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    Another newbie joins the ranks

    Hello, everyone.

    Right away, I want to thank all here who have and who continue to contribute the invaluable installation, guidance, and troubleshooting information. You are all heroes, each and every one of you!

    My name is Tim, and I've read a lot here, but have posted little.

    Reason for that, is I had no project up until now, only plans and dreams.

    Now, I'm underway on my build, and will probably pop up with questions from time to time.

    What am I building? A monument to my own insanity perhaps, if I'm objective about it!

    Back story: I've been a bicycle fan my whole life, and a tinkerer as well. I met a Dutch college girl (an English Lit foreign-exchange student), while I was stationed at Moody AFB in Georgia. We hit it off, she finished studying, I finished my tour, and moved to Holland to be with her. Holland--which, with the notable exception of Taiwan perhaps--is pretty much the best nation in the world for bicycles. So, we get married, have kids, and a friend gives us an old Babboe Big bakfiets (that's Dutch; "bak" means "box" and "fiets" means "bike"--so, you get "box-bike"). The woman had gotten it as a hand-me-down, and wanted to pass her good fortune along--as she'd just purchased the Babboe Big-E (the E for electric).

    I pedaled that old beast here and there and everywhere with my kids, doing repairs and a great number of upgrades along the way. While gaining appreciation for its design and sturdiness, and its multi-purpose functionality, I also gained a very healthy respect for it's absolutely terrifying instability above about fifteen miles per hour. Meanwhile, as those months and years rolled by, the heaviness of the thing, and my aging knees had me mulling over thoughts of assist...

    Babboe, the company that makes the bakfiets, used to sell a 'conversion" option to upgrade non-E versions like mine, and electrify them. Thing is, their conversion cost a substantial sum, and it wasn't a "kit" at all. Instead, they'd show up in a truck, with a whole new rear-frame, with controls, cables, everything, and a rear-rack mounted battery, and the upgrade could only be installed by their technician. When all is said and done, you end up with a 36v 250w rear-wheel geared hub motor, with a 10AH battery.

    Now, I'm a disabled vet, on a fixed income. A glance was enough to know that the "Factory Upgrade" was not going to be a viable option. Plus, I had already upgraded components on my own that were better than what was going to arrive with the "upgrade". Not for me.

    So, I started poking around to see what there was to see, and this forum, (along with Luna Cycle), both seemed pretty adamant about finding the kits and components that will deliver the most for the money, so yeah... That got me started here. But it was all still dreaming, I couldn't spare the dough.

    Time rolls by... Marriage troubles, kids are a little bigger, ex didn't want that old crusty, rusty bakfiets around anymore, so when she threw me out, I took it with me (rode it, and a great deal of my stuff--without any assist at all, about forty kilometers to my new house). Now, about a year later, I've saved up my nickels and dimes, and gotten my kit, and that old (at least third-hand) Babboe Big is now going electric!

    And before anybody else says it, yeah, okay--lipstick on a pig. Funny thing, but the word "Big" in the model name? Well that means "pig" in Dutch too, so there you go! Besides, well... Just wait until you see the pictures. An unknown previous owner (both unknown to me, and to the friend who donated it anyway), had brush-painted flames on the sides. Ironic. Like lightning bolts on a turtle's racing jersey.

    You all may doubt it, and I can't blame you for that, but there really is a reasoning; a method to my madness here: These box-bikes are kid-transporters basically, but also are functional high-load-capacity stuff-haulers too. The kid/cargo box is rated for a load of 100 kilograms, but I can assure you it's a lot sturdier than that. They make cargo versions, or ones for your dog, and their newest offering, the Babboe Carve does that "carving" thing through the turns (where the front wheels lean like a normal bike, letting you swoop through the corners at speed, rather than at little more than walking pace, which my current version cannot). But because these box-bikes are bought as kid-transporters, and kids tend to grow up, there's basically an endless supply of these (in various degrees of used and abused condition) trickling out onto the Dutch version of Craig's List; known as Marktplaats (marketplace). So, if this one finally finishes rusting away, I buy another one, swap my components over, and be on my way.

    It also had to do with my intended use. I'm strong, healthy and physically fit. I do not want an assisted bicycle for my normal use, because I can get everywhere I need to go just fine, with my own body's strength. I've got a nice "stadsfiets" (city-bike) and a "vouwfiets" (folding-bike), so between those two, I've got my appointments and whatnot covered. Both of those bikes, under my own power, are faster than the bakfiets will be able to safely go. But for hauling big loads, or for trips where I want to take a lot with me (camping, beach-trip, the kids, whatever), this opens up possibilities that a regular bike does not. Further, I can keep my stuff (or kids) out of the rain. Okay, yeah. The driver gets wet. But I dry out easier than many things I may wish to haul! Plus, in a pinch, I could always pull over and take shelter in the box until the storm passed if I wanted to. So, this beast will be about function, but also about recreation for me.

    I have an idea to stabilize, modify, and thus tame the steering of the bakfiets. If I can make that work, I'll be able to significantly increase the top speed, but until then, it's probably going to max out at 20 to 25 kilometers per hour or so (if that). If I do, and if my mod proves successful, I can post what I've done here too--for others converting cargo-trikes and box-bikes.

    I will probably build a bike for my parents, back Stateside in Oregon, next time I come to visit (they want a tandem trike of some kind--stable with assist, so they can enjoy the outdoors). When I get them set up, I plan on buying from Luna Cycle. But because I live here in The Netherlands, it really just made no sense to order from them. Their shipping costs were marginally worse actually than the costs from Taiwan, and ordering direct from Cyclone Taiwan gave me a few more options that Luna did not have, (or have in stock, according to their website). Among the advantages for me was to be able to get the slightly longer, more powerful and more efficient, (97.6% efficient according to their website) 4,000 Watt BLDC motor, instead of the 3,000 Watt one. Plus, I was able to customize my chain-rings to a 48-44-32 combination, and I had the advantage of adding a couple accessories Luna doesn't offer.

    I've got some stuff put together, and have a couple observations to share so far:

    Even though that 4,000 motor is longer (205.5mm) than the 3.000 watt Cyclone (171.5mm), it still does not require a fat-bike frame to install it on; my 68mm bottom-bracket was as narrow as they come pretty much, but the thing mounted up very solidly with the included stock bracket and hardware. If the old bracket was flimsy, this one certainly seems to stiff and sturdy. Maybe under load it'll behave differently, but it feels darn solid, so I believe this may be a significant upgrade.

    Though still unpowered (I must wait for my 48V 60AH, 16s3p battery to ship), pedaling with the feet a little further apart actually feels pretty darn nice on these knees too, so I see that too as a big-time plus!

    Anyways, folks, I've still got cables to run, and wires to sort out, and my battery still is a long way away, but I'm officially underway, so I thought it was finally time for introductions!

    Take care,

    Tklop
    Last edited by tklop; 02-10-2018, 06:28 AM.

    #2
    Welcome Tim! Man, when you open up, you really open up! That's the longest intro post I've ever seen! Sounds like you're almost up and running. Keep us posted. And don't hold back!

    Comment


      #3
      There's a lot of those Bakfiets type bikes running all over where I'm at, the delivery services use them, actually pretty common in the Pacific NW cities.

      Comment


        #4
        Hi tklop. Quite an intro. Reckon Spielberg could almost do movie on this, Hope theres a happy ending. You're at the right place for build advice and trouble shooting anyway. Look forward to a pic of the finished project riding through the tulips. Good luck and all the best with the build.

        Comment


          #5
          What interesting bike configurations! I hadn't looked at those, before. The molded plywood boxes are quite beautiful. I can see why they are scary at high speeds. Looks like they are all ridden the wrong direction, all that weight on the steering end! Tail wagging the dog, so to speak, trying to carve turns at speed with a bike like that. But looks awesome for city utility. And really customizable.

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

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by JPLabs View Post
            What interesting bike configurations! I hadn't looked at those, before. The molded plywood boxes are quite beautiful. I can see why they are scary at high speeds. Looks like they are all ridden the wrong direction, all that weight on the steering end! Tail wagging the dog, so to speak, trying to carve turns at speed with a bike like that. But looks awesome for city utility. And really customizable.

            Cool intro, welcome!
            That newest model of theirs looks a heck of a lot safer to use in the corners. Check out the video, and you'll see what I mean. Being able to lock and unlock that "carve" feature is nice too.
            I also think that molded box on it is handsome (even if it does look like a swerving swooping wooden bathtub). I'd love one, but with more power, and maybe for a lot less money. I'm going to be very interested in that model line (the Babboe Carve or Babboe Carve Mountain) once they eventually land on the used market. I can't tell for sure, because the pictures don't show all the bolts so clearly, but I was hoping the middle-motor design might take that new powerful bolt-in Bafang motor from Luna Cycle... I mean, if you got a used one with a cooked motor, it'd be an awfully nice and sneaky upgrade!

            Also, thanks to everyone for all the welcoming comments!

            I don't mind at all the perfectly justified ribbing for being wordy; nor do I intend to change my ways! ;-)

            Still, in order to consolidate, I plan to start a project thread over in the Cyclone area, to further document my build (and/or my decent into madness).

            Take care,

            Tim

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Hard Tail View Post
              Hi tklop. Quite an intro. Reckon Spielberg could almost do movie on this, Hope theres a happy ending. You're at the right place for build advice and trouble shooting anyway. Look forward to a pic of the finished project riding through the tulips. Good luck and all the best with the build.
              Hopefully, I shall indeed be up and running when the tulips are in bloom!

              Here's a teaser:

              Comment


                #8
                Hello tklop Could you please make photos and share the installation of the e-motor on your bike? I have a Babboe Big too and I want to convert it into electric... Could you share exactly which engine you have chosen? My Bike has no pedal break, the rear wheel is via a hand brake. It has a 7 gear shift.

                Comment


                • tklop
                  tklop commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I started--as described above--with the Cyclone 4000W kit. The 3000W kit from Cyclone-TW would've also probably have been plenty powerful, it was the super-high efficiency rating had me choosing for the 4KW motor instead.

                  Since then, I've also added hub-motors to the front-wheels, so now it's 3WD--which is a huge help. Now I can use the bakfiets, even on soft surfaces like sand (which I'm sure you're probably finding hard to even imagine at this point).

                  Anyway, I'm honored that you're interested in what I've done.

                  I've put a lot of information over at my main project thread, here: https://electricbike.com/forum/forum...rns-its-flames

                  However you decide to tackle it, best of luck with your Babboe Big!

                  All the best,

                  Tklop
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