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Recumbent Build Rans Stratus

Posted: Apr 20 2014 11:32pm
by BikeFiver
I'm getting close to finishing my first E bike build and thought I would share with the forum to help pay back all the help I have received by reading others builds. Hope you experts enjoy it and you fellow newbies find a little help. Thanks for sharing Y'all !!!

Here's the start...almost. It's a Rans Stratus circa '89. It does have the steel rack in the pic, but you get the gist.
Stratus 1.jpg
Pre pic
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The rack was welded up to handle the 20# battery and yet allow the seat to be moved independently. Many racks are attached with upper attachment to the seat supports locking it in place making adjustment difficult or impossible. Here's a 20# test.
Stratus 2.jpg
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Here's how I attached it to the frame at the stays.
Stratus 3.jpg
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The trunk I found at the LBS fit the battery perfectly but wouldn't be up to securing the load by a box was a box was bent out of galv sheet metal. I needed a metal brake and Harbor Freight had one for 40$.
Stratus 4.jpg
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A few tack welds holds it together... It fits like a glove.
Stratus 5.jpg
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Now it is bolted thru the rack.
Stratus 6.jpg
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More metal bending. Now what could it be?
Stratus 7.jpg
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Stratus 9.jpg
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Ahh it's a controller cover to hide the silver box and collect the wires.
Stratus 8.jpg
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More to come...

Re: Recumbent Build Rans Stratus

Posted: Apr 21 2014 5:50am
by dogman dan
Nice job! I always approve of a stout metal box around a battery. You don't show it yet, but I assume you will have something between those bolt heads and the bottom of the battery. Another piece of metal would work fine, but likely rattle. A layer of fatigue mat followed by a metal or Masonite sheet would do fine. Coroplast would also work well, two pieces thick.

On the controller cover, is there a piece under it? In the rain, that wheel will sling water on it.

Love the bike too.

Re: Recumbent Build Rans Stratus

Posted: Apr 21 2014 8:12am
by BikeFiver
Thanks Dog for the compliment and ideas. Here's some more pics that will clarify. Please continue to give your suggestions as I may have missed something. The rack was made to be a rear fender and is closed to the rear wheel. More pics will clarify soon.

Next I turned my attention to some torque arms. Here's where they had to go. I split some hardened steel to 3/8 inch and milled it to shape. The blury pic is my torch hardening. Yes it is hard to focus when holding a torch on a 1500 degree piece of steel. I took it to red/orange and oil quenched. I had the advice of an airgunsmith who is also a Master Bladesmith to advise the color and three heat treatments to gain the right temper. The final product has a grade 5 bolt welded as a guard for the axle wires.
Stratus 10.jpg
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Stratus 11.jpg
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Stratus 12.jpg
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Stratus 13.jpg
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Status 14.jpg
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Notice here that the torque arm is being Pushed down as the chainstay has a cable fitting that interfered with a Pull bracket.
Stratus 20.jpg
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Stratus 15.jpg
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Stratus 16.jpg
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Stratus 17.jpg
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This is a nice double kickstand but it is a couple of inches short for this bike. So a piece of aluminum was used to bridge the gap. I first had to "square" the top of the kickstand as a wedge shaped top would always try to back out. The result was a press fit that doesn't need any weld or glue. I also machined the top ridges and a passage for the rear derailier cable. I still need to paint it though.
Stratus 18.jpg
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Stratus 19.jpg
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More to come. Including the bolt head fix for the battery case.

Re: Recumbent Build Rans Stratus

Posted: Apr 21 2014 9:12pm
by BikeFiver
Here's the fabric lined box with web battery straps and exposed bolt heads. The power cord enters the front of the box.
Stratus 21.jpg
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I cut some pieces of the straps and glued one edge down so the "flap now covers the heads but the edge can be lifted to expose the heads.
Stratus 22.jpg
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The battery is now in the box and strapped in.
Stratus 23.jpg
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Re: Recumbent Build Rans Stratus

Posted: Apr 22 2014 6:27am
by dogman dan
Ok, so now the bolt heads pound a rounder shaped hole in the bottom of your battery. Or is that battery in a hard shell?

Some foam or even cardboard spacers between the straps would lift the pack above the bolt heads. Pretty simple solution, just take the pressure off six round spots, and spread it to the whole box bottom.

I get it that the rack is a fender, I just meant extend the fender to the front of the rear tire as much as possible.

The torque arm is cool, but I'd have just made it to bolt to the extra hole in your dropout plate, or even both holes. It doesn't have to be a long arm, if it bolts super tight to the frame.

Re: Recumbent Build Rans Stratus

Posted: Apr 22 2014 11:49pm
by BikeFiver
This pic should clarify the fender/rack. It is made to extend down to the chainstays. The cover completes the tube around the controller. The enclosure is open to the ends only for airflow and wire ingress/egress.
Stratus 31.jpg
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I like the coroplast suggestion Dogman. I think I will add some straps to the corroplast as a basket to help lift the battery out of the box.

I thought about bolting the torque arms thru the various holes in the dropouts but felt that access to these fasteners would be tricky. The length of the arms, besides being macho also get the fasteners to a convenient place to secure them against the frame.

Still taking pics as I finish the details. Will post.

Re: Recumbent Build Rans Stratus

Posted: Apr 23 2014 6:20am
by dogman dan
That clarifies it, I was just seeing a U shape with no cover between the tire and the ends. If you need to, you could put louvered covers on the ends too.

Nothing wrong with that torque arm. I just would have gone with bolts on the holes. You have to get the right length bolt so nothing rubs, and then the little nut on the inside is still a bitch to grab. I use a needle nose vise grip pliers for mine. The bolt is a small grade 8 allen head bolt, with a locking nut.

All in all, a really solid build. Putting a strap handle on the battery is good, I tend to do that myself a lot. The coroplast bottom will crush in around the bolt heads, leaving the pack cherry.

Over the years, I have found even tiny bits of movement will chafe the hell out of batteries. Bolt heads on my first ping mount dug big holes in the bottom of an aluminum box the battery was in. So I put a coroplast spacer in under the box. Problem solved.

Re: Recumbent Build Rans Stratus

Posted: Nov 26 2014 12:29pm
by BikeFiver
I thought I'd post an update on my Stratus build.
Here's the 360 views of the finished bike.

The original fairing handlebar was a closed loop and was going to be difficult to add the required controls. These chopper bars did the trick.
Front View.jpg
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I went with the thumb throttle on the right and power level, on/off, cruise control on the left. Bell and mirror are likewise divided
Left Quarter.jpg
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The CA and Garmin (only mount is attached in pic) go on the center support bar. This center support would also hold LED head light for night riding.
Rear View.jpg
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Here you can see the LED "X" and SMV reflector. The planet bike blinkies are always on, front and rear.
Right Quarter B.jpg
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Here's what a little knowledge will do. I hardened these arms too much. They were "file hard" and file brittle as well. My error was the "knowledge" that when the steel is taken to the hardening temp it will not hold a magnet. This is true but only while the steel is at temp ie GLOWING HOT. I continued to increase the heat as I was checking the magnet at a cooler temp, OOPS!

The fix was to grind a groove the length of the left side torque arm and then fill it with stainless steel weld. I don't have a pic of the fix, but the stainless weld looks like case hardened steel. I only fixed and replaced the left sided arm. I placed the torque washer on the right side.
Torque Arm.jpg
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Here's a little trick that may make it easier for sorting out the correct controller/ motor wiring. I taped the controller wires to this tongue depressor and then used alligator clips to make the various trial connections. My power source was 5, 9volt batteries in series with a 2 amp fuse. This is my first build and I did not want to risk controller or motor with a direct connect to the LiPo. I still routed it thru the CA and kept the amperage to a minimum.
Wire Guide.jpg
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Additionally, I placed a 1/2 in closed cell foam sheet in the bottom to protect the battery from the box bolts.

There is just enough room in the expandable bike trunk for the wallet, lock, water, snack and phone. Anything else gets strapped to bungies on top. The metal box makes it rigid enough to handle all the weight without sagging.

Some performance numbers will follow.

Thanks for the help to all on the ES and especially Dog!


Re: Recumbent Build Rans Stratus

Posted: Nov 26 2014 4:58pm
by HappyRich
WOW! That is one sweet build. Were you at all worried about all the weight on the back? I went with a front wheel motor on my tour easy because I didn't want to overload the rear. I tried the battery where yours is placed but didn't like the handling characteristics of the weight so high and far back, so I jerry riggged some bolted on steel bars on the left side below the seat. I much prefer the way it feels now. I need to get some corplast to line the bottom of the rack to ensure the nut heads don't chafe into the battery, that was a good suggestion from Dogman. And having laid the bike down once on the wiring side and nearly scraped off the wires insulation completely, I really admire your bolt to protect the wires where they exit the axle.

Re: Recumbent Build Rans Stratus

Posted: Nov 26 2014 5:47pm
by BikeFiver
Thanks Rich! You do feel the additional weight on the rear. I couldn't figure an adequate rack for the mid frame. As it is, it rides well but definitely not stock. I had thought about a front rack carry with a dual battery pack divided left and right. It would require long runs of high current wire and would change the steering too. A mid rack looked like it would be too close to ground, or too wide for the leg space and frame.

Thanks for posting,

Re: Recumbent Build Rans Stratus

Posted: Nov 26 2014 7:41pm
by HappyRich
With the weight of the motor in the front, my Tour Easy actually rides steadier than stock. I can take my hands off the handlebar now, which I wouldn't dare do before.

Re: Recumbent Build Rans Stratus

Posted: Nov 27 2014 1:17am
That looks like a very nice ride. I found that the handling on my LWB bent Sun EZSport improved dramatically when I went to a mid-rack pannier solution for carrying batteries under the seat, freeing up the rear rack completely. It nicely balances my front motor. These types of bents make excellent long-range ebikes for serious miles - I love mine - the Stratus and Tour Easy's would both give you similar satisfaction. You might consider dual 10Ahr packs right under the seat as a base configuration, in parallel, with a "socket" for another battery in parallel available for longer hypermile trips. I call mine "The Swan".


Re: Recumbent Build Rans Stratus

Posted: Dec 06 2014 9:16pm
by BikeFiver
Chris, thanks for the kudos. I wish I had the room your EZ Sport has between the seat and the chain. I couldn't see the batteries fitting my space... I could be wrong. The other issue with the under seat racks for the Stratus is they seem to lock the seat in one position. That would preclude a quick change for my daughter. My daughter uses this bike to ride with me while I ride my Bachetta CA 2. She gets a kick out of waiting for me to catch up. Some day I will teach her the joys of letting her father draft behind her. :P

I looked for a pic of your Swan. No luck. On the search, I saw you enjoy Kayaking. This is way off topic but you might enjoy my current kayak build and a Go Pro, over the bow view, of the Suwannee River Challenge too. My next build will be a Sit on Top and that would be a sweet to electrify...we will see! :P
Mjolnir EXPort.jpg
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Suwannee Over the Bough exp.jpg
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Re: Recumbent Build Rans Stratus

Posted: Dec 07 2014 12:36pm
by docnjoj
Just a suggestion for recumbent riders. Even with 3 wheels, when I had the A123 20 ah pack (about 16 lbs) mounted on the rear rack, the handling sucked. When I moved the pack to a lexan holder under the seat the handling was incredibly improved. If it was that noticeable on a trike, it probably is more noticeable on 2 wheels. Just sayin.