Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

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parajared
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Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by parajared » Feb 02, 2013 11:32 pm

For build five I said to heck with off-road abilities; forget being all-around good. I wanted something to fill the void my off-road setup was lacking: top speed, efficiency, range and ninja like noise levels.
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I should point out this thing has some definite pros and cons to a diamond frame however. Let’s start with the cons.

Cons:
-Bumps jumps and curbs: I quickly found out how much I utilize the “bunny hop” to pop over curbs and other little obstacles. It’s a bit awkward sitting there in your trike having just a mere curb smite you down from your seated riding experience. Until the spring loaded trike launcher finally hits the market (fingers crossed) you are stuck dragging the thing around by hand every time you want to ride through that ditch, or that big bump, or that trail with the big rock in the middle.
-Getting run over: You are riding along staring up at undercarriages of big trucks and car grills and tires right there at eye level. Traversing a crosswalk is mighty daunting when you have a tire staring you down. The trike is also wide, so no squeezing through traffic or down the edge of the road. Flags can help, but I sure wouldn’t rely on them.
-It may sound funny, but all your change and stuff falls right out of your pockets, I have to hurl all my pocket goodies into my the cargo hold. I lost a cell phone due to a flagrant violation of this rule.

Pros:
-Trikes feel fast; I’m amazed at how hard you can crank around corners in them. Very sports car, race-kart feeling.
-Loads more comfortable than diamond frame: it’s a lawn chair on wheels! Years of bunn toughening upright bike rides going to waste here.
-efficient, I can get to work and back (32 miles) on less than 15ah.

Look out, it happened again; I went with a sensorless controller, this time intentionally even (fried the hall sensors off the last motor) and I put a Vuelta 60t chainring on the front because the stock chainring was just pathetic and being able to assist in peddling at higher speeds. I built the battery bay huge: (e-bike wise) big enough to hold a whopping 1760 watt hours of hobby lipo.

I built the battery bay from thrift store bedframe because when you have $200 of lithium hanging two inches away from ground it's best to protect them with $2 worth of bedframe :roll: . I welded some braided steel to the bedframe so that I could lock the batteries to the bike and I also delved into some amateurish upholstery and made a little squishy foam enclosure for my lipos. Padded cells seemed oddly appropriate for rc hobby lipo.
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Total price minus batteries: about $1200
KMX Typhoon: $700 “in new condition” (actually not) off e-bay
EM3EV MXUS: $200
Lyen 12 fet Sensorless: $150
Thumb throttle: $20
Three way toggle: $20
Vuelta 60t chainring: $45
Epoch 11-32 freewheel: $30
Bedframe: $2
fabric and foam: $15

Battery: 44volts 20ah swappable to 10ah 18s depending on what mood strikes me
Top speed: mid 20s mph on 12s, low 30s mph on 18s
Efficiency: 10watt hours per mile if I do pretty much all the work and go slow as heck, 20watt hours per mile is about par for the course, 40+ watt hours per mile when I'm lazy and want the bike to do all the work.

update 5/24/13
I was pretending the trike was a luge and bombed down the side of a mountain. I was flying along pretty fast and caught one wheel in a pothole and it violently yanked me sideways. Fortunately I didn't flip but slid sideways for a while ripping the tire clean off and giving the stock 16" rim got one heck of a bend. I switched to 20 inch rims which aren't as squirrely at high speeds as 16s and allow you to drop off curbs without scraping. You don't feel the bumps of the road as much buy they make the trike a tinch more flippy so no more encounters with potholes, or hard cornering.

update 7/17/13
I'm starting to do distance runs. I did a 72 mile trip the other day using just a mere 650 watt hours of power. I was amazed at how easy it was to maintain my top speed with just a paltry amount of power helping me along. I'm starting to have as much fun playing with low power for the distance as I am with high power.

update 1/6/14
Little fleks of dirt seem to make it past the mud flap and peg me in the back of the neck. I tried taping a piece of cardboard to the flap with limited success, then I found a bike rack at a garage sale. Rear rack seems to be the best solution to the lousy mud flap problem.

update 9/25/14
I took the Black Bullet on a 185 mile road trip to the Grand Canyon. Read about it here: My first cross-country trip: 185 miles
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Update 5/2/16
I built a solar attachment for my e-trike
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update 5/20/16
the Black Bullet goes on a 251 mile solar ride
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update 9/28/17
I left Arizona and did a 207 mile ride in Utah
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update 10/1/17
KMX gets some new upgrades
-panniers added: after I attempted to get around for a while solely off leg power I thought not having an electric motor kinda sucked, I thought road bikes were uncomfortable compared to bents and sold my touring bike but decided to keep the panniers. I like them because it kinda hides the motor and its nice to have the extra storage space (which never gets used, but hey it's there if I need it :D )
-rear bag added: after swapping the rear rack with a pannier rack I started having fleks of dirt pelting me in the back of the neck and I added a rear bag to block the dirt. Also works nicely as a Subway sandwich holder.
-switched to Trisled 70t chainring: minor issues with throwing a chain on my Vuelta 60 tooth chainring; Trisled chainring has a little plastic lip on the edge that helps keep the chain from flying off. Issues with leg cadence- I can only comfortably spin my legs and help propel the trike to about 24mph or so with 60t/11t. I can hit 28mph or so at a comfortable leg cadence with the 70t ring.
-switched over to Multistar 10c batteries due to better wh/weight ratio (compared to Turnigy 25c batteries)
Last edited by parajared on Oct 25, 2017 10:27 am, edited 31 times in total.

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MattyCiii
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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by MattyCiii » Feb 08, 2013 2:38 pm

Really nice!
And at the rate you're going, you'll probably be done with build #6 by the time I hit "Submit" :mrgreen:
1st build: Dahon Jetstream folding bike. Quick, reliable, capable of 32mph. Light enough to lift, folds for easy transport by car/bus/train.
2nd build: RC powered 2009 Norco A-Line. Top speed 39mph. Built like a tank, it's resistant to Boston potholes, can stop on a dime, easily goes up/down curbs when necessary.
3rd build (just started): Scratch build ultimate utility bike. Based on a common power module using a NuVinci left side freewheel.

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by parajared » Apr 07, 2013 11:35 pm

Really nice!
And at the rate you're going, you'll probably be done with build #6 by the time I hit "Submit"
Not quite, but build six is in the works. I am converting a power rider exercise machine into a trike. I will start a thread on it once it's done. I just had to slip out a sneak peek.

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update 1/1/14:
My "power rider" build failed. I built several of the sections out of heavy steel and thing ended up weighing a ton! Also building the seat both comfortable and adjustable is harder than it looks. The Power rider is back in the scrap steel pile.
Last edited by parajared on Jan 01, 2014 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by docnjoj » Apr 09, 2013 4:17 pm

Is that thing gunnna tilt?
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E-bike stable at our house

Steintrike Mad Max full suspension trike rear Cute 100H going on: Whoops, Cute wheel broke but I fixed it.
Sun USX delta trike EbikeKit small geared front wheel sort of front suspension for wife

Agniusm/A123 AMP 20 36 volts on the Steini has been taken off.
2x16000 Multisport from HK now gone as they died after 2 years
New Luna 10S bottle battery 13.6AH now on mine
Relatively New 10S4Px2 for wife's bike giving 20ah @ 40 volts home made Panasonic from Tumich. BMS's rule.

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by parajared » Apr 10, 2013 5:46 pm

Is that thing gunnna tilt?
Tilters look pretty cool. I watched a bunch of youtube videos and read a few articles comparing tilters to regular trikes. I was planning on building a tilter like in this pic before I bought my KMX. After sliding around a few corners on my KMX I came to the conclusion of "meh", and just stuck to a regular build.

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by xenodius » Apr 25, 2013 8:20 pm

Looks good, great commuter! A couple questions for you as I consider a similar build. I've read that the Typhoon/Tornado both have enough caster so they don't turn "twitchily" at high speed. If you had to go down a 60mph laser-straight road with the occasional bump/crack at 50mph or 60mph, do you think you'd feel stable? I'm not worried about damaging the trike at high speeds, but even if the steering felt stable... do you think hitting a small pothole or large crack at that speed would be kick you out with the small wheels and no suspension?

Also, do you feel the weight of the batteries in the back hampers handling at all? I'm thinking of doing 36s 20ah A123's in the back, 3x12s packs-- one in the middle, two on the sides. 44+lb's of lifepo4. I'm going to weld ABS sheets into a custom box to house all 3 packs, one in the middle and two on the sides... either along the rear chainstays or in a somewhat-FFR-wing formation. But I don't want it to be vulnerable if I hop onto two wheels. I'm going back and forth about how to arrange them. If you're feeling generous, It would be super helpful if you could take a measurement or two of the area behind the seat-- preferably at 45 degrees, seat-to wheel. Or just give me the exact distance of some reference point and I'll use photos. I've tried estimating the dimensions back there based on total length of the trike and I always come up with more room than I feel like it is, I'd like to be sure my estimations are somewhat accurate. If I'm going to have to modify the frame to make it fit, I'll just build my own instead =)

Thankyou in advance. Super jealous :D

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by parajared » Apr 25, 2013 9:26 pm

I've read that the Typhoon/Tornado both have enough caster so they don't turn "twitchily" at high speed
I think that they are considering 30mph "high speed" When I ran my setup on 66 volts (18s) and started getting into the high 30s low 40s mph it seemed to me a bit dangerous. Bumps and small imperfections in the road cause the trike make too large of course direction changes no matter how hard I tried to stiff arm the steering into not moving. I think doctorbass put a motorcycle steer dampener on his to fix this problem. 30mph seems fine however.
do you think hitting a small pothole or large crack at that speed would be kick you out with the small wheels and no suspension?
That exact thing happened to me. A pothole sucked one tire in and the other two kept going straight. I ended up bending the rim. I decided to switch to 20" rims ($120 per rim at utahtrikes.com), and I like them much better. They make things better in three ways 1) ride feels much smoother 2) dropping down off curbs without bottoming out is now possible 3) high speeds aren't as twitchy. They have the unfotunate side effect of making the trike flip slightly easier
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I played with a number of battery positions before I finally chose the position I like best which is as low as you can get away with and as close to middle as possible. I was planning on putting the batteries up in front of the seat but ended up not liking it. Also because my "wings" are a bit wide they scrape whenever I put the trike on two wheels. You may find it better to keep those batteries hugging the middle rather than layed out flat like mine.

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by xenodius » May 01, 2013 9:14 am

Thanks parajared!! That's exactly the info I was looking for. A couple people on these other forums said they went 58 and 66mph top speed respectively going downhill. But I wouldn't doubt that they're simply crazy =) I begin to feel sketchy when I'm over ~45mph downhill on my bicycle. Motorcycle damper it is, then! I hope to be able to take this thing on long tours. Which means lots of slow curves at moderate to high speeds. I'll need a damper!

I've thought about 20" rims, and I would like to prevent bottoming out. I just really don't want to tip over, so I got to have the low CG. *sigh* Perhaps the perfect trike really is a leaner. Maybe for now I'll just build one with the 16" rims, put some truck-bedliner under the frame, and call it good-- then when I have space, build another one and give the KMX to my wife :D

An alternative would be widening the frame, which would be a bit of work but might end up being worth it. I'll decide once I have one in my hands-- I'm pretty tall, so It might be more ergonomic for my monkey-arms.

Thankyou again! The recumbent e-triking community is awfully small :roll:

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by migueralliart » May 01, 2013 9:25 am

I totally concurr with the 30mph happy medium. Anything over that you're looking for trouble really unless you're driving on a solitary road.

What I do love about trikes is their efficiency at higher speed. With the same battery you can go much further. I sure recommend them to people that commute more than 10 miles each way. Althou I've been thinking of changing my setup from a rear 3540 on a 20" rim to a 24" 9C fast wind for some weight savings and so that I can lower the battery voltage and have more capacity. Right now I'm running 15S on my trike and it is really scary to think that with the 3540 the PUSH comes along after 20mph and it keeps climbing to 35mph+ easily.

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by Holocene » May 09, 2013 5:25 am

xenodius wrote:The recumbent e-triking community is awfully small :roll:
Hi xenodius,

There are several excellent KMX trike build threads here on the 'sphere. Here's a sample :)

Some custom work going on in the "Matt-Cave" :~)
Postby recumpence » Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:29 pm

Look how Matt 'Recumpense' Shumaker reinforced the KMX frame to handle all that RC outrunner / lipo power :shock:

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KMX trike build (updated pics)(new HD video)
Postby migueralliart » Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:43 am

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migueralliart runs on 20" hookworms, with a rear hubmotor. 44 v gives him ~30 mph. I like the way he's mounted the battery box in space Recumpense uses for the RC drive.

Here's a 9 minute video of migueralliart riding the trike:



Enjoy your trike! 8)
2000 ZAP DX electric bike kit on chromoly MTB - retired
2007 Strong GTS-210 electric bike - melted solder in hub
2007 Giant Revive, Crystalyte 405 20" fr, 35A/72V + Cycle-analyst 2.1

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Re: Build 5: Black Bullet- KMX Typhoon Tadpole Trike

Post by xenodius » May 09, 2013 9:41 am

Hey, thankyou for the links! I'm familiar with Matt's trike, it's a beast, I do still want to go with a hubmotor for a simple maintenance-free drivetrain, and the possibility of more seamless assist. =) And regen, save those brake pads! =) Migueralliart's build looks like almost exactly what I was hoping to do with mine! Or rather with my battery. :) I'm thinking for now a 24s A123 pack and, for now, a cheap hub (9c/hs3548) or I'll go all-out and do a 36s A123 pack and a Cromotor. =) I'd like to use one of John in CR's hubs but until I build a custom frame that won't be possible.

Thankyou for the video, I find myself in disbelief about the aero of bents-- I'll look into his build thread =)

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