Since I've not found much information about my recumbent on line, I thought I'd start a bit of a log. The EZ-1 is a recumbent with a 16" front and 20" rear wheel. It isn't fast, light, or super high quality, but it is easy to handle, inexpensive and very comfortable to ride.
(Image from Bicycleman website.)
My goal was to build a comfortable commuter bike that can do 20km trips and average around 30km/hr. This bike can do it. I'm not saying it's perfect, but it's done 16,000km so far (as of Sept 2016.)
- Crystalyte 3548 rear motor from ebikes.ca.
- Infineon 30 amp sensored controller from ebikes.ca
- Cycle Analyst V3 from ebikes.ca.
- Ping 20ah battery
- 2 x 2 amp chargers from ping
- DrBass's torque arm plates. Welded to frame by local shop.
- Home made under seat pannier rack for battery storage. Made from thick steel. The Sun aluminum rack was not up to the task of holding such a large battery.
- Schwalbe Marathon 20x1.75. Expensive. Hopefully will last longer than the 20" Big Apple.
- Sun Rhyno Lite 20" rim. Eyelettes filed to fit 12 gauge spoke nipples.
Feb 2018: ~ 21,000km. New rear rim. Sun Rhyno Lite 20" with eyelettes. Old Sun rim lasted 12,800km before brakes wore through sidewall. (Regen is enabled. I average around 7%.) When removing old rim, noticed hairline cracks under rim tape. (In the double part of the double wall rim.) Lesson - inspect rim when tire is off. About ready for new tires.
Feb 2017: Plastic battery box broke when I hit pot-hole. Goes to show you should use the proper tool for the job. I should look to make a metal, wood or fiberglass battery box.
Sept 2016: 16,000km. Will try outdoor carpet on the inside of the front mud-flap to see if it minimizes spray (that still coats the chain in grit.) Update - never tried this.
April 2016: Passed 13,000km.
December 2015: Front fender. I think I have a good solution - the normal 16" front fender, with an extension that nearly touches the ground. The extension has to be fairly wide, around 4-5 inches at the ground level. This really keeps the chain a lot cleaner. I used a flexible plastic, so it doesn't matter when it scrapes over bumps etc. Also, I haven't had any further issues with the cables, so running solid housings seems to be the way to go.
October 2015: Passed 10,000km a few weeks ago. Bike is going pretty well. New front wheel. (Hard to find a 16".) Cruise control not working very well, I think I need to re-visit the Cycle Analyst settings.
May 2015: Rear rim failure. Crack appearing in braking surface, about 2 inches long. Hitting the brakes, concerned sidewall of tire will let go, so replacing. Found Sun Rhyno Lite 20" rim with eyelettes. Diameter seems the same, but have not trued the wheel yet. Filed eyelettes so 12 gauge spoke nipples fit. Must complete and test before bike to work week starts!
April 2015: Passed 8000km.
March 2015: Replaced rear brake and shifter cable housings. Bypassed all the cable stops and ran solid housing. Maybe this will keep the cables cleaner and run more freely.
March 17 2015: Passed 7000km. (7005km.) Have enabled regen. Range between 3%-7% regen over a trip. Lowers my Wh/km from 9(ish) to mid 7Wh/km. Averaging 30km/hr on flat roads. Front fairing, 16x2.0 Big Apple, 20x1.75 Marathon Plus. CA limiting power to 550W.
Jan 2015: Minor crash; front wheel went off the road. Next thing I knew I was lying on my back. I was going fairly slow and up hill, so only my pride was damaged. Passed 6000km.
Dec 2014: Battery box replaced. Re-discovered problem when mounting headlights in-line with your eye - pot-holes dissapear. (No shadows.) Oops. Home-made rack working fine.
Dec 10 2014: Battery box broke - result of a huge pot-hole. At least the wheels held up. (Guess I should check carefully.) New sturdy racks held. Rear brake working poorly again. I assume it is from road grime getting into the cable. Why did they mount the rear brake so low? Grrr. Maybe an extended fender would help.
Nov 2014: Extended front fender to reach the ground. Works really well to keep bike (and I assume the chain and I) cleaner.
Nov 5 2014: Replaced broken rack with flat bar steel, bent to fit. Cost $6 for enough for both sides. Working well so far. Replaced rear V-brake "noodle." Wow, now the rear brakes work again!
Oct 31 2014: Under seat rack broke again, at one of the welds. Odometer around 4700km.
Sept 23 2014: Under seat rack broke again (in a different spot.) It may have been flexing there, so is kinda my fault. Odometer around 3500km. Got a used fairing to mount.
July 2014: Cleaned rear brake cable, and it VASTLY improved braking power. I have no idea why, but the rear brake can lock up the wheel now. (Couldn't before.)
June 27th 2014: Under seat rack repaired, additional center brace created to make it more solid. Working well so far. Machine shop said the metal of the rack was lousy and very difficult to weld. Not many options for this bike, so glad it worked. Odometer: 2250km, 100 cycles on battery. Locked up front brake again in "panic" stop situation. New rear pads helped a little, but I think the heavy rear wheel is just too much for the V-brakes.
June 3rd 2014: Under seat rack failed - metal broke at one bend of the rack, not at weld. Another symptom of my bike is too heavy? Odometer is about 1950km.
June 2014: Limiting power to 700 watts, and it is "fine." Spend most of time around 350-550 watts.
April 30th 2014: Schwalbe Big Apple 2.0 tire failed. Sidewall starting to rip. Either a defect, my bike is too heavy, or was running not enough tire pressure. Replaced by a 1.75 Marathon, properly inflated.
April 1st 2014: Have multiple trips to/from work and 1000km on the odometer. The motor wires have not been a problem. I had a problem today, I think caused by rain. Left me without power. My current thinking is I built the bike too big and heavy. I only need 4-5 amp hours to get to or from work. I'm happy with 800 watts of power. 40+ km/hr can is stable, but stock brakes are not the best, and really is pretty fast for a bike.
Oct 31 2013: User Error! A CA3 setting seems to be causing my "motor won't start up" problem. Resolved with help from ebikes.ca. Thanks again guys. Tightened each spoke on wheel. Much better.
Oct 29 2013: Rebuilt wheel using #4 washers on spoke ends. SEEMS ok, but I'm no pro. Initial spoke tension not high enough. Still lots of squeaking from flexing spokes.
Oct 23: Another 40km trip. More problems. Motor won't start when I power the system up; I think it is the hall sensor connector. When I unplug and plug it back in the system seems to work. Will have to replace the connectors. I'm starting to think of an alternate motor; I don't have much faith in this one. (Edit: I just realized I updated to the latest firmware for the CycleAnalyst a few days ago. Maybe that is causing a problem...)
Oct 22: Bike has made several 20km trips to and from work with no problems. I've given up worrying about the seal on the motor (although I am checking it every few rides), and am not able to pull the motor apart. The manual impact driver didn't do the trick. So I either use the motor until it breaks and I junk it, or by then I won't cringe about drilling out the sticky motor cover bolts. I'm happy with the bike limited to 780 watts, and I generally average 32ish km/hr. Unfortunately, that is as fast as I can pedal with the bikes gearing, so I spend a lot of time pedaling really fast, or not putting any work into it. Spokes still squeak, even after lock-tite on the nipples, and ensuring they are tight. I could put them tighter. The seal still squeaks too. Would I get this motor again? Hmmm. Maybe a slightly slower version with more power for hills? And maybe geared, so it would coast better. The Ping battery and chargers are working fine.
Sept 12: Bike is out of service until I pull the motor apart and fix the issue with the seal on the motor. The bolts holding on the motor cover plate appear to be really soft (bad) and glued in? (Worse.) I need an impact driver ($15-$50) to take out the bolts and possibly a gear puller ($150?) to open the motor. Yay, this is turning out to be even more expensive and painful than I ever expected.
Sept 11th: Two rides to work, 160km total on the bike. Everything is good except worrying about the Crystalyte 3548 wire cut issue.
Sept 9th: Complete! A few test rides completed, first ride to work. My 20km trip took about 45 minutes, and used 4ish amp hours. (Didn't write it down so don't recall the exact numbers.) Some wiring needs to be tidied up, etc. but done.
Aug 7th: First quick test ride! Still need to better secure batteries, cables, etc. Program CA. (Max wattage 1200W, 800W max recommended.)
July 16th: Discovered Crystalyte motor/wheel was not true, and no lock-tite on spokes. Rebuilt wheel.Will need to add balancing weight - either the tire or wheel is not
- This motor likes power. I first limited it to 600 watts via the CA, and it was anemic. Even bumping up to 750 watts is a huge difference. 1000 is pretty intoxicating. (I did that just to test it out. Back to 780 for now.) Now I've been back to 600 watts for quite a while, and it is working fine. I moved it down to 600 watts mainly to be kind to the batteries.
- Maybe I should have chosen a "slower" motor. Because:
--- 1) In top gear (52x12) pedaling quickly, you'll go about 35-38km/hr. (21-23 mph.) This motor and 48v battery likes to go faster.
--- 2) 40km/hr seems plenty for this bike. I've been faster and been comfortable, but start wondering about the brakes and success of avoidance maneuvers.
--- 3) It does hills fine, but I'm sure there is room for improvement.
- Was surprised at how much cogging there is - this motor does not like to freewheel. Riding this bike without battery power is doable, but is not fun.
- The battery is heavy. You don't notice it on the ride, but I'm sure it makes a difference. Maybe a smaller battery / motor would be better over all?
- Installing freewheel. A spacer behind freewheel is required, or it contacts the motor. Supplied spacer was pretty thick, so ground to 1/2 thickness to help with....
- Axle not long enough to clear freewheel. The "shoulders" of the axle that contact the inside of the frame were still recessed within the freewheel. I put on a thin washer, and it's working fine.
- Had to spread rear drop outs. Was pretty easy. Was able to borrow tool from local shop to ensure dropouts were still aligned.
- Torque arm trouble! The Rev 4 and Rev2 arms from ebikes.ca don't fit the EZ-1 without mods. So I went with the Dr. Bass torque plates.
- A Schwalbe Big Apple 2.3 will fit in the frame, but leaves no room for a fender. A 2.0 seems to work. Heated and bent both fenders wider at fender stay attachment points.
- Need to find a heavy duty kickstand. Tried a normal and normal double leg kickstand, but the bike it too heavy to trust them.
- Crystalyte 3548 motor problems
---- This model has the "phase wire cut: issue. A rubber seal wears through anything in it's way. Currently my wires have been kept out of the way by the plastic collar. Fingers crossed. The rubber seal squeaks too. Grrr.
---- Loose spokes - none with locktite.
---- Holes in hub too large for spoke ends. Rebuilt using #4 stainless washers. Seems ok, but I'm not a pro wheel builder.
---- Motor plate screws. They are a small hex head stainless screw, glued in. The heads on mine were already a bit damaged from assembly. Removing them is impossible. I heated the screw, used proper sized tools, and resorted to a manual impact driver. Couldn't get 3 out. Last resort - grind off head, remove motor cover, and use vice grips to remove remains of screw. If that doesn't work, will have to drill out screw and re-tap hole. Decided I'd not try to open this motor.
---- To open the motor, I did learn one trick. Instead of needing a huge and expensive gear puller, install an old disk brake, and pull on that. I haven't done it myself.
- Found cold solder joint on PING battery pack. Easy fix.
At 7000km, I'm fairly happy. This last winter I've had trouble with the rear shifter and brake cables running smoothly.
- The fender ends right above the rear brake, so it covers it with sand/dirt from the road. I extended the fender slightly, not sure if it will help. The second last cable stop on the frame seems to add a lot of friction to the cable operation, so I'm going to try running solid cable housing for both the brake and rear shifter.
- Rear derailer cable adjuster barrel fills up with dirt from the road - to the point where the cable won't move. Going to add a rubber boot in front of it. Hopefully it will work.
- Not super happy with finding a throttle location... for now I've got grip shift and a thumb throttle. You can't shift while using the throttle so I've set the cruise control to kick in after just 2 seconds. Very handy. Then I can shift while powering up hills etc.
After 4700km on this setup, I'm fairly happy with it.
- The battery racks have given me trouble, but I think I've got that solved now.
- Rear brakes - just needed different pads, new "noodle" (the metal elbow for the cable) and adjusting.
- Battery - noticing the voltage will go down a bit more now, but it is still going.
- I've been limiting the motor to 600 watts. I can do my commute in about 35 minutes, averaging 30-33km/hr. I use 3.3-4.5 amp hours. Definitely a bit less with the fairing installed.
- I like the fairing. Keeps me a bit warmer and drier. Not noticeable faster. Light mounting is a pain though.
- A lighter battery and easier coasting motor would be nice for next time.
After about 1300km on this motor setup I'm not entirely happy with it.
- Full suspension would be nice if you intend to routinely cruise at 30-40km/hr.
- Lighter components would be easier on the tires (and could then run the tires at lower pressure to smooth out the bumps.)
- Gearing is too short
- Brakes are marginal. Especially the rear - I assume from the extra weight of the motor.
That's all for now.