updated: November 5, 2022
I’m building a second Bullitt. You can already tell I found I preferred the bakfiets/frontloader style of cargo bike in a head to head matchup. Since I split my time between two different residences, I need a daily driver bike in each location. I was recently thrilled to bring the Surly Big Fat Dummy, with its tiny front chainring and pie plate rear cluster, back into service at my home in the hill-infested Monterey Bay Area. It can climb the worst hills with a load of groceries.
But sadly, it cannot overcome its nature, and I found that once I got used to the benefits of a frontloader, I couldn’t go back to a longtail. Especially the convenience factor of having a big box you just chuck your stuff into and go.
So, I’m going to put my BFD and my Envoy up for sale, and a Bullitt frame is on the way, scheduled to be delivered in November 2022. It will be another 2wd, and I am trying to improve on everything I wasn’t crazy about with the first build.
- Small sub-floor box dedicated to the 35ah (Samsung 50S 14S7P 21700) battery. 3″ deep this time vs. the previous 5″.
- Second small sub-floor box – independent of the battery box – for front motor controller and plugin, weatherproof, onboard charger.
- 40T Lekkie front chainring, 11-46T steel Microshift rear cluster, Box 2 9s XWide rear derailleur.
Since I will be improving on a build I already documented, I don’t expect this to be a multi-part magnum opus. No promises, though. I will definitely do a detailed how-to on the BBSHD-to-Bullitt installation as thats something there is a lot of demand for.
STATUS: Waiting on the frame kit to begin. Writing begins from there.
How to Treat Your Lithium Battery Right
I can’t believe I am writing this article to add to all the zillions of others already out there… But I have done one-off support posts one too many times and I need something I can link to, with supporting source links, that I can just plug into the inevitable threads that come up on this subject.
STATUS: Outline completed and writing begun. This is not an article I have a burning desire to write soit may just go away if I can’t muster the enthusiasm to see it through.
Microshift Advent: Budget 1x Ebike Drivetrain
With the Mongoose Envoy’s recent move to the Monterey Bay Area from its former home in Fresno California, I found myself using every cog of the 11-32T Shimano HG400-9 cluster that I have installed. Running on the inner cogs like that means bad chain alignment. I need to be running further outboard and that means I need a different, much wider cluster.
But that 1-piece steel, pinned Shimano cluster is pretty much indestructible when paired with a powerful BBSHD mid drive. I’ll be losing that indestructability. Or will I?
Left to right: 11-46T cluster, Pro shifters and long cage, clutched derailleur
Microshift provides a potential solution. They are selling their 9s Advent component group to singletrack riders on a budget – All three pieces ran me around $125 total.
The Advent group was introduced in 2019, but very recently got an evolutionary upgrade.
Can these parts also fit a street-driven, electrified cargo bike use case? Can they take the kind of pounding a 30a BBSHD mounted to a cargo bike that could be pushing 450 pounds or more total system weight? From where I am sitting, the Advent group borders on being revolutionary to DIY ebikers. We’ll look at them in detail, pre-, during and post-install.
STATUS: Still in the idea-kicking-around phase. This group has turned into a real winner for me.
2Fat Gets A Major Facelift
The point of this exercise is so 2Fat can better handle long runs on deserted stretches of super deep, dry and coarse beach sand. This is the first alteration since the bike rolled off the laboratory table in 2017.
- Surly Moonlander front fork (installed but bad… needs a do-over)
- New (re-used from parts pile :D) front rack to take advantage of the Moonlander’s barnacles (installed)
- Box Components Prime 9 Drivetrain (installed)
- Box 2 Extra Wide 50T-capable derailleur
- Box 2 single-per-throw E-shifter
- Box 2 144 link chain
- Box 3 11-46T all-steel cluster
- Just-in-case Sunrace CS-M983 11-46T steel cluster (in hand… Spoiler Alert: its identical to the Box 3 cluster)
- Battery capacity increase from 25ah to 32ah (same size and weight) – (installed)
- Kinekt suspension stem with dampener enhancement kit (installed)
- Replace worn 26×4.80″ Snowshoe XL tires with 26×4.80″ Snow Avalanche’s (Rear installed; front needs a Plan B)
- Handlebar extensions using a similar method to what I did with the Surly Big Fat Dummy’s bars. (installed)
- handlebar extension inserts for XXXXL grips (installed)
STATUS: On hold. This bike’s future is uncertain given what appears to be a dead motor (or at least a dead connection) along with my
not liking hating the new fork geometry. I am on the lookout for a new front fat motor to resurrect the bike. Prior to the motor failure, after some serious remote excursions, everything seemed to be working well.
UPDATE: I found a unicorn! Scored a replacement front fat Bafang G060 motor. This otherwise-dead bike is now in the resurrection phase. I may end up being able to write this project up after all.