or… I Have Too Many Damn Ebikes
Since I got back into bikes (thanks to ebikes being a viable platform to let this cardiac-issues ex-cyclist start riding again), I have gotten right back into building bikes up, oftentimes from scratch. At this point I really have to stop simply because I have no more room to park the things.
Up to this point I have only written about my Mongoose Envoy, a very recent arrival, and have just begun getting into my Surly Big Fat Dummy, which is more recent still.
What else is in the stable? I’ll do some very quick mentions here and then over time branch out and describe each more fully in separate posts.
I usually try and come up with some kind of catchy name for a bike, but so far a worthwhile moniker has escaped me.
I needed another Bullitt, put simply enough, for my home on the California Central Coast. The benefits of a frontloader are so great over and above my longtail and midtail bikes, I found I was putting off rides until I left town and was able to use my Lizzard King to run the errands.
Since this was Bullitt 2.0 for me, I spent a lot of time improving on what I did with the Lizzard King. This time, we did 2wd again, but used a bigger battery. The battery box is completely hidden behind the frame rails. No ground clearance was lost and there’s no sign to anyone looking where the battery is. The now-two-chamber box holds the front motor controller and a plug-in, onboard battery charger. I lost a few kilos by using light weight aftermarket parts for the floor and steering tube.
Unlike the Lizzard King, which is all about flat-land cruising, this one is geared so it can climb walls, since if you want to get around in the Monterey Bay Area, you are going to have to deal with steep hills (especially since I live near the top of one).
And as part of that task, I ended up putting a couple more puzzle pieces together when it comes to BBSHD settings.
I needed a quick runabout bike I could toss into my car and then pull out and ride off with. I’ve been using The Smash for this, but it being a 29er on a Size L frame that also needs a big backpack to carry the battery… convenience is marginal. I want to be able to take my car into the shop for service, pull a bike out of the back without any fuss and ride home with it. Or load the car up and have room left over to stuff a bike in too so I can ride around at the camp site.
The Apostate is a medium-sized (18.5″ seat tube effective height) 1999 Intense Tracer frame with 26″ wheels. the frame borders on unique in that it has a frame that can directly accommodate and shield a mounted battery. So it does the job I need nicely. Fork is a 2000 Marzocchi X-Fly Z1. Rear shock is a new Fox as the original Fox Float RC was dead. It is the subject build for the How To Build An Ebike From Scratch series, so its components and construction story are told in excruciating detail.
The Lizzard King
So named because thats the name Larry vs. Harry gave this green color of their Bullitt cargo ebike. I bought a frame kit from Splendid Cycles up in Oregon in January of 2021, and did an all-out AWD build on this bike which I completed in March of the same year. That included putting in a basement that holds a secured (big) battery. This will be a bike that gets fairly extensively written up. For now I’ll just drop this note that the bike exists, I’m riding it, and here’s a couple of pictures.
The Great Pumpkin
So named because of its very nice bright candy orange color (done at a local powder coat shop for next to nothing) you can call this one my third generation of 2wd bikes. Twin 35a controllers. A single custom-built 30ah 52v (14S9P) battery with a BMS able to handle 90a continuous current. Twin 750w-rated geared hub motors that commonly peak (each) at over 1700w. This bike accelerates like a bullet if I let it do so. But to keep the frame in one piece and me from being launched into traffic I have toned down both motors. Now I am merely the first vehicle to the other side of the intersection after a stoplight turns green.
It has synchronized dual pedal assist as well as brake cutoffs that individually shut off both motors on application. It has thousands of miles on it; all street commuting. Gearing is set up for 34 mph at about 70 rpm cadence. That is just a bit faster than the motors can power the bike, so if I want to cruise down the street at 30+ mph I have to work at it a bit more than you would think for a fairly high powered ebike. I get a strong workout due to this gearing.
The frame is a chromoly Chumba Ursa Major, with a Surly Ice Cream Truck front fork where the brake adapter on that fork was specially modified to get around the ICT’s rear-wheel brake spacing.
For a closer look at this bike and its AWD system follow the link and lookit here.
While the build of this bike pre-dates The Great Pumpkin, it was actually designed as a next-gen design to follow another 2wd bike (see the Purple Thing below) that pre-dated both bikes. So if the Pumpkin is 2wd 3.0, this one is 2wd 2.0. This one does not have the single unified battery, and its handlebar config is not as well done (two clocked-position throttles are on the left grip instead of one on each thumb… I hadn’t discovered shifters that would allow me to do the latter yet). However, it also sports a 30a, 1750w mid drive powering the back, and has the same fat hub motor as the Pumpkin powering the front. It too has dual pedal assist, but done in a completely different way given the dissimilar motors and controllers. 2Fat was created because of the learned weaknesses of even a powerful dual geared hub design in hill country. 2Fat was designed to climb walls effortlessly, and it will, without issues of overheating or strain.
100mm custom wheels with a DT 350 Big Ride ratchet rear hub and steel cassette body, Lynskey titanium frame is a prototype made along the lines of Chumba’s Ursa Major ti version of that frame. Possibly it was made as part of a pitch by Lynskey to make the frames for Chumba. Its hard to say for sure so essentially, the frame is unique, or close to it. I do know it is visually almost identical to the Chumba production models except the dimensions do not match any of their production frames.
For a closer look at this bike and its AWD system follow the link and lookit here.
A big departure from my usual bikes. The Smash is a 29er … and a bike with no job. With a 3kw Cyc X1 Pro motor, a 50a ASI BAC800 controller and a 20ah 52v backpack battery, this bike is strictly a hot rod. And no, despite those big power numbers its not as powerful as you might think. Certainly it doesn’t tear up trails. This is one of the last alloy frames Guerrilla Gravity made before switching to carbon fiber later in the same month I placed my order. The MRP Ribbon fork on the front is a jewel. Also has a RockShox coil spring, a complete SRAM EX drivetrain and my usual Magura MT5e brakeset.
I’m glad I took these pics right after the build was completed because it will never be this clean again. Ever. Also the pump location and top tube bags only lasted as long as this photoshoot as they violated my ‘festooning’ rule.
So named because of its black/white color scheme. The Stormtrooper is just a really nice, simple fat tired ebike – with deep dish 90mm carbon fiber rims. Noteworthy on this bike is that it has plenty of motor and battery cabling running all over the place, but I sheathed the wires (even the brake and shifter lines) in white heat shrink. The matching color effectively hides all the wiring in plain sight for a very clean look. the bike is light and fun, with good range from its mid-sized 12ah potted ‘indestructo’ battery.
This frame was a rescued Motobecane Lurch that was stripped, sand blasted and powder coated.
One of the few bikes I have written up here, The Mongoose Envoy has its own extensive writeup already. The Pacific Fleet’s first aircraft carrier thanks to the 44″ skateboard deck.
The Big Fat Dummy
One of the more recent addition to the Pacific Fleet, The Surly Big Fat Dummy is its second aircraft carrier, with a 40″ skateboard deck (and below-deck hangar) putting the length of this behemoth at just over 8 feet. This bike has a complete and detailed writeup here.
In no particular order, the ships that are no longer in the fleet
An even bigger departure is my Luna Fixed, which despite having custom DT wheels, is largely a factory bike and was bought primarily as a test platform. I fell in love with the design concept (stealth ebike), but it also had an internally geared hub, a Gates belt drive and torque sensing. These were three technologies I had yet to experience and I decided this bike was going to be how I learned about all three on one bike.
Its the only ebike I have ever ridden that feels like a road bike from the 1970’s. I re-did the handlebars to a more urban narrow config, added bar ends, changed the stem, saddle and pedals… not a lot else.
Its for sale It was sold on eBay as I’m largely done with it, its still effectively new and I never ride the thing. I’ve always been a commuter and a utility rider and this bike is purely a leisure exercise, or for someone who needs to make a quick store trip and doesn’t already have a stable of bike better suited to the job.
I will miss one big thing
when it sells: Its the only bike I can just toss into the back of my SUV and not make a major production out of loading onto a super heavy duty bike rack. Like recreational riding, I don’t do that either but someday I bet I wish I still could.
Now in the hands of a friend who needed a ride. Frankenbike was cobbled together from leftover parts from an upgraded electric bike, plus other goodies. It was my first 2-rack cargo-oriented bike. I painted the frame myself using Main Force Pursuit (MFP) Yellow. Google that if you don’t get it. The frame is identical to the Purple Thing, below.
Murdered by a careless auto driver who t-boned it and me while I was thoughtlessly riding slow in the bike lane with headlights and after making eye contact. The Stump was a little hotrod that never made it past the initial shakedown cruises before its demise. Paid for by the other driver’s insurance company but left in my possession, I donated the damaged but still fully functional motor to another cyclist who could make good use of it
The Purple … Thing
Essentially this was 2wd 1.5. I transferred my parts from the 2wd 1.0 bike when I cracked the frame, and made a few improvements. Since it was an emergency build to get my daily commuter back on the road, I didn’t do a lot of measuring and took what I could get framewise. It didn’t quite fit me and a year later one of these motors and some of these parts moved to The Great Pumpkin. The frame is still sitting dust-covered in a corner of my garage.
The bike that got me started back on two wheels again and changed my life for the better. A Sondors Original fat ebike whose cost was so low at around $700, I was willing to toss the money out the window and take a chance this whole ebike thing was going to allow me to get back onto a bicycle. By the time my first year was up I had put more than 4000 miles on it. I had also changed out almost every component but the frame, and converted it to all-wheel-drive.
The Colonel died with his boots on. After almost 6000 miles on the road, supporting a whole lot more power and speed than it was ever designed to bear by its original Chinese overlords, the rear seatstay cracked at the lower rack boss. My philosophy on frame cracks is not to repair them as where there’s one crack there will likely be more showing up soon. Components were transferred to The Purple Thing along with several upgrades.