A trade show we've been dying to attend one of these days is the Spezi bike show happening next weekend (April 27-28) in Germany. This is where all the oddball, unusual, and otherwise special bikes get showcased, and if anyone's been keen on electrifying wheeled oddities it's us!.
While we won't be there in person, a number of vehicles will be at the show featuring the new Grin products like the GMAC Hub Motors, RH212 direct drive motors, All Axle hubs, and the Baserunner and Phaserunner_L10 controllers. If you're lucky enough to attend then check out Booth A.18 and Booth 3.12 for some velomobiles and cargo vehicles running this gear.
The timing is also great for us to formally announce an updated 2019 version of the Grin All Axle motor suitable for these single side applications, as explained in this new video below.
First off we want to apologize for the longer than normal response time and email backlog as much of our team was busy both in the preparation and attendance at the Taipei Cycle Show this past week. We'll be working hard to catch up on that in the coming days and thank your patience and understanding. To all the dealers, vendors, manufacturers, component partners, and general industry friends we met at the show, what a great time and we look forward to exciting pursuits ahead.
One of the items we demonstrated at the show is the new GMAC motor series. This is a powerful clutchless geared hub motor developed over the past 2 years in partnership with MAC motors, using a custom axle with an integrated splined torque arm. Imagine a MAC motor with perfect frame fit for modern bicycles, zero torque transmission on the dropouts, and phenomenal regenerative braking control.
You can learn more about the development and axle testing process on this endless-sphere thread. Our ambition is to make this splined axle design into a new standard that we deploy across our entire higher power motor lines to replace axle flats. If you're as excited as us and want to jump right into ordering, we have the first production shipment on hand available in bare motors and complete kits.
One thing you'll notice about this GMAC motor is that we are using the 10 pin waterproof locking motor plug. Over the course of the year we will be switching to this connector standard for all of our medium and high power hub motors, replacing the Anderson and JST-SM's that we had standardized on previously.
Our hope is that this plug will become to motors in the 500-1500 watt power range what the 9pin Z910 became for the low power geared motors, with all motor manufacturers agreeing to the same pinout standard for easy swapping and interchangeability . We have an L10 version of the Phaserunner motor controller available now and will soon be expanding this to a Grinfineon offering as well.
More L10 Motors
There are two additional motors in our lineup already using this locking connector. The first is a new rear cassette motor from Nine Continent, which has better disk rotor clearance and axle alignment than the MXUS hubs. Our first batch of these has sold out but the larger sea order is expected later in April.
The second is an updated variant of our Grin All Axle motor where we've got the cable exiting on the disk side of the motor for single side applications. If you've got a catrike and are looking for powerful dual motor drive like the one here, please give us a shout.
72V Batteries and 21700 Cells
We've also released our first native 72V battery pack in a conventional downtube battery casing, assembled using the high power Samsung 27100 40T cells so that even with the small 8Ah capacity it is able to deliver 40-50A continuous currents. This is an ideal battery for fast and sporty offroad ebike builds, allowing powerful performance without the weight or complexity of most 72V setups (either two 36V packs in series or a large triangle frame battery).
At the moment this battery is in stock but for local pickup orders only as we are going through the certification testing required for shipping. We've been keeping the 21700 cell offerings on our radar as they start to catch up with the performance specs of the more mature 18650 series and this year it looks like they are finally making the grade. Expect more from us as the year goes on.
Our multiple-delayed Crystalyte sea shipment has also arrived this last week after being held up by customs inspections, and all the Crystalte 'H'motors are back in stock again. A lot of you have been waiting for some time for these and the wait is finally over.
General Kits Intro
Here is the other presentation from the BC Bike Show earlier this month. It was a basic primer for people to learn about ebike conversion options before we went on to do a live install of a conversion kit.
This is a virtual hello to all the people who came by our booth last weekend at the BC Bike Show and are just now visiting our webpage for the first time. We had a great time and were delighted to see how much this event has grown recently. (And to those who lament that the bike show is now totally taken over by ebikes, well it's been over 15 years now that we've been trying to tell you all this day was coming!)
For those who missed seeing it live, we've also uploaded a youtube video of our live demonstration of a regular bike being converted over to electric assist. We hope that this helps demystify the process for some considering their first kit purchase. It was a fun opportunity as the owner of the bike was at the show and could ride it away the next day.
The video of our earlier presentation on how to navigate various ebike conversion options should be ready to upload later this week.
With so many turn-key ebikes on display at shows like this, it's pretty common for people to ask why would they bother to retrofit a normal bike when they can just buy an electric bike that is ready to roll? It's a fair question and we decided to answer that with an in depth pamphlet that we also made available on our webpage here.
Active Transportation Survey
Unrelated to the show but also of local interest. The BC government is soliciting input on what is meant by "active transportation" which could hopefully help to direct policy and regulation governing not just ebikes but all kinds of human scaled transport. If you think electric skateboards should be on their radar or faster S-Pedalec class ebikes then this is a chance to have your voice heard. Electric bicycles have been an entirely grass roots phenomenon for most of their trajectory and it's encouraging to see the entire scope of personal mobility finally being acknowledged and discussed at this level.
The BC Bike Show is the premier cycling and outdoors event in Western Canada and is happening in just 2 weeks on March 2nd and 3rd. We'll be there of course, and in addition to our exhibitor booth we'll also be hosting Cycle Stage to give more public presentations. On Saturday at 11:45 am we'll talk on how to navigate the various motor and battery options available for ebike retrofits, and on Sunday at 2pm we'll be doing a live demonstration of a regular bicycle being converted over to electric assist.
This is an opportunity to get your questions answered and to demystify some of the uncertainty regarding aftermarket and DIY ebike options.
If you're thinking of coming out to the show to visit us, then let us know as we may be able to help with the tickets too.
It's been found! After five years being AWOL the first official V3 Cycle Analyst user manual is now hot off the presses. We're hoping that this document strikes the right balance at explaining the key setup options and features of the latest CA3.1 firmware in a way that's informative but not too deep in every possible technical detail.
For anyone who has had to struggle finding concise setup information on their CA3 in the past, we're sorry and plan to make amends. One way we'll be doing that is through the continued production of CA3 video tutorials. We've got two released just right now on setting up both basic PAS sensors and also torque sensors with the CA3.1 firmware.
While 2018 had its share of excitement and new pursuits for us, it also saw the doors close on two iconic and long serving bicycle businesses here in Vancouver who we think deserve a shout-out. The first of these is Brock Davis of Cambie Cycles who kicked off their final day with a new years party at their vacated premise on Dec 31st.
Brock had been running his esoteric shop on Cambie St. for over 30 years, pioneering the sale and production of recumbent bikes, tricycles, velomobiles, unicycles, and of course electric bicycles well before any of these things were popular. He was dabbling with early ebike conversions in the 1990's when we were still in grade school and has been for many years one of the few shops always willing to say yes to electric retrofits. We hope to still see him riding around streets of Vancouver in a white velomobile.
The other shout-out goes to Paul Bogaert who decided to close the Bike Doctor after 27 years and instead cycle tour the world with his wife. Paul had an early role in Vancouver bicycle advocacy and at bringing cycle riding to a less elitist/athletic and more everyday commuter crowd through their shop. They were among the early shops to embrace family friendly cargo bikes and appreciated the role that electric would play in making cycling more broadly appealing.
We're hoping that everyone has had great holiday season and are excited as we are for the 2019 year ahead. There are a few things we pulled off in December worth sharing.
Powerful Rear Motor Options
We have added two new direct drive hub motors to our offerings. One is a Thru-Axle version of the Crystalyte Crown TC3080 motor. This is the first 142x12 rear thru-axle motor that's been available for aftermarket conversions and is well suited for modern mountain bikes shooting for 1-3kW power levels.
The other is our first foray into the larger 45mm wide motor series, similar to those sold by MXUS, QS, Leafbike etc. as 3KW or 5kW hubs. We got these made up to properly fit either a standard 135mm dropout with a single speed freewheel, or a 150mm dropout with a 7-8 speed freewheel and some spacers. As expected from Grin they are sealed, include a 10K thermistor for temperature sensing, and have a disk hole injection port for Statorade, and are hubsink compatible. Check out the performance on our simulator both with and without statorade. Unlike so many other direct drive motors, both of these have the proper alignment for disk rotor position and room for disk calipers without shimming things out.
3D CAD Models
We get asked on occasion for 3D models of the hub motors we offer from people doing full CAD mockups of their ebike project. And what better time than Christmas to make this all available to you.
The 3D IGS files for most of the motors that we've mechanically modeled are now available in the "additional information" tab on our store site and in a list on our documents page.
CA3.13 Firmware Family
The 3.1 Cycle Analyst firmware has fully solidified with the recent 3.13 release, and in doing this we're also making publicly available a number of customized firmware branches full of special features. These are loosely explained in the CA3 Firmware page, but are worth highlighting here:
- Solar Shunt firmware: With this firmware the Cycle Analyst can use the auxilliary input as a second current sensor for measuring and showing the solar amps and watts. You can not only see in realtime how much solar power is coming into the pack, you also get combined statistics such as the %solar recharge and the net wh/km mileage taking into account the solar input for the day. This is the ideal instrument for looking at solar ebike performance, consolodating all measurements in a single device.
- GPS Firmware: This net update will be much appreciated by people who have a GPS Analogger device with their CA3. With a simple hardware modification to the Analogger circuit, the GPS data will be transmitted from your existing TRS cable back to the Cycle Analyst. You can then see the time of day, your elevation, position, and direction all on the CA3 screen. The firmware also features additional custom views on the main screen, allowing you to replace or toggle the battery voltage with any of these new parameters to get just the display you are after.
- Solar GPS Firmware: Theres even a -SG firmware that combines both the solar current sensor and the GPS code. This firmware produces a log file just like that of our suntrip databox project, and will be invaluable to for those doing performance analysis on solar EV trips.
- Fast Log Rate: And to wrap things off, we have a slight version of the standard 3.13 release that includes a much higher 55Hz data logging rate. This has come up when people have wanted to use the Cycle Analyst for looking at rapid transient behavior, from off the line accelleration numbers to current spikes that cause their BMS circuit to trip.
Piloting the Baserunner
And the last product update to kick off the year is the pilot release of our new Baserunner motor controller. We spent much of last summer and fall trying to cram an even more miniature version of the Phaserunner into compact profile that could fit inside the controller cavity of the popular Hailong downtube battery cradles, and by golly we did it. While not as powerful as the Phaserunner (just 55A max phase current, and 60V max battery voltage), the Baserunner is perfectly suited to the smaller geared and direct drive hub motors using the Higo Z910 plug. This allows for a very tidy installation with no separate controller to mount.
But unlike other battery mounted controllers, the Baserunner also stands on its own too. If you upgrade to a different battery model in the future that doesn't fit the cradle, simply remove the Baserunner from the base and use it as a miniature stand alone controller with your new battery pack. That's Grin thinking about your future options for you.
The following 5 video tutorials didn't get a formal blog post last month but are worth a watch if you missed them and have a particular interest in taking apart an eZee motor, replacing an OLED screen, tuning a Phaserunner, repairing a blown controller, or converting your CA to an orange backlight.
Our December / Christmas treat for all of our fans is going to be LOT of new video releases on our youtube channel, for both enjoyment and education. Our main videographer Aaron Evenoldsen has been on a retreat editing footage from throughout the year and it's all coming together now.
We'll start this off with the latest two Customer Profile videos. In the first one we follow up from the well received Leigh Cross video with a look at his son, Tig Cross. Tig's been refining an original bike concept combining the best parts of an ebike, scooter, and velomobile, and showcases the merits of an electric generator for the human drivertrain.
And for our most recent release we look at the Landyachtz engineer Aaron Brown, who has turned his daily commute from the suburbs from a a soul sucking traffic slog into an offroad adventure.
If only we had a hard core ebike-commuter-of-the-year award to hand out!
With things settling down since the busy summer we're now getting many things back on track again, and that includes our regular customer profile video series. We recently finished one on one of our all time favorite customers, the 89 year old Leigh Cross.
We've been pretty smitten about how well the small G311 front and G310 rear motors have been working out this year. A short video we first filmed back in May explains why!
Based on the enthusiastic response we've had from customers, we're now stocking these motors prelaced into rims rather than just as bare hubs, which means even faster turn-around time for getting a kit. The front G311's are already on hand in 16", 20" 26" and 700c wheels, and we'll expect prebuilt rear wheels later in the year.
We've also just flushed out a fairly detailed product info page on this motor series which you should look at if you want to learn more, and even filmed a detailed disassembly video in case you ever wanted to take one apart!.