August 9 , 2013
Funny how friday is just another day of the week when you do not dred the Evil Monday .. muahahahaha *(yes, that's a poke to all of you grinding your teeth at that first line ! )
I have been fixing up old dusty project bikes and selling them off to make room for new projects, in that process i end up with yet more bikes.. yay... but it's all good.. my " extra parts " collection is slowly shrinking.
Life, in general, is good.. great even... strange thing to say .. but i was at the local park last tuesday with my KMX Trike and Trailer with sandy.. eating a chocolate chip mint icecream cone... and felt guilty about loving life so much .. how can that be ?... it's almost like being miserable has become the general population standard or something.
Force of habit maybe ?
Is it, so, strange, ... to think that one should enjoy every day ? and that it's ok to have fun while earning a living ? I hope to find out..
In other news, i got the chance to play with a Pedego !
A local guy here in Moncton purchased one and it had a few problems that needed attention, for quite some time now i've been wanting to get my hands one, to compare it with everything else i've tested over the years.. Well, turns out it's quite nice actually..
Mr P. called me up, one evening, said he got my name from one of the local Bicycle Shops ( aka : LBS ), seems the word is getting around, all news is good news.. right ?..
Quote Mr.P : I have an electric bicycle, a " Pedego ", have you ever heard of it ?
Yes, i have indeed heard of it, having been a member on Yahoo Power-Assist and moderator on Endless-Sphere I spend a significant amount of time every day reading about ebikes, conversions, projects from people around the world.. There is so much awesome stuff going on at a furious pace globally, it's impossible to keep up with all of it.. but i try..
Pedego have been around for a while, not to be confused with Prodeco ( google it ) .. and are very nice, they are beach cruiser style with large assortment of colors, from funky orange to pitch black, big baloon times (* fat franks are nice ), disk brakes, lithium batteries, all the good stuff.
Dealer network is spreading but not yet covering the entire map, so some dealers are shipping bikes to customers, final assembly can be done by a willing local bicycle shop, sometimes...
Some of us however, are willing and able to turn a few screws and gladly take delivery of a bike with some assembly required !.. :-)
Problem was, after a few weeks of use, the bike developped a " Crackling sound " ???... It was taken to two local bicycle shops and both places determined the problem to be the motor.. had to be the motor.. what else could it be ?..
So pedego dealer was contacted, after a good description of the problem, along with a video clearly showing a loud pop and crack sound going on .... a new rear wheel was shipped under warranty. way to go.. pedego ! It's really great to see a north american dealer offer warranty and stand behind it... Unlike many china sources, ( and N.A dealers ) who require you to ship defective parts back at your expense... shipping large ebike wheels is expensive.... and more times than not... makes the warranty not worth the screen it was typed on.
The 2nd shop gave Mr.P my info, as a possible 3rd opinion... the new wheel was going to take a while and the ebike grin was turning into a frown with every passing day.. I got an email with video showing the problem ... i've seen and heard all sorts of problems with ebikes, but this one .... well.. was a first !.. so on a desperate afternoon... a black City Commuter arrived in my driveway !.
Nice leather grips, with Pedego logo.. comfy. also a ring-a-ling bell built into the Tektro brake levers... Comes in handy to warn those pesky pedestrians walking 5 wide and not getting out of the way..
Below, nice fat seat, with suspension seat post, i'm not a huge fan of these pogo-stick in a tube style seat posts, specially after having the pleasure of using a Thud-Buster , however, this combo of seat and stem are very comfortable.
Avid disk brakes, brand name parts make life easy when you want to service your bike, local bike shops will not scoff at the no-name low grade parts unknown pads you need replaced..
I'd like to know what % of bicycles made, ever get to see enough use to wear out their original brake pads... now that's a statistic worth looking into some day.. hmm.
Metal Pedals, also good, that was one of my pet peeves with the A2B Metro
A " Good To Go in Canada " sticker.. uhh.. ok.. i'm good with that.( 48v... 20+ amps.. heh heh.. )
Shimano Acera derailleur, shifts clean and quick..
Tail Light built into the battery pack:
*(also see the 5 LED battery charge indicator.. nice feature )
Battery sleeve built into the rear rack has an On/Off and Lock key switch..
The battery pack itself also has an On/Off rocker switch, i found it strange that the pack was warm with the switch in the On position, i suspect that heat was from the BMS, i'd love to take one appart to have a look inside.. maybe some other day..
The motor controller is also tucked away inside the battery pack sleve, hides the wires well and provides good weather protection.. I wonder how good a job it does at keeping the controller cool, but in my short testing, this has not been a problem, and Mr.P says it has never cut out on him yet.
The handlebar stem has a cool " on the fly " adjustment, push button, pull lever, ajust height and angle of bars and lock it back in place... I like it, gives a fairly wide range of adjustability, without tools.. One gripe was that the black lock button will buzz when the motor is pulling at a certain rpm... a piece of clear tape takes care of it... but worth mention.
The display is nice, on/off , blue backlight if you push the right button, it shows a bar graph of battery capacity, speed, distance, all the typical bicycle stats one would want.. Simple.. but the geek in me would love to see Voltage and Amp/Hours.. for 99% of the general public however, this is more than enough data, eyes on the road ...... people.. ( how often have i almost crashed while not paying attention to the road ahead, staring at the display..... gulp )
And that, is a Pedego.
First impressions, it's a BIG bicycle, kinda like getting on a horse, unless you are nearly 6ft or more, stepping on the pedal and pushing off before swinging a leg over is how i got on it.. The geometry is good, i'm 5ft 7~8 ish and once i got going, it felt really comfortable, with swept back handles, big seat, pedals slightly forward in relation to the seat, lending itself to a comfortable upright seating position... it's an electric bike, you don't need to lean forward and stand on the pedals to go up hills.. just sit back, hit the throttle and pedal as much as you want or feel like..
At 48v, this bike scoots along, it would require one hell of a hill to stall this setup, i was itching to cut into the wire harness and put an amp meter on it but speaking from lots of experience, i'd estimate this controller is pulling 25 amps at low speed.. and it's a geared motor..
Bottom line, it's a great electric bike, if you are a tall daddy long legs kinda guy, this bike is for you !
Pedego makes other frame styles, and step thru models as well for us shorter people..
The price is up there, like.. 2000 to 3000$, depending on the model, but if you want to open a box, install pedals, and ride.. it's a serious option for a quality ebike.
Now, for the " knocking sound "...
A reminder, this bike went to two bike shops before i got to see it, and a new rear wheel was already shipped and on it's way... so i had nothing to loose by taking a look at it, and trying to find the source of the knock..
While being on a stand, wheels off the ground, and turning the cranks by hand, the knock was present, but not severe, also would knock if the cranks were not turning and the wheel spun free..
When off the rack, and riding with power, or pedaling alone without power, the knock was still present... it was not a knock per rotation of the wheel thing either, like a rubbing disk brake pad or what not... rather a random knock, crack, and pop with no noticable pattern.
So, off comes the wheel....
To my surprise, the Pedego motors use Cassette ( spline ) clusters vs Freewheel ( thread on ) .. .. the large majority of hub motors made since i've been involved in it, have mostly all been freewheel.. Hub motor factories struggled for many years with bad designs that resulted in clusters rubbing on axles and breaking early in life... and most went back to old trusty freewheels... shame since the bicycle industry has mostly moved to cassette since .. like the 80's...
I wanted to see inside the motor, however, this model requires a special tool to fit the inner splies of the motor cover, something i do not have... I checked the bearings at the cassette and cluster, no metal shards or any indication of problems, all were smooth as could be..
I put the motor back into the frame, without the gears, bolted it down, and tested with the bike upside down, and knock, knock, knock.. still there..
I checked the frame for cracks, removed the Avid brake, and finally got to deflating the tire to check the rim for cracks.. discovered " SLIME " in the tubes... argh.. i hate that stuff... first , it makes a mess if you forget it and try to pump the tires with the valve low to the ground.. clogs your valve stems.. adds weight to the wheels.. and fails almost always.. at sealing a puncture.
No cracks visible, now i've experienced and have seen a whole lot of motor failures, both electrical and mechanical, this was not showing the classic signs of jerky running, or grinding resonance you typically get from broken internal geares and such.. soo.. next step, spokes, .
This wheel is using thick spokes, i estimate 12 gauge, they all seemed fairly, or reasonably tight, but could be tighter... it was not quite perfectly true, something you would not even notice, specially using disk brakes, but the rim had a very small wobble to it, i fixed that up as best i could, then i gave all spokes a full turn ( half turn at a time ) .. what do you know, the knocking sound was nearly gone... but not quite " gone " ...
So i gave them all one more turn, that's 2 full turns of every spoke, this is as tight as i could dare, without stripping any spoke nipples.. then i added a light oil to each nipple/eyelet of the rim and spun the wheel up to force it in place....
Knock.... Fixed !
Customer... EV-Grin and happy once again !