This electric odyssey has certainly affected my life given by the numerous changes the primary iron steed has witnessed over the last year. And what a year it has been, full of experience, joy, laughter, pain, scrapes (very few Ã¢â‚¬â€œ in fact only one), scenic beauty, personal achievements & victories, failures of equipment, assembly of new equipment, repairs repairs repairs, and boatloads of reading about the tidings of fellow electric travelers.
This evening I put the finishing touches on yet another mod. <long dramatic pause> I just felt a bit compelled to summarize in brief the complete transition this little and yet indispensible two-wheel machine gone through. With your permissionÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
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In the late summer of 1991 after moving to Austin Texas I bought a Specialized Rock Hopper with Rock Shox
. I think the fork had been out about a year; all the new MtBs in Austin were getting them as part of an add-on/upgrade package. And it certainly made a huge difference in riding; my pal had a standard bike, and though he could whoop me on a flat, I had him nailed on the hills - up and down. Good solid ride that bike.
A year later I moved to Portland Oregon, and then onward to Redmond Washington. Trail riding wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t much fun without my olÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Texas pal. The DotCom thing was going great guns, ended up buying a tree farm for sport, and well I ended up playing with the tractor whilst the bike collected dust. Years roll by and the sun set on the farm. After a while I figured it was cheaper and healthier to ride the bike so I parked my truck up on blocks too; all done for now.
It is a pretty massive hill climb out of Redmond up to the job sites where ever they may be. In November 2009 I began ordering parts for a conversion. HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a picture of the 1991 Rock Hopper between ebike modifications. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pretty close to the original equipment and easy to describe whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not:
The rear bike rack and fenders were probably replaced in the last 3 or 4 years, though I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t say for sure; after arriving in the PNW I put fenders on all my bikes. The ebike doodads and 9C 2806 motor were added in December 2009. Giant 54-Tooth chain ring and seat were added in June 2010. Mainly though I just wanted to show the frame stripped for edification.
This is actually how the original ebike conversion looked with the triangle battery bag, possibly running LiFePO4; I ran those for the first couple of months before upgrading to LiPo. (The original oval-chain ring upgrade is still on the bike). At this time I was running at 36V; 10S3P and I could just barely make it into Bellevue and back ~ about 24 miles, with a top speed of 26 mph. Notice the original fanny seat; Vintage stuff.
Chilly Hilly Version:
This arrangement sports the Novara Trunk Bag on February 27th, 2010. Still at 36V, definitely LiPo, 10S9P. I rode 75 miles that day; the farthest I had ever been on a bike, although paid for it over the next 4 days.
101 Club Version:
About the middle of May and almost like the Chilly Hilly, except that I swapped out the original seat from one purchased for my other bike, installed Webber BMX pedals too, and slipped in another pair of Lipos into the Trunk bag for 10S10P. The rear tube and tire were replaced after this ride.
In June 2010 I reconfigured the bike to 63V, and converted the entire rigging for cross-country. The 54-T chain ring was added, installed a Harley-Davidson handlebar bag up forward for tools, again a new seat, added the Ortlieb panniers which could hold 18 batteries a side, for a total of 15S12P, a new HDPE custom black faring, and finished it up with a rear kickstand.
I returned the first one before the 30-day trial period was over and upgraded to a FiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢zi:k Arione which remains on the bike to this day. Actually the seat came off of P1, the bike that I am building up from scratch; it was just sitting there waiting to be used, and my poorly bum was sure getting sore with that stock seat, so there it was: Opportunity. <knock knock>.
I have to say that this was an eye-catching arrangement; nearly every day I would get someone commenting about it. BTW Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the 15S12P configuration bumped me to a new record of 173 hilly alpine miles in a single day with a 45 mph top speed downhill.
After the road trip I removed 12 batteries and used the bike for commuting around between Seattle and the greater Eastside at WOT; plenty of capacity in all-weather at 15S8P. In the Fall I added a DC-DC converter and HP-LED flashlights
, then wired them and the rear Blinkies up to the LiPos; One Battery Pack to rule them all!
August 2010 on the way to meet up with Luke at Seafair.
December 2010 15S10P variant with new battery bag.
Winterized Commuter Version:
Actually this is the Seattle-enabled variant with the extendo-trunk bag. This last month I built a saddle bag from a pair of camelback bags
and stuffed 9 batteries on a side for a total of 15S6P. Fastest speeds yet at 47 mph downhill, 34 mph consistent on a flat, commuting 22 miles/day. The Seattle variant adds another 12 batteries for a total of 15S10P. Also added were the Schwalbe Marathon Winter studded tires front and back. I like the geometry of this best because the Center of Gravity (CG) is well-placed and forward which helps prevent the FWD from slipping in the cold icy rain. Due to the saddle bags the controller and DC-DC converter required reorientation. The first week of use was coincident of the absolute worst week of Winter storms and I noted that the bag was seeping wet into the interior.
Winter Commuter with interim Faring:
During that stormy hell I was on a craze thinking how to gain visibility in the deep darkness of the 5 PM commute. The camelback bags inspired me to consider various inserts, and this is one I put together over the weekend using White HDPE both on the side panels and front deflector. I added the Ã¢â‚¬Å“numberÃ¢â‚¬Â on the deflector for effect; it was my assignment from the Flying Wheels Century event back in early June. Also I took the opportunity to fix some of the problems with the saddle bags; removed the Velcro fastening and replaced it with grommets & shock line. In addition I rewired the main harness to eliminate pesky APP connectors down to a minimum, and created a dedicated pigtail for charging. Unfortunately after hell-week, my Rock Shox were completely blown out and are too old to be serviceable (canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t find parts).
Well, following hell-week, most people split for the holidaze and I was able to work from home. Shocks were out so I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t go too far. Found a near-replacement on eBay and it should arrive shortly. In the meantime with all this copious time on my hands and lots of HDPE lying about, I decided that the saddle bags were a bit unsightly and required better rain protection. Thus the Ho-Ho Holidaze aka Yellow-Jacket Version was born. Borrowing extensively from the eye-catching faring concept of last summer, the faring is actually a complex layered construction.
It is Black HDPE on two sides from the seat post to about the middle of the down tube and extending to the rear, although leaving exposed the rear brakes, and fastened with zip-ties. The middle is a sewn assembly (difficult to see in this perspective) of Yellow HDPE wrapped over the major portion of the saddle bags, with ends terminated with Black 42 oz. Vinyl-coated Polyester, grommeted, and pulled tight with zippies underneath (though I may switch to shock line). The front section is another assembly of black HDPE of various pieces cut and shaped to create a console area for my two lighting switches (which are now finally completely secured and do not wiggle about), and armor the forward section against rain, ice, muck, and crud, then covered/wrapped with Black 42 oz. Vinyl-coated Polyester secured by Velcro. Finally a length of 2-inch black polypropylene webbing is wrapped around the joint (tenuous; may replace with something more sheer).
The Front faring is also made of Yellow HDPE and revised to better enclose the forward section and provide a nice streamlined effect over the top of the CA. Again the Ã¢â‚¬Å“numberÃ¢â‚¬Â is applied for effect.
There will be one more addendum when I replace the shock. Or I may decide to do something rash with the front suspension altogether different. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the problem with having time off during the holidaze, stuck in a cave during the deep of winter, and trying to stay busy. Perfect time to catch up on movies... Did you know that the Extended Cut of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy
is nearly as long as WagnerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Der Ring Des Nibelungen
? OMG! It just dawned on me: Was Gollum modeled after Alberich?!?
Anyways ~ the Yellow-Jacket Version without extra bags of any sort is still 15S6P, and may be mated with the Novara Trunk Bag for another 15S4P or (as displayed) with the Ortlieb panniers for additional capacity.
I am liking what I see; it looks pretty sharp. CanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t wait to give it a spin; freezing weather tomorrow!
And finally a chance to see how those studded tires work out.
Slip sliding away, slip sliding away Ã¢â„¢Âª
You know the nearer your destination, the more you slip sliding away Ã¢â„¢Âª Ã¢â„¢Âª
Hoppy Holidaze & Creature Comforts to one and all! KF