I’ve done a lot of riding in the last month and I’m not too far from my first 1000 miles. All of the parts for the hydraulic brakes showed up a few weeks ago but I’ve been putting it off and riding instead. Well, I decided to at least install one of the calipers and I’m very happy with the result. I was concerned that these two piston calipers were going to be a bit too powerful and that would make the brakes too sensitive. I’m happy to report that’s not the case at all and the brakes, while powerful, are very controllable and linear.
A few last things: this bike really gets attention wherever I go. It seems everyone wants to know about its capabilities: cost, range, speed, etc. I know it’s unique but the interest has far surpassed what I was expecting. It really has turned out to be a most impressive little machine and has opened a lot of the area up to me for exploring. When there is a bike lane I take it. When there is only a sidewalk I ride that, but at reduced speed. When there are foot trails or bike paths, I take them too. When there is only road then I join traffic and can keep up for as long as I like, usually looking for another bike lane or sidewalk because I’m pretty happy doing around 15-20 MPH most times. My max speed so far is 53.6 MPH on level ground and my max range so far is 38.8 miles keeping my speed reasonable. If I’m rocketing around on the roads my range naturally is less, but only by about 10-20%.
I also decided to go with a bigger sprocket. I asked LightningRods to make me a custom 64T sprocket with the intention of trading speed for torque. That’s exactly what I got and I lost about 7 MPH but gained some impressive hill climbing capability. The 50T seemed capable of anything but I found myself off-road way more than I expected. I’m on mountain bike trails, and even foot paths a lot and the 50T was not as ready for these as I would have liked. The motor puts out amazing torque but I found myself going slow up steep soft slopes. The 64T really pulls and now I can do what most mountain bikes can do. If it gets too rocky I have to walk it or turn back, but that doesn’t happen that often. I’ve been on some amazing trails and I have surprised a number of folks who see me out where a bike like this normally can’t go.
I built what I think is a really good chain tensioner, all for about $5. I noticed that the chain was either too tight or too sloppy. I knew that I would need to add a chain tensioner at some point but the off-the-shelf parts weren’t what I wanted. There is a natural pivot on the back side of the shock mount so I fabricated the arm and put on a urethane roller that works great. Getting the right spring for getting the tension just right was probably the hardest part.
I need to put the front caliper on and install the brake light and turn indicators. I have most of the parts for that but I’m not in too big of a hurry about that either. I’ll probably get that done this month.