Newbie E-trike Build

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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Eric_Swing   10 µW

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Joined: May 21 2018 1:35pm

Newbie E-trike Build

Post by Eric_Swing » May 21 2018 8:22pm

Hello all!

This is my first post but I've been lurking on here and /r/ebikes for a number of months now.

First, thank you all so much for being such a wealth of information. As much as I'd like to patron my LBS for all of my ebike needs, they don't really have the capacity to help see through an ebike project. So, I really appreciate all of the advice and discussions around here.

So, I'm looking to convert a recumbent - most likely a trike. I don't have the recumbent as I'm still deciding on the best model to chose. I'm leaning towards a KMX conversion but am slightly concerned about suspension (or lack thereof). The FS Velotechnik might be a better chassis overall. Edit - I'm also open to 2-wheel SWB or LWB recumbents. Trikes just seem more stable in 4 season Iowa weather

I was thinking perhaps the 50V 30.6Ah from Em3EV might be the ticket based upon the other stickied math: https://em3ev.com/shop/50v-14s9p-large-triangle-pack/

Any thoughts on the battery?

Anyways, the wants / needs are listed below per the sticky:

Desired max speed on level ground. mph or kph
-My commute will be trail work so probably around 30mph.

Desired max range at what cruising speed. mph or kph
The commute is ~15 miles. I'd like to be able to cruise between 20 - 25 mph. Probably an average speed of about 22 mph. Was hoping for a max range of at least double (~30mi) that to simply preserve batter life for as long as possible. edit - I'll be charging the battery at work so I'd like to not get below a 50% discharge rate, is what I was trying to get at

Preferred bike wheel size, or wheel size of bike you want to convert. Most common kits are for 26" wheels.
Not sure. Smaller wheel size seems to bode better with hub and I've even considered some moped wheel rims. I know KMX (and the HP Velotechnik) have 20''. So, I suppose between 20 - 26'' wheels.

Brake type of motor wheel. Disc or not.
Disc.

Rider weight.
~185lbs + 10lbs of extra cargo.

Terrain. Exp: mostly flat, some short hills under 20% grade, I want to climb mountains, etc., etc.
Flatass central Iowa. I'd say elevation gain is negligible.

Budget.
Unsure. I'd like to evaluate all options without necessarily putting any constraints on cost yet. It will most certainly be sub $10k, though. Probably well below that.

Thank you for any (and all) advice! :)

chvidgov.bc.ca   10 kW

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Joined: Apr 24 2008 4:52pm
Location: Victoria, British Columbia

Re: Newbie E-trike Build

Post by chvidgov.bc.ca » May 21 2018 9:25pm

Performer brand...these are excellent value trikes you might consider - particularly the JC70 model...customer service is very good shipping directly from Taiwan. A small amount of assembly is needed out of the box. Probably the next step up the trike food chain in terms of quality from a KMX but cheaper than a Catrike Expedition or Greenspeed or HP Velotechnic, yet comparable in ride quality to the latter.

https://www.performercycles.com/recumbent-trikes/

I have an Actionbent alloy trike, made in the same factories. Recommend at least 26" rear wheel, rather than 20", for riding comfort. 26 better than 27C for wheel strength for an electric conversion, perhaps.

Two packs from em3ev.com, with 9continent motor, or a nice geared motor like an EZEE or Mac would be excellent. Don't recommend BBS02 type motors out on the end (front) of the boom. That's a big moment arm on a road shock, for the boom to absorb on a decent hit. I'm carrying 40amp hours of lithium at 14s/58.8 volts, right under the seat, carried in wire bike baskets pipe clamped to the seat and frame..probably your best value trikes about, with a good standard of stock components, and excellent workmanship. Made in Taiwan...very nice welds on the aluminum frames. I think they make cromolly as well. I find my Actionbent trike to be considerably more comfortable than my Catrike Road, mostly due to small wheel of the Catrike (406/20" size), and faster. 20" rear wheels tend to put the derailleur too close to the ground, in my experience. Both are alloy but the bigger Actionbent feels like a Cadillac compared to the Catrike Road. I'd avoid folding or suspended models, for maximum frame rigidity with the extra weight of the ebike parts. I've got about 25 lbs of battery on board, one pack on each side right under the seat. Important to situate the mass of the packs very close to the centre of mass of the bike/rider object for best handling. Throw in a Cycleananalyst and you will end up with a dream ride - I wanna testify! I have just over 19,000 miles on my Actionbent trike as registered on the CycleAnalyst, and just had new bearings put in last month. Maxxis Hookworms are an awesome front tire for these trikes....a Schwalbe Marathon Plus type tire on the back is about right. I occasionally haul a Bob trailer loaded with ultralight camping gear on distances of up to 100 miles per day on moderately hill terrain, with room for normal Ortlieb panniers on the rear racks, due to the batteries not being on the rear racks. Handling is drastically worse with batteries on the rack vs underseat forward of the rear rack.

Eric_Swing   10 µW

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Joined: May 21 2018 1:35pm

Re: Newbie E-trike Build

Post by Eric_Swing » May 22 2018 12:09am

EDIT - I actually found a few reviews online and a guy that had rigged up a 500W chinese motor here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=breppGdEQC4&t=21s... thing looks really nice, actually. Now I need to go find everything that's wrong with it so I can balance out my excitement, lol
chvidgov.bc.ca wrote:
May 21 2018 9:25pm
Performer brand...these are excellent value trikes you might consider - particularly the JC70 model...customer service is very good shipping directly from Taiwan. A small amount of assembly is needed out of the box. Probably the next step up the trike food chain in terms of quality from a KMX but cheaper than a Catrike Expedition or Greenspeed or HP Velotechnic, yet comparable in ride quality to the latter.
I've never heard of this brand! Thank you for turning me onto them. I'm going to do some more digging on them!
I have an Actionbent alloy trike, made in the same factories. Recommend at least 26" rear wheel, rather than 20", for riding comfort. 26 better than 27C for wheel strength for an electric conversion, perhaps.
This is what I was kind of thinking too in regards to wheel size. Any issues with the alloy or regrets with the alloy? Was reading some threads earlier with people discussing alloy vs steel (cromolly)
Two packs from em3ev.com...i'm carrying 40amp hours of lithium at 14s/58.8 volts,
Is that split into like (2) 30V/20Ah? And I had actually forgotten about having to balance the trike, lol.

9continent motor, or a nice geared motor like an EZEE or Mac would be excellent.
I still don't really understand what the difference is between a geared vs non-geared motor. Is like this like an internally geared hub?
I'd avoid folding or suspended models, for maximum frame rigidity with the extra weight of the ebike parts.
I can see the folding justification but what about suspension for speeds above 25 mph? I'm just concerned that the jarring forces of the road might "catch up with me" down the line. Any experiences like that or anything?
I have just over 19,000 miles on my Actionbent trike as registered on the CycleAnalyst, and just had new bearings put in last month.
That's really awesome, man. Got any pictures?
I occasionally haul a Bob trailer loaded with ultralight camping gear on distances of up to 100 miles per day on moderately hill terrain, with room for normal Ortlieb panniers on the rear racks, due to the batteries not being on the rear racks.
Now we're talking! I'd love to tour with the thing. I originally bought a Surly Disc Trucker a couple years back for touring but quickly found out I can't stand diamond frames. What sort of assist or average speed are you usually getting?

chvidgov.bc.ca   10 kW

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Re: Newbie E-trike Build

Post by chvidgov.bc.ca » May 22 2018 5:11am

I haven't had any regrets with the aluminum frame. The only issue I had is the slighter softness of the rear dropouts, so I used 2 opposed torque arms, on each side, to really immobilize the hub motor axle from turning in either direction. It hasn't budged so far over the 19000 miles. The mesh seat is good - I put a Thermarest pad between the mesh layers under my back and butt and that gives a lot of comfort, along with the Hookworm tires run below rated pressure of 100psi - only run them at 55 psi - that gives a lot of comfort. I use straps on the pedals to retain my normal street shoes as well, rather than clipping in. Each separate pack is 48V nominzl, 20 amp hours, and they are connected in parallel, for 48v nominal/40 amp hour config - I use a diode to isolate them. My nine continent is a direct drive hub motor from ebikes.ca - peaks at 1400 watts - Ezee and Mac are internally geared, and perhaps a bit better freewheeling. No issues with the frame and jarring from the road. I probably average around 20 miles per hour - with heavy pedalling and max throttle, I can just maintain 32 miles per hour on a flat road. I have had the unit up to around 40 mph on a big downhill run with no handling problems. If you are anywhere near Utah, you might check out Utah trikes ltd. for a test ride of a variety of different trikes as well.

download/file.php?mode=view&id=234446
Attachments
Chris on Trike Small.jpg
Last edited by chvidgov.bc.ca on May 22 2018 10:48am, edited 1 time in total.

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docnjoj   100 GW

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Location: Fairhope AL

Re: Newbie E-trike Build

Post by docnjoj » May 22 2018 6:54am

Check out Steintrikes full suspension trikes. You can buy the frames only if you choose and save a bunch of cash. They are steel frames so no dropout problems. Do use at least 1 torque arm, however, and 2 are better. They basically offer a lifetime warrantee to help with frame parts. Good folks.
otherDoc
E-bike stable at our house

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

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

chvidgov.bc.ca   10 kW

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Posts: 813
Joined: Apr 24 2008 4:52pm
Location: Victoria, British Columbia

Re: Newbie E-trike Build

Post by chvidgov.bc.ca » May 22 2018 2:14pm

I believe that what I have learned over the 19000 miles on my etrike CycleAnalyst is that rigidity is your friend when concocting an etrike. Anywhere that rigidity is lost could be a problem. I have eliminated all sources of rigidity loss possible, in any masses on the trike concentrated at large moment arm from the centre of mass of the bike and rider. I have done this and I love the pleasing results in handling! Hence my preference for alloy frames I suppose, accepting the tradeoffs in comparison to those of a steel frame, and mitigating them. All that rigidity can be a harsher ride for sure but it is very possible to find better tires, better inflation pressures, better mesh seats with built in adjustable and removeable Thermarest sit pads between the mesh layers, softer handgrips etc. that work very well.
My .02 I'm not convinced steel frames are the best for average urban/suburban e-triking, the KMXes of the world, at least historically.
Note: I originally ordered a cromoly Actionbent, and they sent me the wrong frame (alloy) in 2008. Reluctantly I kept it and turned out very happy that I did, in the long run. I may have been as happy with the Cromoly frame but I doubt it. The batteries should be as close to the centre of mass of the bike/rider object as possible, and as rigidly affixed to the frame as possible. I had to reduce 2mm from the hub motor axle shoulder and a 2mm frame stretch to accomodate hub motor axle into dropouts. You will need to know both of those measurements - both the dropout width and the dimensions of the hub motor you are installing. Tight is the overall goal.... the 20" Road was super harsh, the Actionbent is mitigatable to good comfort with the benefit of better frame rigidity which is WELCOME if you like to pedal..I pedal hard as I like which often hard for quick ecomiling on low wattage like 75 watts or something. The virtues of the throttle. Do not recommend integrating the drive train with the hub motor controls. Throttle only is the best. Full intentionality on energy supply. One upgrade I haven't done and probably won't is switch to sine wave controller to eliminate any motor noise.

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