Daunting E bike Touring Problems and Logistics.

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
Have you considered a pair of Johnny Watt TIres from Schwalbe. They come up to a 27.5 x 2.8 size with top protection and durability, low rolling resistance and equally good on road and off road. I have them on a Riese & Muller Delite Mountain and find them to be a great, heavy duty, yet smooth rolling, tire.
'Johnny Watts HS 604 I Schwalb.jpg
 

ngl

Member
Region
USA
City
Northern LP, MI
You certainly make some different choices than I would make, but I also never did a thousand miles ebike tour so I have no real idea what I'm talking about! But holy hell this is a FREAKING AWESOME project/trip idea!!!! Good luck!!! I hope you keep a nice triplog/journal porn for us to see :)
 

K PierreR

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Current changes to the rig. Lowered trailer, pro touch, better wire routing and splash guards on front batteries. Different stem and handle bar position. One set of wheels. Forgot to put front fender back on for photos. IMG_1895.JPGIMG_1898.JPGIMG_1899.JPGIMG_1900.JPGIMG_1901.JPGIMG_1902.JPG
You can compare it to the first post.
 

ngl

Member
Region
USA
City
Northern LP, MI
Hey, another thing for your tour if you're interested in solar, Grin has a new source and is once again stocking the fully adjustable boost MPPT solar charge controllers that can charge higher voltage ebike batteries from a low volt flexible/travel solar panels. They are nicer than the Genasun because you can charge to any percentage you wish by adjusting the voltage and they support a full 400W per controller. Not sure if something like that would fit in with your travel plans, but for $75.00+whatever panel(s) it might be cool. https://ebikes.ca/shop/electric-bic...oost mppt with led display_cg-mppt_el400.html
 

BikeOn

Member
I was also wondering about solar panels. I know many people in EU that tour travel with them. I'm guessing you ruled them out. I wish you all the best. Planning several long trail rides this summer - like Katy trail with my Vado SL - With two extra Range extenders. But I will be charging along the way as much as possible, even at short stops. On your list of charge places, not sure I saw gas station bathrooms - sometimes there is a plug in there and libraries.
 

K PierreR

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I have totally ruled out solar as totally unworkable. The big elephant in the room that nobody seems to view is that it's a bicycle. Bicycles are not high weight carrying vehicles. The components used, including the frame, have fairly stringent weight limits before reliability goes way down. Most bicycles max out at around the 270-300 pound mark (114-136 Kg)
If you weight 100 pounds (45 KG) then you have a lot of weight addition to work with. If you weigh 200 pounds (90 Kg) you have cut down on the weight carrying capacity of your useful load by 200-300%.
I am 200 pound, my bike without batteries is 50 pounds (23Kg), You put 30 pounds (14Kg) of batteries on it and it weighs, with me, 280 pounds (127Kg), before loading a tooth brush. By the time you are where I am at, you had better think seriously about being a weight weenie on everything else cuz you can't carry the load. Even on a titanium big fat bike.
On top of the weight issue, by the time you put batteries on it, you are out of real estate to put your normal pack on the bike.
My solution was to add in a trailer and put the pack in the trailer and practically nothing on the bike. I can load the trailer so that 60% of the total weight is on the trailer tire and 40% on the bike. Even so, I can only put about 70 lbs in the trailer before the whole works doesn't handle up to my standards.

Now you think about what you can take in that 70 pounds including the weight of your bags plus you battery charger and see what you would take for a remote long distance desert trip with no services in places for over 100 miles (160 Km). When you are done, you will see why I call it daunting to end up with a rig that will handle the load, go the distance and be rugged enough to meet the high standards for reliability. I will push over the 400 pound mark (180 Kg) weight at times. Doing this trip supported with a sag wagon and generator, would be far easier, but that proves nothing when it comes to understanding the limits and design of e bikes. This is no credit card tour, this trip is a serious expedition adventure type minimalist tour.

Remember, you have to carry a lot of water.

If I had it to do over, I would start with a big fat titanium cargo bike designed from the ground up for the job. We live and learn and that is part of discovery of what is possible and how. I expect to lose 20 pounds of body weight on the trip.

The only other e bike out there with the kind or range that I built is the Delfast. One problem! One look at it and you will exclaim "Ahhhhh--- Son, that there's a dirt bike, not a bicycle"
 

ngl

Member
Region
USA
City
Northern LP, MI
Totally understandable, solar is the more energy dense option in the summer (lighter than batteries per wh/day), and is preferred in a actually unsupported ebike trip where they use solar canopies and things on the bikes like for trips across the Aussie outback (no other charging sources available!). A 110w Sunpower panel is 22x46" and weighs about 4.5lbs, and in mid-July makes ~500wh/day flat mounted in northern Michigan, or about ~540wh/day in the Arizona desert. You can also improve on those numbers if you're having a windless day and you can tilt your panels on your rig when your route is east-west oriented. It's something I've tested pretty extensively on day trips. So it's lighter than most battery per wh, BUT, when it's cloudy, rainy, or you are in the shade part of the day, like trees, it gets closer and closer to dead weight. If you have other charging opportunity, and you're on a tighter schedule, I can easily see leaving it off! 👍
 

m@Robertson

Active Member
Region
USA
Since thats a Bluto up front, ever consider an Old Man Mountain rack for it? I know you have invested a lot of effort in putting the batteries on the fork, but man that plays hell with the steering and the ... feel of the bike for lack of a better term. My first 2wd bikes had a battery up front and I was not a fan.

A rack means two panniers and maybe a trunk on top, so you could carry gear up front that takes up a lot of space and move the batteries further back. That Axiom rack certainly can handle anything you throw at it. For that matter I like to use those same racks on the front axle but not sure how to affix a pair of arms for it down low in front. The top is easy on the fork bridge but that thru axle ... all I see for a rack solution is an OMM.
 

K PierreR

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Since thats a Bluto up front, ever consider an Old Man Mountain rack for it? I know you have invested a lot of effort in putting the batteries on the fork, but man that plays hell with the steering and the ... feel of the bike for lack of a better term. My first 2wd bikes had a battery up front and I was not a fan.

A rack means two panniers and maybe a trunk on top, so you could carry gear up front that takes up a lot of space and move the batteries further back. That Axiom rack certainly can handle anything you throw at it. For that matter I like to use those same racks on the front axle but not sure how to affix a pair of arms for it down low in front. The top is easy on the fork bridge but that thru axle ... all I see for a rack solution is an OMM.
When I had the batteries straight on the fork, the bike handled poorly. I was all set to order the OMM rack but when I rotated the batteries back the bike handles great. I do not like the way the bike handles with the back rack loaded down.
 

K PierreR

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Totally understandable, solar is the more energy dense option in the summer (lighter than batteries per wh/day), and is preferred in a actually unsupported ebike trip where they use solar canopies and things on the bikes like for trips across the Aussie outback (no other charging sources available!). A 110w Sunpower panel is 22x46" and weighs about 4.5lbs, and in mid-July makes ~500wh/day flat mounted in northern Michigan, or about ~540wh/day in the Arizona desert. You can also improve on those numbers if you're having a windless day and you can tilt your panels on your rig when your route is east-west oriented. It's something I've tested pretty extensively on day trips. So it's lighter than most battery per wh, BUT, when it's cloudy, rainy, or you are in the shade part of the day, like trees, it gets closer and closer to dead weight. If you have other charging opportunity, and you're on a tighter schedule, I can easily see leaving it off! 👍
I will be using upwards of 1,500 Wh per day.
 
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ngl

Member
Region
USA
City
Northern LP, MI
I hear you on that back rack weight, I had on some of my first bikes a large 52v 22ah brick battery in a rack bag, and it was a pig handling! Your work on the fork mounted battery makes really good sense to me, I've felt the same way on where to position the load on everything from road bikes to motorcycles - using front panniers and tank bags instead of rear carrier bags whenever possible for the heavier items. I think those sparkly and heavy duty battery mount fork rings are a genius solution here. As to the solar, it could replace an extra battery per panel in theory and reduce weight, but not in practice due to low production days. Plus, you can only get one "charge" per day on each solar panel, and only on a good solar day is it a good amount of energy for the weight. Conversely you can charge a 500wh (or any size) battery easily 2+ times per day, especially true with your high amperage charger. Panels even when flat are still a huge surface area, and I would be skeptical of how fun that would be traversing the plains in high wind conditions!
 

K PierreR

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
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.
The batteries can strike the ground more than I thought on crashing so I went ahead and fabricated a roll bar for the lower portion of the batteries. 272 grms a piece. I will be putting the pro touches on them and installing them shortly. Hard to make something light and beefy.
IMG_1911.JPG
 

Dallant

Well-Known Member
The batteries can strike the ground more than I thought on crashing so I went ahead and fabricated a roll bar for the lower portion of the batteries. 272 grms a piece. I will be putting the pro touches on them and installing them shortly. Hard to make something light and beefy. View attachment 84956
Wow.😳
Probably wrong on my part to comment but...whats wrong with carrying these extra batts in the back in the trailer where the weight would be lower, better protected and require far less mounting bracketry? Then maybe you could add a front rack.
 
Last edited:

Dallant

Well-Known Member
Again, just pondering...I’m curious about clamping & bracing those batteries and bracketry to the forks. Going over rough ground mile after mile with that added stress might create issues with your fork over time.
 

K PierreR

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Again, just pondering...I’m curious about clamping & bracing those batteries and bracketry to the forks. Going over rough ground mile after mile with that added stress might create issues with your fork over time.
I like options. I am not married to any one idea. I see nothing in black and white, only various shades of grey. The trip through the desert is going to involve getting real serious here shortly. In the end, I may not be able to do it over money concerns. If I do it, I am going to whittle down the weight as much as possible.
On a long tough ride, I may very well put half the batteries in the trailer. That is very easy to do. I like the option of "on the forks" as I have become fond of long faster day rides without range anxiety or towing a trailer. Just me, lunch, the tools and the bike.
The area that I live in has a vast network of very long trails and lightly traveled country roads.
 

m@Robertson

Active Member
Region
USA
Just muttering out loud here: Hailong (shark) packs are infamous for breaking loose and becoming ufo's on emtb's. The packs sold by EM3EV use a reinforced tab system and mounting plate that is supposed to mitigate the problem. Have you addressed this? I have used 2" and even 3" velcro cinch straps to essentially reinforce/glue on the heavy potted Luna Wolf packs onto an emtb frame. By cinch strap I mean the kind with the buckle that you pull down and tighten. Probably a single 3"x12" or 3"x15" would be enough one on each battery to make sure they stay put no matter what, even if you have created a better mounting plate. In the pic below I used two 2" straps. Don't have a pic of the single 3" but they were more secure and easier to deal with being a single strap. Link under the pic is to the straps I bought.
IMG_20200717_174541.jpg


 

K PierreR

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Just muttering out loud here: Hailong (shark) packs are infamous for breaking loose and becoming ufo's on emtb's. The packs sold by EM3EV use a reinforced tab system and mounting plate that is supposed to mitigate the problem. Have you addressed this? I have used 2" and even 3" velcro cinch straps to essentially reinforce/glue on the heavy potted Luna Wolf packs onto an emtb frame. By cinch strap I mean the kind with the buckle that you pull down and tighten. Probably a single 3"x12" or 3"x15" would be enough one on each battery to make sure they stay put no matter what, even if you have created a better mounting plate. In the pic below I used two 2" straps. Don't have a pic of the single 3" but they were more secure and easier to deal with being a single strap. Link under the pic is to the straps I bought.
View attachment 84992

Hailong battery cases do have their problems. The most important thing is to make sure the bottom slot tabs actually engage. Hard to do if the battery mount is not perfectly flat. If they don't you are prone to break the other tabs that hold the battery on. The vertical position is always best for the Hailong cases. Even so when I ride off road, I to tie down better with Voile straps. We don't have much dirt in this area except tight rooty single track. Most of my riding is on pavement.
My next bike will likely be a long tail and ditch the trailer.
What kind of man hole grates do you have for pedals.
 

m@Robertson

Active Member
Region
USA
What kind of man hole grates do you have for pedals.
Hah you spotted those I see despite their being angled out of sight :D

Those are Pedaling Innovations Catalyst pedals, and given the type of ride you are contemplating, they may be a good fit for you. I have a size 10 1/2 shoe but despite this I am using the XL version of that already XL pedal. It uses a mid-foot position which in turn allows you to support your entire arch on the pedal. The axle of the pedal is under your arch instead of being under the ball of your foot if you are doing it right. Your cadence turns into a stomping action of sorts as a result, and you can deliver enormous power to the pedal stroke thanks to the different muscle groups you bring into play.

As a lifelong cyclist who had been clipped into his bike in one form or another for many, many years, it took me quite awhile to adapt to that different pedal stroke. Initially even on an ebike I felt disgustingly weak thanks to the new muscle groups being used. But after awhile I was good with it, but didn't really think it was worth much. Then I got on another bike and tried to ride it like 'normal' and holy crap I hated it.

The increased foot/arch comfort is a big deal and was the point of my trying it. But the power delivery - particularly with 5/10 Freeriders on, that literally stick to the pedals - was what sealed the deal. I have them on all my bikes now. On the Surly, I decided to try their bigger ones against mfr advice that they are only for sasquatch sized riders. My thinking was the style of riding for that bike when on pavement would benefit from the bigger platform. It worked out for me and they are perfect for that bike.

This one uses the 'smaller' original size.

IMG_20200911_112032.jpg
 

m@Robertson

Active Member
Region
USA
My next bike will likely be a long tail and ditch the trailer.

You know what? I love that Surly, and I also built out a very strong mid-tail bike that I used before it. On the Surly, those are 2x138L panniers - actually big duffel bags with a QD super strong attachment mechanism - and I have had that bike loaded to over 560 lbs total system weight where I have to travel about 10 miles loaded like that. Even at 8 mph with that much weight down low on the sides its *quite* a handful.

But there's a totally different type of bike that makes loads like that almost irrelevant to handling. I would not have believed it if I hadn't experienced it. In Feb of 2021 I completed a build of a Bullitt cargo frontloader. On my first Costco run, I couldn't believe the handling. It was almost unaffected. The issue of momentum and inertia were of course there, but the bike was literally no different in handling.

This 'Long John' type of bike is common in Europe and they are notoriously loopy/flexible. But the Bullitt is the exception. Super strong and stiff, actually nimble. The only reason I am bringing this up is there are a couple of crazy Germans out of Berlin who are making plans available for low tech, 3rd world bike construction, and the version of this bike is made for all terrain. Its beefy as hell and runs two big hub motors in an awd configuration. You could take those plans and make a bike that changes your game entirely.

Check this out: