Additional Torque Sensor Options

September 7, 2018 4:50:20 PM PDT

The torque sensor options at Grin have been getting better and better. We now have a cup adapter for the popular Sempu sensors which extends the flanges out so that they fit bike frames with 73mm bottom bracket shells. For the longest time people with 73mm BB's have been out of luck for aftermarket torque sensors, but no more.

Sempu 73mm BB Adapters

Sempu and NCTE FeaturesIn addition, we have a new lineup of torque sensors from NCTE to replace the long out-of-stock THUN devices. This restores the option for a true transducer that measures the actual spindle torsion. They provide an accurate human watts readout, and unlike other sensors they can be used in mid-drive setups where the motor is driving the right side chain.

To help this DIY mid-drive use case we've brought in stock the extra long 136mm spindle option, providing additional clearance for motors and extra chainrings on the right side.

To learn more about these different sensor types and how to choose the best one for your ebike, have a read of our newly completed Advanced PAS Kit article. It should help demystify things.

And finally, Robbie made a nice video this summer showing the installation process for the Sempu sensors. We hope this provides a clear idea of what is involved in adding one of these torque sensors to your ebike build.

Posted By Justin Lemire-Elmore

What a summer

August 30, 2018 9:26:32 PM PDT

This title says it all. This has been an epic summer and an epic year by any measure. After completing their planned leg of the 2018 Suntrip last month, Justin and Anne-Sophie got married in August with a boat and water themed ceremony, and had the tandem trike safely returned to Vancouver last week.

We've created a single page with all the videos, media links, and a new image gallery from the trip so that you can see access all the info from one place. :

Meanwhile our video editor Aaron has been compiling our varied footage from the trip into short clips. The first day video showing most of the other riders was published a few weeks ago:

And we just completed the 2nd in the series showing highlights from Switzerland through to Serbia:

In the meantime, this has been our busiest summer in the store ever in terms of sales and new product developments. We want to thank Phil and Christoph who both joined the Grin team for the summer months keeping the shop under control and wish them the best in their continued studies.

Posted By Justin Lemire-Elmore

Grin Customer Profile, Mark Havran

July 6, 2018 5:06:21 PM PDT

For our 2nd ever customer profile we're going to feature Mark Havran.

 

While we're still fairly new to the solar ebike game, Mark is among the (suprisingly numerous) Grin customers who've been thinking about and experimenting with solar bikes for many years. After he shared pictures of his latest project and mentioned his round the world touring ambitions, we thought we had to do a small feature on this guy. A quick last minute trip to Maker Faire was arranged to meet up, and here we present, Mark Havran:

For additional technical details and insights on his build and plans, have a read of his recently started endless-sphere thread

You can also follow Mark's adventures via Instagram at @SolarEbike.

Posted By Justin Lemire-Elmore

After quite a long testing and verification period we're finally ready to release our 3.11 firmware update for the CA3! It is highly recommended to update your CA3 to this software, especially if you're on 3.1, for some important bug fixes and much improved PAS response.

You can grab the latest firmware using the CA software utility by clicking the  "Get New Firmware" button - happy flashing!

Firmware Update Please

We are also happy to let everyone know that the Crystalyte motor shipment has finally arrived after some delays at the port!. As you can see, we're very excited to have these back in stock to help you all out with your projects.

Crystalyte Shipment! 

Included in this shipment are the much awaited 3540 motors with their slick "UFO" design. These are the replacements for the older square style "H" motors, you may have noticed that this change was implemented last year with the 3525 front and rear motors. As always, we have the motors customized with a 10K NTC thermistor for thermal rollback using the CA3.

UFO H3540 

 

We also have restocked the classic Stokemonkey direct-drive motor, and Brompton NSM and SAW20 motors.

Posted By Robbie

Suntrip Update

June 25, 2018 2:51:37 PM PDT

We're about 65km out of Zagreb in Croatia now, cloudy weather, stopped for a brief rest on the side of the road... JLE

You can follow Justin's most recent updates on the Endless-Sphere forums - here's his latest post. If you're curious how this whole tandem-solar-pedal-rowing-trike came about, you can start reading at the beginning, here!

Justin and Anne-Sophie have been on the road in Europe for about a week now, catching as much sun as they can on the Suntrip. Since the start of the trip in Lyon and the official start of the race in Chamonix, they have been trending on a more southerly route towards Turkey and Iran. As they get used to the style of travel and the nuances of riding a three-wheeled solar vehicle all day they have had their ups...

Solar Charging after Camping

and downs...

Tipped over trike 

That said, I think their level of stoke so far can be summarized by Justin in this picture...

Exhaustion with a Grin.

Totally destroyed!

Find some lovely photo updates via Instagram when Justin and An'so have WiFi: Grin Tech SunTrip Instagram

The official Suntrip website can be accessed here: https://www.thesuntrip.com/

Happy riding and sunny weather to you both!

Posted By Robbie

Rowing Bikes and the Suntrip, VLog on YouTube

May 14, 2018 3:48:14 AM PDT

The clock is fast approaching with just 3 weeks left before Justin and Anne-Sophie head to France for the Suntrip solar ebike race. We've recently made great progress in adapting a craigslist trike purchase into the back-to-back-tandem-solar-electric-rowbike of our dreams. What started off as this:

Is now looking more like this!

Actually, that's from last weekend. The current iteration has a solar roof installed with electric power and turned plenty of heads on it's maiden solar powered trip to the town of Gibsons and back.

If you want to see all the latest build updates, design challenges, and test rides, then now would be a great time to check out our Youtube channel. We've been doing regular VLog posts in preparation for this trip and will be releasing several videos a week during the upcoming crunch.

And while we are talking about videos and rowing bikes, we wanted to share the conversion project from this winter that partly solidified our decision to do the Suntrip tour with a rowing bike component in the first place.

If you've got a rowing bike of any kind that you've been looking to electrify, we'd love to hear from you too to see if the new rowbike mode PAS feature in the CA3.1 would fit the application. 

Posted By Justin Lemire-Elmore

Customer Profiles, could you be next?

May 4, 2018 1:36:26 PM PDT

One of our favorite aspects of this business is the numerous amazing and creative people that we get to interact with on a daily basis. Ebike technology has a way of attracting people from all walks of life who see an opportunity to solve problems around mobility and transport, often in ways we would have never imagined.

We have a goal this year to release a monthly video profile on someone with a story to tell. That includes those whose lives has been dramatically affected in some way by ebikes, fellow entrepreneurs pursuing ideas that can positively impact the lives of others, and also those who just relish in their own DIY ebike builds.

We are kicking off this series with a quick look at Keith Forbes. Keith showed up unannounced at our shop a year and a half ago, asking if there may be any work opportunities as he was considering a move to Vancouver from Trinidad and had something of a personal interest in transportation technology. We'll let the video show what he's been up to since then!

 

If you want to stay tuned in to updates like this, now would probably be a good time to subscribe to our youtube channel  We have dozens of videos in our editing pipeline that you won't want to miss. 

Posted By Justin Lemire-Elmore

In the last month we introduced two new geared motor options in our lineup.

G60 Fatbike Motor PictureThe first of these is the Bafang G60 fatbike motor. It's got a 175mm axle that can fit fatbikes with up to 190mm dropouts using spacers, it uses a cassette freehub for broadest gear compatibility, and it has an impressive power and torque output that approaches the eZee hub motors.

We've got this hub fully modeled on our simulator and available to purchase as either a bare hub or part of a full kit. Combined with the 140mm Sempu torque sensor it's now possible to do proportional torque assist electric fatbike conversion.

 

Front G311 MotorThe other motor is the G311, a front equivalent to the wonderfully silent G310 rear motors we introduced late last year. This motor will be replacing the G01 hub for our front mini geared kits. It's a tad lighter (2.3kg), much quieter (spiral gears!), but still has the features from the G01 that we loved. That means a side cable exit, ISO disk rotor compatibility, and 10mm round axle.

We have a limited quantity of these new hubs stocked in 3 different winding speeds, from 8.4 to 12 rpm/V for various wheel sizes, and have a large sea shipment due to arrive in early June.

Our remaining fast and standard wind G01 motors are now on sale too.

Posted By Justin Lemire-Elmore

2018 Statorade Bump

March 30, 2018 2:08:49 PM PDT

The last 8 months we've been wrapping up some long duration testing of Statorade across different hub motor lines and performing experiments confirming its long term stability. These results have us pumped to introduce this motor cooling solution beyond DIY'ers and into wider markets. As an example, have a look at the video we below showing the effect this has on a small direct drive folding bike motor.

This was filmed last summer when we had a customer requesting a 72V SAW20 Brompton electric conversion. Normally that would be a recipe for motor overheating problems, but as you can see, Statorade is the magic bullet that makes it work.

We've updated our Statorade page to include all the latest test info, and also publicly posted on the forums results on the longevity testing, performance with skateboard hubs, characterization of fill quantity vs RPM, and even wrote a detailed study on the potential benefits of Statorade use in BionX motors.

Hubsinks Installed on Powerful EbikeFor people wanting to push the effects of Statorade to the max, the Australian made Hubsinks can clamp on to your motor shell and provide additional cooling fins to shed heat to ambient air. These fit our new MXUS Cassette motors, and the 9C, Crystalyte H, and many others. These are listed on our new store category for motor cooling mods. And like other small products, we try to  keep a stock of 10mL Statorade syringes on Amazon for easy shipping to US customers. They are sold out now but another shipment is inbound. 

Posted By Justin Lemire-Elmore

Email Back Up

March 21, 2018 11:07:14 AM PDT

Update: Our email was fully restored by 4:30pm in the afternoon. If you sent us an email that bounced during this time period, please send it again and we should receive it fine this time. 

**********

At the moment our ebikes.ca email accounts are down as we have been pushing through a set of security updates to our server and hit some glitches. We are working hard to resolve this as soon as possible. For anything urgent please reach us by phone.

1-(604) 569-0902

Our web-store, shipping, and operations are still all up and running and there should be no order delays as a result of this, but if you have comments or additions for an order in progress it would be best to communicate that over the landline.  Sorry for any inconveniences. 

Posted By Justin Lemire-Elmore

This coming Thursday we are hosting an evening workshop that covers a high level introduction to the various ebike conversion packages offered by Grin, aimed specifically at bike mechanics and others in the local bicycle industry who want to understand what is available for open standard conversion systems. If you are currently working in the bicycle scene and are interested in participating, please contact us by email with some background information to reserve a spot.

Location: #205-950 Powell St (upper lot)

Date: Thursday March 22nd

Time: 6:30 - 9pm

Posted By Justin Lemire-Elmore

Return to Vancouver Bike Show, March 3-4

February 28, 2018 5:15:02 AM PST

This one is for the locals. We will once again have a booth at the Vancouver Bike Show this weekend at the Vancouver Convention Center.  If you've been wanting to come by our shop but can't make it during the week, then this could be a good opportunity to visit and chat about suitable ebike conversion options.  

Our staff are hard at work this week preparing display fixtures so that we can have all the various motors, batteries, and other items on hand at the show. 

 


Saturday Update: What a great first day at the show and a big hello to the many people who visited our booth and are checking out our website for the first time. The event is on again all day tomorrow (Sunday) until 5pm if you are in vancouver and want to drop by and discuss in person any conversion questions. 

Grin Booth at 2018 Vancouver Bike Show Explaining details and options from the booth

Posted By Justin Lemire-Elmore

Additional Torque and PAS Sensors

February 26, 2018 3:58:43 AM PST

We're happy to have recently added two new pedal sensor options to our catalog.

24 Pole MiniPAS

PAS mini sensor IIThe first is the miniPAS sensor from King Meter which we had modified for plug and play compatibility with the V3 Cycle Analyst. This PAS device has both the disk and sensor tightly integrated into a low profile package that slides over the bottom bracket spindle. The result is a clean install without any of the alignment concerns that are present with separate magnet rings and sensor pickups.

And the best part is that it has a full 24 poles per revolution, providing an immediate response the moment you start pedaling. We've now outfitted most of our staff ebikes with this mini sensor, a V3.1 Cycle Analyst, and digital aux for pedal assist control. The combination is fantastic.

Sempu

Sempu T2.3 Torque Sensing BBThe second addition is a new torque sensor from Sempu. We had sampled Sempu sensors several years ago but ran into reliability issues. However, the latest 3rd generation T2.3 product seems much more robust. It installs as easily as a THUN device, senses force from both left and right pedals, and like the new miniPAS sensor it also has 24 PAS poles for immediate pedal response.

These sensors are available in square taper 115mm, 122.5mm and 127.5mm spindle lengths for 68mm bottom bracket shells, and even in a a fatbike version for 84mm bottom brackets. Our initial sample order of these sensors sold out fast but we expect our full shipment by the middle of march.

New PAS Info Page

And are you confused about all the options of PAS sensors and Torque sensors and whether you need or want them in the first place? Have a look at the new PAS learning section on our web page that explains in some detail the pros and cons of different pedalec sensor options and control strategies. We hope this serves as a useful reference for those wanting to learn more about pedal assist.

Posted By Justin Lemire-Elmore

CA3.1 Firmware and Software Release

January 31, 2018 7:08:01 PM PST

The V3.1 Cycle Analyst firmware that went through various Beta releases last year is getting so ready for prime time. In addition to the digital aux input buttons, factory resets, enhanced ebrake and regen features, and display screen customizations, there have been other updates including:

  • Additional PAS modes, supporting cadence control so that you can have the PAS output power or throttle voltages vary with your pedal cadence. There is even a PAS mode for electric assist rowbikes with reciprocating PAS sensors. 
  • The ability to automatically return to the main display after a given time and have the Aux change pop-up display just in the custom views tab.
  • An increase in the output data logging frequency to 10Hz for even better dynamic analysis of vehicle performance
  • Pre-loaded settings for all the common torque sensors offered by Grin.
  • Ability to copy all settings one set of presets from another.
  • A switch to watt-hours rather than amp-hours as the primary battery lifetime usage, for a more universal comparison of total energy expenditure.

The companion software setup utility has also gone through numerous improvements with the 1.53 release. You can now upgrade your CA from a 3.0 to 3.1 firmware and it will preserve almost all of your settings and usage statistics, so there's no need to record and re-enter all your values. There are detailed tooltips over each of the parameters to help you understand their functions, and a comprehensive help menu as well. And to top it off, there is now a single button you can click to fetch the latest firmware from our servers, making any future update process seamless as well.

CA Setup Utility 1.53 Improvements

The most recent firmware build is CA3.1Beta21, and well be giving it 1 week of wider beta testing before we make this the final release CA3.10 version. If you are keen to try this and upgrade from a CA3.0 device but don't have the necessary cables, we have both the USB->TTL programming cable as well as the handy up-down digi-aux buttons available from Amazon.com for easy US shipping.

We'd like once again to thank endless-sphere user Teklektik for his tireless efforts at instilling structure and discipline in the Cycle Analyst development and getting the firmware to deliver on our original vision, and to our software team and co-op students who produced the matching CA Setup Utility suite.

Next up on the CA3 front: Android app support, updated documentation, and more video tutorials!

Posted By Justin Lemire-Elmore

Sunny Trips for 2018

January 6, 2018 10:29:54 PM PST

We're pretty excited about what 2018 has in store for the ebike space, and one of the events this year that has us most pumped is the 2018 Sun Trip solar ebike challenge.

2018 Sun Trip Route

For those of you who haven't seen it yet, the Sun Trip is an annual competition run by some (obviously crazy) Frenchmen that challenges people to tour ebikes across great distances, with solar power as their only allowable charging source. It started off in 2013 with a 7500km ride from France to Kazakhstan, and has run most years since then with with trips of varying length and upwards of 30-40 participants. What makes 2018 ride special is that it will be the the most epic challenge yet, covering a full 12,000 km from Lyon, France, to Canton, China.

We've helped out many teams build solar ebike vehicles for Sun Trips in the past and have always had great admiration for this event from across the water. But now it time to join in the fray!

Justin riding shotgun with Guillaume of Declic-Eco, one of the technical event organizers

2018 marks the 10 year anniversary of Justin's first cross-Canada ebike tour and he's itching for another adventure, and what could better fit the bill. Grin will be participating in this amazing ride, both as a competitor on the ground and as a formal sponsor helping with their technical logging requirements. Many of the announcements and product roll-outs you see in the coming months will relate in some way to this Sun Trip. 

And if you're just reading about it for the first time now thinking wow, I'd love to do that, the event registration formally closed in December. However, the organizers are keen to see more participation from North America, so if you have the right kind of aptitude and attitude to pull off building and riding a solar ebike on a 12000km trip like this, send the Sun Trip people your plea, they'll maybe make an exception :-).

In any case, a happy start of 2018 to everyone.

Posted By Justin Lemire-Elmore

Free Hubs!

December 20, 2017 12:18:00 PM PST

More good Holiday news, not quite in the form of "free" hubs but cassette freehubs at least. We've now got two new rear motor options available that shed the threaded freewheel for a cassette freehub system, allowing you to take full advantage of modern drivechain components and the increasingly common 9, 10, and 11 speed gearsets.

The first of these is the tiny Bafang G310 geared motor. This is a small lower power hub like the G01 but with an impressive 11:1 internal gear reduction giving an even better torque to weight ratio. And best of all it uses a spiral sun gear that makes an almost completely silent and silky smooth motor when paired with our sinewave Grinfineon controller. Other features include a side cable exit, easy disassembly for service, integral anti-rotation washers, and excellent waterproofing.

Bafang G310 Motor Spread

The second freehub motor is a rear direct drive hub from MXUS. This one has a 30mm wide stator, so slighly more powerful than the 9C+ and a bit less powerful than the Crysatlyte 'H'. It has the same Grin customizations that you'd expect, with side axle cable exit, 0.35mm laminations for low rolling drag, internal temperature sensor, and fully sealed side plates with a statorade injection port.

MXUS 300X Rear Cassette Motor

Both motors are available in fast and standard winding speeds, fit inside standard 135mm dropout spacings, have disk brake compatibility, and are fully modeled on our simulator (See the G310's and MX3005/6). The MXUS motor also been thermally modeled with Statorade and Hubsinks options too. 

We've got a limited number of each motor on hand now and we expect our large sea freight orders to be here in mid-January once these sell out.

Posted By Justin Lemire-Elmore

Year End Clearance, 40% off Cargo Ebikes and 9C+ Hubs

December 17, 2017 11:21:45 PM PST

It's end of year housecleaning time, and this can mean some excellent holiday savings for you!

40% on Cargo BikesCargo Ebike Sale:

We gave a solid go at offering turn-key cargo ebikes from our new Powell St. shop space this past year, but in the end came to the realization that our resources are best kept focus on conversion kits and the development of new Grin products. So we wrapping that up and clearing out our remaining inventory of eZee Expedir cargo ebikes at a stunning 40% discount.

These ebikes were a good value at their normal price, with a large capacity 19Ah battery pack, high torque eZee motor drive, Magura hydraulic brakes, and other high-end components, and with the additional 40% off they are a steal. It's like buying a kit and getting the bike for free. We've got limited numbers left in red, green, and black colours in time to fit under the Christmas tree. If you've been on the fence about getting a cargo ebike for you or your family, this could be an opportunity not to miss.

Direct Drive Motors Too

We're also clearing out all of our remaining 9C+ 2706 and 2705 rear motors at a 40% discount to make room for new motor series that uses cassette freehubs rather than screw-on freewheels. These have the same low-drag 0.35mm laminations and statorade compatibility that you expect from Grin's offering, but as with all the nine continent motors the construction quality is very much "made for China" grade. They're great value if you want an awesome motor performance but aren't fussy about fitment details.

Posted By Justin Lemire-Elmore

New Articles

December 9, 2017 4:46:23 AM PST

There are a number of information pages that we were working on this year but only now with the relative calm of the winter season have we had the time to wrap them up. So for your fireside reading pleasure, we offer you

  1. ConnectorsGrin's Ebike Connector Guide:  A summary of the various standard connector types encountered in ebike conversions and our take on them from the DIY user perspective. For those dizzied by the wide assortment of connectors out there hopefully this page can help you make sense of some of it.
  2.  
  3. Mid-drive vs Hub motorOur take on the Merits of Hub Motors: In our travels this summer to meet with other ebike businesses, one recurring theme was that most of them felt hub motors have been subject to a lot of misleading marketing in recent years by mid-drive companies. We've played with many mid-drives as well since our founding days, and while they have a few advantages in some situations our feeling has always been that hub motors are a better overall solution for the needs of 80-90% of ebike users. Even with the popular proliferation of BBSXX type drives, that viewpoint hasn't changed at all. To see why, read here.
  4.  
  5. Cooked motorHow many watts is that motor?: This is a question that makes Justin's blood boil a little. If there is one thing that is most often misunderstood about ebike technology it's the topic of motor power ratings. Did you know that the european Bosch ebikes will draw 700-800 watts of power form the battery even though they are, you know, supposedly 250 watt systems? It's true. We've always avoided giving specific power ratings on our motors because the number you choose is rather arbitrary, and this more technical article explains why. 
  6.  
  7. PatentsFrom the past: We also found the draft documents from an old article we wrote in 2010 on the role of the DIY ebike scene at that point, and we thought would be nice to dust off and make available online again.
Posted By Justin Lemire-Elmore

Bits and Bobs

November 17, 2017 5:14:29 PM PST

We've got two new Grin items hot off our milling machine that should help overcome difficulties in electric conversions.

The Handle Bob


The first idea actually comes courtesy of our customer Bob. Bob you see has a Grin All-Axle bike conversion and ran into the familiar situation of having handlebars that didn't lend themselves to sliding on a throttle. This happens all the time with curved drop bars, oversized handlebar tubing and whatnot. His solution with a piece of 22mm OD tube cut and drilled to secure at right angles with a pair of cable ties was so elegant and simple that we had to make this into a product.

 Bob's Original Bar Solution

So in his honor we introduce the Handle Bob, allowing you to easily attach a small bobbin to handebars on which you can affix a thumb throttle, CA aux input, headlight button or other small device without needing to remove your grips or anything else. It's the simplest and lowest tech product that we've ever manufactured in our little machine shop, but one that just might have a big impact for many builds.

HandleBob Pair HandleBob with Digi Aux Buttons HandleBob with Lever Throttle

 

The Bottle Bob


BottleBob on Tube BottleBobs and HoseclampsThe 2nd item helps when installing downtube and waterbottle batteries on bike frames that don't have properly located waterbottle braze-ons. We're calling these our Bottle Bobs, and they let you add a solid M5 threaded attachment point anywhere on your bike tubing with the security of a stainless steel hoseclamp.

 

In fact, these attachments are stronger and more secure than many of the riv-nut frame eyelets which can occasionally tear out of the frame tubing with heavy batteries, and allow you the security of having 3 or 4 attachment points to the battery base plate rather than just the 2 when you use the frame's bottle mounts.

Hailong Battery Installed on Bike Frame with No Eyelets

And of course, you can also use them to attach more waterbottle cages to your bike!

Both the Handle Bobs and Bottle Bobs are already available from our store, manufactured at Grin from machined aluminum and black anodized for a lasting sharp look.

Posted By Justin Lemire-Elmore

Who wants a high wheeler?

November 7, 2017 2:53:19 AM PST

At the VEVA electric vehicle show this summer we showed up with two electrified penny farthing bicycles, thinking that we could stage electric high-wheeler races around the mini test track. The racing didn't happen but the fun of riding these around Vancouver hasn't abated. There haven't been too many accidents and the reaction on the streets is pretty amazing if you like making people crack a smile. Aaron and some of the new staff at Grin made a nice video from an afternoon spin:

More specific details on how these were built are shown on the endless-sphere build thread: https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=1309060#p1309060

Anyways it turns out that there are a couple dozen more replica high wheel bikes from this source in a storage locker looking for a home, and we wonder if there is a case to sell them electrified with small hubs in the rear wheel. The bikes are available in wheel sizes ranging from 36" to 54", and they have a custom machined freewheeling front hub so you can coast without pedaling. If owning a piece of 19th century bike technology merged with 21st century electronics like this tickles your fancy, then send us an email and we'll see if there's enough interest to convert a batch! Price would depend on the specific conversion options but can expected between $1500-$2000.

Posted By Justin Lemire-Elmore
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