Chopper Recumbent
Recumbent E-Bike
Page 2 - Electric, Tweaking and Paint.

A project by Warren Beauchamp

Page 1       Page2

Now that the chain is in place I can build the battery box. This picture show the battery placement and size, along with tentative mounting points. I have some smoked lexan sheets that were removed from equipment, which I will heat and bend to make a battery trough and the lid. The controller, BMS, power switch, charge port, and a DC to DC converter for the lighting will be mounted in the lid. cables will be run inside of the frame tubing as much as possible.

Lexan is tough stuff. To form it you can put it in a sheet metal brake and bend it, or heat it and bend it. I don't have a sheet metal brake, so I'll need to heat it. You have to be careful when heating though because if you get it too hot it will get bubbles.

Here's my Lexan bending rig. My heat gun can't heat the entire bend at once, so I use the vise bench and other clamps to hold it bent while I run the heat gun up and down the bend line. As the part bends, the clamps are tightened.

Eventually the part is clamped flat to the table, with the bend at 90 degrees.

Here's the 48V 20Ah Ping LiFePo4 battery in the bent Lexan box with lid. Now I have to make the ends of the box.

After many pop rivets, here's the battery box. It's about 3.5" x 23" x 9", and feels pretty solid. The controller is mounted to the top of the inside of the box. I still need to figure out where the wires will exit the box. It weighs about 20lbs, so the brackets on the bike will need to be fairly heavy duty.

I took the bike for a ride for the first time tonight, up and down the street. It will take a while to get used to because of the long handlebars and the turning radius is huge because of handlebar interference, but it's cool!

I finished making the battery box clamps. The battery box is held on by tube clamps in the front and back, and is stabilized by a bolt on the back side of the box  that slides into the frame. It's very solid.

I moved the controller out of the battery box and cut a couple inches out of the height of the box. The controller is now mounted to the bottom of the box to fill in some of the space provided by  the curvy frame.

This shot shows the mounting brackets.

I still have a lot of work to do to lengthen/shorten the wires, and route them in the frame, but I was able to put it together enough to take it for it's maiden e-powered voyage around the block. It was marvelous. The the bike feels great at speed and temps were amazing for February.

Also there is lots of tweaky stuff to do in general.

I'm starting to think about color. Probably black.

After spacing out the main idler a bit, the chain no longer rubs on the battery box. This is a good thing. I decided to remove the lower idler and just put on a chain tube. Also that idler bolt is a bit beefy for holding on a chain tube, so I'll remove it and attach the chain tube to the chain stay.

That's the throttle cable hanging there...

Most of my spare time this weekend was spent drilling holes in the frame and plumbing the wiring, brake, and derailleur cable through the top tube. It looks clean. I found a nice monitor extension cable with 12 conductors to get the throttle, Cycle Analyst, and headlight power wiring back to the battery box.

In this picture you can see the wires going into the frame by the headset, some out of focus wires, and that black box up on top of the handlebars is the Cycle Analyst.

The throttle is wired up and tested, but it's COLD in the garage and my fingers get numb doing the wire splicing. This week I'll finish up the CA wiring and get the connections all cleaned up.

I wired it all up and tweaked it enough to get it out on the road. Here is a short video of the bobber in motion.

I purchased an LED headlight from EBay. It was pretty cheap ($35) but super bright and it runs on any voltage between 12 and 72V. Cool. You get what you pay for, so the included mounting brackets were pretty useless and I had to make my own. Here it is installed on the bike.

I added the braces between the upper and lower stays. Were they needed? Probably not, those Surly dropouts are very beefy, but now I know it's really strong.

That funky looking silver thing will be the rear tail light. In a past life it was a quartz-halogen spot light. I'm waiting on some red LED 12V lights from china. I hope they show up soon.

Finally added the rear fender. To remain true to the "bobber" style, it has been chopped.

I finished painting the bike flat black. I like it. I have ridden it to work several times. It runs and handles nice, but I am missing the recumbent seat. I think I can angle the nose of the seat down a bit, maybe that will help.

I took these pictures with the cell-phone camera on the patio by the pond at work. It's a nice background. I enhanced the colors in these pictures. That head tube is way too upright.

The dual bike stands were a good idea, but I never could figure out a way to make them stay in the up or down position without too much of a PITA factor. I ended up using Velcro straps to keep them from rotating down when I went over the railroad tracks. That would probably make me crash.

I decided I needed a heavy duty kickstand for this heavy duty bike. Instead of dinking around for 5 minutes to raise or lower the stand, I'll be able to just kick it up or down.This bike weighs 75 lbs, so a standard bike kickstand is not strong enough.

Here is the kickstand after brazing the mounting tube onto the left side of the rear subframe. I made the kickstand from 1/2" steel rod.

In this picture you can also see the tail light (red LED flashlight bolted to the bike).

It's a bit hard to tell what's going on here with all the flat black paint, but it's cool, just trust me...

The bobber is a fun bike, but the upright head angle makes the bike look odd. It did turn out a lot more upright than I had intended. Here's what the bike would look like if I change the head tube to 60 degrees, the same as on all Harleys. I 'shopped in a tractor seat because I hate the saddle.

Winter is coming, and I have a hacksaw.

After several hours of hacking, grinding, and brazing, it's beginning to look like a bike again. I'm still contemplating the tractor seat. It's BIG.

I ran out of O2, and then kept forgetting to take the tank with me to get refilled. There are just a couple more inches of brazing to do before it can repaint it and put it back together. Also I have been think about a name. "Barracuda Bobber" just doesn't cut it. I'm thinking Corvus Corax, the Latin name for Raven. Or French for the common Crow - Corneille.

I finished the brazing, cleaned it up, painted it and reinstalled the fork and handlebars. It does look much better.

The obligatory test ride went well, I think that low speed handling is better now. We'll see about the high speed handling once the electric parts are reinstalled.

Re-soldered and taped the connectors for the throttle, Cycle Analyst, and headlight to the "snake" cable that goes to the battery box. I found some "cold seal"  tape at the car parts store to wrap up and de-uglify the wires and cables that go from the front of the bike to the back. This rubbery tape is cool stuff because it sticks to itself, but not anything else, so you can tightly wrap up the wires without worry of them getting all sticky with tape goo.

Also reconnected the rear brake and derailleur cables and re-attached the battery box. I'm happy I made it so easy to install and remove.

Time for an e-powered test ride!

Now that it's all back together it's time for a picture.

A cold windy day in November is a good day for pictures, right?

The Electra "Dirty Bucket" seat arrived yesterday and I had to take it for a test ride. It is much more comfy than the Planet Bike "comfort" seat I was using before, and has a bit more attitude.

I have a small seat back cushion with more spiffy chrome studs on order from Taiwan. $10 with free shipping. Amazing. After I add that I will actually be able to call this bike a recumbent bike.

To attach the seat back I need to build another bracket. I have built Soooo many brackets over  the years. I took a look in the box of short tubes & small brackets and found all these brackets. One of these surely has to be the correct size, right?

Well yes and no. One was the right size but used metric hardware and I have been using 1/4x20 cap head screws on my clamps for this bike.

Here's the seat back mounted on the bike, I'll take another picture when I have weather / daylight cooperation.

It officially has recumbent seat now, albeit a minimalistic one.

I rode the chopper bike a few times last year. Part of the problem is that the battery is getting old and doesn't have the range it used to, part of the issue is that I still don't like the seat.

This year if I have time, I'd like to build a new "gas tank" battery box (with new batteries!). This will really clean up the lines. Also I'd like to add a Sun EZ-1 recumbent seat, and change the handlebars.

Here's a mockup of what it could look like.

I obtained a seat and mounted it to the bike. It sits pretty far back on the frame but its fully adjustable so I may make it upright after I ride it.

I decided that the monster tiller bars on the mockup above would be pretty squirrelly in the handling department, so the latest plan is for remote steering.

Remote steering mockup 1. This is the most practical.

Remote steering mockup 2. This has more cool factor but If I crash I may be impaled by it. That's probably a minus...

I made good progress on the new clamp-on remote steering handlebar. Next I need to make the steering tie-rod at the fork and the handlebar.
I finished  the remote steering, painted it, shortened the rear cables, etc. I need to buy more cable and housing to lengthen the front brake cable. That shiny black paint does look nice. I may have to repaint the whole bike shiny black. I wasn't sure when I decided to do it, but it looks pretty good as a recumbent.
I took the bike for a ride today and got a better picture.

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