CroBorg Super Commuter

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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Alan B   100 GW

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Re: CroBorg Super Commuter

Post by Alan B » Sep 11 2019 12:08pm

HPA is not for everyone. I don't carry it on the bike, at least thus far. It is the best solution I have found for topping up truck/trailer tires. The small 13 cubic inch 3000 psi bottle is pretty small, but still more than I'd carry routinely on the bike. Any of these bottles could easily be carried in a support vehicle, but an 18V compressor is probably a better choice. More on that later. I presented the HPA here more as something interesting than proposing it as a solution for anyone.

I don't have any 25g CO2 cartridges, I'll have to get some. I haven't tried that size cartridge, I have used 12g non-threaded which are far cheaper here than any other size (per g). Best price I see for 25g is about five bucks each, and the 12g are about 25 cents, so 10 times the cost (per g). Also if you don't use all of a CO2 it is likely to leak out before you need it again, and with the 25g this could increase costs further, but if 25g was the right quantity it would be more convenient than using two 12g. I see the 20g may be cheaper than the 25g (per g). There are quite a few CO2 size choices. Best to choose one that fits your tires, which is hard to do if you are mostly helping others, or even yourself having several bikes.

One problem with any of the small CO2 cartridges is that about a quarter of the CO2 sublimes directly to solid when the cartridge is used to fill a tire quickly. Using the rest requires waiting for it to gain enough heat to convert back to gas or liquid. Most folks discard this if the tire needs more and puncture another cartridge.

Even the cheap 12g CO2 is quite expensive compared to bulk CO2. I pay about a dollar a pound for bulk CO2 (swapping refilled 20 pound bottles). That's about 3 cents for 12 grams or 5.5 cents for a 25 gram quantity of CO2. The smallest refillable paintball CO2 bottle I have holds 9 oz which is a lot of CO2 for bike tires. These tanks have good valves and don't tend to leak, at least not for some years. This might be good to carry on a group ride to keep the whole group going. The HPA tanks are about twice the bulk of the CO2 tanks for a similar amount of output volume. They are cheaper to fill and faster to use, and don't get as cold when using them. But CO2 wins for minimum bulk.

I have carried hand pumps, 12g and 16g CO2 cartridges on my ebikes and I never use them, at least for my tires. I have used them to help others on many occasions. When I get a flat it has been close enough to home or work that I just push the bike. I specifically chose tires for this bike (the GreyBorg of this thread) to avoid flats. When I was commuting and using this bike daily I was averaging one flat per year, and it was always a nail of some type, and it was always near home or work where the construction tends to be located. My path in between doesn't tend to have such hazards, though plenty of glass is present it doesn't threaten the thick moped rubber.

If I got a flat somewhere else on my ebike I would generally not fix it in situ, I would arrange to transport the bike back home for repair. At least on my non mid-drive ebikes, like the Borg of this thread, it is quite difficult to fix motor hub flats on the road (and it is always the motor wheel that gets the flat). The Borg's moped tires and rims require serious tools to support the heavy bike and to remove tires and to work on them. The hubmotor itself is about 30 pounds. I have the tools (purpose made steel tools over 12" in length) and did it a few times before I started taking them to a motorcycle shop for this work. That shop is gone now, next time I need to I'll have to decide to use my tools or just find another shop. But it is a struggle even with these tools. Shops use air powered tire machines rather than levers for this work.

Bicycle tires are another matter, generally not hard to work on. But hubmotors complicate things. If it is not too bad putting in more air might get one home or to some point where the bike can be transported. For that a hand pump might not be quick enough, and the CO2 supply might not last long enough to get home unless you brought a 12 oz paintball CO2 bottle.

I hear that tubeless is really the way to go and makes fixing flats much easier, and Stan's really works better than Slime, but I haven't gone there myself yet. Maybe carrying some Stan's for emergencies would be useful to try and hobble along.

For ebike tires here is the best setup I have found around the shop or to carry in the support vehicle:

RyobiP737-20180613_075909.jpg
Ryobi P737 Tire Pump
RyobiP737-20180613_075909.jpg (123.31 KiB) Viewed 144 times

I have a number of different compressors, CO2 and HPA solutions for pressurizing things, and this little battery powered pump is the one I go to the most for bike tires and similar needs. It is convenient and fast. It has a great quick connect schrader chuck, and there's a presta adapter and ball needle onboard. It has a large easy to read gauge. The smallest Ryobi 18 volt lithium battery runs it for a long time, no need to use a heavy one here. About $30 at Home Depot for the tool with no battery.

RunForTheHills   100 W

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Re: CroBorg Super Commuter

Post by RunForTheHills » Sep 11 2019 2:41pm

I paid $25 for 10 25g cartridges from Amazon. I have wide, but not fat, tires and 12g is not quite enough to fill them. I haven't had a flat in a couple of years and my current work assignment is home based, so those 10 cartridges should last for a while.

That 18v pump looks interesting. I gave my daughter my Ryobi tools and batteries when I switched to Makita, but maybe Makita has one too.

MTA: Sadly, it looks like Makita only offers a 12v pump.

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Alan B   100 GW

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Re: CroBorg Super Commuter

Post by Alan B » Sep 11 2019 4:34pm

When I found the Ryobi pump a couple years ago I searched all the manufacturer's. The Ryobi was the only one like it. I still have a couple of older (expensive) Makita tools, but since that point my Ryobi collection has started and has outgrown the Makita set. Ryobi has many tools that others don't have, or have at price points that are not practical for occasional users. The Makita tools are good, but the batteries have some issues, and motors are mostly brushed at the price point where Ryobi is often brushless. I'm not shure I will get more Makita gear. They don't properly manage the balancing of the cells, at least they didn't. Perhaps their new packs and chargers are different. But their markup is quite high. I see even many professionals are moving away from Makita these days.

My third Ryobi P737 pump just arrived from Amazon. One of mine got mounted onto a project, so it is out of circulation. I keep one in the garage and one in the house for pressurizing tennis balls. They both get used at least every week. Sometimes several times a day. Used one twice today already. :)

There is a 88/90 gram CO2 cartridge if you need more. 25g sounds like a useful size.

RunForTheHills   100 W

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Re: CroBorg Super Commuter

Post by RunForTheHills » Sep 11 2019 5:46pm

I think Makita did have a balance/BMS problem with their batteries in the past. I only have the newer Star batteries and haven't had a problem with them in the three years I have had them. When I researched it, Makita and DeWalt were the top choices for contractors. DeWalt was more popular, but Makita had a better tool selection. I have brushless motors in my tools and the drill/drivers are definitely lighter, more compact, and powerful than my previous Ryobi tools. I have the circular and reciprocal saws also, but haven't needed to use them much yet. I have the 18V vacuum that uses the same batteries and it is awesome. I use it daily.

The Ryobi pump is tempting, but I hate to buy more batteries and chargers. It seems that most of the other manufacturers, including DeWalt, have come out with 18v compressors. I am sure Makita will have one soon.

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Alan B   100 GW

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Re: CroBorg Super Commuter

Post by Alan B » Sep 11 2019 6:09pm

Most of the other compressors are big and clunky configurations compared to this little P737. I doubt if Makita is interested in that market, these have been out for years already. My Makita batteries are pretty old, and are still viable so that's quite good. I've been lucky there. The Ryobi batteries are cheaper and warranty serviced at the nearest Home Depot. Makita is not so easy. It isn't practical to have just one brand of battery, so we go with what works best, which changes over time as well.

I did try the DeWalt first, but the whine of the motor controller annoyed everyone within 20 yards, and the quality was quite low, the chuck wobbled and I sent it right back. Makita definitely builds to a higher quality standard.

Anyway, back to the topic of this thread, the GreyBorg. Today I took it out for a lunch trip and my son rode his brand new RadCity (assembled this morning). I started a separate thread on that new ebike:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=102321 RadCity thread

There were a number of folks who wanted to ask us questions, but always about the Borg. The RadCity is just another ebike but the Borg is something special. Interesting...

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