Posts Tagged With: long john bike

E-cargo Part 2

Cargo bikes are great for transporting much more than conventional bicycles and with that advantage, of course, there is a downside – they are bigger and therefore heavier to pedal. For several years, I have been happy to do the extra work required in exchange for that benefit and have done most of my short distance grocery and other shopping trips with my cargo bike, but have not used the bike as much as I would have liked for longer trips.

In December,  2014, a new bike, the Biktrix Juggernaut, was introduced to Saskatoon, featuring an electric mid-drive. It was the mid-drive system used on that bicycle that caught my interest and the following summer, I contacted Biktrix owner, Roshan Thomas, and arranged to go for a test spin on a bike equipped with the Bafang system.

Wow – what a hoot that was, and it got me thinking about its application on a cargo bike. While short distance shopping trips are not difficult on a cargo bike, longer distances can be quite daunting due to the extra weight of a heavier bike plus its cargo. As one of my friends commented, electric assist changes a cargo bike into a regular bike when considering the effort involved. I decided to give the idea a try on the new bike that I was building.

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The Bafang mid-drive system has been on the market a relatively short period of time but has already received a lot of consumer attention and mainly good reviews. It is available in several models – after discussions with Roshan, I chose the mid range BBS02 36 volt 500 watt unit, and coupled it with a Panasonic 36 volt 14.5Ah lithium battery pack for my new cargo bike.

Installing the conversion is not difficult. Bearings, bearing shells and crank are all removed from the bottom bracket and the drive unit slides in. Controls include throttle, on/off/power level selector and brake levers that cut power when  brakes are applied. A large readout panel displays speed, distance travelled, power level selected and battery level. The unit is programmed to engage when the crank is pedalled forward or when the throttle is used. Other programming options are available.

Unlike rear hub electric motors, mid-drive systems retain the advantage of whatever range of gearing that  a bike may have. They can be coupled with rear derailleur systems or with internal geared hubs. Derailleur systems are inexpensive but require more attention in shifting when using electric assist, and can result in jerky and stressed gear changes. Internal hubs eliminate that concern and I chose another newcomer on the market, the Nuvinci N360 continually variable hub – it represents the latest in technology.

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This is what the new drive system and rear hub looked like on the new bike.

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The battery is mounted on a rear carrier, over top of the drive wheel. The Bafang unit is not obtrusive – rather it looks like it belongs where it is.

This is the view from the cockpit. The Bafang read-out is large and easy to read. The NuVinci twist-grip shifter displays speed settings as a gradient.

So, how does it work? It is a bit early for a full assessment but so far, I am very pleased with the results. The Bafang powers the bike very well and the NuVinci hub makes changing speeds a breeze. After  more than 30 kilometres, the battery is still at 80% charge. I have been out for several short distance shopping trips and have travelled in record time. The bike moves along easily at 25 km/hr, even with a load of groceries on board. I have not tried for a top speed but have been over 30 km/hr, which for a cargo bike. is moving right along!

More photos to follow in the next post, and a follow-up after the bike has logged a few miles and done some work to earn its keep. Cheers.

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Categories: Cargo bikes | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grocery cargo…

Working CB

Winter has been with us for a while and my “new” cargo bike has been safely stowed away while waiting for  a return to spring. This one was built in early summer 2014 when unusually rainy weather made it unsuitable for sailing. As this year comes to a close it is time to post some photos before a newer “new” version replaces it, hopefully with some more improvements. Photos tell the story of this build better than words.

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The cro moly donor frame – with damaged forks and a badly rusted in seat post

 

 

 

 

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To make it easier to line up the various sections of the bike, I built some stands to hold them at the correct level.

 

 

 

 

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Solid central kickstands are essential on long john cargo bikes. When surfing the net one day I came across some photos of an approach that I liked. Unfortunately I have not been able to find that site again so that I could credit the builder!! I am certainly grateful to him for sharing – if he should ever happen upon this post, I want him to know my appreciation. These pictures show the bike upside down on the bench.

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After adding paint and some components, this was what came out of the workshop:

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The cargo area has been built to be used either as a flat bed, or with box sides sized to hold two grocery baskets.

 

 

There are some marvellous builders that are building cargo bikes. I would like to acknowledge one in particular, John Lucas, of Cycle Trucks based in West Sacramento, California. He makes some great cycles – check them out. I like his X-style step through frames – this is my attempt.

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This bike has been a lot of fun – folks often comment on it when I am out shopping. I added a lot of features to it, but of course, there are always ways of improving. With that in mind, could this be the donor frame for the next one?

Next donor?

Categories: Cargo bikes | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

FIRST VILLAGE CYCLEWORKS CARGOBIKE HITS THE STREET

First Cargobike

First Cargobike

Ready for the street

Ready for the street

Double kickstand made from front forks

Double kickstand made from front forks

Front forks used for cargo bay bracing

Front forks used for cargo bay bracing

Rear stays used for bracing cargo bay

Rear stays used for bracing cargo bay

Steering linkage using an Atomic Zombie "conductor"

Steering linkage using an Atomic Zombie “conductor”

For whom the bell chimes

For whom the bell chimes

My brass Lion Bellworks bicycle bell – the best sounding bell in town!!

Shortened front forks

Shortened front forks

Ever since I first encountered cargo bikes on the internet a few years ago, they have captured my imagination. Finally this past winter, while waiting for some special order components for the recumbent tricycle that was on the go, I decided to try my hand at building one. As the winter dragged on, there was ample time to contemplate so many aspects of the design. I wanted to maximize the use of parts of old bikes and so they found their way into supports for the cargo bay as well as a double legged stand. Many of the ideas came from my limited experience with the designs that I purchased from AtomicZombie.com, most notably the “conductor” used in the steering assemblage. The front forks were shortened to accommodate a 20 inch wheel, following the directions from Atomic Zombie.

The cargo bike seemed like the perfect place to show off the wonderful brass bike bell that I won during the winter in a poetry contest hosted by bikehacks.com. The bell is the product of Lion Bellworks.co.uk – the sustained ring that it produces does wonders for the soul and reminds one to slow down and enjoy all of our senses when riding – the Zen of cargo-bike riding!!

Categories: Cargo bikes | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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