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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Hmm..... Is the audience really listening?

Well, it appears there are *some* people reading this blog, but at least one of them is not reading it very carefully, or else doesn't understand what I've said in various places in it.

The first comment on the last post I made was this:
"Anonymous said...

Gee, why don't you just buy a Cryalyte motor for $250 and be done with it?

January 15, 2008 6:24 AM"

My response was this:
"Well, I suppose that Anonymous here that posted this comment hasn't
actually read much of this blog, if any of it. Especially the parts that talk
about not buying anything for it wherever possible due to lack of money
and the goal of trying to use 100% recycled components. :-P"

Even if I had the money to buy a motor outright, part of the point of this project is to not buy off-the-shelf parts, but to build it from recycled parts whereever possible. If I could find someone throwing out such a motor, I'd gladly try to integrate it into one of the bike versions, but there's no way I could buy something that expensive.

If I had that kind of money, I'd be buying proper tools for this project first, and good bike parts, etc., to make a safer bike first. It's part of why I haven't got the good safety fluorescent paintjob on the bike and my riding gear yet, and why I don't have good safety riding gear, just used stuff from a thrift store, etc. Also why I don't have the turn signals and marker lights built yet--I simply don't have enough high-brightness LED's to make effective signals unless it's really dark, so hand-signals are still safer to use at this point for most of my riding, even though many drivers (and pedestrians and other bikers!) apparently have no idea what these mean.

But money aside, one definite goal of this project is to use recycled parts wherever possible. And it is also fun to take things apart and put them back together into other things in ways they were never imagined to be by their designers, and have it actually all function because of work I did with my own hands.

One other issue with using well-known components like Crystalyte motors is that they're easily recognizable, and while I could disguise it, on their own they make bikes more of a target for thieves, because they know they can easily resell these well-known components for quick money. Something hacked together like what I am doing doesn't have a lot of resale value, and in general is pretty ugly, and hopefully not as attractive to thieves. It really sucks to come out of a store or job several miles or more from your home to find that your only transportation is now missing. (Not to mention all the hard work put into it, and any money spent on it). If a bike is stolen, it's pretty much guaranteed you'll never see it again--it's not worth enough for the police to give a damn about, since they've got cars worth way more than that being stolen all over the place as well that they have to try to find first, and even most of those will probably never be found.

I also am trying to avoid putting Chinese crap on my bike, or using it at all in my life where possible (it's really really hard to avoid, though). When I do have to buy new stuff, I am trying to find stuff made here in the USA, because it means that somewhere here there's one more job kept alive a little longer. I've been out of work myself before due to companies "downsizing" because of "exported jobs", and currently am having trouble finding a job to pay well enough to keep me in rent/etc, so I know how bad it can be when you have a job taken away because the company you work for can't sell enough of whatever they do to keep you around, due to overseas "slave labor" like China has. It makes a difference for me to buy "local", even though very very little, but it does make that difference. If all of us did that, perhaps the economy would be in better shape, and fewer skilled people would be looking for work so they don't have to lose everything they built up in their life.


  1. I understand your desire not to buy items from China. I too, in my youth loved to make thing out of Junk, but that is going to be a hard row to hoe because you need to know so very much. It would also help if you had a machine shop along with welding equipment. Years ago my brother-in-law was a electric motor repairman so I kow what is entailed in rewinding an electric motor. Then there is all the math involved.
    I have seen little 24 volt DC motors on Ebay that one can buy for a song. You could hang one of these on the side of the back wheel, but you would also need a freewheel or else the motor would rotate when the bike was coasting.
    The other day a guy tried to sell me the whole bike, batteries, motor, for $200 and on that bike the little motor was hung on the side.
    I own two EV Global Ebike and one of them has a motor that slips. The motors are Heinzmann 500 watter. I have tried everything I know of to stop the slippage, but have concluded that the sprang bearing is worn out. There is no place I can get a new bearing. The motor would be suitable to you if you would just use the motor. It is 36 volts. I can think of a lot of ways that just the motor could power the bike, but it would not be pretty.

  2. I have no problem learning what I need to know (despite the time it will take to do so), because I will learn things applicable to more than just this project, and that's always a good thing.

    It would definitely help if I had a welder and machine shop, but I only have what I have, and what I can scrounge up, and what I can build out of those things (including building tools as needed). I am learning about motors partly to build one, and partly to build the right generator for my own welder, since I will need one to build the custom bike frames I will eventually be using (though they will be built out of other bikes, for the most part).

    There are lots of motors on Ebay, Craigslist, etc, but they all cost money to buy and money to ship, and I really don't have any money I can justify spending on this project, until I have not only gotten a better job, but I have also rebuilt my emergency savings and paid the backlog of bills off. That's going to be a long while. Right now, I'm going to be hard-pressed to pay rent next month, much less utilities, etc., and will be selling off what I can find buyers for to do that.

    If there was some motor, controller, or other item I *knew* I could use on the bike immediately, I could spend about $10 on it (and if I did, that'd be no lunch at work for two weeks). That's basically enough to pay someone enough for a flat-rate USPS box shipment, assuming the item would fit in one of the various sizes they have. But it wouldn't buy the item itself.

    As for the bike the guy tried to sell you, that'd be worth it, if it all worked, to anyone that needed such a bike, I suppose. Depending on it's original value, I'd wonder about it's origin, though--it could be stolen. (a popular pastime here in Phoenix seems to be stealing bikes, even out of people's yards and apartment porches).

    For me, I'd still like to do it all myself, with recycled parts, just because it's more fun and interesting, and a heck of a challenge. It is also more frustrating, of course, but I expected that. :-)

    The Heinzmann motors I don't know anything about, so I don't yet know if I could help you figure out a way to fix the slippage problem. I'll need to first find out what the EV Global ebike works like, and what might substitute for the part causing you a problem, without you having to rip out the stuff between the motor and the bike. Which specific bearing or part is it that is worn (not sure what the "sprang bearing" would be, since I don't know the EV stuff at all). Do you have images of the area it's part of, showing how it is supposed to work vs how it actually *is* working now?

    Keep in mind that you may not be able to find a *new* part that does what that does, but it's very likely that something else could be modified to work in it's place. There might even be an identical part in something you haven't ever thought of, too--I keep being surprised by what I find sources of parts in, though I shouldn't be, really.

    It sounds like the bike itself is useless as an ebike without that part, or else replacing the motorizing kit with a different one, from what you are saying. I always hate to see good stuff unused or discarded because of one little failing part, so I have learned scrounging skills that let me fix a lot of things I didn't think possible before I tried. :-)

  3. Hi, I commend your effort. I would give you a robot-type motor if I could get it to you.

  4. Last I check Ebike was made in China (Taiwan) still part of China sort of like Puerto Rico is to the USA. Lee Iaccoca just put his signature on it like Barry Bonds puts on a Baseball bat.

  5. I'm not sure what that has to do with anything in this blog, Jack.

    "Ebike" is a generic term used for electric-assisted bicycles, and they're not all made in China.

    It also doesn't matter whose name is on what company's products, in relation to this blog, because it is about building a bike from recycled parts, basically.

    Discussion of other things in comments is not unwelcome, but relevancy to the subject matter would be desirable.

    Thanks for reading and being willing to comment, though!


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