Critique this performance velomobile idea

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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Chalo   100 GW

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by Chalo » Feb 21 2016 2:34am

Ha, I just realized you have a Thunderbolt. I used to work with Rick Horwitz in the late '90s. He was a production engineer and I was a development machinist in the same high tech startup firm.
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Feb 21 2016 8:37pm

amberwolf wrote:YOu can also use nylon "webbing" meant for overhead canopy stuff; that's what my CrazyBIke2 seat was made of originally, with holes melted thru it's doubled-up edges so I could lace the back together with paracord to tension it.

Presently it is made of the nylon base "sheet" that was on a sleeper couch (the part suspended by it's edges with springs that holds up the mattress), with holes at the edges for lacing, though this time I used a harbor-freight reinforcement-ring eyelet "kit" where you hammer a ttol thru the material to make the hole, then the other part of the tool to close the eyelets thru the material to reinforce the hole. Then again it's laced with paracord across the back to tension it, in a pattern like that on a shoe's string over it's tongue.
I went to a few different hardware stores(Home Depot, Sutherlands, Lowes, ect) and none of them had any nylon sheet or webbing. Do you know where I might obtain some, without having to get a pre-paid debit card, order it from the internet, and wait for it in the mail? I normally like to pay cash for the things I want, but finding them for this trike has been a chore. I need to do something about that seat before I can ride it regularly, otherwise it's an accident waiting to happen.
Another option, if you don't mind building it, is 18650 cells. There's a number of ways to build packs out of new cells easily enough (lots of threads on that sort of thing, which cells are better, etc; havent' tried it yet myself), or you can buy premade packs from reputable USA vendors.
If I go this route, I will be looking less towards power and more towards specific capacity. The more Wh/kg, the more electric range I get. Something in the range of 300 Wh/kg, if commercially available, would be nice...
Chalo wrote:Ha, I just realized you have a Thunderbolt. I used to work with Rick Horwitz in the late '90s. He was a production engineer and I was a development machinist in the same high tech startup firm.
I had earlier stated it was a KMX Thunderbolt, thinking that the term Thunderbolt used to describe a recumbent pedal trike was exclusively their domain, but later found out that the Thunderbolt I have was a separate make from a separate company. The seller of this trike told me he had assembled it from a kit some 15 years ago.

It is very sturdy though, given the frame withstood being run over by a truck without being bent.

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea (calling zombi

Post by ScooterMan101 » Feb 21 2016 9:00pm

Toecutter,

I am still on page one, of 5 of this thread , not enough time + ADD, so if what I write here has already been said, so be it.

First , the pictures of that short wheelbase tadpole trike you posted a picture of below, I would only use for speeds under 30mph, I did research on this a few years back and decided against such a bike. it will only be good/safe/fun for low speeds.

Second, I am interested in what you are wanting , higher speed, enclosed, etc. trike.
if you have not already done so, look into the lightest weight , motorcycle parts, wheels, etc.
make your own frame.
Make your frame long !

And do allot of research on tilting trikes and post your findings / links here on this thread.

Do center of gravity testing on your frame/heavy velomobile !

Can You can have at least a moped license ?

Edit : So you did buy that tadpole trike, and you have had several setbacks.

Well after you finish this one, the next step/project should be , an enclosed velomobile, ( larger than you trike, taller , longer, and bright colors so no more trucks or other vehicles running over it with you in it or it parked by itself ) !
For higher speeds, I would be wanting to use light weight motorcycle parts ( 250cc racing motorcycle parts ) and or Scooter parts , suspension, tires, chain, etc. along with a stronger motor like the Perm 132 , Etek, or similar motor.








The Toecutter wrote:I just found a potential donor about an hour's drive away from me for under $600. I need to take a good look at this thing.

What I've found out so far by speaking to the owner is that it is a tadpole recumbent trike with front disc brakes and rear suspension. The owner claims it weighs 40 to 50 lbs. There is no front suspension and no rear disc brake.

Given these limits, a rear wheel swap to motorcycle or moped parts could allow a disc brake. Beefier front wheels could be substituted from a motorcycle/moped as well, to allow excellent traction and cornering, not to mention ride cushion.

I don't see myself doing more than 50 mph without a front suspension, but perhaps I could go for a setup that reaches about 50 mph, from a stop, in under 4 seconds, without one...

...or maybe develop my own suspension and steering system, to allow higher speeds, which I would have had to do anyway if I designed a completely custom chassis.

I was originally thinking of using a honeycomb monocoque sandwich composite and folding a fuselage structure out of it for my trike design, but getting a working trike frame that can already be pedaled would be infinitely easier, far less expensive, and shorten the time between having just my current bicycle available, and having a viable car substitute.

You see, with a working chassis that can be pedaled, I can immediately jump into making a body, while still planning the electric drive subsystem. Using zote-foam, a body of around 10 lbs can be done, but that material would not be suitable for mounting solar panels. Getting a feel for a pedal velomobile would definitely be a wise choice before jumping into building something dangerous, anyway, and keep the cost of my first trike project down.

I estimate, best case scenario, about 40 lbs of batteries can be fit to this. If I had only 25 lbs of those Multistar High Capacity 6S 10AH batteries, it would be a 3S3P pack of 66.6V yielding 1600 Wh usable to 80% discharge. This is 160W of power for 10 hours straight. 66.6V with 3 Astroflight RC motors and a mid drive could give a very broad operating range.

Pictures are attached of this used trike. It seems like a good buy. I hope to get a chance to look at it this weekend.
My first conversion ...

https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 1#p1077497

It's 2018 already, lets get some real , improved e-bike / e-velomobile / e-motorcycle designs .

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea (calling zombi

Post by The Toecutter » Feb 22 2016 1:07am

ScooterMan101 wrote:First , the pictures of that short wheelbase tadpole trike you posted a picture of below, I would only use for speeds under 30mph, I did research on this a few years back and decided against such a bike. it will only be good/safe/fun for low speeds.
My current trike has a wheelbase of 51" and a front track of 31". That doesn't seem too bad. I've gone through a little math from "Chassis Design: Principles and Analysis" by Maurice Olley, and theoretically, this trike should be safe in corners at 30 mph speeds as long as the G forces are kept reasonable.

I'll have to try the trike out in hard cornering at speed to judge for myself.
Second, I am interested in what you are wanting , higher speed, enclosed, etc. trike.
if you have not already done so, look into the lightest weight , motorcycle parts, wheels, etc.
make your own frame.
Make your frame long !
I've looked into these things and have determined that I will need to design from the ground up to optimize what is available. This current frame is a test bed, more than anything, and to also give me a source of reliable, long-distance transport.

More than any other criterion, I want a vehicle that is enclosed, reasonably efficient being operated by pedaling only when the battery is depleted, and that can cruise at 30-35 mph with 100W pedal input plus 200W or less motor input.
And do allot of research on tilting trikes and post your findings / links here on this thread.
I have not looked much into tilting trikes, being fond of reduced mechanical complexity. Tilting will add all sorts of clearance issues for my body shell as well.
Do center of gravity testing on your frame/heavy velomobile !
The closest I've come to this is hauling ass through a sharp corner at 20 mph, with a turn of perhaps a 25-30 foot radius. It wasn't anywhere close to flipping, and felt very stable other than the rear wheel wanting to get loose.
Can You can have at least a moped license ?
Nope.
Well after you finish this one, the next step/project should be , an enclosed velomobile, ( larger than you trike, taller , longer, and bright colors so no more trucks or other vehicles running over it with you in it or it parked by itself ) !
I've been thinking about this idea for more than a year before I started this project.

For now, the trike I have will do for a test bed, as I need some sort of long distance transport. If I get my current trike into a reasonably efficient velomobile, I think that I will be off to a good start.

For higher speeds, I would be wanting to use light weight motorcycle parts ( 250cc racing motorcycle parts ) and or Scooter parts , suspension, tires, chain, etc. along with a stronger motor like the Perm 132 , Etek, or similar motor.
For 50+ mph over long periods, motorcycle parts are a must. That being said, an Etek would be a bit heavy for my application given the 100 lb weight limit.

The 8 lb Tangent Motors Ascent is plenty powerful for my needs for this first build. Assuming I end up with my same gearing, geared for 40 mph in top gear at 140 rpm, with the fully laden vehicle coming in at 300 lbs, the available 5.3 horsepower/200 lb-ft could theoretically allow 0-40 mph in at around 7 seconds, if the rider pedals with 1 horsepower from 0-140 rpm and up to 150 lb-ft at 0 rpm for the duration. This is very car-like, and faster is possible if I used the gears.

I may even still go with a modest BBSO2 for this first build, simply because it is more readily available, requires no maintennce(versus the Tangent Motors Acent needing grease every 100 miles), and settle for 750W peak power draw. With my current gearing, I'd still top out at over 40 mph... and potential for 50 mph would be there with an 11T rear chain ring(assuming one could be made to be reliable, which doesn't exist at the moment).

I mainly want the first build to allow me to cruise for long distances at 30 mph.

For a faster vehicle, I'll need more power. Twin Astroflight 3220 motors would be nice...

I really want the second build to be something special, though. Triple digit speeds may be possible...

I'm thinking of something with a wheelbase roughly 72" and a front track width of only 24" with a 32" height. Scooter wheels/tires would be used for all three wheels with the overall diameter of all three wheels being set equal at ~24", so that the rider be below the axle line, keeping the CoG low. The turning radius would be very car-like, but I could keep the frontal area down and fit the vehicle through a doorway. I have NOT investigated the downforce I would need for stability at 100 mph, and how that would impact my drag, but for something built fully from scratch, a drag coefficient of 0.11 or less and frontal area of roughly 0.4 m^2would be nice.

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Feb 24 2016 12:28am

I took the trike out today to commute to work. Inside of the parking garage, at low speeds(< 5 mph) I purposely made the trike go up on two wheels while cornering sharply. My best guess is that the trike loses its stability at about 0.5-0.6G of lateral force before it raises one of the front wheels at low speeds turning as sharply as possible. This is worse than most cars, but not unusable.

After work, I prowled the northside ghetto intoxicated, enjoying what remained of the day, and trying to get some testing done to arrive at some estimates.

This trike is quite fun. I was going downhill on Winnebago St at 20+ mph at 7:30 pm, and decided to do a relatively hard right turn at the intersection of Winnebago and Brownlee at that speed. It wasn't an extremely sharp turn, a radius of perhaps 40 feet, and this trike handled the turn without coming close to rolling.

As I rode around, I got lots of strange stares and comments. A lot of comments along the line of "Badass." or "Nice bike." or "I want that." or "Where can I get one?"

It's still too heavy and aerodynamically lossy to get up to very high speeds on my power alone, but I'm confident that 25 mph has been reached already, as I was once doing about 100 cadence with the 13T sprocket selected on the 38T chainring. It took a lot of effort, about the same amount as it takes to do 28 mph on the Raleigh.

I'm not going to try to reach my own maximum possible top speed until I do something about that seat, and install a backlit speedometer. I don't know if I have the strength to reach 30 mph on the flat with no body, but I am curious to find out. It's rolling and aero drag are both worse than as well as being roughly 50 lbs heavier than the Raleigh Technium that I can reach 31-32 mph on... There's something I can do about the aero of this trike, at least, and that is going to make a world of difference.

Also, to save weight, I am now looking for a smaller motor. The BBS01 at 250W is significantly lighter than the BBSO2 and similar in weight to the Tangent Motors Ascent. this would give me a little more wiggle-room with regard to battery weight, as if a choice has to be made between acceleration and range, I will gladly take range, to a point(Going with a very powerful Lone star pack still isn't out of the question if I decide to get the Tangent Motors setup, but I'm starting to consider a less-powerful solution as a means to save weight). I'm not sure of the BBSO1's continuous power capabilities though, and at least 250-300W continuous power is a necessity for this vehicle.

Know of anything under say, 5 lbs complete including mounting/computer, and perhaps 1 kW peak?

So much to consider...

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Feb 27 2016 9:53am

I was finally able to source some vinyl webbing, 1/8" wide pop rivets, and 1/8"x1" washers to re-furbish my seat. It will be black, to match the paintjob and components that are currently installed on the frame. Maybe it will be done this weekend. Then I can start riding this regularly in place of my bike. The election is coming up on Tuesday, and once done, I hope to snag a bunch of used election signs for the construction of a coroplast body.

I don't know when I am going to start the tedious task of building a mold for a more permanent/aerodynamically efficient body shell again, as I had put a lot of work into the last one only for it to get destroyed when it was about halfway done... really not a task I'm looking forward to given all of the work lost.

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Mar 02 2016 12:48am

I completed the seat last night. It came out very well. I'm going to have a co-worker get pictures tomorrow. I still haven't gotten a camera yet.

I need to get some material for my body, and the components for the electric drive. It would be smarter to get the body done first, and then see how much weight I have left to work with, and how much I can be rid of by removing extraneous pieces from the heavy steel frame.

It's very fun to ride it as is, and I don't even have a body ready yet. A whole new world is going to open up once I do...

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Mar 03 2016 11:06pm

Attached is a picture of the seat I made for it. I basically re-furbished the original seat with a vinyl webbing held to an aluminum tube by pop rivets and washers, with a home-made cushion underneath the rider's lower back mounted to the frame.

The cushion was made out of a sketch pad with cotton shoved into the middle pages, and closed with duct tape, wrapped in two shopping bags for water proofing, then liberally wrapped in duct tape placed underneath my lower back for support.

The original padding on the trike was still good, even though the duct tape was 20 years old and falling off of it. I wrapped it up with lots of dut tape, and it should last at least a few years like that. The padded foam gives the edges of the seat a very soft feel.

It is working out very well and feels very sofa-like, soft enough for absorbing road imperfections, supportive enough to allow a comfortable and firm ride, but unlike a sofa, it is very breathable and light. The aluminum tube will also serve as a roll bar once I increase the seat angle a bit and put the seat further back by about 2 inches.

Next step is to chop 6 inches off the handlebars to move the grips and levers down, and then bent the ends at an angle so that when I make a sharp turn my hands never contact the body that I will be building shortly after.

This thing is a lot of fun, and I don't even have a body or motor yet. A body will come first. I'm looking for some cardboard to do a mock-up. The next step after the mockup will be to either replicate it in coroplast, or fiberglass over it if the aerodynamics happen to be exceptional(Looking for 40 mph pedal-only top speed at a little over 120 cadence for me to want to keep it permanently, otherwise, it will be done in coroplast to hold me over until I make a better body from superior materials).
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Trike seat.jpg
Trike seat.jpg (117.37 KiB) Viewed 2345 times

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Jun 19 2016 2:00pm

I have it more reliable now. After 2 months of unuse, I was able to make the necessary repairs to get it operational again.

I also put a speedometer on it roughly 1 week ago. The wiring harness for the old Cateye Velo 5 I had on my Raleigh Technium had its wires extended an extra 4.5 feet.

Since this speedometer was installed last week, I have put more than 50 miles on this trike. Maintaining 13-14 mph in it for hours on end on the flat with no head wind or tail wind is probably viable on this trike. It's a heavy beast though, and the same amount of effort would get me 15 or so on the Raleigh.

It is currently far more lossy than my Raleigh on both rolling resistance and air drag, and the weight of it makes acceleration a chore. Whereas I can reach 32 mph on the Raleigh, just over 26 mph is my top end thus far on this trike according to the speedometer. Cutting the air drag to 1/4 of what it currently is could put a 35-40 mph top speed within reach on this vehicle in pedal-only mode, with a decent 17-18 mph all-day cruising speed on the flat when no electric assist is used.

I'm currently finishing a new cardboard floorpan template and am considering making a floorpan out of 1/4" plywood from an 8'x4' sheet, and possibly building a supported coroplast or cloth body around that floorpan with perhaps a wire frame added for support. 2.25" of ground clearance is the most I can get though, but it should do okay on most roads with careful attention paid to avoiding potholes.

Here are some more pics of the trike:
Attachments
Trike (side).jpg
Trike (side).jpg (113.04 KiB) Viewed 2260 times
Trike (rear).jpg
Trike (rear).jpg (120.32 KiB) Viewed 2260 times
Trike (front).jpg
Trike (front).jpg (133.85 KiB) Viewed 2260 times

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Jul 04 2016 3:29pm

Last week I got a chance to weigh it on an accurate scale and it came out to 71.0 lbs.

This means that I can fit perhaps 5-6 lbs of battery after I add a motor kit(10 lbs), body(12 lbs), lights/signals/wiring/accessories(2 lbs). This would give me a 50-60 mile range at 30 mph pedaling with 125W and having the motor do the rest from a 300-400Wh LiFePO4 pack, assuming I get a CdA of 0.15 m^2.

The potential exists to remove 5-10 lbs from the frame through cutting off extraneous pieces and drilling holes where appropriate. This would let me fit a 1 kWh or so pack.

In either event, I will have to carry spare batteries as part of my luggage for long trips, and swap in charged batteries as needed.

I can pedal it consistently to a maximum of 26 mph on flat ground. the fastest I took it to was 26.7 mph downhill on the feeder road of highway 286 heading westward, pedaling lightly. It feels stable at these speeds, and can corner okay at 25 mph. At 25+ mph, the suspension moving up and down is audible, and the tiny little road imperfections can be felt as the seat moves up and down about 3/4". I think I will need a stiffer shock given that my ground clearance is so low. I am planning to reach more than 30 mph downhill today and corner it lightly in order to see how stable it is at that speed.

The current progress with the body is that I have a finished cardboard template for the floorpan. I just need to somehow get home a 4x8 sheet of 1/4" plywood so I can create the floorpan, and then build a body around it from either coroplast, zote-foam, 3/32" plywood, or anything readily available, light enough, and cheap. It may be a week or two before I have anything, if I'm lucky, but I'm looking forward to it.

I will be posting pictures of my body design once I get my scanner hooked up and get them scanned to my hard drive. It is heavily influenced by the Rumpler Tropfenwagen, but instead of being open-wheeled, will include fairings that enclose the front wheels and are mounted to the brackets that house the wheel axles and serve as mount points for the steering rods. With a lack of front suspension, and the farings being mounted to the same brackets that house the front wheel axles, I don't think the fairings will pose a problem with the rotating wheels.

For an idea of what my first body will look like, check the following image out:

http://kenstewartartist.com/charles-tri ... ut-1/#main

...except, include front wheel fairings that leave the tire contact patch and a height matching the vehicle's ground clearance exposed, a top that is flat(with a single piece that provides an angle between the sides and top), and a turtle deck with an identical shape to that of the main body.

I'm hoping for a Cd in the mid 0.2 range or so, which would give me a CdA somewhere below 0.15 m^2, and allow 30 mph on < 300W.

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Jul 13 2016 7:04pm

My computer is now broken as of 4 days ago and am posting from a gaming console, so this will be brief, but a friend of mine may have found a solution to some front end woes. After a re-calibration of my tie rods and front wheel alignment, my cruising speed increased an extra mph. A friend noticed that one of the front steering brackets has worn out bolt inserts, which allows my alignment to adjust itself over rough surfaces. The front is a bit weak, but I will see how it holds up for the next 200 miles of riding before deciding on the motor.

If only KMX made a rear suspension. I like their frames, as mine is overweight junk by comparison, but I need a rear suspension at minimum for my application and preferably a full one.

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Aug 07 2016 7:05pm

I have been studying the Crystalite Rear H kit with PAS lately and will need a few questions answered before I know whether it is a viable candidate or not.

1) Can the freewheel spin independently of the motor and allow the bike to be pedaled with no electric assist if the battery runs dead?
2) How difficult is it to fit this motor to a 22" moped rim with thick 10ga spokes? I would like some stronger wheels and tires if I'm going to buy a kit that allows a 45+ mph top speed at 72V...

This would give me some advantages over a mid drive. I would have regen for all non-emergency braking, and it would be pulling from the rear wheel, leaving my front disc brakes free of most wear and tear. The performance would also be good enough to have some fun. I could also re-charge my battery if needed using pedal input while lifting the rear wheel of the bike off the ground. There is also the prospect of silent operation, where I could ride with electric assist in locales where it's not legal, undetected, given that the bodywork will be keeping the motor out of view of any inspecting officer.

If I did this, for the front, I'd be looking at fitting some small Pirelli ML75 2.5-16 on my front double-walled Weinmann DM30 rims, and a moped rim and a compatible tire in the rear that matched the diameter of my current rear bicycle tire/rim.

Weight will still be an issue, but the issue will subside when I switch to a lighter frame. I may even decide to buy a KMX with a front suspension kit and deal with the lack of rear suspension, and get a very cushy, durable seat.

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by amberwolf » Aug 07 2016 8:04pm

The Toecutter wrote:I have been studying the Crystalite Rear H kit with PAS lately and will need a few questions answered before I know whether it is a viable candidate or not.

1) Can the freewheel spin independently of the motor and allow the bike to be pedaled with no electric assist if the battery runs dead?
2) How difficult is it to fit this motor to a 22" moped rim with thick 10ga spokes? I would like some stronger wheels and tires if I'm going to buy a kit that allows a 45+ mph top speed at 72V...
Without knowing specifically which kit I can't answer for sure, but:

If it is the same as the HSR3548 I have on the back of Crazybike2, then the freewheel works just like a bicycle hub's freewheel (it is infact a bicycle freewheel threaded on exactly the ssame way). Motor turns without turning pedals, just like bike hub does. Pedals drive chain that then drives shell of mtoor hub just likebike hub, so wheel attached to either spins just like normal..

Only catch is that DD hubs do have some drag but if you set throttle to just a hair above zero, it will take the drag away without contributing to forward motion.


Other than potentially haivng ot drill out the holes in the hub flange for 10g (will def fit 12 ok), you can put whatever rim you want on there.

keep in mind that the distance beteween flanges is fairly narrow on hubmotors, so if you have wide spacingn between rows of nipple holes on rim, you may have to "cross" theh lacing so the left side flange laces to the right side rim holes and vice-versa, to get good triangulation and stiff wheel against side loads. See the http://ebikes.ca wheel lacing simulator spke calculator and it will show you wnat I mean.

I'm using 20"(bicycle)/16"(moped/mc) rims (from an old model Zero) on my DD hubs, with shinko sr241's on the trike's rear wheels, though I haven't gotten one for the bike yet as it's still running the maxxis ringworm. I'd like t o chagne it out, wiating for budget and time to d o it.

still using sapim 13/14 butted spokes radially laced with no problems andn heavy (and wiggly) cargo on not so great roads, on both trike and bike, no failures.

You can look up the lacing motorcycle rims ot hubmotors / bicycle hubs thread (s) for a whole lot o f direct expereince and recommendations by a lot of ES members, if you need more info.




If I did this, for the front, I'd be looking at fitting some small Pirelli ML75 2.5-16 on my front double-walled Weinmann DM30 rims, and a moped rim and a compatible tire in the rear that matched the diameter of my current rear bicycle tire/rim.
Shinko SR241s seem about as good as the pirellis if you have access to both. They're what I went with mostly due to avialabilty locally, partly for cost.

I may even decide to buy a KMX with a front suspension kit and deal with the lack of rear suspension, and get a very cushy, durable seat.
I'd use a suspended mesh seat; that's worked better f or me than any amount or type of padded seat. It's cooler, too, and won't get a puddle in the rain for yoyyu to have to sit in and stew. ;)

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Aug 07 2016 10:46pm

Thanks for the information. How much do your rims and tires weigh? Are you using tubes, and if so, how much do they weigh? I found some interesting articles on the subject off rims/tires that are interchangeable with mopeds/motorcycles/bicycles:

http://www.myronsmopeds.com/category/wheel/tires/

https://www.electricbike.com/moped-rims ... hubmotors/

I think that 12ga spokes will work ok. I would be a lot more confident with 10 ga, but a decent lace pattern and tire should keep the more violent loads from ripping the wheel apart if the rear-motor torque is kept under 50 lb-ft or if the wheel hits a big pothole at 50-60 mph. Consider that even a 200 lb lard-ass riding it fully loaded with gear will have the entire loaded trike coming it at 350 lbs or so, so its forces encountered will be far less than that of a heavier scooter, moped, or motorcycle at the same speed weighing in at 500+ lbs under any operating condition.

I've made some progress on a new frame design, but nothing is anywhere near finalized yet or at a point to where I would share it, nor have I done any stress analysis on it. I would like to use aluminum, but I have no experience welding it.

KMX has a well-designed steel frame already, and aside from the lack of a rear suspension, it provides an off the shelf solution that meets all requirements but a rear suspension. I would like a full suspension setup using motorcycle parts for brakes/tires/wheels/suspension, and having the rideable trike minus body/electric drive/batteries ready to safely handle 50-60 mph speeds(even if it couldn't yet reach them) coming in at under 60 lbs doesn't seem at all impossible. I can't get that plus a rear-suspension out of KMX's off the shelf frames, even if highway-speed capable examples of KMX trikes dot the internet, none of them are really safe at those speeds on unpredictable, pothole-laden roads that routinely destroy multi-ton vehicles while surrounded by said multi-ton vehicles, but it is a solution I've been thinking about. A KMX frame decked out with motorcycle parts and front suspension could do fairly well in my application, but it would be tiresome to operate at speed without the rider comfort provided by a rear suspension. If I'm going to be pedaling this for hours at a time, it has to be comfortable. My cobbled-together trike as it is with rear suspension is very comfortable at less than 30 mph speeds even while pedaling with over 500W for brief periods, and I don't know very well how it does over that yet. A steel KMX frame could be hacked up so that a rear suspension could be added, but at a significant cost to the frame's durability and/or low weight plus a voiding of any warranty. I may draw up a design for this and pay someone to manufacture the custom components needed, if I determine it will be among the cheaper solutions available after I've thoroughly explored my options on this subject.

A light enough frame would make a highway capable vehicle legally meeting the definition of "bicycle" in Texas a possibility, which was the original idea I had in mind. I don't think that my currently existing Thunderbolt configuration will hold up well after 35 mph or so, but it is serving me well as a testbed and provides a lot of fun too, even if its high weight will ultimately limit my options. I've had it up to 33 mph downhill so far, and it was stable and safe when cornering lightly. There's still no floorpan or body on it though. I've been busy attending funerals and dealing with life's less than pleasant qualities, so there's still just cardboard templates representing the near-term potential of what will be a significant upgrade on the vehicle.

I've put another 150 miles on it since June 19th, with a month or so of that spent away from the trike. The current configuration will pose little issue riding for hours at a time, especially once I have a body on it, but I know this for a fact only at 30 mph and under, and this is with intent made at avoiding potholes. I wouldn't feel safe hitting potholes in this thing at all, and some of them I won't see at some point in the future... A full suspension design with DOT-approved tires, on the other hand, could probably do this with confidence... Pedaling such a thing with no electric assist will be a little bit of a pain due to the inertia of heavy rotating objects, but it will be a small price to pay when the design is meant for 30+ mph cruising while expending as little energy as possible.

Less than 10 Wh/mile consumed from batteries at a steady 30 mph is well possible with the right design, as the non-assist Milan SL demonstrates with its 150W requirement to cruise at 30 mph. Add in a motor and battery pack on a vehicle that is similarly efficient from an aerodynamic standpoint, but with big, lossy, heavy wheels and DOT-rated tires, and that 150W at 30 mph could turn into 300W at 30 mph quickly, but it may be safe at 50-60 mph speeds when desired while needing only 1 kW or so to do so. A ridiculously strong rider would be able to maintain it for a few seconds with no electric assist, if desired, or still contribute a significant chunk of the energy to move the vehicle... but again, accelerating this hypothetical vehicle under pedal-only mode with no assist would be a bit of a chore.

I intend for the trike to be fully enclosable, which will make rain a non-issue, with the windshield and/or roof removable for hot weather. That being said, I may be getting some seatbelt webbing to re-do my seat with, as it will likely not fail before the seat frame does during a wreck, keeping my lower back away from sharp objects... The vinyl is not strong enough and keeps breaking from wear and tear or vandalism.

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea (calling zombi

Post by Cephalotus » Aug 08 2016 10:23am

The Toecutter wrote: Minimum Design Parameters(needs)

-Legality: must be street legal as an "electric bicycle" within the state of Texas and able to be legally pedalled without license or registration
-Minimum Range: must cover 300 miles a day
-Minimum Performance: top speed of at least 35 mph
-Minimum Protection: the rider's body needs to be isolated from the elements
-Minimum Utility: trail-able on an off-road bike trail at 15 mph safely
-Maximum Build Cost: cannot exceed $4,000 parts/materials cost
I've read most of this thread and imho this is total phantasy, especially considering your other wishes like 10kW Motor, 50mph top Speed, 100lbs Maximum weight, solar Panels, etc....

You can not have everything like a bicycle, a small car and an offroad mountainbike in just one vehicle. You just forgot to mention that it should fly.

My Suggestion: Buy an aerodynamic velomobile. World record is 660km in just 12 hours using a Milan SL and the guy continued for another 12 hours afterwards. Obviously from an athlete under perfect conduitions.

So maybe 200 miles/day is doable for a mortal rider under "normal conditions". I do not know if the heat will kill you in Texas though...

Add a geared and free wheeling 750W hub motor for accelartion and going uphill with assist up to 20mph to keep it "strictly legal". (if there really is no power and speed limit on ebikes in Texas (really???) than save on that)

Add a 1-2kWh battery made from 18650 cells (weights around 5-10kg) if you have that 20mph limit, so you are running most of the time at 100% human power above 20mph, otherwise you need more batteries for 200 miles.

Imho that's a somehow realistic approach for a fit driver who can ride 30mph for some hours on the flat using an aerodynamic vehicle. If you want to go offroad use an (electric) MTB for that.

Skip the solar panels.

Accept that you are not allowed to drive a car. I wouldn't try to build one.

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea (calling zombi

Post by Chalo » Aug 08 2016 2:14pm

Cephalotus wrote:Add a geared and free wheeling 750W hub motor for accelartion and going uphill with assist up to 20mph to keep it "strictly legal". (if there really is no power and speed limit on ebikes in Texas (really???) than save on that)
Texas's e-bike law has no power limit, and the 20mph limit is specific to when the motor is used alone. A literal reading of the law suggests that PAS control would have no speed limit beyond that of the road. There is a 100 pound weight limit.

Because of the idiosyncrasies of Texas e-bike law, a high performance e-velomobile is very difficult to make safe and reliable within legal limits. You bump up against the weight limit just making it electrically and physically robust enough to go fast safely, and then you have to add a fairing. Once you divide up the weight budget among frame, cycle parts, motor/transmission, batteries, mountings, and fairing, you can have either a trike that's simple and quite slow, or one that's as fragile as a carton of eggs. Or perhaps you could throw lots of kilodollars at the problem and come up with some kind of aerospace monocoque that integrates frame, fairing, and mountings into the same unit.

I would not expect any law enforcement officer in Texas to have a clue about the statutes covering e-bikes, or to respect an e-biker's legal rights even if e-biker carries a copy of the relevant state codes with him. If he wants to believe it's an illegal vehicle, he'll treat it as one and let a court sort out the mess.

Like most places, Texas doesn't hire smart people for police work, nor do the cops usually face consequences when they violate citizens' legal rights.
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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea (calling zombi

Post by The Toecutter » Aug 09 2016 12:07am

Cephalotus wrote:
I've read most of this thread and imho this is total phantasy, especially considering your other wishes like 10kW Motor, 50mph top Speed, 100lbs Maximum weight, solar Panels, etc....

You can not have everything like a bicycle, a small car and an offroad mountainbike in just one vehicle. You just forgot to mention that it should fly.
There are plenty of examples dotting the internet that already exist which meet most of my requirements:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsFUrSbED4U
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkakVw8yY8E
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKDFXDGNVsQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKAMus3oSdw

Something along the lines of anything linked in the above videos combined with a body shell, full suspension, and moped/motorcycle wheels./tires that can safely cruise at 30+ mph doesn't seem to be an implausible proposition.

I am confident that my current Thunderbolt chassis will serve my need for long distance travel with a few minor changes plus drive system/body. It will be of the simple and "quite slow" variety of ebike Chalo is talking about, although I think 30 mph safe cruising in this is doable, and with proper motor/controller/battery selection(say, 1.5-2 kW), DOT tires, and some good torque arms, it might be able to reach 30 mph in under 6 seconds from a stop, which wouldn't be all that slow as far as ebikes go considering this level of acceleration would be on par with some of the slower cars on the road.
My Suggestion: Buy an aerodynamic velomobile. World record is 660km in just 12 hours using a Milan SL and the guy continued for another 12 hours afterwards. Obviously from an athlete under perfect conduitions.
That is out of my budget, and I'd have a wait time of a year or so...

For that kind of budget, I could have a custom monocoque made, which I may do for my next build after this Thunderbolt. I need to do more research/design to know everything I want in it though, as hundreds of hours can be poured into this task without yet coming to a decision that inspires confidence.
So maybe 200 miles/day is doable for a mortal rider under "normal conditions". I do not know if the heat will kill you in Texas though...
I've never ridden in one, so I couldn't confirm whether that is the case. I've heard it's much more bearable than an upright bike, even in the heat. I do know that ducts are present for this vehicle, and with the low wattage needed to maintain 30 mph, the cooling gained with higher air speed combined with a body to shade the rider from the sun while expending relatively little energy for such a speed seems like it would be superior to an upright bike where the rider is exposed to the sun and whom would reach only 15 mph on the same amount of exertion.

An electric motor to do some of the work would only make these ducts even more functional as the impact of reduced rider effort for a given speed will yield an even cooler inside temperature. Increased airflow for less rider exertion, and the rider produces far more heat per watt of mechanical output than the electric drive does.
Add a 1-2kWh battery made from 18650 cells (weights around 5-10kg) if you have that 20mph limit, so you are running most of the time at 100% human power above 20mph, otherwise you need more batteries for 200 miles.
The Milan SL needs only 150W to maintain 30 mph, so upgrading it with some lossier/more durable bicycle tires, and adding 30-40 lbs of motor/battery/controller could up that to 200W. 250-300W if DOT tires and moped/motorcycle wheels are added, given the increases in losses that this entails.

A vehicle that needs 300W at the wheel to maintain 30 mph, set up to use 100W of human power and 250W from the battery to put out 300W at the wheel total after drivetrain/battery/other losses, and maintain 30 mph on flat ground, is going to only be using a bit over 8 Wh/mi. Somewhere around 10 Wh/mile could be expected in typical mixed use with attention paid to operating the vehicle efficiently. This is well over 3,000 miles to the gallon equivalent in terms of energy use, battery to wheels.

That 1 kWh battery gives 100 miles range at 30 mph to full discharge under that scenario outlined in the above paragraph. 150 miles range if the load at the wheel is 250W instead of 300W. That's how it's likely to perform with components meant for safe use in heavier/faster vehicles, if the calculations in a spreadsheet I made are correct.

Cutting that power requirement at the wheel down to 200W by sticking with bicycle parts, 5 wh/mile, 200 miles range @ 30 mph, on that 1 kWh, doesn't seem all that out of the question, either, albeit the tradeoff being a much weaker vehicle.
Accept that you are not allowed to drive a car. I wouldn't try to build one.
The motivation extends beyond that. The idea of having a vehicle that can drive all day on $0.25 worth of electricity is a concept that I think is worth exploring. What kind of street-legal car have you seen that can get the equivalent of thousands of miles per gallon in terms of energy consumption? Since a Shell Eco-marathon racer can't hope to pass current regulations to be cleared for road use, a road-legal fast as hell e-bike could fill that sort of niche with similarly ridiculous efficiency numbers, and at least in Texas and about 5 other U.S. states, do it in a way that's 100% legal.

Setting it up primarily as a human powered vehicle also adds a practical dimension to it, as the operator will never have to worry about running the battery dead and not being able to find an outlet, and with the 100 lb weight limit imposed, it will remain practical when operated as a bicycle, as once the rider is up to a 10+ mph cruising speed, on flat ground at least, it will begin to be easier to maintain cruise than on an upright, perhaps allowing average out of shape Joe to maintain 15 mph while barely breaking a sweat. It would be a vehicle that could literally be driven without needing "fuel" if so desired, and when you had "fuel", you could keep up with the cars.

I think that there could be a significant niche market for a ridiculously efficient and at least marginally highway-capable vehicle that offers enclosed protection from the elements and car-like acceleration, if the price is right.
Chalo wrote:You bump up against the weight limit just making it electrically and physically robust enough to go fast safely,
The question of how many pounds I have to work with is what I'm trying to figure out. Examples of e-assist recumbent trikes capable of 45+ mph speeds range from 65-90 lbs, none of them with bodies, and of questionable safety at top speed.
and then you have to add a fairing. Once you divide up the weight budget among frame, cycle parts, motor/transmission, batteries, mountings, and fairing, you can have either a trike that's simple and quite slow, or one that's as fragile as a carton of eggs. Or perhaps you could throw lots of kilodollars at the problem and come up with some kind of aerospace monocoque that integrates frame, fairing, and mountings into the same unit.
I may attempt the latter path that you mention at some point. An aluminum monocoque chassis that has an integrated cage with only a carbon-fiber or even zote-foam skin over it for a body could do well, and keep it both light and safe. If you allow the monocoque to provide the crush resistance and protection, then a thin, fragile light-weight body can be used without compromising safety much.

Another possibility is to use a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic monocoque, but that gets very pricey and a lot more temperamental in terms of tolerance to abuse.

I don't think that a complete vehicle minus electric drive coming in at only 75-80 lbs, safely capable of handling highway speeds, is out of the question. There's more than a few home-built 45+ mph top speed full-suspension e-bikes and/or e-trikes around that weigh in that range or less WITH the electric drive system in them, while using heavy steel components.
I would not expect any law enforcement officer in Texas to have a clue about the statutes covering e-bikes, or to respect an e-biker's legal rights even if e-biker carries a copy of the relevant state codes with him. If he wants to believe it's an illegal vehicle, he'll treat it as one and let a court sort out the mess.

Like most places, Texas doesn't hire smart people for police work, nor do the cops usually face consequences when they violate citizens' legal rights.
I've had bad experiences with the police here, and no criminal record of any kind. Recording my interactions with them could have busted them though...

This vehicle by its very nature will probably be inviting trouble from them, so I expect interactions with them at some point. I have a few ideas on how to make it visible that I am pedaling, without turning the shell into a greenhouse, along with a design that allows part of the front to flip open to reveal the pedals when stopped.

Many velomobile owners who are stopped by police tend to explain that it's a bicycle, and are usually left alone after. Police rarely check for a motor on a non-assist velomobile, but when they do, they see no motor in sight because it has none. I will need to make my vehicle look like a non-assist velomobile. It is advantageous to have the motor hidden from view in a manner that it appears as if there is no motor present, and for the motor/controller to be able to operate silently. The officer will literally have to tear the vehicle apart to prove that it has one, and they will have no outward observable evidence that it does have one.

Making the vehicle first and foremost a sort of "bicycle" would certainly help one's case. Large motorcycle tires/rims/other components will counter that purpose because they will give it an appearance unbecoming of a "bicycle", but the bodyshell and frame can be designed to keep the wheels/tires/chains/motor hidden so that they don't look like anything special to a casual observer who may have seen one or two velomobiles before. If it convincingly looks like a HPV to any casual inspection, it will decrease the likelihood of being deemed a car or motorcycle if the officer gets too curious.

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea (calling zombi

Post by Cephalotus » Aug 09 2016 6:39am

The Toecutter wrote: There are plenty of examples dotting the internet that already exist which meet most of my requirements:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsFUrSbED4U
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkakVw8yY8E
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKDFXDGNVsQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKAMus3oSdw

Something along the lines of anything linked in the above videos combined with a body shell, full suspension, and moped/motorcycle wheels./tires that can safely cruise at 30+ mph doesn't seem to be an implausible proposition.
But can those ride 300 miles per day and are they "strictly street legal"? I don't see it.
For that kind of budget, I could have a custom monocoque made,...
Sure. But can you make something better with your first try than those that build thousands of them and optimesed them over many years?

I've never ridden in one, so I couldn't confirm whether that is the case. I've heard it's much more bearable than an upright bike, even in the heat. I do know that ducts are present for this vehicle, and with the low wattage needed to maintain 30 mph, the cooling gained with higher air speed combined with a body to shade the rider from the sun while expending relatively little energy for such a speed seems like it would be superior to an upright bike where the rider is exposed to the sun and whom would reach only 15 mph on the same amount of exertion.
It get's warm inside, because there is almost no airflow inside. That'a benefit during winter. During summer one propably has to try and find out.
An electric motor to do some of the work would only make these ducts even more functional as the impact of reduced rider effort for a given speed will yield an even cooler inside temperature. Increased airflow for less rider exertion, and the rider produces far more heat per watt of mechanical output than the electric drive does.
Did you find out that it is legal in Texas to run an electric bike at 50mph and 10kW without a drivers license just because there are some pedals on it. This sounds very hard to believe. I assume that anything above 20mph your Motor has to be shut of to be strictly street legal.
So with a 300 miles per day trip you Need to go above 20mph and you will be entirely on your own power at that Speed.
This is why the linked YouTube vehicle imho do not fit what you have been looking for. They are slow to pedal on your own and you will have a hard time to do 300 miles per day on them legaly. (that's 15 hours at 20mph if you want to use motor power)

The Milan SL needs only 150W to maintain 30 mph, so upgrading it with some lossier/more durable bicycle tires, and adding 30-40 lbs of motor/battery/controller could up that to 200W. 250-300W if DOT tires and moped/motorcycle wheels are added, given the increases in losses that this entails.
That's why I would suggest a velomobil. you can pedal it beyond 20mph on your own power. This is legal and you do not Need a large battery for long distances.

But add a strong direct drive to the hub and the drag of that motor will kill you at 25mph.

I do not see why someone would use a huge Motor in an lightweigt efficient human power vehicle. I would go with a 750W geared hub motor that fee wheels above 20mph...

That 1 kWh battery gives 100 miles range at 30 mph to full discharge under that scenario outlined in the above paragraph. 150 miles range if the load at the wheel is 250W instead of 300W. That's how it's likely to perform with components meant for safe use in heavier/faster vehicles, if the calculations in a spreadsheet I made are correct.

....
The motivation extends beyond that. The idea of having a vehicle that can drive all day on $0.25 worth of electricity is a concept that I think is worth exploring.
The cost of electricity is neglible compared to the cost of maintaining an electric bike, even more maintaining an electric assisted velomobil. It becomes quite expensive if you run a few thousand miles on them, especially if you use extra lightweight parts...

and at least in Texas and about 5 other U.S. states, do it in a way that's 100% legal.
I still wonder if something like a Twike active ( http://www.twike.com/en_GB/vehicles/twike-3/ if weight was much lower than it is at 270kg) or the Aerorider ( http://www.aerorider.com/en/aerorider.html which si slightly above 100lbs, if I remebre correctly) would be called a electric bicycle in Texas, where you do not need a license or insurance, just because there are some pedals on it?
It would be a vehicle that could literally be driven without needing "fuel" if so desired, and when you had "fuel", you could keep up with the cars.
Yes, but you need to keep it lightweight and you nned to Keep the motor small.

I can tell from my own experince (thousands of kms) with my electric bikes:

My 15kg bike with small geared Cute 85 motor (36V, 11A, 1.6kg) is easily and nice to ride without electric assistance. I have a wheel without motor, but don't use it.

My BionX systems (48V, 30A, but 250W sticker for EU use) are as light as it gets for such a direct drive motor at 3.4kg and have low drag for a direct drive and you actually can ride it above the pedelec speed limit of 25km/h, but it is not so much fun to ride them for longer distances. So I Change the rear wheel if I want to ride a tour without motor. 3,4kg sounds lightweight, but is is very noticeable and I replaced all my heavier 4.6kg BionX Motors, because pedaling a 4.6kg motor on your own is even less funny.
Because I don't like the speed limit I bought a s-Pedelc with BionX motor that is allowed to Support up to 45km/h.

This is my story. If someone thinks about pedaling some of those 8kg direct drive Motors over long distances I do not believe ist. This is no fun, you will not do it.

So such a large and powerful motor is only of value if you can use it 99+% of your riding time with power. I do not know the Efficiency of such motors at super low power, but everything below 36V/2A is quite pointless even on the tiny Cute 85 in my experince. You start to feel the BionX at around 48V/2A, to make a noticeable difference on your Speed you need more power. 200W input starts to become quite significant.
I don't think that a complete vehicle minus electric drive coming in at only 75-80 lbs, safely capable of handling highway speeds, is out of the question. There's more than a few home-built 45+ mph top speed full-suspension e-bikes and/or e-trikes around that weigh in that range or less WITH the electric drive system in them, while using heavy steel components.
But they will not ride 30mph at just 300W of power.

The Problem is you want both in one vehicle. Powerfull motor and vehicle that takes 50mph and offroad driving on one Hand and super efficient street cruiser that rund 30mph at 300W on the other usining150W of your own power. I fail to see how that should work out.

This was a solar ebike race from France to Kasachstan: http://thesuntrip.com/

The best drivers have averaged around 200km/day and the winner was very athletic.

You can use at the verious concepts and you will find many youtuve Videos an the tems and vehicles that participated.

Obviously not beeing able to plug in your battery was a limitation but there is no vehicle among them that could have done 300 miles per day easily, no matter the power source.
Like most places, Texas doesn't hire smart people for police work, nor do the cops usually face consequences when they violate citizens' legal rights.
If you don't play buy the rules your are out. Like it or not.
If you are already on a black list things will not become more easy for you...

This vehicle by its very nature will probably be inviting trouble from them, so I expect interactions with them at some point. I have a few ideas on how to make it visible that I am pedaling, without turning the shell into a greenhouse, along with a design that allows part of the front to flip open to reveal the pedals when stopped.
I still can not believe that they will have no speed limit on electric bikes just because you add pedals to it.
Many velomobile owners who are stopped by police tend to explain that it's a bicycle, and are usually left alone after. Police rarely check for a motor on a non-assist velomobile, but when they do, they see no motor in sight because it has none...
This is easy.
It's much more complicated to explain to them that you have a motor but have riden 30mph on your own (best idea would be to remove the battery and show them)
I fail to see what you will tell them when you ride 50mph with it having this large motor in the rear wheel. "But I did pedal it, didn't you notice it?" Really? Your police will accept THAT and let you drive on?

If it convincingly looks like a HPV to any casual inspection, it will decrease the likelihood of being deemed a car or motorcycle if the officer gets too curious.
Sooner or later they will stop you and the casual inspection will turn into a more detailed inspection. Sonn they will notice that you tried to hide a motorcycle...

But if it really works, I whish you all the best and hope that you build that vehicle and post your experince here.

I just wanted to give some warning about your expectations.

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by gogo » Aug 09 2016 10:18am

Iowa has similar language about the top speed, but has a strict <750W motor power limit.
"Bicycle" means either of the following:
(1) A device having two wheels and having at least one saddle or seat for the use of a rider, which is propelled by human power.
(2) A device having two or three wheels with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (one horsepower), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden, is less than 20 miles per hour.

State Attorney General opinions can yield 'gray area' information. I can search state AG opinions on the AG .gov website.
Here's a good example:
http://publications.iowa.gov/18999/1/Ma ... 09-8-1.pdf

It seems arbitrary to require pedaling >20 MPH in order to be allowed to apply motor power and I've seen proposed revisions which exclude the provision.

Government entities sometimes publish false information and even enact unconstitutional laws. There is a 1978 code banning bicycles on two streets in my city that, according to the state constitution, is "without force or effect". One of these days I'll shake the tree to see how to get it repealed.

On a side note: I found a state AG opinion concerning expired MV registration that contradicts what my county office contends and I'm now 'itching for a fight'. Also, I just discovered the moped speed limit was quietly changed from 30 to 39MPH in 2014, but nobody seems to be aware of this.

Georgia seems to have anticipated the 'power above 20' issue:
The electric motor in an electric assisted bicycle shall:

(A) Have a power output of not more than 1,000 watts;

(B) Be incapable of propelling the device at a speed of more than 20 miles per hour on level ground; and

(C) Be incapable of further increasing the speed of the device when human power alone is used to propel the device at or more than 20 miles per hour.
Would it be reasonable to use to the GA law as example that a (your) legislature could be specific on the issue in question, but has chosen not to? The 100 lb. limitation, like Iowa's power limitation, makes a non-limited top speed reasonable in my opinion.

I've looked through the Iowa laws and there seem to be no laws governing trailers attached to bicycles, except for the CPSC retailer laws. I wonder if Texas would consider a detachable trailer carrying batteries to be part of the allowed 100lbs.?
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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea (calling zombi

Post by Chalo » Aug 09 2016 2:22pm

Cephalotus wrote:[Did you find out that it is legal in Texas to run an electric bike at 50mph and 10kW without a drivers license just because there are some pedals on it. This sounds very hard to believe. I assume that anything above 20mph your Motor has to be shut of to be strictly street legal.
From the State of Texas Transportation Code:
(24) "Electric bicycle" means a bicycle that:

(A) is designed to be propelled by an electric motor, exclusively or in combination with the application of human power;

(B) cannot attain a speed of more than 20 miles per hour without the application of human power; and

(C) does not exceed a weight of 100 pounds.
It's clear that a literal reading of this code implies that as long as you pedal, there's no speed limit. I'm sure an anti-cyclist prosecutor and an anti-cyclist judge could agree on a different conclusion, but the law is pretty plain.

I have a customer who commutes on his e-bike at speeds approaching 30mph with a pedal actuated controller. He's definitely not an outlaw type (he's a square, professional family guy from a rich neighborhood), and neither he nor I believe he's breaking the law.
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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea (calling zombi

Post by The Toecutter » Aug 09 2016 6:23pm

Cephalotus wrote:
But can those ride 300 miles per day and are they "strictly street legal"? I don't see it.
Their legality will depend on their location. 300 miles per day may not be obtainable with them, but they also are open to the elements and with very high drag. Trikes of those sorts have been built to have a range approaching 100 miles with no body whatsoever, that being said. Outrider USA even has a 300 mile range trike that is in my target weight range.
Sure. But can you make something better with your first try than those that build thousands of them and optimesed them over many years?
For my specific application, the answer is maybe. I am an engineer and dabbled a bit in vehicle design already, and have built an electric vehicle conversion. A velomobile was originally designed to operate under strictly human power, and I am somewhat doubtful of the ability of a quest or Milan to handle 10 horsepower without something going catastrophically wrong. That being said, modifications could certainly be made to one that may make it suitable. A Milan SL with holes drilled into it to add a custom frame might work...

It get's warm inside, because there is almost no airflow inside. That'a benefit during winter. During summer one propably has to try and find out.
I will know what happens when I put a body on my Thunderbolt. I am going to have NACA ducts positioned in the proper places.
So with a 300 miles per day trip you Need to go above 20mph and you will be entirely on your own power at that Speed.
20 mph is too slow for my requirements. I need 30-35 for my cruising speed.
This is why the linked YouTube vehicle imho do not fit what you have been looking for. They are slow to pedal on your own and you will have a hard time to do 300 miles per day on them legaly. (that's 15 hours at 20mph if you want to use motor power)
Most of the loadin on those trikes at speeds above 10 mph is aerodynamic drag. I would expect a body properly shaped to mitigate this to a significant extent. There's no getting around the inertia losses of heavy wheels/tires and high mass during acceleration, but steady cruising on flat ground shouldn't be that bad...
That's why I would suggest a velomobil. you can pedal it beyond 20mph on your own power. This is legal and you do not Need a large battery for long distances.

But add a strong direct drive to the hub and the drag of that motor will kill you at 25mph.

I do not see why someone would use a huge Motor in an lightweigt efficient human power vehicle. I would go with a 750W geared hub motor that fee wheels above 20mph...
The hub motor does impose increased rotating mass, and I could see that being a problem under acceleration. A mid drive solves this. My indecision on what an optimal motor for my chassis is at this time is why I haven't purchased a motor yet. I almost bought Electron Bom's Lightningrod's Smallblock kit, but I should probably have a body on it first and see how that does.

I am going to add some ballast to the spokes of my rear wheel to get a feel for what an extra 10 lbs of rotating mass on my rear wheel will feel like when pedaling unassisted.


The cost of electricity is neglible compared to the cost of maintaining an electric bike, even more maintaining an electric assisted velomobil. It becomes quite expensive if you run a few thousand miles on them, especially if you use extra lightweight parts...
Maintenance costs of ebikes vary widely. I don't know what my cost per mile will be yet.
I still wonder if something like a Twike active ( http://www.twike.com/en_GB/vehicles/twike-3/ if weight was much lower than it is at 270kg) or the Aerorider ( http://www.aerorider.com/en/aerorider.html which si slightly above 100lbs, if I remebre correctly) would be called a electric bicycle in Texas, where you do not need a license or insurance, just because there are some pedals on it?
Both of those, being over 100 lbs, wouldn't meet the definition of an electric "bicycle".
Yes, but you need to keep it lightweight and you nned to Keep the motor small.

I can tell from my own experince (thousands of kms) with my electric bikes:

My 15kg bike with small geared Cute 85 motor (36V, 11A, 1.6kg) is easily and nice to ride without electric assistance. I have a wheel without motor, but don't use it.

My BionX systems (48V, 30A, but 250W sticker for EU use) are as light as it gets for such a direct drive motor at 3.4kg and have low drag for a direct drive and you actually can ride it above the pedelec speed limit of 25km/h, but it is not so much fun to ride them for longer distances. So I Change the rear wheel if I want to ride a tour without motor. 3,4kg sounds lightweight, but is is very noticeable and I replaced all my heavier 4.6kg BionX Motors, because pedaling a 4.6kg motor on your own is even less funny.
Because I don't like the speed limit I bought a s-Pedelc with BionX motor that is allowed to Support up to 45km/h.

This is my story. If someone thinks about pedaling some of those 8kg direct drive Motors over long distances I do not believe ist. This is no fun, you will not do it.
Thanks. I'm going to add some ballast to the spokes of my rear wheel and see how that impacts the effort needed.
So such a large and powerful motor is only of value if you can use it 99+% of your riding time with power. I do not know the Efficiency of such motors at super low power, but everything below 36V/2A is quite pointless even on the tiny Cute 85 in my experince. You start to feel the BionX at around 48V/2A, to make a noticeable difference on your Speed you need more power. 200W input starts to become quite significant.
A hub motor under low loading and rpm is probably only around 75% efficient. I do intend to be using the motor most of the time, since it is what will allow 30 mph for long periods without me getting tired.
But they will not ride 30mph at just 300W of power.
Out of all of the variables responsible for this, I think that the lack of an aerodynamic body is the most significant one. I've gone through some math and it suggests this. With no body, such a trike could easily eat up 1-1.5 kW to do 30 mph on flat ground, but cut the drag to 1/4 and see what happens...
The Problem is you want both in one vehicle. Powerfull motor and vehicle that takes 50mph and offroad driving on one Hand and super efficient street cruiser that rund 30mph at 300W on the other usining150W of your own power. I fail to see how that should work out.
The off-road aspect is not as important as the ability to cruise at speed, so I can compromise there where needed. I really only need to be able to take it on dirt roads at low speeds when offroading as I would a cheap upright bike. I won't be racing offroad.
This was a solar ebike race from France to Kasachstan: http://thesuntrip.com/

The best drivers have averaged around 200km/day and the winner was very athletic.

You can use at the verious concepts and you will find many youtuve Videos an the tems and vehicles that participated.
Interesting. Thanks for the link.
This is easy.
It's much more complicated to explain to them that you have a motor but have riden 30mph on your own (best idea would be to remove the battery and show them)
I fail to see what you will tell them when you ride 50mph with it having this large motor in the rear wheel. "But I did pedal it, didn't you notice it?" Really? Your police will accept THAT and let you drive on?
I'm not intent on flying past a cop at 50 mph. I think I could get away with 30 mph though...

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Aug 09 2016 9:28pm

Here's some trikes built that serve as existing examples of what is possible:

KLR Recumbent Tandem
Claimed specs: 55 lbs, bicycle tires/brakes, 40 mph top speed, 49cc engine
http://mpgtrikes.ecrater.com/p/18569447 ... le-bicycle

Bumblebee
Claimed specs: 130 lbs, DOT tires and brakes, 49cc engine, 2.5gal fuel tank, CVT
http://mpgtrikes.ecrater.com/p/18319401 ... dpole-49cc

Zephyr
Claimed specs: 75 lbs, 35 mph top speed, safe operation at top speed, bicycle wheels/tires, 1500W, 720Wh LiFePO4 pack, pedal generator
http://mpgtrikes.ecrater.com/p/18303690 ... -recumbent

I think that the KLR, with added front suspension, minus 49cc engine, fuel tank, exhaust, and driveline, and DOT wheels/brakes/tires added, might be able to come in at 60 lbs. Add a 20 lb body and 20 lbs of electric drive and something along the lines of what I'm talking about may be possible.

The Bumblebee is heavy because of its ICE drivetrain and the fact that it is way over-built and elongated. Subtract all the ICE stuff and it might come in under 80 lbs as a "glider" ready to roll at speed, and that's still being an overbuilt tandem.

The Zephyr is claimed to have been road-tested up to 40 mph and ridden for 300 miles. It looks well-built. A decent body placed on it could improve its efficiency at 35 mph on the flat 5-fold, turning a 15 mile range into a 75 mile range, and I bet that pedal-generator system is a lot heavier than a normal bicycle drivetrain. The fenders probably add a few pounds too. The bike is also elongated for cargo-carrying, requiring more frame material and adding more pounds.

None of them has a suspension, but a sufficiently durable full suspension plus mounts could come in at under 8 lbs based on the aftermarket front suspension kit for the KMX.

Chalo is correct in his assessment that the weight limit is approached just getting the vehicle suitable for high speeds, but how close that limit is approached is going to determine the size of the battery pack, because it will need a full body shell that is either durable or a sufficient vehicle design such that the body shell doesn't need to be durable.

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Aug 17 2016 9:17pm

Endless-sphere member adam333 described the weight of his components to me in the following post:

https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 7#p1214082

By that description in conjunction with his claim that his trike weighs 110 lbs, I estimate that a KMX "glider" with front suspension, and stout enough wheels/tires/brakes to safely do 40 mph, with a battery box functioning as a skidplate, but no electric drive components or wiring, could come in at around 45-50 lbs.

This is good news for me and I am very tempted to order a KMX frame and front suspension kit. If I found an efficient 7-8 lb hub-motor that could make 2-3 kW peak and add assist at high speeds, put in a 1 kWh LiFePO4 battery, and either used the ECE75 rated Schwalbe e-bike tires or found some low-rolling resistance motorcycle tires, I could have a complete 40 mph capable electric trike weighing in at around 70-80 lb, leaving 20-30 lbs weight left in the budget to dedicate toward an aerodynamic body. The vehicle would perform much like a car up to its top speed.

The issues I have with the KMX are the direct steering and the lack of rear suspension. The direct steering will necessitate me making my own system or require me to heavily restrict the design parameters of my body shell. The lack of a rear suspension could make long rides much more taxing than they would otherwise be.

In any event, it would get me close to what I think is ideal for about 5% of the work and with the cost being a predictable quantity as opposed to the risk of making an expensive mistake on a fully custom design.

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Aug 21 2016 12:39pm

Endless Sphere member Voltron sourced a low rolling resistance tire that is used in solar powered cars rated for 100 km/h. It's a Schwalbe Energizer size 16"x2.4" and fits onto a 20" bicycle rim:

https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... =6&t=82489

It may be the answer I need with regard to a tire suitable for my application. A motorcycle tire typically has a Crr value over 0.02, wheras most cars have tires with a Crr value around 0.01. I imagine that a solar car tire would be comparable to a bicycle tire in terms of rolling resistance, probably between 0.005 and 0.01. Anything 0.01 or less would work for my application, even though I'd prefer this number be more towards the lower end.

I rode the Thunderbolt about 30 miles yesterday, and the thing keeps getting lossier and lossier unless I keep adjusting my steering. The bolt holes on the front steering brackets are a bit worn out and it is allowing my wheels/tires to have a bit of play from side to side. As a result, the toe tends to keep adjusting itself inward over time. About every 100 miles or so I have to re-adjust the steering rods/brakes along with my wheel bearings. I can fix this by having washers welded to the bolt holes of the steering brackets and drilled through, but it still won't ever be reliable or safe at highway speeds, although I might get it suitable for 30 mph use over long distances.

I'm about to adjust everything again. Right now, doing 10-11 mph takes about as much force as it takes to do 17-18 mph on my upright Raleigh road bike, and after I adjust it, 10-11 mph on the Thunderbolt will equal about 13-14 mph on the Raleigh. This has been one of the reasons I haven't built a body onto it yet. I need it mechanically reliable enough to do 200+ mile trips without having to make adjustments before doing so, as it would be a major hassle to have to keep taking the trike apart and putting it back together again twice a month or two or three times along the side of the road on a long trip. I am still intent on building a rudimentary body on it, and expect to get a Cd somewhere below 0.3.

I think there is a KMX frame in my future. A trike should be easier to pedal on flat ground than a road bike due to reduced air drag and frontal area versus a bike, not harder. The KMX is also lighter and stronger than my Thunderbolt by a wide margin. Plus, due to the frame design of a KMX, I could use three wheels all of equal sizes and maintain at least 3.5" of ground clearance, while fitting those solar car tires on them. 16" moped/motorcycle rims would no doubt be strong enough for my appliucation, but if they are too heavy, 20" double-walled BMX rims re-spoked might do the trick. Using the KMX, a 1500W middrive kit with a Rohloff 500/14 hub in the rear would give me the speed range I need, allowing me to do as low as 4.5 mph up steep hills at 60 cadence, and do 45 mph on the flat with 120 cadence, and I could completely do away with the front cogset. The bike should be suitable for both pedal-only operation in almost any situation, and that sort of speed range would do it for all but maybe grades over 10%. If I build a body on my Thunderbolt, I will be able to take the learning experience of that and design a much more streamlined body for my second build. If I can match the Cyclodyne(Cd of 0.11) in terms of efficiency, < 200W to do 30 mph while having components stout enough for a 45 mph top end becomes a possibility, and that top end could be reached without electric assist, if I get the efficiency to be that good.

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Sep 03 2016 6:14pm

It looks as if I'll be ordering a KMX frame kit sometime next week.

The sense of urgency is due to my pedal-stroke under maximum torque shearing my old frame and tearing across from where the idler was bolted to the right of the frame from the rider perspective while pedaling hard. I was doing over 26 mph that day, attempting to reach 27 mph, on a repeated basis through the day. I had ridden over 25 miles total today by the time the event happened. As I was doing about 21 mph after turning off of a side street onto Carrol Ln, accelerating, my pedals and the heels of my shoes suddenly started to scrape the ground with each stroke. I stopped, pulled over to the side of the road, and noticed that the frame was damaged beyond reasonable repair. The ground clearance in the front had shrunk because the frame had bent downward. I dragged it back two miles until I found someone with a truck. I paid the dude some money and got it back home another eight miles away. At the bottom of this post is a picture of the frame sheared about 1/4 apart. While it could be bent back together and welded, it will never be as strong as it was, and thus not worth the time or effort.

A KMX is looking really attractive right now. Had adam333's front suspension kit existed before I bought that Thunderbolt, I would have bought a KMX instead.

The Thunderbolt had a good run. I put over 700 miles on it, 85 of them in the last week. I expected it to last longer, but then again, that same front that sheared apart was once run over by a truck... I find it hilarious that I mistook this trike for a KMX because it was called a Thunderbolt, when I'd heard of a KMX Thunderbolt. Two completely different bikes though. This thing doesn't come close to a KMX...

I expect that a KMX frame can take much more abuse than this one-off Thunderbolt, will solve my rolling resistance woes, and will fare okay at much higher speeds. I can move most of my parts over. With a KMX, I think a 40 mph top speed is a good near-term goal to aim for with my current drivetrain components and with an electric drive and/or a shell, at least with a front suspension. That Thunderbolt wouldn't have worked well or safely at that speed, motor or not. The potholes here suck.

Once I get a Rohloff hub and a mid-drive kit, I could gear it for 50 mph. With a body on it, a modest amount of power would get it there. Anything over 750W is really just adding acceleration and hill climbing capability if I get a sufficiently aerodynamic body on it.

Current parts to cannibalize for a KMX frame kit:

-x2 Weinmann 20"x3cm double-walled rims, 14ga spokes (front)
-x2 Maxxis Hookworm 20"x1.95" tires (front)
-x1 26" double-walled wheel with 12ga spokes (rear)
-x1 Schwalbe Marathon Plus tire, 26"x1.75" (rear)
-x3 packs of KMC 3/32" "Gold" assembled into a long chain, supposedly meant for ebikes using the Bafang mid-drive kits
-x1 Shimano Tourney 7 spd rear freewheel cogset, 32-13T
-x1 Shimano Tourney 28/38/48T front cogset
-x1 Shimano 165mm front cranks
-x1 Shimano Tourney rear derailleuer (replaced the SRAM)
-x1 SRAM 7 spd shift knob
-x1 SRAM 3 spd shift knob
-x1 SunLite dual cable pull lever
-x2 Avid BB5 cable-pull disc brake calipers and organic pads
-x2 Origin 8 V-Blade 160mm disc brake rotors
-Lights, cables, mirror, Cateye Velo5 computer, ect.

I have two Hugi hubs that I will no longer have a use for as well, and a bunch of scrap metal, since the seat, steering brackets, and everything else are only usable for that specific trike frame.

Attached below is a picture of the destroyed Thunderbolt frame. Note the tear going across the top of the frame to the lower left area of the zip-tie:
Attachments
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Last edited by The Toecutter on Sep 03 2016 7:01pm, edited 1 time in total.

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