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eZeeing an Electra Townie

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eZeeing an Electra Townie

Old 03-21-09, 06:46 PM
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Map tester
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eZeeing an Electra Townie

Here is my version of an e-bike build.

I started with my wife's Electra Townie 24. The bike was in fair shape mechanically, but the paint job was scratched and in need of completed re-paint. I removed all the components and was left with this:



I took the frame and fork to a recommended local powercoater (http://www.millerpowdercoating.com/ ). They stripped the old paint off and did a great job of painting the frame:






I then rebuilt the bike, using a few of the original components, and upgrading a few--a new rear wheel to handle the increased weight of the battery, new BB7 disk brake for the front wheel, new Sugino XD300 cranks and chainrings, and new Shimano bottom bracket.

The electric kit is an eZee kit from ebikes.ca. (http://www.ebikes.ca/store/store_ezee.php ) I ordered an upgraded battery ( replacing the stock 37v with a 48v 12Ah NiMH) and the CycleAnalyst. The folks at ebikes.ca were very helpful in answering my questions and helping me to select the right kit and components. The eZee kit install was very straightforward, with no problems encountered. All of the connectors between the various parts are different, so you can't mis-connect anything.

I added a Otivia cargo trunk (http://www.otivia.com/cargocache.html) to hold the battery and provide additional storage. Some lights from the bling department of the auto parts store were mounted on the trunk for safety, along with a MR16 3 1-watt Luxeon headlight. I mounted a main power switch (a 20 amp light switch) and switch for the lights inside the lockable trunk. Here is the finished bike:









I have a new Pletscher Two-leg Kickstand and a new Avid Single Digit 7 Rear Linear Pull brake on order. I'll have to kluge a way to power the horn, since the 48v to 12v transformer I bought for the lights isn't strong enough for the 12v automobile horn.

I rode it around today, to the LBS, then to my wife's work, and then by the local farmers market on the way home. It has plenty of power to pull my petite flower of a body (250 lbs and losing--thanks Weight Watchers!). It is easy to throttle the power back and coast or just use your own power. I had to assist a little on some of our steeper hills, but that is to be expected.

It was a lot of fun to build, and is a blast to ride.
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Old 04-04-09, 05:47 PM
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That looks awesome! Thanks for sharing : ) I just bought my first bike since I was a kid. I am 30, so it has been about 16 years or so since I was last on a bike. I found a lightly used townie 3 here in my town on Craigslist. It is so cool to see the rebirth of your wife's bike! It is just beautiful! Talk about Pimp my Ride ; )
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Old 04-04-09, 05:48 PM
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Oh, and I just noticed you are in Decatur. I am in Athens.
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Old 04-05-09, 06:17 PM
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Now is always a good time to return to bike riding.

Concerning the Townie: I would suggest you search for threads with Townie in the title. There is a lot of pros and cons about them--my wife always liked hers, but I found the 'foot forward' design did not let me put my weight into pedaling, so I had to use the handlebars as leverage to get enough power to the pedal for a long uphill. Works great as an electric-assist bike--feels like I am riding a chopper. Good luck and happy trails!
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Old 04-06-09, 03:47 AM
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Nice job - especially going with a front disc brake!

I always liked the Townie for comfort - Day6 is another feet forward design that feels comfortable for longer trips. Day6 also has a very cool saddle that I've been dying to try.

great job with the lighting too!

best
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Old 04-06-09, 07:59 PM
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misslexi
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Darn nice job, outstanding!

What is the golden globe on the handlebars? sorry for asking, I should probably know.
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Old 04-06-09, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Map tester View Post
but I found the 'foot forward' design did not let me put my weight into pedaling, so I had to use the handlebars as leverage to get enough power to the pedal for a long uphill.
Yes, that is what the crank-forward design always does. Having the right kind of saddle will enable you to push off of your lower back too. That is, a saddle that has a lip along the backside, or a back rest. Most of the Electra saddles have a raised rear lip or at least a sloped rear, as shown below in the first image. The second image shows a RANS Fusion crank forward, you can see how their saddle has that rear lip which enables one to push off of their back.

Using a standard flat saddle will rob you of that extra leverage.

Moving the crank forward shifts much more of your weight off of your hands and feet and onto the saddle.

I've never seen an electric assist crank forward before. But I've seen a number of powered recumbents.
Attached Images
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electrasaddle.jpg (26.8 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg
ransfusion.jpg (31.4 KB, 10 views)
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Old 04-08-09, 08:24 AM
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I'm curious about the performance;
My electrified Townie has a brushed hub motor & 36V/20Ah LiFePO4 batt. It runs 19-24 mph for >25 miles full throttle.
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Old 04-08-09, 08:37 AM
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Thanks everyone for your kind words.

I added the new Pletscher Two-leg Kickstand and a new Avid Single Digit 7 Rear Linear Pull brake; both are welcome upgrades. I also added another MR16 LED headlight, so it now has some serious headlights for riding in traffic. For the 12v car horn, I am using a very small SLA battery (2.3 Ahr); someone suggested just using the full 48v to power the horn--will try that in the near future.

I took the final test ride this week before handing it off to the wife. Found out that fully charging the battery 3 weeks ago does not give you a full charge today! Actually, it was a good turn of events because it made me ride without any electric help, so I was able to make the few adjustments needed to make the human-powered drivetrain shift better. I also now know you can ride home if the battery fails, as long as you aren't in a hurry.

**************

Originally Posted by misslexi View Post
What is the golden globe on the handlebars? sorry for asking, I should probably know.
It is a Temple of Tone bicycle bell.

**************
Originally Posted by alnvilma View Post
I'm curious about the performance;
My electrified Townie has a brushed hub motor & 36V/20Ah LiFePO4 batt. It runs 19-24 mph for >25 miles full throttle.
I gave it a full test ride by riding it to my work (11 miles one-way), then on the way home I rode by my son's school, got him (he is on his bike), when by the LBS to get a longer seatpost for the e-bike, then on home, perhaps 24 miles total. The battery has 12 Ah total--and I used about 9 for all my riding. It should do well for my wife, who works much closer to home than I do.
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Old 05-01-09, 09:56 PM
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Question Townie

I am considering using an ezee kit on my Townie bike. Which Townie model do you have? Mine is a 21 speed. Does it have alloy forks? If so, have you had any problems? Did the supplied wheel fit the fork?
Thanks for any help.
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Old 02-15-11, 12:43 PM
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It has been almost 2 years since I finished the Townie for my wife. Here are a few of the changes since then:



* The original rear rack has been replaced twice. The original rack was not centered on the bike, and did not have a strong support on the left side (it was a extra disc-compatible rack I had from Axiom). I replaced it with a standard rear rack from Axiom, but this too failed, at the ends of the supports rods near the dropouts. At this point, I decided that I needed to build a rack to handle the 22 lbs of batteries plus whatever else is carried on the rear panniers. Using square steel tubes and flat bar steel, I brazed together a rack I hope will stand up to the pounding.



* I finally found a 36/48v forklift horn on-line, so I can power the horn directly from the battery pack. No problems so far.

* While I was building the new rear rack, I replaced the plastic clam-shell battery case with a soft-side rear truck bag. I used the same tie-downs for the battery--a 2 in. Velcro strap attached to a wood/aluminum base that is bolted through the bag to the platform of the rack. Two additional side Velcro straps give extra support; this arrangement will hold the battery firmly in place, even if the bike falls over (already tested this--works great).



*Replaced the original cloth panniers with folding wire basket/panniers. Although these worked ok, they were very noisy and a little too shallow. When I built the new rack, I added steel tubes on each side to mount traditional panniers, which is working out much better.

*The eZee electric bike kit has been a complete success. The main controller was replaced by ebikes.ca due to issues with the mosfets failing under extreme loading (which we never experienced). The Cycle Analyst gives detailed information on electrical usage and performance. The 48v 12Ah Nickel Metal Hydride battery is still going strong, although it may not have the full 12 Ah it once had, it is still strong enough for the daily commute it was designed for. Highly recommended.
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Old 02-16-11, 11:36 AM
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It was good of you to post a long term test of your e-bike. I've been reading in endless-sphere and you read so many posts on new projects but not so much on how they turned out over time. Thanks!
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Old 10-24-11, 02:44 PM
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Battery update

In September 2011, my wife noticed the voltage dropping into the 20s (48v NiMh battery pack) while going uphill. After discussing this with Justin at ebikes.ca, decided that the old battery pack (3 years old) was nearing the end of its useful life (we got 261 cycles, 1034 Ah, and 2850 miles of it).

Looked around and found an acceptable replacement battery (LiNMC) at Chicago Electric Bicycles thru Amazon. The battery arrived within a few days. I was able to re-use the old Anderson terminals from the old battery pack, so it was easy to connect to the eZee wiring. The battery working out well, with a fast recharge and much lighter weight (old=22 lbs vs. 7.8 Lbs for the new). Losing 14 lbs on the rear rack has done wonders on how the bike handles. Also, the new pack is claimed to have better thermal properties (better heat management), so it will be interesting to see how this works out this winter and new summer.
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