Cyclone Catrike Commuter

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Mick   10 µW

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Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 19 2008 10:08pm

Cyclone Catrike Commuter

Post by Mick » Jul 20 2008 6:04pm

[Update 6/6/2018]
Hello fellow tinkerers, the trike is now for sale - $900 to members of this fine community.
details as follows:
CL link:
https://reno.craigslist.org/bik/d/catri ... 15770.html
Flickr link with pics:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/28769982@N02/
Located in Truckee, California.
1) Still running original cyclone motor and gearbox - its been trouble free for me.
2) Pack is a 3 yr old Pingbattery 24v 25Ah. Ran a test 2 weeks ago, hooked to an ME1004, pulled 22Ah out before dropping to 24v.
Its a bit out of the way, so if someone is interested in the motor and pack only, let me know.

Questions? PM or email/text through the CL ad.
cheers
Mick





I've being working on this over the last few months. I've learned tons of information from folks on the board, so thank you to all who work hard to maintain this.
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Background.

I wanted to build a commuter bike that was comfortable, lightweight, had reasonable range, and could get me to work in less than an hour without arriving in a mess.
My commute is 18 miles one way, with an absolute elevation difference of around 500ft. Some day I will borrow a GPS to get the true elevation change on the route.
I looked at modifying my mountain bike, but ongoing back problems led me towards recumbents. I had previously bought a used synergy bike earlier in the spring, and I found it very heavy and unwieldy. (75lbs!). Range was also a problem, and it was impossible to use on hills if the batteries gave out.
I also did not like idea of a hub motor, as I wanted the ability to have the motor use the drive train, which I expected to be a bit more efficient.

The Project
The project started in earnest in April with the acquisition of a lightly used 2004 Catrike Road. This a more expensive platform than I intended. It also was a lot more difficult to ride than I expected, but I became more comfortable on it after around 200 miles.
I chose the Cyclone motor kit from Cyclone Taiwan. This is a 24V 500W motor kits that fits into an existing drive train, and is has a built in controller. It also includes mounting hardware and a twist throttle. The kit is really intended for upright bikes, but there is enough flexibility in the mounting hardware to fit different types. I initially purchased the single freewheel version, and later upgraded to the dual freewheel. I think this is a much better solution, because you can preserve both the front and rear gears without messing with the cranks.
I looked at several battery sources, and chose Ping because of his great reputation, and he was willing to answer several questions before I purchased the pack. Its a 24V 20Ah LiPO flat cell.

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Hiding the Motor
It took me two months to get the bike to the state it is today. This involved several experiments in motor location, battery location, and drive train mods.
I initially positioned the motor in front of the front axle. Although easy to access, the motor was very exposed - it hung down below the axle in order to work with the chain return. It also affected braking, perhaps because of the weight – I've learned that tadpoles are sensitive to weight in front.
The second location was behind the seat, in front of the rear wheel. I saw this on an Australian green speed trike, and it looked like a reasonable position. However, I could never get the chain to run correctly, and was faced with multiple idler wheels to get the chain path working again. I think this solution might work better with a single speed or internal hub.
The current (hopefully final) location came about when staring at the idle wheel location one day. The unadulterated Catrike has a large idle wheel mounted right under the rear seat. The frame geometry requires an idle wheel there to get the chain under the seat then back up to the rear cassette. Although obvious to me now, it was a bit of a eureka moment when I finally caught on. Its not a perfect location, but I'm pretty happy with it so far.

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What I learned
The Cyclone motor has worked really well for me. I'm glad I purchased the 500w instead of the 360w version. It has a few drawbacks, however, mainly in that it it noisy - in part due to the integrated reduction gearbox and freewheels. It also gets quite warm with the integrated controller, but I can still put my hand on it after climbing one of the longer hills near my house. Its main feature is it weight (around 6lbs) and simplicity (no external controllers to mess with). It can be switched from CC to CCW location, but you need steady hands and a small iron, as it involves 3 surface mount resistors. I would like to play around with a Crystallite or other hub motor some day, but that can wait.

The pack has caused no trouble at all, despite my attempts to butcher it several times. After my experience with the Synergy SLA boat anchors, I wanted a lightweight pack. My only concern with LiPO was the cost and possible charging and maintenance. Not satisfied with the pack taking up room on my rack, I took it apart and rebuilt it as a flat pack which now rests behind my backrest. The Catrike has a mesh seat the wraps completely around the seat frame. The battery rests between the mesh sandwich. I build the pack with flexible wire and lots of foam between cells, so it adopts to the curve of my back. Although worried about heat, it seems to run fine in the Nevada afternoon (95-100 degrees).

I added a watts up meter to try and get a sense of how much energy I was using. After a few trips to work, I've discovered I use around 70Wh on the way and twice that on the way back. Thats with a fair amount of pedaling. I could probably get to work and back without a recharge, but I don't want to flatten the battery. I've discovered its more efficient to keep pedaling and use the motor to get across intersections quickly or flatten out hills. On the flat, I can achieve a top speed of 30MPH, but that involves pedaling also. On an upright, the kit could probably go faster with different gearing/wheel size.

The current setup weighs 55lbs. Thats with the trike loaded and ready to go to work. (Water, charger, cell phone, tool kit, MP3 Player). I could probably remove some stuff and get the weight down, but I need to shave some of my own weight first.

The Trike gets a fair amount of attention – mainly from kids. There is something about being that low to the ground, I guess. Unless I have the motor running under load, its not that obvious its a hybrid, and I've had quite a few double takes when passing cyclists on hills pulling my daughter in the trailer. My wife is still concerned about being visible to cars, but I've had no problems so far. It makes a huge difference in coming to work not covered in sweat and looking like you need an oxygen bottle.
If Interested, you can find more photos on Flickr at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/28769982@N02/

Some other links:
Catrike: http://www.catrike.com/
Cyclone Taiwan: http://www.cyclone-tw.com/
Email: sales@cyclone-tw.com (Paco)
Ping Battery:
Email: <pingping227@hotmail.com> (Li Ping)
Watts Up:
http://www.powerwerx.com/product.asp?ProdID=3809
Last edited by Mick on Jun 06 2018 6:09pm, edited 1 time in total.

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AussieJester   100 GW

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Posts: 8737
Joined: Mar 11 2008 3:33am
Location: Perth Western Australia

Re: Cyclone Catrike Commuter

Post by AussieJester » Jul 20 2008 8:31pm

Mick wrote:My wife is still concerned about being visible to cars, but I've had no problems so far. It makes a huge difference in coming to work not covered in sweat and looking like you need an oxygen bottle.
Firstly congrats on the excellent trike top job :-)

Secondly

Might be worth picking up one of those flags alot of the recumbent riders seem to have to make you a lil more visible to the motorists ;-) If nothing else would help put your wife at ease knowing your a lil more visible ;-)

Also, can you give me a lil more detail on the lipo packs please? Are these lipos as per used in RC applications, what size are each cell etc... how are you charging/balancing and how long does this take...


Thanks in advance and again well done ;-)

tropmonky   10 W

10 W
Posts: 98
Joined: Jul 08 2008 6:08pm

Re: Cyclone Catrike Commuter

Post by tropmonky » Jul 21 2008 12:58am

congratulations! Very clean install and setup. Sounds like a very usable setup indeed.

Kyle

Pete   100 W

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Posts: 194
Joined: Apr 08 2008 11:25pm
Location: Tasmania

Re: Cyclone Catrike Commuter

Post by Pete » Jul 21 2008 1:37am

Mick, that is a damn fine motor placement idea, thanks for sharing. Hope you don't mind, but I am probably going to pinch your idea :) . Do you get much torsional flex in the angle extrusion ? How have you setup the derailure to control the front chain tension ?

Mick   10 µW

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Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 19 2008 10:08pm

Re: Cyclone Catrike Commuter

Post by Mick » Jul 22 2008 11:11pm

AussieJester wrote:
Mick wrote:
Might be worth picking up one of those flags alot of the recumbent riders seem to have to make you a lil more visible to the motorists ;-) If nothing else would help put your wife at ease knowing your a lil more visible ;-)

Also, can you give me a lil more detail on the lipo packs please? Are these lipos as per used in RC applications, what size are each cell etc... how are you charging/balancing and how long does this take...
Thanks for the feedback, I do run a flag, but its hard to see in the photos - I've been thinking about putting a light on the top so I look like a real dork. I've had no problems to date however, (fingers crossed).
Concerning the batteries - the pack setup is 4 cells in parallel, with 8 of these in series. I don't think they would work on RC because of the size (each flat cell is around 4" x 6" x 3/16" deep). They also have a low C rating, from what i have heard.
I have photos of the single cells if you want them. Ping builds them with an 8 channel BMS that stays mounted on the pack. I have not taken the BMS apart, but I assume it does the balancing also when charging, as he told me the charger was simply a modified Lead Acid charger with a different cutoff voltage.
cheers

Mick   10 µW

10 µW
Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 19 2008 10:08pm

Re: Cyclone Catrike Commuter

Post by Mick » Jul 22 2008 11:18pm

Pete wrote:Mick, that is a damn fine motor placement idea, thanks for sharing. Hope you don't mind, but I am probably going to pinch your idea :) . Do you get much torsional flex in the angle extrusion ? How have you setup the derailure to control the front chain tension ?
Pete,
Work away. I'm still playing around with the location a little. I notice no flex at all. I cut the channel to profile the tubes on the bike, then filled the gap with foam and epoxy to help spread the load. If I open the throttle and hold the motor it seems rock solid, so I'm pretty happy with that. I modified the deraillur by taking the mounting and arms?off, then bent some 1/8 steel to get the angle lined up. I moved it up and down the channel until I found a spot where it did not hit the motor when fully tensioned and did not hit the front axle when loose. I think I just got lucky. The chain length took care of the rest.
Mick

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docnjoj   100 GW

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Re: Cyclone Catrike Commuter

Post by docnjoj » Jul 26 2008 10:12am

Thats a pretty tadpole! Better get lots of flags and flashers, as some drivers went to the Stevie Wonder driving school! U cant be too visible!!!!
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.

nsasch   10 mW

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Joined: Sep 15 2008 11:24pm

Re: Cyclone Catrike Commuter

Post by nsasch » Nov 15 2008 1:06pm

Thanks for the write up.
I have a Catrike 700 and a Cyclone 360W with the double freewheel (listed as a recumbent motor on the cyclone site).
I think since the 700 is so low, there's not enough clearance for the chain between your location and the mesh seat.
I plan on putting the motor pretty far back (just behind the seat) and am really hoping the derailleur won't make that location impossible.
I'll start my own thread with it once setup.

Since you've got a similar trike, motor, and battery to me, maybe you would know Watt-hours/mile for your setup.

Has your battery setup been working? I have 5 24V20AH LiPo ping packs. I'm not sure exactly how I plan on mounting all of them so far. (2 behind seat, 2 on rack, 1 in a mounted shelf perhaps?)

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edavee   10 µW

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Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 30 2008 12:21am
Location: North Vancouver BC Canada

Re: Cyclone Catrike Commuter

Post by edavee » Nov 28 2008 6:41pm

Quality work Mick. :D I have ordered the Ecospeed unit for my Expedition. It is the first Catrike kit they have done, so it will be 8-12 weeks to build the motor mount, can't wait. For batteries I am thinking of two 37 V 10.5 AH lithium phospate from it's electric.ca.

Best,

David
2007 Catrike Expedition, no motor yet. Wifes bike: nice steel mtn bike with front nine continent hub, 20 A clyte pedal first, 36V 20 AH Ping

nsasch   10 mW

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Posts: 30
Joined: Sep 15 2008 11:24pm

Re: Cyclone Catrike Commuter

Post by nsasch » Dec 30 2008 7:49pm

Mick wrote:I modified the deraillur by taking the mounting and arms?off, then bent some 1/8 steel to get the angle lined up. I moved it up and down the channel until I found a spot where it did not hit the motor when fully tensioned and did not hit the front axle when loose. I think I just got lucky. The chain length took care of the rest.
I've got the motor mounted on my Catrike, and am having problems with the derailleur in the front. Do you think you could take pictures of the derailleur and how its mounted on your trike, so I can get some better ideas?

Thank you again for your work and great photos, it's helped me out in mounting the motor on the Catrike.

Nick

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