Author Topic: More power, Igor! (ICE trike with Falco e-motor)  (Read 7845 times)

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: More power, Igor! (ICE trike with Falco e-motor)
« Reply #25 on: December 10, 2013, 01:14:34 am »
Barakta did 38km in York on Saturday, with the assistance level at 40% as she was suffering with lurgy.  Lots of riding just under the limiter at 14.8mph with the rest of us working to keep up.  Used 268Wh in total, which is more than I managed on my regular hilly 43km loop.  It's easier to let the motor do more of the work on the flat, I think.

We've learned that standard forum ride pace is now easily achievable; that the Falco console remains a buggy pile of crap, but that it's perfectly possible to ride without it; that making the cycling physically easier doesn't make the pub/cafe stops any less hard work; and that electric assist means you need slightly more clothing, as you get more wind chill for a given level of effort.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

tonycollinet

  • No Longer a western province of Númenor
Re: More power, Igor! (ICE trike with Falco e-motor)
« Reply #26 on: December 20, 2013, 12:53:24 am »
Just caught up with this thread. Looks most excellent. I think electric assist for bikes and/or trikes has a really interesting future, for all sorts of applications, but especially for enabling the less physically able to fully join in cycling activities.

Really interesting project.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: More power, Igor! (ICE trike with Falco e-motor)
« Reply #27 on: December 20, 2013, 02:00:46 am »
Yeah.  I reckon the technology's pretty much there for utility cycling, people just need to realise it's something they want.  Unfortunately the UK lacks an ageing population of established cyclists to be the visible early adopters, as is happening in other European countries.

There's a strong community of enthusiasts largely coming at it from a motorcycle-in-all-but-name perspective.  It's all good fun, but range diminishes rapidly once you increase the speed, and the fun stuff isn't road legal.

Making these systems attractive to leisure/touring cyclists is a bit harder, battery performance and weight are still an issue, and user interfaces that stay faithful to the cycling experience are relatively rare and still flawed.  I see a lot of potential for this sort of thing, though.  While for barakta's trike we chose to go heavy and make sure there should always be enough battery power to carry the system's weight, the alternative approach of keeping things light, simple and using assistance sparingly for a boost on hills has real scope for technological development, and I expect more mainstream acceptance in time.


I'm looking forward to the summer and finding out what barakta will be able to do.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

JennyB

  • Old enough to know better
Re: More power, Igor! (ICE trike with Falco e-motor)
« Reply #28 on: December 20, 2013, 02:45:33 pm »
Making these systems attractive to leisure/touring cyclists is a bit harder, battery performance and weight are still an issue, and user interfaces that stay faithful to the cycling experience are relatively rare and still flawed.  I see a lot of potential for this sort of thing, though.  While for barakta's trike we chose to go heavy and make sure there should always be enough battery power to carry the system's weight, the alternative approach of keeping things light, simple and using assistance sparingly for a boost on hills has real scope for technological development, and I expect more mainstream acceptance in time.

The classic example of the latter approach is the Vivax Assist. 200 watts through the gears; effective, but bloody expensive.   :( Kevin Kelly of Cool Tools fame used an earlier version for a tour down the Pacific Coast a couple of years ago.

Hub motors, OTOH, are a bit like riding singlespeed or fixed. To use them effectively on the steeper hills you find yourself leaving geared riders behind.  ;D  In fact, I'm very tempted by the idea of an electrified Day One Disc.

Speed does make a big difference. Twenty mph average means half the range of 15. What I really love is the ability to ride long distances with little preparation. I can do up to 40 miles without even bothering to bring anything to eat or drink, or a very comfortable 200k in 10 hours with eight hours actual riding and recharging at meal stops. Or I can pootle along all day 10-12 mph average, using less than 4 watt hours per mile, and still be grateful for the assistance when I need it. And of course, the more I ride the less I need!  8)

Now that I've started to get the miles in again, I've booked a place on the MF1200. That will be an interesting challenge, balancing energy used against the time needed to recharge.

Jennifer - walker of hills



LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: More power, Igor! (ICE trike with Falco e-motor)
« Reply #29 on: December 20, 2013, 03:00:15 pm »
The MF1200 is the Irish 1200km LRM brevet? If so, electric assist invalidates the brevet. Human power only.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

JennyB

  • Old enough to know better
Re: More power, Igor! (ICE trike with Falco e-motor)
« Reply #30 on: December 20, 2013, 04:03:29 pm »
The MF1200 is the Irish 1200km LRM brevet? If so, electric assist invalidates the brevet. Human power only.

I know that, they know that. I'm riding for the experience, not the brevet.
Jennifer - walker of hills



LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: More power, Igor! (ICE trike with Falco e-motor)
« Reply #31 on: December 20, 2013, 04:15:48 pm »
No dramas, just information.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: More power, Igor! (ICE trike with Falco e-motor)
« Reply #32 on: December 20, 2013, 04:31:37 pm »
Speed does make a big difference. Twenty mph average means half the range of 15.

Except when you hit the limiter, of course, which is surprisingly easy to do if it's even remotely downhill.  The 25kph legal limit does stop you wasting a lot of battery on rolling terrain if you've got a normalish amount of leg power available.


I reckon a brevet category for electric assist cycles would bring out some interesting technology.  Once you're over about 100km it's going to deteriorate into charging strategies.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: More power, Igor! (ICE trike with Falco e-motor)
« Reply #33 on: December 24, 2013, 03:40:54 pm »
I reckon a brevet category for electric assist cycles would bring out some interesting technology.

<nods>

Quote from: Kim
Once you're over about 100km it's going to deteriorate into charging strategies.

Or bag-drops with extra batteries?

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: More power, Igor! (ICE trike with Falco e-motor)
« Reply #34 on: December 24, 2013, 03:55:09 pm »
Quote from: Kim
Once you're over about 100km it's going to deteriorate into charging strategies.

Or bag-drops with extra batteries?

That wouldn't be entirely unlike like a tandem team with a redundant array of inexhausted stokers.  Not really in the spirit of the thing, I reckon, if only because it biases things sharply in favour of those who can afford the most lithium (which is otherwise constrained by the road-legal weight limits).

If I were setting the rules I'd keep it simple - any road-legal electric assist pedal cycle, no swapping batteries (or riders).  Charging via standard 5A[1]/230V 'kettle lead' supply at controls, no chargers in bag drops, no alternative non-human power sources[2].  Beyond that, standard audax rules.  See what happens.   :D


[1] For compatibility with Europe, and so that there's enough power for everyone's charger.
[2] Sails, solar cells, wind turbines, fresh tanks of hydrogen, petrol genny on a trailer, etc.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

JennyB

  • Old enough to know better
Re: More power, Igor! (ICE trike with Falco e-motor)
« Reply #35 on: December 24, 2013, 09:28:34 pm »
If I were setting the rules I'd keep it simple - any road-legal electric assist pedal cycle, no swapping batteries (or riders).  Charging via standard 5A/230V 'kettle lead' supply at controls, no chargers in bag drops, no alternative non-human power sources.  Beyond that, standard audax rules.  See what happens.   :D


That's more or less what I was thinking. Some American long distance rides allow ebikes so long as they use less than 20 watt hours/mile, so that with their 750 watt 20mph limit there is no point in using anything other than a legal ebike and some pedalling.  The equivalent with our lower limits would be 6 watt hours per km. At that usage you can easily fit enough battery for 100km into a barbag.

Multi-day rides the limit is how fast you can charge. If you want to do 360km in 24 hours then at 10 watt hours/mile you need a charger faster than 450 watts to avoid spending eight of those hours attached to a plug.  Carrying more battery just gives you more flexibility over where you spend them. 900 watts would be a lot more comfortable, and still within your limit. Finding a suitable lightweight compact and reliable battery/charger combination is another matter.   :(


Jennifer - walker of hills



Kim

  • Timelord
Re: More power, Igor! (ICE trike with Falco e-motor)
« Reply #36 on: October 26, 2017, 05:11:17 pm »
Someone found the article on Auntie Helen's blog, so I wrote a long-term review as a comment.  I'll repeat it here:


It's been a few years now, and while poor health hasn't allowed barakta to do much cycling in the last year and a half, that's not the trike's fault.  Overall, we've been pretty pleased with it.  There have been a couple of issues though, and decisions that we would make differently with the benefit of hindsight.

The DIY battery pack has performed flawlessly.  I genuinely thought this was going to be the weak point, but it's been fine, in spite of the occasional ride on really rough surfaces.

The motor itself has been extremely robust, though an experimental attempt at removing the freewheel was a failure.  (I've never had much luck removing freewheels, and dread what happens when the sprockets wear out.)

No problems with the crank sensor either, it was fit and forget.

We had a problem with the console randomly losing its wireless connection to the motor (requiring a wait for the console to go to sleep and a power-cycle of the system to re-establish communications).  This was less annoying than it might have been, as the system is capable of operating without a console, but you need it to change assistance level.  This was eventually resolved by obtaining a newer version of the motor's Ant+ dongle from Falco.

The Falco console itself is rubbish though.  It's a silly shape that takes up too much space, the screen has poor contrast, the assistance level display is too small, and the membrane switches are horrible to use (there's no tactile feedback).  More critically, the waterproofing is pretty much non-existent.  It didn't occur to me to open it up and disconnect the internal battery after a ride that ended in monsoon conditions, and when I tried it the next day I discovered that the internals were corroded to the point of permanent damage.  (We removed power from the motor immediately at the end of the ride, and once dried out it was fine.)

To their credit, you can use an Ant+ equipped smartphone app as an alternative to the console.  But that's a poor solution for all the usual phones-on-bikes reasons.

There's Windows software for fine-tuning of the motor parameters, which is a good thing.  It's buggy and completely lacking in documentation, which isn't.


More practical considerations:

Torque sensing is great, but it's not really compatible with gearing down and climbing slowly.  Barakta's preferred technique is to engage 'Turbo' mode (which puts the motor to full power irrespective of torque) for serious climbs, and wait for me at the top.  As such, we'd quite like easier access to 'Turbo' (you have to hold down one of the console buttons for just the right amount of time, which is awkward on the fiddly membrane switches) - eg. as another level of assistance beyond '+5'.

Having a massive battery pack on the rear rack is good for rear-wheel traction (often a problem of tadpole trikes), but the handling of the trike really suffers.  This isn't a deal-breaker for us, as barakta isn't really a speed-demon, but I'd advise against it.  With hindsight I overspecced the capacity of the battery, but that's more down to barakta's health not being up to the longer rides that we initially anticipated.

Our main reason for choosing a hub motor was that it was the easiest way to fit a motor to the trike in a way that was removable in future.  In practice, this hasn't been as useful as we anticipated.  The only times I've really wanted to use the trike myself have been *because* it's got a motor on it (for hauling a heavy trailer, and when recovering from injury), and barakta prefers to have the option of assistance for hills, even if she's mostly pootling on the flat under her own power.

The console being wirelessly connected to the motor remains a pointless complication.  I can see it might be beneficial on a mountain bike, but it's really not worth the faff of an extra battery to worry about otherwise.


If I were doing it again, I'd go for a lightweight motor at the bottom bracket and a much smaller battery mounted under the seat.  I've recently helped a friend choose an upright bicycle with electric assist (they settled on a high-end Kalkhoff with a STEPS system, and it's revolutionised their mobility), and have been very impressed with the current offerings from Shimano and Bosch.

Falco are still going, but seem to have lost the plot slightly, concentrating on using regeneration as a fitness aid, rather than improving their console.

Team Hybrid are no longer a Falco importer.  I believe they had too many quality control issues.  Make of that what you will.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Auntie Helen

  • 6 Wheels in Germany
Re: More power, Igor! (ICE trike with Falco e-motor)
« Reply #37 on: October 26, 2017, 05:27:31 pm »
Thanks for the update Kim  :thumbsup:
My blog on cycling in Germany and eating German cake – http://www.auntiehelen.co.uk


Re: More power, Igor! (ICE trike with Falco e-motor)
« Reply #38 on: October 26, 2017, 06:44:51 pm »
Interesting reading there Kim.

I considered a DIY battery for a system I was putting together a couple of years ago but shied away because of the same worries you had, glad to hear that yours is holding up nicely.

We chose a Heinsmann Direct Drive for Vanessa's trike and found it to be (with the exception of one fault) pretty good.  That trike has since been sold that the Heinsmann is now pushing her Circe Helios around.


Re: More power, Igor! (ICE trike with Falco e-motor)
« Reply #39 on: January 28, 2018, 03:45:52 pm »
Our main reason for choosing a hub motor was that it was the easiest way to fit a motor to the trike in a way that was removable in future.  In practice, this hasn't been as useful as we anticipated.  The only times I've really wanted to use the trike myself have been *because* it's got a motor on it (for hauling a heavy trailer, and when recovering from injury), and barakta prefers to have the option of assistance for hills, even if she's mostly pootling on the flat under her own power.

I've been idly considering a hub motor'd recumbent for the same "easy removal" reasons.  It's largely for a hypothetical future in which I'm able to move house, but where I continue working at my current place of employment (though I suppose it would work equally well for staying where I am and working somewhere else!).  It started with my looking at the Whyte Clifton e-bike in EBC, as I realised that would be perfect for a certain commute - in the morning I could come in down the main road at oh-my-god it's early o'clock, and then use the motor to get me home over the hills on the back roads in the afternoon.  Then I realised that I should probably consider combining the e-bike with the recumbent I'd want, and if the e- part of the equation was easily removable then it wouldn't be a problem for audaxing.