Thursday, August 19, 2010

55 mph Trail

The manual of the bike claims the bike should go 30 miles while the bike is traveling 55 mph. Last weekend I tried a second road test. My test road is not perfectly flat, but I cannot get the bike to break 25 miles with normal riding posture. I hope to try my aerodynamic (cyclist/road racer) position as I did on the 65 mph trial and see how much over 30 miles it will go that way. I'm left being a little skeptical the bike would make it 30 miles even on the most perfect road going 55 mph under “normal” riding form.

ADDED 09/12/10:  To compare the difference Aerodynamics played while traveling 55mph I tried another test this time fully tucked with as little wind resistance as I could figure out while keeping the motorcycle in stock form.  I pushed it about 20% further, with a distance of 33 miles.  However the difference is a bit overstate, the wind resistance factor may only be about 10% as I pushed the battery to a lower charge on this most recent test and previous.  Check out the range chart added on page two of the Data Log (linked on the right column of this blog. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

1,000 Mile Summary – Still stuck in perpetual self restraint

(I'm actually now up to 1,240 miles)

Range: I have spent most of my time trying to optimize my 37.8-41.1 mile one way commute. Thus have yet to spend too much time looking into other performance aspects of the bike. On the long commute I'm left with the same feeling I had on my gas sport bike: stuck in a perpetual sense of almost painful restraint. Commuting on my gas motorcycle took self restraint to keep my bike from getting impounded by the police or face a hefty ticket or at least keep from instantly halving my gas milage. Now trying to get my electric bike to make it this 40 miles, with this much 55 mph travel, takes just as much restraint to not use a single extra watt of energy in order to make it to the destination.

In comparison this week I'm staying downtown and making a 20 mile round trip (16 miles on freeway) commute. I can easily make it there and back, still have miles of energy (4 of 11 bars when stopped) left and be able to push the bike all out, a treat I have not gotten to experience much over these 1,000 miles. As a city bike it's all fun, as an inter-county commuter, it is a long endeavor.

Besides my long commute, I've had no performance issues with this bike thus far. Every charge has been within the spec charge times, power remains steady...  

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

5.5 millimeter!!!

Fixing Flat (tire on my backpack after trip to get new tube)
I officially have my number one documented complaint regarding maintaining this motorcycle. It is supposed have almost no maintenance liabilities and the simplest standard motorcycle maintenance. However, my one task, adjusting chain tension, took me days just to even find the right tool. Somehow the engineers of this bike decided to use a 5.5 millimeter hex nut on two of the bolts needed to adjust the chain tension. As it turns out I could not find a 5.5mm hex nut socket even at Sears which I thought had every craftsman tool ever made. If the bike is going to need a proper tool that can only be ordered online just to adjust the chain tension (usually done every 200-800 miles) then they should save the buyer some time and just sell the socket with the new bike, it is note listed on for sale even on the Zero website.

I also had my first flat (picking up an industrial staple on the road). Between the chain the flat I've had myself busy past few weeks and not had the chance to write much about running the bike. More soon.

Note: As I was complaining to a friendly German who is riding his Suzuki motorcycle to Alaska in a few weeks, he advised me from his experience he thinks the Zero engineers mixed up the sizing and used difficult hex style bolts to deter theft.  No run of a mill meth addict would be able to get the motor out without having a specialty tool, or stripping the bolt and leaving the motor (hopefully run of a mill meth addicts aren't reading my blog for tips)...   that sounded like a smart analysis so we'll hope that was the plan and I'll get over my hex nut rant.