Zen & pp/e bike

Discussion in 'Electric Bicycles, Trikes and Recumbent Bicycles' started by deacon, Jan 14, 2009.

  1. deacon

    deacon minor bike philosopher

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    When I built and rode my first China Girl bike, I was amazed at how much more I interacted with the world around me. Slowing form 40 mph to 16 to 25 mph changed how I saw the world. The guy on the corner wasn't just a man but he was a real person. I could see the color of his hair and the pattern on his shirt. And yes I could tell a woman from a man and not just by the hairstyle.

    After a while the gasoline bikes bored me. I wanted to experience the world not constantly adjust the bike. Also they were just too easy sometimes. So I began working on a DIY ebike. I didn't want to pay 500 or so for a store bike. I might easily get bored with as well. I'm not a rich man just an old retired coot. Plus I just like to build them. Building is at least half the fun of owning a bike for me.

    As I began to ride the test bikes I noticed a new phenomena. Not only was I closer to the environment in which I rode. I was more a part of it. I didn't turn heads as the sexy, but noisy, China Girl roared into the neighborhood, I was pretty much ignored. Which meant I didn't just see the guy on the corner staring at me, I saw what he was doing. The man was raking his yard not standing there holding the rake and looking at me. The world took on motion. I began to see how the things fitted together. How the universe turned if I can be so dramatic.

    I was going slow enough, and the bike was quiet enough, so that I could say good morning to the ladies and how's it going to the men without skipping a beat. Yes I do have to pedal but that was why I built the PP/E bike. I need to pedal, I'm getting fat again.

    I'm looking forward to the bike trail again. To go as far as I can on the PP (people power) then turn on the motor to get me home. I finally feel like I have an engine that will do all that, so today I test ride it to see if it will in fact get me home, without the chrome.

    If the PP/E bike works well enough to ride daily, you will probably hear from me now and then when I feel the need to tell someone abut how things feel.
     
    #1 deacon, Jan 14, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2009
  2. Ilikeabikea

    Ilikeabikea Moderator

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    Hey Deacon, good to hear from you. I miss your perspective on life that you always so eloquently grace our pages with here. I hope your ebike is all you want and more. Good hearing from you my friend.....................
     
  3. Bikeguy Joe

    Bikeguy Joe Godfather of Motorized Bicycles

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    I will be looking forward to hearing from you even if the pp/e bike doesn't work out.

    Zen fo'sho'!
     
  4. deacon

    deacon minor bike philosopher

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    quick update on the bike.

    It works fine but then of course I plan to make it better while the weather is crappy.

    Testing a bike takes the zen out of it. There is no peace since I am constantly listening and trying to feel what the bike feels. Hey wait a minute that is zen. Being one with the bike I suppose.
     
  5. deacon

    deacon minor bike philosopher

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    The thrift store and the pp/e bike

    The frame of the first pp/e bike came from the thrift store, so I do check out their bikes often. Most of my frames come from there and then the parts to customize them as well. I like to combine a 26" frame and the crank and rear wheel from a child's 20" bike.

    I went looking for this and that the other day. Mostly I'm thinking that if the pp/e bike is a success I will want to put the engine on a mountain bike with gears. I have never built on a geared bike before, but that isn't the story. I built a lot of weedwhacker bikes for a while. I never saw a Weed Whacker in the thrift store until I went to the PP/E bike. I saw one there a couple of days ago. I have no use for it but it just struck me as perverse that it shows up only after I stop using them.

    I mention that because I am in need of a scooter motor for my next build. I thought I would run up there to see if they have a small one. Odds are no. In the true perversity of life, they will have one the moment I decide to never build another E bike.
     
  6. deacon

    deacon minor bike philosopher

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    It got up to forty degrees so I took the trusty pp/e bike out for a ride. I only went a mile down the test track but found it very doable indeed. I want to run it a few more times on the hood track before I head to the bike trail. It's a long miserable walk back if anything should go terribly wrong.

    I noticed a couple of things on the zen front. The bike is less invasive as I said before. I can't quite sneak up on walkers from behind but I can come a lot closer.

    Funny but the people know even less what to make of this one than they did the china bike. Is it motor or not? They weren't quite sure till I stopped pedaling on the hill just to show off.

    Once I get my mind right with the speed issue, I think I am really going to enjoy this bike. I still have the mind set of the gasoline bike. This one just ain't gonna do twenty miles an hour unless I am coasting down one heck of a hill.

    The ultimate hill test will be a trip to the shopping center. There is a three block long hill on that route. I pulled it, no pedaling, with the china bike but it was a strain. I can imagine this is going to be real pedaling but the question is how hard it will be. I am never in a hurry so the speed really shouldn't be a big factor. Just how much of my lung power I have left. An pp/e bike won't stall but it will definitely drag.
     
    #6 deacon, Jan 18, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2009
  7. deacon

    deacon minor bike philosopher

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    The first real working version of the pp&e bike is now undergoing tests. Being one with the bike is not only reacting to trouble but anticipating it as well. I don't do that well.

    For instance: I made sure the road was nice and clear when I pedaled the PP&E onto the road. I got it to the point of kicking in the motor when I heard a thud and the crank began to free wheel. Yes the chain came off and yes I have coaster brakes. However I was going pretty slow, and there is some drag on the front wheel from the motor when I drop it, so I did. I got the bike onto the sidewalk without incident.

    On this bike I am using a combination of a mountain bike three ring crank set and a coaster brake rear wheel. I have a coaster brake chain so there is some play in the front chain ring. I also use the chain on the largest ring which is not perfectly lined up with the rear sprocket. So losing the chain might force me to move it to the interior ring. That way the large ring would keep it in line better. I use the large one because it allows me to pedal sooner when the bike starts slowing down on the hills. I might have to switch rings and just let it slow more.

    The plastic keeper ring broke off, I suppose from the chain flying around. I removed it and like any other casualty in a battle (me vs bike) I left it lay where it fell. So much for a green bike mentality..

    I put the chain back on a couple of time then tightened it again. I'm hoping for the best but expecting to adjust the chain. Then I get to feel the zen of breaking the chain, since it will be one link too long.

    Still the bike, after some motor position adjustments, did well. It picks up well and climbs the hills pretty darn good. I am a little surprised since the bike loses some power through the chain to drive wheel arrangement. It will need more adjusting Im sure. Most likely the skateboard wheel will have to go. I just can't get it centered. It wobbles still. The caster wheels can be center drilled to fit the axle then wedged with nuts and washers.

    But there is nothing like riding a bike to help with my balance issues. It's also just good therapy in general. It's hard to hate the world when you are on a bike that you pretty much rebuilt to your own liking. Right or wrong it belongs to you a lot more than one you would buy from Wallymart and just just ride off into the sunset.

    Even the breakdowns are therapeutic. Very few of the real problems in my life can I fix, but I can fix my bike. Well some of the time.
     
    #7 deacon, Jan 20, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2009
  8. deacon

    deacon minor bike philosopher

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    The wheel turns your way sometimes.....

    It seems that I complain about things not working as they should all the time. So when I had a day where everything seemed to work out just right, I could hardly believe it. Yes it was cold, and yes my hands did hurt now and then from it, but I got things done and they didn't fall apart two minutes later.

    First of all I managed to figure out a way to tighten a chain without any major repairs. Now that was a blessing. The chain was on a motor which I had salvaged from my trash can a couple of days ago.

    Then I managed to remove a motor from a bike without it being too much trouble. I thought I had welded it down but the weld didn't take. That was a good thing as it turned out.

    Then I was able to cut the old drive axle out without too awfully much trouble. I salvaged the sprocket and even the skateboard wheel which I have no use for now,

    I replaced the skateboard wheel with three caster wheels I managed to find laying around in my shop. I got them apart no problem and even got them drilled without ruining them. The new assembly can be taken apart without cutting I hope. I'm going to have to wait and see what happens with that one. I expect that tomorrow I need to melt a little metal onto the axle to keep the drive wheel from walking but that shouldn't be a problem at all.

    So it was a day that I touched the bike and we were one with the universe. Okay maybe that is a bit much, but it was one of those days when things go right and they don't happen all that often in my world. I'm convinced that it was a mystical experience...
     
    #8 deacon, Jan 21, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2009
  9. deacon

    deacon minor bike philosopher

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    I finally got to test ride the bikes today. The #25 which is the one with the least amount of changes from stock did okay. It was a lot of work but it did what I wanted. It climbed the hills for me just fine but was very very slow.

    The bike with the home made sprocket drives was faster but had some mostly worn out batteries so it got real weak.

    Tomorrow is supposed to be another good day so I have a few more tricks up my sleave.

    One thing about the ebike is that I was really really shaky when I finished. It was a lot of work to ride it and I need that badly. I'm going to have to work up to real rides though. I can tell now that I'm really in bad bad physical condition.
     
  10. deacon

    deacon minor bike philosopher

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    I learn humility from building experimental bikes. Today I rode the 300 watt bike and it did pretty good. I wish I could say the same for my body. I rode the test mile and was absolutely shaky again. I am so far out of shape it isn't funny.

    I also found that the 500 watt motor will not run the bike chain. that sprocket is not on the bike solid. If I want to do that I need to start with a new engine one I have screwed up yet.

    I'm sure it can be done, just have to do it right to being with. Like I said they don't beat me but they do humble me. I am pretty sure that when I get this motor perfected, I will put it on a bike with gears. That one mile track just kicks my butt.
     
  11. deacon

    deacon minor bike philosopher

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    A lot of the fun in building and experimenting is slipping away. It has to do with frustration in that I can't get things to come out as I see them in my head. I have designed a couple of friction drive units that should bolt right up to the motor and work just fine. For some reason (brain, coordination) they just never seem to come together as they should.

    It isn't going to keep me from building or riding, but it might keep me from trying to experiment and design systems. I was never much good at it anyway.

    The other issue is suddenly I am injuring myself a lot. Nothing serious but lots of cut up fingers and that is painful when trying to assemble parts. I am going to do two more experimental electric drives then I will most likely get an Ekit or Ebike. I really don't need to be tooling round in a car or gasoline bike even.

    My wife is planning to retire this summer. If she does that. my driving days are over completely. I can slip out now and drive to home depot or to the grocery store for cookies. That will come to an end. Oh not the trips to the store but the driving of my car.

    So I need a bike, I am going with an E bike for the maintenance issues. Also I think I will enjoy the even slower pace. I like seeing what kind of flowers are in my neighbor's yard. I'm also going to sneak the bike on the bike path and ride for exercise.

    So if this last experiment doesn't work out, I will be looking for an ebike or a kit that is simple to install. I don't need to go more than 12mph or more than 10 miles from home. I prefer a 24 volt system max.

    Let me get this last set of experiments out of my mind then I will take suggestions.
     
    #11 deacon, Jan 28, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2009
  12. TexasDav

    TexasDav New Member

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    My chain flew off as I was coming home yesterday on my china Indian, the axel nut vibrated off and I was doing 23mph. But thank God that it did not lock up the wheel because I had cars behind me. I got off the road and temp fixed it to get back to the shop. Part of the appeal of these bikes is the uncertainty and the building and the repairs, what gives us frustration is the same thing that gives us pleasure. It all depends I guess on how much and when, I don't even know. It drives us crazy and you want to chunk the whole thing sometimes, but when you overcome and you are going down the road on your own build and it is working the way it should, it is hard to keep the bugs out of the big grin on your face. Love you perspective Deacon, Keep the faith
     
  13. Michigan Mike

    Michigan Mike New Member

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    Deacon,
    I'm really enjoying your thread ... keep us posted ... am dying to see a picture of the bike!
    .trk.
     
  14. deacon

    deacon minor bike philosopher

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    So today was a not a zin day. The bike I was testing the emotor/ chain drive caught fire. I know it was my fault but I decided to move right on to make that second and last test. If it didn't work I was going to just buy a bike or at least buy and ebike kit.

    I managed to get a direct drive motor to work. I have ruined several others trying so I'm right happy about it. There is one small problem, the bike is terribly off balance. I am going to have to do something about that.

    I'm thinking counter weight using the batteries. It's going to make the front end awfully heavy.

    The building is it's own reward. I enjoy the planning then seeing how I can screw up the plan. I has worked pretty well so far.
     
  15. deacon

    deacon minor bike philosopher

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    so you wanted to see what I would be doing my zen rides on here it is.[​IMG]
     
  16. deacon

    deacon minor bike philosopher

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    Someone asked to see the bike I would be doing my Zen moments and riding for exercise so this is it mostly finished.

    I did not want to build a direct friction drive again but nothing else wanted to work for me. I finally figured out welding enough to manage a conversion.

    The switch is a simple on off switch for the house wall.
    The motor is a 300 watt motor from a kids scooter
    #1 is two 12 volt 12 amp hour batteries. The set shown are from the scooter and are about half good. I have a new set on the floor.

    #2 is the three hundred watt motor. the bike was so out of balance with the motor hanging off the side like a tumor that I mounted the batteries on front instead of the rear as a counter weight.

    #3 is the drive roller the drive roller was built from a 1 1/4 inch pipe nipple welded to the sprocket on the motor. If you do this do not be tempted to use a common washer to close off the end of the pipe. It isn't strong enough and will warp. I know I have a couple like that now. This one I reused a larger sprocket of better metal to fill the gap. Seems to be holding pretty well.

    #4 is a spring and turnbuckle I am using for tension at the moment. I am going down to the shop in a few minutes to change it to a permanent fixed tie down. the spring lets it bounce on the tire and that a lot of weight on some metal that isn't all that strong I think. After all I did the welding and it is always suspect when I do the welding.

    This particular design has some other advantages. I can build the whole thing on the work bench and bolt it on.
     
    #16 deacon, Jan 30, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2009
  17. deacon

    deacon minor bike philosopher

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    I am power bikeless again. I hate this, but I have learned a lot. I built two when I first started building bikes based on a scooter motor with a hole drilled in the shaft for a pin to hold the sprocket. I had a neighbor weld the sprocket to various drive spindles. It always worked fine except I could never reuse the pins.

    that being the case I went to the other kind of motor the one with the nut on the front. That was a mistake but it took destroying two of those to recognize it as lunacy..

    So what is the zen moment in failure..... Realizing why it failed... Most of us, me especially, learn more from the failures than the successes. The zen moment is when you make peace with the fact that the plan did not come together and that you did your best but it wasn't enough and then making peace with that.

    There is a joy in accepting failure as long as you get up and try again. To quit on a failure is unacceptable.
     
  18. deacon

    deacon minor bike philosopher

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    NEW MASTER PLAN

    I had two motors fly apart yesterday. Both on the knobby rear wheel. My drive wheels came off. Not quite as dramatic as it sounds. Except one did actually fly off and break an old cinder block. That convinced me to warn the neighbor kids to stay away from me when I ride.

    So now what. I want the motor on the front wheel. Only because I have smooth tires for the front and knobby ones for the rear. I got a real deal on a bunch of tires at one time that's why.

    I have decided to cut back on my spending by not trying quite so many things. I am going to work next on attaching a drive wheel to the motors. I can attach them to the bike simply its just that I have not been able to get a drive wheel to stay on the motors yet. First of all I can't get them plumb and square for some reason. I have a new idea, I always do, I'm going to the home depot today sometime and try to find some plastic washers. I am going to use them for the rear spacers on the motors. then I have to figure out a drive wheel connection that I can get all the way down to the washer and then weld or otherwise attach it to the motor drive shaft.

    The beauty of the plastic washer is that it will wear away without doing too much damage to the motor cover.

    Those are the short term plans. The long term plan.

    I have enough money to buy any motor or even scooter that I want, but I don't intend to use my meager reserve to buy anything at the moment. What I plan to do is to cut back on my bike spending. I have a financial plan as well.

    I plan to save whatever money I have left at the end of the month from new income. That will be money that I have managed to save. Fifty or sixty bucks a month most likely. The night before the Government deposits my Social Security Check, I will do a quick inventory of what I have left from the month before. The surplus goes into my saving account and earmarked for a new method of transportation.

    I have a perfectly good but old car in the drive. It is not due for inspection till May. The wife plans to retire about that time, so it's the perfect time to dump the car if I find an acceptable alternative.

    I have always been an advocate of the two stroke china kits. Those who have known me can attest to that. However I don't think I will go that way next time. Here is why and it's on me not anyone else.

    I am clumsy these days. Mixing gasoline for me means having containers of it sitting around and even gasoline spills here and there. From the welder house fire incident I learned something. Let me set fire to the house just one time and I never hear the end of it. So I have to minimize the chances of it happening on a larger scale.

    It's going to be a four stroke or an electric kit. They actually run about the same cost wise. Either kit on a good new bike would be about the same as a cheap scooter. I am thinking front hub wheel to be honest. That I could put on a suspension bike. Even one I customize using the smaller rear wheel for easy mounting.

    In the mean time I will continue to test and explore the friction electric bike just in case I find an answer lurking somewhere. So whichever comes first decides it, a really good deal on a hub motor, I save the price of a hub motor, or I discover the ultimate electric friction drive unit. Or worst of all worlds, my wife retires and drives me crazy enough that I have to buy one before I'm ready, just to escape.

    Meanwhile I am going to work on the friction drive and I'm going to fill the rest of my time writing flash fiction. I can hold the characters in my mind for a day. So I will try to write a flash fiction piece now and then. I'm not sure where I will put it but I will do something with it.

    Now let's us see how long this grand plan lasts. There is always grand plan B.. that one has a nursing home in it.
     
    #18 deacon, Feb 1, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2009
  19. deacon

    deacon minor bike philosopher

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    No sooner did I devise plan A than I went to plan B... I found the kit I wanted on ebay for a price I could afford now.

    I bought a stripped down hub motor kit for 275 including shipping. I wanted a motor that I could pedal as well as run on the motor. So this one is 250 watts. I have had a 250 friction drive that did pretty good so I think it will work out okay. Force me to pedal up the hills because I won't pedal if I dont have to I know.

    Also it is 24volt which allows me to travel with less weight or drag a trailer along with more batteries for longer life. It did not come with batteries but I do have two new 24volt 12 amp hour and 2 used ones the same size and even a couple of 8 amp hour ones.

    It seems like it was an okay deal but I'll have to judge later.

    I wish I had waited since I feel like one of those guys who just cant wait for christmas. LOL
     
  20. deacon

    deacon minor bike philosopher

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    Being in touch with the universe and your surrounds on the ebike
    subtitle sometimes you bound to get lucky.

    I took the friction drive which I finally got working out for a ride, I did a couple of miles on it and it did okay, but I think I have some motor drag from my whaling on it with a three pound hammer. Long non zen story.

    So I make the turn for home when a neighbor shouts at me. Now I would never have heard him over the sound of a gasoline bike. He offered to sell me a bicycle.

    I actually needed the bike he wanted to sell me. The hub motor is supposed to go on a bike with a three piece crank and I didn't have one.

    Instead of spending a hundred bucks on one which I planned to do this very night. I picked up a schwinn traveler III for seven bucks. Yes I had to take all the ten speed stuff off and switch my wheels and handlebars but it was still a good deal for seven bucks.

    I have done all the switching. it took two hours not a bad time for a complete changeover. I spent a lot of time messin' with chains before I put the old road bike chain back on the bike. I think it is the same size as the mountain bike china but it seemed to fit the coaster sprocket on the rear tire just fine.


    Back to the friction drive a second. If you plan to make a friction drive bike and want to convert a 75speed bike to a one speed, I would suggest a coaster rear wheel for the braking ease and use the center sprocket on the front. It seems to work the best for me.

    The big front sprocket kicks my butt when paired with the coaster rear... the smallest one makes it impossible to pedal assist the motor. The center one and the small rear seems to work the best for me anyway.
     
    #20 deacon, Feb 6, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2009

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