Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist?

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Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist?

Post by thunderstorm80 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 7:01 am

Hi,
This is a discussion, for the optimum electric propulsion for a heavy touring bike, assuming big grade slopes (positive and negative) along the way.
I wish not only to drive on roads (and cars), but also to cross countries by off road trails. (4x4 gravel roads at worst - not single tracks, drops, jumps...)
I did such a touring across Estonia by using Google Earth to locate forest roads. It was amazing. I didn't have a motor (it was just flat anyway), but some forest roads were quite bumpy to my back, hands, and to the equipment I was carrying. (I used a rigid touring bike)

First, I wonder if there exist a full suspension bicycles for touring:
Probably with shorter suspensions, but with geometry that allows standard front&rear racks to be used, so they located in the SPRUNG zone of the bike?
There are solutions to regular full suspension bikes, but those racks are attached to the unsprung parts - for example on the fork beneath the shock absorber.
I would also like to use 700c tires, and not small 20inch or so.
I was considering, however, the option of taking my full-suspension E-Bike that has two motors, and attach a trailer behind it for the equipment. This adds a significant drag, and it would be impossible to use it outside of well paved asphalt roads.

Now about electricity:
I see two optimum options:

1. Front DD motor and rear geared motor: The front works alone during flats where it's more efficient and low power is needed, and also regen during downhills. The geared joins at takeoffs (to pass as fast as possible the low efficient speed zones), and works continuously with the DD during uphills.
I have such configuration, and compared to just a single front DD - I save 40% of the energy during uphills.
The location is also optimum for each motor - More weight and traction is needed on the rear wheel during ascents, and more weight and traction is needed on the front during descents.
The downside is that only one motor is working during regen (and it's significant with touring weight), and the geared-motor wouldn't live long with the added equipment weight above while off-roading.

2. Two identical DD motors - For example two H3540's, which exists both as front and both as rear. This increases regen recovery compared to a single H3540 but it's less than two-fold power increase like on forward propulsion - in the order of 20-30% increase from the regen of a single DD. It does however let you regen more slowly, and powerfully, especially if you go down very steep roads with sharp turns - and add some rain to make the scene more interesting. As you slow down on a 2x2, you are much more weather resistant against slippery. It simplifies the use of a single throttle and CA, but still requires two controllers. (Phaserunners).
The downside is the much higher weight (15Kg for 2xH3540, compared with 10.5Kg for H3540+Ezee250), and a double cogging torque in case you have to pedal alone if there is a flat battery or other malfunction.

What is your opinion?


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Re: Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist

Post by dogman dan » Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:52 am

That's badass.

Much prettier than my longtail FS touring frankenbike. See my sig for link to frankenbike thread, bouncing betty. It rode well on dirt roads, washboard no problem but deep enough gravel sucked. Mostly it handled hard on deep gravel because it weighed so much. 50 pounds of camping gear, food, and water. (I'm in the desert). Then another 40 pounds of battery. So almost 100 pounds in the panniers and on the rack. Pushing 400 pounds with me on it.
Loaded for a tour..jpg
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Re some of your ideas. I'd do a big rear DD, then front geared. My bike just had one motor, a 2000w DD, the old crystalyte 5305. I was going to add a front motor, but the 5305 was all I needed really.

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Re: Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist

Post by MadRhino » Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:45 am

Ready made FS ebikes that are suitable for offroad are mostly mid drives. The stealth fighter fits your requirements, and a few other similar but they are expansive.

Best is to build your own if you can, strarting from a robust older downhill racing frame.

A hub on the front is not handling good offroad, unless it is on very nice trails or very slow. Riding downhill with a front hub is a severe handicap to a suspension fork, and a good way to have the tail bucking like hell down a steep rough trail.
Best is to have a big hub on the rear, and lots of power. More power that can be fed to both your H 3540, that are proably the easiest motors to fry in a mountain. I have fried enough of them to know. :wink:
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
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Re: Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist

Post by Drunkskunk » Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:45 pm

Forget hub motors for this kind of ride. those graveled, rutted, steep, washed out 4x4 trails are exactly the kind of road hub motors sux at, and mid drives shine on. Also, hub motors should.t be used on front suspension for many reasons. Starting with the motor is likely to snap off the dropouts and cause a crash. It's too much unsprung weight for something that wasn't designed for it, and the shock won't function well. and the list goes on.
There is also no need for 2 wheel drive on a bicycle like this. if you can spin your rear tire under 3000 watts, you're running to skinny of a rear tire.

For this kind of road, 3 things will really help:
Having the longest travel suspension you can acquire.
Having a long wheelbase.
Having the largest air volume in the tires you can get.

For the first two, you may need to build your own frame. If you can weld, this problem is easy. You could start with a box frame like a Vector and add a longer rear suspension arm and long travel front fork.

For the last one, forget 700c. skinny tires make the ride worse. More air volume in the tire means a smoother ride, more tire contact with the road from larger tires also leads to better traction and better braking. While fat tires are ideal for this kind of road, they wear fast and don't work for long trips, so a compromise of 3" 27.5 or 265" tires would work wekk.
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Re: Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist

Post by E-geezer » Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:54 pm

Since you're primarily looking for cush on dirt roads, a fully rigid fat bike or plus bike with rack and fender mounts might be a simpler option.

Like these:

http://surlybikes.com/bikes/pugsley

http://surlybikes.com/bikes/ecr

There's a lot of interest in the mtb world in bikepacking, which kind of sounds like what you're doing. Bikepacking bikes might be a good fit.

http://www.bikepacking.com/bikes/
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Re: Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist

Post by Hillhater » Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:00 pm

Thunderstorm80.. read this for some feedback from an experienced Ebike tourer...
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=28573
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Re: Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist

Post by Chalo » Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:38 pm

E-geezer wrote:Since you're primarily looking for cush on dirt roads, a fully rigid fat bike or plus bike with rack and fender mounts might be a simpler option.

Like these:

http://surlybikes.com/bikes/pugsley

http://surlybikes.com/bikes/ecr
I came back to this thread to recommend the ECR as a probably better alternative to a mechanical suspension bike, only to find that it had already been mentioned.

A 29+ bike like the ECR delivers a smooth stable ride in two ways: large wheel diameter and low tire pressure. At the same time, it offers much greater options for carrying luggage than any mechanically suspended bike. It costs a lot less for equivalent quality, too. And it will be easier to live with going forward, with less maintenance and fewer points of wear.

Recently, a 29 x 2.8" smooth treaded tire (Vee Rubber Speedster) has come available, giving a better pavement-oriented option than anything previously available for 29+.
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Re: Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist

Post by Hillhater » Thu Sep 15, 2016 11:08 pm

now, im no expert on bike geometry, but i do know that long rides can be hard on the butt, arms, hands, etc..as well as the legs,..so a comfortable riding position is essential. So has anyone considered the option of a semi recumbent type set up ? ( a full recumbent might be a bit too radical for most ?)
something like the crank forward Day 6 Samson..probably with a wheel/fat tire upgrade... looks tough enough and would certainly take the weight off the arms and give the comfort seating position.
http://www.day6bikes.com/non-electric-bicycles/samson/
..but i have never ridden one , so open to more experienced comments.
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Re: Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist

Post by ScooterMan101 » Fri Sep 16, 2016 12:05 am

Many years ago , I toured around Eastern Australia by bike, well not exactly, What I did was when I had spent enough time in a certain town, I would wake up at the Backpackers Hostel , then Ride out of town until I got tired, less than 10 miles, then when too tired I laid the bike down and stuck out my thumb to Hitch Hike. It moderately worked, most of the time I would get board of cars/ute's passing by not picking me up so I would ride some more , then repeat trying to Hitch Hike.
I tended to stay at a hostel for weeks at a time to really get to know the town, I even stayed a month in Bright , Victoria . ( Lots of Hang Gliding and Paragliding to see and Microlights to go up in ).
And a 3 or more week stay at Canberra Backpackers Hostel , because there were so many bike paths there in Canberra to ride . Canberra is a great town to ride bike paths, just thinking about it makes me want to go back for a few weeks.

And I did the Same ... Ride-Hitch Hike-Ride-Hitch Hike routine up the Coast from Sydney up to Cairns. Yep a Walkabout with Two Wheels.

I had a small handlebar bag, and a rear rack with a very large duffel bag draped over it to resemble panniers.

Most all of the trip I really Wished I had a BOB trailer, you would think that it would take up room but there is always room for it at the Hostel under/next to your bed ,
and some people think they can not take a trailer off road very well, However , the BOB Trailer is perfect for Off Road, ( Get the Ibex model ), and search articles and youtube videos on how people who do trail maintenance use the BOB trailer to take heavy tools to do the work on the trails.


http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Bike-Carg ... -Ibex-Plus

If you do go with a rear hub motor, you will have to buy the ( BOB Nuts ) instead of the through axle quick release, you might have to get the " BOB Nuts " re-threaded if you go with a larger hub motor, they might work with the smaller rear hub motors though , more research on your part for that.

However, You say you will be going up and down some good size hills, Have you looked into Mid-Drives ?

And yes there is a front rack that bolts to a front suspension fork, I forgot what the name and Mfg of it is right now, But , it is a little over $ 100 plus the cost of front Panniers, with those you will be up to close to $ 200 , so you are better off
getting and putting most everything on a BOB Trailer, you can then leave it at your campsite / hostel, and ride around town/ trails without all the heavy items necessary for camping/living off a bike.
Last edited by ScooterMan101 on Mon Oct 31, 2016 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist

Post by thunderstorm80 » Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:51 am

Wow! Thanks for the help guys :)

It looks like the best option for touring ebike would be 29er (or 700cc - same ISO), rigid frame, with the fattest tires you can fit.
Currently my 2WD commuting ebike is a 26inch full suspension mountain bike with Maxxis Hookworm tires. These babies are 26x2.5 and give you all the traction you need. I even think they can be good for moderate offroads (anything a regular family car can do).

I wonder if it's financially smart to order a frame from abroad? Wouldn't the shipping be a killer?
It's actually very smart to buy just a frame since anyway I won't be using the regular wheels that come with any bicycle you buy. It's just a question if it's indeed cheaper than buying a "turn-key" bicycle? From my experience, it's the opposite. It's better to buy a bike, dump anything you won't need, and even without selling the components you removed - it's still cheaper!

Now the unsettled term is what motor to use, and if using two of them is smart.
As I wrote at the beginning, my 2WD has a front 9C+ 2706 DD and a rear geared ezee250rc.
My instinct is that two DD's - like dual H3525 will be the best for long distance hauls. Not only because DD's have no wear, but also because with the significant weight of touring bike (I calculated total vehicle weight of 180Kg including myself and I am not a heavy guy), and going down very steep downhills - A second DD motor can vastly increase the regen efficiency. (It's something you don't need when you weight total of 110-120Kg and just commute in the city - as one DD is already "capturing" most of your potential energy)
I like the H3525's because of their super low RPM/V, which means they need way smaller phase current/torque, and the phaserunner doesn't like more than 40A phase current continuous. Of course, the system would be 75V because of the low RPM/V. It looks that in this configuration with two H3525, two phaserunners, and a high voltage pack, I will less likely to encounter any wear issues related to heat. (connectors, mostly)

The only question with a rear H3525 is if I can force an 8 speed cassette on it's threaded freewheel? (assuming the bike will have a standard 135mm rear OLD).
Or can I be fine with 7 speed and just get a mega-range cassette? Are there any 11T-36T 7 speed cassettes or can I build my own?

In case the cassette gearing would be tricky, another option would be to mount the TDCM IGH 305rpm on the rear. It's also a DD (but has much less copper than the H3525 so you lose available power), and it has a 5-speed-internal hub.
I was curious about the weight breakdown so I asked Justin: He told me the sturmy archer hub it has weights 2kg, while the motor itself is 4kg.
2Kg isn't a lot of weight for IGH? Or that's the norm?
How much weight will I be saving from not needing to have rear derailler system and it's cassette?

What do you think?

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Re: Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist

Post by E-geezer » Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:58 am

I wonder if it's financially smart to order a frame from abroad?
Where are you?
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Re: Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist

Post by thunderstorm80 » Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:06 pm

E-geezer wrote:
I wonder if it's financially smart to order a frame from abroad?
Where are you?
Israel.
This is the problem - we are technically an "Island", so all abroad shipments are more expensive.

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Re: Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist

Post by Chalo » Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:54 pm

Trust me when I say the rest of the world pays much more dearly for y'all, than y'all do for shipping.
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: Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist

Post by thunderstorm80 » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:23 pm

Chalo wrote:Trust me when I say the rest of the world pays much more dearly for y'all, than y'all do for shipping.
Can you explain what you wrote?

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Re: Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist

Post by motomech » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:49 pm

I don't know, but my simple 2WD works pretty good on jeep trails. I don't do rough single tracks or inclines steeper than I can scramble upon my own two legs.
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2 Low-powered gear motors, Ezee rear on 25 Amps and a Cute frt. on 20A.
Those are the street tires.
For off-road, I have another complete pair of whl. ASM & motors that mount these tires;
https://www.bikebling.com/Kenda-Nevegal ... ping_feeds
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They are very HD, like a dirt bike tire.
The motors for off road differ in that the Ezee has composite gears and the frt. Q100H is a low-speed "201", where the street motor is a mid-speed "260".
The Fox Float R shock as a special tuning kit from Fox installed, but the Bomber fork is all original. The 2 Kg. Q100 has never really caused me any problems.
The drive systems are completely septarate, 2 packs, 2 controllers and two throttles, a left-hand half-twist next to a thumb. They are very intuitive and easy to use;
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I ride by myself and no longer feel the need to "race", so I'm concerned with getting back to the truck in one piece and having a day w/out a flat.
Riding conservative, I don't feel like I have 2 "ball and chains on the ends of my bike.
Overall, at moderate speeds, the ride is fairly comfortable, which is good because w/ 25 Ah of battery, I can go quite a ways.
Last edited by motomech on Mon Oct 10, 2016 5:14 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist

Post by dogman dan » Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:45 am

Lets leave politics out of this discussion please.

But his location does matter a lot. Importing stuff to Israel is very pricy. It might be the best thing cost wise, to make a frankenbike like I did. The cheap welder will still be a costly import, but it can build lots of frames in the end.

Your best approach may be to simply build a 6" lengthening extension that bolts to an existing full suspension frame. Or a new steel swing arm for the bike you have, something like that. Then adding a strengthened seat post type rack. then use your existing motors for now.

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Re: Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist

Post by thunderstorm80 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 5:22 am

Hey,
After doing more homework, it seems that Surly bikes would be a good choice, with either their Pugsley frame or Wednesday frame:
http://www.ison-distribution.com/englis ... t=FMSUU14B
http://www.ison-distribution.com/englis ... t=FMSUWE5B

I couldn't understand that exact difference between them. Do you?

Since I plan to use 2WD direct-drive motors that will do most of the braking job, I find it useless to carry the extra weight and complexity of disc brake. However, if I understand correctly - it's impossible to have rim V-brake with such wide rims because there is no standard for such brakes?

I looked up their international dealers and saw it would take me ages to email each one and find if one of them can sell and send a frameset to Israel. Do you know a Surly dealer at your country that can do such delivery?

And last, I find the choice of fat-bikes very good for hub-motors, since they provide their suspension (if you lower the pressure right) even for the hub-motor itself, so in fact your entire bike, including the motor, the spokes and the rims, are sprung weight!
Of course it's not like a full suspension MTB suspension, but it can be quite substantial - especially on a certain types of terrain.

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Re: Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist

Post by BBassett » Mon Oct 31, 2016 2:45 am

I own a Tout-Terrain Panamericana with 2200 miles in 7 months now. BaFang 750W motor, 50V 24.9Ah battery, Rohloff Speedhub transmission, Dynamo hub providing 2 USB connections. Bike fully loaded weighs 150 lbs. and pulls a TT Mule trailer carrying 70 lbs. of gear. Bike, rider, trailer, gear and water approx. 540 lbs. The only weight that is not fully suspended are the wheels and hubs. Very smooth ride, no suspension sag, no flex in the racks. Great riding position. Turns very easily even pulling the trailer. With the 750W motor this bike can go anywhere bicycles are allowed. The 1000W HD can be prohibited on all bike trails and even city streets for being over 750W if you get a stickler for the rules. This isn't a major factor for a "Off Road" bike rider. Touring is a different matter. Do not consider hub motors for a Tour bike. You will need the torque trust me.

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Re: Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist

Post by dogman dan » Mon Oct 31, 2016 6:14 am

Just recently, a guy rode the divide in the USA, using a fat bike and a single 12t mac hub motor. I believe he did tow a trailer. Much of that route is dirt road. I toured some, but found I disliked sleeping that rough. (I'd still love to tour motel to motel) But I had been very interested for a long time in the idea of a DD hub motor in the back, and a geared hub motor in front. For 2000w total.

Instead, I ended up with a single DD rear hub, capable of 3000w, running 2000w. I found nothing paved in the state of New Mexico it could not easily climb. Same motor Justin rode across Canada on, but a rear one instead of a front.

But,, now I'm intrigued by the idea of a touring bike that has a BBs02, and a front geared motor for an additional 1000w when needed. Possibly just cruise on the front motor when it's easy, saving wear and tear on the mid drive for the hills

Back to the suspension thing, once you commit to towing much of your load, then any good quality FS bike could be the tow vehicle. Even battery load could be towed. When I built the frankenbike, I was wanting to not tow, and have FS. If that is the goal, then get a welder is the best way to go. Build your dreams.

If I was going to do another tour now, I will be riding this, and towing a cheap knock off of a bob trailer. Another frankenbike, but no rear suspension. Its long enough to not really need the rear shock.
Finished cargo mixte..jpg
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Re: Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist

Post by thunderstorm80 » Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:38 am

Do you know where can I buy 29er fat-bike rims (for mounting 3inch+ tires), that have 36 spoke holes?

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Re: Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist

Post by Cephalotus » Sun Mar 12, 2017 5:29 pm

Riese Müller makes those:

https://www.r-m.de/de/e-bike/#

Image

If you have lots of stuff:

https://www.r-m.de/de/e-cargo/load/

Image

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Re: Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist

Post by Cephalotus » Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:55 pm

BBassett wrote:... and pulls a TT Mule trailer carrying 70 lbs. of gear...
How do you like your Tout Terrain Mule?

Would you recommend it?

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Re: Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist

Post by thradad » Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:38 pm

thunderstorm80 wrote:Do you know where can I buy 29er fat-bike rims (for mounting 3inch+ tires), that have 36 spoke holes?
Kris Holm makes some 47mm wide unicycle rims with 36 holes. I've heard they're quite strong (unicyclists put all their weight on one wheel) but I've never tried them myself. http://krisholm.com/en/gear/unicycle/kh29

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Re: Full suspension E-Bike for touring? Do such animal exist

Post by Cephalotus » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:23 pm

From Klever mobility:

https://www.klever-mobility.com/e-bikes ... rt-e-bike/

Maybe not the "coolest" full suspension e-bike in the world, but people say they drive well

24" wheels though.

Image

you can even get a street legal 45km/h version over here:

Image

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