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 Prime) Aosom 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::
- 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?
- 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?.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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),