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)



May 5, 2010

I’m still having the odd problem with the Mundo (mainly with the brakes again!) but i’ve started to work on my old Greenewheels bike mainly for my wife to ride but also as a backup for the days when for one reason or another the Mundo is out of action.


The main thing needed is a new battery, and I’ve ordered a 36v 15AH LiFe from who has a good reputation.

The old battery was compact (36v 10AH) and in a purpose built case (it has been donated to another needy greenewheels rider – thanks for the beers!). The new one is bigger but from my measurements should just fit in the same space, with some modifications, but I won’t know for sure until it arrives.  If it doesn’t fit I’ll  just put it on a rear rack but I would like to keep that clear for a child seat if possible.

Also a battery locking plate will need to be removed.


I’ll need to move the controller electronics to the top of the seat post so the battery can sit low enough to fit. I will just get a medium sized under seat bag to put this in, Anyway I wont miss jamming the controller and wiring into the triangular box, not alot of fun!.

I have already replaced the original controller with one that is sensorless. This means it works without the small hall effect sensors in the motor telling it when to apply power.  The motor makes a brief knocking sound on taking off but otherwise it’s just like the old one.

I needed this as the original motors hall effect sensor wiring melted into a horrible mess! The wiring was cheap and used cheap looking heatshrink laid right on top of the motor coils so it was not surprising it melted (esp under the loads I subjected the poor bike to).

Disc Brakes

Yes I know, I know I am a sucker for punishment, but I’ve got all these lovely BB7 brakes left over from my Mundo adventure and i just couldn’t let them go to waste. The front is easy anyway and the disc mount tabs on the fork are great (better than the Mundo, ie the correct thickness). I think I’ll leave the Vs on the back for the moment as it will need some kind of threaded adapter for the disc to mount on the hub motor.

I did need to get a new wheel for the front and I am just using a cheap “joytech” brand hub from Morouya Bicycles.  The bearings on this seem a bit primitive but no worse than the ones i’m removing.

I’ll start with the big 203mm disc and see how it goes.


My wife insists I change the handlebars to more swept back crusier style. No problem I thought, but of course now all the brake cables and wiring is too short…. Oh well I need new cable for the front disc anyway and all the wiring needs rerouting because i’m moving the controller.

Note to self..remove cable inner before cutting outer sheath to size …opps.

The cheapish stem seems to not be gripping the handlebars too well so a new stem might be in order at some point.

All done and looks neat as i reused the curly plastic tape which was covering all the wiring.

Now I’ve just got to wait for the battery, try and fashion some kind of case or mounting system then remember which wires plug where and i’m in business!


April 14, 2010

I was heading out yesterday to take my boy to footy training (Aussie rules footy BTW, a bit like gaelic football with an oval ball I had my 3 yo on the back and was powering up my driveway when the chain broke (bike chain not electric drive chain).

It looks like a side plate has come loose same as happened previously. (is this the normal way for bike chains to fail?). I’m now not sure if it is me not joining the chain correctly or just that this SRAM chain is not up to the job. I think I’ll repair it and mark the links that I join so I can check it if it happens again.

I am a slow learner on predicting upcoming problems with my bike. On my previous bike I listened to the rear wheel making clicking noises for weeks then was surprised when I broke some spokes!

This time the gears have been “autoshifting” for the past few days.  I thought this was because of poor dérailleur adjustment but was more likely the chain starting to fail.

We live and learn.


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….


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.


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.


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.


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


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.

Elation 3

April 5, 2010

I had a small issue with the eLation kit. The motor chain suddenly came of for no good reason and I had great difficulty adjusting the front derailler.

In the end it was the eLation crank and freewheel clutch which had come loose. It is “force fit” with a key (pressed in piece of metal) and backed up with locktight. Anyway mine came loose but I shipped it back to Queensland and had it back on the bike (with some free lights!) within a week.

Couldn’t really ask for better customer service. Thanks Allan!

I tried to fit a spare crank without a motor while it was away but it seems there are 2 standards with the square taper crank, and my spare crank lined up at 90 degrees to the other! Bikes are a constant learning process.


March 21, 2010

Passenger handlebars on the mundo are not really stoker bars just some thing for passengers to hang on to. It’s not like they are pedaling or leaning on the bars like a true stoker would be. So I don’t think the position and height is too important.

This may seem like an easy thing to do but I spent a long time on the net zooming in on pictures of other installs to get the details of how to do this on the cheap. I couldn’t find anywhere which explained how to do this  in detail hence the following.

The principal of stoker bars on the Mundo is easy, attach some handlebars to the seatpost. I considered proper stoker bar stems but they are not easy to source (in aust anyway ) and they are about $60 to $100 not counting the bars. Yuba have a kit with bars and grips for $49US which looks Ok but I wanted a cheaper solution and the one I came up with is about as cheap as it gets.

I used an “ahead” type bike stem which suits handle bars of 31.8mm (same as the Mundo seatpost), and a steerer clamp of 1 1/8 inch; that way I could reverse the stem using the handlebar clamp on the seat and the steerer clamp to hold the handlebars. Most stems come with some degree of “rise”, usually 6 deg or so, and of course if you reverse the stem this rise will turn into a sideways offset. So you need either an adjustable stem which you adjust to 0 deg or just get a 0 deg stem, which is what I used. These are not as easy to find as riser types but they are available.

Ritchey do an adjustable stem for about $20-30 on but I just got a very cheap ($6-!) Answer AtacPro 0 deg, 120mm stem (also from Jensen). I also needed a shim for my handlebars, but this depends on what bars you use.

The bars I used were cruiser/riser type (again cheap Dimension brand about $15) but I think they were too wide and I cut them down to avoid taking out pedestrians! I made them slightly narrower than the side loaders.

120mm Stem just fits without fouling the rear carrier.

Total cost all new parts (excepts grips) about $25- and looks like a bought one.

Brake 3

March 20, 2010

The adapter for the rear bb7 185mm disc arrived from Yuba. It seems they have gone to a lot of trouble to have it CNCed and are likely not making any money selling it for $30. I had a lot of trouble working out how to use this adapter (no instructions included) but finally worked out that you need to use one 1/2 of the BB7 adjustment shims with the bolts and washers they send with the adapter. After a bit of  moving the caliper position with washers etc I got it to mount ok.

Correctly mounted adapter before I broke it

 Then I broke it.

The caliper mounting bolts only go into the adapter about 3 or 4 threads deep so of course when tensioning it up I was a bit over zealous and stripped the thread in the soft alloy adapter. I might work Ok for you but watch out you don’t tension it too much. I probably didn’t need to do it up that tight but I have used a similar tension on the original BB7 adapter with no problems. The Yuba adapter is certainly weaker than the original, so maybe it wouldn’t have coped with braking forces over time and I’ve saved myself future problems?

Yuba adapter compared to the original Avid BB7 adapter note same bolt used

OK so long story short I had a 160mm BB7 rotor and after stuffing about with the adapter I thought I would just put that on and be done with it. But it didn’t fit! Certainly not with the standard adapter and mounting bolts. It might fit if the caliper bolts are adjusted/shimmed etc. I may try again if I can be bothered changing the rotor yet again.

I wonder how many people have successfully mounted rear discs on the Mundo? I only know of one other on the web and he mentions having to “man handle” the mounting tab.

So I have the 3 rotor sizes for BB7s and adapters and none of them mount on the rear of my Yuba without significant change to the mounting bolts or using a fairly weak adapter, nice.

Never fear on we go on this glorious rear brake adventure! I would have given up long ago and gone rear V Brake but as I previously mentioned my rims don’t have a V Brake track.

So nothing to lose with the ruined Yuba 185mm adapter I drilled it right through, made a couple of  “shelves” with my Dremel tool and some cutoff discs (a free Dremel tool should really come with every Mundo frame!), and mounted using some longer bolts with nylock nuts. Mounts nice and secure and so far so good with a 185mm rear brake!

Modified adapter

Mounted on the Mundo

My front brake mounting (original Mundo fork) was never all that good (203mm rotor) and needed alignment but I couldn’t get it to line up without bending the brake mount tab slightly and grinding all the paint and some metal off the inside of it. But it seems Ok now, but it does still shudder a bit if I really pull on the brake, not sure if this is the fork or something else.

Victory? Well it feels a hollow victory really. Are you building a Mundo with disc brakes? Ask youself do you really need them? Anyway maybe I’ve made all the mistakes for you. My pleasure that’s what I’m here for!


March 19, 2010

Had a party for my 7 yo the other day. There is an awful lot of plastic involved in a childs life these days, lego and bionicles seemed the most popular!

At least the ice was green powered, kind of.  Could have gone more bags but still not got the back brake working!

five 5kg bags of ice! Could have gone 6 or 7 easy!

With an electric cargo I always get a double take from passers by, once for the bike once for the motor. With five bags of ice on board it was a triple take!


February 19, 2010

yes my workshop/corner of the garage is a mess...

My grand father was a carpenter but unfortunately he wasn’t the mentoring type and I didn’t pick up much from him. He mainly made formwork anyhow. but I’ve got a couple of his tools. These are pretty easy to make with or without power tools, I used a cheap jigsaw and a belt sander and powerdrill which made the whole thing pretty quick, maybe 3 or 4 hours start to finish.

It has been hot lately (up to 41deg C the other day) with lots of evening storms and rain perfect weather for disappearing into my cool basement garage to do some woodwork.

I bought some 6mm hoop pine plywood but I wished I had time to look harder for some 2nd hand stuff, you don’t need much. The 6mm stuff is very light (the top deck and the side loaders combine to just over a kilo). The 6mm is fine for the top deck as its well supported along its length but its a bit flexy for the side loaders. It would be quicker just to use thicker ply, but I just screwed and glued an extra “stringer” of ply underneath to increase the strength. However standing towards the inside edge is still pretty flexible.

Just trace around the side loaders and cut with a jigsaw

It’s tricky to figure out exactly where to drill the holes for the mounting screws (which are already on the V3 Mundo). I just clamped the boards into position and it left an impression in the wood showing where I needed to drill. I also greased all the mounting bolts so they don’t rust into position. The heads on these hex bolts are notoriously easy to strip.

These are the dimensions I got for the top deck but measure for yourself!

I used some leftover Tung based flooring oil to seal the boards; 3 coats. It created a beautiful yellow-gold matt finish which I think suits the bike well.

boards getting oiled - stringers on sideloaders

As well as the top and lower boards I put some side boards to keep my boys feet out of the spokes and allow me to easier mount some kind of foot rest for my younger shorter fella. I drilled some holes in these to allow strapping points for cargo and to keep the weight down (shaved a whole 200gms off, yes I am embarrassed to say I did weigh them…), plus it looks funkier!

I’m kind of glad I’m still waiting on the rear brake as it has made me focus on the boards this weekend. Test ride was great all tight and good. There was a weird reverberation off the lower boards from the drive drain, just sounded a bit weird.

I’ve now got some Yuba soft spot seat which seem pretty good and sturdy. With these you don’t need a topdeck, they have a thick flexible plastic base. I was going to drill some cutouts in the topdeck to allow the pannier bag to fit but I’m just going to go with the soft spots without a deck. A pity it looked great with the deck!


February 17, 2010

Here’s a quick video with sound, of the Elation motor working  just so you can get an idea of how it works and how loud it sounds. Compare it to the ticking freewheel at the end of the video to get an idea of the volume.

Note that despite the spinning pedals you don’t need to pedal when the motor is on.

One little thing with the Elation it that backing up your bike is a little more difficult as it works against the motor. Although it kind of works like a parking brake if you use a single kickstand.