Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the tag “Evelo”

Re-tired

Back in action, with new tires.

Back in action, with new tires.

The Evelo Aurora e-bike is back on its feet after I pulled a senior moment and blew out a tire and flatted a tube a week ago. I know, whoop-dee-doo. But that downtime underscored just how reliant I’ve become on the e-bike to handle the nine-mile trips toward town for everything from haircuts to idle exploration. Yesterday was the repair and first trash run to discard the old tires and the carton that the new ones came in. The new Michelin Country Dry [2] (yep tricky name) tires have a series of small lugs all ’round, which puts them right in paved and fire trail territory for intended usage. They recommend 29 PSI for general use, with a maximum of 58 PSI. I put them at about 30, and the ride is predictably cushy over rough stuff. Battery range will probably benefit from higher pressures, but I thought I’d run them low for awhile.

Compared to the tall, aggressive lugs on the ancient Maxxis tires the bike had been wearing, they do appear and act different at first blush. They have a slight hum on pavement, but not annoyingly so. Hard dirt and especially sand feel more secure than the Maxxis tires did, which may prove a godsend on certain trails near Yuma later this year. But, they are more prone to side-slip on a sloped mix of loose dirt topped with gravel, or when rolling over loose stones. Once the gravel gets above a certain stone size, there’s no difference. It’s a trade-off I can deal with.

I goofed when ordering the self-sealing Michelin tubes, and what arrived were

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The Aurora Frankenstein

 

The stock Aurora, as originally delivered. From here on, it's just a myriad of bolt-on details.

The stock Aurora, as originally delivered. From here on, it’s just a myriad of bolt-on details.

[Boredom alert: This post is an incredible 8,900 words long, which may induce coma in certain persons. The first half consists of much whining, and relates how the various modifications to the Aurora came about, as a methodical ordeal. The second half gets down to the specific parts used, with links. So feel free to skip on down to the subtitle “Modifications Parts List” if you find your eyes beginning to dance around in your head. Or, just look at the pretty pictures. Gearheads will want to saw all the way through, if time allows.]

Turning a more powerful Evelo Aurora into a rough approximation of their more practical Luna model is not necessarily an easy thing. In my peculiar situation, it’s difficult, even if you restrict the types of modifications to the “bolt-on” category. After all, there’s no place inside my dry trailer living space to work on it, and it certainly can’t be left disemboweled outside in Midwest thunderstorms. Tain’t the kind of project that can sit around unused for weeks or months, either. It needed to have new parts grafted on and be put into service, pronto. With just two months to order, receive, and then modify to completion, I was on the clock. It appeared to be difficult, but do-able.

The principal difficulty is certainly not bolting the parts on. It’s finding parts that will both do the job and fit first time, out of the box, sight unseen. The assortment of frame styling oddities that define the Aurora’s unique appearance also work against accepting many conventional bicycle accessories. (And yes, I’m still receiving unsolicited compliments about the Aurora’s appearance.) Evelo Customer Service can help resolve some compatibility issues, but it’s a big accessory industry out there.

If you haven’t been following this series, you may ask why I’d choose this e-bike in the first place, then. You need to go Read more…

The Cheapskate’s Dilemma

A pickup truck wades out toward the dry part of the salt flats used as the race course.

A pickup truck wades out toward the dry part of the salt flats used as the race course.

Something I hadn’t banked on from last year’s all-or-nothing weather at the Bonneville Speedway was that part of the salt flats could be dry and usable for speed events, while the rest could be terminally underwater. It’s a fairly common situation, as it turns out. The endpoint of the access road to get there is nicknamed the “boat ramp” for just that reason. Right now, it’s under what I’m guessing is 9″-12″ of water, depending on the path you take. It was much shallower on Friday morning before a passing thunderstorm dumped more water on it. The track area apparently survived, while the entrance did not.

The two techniques used: on the left is the wader, rolling slowly through so as to limit splashing of the saltwater. On the right is the impatient hard charger, who must have a rental or leased car, because no one would do this to a personally-owned vehicle, would they?

The two techniques used: on the left is the wader, rolling slowly through so as to limit splashing of the saltwater. On the right is the impatient hard charger, who must have a rental or leased car, because no one would do this to a personally-owned vehicle, would they?

Beginning this weekend and running through Thursday, the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials are taking place. The water entrance hasn’t proven a problem at all for the racers and hangers-on. They just dive right on in with whatever they have.

I find this impressive, but less so after I think about it. These guys make

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When Your Eyes Are Bigger Than Your Bike Trailer

The Pack Mule still looks wonky, but at least is more at home in the outlands.

The Pack Mule still looks wonky, but at least is more at home in the outlands.

I did a grocery run into town yesterday, a trip taking an hour each way, not including the dawdling and looping around in the store to locate things. I found everything I needed though, and then some. Meat, produce, fruits, eggs, etc. Of course, I needed to replenish my supply of Carlo Rossi’s Paisano Fine Table Wine. I’m not sure what vintage it is, since it’s $13 for a glass 4-liter jug of the stuff. Red wine. Good for the heart, you know, unless of course you drink all of it in just a few sittings. I even found some sunscreen rated at 100, just the thing for if one of the scheduled Bonneville Speedway events isn’t rained out. Unfortunately, they had a sale on Coca-Cola. If you bought six 1-liter bottles, the price dropped to $1 a bottle. I was helpless to resist.

In the store, I quickly stumbled into three people wearing “Venturi Buckeye Bullet” T-shirts, who have their racing vehicle parked in one of the hangers of the defunct WWII airport at the fringes of downtown Wendover. They said they were waiting out the weather for a bit to see if an FIA-certified land speed record attempt could/would be made. What’s notable is that their narrow four-wheeler is entirely electric, and in a previous incarnation has topped 320 MPH in the past. They sounded like they were sitting on an updated design, and had their hearts set on 400 MPH. These guys (and gal) are obviously packing some serious watts. Personally, I am very optimistic for electric-powered vehicles in this setting, since short bursts of extreme power levels is their forte, much more so than long-distance runs. By the way, they mentioned the special race events for electric motorcycles at the Isle of Mann, so they apparently get around. This is an interesting place, come August!

Once I was back out in the hard reality of the parking lot with my e-bike and trailer, it became apparent that Read more…

Bonneville’s Jinx?

The new Rancho Begley. Note that the Aurora, loaded with dirty laundry, looks more at home out here than it does in a suburban area.

The new Rancho Begley. Note that the Aurora e-bike, loaded with dirty laundry, looks more at home out here than it does in a suburban area.

With the Southern California Timing Association’s Speed Week event scheduled to run August 9-15 this year, recent sprinkles had bumped the planned start by just a day, with first actual runs to start on Monday instead of Sunday. Not bad. When I arrived Friday afternoon, everything was looking promising. The short drive from I-80 to the “Y” intersection of the access road to the salt and Leppy Pass Road to the camping areas at the foot of the Silver Island Mountains was jammed with traffic and vehicles parked on the shoulder. Several BLM Rangers were directing the stream of traffic, asking each driver what they hoped to do, and then directing them as needed.

This guy is hoping to run his Cummins diesel-powered rod for a record.

This guy is hoping to run his Cummins diesel-powered rod for a record.

I made my way up toward last year’s campsite, found a workable area, and parked just long enough to yank the Evelo Aurora off the front end of the Ford. Racers are nothing if not celebratory partygoers, and although I found a Read more…

Vedauwoo Recreational Area

The Defiant, in her secret lair.

The Defiant, in her secret lair.

Another double-length drive through Nebraska got me to the Medicine Bow National Forest in Wyoming, at sunset. To boondock there, you go past the entrance for the Vedauwoo Recreational Area, which is a very nice paved campground and picnic area, with walking paths right up to some of the finest climbing cliffs I’ve ever seen. The day use area costs $5/day, and camping (without any hookups) is $10/night. I’m not dead sure any of the spaces will fit the Defiant, but there is some accommodation for larger rigs.

After a tour down several miles of the worst washboard gravel road I’ve seen to date, I managed to find a spot to turn around, and wound up pulling into the same area I stayed at last year, but in a position that would limit exposure to mud if the weather turned bad, as had been forecast. It was dark by that time, and quite late, so the evening celebrations were curtailed a bit.

This is hardpack, and with a stiffly-suspended vehicle, it's time to rock and roll. A normal one can skate over this at 30 MPH or so, but the result of doing that with the F-250 and trailer is not so good, at least at tire pressures that will handle the weight.

This is hardpack, and with a stiffly-suspended vehicle, it’s time to rock and roll. A normal car/truck can skate over this at 30 MPH or so, but the result of doing that with the F-250 and trailer is not so good, at least at tire pressures that will handle the weight. A few miles of this at 1/2 MPH makes the paved fee campsite pretty appealing.

Breaking out the solar panels the next morning on a whim, I hoped to stay 3 nights before moving on – a choice that requires solar power unless I want to live Spartan. I popped the Evelo Aurora off its rack after Read more…

Going Hollywood

How do you carry a heavy e-bike and trailer when there ain't no mo' room?

How do you carry a heavy e-bike and trailer when there ain’t no mo’ room? Like this!

After carrying my Raleigh in the traditional way – a bike rack bolted to the rear bumper of the Defiant – I determined not to repeat that setup with my new Evelo Aurora e-bike. First, the filth back there is stunning on a dusty gravel road. And, it sticks to anything that is or ever has been lubricated. A bicycle is nothing if not full of nooks and crannies, and trying to keep up with the problem has proven impractical. Second, the Defiant’s spare tire already lives back there, greatly complicating rack choices and durability. Third, the Defiant’s bumper is a pretty thin square tube of metal with 20 years of rust on its interior. I have this nagging feeling that the combination of a spare tire, rack, the e-bike, and the trailer bumper might part the ways someday, and I’d never know it while I’m driving. I dropped a rack, with bike, many years ago, and Read more…

The Evelo Aurora, Part 2

This post is a literal continuation of “The Evelo Aurora, Part I” and is incomplete as a standalone article. You will want to read that first to get a more balanced view, if you have not already done so.

The Evelo Aurora, suitably optioned.

The Evelo Aurora, suitably optioned.

There are only two cautions with the Aurora, traits shared by many e-bikes of this type. First, when you stop pedaling, it will take one second for the sensors to detect this and cut power. I mentioned this earlier. There may be some situations where this may briefly surprise you, until you get used to it. That’s easy.

A second trait is more important, and can be more difficult to get used to. It’s common with a normal bike to coast into a slow, tight turn when maneuvering into a confined area or around obstacles. Then you decide to give it half a pedal just to maintain momentum or help it up a sidewalk ramp, or to take a change in paths. On a pedal-assisted e-bike, this ingrained effort to keep things just right is a bad idea, because the motor will dutifully kick back in at whatever assist level you left it set at. This can be exciting, especially if you are carefully balanced in a tight, slow turn. The unexpected surge of power will put some wobble in that balance. The good news is that instinctively tapping either brake will instantly cut power, rescuing the situation, however clumsily. If you have a lot of seat time on a conventional bicycle, it can take awhile to “unlearn” this habit and substitute a touch of throttle in place of pedaling. The throttle feel is fairly mushy, so learning to feed it in is pretty easy.

if there's one thing I'm sure of, it's that no major frame component is going to snap off anytime soon. The ample welds are of good quality.

If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that no major frame component is going to snap off anytime soon. The ample welds are of good quality.

Fit and finish are very good for its price level, and I didn’t have to correct or adjust anything, which surprised me. Weld quality is excellent, and so is paintwork. The only two pouty moments I had involve Read more…

The Evelo Aurora Arrives, Part 1

The Evelo Aurora, BC. (Before Change.)

The Evelo Aurora, BC. (Before Change.)

Even with the momentary hitch in ordering my Evelo Aurora due to a frame color change, the bike arrived via FedEx six days after ordering – not all that bad. It shipped partially disassembled in one carton, a carton which showed signs of manhandling. It was punched through in a non-critical area, but I was still understandably concerned that something might be bent by the lack of finesse in handling the 70-pound monster. Evelo added my comment to the roster, and told me that they are already in the process of upgrading their packaging to thwart the gorillas. It’s obviously in their own best interests to limit the risk of damage.

Off to a worrysome start.

Off to a worrysome start.

But my concern was groundless, as the only damage was elsewhere, a few minor paint scuffs in the bike’s shiny black rear rack frame. I’d be doing worse to it, in time. The bike comes almost ready to go, and all you need to do is mount the front wheel, stick the handlebars on, and screw in the pedals. There are no tedious adjustments that involve functionality. The needed tools are supplied with the bike, along with a basic assembly and user manual. For those who dislike following printed instructions, Evelo promotes viewing their online assembly video for each model.

Although I spent a college summer assembling cheap bikes in a sweatshop decades ago, I took Read more…

The E-bike Dilemma

Nope, I didn't choose this one. It's a home-brewed, bike-based electric motorcycle with pedals that's been clocked at 66 MPH. What - do you want to live forever?

Nope, I didn’t choose this one. It’s a home-brewed, bike-based electric motorcycle with pedals that’s been clocked at 66 MPH. What – do you want to live forever?

Choosing an e-bike is normally easy. You know how you want to use it, then pick something that will do the job for you, hop on, and go. But when you need to chop, blend, baste, puree, knead, bake, and broil, you’re forced to prioritize for the base features that can’t be changed, and then alter what you can change to come as close as possible to what you need.

I’ve already outlined a rather tedious and overly-long list of tasks, must-haves and wants in my previous article. I won’t dupe that here, thank your lucky stars. I’ll only mention Read more…

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