Zeitfahren Hamburg – Berlin 2016

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Some impressions from the Start of the Hamburg – Berlin 2016 Audax in Altengamme.

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Things you can’t do with a recumbent trike… (3)

Well, looks like I better get a electric two wheeler for the coming zombie apocalypse…

Starring: Caroline Buchanan

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Bafang CST – Oil Cooling

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I got a ‘like new’, used 20″ Bafang CST geared hub motor from Ebay. The seller stated it only ran 170km. Definitely no exaggeration, since it still turned with noticeably resistance. The gears and freewheel clutch weren’t even proper run-in … Continue reading

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Electric Hub Motor Tuning

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Tuning an electric hub motor is a relatively straightforward thing. The biggest obstacle to overcome is excessive heat build-up in the hub motor. Most hub motors are cheaply made in great volume. There is no specific eye in using high … Continue reading

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The WAW got rear suspension

Katanga did refine the WAW when they took over production and distribution from Fietser in 2012. The new WAW is built to a higher standard using completely new molds, resulting in a noticeably better fit and finish. Hence the new the 2014 model of the WAW was dubbed ‘WAW@2014’.

The hard work obviously paid off, since Katanga could state in their newsletter from February 2016 that 2015 saw the highest production number in the history of the WAW.

Still missing was the rear suspension…

Finally, among other updates like new front and rear cowlings, the WAW@2016 got an optional rear suspension! Adding 1.7kg to the curb weight and €472 to the bill, it needs the new ‘T3’ rear cowling but can be retrofitted to the current 2014 model as well!

WAW 2016 rear suspension_1

WAW 2016 rear suspension_2

WAW 2016 rear suspension_3

WAW@2016 rear suspension in action:

All images: Katanga

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Phase Runner Motor Controller

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I wouldn’t bother you in telling the story how the Phase Runner motor controller came to be. There is a lengthily thread in the Endless Sphere forum, covering its whole development. Justin gives a short discription of the Phase Runner … Continue reading

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Blue ICE Refinements

I’m planning a long tour this Summer and a 120km test tour in March revealed some shortcomings in the setup of the Blue ICE.


Too long cranks
While the Patterson Drive with 175mm cranks felt ok on my usual 30-60km rides, the longer ride clearly showed the crank size doesn’t fit me.

The shortest crank size available for the Patterson drive is 165mm. I bought one, since I wanted a second Patterson for the black commuter Sprint anyway. The 175mm cranks can be shortened to 150 or 155mm length. Not sure if I do it myself. That can wait.

The 42t chain ring on the Patterson (67t in overdrive) and a finely spaced 13-32t freewheel didn’t work out as planned. Turns out, I don’t need finely spaced gears at the top end up to 60km/h. 42t at the front and 32t at the rear wasn’t sufficient to climb steep hills without electric assist, either.

Patterson Metropolis im Blue ICE
old 42t chain ring with cheap silver aluminium 130mm chain ring adapter from Ebay

Patterson recently added 34t and 36t chain ring options to the stock 28t chain ring. After calculating different gear setups with Mike Sherman’s Gear Calculator I came to the conclusion the 36t chain ring and a 11-34t freewheel should fit my needs and preferred pedaling cadence.

Patterson with 36t chain ring_web
36t Patterson chain ring (‘customised’ with 3mm neodymium magnets for the pedelec sensor)

The 11-34t freewheel, 36t chain ring and shorter cranks work way better in every respect. The 1:1.6 overdrive of the Patterson Drive provides a ‘virtual’ 57t chain ring.

Front Light
The front light changed from the old Trelock 950LC with a slowly dying lithium battery and way too narrow beam, to a B&M IQ Cyo Premium 80 Lux ebike light. The IQ Cyo Premium has a much wider beam pattern, more suited for a trike and is fed from the output of the Cycle Analyst V3. Turns out, this 6-42V Ebike light can take 61V no problem.

Blue ICE updates_front light and chain ring
new front light

Chain tube fix
Against occasionally dropping the chain on rough roads, this little plastic clamp keeps the upper chain tube in place.

Blue ICE updates_chain tube clamp
chain tube clamp and pedelec sensor

Pannier mount
Instead of a rear rack, two 16mm stainless steel tubes are directly bolted to the rear frame. The Ortlieb Quick Lock-1 hooks of the Ortlieb XPress panniers mount securely onto the steel tubes. The slightly modified Cycle Analyst bracket on the lower frame tube provides the third mounting point for the panniers.

Blue ICE updates_BB7 and pannier mount
16mm steel tube at the upper frame tube, a Cycle Analyst bracket at the lower tube

I’m apparently not the first Sprint owner who doesn’t care much about ICE rack options. Olaf made a similar pannier mount, but raised it higher since he uses regular Ortlieb rear panniers. Looks way better than a rack on his sleek, black Sprint 26X in my opinion.

Olafs Sprint 26_Gepäckträger
‘stealth’ pannier mount instead of a rack

Rear Brake
The cheap and ugly Chinese disc brake caliper made way for a better looking Avid BB7. Since the distance between brake disc and hub motor flange is rather small on the Bafang BPM, the BB7 needs a 180mm size disc to fit. Barely.

Blue ICE updates_Avid BB7
Avid BB7, 180mm disk, one of the two torque arms

Blue ICE updates_BB7-BPM distance
not much space

New motor controller
The trike currently got a 15FET/50A Sunwin controller that is way oversized for this motor and could strip the stock Bafang BPM planetary gears in short order. Fortunately it has a soft start feature and isn’t as hard on the plastic planetary gears of the BPM, but thus feels a bit sluggish up to 25km/h. The Cycle Analyst restricts the controller to 35A.

Blue ICE updates_15FET controller and battery mount
15FET controller, tucked away under the seat between the two battery mounts

Cycle Analyst V3
While the Cycle Analyst V3 enables ‘intelligent’, completely configurable electric assist with any ‘dumb’ controller and keeps me informed about the battery status, its current main job is protecting the geared hub motor from the brute force of the oversized controller.

It got a firmware update from FW v3.01 to version v3.1b3 yesterday.
Thats a beta FW version, but the CA can display instantaneous W/km consumption now and got some other new features.

Blue ICE updates_CA3 FW update
Firmware update to a tricycle…

What’s next?
New gears for the Bafang
I’ve already ordered three custom-made, steel planetary gears for the Bafang BPM and will use transmission oil to lubricate the gears and cool the hub motor. Its noise level will noticeably increase. Otherwise I’m pretty certain the ‘500W’ BPM will work reliable up to 2 or 3kW after this modification.

Steel planetary gears and ATF cooling worked great with my Bafang SWXH.
After that mod the little ‘250W’ geared hub motor could handle 1.5kW continous quite well for short periods.

New controller
Instead of the current big and brutish 15FET controller, the tiny, potted, 6FET field orientated Phase Runner motor controller from ebikes.ca should be a way better solution. Smaller and much better looking than almost any other available controller, it’s still able to handle 90V, 40A battery current and 96A phase current.
I’m definitely waiting for the OS-X version of the interface software before deciding.

the Phase Runner

Nose fairing?
Since a black nose fairing is waiting to get on the black commuter Sprint, the short white KingCycle fairing currently installed, might find a new home on the Blue ICE. Should look nice with the white Ortlieb XPress panniers, but first it needs a more refined mount and a lick of paint.

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Gingko SA+ drum brake hubs with heat sinks

Gingko just quietly listed their new ‘SA+’ drum brake hubs in 70mm and 90mm drum diameter with custom designed heat sinks in their online shop.

the 70mm SA+ drum brake hubs

All Sturmey Archer drum brake hubs from Gingko sport smaller 2.5mm (14G) spoke holes for superior spoke fit. An other singular feature are the availability of versions with 28, 32, or 36 spoke holes.

AFAIK every other vendor around the globe sells Sturmey Archer drum brake hubs with 3mm (13G) spoke hole diameter and 36 spoke holes only.

The ‘SA+’ hubs are the latest developement in Gingko’s ‘quest’ in improving the Sturmey Archer SD (70mm) and SD-XL (90mm) drum brake hubs for use in velomobiles (and tadpole trikes). Since heat build-up on long, steep descends can be a problem with drum brakes, especially with the closed wheel wells of Quest and Milan velomobiles, adding cooling fins and now heat sinks offers real world benefits.

various versions of the 90mm SA+ drum brake hubs

Gingko offers their custom 70mm and 90mm Sturmey Archer drum hubs in various versions. All are available in silver or black anodised finish, with 28, 32 and 36 spoke holes, there are lightened versions, lightened versions with cooling fins and now the various versions of the SA+ with heat sinks.

The 70mm SA+ drums sport five heat sinks, while the bigger 90mm SA+ drums even got ten heat sinks. Compared to the stock drum hubs, the heat sinks are adding a 200 cm2 (70mm SA+), or 400 cm2 (90mm SA+) increase in cooling surface to the hubs.

90mm SA+ drum hub with ten heat sinks

Preliminary tests on a test bench where promising. Lutz stated, he couldn’t raise the hub temperature of the SA+ hub prototypes above 160°C in his tests.

I just called him on a different matter and when chatting about their new hubs, he mentioned they are eagerly awaiting the ‘real world’ results from their two velomobile test riders in the field.

Now to the slightly less desirable part: These Gingko SA+ hubs ain’t exactly cheap.
While Gingko sells the plain 70mm hubs starting at €77 a pair and the plain 90mm drum hubs at €88 a pair, the 70mm SA+ hubs start at €220 a pair and the 90mm SA+ hubs start at €270 a pair. The high-end version of the 90mm SA+ will set you back €340 a pair, while the high-end version of the 70mm SA+ comes a bit cheaper at €293.

All images: Gingko Spezialradteile

Disclaimer: I’m not in any way affiliated with Gingko. Just a enthusiastic user of Gingkos 90mm custom drum brake hubs.

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Blue ICE Impressions

The Blue ICE

Blue Sprint_XPress_left_02_web
ready for touring with big panniers

Blue Sprint_XPress_left_web
ground clearance

Blue ICE_in front of shed_web
batterys only

Blue Sprint_battery mount_web
DIY battery mount and rear lights

Blue Sprint_beam pattern_web
The Cockpit with Cycle Analyst

Blue ICE_front_Patterson_Xpress_web
Patterson Metropolis drive

Ortlieb XPress_Batterys_Lock_web
XPress panniers, 1.2kW/h battery, Abus U-lock

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Ortlieb X-Press Pannier Conversion

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Once upon a time Ortlieb sold a waterproof shoulder bag that can be converted to rather perfect recumbent bike rear panniers with little effort and cost. Once converted, the X-Press panniers provide a less unwieldy alternative to the Ortlieb Recumbent … Continue reading

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