New Project - Help Please!

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle General Discussion' started by jayneedshelp, Apr 22, 2015.

  1. jayneedshelp

    jayneedshelp New Member

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    BTW: i attempted to post this thread at a forum called Motorizedbikes, they have some of the WORST code and rules over there! If your looking for answers thats not the place to go!

    Well hello everyone, my name is Jay. I am the creator of a very popular Adventure travel blog. I will leave those details off the forum as it won’t help the search engines picking up this topic for me at this point.

    Recently I did a test ride for around (what was supposed to be 350 miles) 100 miles to prepare for a 3000 mile trip through Central America. The first 58 days starts in Mexico, and there are some serious elevation gains in this trip. The mountains alone have some staggering elevation gains. After the test trip which had a spot where there was a 7 mile hill that climbed from 800 feet ASL to around 3500 feet ASL I knew something would have to be done. Because this is a trip based on “everything on your back” I am not just riding my bike tooling through the countryside with a backpack. In this post is a photo showing the bike and the load I will carry.

    My obstacles are this

    1. I have a “29er” which I am now finding out may have been the wrong bike to buy
    2. I have the space taken up by my frame bag that would normally accommodate an engine/battery pack
    3. I need to keep all my gears on this bike; I am not interested in changing to a single gear set.
    4. I have rear pannier systems that will need to stay where they are, again probably interfering with many gas/electric installs
    5. I have no issue changing back to 26” or modifying a kit to work with my “29s” but I do not have the information to do this at this point
    6. I have a front suspension fork, I do not know if for electric hubs this would not allow them to run or be installed

    The advantages I have are

    1. I am not looking to turn my bike into a cross country speed scooter
    2. I am only looking for an “Assist” to help me on some of the huge hills, the rest will be under my own steam
    3. I think the added weight of a kit will be an acceptable tradeoff for the benefits
    4. I have worked on scooters, bikes, electric scooters a lot, so I understand the mechanics to a competent degree

    The final product would need to be

    1. Lightweight
    2. Able to go on an airliner
    3. Somewhat easy to fix if it had an issue
    4. Parts available
    5. Be able to fit/adapt to my frame without destroying the entire bike
    6. Be able to handle the load of myself as well as the full gear (the total weight of my gear is between 42-47 pounds) this is supported by rear panniers, a tent and sleeping bag and a few other items lashed to the back of the bike as seen in the photos!

    As you can see I have a specific challenge in front of me. I also have not decided if electric or gas will serve me better. I am leaning towards electric just for the noise factor alone, but will not rule out a gas install either. I don’t even know if gas engines are allowed on an airliner.
    The whole thing will be built and tested here in Phoenix. My end goal is to get a kit capable of “helping” me up some very big hills, and let me do all the rest of the riding myself

    I know for some this seems like a big cheat but I don’t care, my sponsors for this trip understand what I am doing and fully support it.

    BTW, I reached out to Golden Eagle Bikes, I thought their setups were cool; I have never met such an arrogant bunch of people in my life. They sniffed at me when they found out my bike had “29s”

    I guess this post is a start on two different forums (electric and gas) to find out my options, pricing, timing, and building. I would appreciate any advice/suggestions.

    I really do not want to sell the bike that was provided for this trip. I like it lots and want to hold onto it if at all possible

    Jay

    [​IMG]

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  2. Davezilla

    Davezilla New Member

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    Normally I'm all about the 2 stroke gas engine setups but if you need to be able to transport the bike on an airliner you may need to go electric, and the bike you have in the pictures would do good with a set of hub motors but the battery pack and motor controllers would have to go inside the frame where you got the frame bag.

    The easiest conversion would be to get the hub motor, or motors if you need a little extra oomph for the hills and lace them in yourself or find a shop that could lace the motors into your 29" wheels. I'm not big on electrics myself but I'd imagine you would want around 1000 to 1500 watts of motor power to assist up the steeper hills, but I may be corrected on this part. If you need to keep all your gears for pedaling the easiest thing to do would be put a single motor in your front hub and that way you could leave the back of the bike alone.
     
  3. knightscape

    knightscape Member

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    Sounds like a heck of a trip! Have you done any cyclotouring before or are you starting big? Putting a motor into this situation is going to require some planning. A gas motor setup would likely be problematic since you intend to pedal most of the way and most gas systems leave some kind of drag on the drivetrain when not running. There are a few ways to decouple the system, but I doubt you'd want to deal with all the extra overhead of a gas system if you're just looking for an occasional boost.

    You may run into trouble on the electric side with flying with the battery banks. Airlines are all introducing new rules about batteries in baggage due to explosion risk, so something more to look into there, I'm not real sure what the rules are right now and they are changing. You may need to ship the batteries to yourself outside of normal passenger airline handling. You could make room for a battery on your current set up by adding a front lowrider rack made for touring, this will also help balance out your load in general. Adding a hub motor would be fairly trivial like Davezilla said.

    Charging could be an issue as well if you are planning on camping, do you know you'll have access to power along your route? Are you staying in central america or heading south as well? If you're getting down to south america, there are different voltages, but everything in CA uses 110v with our same plugs.

    In terms of a tour that long, you are likely to break something. You will certainly have flats. You can use 26" tubes in a 29er in a pinch but it's not ideal. 26ers are still more common just about anywhere than 29s. You'll want to be carrying a number of spares and a patch kit no matter what wheel size you use. For safety sake I would also carry actual spare tires and not just tubes. Unless you're planning on a majority of dirt roads, I'd be looking at slicker tires to decrease rolling resistance over the long haul. I'd also look at putting barends on your bars just so you can change up your hand positions occasionally. I'd also be looking at full fenders for your bike rather than just the "crud catcher" style you've got on now. They will keep not just you, but your components cleaner if the weather gets messy. Got lights on that bike?
     
  4. crassius

    crassius Well-Known Member

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    without addressing the many other issues, I'd advise checking airline regs about loading anything with a fuel tank - you may be limited to electric power only
     
  5. jayneedshelp

    jayneedshelp New Member

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    We'll thanks everyone for the awesome replies, while it gets me no closer to the endgame , it does help out. I get the feeling some of you do not think I'm equipped for this trip , if you go halfway down in the link below

    Http://tinyurl.com/q4cxcvp

    You will find a complete trip pack list, as for airlines I cannot seem to get a straight answer yet, plenty of power in CA, since the batts will only be used intermittently a charge could last for days, as for sacrificing the frame bag I would be ok with that if it helped the end result. I do not want any drag anymore then I already have. Dirt roads everywhere , thinner tires were explored then ultimately scrubbed. I was thinking a 80cc kit would be more then enough to power up hills. Gas is readily available in CA as I recall!
     
  6. Trey

    Trey $50 Cruiser

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    Welcome to the forum Jay.

    I didn't get that same feeling at all. In fact, those members seemed quite interested in, and supportive of, your endeavor.
    Do you read those responses differently?

    Trey
     
  7. jayneedshelp

    jayneedshelp New Member

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    Trey,

    Not at all, in fact, the fact they wanted to know all that makes me think they are interested in my safety. Sorry if I seem put off, I'm super stressed by this whole thing. The addition of a motorized kit on this bike would relieve lots of that I'm sure. I know this is the right place to get some help! I sure hope we can all figure this out!

    Thanks for the welcome, and again anything you guys need from me for information Ill be happy to provide!

    I've owned a few motorcycles, more than my share of 50cc and 150cc scooters, and a couple electric (full size) scooters. I have never however owned or put together a gas bike kit though I see them all the time in Phoenix. They always announce themselves with a BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAA noise as they come whizzing down the sidewalks!
     
  8. boxcar

    boxcar New Member

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    I'm with Dave on this one . You are going to have to E bike it.
    Probably have to ship your battery's to your starting point and hunt for charging opportunities. There are some long, long up hill pulls in CA. You will need to charge more frequently than you think.
    A 2 stroke would be more trouble than than it's worth in your situation.
    3000 miles is a long trip on mostly dirt roads for a CG.
    I'm not saying it can't be done.... I sent a guy from Oregon to ( last I herd ) Texas on a new build cg . But that was pavement all the way , and rarely out of walking distance from a major US town.... ( think replacement parts)
    CA is a bit of a different story.
    Sounds like an epic trip .Have fun.
     
  9. MotorBicycleRacing

    MotorBicycleRacing Well-Known Member

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    The Golden Eagle Bike kit or a similar set up would be your best choice.
    The GEBE sheave is designed to clip onto 36 spoke wheels.

    Lightweight small 35 cc 4 stroke motor that gets great gas mileage.
    An easily disconnected drive belt so you have zero drag pedaling.

    Electric hub and battery will add a lot of weight, most ebikes are 60lbs ++
    the charge won't last long on hills and where are you going to charge when
    you really need it?
    3 to 5 hours to charge.
     
  10. boxcar

    boxcar New Member

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    The Golden eagle is a nice little product ( except ) you will loose the rear cargo room you need for the trip, can't be carried on a plane and it probably won't survive the rigors of a 3000 mile off road trip.....
    A gas engine of any kind is going to require you to expand your tool load exponentially.
    Plus add all of the spares you will undoubtedly need and the weight difference disappears..........
    I'm not a huge fan of "E" bikes. But in your case , to me , it is your only VIABLE option....
    And the 4 -6 hour charge time is a factor , but you have to sleep sometime......
     
  11. jayneedshelp

    jayneedshelp New Member

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    Hello Everyone

    I wanted to thank you all for your valued input in this project. When I started this idea I had a few things that no matter what I decided I would have to deal with as obstacles, they are

    1. fuel or charging stops in areas remote
    2. extra weight/drag of an engine and the cost of that weight
    3. The cost of rehabbing the bike or buying a new one from scratch
    4. Purchasing high-quality equipment that would not fail easily
    5. getting an airline to allow these things on the plane/ cost of shipping them over ground to start point

    After considering all factors, and reviewing similar trips (well sort of) of this nature I have decided to focus my money and my resources into lightening the load, and balancing it better. By doing so, this will serve two fold

    1. I will have no issues with airlines, no worries about shipping costs
    2. I will be lighter and able to handle most obstacles/ push easier on hill that I cannot climb on the bike

    the immediate task before me is spending a fraction of the money that it would cost on a setup that is not even guaranteed to work on replacing older heavier items. My current electronics setup includes a tablet with a full dock, a netbook that is slightly older, a cell phone which does not really take up too much weight.

    Replacing those items will cost a bundle. Also, I will look at a rack that will allow me to move some stuff to the front of the bike. I figure if I put 10 pounds of gear on each side of each wheel that would give it a nice distribution. Although I cannot do anything about the wind or hills this is a bike trip. Trying to put a motor or electric hub on this thing is both outrageously overpriced and brings problems where there should be solutions

    For now all I can do is shed pounds, balance the load better, and press on!

    I feel confident now in sharing the link to my blog should any of you wish to follow my adventures, again I thank you all for your help

    Follow me anytime at http://www.jaysodyssey.com
     
  12. 2door

    2door Moderator
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    Jay,
    Best of luck with your endeavor. I hope we didn't come across as doomsayers or wet blankets to your plans but we tried to offer some objective observations and maybe a touch of reality to what you want to do.

    Motorized bicycles, either gas or electric are more tuned toward the hobbiest or 'weekend warrior' type of rider as opposed to treks of the nature that you anticipate.
    That's not to say it can't be done. There have been several long distance rides accomplished by a couple of our members but you need to keep in mind that they were experienced motorized bike builders who constructed their bikes with the sole purpose of extended trips in mind.

    As is evident from questions asked and problems encountered by new builders it would be difficult for us to send you on your way into an area with little to no support without first making you aware of the potential pitfalls. If you had a couple of years experience under your belt, building and riding a motorized bicycle I'd be more optimistic in cheering you on. However, a new bike, an inexperienced builder in the areas you anticipate traveling seems a bit 'iffy'.

    Whatever you decide to do, have fun, ride safe and best of luck.
    Consider photographically sharing your trip with us upon its completion.

    Tom
     
  13. jayneedshelp

    jayneedshelp New Member

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    Tom

    A major factor in why i went "back to basics".

    thanks for all the help, I felt welcome here!
     
  14. knightscape

    knightscape Member

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    After a few weeks in the saddle, you won't find many hills you can't climb. You'll break down some bits of your body you didn't know were there, but you'll be amazed how fast you get stronger in those riding specific muscles while riding loaded every day. I just read your shakedown posts. From what you said about your bike feeling tippy out of the saddle, a good set of front lowriders will really help you out. Safe journey to you!
     
  15. chewyps

    chewyps New Member

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    best of luck to you brother
     
  16. jayneedshelp

    jayneedshelp New Member

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    I can imagine, I had some severe pains the first day, the second day they werent as bad, the wind did me in though.

    As for the bike i am now looking at

    Front rack and panniers down low on the wheel
    Back rack and panniers
    top rack open to lash tent too
    putting sleeping back on handlebars (rig something)

    Ideally I want to have less then 15 lbs on a side of each tire, hopefully if I redistribute the load and keep it down "low" I should be able to balance the weight.

    That and redoing the electronics will shave off some weight as well!

    I am open to continuing the thread with just general touring advice, I didnt know that was the type of people I would find here!

    ANYTHING you guys have to say to help would be great, and for those of you who are following me on Twitter or my site part 3 of the shakedown ride along with some interesting stats will be out tomorrow

    Again Thanks for the support!

    (EDIT:) Im also going to start doing fully loaded rides from my place to the Phoenix Raceway and back at least 3 times a week, this is a 24 mile 1 way trip. Hopefully this will break me and the bike in proper!
     
  17. Davezilla

    Davezilla New Member

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    Sounds like you made your choice... and probably the best choice to be made is to lighten the load and work your way up to becoming able to make those hills and tough spots so an engine or motor won't be needed.

    I remember when I was 24 years old I just out of the blue decided to buy a mountainbike to help me get back in shape after doing my mile and a half run for the Air force and ending up so sore for almost a week... I used to run 10 miles a day in high school and when I went thru boot camp at 19 years old a mile and a half could be done still breathing normally as I crossed the finish line... I just couldn't beleive how sore I got after that PT test... and that I did the mile and a half in 13 minutes when I used to do it in about 8...

    Anyway, after that humiliating reality that I was that far out of shape (funny how that's considered out of shape at that age) I decided to get myself back into shape... I bought a cheap Huffy mountainbike and decided to start riding it to work and leaving the car at home... Work was about 7 miles from home but I could cut thru fields and such to get there a little quicker... so that's what I did at any chance, but this only shortened the whole trip by about 1/2 mile....
    Then... there was this Huge steep hill that linked Kelly AFB to Lackland AFB and this was my place to see how fast I could go on this biuke... I think my official record was 47mph but unofficially I was probably doing above 50 since I had to duck out of the airstream to hit the speeds I was shooting for, but raise my head way up in order to see how fast I was going, and no matter how quick I could raise my head up then try to focus on that little digital readout I would always see 47, 46, 45, 44, 43, 42, and so on in very rapid succession...
    Then I would work the day as an F-16 crew chief and time to ride back home... um.. remember that hill ya had to come down to get here? ... GUESS what's facing you if ya wanna go home... Yup, That's right... right there in front of me I got this hill that's about 1/2 mile or so up hill and quite steep... I tried it pedaling as far as I could and had to get off the bike and push the first few days heading home... Then before the week was over I decided I was NOT getting off the bike to push it up the hill (remember, I was 24 years old and should be in a lot better shape... so I thought at that age... ) Well, to my satisfaction, I made it!!!
    I ended up shifting down to those ultra low gears and told myself "DO NOT get off this bike" and I made it... I was beat by the time I crested the top, but I made it. Next day I did the same but realized half way up the steepest part that I was wasting a LOT of energy staying in the lower gears so I kept it in low on the middle chainring instead, I made it... again, but with energy to spare... I was wearing myself out the first few tries because I was in too low of a gear to pull that far, but plenty strong enough to pull the hill in the higher gear ranges.
    As the weeks went by, this hill became easier and easier.. most the time I just kept the front sprocket on the big chainring and down shifted just to the middle gears, and didn't even bother going to the lower gears... I was also able to pull this hill and maintain about 7mph when I was at my prime and in tip top shape... I lost about 16lb in about 2 1/2 weeks, then gained back about 8 lb in the following months. My calves got huge at this time too... but all good things came to an end and I ended up working somewhere else where it actually was too far to ride unless I got up an extra hour early... and I was never a morning person.

    So after this long winded story, what I'm trying to say is that you can do this too... just ride every day and try to go a little further each time you're out, try to go a little further up that hill you need to get off and push your bike up, keep it up and you'll eventually make it to the top...
     
  18. jayneedshelp

    jayneedshelp New Member

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    Dave

    I love the encouragement but keep in mind you were on a UNLOADED huffy. The only practical way to do this with Post 9-11 being in my path was to keep the bike a bike. I did a cross-country scooter (think 150cc) trip in 2011-12. I don't really look forward to oil changes, engine parts, 50 pounds of tools. I know with a motor or electric drive I would surely have to stop for maintenance. Plus when it came time to fly to another country I would either have to strip the bike or leave it behind.

    Also as a bonus I can keep my 29" wheels. I hope putting racks on the low end of everything, shaving weight where I can, and reworking this will be enough.

    There were plenty of hills where I DID NOT get off my bike on that training trip, but 7 miles up a 5% grade that pure **** for anyone, never mind pulling 65+ pounds behind you!

    I am not proud I failed my original test trip, but Hey I knew when enough was enough, and I am sure in Mexico or whatever I will also be able to hitch rides.

    TO give you all an idea of what I face this is a screenshot of ONE of my legs in the mountains of Mexico, Yes training and reworking of the whole bike setup will be crucial.

    I CAN DO IT!


    [​IMG]
     
  19. boxcar

    boxcar New Member

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    I think you made the right decision.
    Take as many spare 29"tires as you can .... Some parts are hard to find south of the boarder ....
     
  20. jayneedshelp

    jayneedshelp New Member

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    It was the only decision to make in the end. I would have loved to be buzzing through the countryside on a speed bike, but that just was not reality. Someone said to but a 125cc scooter and use that in Mexico, and while that could have been an option, locating one of those would have been hard enough.

    This trip already has enough challenges as it is!

    Thanks again for all of your help everyone!

    EDIT: I have just returned from a local bike shop, The tech there said I am on the right track redistributing the load. He agreed I could get thinner tires, but the tires I already have are not that aggressive. Also, I could get a cushier seat but that = more weight. The only thing he could advise was a different type of sock. They had a few good pairs there for around 12 bucks a pair. Buying something like socks online can be finicky at best, And I'm a size 15!

    In the end, I could get a touring bike but he also agreed some places I will be going will not be "touring bike friendly"

    I might go talk with REI in Phoenix about some things, but ultimately that would mean returning lots of gear. I just don't know if I am willing to shave a pound off my tent for some cavelike tiny dwelling. I like my tent. I'll work on lightening and redistributing the load and see where I am at from there.

    For now that's the update!
     
    #20 jayneedshelp, Apr 27, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2015

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