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Aerial adventures with the BBSO2/Montague,RANS S7-S combo

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    Aerial adventures with the BBSO2/Montague,RANS S7-S combo

    From time to time I'll add to this thread, and I'll try REAL HARD to keep the airplane stuff to a minimum, for those with no interest in that type of foolishness. For those that don't know, I specifically converted my long time Montague ride, (I've had 2 in the last 18 years or so, almost always carried on board the plane, a good trick as this is a very small plane), in the hopes that I could expand my cycling range while on the ground. It has exceeded beyond my wildest dreams.

    Yesterday's flight/ride was pretty mild, always within cell coverage, on a gravel road not a trail, landing at a airport....other flights will be way out there, far from cell coverage point being, and include pretty technical off airport mountain side landings at places no one has landed a plane before as a prelude to the bike ride itself. I've been doing that kind of off airport flying for years, with the bike, now it will just be with the E bike. Still getting a handle on my range, I decided to, for the first time, take two of my Panasonic 11.5 AH PF 52 volt batteries. For the 100 mile flight to the small old mining town where the ride up to the abandoned mining camp would start, I decided to carry the spare outside, taped to the jury strut. My usual battery, in it's padded bag and wrapped in a piece of NOMEX fabric, I carry on the plane's floorboards under my seat. I can keep an eye on it there. There will be times when I will be carrying all three of my batteries with the plane, and the two spares will be carried outside, keeping any risk at a minimum, but enough about that, let's get to the fun part.

    The town of Mackay is at the foot of the biggest and baddest range in Idaho, the Lost River Range. Real popular with soaring pilots and mountain climbers, and many special op teams have trained there (it's similar to Afghanistan being the reason). I landed on the gravel on the side of the paved strip, my usual practice as I like to baby my expensive fat tires (3.5 lbs pressure) as much as possible. The bike took the usual 3 minutes to get out and roadworthy, I am so amazed every time that happens! Now that it includes the added performance of the E conversion, it's really almost too good to be true :twisted: The flat valley floor is at 6,000', and I'd be riding up to maybe over 9,000', depending on the snow pack. Here is where I was going:, to the Mackay Mine Hill ghost town. I put the spare battery in my backpack along with my tire pump and a quart of water, the all up weight was tolerable, but on a longer ride I may think differently, we'll see. I used PAS from 1 to 2 throughout, with just a little 3 (I have mine setup 1-5 levels available). This early in the season, and during the work week, I had the road to myself, and maintained about a 10-12 mph average speed until the constantly increasing grade made slowing down a bit make sense. I didn't have to...I was just babying the battery. I am still deep into the process of getting a handle on speed v. range, it's all part of the fun for me, and on a beautiful day, in no hurry and with great scenery, I LIKE going slower.

    I made it up to about 1600' above the valley, and then hit the snow level and that was all she wrote. With the fat bike I could have kept going for a bit, but even with that, the rotten (real mushy) snow would have been a bitch on the way back down. After poking around through a few of the old buildings and looking into a mile long mine shaft (big signs: "DO NOT ENTER DANGER OF CAVE IN'S", like you would WANT to enter....) I turned it around and had a great 35 to 40 mph ride back down the grade, exploring a few off shoot roads on the way. After the juice disc brakes on my Sturgis Bullet, the rim brakes on the Montague seem pretty wimpy, but they work well enough I guess. After making it back into town, I made a few victory laps on the main drag using just throttle while holding a cup of coffee in one hand, to give the locals something to think about. It turns out I had used less then 450 watts out of my 600 watt battery, I was real happy with that as on the smaller off shoot roads I went up while on the way back down, I used throttle only and a lot of it. Plus, the battery in the back pack had been no big deal, I forgot it was even there. Even better, when I got home (by noon, without the plane's help this would have been an all day event and I had to work later that day) the guy in the big Brown Truck had left my new seat post rack in the shop. As I can't have any permanent racks on the Montague that would interfere with the folding, and since I already pull the seat before stuffing it in the plane anyway, a seat post rack makes perfect sense for me.

    I cold formed the tip up the rack top had at the rear with a rubber mallet, ( I love that term, it sounds so much more technical then you just beat on it) and the 6.5 lb. battery fits perfect with quick and easy tie down spots for my web straps. When on the bike the rack bracket is snug down against the bike's frame, so it can't go anywhere. Wrapped in some high density foam I had laying around, I tried it out yesterday on a 7 mile ride, leaving my usual frame hung battery bag at home, I couldn't tell it was there. So, now I have my setup for epic rides:the usual frame hung battery, one spare in the pack, and the spare spare on the rack. Especially as most if not all of my rides (to date anyway, with my increased capability this may change) start low and go high, running out of juice is no biggie, gravity is on my side! I'm pretty sure by the time I run 3 batteries out, I'll be ready for a break anyway, I'm real pleased with the range I seem to have on even a single one. I realized the other day that I am re-calibrating my eyeball: when I over fly someplace with the thought of riding to a ground destination after landing, I now take in a MUCH larger area, and it's STILL easier and quicker to get there then before the conversion, it's hard to over emphasize the feeling of empowerment and all around increased utility this gives my little kit plane operation, it's like I have a new super power!

    The airstrip is down to the right about 1.5 miles, the grade is consistent as you can see.

    The kit plane I've been flying for over 3,000 hrs now and the Montague, quite the pair!

    The end of the road for this trip. The road continues up several more thousand vertical feet! I'll hit it again when it all melts.

    I am totally jealous! What an awesome ride, I love that country too!


      You always have interesting stories and pics, CPG.

      More airplane talk is fine by me!
      Fabrication is fun! Build something today. Show someone. Let them help. Inspire and share. Spread the desire.


        Today....couldn't land where I needed to be to do some work on a customer's solar system, the usual landing site was still snowed in. So, I landed a mile or so away and biked back. Not only a practical solution but fun!


          I did my first mo gas getting test run yesterday with the converted Montague, using the trick little Travoy folding trailer and the Nauta fuel bladder. I never burn av gas, the engine in my home built kitplane much prefers regular mo gas, not premium, it's low enough compression to burn regular mo gas at my field elevation. Not only is mo gas lead free, it's on average at least 2 more often 3 bucks or more a gallon cheaper! The only issue in using it is going cross country, I don't just land at the nearest airport and tell them to "fill it up", I have to go get it!

          I've used the Montague for this for years, first with two 2.5 gallon jugs hanging from the handle bars, but with last years acquisition of the Travoy, along with the 8.5 gallon capacity fuel bladder, I can easily haul more. And now with the BBSO2, it has all come together nicely. Braking is an issue, I need to remember the extra weight back there, otherwise the handling was excellent, all the weight is down real low. The bladder straps down in the forward cargo bay, underneath the bike with room to spare. While in flight I can pump it's fuel into the wing tanks. The plane burns as little as 2.5 gph, less then 4 average, while going about 85 mph IN A STRAIGHTLINE, which few of the roads do around here thanks to all the mountains. I have an additional rubber bladder that I can carry another 3 or 4 gallons in that sits on top of the Nauta bladder, so around 10 gallons a trip. The amount dependent on the road surface, distance, weather, etc.

          The trailer folds in about 10 seconds, I put it in first, then the bike and the bladder go in. It's a busy few minutes but less then 5 from riding up to flying off. My cohorts in the small plane world don't have this option, they have to buy av gas when on a xc, or more usually bum or beg a ride, screw that. I save a lot of money doing this, not to mention the fun/challenge of planning my fuel stops at places (sometimes not airstrips, never a big airport, often not even a dirt strip but "off airport", meaning a small stretch of open ground you think nobody will mind you using) a few miles from a gas pump. It's nice when a plan comes together, this setup gives me a lot of flexibility, and I can also use the trailer for other things, camping gear etc. Having the increased mobility the converted Montague gives, on top of the mobility of the off airport capable plane, is working out even better then I'd hoped. I have some really cool flight/rides coming up this year!

          Last edited by CPG; 04-18-2016, 03:17 PM.


            I was doing a solar job last week (a solar powered water pumping system, I set the array and I built the rack and set it for the array with my crane, plus set the pump itself, down 340') a couple valleys away, 64 miles by road, and exactly 32 miles straight line GPS oddly enough. So obviously flying there a couple times made perfect sense. But no matter how I juggled the required ground vehicles, I ended the job with my 1 ton left at the remote site. Sure I could have driven the tow bar equipped Toyota over, hooked it up, and gotten them both back, but I had a better idea.

            I used the plane to find a route through the 8,000' mountain range, in effect a much more direct short cut. I took a few cell phone pics, to help out later on the ride as to when to zig or zag. It helped a lot, more pictures would have helped even more, next time I'll do so. The weather was very iffy, it could have rained or even snowed, at any time..... so I didn't spare the pedal assist, I was at 2 and 3 (out of 5) much of the way. I had one 1000' climb, back down, then back up to *8000' at the pass, about a total gain of 3500'. I did not want to get wet, wet and cold. Enough so, that I took all three of my 11.5 AH batteries, this was my first three battery ride! One in the pack, one on the bike frame as usual, and one on the seat post rack. I ran out the first one ( I ran it until the BMS low voltage cutoff made it buck once or twice) 26 miles from the start, pretty good I think considering the climbing, the PAS level I was using, and the soft road/trail conditions.

            ​ It took a few seconds to plug the second battery in, then the down hill and once on the pavement the last 10 miles, I arrived at the truck with 54 volts still showing, and a total ride of 46 miles. The third battery was never needed. Though I will go out of my way to set up a ride that will take all three batteries, using up 1.5 batteries pretty much kicked my ass. I was pedaling the entire way, and at one point had some mud to deal with. This 42 lb. FOLDING e bike is damn impressive, and is proving to be more then I had hoped it would be since the conversion.

            I COULD have rode my Sturgis Bullet fattie, but I have put enough miles on it, over 200 now, of super rough trail riding locally, to feel I have the bugs worked out of it. Plus it kind of sucks on pavement, and I had 10 miles of it. This was my longest and most epic ride to date with the Montague and it just ate it up. It's working out even better then I thought possible, (I know, I said that before, but it DOES) and to think it fits in the plane just blows my mind. The combination of the plane's short (no) field off airport capability AND the e Montague just makes for a real unique and practical combo, with unlimited possibilities. I'll post a few pictures later.


              The day after I drove out with the array (1500 watts) and all the rest of the equipment, I flew back out and after the backhoe dug out the well, installed the pitless adapter.

              At the summit of the range I had to cross to get to the job site, note the weather conditions! Also one of the spare batteries on the new seat post rack I have, it's real solid and as I can't have a frame mounted rack due to impinging the folding/getting it in the plane thing, and I already pull the seat anyway, this was a very good solution for me. The usual frame hung battery is on the crosstube, it's working out very well also. I did have one short stretch that was muddy, I walked through it but the tires still picked up enough to totally trash the bike, jamming the wheels, brakes and the chain up, it was a real problem. I had to take the front wheel off and clean the v brakes off, and use a stick to get enough of it off the chain for it to work at all. Even then I had my first derailment, before I even started moving again. So I cleaned it a bit better, and had no problems the rest of the ride. This was a worst case scenario mud wise, and I was impressed with the amount of abuse the drive system took before I had to clean it. It was a real horror show back there! It was low 40's and could have gotten real nasty if it started raining, but it wasn't until I was at the pickup and driving off that if finally started coming down. I turned on the windshield wipers and the heater, and smiled.

              Made it, getting ready to load up and head out. I often it seems need many alternative ways to get around, on both my crane jobs and the solar work I do. The e bike gives me another tool in the toolbox to do so! I pressure washed it once home, and relubed the chain, and it appears to be no worse for wear, amazing.


                Very cool dude, I love airplanes, well, helicopters better but if it flies is all good. :D Beautiful scenery.
                Alpha One 6000W tadpole e-Trike (Cyclone):
                Alpha Two Cyclone 3000W tadpole e-Trike:
                Electric Cyclone 3000W eBike "power mod":


                  I crumpled one of the fenders on a little utility trailer I have by backing the crane into it recently (no contest, the crane has 50K lbs. on the little single axle trailer). It still was functional but looked like crap and I realized I had to repair it or I'd get upset every time I looked at it. The trailer supply house that stocks these fenders is close to 70 miles away by road, 32 in a straight line. So.... I packed the Travoy trailer and hung the battery off the jury strut in it's new fire resistant military grade zippered, padded bag. I had a genuine Air Force insulated flight suit I got cheap but never wore, it's made out of Aramid, a fire resistant fabric similar to Nomex. I paid less then 100 bucks for it, while it probably cost we the taxpayers $1,000.00, maybe more! It's padded/insulated, and absolute top quality. I posted it on a flying forum a few weeks ago, trying to sell it, and got no bites, thankfully, as I at one point realized all I had to do was cut the legs off at the knees and sew the ends closed, and I'd have a dandy fire resistant, padded bag to carry my battery /batteries outside the airplane. My local little old lady seamstress charged me $10.00 for this work, and my 11.5 AH batteries fit perfectly with room to spare. I feel better having these outside the aircraft away from the cabin fuel lines, room is always tight inside the plane, the drag is minimal at the speeds I fly at though at some point a streamlined enclosure may be in the works.

                  The Travoy trailer is a joy, it folds out and the wheels pop on in about 10 or 15 seconds. It handles like it isn't there. Less then 5 minutes after landing I had the bike out, trailer hooked up, and blasted off at 25 MPH, what a great deal! I had to ride clear across one of the large towns in Idaho, about 5 miles, to get the new fender. On the way I stopped at a local bike shop to see what they had, if anything, in e bikes. A single 350 watt 36v. hub drive model was it, and the sales guy informed me that one of it's advantages was it had ONLY peddle assist, no throttle, huh?! This is a high end bike shop in a high rent commercial store front, I'd bet anything in a year it will be a different story regarding e bike sales there.

                  The fender secured easily to the Travoy with some paracord I always carry, and after a breakfast stop I was back at the airport, and a few minutes later ready to blast off. The combination of the e Montague folder, the Travoy, the plane, and the Bafang power system is proving to be extremely practical. Sure it's also fun, but the combination works together so well I can't quite believe it. Flying is great for getting around, transportation after landing is the problem, this is a great solution.


                    This is totally awesome! Would you be interested in allowing me to use some of the pics for an article?


                      Sure, SM, I just saw your post..

                      This weekend I had my first real off airport bike trip. My airplane/bike trips to date involved landing at established airstrips, not this time. I saw this high ridge the other day while on the way to Montana, and saw several dirt roads trails going up to the summit that looked interesting. Once I pretty much figured out how to get up to where I wanted to end up on the bike, I flew down canyon and started looking for a place to land. I found a meadow by a old falling down cabin that was just big enough, then I tied the plane down to some dead trees and got the bike out and had a great ride. Eventually it got too steep to ride, and I hiked up the last bit. The bike once again worked perfect, and again I took a spare 11.5 AH battery and again didn't need it! I wasn't sure how far it would be, turns out only about 9 miles, with a bit over 2,000' gain. Getting back to the plane about 3.5 hrs after I left, I noticed a sharp piece of scrap metal just 2' from one of my planes tires, sticking up out of the ground at exactly the right angle to rip the tire if I had taxied into it, it was dumb luck I missed it as it was hidden by grass. I carry a patch kit for the plane tires, they are 29", very low pressure (3 to 5 psi) and real wide also,. They enable me to land places few other planes can, doing so as in this example, AND THEN GETTING THE E BIKE OUT AND HAVING A GREAT RIDE, is..... pretty fun. Once at the highest ridge I could get to that day, I picked out a possible landing site, and it's "on my list."

                      The plane/Montague combo is working out so well, today I pulled the trigger on a new Paratrooper Pro Montague. The one I have now is 10 years old, hasv rim brakes, a rudimentary sprung front fork, but otherwise has held up great frame wise. The 2016 'trooper Pro's have a real trick rear rack (heretofore impossible when you fold it), they came up with a great solution, with one quick release the rack pivots on the axle bolt until it now functions as a work stand, and also gets out of the way so the bike can fold. Once folded, it now sits securely on the rack, mine wants to tip over when folded. They have a built in rear fender on the rack, plus a trick front mud guard that also folds. I love the way the Montague folks continue to tweak the design, I am a Montague fan all the way! Now I'll be able to use my panniers I bought for the fat bike rack, cool. It also has a good Sun Tour front fork, and most importantly, disc brakes, though mechanical not juice. That may be because of the folding thing, not sure, maybe hydraulic lines don't bend or flex right.

                      I will PROBABLY go with a BBSHD, and just try not to let the 3 lbs extra weight over the BBSO2 bug me too much, as I will be getting a bike then is supposedly 1 lb lighter then my current one. A 11.5 AH or so battery, like I have 3 of now, so far I like having the option of plugging in a fresh one on longer rides, but having the light weight for shorter (but still pretty damn far) rides. No place on the Montague for a battery except a frame hung bag, not sure I'd want a 20 amper there, 15 or 17 maybe, we'll see.

                      And the biggie, unless I come to my senses or balance my check book or my credit card statement, a Rohloff hub. I have yet to do the math, but what I hope to achieve with it's wide gear spread is the great low end performance I have with the fattie along with the good speed, well over 30, I have now with the higher geared ( 42 T chain ring) older Montague. The fattie, with it's BBSHD plus it's 30T Mini chain ring, can go up anything, what it can't I can't ride anyway without getting bucked off. The higher geared Montague is great for even steep forest service type roads, but isn't the rock crawling monster truck the fat bike is. Maybe I'll go with a BBSO2 and a Rohloff, I may take the one off my current ride and use it. Then I could take the brand new bottom bracket stuff and rear cassette and other stuff I'd be throwing away anyway (or putting it on the shelf) and put it all on the older Montague, and sell it as a non powered bike, to a pilot probably. Eric's and other comments I've heard have sold me on the Rohloff, damn it, not I HAVE TO GET ONE!

                      One last thing, when the Pro gets here Monday, I'm going to take it for a ride. With all the pedaling I've been doing, from time to time I think I am some kind of tough guy, so I need to go ride with the real mountain bikers and see what happens, at least the MTB's my age. When I rode with 2 of them the other day, while on the fattie, I couldn't believe how slow they were! Maybe they were hauling ass compared to what I could do non e assisted, we'll see. A reality check as it were.

                      The clearing near the old cabin, with the ride destination in the background.

                      After I was unable to ride any higher, I hiked. A perfect day, not hot, not cold, no wind.


                        More... there were several monster badger holes, many every mile, they kept things interesting!

                        The green trimmed plane, looks good with the green grass.


                          Hey, great posts and pics. Keep them coming. S7 is a fantastic little bush plane. I am also an airplane nut, and built a Murphy Rebel amphib. I am just getting into ebikes, and also want to use them in the back country. Here is where I fly. I have 3 action cams mounted externally.
                          Phantom Lake camping trip, Aug 11, 12, 2015. Murphy Rebel amphib, pilot Walter Klatt, pax Brian Urbanowicz. Using Sony action cams, HDR-AZ1 on left wing, FDR...

                          There are endless logging road trails in the mountains, and am looking forward to exploring them on an ebike mtn bike.
                          Last edited by wklatt; 06-03-2016, 11:09 AM.


                            Wow, what an excellently produced video! With airspeed and everything, very cool. You are the perfect candidate for a e mountain bike, and you have plenty of room in that Rebel. Darn good cruise speed BTW, especially for amphibs. In watching your video, the only thing missing was an e bike. Be careful though, you may end up like I did, going from 0 to now (almost) 4 e bikes in just a few months. The Montague would be absolutely ideal for your bird, I think it's the best folder out there for we pilots, not real high dollar either. You, like me, are in a fantastic part of the world with so many places to explore, so get busy and get your bike built ASAP!


                              Haha, just starting into this ebike stuff, and got inspired by a couple of other guys at our airport that electrified their folders. I have two of the same ones (which fit nicely in the Rebel), so am doing that as well. I just got one folder working with a 20" front wheel SP5, and will do the other one soon. Then I have a 26" rear MP5 on the way for a mtn bike at a lake cabin that we have, with all the old logging road trails behind us. And I also have another 26" rear SP5 which I will mount on something, too. So I think I got you beat..., haha, with 4 ebikes just in the last few weeks. Of course I only have one working so far... This stuff is contagious, you're right... A bit like flying...