Electric Whizzer Hybrid

Discussion in 'Whizzer Motorized Bicycles' started by lillback44, Jan 24, 2015.

  1. lillback44

    lillback44 Member

    While re-doing my Schwinn straight bar project I was contemplating what to do with the old frame, when I came upon the idea of making a nice electric Schwinn bicycle. I've thought about having a electric bike for years, but never really did anything about it because of the practicality of the electric bike.
    Then my thoughts took it one step further and I came up with the idea to add a electric wheel conversion kit to my 1999 Wc1 Whizzer! I cant say that no one has ever done something like this before because I saw a video awhile back where Joe Lin was working on a electric rear wheel bike. Here's a link to that ://wvideo.httpsww.youtube.com/watch?v=7gpLlg4sIp8
    Initially when I first saw that video I thought " How stupid is that? " What is the point of that and what's the chance that he will ever get that right, and how much more money would someone be willing to pay for a moped that's already way over priced at $2000?
    After thinking over the idea I thought about what the benefits could be from trying something like this.
    (1) Starting the bike without pedaling.
    (2) Assisting the take off of the bike.
    (3) Assisting hill climbing.
    (4) Alternative to pushing or pedaling the bike home if it died or ran out of gas.
    There is a lot to consider in picking out a kit for a project like this and I'm not going to go through all the details, but I can tell you that it is like anything else; higher numbers = better performance= higher price! When I say higher number I talking about wattage, ah, mph, and such. I choose a 36 v 500w front wheel kit for about $209 and 3 12v 7ah sealed lead acid batteries that I wired in series to create 36v for $40.
    I have more details on this to be added later and some results from my initial test run from yesterday and today. Here's a short youtube clip. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jgpTC4FffQ
    I should add that this probably wouldn't be considered a true Hybrid vehicle as the gas motor doesn't recharge the batteries for the electric. Sounds better than Gas powered, electrically assisted motorbike.

  2. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Well-Known Member

    I've seen a few gas plus electric hybrid motorbikes, but that is the first hybrid Whizzer I've seen.
    We would no doubt see more hybrids if LiPo batteries weren't so expensive.
  3. mason_man

    mason_man Active Member

    Nice Chris, there was a prototype hybrid wc-1 done back in 2001.
    I should see what happen to it. that's a clean setup, you've come along ways my friend.

  4. lillback44

    lillback44 Member

    I have a little more info on some assembly, but first would like to say Thanks to Wheelbender6 and Mason_ man for taking a minute to add a comment. Isn't this a better site when people participate?
    There were a few problems with the installation of the kit, as to be expected. Before I ordered the kit I emailed the seller to make sure the rim would accept a 2.125 tire and he promptly assured me it did. I ordered it from Chicago and received it the very next day! He'll get 4 stars for shipping. The first thing I noticed was the rim was extremely narrow. 19mm, was what I measured by caliper. No way this will take a 2.125 tire, I thought so I fired off a email to the seller and after a few hours received a reply. He said that the rims was actually 22-23mm at the bead and if I had any problems just send it back. Another 4 stars for communication as this was on a Saturday and I wasn't expecting a answer till Monday.
    In the meantime I did my own research and discovered it's ok to mount a 2.125 tire on this rim, however the tire is more susceptible to flats. I should mention that the rim on this kit is a V rim, which brought up the second issue. The stem on a standard tube is not long enough to fit through the rim. I called a local bike shop and it turned out that they did carry a tube in my size that has a 48 mm long valve stem. These days it can be so hard to get certain items without having to special order them? Does anybody remember when you could go to K-mart and buy a pair of handle bars? Try that today!
    The next issue was, will this new rim fit the Whizzer forks? No. The reason is that the width of the hub conflicts with the tube of the forks. This was actually the first thing I had tried when I took it out of the box. I also tried it on a repro Monark fork set and it didn't fit either. If you can believe this or not, I was prepared for this! When I bought my original straight bar frame it came with a locking steer tube and 2 open ended fork legs. Both I believe are left sided. The locking steer tube went on my Phantom Whizzer and the legs went on the straight bar along with a new yoke and heavy duty spring purchased from Fred White.
    I was planning on putting those forks on my Wc1 eventually, but not for this experiment. As luck would have it; it was the only fork I had that the rim fit on. The hub on this rim also accepts a disc for a brake set up, however there is not enough clearance for that. An adapter can be had from Venice bikes for putting on a disc brake system to old Schwinn and Monark forks for about $35. It may be possible to widen the width of the forks with washers, however I don't plan on using a front brake with this at this time.
    It should be noted that the axle on this is a larger diameter and flat on 2 sides and uses a special washer to keep the axle from rotating and tearing out the wires. Your fork dropouts would need to be open ended along with strut bars or fender braces. Forks should have long flat dropouts like the one on reproduction springer forks.
    I put this info out there for anyone thinking of a project similar to this. Whizzer or just a electric bike. More to be added later. Chris
  5. Paul E.

    Paul E. Member

    interesting, thanks for the conversation :likelots:
  6. lillback44

    lillback44 Member

    My first day of testing proved to be pretty interesting. It was a bit chilly out at 28 Deg. I don't know if the cold had any effect on the performance or not? Before going outside a fired up the Whizzer for a brief few seconds just to make sure it would start. Using the electric motor I pushed off and started to go. At around 10mph I let off the compression lever and the bike fired right up! First test was a success! I was able to start the bike without pedaling at all. I always start my bike pedaling down the road and not on the stand so it was nice not having to pedal it! I should note that the bike was sluggish off the start and doesn't have a lot of torque so a push off with my foot was required.
    Being pretty cold out I didn't really have a good testing strategy and after A mile or so down the road I noticed the bike was really sluggish and couldn't make 25 MPH. I was wondering if the electric motor was hindering my acceleration, Then the bike died. Soon I discovered the bike was out of gas. This brought up test 2. Could the bike make it to the nearest gas station? Cruising at a speed of 15-18 mph under electric power only, I made it to the gas station 1.25 miles away. Batteries were already low by then.
    I hadn't planned on running out of gas but I was sure happy I didn't have to push or peddle that bike 1.25 miles in the 28 deg, Temp. That would have taken 15-20 minutes and I was already cold by then. At 50, I'd hate to have to pedal my Whizzer that far. At 70, just bury me in the nearest snow bank! You may wonder who in there right mind would be out for a ride in that kind of weather, but I can imagine other scenarios where this would come in handy.
    By the time I got home the batteries were pretty low but I was able to use the motor to help power the bike up the stairs while also pushing. Usually this is much more difficult and awkward, especially with a burning hot motor.

    The second day it was 32 out and again the bike started up using the electric assist. I tested the bike on a medium incline, first using just the gas motor and then using both gas and electric together. Using both motors together only added 1-2 mph difference, however the gas motor seemed to be less labored.
    Since my testing I discovered that the 12v 7ah batteries I've been using are the minimum batteries recommended for the 350W motor and I probably need more powerful batteries to achieve better results. More amp hour batteries = more weight = more $$$. Lithium batteries are the best option for this set up, but are very pricey!
    My main motivation for this test was simply to see if I could make this bike a little more ride-able. To eliminate some of the pedaling and have a little bit better take off ( without peddling). Whizzer expert Fred White once explained to me that with a manual clutch bike you need to pedal the bike to about 10 mph before letting off the clutch to eliminate the slipping and squealing and such. One day I was wondering why my legs were so sore when I suddenly remembered I was riding my Whizzer the day before!
    Would I recommend the electric wheel kit to the Whizzer owner??? I'm kind of on the fence right now. I think it could benefit the older rider more and to the younger guys I'd say, " Use your legs and save the money."
    I purchased a Auto clutch the same day I bought the kit so unless I'm absolutely blown away by this kit in future testing I think I'll probably go with the auto clutch and I will update this thread when I have some more info. Thanks for reading,
  7. Paul E.

    Paul E. Member

    Dude, thats crazy to ride in that cold.. you must have a sidecar for your extra large testes. :likelots:
  8. lillback44

    lillback44 Member

    I just wanted to add a few pics of the progress of the bike. Winter weather has prevented any further testing or even better pictures taken outside. The first 2 pics are a before and after. I really like the new stance of the bike with the old Schwinn forks. They seem to take the hump out of the bike that I don't care for, although I must admit that the whizzer forks make for a better smoother ride.

    IMG_20140921_091851.jpg IMG_20150202_134427.jpg

    I've added a handle bar stem mounted headlight, whizzer front fender from other bike, 360 degree swivel mount for camera phone, digital speedometer, rear rack and new battery bag

    IMG_20150202_140003.jpg IMG_20150202_134537.jpg IMG_20150202_134601.jpg IMG_20150202_134649.jpg

    I didn't start out trying to make this bike look like the one I'm re-doing, but it's turning out that way. I still have a few more changes and more testing later on.
  9. libranskeptic

    libranskeptic Member

    Very good.
    Ta for sharing

    FYI, I did a hypothetical/philosophical post on hybrids


    You admit its early days and we all know what a difference intimacy, circumstances and time with a rig makes

    You touch on the advantages of a choice of motors for situations, but i suspect that will grow on you.

    Starting certainly, doodling round the shops, knowing you can make the gas station & not bothering with home gas storage is a good one.
    the electric it seems precludes the need for the cost, problems and weight of a transmission. You may wish you hadnt bothered with the auto clutch, whatever that is?

    Your batteries sure suck. The good news is a small hi discharge and charge rate one of say 5 amps may suffice, as its only for supplemental use.

    You miss a key point. With regen, you could recharge your battery under gas power if you are careful not to overcharge it.