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Electric converted vintage bikes

Old 01-30-20, 03:15 AM
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spinnanz
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Electric converted vintage bikes

With a multitude of "retro" and "vintage" style ebikes out there, how many have actual old bikes, converted to electric? Im most of the way through on a conversion using a 1973 Raleigh Sport.
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Old 01-30-20, 05:51 AM
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A friend commutes on an 80s Fuji hybrid outfitted with a Copenhagen wheel. Goes up to 25 mph. He’s had some technical problems with that wheel (and now that it’s out of warranty, no one will service it), but he will continue to pursue the concept.
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Old 01-30-20, 05:58 AM
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I'm hoping to turn a heavily-modified 1970 Raleigh Twenty into a pedelec, using a home-built 18650 battery pack created out of retired Spin dockless lock batteries being salvaged from the Spin bike donation I've been working on.

This is not the only pedelec conversion I have in mind, but it is the only one I've considered that is on a C&V platform.





Admittedly, the modified Twenty will be running a modern SR Suntour fork. It is also in Paint Booth Hell, so we will see how long it takes for it to actually become a reality.

-Kurt
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Old 01-30-20, 07:30 AM
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The additional weight, power, and torque will be no problem for any vintage bike. Guaranteed to work every time. You won't have any problems. Since that old Raleigh is so redundantly reliable it will just soldier on when it has a new and much larger engine. Bicycle tires will be fine. Bicycle brakes will be fine. No learning curve involved at all. Your reflexes and habits will cause no issues when you suddenly have three times the power. Enjoy your new motorcycle.
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Old 01-30-20, 07:33 AM
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I'm ready to use an electric assist road bike on those days when I want to ride for an hour or two but when I'd like to avoid suffering on the hills. I expect that these rides will supplement my usual rides on my regular road bikes. I've avoided "active recovery" rides in the past since every hill is usually a peak effort.

Most ebikes supply assist power in response to pedaling. Power is cut if the cyclist stops pedaling and power is restarted, sometimes abruptly, by resuming crank rotation. The amount of power provided is determined by switching modes or levels on a manual controller and using a throttle. Controlling a throttle is much more like riding a moped than road bike and is best used with flat bars. Installing a throttle on a road bike is problematic and I wanted a more natural power delivery of a true torque sensing system.

The more advanced torque sensing systems adjust the power amount by measuring the cyclist power at the crank. Electric assist is proportional to the power developed by the cyclist. These systems may also have a manual adjustment of power levels, but the system uses torque sensors to micromanage the amount of assist.

I selected Dave at Eco Cycles in Nashville, TN as a dealer for the Ten-Sheng TSDZ2 mid-drive torque sensing system and we discussed the options and services they provide for the TSDZ2. I've ordered the system with the 52v updates and battery this month. My system will produce a maximum of 860 watts and power will taper off at about 26mph. This review adds more detail: https://www.electricbike.com/tsdz2-7...orque-sensing/

I'm planning on installing the mid-drive system on my 1986 Serotta Nova Special X, this bike features SPX tubing, among the strongest tubing made by Columbus. I expect the bike with motor and battery will weigh about 31 lbs. I hope to be using the bike in March.

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Old 01-30-20, 09:22 AM
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Raleigh Sports Model DL-22 frames break. All of them. If yours hasn't broken yet you just don't ride enough. Frames from an earlier era have a decent chance of some longevity but still fail. 1973 frames break fairly quickly. Adding a motor will accelerate failure. Worst possible choice for an already dubious project.

I did not bother to bookmark the source but it was on first page of a simple google search on e-bike safety. You can find it if you care. In Netherlands, where e-bikes are very popular 90% of accidents, injuries, fatalities happen to riders over 60 years of age. Sounds like the C&V demographic. Yes, fatalities, and enough to build stats.

My opinion is soured by the fact that I have recently been hit twice by e-bikes. There are not that many of them around here. My winter miles are nothing like what they used to be. Until 5 or 6 years ago being hit by other cyclists was not even a thought. Now it happens and e-bikes are the worst.
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Old 01-30-20, 01:00 PM
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Im plesantly surprised on the lack of "its a classic, dont just it up" replies, unlike when I cafe raced a honda cx500....

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Old 01-30-20, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
Raleigh Sports Model DL-22 frames break. All of them. If yours hasn't broken yet you just don't ride enough. Frames from an earlier era have a decent chance of some longevity but still fail. 1973 frames break fairly quickly. Adding a motor will accelerate failure. Worst possible choice for an already dubious project.

I did not bother to bookmark the source but it was on first page of a simple google search on e-bike safety. You can find it if you care. In Netherlands, where e-bikes are very popular 90% of accidents, injuries, fatalities happen to riders over 60 years of age. Sounds like the C&V demographic. Yes, fatalities, and enough to build stats.

My opinion is soured by the fact that I have recently been hit twice by e-bikes. There are not that many of them around here. My winter miles are nothing like what they used to be. Until 5 or 6 years ago being hit by other cyclists was not even a thought. Now it happens and e-bikes are the worst.
Do you know of the problems you listed apply to NZ made bikes? Where is the frame breaking? The Raligh I have was made under license by Morrison here in NZ, with the bike being sold as a Raleigh Burmuda.
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Old 01-30-20, 03:00 PM
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I am very mixed on this subject...... getting older I can see benefits of keeping people on bikes longer

I also see more people commuting on ebikes in my area and I am pretty sure most would not be commuting unless it was an ebike, so removing cars from the road is good

Downside is I see a lot of people riding way to fast for conditions and probably their ability. There is this absolute doofus who rides a fat tire, ebike, fast on the local MUP (los gatos creek trail for anyone local to me) at 20 to 25 and he does not slow or stop.

You can see a bit of a more power, hotrod attitude that from the author of the review the TSZD2 hub motor, which leads me to think among other things braking power can rapidly not match the need

looking at the specics of that hub, it seems it would be hard/lkudge to do a double up front which may make a person more dependent on the boost

so in summary Hmmmmmm?
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Old 01-30-20, 03:30 PM
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63rickert your two posts above contradict each other. Can you please explain?
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Old 01-30-20, 03:32 PM
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There was an 80ish year old guy at Bob Freeman's annual show and tell that rode an electric bike. Everyone was just glad to see him still riding. There's a guy where I work that commutes on an electric cargo bike that also does cyclocross racing. His house is about 15 miles away, so that's just being practical, and he pedals hard the entire way.

I think most of us have come to terms with e-bikes. One less car on the road, and it's still exercise. Just not my cup of tea (yet).
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Old 01-30-20, 04:00 PM
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OT but tangentially related you can get a powered exoskeloton to help with down hill skiing.... like pedal assist it may keep people doing an activity they love longer https://www.roamrobotics.com/ski
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Old 01-30-20, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnanz View Post
Do you know of the problems you listed apply to NZ made bikes? Where is the frame breaking? The Raligh I have was made under license by Morrison here in NZ, with the bike being sold as a Raleigh Burmuda.
Most common frame breakage on a DL-22 is seat stay separating from seat lug. Crushed seat lug ears are normal. Rear dropouts separate. After that pretty much everything goes. The tubes are never accurately mitered and the lugs are worked too hard. People love them anyway. DL-22 with three four five frame repairs is fairly common. Once you've seen a few dozen broken it gets hard to see them as a frame strong enough to handle much.

No idea at all about relative quality from NZ. I've seen Irish, Indian, Singapore, Gazelle-built. The Gazelles are notably better.
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Old 01-30-20, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
63rickert your two posts above contradict each other. Can you please explain?
Irony never works on intertubes.
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Old 01-30-20, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
Irony never works on intertubes.
! At least I noticed! Why didn't anyone else?
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Old 01-30-20, 05:46 PM
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I'm in agreement that some Sports would not be a good starting place, given the aforementioned weak forks and sloppy brazing. However, I don't share the same, all-negative attitude to them that 63rickert has brought to the table.

Frankly, I'd say any earlier Raleigh Sports frame - pre-TI/earlier than '63 or so - wouldn't be a bad starting place. These were well brazed and had thicker tubing. Though I'd still argue that the older forks are still up for debate in regards to rigidity, I wouldn't question building one of these as a front-hub motor, pedal-assist e-bike. They'd need a different fork and you'd be obligated to use Tektro long-reach dual-pivots, but it's a good platform.

I wouldn't try it on a 1970's or 1980's era model though. Not unless all the lugs were visibly overfilled with brass.

-Kurt
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Old 01-30-20, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
! At least I noticed! Why didn't anyone else?
When I saw his first post, I nearly posted an "I smell sarcasm" meme, but the work day got the best of me.
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Old 01-30-20, 05:54 PM
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I live up a long, steep hill, so descending into work is not an issue, but climbing back up is still something I am reluctant to make a daily chore without help. I was looking at the Copenhagen wheel, too, but I saw the caveats about warranty support, and it just doesn't make sense for me. I may still consider a full-on e-bike to go car-free, but for now, my two-part commute (driving to the flats and riding from there) still allows about an 8-mile round trip on bike, so I'll continue that.
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Old 01-30-20, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
I'm in agreement that some Sports would not be a good starting place, given the aforementioned weak forks and sloppy brazing. However, I don't share the same, all-negative attitude to them that 63rickert has brought to the table.

Frankly, I'd say any earlier Raleigh Sports frame - pre-TI/earlier than '63 or so - wouldn't be a bad starting place. These were well brazed and had thicker tubing. Though I'd still argue that the older forks are still up for debate in regards to rigidity, I wouldn't question building one of these as a front-hub motor, pedal-assist e-bike. They'd need a different fork and you'd be obligated to use Tektro long-reach dual-pivots, but it's a good platform.

I wouldn't try it on a 1970's or 1980's era model though. Not unless all the lugs were visibly overfilled with brass.

-Kurt
I would be very selective as to what frame I'd select for an ebike conversion. Brakes would be a top consideration. I wouldn't select a frame with cantilevers or vintage centerpulls. I'd want double pivot sidepulls or a better disc brake systems. Ideally, the brakes would be able to overcome a full-power run-away situation.

I selected my 1986 Serotta since it uses short reach sidepulls and it has very substantial tubeset, Columbus SPX. Certainly Serotta has a well deserved reputation for quality workmanship. Ideally, I'd use a steel gravel bike with hydraulic disc brakes. Maybe that will be V2.
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Old 01-30-20, 06:23 PM
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I have an assist bike built from a 60's era frame. Not terribly powerful or quick but the assist is nice for towing kids up a grade. Which is why it got assist.

Generally I'm a fan of any type of assist bike, but like squirtdad I can see the flip side of it too.
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Old 01-30-20, 06:48 PM
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I'm in on the vintage e bike conversion. Have test ridden a few recent new e bikes, and they're impressive... with a big fun factor. Do I want a new one? Nope.

But, always the tinkerer my brother and I built an e-snowmobile with rad suspension over three decades ago. Pretty sure a leading manufacturer even copied the cowl and windscreen design, after it was on display at a convention. The project was just for grins.

My thoughts and reason.
This monster will mostly be for loan and welcoming a few whom may like to join in my usual evenings 30 mile loop without stress. Or perhaps join in the Sat AM group fun and just enough to hang with without collapsing.

Anyways, no current pics but this Japanese Schwinn is prepped for a mid mount Bafang 750w.. Afraid of buckling the frame or the wheel ripping out of the dropout, I scrapped the hyd. disc brakes. Shimano 8 speed Alfine IGH. Drop bar, vintage appeal, single big ring up front with some pretty fun calculations from this setup. Lighting will run on the dyno front hub and batt.

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Old 01-30-20, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
I would be very selective as to what frame I'd select for an ebike conversion. Brakes would be a top consideration. I wouldn't select a frame with cantilevers or vintage centerpulls. I'd want double pivot sidepulls or a better disc brake systems. Ideally, the brakes would be able to overcome a full-power run-away situation.

I selected my 1986 Serotta since it uses short reach sidepulls and it has very substantial tubeset. Certainly Serotta has a well deserved reputation for quality workmanship. Ideally, I'd use a steel gravel bike with hydraulic disc brakes. Maybe that will be V2.
That brings up an interesting point - the Serotta would be a much different build than a Raleigh Sports. Performance e-bike vs. commuter e-bike.

Frankly, I don't see where any decent carbon steel frameset couldn't manage a Bafang front hub motor with a fork upgrade - preferably disc - provided it is brazed properly and known to be overbuilt. Case in point, most mid to lower-range 1980's Japanese road frames with good reputations wouldn't be a bad place to start for a pedelec that bridges the gap between the good old 3-speed commuter and an all-out performance machine.

-Kurt
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Old 01-30-20, 09:00 PM
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I saw this vintage Cannondale up in Ojai while on a club ride. Nobody around to talk to, but it looks pretty adaptable to most vintage bikes. This was about 2 years ago before e-bikes were even seen on our rides. Now some of our older club riders have them, but not as vintage bike conversions. I can't make out the logo of the mfr of the big red motor thingy. Somebody said "Copenhagen Wheel" ?

Sorry to not get a drive side picture.

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Old 01-31-20, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Slightspeed View Post
I saw this vintage Cannondale up in Ojai while on a club ride. Nobody around to talk to, but it looks pretty adaptable to most vintage bikes. This was about 2 years ago before e-bikes were even seen on our rides. Now some of our older club riders have them, but not as vintage bike conversions. I can't make out the logo of the mfr of the big red motor thingy. Somebody said "Copenhagen Wheel" ?

Sorry to not get a drive side picture.
Now that looks like a recipe for disaster. The rotational torque of the motor turns that cantilevered dropout into a lever arm trying to break itself from the stays.

-Kurt
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Old 01-31-20, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
Now that looks like a recipe for disaster. The rotational torque of the motor turns that cantilevered dropout into a lever arm trying to break itself from the stays.

-Kurt
The Copenhagen wheel uses a torque arm to transmit power, these are very common in industrial applications transmitting more than 180,000 ft-lbs of torque : https://account.superpedestrian.com/...e-Arm-Partners
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Last edited by Barrettscv; 01-31-20 at 10:54 AM.
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