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BBS02 on a Klein racing bike...fast, very fast!

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    BBS02 on a Klein racing bike...fast, very fast!

    In Jan of 2001, the Masters Team of the US Postal Service received Klein Quattro Pro frame sets, painted in White with Red stripes and Blue with White stars. Initially that year, we were jokingly called “Team Captain America”. However later that year, whenever I rode my bike, cars honked in support and the memory of the 911 attack in NYC.

    The Klein was a very, very stiff frame and made short work of hills due to its stiffness, but also transferred quite a bit of the road shock to the rider. It wasn’t long afterwards that the Klein sponsorship was replaced by a Serotta.

    I haven’t ridden the Klein in quite a while and its been collecting dust in my garage. I was going to sell it, but when the frame “serial number” is your own name… that’s a bike I should definitely keep.

    A little background on myself. I have been racing bicycles since I was 26 years old and now 35 years later, I’m still racing bicycles. I’ve been able to compete in nearly all 50 states and all over the world and been on the prestigious United States Postal Masters Service team for many years. I’ve won 7 world championships and 29 Nationals titles, so I’ve had quite a bit of success. However this year, I turn 61 and although I’m still pretty fast (for my age), I tend to suffer a bit when the pace gets going on our Saturday group rides. These old legs are just not as fresh as they used to be 20-30 years ago.

    Last year, I tried out a Specialized eBike and instantly fell in love, but sticker shock meant I wouldn’t be having one of those any time soon. I did electrify my Catrike 700, but missed the upright position of my racing bike. So I thought, why not electrify my stiff all American Klein with the Bafung 750w and use one of the new compact shark battery packs at 52V to power the motor. That way, it would be pretty stiff, partially stealth and not too heavy.

    So that is my task. Mind you, most bicycle racers turn their nose up at the thought of an ebike. So a racing frame set up with power, is quite rare. And some of the components are not designed to fit a proper racing bike (but more on that later).

    When speaking to other bike racers I heard comments like, “isn’t that cheating”? Well, since this is not my race bike, no. Of course, I won’t be using my ebike in races, although I might torment some on the group ride… As I explained, with an ebike, hills no longer exist here in Colorado. I just set the PAS to somewhere between 4-6 and riding up hills feels like I am riding on the flats. So as I tell my racing friends, I can do a recovery ride while riding up some of the local mountain passes. So I don’t have to do my recovery rides on boring and flat terrain. But more importantly, how many times have you overdone it on a ride? Ridden too far, run out of food or water, bonked and had to somehow make it home with dead legs. Ah, that’s where the ebike is a life-saver! Just turn on the motor and easily pedal home. The additional weight (20lbs) is not that noticeable and it means I’ll get a better workout and will really appreciate my 17lb racing bike when I do race.

    Basic build. Since the frame was nearly stripped,I had to find a saddle, seat post, stem and handlebars. Then I took my SRAM Red components off my spare race bike and mounted them on the Klein.

    I ordered my Bafung 750w from Luna Cycles and when it arrived, I attempted to put it into position on the Klein frame. At first I could not get the Bafung into the bottom bracket, something was preventing the motor from sliding into the bottom bracket. A flashlight revealed that the screw that holds the cable guides on the bottom bracket, was protruding into the BB shell. I simply unscrewed the screw, took a grinding wheel to the screw and removed about 1/8” from the screw, then reinstalled it. I toyed with the idea of the using the newer 1000w Bafung motor, but I wanted it to be as small as possible and since I’d had such good success with the 750w on my trike, 1000 watts seemed like overkill. Plus with the 52V shark battery I could wring about 1300 watts out of the 750 anyway. Plenty of power to do what I wanted to do.

    I chose a 52 tooth chainring and since I was losing my front derailleur with the Bafung, I calculated my highest and lower gear with my current 10-speed setup. (53x39 and 10-spd 11-23T cogset) and purchased a longer throw SRAM derailleur and an 11-32 cog.
    Whereas my current racing gearing gave me a high gear of 130” and my low gear 46”, the 52T chainring paired with an 11-32 cluster gave me a high gear of 128” and a low gear of 45” nearly identical to my previous gear setup.

    The Bafung mounted below the bottom bracket, looks quite stealth, as I really didn't want to motor or battery to be totally obvious and in reality folks hardly notice the motor, only the battery anyway.

    I tucked the wires in behind the bottom bracket and underneath the battery and routed them to the handlebars. My intention was to hide the wires as well as possible underneath the handlebar tape.

    Weight. I don't remember what my Klein weighed when it was setup for racing, but with the Bafund 750 motor and 52V shark battery it now weighs 37lbs. To me used to 17lb racing bikes it feels like a tank!! and it also handles like a tank. So I used 25mm tires on the Shimano wheels for a softer ride.

    Displays. I originally wanted the c963 display, but it wasn't available when I started the build. So I used an older c961 display instead. One of the issues was the 961 had a separate controller switch and I wanted to have as few items on the handlebars as possible, but at least for now I could get the bike running and try it out.

    I used the accessory throttle, as it seemed to be the smaller of the two throttle choices. I mounted it on a stalk just inside of the left brake. Since I shift gears with the right brake lever (SRAM Red 10 spd), I wanted to have the throttle positioned on the opposite side so my left hand could control the throttle.

    The throttle body is not set up for a racing handlebar (26.2) dimension and I tried to drill it out, but that failed, so instead i mounted it on a smaller diameter piece of handlebar zip tied to the inside of the racing handlebars. As a rule, the Bafung is not designed for the larger handlebars of a racing bike, but more for mountain or touring steeds. So this does require some modification.

    Brake switch: The brakes that come with the Bafund are designed for a mountain bike style bars, not racing bike bars, so I used the remote switch that goes inline with the brake cable and mounted it to the front brake. This way I could lightly hit the left brake and kill the power easily. Since the throttle and kill switch were on the same side, it made for easy control of power.

    The c961 display is programmable to 50kph, but that wasn't fast enough for me. So I programmed the wheel size to 16" which gave me the speed in mph, but was the KPH equivalent of MPH. So it matched with my Garmin Edge 500 display.

    Eventually the c963 display arrived thanks to Ashley at Luna cycles and I was able to eliminate the separate control on the handlebar. However, the 963 was set up for only 3 PAS settings (1-3) and no matter what programming codes I used, I was unable to find a series to program the display to the 0-9 settings. I found that there were not enough minor settings to give me the fine control I needed to adjust the power to a group ride setting. So while the 963 is my preferred display, without the PAS 0-9 setting it doesn't work for this e-bike.

    Finally, I received word that Luna now had the color DCP14 display in stock and I promptly ordered one of these and set it up for 99KPH max speed and 0-9 PAS settings. The wheel size was set to 27" (700c Shimano wheels) and it seemed to synch well with my Garmin.

    Group ride and impressions and outrage!

    I finally was able to do our normal Saturday 65 mile group ride. Now mind you, this ride is composed of mostly Category 1-3 USAC bike racers so the speeds are at race pace. We normally travel at plus 30mph and its constant attacks and counter-attacks. For many racers, this is their weekly race. So I was very cautious not to let anyone know I was running under power.

    I found that my PAS setting in the early ride out stage was 1-2 as any more and I would start overlapping riders and had to hit the brake and kill the power. This was very annoying and I had to reset the PAS from 2-1.
    Finally, I figured out that shifting to a lower gear worked better as it allowed me to use less power as the PAS is cadence sensitive, not torque sensitive. However, then I found I was doing most of the work and the motor was providing zero watts.

    Race pace: We finally hit the "race course" area and off we went at plus 34 mph! I sat at the back mostly in the wind and was able to easily handle the pace with a PAS setting of 4 and pedaling at about 90 rpm. If I wanted to close a gap, I just punched the throttle, pushed it to the stop and voila, I closed a gap! Sure was a lot easier than working the leg muscles to do that.

    At one point, up Link Hill, a breakaway group of 4 very talented racers were off the front. I gave it full throttle (my display showed 1100 watts) and easily closed the gap and bridged up to the 4. No one came with me and it was easy to stay on pace. I remember in the older days when I was younger being able to do this without power, but at 61... well, I felt like I was 30 again! I worked with the breakaway group for several miles until the field eventually whittled away our lead. It was easy to do my pulls and take turns and at that pace no one was looking over my bike. I think they were working too hard to notice I had power. My HR never went over 140 so I know I wasn't working anywhere near my max!

    As it was, only about two of my fellow cyclists even noticed I had power. And that was the point. I didn't want anyone to know.

    Parameters and the fun of a fast bike:

    I normally pull a 45lb trailer of gear to the ice rink for my speedskating practice. Getting off a stop light with that much weight really bogs you down. Now I give it full throttle and within about 10 sec I am cruising along at 34 mph!
    Without the trailer, I can easily hit 42-45 mph in my highest gear and when cars are going too slow, I pull to the left and pass them.

    But the most fun of all is when I am coming home and there are two lanes to turn into my neighborhood. I take the right left turn lane since I have to turn right up the hill about 1/8 from the intersection. Cars normally take the left side, left turn lane with the intention of accelerating ahead of me and cutting me off to turn up the hill. Now that never happens as I get up to speed so quickly them can't get ahead of me! I love that part of the ebike most.

    Finally, as a bike racer, I have days where I need to ride for about an hour with my HR no more than 100bpm. With all the hills around my neighborhood, I often exceed my recovery parameters and have to take the boring flat roads to keep my HR low. Now on my "recovery" bike, I can ride into the hills, up the local mountain passes and never get my HR over 100 thanks to the extra power of the eBike. Now I get to visit all the high places in Colorado on my recovery days. As I tell other cyclists, Colorado is now totally flat!

    I really do think that e-bikes are going to change the landscape of cycling forever and Luna Cycles has been a huge help in that they provide the motors, battery, parts and experience necessary to transform an old Klein frame into a very, very fast e-bike.







    #2
    I'm an ex racer, too. Thanks for sharing. My gripe is after just four rides my fancy Luna charger died, and my fancy Bafang color display is dead, too. Love it when it works, but so far am very disappointed with reliability. I can fix anything on a normal bike myself, but when something goes on the Ebike it takes at least a few days of back and forth with Luna, then waiting for replacement parts to come in the mail. Very frustrating. I end up with a dead bike for at least five days.

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      #3
      Chris, Sorry to hear that both your charger and display failed. So far I've had no failures with any of the e-bike gear besides programming issues. Luna has been right on top of any issues I've had with displays. I cannot say that for products I have ordered from China! So I would say, keep the faith in the e-bike marketplace (locally). There will be growing pains, but since I believe that this e-bike business will be huge over time, its sometimes a bit disconcerting be an early adopter, but fun to smoke all the locals at the same time. :-)

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        #4
        Great story. I live in San Francisco where you would expect ebikes everywhere. It was weird that nobody was catching on to it. However, just this year, i feel like it is starting to ramp up as word gets around. It is definitely still very much in its infancy.

        However, i think the problems are now just starting as well. I have 20+ years of experience riding motorcycles and bicycles in this city. Strangely, the ebike is a combination of both skills because we use both sidewalks, paths, trails, and busy auto streets. I see people who obviously dont have the right skill sets. I have seen mothers with their 2 kids on a Yuba Cargo bike, electrified, speeding too fast down streets that make me cringe. I have seen the same, with kid in back, and guy riding down sidewalks, which is scary. People seem way too enamored with the power and just simply go too fast and have no courtesy for other pedestrians, riders, and even cars. Makes me cringe every time i see it.

        Like anything, the few always ruin it for the rest of us. I fear as more people go electrified, it will start to slightly more ruin it for the rest of us who ride respectively, slowly and safely.

        Not sure where that came from. Anyway, just wanted to say great story. ;)


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          #5
          Thanks for sharing that, Drwink. I enjoyed your commentary about the unique benefits an ebike provides to you. I'm glad to hear, from the perspective of an athlete, the appreciation you have for the technology and it's benefits for training.


          Fabrication is fun! Build something today. Show someone. Let them help. Inspire and share. Spread the desire.

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            #6
            Hi
            Could you post photos of the finished bike with an emphasis on the handle bar and also the chain line. Thanks

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