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  1. #1
    eBiker alfonsopilato's Avatar
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    Do not buy Schwinn AL1020 Folding Electric Bike - A tale of a Crystalyte build

    Hi, I would like to share with you my new pride and joy eBike . No, it's not the Schwinn AL1020 ( more about that near bottom of my post), it's a dual suspension mountain bike. I want to share my good and bad ebike experiences with you so that those who are thinking of buying the Schwinn AL1020 may know what they are getting themselves into.

    My new ebike turns heads when it passes seasoned road bikers. Those who took it for a spin love it and want one. The bike is super quiet and a joy to ride. Friends tell me they have trouble telling the difference between a regular bike and this one, until they pay close attention to the rear hub motor and the controller that's tucked away under the seat. At a glance, it looks just like an ordinary bike.

    Here's how I put it together:


    I bought a brand new dual suspension mountain bike for $100 at Walmart, and modified it using the following components, which I purchased from ebikes.ca:



    26 inch 408 Rear Wheel. with Shimano 7 Spd Freewheel

    48V 12Ah LiFePO4 with BMS (40A max continuous discharge rate), comes with charger

    Direct Plug-in Cycle Analyst

    36V 20A Start Immediate Brushless Controller, can be used up to 48V

    Crystalyte Half Twist Throttle



    Mudguard: I added a mudguard to the front wheel so that I don't have to eat dirt on rainy days.



    Bell: I added a bell. I was told by a local bike store (I live in Toronto) that I could get fined $110 if cops find me riding without a bell, much like a car on the road without a horn. I don't blame them at all for doing this. The bike is super quiet and I find the bell a necessity for alerting pedestrians who are j-walking and when passing parked vans/cars.


    Controller: I clamped the controller to the bike using two pipe clamps which I bought from Home Depot. I placed the controller right below the seat and clamped it to the support beam of a back mounted rack (20lb capacity). I sawed the inside lip of the rack to allow the rack to fit more snugly against the controller and I extended the support beam using a 2cmx3cm piece of wood (not shown in pictures, but I can provide this picture if you like).


    By having the controller clamped to the bike, I'm able to safely lock my bike at work and take the battery with me to the office. Right now i use two sets of bungee cords to secure the battery to the rack. Two cords hold the battery to the rack. Two more cords are wrapped longside around the battery and seat pole, to keep it snug against the seat. For now it's a viable solution and works well.



    Currently the controller is sealed in double plastic film (same as used to weather proff your widows). What I really want to do is buy formal coating and spray the inside of the controller. I found this website selling this product: http://www.mgchemicals.com/products/422a.html. I haven't yet checked if Home Depot or Lowes carries this.



    On day 2, I had one incident where I could not get the controller to start my bike. It turns out that all I had to do was shut off the controller and unplug/replug the battery 5 or 6 times. The incident hasn't reoccurred since (1 week now). This info was provided to me by a very helpful gentleman at ebike.ca (The Renaissance Bicycle Company), where I bought the components.

    408 Crystalyte motor: the side covers. The side covers need to be tightened really well. Mine came loose after 3 weeks of riding and, as a result, the back wheel wobbled. When I found out it was because of the bolts on the side covers that came loose, I bought some threadlocker and undid each bolt at a time, dipped it in the solution and put it back tightly.

    The cycle analyst is a very smart tool. It just doesn't provide you with realtime information such as your current voltage, speed and distance, total AH used, but also let's you set the cut off votlage (for a 48v battery, set it to 40 to 42 volts) , the maximum Amp (this limits the maximum current drawn from your battery) I set mine to 25 Amps. You can also set your cruising speed when at full throttle; more about this cycle analyst is documented at http://ebike.ca/drainbrain.shtml.

    Vbrakes: I use vBrakes on both the front and back wheels. I got a crash course on tuning up my vbrakes by following the instructions here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGgidUE8drE

    Tires: I got some slick low friction directional road tires that can be pumped up to 70 PSI, making for a very efficient ride. These tires are flat resistant (invest the money, it's worth it) which i bought for $50 a piece from a local bike shop, here in Toronto. These tires must be installed in a certain direction, you need to read the arrow on the tire when putting them on. Because they can be pumped to such high PSI, you get better performance on the road.

    Bike Performance: I've been using it mainly to get to and from work, the trip each way is 14 km. I only use up 4 ampHour each way and recharge the battery as soon as i get to work, using the compact plastic charger provided with the battery. It tops off the battery in a couple of hours.

    I can easily do 40 km/hr pedaling and 35km/hr full throttle alone. I get to work in 30 minutes (compared to 45 minutes using my previous ebike (Schwinn AL1020 Folding Electric Bike)

    I can get up steep hills at a respectable 20/25 km/hr with little pedaling.

    The bike is a smooth ride, due to the full suspension, and I feel much safer on this bike than I do on the 15 inch wheel Schwinn.

    With a bike capable of such speeds, I ride on the road, keeping to my right and use hand signals http://www.bikemiamivalley.org/safety1.htm

    Incidentally I returned my Schwinn bike for a full refund ($630); the company that sold it to me replaced the bike once and finally reimbursed me. The first bike, the frame cracked right below the seat, the second bike the back wheel twisted out of shape and the front wheel assembly torque forward when using the front brakes. I've only been using that bike on the road in Toronto. I donít recommend the Schwinn AL1020 Folding Electric Bike to anyone who is seriously considering getting to work safely over a respectable distance. The wheels are far too small (15"), making for a very unsteady and dangerous ride, the bike lacks back wheel suspension, the frame is poorly designed and the rims are not sturdy for the type of road commuting Iíve put it through.

    I've tried to post my honest opinion at Canadian Tire, but my post never made it to publication. So i'm posting here. My honest opinion is, if you are thinking of commuting to work more than a few kilometers, do not buy the Schwinn AL1020.


    Total cost of the bike: $1700.00.
    Ok, so that may appear a bit steep as comapred to $600 for the Schwinn; but with my mountain bike I know I'm safer, got a better frame and far better performance. The battery alone is $900 and is good for 1000 cycles and keeps a constant voltage throughout your ride at 48 volts 12 ah vs. the lead acid one for the Schwinn which is 200 cycles and sosts $200.00 to replace and the voltage drops linearly as you ride 24 volts 8 ah (which btw hits 20km/hr pedal assisted, and you have only one speed.... not very very powerful and not something you would want to be on when trying to catch the light)


    Attached are pictures of my ebike. You can guess which are the mountain bike and which are the Schwinn. The one with the red circle shows the location on the frame where the crack occured. Notice the poor design of the frame, with little support to the seat and absolutely no shock for the rear wheel.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by alfonsopilato; 07-22-08 at 12:38 AM. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
    Rippin' pajo1235's Avatar
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    I read your post with some interest, because I bought the Schwinn IZip, from Canadian Tire. After a month, the battery died, and just yesterday, I was riding, and the bike quit on me. Battery showing full, but just quit. Driving the bike back to the store, I was having second thoughts about buying this bike. I use it to ride to work, a short ride, but lots of hills, and to get out on the weekends. I haven't had the kind of problems that you had, but wonder how many times I have to pack it in the car and take back for warranty service, and what happens when the warranty runs out. I would like to be reimbursed also. Since they did it for you, I wonder if they will do it for me? I will wait and see what is the problem. Probably motor, since the battery is good. Not a happy camper so far. Not much good to me if it is broke half the time.

  3. #3
    It's easy being green. recumelectric's Avatar
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    Nice work. It does just look like a regular bike that's carrying a few things.
    When I ride, the troubles just roll off my back.

    Originally Posted by Cody Broken :
    Every ride is a mission, a race, an adventure, a quest.
    Every bike is noble steed, a stalwart machine, a clever device, a stealthy speedster.

  4. #4
    eBiker alfonsopilato's Avatar
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    Hi Pajo,

    When I originally asked for my money back, Canadian Tire stated that they do not reimburse money for bikes, although I had used the product for less than 90 days. But after going back to them multiple times, Dorel, the company which distributes to them the bikes has decided that it was getting too expensive keeping me under warranty. That's why they reimbursed me.

    Which model izip do you have?

    When I was having problems with the AL1020 I was already building my next ebike. I used this first bike, alhtough a disaster, as a learning experience to make better informed decisions on my next ebike and didn't care much whether they reimburse my money or not; I saw it as a $600 course on ebikes. That's why these forums exist; after the pain I've gone through I made sure others don't go through the same.

    Yes I agree with you, keep going back to them with every single problem with the bike for as long as you're under warranty; they may then realise that giving you back your money isn't such a bad idea. Good luck and don't be disappointed, just be thankful you dind't spend thousands on an electric scooter that died on you right after the warranty expired (like it happened to a neighbour of mine).

  5. #5
    eBiker alfonsopilato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recumelectric View Post
    Nice work. It does just look like a regular bike that's carrying a few things.
    thanks

  6. #6
    Techie Oshawaebiker's Avatar
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    The conformal coating you are looking for you can get from Active Electronics and Electrosonic.
    They are beside each other On Gordon Baker Rd. just west of Victoria Park South of Steeles.
    I would call them first to see if in stock. They may have to order it in for you.

    http://active123.com/b2c/redirect.cf...309e174e15e1TR

    http://www.e-sonic.com/acc/home.aspx
    Trust your bike and enjoy the ride.
    Secretary / Technical adviser for the Durham E-Bike Association Est: Aug 2007
    http://www.durhamebikeassociation.org/Home/index.html

    My Bike: Daymak Smart 100 (Luyaun PB707)
    My New Bike: Volt Canada Dream Ryder (Lvhua TDRH032Z)

  7. #7
    eBiker alfonsopilato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oshawaebiker View Post
    The conformal coating you are looking for you can get from Active Electronics and Electrosonic.
    They are beside each other On Gordon Baker Rd. just west of Victoria Park South of Steeles.
    I would call them first to see if in stock. They may have to order it in for you.

    http://active123.com/b2c/redirect.cf...309e174e15e1TR

    http://www.e-sonic.com/acc/home.aspx
    They are not far from where I am. I'll give them a call thanks!

  8. #8
    Rippin' pajo1235's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alfonsopilato View Post
    Hi Pajo,

    When I originally asked for my money back, Canadian Tire stated that they do not reimburse money for bikes, although I had used the product for less than 90 days. But after going back to them multiple times, Dorel, the company which distributes to them the bikes has decided that it was getting too expensive keeping me under warranty. That's why they reimbursed me.

    Which model izip do you have?

    When I was having problems with the AL1020 I was already building my next ebike. I used this first bike, alhtough a disaster, as a learning experience to make better informed decisions on my next ebike and didn't care much whether they reimburse my money or not; I saw it as a $600 course on ebikes. That's why these forums exist; after the pain I've gone through I made sure others don't go through the same.

    Yes I agree with you, keep going back to them with every single problem with the bike for as long as you're under warranty; they may then realise that giving you back your money isn't such a bad idea. Good luck and don't be disappointed, just be thankful you dind't spend thousands on an electric scooter that died on you right after the warranty expired (like it happened to a neighbour of mine).
    Not sure what model, just the men's Schwinn I-Zip. Don't see much of a problem with it structurally, seems solid enough. Just the electronics don't seem reliable so far. Like taking your car out, and not knowing if it will get you home. Seems to scratch my car every time I have to take it down there over the bumpy roads. I guess I will wait and see what the problem is. They might have problems with replacement parts, and that might open the door to reimbursement.

  9. #9
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    Probably motor, since the battery is good.
    From what I've read, controllers (which have a lot more fragile parts) seem to fail more often than motors or batteries. All those tiny electronic components...
    Some awesome folks who are working to give Haitians the ability to manage their safety and their lives:
    Haiti Partners

  10. #10
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    IMO - excellent journal new eBikers should read. I vote this thread be stickied as example of how to do this.

    Kits are the best way right now. Of course that might change if Panasonic Japan models ever make it back to NA. But in stock form they don't perform like this well executed build.

    Very nice work. One of the best I've ever seen for serious commuter.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Solar.110mb's Avatar
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    Once you get into the thousands of dollars, I would be tempted on getting one of these instead of a bicycle. They're probably more secure from theft than a bicycle anyone can carry away.
    http://www.rmartinbikes.com/evd?gcli...FQWVFQod2FwSTQ
    http://www.vectrix.com/corporate/US/gallery.php

  12. #12
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    rMartin & Vectrix - nice scooters/motorcycles but not the same class as this eBike. Theft - high tech batteries are the majority of the cost here and many riders take 'em inside work/home to charge. Myself, I need to be able to carry my eBike in/out of an apartment not try to find a place to park and maybe charge a scooter/motorcycle in a congested neighborhood or downtown business district.

    I still think this thread should be sticky'd for newbies to read about how to do this. Can I get a 2nd from someone or maybe comment from mod please?

  13. #13
    eBiker alfonsopilato's Avatar
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    Thanks

    To be quite honest, your thumbs up for my post is a boost to my ego; however I want to make clear that I don't claim to be an expert at this, I'm just relaying what worked for me and what didn't and hope it helps somebody out there. Had I known what I know now, I would be with fewer bruises.

    But heck, I'm here to tell the tale and what didn't kill me has surely has made me wiser


    So far, what I've learnt about building or buying an ebike and how to choose the components:

    Modularity:
    On a custom build like this, if any single component were to die, it can easily be replaced. That's reassuring. Also, if at any point I opt to use a different battery (say longer range, more ampHour) or a different power controller, not a problem, the Crystalyte 408 motor is versatile and has been proven successful on builds using 72 volt 40 amps... and if I get tired of the 408 motor and wish something else, well, that can also be done. Can you do that with a scooter?

    Versatility:And when you run out of power, can you peddle on a scooter with the same power transfer as on a bike? A scooter is actually heavier and requires more Wattage to run at the same speed. Funny thing, the first day I took my bike for a ride, I went to see my brother 10 km from me. While on the road, I met a gentleman on an electric scooter who was blown away by the acceleration of my bike and when he finally caught up with me at the light he asked: "this is a custom build, isn't it?". I smiled. He admitted that his scooter has no peddles, is slower than my bike and there isn't much he can do to make it go faster, other than lower his head to reduce air drag. Plus he has to pay for licence and insurance. We parted smiling and wished each other a safe ride.

    I'm not about to compare a scooter with a bike, like was mentioned wisely by BroadwayJoe, they are two different classes of vehicles, and it's obvious from this story that to get a performing electric scooter, you'ld be paying far more than $1700.00.

    Theft:
    I invested in a good Kryptonyte lock ( http://www.kryptonitelock.com/Outlet....aspx?pid=1093), just because I want to secure the hubmotor, which costs $280.00. So, I make sure I lock the hub motor wheel with the frame to a secure bike rack. Some things people may not know is that some bike thefts in Toronto were not due to bad locks, but due to bad bike racks (http://torontoist.com/2006/08/toronto_bike_po.php). I must admit that picking up a scooter is not as easy as picking up a bike. But who said you need to convert a high end bike? My bike costs $100 and is the cheapest component in the entire build. In fact, the lock costs as much as the bike and like BroadwayJoe mentioned, the most costly component is often the battery, which you normally would not leave on the bike anyways.


    No licence or insurance required for en ebike:
    If you live in Ontario, this link tells you what is considered an ebike: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dan...bike-faq.htm#1


    My build is probably not fully street legal, but as long as I don't bring attention to myself by breaking road laws and I abide by the safety requirement such as wearing a helmet and having Proper lights , Proper brakes and Proper bell, I should be fine.

    I've had cops pass me many times, not event looking twice at my bike. I'm not breaking speed records and certainly am not out there to cut cars and cabs. I just want to get to work safely and cheaply.

    Another thing that some bikers do, which I cannot see happeing on an ebike is riding on sidewalks or against traffic. I mean, you have nothing to gain first of all, since at the speeds you are going, a few meters on a sidewalk isn't going to get you there any faster and the last thing you want is to hit someone with a bike that's 40 lbs heavier.

    Savings
    An ebike that costs $1700 pays for itself after the first 18 months. If you ride 9 out of 12 months (snows here in Toronto, in fact more since I moved to Toronto.. funny eh?) each month that you're not commuting you're saving $100. And at the end of all that, you still got your bike. It just makes good business sense if you work within a 30 km radius. I actually wish I'd be working further so that the trip doesn't end so quickly, but that may just be the newbie thrill of riding an ebike having its effect
    Last edited by alfonsopilato; 07-17-08 at 12:08 AM. Reason: fact correction

  14. #14
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    its the fact you're not an expert is what makes your excellent journal so useful to new folks looking into eBikes.

    Thanks for the good info!

  15. #15
    eBiker alfonsopilato's Avatar
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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by BroadwayJoe View Post
    its the fact you're not an expert is what makes your excellent journal so useful to new folks looking into eBikes.

    Thanks for the good info!
    You're welcome

  16. #16
    eBiker alfonsopilato's Avatar
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    Motor vibrating/jolting/shuddering/shaking when turning on the throttle.
    July 18 2008: On my way from work to home, right at the end of my trip the motor started to shudder vigourously when I gave it some throttle.

    It turns out that it was caused by a loose connection right at the base of the bike, where two wires connect to the hub motor. There are two connectors, one looks like a coaxial type, which is the Mini XLR Hall Connector(which was secure), and the the other a three (3) pronged Anderson connector which was loose. I turned off the controller and secured the connector and put some silicon tape around it to keep it firml together and the bike went back to humming again sweetly. I thought I should share this with anyone out there who may come across this problem.

    At first, when I experienced this violent shaking of the motor, I thougt the worst (hall signal failure or corrosion as indicated in the troubleshooting section here: http://ebikes.ca/troubleshooting.shtml) but thankfully it was something far more minor.
    Last edited by alfonsopilato; 10-23-09 at 12:09 AM.

  17. #17
    eBiker alfonsopilato's Avatar
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    Loose spokes
    A few weeks ago I got two broken spokes. My local bike shop sold me replacement spokes; they had to custom cut them to length and thread them. I replaced the spokes, and some more broke during the next couple of weeks. Along with that I started getting flat tire on the same wheel.

    It turns out that these are symptoms of loose spokes. If the spokes are loose, they will move in and ou of the rim and flange and eventually break and with the movement will also protrude through the wheel's inner tube.

    None of my flats were due to a puncture from the exterior (outer facing) side of the tube. It was always inner, facing the rim innards. This told me that my spoke definitely needed tightening.

    I didn't want to overtighten them [spokes] and end up tearing through the rim or the flange and I'm tone deaf or at least I am not musically inclined and am more of a numbers preson. So, I went out to my local bike shop and bought a TM-1 spoke tension meter (tensiometer).

    How I went about tightening the spokes and truing the wheel and ensuring the wheel kept round:
    1. I took the wheel off the bike and removed tire and tube.
    2. I measured the thickness of my spokes ( they are 2.16 mm, which is odd, because the tension meter table accounts for spoke that are 2 mm ; I'm guessing that my spokes fall under the heding "Round Steel", reading from the same table (comes with the tensiometer), as i was pretty certain mine were not carbon, titanium or aluminum.
    2. I tightened every spoke to a deflection of 25; that was a rough ride, as I've learnt, since spoke share tension, and once you've gone once around the wheel, and you check the tension again, some are out of whack, so you go at it again and again until they are pretty much at the same tension. Now, I have a feeling this is not the most efficent way of doing it, so please feel free to comment.
    3. I set the wheel back on the bike, without tube and without tire, and tightened the wheel to the axle, as if I would normally ride it, to ensure the wheel is set in place properly , kept the wheel on its back and of course proceeded to make sure the wheel was true, which oh surprise, it wasn't. I trued the wheel; there are tons of examples on how to do that on the net. Basically, I use the brake pads as a reference point. Wherever the left side of the rim tuoches the left brake I loosen the left side spoke and tighten the right side spoke by a quarter (1/4) turn.
    4.Once I got the wheel true, i checked the tension of each spoke again and it was pretty uneven, which was expected since the wheel was no longer round, meaning that the rim rose and fell at certain places (vs. left to right motion, which is was truing corrects. ) I've learnt that to correct this, you tighen both side spokes on the side that rises, to pull in in the rim. I used tape to highlight which spokes were overly tight and overly loose and that gave me a pretty good picture of which ones I had to tighten in pair (always do this in pair on spokes that re on left and right side of the rim, otherwise the wheel goes out of true again).

    I've learnt that if a spokes which crisscross share tension. Example if one of them is super tight, chances are the othe ris looser, provided your wheel is true of course. Since they share tension, it means you can loosen one provided you tighten the other, to keep trueness. Using this concept, and don't ask me where I got it from, I concluded all of this on my own, I was able to bring the wheel back to round and keep all spokes relatively at the same tension.

    The wheel was now round and true.
    I took the wheel off the bike, and placed it on the ground and leaned on it at 1/8 turn to destress the spokes (i read that somehwere) and place the wheel back.. made minor adujustments where required, and took wheel out again and leaned on it again. It was pefect by then and I then placed the tube and tire back on.

    Oh something I must tell you; the spokes that come with the hub are 2.16 mm, which according to my local bike shop is an odd size, since they could only give me 2.0 mm spokes and corresponding spoke wrench... so you ask me, how did i adjust the 2.16 mm spokes? I sued a flat screw driver and did it from the rim , you definitely need tube and tire off to do that, and I was lucky that the pokes did not protrude through the screw thingy, otherwise I would difintely have required a spoke wrench that fitted 2.16 mm.

    Something else i MUST tell you is.. i filed the inner of the rim where the nipple screws in, which is where your tube also goes .. I made sure this are is filed and smoothed, since I had taken a flat screwdriver to it and may have caused sharp edges; the rim metal is quite soft as compared to a screw driver.

    Ok, so I enflated the tire to pressure and went for a ride. Marvelous!!! No flat woohoooo !!

    Note to self: I must reinpect the spokes and the wheel for trueness and roundness after the first 16 km and then after the first 160 km to ensure the wheel is shaping up nicely under road stress. This means I got to do this tomorrow after work (first 16 km) and two weeks from now. I read that also somwhere.

    Will let you know how tha went!

    Oh yes, I also fixed the wobbling of my handle bar, which was due to the front wheel being out of true. Having learnt how to take a wheel from totally loose spokes to hopefull correct tension and true and round, I was ready for the minor challenge of correcting an already fit front wheel which had a mild out of trueness. My grammar is probably shot at this stage, making up verbs such as truing and expressions such as trueness, but I'm guessing you know what I mean by all this. I again used the brakes as a reference point and did something else also, I had the bike upsdie down of course and used my feet to squeeze the front brakes to the poitn where the wheel would top from one side. I would fix the truenss at that spot and move the spin the wheel gingerly to until the next time it stopped; to ensure I wasn't paying attention too much to one side of the rim vs the other, i ensured the brakes were as close togethe as possible. I ended up having the wheel so true that it freely spun between very closely brake pads. I was impressed (hey, it's the first time I felt wow, that's how i alwasy wanted my wheel). Now, no more wobble when I ride, my handle bar stays straight and when I let go of it during a ride the bike goes straight without the handle bar convulsing. Yeah, I was proud. Oh, this whle thing took me two days to do. I'm a newbie, suffered for it, but I'm so glad I hadn't have to rely on a bike shop to do this maintenance. I like doing things on my own whenever I can.

    Ok well.. errrm.. enough of that. I'll post again tomorrow to let you know how the 16 km wheel maintenance went! Until then, safe ride!
    Last edited by alfonsopilato; 07-22-08 at 04:22 PM.

  18. #18
    Both Coasts...
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    Sorry if I poisoned your thread, lol... Some folks might not care for my style of posting or the fact I'm NOT a bicycle guy but more of a propelled rider.

    Ah, the lesson of motors with spokes! I think bicycle people use ga. for referencing spoke diameter. 14ga. kinda standard - 12ga. little thicker and more commonly found with hub motor suppliers. Might help explain your measurements?

    I can't stress enough how newbies should take it slow and use many test rides and adjustments before taking a long trip. These things aren't like a VEHICLE you buy ready to take to the road. They're hand made eBikes with all the quirks that go along with marrying various parts/components to each other.

    That's why I often suggest people start with small SLA batteries and iron everything out 1st. Then decide if it's worth pursuing with the latest battery chemistry? As your journey has shown - batteries will be the largest single expense for an eBike. As it well it should be...

    Thanks for the detailed journal - good stuff.

  19. #19
    eBiker alfonsopilato's Avatar
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    Hey BoardwayJoe, thanks for the info and the thumbs up

    I just got confirmation from ebikes.ca sales rep that the deflection on their TM-1 tensiometer for their rearwheel crystalyte hub setup is 25. So, for anyone out there looking to ensure they don't overtighten their spokes... because it can get very ugly if they are too tight; at least with loose spokes you get broken spokes and flats and the symptoms are things you can deal with (mind you, if you don't pay attention to these symptoms, I can imagine that the stresses of travel on the wheel can warp the rim out of shape eventually). But, even worse, with overtight spokes you get a broken rim (spoke ripping trough the rim at the nipple) which translates to more $$ or even worse because now you must change rims and rebuild your wheel. Even worse if you end up ruiningg the flanges, by ripping through them due to overtight spokes then, I guess, that would mean new or rebuilt motor casing. These are symptoms that are difficult to deal with and cost time and money.

    Today was the bike's spoke check after first 16 kilometers: found two loose spokes (delfecting below 20 on the TM-1 tensiometer). Fixed that by tightenting them; they were both adjacent and on the same side; to counterbalance them, I tightened the ones across on the other side of the rim, to keep the wheel true and checked roundness and it was fine. Next checkup is at 160 kilomers, that's 10 days from now or two weeks.
    Last edited by alfonsopilato; 08-01-08 at 03:35 PM. Reason: spelling

  20. #20
    Senior Member Solar.110mb's Avatar
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    BTW I just bought my second 26" Schwinn Izip at Canadian Tire and I absolutely love them, mens and a ladies Izip for wife. Solid heavy duty bikes with slot for battery, plus they come with slick road tires. When the battery goes I plan on upgrading to a better battery. For anyone interested, the sale has been over for a month, but was still able to get a manager to honor the sale price.

  21. #21
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I wish you well on the wheel issue. When you buy a $100 mountain bike, you are definitely on the low end of the wheel quality scale. When you run it at 40 km/hr, you are putting a lot more wear and tear on the wheel than it was ever expected to see. It's sort of the equivalent of running a Yugo in Nascar.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  22. #22
    eBiker alfonsopilato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    I wish you well on the wheel issue. When you buy a $100 mountain bike, you are definitely on the low end of the wheel quality scale. When you run it at 40 km/hr, you are putting a lot more wear and tear on the wheel than it was ever expected to see. It's sort of the equivalent of running a Yugo in Nascar.
    The price of the bike has nothing to do with the rim which comes with the hub motor that's rear mounted.

    I fail to see your point, unless you mean the front wheel, with which I have not yet had any problems since much of the weight is on the rear wheel, me sitting on the bike and the battery being rear mounted.

    The frame is solid, which to me, is a big bonus and an absolute necessity for the type of commuting I do.

    The price definitely reflects on the plastic pedals, which I replaced and the knobby cheapo tires which I also replaced. I would have liked disc brakes, but hey, it's only a $100 bike

    I'm blogging the bike's performance and arising issues here, if it works out well, my friends at work would want me to build them one. So.. we'll see if the crystalyte rim holds up, if the original front rim holds up and most importantly whether the crystalyte hub motor holds up with all the rainy days during the year. Till, then, be sure to check this blog, same bat channel but a year time from now
    Last edited by alfonsopilato; 07-28-08 at 07:50 AM.

  23. #23
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Ah, didn't realize this wasn't the original rim. Never mind. (And I agree, on my $100 Academy mountain bike, the solid frame was fine, and no problem with the front wheel.)
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  24. #24
    eBiker alfonsopilato's Avatar
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    oh btw, I've upgraded to 72 volts (it's been close to a year now.. ) and I just LOVE it !!!
    Upgraded from 48 to 72 volt

    did i mention i just love it

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    Schwinn is a sad company. That's all I used to ride when I was a kid, and they were actually semi-decent bikes (there weren't a lot of exotic brands back then). Then around the early 90's, the build quality went to crap. Cheap frames, poor crank quality (I could actually torque it enough with my leg power to get the crank to exceed the chain so it skipped). Mongoose is another brand that was a step above basic, now they're sold at walmart.
    I ride the asphalt, one mile at a time

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