Of potholes and bent rims
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...