Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

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Smoke   100 W

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Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by Smoke » Nov 19 2018 3:33am

I've been wanting an E-bike for a while and today I bit the bullet and ordered a lot of the bits I will need.

I am planning to make a bike that is very capable so that my average commute barely stresses anything electrical or mechanical.

I'm on the heavy side for a bicyclist so I have flat spotted a bunch of 700c rims and I would like to avoid bike butt if I can. Doing a long tail pushes the C.G. forward and more weight on the front wheel. My front wheels seem to do fine so this should just help the rear wheel some.

On the other hand, I want comfort and that means suspension fork to me. To that end, I looked at the budget options and wasn't very impressed. Nearly everything is 27.5" these days which probably makes sense for a mountain bike but I want cheap and common 26" to keep my head tube height low.

I formed a wish list and it was 26" with a through axle setup, good damping and a lock out to prevent bouncing when I'm pedaling hard. What I came up with was a Manitou Circus Expert "dirt jump" fork. It seems to be able to do rediculous jumps and even crashes without breaking. It should survive potholes and it has dampers and air springs that are a few steps above budget suspension forks.

The bad part is that it has a slightly oddball 110x20mm through axle but I found a DT Swiss front hub with all the features I want for only about $30 more than the 100x15mm I was thinking of initially. It also bumped me from 28 spokes to 32 so another $10-15 extra.

The fork was $210, the hub $90, the rim $32 and the spokes about $50. Not too bad and should be nearly indestructible.

For brakes, I figure panic stops are going to be what I need to design for. Hydraulic disks front and rear with 203mm rotors on both ends, that should give me good brake torque and rotor commonality to simplify spares. My calipers are Shimano Deore with organic pads but my disks are ok for metallics if I ever need to do big descents. I got some compatible Shimano levers with integrated shifters, my fingers are crossed that they'll work.

I know I'll need handlebars and grips but I started to look at the ergonomics and got a nice set of leather covered grips and set of cheap touring bars that have rise, sweep back and sweep down. I'll order a stem to fit once I've got the frame geometry figured out.

At the back I got a Sturmey Archer 3 speed IGH and I'm going to lace it to a 36 spoke 20" BMX rim. I found the hub on sale for about $80 with a coupon, $32 for spokes and nipples and $26 for the rim, dirt cheap, I'm building two, one spare/sidecar wheel.

One thing I saw on YouTube is a cheap BMX tubeless conversion. You build the wheel, add rim tape, then inflate a 16" tube that you install over the 20" rim, then slice it down the middle to turn it in to a rim strip with valve stem that hangs over the edge of the rim bead. Mount a decent tire with a strong bead, add tubeless tire sealant and you're done unless you want to trim the liner. The end result is a tire that is impossible to pinch flat, self seals punctures and you have to mess up a BMX trick to burp the tire, burping isn't a flat, you just lose air so add more and it's good as new.

I think I will try the tubeless conversion on the 20" BMX rear wheels and the 26" front wheel. It will be interesting to see how far I can go on them before I get a real flat.

For the rest of the pedal drivetrain, I have a Patterson two speed planetary geared crank. I'll be using KMC 510 chain and 1/8" sprockets. Since there will be no deraileurs, I can set up my chain line to be perfectly straight.

I also got a set of SPD/platform pedals so I can use regular shoes or clip in with bike shoes.

The final mechanical thing is a Cane Creek Thud Buster seat post. The 20" BMX tire at the rear should create some compliance at the rear of the bike, the Thud Buster adds some more under the seat. Hopefully the combination of my ass and a pothole won't be enough to flat spot a BMX rim (or my ass).

For electrical, I have ordered my 18650s and I'm trying to work up how I'll assemble my pack.

Next step is find a motor.

After that, design and build a frame, then get a Phaserunner, CA-V3 and strain gauge working together to make it a pedal assist mid drive kind of like the Cycle Stoker from Grin.

Hopefully the end result will be a bike that handles my commute without breaking a sweat or making me break a sweat, with around 100 mile range at 25-35 mph with pedal assist and 3,000 watts of power at my disposal just in case I really need to move quick. It should have a decent ride over potholes if I can't manage to avoid them all and it should be able to come to a quick stop if I get on the brakes hard.
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Smoke   100 W

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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by Smoke » Nov 24 2018 5:17am

My Fork, rear hubs, shifters/brake levers and grips arrived.

I got an email that my 18650s are going to ship soon.

I was hoping to see Black Friday sales for some of the other items I need but no luck although Luna Cycle did have the Cyclone 3,000 watt bare motor so I placed an order.

I also placed an order for lots of connectors at Hobby King. Right now my plan is probably to make a modular battery pack. My base cell will be a 1s6p arranged in a triangle but inside that it would be 3 identical 1s2p assemblies connected in parallel so that each cell sees essentially the same load by matching the wire resistance. The 6 cell module will be hot glued, heat shrunk and terminated with an XT90. 30 of those modules will be connected 15s2p for a 15s2x6p or 15s12p depending on what the proper syntax is.

I calculate that my 2,900 mAh 10 A cells will make a pack with a capacity of about 1.93 kwh. The 56v nominal voltage should mean about a 54 amp draw for a 3,000 watt load (infrequent) and divided by 12p, that's about 4.5 amp per cell, it should be pretty easy for the cells to live with that. A 25 mph pedal assist cruise should be a very easy load and give a very long range, probably 100+ miles if I top up the battery to full charge. When commuting I intend to keep my battery in the 80% to 60% charge state for the extended cycle life.

One more thing, the modular and parallel construction of the battery pack should let me move around 1s6p modules to address ballance issues.

While doing some unrelated Black Friday shopping I picked up a copy of Electric Bike Action Magazine and read an article about a guy who set an E-bike world record by traveling 180.75 miles in 12 hours. My first thought was that's 15 mph, I could do that pedaling and it wouldn't even be very hard. My second thought was with some effort on the part of the bicyclist and a couple 2c charges, a bike like I'm building could probably go 300 miles in 12 hours. Maybe even 400 is possible if an E-bike can average 38 mph for four 2:37.5 stints.

I don't think I'll try to set a record like that even though the bar seems very low.

I still have to figure out exactly what to order from Grin. It's a Phase Runner, CA-V3, strain gauge amp and some extras.

I've been thinking about brake sensors. The cleanest solution would probably be Magura hydraulic pressure switches. There is a sensor that can be installed on the IGH cable to cut power during shifts also. That looks pretty clean and elegant. I don't think I could hide the front brake pressure switch really but I think the other two could be hidden. The Patterson crank is said to be capable of shifting under load and will never have any load from the mid-drive because the crank freewheels so no sensor needed for that.

I want to do internal routing for most everything cable, hydraulic and electric. Some of the DIY stuff looks pretty rough. I don't want something that looks like a full custom bike, I want more like a mid-high end production look, like a small company trying to differentiate their product line with slightly fancy design cues. The Patterson crank and IGH go with that theme and I want a nice internal headset for clean lines there too. Other than that, it's just details. If I take the time to get them right, I should be able to create the cohesive look I'm after.

One of the trickier parts will probably be trying to make the integrated gear shift of my Shimano Alivio 9 speed brake lever work with my Sturmey Archer RS-RK3 3 speed IGH. The cable pulls are probably a lot more like a front deraileur than a 9 speed rear so I'll probably have to make some custom parts, swap stuff and re-label the gear indicator. If I can get that working, my whole front end will look pretty normal, not a rats nest or an immediatly obvious E-bike, just clean.
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RichW_SC   10 mW

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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by RichW_SC » Nov 24 2018 9:44am

After trying out a friends Radwagon I got the bug and I'm building a long tail cargo bike too.

I went with the Xtracycle Leap conversion which is spendy but really nicely made and well engineered. Attached it to an old full suspension mtb.

For the motor I'm using a cheap 1000w rear hub motor and a 14s4p 30Q battery I'm in the process of making. It's been a slow build getting all the bits from china but I'm getting close to being able to ride it.

Smoke   100 W

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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by Smoke » Nov 24 2018 12:22pm

I hope your bike turns out well. I didn't know the Xtracycle kits would bolt on to a full suspension bike...
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Tommm   100 W

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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by Tommm » Nov 24 2018 3:02pm

Smoke wrote:
Nov 24 2018 5:17am
My Fork, rear hubs, shifters/brake levers and grips arrived.

Can you up some pictures of the bike and where you plan to mount it mate?

Smoke   100 W

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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by Smoke » Nov 24 2018 4:22pm

It's a box of parts so far.

Frame design is at the rough concept stage. I imagine it will end up looking a lot like an Xtracycle Edgerunner in profile, with the Cyclone motor mounted just forward of the rear wheel but entirely above the top of the chain ring.

I'm copying the Cycle Stoker setup except using a mid-drive motor instead of a converted hub motor. The bottom of the chain line is going to be very much like a single speed setup with no deraileur. The top of the chain line back to front will come off of the rear sprocket, run over the top of the Cyclone motor sprocket, wrap around an idler which is roughly directly underneath the Cyclone motor sprocket and then run horizontally forward to the crank chainring.

The cool thing about that is that I can hide the motor and chain line under a pannier, and like the Cycle Stoker, I'll have my chain idler mounted with a strain gauge to do pedal torque measurement for pedal assist.

Instead of having a big 20lb hub motor and a 10lb battery to power it, I'm going for an 8lb motor and a 20lb battery to power it. I think the gearing will let it operate more efficiently too (electrically at least).

I will certainly share drawings once they get beyond scribbles on my notepad and pictures once I have something to show.
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Smoke   100 W

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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by Smoke » Nov 27 2018 11:06am

I got a bunch of parts in the mail.

I also found a Craigslist deal on a Park truing stand with a dish tool for $70. It's the heavy pro version not the cheapo, old and used but still plenty of life in it.

I laced up my first rear wheel but I think I messed up my spoke length or cross pattern because the nipples would bottom before I could get any tension on my spokes. I'll try 4 cross next to see if that works.

Luna Cycle had 3,000 watt Cyclone bare motors in stock at time of writing so that is what I ordered. I would have been ok with the 4,000 they had previously but 3,000 should do it and I'll probably try to current limit it in the motor controller or CA-V3 settings for battery and thermal reliability.

I have been reading the big 122+ page Cyclone thread and I'm up to the 20s.

It seems to be a lot of people hating on the design and a few running the stock configuration with very few problems. Personally, I don't like the look of the stock mounting brackets and I don't intend to run it as a conventional mid-drive so bare motor for me.

One thing I have been thinking about since the beginning is matching battery voltage to gear ratio to put the motor in a happy place for a 25-30 mph cruise and 40+ mph top speed potential. My plan is a small 20" rear wheel, a big 18 tooth rear sprocket on my IGH which should be essentially a 24 tooth sprocket when in low gear and about a 44 tooth chainring on my Patterson crank so low enough gearing for unassisted riding in case of a dead battery or other failure, and high enough gearing in high-high to make PAS work at 30+ mph. I will use all 1/8" sprockets with KMC 510 chain and I'll make sure my chain line is perfectly flat and with good chain wrap. That and a soft start or low rpm torque limiting should make for a durable chain drive. I think I'm going to get one of the gear sensor things for the IGH to cut power during shifts. The crank won't be under load beside pedaling torque (due to the Cycle Stoker type setup) so no sensor required there.

I'll be getting my battery parts soon. I need to find a spot welder to borrow or buy. I have a few potential layouts for my battery.

Speaking of welders that I don't have yet, I don't have a TIG welder to use and getting together a decent Chinese inverter TIG setup seems like a $1,500 investment (with tanks, nice helmet, gloves, etc.) and then a welded chassis needs bottom bracket thread chasing tools, head tube cutters and seat tube reamers. That frame building stuff is probably close to $1,000 by itself. It makes carbon fiber/Kevlar appealing because the materials wouldn't cost much more than double butted alloy steel.

Any way, mould making is a pain in the butt and finish work on the fiberglass mould and carbon fiber frame is itchy but it might be the "cheap" way to do my custom frame. I can bond in an aluminum head tube, bottom bracket and seat tube after making the main tube/rear triangle, so no warpage and no thread chasing, reaming or facing required. As a side benefit, I can make the main tube "u" shaped in the middle so I can drop the battery box in from the top. I can't really do that with a steel tube frame. While I'm moulding, I should probably do a fiberglass battery box, possibly with a Kevlar skin. Fiberglass doesn't conduct electricity like carbon fiber or aluminum so it's a better choice for the job.
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Smoke   100 W

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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by Smoke » Nov 29 2018 2:25am

I got my front hub, spokes and nipples in the mail today. I just got the front wheel laced up.

I don't have the 20mm through axle adapter for my Park truing stand so I'm going to true it in my fork. I'm just going to wait for the weekend so I can get it just right instead of 1/4 the way there and then go to sleep.

My front hub is a DT Swiss 350 with 32 straight pull spokes 20mm X 110mm through axle and 6 hole disk brake mount. The through axle is to match my fork, the 6 hole disk brake mount is so that I can have identical 203mm disks on my front hub and rear hub (Sturmey Archer RS-RK3) and the straight pull is because I wanted to try that.

I could have bought a Shimano hub that uses bent spokes and a center lock disk for around $30 but I want what I want and so far I'm liking it. Straight pull made it super easy to lace up. I actually screwed up and got my lacing one spoke hole off the first time but instead of tearing it all down and starting over, I was able to pretty easily move the spokes one hole at a time to get the spokes properly laced around the valve stem hole.

The DT Swiss hub has one funny thing, the spoke flanges aren't quite equally offset from the hub center so the DT Swiss spoke calculator was giving me different lengths for right and left hand spokes. Instead of dealing with that, I played with the nipple length and found that I could use the same length spokes if I used 12mm nipples on the disk side and 16mm on the other so I ordered 18 12mm nipples in chrome and 18 16mm nipples in black to go with 34 double butted straight pull spokes in plain stainless finish.

My front rim is white so the contrasting finishes kind of highlight the asymmetry.

I got another order from Bike Nashbar. They had some good Black Friday prices and clearance items I could use. I got a nice helmet for cheap, a nice pannier garment bag which I'll use to hide my mid-drive, a set of Nashbar brand SPD cleats and a pair of Vittoria MTB shoes.

I wasn't expecting much from the shoes, I have wide feet so fit is usually an issue. When I tried them on: surprise, the right shoe fits acceptably well. I adjusted the Velcro the strap and cable lace reel thing, then took the shoe off. Next I went to install the SPD cleat and disaster. Of the four SPD cleat mounting holes, only two are tapped and both on the same side. There is no way to attach a cleat. After that I inspected the bottom of the left shoe, it was ok so I installed the cleat then flipped it over and put it on. It fit, I adjusted the Velcro toe strap and cable lace reel, then I moved my foot a bit and click-click-click, the cable lace reel was unfurling from the force of me pointing my toes down a bit.

So both shoes are garbage and I have to do a return or exchange. It wouldn't feel so bad except they actually fit...

So this weekend I want to true up my front wheel, install the brake rotor, caliper adapter and caliper to make sure that's all working together. After that lace and true my rear wheel(s).
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Smoke   100 W

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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by Smoke » Nov 30 2018 9:58pm

I got a nice box from Hobby King, filled with XT60s, XT90s and a bunch of wire.

I got a coil of nickel strip a few days ago, I'm expecting my 18650s any day now and my motor from Luna Cycle is due tomorrow.

I should look in to cell spacers because I'm almost ready to make my pack.

Once I get a controller and CA-V3 I'll be able to start on wiring harness(s).

Hopefully I can get my front wheel trued as well as lace up my rear in 4 cross this weekend. Thinking about it, I just remember noticing that my nipples on my rear wheel are quite a bit longer than the 12mm on the disk side of my front wheel. Maybe I just need 12mm nipples to do 3 cross?

I think I might try 4 cross tonight so I can find some nipples tomorrow if that doesn't work.
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Smoke   100 W

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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by Smoke » Dec 04 2018 2:45am

I got my 18650 cells, 3,000 watt Cyclone motor and an Opus charger tonight.

I'll probably start testing and sorting my cells tomorrow.

I have ordered an Arduino spot welder kit for spot welding from a Lipo or lead acid car battery so depending on how quick the testing goes, I may be ready to start building my pack before Christmas.

If I can figure out a motor controller situation, I might be able to bench test before 2019, then I'll just need to come up with a frame. I think I have two potential shop spaces to use for that. One might be essentially free, the other probably expensive.
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Smoke   100 W

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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by Smoke » Dec 08 2018 11:31am

I think I found a maker space and a TIG welder I can borrow so I'm 95% settled on a steel frame.

Composite could have had some interesting possibilities but the type of techniques I know and can afford are messy and annoying.

Once I settle on a frame geometry I can finalize my battery layout and start building my pack.

Long ago I managed (with help) to make my first frame with a drill press table, a carpenter's level and a plum bob instead of a frame jig and it came out straight (the rear triangle might have needed a fairly normal amount of bending).

I think I will do a little more jigging this time but I don't think I'm going to try to build or buy a universal adjustable frame jig, probably just a purpose built rear triangle jig welded from scrap, a granite surface plate I have, some V-blocks that I rescued from a recycling bin and I'll make up the rest.

I still need to find a local frame builder that I can borrow a bottom bracket thread chaser and head tube facers/cutters from.

I tested my first set of batteries on my Opus (3100 v2.2 I think) charger. The cells are Japanese made Panasonic cells with a 2,950 mAh rating. The results I got we're between 2,800 and 2,850 mAh and internal resistance from 69-74. That was done in an unheated room probably around 40° f last night with my charge rate set to 1,000 mA and I think discharge was at 700 mA. I'm not sure if the cold temp would have screwed up the results, if the internal resistance measurements are good for a Panasonic cell or if the results on my Opus charger are accurate.

If anyone sees anything concerning about those results, let me know. I'll look in to the data sheet and ask in the battery section too.
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Smoke   100 W

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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by Smoke » Dec 10 2018 12:07am

I read the directions on my shoes and evidently they missed the message about righty-tighty, lefty-loosey. The left foot shoe wire lace reel tightens in the opposite direction but if you back it off all the way it will wind around the spool making you think it is tightening but it is not. So my left shoe is actually perfect, just oddly designed. My right shoe still has missing threads in the cleat mount so not good but I might just tap the threads rather than push for a return because the shoes were cheap and they fit a lot better than I was expecting.

I have been researching my frame and the combo I have come up with is Columbus down tube, top tube and seat tube, straight wall 4130 for the head tube and bottom bracket shell (~BB30 with an English thread adapter so I don't have to buy or borrow thread chasing tools) and some old fork tubes I found for the rear triangle.

The next step is to actually look at the geometry and see if those tubes will work. I don't want the butts too close to my weld areas and I have to make sure my design doesn't call for longer tubes than I want to buy.

The rear triangle is the trickiest part since it's a cargo rack, motor mount, kickstand mount, disk brake mount as well as the rear wheel holder. Everything is new to me there. Luckily with the 20" wheel a horizontal chain stay will get me a good bottom bracket height which makes the chain stay top view and side view easy to work with.

I think I'm going to have to fabricate dropouts. The frame building supplier's seem to have mostly conventional dropouts for road bikes, a few mountain bike sets, track dropouts, maybe a couple rear caliper mount braze-ons and I saw one expensive disk brake mountain bike dropout. Nothing I looked at was close enough to what I'm looking for to receive serious consideration.

One thing that was interesting was a set of Salsa swinging vertical dropouts. They are a way to get your chain tension right. I was thinking I was going to need some sort of slotted dropout on my idler/strain gauge mount to set tension but I couldn't think of a way to do that which looked like it would be trouble free or easy to remove the rear wheel or idler. The swinging dropouts will allow easy slackening of the chain line, wheel removal and the idler will be mounted in a fixed position so I don't have to worry about it moving in dropouts or leaving the bike all together. If I'm making my own dropouts to go with my rear triangle/cargo rack design, I can add disk brake caliper bosses too.

The idea is beginning to get fleshed out. Hopefully I'll have my design worked out by Christmas and most of my materials ready to go. I have some rough ideas for my frame jigs, nothing too complicated, minimally adjustable just to get them square and true. No jigs for anything I can do with clamps or V-blocks on a surface plate.

Hopefully I can break this up in to tube cutting and machining (day 1), jig construction and adjustment (day 2), tube fitting (done at home) and frame welding (day 3). If I spread the work out over my home, a maker space and a friend with a TIG welder, hopefully I won't wear out my welcome anywhere.

If I'm really on top of this I might finish my frame by the end of January.

On the electric front, I have been testing more cells but this time the charger is inside a steel can with the lid cracked a bit. Things get warm enough to trigger the Opus charger cooling fan and the cells get warm to the touch, maybe 90° f, nothing crazy. Oddly the charging results seem nearly identical with capacities between 2,800 and 2,850 mAh. The last set I caught right after the test cycle completed and I did the internal resistance measurements and got numbers in the 40s and 50s. The other sets I tested had a while to cool down after the test cycle and measured in the 80s.

I need to start thinking about my strain gauge because it's pretty critical in the frame design, then I need to get a motor controller and CA-V3.
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Smoke   100 W

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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by Smoke » Dec 10 2018 7:33pm

I ordered my straight guage tubes and seat tube today.

I also ordered my headset, a Cane Creek Viscoset ZS44/28.6 upper headset and a ZS44/30 lower headset (series 40). Evidently the ZS44 is recommended for use in a 50mm head tube so I got a 2" 0.156" wall 4130 tube for that.

The Viscoset seems interesting, it's a viscous fluid damper built like a miniature multi-disk clutch. It was about $60 total which is a lot less than a Hopey damper and a $45 series 40 headset. Regular price is $80 for the Viscoset upper so I got a good deal.

Cane Creek says the Viscoset was designed to combat fork wobble in E-bikes and I want one so the fork doesn't flop over easily when it's on the kickstand. For a $15 premium and a clean look, I think it's a good move.
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Smoke   100 W

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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by Smoke » Dec 12 2018 2:38am

I got my Chinese Bluetooth BMS today. I can't wait until I have something to wire it in to but that needs a cell layout and charger, I'm not quite there yet.

I'm doing more ergonomics research, some people say a Dutch city bike style upright seating position is good for riding long distances without the energy expenditure that makes you sweat like a dog. That part sounds good but at E-bike speeds aerodynamics become a factor and that pedaling effort gets mitigated by the pedal assist/throttle.

Hopefully I can aim for a compromise and leave myself a lot of room on either side with seat and stem adjustment.

One thing, with an E-bike, pedaling in corners seems silly so I think I can get away with a fairly low bottom bracket height which will open up my triangle for battery space without increasing my step over height.

I have also begun mapping out my cable routing for hydraulic, electric and cable. I think I want to plumb a rear brake hard line through the frame with a banjo bolt fitting at the head tube and coming out at a rack stay at the back. The IGH cable will mirror that on the other side. The Patterson crank cable will go through the down tube. I need a miniature weatherized electrical bulkhead connector for the CA-V3 wires, headlight power wires and brake light wires.

The actual battery power cables and motor power cables will be externally routed but hopefully nicely tucked away or hidden under a pannier bag.

One thing I am pretty sure I want to incorporate is a pair of rollerblade wheels on my battery pack along with a folding handle so I can pull it along like a rolling suitcase when I take it off the bike. The long handle will be very convenient if I ever have to pull it outside due to fire. Hopefully that never happens but if I can take it outside it might help me avoid a structure fire.

I also want to try to make the pack shape so that I can pull it so the handle is vertical and get it to stand up on the two wheels and a corner of the pack so I don't have to lay it on it's side every time I stop.
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Smoke   100 W

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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by Smoke » Dec 15 2018 3:12am

I got most of my tubing today, also my spot welder kit, my Viscoset headset damper, a 20mm through axle wheel truing stand adapter and a few other things.

I think I may succumb to peer pressure and go up to an 18s12p pack size. I don't think I need more voltage to get the performance I'm aiming for but it should increase range and lower discharge current at the power output I'm expecting.

Hopefully I'll be able to iron out some more details this weekend.
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Smoke   100 W

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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by Smoke » Dec 15 2018 1:16pm

I bought my extra batteries. I got them from the same source, divemaster85 on eBay. He says he has about 8 more cases so if anyone needs inexpensive NOS batteries, it seems like a good deal.

I tried to start assembly on my Malectric spot welder last night. Two of the nut holder holes in the 3D printed fuse box are too small to accept their nut. I'm going to have to do some filing or Xacto work on that.

A small side project is coming up, I bought a Burromax TT350R for my neice's Christmas gift so that's going to be my first E-bike build. I definitely think it's going to make her the cool kid in school. It will give me a chance to do some wrenching and make sure it goes together the right way.
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Smoke   100 W

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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by Smoke » Dec 23 2018 2:31am

Extra batteries have arrived, cell spacers have arrived. Once my spot welder is set up I can begin working on a 1s6p battery assembly line. All of my nickel strips will be identical and soldered with a soldering jig so my soldered wires will be identical too. I'll make a jig to hold the cells and spacer pieces when I'm making the 1s2p sub assemblies and another jig to hold three sub assemblies to make one triangular 1s6p module.

I'll have a wiring harness that the 36 modules plug in to to make the 18s12p pack assembly. The harness will have a configuration that's like two parallel 18s6p packs but with the BMS balance leads acting as parallel connections between the two strings. I will fuse those leads because ideally they should only be carrying balance current. If I have a cell go bad it will be in one string or the other so that would probably cause current to flow through the balance lead which hopefully will blow a fuse and make the battery wonky enough that the BMS shuts down before anything worse happens.

I have decided to go with the Topeak rack system (MTX or another name, they don't make it clear which defines rack compatibility). I like the Topeak for the quick release, I don't want to take a few minutes to fiddle with Velcro or bungies before and after I ride, Topeak seems to just need to line up with the rack and slide it in or push a button and slide it back out. They sell a wide array of compatible bags from small to pretty big, a folding crate with wheels and a handle, baskets and they also have the "Fixer 6" that allows you to put a compatible latch on anything else you can think to attach to the rack.

One thing I bought earlier is a Nashbar garment bag pannier. It's a bit small as garment bags go but should be good for doing "tours" where I'm on the road for 3-4 days or maybe even more and it will cover up my Cyclone motor for a bit of stealth. I'm going to fit a Fixer 6 to make it Topeak rack compatible.

I'm not going to use the actual rack but I am going to take out the dovetail section and incorporate it in to my frame design along with the bar the bags latch on to.

Another bag I got is a Chinese ROCKBROS handlebar bag. It's not big but it's top folds over and secures kind of like a dry bag. I think it will be the perfect place to carry tools and spares that will stay with the bike and leave the rack bag for items I want to take with me.

I remember with my previous bike, the design was intended to build a road bike with the only concessions to comfort and touring being two sets of water bottle braze-ons. When I figured out how I wanted to use the bike, I was always trying to make stuff work with my bike. This time I want to do it the other way around. I want to choose the accessories for the way I want to ride the bike and build the frame to accommodate them. So accommodate rather than adapt and integrate so I can have everything I want without looking like I just threw a catalog at it. The final goal is to make a bike that is easy to hop on and ride, looks nice and can do equally (very) well as a commuter, cargo bike or tourer.
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Smoke   100 W

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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by Smoke » Dec 23 2018 3:15am

Oh, the Burromax TT350R arrived. It looks pretty awesome, more of a small motorcycle than a big toy.

Burromax has a range of nice and pretty reasonably priced accessories for the bike. Once I see how my niece wants to use it, there will be several little upgrade projects we can do.

One of the reasons why I got a Burromax for my niece is that when I was her age I wanted gocarts and remote control planes which I never got. I can understand about the gocart. In my mind I would have driven it everywhere and had a good old time. The reality in suburbia was that it wouldn't be legal to operate on the roads and it would be loud enough that a deaf person might notice it so I would not have been able to drive it unless it was taken to a track or something (of which none existed near home). Remote control planes were expensive, loud 2 stroke powered toys that you really shouldn't fly over a residential area either so another impractical desire for me. The Burromax seems to have feet on both sides of the awesome/practical line, it can be ridden everywhere, people with average hearing might never notice it and although it was not cheap, the reasonably priced accessories and the fact that it should last for decades lowers the price per year to a very reasonable level.

Today remote control planes are pretty cheap and electric power with Lipo batteries reduces the noise and eliminates the gas but they still probably shouldn't be flown over residential areas. Go carts still aren't legal on the roads even though some have electric power and are quiet enough not to disturb the entire neighborhood but I still think a mini dirt bike like a Burromax is the way to go if you actually want to ride it.
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Smoke   100 W

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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by Smoke » Dec 24 2018 3:29am

I have been meaning to put in an order for a couple Magura hydraulic pressure switches for brake cut out switch purposes. The most reasonable retailer was in Germany and the shipping is expensive so I wanted to add on and split the shipping cost among more items. For this reason and a few very positive reviews, I decided to upgrade my front brake to a Shimano MT520 four piston caliper. That is supposedly designed for E-bikes and fairly comparable to Shimano's other 4 piston offerings except probably not as well suited to long descents where the plastic pistons might get cooked but I'm more concerned with panic stops so it should be fine.

The Magura hydraulic pressure switches are the way I want to go because I think it can be a pretty clean solution compared to glued on magnets or micro-switches. I plan to pair them with one of the shift sensor things so I can shift under power without blowing up my IGH. It's also a very clean setup.

I'm getting close to the point of having all of the pieces I need aside from the frame I have to build.
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Smoke   100 W

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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by Smoke » Dec 27 2018 10:29pm

I took a look at my battery spacers. They are the orange crate style that go between the batteries instead of top and bottom.

My desire for symmetry is driving my pack design. That is why my modules are going to be identical 1s6p and within them 3x identical 1s2p sub-assemblies.

Each sub-assembly will be two cells, a piece of spacer, a little hot glue to hold it together and both ends will have close to identical electrical connections with wires pre-soldered to nickel strips which will then be spot welded to the battery terminals. The piece of spacer I use will be roughly 1/6 of a "20 cell spacer" which means it will space apart the two cells but also have a bit hanging off to space apart the 3x sub-assemblies.

Once the three sub-assemblies are completed, they will be stacked together, the wires put in place, the XT90 connector soldered in and then heat shrunk in to a triangular module, no hot glue at this stage.

My triangular modules will not stack quite as efficiently because the heat shrink will prevent the cells from nesting completely but it still could be fairly dense. On the other hand, to prevent temperature gradients across the pack, I'm thinking I may want to create air channels for convection or forced air cooling. Alternatively I could fill some space between modules with phase change wax to control the pack temperature.
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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by E-HP » Dec 31 2018 10:18am

I can't wait to see the progress on your bike. Even seeing a pile of parts as a teaser :wink: . From your original post, I was imagining something like the Yuba Spicy Curry, but with a suspension fork (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44QeMdPNQh8) I've seen one of those around, and they're light (65 lbs?) for a big cargo bike. The frame design looks like there is plenty of space for several battery mounting options, so in addition to the front triangle, there's a huge amount of space right behind the seatpost for a vertical or horizontally mounted pack.

Excited to see some pics and read about the progress on your bike :bigthumb:

Smoke   100 W

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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by Smoke » Dec 31 2018 10:52am

I am debating battery location.

A big reason why I decided to go long tail is to try to shift the weight distribution forward by extending the wheelbase to the rear. Although my battery should weigh only about 25lbs, I'm hoping to keep that weight as far forward as possible but that area between the seat tube and rear wheel is tempting for stealth and packaging.

The pile of parts is getting agressive. It seems to yell at me "Why am I not a bike?"

On that note, the main triangle tubes have been more difficult to aquire than I expected, the seat tube which sounds like it should have fit my seat post does not and the source of the down tube/top tube I wanted may be unable to deliver. I can order another seat tube and more expensive TT/DT but my design isn't finalized so I'm not in a big rush yet.

I have tried to use an online bicycle CAD website to put my design together and dimension it but it's not easy to use.
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E-HP   100 W

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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by E-HP » Dec 31 2018 11:08am

Smoke wrote:
Dec 31 2018 10:52am

The pile of parts is getting agressive. It seems to yell at me "Why am I not a bike?"
Better get on it, or there could be an uprising!!

I admire your desire (and ability) to build the whole frame yourself, but are you too invested at this point to go with the option of buying a strong steel frame that meets your requirements, and chopping off the rear triangle section, and building that out to meet your needs, as the first stage of your bike? You'd invest less time, and might find out some things through testing that would influence the final design.

Smoke   100 W

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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by Smoke » Jan 01 2019 1:26am

Unfortunately I have a disproportionate body and I think I'm going to have a pretty custom geometry to line everything up without a stack of headset spacers and I want to make an efficient truss geometry for the "rear triangle" and line it up with the top tube so cut and paste isn't practical if I want to get perfect.

Also, I don't want to wind up with prettier welds in the rear triangle than the front which would suggest that I need to get an expensive frame to cut if I don't DIY.

I believe that correct geometry to match the rider's body type is crucial. It's going to determine stability and responsiveness along with comfort on long rides. If I get it wrong it will still be a bike but not that man-machine combination that encourages me to ride more.

It's hard to explain to a person who hasn't had experience with ill fitting factory frames.

Also I like building things so that is part of the alure.

Lastly, I want to combine some features that usually aren't seen in anything but high end factory carbon fiber frames with custom frame building techniques (and custom geometry) and I'm probably going to do a few things you never see because custom bike building is largely traditional.
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Smoke   100 W

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Re: Long tail cargo commuter, Cyclone mid-drive hopefully

Post by Smoke » Jan 03 2019 10:22am

I just got my 4 piston Shimano brake caliper for the front wheel, Magura hydraulic brake pressure switches and some other stuff. My rear brake is going to have lots of brake torque because of it's big 203mm rotor combined with a small 20" tire. To create some front/rear brake balance the front 4 piston caliper will make up for the fact that the 203mm front rotor has less of a lever arm on a 26" tire.

I have been thinking about tires lately. The front 26" tire is pretty easy to pick but the rear might be a good place for a Moped tire on my 20" BMX size rim. That seems like a good way to support the 300+ lbs that a loaded down long tail might carry on the rear tire.

I might be reconsidering my frame design a little bit if I have a Moped tire that can support significantly more weight than the 700c wheels I flat spot on potholes. That makes weight distribution less of an issue so a battery location behind the seat tube will be ok. The Mixte type left and right top tube/seat stay design is starting to look interesting. I have an idea for a down tube that might be interesting too.

I'm going to consider many options and hopefully choose a combination that minimizes the weaknesses as well as maximizes the strengths in the compromise.

Thinking about the battery, I want to make it as thin as possible but the 65mm cell height dictates that dimension and I want to do my series connections with wires soldered to my nickel strip so that wire thickness will add top and bottom unless I vertically offset one cell of each two cell sub-assembliy, then it will add only one wire thickness instead of two. That adds a bit of complexity but my wire connections will lay in a recess instead of extend past the top and bottom of parallel cells so they should be far more protected from rubbing and pressure on the side of the pack, act as a strain relief and minimize the thickness of my pack.

I don't think I have ever seen that in all the DIY packs I have looked at so maybe I'll be a pioneer?

Another battery pack and rear tire related detail that I think I should incorporate is a compliant mount for the battery pack. Like my Thudbuster seat post, a compliant mount will take some shock off of the battery and the rear wheel when going over bumps. Since my battery will weigh 25-30 lbs, it's significant. I'm thinking I might need to build some compliance in to my cargo rack as well. That will be a lot different from the truss design I was thinking of. I just have to balance compliance with rear triangle rigidity so it still feels solid under my legs.
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