The bike is the bike.
Because everything should have a name the bike is called The Blackbird.
We speak of The Blackbird in the following terms:
Eleven feet long nose to tail, 8.5 feet axle to axle;
Weight - meh - around 180 pounds;
It is made of iron and contains parts from two spare bikes;
The Blackbird is a 36 volt electric-assist bicycle;
Top speed is over 20 miles per hour;
Cruising speed is 15 miles per hour, which it can do for 4 hours on a charge;
Range – if you manage your speed and pedal a lot, probably 60 miles;
Recharges in 4-5 hours.
The electric DC motor is in the back wheel, and is the hub. The motor has no moving parts and no brushes, and is entirely solid-state. There is a motor controller that handles the rotational timing, the cruise control function, and the regenerative braking system. So it's just like a Tesla only cooler.
The battery is a 30Ah lithium-iron-phosphate (LiFePo) formulation really suited for bikes. LiFePo is light, nonflammable, and delivers a crazy amount of current to the wheel. They are not cheap. You buy it anyway.
Most people can stop here. Thanks for visiting the site. Have a nice day.
Okay if you are still with me, here is how it actually happened.
I was riding to work, 30 miles each way, and wanted to be able to do that 5 days a week. At my age it's not easy, so I decided to try out an electric kit conversion on my fat-tire cruiser.
You get these kits from China. Mine is from GoldenMotor.com, and you see a lot of them around these days. They sell a nice kit that fits many sizes of bikes and I can honestly recommend them. For most daily commuters, their stuff is fine.
Any electric kit can break a bike. Two ways this happens. The first is that the battery and electric motor are heavy and can tear the frame if you ride on rough roads. Also the motor is generally really powerful (don't let the size fool you) and can tear out the tabs on front forks. But the real problem is the rough roads and speed; you can go really fast for a long time and you will suddenly be logging crazy miles because it is so much fun and all the extra miles and wear will break some bikes.
It broke my cruiser bike, in a few months, after logging about 2,000 miles.
I was not surprised. But I was really happy with the experience overall and it got me wondering if I could improve on the total system by building a custom frame around the GoldenMotor product.
The short answer would be; well - yeah.
The long answer is more interesting. Because the long answer is about the process of invention.
I describe the process in detail here. Read that if you want to know how an actual inventor goes about it.
Here is how you build The Blackbird.
... to be continued ...
—=:: A Footnote ::=—
My original choice of name for the bike — The Blackbird — was taken not from the winged animal of that name, but from the jet with which the bike shares a passing resemblance — the mighty SR-71. But the SR-71 is an icon from another era, one we should perhaps prepare to leave behind. So now the bird is the better namesake.
Besides riding a bike is about being under the sky.
You see a lot of birds.