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Monday, July 24, 2017

S.B. Cruiser: A Practical Heavy Cargo Trike, Dog Hauler, and Daily Commuter

I can't believe it's been five years since I posted to this blog, but I've been active on the Endless Sphere Electric Vehicle forums all that time, busy posting and helping out, then I had a housefire in which all four of the dogs were killed, and after all that I guess I let the blog slip to the wayside.

First, here's the thread about the trike over there on ES.

 Originally it was built to replace Delta Tripper

because that wasn't much of a cargo trike (though I hauled a lot with it), and it was too tippy with insufficient power to get out of it's own way with any kind of a load on it.  Was also built to carry the dogs (especially Tiny) directly on it, rather than on a trailer behind it, which is a lot more convenient and safer.

It was also built to be a daily commuter, to replace CrazyBike2 

for days where I didn't feel well enough to balance the bike, or needed to be able to haul more stuff than usual, without using a trailer:

SB Cruiser is even more "scratch built" than any other bicycle project so far, other than the Mk III and Mk IV trailers

using just the Schwinn trike-kit's axle off Delta Tripper (along with some of the BMX frame already welded to it), and the headtube and a bit of top and downtube off an old Murray, and a bunch of square tubing mostly salvaged from old retail store fixtures and signage.  Plus a regular bike fork, wheels, pedal/cranks, chain....

The first night it looked like this, and you can see what Yogi and Tiny thought of it (and us):

It's more or less based off of the ReBike; that's where we started with wheelbase, steering geometry, etc
though it quickly departed in all the specifics.

It evolved quite a bit over the next couple of years, going from a single front hubmotor, with just pedal power on the left rear wheel, to dual rear hubmotors (same pedal power).

 Added lighting, evolved rest of electrical system, went from strapped-on battery packs to built into the body of teh trike, added cargobox area under the seat rather than just little bolted on toolbox and a suitcase on the rear rack.   Salvaged wood from old signs turned into decking, etc.

Went from going thru BMX bicycle tires like water (destroyed mostly from the heavy trike plus heavy loads and road debris, plus wear by the way the trike can slip around corners (rather than tipping)), to moped tires that have lasted since install.


Presently it looks about like this

where I had strapped in some dogfood bags to the cargo area.  It doesnt' have the seat back cushion now, and it has dual rim brakes on the front, clamped onto the fork.

It's present configuration list is:

Motors are 2WD.  front is still just a regular bike wheel, with dual rim brakes. Sunlite Rhino rim, 26", CST City tire with thickest Sunlite tube (actually made by CST, IIRC), 15g spokes off an old wheel.

Left rear is pedal powered as well as motor; pedals run a triple with hand-shifted chain (no derailer) if necessary, to an old Shimano333 3speed IGH (when it breaks I'll stick an old SA 3speed in there instead), with an output sprocket (that used to be part of an old multispeed freewheel) welded to the righthand spoke flange of the IGH (bolting it on just sheared the bolts). IGH shifter is below the tiller on the frame.  It's geared down so far that with the granny ring on the cranks and low gear on IGH it's about 1MPH or so at a comfortable cadence, but I can keep it moving by myself without as much joint pain; don't have to stop every few dozen feet.   Chain is presently an amalgam of various BMX chains, mostly old and worn, with one length of new chain in the loop from the IGH output to the transfer axle, and the loop from transfer axle to the single speed freewheel on the left motor hub. I think all the chain on the cranks to IGH loop is old.

Can't pedal decent hills (including the canal path underpasses) with it; even if the chain/etc survived the torque I wouldn't.  It's so heavy that to do that I'd probably have to have motorcycle chain and sprockets, and a dual IGH to spread the load, or just use sprockets.  I'd also probably want a ratcheting system I could engage on the wheels so it cant' roll backwards and I could do stop/start pedalling--crank a moment, rest while ratchets hold it in place, etc.   But the pedals are honestly just emergency backups in case all the motor/battery stuff fails, given the state of my joints and strength.

Left rear motor is a used (repaired) MXUS 3K 45H 3t hubmotor run by a generic 12FET 30A controller. (sometimes gets as high as 35A peaks, IIRC).

Right rear is a well-used front Crystalyte X5304 run by basically the same controller in a different shell with slightly different factory behaviors.

Need better controllers; still collecting parts for a pair of Lebowski controllers to better run these things, to give me the startup torque I need (especially with heavy loads) to be able to get up to speed (20MPH) as quickly as possible ( less than2 seconds would be great) so I can get out of the way of traffic at the start of a green light when I'm stuck in the front of the line at an intersection.

Both rears are 20" wide ex-Zero rim, 13/14 butted radial spokes, with Shinko moped tires and tubes.  I forget exactly which model, SR241 or something? 2.5".

Only rear braking is electric; plain regen on the left and EABS active braking on the right.

All powered from a 14s2p 40Ah EIG NMC pack from used cells; this is charged either from the Cycle Satiator or a pair of Meanwell HLG-600 LED PSUs (depedning on how fast I want/need to charge; the satiator's max is less than 8A, the HLGs is 24A).

Monitored by a Cycle Analyst v2.3 with standalone shunt, typical cruising power at 18-20MPh seems to be around 900W on "flat" terrain; there's always some breeze or wind so it's hard to say exactly; it varies a couple hundred watts as I watch due to terrain and wind.

I'd guess present weight is 300-350lbs unloaded.  Can easily carry at least that much cargo, plus my 180lbs, plus pull a trailer with at least a couple hundred pounds on it or more.    Typically not used anywhere near that capacity; mostly just me.  Grocery trips around 50-120lbs of stuff.  Dog food runs 100-200lbs+.    Dog runs about 120-270lbs at present, plus trailer weight of 30-ish lbs.

Trailer uses an automotive 1-7/8" ball hitch; I have two trailers presently setup to work with it.  One is narrow enough to fit between path bollards (as is the trike, barely), the other is much wider.  See the Flatbed Kennel Trailer threads linked earlier in this post, Mk III and Mk IV, for info on those.

CrazyBike2 uses the same size hitch ball to pull the trailers if needed (it doesn't have nearly the carrying capacity of the trike, so it needs them more often than the trike would).

Separate 4s 20Ah EIG pack runs a lighting system that includes a car headlight (presently from a KIA something-or-other, found in the parking lot as I was headed home one night), used to actually see on the roads, since the cars' headlights are usually so bright in opposing traffic that it takes a very bright light to be able to see the road surface between me and them as they approach, especially on undivided/unstriped side streets.  

Grin Tech LED headlight, mostly just a "see me" light, and for use on well-lit bike paths where I don't need a car headlight or it would be unhelpful. 

MC incandescent turn signals either side of the headlight.

Aquarium LED modules glued to the back of old pedal reflectors mounted to the rightside mirror (used to be also on the left, but now the leftside is a Suzuki MC mirror with integrated incandescent turn signal; wish I had a second one for the right, but there was only one at goodwill).

Downlighting strip of LEDs on the front/bottom of the downtube, to light up the whole road area around the front of the trike, to make it look larger to other traffic on the road, especially that coming from behind or to the side. 

Aquarium LED light for the same purpose (and to light up the cargo area/back of trike) mounted on the wire rack over the cargo deck.  A second one is mounted inside the dog crate to light it up inside, whenever it's on the trike (goes in the cargo deck under the rack, blocking the other light).

Back of rack has aquarium LED lights replacing the incandescents in a couple of old Honda moped/MC taillights, in each there's two strips for tail plus a third for brake; eventually I'll add two more strips in each for brake for better daylight visibility of braking lights.  

Between those units is a "third brakelight" module (incandescent) from some car; don't remember what kind, from a junkyard years back, IIRC.

Incandescent MC turn signals on the rear corners of the rack. 

The whole lighting module is actually a bar bolted to the rack, so it can be removed from teh rack and bolted to the edge of the cargo deck instead, so that for tall cargo that won't fit under the rack, the rack can be removed entirely (presently this would also remove the canopy; eventually I'll fix that).  Mostly I use a trailer for tall cargo instead, but sometimes I might not want to, so....

For cargo that would obstruct or otherwise be problematic with the lighting bar in either of those positions, it can be removed and tied to the cargo itself with the cargo straps that secure the cargo to the trailer, or to the back of the canopy, etc.

The trailers have a lighting bar of their own, with  MC LED tailight/brake light in the center, and MC turn signals with aquarium LED lights in place of their incandescents.  The bar gets moved from one trailer to the other as needed, since I don't have enough lighting for each to have their own.    For cargo that would obstruct or otherwise be problematic with the lighting bar, it can be removed and tied to the cargo itself with the cargo straps that secure the cargo to the trailer.