>>Yamavolt hits the road
September 18, 2008, 5:25 am
Filed under: Electric fun

Yamavolt ran its first mile this evening. I rolled it out into the street, turned the switches, and hummed around the corner. The motor is strong off the line. The bike accelerated very nicely to about 30mph, then pulled more moderately — I backed off the throttle at about 40mph.

After a half mile going up a modest hill I turned around and coasted back. Can’t tell if the regenerative braking works: I’ll have to rig up an onboard voltmeter to see if the voltage climbs with the throttle closed. The bike has no sidestand yet so I leaned it gently against the old Guzzi for the portrait here (the two bikes were manufactured no more than a year apart).

It’s not exactly silent. There’s a hum from the chain and the 35-year-old front drum brake makes a bit of a scrape on each revolution of the wheel — that, I trust, will disappear as the brake shoes shine the rust off the iron lining of the drum.

The bike is not comfortable. When I raced this thing I was about 20 lb. thinner and a lot more spry. It took a couple of tries to fold my legs more or less painlessly so that my feet rested on the rear-set pegs.

One mile produced about a 1.5 volt drop. At full charge, this bank of batteries should be good for 55 volts, and it’s theoretically safe to run them down to about 36 volts without damage. If 1.5 volts per mile is what I’m going to get on average, then range should be about 12.6 miles, at about 80 watt-hours per mile. I’ll take it: the target with this battery set was 10 miles.

The wiring is robust but it’s an aesthetic nightmare, and rain would short it out quickly. I’m afraid I’ll have to cut the bottom out of that beautiful aluminum fuel tank and hide all the circuitry in there.

The bike is on the Soneil 48-volt charger for the night. I’m hoping for the full 55 volts by morning, and will try a two-mile ride on Thursday evening. If the drop is still 1.5 volts per mile, I’ll ride it 5 miles to work on Friday.

Next step: Bolt on a kickstand, head and taillights.



1 Comment so far
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Nice job, Seth.

Comment by Pete Wagner

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