Two pieces of paper on a table with a pair of pliers, a screwdriver, and a cup of what is probably coffee or tea. The sheets show a diagram of a bicycle handlebar on one side with a labeled "controller box, controller lever, mount, and battery." The other sheet shows a side view of a 150kg servo mounted on a plate that runs over to a brake caliper with a battery, receiver, and power stabilizer. These parts are also labeled in red text.

Wireless Bike Brakes

Bicycles are the most efficient machines for moving a person around, and wireless drivetrains have been heralded as a way to make shifting more consistent and require less maintenance. [Blake Samson] wondered if the same could be true of wireless brakes.

A closeup of a bike front fork with a large 150kg servo mounted to a plate that puts it above the disc brake caliper. To the side of the caliper, wires are visible going between the servo, control box, and battery.Inspired by the controller for an RC car, [Blake] picked a 150 kg servo attached to a cable-actuated hydraulic disc caliper to apply the braking force. The servo, receiver, power stabilizer, and batteries were all mounted on a custom steel plate fabricated to mount under the caliper. [Blake] cut up an old set of mountain bike brake levers to reuse the handlebar mounts and then put the batteries, controller, and finger triggers on them.

Confident in his hacking skills, [Blake] then took the bike out on some trails to test the brakes. As a prototype, there were a few surprises along the way, like one of the triggers staying locked in the braking position, but they performed admirably enough that he’s mulling over a Mk. 2.

Bikes are one of our favorite hacking platforms. Be sure to checkout this dreamy cargo bike build, an awesome bike camper, or what can happen if your bike is dependent on the cloud to work.

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An ebike motor with the controller cover removed. A number of wires and connectors take up most of the space in the cavity.

Open Brain Surgery For EBikes And EScooters

Personal Electric Vehicles (PEVs) all contain the same basic set of parts: a motor, a battery, a motor controller, some sensors, and a display to parse the information. This simplicity allowed [casainho] to develop a custom controller setup for their own PEVs.

Built around the venerable VESC motor controller, [casainho]’s addition is the EBike/EScooter board that interfaces the existing motor of a device to the controller. Their ESP32-powered CircuitPython solution takes the sensor output of a given bike or scooter (throttle, cadence, or torque) and translates it into the inputs the controller uses to set the motor power.

They’ve also designed an ESP32-based display to interface the rest of the system to the user while riding. Since it also runs CircuitPython, it’s easy to reconfigure the functions of the three button device to display whatever you’d like as well as change various drive modes of your system. I know I’d love to see my own ebikes have a different mode for riding on road versus on shared paths since not getting run over by cars and not harassing pedestrians aren’t going to have the same power profile.

If you want to find more ways to join the PEV revolution, check out this wild omni-wheeled bike or this solar car built from two separate e-bikes. If that doesn’t suit your fancy, how about an off-label use for an e-bike battery to power your laptop off grid?

A silver front loader cargo bike sits in a parking lot in front of an electric vehicle charger. A cable runs from the charger to the bike.

Fast Charging A Cargo Bike From An Electric Car Charger

Fast charging is all the rage with new electric cars touting faster and faster times to full, but other EVs like ebikes and scooters are often left out of the fun with exceedingly slow charging times. [eprotiva] wanted to change this, so he rigged up a fast charging solution for his cargo bike.

Level 2 electric vehicle chargers typically output power at 7 kW with the idea you will fill up your electric car overnight, but when converted down to 60 V DC for a DJI Agras T10 battery, [eprotiva] is able to charge from 20% to 100% capacity in as little as 7 minutes. He originally picked this setup for maxing the regen capability of the bike, but with the high current capability, he found it had the added bonus of fast charging.

The setup uses a Tesla (NACS) plug since they are the most plentiful destination charger, but an adapter allows him to also connect to a J1772 Type 1 connector. The EV charging cable is converted to a standard 240 V computer cable which feeds power to a drone charger. This charger can be set to “fast charge” and then feeds into the battery unit. As an added bonus, many chargers that do cost money don’t start charging until after the first five minutes, so the bike is even cheaper to power than you’d expect.

For some reason, you can watch him do this on TikTok too.

If you too want to join the Personal EV Revolution, be sure to checkout how to choose the right battery for your vehicle and a short history of the Segway.

A silver and black bike sits in front of a dark grey bridge. It is on a hard surface next to green grass. The bike has a large basket area in front of the steering tube that then connects to the front wheel which is at the other end of the basket from the handlebars. It is best described as a long john bike, but is a more modern take on it than the wooden box Dutch bike.

Building A Cargo Bike Dream

Cargo bikes can haul an impressive amount of stuff and serve as a car replacement for many folks around the world. While there are more models every year from bike manufacturers, the siren song of a custom build has led [Phil Vandelay] to build his own dream cargo bike.

The latest in a number of experiments in hand-built cargo bike frames, this electrified front-loader is an impressive machine. With a dual suspension and frame-integrated cargo area, this bike can haul in style and comfort. It uses a cable steering system to circumvent the boat-like handling of steering arm long john bikes and includes a number of nice touches like (mostly) internal cable routing.

The video below the break mostly covers welding the frame with [Vandelay]’s drool-worthy frame jig, so be sure to watch Part 2 of the video for how he outfits the bike including the internal cable routing and turning some parts for the cable steering system on the lathe. If you get an urge to build your own cargo bike after following along, he offers plans of this and some of his other cargo bike designs. [Vandelay] says this particular bike is not for the beginner, unlike his previous version built with square tubing.

Looking for more DIY cargo bikes? Checkout this Frankenbike, another front loader, or this Russian trike.

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Hoverboard Turned Into Bonkers Omniwheeled Bike

Segways stunned the world when they first hit the market in 2001. Hoverboards then terrified the world with nasty accidents and surprise fires. [James Bruton] loves hoverboards regardless, and set out on a mighty upgrade regime turning the ride-on toy into a giant omniwheeled bicycle.

The build relies on two giant omniwheels of [James’s] own creation, using lasercut and 3D-printed parts. The wheels are mounted perpendicularly on either end of a boxy plywood “bike frame” built in two sections, with a split in the middle. The two halves can rotate relative to each other, much like the two halves of a stock hoverboard.

Amazingly, the build relies on the stock hoverboard motors and electronics. The hoverboard wheel motors are responsible for driving the omniwheels at either end via a toothed belt drive. The gear ratio of the belt reduction is set up to cancel out the greater diameter of the omniwheels, such that the hoverboard’s tuning isn’t disrupted. Wisely, [James] also fitted a safety power cutout, too.

The result is a self-balancing “bike” the likes of which you’ve never seen before. At present, it can balance upright and rotate relatively well. However, control is difficult, requiring the use of the rider’s body weight and the twisting of the bike’s sections. [James] has instead contemplated using servos to tilt the hoverboard sensors instead for an easier control method than the current setup.

It’s a truly bonkers build which is a testament to [James’s] creativity and prowess. We’ve seen some other great hoverboard hacks before, but nothing quite like this. Video after the break.

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A man in a dark shirt stands at a podium in front of a projector screen with the text "50% OF US CAR TRIPS" in white above yellow text saying "1 HUMAN < 3 MILES". The screen is flanked by decor saying "Supercon" in white on a black background.

Supercon 2022: Bradley Gawthrop Wants You To Join The PEV Revolution

During the 20th Century, much of the western world decided that motor vehicles were the only desirable form of transportation. We built our cities to accommodate cars through parking, stop lights, and any number of other infrastructure investments so that you could go get milk and bread in style. In the US, 50% of automobile trips are less than three miles and have only one occupant. [Bradley Gawthrop] asked if there might be a more efficient way to do all this? Enter the Personal Electric Vehicle (PEV).

What Are PEVs?

PEVs are a nascent part of the transportation mix that fall under the wider umbrella of “micromobility,” including scooters, bikes, skateboards, and the like. The key differentiator here is that they are at least partially electrically-driven. [Gawthrop] walks us through several of the different types during his Supercon 2022 talk, but since they are all small, electric powered devices for transporting one or two people, they can trace their lineage back to the infamous Segway Human Transporter.

Using an electric motor or two connected to a controller and batteries, the overall system complexity for any of these devices is quite low and ripe for the hacking. Given the right tools and safety precautions, anyone should be able to crack a PEV open and repair or tinker with it. As with many things in life, the real story is more complicated.

As [Gawthrop] notes, many a hacker has said, “I wish I’d been able to be involved in X before…” where X equals some technology like home automation and it’s before it got creepy or dystopian in some manner. He exhorts us that the time to be in on the ground floor with PEVs is now. Continue reading “Supercon 2022: Bradley Gawthrop Wants You To Join The PEV Revolution”

Rubber Tracked Bicycle Is Horribly Inefficient

Wheeled bikes are efficient machines, and most cycling speed and distance records are held by them. However, [The Q] has a taste for weirder creations that amuse perhaps more than they serve as viable transportation. His latest experiments revolve around tracked propulsion methods.

The build is a wheelless bike that relies on long thin tracks mounted to a mountain bike frame. The tracks carriers are fabricated using steel box section fitted with cogged rollers. The tracks themselves are made using a pair of bicycle chains joined with welded steel bars. They’re fitted with slices of rubber cut out of traditional bike tires for grip. The rear track is driven from the bike’s pedals, while the front is merely left to run freely.

By virtue of its wide, flat tracks, the bike actually stands up on its own. It’s capable of riding in a straight line at slow speed, albeit relatively noisily. Steering is limited by virtue of the flat tracks, which don’t operate well at an angle to the ground. Since the tracks only contact the ground at a point, too, the bike has very high ground pressure, which would make it likely to sink into anything less solid than asphalt.

The build is relatively similar to [The Q]’s previous efforts to build a supposedly square-wheeled bike. What we’d really love to see at this point is a tracked bicycle that actually made the best of the technology – by being both swift and capable of crossing soft, marshy terrain. Video after the break.

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