We had an agenda this year to tackle product documentation and make it easier for people to find thorough setup guidance and usage notes on their ebike hardware. In fact, we even have a little known section on our website that has a compilation of all the reference docs and user manuals we’ve produced over the years, and should probably call attention to it:
Go to the header LEARN -> DOCUMENTS
There are two significant additions that we completed in the last week. First is our complete user manual for the Grinfineon controller series, which goes into great detail on all the features and limitations of these almost universal motor controllers.
And secondly, we completed a Quickstart guide for the V2.4 Cycle Analyst. This covers all the information and key settings needed to get 95% of users up and running, without delving too much into techno talk. We’re hoping that it strikes the right balance of information vs. intimidation and look forwards to any feedback that you have.
Based on your response, we’ll be doing a series of similar Quickstart guides on setting up the V3 Cycle Analyst for various functions too. And not just print guides but video tutorials as well!
Above is our first stab at that, with a youtube tutorial on how to setup and configure V3 Cycle Analyst to use a magnet ring PAS sensor. If Zuckerberg says that very soon almost all web content will be video, we figure he might be right (again). So it’s time we get with the program. Still no Grin Facebook page though!
Although we are still staunchly a conversion kit / retrofit company, we've been largely perplexed at the lack of shops in Vancouver offering electric cargo bikes and want to address that. So for this summer at least we are offering two ready to roll turn-key cargo ebikes based on open/hackable drive systems that we think are of great quality and value; the eZee Expedir and the Juiced Riders ODK U500.
Both of these cargo ebikes have high capacity (>700 watt-hour) stock batteries, hydraulic disk brakes, and torquey geared hub motors well adept at moving heavy loads up steep hills. The Juiced ODK has 20" front and rear wheels with a simple 3 speed internal hub and is meant as a lower barrier and simple to use ebike, with battery options going up to 32Ah for phenominal range. We've worked closely with Tora, founder of Juiced, for many years now and have been ever impressed with his energy and accomplishments and building his accessible utility bike vision into reality. Below is a great recent video review of the U500 bike from electricbikereports:
The Expedir meanwhile is eZee's foray into the cargo bike territory and is a complete bicycle running a more sophisticated hardware set: with 9 speed shimano Alvio RD drivechain, Magura disk brakes, and a sturdy center stand. It uses a 26" front wheel and 24" rear, giving a somewhat lower cargo deck height than say the Yuba Mundo, but not so low that adult passengers have to lift their feet off the ground.
Other New Stuff?
We've added a "new items" category to our website to make it easier for people who check in frequently to see view more recently added goods that are new since the last visit. In addition to these cargo ebikes, you'll see many small items that haven't been announced on our blog, like eZee motor extension cables, handlebar mounted potentiometer for the CA3, connector boxes, the gear sensor cutoff for mid-drives and even the BEAMts chain tension torque sensor.
Plus, the observant may have noticed that the Phaserunner controllers and Satiator chargers are available to purchase again with a back order, meaning we are confident of their near term pending availability.
First of all, a big thanks to everyone who came by to meet us at the bay area Maker Faire at the end of last month, and to all the shops and people we visited on the road trip coming back up. It was fun to have a formal booth presence again to educate people about electric bike and skateboard technology, even in a space awash with drones and 3D printers.
We had a pretty mad couple weeks cramming in the projects on exhibit, including a novel take on a mid-drive system and a revival of our first pedalable e-uni. Unfortunately that meant our order queue and email responses got backlogged by up to a week and we apologize to those affected. As of now at least things are all caught up and we are back to snappy order fulfillment and responses.
Although we won't have a booth presence at the local Vancouver Mini Maker Faire on June 11th-12th, we do recommend anyone interested in DIY projects to attend if they can make it.
Things are finally rolling smoothly across the board at our new shop space on Powell St., and that means we can get back to new product engineering, and also properly communicate what is going on with our inventory plans. Some products have run their course, some are due for improvements, and others are getting revamped from scratch.
New eZee Flat Batteries 33% more range
First, we've had our next batch of eZee flat rack batteries updated to use 2.9Ah Panasonic PF cells rather than the 2.2Ah Sony V3 cells. That provides 33% more capacity but at the same size, weight, and cost as the previous packs. The 36V 15Ah battery is now 36V 20Ah, and the 48V 10.5Ah pack is now 14 Ah. We loved the incredible cycle and calendar life of the Sony V3 cells but the improved capacity at the same price from Panasonic is too hard to pass up.
Lumenator Light 1.0 Retired
Secondly, we've fully retired the 1000 Lumen Cycle Lumenator light. For the 6 years we've been producing it, this device has helped many people light up the streets with their ebikes but at the same time has been the source of some consternation to oncoming traffic. We are working to have the original Lumenator re-engineered with a similarly powerful headlight that has purely reflective optics which meet the German StVZO requirement for minimal brightness above the horizon, and should have it ready before the start of summer.
48V and 72V Satiator Models, Limited Supply
A few weeks ago we ran out our last fully QC passed Satiator devices and started listing at a discount those that were perfectly fine but didn't quite pass our 1PSI air leakage test. That means that we can't guarantee against water ingress if used extensively in the rain with water exposure. There are only a handful of these remaining.
Similarly, our pilot launch of 72V Satiator devices is on hold while we re-design some aspects of the power circuit after having several field failures, and we thank the Pilot testers for helping us iron this out.
Both the standard 48V and revised 72V Satiators should be in full supply again in early June. The positive user feedback for Satiators has been awesome and we really look forwards to getting this nailed for 2016 and available to all who want one.
eZee Rear Motor with Cassette Freehub
Finally, eZee is now manufacturing a rear motor with a high-end cassette freehub system which we've got available in standard 250 rpm and fast 350 rpm winding options. They cost a fair bit more than the screw-on freewheel version so for the stock laced kits we are sticking with freewheels. But for those who want a kit using all modern bike hardware standards for 9 or 10 speed cassettes, these make a great choice.
What about the Phaserunner, LiGo Batteries, and Thru-Axle Grin Motors?
Stay tuned for our next homepage updates for all of those exciting things coming out of Grin, as well as new documentation, video tutorials, torque sensor options, and a serious overhaul of the CycleStoker system.
We're often in the midst of evaluating and revising our product offerings and figured it was a good idea to shed some light on our plans for 2016. In addition to the Thru-Axle motor discussed in the last blog post, we’ve got some other items that are actually available now.
9C+ Front Motors with Statorade:
Our plan for 2016 is to have Statorade and 0.35mm laminations by default in all of our direct drive hub motors, reducing the rolling drag and increasing the heat dissipation capabilities across the board. We're starting this off by introducing what we call the 9C+ hub motor series which we quietly slipped on our website last month.
Outwardly this looks like a generic 205mm DD hub. But internally it has the 0.35mm core, a drilled through disk hole for injecting fluid, a thorough silicone sealant on the side plate to prevent fluid leakage, an embedded thermistor for temperature sensing, and is already pre-loaded with 5mL of Statorade. And at just $175 for the hub it's probably the best value drive option we've ever offered.
The 9C+ motors are available in front drives in a 5,6, and 7 turn winding, either as a bare hub, hand-built into a wheel, or as part of a complete conversion kit. They are also modeled on our simulator as the 9C+ 27XX option.
Mini Geared Hubs, from Outrider to Bafang:
We've stopped carrying the small geared motors from Outrider, and are replacing these with a similar sized G01 series hub from Bafang. This particular motor is much easier to service, has cables exiting from the side plate rather the end of the axle, has better disk brake compatibility, and is customized for us with an internal thermistor for motor temperature sensing.
It should be a dandy option for the light weight lower power (250-500 watt) conversion systems, and we've got both fast (10rpm/V) and standard (8rpm/V) winding options for to suit different wheel diameters and pack voltages. The hub is already on our simulator, spoke calculator, and is available either as a bare hub, laced into a rim, or as part of a complete conversion kit.
Stokemonkeys Back with Options
And finally, we've largely finished setting up our CNC machine center and welding stations in our new space, allowing us to resume fabricating the stokemonkey kit hardware which was out of stock for a little while. We're now now offering the stokemonkey clampset with specific ID's to match several common tube diameter for an ideal clamping fit, and even have a custom option where we will CNC it to your specific tube size.
We've also switched the motor source back to Crystalyte just like the very original SM motors were based, but using their newer SAW40X motor line instead of the 400 series.
Well that was quite the whirlwind tour through Taiwan and China, Justin and Robbie would like to thank all of those we met up with at the Taipei Bike Show and tour visits afterwords. Benjamin, Tora, Ching, Britt, Harry, Paul, and all the AU and NZ folks it was great to hang out and share our interests and visions for the ebike movement.
There are a lot of good things that will be coming from this trip, and we're looking forwards to closer relationships and some joint endeavors this year with Juiced Riders, EM3EV, TDCM and other companies doing innovative product developments. We feel strongly that some collaborative efforts can help bring signifcant ebike tech advances to a larger audience. And on that front, we also brought along 3 of our own projects that are at the end of their long development cycle and are ready to show:
The Thru-Axle Motor, 2nd Gen Phaserunner Controller, and Potted LiGo battery packs have all sub-components in place and are ready for production, if only we hadn't just lost our production facility when we moved shop this past month! So we are still busy doing all the electrical wiring, machine installation, and related manufacturing infrastructure at the Powell St. address before we can make these available. We should be ready well in time for the 2016 bike season so please stay tuned to our homepage or newsletter if you want to be first in line during the rollout.
Well this is it. Our last outgoing shipments from 4th Ave have been picked up and the big tear-down is taking place in earnest. We’ll be fully closed on Friday as we peel back the 5 years spent making this place into our home and pack everything over to the new digs. It’s an exciting expansion and we’ve really appreciated all the words of encouragement that many of you have sent our way.
Business as usual should be able to resume after the weekend on Tuesday, but do expect delays before all normal operations are up to speed. As well, Justin and others from the engineering team will be the Taipei bike show next week and so technical inquires and conversations may be deferred until their return in mid-march.
After running out of stock of the first production run of Satiators earlier this year we've now got our next batch on hand which includes the same hardware updates as the 72V devices, with the AC inlet cable on the back side. The other awesome electrical specs for rapid charging of 24-48V batteries all remain identical, but this modification does mean that the original UL/CSA regulatory approval is no longer valid.
For now we are shipping with the regulatory markings covered up as shown in the image above until we have the test approval completed. In the meantime, if you do have a requirement for UL listing on the device then the chargers remaining at Amazon.com all are all from the original run.
Once again we have a "For Lease" sign on our building, and once again fear not because we are simply moving our business to an even bigger and better location. While we've enjoyed the False Creek neighborhood for the last 5 years, it's clear that this vestigial industrial area in the heart of Vancouver is rapidly changing in character to serve the nearby condo developments, rather than the historic manufacturing industries it once spawned.
On March 1st we'll be fully moved to a new location in Strathcona at 950 Powell Street, with nearly 3 times the space, great neighbors like EatART and Maker Labs, and room to grow for years to come. This is a big and exciting next step for Grin, and the team here has been hard at work the past few weeks getting this space renovated, setup, and ready to serve as our new home well into the next decade.
We will try to continue with business as usual during the entire transition process next month with a minimal amount of order disruption. However, it's a significant job and much of our staffing manpower will be redirected to the move, especially towards the 2nd half of February. So please be patient if there are delays in communication as lower priority jobs are put on hold.
In the meantime, in order to lighten our load on moving day we are having a significant sale on our entire inventory of the large Crystalyte H35 and Crown motors and kits, ranging between 25 to 30% off. There isn't a better time to start a winter build project than this. You can get a great deal on a direct-drive motor package and simultaneously help us out with the moving process!
The sale will go on from now until Feb 25th, and we’re hoping that you can help us clear a good number of these boxes from our rack shelving before we need to move out.
We do also have a slight ulterior motive in that we want all of our direct drive motors in 2016 to be compatible with Statorade coolant, but the stock Crystalyte side covers aren't always sealed well enough to prevent leakage at high RPM's. Our next Crystalyte motor batch will be certified Statorade-ready, but these ones require reworking the side cover seal with silicone before adding a fluid coolant inside.