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Surly Wednesday/BBSHD/Rohloff hub build

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    They are trouble free......, and also super easy to adjust the cable length if ever needed, though a bit of a Rubik's Cube to install! My airplane uses a Rotax 912S engine, made in Austria, and the German made Rohloff company seems to have a similar way of doing and explaining things: hard to comprehend at first, then halfway through you will be sure you have screwed it up, but when it's all done it works great and it all makes sense! It's just a bit of cultural difference I guess, and I find it interesting, in retrospect anyway, sometimes frustrating while actually trying to figure out what they mean. My Montague Rohloff shifter system hasn't needed any attention whatsoever, and I doubt it will in the future. The external shifter is, well, external, and simple, the actual shifting takes place inside the sealed hub.

    One thing, you need to remember to remove the external shifter box when removing the rear tire....simple enough, a knurled knob (tool free) and 5 seconds is all it takes, and the adjustment is unaffected. And if anything at all goes wrong, say you somehow tear a cable housing loose or something (unlikely short of a major wreck), you can still get home by removing the shifter box and use a 8 mm box wrench (or a multi tool pliers) on the shifter shaft to put it in any gear you deem adequate to get you home.

    The last time I bought something this expensive, that proved to be worth it, were the large low pressure tires my plane uses. I am NOT a "buy the most expensive" guy, not at all, trust me! But some things just stand so head and shoulders above the alternatives, and offer such long lived trouble free usage, they are, sadly, worth the outrageous price. I wish it wasn't so!


      A few pictures: Using the existing water bottle threaded holes (which matched perfect with the previous fat bike) a simple brake formed aluminum tray with high density foam on the bottom, serves to locate the 17 AH battery. Another brake formed tray, hose clamped to the seat post and also padded, further locates the battery. To protect the battery from side impact, I used some thin aircraft plywood, then over that some sign company Core Plast (?) a plastic corrugated material, both really light but also strong. Both for free......

      Then, multiple wraps of 2" PVC pipe wrap tape, used by well drillers/pump setters to secure the electrical cabling to the well's drop pipe, which totally encapsulates the battery and makes it mechanically secure. This tape is great, totally waterproof, strong and easy to work with, and unlike duct tape, it always comes off clean, no adhesive residue. This may seem like like a half assed way to do it, but it's one of those times when simpler is best. This is the exact same way I did the same battery on my previous fattie, and it never moved,not even a little. Obviously, not good for quick removal, but that's OK for my situation, I recharge with it in the bike. And, if I do need to remove it, I can do so in less then 5 minutes, with a sharp utility knife. Note the DC rated breaker I use on all my rides, (part of my stupid thief preventive measures mostly) hot glued to the top of the pack. I usually mechanically secure the breaker, as it has solid 1/4" mounting lugs. But this time what turned out to be the best way for it's location was to see how the hot glue gun would adhere the plastic breaker body to the PVC tape, and it turned out super solid! Another case of keeping it simple but also working great. Those breakers are 100% water proof BTW, though I use a small scrap of EPDM (rubber roofing material) to keep the water spraying off the rear tire from directly impacting on it. I got lucky, in that my 6 AH Mighty Mini fits just right, above the main battery. This smaller battery will not be carried all the time there, just for when I think I may need a "get home" battery. In addition to that combined 23 AH of juice, I also have a Surly chrome moly rear rack on it's way, with a 60 pound rating. That will be where I can also secure up to two of my 11.5 AH batteries, giving me a total of ......46 AH's!!!! Whether I ever do this or not remains to be seen, but I really like haveing the capability. When I was 8 or 10 years old, I put a 5 gallon fuel tank on my home built mini bike, and i currently run extra long range tanks on my homebuilt airplane (up to 9 hrs + duration), I've always been into big time range for some reason. At a local awning and canvas shop I got some black rubber/canvas type material (the stuff is probably bullet proof also, better living though chemistry) that will be fashioned into a "frame bag", it's sole purpose just to pretty it up a bit. I actually prefer a rude and crude looking ebike, another part of my anti theft measures, even though this ride will probably never be ridden in town.

      Self explanatory, the perfectly straight chain line! And, the ability to use nice big fat single speed chain, not those skinny wimpy multi speed ones. I have a beaver Guard front fender coming, less then 20 bucks. Ooops, well I thought I had picture of that chain line, but I don't, trust me, it's perfect. I'll wait to post some pics of the drive train until after I get my last few parts. Mostly how the torque plate interfaces with the frame.


        Looks awesome so far. Those big black fat tires look great against the white frame. I am laughing about you as a kid with a spare gas tank on your bike. About 10 years ago when I was riding dirt bikes in the woods, I would carry two steel water bottles full of two stroke gas in my backpack. As dumb as that sounds....


          IT'S ALIVE!!! It's done, other then the frame/battery bag and the Surly rear rack, which will be here in a few days, I'll post pics after it's totally finished. The first time you get on a bike you built reminds me a lot of the first flight of a plane, I've built 5, plus a slew of ultralights and hang gliders before that, always a thrill. The people that buy store bought, don't get that rush. So, for the first time, out of the bike stand, on it's own two wheels, I put it on PAS 0 and found the first gear to be more then adequately low for it's intended purpose, peddling like a chipmunk on crack, it topped out about 7 mph. I was hoping it was geared low enough, as I can't go any lower, any smaller with the chain ring or bigger with the rear cog, this will work fine. We had fresh snow on top of ice, so no speed runs were done, but I did ride it for a 1/4 mile and got up to 8th gear or so, and everything works as it should. Then disaster struck, the rear tire suddenly went totally flat! Set up tubeless by the same LBS who laced the hub, and even though it held air great with zero leaks for a week, a few minutes of riding and it sprang multiple leaks around the lightening holes, and no amount of shop air helped. I will take it back and quiz the guy who did it, not blame him but just let him know that however he did it, is not the way to do it! My front wheel, same Mule Fut wheel, was set up by the other LBS in town last year, and it works great, so it's a technique thing, not an incompatible rim. So my brand new ride is unrideable for a couple days, bummer.


          • AndyZ
            AndyZ commented
            Editing a comment
            Arrrrrrgh.... It sucks when patience is forced upon you.

            Pics, pics, pics.

            Wow @ you built your own planes. What sort of training or education do you have? What do you do for work?

          Kit planes, 5 of them, no designing them other then a lot of small mods, basic mechanical skills are all that's needed. High school education, former carpenter, now crane operator, one 30 ton unit, used mostly for setting residential roof trusses and HVAC units,not a giant type crane.

          Other then my rear "fender" (like my previous fatbike, I'll use EPDM rubber roofing material, zip tied to the bottom of of the rack. Available at any commercial building site, in the dumpster) it's done. Well, except for the rack bag, a re purposed fishing lure padded bag with lots of small compartments plus a main area big enoguh for a couple 11.5 AH batteries. Same bag as on my old bike. The first few rides on this bike were odd, as so much of it is recycled off my Sturgis Bullet and thus very familiar. Handlebar/cockpit controls already all set up just where I like everything, nothing moved other then the complete bar onto the new frame! Same throttle response, as it's the same motor and battery, even the Rohloff hub seemed familiar, the way it shifted and the ease of shifting gears, as I already have one on another bike. The only thing that felt a little different was the seat angle, it's tilt, since changed to more mimic my old setup. I may also need a bit higher rise in the handlebars, I'll ride it a bit more before deciding that.

          The rear rack is a chrome moly Surly, and good for 66 lbs. Very wide on top, and with side bars to keep panniers off the wheel, (I have some, not used yet, that are huge, but will need to be widened a bit to drape over that wide rack) and overall stout as hell. This bike is not meant to be a lightweight trail bike (good thing), but a truck of an adventure bike with the most reliable components.

          I went to a local canvas supply house, that makes custom outfitter tents and just about anything out of canvas or other heavy duty material, and bought a scrap end of this black material, exactly perfect for my needs. It simply drapes over the top tube and I put grommets in the bottom (Hobby Lobby, tool and grommets for less then 20 bucks) and zip tied it at the bottom and the rear. Two zippers allow access to the inside for when I feel the need to carry the mighty Mini battery, or to kill the breaker (a bit of theft protection there) and also unplug the XT 90 connectors when changing batteries. A third small velcroed access slit makes it easy to get at the charging connector. I'm happy with the way this frame bag came out, the material ($8.00) is very tough and should hold up great, and it looks "good enough", almost too good! As mentioned earlier, it holds the 17.5 AH battery, plus room for the Mini. That bad ass rear rack will have no problem packing both of my 11.5 AH batteries, for a grand total of 46 AH! That won't happen often, if ever, but I like knowing I can if need be. I already have a 20" extension cord for using these aux batteries, while leaving them strapped down on the rack. I can also put them in the panniers, that would get them lower.

          The drive side picture shows the Surly Tuggnutts that totally preclude the QR axle from moving forward. There is nothing to keep the axle from moving backward except for the tension of the QR axle. I really should have gotten the thru axle/ bolt on model of the hub, that really sucks down tight, but the QR axle model was 500 bucks cheaper and in stock at Luna. Doing some research, I decided the QR model could do the job, with the Tuggnuts locking it in one direction, and then a short length of scrap aircraft cable and a marine stainless steel turnbuckle. The cable assembly hooks over the handy protrusion of the Tuggnutt that Surly designed to serve as a bottle opener, for real!.The cable thimble engages it just right, and then the turnbuckle is snugged up and locked with the cinch nuts. The threaded steel lugs meant for a rack also serve as the anchor points for the forward end of the cable. NO WAY is that axle moving forward o OR backwards, ever! Yes it's an extra minute or two of messing around when I need to remove the rear wheel, that's OK. Both tires are set up tubeless.

          The disc side pic is real busy, showing a similar cable/turnbuckle combo, plus the Rohloff external gear shift box (which also needs to come off when removing the wheel, but a knurled knob means no tools needed, and you don't lose adjustment, so just an extra 20 seconds or so) and the OEM2 torque plate that engages the CyCle Monkey "Monkey Bone" brake adapter. Plus, a removable home brewed bracket for the magnet sensor the BBSHD needs for the display to work correctly. i didn't like having to be super careful when removing the tire to not bust that stock plastic one. Mine comes off with a wing nut and then is totally out of the way. With all these little extras, I can still have the rear tire off in 3 or 4 minutes. The front Beaver Guard front mudguard just zip ties on, simple and light.

          I haven't weighed it yet, but with the steel frame, steel rear rack, big battery, and bells and whistles, it's no lightweight for sure. 55-60 pounds maybe? I'll weigh it and report back, hopefully my 75 pound capacity digital fish scale can handle it. I'll post the weight and the top speed once I get somewhere with level ground and a road that isn't solid ice, as my neighborhood dirt road is currently.


            I am not as wordy as you so I will keep this short: that is a beautiful bike. You have done an awesome job.

            What does a kit plane cost? What sort of engine does it have? Can you literally just build a plane and then fly it, or is there more to it than that? Lol


              All up weight is 69 pounds, as I said no lightweight! But balanced, according to the rope sling I ran from the seatpost to the handlebars, CG is perfectly centered. Chrome moly frame and rack, Thudbuster seat post plus super plush seat, probably add 10 pounds. Don't care I guess, I'm not taking anything off! Been doing some winter riding, as it's all we have here. No studs, just real low pressure, allows amazing traction, until it doesn't. Interesting rides.....

              Not getting into plane talk, here is not the place and much, MUCH too big a subject. Get ahold of a KITPLANES magazine for best info.


              • AndyZ
                AndyZ commented
                Editing a comment
                Great pic. I have a super heavy downhill bike and honestly doesn't bother me a bit other than if I have to lift it. Once it is in motion it feels great to me.

              When I weighed it, using a rope bridle, it turns out the CG was about perfect, mid point, not ass or nose heavy, so that helps.

              I did a low speed test today, with a buddy riding my Montague with it's Rohloff hub. It has a different size rear cog, (smaller) the same size chain ring (42 T), but smaller diameter tires. I set the Wednesday up with the smallest chain ring I could, while still being able to use one that offered some offset, and the largest rear cog available for the hub. In other words I can't go any lower....and this is a trail bike not a road bike. Rather then do the math, I wanted a side by side test, and what I found out that with both bikes in first gear and using full throttle, and on a 100 yard+ run, they were EXACTLY the same speed! We didn't have a good place to do a top end run, but I think it's safe to say the fattie will be similar to the Montague, less a bit for the drag of the tires, call it 33-35 mph. Faster then it needs to be, but I can live with that.

              Due to our freeze/thaw cycles this week, the 3-4' deep snow has set up HARD, making riding it almost like on a dirt road, as long as I hit it before noon, after that you can break thru. Great riding, as the sage brush and other vegetation is buried, so you can ride places where normally you can't, about anywhere.


                You are a bike scientist.


                  Surly Wednesday frame, Surly handle bars, rear rack, and TuggNutts. BBSHD and 17 AH 52 VDC battery from LUNA Cycle. 42 T Lekkie chain ring upfront, and a 1...


                    SAVED BY THE THROTTLE! Like a dummy, I apparently neglected to put the right crank on the right/correct side, I either totally forgot to check them before putting them on the bottom bracket or I can't tell my right from my left. Either way, after 40 miles, lots of short rides close to the shop, and right in the middle of my first for real ride a few miles from home, it went from tight, to kinda loose, and then fell off! I had a 1/2 mile to go, up hill on a paved road, so absolutely no problem with just using the throttle, but, it was surprising to me how much I missed pedaling. I at least want to give the illusion I'm helping out, not just sitting there like a lump, and this was the road up to the ski area, so the traffic was drivers and passengers of pretty active people, not the general public. No offense meant to anyone using just throttle all the time. Other then a slow leak in one tire, this has been the only issue. I'm just glad it didn't happen on my first spring ride in town on the trails, with my two buds who ride Haibikes, I'd never hear the end of it as they are convinced their store bought bikes are better.


                      Tnx for the video. Nice shop!

                      When I first got into ebiking I thought throttle only was the way to go. Why would I want to peddle??? I think I changed my mind of the first ride!


                        I am just happy my crank issue happened when I wasn't riding with my buddies who ride factory bikes, I would have never heard the end of it! As with my other ebike builds, the only issues have been regular bike stuff, right now I am again going tubeless on the rear tire, (front also, both have been tubeless for a while, just need to re-do the rear) and am about ready to go the split tube version of tubeless as that seems about the most bullet proof. Everything else, short of tires and crank arm, has been 100% trouble free right out of the gate.


                          This bike came out really nice. Anything come up with your Rohloff wheel build? Did you go 2X or 3X with the spokes?

                          It’s time to end my Rohloff envy! Who can get me one without the crazy VAT charges? Heard you can save 20-25% just by them selling direct to me in America. Is that true?
                          MOVING BACK TO PEDAL...
                          2020 Banshee Paradox V3 1x11 (pedal)
                          2018 Soma Wolverine 3spd IGH Belt Drive (pedal)


                            I am assuming you went with the 120mm bottom bracket version of the BBSHD? Or the 100mm? I plan to build a Wednesday/BBSHD so I'd really love to know.... Thanks