Unpletscher

July 19, 2013

It is with much regret that I announce the passing of my mighty pletscher kick stand. One of the legs broke off a month or two back.

Really I have no regrets I think it performed above and beyond its design characteristics I I was amazed it went as long as it did.

So I bit the bullet and purchased a new Yuba stand and while heavier it is solid and so much more stable and better for loading cargo. Not one tip over since I had it (that was something that did sometime happen with the pletscher).

So plus one for the mundo stand but any stand I buy in the future for my growing collection of standard and ebikes will be a pletscher.

Serene

July 17, 2012

I am starting a new blog about the new build here sereneebike I will still keep blogging here about my Yuba Mundo as I have anything new to report.

So the old greenewheels seems like it has gone for good.I was hoping to get back some bit or something, I didn’t even have a serial number or anything from the bike, I think I will be engraving my phone number or something on my bikes from now on, or at least keeping a record of the serial number. Anyway time for a replacement.

We were really happy to spend up on a nice bike if required but really it has not been an easy process finding a bike to tick all the boxes.

1- Step through frame
2- Front Suspension
3- Electric Assist or able to be upgraded/fitted with a kit.
4 -Under $2000-
5 -Able to have all components repaired or replaced by me.

There are womens bikes out there with step through and front suspension but they are not easy to find or they have paint jobs and decals which just put my wife right off them. At the moment it seems like women have a choice of a retro type ladies step through (no suspension, and usually at most 3 gears) or some type of low step over mountain bike. Practical well equiped city bikes for women seem hard to find.

Some friends have an electrified Gazelle and really this is the ultimate purchase for someone wanting a plug and play ebike option. The built in features and integration are superb. But it is not a cheap option at over $2500- and I guess as I saw so many things go wrong with my greenewheels over time I just wanted stuff I knew I could fix or replace myself.

I guess we could go the cheap ebay ebike route again and just be prerpared to upgrade, if the price was right this might not be too bad an option.

Anyway surprisingly in the end we went to Big W and found a bike with everything we needed for under $300. The Diamondback Serene. Sure it is a cheap bike with cheap components but it is all upgradable and should take a low powered legal electric kit fine.

Pros
– Surprisingly light, I’ve not weighed it but it couldnt be more than 14 or 15 Kgs.
– 50mm travel front suspension, fine for on road city type riding, Suspension seat post.
-700c wheels
– Full Mudguards, metal and therefore more likely to get damaged/bent but sturdy enough.
-Vbrakes, many womens bikes seem to only come with callipers, no disc brakes bosses though, might be able to use a roller brake as a kind of low maintenance upgrade.
– included rear carrier, looks to be made of sturdy steel.
– centre stand, best for heavy ebikes, I would have fit a plescher which has proved itself indestructible on my Yuba Mundo but we will stick with this for now.
– 7 speed shimano rear freewheel style gears, no front gears, plenty of range for an ebike, might change to hub gears eventually.
-cartridge bottom bracket

Cons
– front battery mounting options a bit limited with the stepthrough frame.
– quill stem instead of ahead style.
– unknown quality of parts, wheel bearings etc, time will tell.
– Other than this I’m struggling to work out what is wrong with this bike.
– front alloy fork not ideal for mounting motor.

So now to find a nice low powered Aussie Legal Electric kit.

Stolen!

June 22, 2012

Bugger my GreenEWheels Electric bike has just this morning been stolen from outside IGS school on Kelly Street in Ultimo Sydney. My wife left it for but a moment unlocked (got distracted by something) and it was gone.

I had just got it working well with lots of new parts, deraillers  respoked the rear wheel etc. It is highly modified and distinctive. It still looks similar to the pics in previous blogs but with a basket on the front not back. And it is not even that easy to find the on switch so I can only hope the lazy thief abandons it at the first hill.

Send me a message if you live in inner sydney and think you have seen it, and remember lock those bikes!

eLation

December 14, 2011

Looks like eLation electric kits has closed up shop. Although I had the odd problem with the eLation kit I always received nothing but speedy and friendly problem solving service from Alan. I wish Alan all the best.

It is a pity that in business it is difficult to make sure everyone is always happy, and it looks like a few recent buyers will be left caught short with a broken kit and no warranty comeback. My kit has already paid for itself and is currently still working well almost 2 years later. Thankfully I have the V2 kit which has its major components compatible with other systems. I am however on the look out for another elation kit or parts to get as spares. So let me know if you want to sell one.

Bad ideas

July 29, 2011

I’ve had a tough couple of days on the road and I suppose this kind of post was inevitable and is often found in bike blogs the world over.

But first for those interested the Yuba and the Elation are going strong 4 days and maybe 50ks per week, Everything ticking along beautifully.

I have some very set routines in my bike travel and some very tried and true routes. Two days per week I travel in evening peak hour on the very busy but very slow moving Cleveland Street in Inner Sydney. Until now I have not had a problem. I keep up a cracking pace and really only the most inpatient driver could ever accuse me of holding anyone up.

So this week for some reason I have had my life threatened with a car two days in a row. All cyclists have at some point experienced the the close pass but this it the first time I have experienced a driver purposefully changing lanes to drive directly at me; both drivers missing me by maybe 12 inches.

The thing that has shaken me is that these “attacks” were completely unprovoked, not the aftermath of some incident or exchange of words as might be expected if not condoned.

I was simply riding on the road. Indeed this is what the 2nd driver accused me of. “Get off the road you *&;^%&;$*” is about as intelligent as his explanation got as I rode up next to him only 20 metres on. He went on the say he hadn’t touched me and that next time he would hit me! Great death threats..just what I need. To be honest despite his foul language and bravado, I could see in his eyes and hear in the tone of his voice that he wasn’t comfortable being confronted like this (especially when I pulled out my iphone and asked him to repeat his threats, which he wouldn’t). So maybee he will think twice next time. Maybe.

Maybe I’ll think twice about riding on that road again, or riding at all if I can drive, it would be a sensible personal reaction to this kind of thing. So if they are trying to scare me off, it might just have worked.

It was not smart of me to approach him at all, I know this, but in these situations, adrenalin often gets the better of me (as with most males). I mean how do you feel when your life is threatened?

Why does this happen and what can we do about it?

Maybe these are just bad people, but I think they are more often good people with a bad idea. In Sydney and other parts of Australia the print and commercial radio media is in bike story overdrive. There are weekly news stories and shock jock tirades, mostly related to some controversy over bike path infrastructure, but always with an anti-bike slant.

Is this emerging antibike sub-culture giving weak minded individuals a bad idea, swerve at bikes?

What to do? Smile, be courteous, move over, wave drivers past, ring my bell? Well ask me again next week because this week I say *&^% that…

What we need is more bikes, riding in small groups. Mostly in Sydney bike don’t ride together, we are like lone antelope surrounded by leopards, but really there are enough of us around now to form little groups and I’m convinced that this would be safer even if it doesn’t lead to more acceptance from good drivers with bad ideas.

Update

February 23, 2011

I’ve been fully ebiking on the Yuba for 12 months now. I would estimate I have travelled around 2000 ks in that time. So I thought I would just update how it was all going.

I travel 2 days per week with 50Kg of children plus school bags for about 2ks before carrying on to work. Two day per week I just have 30kg of children. Of course the drawback of this load is that it grows steadily heavier every day. When I started I used to ride up the short (30 meters) steep hill at the start of the trip fully loaded now I just get the “cargo” to meet me at the top of the hill.

The Yuba climbs hills fine really and I could ride up almost any hill fully loaded. However in the required very low gears the forward speed is so slow that balancing the bike with wiggly cargo becomes an issue.

My boys are pretty much over the novelty of the bike and treat it just like any other daily routine, which is good I guess. However the rest of the population is yet to get over the apparently amazing sight of 2 kids on the back of a bike. Every journey is constant attention from every passer by. We get pointing, shouting and head turning double takes everywhere we go. It’s all usually positive attention and good I guess but gets a bit boring after a while.

It reminds me of when I rode my Vespa ET4 in Sydney with very few other Vespas on the road about 10 years ago. Then I would often cop outright abuse. Ten years later they are everywhere and an accepted alternative form of transport.

So what is good what is bad, what has worked and what hasn’t.

Weather

The weather has at no time I can remember in 12 months stopped me riding. This I think is a testament to the good weather we have in Sydney but also to the idea that if it does rain the worst thing to happen is you get wet…The Yubas huge bag allows me to carry full wet weather gear and the only problem then becomes keeping the electrics in the eLation dry, so far so good. The recent heatwave was tricky and for 2 days I wore a tshirt and changed at work to cope with excessive perspiration.

Yuba Frame and forks

Good not broken, what else can i say, looks like it will out last my grandchildren.

ELation

This thing is good. Enough said. But to carry on.. it is robust, water resistant, adds good assistance when I need it and none when i dont. The 10 Amphour battery is is great and seems to have a range of 15-20 ks but really I have never let it run down and charge it every chance I get. I have only seen the orange low battery light once after about 15ks. Things have failed like the freewheel coming loose from the bottom bracket and the battery moving and shorting inside it’s housing but Allan at ELation has always been quick with service and advice. He now has a new model base on a 48volt battery, but unfortunately it seems to sacrifice the terrific forward mounted battery position.

Wheelset – Spinergy Xylone

Light lovely slick, I really loved these wheels they seems to roll forever…and broken. The rear rim failed after about 9 months (thankfully not catastrophically). I live and learn, the rims are just too narrow to support the tyre widths I was using at a pressure that made the bike rideable. I have updated to a nice reasonably priced Halos SAS wheelset with a 48 spoke rear and nice wide rims. I can now run much lower tyre pressures and this has improved the ride considerably allowing the balloon tyres to do the suspension work they are designed for.

On a positive note the rim was replaced under warranty and I am now thinking about building up a hardtail mountain bike with these wheels and a few spare bits and pieces I have left.

Go- Getter bag

I think my bag is great but it does hang down a bit off the side of the bike. I think this is because it is a V1 bag on a V3 Bike the newer ones look a little different and might sit a bit better. It’s a great bag for losing stuff in I’m often pulling things out that I lost 6 months ago. I used the separator panel to create a false bottom so I can hide my tools and stuff underneath when I lock up in public areas.

Pletscher Stand

How good are these things! In a word TOUGH. I must admit I really feared it wouldn’t last long with it’s spindly looking legs but it has been excellent and taken a world of abuse in the last 12 months. It’s no good for serious cargo loading and will tip if the bike is too unbalanced, but really I love the lightweight and great design.

Other Stuff

I’ve broken a few things over the last year like chains and derailleurs and things have worn out like brake pads and the rear tyre is going a bit bald, but overall the bike has been a fairly reliable form of daily transport. That said, it would have been different if I had to attend a bike shop everytime I have a little problem, in terms of both time and money, so having the skills and tools (a basic bike repair kit has been a great investment) to keep the bike on the road has been an important factor.

Ping

January 8, 2011

I have finally basically completed my Ping Battery mount box in the original position and while it does work I probably wouldn’t do it again and it was not an easy process (BTW lots of the following is a repost from comments made in a previous post).

Heres the box I made for the ping battery. It’s made of plywood (3 or 4 mm) and painted black. It’s quite an odd shape and needed lots of little adjustments with my belt sander to get it to fit Ok.

The standard 15AH 36volt ping is wide and I needed all of the original bottom bracket width to get it to fit. The original greenewheels bottom bracket is ok but it is a primitive affair and if you want a better bottom bracket it could be a problem. The battery also just fits under the seat stays (if that is what they are called) but is is such a tight fit that I have yet to seal the top of the box I built (I’ll use some kind of fabric I think). Lastly all the wiring is messy and i don’t have enough left over room in the box to mount plugs etc and I just have wiring, charger cable etc coming out of the top. Oh yeah I’m also shopping for lower profile tyres because the rear wheel only just (by about 1mm!) clears the new box.

I really wanted to do this so I could keep the back rack free for a child seat but mounting your battery there would be much less hastle. One of those little black topeak bags or something on a rear rack would likely be ideal.

Another option would be the 10 Amp hour version which is much less tall (but still just as wide) or to have Ping Battery make a 15AH battery in a different shape. I have heard of others having batteries built in 2 parts for example. You might be able to get a taller but narrower shape. But keep in mind I needed the room above the battery for a saddle bag which I keep the controller in.

Regarding the ping battery itself it seems really good. I ride from Glebe to Randwick and back not sparing the motor and I never even see the green light go out, so this 15AH battery is likely overkill for me. The “free” charger is not worth the price, it uses some mad coaxial wiring which breaks if you stare at it too hard, spring for the upgraded charger would be my advice.

On the bright side it is all working and mobile and still a pleasure to ride. And an essential backup for my Yuba when it is off the road.

Ebike bling

August 16, 2010

My foot is almost fully recovered now and thanks to everyone for their good wishes.

I’m back on the mundo and really enjoying some early spring weather cruising around Sydney. The Mundo is great to ride again. It really is just as good a ride as my other hub motor bike even with the extra weight. I broke another chain and in the process snapped my derailleur but I think I’ve finally worked out what I was doing wrong with the chain joining thing.

I have recently got some great pics from a fellow ebiker, Mark, with a greenwheels, very bling. These picture just go to show how these bikes can make efficient and stylish transport if your willing to keep them maintained and update the more dodgey parts. Here’s the pics of his bike

Below is my greenewheels with a new ping 15ah battery in the rear basket. It is working great and while it seems to feel a little torquer on takeoff it has the same or a little lower top speed (28kph on the flat no pedaling) as with the previous battery and controller. Now I just need the motivation and time to mount the battery more permanently so I can give my wife back her makeup travel bag!

I’m also going to repost a response Mark gave me to a previous post as I’m sure there are others out there with these greenewheels bikes who want some help in keeping them going

“..So my Bafang motor lasted 2700km before failing, which was better than the 13Ah greenewheels battery, which only lasted about half that before the BMS fried itself, thanks to you I managed to fix that with the BMS in your your dud GW battery with the cactus cells. Thanks again for that and the spare charger, it’s coming in very handy.

In any case ordered some honeywell SS411 hall effect sensors from Farnell and some 1.6mm heatshrink, on monday morning, arrived at work tuesday morning. farnell have free shipping for any order(might be sydney only), which is amazing as the two sensors and the heatshrink only added up to about $10 which is the min credit card limit.

Did the open heart surgery on the Bafang last night and hey presto, it’s working fine again. The original hall sensors don’t appear to be any good, as seems to be a common failure if you look at the endless sphere forums.

Have also just taken delivery of a whole stack of upgrade parts from ChainReactionCycles from the UK, so cheap with the strong dollar. Got a new disc only Halo Freedom Disc 26 front wheel, a shimano XT M775 hydraulic brake and 160 rotor, plus new wider Easton bars and stem, (original bars a bit narrow for me at 585mm new ones 684mm) plus some continental city contact 1.75 tyres. Also have recently upgraded the extremely woeful original bottom bracket to a shimano cartridge one and some new campy cranks and 53T chainwheel, and new 13 to 34T freewheel cluster, (original 14 to 28T) so pedalling is much nicer and easier to cruise at low cadence, plus can spin to 55km/h down the hills on the way home from work each day.

The new headlight I put on the beast is amazing as well, It’s a VisionX Solstice Solo S1102 15° beam, 50,000hr 10W LED, 900 lumens, as powerful as a 100W halogen, runs from 9 to 50v so a perfect fit for the 36 to 42V of the onboard power.

So these bikes are great but only if you are willing and able to patch up, repair and modify due to quality issues. I would not recommend them to anyone who is not a DIY type. I note that Shimano are releasing electric bike kit in the 4th quarter this year, ‘Shimano Steps’ it’s called, no doubt will be more reliable than this gear.”

Foot

June 30, 2010


So I’ve broken my foot. I’m not good at being unwell, I moan alot and tend to limp around the house with a pained expression while of course attracting little sympathy from the family (not true really my 7yo boy has been very caring really).

No I didn’t come off my bike, no it wasn’t that dangerous downhill skateboarding thing I sometimes do. I was switching off a light and just took a bad step…such is life.

With the greenewheels bike I’ve not mounted the battery in the original location yet, although I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to, I’ve got it sitting in a rear basket to test the whole thing before I go to the trouble of making a more permanent solution.

The Ping battery will physically just fit in the space where the original was so in order to make a casing for it out of plywood I need to be millimetre perfect in it’s construction or it will foul either the rear wheel or the cranks. My first attempt at cutting out the wood just didn’t fit so I’ll have another go making the box a little bigger and slowly reduce it’s size until it fits perfectly.

So I’ve got the Greenewheels going with it’s new battery and even with a broken foot it is the best way to get to work as I can ride right up to the front door (it’s walking that is difficult!).

The handlebar change and front disc fitting was very easy really and the brakes are great, strong reliable (no shudder!) and work well even with the pretty average original electric cutout brake levers. The bike is again pretty much the same as it was when I was riding it last year but I have disconnected the primitive pedal sensor setup. It took too long to come on, too long to turn off again and added too much power when I didn’t want or need it.

I have really been able to appreciate this lighter and faster ebike this week or so. I’m convinced the new controller makes the bike much torquer but it’s been a while since I rode it in original configuration so it’s hard to remember. Top speed without pedaling feels basically the same (28-29ks) but I’ll need a speedo before I can be definitive.

Riding this style of bike with the whisper quiet hub motor makes me realise that my “eLated Mundo” is really a bike for the enthusiast. More pedaling, more gear changing and more noise. My wife for example is an Ok bike rider but she has just not been able to come to terms with riding the heavier, longer, more gearchangier Mundo. I think for your average non cycling person the hub motor style bike is a compelling ride and makes a strong case for the ebike in general. Now all we need is reliability, good aftersales backup and reasonable cost and these things will be everywhere!

Brake 4

June 21, 2010

Just a quick and hopefully final update on my rear brakes.

I got my first puncture last week in the rear (Kevlar tyres or not this nail still got in!) so I took the opportunity to have another look at the rear brake. Basically I tried a bit harder to mount the 160 mm bb7. But really it was never going to mount well, ie have the caliper grab the disk correctly without significant modification of something so i have gone back to the 185mm. Which is still working fine and locking up the rear wheel whenever I want.

Anyhow given that Yuba seem to have changed the rear disk mount point in recently sold frames my experiences with rear discs are probably a bit out of date. Check some of the other Yuba links in my blogroll for pics of the new offset mounting point, and some pics of some great new mundo creations!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.