One of the interesting aspects of running an eBike is the extent to which you can eliminate fossilised fuel dependence out of your riding - as the folks at Shrinkfoot have identified, your EV power source does matter. We get quite a few enquiries from people living offgrid, disconnected from electricity mains and running self-sufficiently with their own power generation.
The bikes are well suited to being used in these kinds of settings, but we need to address some of the issues of equipment specification to make it clear for owners and prospective customers what sort of capacity is required. Of course, an EBike is going to have a larger footprint than a standard bicycle, but that footprint can still be minimised.
The Stealth Bomber has the largest battery capacity in the Stealth range, which requires at least the following:
In our case, since we're mainly using a Stealth Fighter as our preferred demonstrator, we've opted for a middle of the road, RV-style configuration that consists of the following:
Whilst there are nicely prepackaged RV style kits such as this, they do take up a fair bit of space. In our case, we wanted a bare-bones setup that minimised space requirements and could be transplanted readily between fleet vehicles. So, we opted for an alternate inverter/charger and portable PV as the main changes from this example prebuilt bundle.
Other options that we considered on the way through this exercise were some of the products available from GoalZero, including their Yeti off-grid generator and panels (shown below). We'll be taking a closer look at that setup over the next few months.
This means that when we're attending ebike or sustainable living events, we're now power independent and have plenty of juice on hand for running a mobile office from our van, along with capacity to do a replenish charge in the event we drain the battery of one of our demonstrators.
A setup like this provided us with ample power to recharge at the recent 2013 HunterEVPrize race between qualifying practice and race time. It also forms the basis of our mobile office for the work we do at Laughing Mind, providing us with a high level of flexibility for working anywhere, anytime.
Maitland, NSW, Australia. Monday 19 August 2013
The ebike entry of Maitland Grossman High School all girls team (Team Titanium) found themselves worthy winners of the inaugural Quiet Rush "EcoGeek Factor X incentive award" on Sunday at the 2013 HunterEVPrize race held at Cameron Park Raceway. With over 20 schools participating as part of National Science Week, including a team from Perth, the girls entry caught the eye of Brian Hill, founder of Maitland based online eBike business QuietRush. Their team effort in resource recovery (breathing new life into old objects), demonstration of their commitment to crossing the gender gap in popularising practical science and demonstration of excellence in the Maitland region were the winning criteria to help them cross the line in taking home the award.
About the EcoGeek 'Factor X' Award
The 2013 HunterEVPrize held on Sunday 18August 2013 was an excellent opportunity to showcase the talents of up and coming future-makers for the Hunter Region, providing a competitive yet fun event for entrants. Held as part of National Science Week, school teams entered hand-built ebikes as practical fusions of maths, physics, chemistry, electronics, biomechanics, aerodynamics. Maitland based business Quiet Rush came on as an event sponsor with their inaugural EcoGeek FactorX prize, looking for entries that addressed criteria of versatility of use, ecologically sustainable design, ergonomics and ability to address climate change and population health challenges. In coming up with the award, the Founder of QuietRush, Brian Hill, noted:
"As a born and bred Novocastrian and entrepreneur, I'm intimately aware of the breadth and depth of skills and capacity for Innovation and Manufacturing in the Hunter region. It was this capacity that saw me relocate back to the Hunter after more than a decade away, working on large scale technology and systems integration challenges in national scale projects. I was keen to recognise the hard work and efforts of up and coming stars of tomorrow that will be the next generation of problems solvers, scientists and entrepreneurs.
Quiet Rush - your Hunter region and Eastern Australian based supplier of Stealth Electric Bikes, rider training and support
Quiet Rush are a trusted supplier of tough+powerful hybrid electric bikes for demanding applications, and clean transport solutions that assist rider effort. We are a Hunter region business, servicing Eastern Australian customers.
Whilst our Stealth ebikes are powerful, they make minimal trail impact, delivering electric acceleration whilst assisting rider efforts. Highly regarded for their price-performance-ruggedness profile, our bikes are highly suitable for a range of demanding applications, including agribusiness, defence, law enforcement, facility patrolling and emergency service applications. They're also perfect for:
We're proud of the work being done by schools as part of building their entries for the HunterEV Prize, so we thought it fitting to make a contribution by adding in an incentive prize to the overall potential prize pool for school entrants - we're calling it EcoGeekFactorX, recognising the importance of the Festival in National Science week as a breeding ground for the next generation of manufacturers, makers, designers, innovators and -maybe- physicians.
We wanted to have a way of rewarding and recognising integrated responses to climate science challenges, based on hands-on engineering and 'making' whilst also building an understanding of the role of considered design, taking into account materials selection, intended functionality, versatility of use and the ability to integrate human effort.
Whilst the EV Prize requires entrants ebikes to be solely powered without pedal assistance, we know there is also a need for designs that can allow for rider input, so we're going to be looking for adaptable designs that can be easily retrofitted for accommodating rider effort. That means having a way of thinking about the design to incorporate another of the sciences - the science of Ergonomics (see more on that here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergonomics)
EcoGeekFactorX will be an incentive prize based on the best integrated design that embodies eco-design principles, visual aesthetics, versatility, ergonomics and responsiveness to climate change and population health challenges. After all, eBikes are sometimes also about their ability to be pedalled in comfort for extended distances, across a wide variety of terrain, making sure we're also able to be active when we want to. We think our Stealth Fighter and Bomber ebikes handle that brief pretty well, but want to reward teams efforts for matching such a profile.
After all, the Hunter, whilst recognised for its innovativeness, also has some serious population health challenges that we encounter in work done at our sister company (Laughing Mind) - see http://www.newcastle.edu.au/news/2012/07/23/shed-it-motivates-blokes-to-battle-beer-bulge.html and http://www.myhealthycommunities.gov.au/medicare-local/ml111 - which need appropriate responses.
We want to recognise the work of each schools entry and their role as future makers, wish them well in getting their entries in place and ready.
We'll look forward to announcing the recipients of EcoGeekFactorX at the event and awarding our incentive prize to the winning team.
We find that having a ride of one of our bikes is the best way to get a proper impression of how they handle in a wide range of conditions. It's why we run our business the way we do, setting times and places to meet up with people, taking the time to understand the context of their rides and background skill levels to give them a tailored demonstration.
In our last blogpost we mentioned having set other riders loose on our Stealth Fighter demonstrator at Cameron Park as part of the HunterEV Festival Prize practice day in the lead up to National Science Week.
One of the lucky 3 riders was the owner of EagleBikes, Rob Luck. Rob has a long history with the off-road riding scene in Australia, so we were keen to hear his impressions of the (brief) ride:
"Another dimension in flat-out fun – that's my verdict from a circuit trial on a Stealth Fighter at Cameron Park Raceway. I've been fortunate enough to have some previous bursts on Stealths at other events we've attended with Quiet Rush and always been impressed. But taking to the track pushed the adrenalin rush to a new level. The immediate observation is that riding the Stealth on a track is more like a motorbike experience than a pushbike experience. The Stealth comes out of the box fast and the acceleration rushes you to the corners at near-motorbike velocities. Adopting a motorbike hunch, you can tip the bike right in to the corner at angles you couldn't achieve on a regular bike or e-bike. And get on the throttle early to maintain corner speed and flow to maintain momentum down the next straight and into the next turn.
(Ed: It's just as well the chequered flag came down. We were wondering if we'd ever prise him off the bike..Thanks for sharing the ride impressions Rob.)
We had a chance to spend a brief bit of time this week at Cameron Park raceway with the good folks behind the Hunter EV Festival as part of the Hunter EVPrize and in the leadup to National Science Week.
It was primarily a practice and shakedown day for schools sorting their electric bike entries - we thought it was also a great opportunity to have some of our commercially available Stealth Fighter demonstrators there on show to help give some added inspiration to the school students, teachers and visitors attending.
Whilst the race day itself is on 18August 2013, this was a good opportunity to see how our bikes fare in standard form on a fast GoKart track dedicated to racing, ridden at full power output of 3kw. The verdict? More fun than a barrel of monkeys!
It was great to have a chance to compare the relative stickiness of our Schwalbe Crazy Bobs (on the yellow Fighter) with the Duro Razorbacks which come standard with the Stealth Fighter. Naturally, the Crazy Bobs come up well ahead, with some quite impressive lean angles possible. It's the first time we've seen tread wear getting closer to the sidewalls.
The Duro Razorbacks, as you'd expect with a hard compound rubber, were predictably squirmier on the margins of traction, walking across the bitumen when pressed into hard lean angles. Still, it was manageable and gave good feedback to the rider about the impending loss of traction, allowing me to back off safely without sliding out. After all, we're still talking about the downside risk of hitting tarmac hard at 50km/h, so we're looking to ride within a safety margin.
One aspect we loved about the day was a chance to see what some of the school students had cooked up, with some really novel approaches and inspired designs. it's a great opportunity to blend some practical lessons in science, electronics, maths, physics and construction. Whilst there might be less emphasis on commercial viability, there were one or two designs that leapt out, including some inspired work with plywood. Which of course invites natural comparison against other awesome bikes made of wood. We're always keen to hear of rides with an ecologically sensitive design edge, for which timber is a naturally inspired material.
With a strong emphasis on rider safety and hands on participation, its an event that we'd love to see well supported and attended, so spread the word. Also keep an eye out locally for other National Science week events near you.
Sincere thanks to the supporting sponsors listed at the Hunter EV Festival website. We'll have more material up after race day - we were too busy doing laps to grab too many shots, so we're using images supplied at https://www.facebook.com/hunterevfestival.
Here's a small sample clip - even the wind on the circuit is louder than the bikes themselves..