Project: Seven Cycles E-Bike Prototype

September 29, 2012

in Bike Design, Engineering, Present - Meaning Today, Project Bikes

Power On.

This is a project to integrate a new electronic generator technology into a high performance, high style, urban commuter bike.  It’s a collaboration between Seven Cycles and a soon to be named engineering group.  Seven won’t be building any production bikes for this project.  We’re just helping work on the proof of concept – and we’re taking point on the design and presentation of the prototype.

  • Project Name:  D2D for Door to Door
  • Deliverables:  Two fully working e-bike prototypes.
  • Deadline:  Phase one:  30 December.  Phase two:  28 February.
  • Team:  To be public later.
  • Designer:  Rob V.
  • Fabricators:  TBD – Seven Cycles

[Note:  add to Present Projects.]

Project timeline in reverse:

February 22  |  Met with Michael Lin of Greenwheel today.  He brought by the latest generation of the electric assist wheel design.  The new changes require some adaptation of the design on which I am working.  The original deadline for this project was the end of February.  So, the deadline just got pushed so that we can incorporate the new wheel system and some other improvements – like the controller box that no longer is needed.

February 19, 2013  |  I’m meeting with Michael Lin later this week so I’ve been working on the eBike project some.  There’s a new generation of Greenwheel that I’m trying to integrate into the prototype I’ve been developing.  This project has become pretty large; I knew it was going to be a lot of work – every element of the bike is new for Seven – but the new revisions on the rear wheel mean a redesign of some of the work I’ve already done.  And Skunk is going to take the demo eBike for a commute or two.

Oct 6  |  Working on the steerer system.  Rough sketches of some ideas.  Most will fail.

Oct 3  |  Met with Michael Lin of the MIT Greenwheel Project today.  We dug into Seven Cycles’ involvement in this project.  We reviewed the early prototype system and the udpates that’ll be happening by month end.  Lots of changes to the controller, electronics, and overall weight of the system.  I explained some of the ideas I’ve got for Seven’s first generation prototype – and some thoughts for the second gen.  We’ve got a number of challenges with the deadline.  We’re not going to have access to the latest electronics and software – a big improvement over the current parts – until early November; and we’ve got to have the first gen bike prototype completed by the end of the year.  I can only move so far without the final parts.  Regardless, there’s still a ton of work to do on this.  I’m betting the new electronics will arrive and I won’t be ready.

Oct 2  |  Working on a hard-case laptop pannier with a built in charger.  I’m not an electrical guy but I’ll figure it out.  I’m mainly working on a suspension system to isolate the laptop from road vibration and impacts.  I have a few ideas I think will work.

Prototype display unit. New interface arriving soon.

Oct 1  |  I’m working on the headlight system.  Dual beams with different focal points.  Fixed beams.  Remote bar controls.  Working on the control box, too – that goes beyond controlling the lights.

Sept 30  |  Worked on a seat post design for the D2D bike.  Incorporating some of the elements from a PUBLIC Bike design project I did a couple years ago.  Details posted soon.  Also worked on a stem integration idea that will incorporate electronics and a control box.  I’m referencing a project I did years ago on a commuter bike project.

Sept 29  |  Met with the team today:  Butch, Sabine, and Michael.  At Ride Studio Cafe.  We dug into some design ideas.

First draft design notes and ideas – many ideas to be private or cryptic until this prototype gets closer to release date:

  • Overarching concepts:
    • Urban bike
    • Name ideas:  D2D – Door to Door.  Town Green.
    • Incorporate my NY Times article concepts about the future of commuter bikes.  Including all the ones that NYT didn’t include.
    • Forward thinking – proof of concept.  First gen and second gen.
  • Frameset or Chassis:
    • Frame is a chassis rather than a classic frame
    • Building a custom fork – metal, not carbon
  • Components – built from scratch:
    • Seat post system – similar to the PUBLIC Bike project bike I designed
    • Rear rack integrated into frame chassis
    • Locking mechanism integrated with the frame – exploring the idea of using a smartphone program to lock and unlock the bike.  I like classic key and lock systems but software is the future – now.
    • New style Tiberius bar – grip position
    • New grip shape – ovalish
    • Integrated stand system – new system
    • Fully encased drivetrain
    • Aluminum “control box”
    • Hard-case pannier for laptop with integrated charger
  • Components – sourced and modified:
    • Lights integrated into fork – dual mounts
    • Lights integrated in tail of bike – into rack
    • Prototype brake mounting locations on fork and frame
    • Belt drive
    • Two speed front mech – internal to bottom bracket
  • Other Details:
    • Integrated smartphone mount and navigation
    • Next gen head tube badge
    • All internal wiring and control box
    • Top tube scratch-proof
    • Easy shouldering
    • Fenders
    • 700c
  • Graphics:
    • Logo idea:  two ideas to be documented later
    • Colorways:  see my hand written notes for now
    • Reflective paint and high vis black paint
    • Painting wheel system

September 19, 2012  |  Was invited to work on an electric bike project.  I’m betting that this international group is going to be one of the real deals in e-bikes.  Unfortunately, I don’t really have time to take on anymore projects this year.  I think that for my short-term sanity it would be wise to pass.  My long-term satisfaction may be another story.  I’m meeting with part of the team next week; I’ll try to be dispassionate.


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