A few weeks ago, I posted that I'd purchased a Go-Hub 36v system for myself. While that in itself is not noteworthy, I thought someone might get a kick out of the fact that I installed the system on an old beachcruiser Zap bike. For those of you not familiar with the Zap DX bikes, it's powered by 2 motors, joined together by a friction roller. The rider pulls a small lever on the left handlebar, the motors are activated, and the centrifugal force of the hinged motors forces them to engage the friction roller against the rear tire.
For its day, it was a pretty good system, with certain limitations. For one thing, it's a 12 volt system, so it's not overly efficient. For another, it's designed as a pedal assist only, and was never meant to power the bike without rider input. Still another limitation is the lack of speed control. The motors are either on or off. Still, it climbs hills quite well, and the acceleration boost when the motors are activated is pretty good. Also, the battery is mounted in the triangular part of the frame, which helps keep a low center of gravity.
Add to this mix a Go-Hub kit and the results are interesting. While the top speed of the Go-Hub remains the same, hill climbing capability is now up there with my wife's Crystalite Brute system on her bike. So is the acceleration. This thing takes off like the proverbial bat outta hell.
Riding it is simple enough. I pedal up to a few mph to maximize mileage, and use the Go-Hub's variable speed power as my main source of propulsion. Then I stop pedaling. When I encounter a hill, I still don't have to pedal, I just hit the Zap motors and up I go. Or, if there's any occasion when I need to accelerate quickly, I crank up both systems, and away she goes. No pedaling required. Works pretty slick, actually.