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Continuing on my "don't plug in" e-bike tour

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Continuing on my "don't plug in" e-bike tour

Old 06-05-17, 07:25 AM
  #1  
Robert C
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Continuing on my "don't plug in" e-bike tour

As many of you know, I have been building an e-bike with solar panels. I went on a three day test run a few months ago. At this point I am now one week in on a run from Kansas to Utah.

So far I haven't plugged in at all. I am currently in Fairplay CO and I have two big passes in front of me; but they are not too much different than some I have already climbed. I can definitely see some things I would do differently if this were to be repeated; but then that is to be expected. A person who sees nothing to change hasn't learned anything.
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Old 06-05-17, 06:55 PM
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That sounds super cool. Do you have somewhere that you're doing more detailed write-ups with photos? Would love to see/read more.
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Old 06-08-17, 12:03 PM
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Awesome! What sort of mileage are you getting a day? Any pics of your setup?
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Old 06-09-17, 07:45 AM
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First, sorry for starting and then dropping off the face of the earth. .. I was on a tour.

In my case you will notice that I was entirely overloaded. I was not just bike touring. I work in Kansas and live in Salt Lake. As such, I am carrying stuff for my summer, not just cycle touring.

I left where I work and rode a couple hundred miles, basically north, where I intersected with the American Bicycle Association route and followed Route 7 to Pueblo and Route 6 through the Rockies, over Hooser Pass, until got to Kremmling, CO.


elevation 11,539 feet

At Kremmling I turned West at 40, off the Cycle Assocation Map, and went over Rabbit Ears Summit. I thee rode into Steamboat Springs, CO and on to Craig CO.


In general, I rode about eighty miles per day. Unfortunately, due to family issues, I needed to shut the vacation a bit short. In Craig CO I rented a van and drove the rest of the way to Salt Lake. So, I was out for a full eleven days and no, I never plugged in at all.

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Old 06-09-17, 08:28 AM
  #5  
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The Bike:
I wrote about the bike in this build thread. On High sun I was charging at a max of about 400W. Under Normal daytime conditions, I was charging about 275 - 350 W. I tried to keep the voltages close to 50V; but in the Rockies that wasn't possible.

The only time It shut off was on a cloudy climb to Gruffey CO. I had to find a sunny spot and park and read for about a half hour (I was almost to my stop for the night).

this really was the ACA recommended Bike Hostel. It turned out to be a great place.

Obviously, I did a lot of climbing. The electrics did fine. I would have liked more solar collection. As far as the core trike, a Performer Trike-e (the "e" does not signify electric, it is just a name), it was not up to the trip.

I was never able to get the alignment worked out. That is partly on me; but they should have written some instructions for getting it right (yes, I researched it and tried the many differing methods online).

On day one I hit a horrid road cut in a construction detour. I thought the trike was just reacting to a steep crown; but it was pulling strongly to the right.

I then realized that I had shredded the right tyre and I could see the core. That was where I realized the the road bump had resulted in a bent tie-rod.

I did an eyeball adjustment and continued to Garden City KS. There I went to Dicks and they happended to have four tyres of the size I needed, but a larger width; I bought all four and tossed the spares in the trailer(a much improved ride). While changing the tyres I also found a piece of wood that fit perfectly for propping the trike up while changing tyres. I also threw that in the trailer for the duration.

The next breakage was a seat support. All I was able to do was apply epoxy and duct tape, tighten everything up real tight and continue on.

The next breakage was out if Pueblo CO. It was the first real grade. According to ride with GPS, it maxed at 12.9%. The chain broke. I patched it and it broke again. I patched it and it broke again.

At that point I returned to Pueblo. I went to a bike shop that I had visited the previous day. On that day I wanted a larger rear gear for my NuVinci; but they didn't have one. This time I asked for a heavy duty chain.

They had one where the pins extend slightly past the side plates. It would have been unusable in a multi-gear system; but with the NuVinci It worked fine. I did spend about the next hour making adjustments so the trike could run that type of chain (the adjustments primarily consisted of removing various guides).

Other than those changes, my next real gripe was just that the brakes were barely up to the task on the long descents.

If I were to start with the same idea I would have used a KMX trike. The square tubing would have worked better for attaching the solar panels. I also think the direct steering would have been better for keeping the alignment true.

The NuVinci transmission, bafang drive, and solar bits worked fine.
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Old 06-13-17, 10:39 AM
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Glad to hear of a mostly successful adventure on some of the most tortuous terrain. Thanks for sharing.

-SP
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Old 08-28-17, 08:14 AM
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Hi, I'm Calvin. Thank you for doing this and especially for posting it. I will be studying your build thread because the concept came to me but with no idea how to make it work. I will be using a trailer, but will buy a bike. The solar part of this is what I need to understand.
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Old 08-30-17, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by CalvinR View Post
Hi, I'm Calvin. Thank you for doing this and especially for posting it. I will be studying your build thread because the concept came to me but with no idea how to make it work. I will be using a trailer, but will buy a bike. The solar part of this is what I need to understand.
If I were to do it again, I would get a long trailer, surly or bikes at work. The biggest single problem with a trailer is that on a bike you will be shading the trailer a large portion of the time. That isn't as much of a problem with a trike as the trike sits lower.
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Old 08-30-17, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
If I were to do it again, I would get a long trailer, surly or bikes at work. The biggest single problem with a trailer is that on a bike you will be shading the trailer a large portion of the time. That isn't as much of a problem with a trike as the trike sits lower.
I already have a couple of trailers. I don't think I shade them except in early morning or late evening. I'm in no hurry, so I won't be riding regularly at those times. They could be charging the spare battery while I'm not riding. Also, rather than put my panel(s) on a static structure, I think I'd build some sort of thing that would allow me to adjust panel angle. If I give myself time to think about it, that shouldn't be too difficult.
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Old 09-02-17, 04:18 AM
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Well done Robert. A quick question, With that much panel up top, how does the rig handle the wind blasts from passing traffic like big trucks?
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Old 09-06-17, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
If I were to do it again, I would get a long trailer, surly or bikes at work. The biggest single problem with a trailer is that on a bike you will be shading the trailer a large portion of the time. That isn't as much of a problem with a trike as the trike sits lower.
I don't see collectors on the trailer, so I'm not understanding why shading the trailer matters?
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