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Considering building an e-bike to go with my plane... Some questions...

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    Considering building an e-bike to go with my plane... Some questions...

    So, the great thing about small airplanes is you can go anywhere without getting stuck in traffic. Also no TSA, no airline hassles, etc...
    The bad thing is, when you land you either need to call an Uber (which sometimes only works one-way), pre-stage a car/motorcycle or have someone pick you up... Small airports are generally not located close enough to your eventual destination to make a pedal-bike practical for someone who's not a cycling enthusiast (And I am certainly not)...

    So.. The thought came that I could buy a $350ish folding (so it fits in the back seat of the plane) fat-tire bike, turn it into an motorized bike, and have something that can get me anywhere within 10 miles of any-given airport and-back (Boeing Field to downtown Seattle, let's say).... Electric 'wins' this one because gasoline spills inside the plane are undesirable (otherwise I'd absolutely go for a gas motor)...

    I need to be able to go relatively fast (speed limits of 25-45mph depending on the road. No pedaling), and am not concerned about blending in with cyclist traffic (easy legality 'fix': Register it as a converted offroad motorcycle. I'm using it as one, already have the endorsement & a 'real' MC at home)....

    So...

    1) Is this reasonably possible....
    2) Rear hub motor or mid-drive? Regenerative braking possible (eg, can a hub motor serve as (or heavily suppliment) the rear brake & dump power back into the pack when I stop)?
    3) How big of a hub (or mid) motor do you need to move ~200lbs of human+baggage 45mph for ~2mi & still have enough power to go 4 to 8 more miles in 25-35mph stop-and-go traffic?
    Last edited by Dave_A; 09-12-2018, 11:19 AM.

    #2
    I went down this path several years ago and went thru several iterations.

    First off, your expectations are way out of whack. You want a $350ish folding bike to go 45mph? Anyone who buys a Walmart POS and goes 45mph has no clue. Only 1% of ebikers go 45mph, which is illegal in most states anyway. It sounds like you want a motorcycle or scooter instead of an ebike.

    In my experience, Uber is the best way to go in an urban environment for what you want to do.

    Comment


      #3
      Here's a build thread you might be interested in: https://electricbike.com/forum/forum...ans-s7-s-combo

      And a semi-related thread: https://electricbike.com/forum/forum...a-folding-bike
      BBSHD / BBS02 IGH Builds: Nexus / Alfine 8: 1 2 3 4 5 6, Rohloff: 1

      Comment


        #4
        To be able to go above 30 mph remotely safely on unknown routes, you absolutely need suspension.

        Suspension works best when you minimize un-sprung weight => no hub motors.

        28 mph (or less depending on locality) is the legal limit for ebikes in the USA.

        Rough conservative guide: figure 25Wh per mile at 20 mph; 1/6 of the drag at 20 mph is friction (power proportional to speed) and 5/6 is aerodynamic (power proportional to speed cubed). Use a spreadsheet to figure out Wh per mile at various speeds from there. Then calculate battery size required.

        Just look at Zero; it will be safer faster and more reliable than any conversion. https://www.zeromotorcycles.com/

        Comment


          #5
          I understand where you're coming from and how awesome this would be to have to in your airplane but most airports have courtesy cars. Last time a friend went to Dallas they had free complimentary Mercedes for the pilots to borrow. lol
          But if you can lower you're expectations to maybe 28 mph from a 1000w hub motor on a folding bike this would be do-able.

          Comment


            #6
            My E Montague I carry in the plane can hit 38 mph, which I rarely do, I much prefer to keep it down to "regular bike speeds, on the high side though", that means about 17 to 21 mph.

            Fat tires? Why? Just extra weight and friction for what you need. The best thing about the Mont is that it rides and looks like a regular bike, I don't feel like a circus clown when riding it, it doesn't scream "THIS IS A FOLDING BIKE, AND I'M NOT FROM AROUND HERE." My favorite thing when riding through some small burg, like last weekend in Big Sandy Montana, is being pretty much invisible, just some guy riding a regular looking bike, "nothing to look at here", I hate feeling like a tourist. A full sized bike let's you blend in better is what I'm saying, while getting the transport job done better then small tires also. I trail ride mine, big high trails, like over 9 K', it's much more then just a runner for rides down paved roads.

            Most airports have courtesy cars? That depends on where you fly and what you call an airport! Depends on the airport, and if some pilot has already scarfed it up of course! You can't beat having your own wheels if at all possible.

            As I type this, I should be airborne halfway between West Yellowstone Mt. and Jackson Hole, on an overnight trip to West Yellow, but the weather has changed that. It's a nice 3 mile ride through a wooded trail from the airport into town and the Park, I do it once or twice a year. This time of year I can ride in the park due to low traffic levels. It's also great zipping around town, around all the RV's, on the bike, instead of driving a loaner.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by CPG View Post
              My E Montague I carry in the plane can hit 38 mph, which I rarely do, I much prefer to keep it down to "regular bike speeds, on the high side though", that means about 17 to 21 mph.

              Fat tires? Why? Just extra weight and friction for what you need. The best thing about the Mont is that it rides and looks like a regular bike, I don't feel like a circus clown when riding it, it doesn't scream "THIS IS A FOLDING BIKE, AND I'M NOT FROM AROUND HERE." My favorite thing when riding through some small burg, like last weekend in Big Sandy Montana, is being pretty much invisible, just some guy riding a regular looking bike, "nothing to look at here", I hate feeling like a tourist. A full sized bike let's you blend in better is what I'm saying, while getting the transport job done better then small tires also. I trail ride mine, big high trails, like over 9 K', it's much more then just a runner for rides down paved roads.

              Most airports have courtesy cars? That depends on where you fly and what you call an airport! Depends on the airport, and if some pilot has already scarfed it up of course! You can't beat having your own wheels if at all possible.

              As I type this, I should be airborne halfway between West Yellowstone Mt. and Jackson Hole, on an overnight trip to West Yellow, but the weather has changed that. It's a nice 3 mile ride through a wooded trail from the airport into town and the Park, I do it once or twice a year. This time of year I can ride in the park due to low traffic levels. It's also great zipping around town, around all the RV's, on the bike, instead of driving a loaner.
              While my initial post may have been a little off-putting, I'm actually here trying to figure out what would work best...

              The plane is a Piper Comanche 250... Low wing, one cockpit door, tiny 20x20 baggage door, etc... Right now, I 'do' this sort of trip on a Honda CT70, but that has to be dropped off ahead of time with a pickup truck, so it only works for commuting not for other trips. Uber adds even more cost to the trip over and above the $5/gal fuel & is neither timely nor reliable.

              So whatever I get needs to fit in the back seat if it's going to be a 'regular' 26" wheel size (which I'd prefer)... The baggage door is too small to make putting anything back there other than suitcases....

              I have zero bicycle experience beyond 'I used to have one as a kid', so my initial concept is based on 'what looks most like a motorcycle' (fat tires, full suspension) as the intended use is in-traffic riding at very-high-for-a-bicycle/slow-for-a-motorcycle speeds...

              The first thought for a 'base' bike was this: https://www.lightinthebox.com/en/p/2..._p5049454.html

              Given that I know *nothing* about how to make a bike do what I want to do:

              1) I gather now that I will gain nothing from the wide tires? I won't be riding it in bad weather, and the worst terrain I have to worry about is potholes/street debris....
              My presumption was that every motorcycle & moped out there uses wide tires, so there must be a reason for it related to speed/braking/control...

              2) Any other tips/comments?

              3) Your other threads with the folding Montague seem to indicate that you've more or less done what I want to do, albeit with a bit more off-road focus due to your job (I end up doing things the other way around - I live on a grass strip (anything is possible with enough HP - glad I got the O-540 powered model) and fly 'in' vs out)....
              Last edited by Dave_A; 09-18-2018, 12:42 PM.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by CPG View Post
                My E Montague I carry in the plane can hit 38 mph, which I rarely do, I much prefer to keep it down to "regular bike speeds, on the high side though", that means about 17 to 21 mph.

                Fat tires? Why? Just extra weight and friction for what you need. The best thing about the Mont is that it rides and looks like a regular bike, I don't feel like a circus clown when riding it, it doesn't scream "THIS IS A FOLDING BIKE, AND I'M NOT FROM AROUND HERE." My favorite thing when riding through some small burg, like last weekend in Big Sandy Montana, is being pretty much invisible, just some guy riding a regular looking bike, "nothing to look at here", I hate feeling like a tourist. A full sized bike let's you blend in better is what I'm saying, while getting the transport job done better then small tires also. I trail ride mine, big high trails, like over 9 K', it's much more then just a runner for rides down paved roads.

                Most airports have courtesy cars? That depends on where you fly and what you call an airport! Depends on the airport, and if some pilot has already scarfed it up of course! You can't beat having your own wheels if at all possible.

                As I type this, I should be airborne halfway between West Yellowstone Mt. and Jackson Hole, on an overnight trip to West Yellow, but the weather has changed that. It's a nice 3 mile ride through a wooded trail from the airport into town and the Park, I do it once or twice a year. This time of year I can ride in the park due to low traffic levels. It's also great zipping around town, around all the RV's, on the bike, instead of driving a loaner.
                While my initial post may have been a little off-putting, I'm actually here trying to figure out what would work best...

                The plane is a Piper Comanche 250... Low wing, one cockpit door, tiny 20x20 baggage door, etc... Right now, I 'do' this sort of trip on a Honda CT70, but that has to be dropped off ahead of time with a pickup truck, so it only works for commuting not for other trips. Uber adds even more cost to the trip over and above the $5/gal fuel & is neither timely nor reliable.

                So whatever I get needs to fit in the back seat if it's going to be a 'regular' 26" wheel size (which I'd prefer)... The baggage door is too small to make putting anything back there other than suitcases....
                Folding seems to be a useful feature for the 'haul bike up on wing, get through door, behind copilot seat, into back' task... I'm not thinking of one of those 20" circus-clown folders, though - more a full size 26" wheel one...

                I have zero bicycle experience beyond 'I used to have one as a kid', so my initial concept is based on 'what looks most like a motorcycle' (fat tires, full suspension) as the intended use is in-traffic riding at very-high-for-a-bicycle/slow-for-a-motorcycle speeds...

                The first thought for a 'base' bike was this: https://www.lightinthebox.com/en/p/2..._p5049454.html

                Given that I know *nothing* about how to make a bike do what I want to do:

                1) I gather now that I will gain nothing from the wide tires? I won't be riding it in bad weather, and the worst terrain I have to worry about is potholes/street debris....
                My presumption was that every motorcycle & moped out there uses wide tires, so there must be a reason for it related to speed/braking/control...

                2) Any other tips/comments?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by nfmisso View Post
                  To be able to go above 30 mph remotely safely on unknown routes, you absolutely need suspension.

                  Just look at Zero; it will be safer faster and more reliable than any conversion. https://www.zeromotorcycles.com/
                  Agreed on the suspension part...

                  The motorcycle you linked to will not fit in the back seat of my plane (and seems much to heavy to lift in/out anyway), which is the whole point of all this.

                  I already have 1300cc motorycle if I'm not flying... The idea here is a ground based 'extender' that gets me where I want to go from the airport if the courtesy car isn't there (or they don't have one, don't want it gone for 8hrs, etc)....

                  Comment


                    #10
                    The Montague was a very easy conversion, either for the BBSHD or BBSO2. If I can fit it in my RANS S-7S (along with full camping gear), I have to think it'd fit your Comanche! That baggage door is worthless, so maybe yanking the rear seat is an option? Or, left in place, an old blanket would be reuired to protect things ( and that could be part of your survival gear). As you have found, your desired speed is the "problem..... it's amazing how much ground you can easily cover, at 18-20 mph, with a few bursts of higher speed, with a little E assist if you're moderately fit anyway. The exercise is a great break, a nice contrast, as let's face it, flying is pretty much sitting on your butt. Being freed up from the lack of or constraints of a loaner car is a game changer. I'm at the point, that when I land at a small strip like last week, in Big Sandy Montana, it IRRITATED me that they had a loaner car, ha ha, I had more fun on the bike (Big Sandy is pretty small). A few times I have thrown the Mont in the loaner car trunk, giving me lots of options. I can have the bike out and be riding off within 3 minutes of the prop stopping, and that includes unsecuring it.

                    You know how having your own plane is like having a super power? Having a good practical E bike in the plane is like that in a way, for me at least!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Wide tires help a lot but.... These are bicycles not motos.

                      You remember riding a bike as a kid... Do you remember how going just 15-20mph felt like you were going super fast? You might have even thought you were going 45mph but in reality it was likely just ~20mph ;-}

                      I think you need to do a hard reset on your goals.

                      To get a machine that will fit in the comanche, it will not only be just a bicycle, it will be a small light bicycle, likely a folder. It will ride like a small bicycle fat tires or no. 15-20mph is reasonable and 25mph will be scary fast - at least for me it would be.

                      So I think hard reset and reassess your goals. If you set your expectations to having an electric assist *bicycle* (not a moto) and that you will be ultra satisfied with 20mph, then you can likely meet those expectations.

                      If a 20mph'ish electric assist bicycle isn't going to meet your requirement then I'd suggest what you want is unobtanium and you may want to move on with your thinking.

                      It might be possible given near endless resources to create an electric moto that breaks down into manageable pieces but it will be most likely three or four 20-50lb pieces and it's just a fantasy in my mind at this point...

                      Good luck! At least you are getting air time =]

                      Comment


                        #12
                        To put the speed thing in perspective: ANY bike, e powered or not, beats the hell out of walking!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by CPG View Post
                          To put the speed thing in perspective: ANY bike, e powered or not, beats the hell out of walking!
                          True... But if traffic is going 45 I can't be doing 20....

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Like anything else, going a little faster takes a LOT more energy, tech, etc. So, big difference between something you can stuff in your bird that will reliably and safely hit 45, versus something else than can do the same at 20.

                            It always cracks me up, after just landing some 8 or 9 K mountain top or ridgeline that's never been landed before, (I'm into off airport type stuff) to realize that the bike ride into the nearest cafe or whatever afterwards is the really scary part! Or can be anyway. I take it you've haunted the local Honda/Yamaha etc. dealers to see what's out there for something that might suit your needs? I can hit 38 mph briefly, and that usually gets the job done, though many times I go out of my way to stay on a less traveled road. I am usually also hauling up to 11 gallons of mogas on my Travoy trailer, making NOT getting rear ended even a bit more crucial. The good thing is, my plane's engine thrives on mo gas, not so much the leaded AvGas, plus the 2 or 3 dollars a gallon I save on a typical fuel run pays for lunch and maybe dinner, two runs and a motel can be paid for, been there done that. None of this helps you in your quest, just sharing my flying/riding stories. Keep looking, it'll be worth it if you can find something that get's the job done. The first time I rode off on my first Montague after landing, over 20 years ago now, was outstanding! Now that I have an E Montague, it is so liberating I still can't quite believe it. I absolutely cannot fathom going back to not having a bike onboard again, ever, it is that much of a game changer for a small plane pilot.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I thought of the Luna Apocalypse Scooter. The 150/150 is all I have to work with. Speed per weight is OK, but speed per size is fantastic. Looking for someone who will test it two up. ;-)

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