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Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 24 2019 12:15pm
by kauaicycler
Hi Everyone,

I'm new to the ebike world and I'm looking for advice and recommendations. Before I get to that let me introduce myself and give you a little background.

I currently live in Florida and I'm 5'11" and I weigh 245lbs. I've had a desk job for the last 25 years and I'm completely out of shape. I haven't ridden a bike since I was 18, I used to ride a lot before then.

I'm 62 and a (soon to be) retired web developer. I'm good with computers and I'm mechanically inclined. I've swapped engines in cars by myself and worked as an offset pressmen printing newspapers. I also have a certificate as a camera repair technician. I did a stint at Radio Shack too. I also worked as an electronic technician intern for the Air Force when I was in college. As a kid I stripped my bicycle to the frame so I could paint it and then reassembled it. I also built a strobe light from a kit in high school.

Last time I was unemployed I ended up living on Kauai in Hawaii for 35 years. I now find my self retired and living on the mainland. Being as I will have nothing to do I thought I might travel. Many people my age get an RV. That's what I might of done if I was married but I'm not so I have the option at looking at alternatives. Getting an RV requires many expenses such as insurance, fuel, maintenance and includes too many things that could fail. So I had the brilliant idea to make a poor man's RV.

What's a poor man's RV? Well obviously it's an ebike setup for touring, why else would I post here. ;) Just to outline my thinking it goes like this.
  • Ebikes are affordable to acquire, use and maintain.
  • Ebikes enable someone of lesser physical abilities to enjoy the outdoors and explore new places.
  • Ebikes encourages someone of lesser physical abilities to exercise and expand their abilities.
  • Ebikes are slower so the adventure lasts longer.
  • Ebikes are eco-friendly.
What I'm Planning

I'm planning to build my own ebike cause that's the only way I can afford to get what I think I need. My goal is to build an ebike capable of hulling my fat ass all of the way across the country. I want to take the Southern Tier Bike Route https://www.adventurecycling.org/routes ... hern-tier/ since it goes near my kids in San Antonio Texas. I plan to visit other friends, most along the way, some a little out of the way. I have friends and family in California I want to visit and then from there fly to Kauai.

There is no timeline for this adventure, as I can stay in places as long as I like. The only factor will be weather, as I want to avoid the cold. At the end of this trip I'm thinking about flying with my ebike to Costa Rica and retire there.

Basically my ebike is going to be my only means of transportation and my home. I do plan on staying in campgrounds, motels, hostels, couch surfing, warmshowers.org and Airbnb. Those decisions will depend on finances, availability and weather conditions.

I've decided on most of my camping gear. If you're interested it's centered around a Lawson Blue Ridge Hammockhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PPJM82N/ that double as a ground tent if they're aren't any trees. I'm not asking questions about camping but all comments are welcome.

I plan on carrying everything in panniers and bags to maintain the bikes portability via greyhounds, planes, trains, city buses, cars and trucks. I also want to be as e-stealthy as possible to avoid any confrontations with local law enforcement. I'm in trouble in that department already since I'll be an old fat guy riding a heavily loaded bike. I imagine this trip will change the fat part eventually.

Build Decisions

Given my budget restraints and my mechanical aptitude I think I can build my own ebike for touring. I have a garage full of hand tools (maybe some power tools) with a work bench and a vise. I have a mechanic friend with a garage and welding tools, I think he can do TIG welding as well since he also builds air boats. I'd need to pay him so he's there for standby. I live in the space coast area of Florida so finding fabricating help is possible but ONLY as a last resort.

As a self taught web developer I know that the web is my best resource for doing this (thanks to everyone for sharing). Here is my build strategy.

Donor Bike

High quality cheap used bike from craigslist.com et al, or a cheap new bicycle from bicycleisland.com, bikesdirect.com, recommendations?

There are a couple of places that rent ebike near me, they have limited styles to choose from and they are expensive to rent. I plan on renting one or two to give it a try. I may also see if I can rent a 29er fatbike pedal only to see how I like that style of bike. I would also like to find out what size bike feels right for me in the style I like.

From my research these are the features that look like they would best fit my needs as outlined above. Most of these options are for comfort and convenience. I choose a mid drive as it seemed the best choice since I'll be climbing mountains (roads) with a heavy load. I don't plan to do any trail riding but I like the idea of having that option.

I would really like to go with an IGH belt drive for low maintenance and reliability but I can't find a definitive answer on this combination on a mid motor ebike for touring. This might be too cutting edge for my purposes but I don't want to miss out if it would be practical.

My Specs
  • 5'11"
  • 245lbs
  • Load hasn't been determined yet but it will be as much as I can fit and carry. Any estimates?
  • Speed is only important in as far as it concerns safety, I'm in no hurry. Going too slow can be just as dangerous as too fast. So recommendations are welcome.
  • Range is flexible but the farther I can go the more options I have as to where I can stay. I expect range to increase as my fitness level does.
Please feel free to comment on these options as nothing is set in stone.
  • 29er Fat tire Mountain bike
  • hardtail with front suspension
  • Cane Creek eeSilk seatpost, only one rated to hold my fat ass.
  • Brooks Saddle, my fat ass needs protecting
  • Hydraulic brakes, so does the rest of me.
  • Eggrider Bluetooth Displayhttps://eggrider.com/, being able to make changes on the fly and without a computer connected.
  • BBSHD Mid drive kit from Luna Cycle
    • Luna Cycle wolfpack v2 (52v Stealth Black - LG MJ1 13.5ah) x 2
    • 52V Advanced Luna 300W Ebike Charger
    • Hydraulic and Disc Brake Sensors with Cut Off
    • GearSensor for Derailers and Internal Geared Hubs
Recommendations?
  • Drive Train
    • Derailer
    • Nuvinci N380 IGH
      • Chain
      • Belt
  • BBSHD
    • Chainring teeth if chain?
      • 46
      • 44
      • 42
      • 40
      • 30
    • Throttle?
      • Thumb
      • Twist
    • Since I'll be getting the Eggrider Bluetooth Displayhttps://eggrider.com/ do I need either of these?
      • Luna 500c Mini Full Color Display
      • Luna 750c Full Color Display
    • Luna Wrench?
  • I love the durability of the Luna Cycle Wolfpack v2 batteries and I plan on carrying two. Would hooking them together so the bike sees one battery be beneficial? Depending on charging availability I may only be able to charge one depending on where I'm at so hooking them together needs to be flexible.
  • Locks will be important since everything I own will be with me. I've done some research and understand the proper way to lock my bike. I envision a system with multiple locks as well as the hexlox.com Saddle Lock, Seat Post Lock, Wheel Lock, Fork & Stem Lock system. I'm also thinking of a steel net to cover the bags when I have to leave them on and unattended. Possibly covering everything up in a shitty looking blue tarp.
  • No matter what I do nothing can stop a determined thief so Insurance recommendations?
  • Tools, I suspect will have some specialized ones from the build which I'll be bringing. I'll have an idea of what I might need to bring once I get a bike but are there any must haves that I might overlook or that are favorites?
  • I plan on implementing ghetto tubelesshttps://electricbike-blog.com/2015/06/1 ... s-of-work/ for beaches (no saltwater) here in Florida and along the way can I leave it like that for traveling?
  • GPS or Smart Phone?
  • I doubt my bike will come with racks so any recommendations? I'm thinking front and rear panniers.
Other Considerations

Grin Ligo Batterieshttps://www.ebikes.ca/product-info/ligo-batteries.html seem required if I want to fly with my bike to Hawaii

These can be configured for either 36v or 72v but the BBSHD kit from Luna Cycle says it's for 48v or 52v batteries. Is there a way I can use these batteries now (hacked controller? other controller?) or do I need to wait for them to come out with 48v or 52v options?

I could buy another battery in Hawaii but I'd also need two more in Costa Rica where I'll want more range. Does anyone know how/if I could travel with my batteries to Costa Rica? Possibly by ship from Florida? I ask because certain things I bring with me when I move there won't be charged duty, I think ebikes and batteries will qualify.

I would like to develop a relationship with a good bike shop in my area. Since I don't plan on buying a bike from them what is a good strategy to develop a relationship with them? I know they're in business to sell bikes but given the retail apocalypse do they focus more on the service side of their business now? What's the best way to support my local bike shop?

I plan on touring around Florida before I start. I need to break in my bike and myself. I need to develop and practice a charging strategy. I found this article about gorilla charginghttps://electricbike-blog.com/2016/12/2 ... -charging/ which has some good advice. Still on the fence about permission vs forgiveness though, especially with strangers. Any advice here would be helpful.

I can't see myself fully retired as a web developer so I'll be blogging about this whole process and adventure. I'll be bringing my mac and iphone so any advice about online access and cell plans let me know. I have a factory unlocked iphone so I can go with pretty much any carrier. I need a plan that supports tethering for my mac and an old Android phone I'm planning on using as a bike computer. It will run gmaps, music and the Eggrider Android Apphttps://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... s.EggRider

Final Thoughts

This adventure wont start until I've saved the money and built the bike. Once I launch there will be limited opportunities to make changes. Right now I have a garage and facilities to make this happen so getting it right the first time is important. I have a little flexibility with the smaller and less expensive parts to upgrade along the way.

I know this plan sounds crazy but I've got nothing better to do. I'm out of shape, bored and currently live with family, this sounds like a viable escape.

Thanks to everyone that comments!

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 24 2019 2:40pm
by donn
Sounds like you've put plenty of thought into it. I guess I'd consider the possibility that you may feel a need to acquire and carry more batteries, at some point during the trip, for better long distance range.

As it happens I spoke to someone day before yesterday, with a Shimano Rohloff-alike hub and belt drive, and a hub motor in the front wheel. He'd considered a crank drive, like the one he'd gotten for his wife, but felt that the drive system would be too tricky to integrate. I didn't try to sort out exactly what that was about, just that the crank and hub would have to align in some way that isn't an issue with a freewheel/derailleur chain system. Anyway, running an order of magnitude more power through the cranks than usual, you're bound to break stuff sooner, so it's probably just as well if that stuff is easily and cheaply replaced.

A recumbent bicycle can make an exceptional long distance ride. If you're really looking forward to doing some hard core shop work, pick up an old Bike-E for $200 on craigslist, which makes a good electric platform because of the small rear wheel and rear suspension, and extend the frame and put a larger front end on it, maybe with front shocks, making the whole thing longer. The longer wheelbase and larger front wheel is for long distance. I've seen pictures of this, it can be done. That configuration isn't ideally streamlined, but should be a little better than the worst case, your mountain bike, so you might could expect to get a little better range.

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 24 2019 2:48pm
by E-HP
Looks like you chose a good route. Do you have a goal or constraint with respect to the number of miles you want to cover per day?

http://www.heywhatsthat.com/profiler.html
I checked a few points on your route with this elevation profile tool and it looks like you only encounter a couple of mountain ranges between New Mexico and San Diego, with the steepest being on the last leg of your trip. It looks doable with a hub motor, so that's seems like an option as well.

https://www.google.com/maps/@32.7609124 ... a=!5m1!1e4

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 24 2019 3:14pm
by kauaicycler
E-HP wrote:
May 24 2019 2:48pm
Looks like you chose a good route. Do you have a goal or constraint with respect to the number of miles you want to cover per day?

http://www.heywhatsthat.com/profiler.html
I checked a few points on your route with this elevation profile tool and it looks like you only encounter a couple of mountain ranges between New Mexico and San Diego, with the steepest being on the last leg of your trip. It looks doable with a hub motor, so that's seems like an option as well.

https://www.google.com/maps/@32.7609124 ... a=!5m1!1e4
Thanks for the reply!

My mileage goal is just to make it to a safe place to stay each night. I think the more I ride the farther I'll be able to go between charges. I plan on going to Hawaii and Costa Rica as well so I'm still leaning towards a mid drive.

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 24 2019 4:48pm
by Electric Earth
You have all the time in the world. Maybe ride it down to Costa Rica? That would be a blast. Maybe something to keep in mind once you've ridden across the US and are very comfortable with touring.

I have done the Gorilla tape ghetto tubeless. It works great. I actually toured Costa Rica on my ghetto tubeless wheels! Be ready for some serious gravel riding out on the peninsula down there. You're gonna love sleeping in your hammock next to the beach down there.

Personally, I wouldn't do this trip on a fat bike. I'd limit the tire size to ~2" wide. You're going to lose So much battery range over the course of the trip pushing around those big wheels/tires. Your feelings may vary, so by all means if you feel more comfortable on the fat tires, use them. Just know there are compromises.

Charging shouldn't be a problem if you map out campgrounds with electric hookups and rent an electric site. A warm showers or possibly even air b&b will be cheaper when you can manage that. Electric sites have gotten kinda pricey in a lot of areas these days.

Do you know about maps.me ? It's basically google maps that you can use anywhere offline. You just find yourself some wifi and download the maps for your upcoming areas as you tour. Or all before the tour if you have the phone storage space.

I wonder if a tablet and keyboard would make a little more sense than the full macbook. You could also then get a data plan for the tablet rather than trying to mess around with your phone and linking it to your laptop or whatever. It'll be smaller and lighter to carry.

Is a geared hub motor a decent option? I think you should be able to climb hills more efficiently than a DD motor, and you don't want to go fast anyway. They're still pretty small and light-weight.

Personally, I'd use a MTB frame for this trip, with the largest frame/main triangle I could use. Then I'd fill it with a custom battery in a nice home-made box. Make it so that no one can get it off of the bike quickly to steal it. I like your idea of covering with a crappy blue tarp. I bet there aren't many thieves that are going to go digging around under tarps to even see your bike.

You might want to look into the Thompson Elite seatpost. They're well regarded in the mountain bike world to be incredibly strong, high quality posts. I just checked, and their FAQ says "practically speaking, there is no weight limit" for the post. I even see them used on CL fairly often for $50-75. Those Cane Creeks look expensive... If you need the suspension aspect, get a Brooks with springs.

I'd go for a derailer drive-train. They're a little more maintenance, but you're looking to put power through it, and a whole lot of weight fighting it. That IGH might be nice when it comes to less maintenance, but is gonna be a real PITA and expensive when it breaks and you can't get it fixed easily. A spare derailer is available everywhere. I'd also recommend getting a spare derailer hanger to bring along on the trip. It's not terribly common, but they get bent. You'll be carrying a lot of weight on this bike. It could fall over at some point. It's easier to take a spare than to track one down in the middle of some small town(which may well not have one at all).

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 24 2019 6:57pm
by flat tire
I think you would be significantly better off with a motorcycle, but if you really want to pedal then you're on the right track.

You can easily get plenty of exercise and lose weight on the motorcycle. Just walk around and do work at your campsite for an hour a day and eat a good diet with fewer calories than you expend. Bingo...

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 24 2019 7:46pm
by markz
I would agree, 100%
A motorcycle/scooter would be much better, excellent on gas, cheap insurance. But do be careful!
I will add this, you can buy motorcycle trailers, and buy yourself a fold up bicycle, like the Montague Paratrooper. That would be an amazing setup!

This would be a little too large, but you get the idea.
https://s1.cdn.autoevolution.com/images ... ery_13.jpg

More compact and more along the lines of what I'd do.
http://pbmotorcycletrailer.com/wp-conte ... railer.jpg
http://pbmotorcycletrailer.com/wp-conte ... railer.jpg
http://www.thunderpress.net/wp-content/ ... ailer1.jpg
http://pbmotorcycletrailer.com/wp-conte ... g-fast.jpg

I would not do this one below, but it will give you an idea. Just buy a good tent and a good cushion mat.
https://cdn3.bigcommerce.com/s-437uh/pr ... 00.jpg?c=2







flat tire wrote:
May 24 2019 6:57pm
I think you would be significantly better off with a motorcycle, but if you really want to pedal then you're on the right track.

You can easily get plenty of exercise and lose weight on the motorcycle. Just walk around and do work at your campsite for an hour a day and eat a good diet with fewer calories than you expend. Bingo...

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 24 2019 10:13pm
by DRMousseau
I'm a poor single retiree, and now live year-around in my "34' rolling upstairs apartment", with no other income than my meager SS retirement benefits. I DO NOT travel much as my RV consumes about a gal of gas for every 6mi traveled!!! AND, this is an upgrade from my previous retirement home,.... a "classic 20' cottage on wheels"! I have room now, for everything from TIG welders and grinders, to circular saws and chainsaws, fishing gear and gold pans to kites, cotton candy machine, ice cream churn, AND e-bike and kayak!!! This allows me considerable independence, an ability to help friends and family where ever I am and however needed, and some casual recreational enjoyment! I typically spend seasonal time between family and friends from the Gulf Coast of Florida, to the Michigan Shores of the Great Lakes. Not a life for many, but suits me nicely. (Note- currently relaxing in the cool north woods after helping many in disaster recovery efforts of Hurricane Michael, where I've been since day 10 after landfall.)

I GREATLY depend on my e-bike for most ALL ventures away from "home",... wherever I may be based at any given time. Therefore, I made a choice for a dependable, minimal care and nearly maintenance-free, hub-driven beach cruiser in the most simplistic manner possible. It's functional, doesn't attract a great deal of unwanted attention, and as an older life-long bicyclist,... it allows me a return to the enjoyment that only technology has made possible, with a dream of another. New build, will be a bit more classic, original and fully custom. Forty years ago,.. it was a hand-shifted Harley Panhead, with little more than a sleeping bag, a Mayan Hammock, and a backpack.

Enjoy the moment,... in every way you can!!!

Personal notes to consider,...
-backups, backups, BACKUPS! a second compact charger MIGHT come in handy! I'd also consider a compact solar charger for unused battery while on the road. Although THAT's gonna require some great consideration, portable high voltage solar could be tricky.
-if you have access to a "welder of experience", consider a full custom build! AtomicZombie.com may offer some inspiration into the realms of "uniqueness" and "special purpose" far beyond anything of "recreation"!

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 25 2019 9:45am
by kauaicycler
donn wrote:
May 24 2019 2:40pm
Sounds like you've put plenty of thought into it. I guess I'd consider the possibility that you may feel a need to acquire and carry more batteries, at some point during the trip, for better long distance range.

As it happens I spoke to someone day before yesterday, with a Shimano Rohloff-alike hub and belt drive, and a hub motor in the front wheel. He'd considered a crank drive, like the one he'd gotten for his wife, but felt that the drive system would be too tricky to integrate. I didn't try to sort out exactly what that was about, just that the crank and hub would have to align in some way that isn't an issue with a freewheel/derailleur chain system. Anyway, running an order of magnitude more power through the cranks than usual, you're bound to break stuff sooner, so it's probably just as well if that stuff is easily and cheaply replaced.

A recumbent bicycle can make an exceptional long distance ride. If you're really looking forward to doing some hard core shop work, pick up an old Bike-E for $200 on craigslist, which makes a good electric platform because of the small rear wheel and rear suspension, and extend the frame and put a larger front end on it, maybe with front shocks, making the whole thing longer. The longer wheelbase and larger front wheel is for long distance. I've seen pictures of this, it can be done. That configuration isn't ideally streamlined, but should be a little better than the worst case, your mountain bike, so you might could expect to get a little better range.
I suspect I will be collecting batteries at some point. I was thinking of starting with two of Luna Cycles V2 52v wolfpacks, I really like how sturdy they are. The LiGo's from Grin look interesting but I'll need to wait for the 48v or 52v to be compatible with the BBSHD controller.

Yeah I think that a chain drive will be a better option at this time, "cheaply replaced" and readily available seem key when traveling.

I've never ridden a recumbent bicycle but I will rent one and give it a try. Most recumbents I saw were trikes which look comfortable but I think wouldn't be as portable. The main downside I see is it might attract too much attention. The really long chain kinda bothers me but what do I know? :confused: Since comfort trumps stealth though I will consider a recumbent if I really like riding one.

Great comment!

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 25 2019 10:45am
by donn
kauaicycler wrote:
May 25 2019 9:45am
The main downside I see is it might attract too much attention.
The attention I get has not been a problem, most vociferously from boys about 8 years old who generally seem to think it's pretty awesome. I should say, though, having really only hinted at it, with a motor, a recumbent really benefits from rear suspension - and most don't have it, so that narrows the options quite a bit. I don't ride super fast, but I'm sitting in a lawn chair almost on top of the rear wheel, and most of the rest of the load is back there too. What's good at typical bicycle average speeds, may not be quite right when the average speed moves into the motorized range.

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 25 2019 10:52am
by kauaicycler
Electric Earth wrote:
May 24 2019 4:48pm
You have all the time in the world. Maybe ride it down to Costa Rica? That would be a blast. Maybe something to keep in mind once you've ridden across the US and are very comfortable with touring.
That would be a real adventure! I'm concerned with safety though and given what's happening politically, now might not be a good time. Who knows though by the time I'm ready for that leg of my journey the situation may of changed.
I have done the Gorilla tape ghetto tubeless. It works great. I actually toured Costa Rica on my ghetto tubeless wheels! Be ready for some serious gravel riding out on the peninsula down there. You're gonna love sleeping in your hammock next to the beach down there.
Great to hear about tubeless, the way I understand it is they get less flats. I look forward to Costa Rica, hopefully it will be like Kauai was when I moved there in 1979. I don't know Spanish so I'll be learning it on my trip listening to Spanish podcasts and radio stations. As a library card holder I get a free course (not the whole thing) from Rosetta Stone so I'll be using that and a couple of language apps on my phone along with any native speakers I meet on the trip. My library also let's me checkout ebooks on my Kindle. A library card is a great resource!

Any advice you can share about Costa Rica please pm me since it's off topic here, I'd love to hear more about touring there. As I mentioned I'm considering retiring there and I think an ebike would be a great transportation option.
Personally, I wouldn't do this trip on a fat bike. I'd limit the tire size to ~2" wide. You're going to lose So much battery range over the course of the trip pushing around those big wheels/tires. Your feelings may vary, so by all means if you feel more comfortable on the fat tires, use them. Just know there are compromises.
Yeah I'm on the fence here. I like the idea of better traction and given where I live and where I'm going the ability to ride on sand seems like a good idea. I wish there was a way to calculate the compromise.
Charging shouldn't be a problem if you map out campgrounds with electric hookups and rent an electric site. A warm showers or possibly even air b&b will be cheaper when you can manage that. Electric sites have gotten kinda pricey in a lot of areas these days.
The state parks here in Florida charge $28.00 a night. :cry: I'm wondering how the warmshowers.org will handle a ebiker, I guess I'll be finding out. I'll be using this guide https://electricbike-blog.com/2016/12/2 ... -charging/ with permission when available.
Do you know about maps.me ? It's basically google maps that you can use anywhere offline. You just find yourself some wifi and download the maps for your upcoming areas as you tour. Or all before the tour if you have the phone storage space.
Yes I discovered maps.me in my research. Looks like a great resource!
I wonder if a tablet and keyboard would make a little more sense than the full macbook. You could also then get a data plan for the tablet rather than trying to mess around with your phone and linking it to your laptop or whatever. It'll be smaller and lighter to carry.
I would love to give up my macbook for a tablet! I'm currently developing a mobile app for iOS and android so I need a laptop to do that currently. I expect that to change eventually and I can be laptop free.
Is a geared hub motor a decent option? I think you should be able to climb hills more efficiently than a DD motor, and you don't want to go fast anyway. They're still pretty small and light-weight.
A hub motor would be fine from here to New Mexico, it's mostly flat. I expect to spend some time on the west coast and then Hawaii and Costa Rica. I worry about the load and the grades I'll encounter. I remember a couple of my friends had driveways I worried my car could go up. I also like that the rest of the bike is standard bike components.
Personally, I'd use a MTB frame for this trip, with the largest frame/main triangle I could use. Then I'd fill it with a custom battery in a nice home-made box. Make it so that no one can get it off of the bike quickly to steal it. I like your idea of covering with a crappy blue tarp. I bet there aren't many thieves that are going to go digging around under tarps to even see your bike.
I plan on being able to remove the batteries and place them in a pack that I can leave them in while they're charging just to reduce any attention from people as suggested in the https://electricbike-blog.com/2016/12/2 ... -charging/ guide. The blue tarp is based on the out of sight out of mind security principal. ;)
You might want to look into the Thompson Elite seatpost. They're well regarded in the mountain bike world to be incredibly strong, high quality posts. I just checked, and their FAQ says "practically speaking, there is no weight limit" for the post. I even see them used on CL fairly often for $50-75. Those Cane Creeks look expensive... If you need the suspension aspect, get a Brooks with springs.
I read a lot of posts by different people that praised the thudbuster so much it made my list. Too bad I'm to heavy for it so I will check out the Thompson Elite seatpost. Thanks for that!
I'd go for a derailer drive-train. They're a little more maintenance, but you're looking to put power through it, and a whole lot of weight fighting it. That IGH might be nice when it comes to less maintenance, but is gonna be a real PITA and expensive when it breaks and you can't get it fixed easily. A spare derailer is available everywhere. I'd also recommend getting a spare derailer hanger to bring along on the trip. It's not terribly common, but they get bent. You'll be carrying a lot of weight on this bike. It could fall over at some point. It's easier to take a spare than to track one down in the middle of some small town(which may well not have one at all).
The derailer does make more sense. I realize that this is just my first build. I can already tell there will be a 2nd one. While researching this plan the one thing that hit me was how fast everything is changing. Batteries are getting better thanks to the push for more EV's and ebikes are going more mainstream here in America. That's part of the reason for doing my own build. The basic bike isn't going to change all that much so I didn't want to get locked into some factory ebike that I can't upgrade when things do change.

The spare derailer hanger sounds like excellent advice that's going on my list for sure!

Thanks!

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 25 2019 10:58am
by kauaicycler
flat tire wrote:
May 24 2019 6:57pm
I think you would be significantly better off with a motorcycle, but if you really want to pedal then you're on the right track.

You can easily get plenty of exercise and lose weight on the motorcycle. Just walk around and do work at your campsite for an hour a day and eat a good diet with fewer calories than you expend. Bingo...
Sounds like a good idea but I've never ridden or owned a motorcycle. They are a lot more complex and expensive to own compared to a ebike. It would also be harder to ship to Hawaii and Costa Rica.

Good comment thanks!

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 25 2019 11:08am
by kauaicycler
markz wrote:
May 24 2019 7:46pm
I would agree, 100%
A motorcycle/scooter would be much better, excellent on gas, cheap insurance. But do be careful!
I will add this, you can buy motorcycle trailers, and buy yourself a fold up bicycle, like the Montague Paratrooper. That would be an amazing setup!

This would be a little too large, but you get the idea.
https://s1.cdn.autoevolution.com/images ... ery_13.jpg

More compact and more along the lines of what I'd do.
http://pbmotorcycletrailer.com/wp-conte ... railer.jpg
http://pbmotorcycletrailer.com/wp-conte ... railer.jpg
http://www.thunderpress.net/wp-content/ ... ailer1.jpg
http://pbmotorcycletrailer.com/wp-conte ... g-fast.jpg

I would not do this one below, but it will give you an idea. Just buy a good tent and a good cushion mat.
https://cdn3.bigcommerce.com/s-437uh/pr ... 00.jpg?c=2







flat tire wrote:
May 24 2019 6:57pm
I think you would be significantly better off with a motorcycle, but if you really want to pedal then you're on the right track.

You can easily get plenty of exercise and lose weight on the motorcycle. Just walk around and do work at your campsite for an hour a day and eat a good diet with fewer calories than you expend. Bingo...
I've taken road trips across the country a few times by car and I have some great memories every time we stopped. I think the slower pace of a bicycle might give me more memories. For me it's all about the memories. The portability of the ebike is also a plus for going to Hawaii and Costa Rica. I've never owned one, ridden one and I don't have a motorcycle license. It would greatly increase the comfort factor but at the cost of more complications and flexibility.

Great comment I can definitely see the advantage to a motorcycle.

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 25 2019 11:28am
by kauaicycler
DRMousseau wrote:
May 24 2019 10:13pm
I'm a poor single retiree, and now live year-around in my "34' rolling upstairs apartment", with no other income than my meager SS retirement benefits. I DO NOT travel much as my RV consumes about a gal of gas for every 6mi traveled!!! AND, this is an upgrade from my previous retirement home,.... a "classic 20' cottage on wheels"! I have room now, for everything from TIG welders and grinders, to circular saws and chainsaws, fishing gear and gold pans to kites, cotton candy machine, ice cream churn, AND e-bike and kayak!!! This allows me considerable independence, an ability to help friends and family where ever I am and however needed, and some casual recreational enjoyment! I typically spend seasonal time between family and friends from the Gulf Coast of Florida, to the Michigan Shores of the Great Lakes. Not a life for many, but suits me nicely. (Note- currently relaxing in the cool north woods after helping many in disaster recovery efforts of Hurricane Michael, where I've been since day 10 after landfall.)

I GREATLY depend on my e-bike for most ALL ventures away from "home",... wherever I may be based at any given time. Therefore, I made a choice for a dependable, minimal care and nearly maintenance-free, hub-driven beach cruiser in the most simplistic manner possible. It's functional, doesn't attract a great deal of unwanted attention, and as an older life-long bicyclist,... it allows me a return to the enjoyment that only technology has made possible, with a dream of another. New build, will be a bit more classic, original and fully custom. Forty years ago,.. it was a hand-shifted Harley Panhead, with little more than a sleeping bag, a Mayan Hammock, and a backpack.

Enjoy the moment,... in every way you can!!!

Personal notes to consider,...
-backups, backups, BACKUPS! a second compact charger MIGHT come in handy! I'd also consider a compact solar charger for unused battery while on the road. Although THAT's gonna require some great consideration, portable high voltage solar could be tricky.
-if you have access to a "welder of experience", consider a full custom build! AtomicZombie.com may offer some inspiration into the realms of "uniqueness" and "special purpose" far beyond anything of "recreation"!
I'm not fit but I am healthy so I thought I'd take advantage of that while I can. I feared that a real RV would limit my ability to travel as it has you. You do have a lot of great toys though. I've decided to go minimalist to enable me to travel. It started when I left Hawaii and this will be it's largest funnel. If I can't carry it on my bike I don't need it.

I'm glad you found ebikes I think it's awesome they way they allow all kinds of people to enjoy their benefits.

This trip is all about creating as many moments as I can! Some will be good some will be bad but the best ones are the ones that create stories for myself and others.

I like the idea of a backup charger, I hadn't considered that, duh!

AtomicZombie.com looks insane! I was only going to use a welder if needed but I might have to reconsider if I see something cool that fits my needs. My welder friend is also a hunter and I haven't clued him in on the advantages of ebikes for hunting yet. If he gets interested maybe we could build our bikes together. ;)

Thanks for the comment. Good to hear from someone in the same situation as me.

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 25 2019 11:34am
by kauaicycler
donn wrote:
May 25 2019 10:45am
kauaicycler wrote:
May 25 2019 9:45am
The main downside I see is it might attract too much attention.
The attention I get has not been a problem, most vociferously from boys about 8 years old who generally seem to think it's pretty awesome. I should say, though, having really only hinted at it, with a motor, a recumbent really benefits from rear suspension - and most don't have it, so that narrows the options quite a bit. I don't ride super fast, but I'm sitting in a lawn chair almost on top of the rear wheel, and most of the rest of the load is back there too. What's good at typical bicycle average speeds, may not be quite right when the average speed moves into the motorized range.
Without having ridden one yet I've always thought having your legs raised up would be tiring, especially for distance. I've never seen anyone mention that so it's probably just my assumption. I definitely need to try one.

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 25 2019 12:18pm
by E-HP
kauaicycler wrote:
May 25 2019 11:08am
I've taken road trips across the country a few times by car and I have some great memories every time we stopped. I think the slower pace of a bicycle might give me more memories. For me it's all about the memories. The portability of the ebike is also a plus for going to Hawaii and Costa Rica. I've never owned one, ridden one and I don't have a motorcycle license. It would greatly increase the comfort factor but at the cost of more complications and flexibility.

Great comment I can definitely see the advantage to a motorcycle.
I'm not sure you'd have more memories on a ebike that a motorcycle. With a motorcycle, you have a lot more quality time to spend at various locations, instead of memories of endless roadways. There are 12 national parks between Florida and San Diego, so if you bought a used street legal enduro style motorcycle, you could stop and explore and go up into the woods a ways too. You could change your plan to motorcycle across country, and sell it, when you get to California.

For Hawaii, there are tons of ebike rentals there, where you could try out several bikes, and not have to incur the cost of shipping (not sure what the rules are for shipping a bike with a big lithium battery attached).

I looked at some Craigslist adds in Florida, and like California, there are tons of deals that are at the same or less cost of putting together an ebike that could survive a cross country trip.

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 25 2019 12:27pm
by kauaicycler
donn wrote:
May 25 2019 10:45am
kauaicycler wrote:
May 25 2019 9:45am
The main downside I see is it might attract too much attention.
The attention I get has not been a problem, most vociferously from boys about 8 years old who generally seem to think it's pretty awesome. I should say, though, having really only hinted at it, with a motor, a recumbent really benefits from rear suspension - and most don't have it, so that narrows the options quite a bit. I don't ride super fast, but I'm sitting in a lawn chair almost on top of the rear wheel, and most of the rest of the load is back there too. What's good at typical bicycle average speeds, may not be quite right when the average speed moves into the motorized range.
This one looks cool: https://bicycleman.com/burley-long-wheelbase-47/, it looks like you wouldn't be riding it with your legs up. Too bad I don't have the money yet but it's good to know what's out there.

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 25 2019 12:28pm
by RunForTheHills
E-HP wrote:
May 25 2019 12:18pm

I'm not sure you'd have more memories on a ebike that a motorcycle. With a motorcycle, you have a lot more quality time to spend at various locations, instead of memories of endless roadways. There are 12 national parks between Florida and San Diego, so if you bought a used street legal enduro style motorcycle, you could stop and explore and go up into the woods a ways too. You could change your plan to motorcycle across country, and sell it, when you get to California.

For Hawaii, there are tons of ebike rentals there, where you could try out several bikes, and not have to incur the cost of shipping (not sure what the rules are for shipping a bike with a big lithium battery attached).

I looked at some Craigslist adds in Florida, and like California, there are tons of deals that are at the same or less cost of putting together an ebike that could survive a cross country trip.
For that matter, you could use whatever vehicle you already own for the trip and sell it when you get to California. You might even put an ebike on a rack and use that for exploring. That said, if you are after the challenge, doing the trip on an ebike will certainly be a different kind of adventure and will stretch your ingenuity and resources more than a conventional road trip.

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 25 2019 12:33pm
by flat tire
kauaicycler wrote:
May 25 2019 10:58am
Sounds like a good idea but I've never ridden or owned a motorcycle. They are a lot more complex and expensive to own
You will in fact be riding a really slow, massively overloaded hybrid motorcycle that leaves you vulnerable to oblivious and occasionally angry motorists.

It would be better and in fact, LESS complicated and LESS expensive to buy an actual motorcycle, and ride across the country on a vehicle that can competently carry a large individual and his possessions. Not to mention a shitload safer, since you will be able to ride WITH the speed of traffic.

Mr "I can do this, that and a strobe light" can't get his motorcycle endorsement? You definitely can. Most motorcyclists are like anyone else, they have minimum skill brainpower time and other resources to devote to motorcycling. In spite of this you can teach these people to ride a bike semi-competently in the space of a weekend with no prior experience. You will do quite well if you put a little time into it.

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 25 2019 12:43pm
by RunForTheHills
It takes 5-7 months to through hike the 2200 mile Appalachian trail. The average person loses about 30lbs during that trek. I always thought that would be fun to do, but I have a family and a mortgage and couldn't take the time away from work. It is mostly young people who take on this challenge. However, people of all ages have completed the hike. It might be fun to do when I retire.

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 25 2019 12:54pm
by kauaicycler
E-HP wrote:
May 25 2019 12:18pm
kauaicycler wrote:
May 25 2019 11:08am
I've taken road trips across the country a few times by car and I have some great memories every time we stopped. I think the slower pace of a bicycle might give me more memories. For me it's all about the memories. The portability of the ebike is also a plus for going to Hawaii and Costa Rica. I've never owned one, ridden one and I don't have a motorcycle license. It would greatly increase the comfort factor but at the cost of more complications and flexibility.

Great comment I can definitely see the advantage to a motorcycle.
I'm not sure you'd have more memories on a ebike that a motorcycle. With a motorcycle, you have a lot more quality time to spend at various locations, instead of memories of endless roadways. There are 12 national parks between Florida and San Diego, so if you bought a used street legal enduro style motorcycle, you could stop and explore and go up into the woods a ways too. You could change your plan to motorcycle across country, and sell it, when you get to California.

For Hawaii, there are tons of ebike rentals there, where you could try out several bikes, and not have to incur the cost of shipping (not sure what the rules are for shipping a bike with a big lithium battery attached).

I looked at some Craigslist adds in Florida, and like California, there are tons of deals that are at the same or less cost of putting together an ebike that could survive a cross country trip.
You make some great points! I will strongly consider this option. My biggest concerns are the fact that I've never ridden one and I don't know much about maintenance. I don't know much about ebike maintenance either but it does seem simpler. Further complications are getting a license and insurance but both are doable.

I ended up in Hawaii after buying a van for $300 and then driving across country and selling it in Oregon for $300, I used that money to buy a one way ticket to Kauai. So that's excellent advice.

I'm still leaning towards the ebike option but this is a serious contender.

I knew I'd get some great feedback by posting here but I wasn't expecting this. I'm so glad I posted!

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 25 2019 1:19pm
by kauaicycler
flat tire wrote:
May 25 2019 12:33pm
kauaicycler wrote:
May 25 2019 10:58am
Sounds like a good idea but I've never ridden or owned a motorcycle. They are a lot more complex and expensive to own
You will in fact be riding a really slow, massively overloaded hybrid motorcycle that leaves you vulnerable to oblivious and occasionally angry motorists.

It would be better and in fact, LESS complicated and LESS expensive to buy an actual motorcycle, and ride across the country on a vehicle that can competently carry a large individual and his possessions. Not to mention a shitload safer, since you will be able to ride WITH the speed of traffic.

Mr "I can do this, that and a strobe light" can't get his motorcycle endorsement? You definitely can. Most motorcyclists are like anyone else, they have minimum skill brainpower time and other resources to devote to motorcycling. In spite of this you can teach these people to ride a bike semi-competently in the space of a weekend with no prior experience. You will do quite well if you put a little time into it.
You make a great point about safety! Motorists do scare me a lot! So far two people on this thread, and a friend, think a motorcycle would be better. I take that seriously.

I still like the slow pace idea of a bicycle and I could match that somewhat by taking the same route as I would a bicycle and staying off the interstates. For me the trip is something to do so the longer it takes the better. So three days to get somewhere vs three weeks isn't as appealing. I'm not sure about longer trips vs more trips. Destinations aren't as important, I can spend as much time as I like wherever I am.

Getting on a motorcycle and just going does appeal to my lazy nature.

I was hoping to narrow down my options with this post, I should of known better. Now I have even more options to consider. I guess that's good and bad.

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 25 2019 1:23pm
by kauaicycler
RunForTheHills wrote:
May 25 2019 12:43pm
It takes 5-7 months to through hike the 2200 mile Appalachian trail. The average person loses about 30lbs during that trek. I always thought that would be fun to do, but I have a family and a mortgage and couldn't take the time away from work. It is mostly young people who take on this challenge. However, people of all ages have completed the hike. It might be fun to do when I retire.
I agree! That would be an adventure. I wonder if I could take my ebike? I'm not much for carrying a back pack. Good luck if you do go!

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 25 2019 1:26pm
by Electric Earth
I don't recall if I saw this mentioned yet, but have you considered a trailer pulled behind the bike? A simple Burley trailer can be found cheap, and carries plenty of stuff in place of the two small children. I had one for a while that I used for all sorts of in town hauling. People use them for bike touring. There's a popular one designed for bike touring called the Bob trailer that comes in a version with suspension.

Re: Poor Man's RV

Posted: May 25 2019 2:41pm
by kauaicycler
Electric Earth wrote:
May 25 2019 1:26pm
I don't recall if I saw this mentioned yet, but have you considered a trailer pulled behind the bike? A simple Burley trailer can be found cheap, and carries plenty of stuff in place of the two small children. I had one for a while that I used for all sorts of in town hauling. People use them for bike touring. There's a popular one designed for bike touring called the Bob trailer that comes in a version with suspension.
Yes I did consider the Bob trailer. I'm leaning towards the pannier approach for portability and one less thing to maintain but I might consider one if I need more space. It's either that or get rid of stuff or get a motorcycle as mentioned in other comments. Whats your take on a loaded bike vs a trailer?

A kid trailer might be kinda cool for the stealth factor and possibly safety factor if motorists think there's kids inside. The ability to roll my belongings around wheelbarrow style when it's not attached to the bike (I assume that's a feature) also sounds handy. I need to investigate. Great idea!