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Thread: Replace my front wheel with Powerpod?

  1. #1

    Replace my front wheel with Powerpod?

    As some of you know, I have an LC-1 with a Powerpod that I got from MarkB. First, let me say that the Powerpod is awesome, and I don't think I'd enjoy riding my handcycle as much or at all if I didn't have the Powerpod.

    However, I think I may prefer the Powerpod in front (replace my front wheel) instead of a separate setup pushing me from behind. I realize that the current design allows me to use the Powerpod on multiple handcycles, but that won't be an issue for me at this time.

    The 24 inch wheel on my Powerpod is obviously lower that the Mavic 650 wheel but wider. Eyeballing it looks like it would fit. It will lower the frame by a little but transfer in/out of the handcycle won't be an issue.

    First of all, can it be done? If so, have any of you considered or done the same thing? Any disadvantages that you can think of?

  2. #2
    Senior Member djrolling's Avatar
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    I do not know if it will fit, I bet Patrick will know or Mark. The first thing that I think about is the extra weight, where would the batteries go? Once the batteries are dead and you want to ride you have to wait fot the batteries to charge or pedal the extra weight around...That is the first thing that comes to mind

  3. #3
    The entire rig would actually be less weight since I'd only end up with 3 wheels instead of the 4 that I have now (3 for the handcycle + 1 for the Powerpod).

    The battery would stay where it is now - on a platform behind me. I would mount find someplace to mount the controller; maybe on top of the battery, since that controller is small enough and light enough.

    I'd likely get increased drag (BMX tire versus Conti GP4000s), and I"m willing to live with that... Just not sure whether or not there's enough width given the LC-1's fork.


    Quote Originally Posted by djrolling View Post
    I do not know if it will fit, I bet Patrick will know or Mark. The first thing that I think about is the extra weight, where would the batteries go? Once the batteries are dead and you want to ride you have to wait fot the batteries to charge or pedal the extra weight around...That is the first thing that comes to mind

  4. #4
    May be too wide. You'd also have to change out the brake to accommodate the smaller/wider rim diameter.

    The push from behind is so much more efficient because with our pulling from the front wheel, it's more like a four wheel setup on a jeep; power from the front and rear. There's more inertia being pushed rather than pulled.

    For me, weight was a factor; that's why I chose the PP over the Bionix. I didn't want all the weight in the front. I also like the idea of disconnecting the PP and be in a full manual mode. Though I haven't had the PP off since I got it lol. With the electric wheel in front, it will take more effort and be less efficient wheeling at slow speeds or turning at slow speeds.

    I tried a G that came thru here with a Bionix front wheel. The front felt heavy cranking felt different.

    I just got another pinch flat after only 30 miles on the new tire. I'm changing the front wheel to a 559 wheel and will need to change the length of the brake to do so. Will probably go with a Cane Creek or White brake.

    I feel the weight saving would be minimal as it is only less the rear frame and hitch at a cost of inertia and efficieny. Is worth a try though Keith.
    Last edited by Patrick Madsen; 07-15-2012 at 12:58 AM.

  5. #5
    I would guess that adding a hub motor to the front of a lean-steer bike might make it feel a bit funny, too. It would be some work to get it all switched over just to try it, but it sounds like it wouldn't require you to buy too many new parts. Keep us posted if you give it a try. I like hearing about all the folks that have started using hub motors on their handbikes.

  6. #6
    Thanks Pat & DJ - the width question was obvious, but I I hadn't considered the question of being front-heavy, especially for a lean-steer. Will have to give that much thought.

    In the meantime, I do feel less rolling resistance with the Kenda Konversion 24x1.75 tire on the Powerpod compared to the MTB tire that I used to have.

  7. #7
    I was thinking about the PP for the front wheel more today. Yeah, it way to dangerous having a powered wheel on the front of a leansteer.

    More importantly, with you being such a low injury and using the LC, you may want to consider some cross training using the PP and riding without it.

    Since you are a lower injury, stress on the shoulders is much less than those of us with higher breaks. The leansteer is the best for conditioning the lower core and miniscule stabilizing muscles. You'd get in much better shape training without the PP as the bike would be slower requiring you to use those muscles more to keep the bike going straight. Use the PP perhaps once out so many rides to get used to going at faster and cranking at a faster speed.
    You'll notice a big difference with how the bike handles with and without the PP.

    With the wheel on front, you'd lose the option of using it for crosstraining. That bike is so light without the batteries etc, that it almost flies on it's own. That's the beauty of the PP; it gives us options.

    Have you checked the toe in/out of the rear wheels?

  8. #8
    Hi Pat - haven't checked the toe in/out of the rear wheel. The more I think about this, the more I am concerned about the safety of being front-heavy on a lean-steer. Maybe it's an excuse to get a second handcycle, so I can try out the idea.

    I do sometimes ride without the PP, but only on routes that I know are reasonably flat - typically a large parking lot (like around the Rose Bowl in Pasadena or a large industrial park), where I can just do laps. I have tendonitis/arthritiis on my left shoulder, so while I can sometimes power through moderate (and short) inclines, the long steep hills causes pain.
    Unfortunately, it is very hilly where I live.

  9. #9
    I grew up in Pasadena. Went to John Muir Highschool. The Rosebowl was our home game playing field.

    I'd be really concerned about having a powered front wheel on a leansteer too K. Esp. at the speeds the PP get up too.

  10. #10
    Hey Keith!

    There are definitely some unforseen problems with converting the front wheel to a motor, the combination of these is the reason I came up with separate wheel. A user on here called NIRVANA tried to convert his FreedomRyder lean/steer and ran into these problems:

    - the axle on the motor was too long, so he had to cut away some of the tubes that hold the feet rests to slide it in (weakening them and involving cutting the bike)
    - the axle was thicker than the drop-outs of the bike, so he had to grind out the drop-outs for it to fit - again, cutting the bike.
    - he didnt use a torque bar, so on the first ride the axle rotated in the drop-outs and mashed them all up.
    - the stock drop-outs were never intended to take a motor and so were always too weak.
    - the stock brakes did not line up because the rim placement was different with the motor's rim.
    - on the first run, the power of the front wheel, combined with the weight of the rider and the motor caused the tire to puncture. However, since there is no quick release for the motor wheel he was stuck, and could not repair the tire.
    - he then searched high and low to find a solid front tire. However, with the power of the motor, this tended to come off the front wheel.
    - the combined weight of the handcycle, the motor, the solid tire and the batteries made the whole contraption too heavy for him to solo load in and out of his van, so he needed help to load.

    Bottom line was that this was a one-way modification of the bike. And this was just the small 250w motor. It was not a plug and play by any means, he estimated it took his friend many hours of modification work to get it right.

    That is why I came up with the PP. It takes just 15 minutes to attach to someone's bike and about 4 minutes to take it off. It doesnt increase the risk of punctures. The weight is at the back and promotes stability of riding at speed. And you do not have to re-engineer your handcycle. Plus you can put it on other handcycles....

    This is the link to the thread from Nirvana that prompted me to emnark on this whole project. I would recommend you drom him a pm and ask him to verify what I wrote here....

    Cheers,

    Mark

    http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/showthread.php?t=140761

    Finally, if you do go ahead with the modification, can I ask you to write up the experience on here for everyone else to follow also....thanks
    Last edited by MarkB701; 07-17-2012 at 09:41 AM.

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