View Full Version : 1998 Suzuki Rf 900 conversion

Leon Dwyer
13 August 2011, 1035
It's a bit of a convoluted Story. But as it turns out it's almost impossible to import the Native GPR-S in to Australia.
I was going to have one in my hands in January but 4 months later I was still waiting for it to pass customs. It's not the first time I have heard of people having issues with Australian customs when importing EVs. I know a guy that had an EV destroyed by Australian customs.

Any way so in May I decided that I needed a mode of transport so I went and got a Suzuki RF-900 to get me by until the GPR-S jumped through all the hoops it needed to. But by the end of June the motor in the RF-900 blew up ;(.... so I was left with a choice. wait till december for the GPRS and cut my losses on the RF-900 or convert the RF -990 now and have it up and going by xmass.

I decided it would be way more fun to convert than to wait around for the GPR-S. not to mention having a better bike at the end of it.

I had not seen anyone convert a big bike in to and EV. I was really wondering if it was a doable thing. This is what I came up with

72V 24x100Ah LifeP04. Batteries
D&D ES-15-6 Motor
450amp Controller
BMS & charger form ev-power.com.au
4:1 chain drive

I was not sure I had come up with something that would work until I saw Noah Podolefsky's bike featured on the front page of www.evdrives.com I finally had conformation that I was on the right track.

Any way Right now the bike is stripped, I have cut out the tank and done allot of CAD & Sketch-Up work.

My motor arrived this week and I'm getting the motor mounts laser cut while I wait for the batteries arrive from ev-power.com.au. Noah's motor mount works a treat on the rf-900 I only had to change the positions of the frame bolts slightly.

I've never welded so I have been practicing with a Mig welder I got on ebay over the weekend and have discovered it's not as hard as people make out.

Here is a pic of the Bike before I stripped it. I'll post some more pics of where I'm up too tomorrow

BTW I can't spell - sorry in advance.

13 August 2011, 1105
That's going to make a great conversion. Don't try and follow Noah though, you'll never keep up with the changes he makes! :D

You'll find plenty of help on this site as you go.

13 August 2011, 1444
Welcome Leon. Looks like a great platform for a conversion.
What kind of range / speed are you hoping for?

PS: spelling skillz not required, but detailed pics of the build are a must.

Leon Dwyer
13 August 2011, 1624
What kind of range / speed are you hoping for?

Hay ZoomSmith.

Here are my sums. I'd take them with a grain of salt.

Driving Range @ Cruise Speed (60mpa): 69.57m
Max Speed: [mph] 126.44

13 August 2011, 1631
Think your a little optomistic on the 70 miles @ 60mph.

Other than that like the others that have posted on this thread I think it could make a nice looking conversion.

Leon Dwyer
13 August 2011, 2109
Think your a little optomistic on the 70 miles @ 60mph.

Like I said - take it with a pinch of salt. this is what I go when I ran the numbers. But I don't think that will be the case in the real world. I recon I should get 60m on open road. But will see. I'd be happy with 50m

Leon Dwyer
14 August 2011, 0031

I'm still rearranging Batteries almost every day. I'll get the best layout sooner or later. probably easier when I get my hands on the real thing.

I'll make sure I get some good lighting so the next set of pics come out better!

14 August 2011, 0940
Off to a good start, but one word of caution, it's not advisable to lay those top two and bottom two batteries flat like that. On edge and upright are OK.

14 August 2011, 1007
Hey Leon, looks good! Fitting 100 Ah will be a challenge, but impressive if you can make it work.

Few things:

- on the motor mount, could just be the photo angle, but it looks a little low. You want the motor shaft to line up with the swingarm, or be slightly lower. In that pic, it almost looks like the chain might hit the swingarm pivot.

- also on motor mount, that back bolt might get in the way of the chain. I set the bolt holes up so they are also aligned with the swingarm to keep them out of the way of the chain.

- I have 72V, 60 Ah and get about 40-45 mi at average of 40 mph (when taking it easy on the throttle). So with 100 Ah, you should be able to get 65 mi or so at those speeds. At 60 mph, it'll be less, but 50 mi is totally possible (maybe a little more).

- with the ES-15-6 @ 72V, 4:1 gearing, you'll be able to cruise at 60 mph with a bit left to spare. My top speed is around 70 mph with that gearing, but it has to be a perfectly flat road with no wind.

Leon Dwyer
15 August 2011, 0120
It's not advisable to lay those top two and bottom two batteries flat like that. On edge and upright are OK.

Yes that was an old idea - scraped now. :D

Leon Dwyer
15 August 2011, 0133
- on the motor mount, could just be the photo angle, but it looks a little low.

Yep that's the angle - it's just a bit lower to allow for the size of the front sprocket, did alot to get that right.

- also on motor mount, that back bolt might get in the way of the chain.

Yikes - didn't notice that "Stop the press" - thanks for that I guess that's what were on here for hay.
I recon I'm going to make as many mistakes as corrections on this project - well I hope they do equal each other. Nothing worse that 10 mistakes and 9 corrections.

50mile at 60m I hope is realistic. Maybe we need to work on an EV motor bike specific calculations?
I use the one from http://www.electricmotion.org/

15 August 2011, 0838
you'll be able to get 60+ miles no problem, but it depends on the speed. You have a 7.2kwh pack (if you can fit it all in), so you've got plenty of energy.

PM me and email me your spreadsheet and I'll look it over.

Leon Dwyer
01 September 2011, 0302
I have everything but the cells now - 2 week wait... the garden looks like it needs some attention

Leon Dwyer
25 October 2011, 1530
Okay so I made some battery boxes for my cells. The good news is that my cells fit! the bad news is I hate the job I did on the boxes.
I've decided to get some aluminum laser cut and put the boxes to geather with angle aluminum should look boss! But alas another 2 week delay :(

Leon Dwyer
28 November 2011, 2221
Few it's been a while coming. Some times I fell like i live at the end of the earth.
The battery's took months to arrive and I had a bad run with the laser cutters.
But finally some progress. I hope to have the battery's charging this week end and the motor turning over next week end

Sub frame.

Motor Mounted

Battery boxes

Sub Frame Mounted

Leon Dwyer
28 November 2011, 2223

Bottom rack in

Top Rack in

Leon Dwyer
28 November 2011, 2228

And for those who don't think they would fit - here it is with the tank on.

p.s. granted I'm going to need to be creative with where I put the other components.

You can't see from the pics but the charger and motor controller go under the sub frame everything else will just need to "fit" some where.

28 November 2011, 2248
wow, great job fitting all those damn batteries in there! good luck fitting the rest in, looks tight!

Leon Dwyer
28 November 2011, 2251
he he - it's a big bike

29 November 2011, 0419
VERY nice! Great work!

29 November 2011, 0445
Your ride is coming along well.
That is one big motor.

Do you have an idea on the final weight?

Leon Dwyer
29 November 2011, 0531
I could definitely say. But I can tell you how much the motor I took out was. verses what's going in.

around 101kg came out.
Gas motor was 70kg
exhaust + radiator + crabs + air-box about 10kg
full tank of fuel 15kg
oils 6kg

108kg is going in.
Battery's 76kg
motor 20kg
controller 2kg
charger 5kg
miscellaneous 5kg

The total wet weight of the original bike was 201 kg But my bike is naked so I thinking I'll be a shade under that say 195kg.
the only way I'll know is if I get it on some scales

29 November 2011, 0801
Looks awesome Leon. Nice work.

29 November 2011, 1125
Going to be a great bike. Love your endplates. Looking forward to seeing your first ride.

29 November 2011, 1137
Nice man. The whole strapping system is very nicely done...total pro job.

29 November 2011, 1215
That's looking really good!

29 November 2011, 1227
Nice man. The whole strapping system is very nicely done...total pro job.

I have to agree. Super clean setup.
I for one can't wait to see how you fit the rest of your components.

Nuts & Volts
29 November 2011, 1551
Mount the controller or charger low under the motor/lower battery rack. You really only need about 4-5in of ground clearance. My only concern would be a housing to protect the component from ground grime and tire spray. The other component could either be mounted where the radiator use to be (watch for tire spray and front fork clearance) or the tail section (watch for rear tire spray and suspension clearance there).

Battery mounting looks awesome by the way! How much does all the battery mount minus batteries weigh?


Leon Dwyer
11 January 2012, 2130
First Run of the Motor

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/99jFBPH0c-A?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

11 January 2012, 2141
that is such a sweet sound...congrats man

Leon Dwyer
11 January 2012, 2145

Might be a bit soon (have not ridden her yet) - but thanks for all your help, your GSX-E web-sight has been a godsend :)

11 January 2012, 2158
Right on - glad to help.

Quick tip: you'll want to connect the chain to the rear wheel or it won't go ;)

11 January 2012, 2209
sounds like a vaccuum..... on crack

Looks (and sounds) awesome!

11 January 2012, 2247
NICE! That is a fantastic sound. :)

12 January 2012, 0549
First Run of the Motor

Better be careful running that series motor with no load. It is real easy to overspeed and distort the armature or worse.

12 January 2012, 0713
awesome job fitting those batteries - remember to do that video thing for us...

i have a collection of videos in my EV library of Elmoto projects...

Leon Dwyer
14 January 2012, 1723
totally Pissed off with my self - front sprocket does not fit my chain.
I got one from http://www.electricmotorsport.com either I ordered the wrong one or they sent me the wrong one - so long ago I can't remember. Now that I live in the ass end of the world I'll have to wait till forever for one to be shipped.

So I do this right this time. Can any one point me to a 13t sprocket that will take a 520 chain that can be filtered to a 7/8" shaft?

14 January 2012, 1739
I'm guessing it's too wide? That's because #50 fits 530, which is wider than 520. Don't feel stupid, #50 is the closest thing they have to what you need.

I've never seen an off-the-shelf sprocket with 7/8 drive that fits 520. I buy #50 and turn them down to 520 size.

Leon Dwyer
14 January 2012, 1827
I'm guessing it's too wide? That's because #50 fits 530, which is wider than 520. Don't feel stupid, #50 is the closest thing they have to what you need.

I've never seen an off-the-shelf sprocket with 7/8 drive that fits 520. I buy #50 and turn them down to 520 size.

that makes sense - your right too. seems like an easy fix too. thanks :)

14 January 2012, 1851
sure thing. 520 sprockets are 0.227" thick.

Leon Dwyer
16 January 2012, 0050
It's works! video to come.

Things to do.

1. need to wire the contractor to the moment start switch with a relay - it's dangerous to have it on the power switch - nearly court me out already.

2. some adjustment needed to the controller the throttle needs to be more responsive - but pretty good already.

3. Wire up the LED's for the dash so I know the state of things like signals, headlights, battery warning lights and engine on state.

4. make cool looking fairings (the coppers her in Oz would take this off the road if they saw it drive by)

5. a cool paint job!

Lessons Learnt

1. Use a bike with a subframe

2. get batteries that come with box kits

3. patience

4. I can do things if I put my mind to them.

16 January 2012, 0052

Leon Dwyer
16 January 2012, 0331
Here is the first ride
<object width="400" height="300" ><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.facebook.com/v/10150466193192703" /><embed src="http://www.facebook.com/v/10150466193192703" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="400" height="300"></embed></object>

16 January 2012, 0350

16 January 2012, 0846

16 January 2012, 0908
wish i could get mine up and running that quick - congratulations...

Nuts & Volts
16 January 2012, 0914
Nice, but you should really drive on the right side of the road :D

16 January 2012, 1018
awesome man.

even through your helmet, i think i can see the sh!t eating grin :D

Fab man
16 January 2012, 1544
The bike looks great. I'm trying to stuff in a lot of batteries in my bike like you have done. With the batts stacked so high, like in your bike, do you find it top heavy? Again, great looking build.

Leon Dwyer
17 January 2012, 2015
o you find it top heavy? Again, great looking build.

No Not at all - it's like it has half a tank of fuel in it

10 February 2012, 2322
Hey! Congrats! I'm at the info collecting stage on my project. I have a '94 RF900 that I want to convert come summer. I only intend to ride it to and from work, so a 25 mile range is fine to start. The speed limit between here and work is 45 MPH, so I only need a 50 MPH top speed. I plan to keep the original fairings to cover up the batteries and make it a sleeper (or whatever the EV equivalent is). Budget is the overriding factor at this point, and I don't need blazing performance. I hope you don't mind if I pester you with questions when I get started.


Ashley Lees
03 February 2013, 1717
OMG that is truely an amazing build any updates on this yet i can not wait to see it running and do you know what kind of speeds you will be getting from this when finished