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Trying to build my ideal commuter, 3 builds - Cyclone, BBSHD, Nuvinci N171.

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    Trying to build my ideal commuter, 3 builds - Cyclone, BBSHD, Nuvinci N171.

    My goal has been to build something for a relatively flat 5 mile commute on poorly paved roads. I'll start with where I ended up and work backwards. I want to thank Karl at https://electricbike-blog.com/ for inspiration.

    Some general comments. The bikes I like to ride most have the cyclone, but if I could only have one it'd probably be the BBSHD and I'd certainly recommend that if you're building your first ebike. The cyclone is a lot of work to get right and I'm not sure about the reliability and waterproofness yet. The cyclone feels a lot faster but in reality the difference is ~30mph with the BBSHD and ~40 with the cyclone both at 52V. This doesn't feel that fast to me but it's fast enough to pass cars on city streets and given that I don't want to get arrested I'm going to resist getting a 72V battery.

    I've had several people ask me about the cyclone bikes, no one has mentioned the BBSHD one so it's reasonable to assume that's more 'stealth'.

    If you rely on an ebike for commuting you either want two, or a pretty complete set of spares including battery, motor and controller. They are pretty unreliable, it takes a while to get parts and sometimes what you need isn't available when you need it.

    You'll want wide tyres if the roads are bad. I started on 28mm 700c, I'm now using 2.8" 27.5. That's wide enough for me. I use shimano disk brakes. I'd tried a variety but deore work fine with 203\180mm rotors.

    I go through cassettes pretty fast. I'd guess 4-6 weeks for the cyclone and 8-10 with the BBSHD. Weirdly the chains last longer than the cassettes. I keep a stock of both. I use close ratio cassettes so the wear is spread across more gears. As soon as a chain starts skipping I replace both because otherwise I'll be stranded with a broken chain pretty soon. I keep a spare chain and quick link in my backpack regardless. Also, buy brake pads in bulk.

    I've found that shimano XT cassette hubs hold up well. I get my wheels built from here http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/us/en or here https://www.universalcycles.com/ (more flexible in terms of configuration but more expensive).

    Cyclone chain guard is from here https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1857650

    If you are using the cyclone, get the ISIS BB. I had terrible problems with chain drop until I did that. I've also got one white brothers freewheel but I haven't observed much of a difference between that and the OEM cyclone yet.

    The biggest pain with the cyclone is getting the tension on the drive chain right. I don't think it's really usable with a 48t chainring as there isn't space for the tensioner so use 44 or less and you should be ok.

    So, my most recent build: Cyclone mounted in the frame, I joined two mounts together and used stainless steel angle brackets to connect the motor body to the bottle cage bolts. Frame is a Marin Hamilton steel 29er. It's a pain to get the position and alignment of the motor right (lots of washers and swearing ) but the mount is really rigid. 48 tooth cog at the front and 11-23 cassette at the back. I've ordered a Nexus 3 IGH and I'm going to try that on this build next.

    ASI 72V race controller 52V 20AH Samsung INR18650 battery. 27.5" wheels with Schwalbe Supermoto X tires. The ASI controller seems more powerful and has a nicer feel than the 60A controller.
    Last edited by Spamboy; 06-14-2018, 02:39 PM.

    #2
    Next up: Cyclone conventionally mounted with 60A controller on an Origin 8 scout steel 29er Frame with a Nuvinci N171 CVT. Currently 44-15 gearing but I many go down lower. The origin 8 scout is a great frame for a 29er igh ebike as it has adjuster bolts that run through the dropouts holding the wheel in place very reliably. It won't take a 27.5" wheel due to the shape of the seatstays. This setup is about 5mph slower than the first bike, mainly down to the Nuvinci CVT I expect. The nuvinci works well, and the straight chainline, 1/8" chain promises greater reliability than a derailleur setup but the shifting is a bit vague. Overall, very practical, just not quite as much fun. The controller wiring on this is a total mess. I'm probably going to rebuild with another ASI controller in due course and move the motor up into the frame like the other one.

    It's running on Maxxis 2.5" 29er tires which ride nicely. It is a heavy beast though.
    Last edited by Spamboy; 06-14-2018, 11:12 AM.

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      #3
      BBSHD Marin Hamilton frame with 11.5 Ah shark pack. This dropped chains a lot until I used a 130mm BCD chainring adapter with a 52 tooth Wolf creek chainring and chain guide. If I did it again I'd get a 52 tooth Lekkie bling ring instead but that didn't exist at the time. I've burned out a motor and destroyed the clutch and gearbox cogs on the bbshd, but more recently my commute has been right at he limit of the battery so I've been more gentle on the throttle. Since then it's been very reliable. I also replaced the gearbox grease with Mobil 28. The shark battery tends to bounce out of the mount on rough roads, thus the velcro straps. This rides most like a bike and is by far the lightest.
      Attached Files
      Last edited by Spamboy; 06-14-2018, 11:31 AM.

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        #4
        Finally, this is where I started. This was my commuter which I converted, but I realized that I needed wider tires so the journey began.

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          #5
          Originally posted by Spamboy View Post
          ...I go through cassettes pretty fast. I'd guess 4-6 weeks for the cyclone and 8-10 with the BBSHD...
          If you aren't already aware, SunRace is making some very nice cassettes with steel cogs instead of aluminum (http://www.sunrace.com/en/products/cassettes) and they are very attractively priced

          I'm presently running the 11-46t of this one: http://www.sunrace.com/en/products/detail/csms8

          Comment


            #6
            Thanks! I'm using the SRAM PG950 at the moment. The sunrace is a bit cheaper. I'll try that when I run out.
            Last edited by Spamboy; 06-14-2018, 11:37 AM.

            Comment


            • AZguy
              AZguy commented
              Editing a comment
              Funny thing although it sort of makes sense... the steel ones are quite a bit less cost... Perfect for a mid-drive though!

            #7

            I've been running a BBSHD with a N171 on a yuba mundo for a year or so. My experience was that the gearing was way too high with the 52t front and 17t rear, couldn't pedal up a hill without the motor. Swapped it out for a mighty mini and worked well with a 60km/h top speed. I've since lost the N171 for a derailleur as shifting the nuvinci was a bear, having said that yours looks in better condition than mine

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              #8
              My Nuvinci uses a 44-16 but I'm going to put a larger freewheel on the back. Shifting works fine so long as you come off the throttle but it sometimes a little hard to judge just how much you want to shift.

              Mine was new though.

              Comment


                #9
                Originally posted by Spamboy View Post
                Next up: Cyclone conventionally mounted with 60A controller on an Origin 8 scout steel 29er Frame with a Nuvinci N171 CVT. Currently 44-15 gearing but I many go down lower. The origin 8 scout is a great frame for a 29er igh ebike as it has adjuster bolts that run through the dropouts holding the wheel in place very reliably. It won't take a 27.5" wheel due to the shape of the seatstays. This setup is about 5mph slower than the first bike, mainly down to the Nuvinci CVT I expect. The nuvinci works well, and the straight chainline, 1/8" chain promises greater reliability than a derailleur setup but the shifting is a bit vague. Overall, very practical, just not quite as much fun. The controller wiring on this is a total mess. I'm probably going to rebuild with another ASI controller in due course and move the motor up into the frame like the other one.

                It's running on Maxxis 2.5" 29er tires which ride nicely. It is a heavy beast though.
                UPDATE: Nevermind! I ended up finding it. https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1857650 for anyone interested

                Funny enough, I'm also building a Cyclone powered 29er commuter (though secretly also a hotrod)!

                I know this thread is old but, where did you get that 3D printed motor cover from? Do you possibly have the STL for it?
                Last edited by eWolf; 03-26-2022, 05:03 PM.

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                  #10
                  I get the Nuvinci Cyclone connection. It can handle the power. I don't see much advantage to it otherwise.(I have one on the shelf).
                  For brakes I like Avid BB7 cable brakes with metallic pads to keep replacement and adjustment rates under control. Big rotors of course. Metallic pads can be risky on hydro brakes due to heat issues.
                  I personally prefer 26" with BBSHD for stoplight sprints and close quarters urban riding. The lack of a 2nd chain drive to maintain is a plus also. 1500W works for me.
                  BBSHD and BB7s i've found to be totally reliable. For point to point riding the 29er may be the way to go, but for cruising around town I like the smaller 26" format.

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