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Bakfiets earns its flames!

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    It's ALIVE!

    Okay--well. Far from perfect, but the bakfiets rolls again, under its own power.

    The new waterproof-motor extension cord is flawless and ideal. There's no more ugly "wart-lump" on the side of the rear-frame; it looks nice and clean.

    One day, I'll get some pictures up here.

    Oh, but as alluded to earlier, I'm far from done with the insanity...


    I located some innocent-looking little 48V 350W hub-motors (with a nice steep 1:11.4 gear-ratio for lots of torque). These motors come with a roller-brake. Per my previous postings, I'd really prefer drum-brakes. But from what I've seen available out there on the market, I'd need at least 135MM dropouts for any geared motors with drum-brakes I've found (so far). A compromise was in order.

    The motors will top out at about 28 KPH, just about exactly what my current "cruise" speed works out to be with the Cyclone (my latest rear-sprocket shifted the digits a bit from before). That's actually pretty much perfect. I'm almost never going to want to go faster than that. It's really just pointless and only attracts a lot of unwanted attention when I do go faster. I mean--it's nice to have it "in-pocket" so to speak--and I do. If I click the 3-speed switch over to "high speed", I'm right back up to +/- 40 kilometers per hour. But as I mentioned previously, I know if I avoid excessive "hot-rodding" my parts will all last a lot longer between fixing sessions.

    One goal in this project has been the idea that the whole electrification kit--the "powered bits"--could be modular; fairly easily swapped over to another Babboe Big bakfiets, should my current beloved model finally rust away. So, yes, I could cut and weld the bakfiets' frame, to make room for nice drum-brake hub-motors to fit, but honestly--it's not worth the effort--and it'd be something I'd need to repeat in order to "shift" my parts to a new(er) bakfiets. So, no. I don't think so. I'd rather all my components remain as "hot swappable" as they can.

    Some history on me--and my (probably unjustified) roller-brake prejudice:

    My ex has it now, but we used to share a Giant Mio--a so-called "Mama-Bike" (Mamafiets). Though it held out for the first couple years, I trashed the back wheel's roller-brake on that bike. My ex and I broke up before I got it changed out, so I never got a good look at it. It is possible that brake may have had other issues besides "heavy use" that contributed to its demise, I will freely admit that I just do not know. But fair or not, ever since that one started to go, I've felt less than confident in them.

    That Giant Mio is a heavy-ass bike to begin with, and then with the two kid-seats installed, a rack-extension, and room for two large shopping bags besides--it's big-already-turned-monster--and in fairness, quite a solid and capable machine! I used to be a stay-at-home dad. When I had that bicycle loaded with both kids, and groceries, it was pretty hard to handle sometimes. As you can imagine, it was incredibly top-heavy, when compared with a motorcycle, so it was really hard to hold up whenever it started to "go". Of course this was always when I was standing still--trying to load, or unload, or trying to get started moving. At speed, that thing was fine. Honestly--my best description would be to say that bike rode like a pickup-truck. Loaded, unloaded. I'm telling you! Anyways, it was not up at speed where the struggles were the worst--it was when stopped, or barely moving. I'm not one to brag--hell, a quick glance will tell you why. Yet though I'm pretty lean, I am reasonably strong and fit. It's not a lie to say I'm actually in a lot better shape now than I ever was during my active-duty time in the Air Force! But even so, that bike scared the heck out of me a few times, to be honest. I just couldn't out-wrestle it if it went too far over.

    Because when loaded, and with rider, that bike had almost all it's weight over its back wheel, I couldn't get a lot of braking power out of the front-brake, without causing it to skid (and though recoverable, let's face it--front-wheel skids are all kinds of no fun). So, that poor back roller brake really took a beating. There's no doubt about it. But my drum-brakes wouldn't ever have failed--and so that's why I'm not so trusting in the roller-brakes.

    So, once I got the initial safety issues sorted out, the Babboe Big bakfiets was a big plus in that regard. I could haul both kids and six big grocery-bags. Or I could pick up a baker's dozen square-foot-size concrete paving stones--or twelve big sacks of gravel... I've hauled all these and more (along with various assortments and combinations of my kids and their friends) unassisted in the bakfiets. I've taken my kids to the zoo--on leg-power. Three times, actually (and from that old house it was about 35 kilometers round-trip). Rah, rah, leg-power, right? Or is it more, "Oh, my aching knees!" I'll admit to feeling a lot of both. I've hauled my 100lb+ toolbox to another city to help someone with their household repairs, and finally, when my ex and I broke up, and I moved out--I actually moved to my current city with the bakfiets (still pre-assist). It has been a handy thing--and now made much handier!

    Anyway, I'm hoping the roller-brakes up in front will be alright. The latest year's model of Babboe Big bakfiets is being sold with roller brakes on all three wheels, (their e-bike version or the regular leg-powered version like I've converted)--so the manufacturer must think they're okay. Roller-brakes will have a lot more braking-leverage when mounted on smaller-diameter 20" wheels like on the front of the bakfiets--versus the stopping-power they offer the 28" wheels on my city-bike. And my city-bike stops quite successfully with them. So, there's those positive points coupled with the fact there's two of those roller-brakes working together--because there's two front wheels... I don't know. On the balance, maybe it'll be alright.

    I just hope the roller-brakes won't be over-stressed if I'm trying to stop while I'm hauling a load. In brake-failure, there's always the back-brake... But... In those instances, the back-wheel's brake is just over-matched by the situation, and thus not much good on its own. I mean--I'm sitting almost over the back wheel, and I can squeeze the handle awful hard, and get that wheel starting to scuff--almost to the point of skidding--but the stopping distances feel comparable to those of a train. Not so good, in other words. It has happened before, and I just start looking for soft things I can crash into, while waiting for the speed to scrub off... "Hmmm... Light's red. No, I better not smash up that sports-car. No, the ditch is out--I don't want to get the bike wet again... oh-no-time's-a-runnin-out-here---I wonder how much those bushes are gonna hurt me?" (brace, wince-for-no-helpful-reason, crash, etc.) Makes me lament that I can't just effin' down-shift for some engine-braking--or leaves me wishing I had an anchor to toss out! But moments like those also make me grateful for powerful and reliable brakes.

    So, yeah. Three-wheel-drive! No more thoughts or plans for jack-shafts, no need for any cutting and welding. Should be pretty much plug-and-play. I'm going with as-simple-as-I-can for now. Two motors, two controllers; one throttle, and a shared on/off switch for the front-wheels' controllers.

    Though I may wind up needing to use two throttles; one throttle for the front system, one for the Cyclone mid-drive; I will experiment with using just the one throttle; powered by one controller, then splitting and sending its signal-leg to all three controllers.

    These cute little motors I found can be programmed with their display, but then after that, the display can be removed. The system doesn't need it to operate. That's really handy for my application. I need to be able to adjust those motors' settings, but as long as I make sure the two match when I'm through, I can do that one-at-a-time using my one, single removable display. Then, when I'm done, I can plop that sucker in a nice safe little box, or in a drawer, in the house if I want to--or perhaps in the "long-trip" toolkit. But it won't have to hang out in the rain on the handlebars!

    Since it'll be a while before those new motors and other parts arrive, there's more time to fantasize, or formulate plans:

    I'm unsure whether or not I ought to just get a couple new 20" Ryde Andra 40 rims, new spokes and nipples--and then just build those wheels up as a complete separate set. The thing is, if one front-motor has a problem, both are really rendered unusable--due to that "adverse yaw" issue mentioned earlier. So--having two complete sets of front-wheels (one powered, and one non-powered), all ready to go--as a quick-swap--might be pretty handy. Besides, I just got done rebuilding those front-wheels (after the swim), and it feels wrong to take them apart again so soon. It's less labor to build a new wheel than it is to rebuild an old one--so there's that. It's also a money-thing, although those rims I want aren't unreasonable (and they're the strongest 50+KPH e-bike certified rims available on the planet--for the moment). And, it's a storage-thing, because right now I haven't any. I'll probably do it anyway, and just hang the spares from the ceiling if I have to!

    I'm curious if this mod will help with stability too. Will this system make the bakfiets want to "pull itself through" the corners--like a front-wheel-drive car? I'm guessing, partially based on how it handles right now, that at least in circumstances where you could be "on the throttle" some through the turn, it just might. If so, then I think the front-wheels' pulling-action would also--under that same light power--also make the bakfiets less tip-over prone. That would be awesome--as this is its greatest vulnerability.

    Speculation is fun, but there's no telling until the first test-run. Whatever it ends up doing, I'll be able to adjust both front-systems to match one another, and then I'll be able as always, to adjust the Cyclone mid-drive system separately. If I want to play around with balancing power between the two systems, plenty of fine-tuning should be within my reach.

    I sure do want to make it clean and simple. One throttle is my goal, with the ability to use the systems either together, front-only, or Cyclone mid-drive only.

    As I fantasize about the places I might be able to reach in an AWD bakfiets, I know I've got limitations. Or rather--the bakfiets does. Ground-clearance is a little limited under the center-line, and it'll never make a very good bulldozer--so it may not be wise venturing with it into the really deep mud. But the beach is calling my name!

    In any case, I bet I can have a lot of fun, and go a lot of places nobody else would dare try to take their bakfiets into.


    I've got wheels to true. Those first few rides on a freshly-built wheel--seems some of the spokes always start singing their praises, don't they?!

    Take care, everybody...

    Last edited by tklop; 05-27-2018, 09:50 AM.


    • tklop
      tklop commented
      Editing a comment
      Stuff learned...

      Roller brakes...

      Well, I now know I should have lubricated the one on that Giant Mio. It might have lasted longer, in spite of the abuse I subjected it to. However, I also am certain it wasn't up to the task--I had it WAY overloaded. WAY, WAY, WAAAAAY overloaded.

      Information is the best tool in anyone's toolbox. Shimano says the ones Babboe delivers with their new bakfietsen are only rated to a max of 130kg, and are not recommended for "continuous" use at all.

      Their design is remarkable, but wimpy. Just wimpy. Even the good ones--wimpy, wimpy, wimpy.

      Now--in fairness--that rating is for a normal bike's front wheel--minimum 26 inches. They claim the brake is too much for smaller wheels. So, even with all my extra weight, on 20 inch wheels, they ought to be able to stop me just fine.

      Advantages? Roller-brakes are very easy to install or replace, and the cable-length is your only adjustment. They're relatively cheap, and just one component replaces your whole wheel's braking system. Maintenance is almost gratis--grease it periodically, use it until it stops working right (probably a couple years reasonable use), then toss it in the old-metals recycling bin, and buy another (though I've seen folks open them, clean them, etc., I can't see it being justified on the basis of their price). Anyways, they're very much right in-line with the Dutch consumers' bike-component-preference-model.

      Wheels with roller brakes are also "plug and play" with my bike--everything lines up with where the drum-brakes attatch, so there's also that advantage.

      I can live with them for now. But then, I've yet to install or use them. We'll see. Verdict remains out on the roller-brakes.
      Last edited by tklop; 06-15-2018, 08:11 AM.

    And today it went to the beach and back (+/- 100 kilometers)

    The lump on the handlebars is a powerbank for my phone (which is taking the picture). I've still not set up my 12V system--so it's that, or risk a dead navigation device.

    I had tried a selfie, but I decided to spare you all the horror.

    Take care, everyone,

    Last edited by tklop; 05-23-2018, 12:43 PM.


    • tklop
      tklop commented
      Editing a comment
      I did not attempt the soft dry sand. I do not think any amount of "run at it" would've gotten me through with only 1 wheel pushing.

      However, on less loose sand, on some horse-paths, back near my ex's house, I did find that the bakfiets had the power to plow its way through. In 1st gear, with max throttle, and the three-speed switch set to "Low" I had the most controllable balance between needed power and required speed to keep from "digging in" and bogging down. It felt pretty amazingly bad-ass. I first tried it on my own, and then with both my daughters in the box a little later on. I'm a strong rider, but I physically cannot ride these trails on a mountain bike successfully. Every ten or fifteen meters, I wind up either falling down, spinning out, or digging in, and usually within the first total twenty meters or so, I'm just completely running out of steam. That's the kind of trail-surface it is. I mean--no big deal, it's not for bikes--it's for horses--so, yeah. Duh. But it's a good measure of the Cyclone's performance, to be able to push this front-heavy beast down a path like that--torn to hell by horse-hooves--was my point, I guess... The Cyclone 4KW motor--even "turned down" is a beast--I can testify!

      Which makes me have to believe that 3WD is going to be absolutely amazing...

      And it makes me glad I went for the 48V 60AH battery. I just figured--first time project--to get as much juice as I could afford to, esp. considering the weight of the bike I wanted to power. But now, I see how good a choice that turned out to be. Exploring is a blast, and will be even more interesting, the further off the beaten path I can get... But exploring is not so energy-efficient as gliding over well-groomed asphalt. Yet even after riding about 40 kilometers to my ex's house, playing in the woods with the bike, more with the kids, going on a "forest tour" (of another twenty or so kilometers, mostly off-road), I still had enough to get back home, and showing another 40 kilometers left 'in the tank' according to the BMS.

      I find I can enjoy a whole day's-worth of activities, on a single charge. It's not about riding all-day-long, my poor butt wouldn't care for that at all--not even with my improved seat. But it's about going where I want, and doing what I like, and being able to get back home again--and never once having to think twice about my battery's capacity. Now that I've got that kind of capability, and I can see how nice that is, I now consider a "day's worth" of battery power to be a "bare-minumum".

      Days like those ones--with trips to the coast; or with visits to my ex, to take my kids on a tour of their forest; they also add up to make me more and more confident in my bike's capabilities, and the Cyclone's sturdy reliability.

      I'm really enjoying the heck out it!

      Take care,

      Last edited by tklop; 05-29-2018, 05:04 AM.

    Gosh, I have no idea how to make these things the right sizes. Apologies.

    Anyways, I promised more pictures, so here you go: Here's some pics of the battery and its case, and the box, with it's low-profile (non-tent) cover; the handlebars with controls, the motor...

    And here, on YouTube, you can catch some (probably painfully boring) ride videos:

    By the way, in case it isn't obvious from the sound, the motor's whine is amplified by the super-long steel rear-frame of the bakfiets. Harmonics are present--let's put it that way.

    Take care,

    Attached Files


      The new hub motors and controllers arrived today for the AWD phase, but I'm not yet ready to start assembly.

      I've got lots of other stuff to buy, so I'll just have to leave it as "more to follow" for now.

      The motors are nice-looking little units. Black, clean, waterproof 9-pin connector, small controllers, generic dashboard--which I'll only bother using for programming... So far, so good!


      Take care, everybody!



        The pic below is of the parts that had just arrived.

        I've got the other parts I need on the way now too. But it will be I'd say probably ten days to two weeks before the AWD will be test-worthy.

        A lot of what I need to do, will also be to make more permanent the "temp install" I've let fly with my controller--to this point.

        I don't have a work space, and since I have to work in a shared garage (and prefer minimizing the amount of time I'm in others' way), I've put off a lot of the details.

        I want to build an electrical panel, with things somewhat more nicely bundled up.

        I know I've also raved about that "waterproof extension cord" too, but I have a feeling that I'll wind up having to replace that one day also.

        The one main thing I keep wrestling with, is the weather, and how to keep it out of everything.

        In pursuit of that quest, I'm running across things I think might be adaptable, but I must admit I just don't know enough to make the right call.

        I like to think "outside the box". I do not hold to the notion that only "bike parts" belong on bikes. I am usually quite pleased whenever I can find something fits my purpose (with or without adaptation), no matter what the source was (including stuff I've found on the road during rides--no joke).

        Many good products that can be adapted for our use are designed and built for the "marine" market. Boat stuff. It's typically pretty nice, because it's usually water resistant (or at least moisture-tolerant), and a lot of the electrical stuff is also set up for high-power high-amperage 48VDC systems. This isn't perhaps intuitive, but in many ways, it's a natural fit. The gigantic and obvious drawback with marine products, is the simple fact that boat owners are loaded. Getting constantly soaked--and not only by the weather--but by their supporting merchants, suppliers and maintainers--is something all boat owners either are already used to; or else it's something they're currently (and probably painfully) in the process of learning about. Bad news for us cheap-ass bike builders. But marine components and products are often quite good, and not always overpriced. Being open to second-hand stuff helps mitigate costs too.

        Other worlds offer us other options. The world of video offers (as I discovered today), this line of products:

        Has me thinking (dangerous pastime)... Could I run the six hall-sensor signals through a flexible outdoor-quality CAT5e cable? Perhaps I could have the PAS sensor signal tag along as there'd be an extra pair... I can't imagine the Hall sensors' signal-energy is all that crazy, but I just don't know. I bet I could use CAT5e cable, and waterproof connectors like those, to at least safely carry the signals from all those switches and controls on the handlebars, to my controllers.

        I honestly wonder why it is there isn't more waterproof stuff available for the RC world (another non-bicycle-parts yet appropriate and awesome source we often pick from).

        Look: I know that a well prepped, well soldered connection, coated with silicone grease, then shrink-wrapped--is pretty darn waterproof. Gotcha. But you can't plug that in and out, can you?

        And I was thinking of something where it's just the connectors--something replaceable--instead of having to re-solder connections, I use the RJ45 crimping tool. Zip, zoom, done--hopefully...

        There I go again... Thinking...

        Take care,
        Last edited by tklop; 06-15-2018, 06:43 AM. Reason: to ramble, as I tend to do


        • tklop
          tklop commented
          Editing a comment
          I've decided, on further research, to use heavier-duty-rated roller brakes. If I have to use the miserable things, I want to use the ones with the extra braking power.

          So--the BR-C6000 roller-brakes are on the way. It's Shimano's strongest roller-brake, rated to exceed 130KG (versus 100KG). Two of them up front, means they should be able to combine to safely stop 260KG. Teamed up as they will be with my 90MM rear drum-brake, that should be okay. I'll keep the BR-IM50-F roller-brakes that shipped with the motors on-hand for spares. They'll fit my city-bike, or my ex's bikes. In any case, spares are a good thing to have around.

          The original front-wheels, with the XL-FDD hubs will be "spares" also, in case the front-motor-system malfunctions; but I also think I may one day set up a trailer for my bakfiets--and when I do, those wheels can provide self-generated trailer-lights, and even safe "drag braking" (which the roller-brakes can never do). I'd like to set that so-far imaginary trailer up with electric brake activation--via a servo or something.


          Take care, everybody!

          Last edited by tklop; 06-16-2018, 11:11 PM.

        Had a fun day riding around--a day to visit my ex's house--lots of off-road with the bakfiets, driving my two daughters down (too small) forest paths, with ferns tickling them to giggles and giddiness...

        Luckily, it wasn't until I was actually through with my visit, and well on my way back home again, that my rear-sprocket's spline teeth gave up the ghost.

        Took a while to figure out what was going on. At first, it appeared as though the sprocket had only popped its snap-ring loose (which is a royal pain in the hindquarters to get back in place without taking the wheel off).

        When I discovered the true problem, I was only briefly stymied.

        This is not a recommended method to turn your Cyclone mid-drive into a "fixie"---but it worked like a charm, and got me back home.

        I never leave home without my toolbox--but I'm also glad I had the extra hardware on-hand!

        Anyways... Don't worry--I'm not going to leave it that way.

        Well, I may leave the blood-stains--after all, that's my signature--my DNA signature! Though never intentionally, I am quite accustomed to "signing" almost all my work in that way.

        There is a new sprocket on order...

        Take care, everybody!

        Last edited by tklop; 06-16-2018, 10:51 PM. Reason: for clarity


          While waiting for more crucial bits to arrive, I've dug into the interwebs to try and figure out how to wire the controllers for my new FWD system.

          They're small and basic, labeled "Controller for brushless motor KT36/48ZWSRD-SLS02G"; and they're made by RisunMotor. They're smallish sine-wave controllers, nominal 10A output, max 20A (more than enough for the 48V, 350W motors). They're compatible with the (almost universally available) "KT-LCD3" screen. To save money, I elected to buy only one screen. I can't adjust two motors simultaneously anyway--and any imbalance left-to-right would be very bad--so I already knew any adjustments would have to be made while parked.

          The vendor who sold me the motors and controllers--SpeedLess from AliExpress--was able to put together a custom assemblage of stuff for me. Only what I asked for and needed--and they let me drop anything I didn't need--then, they gave me a nice discount on the whole shebang, and got right to work. The motors were set up based on my needs. They offer the same range of torque and windings options you'd find with MAC or many other perhaps better-known companies' stuff. Everything was nicely packaged--and arrived customs-paid via UPS. Whenever I get the stuff up and running, I'll be able to provide some feedback on performance. For now, I can't say much more than they look pretty--the new motors. Got wheels to build around them; got rollerbrake upgrades for them; got stuff to do as the parts arrive.

          After that, I've gotta wire up an electrical panel for the bakfiets, with room for my three controllers, two transformers, and a couple junction-boxes for all the control-wires. This too, is something I want to set up as "modular" -- plugs into or out of my battery-box; is as removable as any other part of the kit.

          Anyways, I've learned some other stuff about these little controllers:

          In order to obtain the same basic functionality I have with the Cyclone, I won't need the screen or control-button at all.

          These controllers also share the "Auto-Cruise" function found in the Cyclone Bluetooth controller. Plus ten points from me--for this feature!

          I also learned, if the PAS is connected, you cannot turn pedal-assist off -- like you can on the Cyclone -- unless you are using the KT-LCD3 display. It is recommended to leave the sensor disconnected, if you want the "throttle only" option--and you don't want to use the display. Huh. Well, I don't have a problem with this either, since I don't really care for (and rarely ever use) the pedal-assist anyway. But it is good to know.

          There's two sets of wires to power your "lights" circuit--one if you're using the display, one if you're not.

          There is also provision to connect a speed sensor if you wish, and like on the Cyclone controller, there is a "reverse" jumper as well (pointless on a geared motor as it may be).

          I'm trying to figure out the best way to set things up. I really want a three-way selector-switch; A+B= "Front"; A+C= "Rear" A+B+C= "Both". A waterproof one. A switch that fits on the handlebars... Of course I also don't see why I can't just go paralleling the "electronic lock" legs from each controller through the same keyed-switch--but yeah. I can't play with stuff, until it's it arrives.

          Maybe I should just use a second half-twist throttle, with its own keyed switch, to run the front system. After all, maybe I'll find one throttle just doesn't work well--splitting its signal between the Cyclone and the FWD system... In that case, a second half-twist throttle would be needed anyway (left-side, upside-down).

          Though it does give me a head start on it, I still hate sitting around waiting for parts, while I try running through all the testing in my head...

          I want my stuff... I want my stuff...

          Take care, everybody,

          Last edited by tklop; 06-19-2018, 09:09 AM. Reason: for clarity


            This might be my next IGH--or should I say Cassette Freewheel--or...


            For more than 100 years, Sturmey-Archer has been a pioneer in the design of internal gear hubs, hub brakes and dynamo lighting. Sturmey-Archer makes cycling easier and safer.


            • tklop
              tklop commented
              Editing a comment

              Disc-brake instead of drum-brake. I love my drum-brakes, but they aren't available on this hub.

              Same, sturdy SA RK3 IGH--but now with provisions for a stack of 9 gears.

              Flange-width is narrower--this hub will require some additional dishing of the wheel.

              But the really huge advantage I see right off the bat--is in strength and durability.

              1/8 x 1/2 Sturmey Archer sprockets which are made for their 3-speed hubs have only three splines. This makes them somewhat vulnerable to high power-inputs (from monstrous mid-motors). The Sturmey Archer sprockets made for cassettes however, have nine-splines. That's obviously going to be one hell of a lot stronger. And, as far as the IGH is concerned, having the cassette on the outside, allows that "maximum strength" magical 2nd gear--with the 1:1 ratio on the IGH--to be used with a wide range of cassette gear ratios.

              I am long-since sold on the Sturmey Archer 3's--and I love my old-school XL-RD3 like crazy.

              But with these improvements, it makes this hub a slam-dunk.

              This is definitely going to be my next IGH.

              But maybe I'll want the black one... That'd look pretty slick.
              Last edited by tklop; 06-22-2018, 01:44 AM. Reason: for clarity

            • calfee20
              calfee20 commented
              Editing a comment
              I have the rim brake version and It was a very good purchase. You forgot to mention it is compatible with most indexed mtn bike shifters.

            • tklop
              tklop commented
              Editing a comment
              Yes, calfee20.

              That was neglectful of me--and this is one of the biggest selling points--the inter-compatibility with a wide range of shifters.

              Plus, I'm glad to hear your recommendation also, based on your real-world use.

              Thank you!


            It is an ongoing process--trying to get everything right. Research plays a big role in minimizing trial-and-error costs.

            So--here's another little thing:

            First, here's the part I've got:


            Works fine, but that's the one I haven't felt like gluing the e-bike brake-sensors to. "Doing that will be a royal PITA, and it will look ugly when I'm through--no matter how neatly I try to work. So, to heck with it! I'll just use the back brake for the shut-off function" has been my thinking and strategy up to this point.

            My Cyclone kit shipped with both, so I've already got a regular left-side e-brake handle, but in order to make it work, I needed another part... Well, I finally found it:


            This will let me use the regular left-side e-brake handle that came with my Cyclone kit, to pull both my front brake cables together.

            Yet that leaves me without my parking brake. Hmmm...

            So, then there's this option:


            And yeah, that means I'd have an extra set of e-brake handles. But heck--that's not so bad. There's always more bikes to convert!

            Gosh. I guess there's pretty much always something to buy, isn't there?
            Last edited by tklop; 06-28-2018, 08:08 AM. Reason: for clarity


              Well, I got the front-motors wired up, and gave it a test run.

              The motors pull pretty evenly for the most part, but there is a little bit of "adverse yaw" at maximum speed. Seems like one motor reaches its "governed" speed first, and cuts out, leaving the other to do all the pulling. This happened too, if the auto-cruise engaged at that max throttle setting.

              Somehow, one controller''s speed limit is being reached before the other. I think I should be able to make an adjustment to the settings for one controller, and try to see if I can get them to match up a little more precisely.

              I'm using two throttles for now--my original half-twist for the mid-drive, and one thumb throttle for both front-wheel motors.

              I only went up and down the street and back, so my impressions are quite limited.

              However, I was right about the added stability when cornering (under acceleration of the front wheels). The machine has taken quite a leap from scary-tippy to wicked-sticky!

              More to follow.

              Take care, everybody!

              Last edited by tklop; 07-05-2018, 07:28 AM. Reason: Reason: for precision and clarity; but the original version is still available in the reply below.


                Originally posted by tklop View Post
                Well, I got the front-motors wired up, and gave it a test run.

                The motors pull pretty evenly for the most part, but there is a little bit of "adverse yaw" with the "cruise control" engaged, or when they reach their "governed" speed.

                I think that one controller''s speed limit is being reached before the other. When that happens, I'm pulling with only one of the front motors.
                I think I should be able to make an adjustment to the settings for one controller, and try to see if I can get them to match up a little more precisely.

                I'm using two throttles for now--my original half-twist for the mid-drive, and one thumb throttle for both front-wheel motors.

                I only went up and down the street and back, so my impressions are quite limited.

                However, I was right about the added stability when cornering (under acceleration of the front wheels). The machine has taken quite a leap from scary-tippy to wicked-sticky!

                More to follow.

                Take care, everybody!

                Good 2wd information here.


                  Originally posted by calfee20 View Post

                  Good 2wd information here.
                  Bookmarked! Thank you very much!


                    More on the 3WD system: Insane acceleration is available!

                    One concern voiced, had to do with the steering's lack of differential--and its predicted tendency under power to "straighten out" the bakfiets'--making it fight me through the turns (when under power).

                    To be honest, I do feel that straightening force. But it doesn't feel like it is fighting, it feels like it is helping!

                    It's actually pretty amazing in practice. Like in a front-wheel-drive car, I can come onto the throttle on the way out of a bend. In the past, this would have caused the bakfiets to move immediately into a terrifying under-steer into tip-over posture.

                    Now, it now just "pulls where it's pointed" and then rider, rear-frame, and rear-wheel, all sort of swims right in line behind. The front is powerful enough to haul itself now, and the Cyclone is powerful enough to propel the rear-frame and me along--like a powered trailer (and then some). The way this thing used to corner, was so unstable, but comparatively, it's such a good, smooth, stable feeling--that I find it's difficult to resist the urge to mash the throttles on the way out of every bend! Hopefully the shine will wear off, and I can learn to save it for special occasions.

                    Along with all that high-amperage gleefulness, I can now say I think my semi-educated choice of geared hub-motors for the front wheels turned out to be a pretty decent guess. For reference, the front motors are 350W geared BLDC motors, with an 11.4:1 ratio; and they look to me as if they're a variation of the Cute brand motors (though I don't know for sure). They're made for 36V or 48V systems. I'm running them at 48V, powered by individual RisunMotor 10A (20A max) sine-wave controllers. They make an unpleasant noise at near-zero RPM, but once rolling sound pretty standard. Plastic-gear sounds; not too severe. The power comes on quite firmly, but very smoothly, with loads of pull available at the slightest press of the thumb-throttle, across the full range of operating speed--up to the preset max-speed cut-out / governing point, where it gets weird still.

                    One big reason I say it was a decent choice, is because even in the worst-case-scenario laterally-imbalanced situation of having only one front motor pulling, the motors I selected aren't so strong as to keep me from being able to keep the bike going in a straight line. Sure, it takes a lot of extra "rudder input" to keep her under control in those situations, but even though it takes a firm hand on the controls, it's definitely not a wrestling match. The uneven pull is comparable to what you get on a passenger car with a flat front-wheel. This is good news, because if (for example) one front motor malfunctioned, and my Cyclone mid-drive system also failed--I could still limp it back home on just one front-wheel motor.

                    I think I have discovered an issue, which may be a factor in the asymmetrical pull I experience at "top speed" (when one motor seems to reach its "top out" RPM before the other does). Uneven tire pressures. Turns out I had a slow leak in one of the front tires. Though I'm not completely certain this is the only issue, I can easily see how a difference in air pressure--between left and right wheels--would have an affect on the overall diameter (harder wheel versus softer wheel), and therefore the (RPM-based) top-speed cut-off points would no longer match up. Even a very minuscule difference in overall wheel-diameter would cause this effect.

                    This seemingly lousy news, might actually provide the answer to the problem: It might mean I can use tire-pressure adjustments to help sync the system, along with adjustments (as needed) to the motors' controllers. All things considered, tire pressure is actually a relatively simple adjustment to make--if it'll get me back in sync. Basically, here's my thinking: Ride it: If it pulls to the left, add some air to the left tire (or let some out of the right tire). If it pulls to the right, add some pressure to the right tire (or let some air out of the left one). To facilitate greater (tire-pressure based) adjustment range, I will try to use some higher-volume tires too--going up from the Schwalbe 55-406 Big Ben Plus tires, up to the 62-406 (same exact tread-pattern) Super Moto X tires.

                    No matter how hard I try, I'm still afraid there'll be oscillations between the two wheels, as long as I'm riding them against that "speed limit" threshold. So, I think setting them up based on matching torque might yield more stability. (An idea I go reading some of the stuff at the 2WD link above).

                    The other thing I'm going to play around with, is to run it using the auto-cruise function, but just below those maximum speed cut-off thresholds, and see if I can prevent the adverse-yaw that way. If the bike is pulling straight, and the cruise-control locks both controllers right where they are, hopefully it won't matter at all if one wheel is spinning ever-so-slightly faster than the other.

                    I still am using two throttles--left-side thumb throttle for the twin 350W Cuties up front (author wonders briefly to himself if it is okay to call Cute brand motors Cuties), and I'm still using the right-side half-twist for the 4KW Cyclone mid-drive. I have yet to try the system with just the half-twist throttle, but I expect to give that a try as well eventually.

                    As far as usage, I may end up using the front-wheels sparingly; for (slightly) faster cornering, for rolling over softer surfaces, for steep climbs (or when I just wanna make some fool on a Stromer eat my dust off the line).

                    However, as I expected, rolling-resistance of the geared-hubs, active or not, still eats away at my range. Though AWD might be perfect for the sands, I'm not sure I can make the +/- 100 km round-trip to the beach and back again with this config. Maybe that just means I need to ride a little slower for the trip there and back--or heaven-forbid, actually pedal along... Or maybe it means I need to up the capacity from 60AH up to 80AH on my battery--to make up the difference!

                    Oh, and one last thing: The Shimano C6000 roller-brakes are going to be just fine. I followed the directions, greased them, (bought some extra roller-brake grease too), and yeah. I was wrong to worry. The bakfiets, with its long rear-frame, and rider sitting back there, cannot possibly tip onto its nose under heavy front-wheel braking like a regular bike might--but under that heavy kid-hauling-box, containing a good 50KG of battery and tools as cargo, the brakes are strong enough to make both front-wheels begin to skid on clean level dry pavement. That'll do nicely. Quite nicely. So, for now, I'll happily stand corrected--about my trepidation. There'll be more on this too. I've got the new Elvedes Universal Cable Splitter, but I'm still awaiting my new brake-handles, to install it. So though quite effective, the roller-brakes remain a little asymmetrical for now.

                    Anyways, take care, everybody!

                    Last edited by tklop; 07-05-2018, 02:47 PM. Reason: For more information--and because I just go on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and...


                    • tklop
                      tklop commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Tire pressure adjustments indeed are sufficient to minimize the adverse yaw. It still gets wiggly sometimes, but less so.

                      Also, um... Look--I'm pretty new at all this. The Cyclone was my first e-bike attempt, these are my first geared hub motors.
                      But I'm starting to get the feeling something isn't adding up: I admit I'm not pulling all that much amperage with the Cyclone, as I've turned everything way down. Doing the math, under absolute peak demands, the Cyclone is topping out at about 28A or so (with the threee-speed switch on High); and around 20A with that switch in "Normal". That puts my Cyclone's peak wattage at roughly 1500W (give or take), and the "Normal" full-throttle usage at 1000W--the way I got it currently set.

                      But the additional amount of power I get from these motors is absolutely tremendous! I'm sure I've more than doubled my acceleration rate (three-speed switch on "Normal")--from zero to 25KPH. At first, I tried to brush it off: "Hey, mister. It's just a new toy, and you're over excited." was what I tried to tell myself. Those geared hub-motors don't have to take the time to shift--they just zoom right up to their "max governed speed" too--unlike the Cyclone. So, maybe I was imagining things. But then, after doing a few quick-launches in a row, I actually got my very-first-ever high-temp alert; the probe in my BMS was registering warm (37.8 Celsius). Puzzling...

                      Today, while doing another test-run, I kept the BMS Bluetooth app open, to monitor the current-draw. Well, that yielded unexpected results--but results nonetheless which tied it all together--helped it all actually makes sense.

                      Together, under hard acceleration--the twin Cuties are peaking with a 50A draw--that's without any involvement by the Cyclone (except maybe a couple amps draw for the idle Cyclone controller). With a fully-charged 48V battery, that would seem to indicate I've got a pair of 1000W motors--not 350W motors. Or am I missing something here?

                      If that's correct, and it certainly seems to be, that means I've gone from +/- 1000W normal full-throttle peak, to about +/- 3000W. And yes--that's gonna be one hell of a lot of improvement in acceleration. It fully explains why my continuous-rated 50A BMS got warm too--when all three motors were throttled up together; the three would have been briefly pulling +/- 70A! It makes abundantly clear why my estimated range seems to have plummeted so badly as well. And perhaps most importantly, what it also means, is that those tiny RisunMotor nominal 10A, peak 20A controllers--the Cuties shipped with--are being pushed WAY too hard!

                      Tomorrow morning, I'm off to go visit my kids again, and I'll see how it goes on a longer run.

                      I'm glad as hell I've got temperature probes in the BMS and battery--but there's nothing for the controllers (even the Cyclone controller gets warm--so perhaps temp monitoring might be something to consider as a controller-upgrade in future production-lines). Anyway, I'm going to try my best to treat the system extra gentle for the trip. Gosh. Those poor little controllers... I do not wish to "let the smoke out" as my brother would put it!

                      On the way back home from my visit tomorrow, even if it's pouring rain, I'm gonna stop in my "Cosmic Bike Shop"--which is pretty much whatever pretty spot I choose--and do some adjusting. I'll climb into the box-tent, bust out the optional display, and see if I can tweak the settings. If I cut their power in half, it'll save the controllers a lot of strain. Soft-start, whatever. I'll see what I can dink with.

                      Wow. Those motors were a damn bargain too--and if they're 1000W at 48V--well... Yay for SpeedLess on AliExpress--and yay for me!

                      Anyways... It's just as when the bakfiets had its terrifying first-run with its new 4KW Cyclone motor. It's not as scary--quite--and wow! I sure do love the acceleration! But now it's time to turn it down.

                      Even more to follow, I'm sure.

                      Take care, everybody.

                      Last edited by tklop; 07-07-2018, 04:44 AM.

                    Decisions, decisions...

                    Today, I went on the same weekend trip. I rode gently--Well, mostly. I made the round-trip, with an estimated 15 kilometers range left in the juice-box. Not bad. In the past, while riding non-gently, I'd have had something in the neighborhood of thirty-five or forty kilometers left over. All things considered, that's not too horrible. I also feel like the no-load rolling resistance of the hub-motors is just too high, and among the other things I want to do this week, I plan to look over everything carefully, and see if I can figure out why.


                    I want to keep the AWD, but I've got to find a way to run it a little more efficiently. Eventually, I will also probably need to increase my battery capacity, if I still want to have an enjoyable amount of range. It's sort-of inevitable. Like AWD, everything added to the mix has a cost--its own current drain--which decreases my range. But that is also why I want to be able to switch things off, and conserve energy. No "standby" drains. Soon I'll have a 12V circuit wired up off a transformer, with fused legs powering lights, an audio-system, a 12VDC accessory outlet (think laptop, tire-pump, electric cool-box), and a couple USB outlets. I want to be able to switch off any of those items I don't need as well--or the whole 12V accessory circuit if I want to. In keeping with this notion, if I could switch the front-wheels' system off when I didn't need it, I could also save the "standby power" needed to power the idle controllers. Switching them on--would be like hitting the 4WD switch in a car.

                    I still need to put my meter on the front controllers' leads, and figure out if it's going to be safe to parallel-wire their two "electronic lock" power switch circuits --or if it's not. If so--done deal--easy peasy. If not, that's another DPST switch I might need.


                    This morning, when I came to visit, my kids were tired, and wanted to stay inside. So, there were no AWD bakfiets adventures with them today.

                    But I could just not leave the area, without giving the AWD system a good test. So, I tried another of those horse-paths in the forest behind my ex's house, on my way back home again. Curiosity had the better of me--so off I went risking my rather sketchy battery-reserves. Keeping those fragile controllers, and my remaining capacity in mind, I kept a close watch on the amperage readout from my BMS--and for the half-mile or so of horse-path, it remained under 30A (combined between all three motors).

                    Before taking the plunge, I got myself situated, out on the main gravel-road through the forest. First, I set the Cyclone's system to a low gear, got it slowed down to a good trotting speed, and held it there a few seconds--to engage the auto-cruise function. Then, I eased in the front-motors' throttle, until the front-motors were just beginning to unload the rear-motor--meaning it was all pulling together (roughly)--and I held the throttle right there until those controllers' auto-cruise also kicked in...

                    Finally, I checked for traffic, stuck out my arm for nobody at all, and steered my bakfiets down the horse path...

                    I mentioned trying these horse-paths before. That last time, the sand had been much firmer than it was today, and my single-wheel-drive de-tuned Cyclone alone could handle it okay. But I remember well, back on that day, how hard the Cyclone motor was working; and I just knew that I was putting quite a strain on the chain and sprockets. I was impressed back then, at the Cyclone's capability, but I wisely did not linger on the horse-paths on that day.

                    Today, as I said, the paths were actually a lot worse. It has been quite dry here in The Netherlands for a little while now, so the sand on the path was very loose and soft. I'm sure there's no way I'd have made it through with my old configuration.

                    But I just steered. I never had to add any throttle to power my way out--nope! Thanks to those motors up front, the bakfiets just rolled steadily right along. Yes, I could hear the tone of all three motors change, as the load got heavier and lighter, but I could tell the Cyclone never had to strain like it had on that first day--in spite of the drastically worsened conditions on the path. In a couple of really soft sections, the bakfiets really started to swim--the rear-frame/back-end sliding out to the left or right of the box--as the thing dug V-shaped trails into the soft sand... it was pretty amazing. It felt like I was doing something impossible in a film or something--bumping along that path. There was no sign of strain, and there was also just no stopping her!


                    I'm afraid that as far as my plans went--for making those adjustments on the way home--that didn't happen today. It's tough parting with my little girls for another week, and I just wasn't feeling up to it.

                    But this week, I expect to make adjustments.

                    What I'm aiming for, is to turn the front-motors down to a safe level for their poor little controllers. To get that aided stickiness in the corners, I don't need massive amounts of torque. It simply has to be enough to pull the box harder than the Cyclone--briefly--and the balance of the machine is shifted. Just a little bit of throttle works just fine--same as on a front-wheel-drive car. So--that... And I want to wire the front controllers up so they're not draining my battery when I do not need them. If those two things can buy me back a piece of the efficiency I've lost, I'll be very happy indeed. If I can decrease that rolling-resistance some too, I'll be ecstatic!

                    If not, I'm afraid I might need to just get a 2nd 48V battery--as a "trip extender"--either that, or go from 3P to 4P with my current battery. Yeah, the cells I added would be newer, but the whole battery is still quite new...

                    So much to ponder...

                    Take care, everyone!

                    Last edited by tklop; 07-07-2018, 11:54 AM. Reason: for clarity


                      Controller inadequacies had me considering future configuration options...

                      I am tempted to one-day try a dual-controller----like the ones they make for robots, or electric wheelchairs.

                      If I can adopt some kind of control inputs, to sense how much the bakfiets' box is turning relative to the rear-frame, I'd open up a couple possibilities: If it worked, I actually could achieve both electronic differential as well as electronic traction control. An intelligent controller, with those features, could make that happen more easily for my bakfiets than it could on a regular bicycle. That is true for one simple reason: Because the bakfiets doesn't "lean" in the corners, the amount of front-box rotation, relative to the rear-frame is a matter of geometry; constantly maintaining the same relation to turning radius regardless of the bike's speed. That means that the differential in wheel-speeds will also be constantly relative to the turning angle, regardless of speed. Once the intelligent controller has its profile set up, it's should be able to remain solid, at all speeds. An intelligent robotic or wheelchair controller should even be able to keep its vehicle pulling in a straight line, and making coordinated turns, when one if its drive-wheels has a flat tire.

                      But on a regular bicycle, with a front and a rear wheel, that kind of a straightforward differential model won't work. There's more to it than just this--but here's an easy example: Even in a straight line, the front wheel of a bicycle will wander left and right, and thus it'll end up always taking a slightly longer path. If you try really hard to stop this from happening, I can guarantee you will fall over!

                      If I were to try the dual-controller approach though, maybe it'd be wasted on my latest setup; maybe I'd have to go all-out: Fully reversible motors, even regen-braking. Go ahead and take advantage of all the features--instead of just a couple... Ah, but then it would get mighty expensive...

                      I do find this idea intriguing. One day, it may be worth an experiment.

                      For the record, I'm not blind to the fact that I've probably got one of the most ridiculous projects on this forum.

                      But I do love my bakfiets--and it is fun for me, and for my kids too. Even my ex thinks it's pretty great. But I'm kind of limited in the amount of system-specific help I can seem to be able to find here. I've got a weird bike.

                      That 2WD link has good stuff, and I've learned a number of valuable things there. But Garden Wall Guy is mostly all about front-rear 2WD stuff--not side-by-side 2WD stuff--and besides that, much of his focus is on competitive drag-racing. So--and this is totally his prerogative--and I do not mean this as a criticism--in the light of competition especially, it totally makes sense to not give away all your secrets--but he also just doesn't get very specific on that page.

                      In any case, I've got issues to sort with the current setup, before I launch into another whole phase of reconstruction...

                      But it's simmering on the back-burner...

                      Take care, everybody.

                      Last edited by tklop; 07-08-2018, 07:49 AM.