Introduction - Crosswinds - CycleBlaze

September 1, 2019

Introduction

This tour will not be my first rodeo in this arena.  Having done several short (300 to 400 mile) and one long (2400 mile) tours, I have a good idea what will work for me on the road.  As such, my bike is custom from the ground up.  Being 67 years old, my git-up-and-go has got-up and went and I am hoping this trip with provide me a reminder.  As such, e-assist was very appealing to me and is now integrated into my ride.  It is a Bafang 750 watt motor, with a true mid drive set up.

This will be a credit card tour, as I have camped out on most of my other tours.  Distances traveled will reflect motel location more than any interest in pedaling long distances.  I really do like a shower after spending several hours on the road.  Not having to set up or pack camping gear is a decided plus.

Image taken on one of my training rides. The two yellow cages on the fork are for 1/2 gallon water bottles. You can never have too much water capacity when setting out on a tour. The 2" wide tires provide a lot better grip and handling when riding on "loose stuff", which, from what I hear, is the entire Katy Trail.
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My ride is a 4130 steel frame RANS Phoenix with S&S couplers and 7/8" diameter tubing making the rear triangle.  Being a retired tool & die maker who lives in the same town where the RANS Bike factory is located, manufacturing the various components was not a problem.  The wheel assemblies came off the bike from my 2400 mile tour, as did the crank, pedals and other accessories.  

The floor pump mounted on the rear rack is a 3/4 size Lezyne.  Gimme a floor pump when dealing with a flat on the open road.   The wooden box on the front rack contains the main battery for the e-assist unit, about 28 amp hours of power (which would last longer than I could in level 1).  This monster battery is not "plug and play" by any means, but was constructed for less than it would have cost for a ready-made 14.5 Amp hour battery.  It helps to have friends who know about electronics and stuff, which is not in my area of knowledge.

The battery on the deck under the seat is an 11.6 amp hour battery, which I will use primarily as a reserve.  Inasmuch as the motor will be carrying the load of not only the battery, but the chargers, necessary tools and "flat changing platform", I do not worry about excess weight like I did in the past.  I DID retain my mountain bike triple crank (22-32-42) in the event of catastrophic failure of the e-assist set up.  That will allow me to limp to the nearest city with a rental car office to make arrangements to get home.

Am I worried about this bicycle being stolen?  A bit, but since it is a one of a kind (as of this writing) anyone who steals it will not be able to ride it in public without the possibility of getting arrested for Grand Theft.  The weight of this bike would give pause to most thieves:  120 pounds empty. 

I will not be including maps, as I do not have the appropriate "gadgets" for doing so.  

This image shows the front chain loop tension mechanism.
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The motor installation under the seat along with the rat's nest of wiring.
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A view looking down the north-south road where I do my training rides. What looks somewhat like a Harley kickstand, is a beefed up Cruzbike kickstand mounted on an aluminum block machined (and hollowed out to reduce weight) to get the angle seen in this image. Given that the weight of the Bafang motor, batteries and all my "stuff" would have taxed a regular kickstand I made this one with mostly off-the-shelf parts. With this set up, most of the weight is on the wheel assemblies.
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The dashboard. Having a wide handle bar makes it very easy to mount all kinds of stuff. The denim color thing above the electronics is a rain deflector I made out of Lexan. Not that I am intent on riding in the rain, but it is for the times I get caught out. I just want to keep the worst of the rain off.
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Being in SW Kansas and doing my training rides on a road that goes mostly north-south, the general rule is: tailwind outbound and headwind on the return.  Having e-assist has taken the drudgery out of pedaling into a headwind.  Keeping the speed below 13 mph helps the battery life as well.  A couple times, I pushed it going into a fairly strong headwind (found out later it was 18 mph) the voltage read out started dropping like a rock and I backed off so as to have enough juice to get home.  I watch the volt meter to determine if I am going too fast into a headwind.  A nice change for the better!

Inasmuch as the prevailing winds in Kansas are south in the summer and north in the winter, crosswinds will be daily fare on this tour and I could not think of a better title.

A fork lock makes one person handling of the bike a cinch. Two steel sleeves welded to the frame and the fork with a steel spacer sleeve between, all held together with a piece of all-thread and a couple of nuts. The brass nut is held in place with blue thread locker and the actual install/removal is done with the long coupling nut.
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Kathleen JonesThat's quite a great setup you've got, Paul. I was thinking of electrifying my RANS Stratus so I find what you've done very interesting. Looking forward to following along.
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2 months ago
Paul KriegTo Kathleen JonesHi Kathleen: Putting e-assist made a big difference to me. The Bafang 750 watt motor does a good job moving me and my ride down the road. With a bike that weighs 120 pounds, a rider that weighs 235 pounds and 15 to 20 pounds worth of water, gear, tools and road food, if I am careful and keep it in level 1, I can get close to 50 miles on one charge of the 11.6 Amp hour battery.....the smaller battery offered. When I first started out, I ran unloaded, and got close to 70 miles before running the battery completely down. Mind, the motor gets anemic when the batteries are low. There are a couple of folks in the Portland, OR area who have put Bafang motors on their Aluminum Phoenix bikes with it mounted in the regular bottom bracket. From all accounts, they are so pleased they have not looked back. Mounted on the front of a Stratus, the assembly will remove some of the rear wheel weight bias. Cheers!
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2 months ago