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TimothyNZ
15 November 2014, 1506
Hi all,

I've been riding motorcycles for over 40 years and I've owned about 30 of the petrol-powered variety. I still own a 2014 Triumph Scrambler, a 2006 Aprilia RS125 and a 2003 Aprilia RS50. I've been interested in electric motorbikes for a couple of years now, though I've never actually ridden one.

For the last 10 years I've been involved in racing small capacity (50cc to 150cc) motorcycles at an outdoor kart track in Auckland, New Zealand. We call it Miniature Road Racing or, less formally, bucket racing. For a while, I've been drawn to the idea of racing an electric bucket. So often our sport is restricted due to the noise we make and electric power seemed like a brilliant solution. Our bikes typically never exceed about 100km/h and a 12-lap race usually lasts about 6 minutes. However, on the down side, bucket racers need to be light, are generally cheap and there is currently no class for electric bucket racers. So the idea has simmered away in my mind for a while without actually getting anywhere.

But I'm still fascinated by the concept of the electric motorcycle and so a year ago, I bought (rather spontaneously) a matching pair of second-hand Italvel Day electric scooters (made in Italy). One without batteries and the other with 9 x 12v 20ah lead acid motorbike batteries (long discharged). As a scooter, it is an excellent design. A full-sized scooter with 13in wheels, good disc brake up front, decent suspension and a nice flat space for a lot of batteries. The motor is a 1.25kw brushless DC motor mounted to the swingarm and driving the rear wheel via a toothed belt. It's made by SBC in Milan. The controller is made by S&H in Borromeo. I believe that the Italvel company was bought by a German company some years ago and a version of the same scooter is currently sold under the name Govecs. There is almost zero info online about the Italvel scooter. And what little there is is mostly in Italian. I believe that the motor was originally designed to run at 48v, but it looks like mine were running at 108v. The controller has "108V 120A" printed on it.

I've finally got round to getting off my backside and having a closer look at my scooters. I'm prepared if necessary to replace the controller and the motor, and other parts but, since I have two of everything at the moment (I.e. spare parts), I'm also quite keen to see if the existing motor and controller still function properly. I presume that the original 9 very-long-since discharged lead acid batteries are pretty much ready for the recycle bin. But I do have 4 smallish (12v 5ah) AGM motorbike batteries, so I'm wondering if I can use these batteries to test that the existing motor and controller still work? Will the controller and motor operate at 48v even if it seems to have been running at 108v previously? Or will this a) damage the batteries? b) damage the controller? or c) simply not work?

I should really ask about this via the appropriate technical forum, but I thought I'd ask it here first.

Tim

Electro Flyers
15 November 2014, 1519
These are new to me. Do you have any pictures?

SplinterOz
15 November 2014, 1533
You are unlikely to damage anything, but the controller most likely will show a low voltage alarm (if it fires up) and prevent it from running.
Chase down you local metal recycler and see if they have some small 12volt batteries removed from safety equipment. These batteries are often only 12 to 24 months old with no use, but OHS rules mean they are changed regularly.

Richard230
15 November 2014, 1553
I used to own a 2004 Aprilia RS50 that kept blowing up (just because I had doubled the stock HP) and it finally broke its connecting rod. After that experience, I gave up and sold it to a fellow who converted the bike to an EV, using a 2013 Zero motor and batteries (he had connections). Photos attached of my bike, the broken parts and the resurrected RS50 running on electrons at the Laguna Seca racetrack during a Refuel race. Does that give you any ideas? :)

TimothyNZ
15 November 2014, 1755
These are new to me. Do you have any pictures?

Hopefully I've done this right. The dressed photo is from an English website (granbymotors.co.uk), though I don't think they sell them any more. The undressed photo is one of mine:
60746075

Also, you can go to www.govecs.com to see them made in Germany as they are now. Many differences, but also a lot of similarities.

TimothyNZ
15 November 2014, 1757
You are unlikely to damage anything, but the controller most likely will show a low voltage alarm (if it fires up) and prevent it from running.
Chase down you local metal recycler and see if they have some small 12volt batteries removed from safety equipment. These batteries are often only 12 to 24 months old with no use, but OHS rules mean they are changed regularly.

Thanks for that. I'll check it out.

TimothyNZ
15 November 2014, 1809
For Richard230 ...

The original RS50 making 5hp (look familiar?):
6076

The modified RS50 now making 13.6hp:
6077

And despite the 13.6hp, I still can't keep ahead of this annoyingly talented teenager:
6078