im - 11/08/2006 01:03:00 PM
Wednesday, November 8th, 2006
Big Dummy is Stoked
Todd Fahrner, Mr. Cleverchimp, sent me a Stokemonkey
bracket for the Big Dummy. I installed it last night/early this morning, so I could ride it into work today. I'm happy to report that it works great. The lighter, stiffer Big Dummy carries the load of the motor and battery better than my Instigator Xtracycle, and the mounting hardware is a bit tidier.
I've been experimenting with different battery mounting locations, and I prefer the top of the Snapdeck. It frees up both of my Freeloader cargo bags and centers the weight of the battery on the bike. The battery is shown wrapped in a removable foil-covered duct-insulating bubble-wrap cover to keep it warmer as colder Minnesota winter temps start to creep into the forecast. I'm planning on using the Stokemonkey through the winter, and nickel metal hydride battery performance levels tend to drop when the temperature drops below freezing.
The metal box on the handlebar is a cheap aluminum project box from Radio Shack, mounted to the bar using a Minoura bottle cage clamp assembly, that houses the DrainBrain wattmeter/speedometer. The box is ugly and a bit bulky. But it protects the computer and keeps driving rain from entering the Drainbrain housing at the switch location the Achilles heal of the product in regards to weatherproofing. I'll fabricate something a little smaller and prettier when time allows.
Why use a Stokemonkey? 1) It's fun going fast. 2) My average speeds with the Stokemonkey hover around 32 kph (20 mph) while obeying traffic laws. Without the Stokemonkey, I'm averaging about 24 kph (15 mph)
and I work harder. Stokemonkey buys me additional time with my family each day. If I used the motor each work day over the course of a year, I'd expect to save 150 - 170 hours of commuting time. That's worth something. 3) It's fun going fast. 4) When riding on public roads, it's safer to travel at/near the speeds of automobile traffic. 5) It's fun going fast.
I'll always have a non-Stokemonkied Xtracycle or Big Dummy, too, because I don't want the battery to limit my range when I need to go long distances
camping, touring, and commuting more than 20miles. And, we all know that technology will eventually let us down. When my Stokemonkey battery dies (or I forget to charge it) or I break a wire or burn out a controller or throttle pot, I can always rely on tried-and-true leg power to haul my stuff around.