. ;-)

I'm pretty sure it was actually meant to have 700C rims on there, or at least something larger than the 26" that it came to me with, as the brakes don't adjust down the rims very far--the top edges of the brakes just clear the top of the rims by a millimeter or so at their lowest adjustment, but would go at least 1/4" higher--enough to ride completely on the sidewalls of the 26" tires!

If it did have taller wheels, I would not be able to ride it, though. I would be unable to mount it without holding it sideways so far that I could not push it upright to get it going, and I would be unable to dismount at stops, forcing me to lean over on one side while staying in the saddle. I'm not sure I could startup from a stop then, as most of them are on slight uphill inclines. It certainly wouldn't be easy.

Anyway, it's a good bike.
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amberwolf
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