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Old 12-13-08, 06:40 PM   #1
Elkhound
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Got my Stokemonkey installed today!

The owner of my LBS has a degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology, so he was able to get it installed with a minimum of fuss.

It is going to take a little getting used to, but already it has taken me up some hills that would have been problematic without assistance. So far it has done better on long not-so-steep hills than some of the near-cliffs we have around here; there may be a way of dealing with them, too.

I haven't had occasion to try it with a heavily-laden bike.
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Old 12-14-08, 11:21 PM   #2
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Have you ever used any other ebike setups? How does the stokemonkey compare?
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Old 12-14-08, 11:52 PM   #3
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What frame do you have it on and if I may be so bold as to ask a ball park figure of investment for the whole shebang?
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Old 12-15-08, 09:28 AM   #4
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I've never used another e-bike, so I can't say how it compares. As you know, it works rather differently than most; most turn the wheel, while this turns the crank.

It is on a Surley Big Dummy with a Rolhoff. I would say it came to about $3K total. Still cheaper than a car or even a motorcycle.

On really steep hills (+30% grade), the Stokemonkey doesn't seem to provide much advantage; the extra power is balance out by the extra weight, especially the battery.

However, we have a lot of grades here that are only mildly to moderately steep, but just keep going up forever. Greenbrier Street, for example, or Montrose Avenue in South Charleston, or parts of the Kanawha Turnpike, or Corridor G. (I know that doesn't mean much to most of you.)

You have to understand that Charleston is, essentially, in the bottom of a canyon. We have 'the Flats', by the river, and then near-cliffs. There are also gullies that run into the river, and these are where the extended ramps are.
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Old 12-15-08, 05:40 PM   #5
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Elkhound, congratulations on getting the simian installed

I have an Ecospeed system myself which I believe is similar to the the Stokemonkey in that both systems get to "see" the bike's rear gears, and are able to use the mechanical advantage offered by those gears.

I find it's the steep hills where the Ecospeed mid-drive excels so I'm surprised to hear you say you don't perceive much help from your motor on hills. What really has me nervous is I'm about to drop $1.5k on a Rohloff geared hub to replace the cassette and derailleur. It was my belief the Rohloff offers a far greater gear range than your typical 7, 8 or 9 speed cassette so I wouldn't think that would be reason to lose hill climbing assistance from the motor.

What output power is the Stokemonkey motor? Do you think it's possible the primary chainring of the monkey is geared towards top end instead of torque?
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Old 12-15-08, 06:52 PM   #6
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Thanks for the data. When you get an idea of range after running it for awhile maybe report back with that? I am supposing that you went with a NiMh battery?
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Old 12-15-08, 11:49 PM   #7
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I'm a stupid humanities major who doesn't understand the technical stuff.

Of course, I'll report when I have more data.

I'm just using the battery that Mr. F. sent with the kit.

Also, where are you getting $1.5 for a Rolhoff? Mine didn't cost nearly that much.
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Old 12-16-08, 07:50 AM   #8
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Maybe Rohloff has more than one hub. I've not seen any of the 14 gear Speedhubs for less than $1k online. Then you have the cost of mounting it to rim, plus the rim. Then pay the LBS guy to put it all together. Then there's out onerous 9% sales tax. Yup, it'll be $1.5k when it's all done.

Rohloff Speedhub, 14 Speeds, 16t cog, Silver, QR $1,110.14 - Alfred E. Bike
Rohloff Disc Speedhub 500/14 Q/R Hub $1,394.99 - Outside Outfitters
RETROFIT Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 CC 14 speed ... $1,175.79 - SJS Cycles
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Old 12-16-08, 02:49 PM   #9
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On really steep hills (+30% grade), the Stokemonkey doesn't seem to provide much advantage; the extra power is balance out by the extra weight, especially the battery.
I'm surprised. The Rohloff+Stokemonkey should provide a lowest-gear that'll handle 30% grade easily with moderate pedaling, unless your chain drive gear-ratios are too high.

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Stokemonkey is designed to deliver more low-end torque than anybody could need without heavy cargo.
Todd built this thing with ridiculously steep hills in mind.
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Old 12-16-08, 03:29 PM   #10
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I'm surprised. The Rohloff+Stokemonkey should provide a lowest-gear that'll handle 30% grade easily with moderate pedaling, unless your chain drive gear-ratios are too high.



Todd built this thing with ridiculously steep hills in mind.
Well, my LBS man is a mechanical engineer, so I presume that he knew what he was doing on that score. Todd did send me a private e-mail about the problem, though, so I know what to do.
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Old 12-17-08, 11:57 AM   #11
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I thought 3k was a bit low, at least 1k for the rohloff, $800 for the frame, ? for the stokemonkey but at least a grand for the motor and battery. The rest of that kit had to come from somewhere. No worries, just sayin....
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Old 12-17-08, 12:28 PM   #12
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I thought 3k was a bit low, at least 1k for the rohloff, $800 for the frame, ? for the stokemonkey but at least a grand for the motor and battery. The rest of that kit had to come from somewhere. No worries, just sayin....
I'm sorry; I think I misunderstood the question.

The Big Dummy build came to around $3k; the Stokemonkey kit was a little over $1.7K+ $50.00 for the installation.
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Old 12-17-08, 12:55 PM   #13
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Well, my LBS man is a mechanical engineer, so I presume that he knew what he was doing on that score.
I bet your LBS guy is completely competent, but I wouldn't necessarily attribute any of that to a degree in mechanical engineering.

10 years ago, my friend's dad was actively teaching computer science and I think had a PhD in it... but all that really meant was that he knew 1980s computer technology really well - he didn't have a clue how to use a Windows-based computer. Between my sister, who has a Master's in engineering (civil engineering, mind you) and myself, (I've a Bachelors in Music) I am far better at building something with materials from the local Home Depot. or bicycle shop, for that matter.
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Old 12-17-08, 02:17 PM   #14
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I bet your LBS guy is completely competent, but I wouldn't necessarily attribute any of that to a degree in mechanical engineering.

10 years ago, my friend's dad was actively teaching computer science and I think had a PhD in it... but all that really meant was that he knew 1980s computer technology really well - he didn't have a clue how to use a Windows-based computer. Between my sister, who has a Master's in engineering (civil engineering, mind you) and myself, (I've a Bachelors in Music) I am far better at building something with materials from the local Home Depot. or bicycle shop, for that matter.
I know what you mean. Both my parents were college professors, and I've seen my share of overcredentialled lummoxes.

But this guy is a special case. He's a semiprofessional mountain bike racer who graduated from WV Tech with a BS/MET and decided rather than take a corporate job that he'd start a bike shop. He specializes in custom-builds. Here's his website: http://wvcompanybicycle.com/default.aspx (He hasn't put it on his website yet, but he's a Greenspeed dealer as well now.)

I approached the other LBS, which has always done good work, and indeed built up my Big Dummy originally, but they said that they didn't do electric assist; they didn't feel that they knew enough about the electrical/mechanical aspect of it to do it right. I contacted Adam and showed him the Stokemonkey site and he jumped at the chance. He is really stoked--no pun intended--about the Stokemonkey's potential, and was practically drooling when he took it out of the box.
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Old 12-18-08, 06:01 PM   #15
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$50 to set up that Stokemonkey was a good deal for you. But maybe he felt bad because he drooled on the thing and ruined it?
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Old 12-18-08, 10:16 PM   #16
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$50 to set up that Stokemonkey was a good deal for you.
Oh, I understand that. He admitted that it was a learning experience for him, so he offsett his normal hourly rate by what he'd expect to pay for continuing education. (He didn't put it exactly that way, but he did make it clear that it was a learning experience for him.)

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Old 12-22-08, 03:42 PM   #17
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I haven't taken the SM out for a run lately because it has been too darn cold to go out without good reason, and my necessary errands haven't needed the SM, all being either on the flats and close by.
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Old 04-10-09, 10:32 AM   #18
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How about a further report on the Stokemonkey? You still liking it? Pros and cons? Any particular hassles?
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Old 04-10-09, 12:16 PM   #19
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The only thing I don't like about the SM is that the battery is so bulky that it reduces my cargo space significantly. Also, on the flats where I don't really need the help, it adds a significant amount of extra weight, but that means that I get that much more exercise when I'm out with it.

I have gone up to the top of the Edgewood ridge and up Greenbriar Street to Coonskin Park on it; after that, I can say that there isn't anywhere in the county it can't take me (provided there are decent roads, and if I put on knobby tires, perhaps even there.)
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Old 04-11-09, 01:50 AM   #20
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Since you just got one, maybe you can explain some things about how it really operates. I explored Stokemonkey's website recently. It looked like the motor turns the pedals for you, and you have to engage in pedaling motion to keep up with the motor. That would feel really weird for me.

What's it like in real use for you?
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Old 04-11-09, 07:32 AM   #21
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Since you just got one, maybe you can explain some things about how it really operates. I explored Stokemonkey's website recently. It looked like the motor turns the pedals for you, and you have to engage in pedaling motion to keep up with the motor. That would feel really weird for me.

What's it like in real use for you?
Well, the etymology gives a clue. It is somewhat like being on a tandem with a robot stoker. The motor doesn't replace your muscle power, it just gives you a boost. When you are on flat ground or going downhill and don't need the motor, you can disengage it and pedal normally. When you are going uphill, you press down the thumbswitch, the motor engages, and gives you a little boost.

The switch is on the left grip and is operated by your thumb, and you can have it disengaged, partially engaged, or at full power, depending on how much assistance you need.
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Old 04-11-09, 09:54 AM   #22
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The only thing I don't like about the SM is that the battery is so bulky that it reduces my cargo space significantly. Also, on the flats where I don't really need the help, it adds a significant amount of extra weight, but that means that I get that much more exercise when I'm out with it.
)
There are a number of things about the Stokemonkey that bother me. One is by using a hub motor in that matter, you get all that weight which isn't really needed. I assume it has a LiFePO battery for that much money, so that shouldn't weigh too much or take up that much room. You might be able to have a battery compartment made to fit behind the pedals and in front of the rear wheel. You can't use that space for anything else anyway. On a regular upright bike, I had an lockable aluminum battery case made that fit inside the frame- the guy wanted LOTS of battery.
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Old 04-11-09, 10:48 AM   #23
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Perhaps we are using words to mean different things. When I hear the term 'Hub Motor' I think of something like the BionX, which is very different from the StokeMonkey. Most bicycle motors supplant the rider's muscles; the StokeMonkey supplements them; that is the key difference.

However, I will leave Todd to discuss the technicalities; as the inventor, he is in a better position to do so.
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Old 04-11-09, 11:03 AM   #24
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There are a number of things about the Stokemonkey that bother me. One is by using a hub motor in that matter, you get all that weight which isn't really needed. I assume it has a LiFePO battery for that much money, so that shouldn't weigh too much or take up that much room. You might be able to have a battery compartment made to fit behind the pedals and in front of the rear wheel. You can't use that space for anything else anyway. On a regular upright bike, I had an lockable aluminum battery case made that fit inside the frame- the guy wanted LOTS of battery.
I'm sure Todd could have had a custom motor made which would have weighed less, on the other hand, using a hub motor as the basis, he has avoided the extra expense, ( Stokemonkey is costly enough as is ) and with the extra care in construction, the powder coat finish, and no weight stress on the bearings, it should last a LONG time.
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Old 04-12-09, 05:23 AM   #25
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Perhaps we are using words to mean different things. When I hear the term 'Hub Motor' I think of something like the BionX, which is very different from the StokeMonkey. Most bicycle motors supplant the rider's muscles; the StokeMonkey supplements them; that is the key difference.

However, I will leave Todd to discuss the technicalities; as the inventor, he is in a better position to do so.
If I understand the words correctly, I have to disagree.

I have a BionX setup and I don't feel that the motor supplants my muscles. The motor does not replace my muscles or effort, but adds to it - (supplement?). The Bionx adds power, depending on level of assist, in relation to your effort.

You can just use the throttle to power the bike, and I have done that just for fun, but it drains the battery very quickly. You have to get the bike moving a bit to use the throttle only.

Very steep hills are also a problem with a hub motor, but I have found that as I get stronger and rely on the motor less, then the motor is actually able to help more on the steep hills because it really is a supplement in that case.
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