Impressions

Performance

The most fun part about riding this electric motorcycle is the acceleration.  There is always plenty of torque, ready to go.  The numbers are not super-impressive:
0-10 mph: 1.2 sec
0-20 mph: 2.5 sec
0-30 mph: 3.9 sec
0-40 mph: 5.6 sec
0-50 mph: 7.6 sec
0-60 mph: 10.1 sec
However, they are quicker than the original motorcycle.  Not “twice as quick” as I said in the video after the first test ride.  But it definitely felt like it.

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Noise

The motorcycle is not silent.  Noise is produced by the motor, chain, tires, and wind.  When stopped at a stop sign, the bike truly is silent and the sounds of the world are astonishingly clear.  A bird sings.  A cicada hums.  An ant drops a crumb.

The most noise is heard during acceleration.  It is  a combination whooshing/whirring sound, like a colony of honeybees when you are taking their honey.  It creates a sense of urgency, at least for the first few rides, because the pitch never drops.  The RPM just goes up and up, a new sensation for a rider who is used to shifting while accelerating.

Throttle

The Domino throttle has a great feel and does its job flawlessly.  However, when coasting at high speed, then rolling the throttle back on, more deflection is needed to resume acceleration than with the original bike.

Also, because of the torque available and the instantaneous response, the motorcycle seems a bit over-responsive if throttle movement is not precise.  The lag inherent in the original engine is gone.  I haven’t messed with the Alltrax programming yet, but I believe it does not offer any filtering options to smooth the response.  I may want to try something like the Picoamp torque control module which claims to address both of these issues.  That will be in the future, I’m having too much fun riding now.

The Left Hand

It doesn’t know what to do.

Handling

Handling during normal riding does not feel any different than the original motorcycle.  A Royal Enfield is a nice handling bike, and this conversion is just as friendly.  The motorcycle weight and the weight distribution are close to the original.

Slow-Speed Maneuvering

The first couple times I did slow-speed figure-eights in the parking lot, I did not have the same finesse that I had by feathering the clutch of the original bike.  After a few more tries, I felt that slow-speed maneuvering was actually easier than with the original.  It is definitely simplified.  The default program includes a region of fine response at the low end of the throttle curve.

Slow accel/decel movement, such as in stop-and-go traffic, are much easier on the electric.  There is no clutching or shifting.  Just gentle application of throttle or brakes.  No wasted energy.  No concern about engine temperature, as with the old air-cooled engine on a hot Florida day.

I was not in the habit of riding the original bike up the ramp and into the storage shed.  It just wasn’t comfortable.  Plus, who wants to smell fumes?  But walking the electric bike into the shed is child’s play.

Vibration

The original bike was a true “thumper.”  It vibrated mildly at low speeds, buzzed around 51-54 mph, and punished the rider at 65 mph.  All of that is gone.  The result is a smoother ride at all speeds.

IMG_1654

Range

My commute is 17 miles each way and the motorcycle has a 44-mile range at those speeds (55 mph and below), so I have margin for detours, high winds, etc.  My goal was at least 40 miles in range, so I’m happy.  In city driving it will go 50+ miles.  It really is a practical commuter, especially with one pannier still empty for gear.  Plus, I don’t have to carry quarts of oil and tools like I used to.

Charging

The QuiQ-dci charger performs superbly, but it runs hot.  My installation inside the pannier is not ideal in that respect, but it fits so well!  When charging on a hot FL day, the cutback feature reduces the charge from the maximum twelve amps to eight.  I don’t use a cooling fan.

I typically charge overnight.  Eight hours is sufficient to fully charge the pack.  Most of the charge is complete after the first five hours.  Having the DC/DC converter built into the charger is really convenient.

Motor

The motor can also get hot after several hard pulls on a hot day.  But no smoke or bad smells.  I don’t believe I’m pushing the limits of this motor.  It squeaks a bit when I’m pushing the bike, but not when riding.  The shape and size of the motor and the easy mounting scheme make it perfect for this build.  Considering the performance, this motor is an excellent value.

Batteries

They are the best value on the market today (2015) for the energy density.  The module design really simplified the installation for me.  They do not heat up at all.  There is some voltage sag, but not enough to really impact the ride.  The cells have been flawless since the first balancing.  They are always within 0.01V of one another in the midrange, and at the top they are within 0.02V, at the bottom within 0.03V.  That’s better than I expected.

Controller

It works exactly like it is supposed to and fits well on the motorcycle.  It heats up a little.  I haven’t messed with the programming yet, but the default profile is working great.

Cycle Analyst

Everyone loves it, and I love it too.  It is a bit large and ugly, but a great value.  If you like to geek out with data, get the analogger.  But if you want to save money on your project, skip it.  My analogger accepts the micro-SD card opposite to the way the drawing in the manual depicts it.  It took me awhile to figure that out, so I have a couple extra micro-SD cards floating around inside the body of the analogger, after fumbling them into the hole when I tried to insert them according to the drawing.

Contactor

It performs perfectly, but it is really big.

Sprockets

I have only used the 13-tooth front sprocket so far.  I will eventually try the 14-tooth front sprocket to see if top speed and 55 mph efficiency can be improved without ruining acceleration.  But I think the current ratio of 13:50 is a good fit.