Wednesday, April 28, 2021

First steps: Gathering Old Bikes

I put some feelers out on Facebook and had 4 bikes donated by neighbors who were looking to get rid of them. Between the 4 bikes I got enough parts to make 2 recumbent trikes, which is the base for my ebike. I was fortunate to get two bikes with rear suspension. This will make for a smoother ride when I get the trike assembled.

For the frame I am using scrap wood left over from several other projects, including a small pallet. This is just a prototype so I can learn the basics, the finished model will be much more streamlined.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

A New Goal- an enclosed ebike!


After doing some research into the laws governing Electric Cars and NEVs in my area, I discovered it was going to be a real headache to get something inexpensive for me to drive around town. That was when it hit me. I don't need a Tesla or something like that if I am only going to use the electric car for travel around town, so I started looking at alternatives and discovered a bit of a loophole in the laws for the state of Idaho. 

A Class 2 electric assisted bicycle is defined as having up to three wheels, it can go up to 20 mph without pedaling, but can go faster if you do pedal. It is not restricted in what streets it can be driven on, but must stay to the right as much as possible. These bikes can be enclosed making them usable year round, and may have blinkers, windshield wipers, headlights, taillights, etc... They are not required to be registered, have insurance, or a license, so even my 14 year old son, could drive it!

In August 2019, the state of Idaho passed a measure that defined ebikes as bicycles. That means they can be used wherever bicycles are allowed. This opened a whole new door of inquiry for me, and I started looking around at ebike options.

Some companies are already building enclosed tricycles like the one I had in mind. (See the video above) However, to order one and get it shipped to me was still going to cost quite a bit! So I started drawing up plans and making a parts list, and figured I could build a prototype for less than $500. The major cost being the 750 watt conversion kit and batteries.

The basic trike without the electric assist is known as a velomobile, and is a lightweight, aerodynamic bicycle alternative that has been around for decades. This part is relatively easy to build and can be made with parts available at local stores and thrift shops.

Next week is earth week, and I hope to have the beginnings of my electric car/bike in the works before the end of the week is out!