Saturday, August 14, 2010

Meet an eBike Builder: Dan Woodard, ElectricBikeBuilding.com

Where the magic happens... (courtesy D. Woodard)
Some people think about ebikes are merely a form of transportation; some people just think about ebikes.  Meet Dan Woodard, the co-owner of ElectricBikeBuilding, LLC, and the prodigious producer of instructional ebike construction videos, found at electricbikebuilding.com. He thinks about ebikes a lot.

After years in a variety of other industries, Dan's ebike career started with a Yuba Mundo cargo bike, which he converted using an Crystalyte hub motor.  This completely displaced his car usage; but Dan found it to be a less than ideal design. A constant tinkerer, Dan resolved to create a better ebike. Having just started a business, he really wanted to inexpensively create a better ebike. ""I'm on a tight budget, I can't afford a complete frame jig setup or expensive tools. But I find I can still build functional ebikes using simple tools, and a little creativity. I want to share that knowledge with others on my blog."

This magic happened...(courtesy D. Woodard)
His next bike, a mountain bike sporting 48 volt lead-acid batteries (read: heavy!) he found to be unwieldy due to battery placement.  His solution? Chop the frame, extend the rear triangle, and place the batteries there, effectively lowering the center of gravity of the bike.  The result? NoPonder, an ebike that regularly turns heads where ever it goes. During the NoPonder build, which is thoroughly documented here, Dan took some time off to attend a frame-building class at the United Bicycle Institute(UBI). "The instructors and quality of instruction was superb," Dan says, "I really enjoyed using their setup - it was a very busy two weeks."

This magic is happening...
Each of Dan's models clearly builds on his previous experience and learnings.  His current project, "Short Hopper", is a bike he's optimizing for, as the name suggests, short trips around town. He's designing it to be transit-friendly, fun to ride, and easy to maneuver around a bike rack. He's currently researching hub motors; I'm very curious to see what he eventually decides on.

An admittedly quiet sort of guy, Dan is as comfortable talking about the finer points of fork design, welding techniques, the sociology of ebikes, or his cats.  I've found his instructional videos to be of great value, clear and easy to understand, and I appreciate his subtle style.

Do you know anyone else out there building electric bikes?  Do you have a build you're particularly proud of?  If so, I'd love to talk to you about it.

4 comments:

  1. nice to "meet" you again, dan! sam, i love the "magic" captions on the photos. :)

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  2. Thanks, I just stumbled onto captioning recently. I knew there had to be a way to do it, but I hadn't found it.

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  3. nice blog.. are your looking for cheap e-bikes? check this out e-bike under 50$

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  4. He's currently researching hub motors; I'm very curious to see what he eventually decides on.

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