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miscrms
30 September 2013, 1337
Mostly lurking, but thought I'd pop my head in :)

Been dreaming of an EV for many years. Got pretty serious about doing a conversion on our old '89 Saab 900 convertible back around '03-04 but then started having kids and had to go a little more practical. So put the dream on hold and diverted the funds to buy a salvage '05 Prius rebuilt by Steve at autobeyours, and a second used one for the wife a few years later. Contributed some engineering braincells to the Cal-cars open source plug-in conversion work back in the day, would still love to do a plugin conversion someday. Ended up designing and installing a 5.5kW PV system at home last year, which was awesome.

But my mind has been drifting back to EVs lately. It would be hard to work a full scale BEV into out life right now, but a dedicated electric motorcycle for commuting sounds very intriguing! Seems like a very interesting way to have some EV fun on a little more reasonable budget :) I've got a ~20 mile round trip commute, and can most likely charge at work so the range shouldn't be too much of an issue. I have the option to drive all 35-45 mph surface streets or mixed surface and a bit of 55-65 mph freeway.

I know nothing about motorcycles really, but based on the threads I've been reading it seems like I'd do well to be looking for an 80s-90s 500cc (maybe up to 750) donor. I'd like to keep the weight pretty low, probably shooting for a before/after right around 400 lbs. Lower would be great, but at 6' / 200 lbs I'm guessing I'd look a little silly on a 250cc bike ;) Any thoughts on good candidates would be appreciated. Not looking for a rocket, but a little zoom would be nice :) Saw add locally for an '84 Honda Interceptor 500 with poor compression that I was tempted to go look at...

Again not really knowing anything, it seems like the ME1003 with an AXE7245 and a 72V ~3kWh pack might be about the right performance / price balance.

I don't know how likely it is anything will happen soon, but having a lot of fun already just thinking about it ;)

Rob Smith
Phoenix, AZ

teddillard
30 September 2013, 1349
Welcome! Just stay away from CraigsList and you'll be safe. ...for the moment. :D

Yeah, that sounds like a great setup. (...of COURSE it does, it's just like MINE! :D)

podolefsky
30 September 2013, 1635
Howdy Rob, and welcome.

Look at the builds here, and also check out evalbum.com for ideas about bikes and conversions. There are a lot of possibilities.

What's wrong with craigslist? Or did I miss something?

teddillard
30 September 2013, 1648
Or did I miss something?

Humor? :rolleyes:

The difference between happily thinking about it and becoming obsessively compulsive about everything possibly related to electric motorcycles, in my personal experience, is largely due to the seemingly benign habit of checking Craigslist every night for a roller. You know, nothing you'd seriously buy or anything. Oh, no, just looking, right?

:D

lemmee see.
Exhibit A: http://evmc2.wordpress.com/2010/11/16/trouble-abrewin/
Exhibit B: http://evmc2.wordpress.com/2009/07/13/yup-trouble-nothin-but-trouble/
Exhibit C: http://evmc2.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/the-dirtydirt-bike-build/

podolefsky
30 September 2013, 1653
Ah! Yes, very true.

PaulWay
30 September 2013, 2008
Hi Rob! Welcome!

A motorcycle as a commuter vehicle is a good thing generally - you're moving less weight around, for one. Converting one is much cheaper than trying to convert a car, and IMO it's also easier - you can generally move the engine block without special equipment, for example.

I'm converting a Yamaha FZS-600 "Fazer", so I'm biased here, but I think the 500-750 cc range is good for conversions. It's not too difficult to stick batteries in there, but it's not so massive that you really have to throw gobs of money at it to get anywhere.

Anyway, good luck!

Have fun,

Paul

Toni
30 September 2013, 2147
Hi Rob!

Your story sounds exactly like mine. I've been hoping for this locally developed Prius plugin conversion for a while now (similar to Plugin Supply kits). And before that there was a chance that a company over here would have converted me a 2002 VW Passat. But both companies seem to have died out before producing anything. It's harsh times... And I think it will be a while until I have time to build a car myself. Been dreaming of a Porsche 944 as you can get a good frame cheap over here and they're pretty good cars for regular use.

I also started having kids... Second one was born this June. But that didn't stop me from converting a Honda CB750F in about two months, starting the actual conversion in late July (look for the eHonda (https://www.elmoto.net/showthread.php?3174-eHonda-1982-Honda-CB750F-Supersport) thread I just started). I mostly slipped away from home to build the bike once I got the older sibling into sleep. Luckily I have a wonderful wife that made it possible. And luckily in Finland it never gets dark during the summer nights, as I had to work outside...

Another guy in my country built a bike with the same components, but his bike had fairings and liquid cooled engine. Nasty stuff. Staying with older naked tubular frame bikes with air cooled engines will save you a lot of trouble. And looking for a frame that you don't need to fully restore will save a lot of time. Fixing and restoring can take more time than the conversion itself... And ordering the motor mount and battery boxes from professionals will also save you a lot of trouble. In my case they didn't even cost too much. Motor mount as water jet cut was like 80 euros and the 4mm welded aluminum battery boxes was some 300 euros. Would have taken forever to build those myself.

PS. Today is the fifth day I came to work with my converted bike. :cool:

Cheers,
Toni

Spaceweasel
01 October 2013, 0909
Welcome! Make sure you budget in a MSF (motorcycle safety foundation)beginners course. They provide the bike (usually a small 250cc motorcycle) and helmet (if you don't have one of your own). It will make you far more comfortable on a bike, and is much better than learning on your own in a back alley.
Good Luck!

miscrms
02 October 2013, 1509
Thanks all, appreciate the warm welcome :)

Ted, I'm afraid the craigslist disease has already set in ;)

Weasel, its funny you say that. Was just looking at classes thinking it might be, uh, prudent to actually ride a motorcycle at least once before buying one :)

Toni, appreciate the advice! Definitely trying to keep a look out for something in decent condition with a recently failed motor, or perhaps even a good runner that I can sell the engine out of to help make up the difference. Trouble is I have a serious soft spot for basket cases and eccentric vehicles that are impossible to find parts for :) My first car was a 25 year old Saab Sonnet III that was older than I was if that gives you some idea of how bad it is ;)

Now, back to that CL ad with 3 VF1000R's in pieces.... ;)

Rob

teddillard
02 October 2013, 1522
Now, back to that CL ad with 3 VF1000R's in pieces.... ;)

dammit. Too late! :D

miscrms
07 October 2013, 1736
Having way to much fun "shopping" ;)

http://images.craigslist.org/01313_deGQQlU66V6_600x450.jpg

http://images.craigslist.org/00v0v_eb7t0kUqSIx_600x450.jpg

http://images.craigslist.org/00W0W_5HLWSUxi2xd_600x450.jpg

http://images.craigslist.org/00B0B_Xhki5DU14k_600x450.jpg

http://images.craigslist.org/01414_gzTJFfZDIH_600x450.jpg

http://images.craigslist.org/00404_7fxy1obWbCh_600x450.jpg

http://images.craigslist.org/00O0O_kzOowmUbQjy_600x450.jpg

I guess you can't really call it shopping when you don't know what you're really looking for and don't have any spending authority yet, but still having fun ;)

Rob

Skeezmour
15 October 2013, 1106
I would vote for the newer GSXR's. Parts are stupid easy to get and lots of space to build a pack into.

miscrms
23 October 2013, 0917
It's funny you say that, I've been kind of leaning that way :) Aside form the late 80's / early 90's "bloated period" it looks like they are pretty phenomenal on weight. Seems like many years of the 600, 750 or even 1000 end up around 220-230 lbs just with the dry weight - engine weight. Crazy! Although I gather it can create some challenges, I kind of like the fully faired look to mostly hide the conversion ;)

I wouldn't say they are super common in the ~$1k donor price range I'm targeting, but seems like they are out there...

miscrms
23 October 2013, 0926
I do really dig what Noah's done with his GSXR naked / racer look though... Just not convinced I could ever make it all look that pretty ;)

http://www.colorado.edu/physics/EducationIssues/podolefsky/electric_motorcycle_page_5.html

Spaceweasel
23 October 2013, 1031
Noah's bike was the inspiration for my jumping in as well. If you want it to look like his, step one is lots of black paint...

podolefsky
23 October 2013, 2219
I do really dig what Noah's done with his GSXR naked / racer look though... Just not convinced I could ever make it all look that pretty ;)

http://www.colorado.edu/physics/EducationIssues/podolefsky/electric_motorcycle_page_5.html

Thanks for the nice words. My bike has seen quite a few changes since my old site.

www.gsx-e.com

miscrms
24 October 2013, 1551
Looks great Noah! How are you liking the AC-20 vs. the D&D?

podolefsky
24 October 2013, 1927
The AC-20 is great, especially with the 650A Curtis controller. I've got slightly more torque, and much higher RPM than with the D&D/Alltrax 7245. Not quite apples-to-apples, since the Alltrax is a 450A controller. But comparing the two packages, the AC-20 is worlds better (it should be for how much it cost).

With the D&D I was running 4:1 gearing. With the AC-20 I went to 5:1, so I've got even more torque to the rear wheel, and still have a higher top speed (I've gotten it close to 90 mph, haven't tried going any faster).

That's all with the same 72V GBS battery. The controller will take up to 130V, so I have room to grow.