CBP is blocking import of my e-bike parts?!

bombadero

Member
Has anyone ever encountered something like this before?

Here's some quick background: I haul a lot of cargo with our R&M Homage GT Nuvinci, a Surly Ted trailer and a Burley Dlite trailer (sometimes all hooked together in a train!) in the hills of San Francisco. It's not for business or anything, but I've completely replaced all in-town trips by car, which is the vast majority of our car trips, for 3 years now. So that means big grocery runs, picking up packages from our PMB at the UPS store, picking up lumber, masonry or steel building materials for home improvement/DIY projects, et cetera. The R&M has been bombproof, but is a bit under-powered with heavier loads at the extreme limit of the Ted's cargo capacity of 300 lbs., and I've had some truly grueling trips home up the 600 ft. of elevation back to our house. People compare the R&M to a Porsche because of the expense and the quality components, but for cargo hauling it's more like a light-duty Toyota pick-up: you can put 500,000 miles on it and it never complains once, but it's a bit under-powered as I said. So for the past couple of years I've been contemplating rebuilding an old project bike, a 1990's stump jumper, into a more powerful DIY e-bike.

Skip ahead to now and after tons of research and back and forth with Grin Technologies in Vancouver, BC, I pulled the trigger on components for a bitchin' dual-motor cargo hauler build. It was split into 3 packages by Grin: Two packages with one motor each, laced into their respective rims, and additional parts, and one package with the dual batteries I purchased. The first two boxes with the front wheel motor and a few parts in one and the pair of massive, 52V/20Ah batteries and one motor controller in the other, sailed right through, no problems whatsoever. Shipped all 3 via Fedex, so despite Vancouver being a straight shot up the coast from San Francisco, all 3 packages routed through Memphis, TN, much to my surprise; I guess that's where Fedex processes international shipments.

The 3rd box, however, which is the most important box, with the rear motor wheel, the other motor controller, the Cycle Analyst, Satiator charger and the bulk of my wiring parts, got hung up on a customs delay in Memphis more than a week ago. This past week, I called into Fedex every day of the week. On Monday, I received from Fedex, and emailed back to them, a Form 5106, declaring my SSN, which was required by CBP to clear the delay. I thought that was all there was to it, as that was what was requested. The status of the Fedex tracking page reads:

Clearance delay - Import
Shipment requires importer's registration/identification number for clearance. (Examples include EIN, SSN, VAT, GST, RFC, etc.)

I called again Tuesday through Thursday and there was no progress. All I got out of Fedex, from one agent, was that it was possibly just a random customs delay, like a spot check. On Friday, I finally got in touch with the Fedex Customs Tracing Specialist working my case. She required me to fill out another form--this time not editable, so I had to print it out, fill it out manually, and scan it--called an Electric Motor and Generator Worksheet. I also had to explain every line item on Grin's invoice in detailed language. I had to provide the tariff # from Chapter 85 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. I even had to specify whether the motor was brushed or brushless, AC or DC and the nominal wattage. Easy enough to answer, but seems oddly and overly bureaucratic to simply receive a DIY e-bike kit from Canada.

The tracing agent referred to my SSN as an EIN when we spoke, so I get the impression the tracing agent and CBP think this is a business transaction, even though I have stated unequivocally many times that this is a business-to-consumer purchase and these parts are for personal use only. We'll see what happens on Monday, but as of now this shipment is in indefinite customs hell limbo, and my bike build is on indefinite hold.

Has anyone ever encountered something like this before, either specifically for e-bike parts, or generally for imported packages? I've ordered a lot of components from overseas lately, mainly UK, Germany, Italy and China, so one theory is that somehow got me on CBP's radar, although for what I have no idea. Maybe they think I'm running some sort of illegal importing business or something? Nothing I've imported is for business, it's all stuff in the 10's to 100's of dollars range, and none of it is contraband though, so that doesn't really make sense. Another theory I have is that the tariff # Grin supplied for the motor seems to be bogus, maybe it was a typo, but I couldn't find it in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, and perhaps that triggered some sort of red flag. Or perhaps a CBP officer saw the invoice and thought he could pull some sort of seizure or civil forfeiture and get himself a free e-bike kit--though it won't do him much good without the batteries and some other parts, so he will still have to spend a good chunk of dough, and there is zero basis for a seizure. Or being in Tennessee, maybe the CBP officer is just a good old boy and thought he would screw over a liberal San Franciscan leading up to our very contentious election in November. Or possibly this has something to do with Trump's trade war and they think these parts are coming from China by way of Canada; the only thing I found along those lines though was a policy that expired in August exempting e-bikes from import duties by classifying them as motorcycles. Again, that policy expired in August and only affected whole e-bikes, not kits of parts, but maybe a CBP officer is confused about what is the current policy. Those are my 5 reigning theories.

Any helpful advice for how to clear this package through customs would be greatly appreciated. Even if you are a business importer of some kind with a small business, even though I am just a consumer, any procedural advice about how to navigate the customs system successfully is welcome.

I've included some photos below of the hauling antics I've gotten up to with the R&M justifying my new DIY build. I've also attached the bureaucratic paperwork I've had to sort through if anyone is curious. It's not too complicated, but amounts to far too many hoops to jump through for a simple online transaction.

20200929_212826.jpg

20200922_194322.jpg

20200818_174157.jpg

20191115_181123 (1).jpg
 

Attachments

  • CF5106.pdf
    1.1 MB · Views: 18
  • Chapter 85.pdf
    1.2 MB · Views: 13
  • Motor Worksheet.pdf
    363.8 KB · Views: 15

JRA

Well-Known Member
Unfortunately I don't think it is anything to do with you as much as with F'up Ex. Of the three carriers where I live in OR they are the only ones I have ever had issues with getting stuff. In fact one was a Grin baserunner I got late last spring and it also routed to Memphis, which I suppose you are correct that all their Int. shipments must go through. I opted for the quick shipment option @ checkout and it took 10 days for it to get here and then I had to drive two towns up to a $ store to pick it. Tracking was useless and calls to them where unsatisfying also.

Unfortunately they sent the wrong version and it still sits in the box today thinking that the border might re-open and I could just conduct my business with them when visiting my son who lives in Van as I have been accustomed to in the past. That's not happening any time soon it looks like so that project is on hold also. Not a big ticket item and have thought several times of just emailing them and ordering another and return the other when and if. However my two other bikes have been most useful for where I have been hunkered down since March when I was in Bellingham finishing up a boat work project and had my bike I was converting and an appointment with them to make sure I got what I needed while visiting my son. Thus the order....

Not much help but all I can say is hang in there and it probably will show up eventually. In the meantime feel free to expound on your build plans!
 

bombadero

Member
@JRA good to hear I'm not losing my mind at least. I had thought Fedex was the better option among what was offered at checkout, but after numerous snafus with other Fedex shipments (although not customs delays), I have to conclude they just aren't a reliable carrier. It's no wonder Amazon dropped them as a carrier.

Glad to share details of my build plans; as I said it's a dual-motor affair built around an old, but solid, Gary Fisher MTB frame from the 90's. I had actually rebuilt an old Sears special FS Elite stump jumper that I bought in the 90's--my first bike purchase as an adult--on the cheap with maybe a few hundred dollars of components before I discovered a cracked headtube. I didn't want to waste all of those components, so I searched for several weeks on ebay for the perfect replacement, a MTB from almost the same year and with the exact same measurements and geometry and lucked out with the Gary Fisher find for a couple hundred dollars. It's old and used, but in very good condition and would have cost a couple of thousand new back in the day. It's a huge upgrade over the old cheap Sears frame--much thicker and stiffer. Unfortunately that bike hasn't been ridden much since swapping the upgrade components to the new frame, and most of those components will end up being donated to the SF Bike Kitchen. Fortunately, most of the components, as I said, are on the cheap side. Not used, but not premium components. The most premium components are probably the handlebar, which is a Race Face Atlas (780mm?) and new Ergon GP3 grips with bar ends, and those will stay with the latest rebuild. The rest of the components are probably less than $200 combined, so it's not a huge loss, especially since the e-bike rebuild, with two motors and two batteries, is in the price range of a whole new e-bike.

So that's the set up. Now onto the build. I originally wanted to build it as a 76'er or a 69'er (27.5 front, 26 rear or 29 front, 26 rear respectively), on the design principle of building cargo bikes with a larger front wheel for suspension, control and roll over, and smaller rear wheel for traction and added wheel strength. After doing some research, I realized that a 26x4.8 fat tire in front is only abount an inch shorter than a 29x3 tire, achieving the same goal and even enhancing it with additional width in the front, while keeping a stronger 26" wheel in front. So it's going to be a weird looking bike, which I kind of love about it. The bike's nickname has been Bruce for a while, no pun on Batman, but coincidentally I've started referring to it as the Bat Bike because it's going to end up looking like what Batman would ride if he rode an e-bike. Here are the components:

Front wheel: Grin All-Axle, 26" Weinmann DHL65 rim, Sapim Strong black spokes, Schwalbe Surly Knard 26x4.8" fat tire, Trickstuff 203mm disc rotor

The above has already arrived and been assembled:

20201017_184544.jpg


Fork: Wren Inverted Fat Tire fork... the current cheap Sears fork amazingly still has decent travel, and is the last stock component on the bike. Once replaced, the bike will have officially transformed into a completely different bike from when I bought it. The hub on the front motor is only 110mm, but the fork spacing is 150mm to accommodate the huge tire, so I had to order a custom adapter kit via ebay from a small fab shop in San Diego. It was actually kind of lucky, because it's the only kit I found that has two 20mm axle spacers and a 20mm disc rotor spacer, both of which are hard to come by. The fork will add a massive 6 inches or so the crown height and the fat tire should add a couple of inches as well, which will pop the handlebar up into a less aggressive and more comfortable position. The fork is on back order as it requires a straight steer tube.

Rear wheel: GMAC 10T motor built into a 26" Alexrims DM18 with Sapim Strong black spokes and (eventually) a Surly Extraterrestrial tire and Trickstuff 180mm disc rotor. This is the motor that is delayed in customs. The Extraterrestrials are on back order, which happens a lot with Surly products, so for now it will continue to run with the existing tube and Continental all-rounder tire swapped off of the existing wheel, which also has a DM18 rim.

Transmission: I'm keeping the existing front derailleur, a Shimano Acera 3-speed something, I don't recall off the top of my head. It will be coupled with a new Shimano Deore XT FC-T8000 triple crankset, 48-36-26, 175mm. though the cranks will actually be discarded because I am using an Erider torque sensor from Grin, which completely replaces the BB, and comes with its own cranks, which are honestly probably as good or better. But the Shimano cranks are still very good on that crankset, so some lucky recipient at Bike Kitchen will be getting those. I will be using a SunRace CSMS8 Wide Ratio Cassette 11-51T, 11 Speed in the rear and hooking it all up with a Connex Wippermann 11SE chain. Shifters will be via Microshift BS-M11 11-Speed Bar End Shifters mounted on Paul Components thumbie mounting adapters to make them into thumb shifters. The FC-T8000 is supposed to be paired with 10 speed cassettes, but I've done my research and it should be fine with an 11-speed, although I may need to use a Wolf Tooth derailleur hanger extender, which I have experience with on our HPV Scorpion where I had to do the same thing. Shimano of course also warns that the heavens will fall if you don't use a Shimano GX chain with their components, but I've used Connex Wippermanns on the trike again and also the R&M and they work just fine with Shimano (and Nuvinci) components. The trike also has Microshift bar end shifters, so the whole setup is actually pretty familiar for me other than the extreme wide range in the rear cassette.

Batteries: 2 x 52V, 20 Ah batteries from grin, one mounted above the down tube, and owing to the huge amount of space that will open up with the new fork, probably one below. I won't know for sure until the fork arrives and is fitted to the frame. I hope it fits, because the batteries are huge and only one fits inside the triangle. They will be wired in parallel to discharge at the same time into both motors.

Seatpost: PNW Coast suspension dropper, 27.2mm.

Seat: Brooks B17 (already on the bike from not the last round of rebuilding, but one even before that).

Headlight: Fisher fab house high voltage e-bike headlight

Racks: Surly Rear Rack in back, and probably... Surly Rear Rack in front. This will give it a cool, symmetrical, kind of mean look. People have reported difficulty mounting front racks to fat tire forks, and a couple of people online have fit Surly Rear Racks on the front. Some people have even cut a Surly Rear Rack in half and spliced it back together by welding in sections of solid steel rod inserted into the rack's tubing. I technically have this capability, since I have a multi-process welding set up, but will probably resort to a hardware fix instead. I have purchased some 43mm motorcycle headlight mounting brackets that will fit the massive uppers on the Wren, but won't know if I can use them until I get the fork and determine if I can remove the crown to install them. I may need to resort to a hose clamp approach like Tubus uses for its front rack fork adapter kits.

Brakes: I wanted Tektro HD-E745 Auriga Twin+ brakes, as they are the only 4-piston HiGo e-bike brake with a parking brake feature on the market. However, they only sell these to OEMs. So I will be running Magura MT5E's instead, and using an existing Paul Components canti rim brake on the rear actuated with a Sunrace friction shifter similar to the setup on a trike. It's only the rear wheel, but better than nothing and pretty unique. The existing Paul Components shift levers will go to my road bike, which I am rebuilding as a light gravel bike with a new cockpit. I've actually added a bolt-on friction drive to that roadbike, a Rubbee X, but it doesn't currently work as advertised and will need some modding.

Kickstand: Ursus Jumbo, with a massive 180 kg load capacity.

Miscellaneous: Going to run, possibly two 12V motorcycle horns; Grin GPS and data tracker; headlight will be mounted on a handlebar extender; probably going to use aluminum brush guards; mirrors are generic black motorcycle mirrors I ordered on ebay, possibly also mounted on small handlebar extensions of their own. In addition to being highly useful, all of the above will also give the front a pretty gnarly look. Not really the main intent, but a nice side effect. Still debating whether and how to wire up turn signals, as my DC connections will all be occupied with the above accessories.

Pedals: Funn flip pedals, SPD on one side, cleated platforms on the other.

The two motors are precisely matched, and because they are both geared motors with regenerative braking, both need to run all the time, hence the massive power source with two batteries. With both motors and geared down in my lowest gear, according to Grin's motor simulator I will get a massive 330 ft. lbs. or so of torque on hill starts from a dead stop. I probably shouldn't do that lest I break something though.
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
That is quite the project! You will be beyond Toyota class and into the 1ton diesel category for sure.

I had been using an All-Axle since the beta phase on a CL Specialized drop bar bike and got the opportunity to get a frame and wheelset from a friend that is in the opposite direction of yours. It performed perfectly for my needs in it's first bike but I did blow one controller on a really hot day overworking it on a long steep climb....this included a healthy dose of Statorade inside. Lesson learned. You will get a decent amount of braking power with it on the front but keep in mind that heat build up is possible in regen mode also...another lesson learned with my 9c front hub bike that was my first build proof of concept of this type in '16. I've never had a Mac rear hub motor but I know from following ES that it is a work horse.

IMG_4890.JPG

This is what I am waiting on to finish

IMG_3084.JPG

I do have something to offer regarding the CA3 display though. The stock mount never pleased me as it put it up too high and took handlebar space so I made some plate adapters that act like a headset spacer and moves it down slightly below bar height and out of harms way

IMG_5691.jpg

PM me if you want to try one out as I made a few of them.
 

bombadero

Member
@JRA yeah, I've been comparing this build to a diesel F-350. Those road bikes must rip with an All-axle on the front. Which version do you have? Mine of course has the slow version to match the slow 10T winding on the GMAC. In top gear, it will probably still be able to break 30 on flats though when unloaded. It should be a beast on the hills though, which is the main point. The other is that even when hauling a large amount of weight, I'm a strong enough rider that I'm still faster than most other bike traffic in the bike lanes, but starting from a stop is slower... so I get into these annoying back and forth passing situations that recently led to an altercation when a little guy on a BMX got angry that he was being passed by an e-bike towing two trailers. The new build should quash both of those issues, as well as safety issues with car traffic. The latter is mainly just that I often have to take the lane in parts of town with little or no bicycle infrastructure, and the top speed of 20 pisses a lot of drives off who then do unsafe things like trying to share the lane, passing too close or tailgating. I also sometimes get trapped in a pocket of traffic because I don't have the top speed necessary to pass safely.

The 10T and the slow All-axle are just about perfect matches in the Grin simulator; all the other combos were unbalanced such that on hill climbs or going fast on flats one motor does all the work and the other does minimal or no work because it can't keep up. I would have done dual GMAC's, but for some reason Grin stopped offering their front-wheel GMAC kit a while back.

Thanks for the advice on thermals; I've known going into this that managing temperatures on this new bike will be more hands-on and technical compared to our pair of 250W name brand systems. The Bosch system has never overheated on me, the worst it does is get a little sluggish. It's been absolutely bombproof, which is why I equate it to a light duty Toyota. The Go Swissdrive system on the HPV has overheated on me several times; their solution is that you get a huge, full screen warning on the color display, and then the power cuts off. You then have to wait at the side of the road until it cools off, which I find oddly reminiscent of a car overheating. In both cases, however, the system handles it automatically and nothing ever burns out.

I've ordered up thermistors and statorade in both motors, and I suppose I will just need to monitor temps at all times during strenuous work. It would be nice to have a chime or something go off when a certain temp is exceeded, but I don't think the Cycle Analyst has that level of programmability, or if it does I'd have to have a Raspi or Arduino in a waterproof case and maybe a breadboard on my handlebars, and that's just a bit too clunky even for this beefy, gonzo build just to have a warning chime go off. Every component in the build has a practical reason for being there based on past experience.

I might be interested in your headset spacer mount for the CA3; I won't know until I've replaced the stem, which I forgot to mention in my build notes above. I currently have a fairly short aluminum stem that I'm replacing with an Ergotec Swell XR adjustable stem. I might also be spacing it a bit to get even more height; I want to raise it from it's current low position to a moderate angle more like on the R&M. I'm just not personally into the aggressive stance like I used to be, I even find it annoying on my road bike now. It's not a owing to a disability or being out of shape or anything, I've just been spoiled by the R&M and the trike 😀. I also don't really do road riding per se anymore, since I now use bicycles as practical vehicles. But I won't know the exact geometry of the cockpit until my new fork comes in and I'm ready to cut the steer tube down.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JRA

bombadero

Member
So the latest in this saga is that the Fedex Customs Tracing Agent told me that my shipment is now being turned over to the antidumping and countervailing process, which is apparently a process by which that levy tariffs against a country of origin in retaliation for that country dumping cheap goods on the local market, in this case China. I asked her how she got the idea that goods produced on Canadian soil by a Canadian company in small batches and shipped from Canada were Chinese. She told me to look at the import invoice. I did, and out of roughly $2,800 USD of goods, exactly $63 was Chinese in origin, all various small cables. Assuming the highest tariff rate on these small cables, which aren't generally available at your local hardware store, and only purchased and used by e-bike hobbyists--thing like XT90 to DC cables--of 30%, CBP would net a whopping $18.90 in tariffs for what must at this point be thousands of dollars worth of red tape paid for by US taxpayers. And that's assuming small cables are even listed in the tariff schedule and have that high of a tariff listed. The other $2,700.60 originate in Canada with a CA code, not a CN code. I get the gut feeling they are going to try to levy hundreds of dollars of tariffs on $63 of Chinese goods. I'm going to talk to a customs attorney for advice tomorrow; hopefully they can send a sternly worded letter for a few hundred dollars, but less than the tariffs that might be levied, and get my parcel out of there. We shall see. I have informed Grin of all of this and while I really like their products and all the assistance they provided answering my questions, they've been less than helpful with this.

Actually I just looked up wire and cables in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule for fun and the tariff is all of 3.5%. So the total tariffs to be collected is $2.20, assuming they don't try to claim the tariffs are applicable to the Canadian goods as well (although the Harmonized Tariff Schedule says they do not).
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
Well that opens up another level of frustration for sure....Grin has experienced growing pains it seems associated with Covid as all bicycle oriented operations have and in the past you could reach out to them and more than likely get ahold of Justin or Robby and things went smoothly but I noticed during my controller experience that wasn't the case anymore and the answers to my questions were less than satisfying and the result was the wrong part being sent.

Trying times for sure and you are getting the short end of the stick as there is no reason they shouldn't be more help with your situation as technically you have paid for goods not provided as their responsibility for them isn't over until you get your package. Not that they can wave a magic wand and bust through the fog your order seems to have been lost in. What's really odd is that your batteries sailed though unscathed as they more than likely are Chinese in origin and hazardous shipping goods to boot.

My All-Axle is now three years old and to tell the truth I can't remember what winding the Beta phase were. It is a good mix of climbing ability and speed for my needs however and most of all it is the quietest system I have. I use a Schlumpf High Speed drive in conjunction with it and it's 160" high gear allows me to actively pedal up into the mid-thirties but I mostly run it in the 500w limit I have setup via the selector I have set up as I am more interested in range than speed. I did do a speed run after getting it all together on level ground and was able to average 30mph over my 17mile home course. Although I have lots of motorcycle experience at far higher speeds it was not a comfortable ride and I never replicated it.
 

JES2020

Active Member
So the latest in this saga is that the Fedex Customs Tracing Agent told me that my shipment is now being turned over to the antidumping and countervailing process, which is apparently a process by which that levy tariffs against a country of origin in retaliation for that country dumping cheap goods on the local market, in this case China. I asked her how she got the idea that goods produced on Canadian soil by a Canadian company in small batches and shipped from Canada were Chinese. She told me to look at the import invoice. I did, and out of roughly $2,800 USD of goods, exactly $63 was Chinese in origin, all various small cables. Assuming the highest tariff rate on these small cables, which aren't generally available at your local hardware store, and only purchased and used by e-bike hobbyists--thing like XT90 to DC cables--of 30%, CBP would net a whopping $18.90 in tariffs for what must at this point be thousands of dollars worth of red tape paid for by US taxpayers. And that's assuming small cables are even listed in the tariff schedule and have that high of a tariff listed. The other $2,700.60 originate in Canada with a CA code, not a CN code. I get the gut feeling they are going to try to levy hundreds of dollars of tariffs on $63 of Chinese goods. I'm going to talk to a customs attorney for advice tomorrow; hopefully they can send a sternly worded letter for a few hundred dollars, but less than the tariffs that might be levied, and get my parcel out of there. We shall see. I have informed Grin of all of this and while I really like their products and all the assistance they provided answering my questions, they've been less than helpful with this.

Actually I just looked up wire and cables in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule for fun and the tariff is all of 3.5%. So the total tariffs to be collected is $2.20, assuming they don't try to claim the tariffs are applicable to the Canadian goods as well (although the Harmonized Tariff Schedule says they do not).
Wow, I hope I never have to deal with this situation...I would probably cancel the purchase ( as not recieved ) and start over.
Seems like you ran into a stick in the mud bureaucrat .
 

bombadero

Member
Well that opens up another level of frustration for sure....Grin has experienced growing pains it seems associated with Covid as all bicycle oriented operations have and in the past you could reach out to them and more than likely get ahold of Justin or Robby and things went smoothly but I noticed during my controller experience that wasn't the case anymore and the answers to my questions were less than satisfying and the result was the wrong part being sent.

Trying times for sure and you are getting the short end of the stick as there is no reason they shouldn't be more help with your situation as technically you have paid for goods not provided as their responsibility for them isn't over until you get your package. Not that they can wave a magic wand and bust through the fog your order seems to have been lost in. What's really odd is that your batteries sailed though unscathed as they more than likely are Chinese in origin and hazardous shipping goods to boot.

My All-Axle is now three years old and to tell the truth I can't remember what winding the Beta phase were. It is a good mix of climbing ability and speed for my needs however and most of all it is the quietest system I have. I use a Schlumpf High Speed drive in conjunction with it and it's 160" high gear allows me to actively pedal up into the mid-thirties but I mostly run it in the 500w limit I have setup via the selector I have set up as I am more interested in range than speed. I did do a speed run after getting it all together on level ground and was able to average 30mph over my 17mile home course. Although I have lots of motorcycle experience at far higher speeds it was not a comfortable ride and I never replicated it.
Yeah the few emails answered by Justin or Robbie were great; other employees often had to get back to me days later, I suspect after consulting Justin or Robbie to clarify technical points.

That's a good point about range, I hadn't thought about it that way because this build is all about maximum torque and power for hauling and most of my hauling trips are 10-20 miles or less. But by building this system I also have the option of loading up a profile where I'm only using a small amount of power out of each motor in order to achieve maximum range. It's another dial in addition to assist level that you normally don't have on an e-bike. Since I don't have my CA3 yet, as it is caught up in Tennesseean red tape, can you tell me if it's easy to program and load up different profiles on the fly? Or do you have to program it separately at a computer before each ride?
 

bombadero

Member
Wow, I hope I never have to deal with this situation...I would probably cancel the purchase ( as not recieved ) and start over.
Seems like you ran into a stick in the mud bureaucrat .
Yeah, I really think it's political at this point, as the math makes no sense from a trade war perspective. The government spends thousands of dollars investigating one package and gets $2.20 back? The Fedex agent and CBP officers are likely native to Tennessee, which is a deep red state, and they saw a package originating in Canada with a destination in California, specifically San Francisco. And CBP are the same people imprisoning children and acting as shock troops in liberal cities where protests are occurring, like Portland.

For this reason, I advise anyone importing e-bikes or e-bike parts from Grin or anywhere else overseas not to use Fedex, as their international shipments all route through Memphis.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
I advise anyone importing e-bikes or e-bike parts from Grin or anywhere else overseas not to use Fedex, as their international shipments all route through Memphis.
Really sorry to read about your hellish experience with FedEx, hopefully your legal letter will do the trick. FWIW earlier this summer I ordered ebike lights and wiring from Grin Tech and received them promptly via Canada Post.
 

bombadero

Member
Really sorry to read about your hellish experience with FedEx, hopefully your legal letter will do the trick. FWIW earlier this summer I ordered ebike lights and wiring from Grin Tech and received them promptly via Canada Post.
Yeah, well that's what's a little bizarre. The other motor/wheel, containing about the same amount of small Chinese parts, sailed through. The two ginormous batteries, considered dangerous goods, sailed through as well. A subsequent order via Canada Post full of more Chinese small wiring parts, sailed through. The specific CBP agents reviewing this one package just got a wild hair, apparently. After 35 days apparently they have to seize or release--at this rate I might get to see what actually happens at the 35 day mark.
 

bombadero

Member
So Robbie at Grin got back to me. He told me that Grin should have handled all of this; wish they had said that in the previous 3 or 4 emails I forwarded to them during my communications with Fedex. Their email address really is a slot machine--you never know who you will get and the response times seems to be random. Hopefully with Grin getting involved things will expedite, although at this point with the package moving on to antidumping and countervailing I sort of doubt it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JRA

JRA

Well-Known Member
"can you tell me if it's easy to program and load up different profiles on the fly? Or do you have to program it separately at a computer before each ride?"

It is not that easy to switch the display itself on the fly. I wonder though because there are actually two separate modes that will allow you to use either a 48v or 52v battery on the same bike which I have done with one of mine if it would be possible to just use that feature to set one up for torque and the other for speed yet not actually use the separate battery function. I didn't mess around with that aspect though and kept the same values for both batteries. Someone on Endless Sphere might better know the answer.
 

bombadero

Member
I have to report that unfortunately, Grin finally stepping up to deal with the clearance delay has not improved the situation at all. My kit is still held up with the same vague message about requiring an importer's identification, despite the fact that they have my SSN and Grin's EIN at this point, all communication from Fedex has ceased and Grin has no status to report. My fork is also held up by a once-in-six-years manufacturing delay according to Kevin Wren of Wren Sports, so I can't mount the front wheel either.

In the meantime, I started stripping down the bike and building the handlebars back up. The handlebar, grips, bell, Airzound and quill post are all existing components. Paul Component thumbies, Microshift bar-end shifters, handlebar extensions, Fisher Fab light, cheap motorcycle mirrors, Ergotec stem and Grin potentiometer are all new. Removed Microshift 3x7 rapid shifters and Paul Components mechanical brake levers that I will probably reuse on the red road bike in the background I plan to turn into a light gravel bike with flat handlebars.

Photos below.

20201101_123539.jpg

Cockpit view. Close-ups below.

20201101_123707.jpg

20201101_123712.jpg

20201101_123728.jpg

20201101_123954_HDR.jpg

Front view.

Completely unrelated to this build I also implemented something I call 'gorilla mode' on the bike I currently haul with using a Surly Ted trailer. I purchased a Gorilla Cart recently for use in the back yard. It can haul up to 600 lbs., and is built for towing from a standard ATV hitch, but its tires aren't road worthy. So I fitted it with Tuffwheels from Bikes@Work, tubes and 16" Schwalbe Marathon tires. The Tuffwheel bearing hubs are a bit wide compared to the Gorilla Cart wheels, so the cotter pins that come with the Tuffwheels only fit one side of the pin and rub on the races making a horrible noise while riding. So I hammered out one end of thick gauge copper wire and tied it away from the races instead. I plan to use it to pick up about 200 pounds of paving sand from Home Depot on its inaugural run. I did a test ride and it rolls and tracks amazingly well.

20201101_124454.jpg

20201101_124508.jpg

20201101_124533.jpg
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
Alot of acerage on those barso_O Guess you won't be using the turn the bike upside down for emergency wheel repair on the road.

So weird about your shipping dilemma, hope it works itself out sooner than later.
 

bombadero

Member
Alot of acerage on those barso_O Guess you won't be using the turn the bike upside down for emergency wheel repair on the road.

So weird about your shipping dilemma, hope it works itself out sooner than later.
Lol, yes it's sort of the inverse of your road bike build. I wanted clearance for the headlight and the mirrors to be higher and forward a little. Since the headlight is handlebar mounted there isn't a good way to get it onto the front rack that will eventually be on the bike, or mount it on the frame or via a stem bracket, so those handlebar extenders seemed to be the way to go. As with the R&M, the stance is moderate anyway, so it isn't as important to have a minimalist cockpit. I also wanted it to look a little intimidating to be quite frank, because hauling by bike in San Francisco and environs has turned out to be a bit of a 'contact sport'. There are a lot of aggressive drivers here, and anything that gets their attention, gets them to back off or give you the right of way is worthwhile in my opinion. The bike will be very heavy and have a center-mount two-legged kickstand, so flipping the bike over to service it isn't really an option--plus it's unnecessary with that kickstand. It will have two motors and two massive batteries mounted to the downtube. It actually wasn't a good idea with the old, traditional build either; I did it once and scratched up my beautiful Brooks saddle and the Ergon bar-ends, so I had to stop doing that.

A nice side benefit of the extenders is that they add a lot of real estate for the various additional doodads I still have to attach; and being aluminum they are very light. The mirrors look very heavy but are surprisingly light as well. It will look even more intimidating when the brush guards are on there. Now maybe you can see why I've dubbed it the 'batbike'. All it needs is a jet engine, although of course more than one person has done that already.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JRA

JRA

Well-Known Member
"and anything that gets their attention, gets them to back off or give you the right of way is worthwhile in my opinion"

This should help!

Screen Shot 2020-11-01 at 4.09.41 PM.png