Electric Mountain Bike

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MB-1-E Part Twenty Four: Schwalbe Tire Arrives

The FedEx guy dropped off my new Schwalbe Tire today.
I pulled off the old tire and placed the plastic tube protector tape in the rim and it barely fit. (32mm wide)
Actually it cradled in nicely and made a nice smooth seat for the tube.
Put on the new tire and tube and put a little air into it.
I pushed on the tire all the way around, rocked the tire from side to side all the way around to make sure that it was fully seated and concentric with the wheel. The tire will accept anywhere from 22psi to 60psi so I put in 40psi.
The bead seated nicely and the tire ballooned right out from the rim ... boy, sure is a fat one. (2.35" Wide).

I went to put the Tire/Wheel assembly onto the bike and it wouldn't fit.
The tire has a larger diameter than the previous tire and hit the bottom of the motor.
I had to buy another length of chain so I could space the motor higher to keep the Tire from rubbing on it.
One of the batteries in a metal holder has just over 1/8" clearance, whew!
The chain from the jackshaft down to the back sprocket just clears the fat tire's sidewall by about 3/16", whew!

I got everything tightened back up and checked the runout of the tire and it was fine.
Took a short slow ride to make sure all was well and it checked out fine.
One more check of nuts, bolts, chain, belt etc. and I took off for a trial run.

The 40psi is plenty and seemed just about right. Nice smooth ride with good grip on the pavement.
It felt a bit different than the knobby I had on there before, but it ran very smooth.
Checked all my clearances and re-tightened the chain after a mile or so ride.
As I got used to it I brought the bike up to full speed (25mph) and it has a nice ride.
I could let a little air out perhaps but until I get my chain clearance a bit wider I think I'll leave it.

All in all, I'm impressed with this tire (Schwalbe "Big Apple" 26 x 2.35). It looks good, I'll get some pics of it soon . It's a fat one and I'm sure it's got a lot more grip on the road than the knobby.
It runs very true and has a nice reflective sidewall stripe.
Good deal - Back on the road again!


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MB-1-E Part Twenty Three: A Tribute to those who helped me get here and an Update and Summary of the MB-1-E build

Hi All,

This has been a pretty long blog with lots of trial and error and changes throughout the build.
I would like to therefor bring it all together into a summary of where the build stands now, thoughts on future revisions and what I would recommend for others that would like to take on building and electric bike from scratch.

Writing this particular entry will take some time and could be done as I've previously done as child pages to this blog but I think what might be more useful to anyone that has taken the time to read the entire blog is an overview of how this bike has turned out and what it consists of now as a result of trial and error and dollars spent in getting here.

A Tribute:

First and foremost, I would like to thank the "V is for Voltage" Management and Maintenance Teams for providing this great Forum and the wonderful folks that helped me take a bike from rusted hulk to a Mean Green Truckin' Machine!

A very special Thanks go out to eChuckJ5 for his encouragement and "hands-on" knowledge of what it takes to design, build, improve and enjoy a machine like this and for sharing that information with me so I could build an eBike that grew from dream to reality. *** Thanks Chuck ! ***

I would also like to thank many others on this forum for your interest and help in getting the MB-1-E where it is today.
Chas Stevenson has been a great help in encouraging me to pursue this great challange, he always seemed to step in when the going got rough and lend his empathy and encouragement to keep me going on this project. Chas has also shared his experience in building from scratch and his interests in Alternative Energy and building eBikes has helped a great deal. *** Thanks Chas ***

Sturdly has been a consistent follower of my build and has helped in many ways, to include sending me items that were Exactly what I needed at the time. Sturdly has also built an eBike and has lived near where I live so knows some of the challanges that I face ... in the way of terrain, road conditions, climate and living in a remote area. *** Thanks Sturdly ***

Fechter was a great help when it came to figuring out my wiring, he's the one that helped me figure out how to charge my 24V system using my existing 12V charger. *** Thanks Fechter ***

Others have helped as well, I couldn't possibly remember all the others but the fact remains that there are a lot of very helpful folks on this forum that helped me get the MB-1-E where it is today. *** Thank You All ***
(I didn't mean to leave anyone out, the site as a whole has helped develop the MB-1-E)


Ok, so where is the MB-1-E today in terms of what's the latest, what really works, how can one go about taking a bike that they have laying around rusting or gathering dust and turn it into a useful eBike?It

Answer: That depends ...

It depends what your goals are ... The first thing I did in building the MB-1-E was establish some goals.

(to be continued ... I'll be editing this Post to consolidate and bring the blog up-to-date on the MB-1-E)


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MB-1-E Part Twenty Two: New Tire

Last week my rear tire had a blowout.
Fortunately I was going slow and was able to get off the bike before all the air had escaped.
It all happened pretty quick though, could have been a problem if I was crusin' at full speed.

I looked down and there was a pencil sized hole right through the tire, it was a cheap Wally-World tire.
Walked the bike home, along the grass where I could, so I wouldn't hurt the ARAYA #7X 26x 1.75 Alloy Silver anodized rim.

Bikes been sittin' ever since.

Right after it happened I asked eChuck what tires he'd been using. He went with the Schwalbe Hookwork I believe.
Chuck recommended several good tires and since we both have heavy bikes and neither one of us are lightweights, I figured I'd just go with something he had already researched.

I decided to get the Schwalbe Big Apple tire.
It's one of the fatter tires they make.
I doesn't have lugs like my mountain bike tires but it's got a Kevlar belt and according to the specs has great grip on wet roads, rolls along nicely with little drag, is pretty good in puncture resistance and has good durability.
I'm not too worried about the front tire, it's not carrying anywhere near the load that the back does and the one I have seems to still be in great shape.

I took some measurements to be sure that the tire would fit in my bike's frame, researched to be pretty sure that the it would work with my rim and decided to order one 26x 2.35 Schwalbe Big Apple tire.
I also got a #13 Schwalbe tube made specifically for this size tire and a big rubber band to protect the tube from the spokes and spoke nuts. Came to $55.15 w/ shipping.

I think it should last much longer than my previous tire and probably add more shock absorbtion (since it's a fat tire). I'm not too worried about off road, the bike has plenty of weight so I really doubt that will be an issue.

I'll keep y'all posted on how it goes on, how it looks on the bike and performs on and off road.

I'll be back on the road again soon. Yahoooooooo!



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MB-1-E Part Twenty One: Progress Report

Hi All,

No major changes lately but I've been doing quite a lot of riding and put some miles on the MB-1-E.
I've found that unless I'm going up extremely steep, long inclines, I've been getting some (IMO) great range lately.
In order to put the bike through it's paces, I've been mostly just riding and not doing much pedal assist.
In daily rides with some hills and maintaining an average speed of 14-15 mph, I seem to have no problem going 15-18 miles without drawing my batteries down below 1/2 charge.
With some pedal assist, my range seems to increase dramatically, as would be expected.

I think, perhaps, that my batteries are working better than they did initially. I seem to be getting a lot more out of them now than in my first 5-10 rides.
I've also changed my charging method slightly.
I have two 6V 220Ah AGM SLA batteries in series that I use for our RV and initially switched my Iota 15A charger between charging the RV batteries then putting it on my bike batteries when I got back from a ride, leaving the charger on the bike a day or so then swapping back to the RV batteries.

Lately, I've just been leaving the RV batteries on the charger all the time and I've been using jumper cables to go from the RV batteries to the bike batteries. I don't know what the long term effect will be but I don't think it should be a problem unless I discharge the bike batteries too low. The RV batteries are always at a constant 13.6 volts and that is what my (8ea - 9Ah AGM) bike batteries like to be charged at. I have been keeping an eye on the temperature (just by feel) of the bike batteries and they do warm very slightly during charge this way but it's barely distinguishable. If anyone knows of a reason that this would be harmful, let me know but so far it seems to be working very well and tends to charge the bike batts up a little faster than just the charger.
It's also much more convenient than swapping all the time.

The #35 chain and sprockets seem to be holding up well and I've found that the chain doesn't like to have much slack at all or it will slip off the larger sprocket when I apply throttle quickly. I've been running it tighter than I had originally and it seems to act much better like this.

The synchronous drive belt is great! Besides my switch to the 200A AllTrax controller, the new belt drive has shown the best improvement in performance of any of the changes that I've made to this bike.

I still have a number of safety and cosmetic changes that I'll be making but sure am happy with the way it moves down the road and gives me a range that is better than I had even hoped for.
I'll be using pedal assist more now and enjoying riding a little slower (15 mph) and should be able to go on nearly as long a ride as I want to. Any longer rides and I'm ready to get off the bike anyway.

I do dream of making another electric bike some day.
I'd definitely go with suspension front and rear and would likely place a jackshaft between the crank and the rear sprockets so that I could incorporate the bikes gearing. A freewheel on both the jackshaft's driven sprockets would still allow pedal assist or solely motor power without driving the crank. I think this would increase both range and speed and allow the bike to traverse nearly any grade without quickly depelting the batteries.
DeWalts would be nice but they are still too expensive for me ... maybe by the time I get around to this creation the cost of Li-Ions or another technology will be more affordable.


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MB-1-E Part Twenty: Nice Twenty Mile Ride

Today I took a pleasure ride.
I've gained enough confidence in my new creation to go for it and just take a nice ride up to one of our favorite camping spots. Going by car (or pickup, in my case) it's a little over 8 miles from home.
I took some side roads to get there so it was slightly farther than by car.

The bike was fully charged yesterday so I had a fairly fresh charge.
To start out, I kept my speed down to around 12-16 mph to conserve my fuel a little. It was about 85 deg. out so the breeze was nice and much of the trip was through treed areas so mostly shady.
Every once and a while I'd open it up and cruise at 24 mph for a bit then slow down some and even pedal assist to help conserve some juice for the trip home.

There's not a great elevation change between home and the camp site but I would guess at least a couple of hundred feet in the 8-9 mile trip. There are some dips and inclines and gentle hill climbs, nothing that would be extraordinary for a standard bike ride.

The bike performed great! I'd pedal assist on some of the inclines, but didn't even break a sweat, so I wasn't working too hard, just let the motor do most of the work while I got a little exercise.

I don't have my volt meter on the bike yet, so I was hoping that I wasn't going too far but also knew that I had helped some so I didn't worry about it much. Got to our favorite camp spot along the creek and rode rocky dirt road in to the area and rode right down to the creek. Enjoyed the scenery for a bit then headed back out to the pavement and went a bit farther up the road until I hit 10 miles on the odometer and turned around.

The trip back was about the same, but I used the motor a bit more than on the way up there and coasted down some of the inclines that I had assended on the way up. Got up to 30 mph a few times just coasting so I guess some were steeper than I thought they were.

The route home was nearly the same as on the way up, and the bike seemed to have plenty of pep, so I increased the speed a bit as I got closer to home. When I arrived at my house the odometer said 19.6 miles so I went around the block a time or two until it hit 20.

I brought the bike in and checked the voltage and it was right at 12.3 volts.
I'd guess I still had about a 62% charge in the batteries ... just right.
I was glad to see that I had not drawn them down too far again.

Ok, my goals in building this bike were to have a 20 mile range and a top speed of 20 mph.
On the speed, I got lucky and can cruise at 24, the range is right where I had hoped.
The bike is running good but I've still got some work to do.
Things left to do:
Add a mirror
Add a beltguard
Head and Tail lights
Remount my kickstand
Get all needed tools into my toolbag
Add a tire pump
I need to work on the aesthetics of the bike and paint a few parts
Replace some of the battery wiring with buss bars.
Perhaps add an onboard charger

Now that I see that no one was at our camping spot, I want to go camping ...
... got some work to finish up first but perhaps next month.

What a fun ride! It was a good one. :)
Bike's on the charger.


Bridgestone Electric Mountain Bike

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MB-1-E Part Nineteen: Synchronous Belt Drive


I spent the day at Kent's machine shop. Kent has been a friend of the family over the last 50 years or so. He's not only a very interesting person but has,by far, the most interesting machine shop you could possibly imagine.

As I worked on trying to figure out what was wrong with a 1250W inverter that had recently died (Kent lives off grid and has another shop at home, which uses the inverter), he bored my two grooved pulleys so they would fit the 5/8" motor shaft and the 5/8" jack shaft on the MB-1-E.

Per Chuck's suggestion, a hole was drilled off center for the key way before boring. I filed the top two edges of the key to accommodate the rounded key way and the pulley went snuggly onto the shaft. The larger grooved pulley had a large boss with setscrews, so no key way was necessary on this one.

I put the toothed, synchronous belt over the pulleys and low and behold it was the perfect length.
I made a belt adjustment then re-tensioned the chain adjustment and gave the bike a try.

Now I previously had two V-belt pulleys that made my ratio a 12:1.
The new toothed belt made the overall ratio 9.22:1.
I expected the bike to be a bit sluggish in comparison and perhaps slightly faster at top end.

I'm not sure whether the toothed belt is just so much less friction than the V-belt or that the positive connection via the pulley grooves made the difference, but I was pleasantly surprised the the bike was very peppy and about 5 mph faster than before.

The bike seems to pull hills about the same as it did with the 12:1 ratio and now tops out at 24-25 mph.

The new belt and pulleys look nice on the bike. I'll get some pics in the next day or three to show you.

Anyway, it was a fun day and we both got some riding in on the MB-1-E. Kent went down a very steep street then stopped at the bottom, started out and was going 18 mph by the time he got to the top. I went up and down some horse trails and hilly terrain and we both were terrorizing the neighborhood zooming around on the bike.

I'm very surprised at the difference. I may never go back the the V-belt again.

Until we meet again ...


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MB-1-E Part Eighteen: The Test Flight

Hi All,

I got my 30 Amp DPDT Switch from Digikey today.
It's a about twice as big as the cheapo switch I got on eBay and looks well made.

I had to rework some of my lugs (connections) to the switch since the screws are also about twice the size of the last ones. I slipped some heatshrink over each wire before tightening them up then heated them gently with the torch. I taped the connections and exposed screws well and then tried to figure somewhere to place the switch within reach of the existing wires.
I finally ended up going up and over the top horizontal frame tube and it fit pretty well like that, so I wire-tied it down.

I don't know what I was thinking, but I sat on the bike when the kickstand was down. I was going to check for pedal clearance and make sure that the switch would not get hit by my leg when pedaling.
The double leg kickstand twisted forward and flattened my CrMo tube frame a bit. I checked it out and it did some damage but should be structurally sound since it's right next to the BB and part of a very solid triangle.
I'll never do that again :(

I checked the rest of the bike as a general maintenance check, adjusted the chain just a little and headed out the door.

As usual, the bike took right off, smooth and quiet.
I rode the usual back streets, headed down the power line trail, down some more roads, different dirt trails and back home. I decided to go another round, so I rode the streets some more until I was getting a bit tired.
I headed home then decided to try another round.
Eventually, fairly near home the controller kicked in to energy save mode (reduced current) so I headed in for the evening.

During this whole ride I hadn't pedaled at all except to assist slightly on a hill or two.
My speed tops out right at 20 mph, some times a little more, sometimes slightly less depending on the wind, grade etc.

My Odometer read 17.36 miles today with an average speed of 14.4 mph. This includes the slower rides up and down a number of dirt trails and some casual riding through some neighborhoods. A good deal of the time I was riding with the pedal to the metal, right at 20 mph.

I think I could definately increase my range by being a little more conservative on the throttle and pedaling once and a while.

All in all, I feel this was a good test run and I now have a better feel for what she'll do.

My stated goals were to go 20 mph with a 20 mile range (at reduced speed).
I think I've nearly accomplished that, next ride I'll slow down to 15-16 mph and see how far it will go.

Once I got the bike inside, checked the voltage and the batteries were at 11.53 volts. I switched over to 12V parallel and put the charger on it. The IOTA 3-stage went into bulk mode and is charging away.

I don't plan to drain my batteries this low often but had to know what the limits were.

I'm a pretty happy camper! :) Fun Ride!!


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MB-1-E Part Seventeen: The Cargo Rack arrives

Hi All,

The new cargo rack arrived today.
It looks to be very solidly built and should transport the MB-1-E nicely.
Now I can load up the dogs, head for the backroads and get in some quality Electric Mountain Biking and the dogs can run along.

The receiver has some slop I need to fix ...
... so you're not imagining things if you see the rack sloping back

My handy-dandy DIY ramp

Securely hooks over the bar and gives me some traction

Currently, I'm waiting on some switches from Digikey.
As some of you know, I fried my switch that swaps me from Run (Series/Parallel) to Charge (Parallel only).
The switches that I ordered are rated at 30A at 125v.
They are a toggle type and as long as I don't switch them with any load, should work fine.
I got the last one off eBay and didn't really have any idea of the quality.
These should be at least as good at their rating ...
I hope.

I'll get some more pics of the MB-1-E when I get my switch on and the bike back on the road.

... Gilda Ratner was right ...
... It's always somethin'! :)

until then ...

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MB-1-E Part Sixteen: The continuing saga

Since we last met, I've been riding my MB-1-E all over.
The controller works great now.

I swapped out the hub sprocket.
I did have a 60 tooth sprocket and changed that to a 72 tooth ... What a difference!
I can climb hills now, even the steep ones.
On the steepest of hills, I do pedal to help keep the RPMs up, but it's a dramatic change from the smaller sprocket.

I had one malfunction, that was the adjustment bolt for one of the struts that support my Motor/ Jackshaft assembly. It bent as the weight of the motor pounded down on it. The bracket rolled toward the back of the bike and therefor bent the bolt.
I straightened that out today with a little heat from my MAP gas torch. I protected the braze with a damp cloth and it bent back to nearly perfect.
I'll be beefing those adjustment bolts up in the future but wanted to ride the bike.

I went up a steep, long hill today and the bike did very well. I did encounter another problem however (I'm finding all the weak links in the system) ... the DPDT switch that I use to switch from Parallel/ Series to just Parallel gave out.
The hill must have been too much for it.
I had to pedal home ... thank goodness for Pedal Assist!

So a better DPDT switch is on the list.
I'm open to any suggestions.
It's a 24V system. Batteries have 36Ah@24v. I've got a 200A controller. Motor is a Scott 650W (3/4hp) with 30A continuous draw. (pulls much more than that on hills, I'd guess 125A)

Well back to the drawing board (as us draftsmen often say).

Happy EV'ing!

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MB-1-E Part Fifteen: Controller Upgrade


For those of you who have been following my Mountain Bike build, I have decided to upgrade to an Alltrax controller for my Scott 3/4hp motor.

Although not listed on the Alltrax site, they do manufacture an Alltrax model AXE4824, Programmable, 24-48V, 200A Controller.
I found this one at http://www.electricvehiclesusa.com/product_p/co-axe4824.htm
Jeff Lindsey there was very helpful and let me upgrade from the Navitas to the Alltrax.

I had to spend a bit more, as I expected, but don't think I'll have any more controller problems.
The footprint is the same size as the Curtis 1204, so I'll need to find room on the bike for it.
I ordered a 150A, in-line, Mega fuse (and spare) to put between the battery and the controller. These are slow-blow type so they will handle some initial surge but should be about right to protect the controller.

I also ordered a USB to 9 pin RS-232 cable so I'll have the ability to program the Min/ Max voltages, ramp-up throttle speed and Maximum current output.
I would have purchased a 200A NPX if they had one but they only seem to make the 200A size in the AXE type.


Yesterday I received my 5mm pitch by 15mm wide belt and pulleys. I got a 16T drive pulley and a 62T driven.
There is no way the 16T is going to stand being bored to 5/8" diameter so I went ahead and ordered a 20T instead. Even this will be close but I think a good machinist will be able to bore it out for me.
I will probably do as Eric Peltzer did and use a 1/8" roll pin to secure it. Sure wish I had a lathe to bore these out.
The belt sure seems small compared to my V-belt setup, but I guess synchronous belts are actually stronger than they first appear.
I can use the belt that I originally ordered since I have some room for adjustment of the shaft On-Center distance.
My reduction ratio will be comprimised to a degree but it will end up around 10.5:1 which may work fine with the higher amp controller.
I can always swap back to my current V-belt as an option if I want a 12:1 ratio.

I plan on swapping out my 60T rear chain sprocket with a 72T one that I have, but may try the current configuration first.

Well, I'm back to waiting for parts again ... rolleyes.gif

Until next time ...


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