Of potholes and bent rims

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holmesjtg
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Joined: 09/01/2011
Points: 61

Hi all,

Just wanted to share my experience of hitting a nasty pothole which ended up bending the rim of the back (drive) wheel. The tire lost air immediately due to the deformed rim so I was reduced to pushing the bike through the streets of Cambridge, MA in search of some help. Interestingly, none of the mechanics that I stopped at (including a tire place) were game to help me out. I guess they were worried about cracking the rim if they tried to bend it back. I ended up at a motorcycle place, where I thought I would finally get some relief from wheeling the thing around in the 90 degree heat. No joy. They couldn't/wouldn't help me either. So I asked for them to lend me a hammer so I could try fixing it myself. What else was I to do? Anyway, the good news is that through gentle and persistent hammering, I was able to bend the rim back into alignment enough for the tire to seal against it and hold air. See photo of the end result...

Not pretty but at least functional!

I was wondering if anyone else has had similar experiences and also if anyone has replaced the back wheel. I haven't asked John and company about it yet - maybe they might have a spare rim rolling around. Not sure how big a deal it is to swap it out.

Jeff

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Jeff Holmes
Wheels: Current Motor Co C124
Work: Encyclopedia of Life www.eol.org

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MikeB
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Joined: 04/14/2008
Points: 517
Re: Of potholes and bent rims

Ouch, sorry to hear about that Jeff.

I've replaced my rear wheel twice, it's not difficult. You're looking at the big axle bolt in the center, as well as the smaller bolt for the locking arm. On the opposite side of the bike, you'll need to disconnect the power cables at the controller, and unplug the hall sensors. Putting the wheel back in is probably more difficult, only because you have to lift it into place and then get it into the right position in the slot. Get directions from Terry at CuMoCo, he sent me a nice set for when I had to do it, but most steps are pretty obvious.

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My electric vehicle: CuMoCo C130 scooter.

LeftieBiker
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Joined: 07/09/2011
Points: 859
Re: Of potholes and bent rims

The rim on my ZEV was bent far worse than the end result in your photo, but it held air and I actually rode the bike, fool that I am, until the whole assembly was replaced. It probably depends on the kind of impact (mine was with more force overall, but not directly against a hard surface) whether or not the seal is lost.

IBScootn
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Joined: 01/03/2011
Points: 253
Re: Of potholes and bent rims

Call around to a few motorcycle shops and find out who people go to for wheel work. Typically an area will have at least one shop that just specializes in wheel repair. In Denver, it is Woody's Wheel Works.

__________________

Motorcycles: 2011 ZEV Trail 7100, 84V, 60AH, 65+mph, Cycle Analyst, TNC throttle, modified charger. 2013 Kymco GT300i
Bicycles: 2017 Sondors Thin
Cars: 2016 Leaf SV, 30KWH pack. 2007 CR-V
Big EV Grin. :)

PJD
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Joined: 11/22/2006
Points: 1400
Re: Of potholes and bent rims

The way the rim is integral with the (expensive) motor for most Chinese hub motors always seemed to be a terrible idea to me. I worry about this all the time with my my CuMoCo scooter and rough rust-belt roadways.

On my smaller scooter, the rim is detachable from the motor via just 4 bolts/nuts. This makes changing tire easier too.

PJD
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Joined: 11/22/2006
Points: 1400
Re: Of potholes and bent rims

On second thought, it looks like the rim can be replaced without too much motor disassembly. It looks like the right side cover and rim can be removed and replaced without having to remove the armature. It would be nice to see a service manual someday...

holmesjtg
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Joined: 09/01/2011
Points: 61
Re: Of potholes and bent rims

Thanks for the info Mike. I haven't done anything more with it yet as I'm buried in house renovation land. So far it's still holding air, fortunately. Yeah, Terry has been great helping me out in the past as well.

Cheers,
Jeff

__________________

Jeff Holmes
Wheels: Current Motor Co C124
Work: Encyclopedia of Life www.eol.org

holmesjtg
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Joined: 09/01/2011
Points: 61
Re: Of potholes and bent rims

Hey Leftie,

I'm a leftie too and am still riding mine as well... :-)

__________________

Jeff Holmes
Wheels: Current Motor Co C124
Work: Encyclopedia of Life www.eol.org

holmesjtg
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Joined: 09/01/2011
Points: 61
Re: Of potholes and bent rims

Hi Paul,

Yeah, I'm hoping it won't be too bad. I haven't asked anyone at CuMoCo yet about it though. Will report back if I end up replacing it.

Cheers,
Jeff

__________________

Jeff Holmes
Wheels: Current Motor Co C124
Work: Encyclopedia of Life www.eol.org

PJD
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Joined: 11/22/2006
Points: 1400
Re: Of potholes and bent rims

Well, I hate to bump another 5-year old thread, but my luck finally ran out and I hit a grapefruit-sized rock sitting in the road and bent both rims - the front only slightly, and the rear a little more substantially - it looks like Jeff's rim _after_ his repair. At least the rear tire held air and is leaking down only slowly. I'm fairly confident that I can repair it with some hammering. A new front wheel can be obtained from any Chinese scooter parts supplier. The rear is either integral with, or can only be obtained as part of, a whole hub motor.

I assume that Current motor Company pretty much gone - although I suspect that there a storage space full of of spare parts for the old C-series scooters somewhere in Ann Arbor.

I assume that a tube is available for a 140/60-13 tire if the bead still leaks after the repair.

The troubling thing is that, in the USA anyway, new, 2-wheel electric transportation is practically extinct. There is still the ZEV's being made not too far from where I live and that's it.

PJD
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Joined: 11/22/2006
Points: 1400
Re: Of potholes and bent rims

Follow-up....

Got the rim nicely straightened with some heating and hammering. Except for one small hammer mark, you can't even see where the damage was. But upon mounting the tire - air leakage revealed a where the rim joins the integral motor case - probably formed during the accident and worsened during the straightening.

I dismounted the tire and indeed with a magnifying glass (or if I was younger) I can see there is a hairline 8 cm long crack along where the rim joins the valley.

I'm tempered to take it to a guy who has a motorcycle and welding shop and cajole him into grooving and MIG-welding the crack. The heat might damage whatever is used to bond the magnets to the case - but being as a new motor from China will be cost in the $600 range, I've got little to lose spending $40 at the shop. Many poeple think that such wheel repairs are dangerous, but any new cracks are going to show themselves as an air leak and flat tire long before any kind of catastrophic failure can occur.

AS I wrote, we have few options here in a country that is resolutely marching backward as far as EV's are concerned.

PJD
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Joined: 11/22/2006
Points: 1400
Re: Of potholes and bent rims

The welding job seems to have been successful. A slight scraping noise can be heard when the motor is run with the scooter up on the center stand - suggesting a bit of motor case distortion from the welding heat (the motor's air gap is only 0.0015 inch (.40mm) so it does not take much warping) - but the motor seems to run quieter and smoother. The front wheel had minor damage too and had to be pounded on a bit. But what might be the last C124 in use is back running.

IBScootn
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Joined: 01/03/2011
Points: 253
Re: Of potholes and bent rims

Great news. I've worried about the same thing happening to my ZEV T7100, but so far so good. But I do worry about pot holes with those puny 130/60-13 tires. So thank you for sharing. If it happened to me, I could get another rim from ZEV, but I might just be tempted to buy a used Zero S ZF13

__________________

Motorcycles: 2011 ZEV Trail 7100, 84V, 60AH, 65+mph, Cycle Analyst, TNC throttle, modified charger. 2013 Kymco GT300i
Bicycles: 2017 Sondors Thin
Cars: 2016 Leaf SV, 30KWH pack. 2007 CR-V
Big EV Grin. :)

PJD
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Joined: 11/22/2006
Points: 1400
Re: Of potholes and bent rims

Wandering a bit off topic, but is ZEV still doing well - i.e. they reply to questions or requests for parts? They seem to be the last source of larger highway-performance e-scooters left. The downside to them is that they still don't have on-board charging or a real SOC indicator like the Current scooters, right? And of course having personally met Mr, Zehrback, my impression regarding his integrity was not so good.

The way the investor-owners of Current Motor pretty much abandoned its owners in search for business from big corporations and the US DOD has left a pretty bad taste in my mouth about them. They now call themselves a "solar nanogrid solutions" company. And the problem is, I cannot find a way to contact its former founding owners-enginners. I guess I could search for and try to "befriend" them on their Linkedin or Facebook pages, but I find it annoying that I have to do that.

IBScootn
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Joined: 01/03/2011
Points: 253
Re: Of potholes and bent rims

ZEV just came out with an awesome tilting, 3-wheel trike tadpole style.

Zehrbach did a great job supporting me, but you have to be technically competent and do you own maintenance.

A Cycle Analyst is a required option to have true SOC. Not everyone has the skills to install one, so I would have the factory install it.

From my past experiences, each bike is custom built for you and you have to have a lot of patience as you wait for it to ship.

All that said, I haven't had any drive-train problems in six years.

My main gripe is lack of real motorcycle performance. My 300cc Kymco easily handles any highway. My T7100 sometimes struggles to do 53mph.

If you ever need a rim, motor, controller, etc I would contact Zehrbach as he has helped people get their non-ZEV bikes back on the road.

Best,

__________________

Motorcycles: 2011 ZEV Trail 7100, 84V, 60AH, 65+mph, Cycle Analyst, TNC throttle, modified charger. 2013 Kymco GT300i
Bicycles: 2017 Sondors Thin
Cars: 2016 Leaf SV, 30KWH pack. 2007 CR-V
Big EV Grin. :)

PJD
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Joined: 11/22/2006
Points: 1400
Re: Of potholes and bent rims

Yeah, I notice that ZEV sells parts, so I could probably get a hub motor a bit more cheaply from them. At 7 years of age (6 years/30k miles in service), my 60AH/72V battery pack is showing its age. Maybe they can even sell me GBS cells at a bit less cost.

And their assembly shop is only little more than an hour's drive from where I live.

IBScootn
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Joined: 01/03/2011
Points: 253
Re: Of potholes and bent rims

New batteries, I used to get cells from:
http://evolveelectrics.com/calb/

I don't see 60AH cells anymore but maybe they can get them for you. At the time I was looking for more cells, the gray Calb cells were considered better than GBS. But who knows now. I'm still using the GBS original cells.

You might also look into using Leaf battery modules from a crashed car. Various outfits selling used modules. A lot of info on endless-sphere.com.

__________________

Motorcycles: 2011 ZEV Trail 7100, 84V, 60AH, 65+mph, Cycle Analyst, TNC throttle, modified charger. 2013 Kymco GT300i
Bicycles: 2017 Sondors Thin
Cars: 2016 Leaf SV, 30KWH pack. 2007 CR-V
Big EV Grin. :)

IBScootn
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Joined: 01/03/2011
Points: 253
Re: Of potholes and bent rims

New batteries, I used to get cells from:
http://evolveelectrics.com/calb/

I don't see 60AH cells anymore but maybe they can get them for you. At the time I was looking for more cells, the gray Calb cells were considered better than GBS. But who knows now. I'm still using the GBS original cells.

You might also look into using Leaf battery modules from a crashed car. Various outfits selling used modules. A lot of info on endless-sphere.com.

__________________

Motorcycles: 2011 ZEV Trail 7100, 84V, 60AH, 65+mph, Cycle Analyst, TNC throttle, modified charger. 2013 Kymco GT300i
Bicycles: 2017 Sondors Thin
Cars: 2016 Leaf SV, 30KWH pack. 2007 CR-V
Big EV Grin. :)

LCJUTILA
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Joined: 05/21/2012
Points: 113
Re: Of potholes and bent rims

My Current C-130 is still working fine so there are at least two of us out there!
Top speed of 70 mph+.

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LCJUTILA

PJD
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Joined: 11/22/2006
Points: 1400
Re: Of potholes and bent rims

Quote:

"At the time I was looking for more cells, the gray Calb cells were considered better than GBS. But who knows now. I'm still using the GBS original cells.

You might also look into using Leaf battery modules from a crashed car."

The trouble is, use of any other Chinese LiFePO4 cell except for GBS would require a lot of work to reconfigure the battery box to the new cell dimensions. In addition, LEAF modules use a different, higher voltage chemistry (3.8 nominal, 4.2V fully charged), so the Current's BMS would not work correctly.

IBScootn
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Joined: 01/03/2011
Points: 253
Re: Of potholes and bent rims

Of course it would require a new BMS but that's not a big deal. I think a lot of us will be using used Leaf modules.

__________________

Motorcycles: 2011 ZEV Trail 7100, 84V, 60AH, 65+mph, Cycle Analyst, TNC throttle, modified charger. 2013 Kymco GT300i
Bicycles: 2017 Sondors Thin
Cars: 2016 Leaf SV, 30KWH pack. 2007 CR-V
Big EV Grin. :)

PJD
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Joined: 11/22/2006
Points: 1400
Re: Of potholes and bent rims

Yeah, but in the Current scooters, the BMS interfaces with the charger in a particular way. I've really lost interest in any garage-engineering like the old days - I'ver go too many other things to get involved in. I jst want the scooter to stay running reliably. The GBS cells work finefor my purposes - and knowing how to treat them (don't charge them full every time) a new pack will last indefinitely. The main problem is that the GBS cells will not go down in price - even with the strong US dollar - for some reason.

LeftieBiker
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Joined: 07/09/2011
Points: 859
Re: Of potholes and bent rims

I just replied to the original post, which for some reason was all I saw here at first. Never mind!

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