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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

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Old 03-18-07, 06:20 PM   #1
enantiodroma
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StokeMonkey

I'd been car-free for the better part of 8yrs. Then i got a car about half a year ago. It died. So I got a Stokemonkey. I just put it together this weekend & my, it's a blast.
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Old 03-18-07, 07:47 PM   #2
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Excellent. I live in the Stokemonkey's "home town", so I see quite a few of them around. Nice set-up you have there.
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Old 03-18-07, 09:15 PM   #3
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Never heard of a Stokemonkey until now. Just took a look at their website and it looks pretty cool. Keep us posted on how you are liking it.
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Old 03-19-07, 04:08 PM   #4
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I can't see the stokemonkey because I can't get past your saddle position! Not criticizing, just curious what's going on with that position.
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Old 03-19-07, 04:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogBoy
I can't see the stokemonkey because I can't get past your saddle position! Not criticizing, just curious what's going on with that position.
I am guessing short torso with normal to long leg length.

Aaron
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Old 03-19-07, 05:20 PM   #6
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6'3" legs on a 5'8" torso..you got it aaron, although on this particular setup, the reach isn't really a big deal. I've simply become so accustomed to riding on top of the BB that setback feels all weird, like i can't really generate any power. although if any one could clue me in to the biomechanics of rear offset, i'd love to hear it.

and also the only two available seatposts in the house were the nitto forward bend, & a titec 'hell bent' seat post (1.5" rear offset). nitto won. i'll probably put a 'normal'/zero offset post on in it down the road.

& aaron.. you live in N.C?, whereabouts?
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Old 03-19-07, 05:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enantiodroma
6'3" legs on a 5'8" torso..you got it aaron, although on this particular setup, the reach isn't really a big deal. I've simply become so accustomed to riding on top of the BB that setback feels all weird, like i can't really generate any power. although if any one could clue me in to the biomechanics of rear offset, i'd love to hear it.

and also the only two available seatposts in the house were the nitto forward bend, & a titec 'hell bent' seat post (1.5" rear offset). nitto won. i'll probably put a 'normal'/zero offset post on in it down the road.

& aaron.. you live in N.C?, whereabouts?
'bout an hour south of you in Sprung Leak(Spring Lake). I live in western Harnett County just above Fort Bragg. I do most of my riding over in Eastern Harnett around the Dunn area. My office is in Apex but I am not there very often. I work on the road.
About biometrics...I am no physiologist but what ever works for you The further back the saddle the better your climbing power, the closer to centered over the BB the better you can spin. The original seat behind the BB was a compromise. Take a look at some of the Tri guys they sit so far forward I am suprised they don't fall on the front wheel I am old school and like to really stretch out on a bike. Most of mine have long stays and long top tubes with long extension stems on them. I cannot stand to be scrunched up. However my current favorite two rides are a Raleigh Supreme and a Staiger, both with a bolt upright position and fairly short in the cockpit....go figure

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Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 03-26-07, 02:30 PM   #8
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Alan! Glad I could help finance this. May all your roads be lined with nubile naked women...and beer....if that's your thing.
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Old 03-26-07, 09:55 PM   #9
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I ultimately want to get a Stokemonkey. However, they are so expensive! Less than a car, of course, but with a car one can finance. For a SM one has to cough up the $ upfront, and then wait until they get around to producing it (I'm told that they have a waiting list as long as your arm).
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Old 03-26-07, 10:18 PM   #10
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[disclosure: commercial interest] the stokemonkey waiting list isn't very long at all. as for expense, yes the question is "compared to what?"

consider that when you buy something on credit (i.e., that you pay interest on) your interest payments go to help other people buy things they too can't really afford, such as cars. add up a couple few hundred million such purchases and you have the wherewithal to wage "perpetual war" to keep the bubble from bursting.
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Old 03-26-07, 10:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elkhound
I ultimately want to get a Stokemonkey. However, they are so expensive! Less than a car, of course, but with a car one can finance. For a SM one has to cough up the $ upfront, and then wait until they get around to producing it (I'm told that they have a waiting list as long as your arm).
You can finance the Stokemonkey. Talk to your local bank or your local bike shop. If all else fails there are plenty of juicy 0% for 1 year credit card offers. If you need better financing than that then you probably shouldn't be spending the money.
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Old 03-27-07, 06:55 AM   #12
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Hmmm... I like this. If you can, please give us some range reports. I'd like to know what distance you are getting at max speed. And what that speed is.

The website says you can commute 25 miles, but how fast? Probably varies with every circumstance, but I'd like to hear some ballpark figures...
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Old 03-27-07, 07:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elkhound
I ultimately want to get a Stokemonkey. However, they are so expensive! Less than a car, of course, but with a car one can finance. For a SM one has to cough up the $ upfront, and then wait until they get around to producing it (I'm told that they have a waiting list as long as your arm).
The purchase price is equivalent to a down payment on a smaller new car or 3 month payment on one. I agree it looks like a lot up front, but once you buy it, that is all no monthly payments or interest to deal with. About as close to a free ride as you can get

Aaron
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Old 03-27-07, 11:37 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by wahoonc
About as close to a free ride as you can get

Aaron
If you didn't have to charge it, or replace the battery once a year. Should get better as battery technology improves though. For example, D cells are already availalbe at 11 and 12Ah. If cleverchimp upgraded their small pack to these cells they could prettymuch drop the larger, heavier F-based pack.
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Old 03-27-07, 12:05 PM   #15
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If you didn't have to charge it, or replace the battery once a year. Should get better as battery technology improves though. For example, D cells are already availalbe at 11 and 12Ah. If cleverchimp upgraded their small pack to these cells they could prettymuch drop the larger, heavier F-based pack.
Where have you seen these 12Ah "D" cells? The NiMH cells that I have seen that claim higher than 10Ah are cheap Chinese batteries, and you can bet this is an exaggeration. Don't forget the cells are usually rated at C/10 which is a much lower discharge rate than they would experience in an electric vehicle. Also larger "F" cells can deliver greater charge on demand than smaller cells. Not as good as lead acid, but the lower the internal resistance the better.

Also, I run SLA batteries in my ebike and expect to get about three years out of the pack. Life expectancies like this are certainly not uncommon among Nickel based battery packs. My mother's ebike is based upon an older 36V NiCd pack and it has a manufacturer date of 2000! If someone is ignorant of how to care for the type of battery they use in the ebike, certainly it can be ruined within months, but it's really the exception to the rule to have to change out the battery every year as you claim.
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Old 03-27-07, 12:15 PM   #16
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Cheap chinese batteries eh? As opposed to what... a cheap taiwanese battery?

http://www.thomas-distributing.com/dbatteries.php

I am not a battery geek so I have no way of evaluating these claims. I have no reason to expect that they're any further off from their claims than the current 9Ah batteries though. My point was mainly that technology has progressed beyond what they are currently selling - which is always going to be the case if they haven't refreshed their offering in the last year.
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Old 03-27-07, 12:16 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tfahrner
[disclosure: commercial interest] the stokemonkey waiting list isn't very long at all. as for expense, yes the question is "compared to what?"

consider that when you buy something on credit (i.e., that you pay interest on) your interest payments go to help other people buy things they too can't really afford, such as cars. add up a couple few hundred million such purchases and you have the wherewithal to wage "perpetual war" to keep the bubble from bursting.
Tfahrner,

The SM seems like a great product; I use the same brand electric motor on my homemade ebike, but it is mounted in the front wheel hub rather than geared down to drive the crank. I apologize if I missed it on the website, but why did the SM designer choose to use a heavy hub motor to drive the crank rather than a lighter brushless motor such as the one used in the Lashout bike (BMC drive)?

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Old 03-27-07, 06:36 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffS
I am not a battery geek so I have no way of evaluating these claims.
I'm not a battery geek either, but I do have to sort through a lot of claims; I find sourcing good batteries the single hardest part of offering my product. See http://todd.cleverchimp.com/blog/?p=123 -- I'd love to be out of the battery business. Note that unlike most electric bike products, there's no requirement to use the batteries I sell. The problem is that unless you really are a battery geek, you're unlikely to come up with suitable batteries on your own that don't either (a) suck, (b) cost way more than mine, or (c) both. Justin is one such battery geek in Canada and a source of suitable alternative batteries, btw: http://ebikes.ca/store/ . Consider that enclosures aren't included in the price and that you'll need to do your own wiring, the prices are not that far off from mine.

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Old 03-27-07, 06:58 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LandLuger
I apologize if I missed it on the website, but why did the SM designer choose to use a heavy hub motor to drive the crank rather than a lighter brushless motor such as the one used in the Lashout bike (BMC drive)?
Lighter motors of similar power operate at many thousands of RPMs, necessitating multi-stage reduction gearing to come down to useful speed/torque ratios. All these high-speed moving parts are noisy (often very), prone to wear, and can't be back-driven so require yet more wearing/moving parts (a clutch) to avoid being effectively one-way. Lighter motors require good airflow, cooling fins etc to avoid overheating when working hardest, which is when bicycles are moving slowest (loaded climbing), generating the least airflow.

But mainly it's noise. I can't stand noise on a bike. I designed the system to please myself first of all, to meet our family's car-free transportation needs, and quiet, reliable simplicity won out over the desire to have the lightest possible system.
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Old 03-27-07, 08:17 PM   #20
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Awesome bike, and what a great way to stay car-free without giving up to much in terms of distance, speed, sweatiness and carrying capacity.

Do you worry a lot about the Monkey, Xtracycle kit or the entire bike being stolen? Where do you store it at work and home, how do you secure it when outside, and do you currently have it insured? It looks like you have about $2500-$3000 worth of bike there.

TIA for humoring me
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Old 03-27-07, 09:50 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by deputyjones
Do you worry a lot about the Monkey, Xtracycle kit or the entire bike being stolen? Where do you store it at work and home, how do you secure it when outside, and do you currently have it insured? It looks like you have about $2500-$3000 worth of bike there.
I've had an Xtracycle stolen, but not a stoked one, and I haven't heard of anybody else's being stolen. I think it's probably weird enough that thieves don't know quite what to make of it. I'd recommend taking the battery off the bike if you need to leave it unattended for very long; this renders the beast just kind of heavy to would-be thieves. Even if they got it with battery, the charger would be...? Sure I suppose the passing meth-head could just strip it for the wheels and whatever, but that's no different than with any nice bike.
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Old 03-27-07, 10:51 PM   #22
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I've had an Xtracycle stolen,
Wow. I thought I was jaded about bike theft in Portland, but I guess not as much as I believed, given my shock upon reading.
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Old 03-31-07, 10:18 AM   #23
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Wow, I'd not looked here for a week or so, it's neat to see the renewed interest.

Range/Speed: I've not put a computer on this bike yet (can't find the darn magnets..) However..As figured by google pedometer, my commute is 27.5mi. My ride home last nite was acheived in about 1.5hrs. this is about what i expected to be able to attain. On a full charge the battery is still going strong when i'm coming up the last road to my house, in fact i pushed it extra hard on the final sprint just to test it, & it was doing great. On last nights trip home, the battery was not fully charged & was petering out about 2mi from home. But, i'd charged the battery on monday, left it all week at the office unplugged, & then plugged it in for about 45min to an hour to top it off before making my trip home. I was kinda surprised that the battery lost that much charge just sitting all week, & the manufacturer does recommend leaving it plugged in all the time, which i will do now (it's just been hard for me to trust the smart charger). Also, i have the large battery.

The same trip took me 2hrs hours on a fixed gear, & rather spent & sweaty (it's hilly around here). While with that same trip on the stokemonkey i have enough breath to sing along to music i'm listening to, & get off the bike only slightly dewy, rather than sweaty & be able to converse freely (ie:not out of breath) as soon as i walk through the door.

Riding the 'monkey literally feels like a flying dream to me.

DeputyJones, why so interested in where i keep my $2-3K worth of bike?
I can fortunately keep it in my office at work & I bring it inside for now at home. Although i do take the battery out before bringing it up the front steps to make it's weight more reasonable. I agree with todd that i think the SM is a little to weird for thieves to know what to make of it. I also live & work in a rather low crime area.

I bought the 'monkey as my personal car died & this is what i wanted to replace it with. Most of the week though, I'm in company vehicles, as i work 'in the field'. (At least one of them is a prius). I would often park my car at work on a monday & it wouldn't move until friday. So far the same is kinda happening with the stokemonkey. On the flip side, i get kinda irrate about the 'monkey just sitting there, while i didn't mind my car being parked all week.

I just got the 'footsies' in for the xtracycle..first stoked trips with a passenger this weekend!

I will attest to the quietness of the SM, & i thank todd for designing it that way, the silence of a bicycle is one of the things i love, & be able to 'monkey practically noiselessly is a great thing.

Cost: Yes, i put a good bit into this bike, enough that i could've replaced the blown motor in my car, or gotten another car. But, as i mentioned, i have access to company vehicles & didn't see the reason to add another car to road, just to get me to work on monday & home on friday. I lived car-free for years ('bout 8yrs) & while it is noble, it does have disadvantages. The stokemonkey/xtracycle combo nearly obviates those disadvantages, enabling me to live a little bit closer to the world i want to live in. & more reliably than i could do it with either just a bike, or a car for that matter.
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Old 03-31-07, 11:14 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by enantiodroma
Wow, I'd not looked here for a week or so, it's neat to see the renewed interest.

Range/Speed: I've not put a computer on this bike yet (can't find the darn magnets..) However..As figured by google pedometer, my commute is 27.5mi. My ride home last nite was acheived in about 1.5hrs. this is about what i expected to be able to attain. On a full charge the battery is still going strong when i'm coming up the last road to my house, in fact i pushed it extra hard on the final sprint just to test it, & it was doing great. On last nights trip home, the battery was not fully charged & was petering out about 2mi from home. But, i'd charged the battery on monday, left it all week at the office unplugged, & then plugged it in for about 45min to an hour to top it off before making my trip home. I was kinda surprised that the battery lost that much charge just sitting all week, & the manufacturer does recommend leaving it plugged in all the time, which i will do now (it's just been hard for me to trust the smart charger). Also, i have the large battery.

Yes, NiMH has a problem with self-discharge if allowed to sit unused. As an interesting example, the cells I used to use in my wireless controller used to be NiMH, but I changed to NiCD because I would actually get more days usage out of the NiCD. The NiMH battery would self-discharge more power than I actually got out of it because I used the wireless controller so infrequently. I would follow the manufacturer's instructions. NiMH batteries do not tolerate overcharging, and they're too $$$ to be treated in a cavalier manner, IMO. The consensus among the battery gurus seems to be that NiMH should be "topped off" just like you did that day at the office if they have been allowed to self-discharge. On the positive sided NiMH gives you that consistent fresh-off-the-charger, powerful feeling on the ebike right up to the point it's charge is spent.


Quote:
Originally Posted by enantiodroma
The same trip took me 2hrs hours on a fixed gear, & rather spent & sweaty (it's hilly around here). While with that same trip on the stokemonkey i have enough breath to sing along to music i'm listening to, & get off the bike only slightly dewy, rather than sweaty & be able to converse freely (ie:not out of breath) as soon as i walk through the door.

Riding the 'monkey literally feels like a flying dream to me.
Ain't it great! If you'll let me brag on my ebike, I could do that run in an hour, but only because my bike isn't geared for hauling heavy loads.
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Old 03-31-07, 12:05 PM   #25
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NiMH batteries do not tolerate overcharging, and they're too $$$ to be treated in a cavalier manner, IMO.
A smart charger takes care of this. Stokemonkey says its charger has "smart" features including a slow charge rate; that makes it sound like you don't have to worry about overcharging. That rate of 1.8A is 0.15-0.2C, which is a little higher than a trickle charge. I don't think it would be damaging unless you kept it plugged in for 24 hours or more, if it can be damaging at all.

All batteries last longer with shallow discharge cycles. Unless you have NiCD, charge them often.
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