READERS & THEIR RIDES
Mike Robinson decided to stop driving cars for good a few years ago. Actually, he laughingly admits that he lost his license. This put him on a path to find a suitable form of transportation that also fit his personality.
At first, he tried a bicycle powered by a two-stroke motor. He hated the sound and the smell and actually wound up getting three tickets on that bike. At the last citation, the officer was kind enough to give Mike a tip about electric bicycles. Mulling the high cost of his repeated traffic citations, Mike dove in headfirst and started learning about e-bikes.
WHAT WOULD IGNAZ SAY?
Not wanting to pay over $500 for a custom frame, he started with a store-bought Schwinn Claremont. The fairly simple bike had curved lines, but Mike already had visions of something different. Being a proficient welder, he chopped up that frame and lengthened it significantly, and with the triple-crown fork, it looks like a beach cruiser and a chopper motorcycle had a baby. This look is helped by the fat tires with
Next, he had a friend help him figure out the electrical conversion. From the wiring, battery-management system and motor to installing the three Multistar LiPo batteries in, Mike was appreciative of the help. “I was happy he could wire those in for me because I was scared to death of them!”
“He had to rethink that choice when he literally ripped the wheel out of the back of the frame!”
He charges the system with a 10-amp charger, which he says is hard on batteries, but fully charges the bike in an hour. He has slow chargers, but he never uses them. He says that since Hobby Lobby has stopped carrying Multistar batteries, he’ll have to change all three next time to a different brand so they match.
The power source is found in the 3000-watt rear hub motor from QS on a 67-volt system that started with a 100-amp controller. He had to rethink that choice when he literally ripped the wheel out of the back of the frame! He’s replaced it with a 40-amp controller, and now the bike can reach speeds of 43 mph. It has functioning pedals, but Mike admits he never actually pedals this bike.
THAT’S GONNA LEAVE A MARK
The seat is so low and close to the back tire that all of his shirts now have marks from the tire. He doesn’t mind; the bike looks cooler that way. The battery box is anodized red to match the frame and has a decal of the clown looking like he’s bursting out of the box.
The wheels have red inserts, and he put white spoke wraps on to make them pop and definitely make for a beefier look. He cleans the bike at the local car wash, though he removes the batteries before he washes it.
The finish on the bike isn’t perfect, as it’s ridden every single day. Mike affectionately calls it a “10-footer,” alluding to the fact that it looks perfect from 10 feet away. Up close, you see all the nicks and imperfections of a bike that is so well-loved. He says he loves all the compliments he gets. He was recently stopped by a police officer, and his first thought was, “Oh no, what did I do now?” The officer said he wasn’t doing anything wrong; he just wanted to check out the bike.
Mike lives in a small town in Pennsylvania, and there are some hills he can’t climb with this bike because it’s a direct-drive hub motor. Those tend to overheat on long climbs. He’s thinking about building a new bike with a mid-drive and longer cranks so he can enjoy rides in those hills. We can’t wait to see what he comes up with!
Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun.