Dashboard

Yesterday I made an base for the “idiot lights” and CycleAnalyst from aluminum sheet. There’s green leds for the turn signals, one blue for the hi-beam and one red for the main contactor on/off switch, which will be on when the throttle is operational. Now the instrumentation should meet the requirements of the law. I’ve also ordered an optical sensor for the Daytona Speedo (which at the moment is detached). But the Daytona is now only “nice to have”, since I’ve got all the information I need in this setup (even speed). It will add some “prettyness” though.

Speedometer

Alrighty. The old big & bulky “mickey mouse” speedo/tachometer cluster is finally gone, replaced with the beautiful and tiny Daytona Velona speedometer. And the headlight also has some new chrome mounting brackets, making it sit lower and closer to the frame, like in a proper café racer. Clean and compact. And I like it.

I still need to fabricate a proper mount for the CycleAnalyst and the indicator leds for the beam and turn signals. But first I need to figure out why I am not able to calibrate the new Daytona Velona speedometer. When I start moving, the speedo just shoots to 140km/h (maximum in it’s scale) and the calibration options in the menu doesn’t work. Which sucks. If I can’t make it work, at least I have another small (and cheaper) speedometer with a direct cable wire connection, that I can try. But it’s not nearly as pretty as the Daytona…

Edit (23.5): While discussing on a motorcycle FB group I was told it could be static from electric motor that is messing with the magnetic coils inside the wire to digital signal converter. Might have to switch to traditional magnetic sensor or try and tap into the CycleAnalyst’s sensor wires, if I cannot shield the converter from interference.

Edit (26.5): Yup. That was it. When I let go of the throttle, the speedo starts reading correct figures. But when I twist the throttle, even just a little bit, the magnetic field from electric motor messes up the converter’s coils and the speedo needle shoots to the max. So using this converter is out of question – you can’t use an analog to digital wire converter in an electric motorcycle. And the CycleAnalyst sensor can’t be tapped into (tried that too), so I might order a traditional magnetic or optical sensor for the Daytona. Or I’ll just drop the speedo altogether and sell it to someone else with a tradional gas bike. (CycleAnalyst works just fine also as my speedometer.)

Fairings

Oh yeah! Yesterday I received my new fairings that I’m going to use to cover the angular battery boxes. This will also add some dirt protection for the motor. Should deflect most of the crap. The package was quite crushed in transport, but luckily the fiberglass panels inside were just fine. And oh boy was I glad that they looked to be just the right size (had really no idea since they were not meant for these 750cc frames). I’ll cut them a little bit from the top as they curve outwards (they are normally meant to be attached to the front fairing), before mounting them. But I’m so glad that I don’t have to start making them from scratch. I already have some good mounting points, built into the upper battery box. So fitting them should be pretty easy. These are exactly the kind of panels I’ve been looking for and I found them from TGA UK. The price was also very decent. I’m still waiting for the vinyl stickers (which will fit the theme) that I will be adding to the panels.

Now I’ve driven the bike as electric for about 800km, without any trouble at all. Yesterday when coming from work I was really glad to have an electric motorcycle when I sat in the traffic (there had been an accident on the road I use) and the temperature was close to ridiculously high 30ºC (86ºF) for the time of the year. The thing with electrics is that there’s no hot engine radiating heat, especially on hot days like these. Wearing black leather gear is already enough…

Honk Honk

I finally swapped the rusty old honker with a shiny new chrome unit, more fitting for the “café racer” theme. I’ve also received the new shiny headlight mounts that I’ve bought. Not sure when I will have the time to install those (so that I can lower the headlight a bit), as they require that I need to detach the front fork tubes so that I can slide them into place. And while removing the front forks I can also finally remove the old turn signal mount points, sticking out so ugly. But for the time being I might install the other cheaper mounts that I’ve also bought, as they don’t need this removal operation. Maybe in the summer vacation I’ll have more time to do these more labour-intensive operations. (With two really small kids, free time is a rare commodity.)

Nothing much else has been done for the bike lately. Just driving. Although it’s been pouring lately so I’ve taken the car instead, as I haven’t really improved the water resilience yet. The components can handle some water, but I really don’t want to let any dirt get inside the motor. I’m planning on adding a bottom plate below the frame to prevent any dirt from getting inside the motor from that direction. Although the battery boxes work as a pretty good mudguard from the front tire.

I’m also waiting for the vintage side fairings (only bought the lower side panels) that I’ve ordered from the UK and I’m hoping to fit to cover the angular battery boxes. And the instrumentation will be removed and replaced with a simpler setup; only the pretty Daytona speedometer and green leds for the turn signals and blue one for the beams. Also the CycleAnalyst display will get a better mount besides the Daytona, so it won’t have to stay fixed on the bar. And the top battery box really needs a proper cover, other than rubber mat and some black duct tape, which is my solution at the moment. And the wrinkles in the seat cover needs to be straightened. And new rear reflector needs to be done as the old one dropped (had real crappy quality tape glue).  Might just add a small square piece of reflector tape. The law doesn’t require anything fancy. Just that there would be one at a certain height and in the center line.

If I only had a couple full days to work on the bike…

Volts for Oil

You’ve probably heard the “long tailpipe” argument that is commonly brought up when talking about electric vehicles, right? That your EV is actually a “coal powered”, like Jeremy Clarkson likes to say, and you’re just moving emissions to another location. What very few seem to realize is that refining the gasoline also uses up some energy. Quite a lot actually. It’s something that the oil industry really doesn’t want you to think about. And this is never reflected in car advertisements and their emission figures. (What a surprise.)

“You have enough electricity to power all the cars in the country if you stop refining gasoline” – Elon Musk

Jarkko, the builder of kWsaki made a pretty interesting comparison, based on this Robert Llewellyn’s video. It takes about 1.2kWh to produce one litre of gasoline. And if your gasoline motorcycle consumes 6 litres per 100km (which was also pretty close to what my bike used when it was gasoline powered), it uses about 72Wh of electricity per kilometer. And as an electric conversion my motorcycle uses only 55Wh/km. In effect, it now uses LESS electricity per km than as a gasoline bike. Funny, eh?

Let’s take this a bit further, emissions-wise. Since it’s mostly coal power (at least in UK) that is used to refine gasoline and coal’s CO2 emissions are about 1000g/kWh, the extra CO2 emissions would be about 72g/km (same would apply to any gasoline powered vehicle), in addition to it’s regular tailpipe emissions of about 140g/km. Now as an all-electric and with wind power (estimated life-cycle emissions of about 12g/kWh) the bike is responsible of about 0.67g/km worth of CO2 emissions, which is less than with walking (since you need to eat to produce the energy). The battery manufacturing also accounts for some emissions (approx. 3g/km or so). But still a “bit” better, don’t ya think?

So much for the “long tailpipe” argument.