Prepping: A Hybrid eBike Concept

I am not one to go about trying to find new (and creative) ways to break the law…We assiduously uphold the law, even when it’s self-serving and occasionally outright freedom-restricting.

That said, we see how laws are sometimes made for more than keeping the public peace and order.  And, in the case of States regulating the creation of homemade vehicles, it becomes (as I see it) overstep with an objective of writing more tickets (revenue) and setting up a new bureaucracy (mandatory training).

The Book of Ure Sayeth:  When Government uses the term “Mandatory” and then “Fines” it’s a tax and most of these regulations are made-up administratively without due process.  Try building your own car and see how far you get…It drives creative people to buy junkers for their rat rods so they can get a dashboard or door post with a VIN number on it, Can you spell C-R-O-C-K?  On the pretext of shutting down chop shops and we know that doesn’t work….but I digress.

Before I lay out my plans for what seems to me to be a perfectly legal long-range bugout vehicle) a few words about my personal motorcycle experience that has driven me in this direction.  Ure is a dangerous old man – 70 in a couple of months.

My first motorized ride was a borrowed 50CC yellow Suzuki when I was all of 16 years old.  Rode up and down the hills around our home in Seattle.  After that, my life-long buddy up the street got a small-displacement Honda and let me ride that a bit.  Damn little, come to think of it. He was having too much fun with it.

My first “real” motorcycle was a Yamaha 350 rotary value RD-350 Café Racer.  It was light and it screamed.  O to 60 in a couple of seconds.  Sounded like a vacuum cleaner when you jumped on it.   Got to the point where on most of the hills on Seattle’s Magnolia Bluff, I could make it halfway across an intersection in the air…Statue of limitations long run out, of course, but weren’t we all young and foolish, once?

For a while, I was off motorcycles. but by 1972 I had “the itch” so to scratch it, I bought a brand new Honda 350-XL (thumper) single cylinder dirt bike.  (Borrowed at a Boeing press conference once by Jordan’s King Hussein in town for a Boeing delivery.  He was not only a ham radio op, and accomplished pilot, but until that day had not ridden a Honda 350-XL..Great rider..).  Point is, I loved to ride.

Only a few times (after aerobatics in a Cessna Aerobat) was the Honda less than great.

There was one more significant bike in my life – a 1970’s vintage Yamaha 650 Virago shaft-drive.  I can’t say how many weekends I spent taking a route from Seattle, up over the “Little Alps” of the North Cascades highway, then down through Chelan, taking the Blewitt Pass cutoff from US-2 and coming back to Seattle over Interstate-90. I had more bugs in the teeth and pure joy of riding than anyone should ever be allowed.

Then Life intervened.  Wife, kids, home in the ‘burbs…and on to Porsche disease.  Key thing is, like sailing or flying, you never bikes out of your system.  It just goes into remission for a while.

Unbeknownst to me, when I moved to Florida – later in life –  they failed to transfer my Washington “Unlimited class” motorcycle option.  So, when I got to Texas a few years later (when the bug has been biting a lot lately) there was no endorsement.

Which left me with a couple of choices.

I could get another motorcycle and dirt bike my own property (and in a pinch wherever, changing a ticket) – so an 80 CC “suicide bike” kit off eBay and some special order low-speed gearing for dirt biking around the property is in the works.

Second choice that I briefly entertained was the idea of another Virago, but nowadays (since government had over-reached simple “safety” and has moved on to bureaucracy and business-building) I discovered not matter what, to ride on public streets I’d have to “take classes.”  No, of course they aren’t free.

AYFKM?  100,000 miles of accident-free riding (and an onboard sense of where not to put on brakes around oil patches and knowing everyone will turn left in front of you) and I have to pay a couple of hundred bucks for this BS?  WTF?  Lotsa luck trying to get my Washington endorsement transferred even if I know my old DL number…Bureaucracies don’t like squeaky people if you follow.  If you’re old, they will win by playing the ‘delay game,” too.

That left me fuming when I thought out it with no options but to ‘get creative.”

Then I FOUND IT!  Last weekend by accident.

On the PeopleForBikes website, I found a write-up on what the eBike laws are in Texas.  Here’s the key part from their website that got me excited:

” E-bikes are de?ned as “electric bicycles,” so long motor has a maximum speed of 20mph. The same rules of the road apply to both e-bikes and human-powered bicycles. » E-bikes are not subject to the registration, licensing or insurance requirements that apply to motor vehicles.
» Helmets are not required for e-bike use and there is no age minimum. E-bikes are allowed on bike paths and sidewalks.

Hot-freaking-diggity-damn, Sam!  This was a gap big enough to drive my dreams through.

In addition of the Huffy mountain bike which is slowly being modded for the 80CC engine, out in the shop, we keep a couple of bike ready for…whatever

Either this bike, or the one behind it, may become the base for my eBike conversion.

Since I am not a small fellow, I figure that to get up to the 20 MPH speed (on level ground) and towing a trailer – which I’ll explain in a sec. – I would need something bigger than the mousy 750-watt (1 horsepower) eBike rear axle motors.

I got to looking at the roughly $230-buck Voilamart 26″ Rear Wheel Electric Bicycle Conversion Kit, 48V 1500W E-Bike Powerful Hub Motor Kit with Intelligent Controller and PAS System, Restricted to 750W for Road Bike.

I really like the “intelligent controller:” idea since I’ve been involved in electric vehicle instrumentation in one of my previous incarnations.  Sure, on dead level ground 750 watts MIGHT get a 170 pounder on 1-3/4 tires to go 20 MPH, but the laws aren’t written that way.  They simply say 20 MPH.  So, let me see:  If I can go 20 MPH up a hill with 3,000 watts worth of motor, it would still live within the letter of the law, right?  (LEO’s aren’t fond of wise-acres, lol…but it the Law, not their laws…)

By the way, if you go down this road, have your checkbook ready:  The eBike conversion kit is $250 but plan another $400, or more, for a 48 Volt battery.

Sure, Ure...nothing special…you build a bike that will get what – maybe 15 miles and die?  At 20 miles an hour…what a crockash*t project!”

Hold up there, Bubba.  Remember that trailer I told you about? The $106 (with PrimeAosom Enclosed Bicycle Cargo Trailer – Black?

Now, let me tell you what I put would put in there: A PowerPro 56100 2-Stroke 1000-Watt Generator along with a couple of 2-gallon gas cans.  Enough for 24 hours of run time.

Ure’s Hybrid eBike Idea Comes into Focus


  • One used 26-inch mountain bike
  • One 1500/750 watt eBike conversion kit
  • One spendy 48V eBike battery
  • One bike cargo trailer
  • One 1000-2000 class gas generator (with silencing if you want to).  Source a cheaper one maybe on C/L.
  • Spare cans of premix gas/oil (or use a 4 stroke generator in California to avoid running afoul CARB regulations.  (That’s the California Air Resource Board for those in live in freer states…)

I THINK – and you do your own due diligence on this — this is where it leads::

  1. eBikes aren’t regulated in Texas (no insurance or licensure, or operator permitting) IF they don’t go faster than 20 MPH.  The law doesn’t mention hill climbing capability at 20 MPH and we electronic grown-ups know what a PWM controller is, right?
  2. My eBike will have a 20 MPH cutout since the law regulates on speed not the number of watts consumed (in what I’ve read so far).  Can Texas ticket human-powered bikes going over 20 MPH down a hill?  Gotta look into that…we don’t want selective enforcement of laws, do we?.
  3. The small generators like this will run for about 5-hours on a tankful of fuel – which is a liter or 1two, so plan on what,…10 hours of generator run-time per gallon?  More research to do on this.
  4. This will give a wildly guessed-at range of 24 hours or better at 20 miles per hour – with additional range for pedal-assist.  600 miles?  Or, is it more than that due to hills?  How much?
  5. Since Bikes are not registered in Texas with DMV, this means the trailer doesn’t need a license since it is not being pulled by a “motor vehicle.”

Like I said, you will have to work your own angles and your results may vary, but sure looks to me like a pretty interesting notion in bug-out vehicles.

Oh, yeah. 2,000 watt generator, 2000 watt wheel motor (and PWM controlled to 20 MPH, lol) and now we can get off the road with this lash-up, too.  That means enough power to toss in some MRE’s, water, and the one thing that scares the hell out of us on this project.

A Flat Tire Kit.

Write when you get rich (or free),

19 thoughts on “Prepping: A Hybrid eBike Concept”

  1. The hub motor is “Currently unavailable”, you sold them out! This is a neat idea but that generator is a loud one (60dB @ 23′).

    I saw an e-bike with a trailer in Quartzsite, AZ. There was a solar panel mounted on the trailer.

  2. For bug-out purposes, be more than 3 days walking away from the city folk. By that time they will have given up. So this seems like a pretty versatile vehicle plan, for those on a limited budget and access to paved roads. Hopefully George you are far enough out and off the road that no one will find you. Be prepared by 2021 to 2023. By then the dollar will be a peso.

  3. There’s also a federal law that says to be classified as an e-bike ‘for sale’, the motor must be limited to 750W. Whether this applies after sale at the state level is unclear. You can do what I do, which is to have a switch tucked away somewhere discretely that flips the power from ‘on-road’ 750W to ‘off-road ‘whatever’ Watts.

  4. You reminded me with this exciting post of my own experience with a Honda 350 thumper. 14 years old and at the time grounded for I forget what. Got home from school before the folks so I decided to take a ride. Nobody would know right. That was before the turn a ways from home and at the same time I cranked the throttle all the way back out jumps the biggest damn German Shepard I have ever seen. Over the handlebars I went plowing the road with my face.

    Bike was totaled and after my time in the ER I had to endure additional time added onto my original grounded sentence. Never found that dog.

    Sold my old Electraglide a couple years ago. Still miss that old beast.


  5. For a few $$$ more you can about double your range by using an inverter-generator, which in a bugout situation could be critical.

  6. Oh, and the southern invasion force shows that motivated people can walk more than 3-4 ….plan accordingly.

    • No, it shows that Soros figured out foreign political agitators can mount buses and trucks without losing their impact within our 5th column, as soon as the cameras are gone.

      I guarandamntee that nobody who’s not very used to walking can average 3mph over soft pavement, let alone terrain. One would be hard-pressed to find a preteen or child who could hit 2mph, let alone sustain it over distance.

      A motivated college kid with classes scattered about a campus will learn to walk @ ~3mph. Frankly, the ONLY people I ever see who walk that fast ARE college kids or freshouts, and usually women who’re shopping. I appreciate them greatly because they’re the only shoppers who don’t get in my way.

  7. Even an e-bike has two wheels, so there’s nothing wrong with having two hub motors. It makes sense in case one fails. Just ride on one to be legal and cut in the other when you need or want it. I do like the idea of the range extender, and it’s an opportunity to build your own. I’m partial to the idea of a linear alternator with no crank though that’s easier conceived than built. Of course, it takes time and none of us have that.

    One real advantage of an e-bike is that it is nearly silent when operated in electric only mode. For myself, any serious vehicle with less than a 300 mile range is nearly useless.

    I feel for you regarding the “M” endorsement. I’ve switched states and had to remind the DMV about it more than once, and am super careful about making sure it gets transferred. It’s as though they will drop it if they can. I suppose Texas is among the few states that require actual training for the endorsement. It still might be worth getting though, since you can afford it.

    In my state we don’t have helmet laws and it’s quite relaxed regarding building your own motor vehicle. You can pretty much build what you want and register it if it meets the legal minimums and you can prove where all the parts came from. It’s still easier if you start with a VIN number. The other trick is finding an insurance company that will even talk to you.

  8. George

    ” Ure is a dangerous old man – 70 in a couple of months.”

    I thought I had that spot for myself!!

  9. “Can Texas ticket human-powered bikes going over 20 MPH down a hill? ”

    OTFLMAO… Lol …a couple of stories.. The first.. The bubble wrapped fighter jet…a relative of mine while in the marines was known to do some things off the cuff..well his job repairing aircraft..they had one come in a leak in a wing fuel line.. In ordering the fuel line he was told nope.. Can’t get it for you..item isn’t on the parts list.. Well I have to get the plane in the air asap…what part is on the list..a wing ok so send me a wing…nope none available they’re three months back ordered… Ok..what do I have to do to get this plane in the air..well you can send it to us for exchange because the only option is another plane lol lol do I prep the plane for shipping….. Bubble wrap it is the official military way.. Lol lol so they bubble wrapped a fighter jet.. The base commander shows up the next morning to the fighter jet on the runway all bubble wrapped.. He was excited to say the least wanted to know what in the check is going on..getting the plane back in the air sir.. He was sure that it was some stunt and was livid then they announced the replacement had arrived lol yup all bubble wrapped.
    The second is a story the same individual wanted to see how fast he could go downhill on a bike.. He was cruising..went by a highway patrolman that radiated him above the speed limit..he got a speeding ticket and one for reckless driving..he had to attend classes on ridding bikes.. Lol lol lol

  10. Oh..a junk prius battery if you take it out is two hundred four hundred if they take it out..controller is another hundred plus

  11. Ure, you make me smile. I’m a little older than you, turned 70 in August. I started on a Honda 90 back in 1964 and spent a lot of my life on 2 wheels since. My son got one of those two-cycle motorized bicycle kits on ebay. Not Happy. You’ll eventually need motorcycle spokes.
    I still have my M/C Endorsement (all these years) so, of course, I have my Geeze Bike: a Honda CM250 road bike. My bug out won’t be any faster than yours if the roads are sealed off and I have to go off trail. Still, I “can” go off trail. Gotta love your attitude !

  12. Scale back your generator plan, it’s not quiet, and way overpowered for recharging. Something in the honda eu1000 class inverter generator would be better.
    And forget solar panels, to carry enough you would have to ride onw day, park & charge the next.

  13. Me likee!

    Ideas for v2.0:

    1. Fatbike?

    2. Heard a college football game last week (it was on the tube, but I was working, so not paying attention) where one of the broadcast crew had a radar gun. There was a breakaway run, dunno if it was a return or an offensive play, but the runner scored after an 80-90 yard run. He was going 20.83mph when he crossed the goal line.

    I would want to be able to significantly outrun this guy…

    3. They’re spendy, but how ’bout a Honda or Yamaha quiet generator? As a town putterer I wouldn’t care, but as an emergency BOV, I’d want something dead-reliable.

    The Wen 56100 you picked is a 1kW generator. It has a 1 gallon tank and runs 5hrs @ 50%. The Honda and Yamaha 2kW quiet generators have 4L tanks and run 8 & 10½ hours/gal @ 25%, respectively.

    4. If it’s a BOV, why worry about traffic legalities; if it is an experimental, why worry about a genset?

    5. You can buy new tubes with a layer of “Slime” in them — s’posed to be puncture-proof. My daughter rides about 3k/yr and couldn’t keep round tires. I bought/installed a pair of these tubes 11 years ago and she hasn’t had a flat since. Dunno if she’s still rolling on Slime, but I’d assume so…

    6. Electric bikes can be had with one or two motors. I’d assume front-wheel motors can also be purchased as aftermarket add-ons.

    Ah, they can:

    How ’bout building a 2-motor bike, tweaking the controller to whatever output yields 20mph, and putting a switch in the [blue wire runs], to give you instant full power (and probably 45mph+)? You could even get fancy and use the RS232 or USB out on a handheld GPS as the speed-limiter.

    I am definitely not a fan of the price of suitable battery packs. I’d frankly think seriously about buying a couple hundred 3.4v non-chipped Li-Ion cells (18650, IIRC) and rolling my own (195 of them would yield 51v@28.5A – ideal for this motor.) All that soldering would be a PITA, but (if the batteries are purchased correctly) it’d also be $400+ cheaper than a premade battery pack.

  14. How about a 4-cycle gasoline powered push trailer. Built w/centrifugal clutch, throttle cabled to bike handlebars & kill switch. Some place in Montana builds them. Looks great for off-road. Not sure about the legalities.

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