Bear with me if this gets wordy - and I apologize if there really *is* a discussion surrounding these motors elsewhere on The Sphere, but much Googling and looking about hasn't turned up much useful information. I'm referring to the Crystalyte "SAW" 400 series http://www.crystalyte.com/SAW%20series.htm
. And so here I return, out of the blue, after having been largely absent from posting here for eons (though I have been lurking). Justin's solar escapades got me re-hooked, and I was reminded that it has been 10 years since he stopped over here on his way across Canada. Christ, I'm getting old. I've been up to a number of things in the interim, but haven't posted much - but now I have a poser which I'm hoping others hereabout might be able to shed some light on.
There are a lot of different things that motivate one to want to electrify a bicycle, and a lot of different target objectives with respect to the desired personal outcome of doing so. Some want crazy power, some want a means of transportation, using a bicycle as a base, but without having to employ much physical input from pedaling. And some, like me, want to use a hub motor to augment regular cycling - keeping the "feel" of riding a bike as close to original as possible, but having the option to dial in a bit of assistance when the path takes us up a steep hill - or when riding into an annoying headwind (or occasionally pissing off a flock of lycra-clad road bikers, but I shouldn't allow myself to digress). We also want to remain welcome on multi-use pathways and other places in which regular bikes are allowed, and that means trying to preserve some level of "stealth".
12 years ago, I started (like a lot of people) with a kit from "Golden Motor", and since then I've played with a variety of other motors which I've acquired on-the-cheap, including a number of geared motors. But the motor that has best suited my particular application has been the Crystalyte 406 I bought from e-bikes.ca back in 2008, just after Justin's visit here (he was incredibly helpful in pointing me to what I needed versus what I thought i wanted). Running an Infineon controller with 12S2P LIPO packs, this has been my most used ride for the last decade. And it's the perfect mix of stealth and capability for my personal needs.
So, offering a further apology (particularly for this long-winded introduction), I get to the point... I've run into a number of discussions online with people lamenting the discontinuation of the Crystalyte 400 series over the very same things that have me endeared to it. Yeah, it's heavy. Yeah, there are more powerful or energy efficient alternatives available. I was always struck by how the first Nine Continent motor I ever saw "felt" like the original Golden units in terms of dimension and power. But there weren't many direct drive options that delivered the understated appearance of the 400's with their balance of power and quiet. OK - maybe there were, but I just didn't find any.
Bring me to this year... I had a few concerns with my 406 that prompted me to wonder what I'd do if it failed (or I smoked it) - apparently, the side cover could even fail (shear) on the freewheel side, as illustrated in numerous forum posts. If it died, I just wasn't willing to go back to a larger diameter unit. And certainly not a geared hub, just for reasons of noise alone. I do have a "winter bike" with a geared motor - the torque it lays down in conjunction with the studded Schwalbe Winters makes it a lot of fun in the snow and ice, and the noise isn't as much of a bother because there are fewer people about when it's cold outside. Anyways, after digging around, I found the "SAW 400" series I linked to at the beginning of this post. Hmmm... There looked to be some promise, here - but I could find *nothing* on them online. I did see that ebikes.ca was using a SAW405 to replace the original motor on the Stokemonkey - and that led me to just e-mailing Kenny at Crystalyte directly to ask, "WTF? Is this actually a product?". He told me that the new motor *is* a sort of replacement for the original 400 series, but that the configuration is quite different internally - so I did the obvious thing. I asked him to sell me one - which he did, and I just got it today. I would have probably been better served to have just sent Justin's folks a note to ask why they don't carry it, but I'm impulsive that way.
It seems well executed, and (cosmetically) it ticks all of the right boxes in terms of relative "stealth". It's actually quite attractive, as could be seen on the link - and here it is standing in front of my old 406. It's actually slightly smaller in diameter than the 406.
But I haven't even fired it up yet, as there is a huge issue with the construction. The drawings on the Crystalyte site clearly show the rear wheel motor offset sufficiently to leave generous room for a 7/8 speed freewheel within a 135mm dropout space. The motor I received is CENTERED on the axle.
Not useful unless I add spacers on the drive side and mount this thing on a steel frame that I can bend to provide at least 155mm - I only have one bike that I can bend this much, and it wouldn't be my first choice. And I've dished a wheel like this in past. I didn't like the way the result felt.
I'm going to power this thing up to get a sense of how it feels, and how many unloaded RPM it will turn with one of my packs, but wanted to start this thread to solicit input from anyone else who has encountered one of these things (or, more likely, to point me to where the subject has been discussed to death, and I've just missed it
). Not what Kenny at Crystalyte is going to do for me (would take new axle, if I could be assured that it's OK to press out the old one), we'll see.