Kona Ute Conversion...in progress

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dirtdad   100 W

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Kona Ute Conversion...in progress

Post by dirtdad » Oct 25 2009 10:06pm

I have wanted to make a longbike for a while. So now that I have access the the Kona Ute, I decided to go for it. The Ute is a long wheelbase cargo type bike. For 2010 it comes with front and rear disc brakes. It comes as a 700c bike, but my only motor sitting around was a 26" model. I am working on lacing up a 700c rhyno lite but I dont have the right size spokes yet. So with no further ado:

Image

It is a work in progress, but it is rideable. It has a BMW 600W Speed (V2-S) rear motor, standard 30a bmc controller, and currently a random assortment of 36V battery packs. Even at 36V it is good for around 25mph. I have some 48V Li Ion packs in my next order earmarked for it if they don't sell before I can claim them again. And the great thing is that there is room for a whole family grocery trip back there, even with the batteries. And there is no need to figure out a rack mount. I am thinking about a west coast tour ride at some point.

On its maiden voyage I put 36v 50ah of packs of varying condition back there. I just threw the packs in loose. That used up about 1/3 of the room in each bag, and there is room for double the bag storage on the bike. I plan to try other battery mounting options as time goes on.

It rode pretty well with a 26" wheel in back and a 700c in front. The big 2.35" Big Apple made the 26" close to a 700c in size. It is nice to know that monster tires do fit. And with discs front and rear you could put 26" tires/wheels on it if you wanted to, I guess. I will take more pics as I update and complete the bike.
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Last edited by dirtdad on Nov 08 2009 12:26pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Kona Ute Conversion...in progress

Post by hillbilly » Oct 26 2009 4:13pm

I'm looking forward to more details as your Ute build progresses. In the meantime, I wonder if you can comment on the pros/cons of the Kona Ute vs. the Yuba Mundo for e-conversion? I'm thinking ahead to my next bike and had more-or-less settled on the Mundo, though to be quite honest, I can't quite recall why! :)
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Re: Kona Ute Conversion...in progress

Post by dirtdad » Oct 26 2009 5:05pm

I did ride the Mundo at Interbike a year ago. It was fun, all of these cargo bikes are fun and you can't go wrong with any of them. These are differences I see. I an not calling them pros/cons. Whether or not you like any given difference is up to you.

The Mundo has a low shelf on the rear racks and is more of a hauler. The Ute is no slouch for hauling, but it is shorter, lighter, aluminum vs. steel, carries its load a little higher, and has 700c wheels vs 26". The Ute comes with a front derailleur, the Mondo has a 1x drivetrain. I dont know what kind of bb shell/cable routing the Mundo has, perhaps you could install front gearing if you wanted to.

The 2010 Ute is disc only, the Mundo could not handle disc brakes last I knew, but you can always at least change the fork and install front discs, the most important anyway. Earlier utes had rear v-brakes. The ute's 700c wheel will translate to higher speeds and less torque. The 2010 ute can be made into a 26" wheel version if you are willing to change all the needed parts. Style points to the Ute for the wooden rear deck. Price on the two bikes is pretty close if I remember right. Both Yuba and Kona have or are working on electric versions of the bikes so I think the applicability of electric power on these bikes is excellent.

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Re: Kona Ute Conversion...in progress

Post by hillbilly » Oct 26 2009 7:55pm

Thanks... your comparison reminds me that I thought a steel bike would be better for hauling camping gear on fairly rough gravel logging roads. I'm not familiar with bike components, however, so the big question in my mind right now boils down to deciding which bike would be easiest to adapt to hill climbing on backcountry roads. You mention that the Mundo is a one-speed -- I assume that having a range of gears would be best for a bike that is used on both paved roads and hill climbing?

Carl
Trek 7300 hybrid - BMC 400 watt V1.0 - Ping 36v 15ah V2.5 - Shenzen 35a controller - Eagle Tree V3 data logger

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Re: Kona Ute Conversion...in progress

Post by dirtdad » Oct 26 2009 8:11pm

You can get the Mundo with a rear derailleur, but they don't offer it with a front derailleur for a wider range of gearing. You might be able to add that, but I am not sure about that, you should contact them. I am curious to hear what they say, let me know if you find out.

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Re: Kona Ute Conversion...in progress

Post by hillbilly » Oct 26 2009 11:15pm

They must be burning the midnight oil at Yuba because I've already had a reply to my query:

"We currently offer 2 models: 6 Speed and 18 Speed. Although these will be replaced starting November 1st by a 21 speed model. We no longer offer the single speed.
Which means that the bikes usually come with a rear derailleur (6 Speed bike) and front derailleur (21 Speed bike).
The gearing on the 21 Speed is 42/32/22 and 14-28T for the rear.
On the 6 Speed is currently 38T and 14-28T.

By the way the new 21 Speed version is quite different:
-new frame (with carrier welded)
-disc tabs front & rear
-new wheels
-better parts
-fenders
-kickstand included

In any case I would recommend keeping the 14mm axle and 48 spoke rear wheel on the back. Hence it's preferable to have the e-kit on the front wheel."
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Re: Kona Ute Conversion...in progress

Post by Zoot Katz » Oct 26 2009 11:32pm

I'd want to keep the 48 spoke rear wheel for its load carrying ability and mount the batteries low amidships.

grimbasement had some problems fitting the axle to the rear dropouts of his Yuba Mundo.
http://www.endless-sphere.com/forums/vi ... ba#p172802

It would be nice if somebody offered 40 or 48 hole drillings on their torque wound motors specifically for cargo bikes.
Better quality bearings and a bigger axle couldn't hurt either.

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Re: Kona Ute Conversion...in progress

Post by ngocthach1130 » Oct 27 2009 12:10am

I think you have a typo. I think you mean the BMC motor and not BMW. Other than that congrats on your expansion.
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Re: Kona Ute Conversion...in progress

Post by dirtdad » Oct 27 2009 1:00am

Sounds like some nice changes to the Mundo. Looks like the new version is available as a frame only already. Whole bike probably to follow soon. http://www.yubaride.com/yubashop/18-uti ... frame.html

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Re: Kona Ute Conversion...in progress

Post by hillbilly » Oct 27 2009 12:24pm

I don't want to hijack this thread with Yuba Mundo info but I've just had a follow-up from Yuba that might be relevant. In future, I'll start a specific Yuba Mundo discussion, probably in the General category. Here's their latest:

"It's important to realize that most of the comments made about the Mundo concern the first generation of Mundos. We are now starting to offer the third generation. Note that the picture on the site of the frame only is a second generation Mundo.
All previous issues with wheel fitting and dropout spacing have been solved.

The first point is that for riding off-road I will only consider 26' wheels. The Mundo with the electric assist will in your case work for taking you up the mountain. You probably would not need any upgrade to the bike. Although you might want to consider some accessories, like the bags <http://www.flickr.com/photos/yubaride/3557322099/> , or the cam straps <http://yubaride.com/yubashop/11-utility-straps.html> .

The performance of the V-Brakes is excellent, even in rainy conditions. In the case you would like to upgrade to a front disc brake after a certain period of time, the front fork has disc brake tabs.

Again it's essential to keep the 48 spoke wheel. Most 10mm axle and 36 spoke wheels are not strong enough to handle the weight put on the rear racks. It leads to bent axles, and broken spokes especially on the driving side."
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Re: Kona Ute Conversion...in progress

Post by etard » Oct 31 2009 11:48am

How the hell did this thread get so damn hijacked? :evil:

Dirtdad,
Excellent looking bike!! I would love to see this in action at a SoCal ride one day. I have been planning a trip from Loma Linda (trailhead) to the beach on the Santa Ana River Trail and then ride back on the Metrolink. I wonder if you would be interested to meet me here on a "test" run of that Ute and then you could turn around on that 50ah and go back. Just a thought. We need more pictures man! I saw the Mondo, and yes it's steel, but the Ute just outclasses it in every way. Is there any extra gusseting to that frame? I'm sure Kona built it solid enough to carry cargo. 25mph is a good speed, have you thought about an upgrade in the controller amperage capabilities though?
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Re: Kona Ute Conversion...in progress

Post by dirtdad » Oct 31 2009 12:00pm

Thanks. The ride sounds great. Let me know when you schedule it. The stock BMC controller has a clever jumper for 36/48V. It should be good for the low 30mph range with 48V.

Next week my 12g spokes arrive and I am building a 700c wheel with Big Apple 2.35 tires. Then I expect a boost in top speed of about 10%. That is about as far as I want to take it.

Even with only 36V on tap, the V2-S makes a great hill climber. I have a hill about a mile or two long, peaking at about 15% grade. I need to help it with some pedal power, but I don't even break a sweat.

I will put up some more pics once I get the new rear wheel on.

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Re: Kona Ute Conversion...in progress

Post by hillbilly » Nov 03 2009 9:19pm

Etard, I wonder if you could elaborate a bit more on your earlier comment: " I saw the Mondo, and yes it's steel, but the Ute just outclasses it in every way. Is there any extra gusseting to that frame? I'm sure Kona built it solid enough to carry cargo. "

I've been looking for the best cargo bike to convert for rough roads and long, steep climbs. For this purpose, the Yuba Mundo seems to superior to the Kona Ute, but I wonder if I'm overlooking something. In what ways does the Ute "outclass" the Mundo? Have you seen the latest version of the Mundo, which just came out?

thanks,
Carl
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Re: Kona Ute Conversion...in progress

Post by dirtdad » Nov 04 2009 7:23pm

I have ridden the Ute for a while now. This whole Ute vs Mundo comparison is natural, but the bikes are fairly different, given that they are longbikes to start with. The Mundo is a hauling beast. I have to agree with the manufacturer that you should stick with the 48 spoke rear wheel if you use the bike as intended. The back of the bike is made to carry so much weight that the strong wheel is needed, thus your ebike motor should go up front, which will tend to balance your load anyway.

The Ute is a hauler, but not nearly as long or burly as the Mundo. It depends on what you see yourself doing with the bike. I did a recent grocery trip and came back with 4 12-packs of soda, a gallon of milk, enough groceries to fill all the bags on the bike, and I had my batteries in the bags. That was probably over 100lbs of stuff. The bike handled the load. On the Ute there is no lower deck to rest things on like there is on the Mundo. So really heavy loads like that just sitting in the bags can sway a bit, which makes the whole thing wag a bit in the back. As long as I rode and pedaled smoothly everything was OK. But if I wiggled around on the bike or shook the bars while riding (remember, I was doing a test), the back end magnified it. If I had the kind of load that I could lash to the top of the deck or secure on the sides on the Ute that amount of weight would be fine. And the rear wheel on the Ute will only handle so much compared to the 48 spoke, 26" monster on the Mundo. And the Ute wheels are 700c. 26" will be stiffer, too.

For what I want to do the Ute is fine. I can still add a trailer if needed for big loads. The Burley Flatbed hitch can be modified to work with a big ebike axle.

So here are some details of the work in progress.
utecrank.jpg
utecrank.jpg (182.57 KiB) Viewed 4566 times
I installed a road triple crankset with the proper extra wide bottom bracket. The big ring caused the chain to interfere with the stock kickstand, so I installed an Esge model where both legs fold up on one side of the bike. With the 11t small cog in back I have a big enough gear to allow me to add pedal power at all speeds.
utewheel.jpg
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The 26" wheel does not look out of place, although I would have to adjust the fender for a permanent install. A 700C, 2 cross, 12g build is in progress. I am delayed because I am ordering rims made for 12g spokes rather than drilling a standard set bigger. That will keep the eyelets intact and make for a stronger build.
utectlr.jpg
utectlr.jpg (112.86 KiB) Viewed 4564 times
The controller held in place with my version of bailing wire and duct tape: zip ties and inner tubes. It will get a better installation in time. I will do the same with the batteries, see below. The BMC controller is nice, I will stick with it for now. Maybe in the future I will swap in an Infineon. But I like the 36/48V jumper on the stock controller, and its sustained 25A output is plenty for me. Even at 36V it can handle the big hills where I live.
utebar.jpg
utebar.jpg (79.25 KiB) Viewed 4563 times
I installed a nice wide mountain bike riser bar. This eliminates the upright riding position of the stock bars and is a personal preference. I am a regular cyclist (yes, I even wear lycra on occasion), and the single sided clipless pedals seen in the crank pic above go along with this philosophy. I don't even notice the long back end of the Ute when riding, BTW. Another note is on the light. I runs on its own stock battery for now. DC-DC converter power is on the list of things to do. Any good eBike can be an endless source of projects if you want it to be.
uteshift.jpg
uteshift.jpg (50 KiB) Viewed 4564 times
The bike comes with a very nice drivetrain for the price. But, as usual, Shimano trigger shifters will interfere with twist throttles. The solution is Sram thumb/thumb style trigger shifters. If an 8 speed cassette fits back there, I will install Sram Attack models. It will require extra long shifter cables, which I have at the ready.
utebatts.jpg
utebatts.jpg (83.39 KiB) Viewed 4567 times
I just throw the batteries into the cavernous bags. This is a 36V 10AH pack in one of the small bags. I have 2 bags this size and a double bag available for the bike. Another future project will be frame mounting the batteries.

That is all for now. I will keep it pretty much as is until I complete the rear wheel build and give an update then.

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Re: Kona Ute Conversion...in progress

Post by hillbilly » Nov 04 2009 10:20pm

It is very helpful (and thought-provoking) to see the evolution of your Ute -- and the photos are excellent.

It is obviously going to take some serious thought before I make a final decision on which bike to use. You mention that the Yuba Mundo is a "beast" for hauling. I doubt that I'll actually be carrying more weight than you would on a run for groceries -- my attraction to the Mundo was more for its apparent toughness and durability, as I intend to use it for unpaved mountain roads and camping. I had assumed that the Ute was more of a street bike, something akin to a stretched version of my present Trek 700c hybrid. I've been running the Trek on logging roads but I wonder how long it can tolerate washboard, potholes and the like?

Carl
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Re: Kona Ute Conversion...in progress

Post by dirtdad » Nov 04 2009 11:13pm

Well, "beast" may not have been the best choice of words. I took a Mundo for a test ride at Interbike 2008. They had it set up with 2 coolers of beer on the back. It was quite inspiring, really. Once you were underway the bike was amazingly nimble in spite of the big, awkward, heavy load. If hauling a lot was your primary application - and that might include a huge load of batteries for super long range - you can't beat the Mundo, esp. for the buck.

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Re: Kona Ute Conversion...in progress

Post by hillbilly » Nov 05 2009 12:14am

I actually like the idea of a bike as a "beast". Perhaps this is because my neighbor bought a mule and we are basically racing to the top of the mountain behind us. He has been chopping a trail for the past 2 years but I prefer to go up there via ebike -- less maintenance over the long run and probably a lot less sweat as well, not to mention that the neighbor had to build a barn and buy hay for the mule.... :?
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Re: Kona Ute Conversion...in progress

Post by etard » Nov 05 2009 1:26pm

Well, I'm only an expert online, but I was just going by the components offered with the Ute as superior as well as the general apearence of the bike being more attractive than the mundo. Either bike sounds like it hauls a decent payload, I can't see someone carrying more than 100 pounds unless they are homeless, which here in Socal is why you see those guys pretty well setup with Burley trailers and the like. Am I right Dirtdad? :wink: Anyway, maybe you should get the Mundo cuz steel will dampen those bumps and rocks much better.
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Thanks to Justin @ http://www.ebike.ca He brings the soul to ES

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