Daunting E bike Touring Problems and Logistics.

K PierreR

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
This forum is rather dead and there are only a handful of e bike touring journals out there. Most of these journals are short day credit card adventures. I sought answers to the challenge of e bike touring early on. There is little information out there so I decided to tackle the problems myself. I quickly found out why there is little information available. The problems are daunting and easily spiral out of control, making the whole idea of long distance minimalistic e bike touring hardly worth the effort. I have nearly given up several times and still have thoughts of doing just that. Dreams are fantastic and the idea of long distance e bike touring rolls off the tongue so easy until you really get into setting up for it.
Setting up for long distance touring is hard enough but I choose to make it even harder by setting up for long distance more remote dirt touring. I am settling in on a compromise rig/kit with smaller issues yet to solve. I am not totally satisfied with my rig and and I have had many attempts at configurations and have abandon most as unworkable. Here is the current rig. I have 6 weeks before I try a real test. Riding back from Tucson AZ to Ohio primarily on dirt.
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There are no bags shown here in these pictures. The basic bike is a built up Motobecane Ti Night Train Bullet frame. BBSHD drive, 4 battery bank/ 52Volts @49 amp hours (2,540watt hours),SRAM 11 speed, SRAM Guide brakes, 26" fat wheels + 29" slick setup, full fiberglass fenders, Jones loop high rise bars. Trailer is QuietKat Fat Single wheel with rear pannier racks. Charger is 15A.
I could not make the bike packing rig work. Not enough real estate or weight capacity on an e bike. Perhaps a long tail cargo would work but that is not what I have. Do I feel ready? Hell no but I probably never will for such a hard trip to set up for. The closer the departure date gets, the more real it gets. Too much to do, too little time. Life is now! The final route will likely be determined by how confident I am in the kit and who else might go with me.
So far in testing, I'm getting lots of looks and lots of people asking where I am going. People seem to instinctively know what this bike rig is built up for. They are blown away to find out its electric. My real range appears to be 100-120 miles in off pavement, conditions with a fair amount of climbing and me pedaling. High headwinds can seriously affect those numbers. I can pedal the rig on level gravel at about 8-10 mph no power. I can climb no power up to about 6-8% grade, then I push.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
I don't see the 4th battery, unless that is a 14sx2p hanging in the little bag. Are you going to charge all four via that one pack's charging port? You might need a spare charger. Lots of extra weight on those front shocks too, but then again, those shocks costs more than my bikes. Good luck.
 

K PierreR

Well-Known Member
Region
USA

rich c

Well-Known Member
Here just to give you some ideas of what is out there
Great Divide Mountain Bike Route
Western Wildlands Route
The High Plains Byway Bikepacking Route

My trip will incorporate segments from all three routes
I thought you said your route was from Arizona to Ohio? Looks like you're taking a long route north before heading east. I'm sure you can find plenty of gravel yet in Iowa or Missouri, but east of that dirt and gravel might get pretty scarce. Route 66 would get you there quicker wouldn't it?
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
A Demented Corner of the North Cascades
... Route 66 would get you there quicker wouldn't it?
If the point is to get there more quickly you could always drive.

A lot of the reason this thread is dead is (1) last year the pandemic caused a lot of people to hit a wall on any kind of adventure travel, and (2) most people on this board live in the northern hemisphere, and in most places and for most people winter bicycle touring is pretty harsh.

I put most of my tours together linking as much riding on gravel and dirt roads as possible. So yes, it is doable.

With an e-bike you have a pretty unavoidable logistics problem, as you will inevitably need access to an outlet. With careful route planning in most places and for most (but not all) routes you can manage if you have 1000wh-1500wh of battery capacity.
 

dblhelix

Well-Known Member
I thought you said your route was from Arizona to Ohio? Looks like you're taking a long route north before heading east. I'm sure you can find plenty of gravel yet in Iowa or Missouri, but east of that dirt and gravel might get pretty scarce. Route 66 would get you there quicker wouldn't it?
Plenty of gravel in rural OH. Even the North Inland Coastal Trail is about half gravel.
 

dblhelix

Well-Known Member
Right now, the biggest issue is charging if you don’t have pre-planned overnight charging stops, which can be difficult on a longer trip. In my state, I am not able to walk into a McDonalds at present to charge. The second issue *might* be changing conditions based on virus variants and what-not.

I’d have a hard time with strapping batteries to my front fork. That’s just me, but please don’t crash. Good luck.
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
I like your battery setup on the front forks and have been thinking about that setup for my FS bike. My question is this . Is the terrain you are planning on traveling such that you really need 2 sets of tires? Why not simply use a single set that is somewhere in between those dimensions? Also could you show how have you secured the batteries to the fork? Here is a link to Marcparis' exploits for inspiration. You may have already found it but others watching this thread may not have. https://electricbikereview.com/forums/members/marcparis.26738/#recent-content
 
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Alvin1957

Member
Region
USA
City
Midlothian, TX
Love the setup! We've been trying to figure out the logistics of recharging. Seems like riding state/local(KOA) campground to campground gives us access to power and campsite every night but they are often too far apart, even with two batteries. Hotels/motels are a bear if you have to climb stairs...and some are a little seedy in some of rural TX. Again, love the rig.
 

K PierreR

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Recharging the batteries is easy once you work through the problems. To have options, you need battery capacity and be able to charge fast. A, 2 amp charger does not cut it.
Places to charge are easy to find once you start looking. Some of my favorites are Town Park pavilions where they have outdoor concerts or reserve for parties. Those always have power and a picnic table. County fairgrounds, Police stations, Vending machine areas, churches, Grange halls, Township halls, county offices, Chamber of commerce, AAA offices, Rest Areas, Tourist information centers, local museums, Laundromats, Convenience stores, Camp grounds, Hotels, Barber shops and the list goes on.
Here is my charging setup.
First I have the charger plugged into a Kill-A-Watt meter to monitor what is going on and know when the charge reaches about 85%. That happens when the power starts to drop. Shown here in this photo is watts being pulled by the charger.
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The next picture is the charger
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The next image is my power charger tie in. Because of the charger size I cannot go in through the BMS. I go in the back door through the discharge and charge all batteries at once. with this smart charger plus power monitoring. I have a 5 amp charger that I can go through one of the battery BMS charging ports with as a backup.
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K PierreR

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I like your battery setup on the front forks and have been thinking about that setup for my FS bike. My question is this . Is the terrain you are planning on traveling such that you really need 2 sets of tires? Why not simply use a single set that is somewhere in between those dimensions? Also could you show how have you secured the batteries to the fork? Here is a link to Marcparis' exploits for inspiration. You may have already found it but others watching this thread may not have. https://electricbikereview.com/forums/members/marcparis.26738/#recent-content
I just swapped things around on the battery mounts. I made a better set and rotated the batteries aft. The aft rotation made a world of difference in the bike handling. Aft rotation is shown here.
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Now that I know that the changes work very well, I will take these off and put a professional look to them as well as cable mounts and cable wrapping. They are hand made out of 1/2" aluminum plate.
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steve mercier

Well-Known Member
I just swapped things around on the battery mounts. I made a better set and rotated the batteries aft. The aft rotation made a world of difference in the bike handling. Aft rotation is shown here. View attachment 83015Now that I know that the changes work very well, I will take these off and put a professional look to them as well as cable mounts and cable wrapping. They are hand made out of 1/2" aluminum plate. View attachment 83017View attachment 83018View attachment 83019
Well done sir !
 

vincent

Well-Known Member
looking forward to following your trip, sure it will be a challenge but also a lot of fun!
be careful

not sure what your route is but i am all around AZ for work between tucson and flagstaff so if you have any problems in those areas give me a shout
 

Dallant

Well-Known Member
I admire your creativity! Good luck keeping those batteries charged!
I was curious why haul the second set of wheels with SCHWALBE G-Ones?
 
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Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
A Demented Corner of the North Cascades
I did manage a fairly long tour last year in June of 2020, but my plans for a September/October tour were kiboshed by the pandemic's increasing case numbers and the fact that a lot of businesses I was going to depend upon were closed.

You are going to be rewarded this year on touring, but I think one of the prices of admission is going to be extensive research.
 

K PierreR

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Been out testing the rig. Some things are really good and others have needed changes.
The trailer is the biggest change. After much frustration, I realized that the problem with the trailer was a very high center of gravity because of a high trailer bed. I manufactured a new wheel/shock mount that drops the trailer bed 2.5" and a new lower yoke mount as well. Before the changes, anything high up was a nightmare to balance and I could only load the trailer to about 40 lbs before I did not like the way it handled. Now I can load the trailer to its full 100 lb capacity and it handles so-so. I handles great at 70lb and below. I still have adequate ground clearance and do not scrap on tight corners.
Other changes that I made was putting on a 70mm stem vs the 90mm stem I had on there and rotating the Jones bars forward a bit. Better on the hands. I have now ridden it at different gross weights and loading scenarios and have a good feel for where I need to be in terms of weight maximums. I have ridden it on much longer jaunts that I am use to in order to test it and me.
A high speed test (20mph pretty continuous with the fat tires and 100lb in the trailer yielded a gross weight of 425 lb. I rode the bike pretty close to the cuttoff point. 46.2 volts on a 52v system. I pulled 1,984 watt hours/42 amp hours from the batteries for 86 miles or 23 watt hours per mile. conditions were 28 miles paved 58 miles crushed stone to gravel. Climbing was 2,137 feet with 8 grades exceeding 15%. Range 86 miles Recharge time was just under 3 hours.
Same weight, same tires, same route but not quite as far at 17.5 mph average came in at 17.6 watt hours per mile range 117 miles
A lighter load of 70 lbs in the trailer and an average speed of 14.5 mph over the same route but a tad further at 94.5 miles pulled 1,364 watt hours/25.5 amp hours or 14.4 watt hours per mile. Range 146 miles
A load of 70lb, taunting a couple of roadie friends on a paved level bike path, at an average speed of 13.4 mph and the 29er pavement tires for a total distance of 53.5 miles pulled 496 watt hours/9 amp hours from the battery or 9.3 watt hours per mile. Range 234 miles
These have all been day trips with no overnight stays or charging in route. First good weather window, I will pull a max load 127 miles in one day and return after a rest day. The route is 100% paved. I will be recharging at about the half way mark.
Most of the time I can go what speed I chose but, if I need the extra range in the desert, I will have to go slow with a high cadence.
 

Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
I would have the batteries on the fork covered all around in thick 5-7mm neoprene . Rain/dust/wind... and of curse people...
 

K PierreR

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Here is the pro touch on those battery fork mounts. The need another day or so to harden up the coating. In the mean time I will service the fork so I don't have to try to do it once the mounts are on there. IMG_1885.JPG