Alternative Electric Bike Pushers?

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Hey guys, as you know the Ridekick has been paused for design and manufacturing updates. I've always liked the idea that you could use an electric trailer to convert any bike into an ebike and I know there are other kits out there to help with this but I also like the idea that you can use the system to pull cargo.

One kit that I came across, called the Electric Push Trailer, is very DIY. The company sells instructions for $10 to $20 and you have to build it yourself for between $500 and $800. Unfortunately, I'm not a welder and have very few tools so this kind of put me off. As I continued thinking about it, one idea that came to mind was the BOB Yak Trailer (second picture below).

electric-push-trailer.jpg bob-yak-single-track-bicycle-trailer.jpg

While it's not quite as easy or quick to attach as the Ridekick PT, which used one mounting point that could be left on at all times, it does offer good storage and runs on single track (just one wheel) making it more maneuverable and quiet. It's easier to fit this kind of thing down a narrow space and also ride off road.

I did some searching on Endless Sphere and it looks like people recommend using a smaller hub motor since the wheel of the BOB Yak is so small at 16" (as compared with the push trailer and others). I was trying to find a simple solution vs. having to lace my own hub motor into a wheel so that's kind of a bummer. Just wanted to share this and see if anyone knew of a less expensive alternative, something that doesn't require modding? Maybe another motor kit or just any ideas in general :)
 

PDX Paul

New Member
Court,
You did a review of the Extrawheel trailer in which you mentioned that you had considered trying a hub motor on one. That really appeals to me because it could be used on multiple bikes. Did you ever pursue that idea?
I'm finding your reviews extremely informative and comprehensive. I'd be really interested in hearing your bio (if you don't mind sharing) as far as how you became so involved in the electric bike industry. You certainly seem to be the "go to" resource guy!
Paul
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Court,
You did a review of the Extrawheel trailer in which you mentioned that you had considered trying a hub motor on one. That really appeals to me because it could be used on multiple bikes. Did you ever pursue that idea?
I'm finding your reviews extremely informative and comprehensive. I'd be really interested in hearing your bio (if you don't mind sharing) as far as how you became so involved in the electric bike industry. You certainly seem to be the "go to" resource guy!
Paul
Hey Paul, you're correct about the Extrawheel experimentation... I think this might be the video you saw. I was very excited to convert it to electric and even got a hub motor but the narrow width of the rear "fork" on that thing actually rubbed on the motor casing which caused problems. It would have required custom fabrication to make work so I just sold the thing and started experimenting with other push trailers and ebikes. Note that the Extrawheel I got also didn't connect in a very sturdy way to the rear axle of my bike, it didn't bolt on like some other trailers but instead clamped onto a special adapter. I was concerned that with added weight and forces it might fall off and hurt someone or some thing. Here's a picture trying to show how the narrow spacing for the wheel mount was causing issues:

extrawheel-electric-bike-conversion.jpg

So about me... I grew up in Colorado and went to school at CU Boulder where I studied marketing, economics and entrepreneurship. I loved snowboarding and skateboarding and actually had a few sponsors but surfing was my ultimate focus... I just always wanted to surf. Upon graduation I got a job with Accenture in San Francisco and later left for Google and ultimately a few smaller companies before joining Hewlett Packard where I had worked during high school as an intern. It was neat to be at the headquarters in Palo Alto for a while but after completing a redesign of their corporate intranet I left to work on a computer science training program with a friend. During this time in California I got to surf on a daily basis which was tons of fun (but very cold).

I've always liked startups and sustainability and around 2008 I launched CarStations (an open source electric vehicle charging locator) which I later sold to a friend who now runs it and has launched an app. NorCal is a fun place and I made a lot of friends but after the Fukushima disaster I became increasingly concerned about the air quality, the economy and my lack of family connections in the area so I moved to Austin Texas where I worked as a Product Manager for RetailMeNot (then called WhaleShark Media). While working there I was riding my bike to work and back each day (because I'm a sustainability nerd) and began experiencing knee pain (thanks to the surfing/snowboarding/skating) which helped me discover electric bikes. I felt like there weren't many good resources for comparing and understanding ebikes out there so I launched EBR in early 2012 and got myself into Interbike to really learn about the industry. In late 2013 RetailMeNot went public and I was ready to focus full time on electric bikes so I left and have been traveling around getting more reviews and improving the site ever since.

Recently I got to meet Pete Preebus from Electric Bike Report, visit Canada to see BionX and meet @Brambor from this forum! To make this happen I bought a 4Runner and just drove it all over and slept in the back to save money. I did the same thing in California last year after leaving Austin. Things are going fairly well and I'm just trying to improve my craft and really support the space without compromising values or rushing things. I think that's about it! My favorite color is orange and I think Taylor Swift and Natalie Portman are pretty great :)
 

PDX Paul

New Member
Hey Paul, you're correct about the Extrawheel experimentation... I think this might be the video you saw. I was very excited to convert it to electric and even got a hub motor but the narrow width of the rear "fork" on that thing actually rubbed on the motor casing which caused problems. It would have required custom fabrication to make work so I just sold the thing and started experimenting with other push trailers and ebikes. Note that the Extrawheel I got also didn't connect in a very sturdy way to the rear axle of my bike, it didn't bolt on like some other trailers but instead clamped onto a special adapter. I was concerned that with added weight and forces it might fall off and hurt someone or some thing. Here's a picture trying to show how the narrow spacing for the wheel mount was causing issues:

View attachment 1425

So about me... I grew up in Colorado and went to school at CU Boulder where I studied marketing, economics and entrepreneurship. I loved snowboarding and skateboarding and actually had a few sponsors but surfing was my ultimate focus... I just always wanted to surf. Upon graduation I got a job with Accenture in San Francisco and later left for Google and ultimately a few smaller companies before joining Hewlett Packard where I had worked during high school as an intern. It was neat to be at the headquarters in Palo Alto for a while but after completing a redesign of their corporate intranet I left to work on a computer science training program with a friend. During this time in California I got to surf on a daily basis which was tons of fun (but very cold).

I've always liked startups and sustainability and around 2008 I launched CarStations (an open source electric vehicle charging locator) which I later sold to a friend who now runs it and has launched an app. NorCal is a fun place and I made a lot of friends but after the Fukushima disaster I became increasingly concerned about the air quality, the economy and my lack of family connections in the area so I moved to Austin Texas where I worked as a Product Manager for RetailMeNot (then called WhaleShark Media). While working there I was riding my bike to work and back each day (because I'm a sustainability nerd) and began experiencing knee pain (thanks to the surfing/snowboarding/skating) which helped me discover electric bikes. I felt like there weren't many good resources for comparing and understanding ebikes out there so I launched EBR in early 2012 and got myself into Interbike to really learn about the industry. In late 2013 RetailMeNot went public and I was ready to focus full time on electric bikes so I left and have been traveling around getting more reviews and improving the site ever since.

Recently I got to meet Pete Preebus from Electric Bike Report, visit Canada to see BionX and meet @Brambor from this forum! To make this happen I bought a 4Runner and just drove it all over and slept in the back to save money. I did the same thing in California last year after leaving Austin. Things are going fairly well and I'm just trying to improve my craft and really support the space without compromising values or rushing things. I think that's about it! My favorite color is orange and I think Taylor Swift and Natalie Portman are pretty great :)
Court,

I can appreciate your concern about the attachment method of the Extrawheel. I haven't had an opportunity to inspect one in person, but it appears to be just spring tension that keeps it attached to the rear axle. I'm not sure how far it would travel if it detached, but a motor and battery would certainly be more dangerous than a load of camping gear.

Thanks for sharing your bio, you've been a busy young man! If you intend to continue your travels, I would recommend finding a used Honda Element (no longer manufactured). Our daughter has one. It has a removeable sun roof at the rear that can be an access hatch to a rooftop accessory tent. The rear seats also fold out of the way, leaving plenty of space inside for an electric bike.

honda-element-roof-tent-bike-rack.jpg

Bike wise, I've moved on to a LWB recumbent. No more sore rear and numb hands! I'm considering adding a recumbent trike as well. E-assist is becoming popular on those, as well as uprights of all kinds.

Paul
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Funny you should mention that @PDX Paul! I spent a bunch of time researching this car and almost bought one but the custom roof tent can get expensive and since Elements are now like collectors items (as you said, they stopped making them in 2010) the prices seem to be a little high.

I went with a stock 2000 4Runner based on reliability, decent gas mileage, great space inside and stealth. I can sleep in the car almost anywhere and nobody notices. This usually includes Walmart parking lots or parking garages (low roof means I can fit almost anywhere). The pictures below are from my West Coast trip last year and since then I've built a special tent inside the car to cover me up. It blends in and keeps my gear out of sight which is really nice.

2000-toyota-4runner.jpg car-camping-2000-4runner.jpg

Regarding your daughter who drives a Honda Element... Is she smart, healthy, into biking and single? I'm 30 and live in Colorado :rolleyes:
 

Rich Wolf

New Member
I am new to this community although I have been involved in the bicycle business for years. I have owned a bicycle shop, been an avid bicyclist and put on several bicycle events every year. I have dabbled in electric bikes for years and have recently got back into it. I now put on Electric Assist Bicycle Tours and also sell a few E-kits.
Years ago I put an electric motor on a BOB trailer (back in the SLA days). I used a small motor driven to the rear wheel with a chain. I had a pentasport 5 speed rear hub to give me gears. It worked pretty well but the motor with it's built in controller would quickly overheat and cut out. Frustrated I gave up on the project.
Lately I have been hard at work developing my version of a pusher electric trailer that I call the Wattwagon. I use it for commuting and pushing me and my mountain bike to the trailhead where I unhook the Wattwagon, go for my regular unassisted mountain bike ride and then have it push me home after my ride. It sure beats using the car!
I have started a Kickstarter page on the Wattwagon and if anyone is interested here is the link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1473904641/410554480?token=d7587761
 

Shea N Encinitas

Active Member
Hey Rich, are you retro-fitting BOB brand bike trailers or planning to manufacture your own? With a KS campaign I would think you would want to have them made to spec and in some volume to reach good price points. As far as the 30 mph capability I think I would 'hide' that on a jumper, for legal reasons. Crack the box = void the warranty, and perhaps your connection to any litigation (ask an attorney).

If you have time I would work on the KS video some more, where is your work bench, shop, designs (blueprints)? More lifestyle shots, cute couple riding up to the pie shop, you returning from your MTB excursion to the comfort of your powered ride home. Even just enjoying coffee with the bikes all loaded up in the shot, make that emotional connection to your target audience.

Sorry for the tough love, asking the hard questions and getting all up in your business with my critique, but it is out of compassion for the technology, my love of cottage industry, and support of local business that drives my remarks.

Best of luck,

-Shea

P.S. My KS campaign failed, under-exposure.
 

Rich Wolf

New Member
Shea,

Thanks for the feedback.
The Wattwagon will be shipped speed limited to 20MPH.
In regards to the video, I have reworked it several times based upon feedback. I added more ride videos, and pics of the Wattwagon and more captions. Sure I could make it better but I think it describes the Wattwagon pretty well. Not to say I couldn't add more but at some point the project of getting product made takes precedent and being a cottage business I have only so much time. Also Kickstarter says not to get too hung up on the video as long as you provide one.
I am able to get good pricing on some existing trailers. I really want to put out a product that is not only useful and fun but easy to repair with off the shelf components. I know a lot of people are concerned when there is a lot of proprietary components that render a product useless if it breaks. I have an Ego Scooter sitting around in pieces and even though I got a good price on it, it is now worthless. It was considered one of the finest electric scooters of it's era but I thought after using it that it was a pile of junk.
The idea of the Wattwagon is simplicity and reliability. I have hundreds of miles of testing on the Wattwagon and all of the electric components have passed with flying colors. I am still fine tuning some aspects of the trailer and which model to use. It looks like the E-bike industry is going to more complexity and proprietary items along with eye popping prices. If some of these companies go out of business then a lot of people might be stuck holding the bag.
I have several Baffang mid drive motor e-bikes that I use in my Electric Bike Tour business. I like them but I have had to tear deep into the motors of all three to replace the clutch mechanism. In making the Wattwagon I decided that I wanted to use reliable components and a DD hub motor with an external controller fit the bill. The motor will probably last for years and if the controller has a problem it is easily replaceable. When I use the Wattwagon with it's torque and speed it makes the mid drive motor seem kind of pointless for most riding. It never gets beyond warm and I live in a very hilly area. In fact my Baffang mid drive motors get much warmer. My goals are a reliable product at a fair price that can be used and serviced for years. I don't really want to be messing with problems and returns because that will kill a business quicker than anything. I have seen the teething issues with other start up E-bike products and I don't want to go down that road.
I hope to fine tune my website as well and will be adding additional videos there covering Wattwagon specifics, installation and safe operation.
I know the Wattwagon isn't for everyone but I think it certainly addresses a portion of the market for electric assist.

Rich
 

Shea N Encinitas

Active Member
Kewl, good stuff. I like the idea of adding a BOB like trailer for both the obvious reasons, my stuff, and for a trickle charging solar array - explore the concept of charging one battery while riding the other, a free energy vagabond, loop up through Norcal or something like that.

-S
 

Rich Wolf

New Member
I am an avid bikepacker. I have done several endurance mountain bike races like the Stagecoach 400 the AZT 300 and the Tour Divide (2800 miles) Non motorized of course! I have also done other long self supported bikepack trips but would like to incorporate the Wattwagon in my trips. That way I can make time on the road and when I get to a good mountain bike area, I can unhook the trailer and do a regular mountain bike ride. I plan on taking an extra 48 volt 15 amp hour battery to give me plenty of range between stops and recharging. I find most places are willing to let you recharge there if you explain what you are doing.
 

MLB

Well-Known Member
Hey guys, as you know the Ridekick has been paused for design and manufacturing updates. I've always liked the idea that you could use an electric trailer to convert any bike into an ebike and I know there are other kits out there to help with this but I also like the idea that you can use the system to pull cargo.

One kit that I came across, called the Electric Push Trailer, is very DIY. The company sells instructions for $10 to $20 and you have to build it yourself for between $500 and $800. Unfortunately, I'm not a welder and have very few tools so this kind of put me off. As I continued thinking about it, one idea that came to mind was the BOB Yak Trailer (second picture below).

View attachment 633 View attachment 632

While it's not quite as easy or quick to attach as the Ridekick PT, which used one mounting point that could be left on at all times, it does offer good storage and runs on single track (just one wheel) making it more maneuverable and quiet. It's easier to fit this kind of thing down a narrow space and also ride off road.

I did some searching on Endless Sphere and it looks like people recommend using a smaller hub motor since the wheel of the BOB Yak is so small at 16" (as compared with the push trailer and others). I was trying to find a simple solution vs. having to lace my own hub motor into a wheel so that's kind of a bummer. Just wanted to share this and see if anyone knew of a less expensive alternative, something that doesn't require modding? Maybe another motor kit or just any ideas in general :)
Do you know that a 20" wheel won't work on the Yak? With a short frame extension?