Thursday 14 July 2016

Ghetto ebike: Test Ride #1

So, now that I have my ebike built and setup I guess I should test ride it and show some stats. What better way to do this than with the ultra competitive online bullshit competition site Strava!

I can already feel the blast wave from your shock and gasps. Yes, I'm a massive cheat, etc etc. But this is a little bit of tongue in cheek humour and also a test of my ebike. What better way than to run it against the hardcore cyclists, who themselves run hidden motors on their bikes to cheat in competition? Who dope using epo just like the pros. That's right just like the pros themselves. And with that notion, I am doing nothing different than them... So sit back in your chair, unclench whatever part of lycra you are clenching and read my results.

This is my ebike by the way

It's not exactly a Pinarello Dogma

But this is what you increasingly see the Strava crowd riding on, waxing their bodies, trying to be as close to the marketing machine of professional cycling as they can possibly be. 

The question is can this ghetto ebike keep up? Can it exceed? Or does it fizzle out?

For my test I did a night ride loop, just totalling 9.7 miles as seen above. I barely pedalled, I could probably eat a donut or smoke a cigarette while did this ride. Physically, I felt no different when I finished, than when I set off. Except my ass hurt from lack of suspension. I may have to look into that. 

My maximum speed was 32.4mph. However I have ridden the ebike faster than this and got 35mph

So what kind of results do I get? Well I got the KOM (King of Mountains) trophy, by a country mile. These Strava riders clearly struggle with the uphills.

As you can see from the results I covered the 'mountain' (It's hardly a mountain, but a hill, reasonably challenging) and bumped every other rider by several minutes

Those carbon fiber clad losers need to pay more for the latest Pinarello model, clearly. How else can you win but by spending thousands of dollars on a bicycle and shaving your legs?

Interestingly, on the flats, and downhills, I am only just getting inside the top 10. I think a combination of my ghetto bike with pannier bag holding my sandwiches, creating wind drag, the limits of the motor, my wheel size, not shaving my legs, all these things are holding me back from the number #1 spot. Oh, and probably pedalling. Pedalling would probably help, but why bother?

When riding the ebike, the air roaring past your ears at speed, makes hearing more difficult, I wear a warm hat to fix this issue, it also keeps my ears warm and prevents ear ache. Also lack of pedalling/exertion means that you feel the cold much more, just like riding a motorbike does. Remember, I am here in the damp and cold of England. Riding the ebike at night is like standing naked in front of an air conditioner. (See Update on temperature handling)

Riding the ebike motor like this does make the motor unit heat up. It gets warm just like the motors on my quadcopter brushless motors. If there wasn't the cold air of England to provide cooling, If I happened to say, be in California, or worse, Nevada, then I am sure over heating the motors would be an issue at the speed I rode this ride. But, it seems to cope well here.

Things I notice about the ebike

Hmmm, One of the things that is noticeable is the throttle slider. It is either on, or off. I assumed that it would be more like a real throttle control where you can apply power as you increase or decrease the press of the slider. Another thing, is that I can exceed the rated wattage, according to the ebike display, I find myself hitting 1000 watts sometimes. And I am not too worried about the motor. I can 'feel' how it is performing as I ride. Or, at least I think I can... Also, I am unable to use the one lowest gear on my bike. If I switch to this 'granny' ring, the chain falls off. I could buy a special chanring to fix this issue, but I don't want to pay $200 just to allow me to use this single gear. I am in the process of designing a chain catcher to see if I can solve this issue for zero cost


Yes I know, I am a cheating sonofabitch. But try to see the lighter side of this. Right here, is the future of cycling. I mean that. This ebike system is going to take over our everyday lives. It has speed, it has range, I have 1 hour charging. These three things make a very very viable mode of transport. It's going to enable the poor, it's going to enable the less able. Commuting to work will be in your own hands, and no longer at the mercy of public transport delays. I estimate I can ride 60-80 miles on this ebike, and I will indeed perform a test to show this can happen. This ebike shows that you can choose to pedal if you wish to, or you can just cruise like you do in your car. The cost savings which include not having to pay out for mandatory insurance, mandatory annual MOT test, mandatory road taxation fees, and zero gasoline costs, makes this an extremely viable commuting option and is putting the cost savings back into the people's wallets and that is a good thing for everyone. One of the issues of motor car driving here in the UK are the annual costs as stated (insurance, mot, tax, fuel), collectively it is expensive, and prohibitive for the poor; we are talking paying the equivalent of the cost of a new car, every year just to be allowed to drive your car. If you can't pay, you go to jail. I like the ebike. It puts power and mobility into the hands of everybody, not just the privileged. You could of course just use a push bike, but the ebike enables those less able to. If the government outlaws the ebike, which I don't think it can do, there should be outrage and protest; It would signal to me that they desperately want to control a system of taxation, without considering the needs and upward mobility of the poor. I for one will be fighting for the ebike forever. Now, just how do we stop the rain?... 

Sorry to the Strava crowd for my test. I will be removing it from record soon. I must also emphasise that I do sometimes use strava legitimately on my pedal bike, and also have a few KOMs and number 1 positions. One of these pics I'm at the top of Mont Ventoux, and I didn't have to run.

Update #1: Ambient temperature & Motor heat

As I learned on my early test rides, riding the ebike in the UK is generally cool for the motor; It does not heat up and is not affected as much by ambient temperatures below 18 degrees Celsius/64 Fahrenheit. However, this week saw unusual UK temperatures due to a heat wave pushing us into 35 degrees Celsius/ 95 Fahrenheit. On my normal ebike grocery journey, one which the motor handles hills just fine in normal UK weather, keeping nice and cool and not overheating the motor, this week I noticed that indeed my motor was becoming much hotter. I did not have a thermometer available, however I predict that my motor was hot to the touch and an estimate of over 65 degrees Celsius. I predict that the heat was generated from pulling me up some road hills (2-3 hills of 300m @ 9% incline) on my journey. I also had some groceries in a bag, but no different than the same journey in cooler weather.

I can understand other people's reviews of the ebike motor and concerns about heat management based on the reviewers location. It is likely that the reviewer is testing in a hotter environment than me. However, I would recommend research into cooling systems for ebike motors to help with this, after all, electric cars have cooling as do home computers. Selecting a lighter gear ratio for your ebike would also probably help generate less heat in a hotter environment.

Anyway, just observations and writing. Here's my idea for a cooling system

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