My Lectra project

reikiman's picture

DaveB mentioned my Lectra project, and it struck me I haven't written much of anything about it. Unfortunately I don't have pictures handy and in any case the pictures I have are just showing a frame with a mess of wires hanging all over the place.

The Lectra Motorcycle is quasi-historical. They were made by Electric Motorbike (EMB) during the 1990's and that company was later bought by ZAP. I remember seeing them listed on the ZAP website for awhile, and I remember attending a ZAP shareholder meeting where they unveiled the VR36 motorcycle. The Lectra was a 24 volt design and somehow they reworked it to be a 36 volt system. But that vehicle never reached the market, and ZAP kinda mismanaged the product to death. There were about 100 Lectra's made.

I bought it a year ago as a bare frame .. no batteries, no controller, but with a motor and the original wiring. This is a link to the evalbum entry for the previous owner of this bike You'll see batteries in the picture etc, they were Delphi 8v batteries which were basically dead, and Lawrence removed all of them along with the controller before selling me the bike.

I've bought a battery pack of Powersonic 12v 26ah SLA batteries. I chose them because of the bike's geometry. To get to a 60 volt pack there's a section just in front of the motor, where EMB had installed the controller, but into which I'm putting batteries. Those 26ah batteries are skinny enough to fit there. The pack is 10 of those batteries, wired as buddy-pairs so that it's a 60 volt 50ah pack. The pack weight is a bit over 200 lbs.

It has a 72v 400A Alltrax controller which I'm mounting under the seat. The motor is not the original Lectra motor, but an Advanced DC A89. (EVPart's listing for the A89 replacement)

What's wired right now is the batteries, controller, solenoid, throttle, a key switch, a DC-DC converter, some switches to control the keyswitch input on the controller, and the horn. What's left to wire is the headlights and turn lights. Oh, and I need to replace the solenoid because it appears to be ON all the time.

I have original Lectra body panels from Lawrence. But he also sold me something else which is really intriguing.

I've mentioned Craig Vetter and his full fairing's before. He ran a contest for several years for the highest miles/gallon rating that could be achieved with a motorcycle. The winners used a full fairing around the motorcycle, as well as pulling a few tricks like using a "small" (250cc) motorcycle with a motor jimmied for high mileage.

Leaning against my garage wall is one of those fairings. The idea is to cut the plastic bubble to the desired fairing shape and bolt it into place on the motorcycle frame.

So this is rather exciting really. Some portion of that high miles/gallon rating came from the fairing. Motorcycles are, after all, horrible at being streamlined. Having the Lectra streamlined should make for great range improvements.

High Mileage Fairing

High Mileage Fairing

High Mileage Fairing

High Mileage Fairing

High Mileage Fairing

High Mileage Fairing

High Mileage Fairing

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Re: My Lectra project


What an interesting project!
Not only is the frame a rarity but the cowling will make it extremely unique.
Quite the battery pack and one heck of a motor ...
... This is going to be one smooth sailin' streamlined motorcycle.
I know you've done the math, what do you expect to see for top speed.
Should have very good range at 30-35 mph.
I saw that AllTrax controller, I'm guessing that was an excellent choice, is that an AXE?
I couldn't get to the spec page at EVPart's but it looks like you'll be running that motor at a pretty high RPM.
I'm assuming you have a belt drive reduction of some sort, I'm wondering what RPM will be most efficient and do you have any options for changing that reduction?

Well, it sounds like you're almost there, good luck on the maiden voyage, hang on :)

Yes, we need some pics when you get time ... Pleeeeze!

Dave B

Re: My Lectra project

I know you've done the math, what do you expect to see for top speed. Actually I haven't done the math, and I don't quite know how to do so. I recall the RPM of the rear wheel is what determines speed, based on the circumference of the rear wheel. And that the chain reduces motor RPM to wheel RPM based on the ratio ... (it's a chain drive, not belt drive). Changing the reduction should be a matter of swapping the sprocket on the motor. On the other hand Lawrence set up the gear ratio and I suppose he already did the work to figure this out. He was, though, using a different voltage and controller.

The controller is an AXE.

Re: My Lectra project

I'm not sure there are really many similarities other than the basic physics but I was under the impression (based on Eric Peltzer's work) that a chain tends to make a great deal of noise above 750-1000 RPM.

I suppose this is about where the similarities end though, you are using a motor from, what, 6-21 hp, a much heavier chain, probably a larger motor sprocket etc. Each of which changes the dynamics quite a bit. (From a 1hp motor w/ #35 chain).
Sorry, I don't know much about how electric motorcycles are normally set up. I sure am sold on the quietness and low friction of the synchronous belt but I'm curious how the chain running directly to the wheel sprocket works out re. noise. Then again, you don't necessarily need to be that stealthy.

Have you ever tried an AXE controller? It's really nice to be able to fine tune it's attributes via computer.
Once everything is set up it's not anything you'll ever use again but it sure is nice to get it just right.
Funny thing is, I tweaked my settings on my bike, went back and forth with a few then ended up setting every thing back to default and it was perfect ... haha.

The ratio thing will just be trial and error, when you hit the right one ... you'll know immediately.
My bet is that it will work just fine the way he had it set up unless you've really changed the mass and/ or motor torque a great deal. You can tweak the controller so that should make life easier.

Have Fun,

Re: My Lectra project

Have you ever tried an AXE controller? It's really nice to be able to fine tune it's attributes via computer.

No, I've not tried one of them.. except one time I got to ride one of Craig's scooters (it had an alltrax). I do know about going in to the controller and setting the parameters etc.. but the software for that only runs on Windoze and I use either Linux or Mac (no Windoze). I do have the Parallels PC emulator on my Mac, and I do have a copy of WinXP installed in that, and hopefully that combo can talk to the Alltrax. Unfortunately when I tried a couple months ago it didn't work.

The main reason to have this controller is it supports 60 volt. There's a wide range of choices for 48 volt controllers, but I want to run this bike at 60 and that limits the controller choices.

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