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Bakfiets earns its flames!

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    Bakfiets earns its flames!

    First, I'm gonna just go ahead and say it.

    There's a chain of events happens: First, people poke around, check prices, and read a bit--and they find out about the Cyclone.

    After some consideration, some of these people buy these kits, and if they've the rudimentary skills, they piece it together.

    The next thing that happens, is these fine folks realize--with maniacal grins stretching their faces taut during their first successful test-rides--that this kit is going to enable them to readily break legal boundaries.

    Finally, that realization causes them to decide it's best to just "hide" and not gather a lot of attention to themselves. They've seen what happens to the dumb ones who post videos of insane behavior on YouTube, or Facebook, and they might prefer to stay "under the radar"... Because deep down, they know--after that thrilling test ride, that the Cyclone is just WAY TOO MUCH FUN to expect normal self-restraint.

    I'll tell you what, I understand.

    I'm sure as hell not gonna post any silly-ass videos of me doing crazy dangerous stupid things, but I am also not going to hide.


    This is not a disclaimer, but there are some things worth noting:

    In case you haven't heard, the Cyclone is a very powerful motor. No matter which model you might choose, it will deliver much more power than any human being's legs ever could. Now, bicycle parts are made to withstand human leg forces, so if you want to push tremendously high amounts of force through those components, you'd better get the strongest components you can find. Oh, and all that extra force also means another thing: You will wear out parts, and things will require regular adjustment.

    I'm an American, but I live in The Netherlands. Dutch people want to "set it and forget it" when it comes to their bikes (or e-bikes). In The Netherlands, bicycles are actually (for the majority of the population), their "daily commuters". In addition to that super-high usage, most Dutch people will never turn a single screw or bolt on their bikes, and most will never even so much as patch a tire. Most know how to use a bike pump to put air into their tires, but that's about as far into the realm of maintenance as they'll want to go.

    In The Netherlands, people want solid, indestructible bikes that roll for two or three years without anything but the yearly visit to the bike mechanic for a "check-up" (and most Dutch cyclists skip that too). Dutch bikes are, for this reason, the most reliable bicycles you can buy, hands down (I say "Dutch bikes"-- but in reality it's the collection and assembly of components that gives the aforementioned reliability, and all the best bikes and most reliable bicycle components--including the ones carrying Dutch brand-names, are--just like the Cyclone kit--made over in Taiwan).

    But whether Dutch or not, if you are the kind of person who feels that way about your bike--that it ought to be a "set it and forget it" device--then the Cyclone kit is probably not for you.

    I think a fair comparison can be made to the older air-cooled VW's. If you can't handle dirty fingers, or performing some maintenance sometimes, you won't want one of those cars either. Another perhaps even more fair comparison? Harley Davidson motorcycles. Classic Harley owners all know, that you have to do some tinkering after pretty much every ride. Things need adjusting, things vibrate loose... The point I'm trying to make, is that you will need to accept this fact, if you wish to be a Harley owner, or an air-cooled VW owner; and you will need to accept this fact if you wish to be a Cyclone owner as well.

    I say embrace it: The tinkering is the price you pay for being able to get that face-stretching grin--at a relatively tiny cost... right? ;-)


    The madness all started with a (probably first production-year) Babboe brand, "Big" model bakfiets.

    It was given to my family for free, from somebody else who'd gotten it for free, and who knows before that.

    Before it's previous owner, someone had brush-painted flames on the side, like some old-fashioned derelict jalopy. The irony was not lost on me. Akin to lightning-bolts on a turtle; racing stripes on a snail.

    The thing was in a dangerous state of disrepair when we got it, but free being a good price, I took the challenge to heart... Still, much had to be done.

    I have replaced all three wheel hubs. In front, I've used Sturmey Archer XL-FDD hubs, and in the back, a Sturmey Archer XL-RD3, all three of which I've personally laced into Ryde Andra 40 rims; 20 inch on the front, and a 26 inch on the back.

    I've got the 4000W Cyclone motor (currently I think only Cyclone-TW has it). It comes with a nice waterproof cable connection to the controller. This is the same waterproof connection used on their coaxial motors, and Paco told me in an email, that this will soon be Cyclone's standard motor control cable. It makes for a really nice cable connection, that'll handle all the weather, splashing, and probably even periodic immersion you could throw at it--especially if you supplement the connections and seals by using silicone grease.

    I'm mentioning it here, because this month (April 2018), according to Paco from Cylone-TW, they expect to be getting an order of one-meter-long waterproof-cable extension cords manufactured. I intend to buy one, as soon as they're available.

    The good folks at Luna Cycle might want to get in line to order some too! All the recumbent bikes and trikes, pedicabs, cargo bikes and bakfieten (box bikes) which use Cyclone's newest generation of motors will all be able to use this to get their sensitive electronics and controllers out of the elements.

    Because a bakfiets is wide, cars can tend to "crowd" me. So further modifications included "anti collision" lights... The back of each front wheel fender has a lamp on it now, and there's a headlight on the front side too. This illumination makes other folks in cars, or on bikes, give me about another foot and a half of room, which I really appreciate!

    I've used all LED lights for the bakfiets, and none of them uses any batteries. All four of those "anti-collision" lights on the sides are powered by one of the front wheels' XL-FDD hub's dynamos. In addition, powered by the other front wheel's XL-FDD dynamo, I've got a headlight mounted higher up in the center panel, and a taillight for the luggage rack in the center behind me. The headlight has a daytime running light function, and the taillight has a brake-light function, that senses the wheel speed (dynamo speed), and when that speed drops suddenly (after a 1/2 second delay to prevent 'false activation"), the back light adds a brighter "pulse" to it's normal glow. (Busch and Moller Brake-Tech Plus series has this function). Back before I ever planned to "electrify" the bakfiets, I chose this system. But now, it's pretty handy. As a former aircraft mechanic, I can appreciate redundancy, and systems that continue to function in "emergencies"... Because these lights are powered by the wheel-hub generators, they will function flawlessly even if my assist system malfunctions, or my battery goes empty.

    I've gone for Schwalbe Big Ben Plus tires on all three wheels. Low rolling resistance, but decent leak prevention, and long wear. Cargo bikes don't get suspension, and for the sake of handlebar-mounted cellphone safety, and stress to the wrists and forearms--the old Tioga Street Block tires on the front wheels had to go. I'll tell you though, until it was made electric, those were awesome! If I had one of those recumbent trikes, the Tioga Street Block would be my first choice. Wide, high-volume tires--(20in x 2.25in), so they won't sink when you try rolling through soft ground, but with a super-high thread-count, so you can also pump them up to a rock-hard 110 psi, offering pretty much zero rolling resistance. Lots of different "street and ramp" tires are awesome in this regard, but the Tioga Street Block tires were just too hard for the bumps once I added the Cyclone's speed to the equation--as you'll see later on.

    Because this bakfiets began its service to me as my "kid hauler", and because even without assist, I tended to pedal it pretty hard, I felt "visibility" was super important. So, along with the lights, I installed one rectangular amber side reflector on each side panel near the front of the box, and two round white reflectors one on each side of the front panel. Between all the damn lights, the reflectors, and the flames--I'm pretty "visible". But of course visible is what you want, when you're driving something nobody expects to be going as fast as you are (and that counts for pedal-power too).

    I've installed a metal pipe-fitting style bumper on it too. Looks intimidating. I like that too. Yes, sometimes I do wish I could hide--blend in... I admit it. But it ain't happening with this beast!


    When I first cobbled it together with the Cyclone for a test run...

    Anybody ever see those old films from the Bonneville Salt Flats--where the crazy-ass guys back in the day were trying to set new land speed records? And when they crashed, it'd roll like eight-hundred-seventy-three-and-a-half times, leaving a trail of auto parts (and probably body parts) leading to the smoking hulk at the end of the dust-cloud... Anybody remember those films? Well-that's what played through my head, as I took her out for some testing.

    I can honestly say I have no idea how fast it got up to. The Cyclone was willing to push me still faster, but I wasn't interested. If I were to float a guess, I'd say I probably reeled it in after topping well over fifty kilometers per hour, but it FELT more like about four hundred.

    Now, that's the part I described in the opening; where most decide--on less terrifying configurations--that it's simply TOO MUCH FUN to go sixty miles per hour, or wherever it is their new Cyclone Super-Bike finally tops out at... They don't wanna contain themselves--hell, they CAN'T!--so, they hide from us, and they hide from the police, and we never hear from them here on the forums again!

    Or, maybe they die on their test-runs, and that's why we never hear from them again!

    Me? So as to avoid a fatal outcome, I went right to work; opened up the Cyclone Controller's Bluetooth App--and started adjusting the settings!

    In order to make the thing handle reasonably, I've dialed it back a long way. However, if I've got a heavy load to haul, I can simply adjust a couple settings in the BT Controller's app, and immediately I can have all the "extra reserves" I like!

    I will continue to experiment with power settings and gearing combinations, and if I find the "perfect balance" I'll post that here too one day.

    For now, I've got it set to top out at 40 kilometers per hour. Despite my earlier trepidation as expressed in my introduction post, I've found it's still controllable at that speed, but it's a severely intense driving experience. At that speed, I'm pulling a pretty constant 20 amps, and my battery's app estimates that my plywood brick-wall can push against that self-generated 40 KPH headwind for about 75 kilometers. My normal "commuting" speed, is about 27 kilometers per hour. At that speed, depending on the wind, I'm pulling a little under, or a little over 10 amps, and my range is estimated at a more reasonable 165 kilometers. If I dial it back down to a more average bicycle-commuting-speed of about 16 KPH, which is a "comfortable" speed for most of the bicyclists who are actually "pedaling"--then I'm using between 2 and 4 amps (as I go up and down little inclines or the like), and my estimated range leaps to 235 kilometers--and will be probably much greater, were I to be actually pedaling along!

    I put those numbers there for sake of reference. Other folks' performance will vary. But I'm beating the pants off the electric "Ebretti" scooter--for example--in terms of performance when it comes to speed, capacity and range; and I'm doing so for a fraction of the cost.

    I chose for a 16s 3p LiFePo4 battery, 48V, 60Ah. It came with a cool bluetooth Android-app BMS, that lets you monitor all kinds of stuff, lock it, turn the discharge on or off, etc. with your connected device. Right on my phone, I get my current speed, battery status, range and current load. No separate dashboard needed! The battery is made up of sixteen bundles of three each 3.2V 20AH LiFePo4 pouch cells. The cells' tabs are connected with stainless steel screws and nuts, and then each group of cells is connected together via flexible nickel-plated copper jumper strips, insulated from one another, protected and cushioned with rolled up strips of cardboard. Each bundle of three also has a separate wire which goes to the BMS for voltage monitoring and cell balancing. The BMS also has four separate temperature probes, which can be placed in the battery at intervals. The battery assembly is then wrapped in a layer of duct tape, followed by a layer of cardboard, and still more duct tape, so that only the wires emerging to the BMS can be seen. The Bluetooth BMS itself is "Olive Leaf" brand. They've a wide array, including waterproof BMS's available. Along with a voltage display, and charging port, the BMS was mounted tidily in a flat plastic case, which sits atop the battery.

    The battery's brand-name was CODD Power, the seller was Battery Sir, from AliExpress.

    How do I know how it was put together? Oh, that brings me to the next part of the tale...


    Bump in the road.

    Bump shook my cell phone holder too hard. Bump broke the cell phone holder. Bump broke and launched the portion of the cell phone holder and the cell phone itself skyward, leaving the other snapped-off portion of the cell phone holder on the handlebars. Nasty bump. Cell phone lands in the middle of the road. I stop the bakfiets, leap off to get the phone. As I move just beyond range, the bakfiets rolls over an embankment and into a water-filled ditch.

    It all got wet. Motor wet. Controller wet. Battery wet. BMS wet. My tools, my multimeter, lots of stuff got wet. It all got wet. And then I got wet trying to get it all out (with some kind folks' help).

    I had to pedal it back home without any assist. Not the end of the world but not a good day.

    So, I got home, opened stuff up. Water pours out of the controller box. Water pours out of the BMS box.

    In the end, the controller doesn't seem to be fried, and the battery is okay. (unwrapped it, dried it out, no problems). I think the throttle might be shot, so I've ordered another. But that cool Bluetooth BMS definitely bit the dust. However, a replacement (from AliExpress) will only be fifty bucks shipped, so that's not so bad. I just wanted a pretty-much plug-and-play (with a little bit of soldering) replacement for what I had, though I did consider some other available BMS versions. Just some soldering to do for the heavy-current wires, then I just plug in the monitoring wires, and the temperature probes, and I'm hoping I'll be good to go.

    To try to do some testing, and see what else did or didn't survive, I used the charger to power up the motor and controller and the motor still works too, though the throttle seems twitchy now.

    And that's where I sit now. Waiting for parts again, and yeah. Time enough to offer up an update my project here.

    A monument to my own madness, perhaps.

    But I'll tell you what--following a roughly ten-minute dunk in black Dutch ditch water--that's not so bad an outcome as it might have been!


    I'm not done tinkering. I'm not sure any of us ever truly will be!

    I fantasize about plopping the controller into a Pelican case along with the battery, leaving a nice cannon-plug to go to the as-yet-to-be made nice and tidy "wiring harness" I'd like to set up for the external controls (PAS, throttle, power switch, and brake cut-off switches). ~The case could have a place on the outside to plug in the wire to the motor, a place to plug in that fantasy "control harness", and a place to plug in the charger. If I set that up well enough, it could still be made weatherproof; yet also give me the option to unplug and lift out my whole power and control system. I think I'd like to be able to take it into someplace for charging, or for theft prevention. Sometimes, I may have to leave the bike parked outside, and if the ambient temperature is too cold for charging, I'll have to have a removable battery. Further fantasies have included converting the two front wheels to use hub motors also, for all-wheel drive; and potentially even rigging up some controls so I can drive the thing from inside the box which I probably won't do, but which would really turn some heads!


    Until next time, take care... Of yourselves, your machines, and one another!

    Last edited by tklop; 07-05-2018, 03:38 AM. Reason: to make a couple corrections

    Just make sure you get a label maker and place a label on the motor that says "750 watts"


      Originally posted by Robert62 View Post
      Just make sure you get a label maker and place a label on the motor that says "750 watts"
      Not a bad idea!


        You can readily get laser printable water transfer decals... just sayin'... =]


          I don't mind Cyclone's label--a little advertising for their company name is okay. But all that honestly about wattage and torque, well... I was also considering just carefully using a sharpie to add some decimal points here and there to break up all those zeroes!

          Also, unless I run it at 72 volts, it won't be possible to reach the "maximum" output numbers anyway, so an untrained eye might think I am further "out of bounds" than I actually am.

          Hiding the label, or replacing it with another, is a sensible suggestion.
          Last edited by tklop; 04-22-2018, 11:39 AM.


            Got parts on order. Anyone curious about that Bluetooth BMS, can check with AliExpress vendor shen zhen SP NEW ENERGY.

            The first vendor I tried to buy it from never got back to me at all, but this guy popped right up, answered my questions, and will have it ready to ship out by the end of the day. I figured that deserved a plug. I'll be back to his store!

            Plus, he includes BOTH the UART connection interface modules, the USB one as well as the Bluetooth one. This is a plus, because if you plug in a pc (or laptop), you can access and adjust even more parameters than you can in the Android application. I've yet to try that yet myself. Never had that USB interface with the last one!

            Anyways, just another nifty parts-option nobody else is talking about--and one that eliminates the need for any "dashboard". However, I do recommend a SOLID hands-free handlebar-mounted cell phone holder--but then you're good to go!

            Anybody else think that's cool, or is it just me?

            I have no experience with the CA or similar dashboards. This is my first project, after all! But I've watched your videos, and it just doesn't look like loads of fun, having to scroll through menus and make choices with only a few buttons--like you're trying to set some nineteen-eighties digital watch... And those bilious little green screens? Oh, wait--I guess that's the Battery Monitor. Shoot--I dunno. I'm not in any position really to be either for or against dashboards per-se. If waterproof, I'd give that CA a whole lot of plus-points for that!

            But by the time I went for the Cyclone's Bluetooth controller--which lets me access a lot of settings via my phone, I thought that IF my phone is gonna be my controller-interface, then why wouldn't I want a BMS that'll use the same strategy to save me having to buy yet another water-sensitive electronic device subject to failure?

            And of course there's also those times, when you just don't care about how fast you're going, or how far you still can--and then the phone can just go in a pocket.

            For me, this is often the case at night. I have pretty sharp eyes, but they're not getting any younger, and I don't want weird glowing crap screwing with my aging eyes' best attempts at night-vision... Just saying... To be able to turn it off, put it away, and keep right on rolling--is nice.

            I like that I can turn the discharge on and off with my phone too. With a tap on the screen, the system is "cold". Password protection, GPS-based locking, lots of nifty features on there (the speedometer and GPS locking functions use your Android device's GPS--there isn't any GPS module inside the BMS).

            Anyways. I want my parts. I want my parts. I want my parts. I want my parts. I want my...
            Last edited by tklop; 07-05-2018, 03:41 AM. Reason: for clarity, corrections


              More madness (while I'm waiting for the slow boat from AliExpress).

              I saw a nifty gadget that looks like it might work with cargo bikes too. It's a "you wish you had bought a bike with disc brakes--but it's not really too late anymore" kind of mod. It's a sturdy-looking bracket that attaches on one end to the wheel axle, and the other end has (in a variety of sizes), a P-shaped tube clamp, which anchors it to your frame tube. The bracket comes with the required pre-drilled mounting holes for the disc-brake caliper.

              I am thinking about this too, because I've had the notion to make my bakfiets all-wheel-drive one day. Take it a step further, so to speak. I think of the advantages, should I roll into some softer ground while carrying a load.

              Because of the way the bakfiets is designed, it'd work best if I could use hub motors that could spin just as well in either direction--so I could mount one backwards. I could then install both brake-discs and calipers on the outboard sides of the box; and have both motors' power cables exiting underneath the box, from the inboard side of each wheel. Those brackets I mentioned, to let me use disc brakes, will probably only fit on the outboard side of the wheels on my bakfiets (the outer frame is round tubing, the inner frame is square tubing--because it goes under the box) and besides; I do not really wish to have one of my motor's power cables hanging vulnerably out the side (or worse still the end of the axle-bolt) on the outboard (door-frame scraping) side of the bakfiets box. Based upon experience, that would just be a poor idea. If the cable just ducks out the side, rather than the end, it might be okay--and I can probably find a way to get a disc-brake mount on the inboard (box side) of the one wheel, but one motor that just spun the other way would be simpler from an assembly standpoint. I was wondering about the direct-drive motors for that reason. Couldn't they reverse, if you got the hall sensor order reversed? Of course other stuff is important too--mechanisms like to un-thread themselves when turned backwards; so provisions must be made to prevent that from being a problem.

              Anyways, the Cyclone is strong enough to bust all kinds of bike parts, and it will gladly do so way before it'll ever be able to push any heavily front-loaded cargo trike like mine through anything soft, let alone anything sticky like mud. That's that same old, familiar parts-vulnerability-barrier we all are gonna keep right on coming up against--the simple fact we're trying to force moped power through bicycle components; why we tend to break stuff, or at least wear our stuff out faster. Yes, we accept it, and we try to absorb the costs. But I know from reading other posts, that I'm not the only one here who is also try to mitigate things! We know we don't always need to push the ragged edge, and that when we ride more calmly, our gear goes longer between fixing sessions. Heck, this basic fact of wear-and-tear holds true for muscle-powered bikes, e-bikes, cars, motorcycles, boats, trains and airplanes too! The harder you push a machine, the faster it's gonna break on you. Obviously.

              So, I was thinking in practical terms, that anytime I found more intense amounts of torque were required, that if the extra needed torque were generated and spread across all three wheels rather than one, it'd be able to take a lot of stress off of the Cyclone's mid-drive components (primarily its chain--the weakest link). Due to the extremely front-heavy configuration of my setup, this seems especially true, and especially when the surface you're riding on gets soft. As I mentioned before, that's why I liked those two-and-a-half-inch-wide Tioga Street Block tires so much! They were hard and fast, but didn't sink too much in soft ground. Empty, without a battery and motor in it, this bakfiets already tops the scales at over 65 kilograms. For reference. And with my battery and motor, I guarantee that's another thirty kilograms, probably just round it up to 100--before I climb on, before my tool bag (another 15 kilograms easy--it's heavy, but there ain't nothing I can't fix, even on the road--and I'm not a fan of getting stuck someplace wishing I'd only brought my chain-tool, or whatever-it-is I left in my toolbox back home that day). Almost all that weight is concentrated in that box. That's a lot to push. My bike is not a speed demon, it's more akin to a pedicab, I'm guessing. In any case, I'm looking at a hundred-kilo basic weight; the box can handle another 70 kilograms (though I've loaded it much heavier--my wheels are stronger than the originals for which that rating was made), plus just as much again for me on the saddle, and I'm weighing in comfortably loaded at at least 240 kilograms. That is a lot for bike parts to push around, let alone my forty-whatever-year-old knees; which is precisely why I wanted to put some assist on the beast.

              I think hub motors wired for high torque, and lower speed would be ideal. Geared might be better. When going cruising speed, the Cyclone is plenty enough to keep everything rolling. The only time all that extra "oomph" would be needed, would be for the steepest of inclines, or--as I suggested--in softer surfaces like sand, deeper gravel, softer ground etc. Then, the box is pulling itself (or perhaps even a little more), and the Cyclone doesn't have to be spinning out or snapping chains--it can just shove me along behind. For hard work at low speeds--that's what I'd like to add them for (but I betcha they'd help me "off the line" nice and quick too--again, without snapping chains or sprockets).

              The way I've dialed back the Cyclone Controller, I've still got (up to) fifty more amps continuous available out of my battery than my Cyclone 3k-4k motor generally eats (at its current settings). I just don't need all that extra energy for power, and I normally like having all the extra to just give me more range. But now, I'm thinking it actually might be pretty cool to be able to tap into those extra reserves for certain heavy-use heavy-load moments. I don't think I'd need the craziest of motors though. For example, if the motors had tons of torque, but stopped helping above 25 kph, that'd be fine. I don't need all-wheel drive if I'm going that fast. Luna's double-gear double-torque motor would be perfect in this regard perhaps, but it's too wide.

              Another thing I wonder: Could I use dual hub motors for regenerative braking when going down hills? Because that's something my Cyclone obviously can't do, but jeez... If I could generate with two hub motors, that's a lot of regen-braking. Sounds like I may have to try to cross the French Alps or something--get some downhill time in (I live in The Netherlands--remember? Short of a few tall bridges, or overpasses--uh. Yeah. It's flat! I think it was the University of Leiden--but someone here actually compared the topography, and to scale, The Netherlands is quite a lot flatter than a pancake. I'm just saying.

              And another thing: I wonder, how could the twin motors best be controlled? Keep it simple; with dual motor controllers, and a single throttle to operate for them both? Parallel-in my brake switches?

              Or, what about one of those dual-channel type controllers (often used for wheelchairs, robots, etc.)? They can control two BLDC motors at the same time, and coordinate their movements. Further, the ones I looked at also utilize a 5V voltage-drop style analog input too, not just the pulsed digital inputs you might expect. I wonder if I could just wire an e-bike throttle right in? What else would such a controller let me do? Could I have a reverse function? If I had a wheelchair-type controller, I suppose I'd probably just leave the right and left joystick channels out of the mix. But wouldn't it be awesome if the controller could be programmed to use its built-in differential control functions to find some way to offer traction control? I'm no expert at these things, but seems like that'd also be a damn handy feature for whoever's in the wheelchair it was designed for--don't you figure? Some dual-channel controllers can handle 48V at around 30A continuous. That's not a ton of amperage, but when split between the wheels, it's still what--720 watts each; 1440 watts for the front wheels total. Those dual-channel motor controllers are kinda spendy too, but then--I guess I'd have to see how that compares to if you have to buy two separate controllers... Sometimes it's okay for me to pay a little more, if more functionality feels like it's actually worth the price. I mean sure, I think I would like a way to get assist backing up, but I'd have to know what else it could do. Traction control would impress me, but backing up wouldn't be quite enough on its own to justify the higher costs. Yeah? Anyway, it's just something I was pondering. No plans yet to go dual-channel just yet.

              No matter how I decided to make it go, I think when working together pulling from each side of that cargo box, a couple roughly 750 watt hub motors could do wonders to keep me climbing up and out of pretty sandy, mucky sticky or mushy situations, when teamed up with the Cyclone's brute force in back. I could go up to 1000 watts each (or 1200 based on my current settings), along with my Cyclone, and still be within my battery's max continuous rating, but I just can't imagine I'd need that much extra power.

              I'm gonna put in a 12V power inverter too, so I can run auto-accessories, or anything that can go into a lighter-socket. USB charger, etc. I've got an electric cooler chest that'd be handy to take for picnics or camping that I can plug in there. I may opt for turn signals at some point, but most certainly a horn. Nobody hears my bell. It seems silly, but then--it's all about communicating your intentions to other drivers. That, and being seen (or heard). More of that sort of thing is generally better for safety's sake...

              I'm thinking also maybe a Bluetooth speaker in front--blasting "Ride of the Valkyries" maybe as I'm charging up from behind groups of slowpokes... Maybe some specific sound selections to terrify dogs. I can experiment. Growling wolf, lion's roar, banshee wail, snarling rabid raccoon... That'd startle the crap out of just about anybody!

              It is apparent, is it not? While waiting for my parts, there's a lot of time to think...

              Imagining the beefier of the various hub-motor scenarios had me moving on to another collection of thoughts:

              Of course I would never attempt it, but I am sitting here imagining what it might be like to see an all-wheel-drive bakfiets ripping up a BMX course--off the jumps, drifting through the corners, rider hanging off the side for balance like some old-school café racer; dust and dirt spraying out from behind each tire; the daredevil twisting the box back and forth like some Chinese dragon's head while airborne, or kicking the back end out... I don't know--could a table-top be done with a bakfiets?

              I want my parts, I want my parts, I want my parts, I want my parts, I want my parts, I want...

              Take care, everybody!

              Last edited by tklop; 04-24-2018, 10:56 AM. Reason: he cannot stop himself.


                Wow, that was a huge post set! A lot to consider.

                What do you think about torque-steer, with front drive added? I would think the frame geometry is extremely susceptible to this. Uneven torque causes the bike to turn towards the weaker side. if there is any hunt of speed control in the motor controller, then turning, which imposes a speed difference, might cause the steering to fight you.

                An open differential might work better. That mostly assures equal torque on both wheels.

                If you were to apply only one front brake (one wheel), would the bike try to turn sharply? I think so. Same idea.

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


                • AZguy
                  AZguy commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I had some motos back in the bad old days with unbraced forks that had a lot of torsional flex and just having a single rotor brake up front caused all kinds of issues under hard braking. Because one "compensates" for the uneven pull by moving the bars so that you still go straight the very visible effect was the the bars would end up turning quite a bit (bar ends at least four inches) under hard braking. Putting fork braces on reduced the torsional compliance of the forks by nearly an order of magnitude so the effect was reduced [but not eliminated] similarly.

                  Point being that even that relatively small asymmetry in brakes caused a very pronounced and undesirable effect.

                Absolutely correct! Asymmetrical and terrifying braking was one of the first things I had to address when I got this beast in the first place. The left brake had been oil-fouled, so it would lock up at the slightest touch, while the right side front brake barely did anything at all.

                The Babboe Big model bakfiets I have also has steering-dampers (little shock-absorbers basically) which keep the steering from yanking too fast one way or another. But these honestly don't do much to save me from asymmetrical forces.

                The left brake lever pulls both front brakes together. It also has a "parking brake" function, but that's iffy at best. Balancing the brakes isn't that hard, but it is part of regular upkeep. This is another reason I think the drum brakes are nice; as they're not too touchy (well, when they're not oil-fouled anyway). Still, I've seen these bakfietsen done with normal caliper brakes too, as well as with disc brakes, and they're selling the newest models with roller brakes. But all the various versions I've seen still activated both front brakes with that same dual-cable brake handle, the other brake handle being for the back brake alone.

                It's true, adding front-drive would be cool, but if they weren't pulling evenly, if could most definitely cause uneven steering forces, they could be every bit as dangerous and unpleasant as the uneven braking scenarios are.

                I'm thinking dual motors, dual controllers (set to the same parameters), and one throttle--for the front wheels. Sort of a second system. Front versus rear. Then I can use the front system for the extra, or not--and leave it shut off, and the Cyclone mid-drive can just do it's thing independently.

                Because I've been riding this beast around for a few years already, I am a bit used to the asymmetry that occurs sometimes when braking. Even with stuff adjusted pretty well, it still happens, should one wheel begin to slip (on wet leaves or loose sand or something), while the other still has good bite. But the bakfiets is a machine which requires both hands on the bars, for braking, turning, or acceleration... Well, pretty much all the time, actually--so yeah. I don't know. I get the feeling if I went for fairly low-power motors (since there'd be two, maybe even 250 or 350 watts apiece might be plenty), it might be okay. Maybe it might not be so different to one wheel slipping on a stop--as far as asymmetrical pull--if one wheel spins out while the other digs in hard/

                Very sound points.

                But what I want of course, is a pair of those Mac Motors with the ASI controller from Luna! Get 'em wired for slow and torque-tastic, max speed 25 or so with the 20 inch rims.

                That, with some crazy tires. and I'll be climbing sand-dunes with the beast!


                Thanks for the replies!

                Take care, (I still want my parts, I want my parts, I want my parts)...

                Last edited by tklop; 07-05-2018, 03:48 AM. Reason: for corrections


                  Originally posted by JPLabs View Post
                  ...An open differential might work better. That mostly assures equal torque on both wheels....
                  The problem with the simplest approach to this, is that the wheels can't "pass through" the box. Its pivot-point is in the center of the box.

                  I've got documentation I could share about its design, but I really don't think anybody cares that much! ;-)

                  The dropouts are two-sided, not one-sided like a wheelchair. The inboard edges of the wheels mount onto a flat vertical dropout flange welded to the outboard edge of the square tubing which makes up the frame for the box. There is an elongated C-shaped piece of tubular steel which is butt-welded also to that frame on each end, and forms a "wheel-well" of sorts. The tubular steel side also has a vertical dropout welded to it. There's a vertical support as well, which comes up from the center of the C-tube piece, above the axle, and attaches to the side of the plywood box. This part os sturdy, but structurally it honestly doesn't do much besides provide a place for the fender support, and a place for kids to step when climbing in and out.

                  Now--this description was simply to set up the thought your suggestion of a differential brought to mind:

                  The dropouts are 100 mm wide. Short of cutting and welding, they cannot be made wider. So, there is not much room to work with.

                  If I could get pair of 20 inch wheels set up with sprockets (fixed-gear would be fine), I could simply shift my differential shaft aft or forward, linked with short chains going back to each wheel. Then I've got a way to link the two wheels via a differential.

                  If TomiCogs were still going, that'd be the easiest way.

                  If I hooked a second Cyclone up to drive the differential, without any freewheels, I'd be able to get that reverse-function I'd like by using the function available with the Bluetooth Cyclone controller. I could even mount the motor up inside the box if I wanted to. Obviously this kind of idea would require a bit more fabrication, but I think I like this idea better than two separate wheel motors.

                  Fun to think about anyways...

                  Take care, everybody,



                    I see you do understand the torque/steering issue, well.

                    With mild front power and slow power rise, I would think it can be managed, as with braking.

                    I suspect you would naturally brake with accel scariness, just the same. With a brake sensor, you have a better chance. As long as you are informed to watch for it, mentally prepared, you'd probably do fine.

                    Yes, I was thinking of Jack shafts and chains, too. A high price to pay....

                    I kind of want you to try the dual motors, now, to hear how it goes. You tell good stories. if it goes badly, we get a better story, yes?

                    Hopefully not another submarine tale!
                    Fabrication is fun! Build something today. Show someone. Let them help. Inspire and share. Spread the desire.


                      Dual motors would sure be simpler to install.

                      I'm still not quite ready to take that next step to AWD, but I do think I'll do it eventually.

                      First, I want to finish getting back up and running after my underwater adventure! Then, I can start saving up for more mods.

                      I own two bikes, and have borrowed from a relative for the long-term a third. One is my standard shopping/errands/etc. city-bike, the other is my primary commuter--a folding bike (that's the loaner from my relative), and of course the third--is the subject of this thread--the infamous bakfiets... And here I am contemplating plans to buy two more motors--but not for either of the other two bikes, no. For the one I've already made electric!

                      Maybe, instead of that--just in case I wind up facing any deep water again--maybe I better focus my next mod plans on figuring out some kind of flotation system. How awesome would that be? Just command, "Go-go gadget raft-extensions!" and I'll be floating peacefully on my bike down through the Dutch canals... Well, I'm dreaming--sure. But that'd sure as heck would have saved me a lot of trouble!


                      More to follow, I'm sure!


                        I got all my parts ordered--from AliExpress, from Cyclone-TW... In a couple days I'll get the replacement BMS, and that (with luck) should get me at least back to pre-dunking condition for the most part.

                        I think front motors are gonna happen.

                        I may need to get some customization done (or do it myself). I would like to get both brake rotors on the outboard edges. Maybe I can precisely tap and drill (and maybe helicoil) the other side of the hub--maybe I can find someplace to just order one that way. But I think I can make it a go, and it won't have to be that spendy. I'm thinking of hooking up a pair of small and inconspicuous max 250W-350W 48V geared hub motors; and set their matching controllers--with matching settings for "soft start" (or the equivalent). If I do that, I bet I won't have much trouble with "adverse yaw". And, if--or maybe I ought to just go ahead and predict when---it turns out I'm wrong, and it all goes "Bonneville Salt Flats" it'll make another good tale!

                        I've got stuff to do while I'm waiting for my parts, while I'm waiting to save up the dough to go AWD... Between the three bikes, I've got seven different bicycle wheels, each of which can always be made just a little bit truer--for example. But that's not as much fun as thinking about (or digging into) the interesting work.

                        Patience. Ugh... Not exactly my strongest suit.

                        I'm pretty stoked about getting that extension cord on the way though. Maybe it sounds like a small thing--but it's really an essential component for my build. That one heavy-duty cord, is going to be the only wire heading toward the back half of the bike--the only wire exposed to the elements, or to potential abrasion or impact. Everything else--every connection, every splice, every little electric control box, can be stashed high and dry in the cargo box. Well, okay--I guess the PAS wire will still be there. I forgot about that one. But still...

                        Without that cord, I've gone with a rather hideous zip-tie (temp-install); attaching the controller half-way down the rear-frame, with a tangle of control wires trying to bridge the back-and-forth swinging gap to the handlebars (fixed to the box section). Sure, the infamous "wire snarl" was horribly messy, but obviously that all left everything very vulnerable to the elements. In fact, this part of the rear-frame, is pretty much dead-center on the inward trajectory of the "wake-vee" coming off the front wheels, when you go through a puddle. DIRECT BLAST pretty much--in that exact spot... Before going anyplace, I'd wrapped the crap out if it in layers of heavy-duty black trash-bag plastic, and strapped in in place; forming a bulging ugly lump--but one that was pretty weatherproof--so until the dunking, it was actually ugly, but okay.... But nothing I could have done would have withstood the submersion--least of all for several minutes (it took several of us to haul it out--and it took a while for a big enough crowd to gather). As I watched each new bubble break the surface, I knew yet another place that ought to be dry--no longer was...

                        So, I'm glad as hell to be getting that cord on the way!

                        I still want my parts, I want my parts, I want my parts, I want my parts....

                        Take care, everybody

                        Last edited by tklop; 05-01-2018, 09:14 PM.



                          Got some parts in...

                          I've installed the new BMS on the battery, which is now also installed in a nice waterproof Pelican Storm case.

                          I've still got issues related to my previous adventure--my "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sloot" if you want to call it that (that last one's a Dutch word--feel free to Google it).

                          A few more essential parts are still on the way from Cyclone-TW--shipping from Taiwan--and that'll probably take another week or maybe longer.

                          Among those parts, my new 2000W-4000W Cyclone Motor's New Waterproof Extension Cord!

                          Also, a new motor freewheel

                          And a new controller with waterproof connection.

                          In the mean-time, yeah...

                          I was hoping I was going to get undeservedly lucky and have that twitchy-acting throttle thing wind up being only just a throttle thing, rather than also a controller thing--but I'm pretty sure now that I've got that new BMS in place, that it's also a controller thing.

                          I still may have throttle issues, and that wouldn't surprise me--how sensitive those stupid things can be.

                          One throttle and/or controller issue, is that while the controller is switched off (with the key), I get a reading on the Cyclone's half-twist throttle's voltage display, as soon as the battery is connected. That's not supposed to happen. However, as best as I can tell, the Cyclone Controller (and its app) do appear to remain unresponsive, even if not entirely "off" until I turn the key to "on", as there's clearly voltage going where it ought not to be going.

                          But the controller also just does weird things--things I've seen described in other threads--things which seem to mean "it's time to buy a new controller".

                          What kinds of things? Well, things such as:

                          The system only seems to be able to produce enough power (barely) to get the wheel to spin freely in the air, but cannot move a rider; etc. And then--even with the wheel in the air, there's these symptoms:

                          Cutting out as soon as any load is put on the system;
                          system will only allow very mild and slow throttle inputs, or it will cut out;
                          system only will allow the first 2/3 of throttle's twisting range to be used, or it will cut out;
                          "overcurrent" is displayed on the app's status screen, when no actual over-current has occurred;
                          the PAS will cause the motor to start, but it's only a brief "jerk" and then it cuts out (PAS default throttle setting is higher than the peak allowable messed-up but "still working range" of the throttle).

                          But in my unique situation, that leads to another oddity; a symptom others may or may not be able to notice:

                          Sometimes the whole thing seems "dead", and the motor won't move at all with throttle input. But when I rotate the motor some (manually--with my pedals--which I can do because my freewheel is frozen on [stuck to] the motor's output shaft)--when I rotate it some, with the throttle turned open just a little--down in that aforementioned "still-working" part of it's range--then the motor will sometimes "kick in" and resume its albeit incorrect and anemic performance, along with all the other symptoms listed above.

                          I've seen some who've posted about how their symptoms did mirror all this crap, but then everything just suddenly all at once stopped working altogether (even though the voltage display lights still came on--and the app still opens up). Those people too, could probably still get back to that same intermittent "still kinda working but totally useless" condition that I've got--the one where you can at least get to watch the wheels spin in the air, even if you can't go riding. No, they've no stuck freewheel to let them just "pedal" their motors around, but they can still duplicate the stuck freewheel--if they just move their bike's drive-wheel backwards. Now, if they were foolish enough to do this, all their freewheels will engage, and they would be able to force their "dead" motor to rotate (backwards). Of course, as we all can clearly anticipate, if they were indeed reckless enough, and unwise enough to try this, with their throttles partially twisted to that "still working range"--and their "not really dead anymore" motors do indeed decide to "kick in" suddenly, even though those faulty controllers will still likely "cut out" all over again at the first sign of resistance, those foolish experimenters could already have gotten themselves hurt--so very quickly--even if they thought they were being pretty careful. So, I really, really, REALLY do not recommend this. Yeah?

                          Further oddities include discrepancies between what's displayed by the Cyclone Controller's App's "Status" page, and what's actually going on.
                          First, the Cyclone App shows current-consumption at any throttle position above none to be 20A, and it seems to cut out at anything above maybe 21A.
                          But here's the thing: The actual power-consumption out of the battery, only ever gets up to about 2A--just before everything "cuts out".

                          So--yeah. I'm not buying whatever that app's selling.

                          As I sit though, and ponder, I can't help but wonder how unlucky I'm gonna be here: I hope after my next pile-of-parts arrives that I don't also discover my motor is shot! Honestly, I don't think it is, because I don't get any error-codes from the app. But then again--why should I trust that app? It's getting enough other erroneous info from the controller, to make me suspicious.

                          Anyways, yeah, needing a new controller as well is not a shocker. That's why I already ordered one. I figured this one might not make it back, I was just hoping I'd get lucky--and that I'd be able to head on down the highway a little sooner.

                          But no, I've just got to wait for the rest of my parts. Still.

                          I am getting more and more determined to set up that dual system--for all-wheel-drive.

                          If I had that now, I could be rolling front-wheel-drive, while the Cyclone's down.

                          Did I mention I like redundancy? Yeah.

                          Take care, everybody!

                          Last edited by tklop; 05-16-2018, 03:55 AM. Reason: for clarity


                            Your symptoms are what my kit had done form day one, never driven in a lake. They sent a new controller and it does the exact same thing on both brand new controllers. They now have taken the battery back because that seems where the problem lies. It is supposed to have a 50amp BMS and it trips on just a few amps. I cant buy another battery to see if a different one would work until they refund the money ($800 is a lot of discretionary spending for me). I hope it's not something else in the motor. I ordered everything directly from Luna, and it's all brand new, I just want it all to work right for one ride. If I then drive into a lake and things go weird that's my problem, but I feel I should get a working setup after spending $1500.