My Gas / Electric MK 2 Hybrid Bike

Davideo

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After a s
ummer of fun and frustration with our Hybrid Bike Project we learned a few lessons along the way: 1 sprocket alignment is essential for a reliable engine installation so a machined hub adapter is a worthwhile choice. 2 Chain tension is also important and for this reason I highly recommend a good quality engine mounted spring loaded tension-er, 3 The L-Faster Left sided mounted 350 Watt 36 Volt motor is reliable and will do the job but is a tad noisy and a little under powered for this application and because of its freewheeling characteristic, it is not capable of Regen. 4 The front 48 volt 1000 Watts Direct Drive Hub motor is quiet and packs a big punch for negotiating steep grades and is capable of battery Regen while under Gas Powered conditions. 5 The Lithium ion 48 volt 14 amp-hours battery is capable of an hour plus peddle assist runs at -5 degrees temperature which matches my minimum comfort level. 6 Not all Controllers are capable of delivering the Regen feature your system is capable of so, it's important to choose one that states so in the description.
 

indian22

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Dec 31, 2014
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After a s
ummer of fun and frustration with our Hybrid Bike Project we learned a few lessons along the way: 1 sprocket alignment is essential for a reliable engine installation so a machined hub adapter is a worthwhile choice. 2 Chain tension is also important and for this reason I highly recommend a good quality engine mounted spring loaded tension-er, 3 The L-Faster Left sided mounted 350 Watt 36 Volt motor is reliable and will do the job but is a tad noisy and a little under powered for this application and because of its freewheeling characteristic, it is not capable of Regen. 4 The front 48 volt 1000 Watts Direct Drive Hub motor is quiet and packs a big punch for negotiating steep grades and is capable of battery Regen while under Gas Powered conditions. 5 The Lithium ion 48 volt 14 amp-hours battery is capable of an hour plus peddle assist runs at -5 degrees temperature which matches my minimum comfort level. 6 Not all Controllers are capable of delivering the Regen feature your system is capable of so, it's important to choose one that states so in the description.
Davideo your observations exactly mirror my own thoughts, solutions, advice and observations about actual use of gas/electric hybrids. Your comment on controllers and regen are accurate and I'll add that controllers, especially those typically shipped with the low priced hub motors can be a bottleneck to all around performance of the system.

Rick C.
 

Davideo

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Feb 25, 2020
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Davideo your observations exactly mirror my own thoughts, solutions, advice and observations about actual use of gas/electric hybrids. Your comment on controllers and regen are accurate and I'll add that controllers, especially those typically shipped with the low priced hub motors can be a bottleneck to all around performance of the system.

Rick C.
Rick, thanks for your comments and support. On the subject of controllers; I am finding it difficult in finding one that supports the regenerative function for my gear-less hub. I am currently moving the electric wheel from the Beach Cruiser to the Phatmoto Rover, which I consider to be a more rugged platform for a hybrid bike and I definitely want regen on it.
 

indian22

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I'd think a 40 or 50 amp aftermarket controller would handle the 1kw/battery setup you have without problems. Information from the manufacturers and vendors on wiring and functions is quite weak to non-existent however. One of my hub drives shipped with small 30 amp controller that had brake/regen clearly marked, the other two didn't but the wiring was there, just marked brake. Documentation is a very weak area in most Chinese imports not just in the bike world.

I ordered a 100 amp controller 72v. for another build and it wasn't inexpensive. Came in with no documentation and all the plugs were marked, but only in Cantonese! We just have to deal it seems.

Rick C.
 

Davideo

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I'd think a 40 or 50 amp aftermarket controller would handle the 1kw/battery setup you have without problems. Information from the manufacturers and vendors on wiring and functions is quite weak to non-existent however. One of my hub drives shipped with small 30 amp controller that had brake/regen clearly marked, the other two didn't but the wiring was there, just marked brake. Documentation is a very weak area in most Chinese imports not just in the bike world.

I ordered a 100 amp controller 72v. for another build and it wasn't inexpensive. Came in with no documentation and all the plugs were marked, but only in Cantonese! We just have to deal it seems.

Rick C.
I am going to have a new look at my controller and check it out for unused connectors, as I recall I did see something labeled Brake/Reverse, I am going to check that out. Thanks for the tips again. When I ask the sellers often they have no idea what I am asking. As you say, we just have to deal with and check things out for ourselves.
 

Davideo

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I am going to have a new look at my controller and check it out for unused connectors, as I recall I did see something labeled Brake/Reverse, I am going to check that out. Thanks for the tips again. When I ask the sellers often they have no idea what I am asking. As you say, we just have to deal with and check things out for ourselves.
When seeking information on the subject from the the internet there are numerous sources that state that Regenerative Braking is not worth the effort because the returns are so small they are hardly perceivable. That may be true for electric bikes in general but it doesn't hold true for our Hybrid bikes where the returns can be huge.
 

indian22

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My view point on regen braking is just that, my view. So here I go. Market, media (including some paid blogs) and the manufacturing/distribution pipeline tout regen as buzzword connection to environmental agendas. Sell the e-bikes through the green connection however slim the connection or feeble the current feedback to the battery. I love clean air, but get real about the regeneration it's not much, but as you said that's not a hybrid's regeneration metrics. A hub motor which is on while being driven by the gas motor is a full time generator while in motion and if not "isolated" from the battery pack by manual or electrical switching; it is charging the battery cells. (edited for clarity) see following post.

My first post I stressed efficiency with the hub motors all around performance : here it's just about efficient generation using just the hub for motive power and e-generation. One motor providing both functions ; motive power and electrical generation. No separate components required.

Now there's a bonus benefit: e-hubs setup without a freewheel clutch mechanism have actual braking occurring with motor power off to slow the bike without using the brakes. It's similar in feel and results to the compression braking that you get with four stroke engines. I've a friend that lives up on a mountain with a really steep grade who was burning up two sets of pads a month on his 2-stroke motorbike (2-strokes don't compression brake as well as a 4-stroke & if you coast long grades with motor engaged on a 2-stroke the bike loses lubrication and fuel cooling unless the clutch is used & throttle is continually "blipped". He added a front hub e-motor and replacing pads frequently now is no longer a problem. In my opinion the braking is more of a benefit than the small amount of energy produced through the braking.

I admit a hybrid isn't as clean as a straight electric, but a pure pedal bike is cleanest of all. Guess you know what I favor.
Even at that one hundred miles to the gallon with the China girl is a pretty small carbon footprint, especially combined with the extended range of the battery packs.
 
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indian22

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Davideo, to clarify the special nature of using a hybrid gas/electric for charging the lithium pack. I am not talking 3% to 5% charge back in comparison to the power percentage of power consumed during a ride on a straight electric bike. When you regen under gas power the hub motor will completely recharge the battery pack and even overcharge the batteries (dangerous) if the e-hub isn't used occasionally to actually power the bike. The reason for the overcharging is that the hub is charging through the BMS pack discharge circuit rather than the normal charge circuit you would use at home and this "feedback" charge isn't regulated. (note that I edited the previous post for clarity and accuracy) My solution for this is simple. I just use the electric hub to power the bike quite a bit. From dead stops in traffic I always use the electric, acceleration is quite good and it saves wear on the clutch (China girl clutch does not like much slip to get rolling) starting the engine using the e-hub to bump start and for added power on hills etc. I run twin throttles; electric on the left & gas on the right side of the bar. Operating the half e-throttle and clutch lever with the left hand is easier than one would imagine. Using the electric frequently prevents battery pack over charge.

100% regen charging isn't possible in city riding with my hybrid because I use it so much in conjunction with the gas motor, but often I just use the e-hub & lock the clutch lever.

On my 500 mile ride of the hybrid I took a charger along but never used it. I also took a spare battery and didn't use it either. The gas engine kept the primary battery charged along the way. I kept an eye on my charge levels as I traveled and alternated motor usage as required. The only reason for extra batteries on a long ride with a hybrid is not being able to find a gas station open along ones route occasionally & out West this is a possibility especially riding at night.

For my riding the hybrid setup is amazing. Though I ride my electric bikes and both two and four stroke builds too the hybrid definitely fits in well.

Rick C.
barbed wire.jpg
 
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Davideo

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Davideo, to clarify the special nature of using a hybrid gas/electric for charging the lithium pack. I am not talking 3% to 5% charge back in comparison to the power percentage of power consumed during a ride on a straight electric bike. When you regen under gas power the hub motor will completely recharge the battery pack and even overcharge the batteries (dangerous) if the e-hub isn't used occasionally to actually power the bike. The reason for the overcharging is that the hub is charging through the BMS pack discharge circuit rather than the normal charge circuit you would use at home and this "feedback" charge isn't regulated. (note that I edited the previous post for clarity and accuracy) My solution for this is simple. I just use the electric hub to power the bike quite a bit. From dead stops in traffic I always use the electric, acceleration is quite good and it saves wear on the clutch (China girl clutch does not like much slip to get rolling) starting the engine using the e-hub to bump start and for added power on hills etc. I run twin throttles; electric on the left & gas on the right side of the bar. Operating the half e-throttle and clutch lever with the left hand is easier than one would imagine. Using the electric frequently prevents battery pack over charge.

100% regen charging isn't possible in city riding with my hybrid because I use it so much in conjunction with the gas motor, but often I just use the e-hub & lock the clutch lever.

On my 500 mile ride of the hybrid I took a charger along but never used it. I also took a spare battery and didn't use it either. The gas engine kept the primary battery charged along the way. I kept an eye on my charge levels as I traveled and alternated motor usage as required. The only reason for extra batteries on a long ride with a hybrid is not being able to find a gas station open along ones route occasionally & out West this is a possibility especially riding at night.

For my riding the hybrid setup is amazing. Though I ride my electric bikes and both two and four stroke builds too the hybrid definitely fits in well.

Rick C.
View attachment 103875
Rick, that's a great picture of your bike on the trail. your hybrid riding techniques match mine to a tee. My controls setup is also the same as yours and while it took a little practice at first to manipulate the right and left hand throttles and cope with two brake levers and a clutch with lock. I am curious Rick, do you use brake levers to activate regen charging or other.
 
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indian22

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Rick, that's a great picture of your bike on the trail. your hybrid riding techniques match mine to a tee. My controls setup is also the same as yours and while it took a little practice at first to manipulate the right and left hand throttles and cope with two brake levers and a clutch with lock. I am curious Rick, do you use brake levers to activate regen charging or other.
Thanks There's a great deal of varied scenery out here but it's never to far from seeing horizons and blue sky.

No I don't use the levers & here's where I disclaim anyone altering the brakes or doing it any other way but the factory's setup, but I will offer insight into the factory circuit in broad strokes. With the factory connections from the controller to the motor when the either of the brake levers are pulled the motor stops being power no matter the throttle is in the open position or closed. It's a safety feature & it also allows regen "back feed" while either or both levers are pulled and this allows the hub to charge the battery pack, but only while one or both of the levers is pulled for braking. On a hybrid, lets say cruising in the country mile after mile no charging can occur while just using the gas engine, though the hub motor is not being used for power the controller circuitry won't let the hub motor act as a generator until "BOTH" the brake lever circuits are activated. These two plugs only have two wires each. With my hybrid setup I have one brake lever operating both the front and rear mechanical disc brakes and this dual brake lever has no switch connection for the brake regen function. I have no coaster brake because I used a billet aluminum hub with sealed bearings and machined sprocket and rotor mounts in the hub.

So my brake lever setup does not allow regen charging,because neither of the two brake plugs are actually connected to a brake lever. At least one of these two plugs has to "switch", like with the brake lever for constant battery regeneration while I'm on my cruise and that same circuit has to be reversed back or the e-hub can't be used to power the bike.

That's how she works, though I'm sure some prefer it was set up in some other fashion, like a regen on-off switch...I dunno.

Have fun and please play safe.

Rick C.
 
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Davideo

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Thanks There's a great deal of varied scenery out here but it's never to far from seeing horizons and blue sky.

No I don't use the levers & here's where I disclaim anyone altering the brakes or doing it any other way but the factory's setup, but I will offer insight into the factory circuit in broad strokes. With the factory connections from the controller to the motor when the either of the brake levers are pulled the motor stops being power no matter the throttle is in the open position or closed. It's a safety feature & it also allows regen "back feed" while either or both levers are pulled and this allows the hub to charge the battery pack, but only while one or both of the levers is pulled for braking. On a hybrid, lets say cruising in the country mile after mile no charging can occur while just using the gas engine, though the hub motor is not being used for power the controller circuitry won't let the hub motor act as a generator until "BOTH" the brake lever circuits are activated. These two plugs only have two wires each. With my hybrid setup I have one brake lever operating both the front and rear mechanical disc brakes and this dual brake lever has no switch connection for the brake regen function. I have no coaster brake because I used a billet aluminum hub with sealed bearings and machined sprocket and rotor mounts in the hub.

So my brake lever setup does not allow regen charging,because neither of the two brake plugs are actually connected to a brake lever. At least one of these two plugs has to "switch", like with the brake lever for constant battery regeneration while I'm on my cruise and that same circuit has to be reversed back or the e-hub can't be used to power the bike.

That's how she works, though I'm sure some prefer it was set up in some other fashion, like a regen on-off switch...I dunno.

Have fun and please play safe.

Rick C.
Thanks Rick for that informative write up , I am beginning to get some insight into the mysteries of regen based on your post. I asked the question of people who bought the same system and at least one responded that the controller is regen capable and I am now beginning to believe that I already have it on my Beach Cruiser bike? I also found this little discussion on endless-sphere.com which gave me a bit of a
Regen Braking Controller.JPG
eureka moment. "controller connectors, the brake -hi line actuates electronic braking when pulled to battery positive voltage. It provides powerful braking to a halt, but uses battery power to do so. The brake-lo actuates when a ground is applied to it. It provides regen braking that puts energy back into the battery, but only works down to ~5-10 mph depending on the voltage you are using."
Regen Braking Controller.JPG
 
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Davideo

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Since posting this I got myself a Phatmoto 2020 Rover II and migrated all the electric components from the Beach Cruiser to it. After a rocky start I am starting to love my new first choice ride.
I haven't given up on the Schwinn Cruiser and have already started on the mark III version which will be loaded with stuff I have accumulated over the years and a new simplified e-bike kit with the controller built into the battery case. while I am waiting for this kit to be delivered from China I have been tinkering with a dual pedal sprocket and a wind charger generator to afford the opportunity to gain some exercise while cruising on gas power.

The E-Bike kit that chose is very easy to install, hoping that the 500 watt motor is powerful enough to push the Schwinn along.
 
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