Coming Attractions…

updated: May 19, 2023

Bullitt II

I have built a second Bullitt, although the project took months longer than I expected it to.

It is another 2wd like the Lizzard King. It has a completely different battery box, a second box for the front motor controller and onboard charger, and a raised floor so the boxes can be installed in such a way that they are hidden by the frame rather than hanging under it.

It is geared for the steep hills it will live among, with a 40T front chainring and an 11-48T pie plate for a gear cluster. Experience with it so far, carrying 50 kg of cargo and going up the steepest hills, has been amazing

I also did a second generation of my DIY hardshell panniers for it, which turned out pretty well.

STATUS: Publication in progress, with Part 2 just posted. Part 3 will focus on the battery and controller/charger boxes, and the raised floor. That might close out the series at 3 parts. Maybe include an Odds & Ends supplement so I can tackle the hardshell panniers, if I don’t decide to tie them into the panniers series as an add-on there. We’ll see.

Modern Survivable Mid-Drive Drivetrains

Things have come a long way since the cheapie pinned-together Shimano HG-400 steel cassettes were the only game in town, if you expected to run big power and have it hold together.

Scroll down some on this page and you will see a planned article on the Microshift Advent drivetrain as a strong, budget alternative. Well, since then I have also worked with Box Components’ “strongest cassette” along with their Box 2 Extra Wide drivetrain on three bikes, worked in Microshift clusters into a Box 2 system, and very recently acquired a 10-speed Advent X system on a clearance sale that I have some nefarious plans for.

Instead of doing just that one article I think I might discuss these different components in a series of short, related review posts focusing on each product and configuration.

STATUS: This is a great idea but right now it is only that. Lots of work needs to be done to make this a viable concept organizewd in such a way it is worth reading.

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 so it 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. This may morph into a more general discussion of drivetrain options for mid drives as I have other bikes using other components that work well. Especially since as of March 2023 I acquired a 10-speed Advent X group cheap on a clearance sale deal.

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)
There’s something funny-looking about those Jones handlebars…

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. The Bullitt II project comes first, though.

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