A New One From Portland, Oregon.

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by PDX Cabbie, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. PDX Cabbie

    PDX Cabbie New Member

    Hello Motored Bicyclists. I'm Christopher Harley from Portland, Oregon. For work, I drive a taxi and have for the last 9.5 years. As many of you may know, Portland is renowned for its bike culture. Some would say the enthusiasm borders on psychotic militancy. Whichever it may be, I'm part of it but only in small measure. What I see from behind the wheel of my taxi is a completely different story. Namely; too many people driving too many cars and accomplishing so little while navigating 4000lbs of machinery. But, to each his own. I would never try to dictate what type of transportation to which anyone should be restricted. With that said, I'm now trying to decide how I can leave my personal vehicle parked at home while still being able to take advantage of a quick and efficient form of gas-powered mobility.

    My bike is an Electra Townie 21. I'd like to start my upgrade by installing Xtracycle's Free Radical extension kit. I'm interested in this addition because I'd like to be able to haul things around and get out of the city for camping as well. Beyond that, I'm looking at various engine options and design schemes.

    Any tips or advice is always welcome so let me thank you in advance.

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  2. Bigwheel

    Bigwheel Member

    I hear you on the bike culture thing. Bikes are beautiful but can be taken a bit too seriously by some.

    I like the lines of that bike you have. Personally I think an Xtracycle kit would kill it. Have you considered a BOB trailer instead? Put a motor on your bike and use the trailer for hauling when necessary and take it off to keep your bike handling like it is for runs around town? You can get a BOB trailer cheaper than an Xtra cycle kit also.

    You have plenty of room to put a motor in the frame and a HT with a sick shifter is a good cheap way to get up and running it seems. Or go with a 4 cycle motor as they are coming on strong but a bit more up front. Good luck with whatever you do!
  3. JE

    JE Guest

    Welcome Christopher.You'v found the best motorized bike web site on the net. Justin from Woodburn Oregon.

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  4. PDX Cabbie

    PDX Cabbie New Member

    RE: My Intro

    Thanks, JE. And thank you as well, Bigwheel. Those BOB trailers are nice and definitely worthy of consideration. But, here's some of the obstacles I'm facing.

    One, I'm about 250lbs and I've read in these forums that the Townie's design is forcing more of the rider's weight over the rear hub. I think the figure was between 80-90% as opposed to 60% in more traditional frame designs. With the wheel moved farther back, and I hope I'm correct in this, weight distribution should be moved forward reducing that previous figure well below 60%. The loss from rider weight should allow for greater cargo weight while keeping overall bike length at around 7 feet. One major concern on this matter would be what sort of expectations I could reasonably assume if the total weight of the rider is 250lbs and cargo is, say, 100lbs. If I couldn't realize that goal I may be SOL and simply left to scooting around the neighborhood on a much less sophisticated design. It's a contingency for which I'm prepared.

    Two, because of Oregon's displacement restrictions I have to work with an engine below 35.01cc. I'm considering either the Honda GX35 (I know, 35.8cc) or the Mitsubishi Robin 33.5. To this, I'd like to add a NuVinci CVP hub to maximize low end torque at the sake of high end speed. Again, Oregon statutes call for a top speed of 30mph.

    Three, from what I read from Staton, and it seems to be corroborated by a few forum members, this combo should deliver all my needs and still skirt Oregon law. Displacements above that mark and higher speeds put any motorized bike in the moped category thereby adding insurance, registration, and lighting arrays to the mix. Of course that moped spectrum allows for sizes between 35.02 and 49.9cc. With that said, all sorts of design schemes then materialize and become easier to craft. The problem is they do so at the cost of facing the DMV/Insurance industry phalanx. To do this and do it correctly, I need to let technology and design trump the state's rigid interpretation of sustainable, albeit still gas powered, transportation.

    It may seem daunting that I'm getting cornered with fewer options yet I think of it as a challenge. Sometimes limits force us to think "outside the box." It might seem cliché but oftentimes, a lot of smart things can materialize outside the scope of easy solutions.
  5. Bigwheel

    Bigwheel Member

    I totally understand your attraction to the cargo bike. However because the Xtra cycle is a kit I find it more cumbersome than those that are already purpose built like the Kona Ute for example which is a great deal on a cargo bike.

    The Staton system that you are talking about is a rack mount and will mess with your cargo area and also add alot of weight to rear end when combining the motor/gearbox/hub. The cleanest design I have seen in regards to this concept is this one: http://www.outsideconnection.com/gallant/hpv/mblue/

    Also the letter of the law in OR (and in the federal regs adopted by most states) reads that the bike must have an automatic transmission. That legally precludes the use of a motor running through any type of multiple gear system but you can have it running in to a single cog and still have multiple gears attached to your pedaling drivetrain. The smaller Honda and Robin motors are great units but in order to get the most out of them they will work the best run through a tranny.

    The bottom line for me is that there is a need for the very thing you are looking for and although it is not readily available right now, it will be soon. And an integral part of this equation is the input from folks like yourself that have definate ideas of what they want and the ability to go forth and get r' done!
  6. PDX Cabbie

    PDX Cabbie New Member

    RE: Engine Placement and Tranny

    Bigwheel, that's a fantastic link to an awesome cargo bike setup. You're right about the engine placement. I like how the designer solved that problem. In the photo below, I've highlighted how I intend to address the same concern. I'm fairly certain that the size allotted will suffice.

    You've caught me unprepared on how to deal with the Oregon law and Staton's gearbox. I might have to go outlaw on that workaround.

    Attached Files:

  7. Bigwheel

    Bigwheel Member

    The big problem I have with the Staton setup in order to get a proper chainline to the Nuvinci the motor/gearbox needs to be offset to the drive side considerably which is neither esthetically pleasing nor optimum for handling purposes. That is why I like Jim's setup because it is able to be centrally located and the Staton could be set up that way also with the addition of a jackshaft.

    It seems that years ago when the first go round of motors being installed on bikes the motors ran the drive off the left side because the pedal drive was on the right and that stuck down through the years. But if there was a small motor with the drive on the right side it would make gearing up using the pedal transmission much easier, but a jackshaft works ok as evidenced by the sick system and that cargo bike.

    I just looked up the OR law again and while it doesn't list an auto transmission as part of the scooter requirements or electric bike it does list it for mopeds but the area surrounding the whole thing is certainly a nice grey color to my eye, which befits the PNW, especially today's weather down here on the coast!

    Mopeds must be titled and registered, but Oregon law specifically exempts motor-assisted scooters, electric assisted bicycles, and personal mobility devices from title and registration requirements.

    A motor-assisted scooter:
    is designed to be operated on the ground with not more than three wheels;
    has handlebars and a foot support or seat;
    can be propelled by human or motor;
    has a motor capable of propelling it no faster than 24 miles per hour on a level road; and
    has a motor no bigger than 35 cubic centimeters or, if electric, has a power output of no more than 1,000 watts.
    (ORS 801.348)

    A moped:
    is designed to be operated on the ground upon wheels;
    has a seat or saddle for use of the rider;
    is designed to travel with not more than three wheels in contact with the ground;
    is equipped with an independent power source that is capable of propelling the vehicle, unassisted, at a speed of not more than 30 miles per hour on a level road surface; and if the power source is a combustion engine, has a piston or rotor displacement of 35.01 to 50 cubic centimeters regardless of the number of chambers in the power source; and
    is equipped with a power drive system that functions directly or automatically only and does not require clutching or shifting by the operator after the system is engaged.

    A bicycle equipped with a power source may be classed as a moped if it meets all the moped requirements and also does not meet either the definition of an electric assisted bicycle as defined in ORS 801.258 or a motor assisted scooter as defined in ORS 801.348.

    (ORS 801.345)

    An electric assisted bicycle:
    is designed to be operated on the ground on wheels;
    has a seat or saddle for use of the rider;
    is designed to travel with not more than three wheels in contact with the ground;
    has both fully operative pedals for human propulsion and an electric motor; and
    is equipped with an electric motor that has a power output of not more than 1,000 watts and is incapable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of greater than 20 miles per hour on level ground.
    (ORS 801.258)
  8. PDX Cabbie

    PDX Cabbie New Member

    Bigwheel, I want to say I could live with the offset of the engine and gearbox that far from center, but the truth of the matter is that I probably couldn't. Adding a jackshaft corrects the balance but adds another modification I hadn't initially considered. I see from your May 17th post that you are working on a cargo bike as well. Since you mentioned the incorporation of the NuVinci hub, I'm curious what sort of design snags you've run into. Leaving both the pedal drive and the engine drive on the right side of the NuVinci hub seems dangerously crowded but I think I convinced myself it could be a workable design.

    The Oregon statutes relative to transmissions on sub-moped bike designs are frustratingly ambiguous as is the state's apparently fawning endorsement over electric assist models. Since I drive a cab for a living, and work exclusively at night, I've had the opportunity to query several cops on the matter of motorized bikes. Luckily none of them have been able to identify correctly all the subtle nuances within the law. Additionally, none have expressed any interest in clearing the streets of illegal motorized bikes. Though that might sound like a convenient opportunity for riders, in truth it simply means that down the line they will eventually just start writing tickets across the board and hope that some of them stick.

    Though I might have been more of a rebel in my younger years, today I haven't the courage nor the inclination to jeopardize my driver's license seeing as how it functions as a direct component of my livelihood. More than anything, this is why I'd like to have an ironclad design that serves both function and convention. I certainly hope it's possible.
  9. vja4Him

    vja4Him Member

    Help Research Best Motorized Option ...

    I just bought my new 21-speed Electra Townie in April, 2008. I was disappointed at first, after only 30 minutes of leaving the bike shop, when I found out that my Townie won't fit on the bus rack. I tried to get a refund, or exchange, but the bike shop refused.

    After riding my Electra Townie for about seven months now, I'm very happy with the bike. I can't afford to fix my van, and so riding bicycles (either my Electra or my 18-speed Mongoose Switchback) is my main transportation.

    I need some help researching which would be the best option to motorize my Electra Townie? I would like to get many years of motorized use .... I work different job assignments everyday, and would like to be able to commute as far as possible (reasonable!), say 12-15 miles each way, and maybe another five miles for running errands and shopping after work.

    The land is pretty much flat where we are, except for a few overpasses, which I can easily pedal up with no problem ....

    I need help with researching which would be the best motorized option for my Electra? What is the expected life of a bicycle motor (either electric or gas-powerd)?

    It would also be nice to have a little extra speed/torque ... Are there any electric motor options that will give me 30mph on my Electra? I weigh about 210 pounds, and usually carry a large backpack to work, weighing at least 15 pounds. When I go shopping, that will add another 15-20 pounds of groceries.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks ... !!!

    -- vja4Him

  10. wavygravy

    wavygravy Guest

    great post there newbie! come on down & ride with a few of the origionals on the forum & really get the lowdown on drivetrains! longbeach peninsula, ocean park wa!
  11. vja4Him

    vja4Him Member

    Help With Motorizing My Townie ... ???

    Thanks for the invite ... I wish that I lived close enough, and I would join you guys ... I'm all the way down in central Californiia ... My aunt and uncle do the long-distance rides -- France, Germany, Hawaii, England, Montana, California, and many other places ....

    I need help with figuring out exactly which motor kit to use on my Electra Townie .. ??? I have decided to spend as much as I can possibly afford ... which could be around $800.00-1,000.00 or more ...

    I will be riding bicycles for the rest of my life. Driving is wasting too much of my money (which is quite limited). If I continue driving, I will spend between $500.00-600.00 every month, or more ... That's $6,000.000 or more every year ... !!!

    So, even if I invest several thousand dollars on bicycles, it will be a very wise investment for me ... And besides, I plan on actually pedaling as much as I can still .... I need the exercise, and my boys enoy riding bikes with me too ....

    I will be riding my Electra Townie between 300-400 miles every month, some months as much as 500 miles. I will pedal at least 150-200 miles each month, so I will be using the motor for around 150-300 miles each month.

    What would be th expected life of an electric motor/battery? Also, what is the expected life of my Electra Townie? Before I will need to start replacing bicycle parts ... ???
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2008
  12. vja4Him

    vja4Him Member

    Keep Original Wheels ... ???

    What are the options available if I want to keep the original wheels ... ??? I was reading something about a motor that attaches to the spokes. Is that a good system?