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Poor Man's RV

justin_le said:
jkbrigman said:
And BTW: You are right, Justin has done it (VERY well!) and I have pored over every word in his thread. I'll hunt it back down and replace this sentence with a citation of his thread. I'm hoping, hoping, hoping that somewhere along the way on this thread, Justin will offer some comments!

If you wish my friend!

It looks like the discussion here has already covered most points really well so here are the tidbits I'd emphasize from my own experience

1) Recumbent: This is a total no brainer and glad to see you have already gone this way. I went in a semi-recumbent (recumbent seat sitting on the back of a stretched MTB frame) which gave the comfort advantages of a proper seat an backrest for which I was ever greatful, but it lacked the aerodynamic advantage you get from a true recumbent bike or trike. Both tadpole trikes and LWB recumbents have plenty of frame area for securing batteries and gear, but a SWB would be a nonstarter of a platform as a distance platform unless you wanted to pull a trailer. You can sit on a regular upright bike for 8, 10, 12 hours a day, tons of people do, you just wonder why when there is such a better alternative.

2) Mid-drive vs. geared hub vs direct drive hub: Here I would still be partial to a direct drive hub motor. The freewheeling nature of a geared hub doesn't give you anything, since I can guarantee you'll be using the motor 100% of the time except when you are going downhills, and then all the freewheel means is that you aren't benefiting from the regen that a DD could provide you. And the lighter weight of a geared hub is totally lost in the mix when you have 2+ kWhr of battery weight and all the gear. It would work, it's just that the usual advantages of a geared hub (better torque/weight ratio and freewheeling) aren't as valuable in this context, and the downsides (increased risk of mechanical gear or clutch failure) are all the more pressing. A mid-motor has its temptations especially in steep hilly terrain, but I really like having fully independent pedal drives and motor drives. That way if the chain snaps, the derailleur hanger breaks off, a chainring bashed etc. you can still motor along fine. On a mid-drive, a failure like this is pretty catastrophic to your progress. But you could no doubt make any of these systems work and all will have more or less equivalent efficiency at the end of the day.

3) Batteries: Definitely use the high Wh/kg energy cells, any of the samsung/panasonic/LG/Sony 2.9Ah 18650's would be fine. This way a 2kWhr battery pack is still a manageable size and weight, and 2KWhr is about the minimum you want for a 100+ mile range with some margin. You're not going to pull more than 1kw from any free/shared/public outlet, which means you won't need to support anything more than a C/2 charging rate, which means there is no need at all for high power cells like A123's or anything like that; you just wind up with a much heavier battery. I took about 1.4 Kwhr on the cross canada bike, and just under 2Kwh on the cargo bikes we rode Vancouver -> SF last year. Couldn't imagine having much less in either case.

4) Chargers: Regardless of what you do for chargers, hook things up as permanent onboard chargers already wired together and to your batteries so that you just have a single extension cord to plug the bike itself in. This way when you pull over for a lunch stop you don't have a tangle of chargers, batteries, power bars, and such to connect together. It raises eyebrows the wrong way and it makes you less inclined to take advantage of short 20-30 minute stops. You want the least amount of overhead to plug in and profit from the first exposed outlet you can find. Also, having a ~50ft extension cord gives a lot more flexibilty to find outlets in one place but position your bike somewhere else that is more convenient to lock up or keep an eye on.

5) Fairings: I have almost no experience of proper fairings, but I have heard from those that do that they can be quite noisy, amplifying every rattle and bump on the route. And overall ambient noise is something that plays into pleasure/pain factor of long distance ebike touring. But a fairing that keeps you dry when riding in the rain, that would help reduce one of the greatest miseries of all when touring on 2 wheels and would be so very well worth it.

6) Redundancy: Always have a backup motor controller and throttle with you, so that if anything goes bonkers with the electronics, or you plug in the pack with reverse polarity and fry the mosfets etc. you can always swap in the new controller and throttle and have the ability to keep powering along. It should be sensorless too so that you aren't disabled by possible hall signal issues. Similarly, the battery should be several independent packs each with their own BMS all wired up in parallel, rather than one single large battery. That way you can suffer through a battery/BMS issue and still have plenty of useable capacity from the other unaffected packs. Things are getting more and more reliable with ebike gear, but it's still not at a point where I'd bet everything on a single system.

I copied this from this post https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=61406&start=50

In this thread two people who have done xc trips say recumbents or semi recumbents would be better choices for ebike touring. The main problem I’ve had with recumbents is my travel plans. Planes, trains, buses et all aren’t too recumbent friendly. They aren’t very ebike friendly either so I may have to deal with alternative shipping methods regardless. Given this I now need to decide on trike vs bike.


Most of the ebike touring posts I’ve seen are 5 years old or older. I believe batteries, controllers and motors have advanced a lot in the last few years so I wonder what off the shelf components I could use vs all of the custom components previous ebikers have used.

I'm thinking 2 motors, one DD 48v in front and a bbshd mid drive 48v. I like the idea of this for redundancy, regen braking and hill climbing.

Given this setup what batteries, controllers, ca analyst, chargers etc would you recommend for onboard charging with multiple batteries (in parallel) and motors? What about for redundancy?
 
neptronix said:
Chalo said:
For what it's worth:
https://www.bandenleader.be/motor-band/heidenau/hs-248/26x2.5-22-39j--2.5-22--774949

There are not many moto tires in that size, though.

Well, that's interesting. I spent over a year trying to find something like that, even went and harassed every tire vendor at interbike. Made around a hundred phone calls, and a dozen forum posts. No luck. And there it is, right after i switched wheel sizes. :lol:

Oh well. I am satisfied with my choice to go with 20 inch wheels anyway because of the increased power density and efficiency factor with a hub ( vs a 26" wheel )

Yes, hub motors like to spin. I'm happier with my X5305 in a 20" wheel at 48V than I was with it in a 29" wheel at 36V. I'm not concerned about power density, and efficiency is more than adequate either way, but it works better at higher RPM.
 
donn said:
But the rest of it - stop and go, county highways, bike haters - that's not a good enough reason to ride a long distance in misery.
Riding a regular bike isn't misery for the vast majority of people. It's just fine. And to me, not crashing or possibly getting hit by a car is totally a good enough reason to sacrifice a little bit of efficiency for another perfectly suitable style of bike. In all fairness, I've never ridden a recumbent. It just seems to me like they'd be less stable and offer less bike control than a regular bike. I'm sure there's a good reason there aren't any recumbent MTB or racing bikes(though that would be interesting to see, and I'd watch the video).

neptronix said:
If you look at people who have done touring around the world, you'll notice they're usually on semi recumbent bikes.
I have read/seen pictures of people touring the world on recumbents, for sure. I've been an active tourer for years, so tend to read a lot of that sort of stuff. But you certainly couldn't say they're Usually on recumbents. I'd say it's definitely less common, and most people ride standard bikes.
 
kauaicycler said:
Most of the ebike touring posts I’ve seen are 5 years old or older. I believe batteries, controllers and motors have advanced a lot in the last few years so I wonder what off the shelf components I could use vs all of the custom components previous ebikers have used.

I'm thinking 2 motors, one DD 48v in front and a bbshd mid drive 48v. I like the idea of this for redundancy, regen braking and hill climbing.

Given this setup what batteries, controllers, ca analyst, chargers etc would you recommend for onboard charging with multiple batteries (in parallel) and motors? What about for redundancy?

Yeah, that post you found was from the glory days of ES and there hasn't been a lot of electric touring greatness lately outside of what Justin has done with his crazy solar bike :thumb:

If you look into the two wheeled recumbent world, you'll see that the only bikes with normal sized wheelbases ( IE can fit on a bus ) are SWB full recumbents that put you in a VERY laid back position, however the downside is that you're sacrificing visibility quite a bit in exchange for aerodynamic near-perfection. And i have never seen one that looks like it could carry a good amount of battery. My choice of touring bike would absolutely be a semi recumbent..

If was going bike touring, i'd have something like a 5kwhr battery plus a couple weenie sized solar panels so that i never, ever have to take a bus or any public transport. The ideal battery would support 8 hours of riding at an average speed of 30mph.

If you want a reliable and redundant drive system, i'd run screaming from the bafang mid drives as so many parts of them are known to be weak, and could possibly leave you without the ability to pedal in the case of failure.

I would absolutely run a geared motor on the front and a DD on the back.. why? because regenerative braking is going to be very welcome on a long distance vehicle. The primary motor would be the DD, and the geared motor would only apply power when climbing a hill, as all geared motors are significantly less efficient than DDs on flat ground conditions.
 
neptronix said:
The primary motor would be the DD, and the geared motor would only apply power when climbing a hill, as all geared motors are significantly less efficient than DDs on flat ground conditions.

That's a really interesting idea. Going that route, it seems like it would be fairly easy to use a motor that happily spins at a lower speed, so you can be in the efficiency range for that motor when climbing. Then just not use it on the flats when you would be going too fast for it.
 
The reason we have no recumbent Road or Mountain races is rather easy but frustrating:
The ICU doesn't like them and very openly dislikes progress.
Why are there no flat bar road bikes or drop bar mountain bikes in official races?
The ICU forbids it
Why are there no Triathlon Handlebars in official races?
The ICU forbids it
Why do we have to buy a gravel bike to have a CX bike with more tire clearance?
The ICU forbids it
Why are there no races and therefore no media coverage of the existence of recumbents?
Make an educated guess
[edit: the official abbreviation for the International Cycling Union is UCI, not ICU. I am very sorry]

Recumbents are a BLAST. I rented one in 2008 and toured Spain with a friend. Long wheelbase, 26" in the back 20" in the front. There is no better way to fly. From a pure riding perspective they have virtually no downsides. They corner amazing. you actually know where you steer (many people still believe they steer with their hands). They are extremely stable at any speed.

In my opinion there is only one Downside with many facets: Luggage.
Many of them have space for four panniers. Which is a lot. But the weight limits are in many cases unacceptable. 115kg ride and luggage is not much if you are almost 200cm and 95kg.
For my commute I need a backpack. I transport a musical instrument. The vibrations in the rack destroy it "poco á poco". You can't wear a backpack on a Recumbent.
 
If you had a recumbent with a small wheel on the front and bigger wheel on the back, the geared motor is already 'geared down' in relation to the rear DD. So even if it's some wimpy 350w motor, it should be of a certain kV so that it can crawl you up a hill at ~15mph in the event that the DD fails.
 
Electric Earth said:
Riding a regular bike isn't misery for the vast majority of people.

I've never ridden a recumbent. It just seems to me like they'd be less stable and offer less bike control than a regular bike. I'm sure there's a good reason there aren't any recumbent MTB or racing bikes(though that would be interesting to see, and I'd watch the video).

Having ridden bicycles for over 50 years as an adult, and worked in bike shops the last 8 years of my working life, I can assure you that bicycles are a misery for the vast majority of people, which is why they do not ride them. The few who persist into adulthood, are rare exceptions, and most of them require pillows in their pants, padded gloves, cushioned grips, etc. to make it bearable.

As you say, you have never ridden a recumbent. That is the case for the vast majority of the few adults who ride bicycles. They get their attitudes about recumbents from bike shop "experts" like Chalo.

The reason you don't see them in most events is because they are banned. The few events where they are allowed to enter, some of which they win, they are put in a separate category and ignored at the finish line.

If you want to see recumbent race bikes...here you go.

https://www.bentrideronline.com/messageboard/showthread.php?t=136256

https://www.wired.com/2007/03/recumbents-domi/

https://schlitter.bike/meet-our-riders

https://www.heraldtribune.com/article/LK/20140213/News/605216577/SH/

The Schlitters, and the Parkers have won crits, as well as many ultra endurance events. They get no mainstream coverage.
 
neptronix said:
I would absolutely run a geared motor on the front and a DD on the back.. why? because regenerative braking is going to be very welcome on a long distance vehicle. The primary motor would be the DD, and the geared motor would only apply power when climbing a hill, as all geared motors are significantly less efficient than DDs on flat ground conditions.

Why not two matching DD's to increase redundancy? What's the advantages of gm in front and DD in back?
 
Ford Prefect said:
Recumbents are a BLAST. I rented one in 2008 and toured Spain with a friend. Long wheelbase, 26" in the back 20" in the front. There is no better way to fly. From a pure riding perspective they have virtually no downsides. They corner amazing. you actually know where you steer (many people still believe they steer with their hands). They are extremely stable at any speed.

file.php


I have a semi recumbent that nearly has the wheelbase of a car. At speed, i can corner faster than an upright bike. It is also extremely stable and well behaved. From 0-10mph, it is like driving a bus. It's kind of a burden.

The stability >10mph is astounding. I caught air at 35mph downhill and my tire landed in a spot i didn't expect. The bike was barely upset by it. I would have gone flying off the bike on an upright. The low center of gravity is a huge advantage. I like the fact that in the event that i fall, i don't fall very far. I feel significantly safer than on an upright!!

When i ride the bike i feel sort of coddled by it and it is a relaxing experience even though where i live, almost being murdered by a car 3-10 times per ride is an every day thing. On an upright bike, i feel tense no matter whether the cagers are being attentive that day or not.

And yes, carrying things is a pain in the ass. I have the wrong frame for that. There aren't many frames that are right for it.
Another thing is that you will need a rear view mirror because seeing behind you is not as easy as it is on an upright. I bought mirrors immediately.

I will never go back to an upright bike. And i'm saying that from the perspective of someone who has put perhaps 30,000 miles on uprights and have only logged a short 100-200 miles on the bike pictured above.
 
kauaicycler said:
Why not two matching DD's to increase redundancy? What's the advantages of gm in front and DD in back?

The other DD will continuously create a notable amount of drag, which will reduce your overall efficiency.
Until we can get DDs with 0.27mm laminations, or hopefully even thinner, there will always be some drag with DD motors. Even the smaller 27mm wide ones.

The really tiny low efficiency, low power density 250w DDs usually come with thick laminations and drag as bad as larger ones with thinner lams.
 
neptronix said:
kauaicycler said:
Why not two matching DD's to increase redundancy? What's the advantages of gm in front and DD in back?

The other DD will continuously create a notable amount of drag, which will reduce your overall efficiency.
Until we can get DDs with 0.27mm laminations, or hopefully even thinner, there will always be some drag with DD motors. Even the smaller 27mm wide ones.

The really tiny low efficiency, low power density 250w DDs usually come with thick laminations and drag as bad as larger ones with thinner lams.

So possible benefits of redundancy would be lost due to decreased efficiency?
 
Indeed. It would be a continuous loss of power to spin another DD motor.
Whereas a geared motor would have a freewheel and not have the spinning magnets and iron draggin' on ya at all times.
 
Warren said:
Chalo said:
Do tell.

[youtube]n-AbPav5E5M[/youtube]

Yup. Lots of upright roadsters in the Netherlands. You know what else there are more of there than anywhere else on the planet? Recumbents!!

Yep, no hills in NL. But still no 'bents in rush hour.

What do you know about bicycles that they don't?
 
The Dutch seem to be a fit lot, not many heavy weights.
https://www.dw.com/en/obese-not-us-why-the-netherlands-is-becoming-the-skinniest-eu-country/a-18503808
Obese? Not us! Why the Netherlands is becoming the skinniest EU country

Chalo said:
Yep, no hills in NL. But still no 'bents in rush hour.

What do you know about bicycles that they don't?
 
The Netherlands generally has a very high population density and an aerodynamically disabled bike is okay if your work is 2km away from your house.

Sort of like how a bus with a literal box as the frontend is okay since it will only putz around at 20-30mph in the city all day.

Once you get past very congested and dense areas and you have long distances to cover, it's time to start thinking about aerodynamics and thus higher speed capable designs though.

drag_chart.jpg
 
I'm of the opinion that long term touring on a bike is full of hassles.
But besides that my last touring set-up used a delta crank-forward trike and trailer.
For all the reasons others said about recumbents except a trike is able to handle much more weight and an average trike is only 6" wider per side than an average person's shoulder blades i.e. trikes arn't much wider than bikes.
Oh, and dual motors because mountains. The motors not only don't have to be "matched" it's better to use a DD motor (for motor brakes) and a geared-hub motor (because mountains) If you don't ever ride a mountain (impossible) two geared-hub motors works best.

A car and teardrop trailer would work better.
 
The average Dutch trip distance on a bike is 4 km. The average speed is 12.4 km/hr. The average distance they cycle yearly is 1000 km. This is why upright handlebar safety bicycles suit them just fine. It is a super design for this kind of short, low speed riding.

https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/dutch-cycling-figures/
 
neptronix said:
Once you get past very congested and dense areas and you have long distances to cover,

I think you mean "get past economically and ecologically sustainable areas", and we've tried that. It doesn't work.
 
Electric Earth said:
It just seems to me like they'd be less stable and offer less bike control than a regular bike. I'm sure there's a good reason there aren't any recumbent MTB or racing bikes(though that would be interesting to see, and I'd watch the video).

Since you ask, here's a LWB on trails in the Sedona AZ area https://player.vimeo.com/video/330764702.

I agree with the point made above - they take more skill at very slow speeds - speeds that aren't a real issue with an electric motor. And that depends on the specific bike. But once you're up to normal speed, my recumbents anyway are in no way any trouble.
 
donn said:
Since you ask, here's a LWB on trails in the Sedona AZ area https://player.vimeo.com/video/330764702.

That's one of the most amazing looking recumbent bikes i've ever seen... and in one of the most beautiful areas of the United States.. hat tip!

donn said:
I agree with the point made above - they take more skill at very slow speeds - speeds that aren't a real issue with an electric motor. And that depends on the specific bike. But once you're up to normal speed, my recumbents anyway are in no way any trouble.

..that's well demonstrated in the video. His bike is insanely long, and you'll see that midway through the video, the rider has difficulty getting around narrow areas. I have this same issue when i am ( unfortunately ) forced into the sidewalk downtown on my 'compact long wheelbase' semi recumbent.. winding around signs, trees, pedestrians needs to happen at uber slow speeds.

Riding the bike without a motor was a pain in the arse because i'd often find myself starting on a hill and wobbling all over the place to get started... problem solved 100% with a blip of the throttle from a stall.

..when i am trying to conserve battery and go long distances on my semi recumbent, i often pedal 100% of the time, but when i get started.. it's a blip of the throttle every time to get past the slow speed wobble.

Probably less of an issue on a bike that doesn't have a wheelbase approaching that of an automobile :lol:
 
Electric Earth said:
I'm sure there's a good reason there aren't any recumbent MTB or racing bikes(though that would be interesting to see, and I'd watch the video).

John Schlitter won an off road race on a 26" wheel medium wheelbase recumbent almost 20 years ago. They won't likely win trials style stuff, but they are still fun.

https://youtu.be/9uVpw2QYupQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFCZOGGkQVA

https://youtu.be/x-JV1_xP6DI

https://youtu.be/MCK-sxVTvFE

https://youtu.be/RiOCeXDzYlE
 
OK, I guess I should have chosen my wording differently and not mentioned the MTB thing. I didn't mean to derail this thread even more. But since there are multiple responses...

All I can say about those videos is that those aren't the sort of MTBing I'm referring to. They look like fun, beautiful rides, but those are more beginner level trails that I could do on my drop-bar touring bike too. And I'm not a particularly advanced MTBer. I'd rate myself at mediocre at best. And yes, I know he showed signs that said "warning, drops, rocks, whatever." That's literally just Every MTB trail ever. They All have that. It doesn't mean anything. If anything, it's more of a "oh, that's kinda cute that that old guy thinks he's doing some hardcore MTBing." The middle aged woman casually riding the trails, seated without even standing on the pedals, is a pretty clear sign of the trail difficulty...

However, that does show that they would be perfectly capable of any gravel trails a person is likely to encounter on a bike tour.
 
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