Archive for 'bicycle parts'

GEARS & SPROCKET SIZES & OTHER PRACTICAL MATTERS

What is Cadence and what role does it play with my E- bike?

Cluster & Crank

Speed or Power?
It’s all in the gears.

Park Tool FR-1

The proper tools makes changing gears easy.

It’s how fast you spin your legs & it effects comfort, range, speed, fun, exercise & endurance. It also keeps  those in uniform from thinking too hard about how you manage to go 25 mph without moving your legs.

With all of the information available on E bikes and e- bike conversions I find it puzzling that the topic of selecting gear ratios for our e-bikes is so seldom discussed. Part of this, I’m sure stems from the fact that the majority of today’s E bike conversions are front or rear wheel hub motors and run completely independent of the bikes original drive-train. In addition to a lack of a physical attachment, the subject of cadence, gear ratios, crank sets, freewheels and the 100 year history of everything just mentioned would be large enough to dictate a forum dedicated to that alone. However, whether it’s independent or just to complicated, people, pedals & gears must remain an integrate part of the bicycle’s drive-train. Check out any road bike or mountain bike forum or website and pedal RPM, (cadence) gearing and shifting will be discussed in great detail, yet most electric bike forums rarely discuss the subjects at all. This is, in my opinion an oversight that needs addressed. Regardless of which E-Bike Kit you choose for your conversion project, in order to get the best range and most performance from your newly converted bike, your legs must remain a part of the equation. Since every rider has a certain speed at which they like to spin their legs and we don’t ride in a vacuum we need gears in order to maintain that speed. At this point you might be tempted to say that the hub motor is now doing what the legs and gears were doing before and you would be right. Except that this is not a motorcycle. It’s an electrically assisted bicycle.

That said, I did not pay too much attention to the gearing on my 1st e-bike conversion either. It was on an 1990 Mongoose with a 500 watt Crystalyte hub motor on the front. My gears actually quit working properly after about 6 months from lack of use. I mean aside from needing a place to rest my feet, I’m only going to peddle when I’m climbing a grade or my battery dies. I was far more focused on things like the battery voltage, amps, motor controllers, etc. Perhaps it was the “motor head” in me but It was only after the novelty of the electric motor had worn off and I got into the routine of using my bike for practical transportation that I began to pay attention to practical items like range, cargo capacity, comfort, etc. Let’s face it, in retrospect, the primary reason for electrifying my bike was to increase it’s practicality. NOT taking pedal power into consideration was ,…….. well, very unpractical. Read the rest of this entry

This is a link to an article by Electric Bike.com. It’s a great website & a very timely article. Two weeks ago I was looking for just this type of product. After about an hour of searching I decided I would just have to make one of these things myself. Have a look. Electric Bike.com is not a retail site so you won’t get bogged down with a bunch of stuff you’re not interested in.

 

electrifying a cannondale bad boy 700

This example is from ES member e-cannon. Click for thread.

For me the Electric Bike.com. is a little bit like the car magazines I used to read 20 years ago. I’d read “Motor Trend”, “Car & Driver”,  ”Automobile”, etc.  for information as well as entertainment. Well here is an informational article about triangle frame cases. Anybody that has ever converted or built from scratch an E-Bike has longed for the perfect battery case. Well here is quite a few of them. There is simply no better place to put this much weight on a bicycle than between the handle bars & the seat. There are some Triangle bags available on the market. The Falcon EV is one that come to mind. But even the best of them still look like a battery bag.

 

Frame style battery case

How’s that for a load of batteries?

Go ahead & get your self a dose of inspiration. Take a look at Electric Bike.com & then save them in your “Favorites”. . It’s a great site with great information & it has inspired me many times over the short two years they’ve been around.

Matt Waters

Night-Ride

“Night-Rider” Ready to Rock & Roll

A few weeks ago I did an e- bike conversion for a customer on a 2012 Marrin Pioneer Trail mountain bike. He was a big guy and saw the Marrin on the Carlisle Sales Page of the EZgo-Now Web-Site. The Marrin was an exceptionally nice bike and with a frame size of 21 inch it was the largest & best built bike I had in stock. He was going to use the bike hard, for both work as well as recreation. He specified the direct drive E bike kit mounted on the rear wheel along with a 48 V lithium battery pack. After completing the bike for him I thoroughly road tested it as I do all of my conversions. He picked up & paid for the bike the next day. His price was $1,200 which was also real close to my cost for building it. Needless to say he was a very happy camper. To make a long story short this was by far was the fastest, best handling, best looking and quickest stopping e-bike conversion I had done to date. To learn more about his e-bike conversion read “Tale of(2) Two Conversions”.  I was so impressed with it I began searching for another one or two of them. In addition I was anxious to try one of the NEW 2013 E-BikeKits with the electronic dash & LCD display. This time around I would build it to my specifications & attempt to re-sell it for a profit.

In about a week I had found two of them. Neither one was close to the rock bottom price I had paid for the first one but now that I knew the quality of this bike I didn’t mind paying a little more. (My 1st customer really did a good deal) I purchased a black 2011 with a 22 inch frame and a blue 2012 with a 19 inch frame. I decided to start with the 2011. The 2012 I did a few weeks ago was a blue and white color combination & looked great. This 2011 was a solid jet black & is absolutely gorgeous. The quality of the paint job is among the best I have ever seen on a bicycle, including some custom painted bikes that I have done myself.

 

When I start a project like this It’s usually for a customer or to replace one of my stock bikes that had been sold.

electrically covered Marin Bicycle

Night Rider testing (5) 12V LiFeP04′s. Meter indicates 68.8 volts.

This project was going to be a little different. This bike would be for my use and it was going to be an EZgo-Now show piece. Additionally, it would be a test platform for the components I use & review. I would spend what ever additional time was required to make this project look as if had been done at the factory. It would not only be sleek, fast & beautiful, it would be fully functional, safe and practical as an everyday commuter as well. This bike dubbed the Night Rider”, would be my every day ride.

OK,… So the donor bike is this jet black 2011 Marrin Pioneer Trail mountain bike. Since this is going to be a fast commuter e-bike I would first replace the stock 26 x 2.00 MTB tires with a pair of 26 x 2.00 Kenda Kwick Roller Sports lined with Anti-Flat Slime Tube Protectors.(flats are no fun. Especially when the rear wheel has a 14lb. hub motor attached to it.) The E bike kit used would be a 1000 W direct drive unit from E-BikeKit. Since this bike would also be used for testing & gathering performance data I did not use the new 2013 E-BikeKit with LCD display as I had first intended. Instead I used an 2012 kit with a 2013 hub motor & installed a Watts-Up Meter for analyzing power use and a Bell 12 function cycling computer for gathering performance data. The power (for now) would come from (4) 12V 10Ah Bamboo Cased LiFePO4 batteries built & sold by Clean Republic. (the Hill Topper guys) Read the rest of this entry

The Tale of (2) Conversions

Marin Pioneer Trail

Marin Factory Photo

In Corner # One we have: The MARIN Pioneer Trail ALLOY HT Series with 20.5″ frame & 26″ wheels: The Alloy HT series combines off-road durability with performance components for active riders. Lightweight, double-butted 6000 series Edge 3 tubing is mated to comfortable Marin Sport geometry, placing riders in an upright riding position.  For more read the nitty-gritty from marinbikes.com

And Corner # Two is: The Mongoose Maxim with 18″ frame & 26″ wheels: Designed for peak performance under rugged conditions, the 26″, 21-speed Mongoose MGX Maxim will tackle all your off-road and in-city journeys with ease. It offers an alloy frame with both FRONT & REAR SUSPENSION.  See Mongoose MAXIM for more details on this guy.

Mongoose Maxim

Mongoose Factory Photo

 The Tale of  (2) Conversions

One of biggest challenges I face with converting brand new bicycles into  brand new electrically assisted vehicles is probably not what you’d expect. I have a tough time letting go of them after the sale. I become attached to them and want to continue tweaking them in until their perfect. This is of course contrary to the reason I’m building these bikes in the first place, which is to make a living from selling them. The problem is I believe, that each conversion, when finished becomes much more than the sum of its parts. Ultimately, I’m left with a bicycle that has a unique personality that is often quite different from the stock bike I started with. In short, it is now the bike that Matt built.

Take for instance two recent MTB Conversions, one of which left for a new home yesterday. The first one is a $199.00 Mongoose Maxim dual suspension MTB with an 18 frame.  The 2nd one is a $499.00 MARIN Pioneer Trail front suspension hardtail MTB with an 20.5″ frame. They are both built for mountain biking 1st & anything else 2nd. They are also  both sold to the same basic target market. That said, the Mongoose is very much aimed at the lower end of this market & can be purchased from places like Wal-Mart, Cosco & Toys R Us. While the MARIN is competing more in the middle of the market & will be purchased by people looking for a high quality bike under $800.00.

 

My over all impressions after assembling, testing, adjusting & riding both bikes where quite similar (see Carlisle Sales for reviews) so I’ll focus on the differences. The Mongoose’s additional rear suspension is the most notable difference. At high speeds it really smooths out the teeth jarring bumps. The Marin’s hardtail, on the other hand communicate’s those bump’s with great accuracy. Although neither of these bikes would be considered to be light weight, the MARIN’s weight contributes to its overall rock solid feel while the Mongoose’s weight is just,… well heavy. It is a lot of bike for a little bit of money however & does everything it’s supposed to do reasonably well. For me, the MARIN is the better bargain of the two. Yes, it’s twice the price but it does everything it’s supposed to do nearly perfectly and it has a quality feel to it that is tough to describe other than saying that it feels like a high quality piece of equipment. Both of these bikes are worth every penny of their asking price but if I could scratch together the additional money I would buy the MARIN. (See -marin-pioneer-trail-hardtail for details) Read the rest of this entry

Old Coffee Cans & Velcro Cable Ties

The Can Stand System with Bonus Fix-it-Can Kit. Or supporting your coffee habit on a budget.

bike stand, "kick stand", "bike repair kit"

You only need a bike stand when your bike’s not moving. A kick stand doesn’t make your bike go any better, stop faster & it sure doesn’t make look it any better but hey, you gotta admit your bike does looks better standing up than it does laying on the floor. (takes up less room as well) So here’s a quick fix that requires absolutely no assembly, no installation and ONE SIZE WILL FIT ALL. Which consequently makes it a pretty good Christmas gift as well.

Excuse this clear-cut case of using an EZgo-Now.com blog post for such blatant self promotion as this but that’s one of the main advantage’s of being the owner and editor of your own blog. You get to try out new ideas and have some fun once in a while. In addition one of the goals for EZgo-Now.com is to make it a go-to source for our readers to find money-saving ideas and to save money by doing things themselves. So bear with me. It’s a short post.

The Can Stand System with Bonus Fix-it-Can Kit is a unique, cheap & quick way to get your bike off the floor. The Bonus Fix-it-Can Kit that’s inside The Can Stand contains the Velcro straps, a tire repair kit, mini bungee straps plus extra storage space for quite a number of additional tools. When it arrives just open the box, pick your bike up off the floor, slide the can under the pedal, pull your brake lever snug & wrap it tight with the Velcro strap. DONE!

Now I’ve been using this stuff to keep my bikes upright at home & on the road for a

Bike, "Can Stand", "Bike Stand"

number of years. I also recycle my smaller plastic coffee cans and use them as organizers in the shop & as totes to carry my emergency repair tools around. So I decided to have some fun & see if I could put something together to use as a promotional piece for the blog and the bike shop. This is what I’ve come up with so far & I think it’s a pretty good deal. Of course with the average USPS charge at $6 a copy I’m selling it at a loss. But that’s OK, it’s fun so check it.

The CAN STAND is $9.95 & that includes the shipping. This is the same basic recipe for what you’ll receive if you buy the kit. You can also adjust this to suit your own taste & make your own Can Stand & bike kit: Biking is fun, make sure you have some. I do.

These are available at our  eBay Store EZ-Tools-Now or you can purchase them here using the BUY NOW button.

 

 

 

Take (1) 32 oz metal coffee can, paint it & decal to suit taste. (This is the Can-Stand) Cut & glue in tempered cardboard to re-enforce the plastic lid. (this is needed if you plan to rest your pedals on the lid instead of the metal bottom.) Purchase a pack of non-slotted Velcro cable ties that are between 9″ & 12 ” long. (You only use (1) at a time but they get lost. I send 4) Take (1) 15 oz metal or plastic coffee can, remove the label & decorate this to suit your taste. (This is the Fix-it-Can) The Fix-it-Can in this sale has 1 tire repair kit with patches, tire levers, alcohol prep pads & 2 emergency tire boots for tire repair in the event of blow-outs, slashes, gashes, etc. Plus 4 Mini Bungee Stretch cords (10″ L x 3/16″) Because you always need these.

Additional to the above items I keep this stuff in my kit as well. 1 spare tube, a Co2 tire inflater with 3 cartridges, a TOPEAK power 15 tool which is a tire lever holding 14 popular allen & wrench sizes, a small roll of elect. tape & a few feet of mechanics wire. I also have a neat little multi tool and a little mini mag light. I used to keep my first aid kit jammed in here as well but I’ve since moved that into it’s own container.

This is a simple, cheap bike stand system to use at home or take it with it you. Always take your Velcro brake lock with you since you can always find something to lean your bike on.

KEEP YOUR BIKE OFF OF THE FLOOR!

 

 

 

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