Critique this performance velomobile idea

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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The Toecutter   10 kW

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Aug 13 2017 7:41pm

Here's an old drawing. This body is mostly finished but not yet mounted.

I still have to make the lid piece. It has a hinge structure at the front that it slides into, but is not permanently affixed. It hinges forward, and removing it will allow me to fit the bike in and out of my 30 inch doorway by tilting it 90 degrees and standing with my body occupying the empty space that the lid piece would otherwise be covering, push the front through the door, then tilt it back at the turtle deck section. Velcro strips, hooks, and teflon straps hold the lid piece onto the body. If I get into a wreck, it is designed so that I won't become impaled or cut up by the lid piece; it will fold/collapse instead. It will be getting foam padding around the edges facing the rider as well. Attached to this post is a rendering. Each blue square in the graph is 100 mm and it was drawn to 1/10th scale(1 cm with a ruler = 10 cm actual). Frontal area comes out to 0.60 m^2 rounded down to the 2nd decimal place.

This drawing also depicts it without mirrors, lights, signals, canopy with wind screen, NACA ducts for cooling, wheel pants, and vinyl wrapping(for coloring and uv protection), all of which will be features of the finished product, and depending on placement, as a combined total may or may not increase frontal area and/or drag significantly. I'm hoping for a drag coefficient of 0.25 before the canopy and wheel pants are installed.
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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Aug 14 2017 7:58pm

The new tires arrived. Two Schwalbe Tryker 20"x1.5" tires. The Maxxis Hookworms currently on it are down to the threads and could fail at any time.

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Jan 12 2018 9:10pm

Some pics are attached to this post.
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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by 1JohnFoster » Jan 14 2018 3:46am

The Toecutter wrote:
Jan 12 2018 9:10pm
Some pics are attached to this post.
Looks practical. How well does it go through your doorway the way you planned?

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Chalo   100 GW

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by Chalo » Jan 14 2018 4:45am

I generally think of velomobiles as cantankerous, fragile, expensive special-purpose machines, but this one I like. It looks comparatively cheap and easy to build, comparatively cheap and easy to repair, not overly heavy, and not too complicated to get in and out of.

I sometimes wonder whether an inflatable streamliner fairing-- built like a segmented air mattress--would offer a maximum of benefit at a minimum of cost and weight. I imagine a stowable one made of ripstop nylon and PVC, or a semirigid one made of PET.
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 » Jan 14 2018 9:33am

1JohnFoster wrote:
Jan 14 2018 3:46am
Looks practical. How well does it go through your doorway the way you planned?
Well enough that I can get it in and out alone.

Here's how it's done:

1) I have bars on my windows(I live in the hood and need them). One of them was removed before I rented the place and I use it as a prop for the screen door by wedging it between the screen door and the steps
2) I place myself on the right hand side of the trike(facing in the front relative to placement of the trike with the trike facing the door)
3) I pick the trike up by the seat frame, right hand at the front/right/bottom of the seat frame, left hand at the rear/left/top of the seat frame
4) Rotate the trike 90 degrees clockwise(using the center of the frame lengthwise as the axis of rotation)
5) Carefully standing within the negative space in the mid section(due to absent midsection lid or "hood" piece), I carefully walk through the door with the trike. Sometimes the front gets snagged(I will reduce the height slightly in the future) and I have to carefully massage it through, careful not to fall
6) Carefully walk down each step until the rear bulkhead behind the headrest can't go any further
7) Rotate the trike 90 degrees back to original orientation
8) Continue down the last steps and place the trike on the ground
9) Pull window bars from between the steps and screen door, place bars in house
10) Lock the door, get in the trike, and ride off

The midsection piece will add some more steps once it is installed. It is designed to be easily removable. My mirrors are eventually going to be mounted sticking out from the sides, positioned not to increase the height of the front section or interfere with my current method. The windshield and roof pieces will be mounted on the midsection piece once it's done.

I'm stronger than most. The trike hasn't been weighed but it is certainly over 50 lbs. I don't have a problem getting it in and out. Your average Joe Sixpack might.
Chalo wrote:
Jan 14 2018 4:45am
I generally think of velomobiles as cantankerous, fragile, expensive special-purpose machines, but this one I like. It looks comparatively cheap and easy to build, comparatively cheap and easy to repair, not overly heavy, and not too complicated to get in and out of.
That is the whole idea. If it's not "easy" to pick up, practical, durable, or cheap, I have little use for it. I plan to use this as a car replacement and will be racking up some miles. I designed it to where I have access to the entire chain-line, the rear wheel, the seat mounts, the bottom bracket and cranks, front and rear derailleur areas, all without having to take the shell apart. There will be removable pieces attached with velcro to keep the entire chain-line sealed from the elements as well so when I put in a new chain, I will expect to get years/tens of thousands of miles of service out of it. It was a lot more work than it looks to be at first glance and I have over 200 hours of work in this shell.

I am going to improve the aerodynamics as well, without compromising these features. I'm hoping to get CdA down to 0.15 m^2 or less. Currently, without the midsection, who knows... The open cockpit can't be good for it. This shell was designed to be turned into one with a 6-sided cross section when viewed from the front, instead of a 4-sided one, but I kept it 4-sided for now since it was easier to put together that way.

The drawing I posted months ago is out of date as well. This design is a bit different from what I first started building last year. When the hurricane hit, I was working 16 hour days for a month straight, and when I got back to the trike, I decided to redesign it so I could have better aero while having an air intake and cooling vent in the front for my neck(it works too). NACA ducts for cooling my armpits will be coming in the future as well.

From the front axle line back, the floorpan is a NACA0026 airfoil and the side profile matches that as well. The front is designed to keep laminar flow up to the front axle line.

I still have a lot of work to do. There will be spandex boots for the suspension bits and brake lines jutting out the sides, a turtle deck, windshield, roof, and a frontal area/drag reduction by beveling out the top edges at a 45 degree angle.

Once it's finished, I will be getting it vinyl wrapped, and then I can put the electric drive in it.

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Feb 18 2018 2:24pm

I rode it around all through the last week and have come up with a list of issues to fix:

1) I need an additional 2" of ground clearance in the front. It scrubs over speedbumps and deep potholes
2) I need to replace my crank. A pedal came loose due to partially stripped threading(even though I greased it before inserting the pedal) and the crank I have is too long at 165mm anyhow. I managed to get the pedal back on 2 miles from home with an 8mm Allen Key and it's gone another 100+ miles since without issue, but I don't want it happening again. I'm tempted to spring for a $500 Efneo and get rid of the front derailleur, IF I can get a custom 152mm crankarm length and not the 170mm that they only seem to offer, and it will be contingent on allowing me to use a torque sensing bottom bracket as well.
3) I run out of leg RPM at 30 mph. I can't go any faster. A few times I did 29-30 mph on the naked trike with wheel discs, but only briefly as gearing was not the limiting factor there. Now it is and I can hold top speed for more than a few seconds(maybe even up to a minute, haven't timed it). As much as I hate using cheaply-made parts, I ordered the overpriced questionable quality DNP Epoch 32-11T 7-speed freewheel because Shimano doesn't make what I need anymore and the motor I plan to use will only allow a thick axle with a 7 speed freewheel(I can get a puny fragile axle with an 8-speed cassette compatibility, but my legs are torquey and I fear unreliability).
4) I need to finish the windshield and roof and install the turtledeck/roll bar. I'm tired of people pulling out their phones and filming me and would like for them to not know what I look like. I expected this would happen riding a strange vehicle like this, but still it is very unwanted and annoying and is impacting my ability to enjoy this vehicle. I also get asked questions by curious onlookers everywhere I go with it, but that's minor of an annoyance in comparison to being filmed.
5) I rode about 100 miles or so yesterday in total. I spent about $10 on bottled water alone, which is not economical IMO. A dedicated water storage space with a drinkable hose is a must. It will be competing for space with the battery when I decide to install it as well as any luggage or groceries and I need to keep the center of gravity low and balanced, which will be difficult. The water also can't technically be part of the vehicle due to the weight it adds, and I need it to look like I just purchased jugs of water from a store, but they need to be secure in case of accident.
6) When carrying 60+ lbs of groceries plus my 140 lbs, the Avid BB7's stock rotors are inadequate for panic stopping me from 30 mph. If I do it twice in a row, I'm afraid I will warp the rotors. An upgrade is going to be done, preferably one that allows all three wheels to be stopped at once so that it doesn't try to lift the rear causing my front to scrape.

Other than that, it works well and is a lot less lossy than the naked trike. I carried $150 worth of groceries in the "trunk" last week without issue, which is a lot easier than carrying a mere half of that on the Raleigh split between a backpack and with 2-4 plastic bags slung over the handlebars. It's proving its practical aspects well.

I have temporary bike lights on it for night riding. I do not have my permanent electrical/lighting system set up and it will still be a while(months) before I do as I am planning to further modify this body for better usability and aerodynamics before making a second one out of a better suited material using a modified version of whatever shape I arrive at.

Going downhill at 30 mph, this thing corners like a go-kart and I love going through the apex of a turn as I used to do with my cars. It feels stable and I don't feel as if I've come close to tipping it with the suspension installed. It's more maneuverable than all of the cars I've had, and that includes my electric Triumph GT6, and its lateral G forces without skidding feel comparable to the GT6. I didn't expect it would be THAT good.

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by wturber » Feb 18 2018 3:08pm

Chalo wrote:
Jan 14 2018 4:45am

I sometimes wonder whether an inflatable streamliner fairing-- built like a segmented air mattress--would offer a maximum of benefit at a minimum of cost and weight. I imagine a stowable one made of ripstop nylon and PVC, or a semirigid one made of PET.
I've always imagined fabric with flexible support structures, think umbrellas, tents or kites.
"Commuter - DC Booster"
Iron Horse 3.0 hardtail - 48V / 1000W / 470rpm generic Chinese DD Hub motor (ebay)
8 x 36v 4.3ah 10s 2P battery packs - 1500W 30A DC Boost Converter delivers 54v and about 1000 watts peak
53T/42T Sakae Road cranks - 30mph+ on flats
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=90369

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by Chalo » Feb 18 2018 4:55pm

wturber wrote:
Feb 18 2018 3:08pm
Chalo wrote:
Jan 14 2018 4:45am
I sometimes wonder whether an inflatable streamliner fairing-- built like a segmented air mattress--would offer a maximum of benefit at a minimum of cost and weight. I imagine a stowable one made of ripstop nylon and PVC, or a semirigid one made of PET.
I've always imagined fabric with flexible support structures, think umbrellas, tents or kites.
It would have to be very taut and have plenty of ribs if it isn't to flap or flutter at speed. Flapping is about the worst thing you can do for aerodynamics. If a fairing were inflated, that would effectively prevent localized flapping. It wouldn't necessarily prevent the whole thing from flopping around, though.
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 Timelord » Feb 18 2018 6:35pm

This will probably be considered heresy here on ES, but have you considered mounting a gas engine on it instead? That way, it wouldn't need to comply with TX ebike law anymore, but rather as a "motor-assisted scooter." The law is a bit more flexible for those. The only limits are 40cc displacement and operation only on roads with a 35mph speed limit. I can't find any reference to licensing or registration, but I suspect it's not necessary since they say a title isn't necessary and motor-assisted scooters are allowed on bike paths and sidewalks and are otherwise treated as bicycles.

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/d ... TN.551.htm

A Golden Eagle bike engine kit with their house brand 38cc 4-stroke engine can do 35 with just a regular bike, so it should be able to do better with a velo. Line the rear (engine) compartment with soundproofing material like Dynamat Hoodliner and it might be quite quiet. With gas instead of electric power, you'd be able to have your 300 mile range by carrying a gallon of gasoline in some camping fuel bottles. I prefer electric power myself for its economy, zero emissions and low noise, but horses for courses as I don't need to ride 300 miles per day.

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by wturber » Feb 18 2018 8:34pm

If the resource I found is current, it would qualify as a "motor assisted scooter" even with an electric motor. The statute includes electric motors so long as the don't exceed 40 cubic centimeters of something. The statute is horribly worded in that they don't actually say that the 40 cc spec applies to engine displacement. And, of course, electric engines don't have a displacement. Even a persistent judge or administrator would have to allow the electric motor if it were no more powerful than a 40cc gas engine. That's not in the law, but some might consider it a reasonable interpretation given the obvious error in the law.

The "motor assisted scooter" category has a pretty significant restriction that would have to be considered though. It isn't allowed on streets with speed limits above 35 mph.

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/d ... TN.551.htm

Sec. 551.351. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:
(1) "Motor-assisted scooter":
(A) means a self-propelled device with:
(i) at least two wheels in contact with the ground during operation;
(ii) a braking system capable of stopping the device under typical operating conditions;
(iii) a gas or electric motor not exceeding 40 cubic centimeters;
(iv) a deck designed to allow a person to stand or sit while operating the device; and
(v) the ability to be propelled by human power alone; and

"Commuter - DC Booster"
Iron Horse 3.0 hardtail - 48V / 1000W / 470rpm generic Chinese DD Hub motor (ebay)
8 x 36v 4.3ah 10s 2P battery packs - 1500W 30A DC Boost Converter delivers 54v and about 1000 watts peak
53T/42T Sakae Road cranks - 30mph+ on flats
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=90369

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by wturber » Feb 18 2018 8:38pm

Chalo wrote:
Feb 18 2018 4:55pm
wturber wrote:
Feb 18 2018 3:08pm
Chalo wrote:
Jan 14 2018 4:45am
I sometimes wonder whether an inflatable streamliner fairing-- built like a segmented air mattress--would offer a maximum of benefit at a minimum of cost and weight. I imagine a stowable one made of ripstop nylon and PVC, or a semirigid one made of PET.
I've always imagined fabric with flexible support structures, think umbrellas, tents or kites.
It would have to be very taut and have plenty of ribs if it isn't to flap or flutter at speed. Flapping is about the worst thing you can do for aerodynamics. If a fairing were inflated, that would effectively prevent localized flapping. It wouldn't necessarily prevent the whole thing from flopping around, though.
Yeah. You'd have to make sure that the trailing edges especially were kept taught and stable.
"Commuter - DC Booster"
Iron Horse 3.0 hardtail - 48V / 1000W / 470rpm generic Chinese DD Hub motor (ebay)
8 x 36v 4.3ah 10s 2P battery packs - 1500W 30A DC Boost Converter delivers 54v and about 1000 watts peak
53T/42T Sakae Road cranks - 30mph+ on flats
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=90369

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Feb 18 2018 9:13pm

wturber wrote:
Feb 18 2018 8:34pm
If the resource I found is current, it would qualify as a "motor assisted scooter" even with an electric motor. The statute includes electric motors so long as the don't exceed 40 cubic centimeters of something. The statute is horribly worded in that they don't actually say that the 40 cc spec applies to engine displacement. And, of course, electric engines don't have a displacement. Even a persistent judge or administrator would have to allow the electric motor if it were no more powerful than a 40cc gas engine. That's not in the law, but some might consider it a reasonable interpretation given the obvious error in the law.
Here's where my vehicle wouldn't match the definition:

"a deck designed to allow a person to stand or sit while operating the device"

There's no deck like on a moped or scooter. The rider is reclined in a recumbent bicycle seat and their feet rest on the pedals. They'd have to be stretching the definition to make it fit. Otherwise, all "electric bicycles" could classify instead as a "motor assisted scooter".

So far, I haven't been pulled over, although cops have looked at me closely after passing them at 30 mph.

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Feb 18 2018 9:23pm

Timelord wrote:
Feb 18 2018 6:35pm
This will probably be considered heresy here on ES, but have you considered mounting a gas engine on it instead?
Nope. The closest thing to it would be a generator, but I would prefer one that could run on biodiesel or ethanol, and I don't know of one small enough(< 10 lbs) and powerful enough(> 1/2 horsepower continuous) for my application. Solar panels would give me better value for the money, IMO.

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by wturber » Feb 18 2018 9:28pm

The Toecutter wrote:
Feb 18 2018 9:13pm

Here's where my vehicle wouldn't match the definition:

"a deck designed to allow a person to stand or sit while operating the device"

I'd argue that a flat seat is effectively a "deck." But deck or not, you don't need to have a gas motor for the category.
"Commuter - DC Booster"
Iron Horse 3.0 hardtail - 48V / 1000W / 470rpm generic Chinese DD Hub motor (ebay)
8 x 36v 4.3ah 10s 2P battery packs - 1500W 30A DC Boost Converter delivers 54v and about 1000 watts peak
53T/42T Sakae Road cranks - 30mph+ on flats
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=90369

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by Timelord » Feb 19 2018 1:48am

The advantage of a gas engine is the 300 mile range he wanted without needing several thousand dollars worth of batteries or the hours to recharge them between rides. Piece of cake to pour more gas into the motor in a minute and get going again. For distances of up to 50 miles or so, an electric motor is far better, but it's hard to deny an IC engine has the edge when it comes to really long rides, especially at high speeds that would drain batteries quickly.

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by adam333 » Feb 19 2018 9:22pm

The Toecutter wrote:
Feb 18 2018 2:24pm
I'm tempted to spring for a $500 Efneo and get rid of the front derailleur, IF I can get a custom 152mm crankarm length and not the 170mm that they only seem to offer,
I really like the Schlumpf High Speed Drive ( 2.5:1 ) on my DH bike.
I installed the same on my father's Catrike.

http://www.schlumpf.ch/hp/hsd/hsd_engl.htm

You can chose different crankarm as well :

Crankarms sit conventionally on square spindle sections.
Standard length is 170mm
Standard material: aluminum
Available lengths: 155 (straight shape), 160, 165, 170, 172.5, 175mm (all offset shape). Other sizes on request.
For the standard straight 170mm crank, "easy-shift" - levers are available, which are simply clamped between pedal and crankarm and can be retrofitted to any high-speed-drive.

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Feb 20 2018 12:00am

I made another grocery run today. Here is what fit in the trunk:

-x2 1 lb packages of strawberries
-x3 whole pineapples
-x4 pint blueberries
-3 lb navel oranges
-2 lb apples
-x6 bags of greens(red chard, rainbow chard, red kale)
-x1 box of bone broth powder
-x2 dark chocolate bars
-x6 14 oz cans of soup
-x1 half gallon pomegranate juice
-x1 16 oz jar safflower mayonnaise
-x1 16 oz loaf of bread
-x1 24 oz bag blue corn chips
-x1 8 oz jar ghost pepper salsa
-x1 jar sweet relish
-x4 cans yellofin tuna
-x2 boxes of crackers
-x2 boxes of cookies
-x1 1 lb grass fed ribeye steak
-x1 half gallon carton organic ice cream
-my tools including a multitool, allen key set, utility knife, gorilla tape, and zip ties

This all took up about 3/4 of the trunk space, and I also still had the space to the left and right of the seat available which will later be set up to enclose whatever is stored there. It seems I can fit way more stuff in mine than a Quest velomobile(although I've never seen one in person to make a direct comparison).

I had no issue with the additional weight pedaling it back home. It gives me a rough idea of how hard it will be to pedal with the motor turned off when I have the electric drive system installed.

I really love this thing and wish I could afford a well-made commercial velomobile to mutilate to my needs. Ah well, this may become something that I can produce and sell some day, if I figure out a way to streamline the build process and use a less flimsy and more durable material. This current design is NOT the design I will ultimately go with, but just a prototype to see how everything fits together around the KMX frame. I intend to eventually get the aero as good as possible without compromising its practicality, but right now, the aero kind of sucks, even if it's leaps and bounds better than the naked trike.
wturber wrote:
Feb 18 2018 9:28pm
I'd argue that a flat seat is effectively a "deck." But deck or not, you don't need to have a gas motor for the category.
But it does need to be "self-propelled" to meet the definition of "motor assisted scooter". I originally planned to have a thumb throttle limited to 20 mph to conform to the electric bicycle designation while allowing a backup method of propulsion in case the chain broke, but should I drop that out of the plan and make it a pure pedelec, it will then not be self-propelled, and won't budge at all unless pedaled, whether the motor is on or off.

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Feb 20 2018 12:16am

adam333 wrote:
Feb 19 2018 9:22pm
The Toecutter wrote:
Feb 18 2018 2:24pm
I'm tempted to spring for a $500 Efneo and get rid of the front derailleur, IF I can get a custom 152mm crankarm length and not the 170mm that they only seem to offer,
I really like the Schlumpf High Speed Drive ( 2.5:1 ) on my DH bike.
I installed the same on my father's Catrike.

http://www.schlumpf.ch/hp/hsd/hsd_engl.htm

You can chose different crankarm as well :

Crankarms sit conventionally on square spindle sections.
Standard length is 170mm
Standard material: aluminum
Available lengths: 155 (straight shape), 160, 165, 170, 172.5, 175mm (all offset shape). Other sizes on request.
For the standard straight 170mm crank, "easy-shift" - levers are available, which are simply clamped between pedal and crankarm and can be retrofitted to any high-speed-drive.
Does it have its own bottom bracket, or can I use a torque-sensing bottom bracket with a Schlumpf? Pedelec capability is absolutely necessary for my application. I liked what I saw when I came across it, and it would allow me to go with a 60T big ring or even larger for highway speed capability, and still allow going up a 20% incline hill at walking speed fully loaded with luggage and camping gear with the motor off if I had to...

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by adam333 » Feb 20 2018 1:57pm

The Toecutter wrote:
Feb 20 2018 12:16am
Does it have its own bottom bracket, or can I use a torque-sensing bottom bracket with a Schlumpf?
You need to chamfer your existing bottom bracket to mount the Shlumpf drive ( by renting the tool )

And no, the torque sensing bracket cannot be mounted at the bottom bracket, ( nothing turn )

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by wturber » Feb 20 2018 2:05pm

The Toecutter wrote:
Feb 20 2018 12:00am
wturber wrote:
Feb 18 2018 9:28pm
I'd argue that a flat seat is effectively a "deck." But deck or not, you don't need to have a gas motor for the category.
But it does need to be "self-propelled" to meet the definition of "motor assisted scooter". I originally planned to have a thumb throttle limited to 20 mph to conform to the electric bicycle designation while allowing a backup method of propulsion in case the chain broke, but should I drop that out of the plan and make it a pure pedelec, it will then not be self-propelled, and won't budge at all unless pedaled, whether the motor is on or off.
So add/keep a throttle and don't make it a pure pedelec - even if you seldom use the regular throttle.
"Commuter - DC Booster"
Iron Horse 3.0 hardtail - 48V / 1000W / 470rpm generic Chinese DD Hub motor (ebay)
8 x 36v 4.3ah 10s 2P battery packs - 1500W 30A DC Boost Converter delivers 54v and about 1000 watts peak
53T/42T Sakae Road cranks - 30mph+ on flats
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=90369

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Feb 20 2018 7:38pm

adam333 wrote:
Feb 20 2018 1:57pm

You need to chamfer your existing bottom bracket to mount the Shlumpf drive ( by renting the tool )

And no, the torque sensing bracket cannot be mounted at the bottom bracket, ( nothing turn )
If it can't use a torque sensor, it's not viable. I am looking to use a Thun Xcell. The torque sensor IS the bottom bracket in that case. I could fit it to an internal crank gearbox like an Efneo, or go with a cheaper front derailleur and triple sprocket setup.
wturber wrote:
Feb 20 2018 2:05pm

So add/keep a throttle and don't make it a pure pedelec - even if you seldom use the regular throttle.
That would defeat the purpose. I want a vehicle that doesn't require a drivers license or motorcycle license to legally operate. An "electric bicycle" would meet this need, but a "motor-assisted scooter" wouldn't.

Pure pedelec would stay out of the legal gray area and keep it an "electric bicycle". The only "electric bicycle" speed restriction in TX is that is can't exceed 20 mph without the application of human power, but otherwise there's no restriction, which is where setting it up as a pedelec makes sense.

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The Toecutter   10 kW

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by The Toecutter » Feb 20 2018 9:03pm

Timelord wrote:
Feb 19 2018 1:48am
The advantage of a gas engine is the 300 mile range he wanted without needing several thousand dollars worth of batteries or the hours to recharge them between rides. Piece of cake to pour more gas into the motor in a minute and get going again. For distances of up to 50 miles or so, an electric motor is far better, but it's hard to deny an IC engine has the edge when it comes to really long rides, especially at high speeds that would drain batteries quickly.
I won't need several thousand dollars worth of batteries, maybe up to a single thousand worth, possibly only a few hundred worth. It depends on what I get. I won't need the high-end cells to do what I need if I improve the aero enough. If it ends up requiring 300W to cruise 30 mph on flat ground(significantly more wattage than a Quest velomobile at that speed and double that of a Milan SL), and I pedal with a steady 120W for the duration, that means I need 180W delivered from the hub motor and somewhere around 210-250W delivered from the battery when traveling a steady 30 mph on flat ground. Up hills will increase this, but where I will be riding it is almost universally flat.

A compromise solution that didn't quite get 300 miles range, but closer to 200 miles, would still be an acceptable result. I could put in a 1.0-1.5 kWh pack of LiFePO4 weighing in around 15-30 lbs(depending on what cells I get), maybe travel for 4-7 hours at 30 mph or 120-210 miles, have a meal somewhere(and plug in for the duration of the meal, say, and hour or so which from a 20A outlet and a charger/pack capable of using it, would fill the pack), and continue the remaining distance to my destination with a fresh charge.

If I run out of charge, no big deal, I continue to pedal it until I can find a place to charge it.

In the long run, considering consumption and maintenance, gasoline may end up being less economical than electric. That tradeoff point might be measurable in decades, but it does exist... Then there's external costs
unaccounted for such as the environmental impact, social costs, ect. and potential costs such as cancer(two-stroke engines produce some nasty emissions which the rider would be exposed to in greater than ambient quantities). Plus the vehicle would be dependent upon a fuel that can't be harvested for free or nearly-free. A gasoline-powered fuel-cell, on the other hand, would be much more useful for my application, but I am not aware of an existing commercially-available model sized for my application.

A set of solar panels on such a vehicle, if I could fit them within the weight limit, would be very valuable. The "fuel" would effectively be limitless for the rider as long as the rider had access to food/water and the bike's solar panels to sunlight.

Gasoline combustion engine use would be a terrible compromise and defeat the point of this vehicle's existence, and impose legal restrictions that would render the vehicle unusable to me, and the restriction to low-speed roads would limit its practicality and real travel range(try to find a route across Texas composed of nothing but roads legal for "motor assisted scooters" to ride on if you don't agree on this point. Electric bicycles otoh ARE allowed to operate on the highway but have to follow all laws regarding bicycle use:

Sec. 551.106. REGULATION OF ELECTRIC BICYCLES. (a) The department or a local authority may not prohibit the use of an electric bicycle on a highway that is used primarily by motor vehicles. The department or a local authority may prohibit the use of an electric bicycle on a highway used primarily by pedestrians.).

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by Timelord » Feb 21 2018 6:48pm

The Toecutter wrote:
Feb 20 2018 12:00am
But it does need to be "self-propelled" to meet the definition of "motor assisted scooter".
No, it doesn't. The statute says it has to have "the ability to be propelled by human power alone." That just means it needs a bike drivetrain that you can pedal if you have to.
The Toecutter wrote:
Feb 20 2018 9:03pm
In the long run, considering consumption and maintenance, gasoline may end up being less economical than electric. That tradeoff point might be measurable in decades, but it does exist... Then there's external costs
unaccounted for such as the environmental impact, social costs, ect. and potential costs such as cancer(two-stroke engines produce some nasty emissions which the rider would be exposed to in greater than ambient quantities).
Many of Golden Eagle kits use 4-stroke. And their 2-strokes are CARB II compliant.

Gasoline combustion engine use would be a terrible compromise and defeat the point of this vehicle's existence, and impose legal restrictions that would render the vehicle unusable to me, and the restriction to low-speed roads would limit its practicality and real travel range(try to find a route across Texas composed of nothing but roads legal for "motor assisted scooters" to ride on if you don't agree on this point. Electric bicycles otoh ARE allowed to operate on the highway but have to follow all laws regarding bicycle use:

Sec. 551.106. REGULATION OF ELECTRIC BICYCLES. (a) The department or a local authority may not prohibit the use of an electric bicycle on a highway that is used primarily by motor vehicles. The department or a local authority may prohibit the use of an electric bicycle on a highway used primarily by pedestrians.).
"Highway" in Texas-speak means public road. I'm pretty sure if you kept the right as on a bicycle, you wouldn't have any problems on a 40mph road that allows bicycles. I sincerely doubt you'd be allowed to ride an ebike on "any" highway, specifically high speed limited access interstates where motor assisted scooters would be prohibited.

But do what you want. I suspect it won't be as easy as you think.

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wturber   10 MW

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Re: Critique this performance velomobile idea

Post by wturber » Feb 21 2018 7:33pm

If toecutter needs a powered vehicle he can operate over long distances in Texas without having a driver's license, an e-bike appears to be his only option. Anything with a gasoline engine appears to require a license as does the motor assisted scooter. The motor assisted scooter category has a double whammy in that it is limited to highways with 35mph speed limits or lower. An e-bike does not have that limitation - however counter-intuitive that may seem.

Of course, the e-bike doesn't quite meet his needs either given that it is limited to 20 mph under its own power. As soon as he exceed 20 mph, his e-bike is no longer legally an e-bike. If he's zipping along at 30 mph and he gets pulled over by a LEO, he shouldn't be surprised if all sorts of bad things happen.

If Texas adopts the new unified e-bike laws with three classes, that will help him substantially (allowing him up to 28 mph) - especially since a streamliner can go further and faster for a given motor and battery capacity than a regular e-bike.
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