Archive for the ‘electric bike’ Category

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.

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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!

Accessorize!

May 12, 2010

For the mundo rider who has everything, a colour matching Jellibell! Look good and sound friendly!

And get that tight rear end you have always wanted with these little beauties! 25mm furniture endcaps. Available from your local hardware store now! (warning end caps may cause rear end fluid retention leading to premature rustification).

…and for the nature lover why not go troppo with this great garden setting for your Yuba Mundo! (children not included)


Finished

April 6, 2010

It’s done! Well it’s never done and I do intend to keep up the odd post here and there as I experience riding and repairing things, but its on the road so time for a bit of summing up. It’s been a long project from conception last October to completion now. Most of this time was taken up with research and decision making. I didn’t keep track of all the time the construction took but I guess about 14 nights, 3 or 4 hours per nights so maybe 40 or 50 hours for the basic build (not counting tinkering adjustments and brake problems) but remember I have been in no hurry and had to learn a lot about running brake cables and tuning gears along the way, so you might not take as long.

I am thrilled with the bike and the reaction it gets from others (too much reaction at times, makes it difficult to get where i’m going!), and due the the Mundo’s well designed frame and the high spec components, it is the best bike I have ever ridden. I think I’m pedaling more than I would have liked so a bigger hub motor would be a more pleasant ride but I’m limited to the Australian 200wat legal limit and I’m sure the eLation is making the best of this limit. You may ask why not just get a more powerful motor as the police wont be able to tell anyway. As Allan at Elation explained, it is not getting picked up, it is being involved in an incident/accident when you will be required to prove that the motor is legal. Allan tells me this has happened to an Elation owner already, thankfully he had the 200watt option.

I have really enjoyed “making” my own bike (well assembling anyway) and I think this experience will pay off when i need to maintain or upgrade things. Money wise I have certainly not gone down the cheapest path with little change out of $4000 aust dollars. My budget was about $3000 but upgraditis seemed to take hold at every turn!

If your considering doing what I’ve done I think you could easily knock $1000 off my spend with different wheels and lower spec components, but personally I wouldn’t change a thing on my bike. Cheaper faster and likely better would be to buy a complete bike like the Surley Big Dummy, or even a complete Mundo, but again I’ve enjoyed the process so much that my next bike will be made this way too.

In the end the bike does what I wanted it to do; it stops me driving a car. It is also a statement, a very loud bright orange statement, about what is possible on a bike and that personal transport is a series of options not just choice between crowded public transport or driving in congested traffic.

That’s kind of why, when I could, I went for aesthetically appealing or matching colours. It’s a more convincing statement if it looks cool. And yes I am up myself…a bit.

Regrets I have a few…but may I say….

Frame

The Mundo frame is a well designed but not very well constructed piece of gear, but by all accounts the V3 is far superior to previous versions and I guess if I boil it down I only had a few niggles like over-sprayed paint and brake compatibility, and the already known dropout issue. However from a business goodwill point of view, I don’t think Yuba are doing themselves any favors selling this as a frame to end users unless they can sort out the quality and comparability issues. Mine came shipped direct from China which means checking on quality must be difficult for the Yuba guys. It will lead to many, like myself at times during this blog, underselling what is really a very good design.

I really don’t need the capacity of the Mundo, I’ll likely only ever have 60-70Kgs of cargo and passengers so a lighter better made bike might have worked just as well if not better. But the  Mundo frame is great to ride and it still needs to be in the shortlist of any serious cargo bike buyer.

Wheels

The Spinergys are great, light and stiff but only time will tell if the rear takes the weight. I rode about 1k the other night with my wife and 2 young boys and bags etc aboard and the wheel still runs perfectly true so so far so good! I’m sure the light freewheeling feel the bike delivers is due, at least in part, to the low weight of these wheels. I should have gotten a wheel with a wider rim to suit the fat balloon tyres, but they ride fine with 60psi.

Brakes

The big discs look great and eventually work fine but are likely overkill, 160mm front and V rears would work just as well. I am still having front shudder so if further adjustment can’t sort it out I guess I’ll be looking for a new set of forks.

eLation Kit

The other bits and pieces on the bike are pretty good stuff but the eLation cranks and front cogs are not as good, thankfully the front cogs are upgradable when i feel the need, and with the motor helping I really don’t change the front cogs much anyway.

Overall the eLation kit is great.  It will pull and give good assist at any speed, providing your in the right gear. It will cruise on 30Ks with no problems at all and can in the right conditions sit on 36ks or so for considerable periods (all this of course with moderate pedaling).  It is noisier and not as pretty as a hub system but until hubs get some kind of gearing it is the best way to take full advantage of the 200Watt Aussie limit.

Deflopulator

Hmm maybe its just me but I still got the flop.

Stand

The side stand I salvaged off my old cheap mountain bike was working great until I put any load on the bike then it just plain failed! I bought a cheap centre stand (from Morouya Bikes), seemed good but fouled the chain when folded up and in a low gear.

Eventual solution? Pletscher kickstand, the 2 legged stand that folds up on one side, very neat. Expensive and not able to cope with really any cargo loading but better than finding somewhere to lean the bike all the time! Thanks again to Cheeky Transport for this and a their generally interested and helpful service.

Azonic Pedals

Look good, cheap ($20- I think), went well until the first time caught in the rain now they are making the most awful groaning noises ever. Marked for upgrading. ****UPDATE*** These pedals have stopped groaning (after I lubed them up a bit more) and are still going strong 600+ks later! I do like the grip pegs, very secure, but they are ruining my work shoes.

Go Getter Bag – Yuba

Big – great, you can take anything with you with this bag. It’s an on bike bag,  it could be carried around at a pinch but if this is required just strap on a backpack instead.

Soft spot seats – Yuba

Good solid comfortable but for short trips sitting on a wooden board would be just a good! Easy to steal off the bike too.

Alligator Bullet Proof Brake and Gear Cables

Look good seem to work well, until I went to fit last bit of the rear brake cable when I discovered the last bit of cable was kinked.  Couldn’t really remove the whole kit from the bike now in little bits and return them. Mismatching cable now but not the end of the world.

Thanks to all for you views (over 1000 hits in 3 months or so) and to all for your helpful comments and encouragement.

The life electric

February 11, 2010

For those of you tuning in for the electric bit of this blog I guess this is feeling like an episode of “Lost” where all the twists and turns don’t give you the payoff you want.

Well I’m pretty close to finishing the Elation kit now. I just wanted to get the basic bike up and running before adding the motor. In the next few days hopefully. In the meantime I though I would like to review my experiences with electric bikes thus far. If you want more details on electric bikes in general check http://endless-sphere.com/forums/.

About 2 years ago I moved into inner west Sydney about 3-4ks from the city after 6 years living 20ks to the south west. Living out there I used the train as much as I could but the location of my boys school, near the city, made this option difficult so I ended but driving a lot, and sitting in heavy traffic on the M5 freeway a lot too, bikes were really not a good option for transport other than maybe the local shops. So the new house is about 2ks from my boys school which is a fine walk but that then leaves me at the mercy of public transport to carry on to my work in nearby suburbs. So even with only 2ks to school I again ended up driving a lot more than I wanted to.

I tried riding a skateboard for a while and combined with public transport this works pretty well. Also a normal bike without electric motors could work too. But I work in a medical office environment with no showers etc in my workplace and lets be honest once you have tasted the convenience of stepping out of you cool clean car into work, riding to work and needing a shower at the other end in order to function in polite company, leaves a bit to be desired.

I think climate change really is an inconvenient truth and that 80% of people will not sacrifice their own comfort even if they understand all the risks climate change poses. People need to be convinced on other grounds like their own hip pocket and their own convenience.  I suppose, to be honest, I’m no different and need more motivation than moral superiority to do the right thing

So a couple of test rides to work on my old cheap Kmart style Malvern Star bike proved the principle (albeit with a few cans of deoderant!) and the search was on for an electric bike. I considered the Elation kit at the time but I didn’t have a suitable bike to put it on. So after a bit of research I decided to purchase a” Greenewheels” bike through ebay. Its hard to trace the origins of these bikes other than all coming from China however it is very similar to a Whisper brand bike with a Bafang geared hub motor. It has a 36volt system and is a neat and tidy looking ebike.

The purchase went smoothly and the bike arrived in good condition just needing pedals etc fitted. Charged it up and it was great! The motor on the flat with no pedaling would sit on a solid 28-29kph. It was a dream. My son would ride on the cross bar in front, which I padded, and we could chat and joke, and I was at work in no time after a not so sweat inducing ride.

No license no insurance no traffic jams plus I’m getting a little exercise everyday. I would have paid 3 times what I did for this thing….except then it began to break down and no one wanted to know.

First it was little things like quickly worn break pads, no problem I upgraded these. Then some broken spokes which were of a particular size, got em eventually from the original supplier and worn bottom bracket bearings, the originals were very poor quality.  In the process I went to at least 6 different bike shops who varied in their reaction from just can’t help to almost open hostility when they found out the bike had an electric boost.

Business wise this just confused me. OK, I didn’t buy a bike from them but that’s not to say I wouldn’t at some future time if they tried to help me with this.  Sometimes they did help, a bit, but the attitude was tough to take. The least attitude I got was from Cheeky Transport in Newtown, whom I have used for parts of the latest, many thanks to Nick.

Overall I think bike shops must have it too easy or something because they sure don’t seem to want my money.

OK so now the big problems began. The Hall effect sensor wiring on the motor melted and I needed a new motor (can be corrected with a sensorless controller too)  and about 10 months later the battery needs replacing. To be honest I think I cooked the battery by running it too low for the first few charges, shortening it’s life. But for me this just shows that owning an ebike is not as straight forward as a car or motorbike. At the time I just didn’t realize this could be a problem.

Anyway these are all things that with help from the net (endlesssphere.com) I was capable of fixing myself but if I didn’t develop these skills then the bike would now be junk with no local repair option.

Why did I persevere at all? Ebikes are great to ride, simple as that.  People who make negative comments most likely haven’t ridden one.

But unless like me you like staring into an electronic abyss of melted wiring, spending hours on the net sourcing obscure parts and repair information, then I can’t recommend them, at this point, to the average commuter. I hope this changes sometime soon with local shops embracing ebikes as a new sales stream rather than turning up their nose at them.

Its not all bad this bloke seems to have had much better luck with his almost identical bike. http://blog2.zog.net.au/category/electric-bikes/greenewheels/

Elated!

January 20, 2010

I ordered the elation kit a few weeks before I had the mundo frame
delivered. My worry then was that the oval shaped frame was too wide for the elation mount. At least is was according to my measurements and the elation website. However this week I finally received the elation kit and it just and I mean just seems to fit!

might need to add a link or 2 to the chain link straps so the bolts reach the nylock in the nuts

More will follow but a test fit was pretty encouraging.

Next dealing with some of the mundos frame issues!

Why do I want a cargo bike?

January 20, 2010

Early 2009 I purchased a greenewheels electric bike through ebay which I used 3 days a week all year for dropping my 6yo at school (2kms) and proceeding to work (about another 3-7Kms one way).

I bought this bike after a lot of research and it worked well for many months. It probably needs a blog of its own however suffice to say it had a few problems which I have dealt with along the way and it is still working fine but is in need of a new battery.

About 3 months ago I was riding home with my 6 yo son in his usual position, perched on the cross bar in from of me with his feet up on the fork tops. I had thought about the safety aspect of this long and hard comparing it to other options like a trailgator bike but decided this was as safe, comfortable and practical as any other option. Anyway the local police didn’t agree and pulled me over to suggest this was not safe. Not big deal, no heavy handedness, no fines, just their opinion.

The law on passengers on bikes in NSW is that you can only have the number of passengers the bike is designed to take. This looks pretty open to interpretation if you ask me.  All the same this situation along with the need to take 2 boys with my 3 yo starting preschool this year  leads me to the Cargo bike and the Mundo!

With a cargo bike like a Mundo I could carry 2 kids plus luggage.  Also, I am hooked on the electric bike concept and wearing ordinary clothes while riding and so I have purchased an Elation motor kit to boost me along hopefully just like my other electric bike. All be it limited to the 200Watt Australian power limit.

Why build it myself? Cost? Maybee.  More likely my often painful self-sufficient streak and the enjoyment I get from building things. You may find a ready to buy option would suit you better. However such is the state of the Ebike market that an ability to repair and maintain your bike yourself is almost essential.