QuietRush wins 2014 HunterEVPrize 1500 eBike class and energy-autonomy award in National Science Week
Quiet Rush are delighted to have won the 2014 Hunter EV Prize 1500 eBike class amongst a diverse team of entries, including converted motorcycles and high powered eBike kit bikes, racing a standard Stealth Fighter as part of our range of Australian designed and made Offroad Electric Bike range from Stealth Electric Bikes. Whilst not designed specifically for tarmac racing, their versatility and leading-edge performance and reliability made the race thoroughly enjoyable, backed up by the knowledge that they can be ridden just as hard in off road settings. The bikes truly are a unique vehicle, developed from Australian ingenuity into an internationally recognised export, regarded by many as the worlds best electric bikes. We relied on quality products from Kali Protectives and Troy-Lee Designs to keep us safe whilst racing.
Quiet Rush was also recognised as an innovator for energy-autonomy, taking 3rd place in the National Science Week Cup-Sparking Innovation in EVolution Prize. Our in-vehicle solar charging system, built with Goal Zero products from Laughing Mind (http://www.laughingmind.com/energy-autonomy.html) attracted a lot of interest over the 2 days, showcasing the possibility of running grid-independent, portable eBike charging systems using solar power as our primary energy source. This makes powered adventure possible wherever you are, providing clean, renewably sourced power for charging a wide range of digital devices and recreational products. Whilst not at the grade of 1st place winner Elmofo with their world-leading electric race-car charging system, we are delighted to be recognised for effort in this category, using consumer products available from Laughing Mind as a Goal Zero dealer committed to innovating in new markets.
QuietRush wishes to acknowledge our sincere thanks to the Hunter EV Festival sponsors for making the event possible, with particular mention of the hard work of the event organising team at the Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment at the University of Newcastle.
Quiet Rush particularly want to thank the following parties:
With the Hunter EV Festival practice day coming up fast on 31 July 2014, we thought it would be worth taking a quick retrospective at where two wheeled transport options have evolved from. The electric bikes the school teams will be preparing, whilst unable to be powered by pedals during the event, will have the ability to trace some of their lineage back to older machinery that still gets around today.
On a recent weekend trip, we came across the Newcastle Vintage Motorcycle Club members out for a day trip to Morpeth Park, with a whole bunch of bikes spanning many years of technology and engine styles, including a blast from our past, a Suzuki GT750 water-cooled 2-stroke. But there was also older gear, including combined pedal+powered vintage bikes, allowing two different modes of propulsion, a feature shared by our bikes.
Naturally, seeing two wheel machines fitted with pedals is always going to attract our gaze. When we paused to check them out in closer detail, contrasting a 1912 BSA and Triumph motorcycle with our Stealth Fighter, more than one similarity emerged.
Can you guess which brand name component these machines share across that timespan?
Yep, it was the Brooks saddles. Supporting the backside of riders across the world, for over a century. Performance and drivetrains may have changed a lot, but not riders desire for a comfy seat. It's why we use a Brooks B17, a 100yr old design, but still working beautifully. And in case you're wondering what the pedals on these older machines were for, here's a quick snapshot.
Since writing our last post on eBike charging off grid using renewable sources we thought it was time to give a bit of an update of our current approach. Our partner company, Laughing Mind, is now a dealer for Goal Zero portable power products which gives us ready access to an awesome range of portable power products from Goal Zero. People might have caught a glimpse in some earlier posts from Stealth, appearing on Pinkbike.
Our two favourites from the GoalZero Product range from Laughing Mind so far include the Guide 10 kit and Yeti 1250 Solar Generator.
Goal Zero Guide 10 Kit
We use a Goal Zero Guide10 Kit for slinging across our backpack, providing power on the go for charging up smartphones and our camera batteries, or giving us power on the days when we're exhibiting. We'll be using this setup at the 2014 NSW EV Festival later this year, along with a range of other upcoming shows - we think its perfect for athletes and adventurers on the move who need power in the field. It powers iPads, smartphones, cameras and keeps some market stall based friends of ours juiced up through the day, supporting them in mobile retail and image creation.
A Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator (shown under the front wheel of the blue Fighter) provides power for the heavy lifting, keeping a fridge running, recharging our Fighter and occasionally customer Bombers as well as providing solar sourced power for mobile office duties when the Guide 10 Kit is occupied- laptops, iPads, smartphones, cameras and our lights.
We're able to keep the Yeti1250 charged up as a backup power source, using either grid sourced power from the wall or using the Goal Zero Boulder 30 Solar Panels in a portable array. No more need for carrying fuel or dealing with buzzing petrol powered generators. Just silent, clean charging.
With more products coming up for release in Australia later in 2014, we're going to enjoy acting as a test lab to help refine the ideal product mix for Laughing Mind's Energy Autonomy initiative, as well as bike owners looking for clean, portable, rugged power products. If you want to take a closer look at them, just get in touch, or be sure to schedule the NSW Electric Vehicle Festival into your calendar for 16-17August, 2014 where we'll have them on show.
With a long hot summer looming for 2013, after a record breaking year in 2012, we thought it was time to do something about making some more shade available for those long days at trade shows, or for the times when we're being digital nomads at Laughing Mind. After watching the awnings solution space for at least 24mths and getting sorely tempted by the Foxwing awnings, we finally took the plunge after discovering Ostrich Wing awnings from South Africa, imported by OstrichWing Australia and finally appearing at Opposite Lock Newcastle.
With a 270 degree arc of coverage and a sub 40 second set-up/90 second pack-up time, we're seriously impressed. The guys at Opposite Lock in Newcastle were great to deal with, taking care of the awning fitting and some custom brackets for a solid fixing to our old van. Whilst we might have just missed out on being able to use it in the downpour at RedAss DownHill championships in Cooranbong on Sunday, we know there's another outing just around the corner. Installation images below will give you an idea of the before, during and after process.
One of the things that makes my Fighter so much fun is the effect it has on helping me up a steep climb when riding with friends. The more technical the climb, the better, as it just makes for a great skills challenge, drawing on balance, traction, strength and line selection - a great mix.
After weeks in front of the keyboard working on projects for Laughing Mind, with a demo ride looming, I headed out for a bit of location scouting today to try and find some terrain with a decent mix of challenges.
One benefit of having moved closer to the Watagans is the extent of trail networks that have been traversed by dirtbike riders over the years. The ride today gave me a chance to put the 'ebikes can't climb like an enduro bike' statement to the test, as well as capture some metrics on rider effort expended. After a quick scout, I found myself on some clearly well used sandstone rock ledge step-ups, clearly stamped with black rubber imprints from riders before me on much larger and more powerful machines. I didn't inspect the terrain closely enough to see if there was perhaps some residual blood stains as well, but am sure that if a string of expletives could leave a mark, I'd have found plenty.
I wanted to see how my little Stealth Fighter might cope with a decent series of step-ups and the amount of effort I would expend in a brief outing, as time was short and I wanted to cover the full spectrum of technique challenge, anaerobic and aerobic workouts. I wasn't disappointed with the outcome! Whilst speeds weren't high, my heart-rate certainly was, which meant two key (usually mutually exclusive) outcomes were achieved - I got a great workout whilst keeping my risk profile relatively low, climbing steep track at low speed/high effort/high concentration, as line selection was crucial. The terrain was all uphill, with a combination of deep slippery ruts, rock ledges and loose surfaces that were easy to lose traction on if care wasn't taken with the right hand and pedal effort. The results of one 30min section of the ride are shown below, captured from my Strava stream (note that average HR here was 165bpm, MaxHR-195bpm, so was working hard):
The overall conclusion - I can still get one hell of a workout, at lower speed and reduced risk, riding silently, without disturbing terrain or other track users / local residents / wildlife, without needing to be suited up like Iron Man - but 3kw is still no match for a larger motor when it comes to raw torque. However, I know which bike I'd rather be riding now and as far as I'm concerned, my Stealth Fighter climbs just fine. I'll be back for more just as soon as I can, with some more suitable tyres than my my Schwalbe Crazy Bobs, at lower pressures for less line deflection - 65psi was just nuts, so Duro Razorbacks for the next effort.
I might even try it at night, just to see how our new lights hold up to the challenge. Longer footage of the ride can be found at the bottom of the page.
Wow. We've been delighted by the interest shown in our bike range on display as part of the inaugural 2013 DiG Festival (Design, Interactive and Green-Tech) and the nice things people have been saying about us.
It's been great to come and support the event in its first year, with some world-class speakers, covering a great variety of topics and workshops. I just wish more Novocastrians realised what an awesome event is taking place right there in Town Hall.
I've included a curated set of tweets that stood out from the pack below:
Our Vimily interviews
We were approach by the nice people at Vimily to answer three questions about DIG. You can see our set of answers
The image below is a record of biostream data captured from Strava during the 2013 HunterEVPrize race, showing elevation, heartrate and speed. Make of it what you will, but one thing is clear - with an average heart-rate of 150bpm, the Adrenal circuit was clearly working well.
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.