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Recent install, a real dream bike

Every once in a while we get to build out what I consider to be a Dream Bike. In this case,Frank McGrath from Berkely, CA brought us his Cannondale “Lefty” to set up for all around riding and extreme grade climbing. Here is a list of the components we installed on Frank’s bike:

Frank has some hills to climb on the mountainous side of Berkeley that are more than 20% grades and with the 11×48 cassette on this bike they truly are a piece of cake. Frank loves to ride with his wife and stay in great shape. He even has a heart rate monitor on his bike and has to be careful to not over do the pedal assist so he can keep his heart rate up.


There was a lesson learned though from this build. Frank was getting an annoying noise in the higher gears of his bike, especially when climbing. After testing, we discovered that the cassette body on his rear wheel was made of aluminum and that it could not take the torque stress of the mid drive. We replaced the aluminum body with a steel body and all the noise has now gone away.



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Serious Belt Drive Commuter

Tor Stahl is a commuter that did his homework!

“Below is picture of the bike, it is a Spot Champa frame, which is made for a belt drive. The key to using a belt is to use a 3-speed IGH which is made to accept a cassette. I use the Sturmey Archer CS-RK3, SRAM makes a similar dual drive which I have seen used for the same purpose. I used your spider and spacers along with a 55 tooth front and 22 tooth CDX belt cogs. With the current set at 17, as a pedalec, I can easily travel at 30+ miles an hour on a flat, climb fairly steep hills at 20+ mph and still get plenty of range. I have about 50% battery left after my 40 mile daily commute with some decent hills involved. Motor only, the gearing is pretty high, but it will hold a speed once you put some pedaling in. The pedal clutch failed and I was able to motor home, but I had to push the bike up the steepest part on my commute, which is short. For me its perfect, I like to pedal. I use the 5 PAS levels as gears along with the 3-speed internal, giving it basically 15 speeds, I don’t know why you’d want any more gears.”



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Exciting report from the Julien’s, Quebec, Canada

Since 2016 I have had the pleasure of working with Pierre in setting up his tandem bike with the Bafang BBSHD 1000 for touring with his wife. As many folks adventure into the wilds of serious touring, Pierre is very meticulous and focused on setting up his equipment to endure the strains of the terrain. He has shared with us some commentary and photos of his adventures, perhaps to inspire others to check out what lies beyond their local scene. He and his wife shared the thrills they have had and give us a glance at their future dreams. Here’s the bike that Pierre started with along with some of his commentary:

“My Pino tandem Rear Hub is equipped with a Rolhoff :

According to Rolhoff: The maximum rear sprocket input torque must not exceed 100N and this is something that the motor vendor may not be able to provide as it depends on the primary transmission ratio you’ll be using and of course you would also generate torque yourself.

Current setup is:

  • 14speed Rolhoff Rear Hub
  • 36 inches rear wheel;
  • 20’’ front Wheel with SPINNER Aluminum Suspended fork.
  • Dynamo front hub;
  • 48T chainring
  • Rear sprockets 17-19-21T and spline carrier.
  • Guide Hydraulic brakes


I finally succeeded to install my Bafang BBSHD on our Pino semi-recumbent Tandem.  I found out I needed a 100mm axel to fit with the double crank of the Captain bottom bracket. I inserted 3 x 12mm spacers on the left side of the axel to fit with the left side front chain ring. Ouf…it was creative as you mentioned on your previous email!


This was our first ride:

As planned, we went for the SuntripTour 2017 in France last June with our Pino Tandem and Solar trailer. Unfortunately, the third day, we slipped on wet ‘’pavements tiles’’ and my wife double-fractured her pelvis.






Then, I built a E-Trike to ride the Lyon-Canton Suntrip 2018. 12,000km from France to China in 100days. This is our Blog:



Since then, she recovered well and she asked me to fly back to Nantes next June and ride again the Alpes on a 45 days journey. LOL, she is courageous! I cancelled my registration for the Suntrip2018!”

This is his new build:

HPVelotechnik Scorpion Trike,


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MOBILITY . . a California Ebike Special addition

This will be a 3 part report of overcoming serious mobility challenges and how ebike technology is restoring the freedom to enjoy life again for Donna, Parker and Larry.

Donna from Concord, California


I received a call from Donna about a year and half ago. She and her husband Doug, while on a ride on Treasure Island (mid point of San Francisco Bay bridge), were talking to a stranger about Donna’s hand cycle that allows her to go bike riding with Doug. Donna was saying how much she enjoyed being able to ride again but really was having trouble staying up with Doug on the hills. Somehow during the conversation Donna learned that California Ebike might be able to give her some assistance.

hand-cycleDonna was riding a hand cycle similar to the one
pictured on the left. After designing some new parts
and adding a Bafang 350 watt mid drive, Donna became
Super Woman on the trail. A real contender for Doug
when they climb the hills now.



Donna lost the use of her legs after a bad car accident a few years
ago but she is a very determined lady who owns her own business and will not let her mobility problems stop her from enjoying life to the fullest.


Parker from Danville, California

parker-thumbnailParker contacted me a few months ago telling me he had a custom built recumbent trike that he wanted to have electric assist installed on.
The bike was a beautifully built custom 3 wheel recumbent bike with full suspension, front and rear, and rugged enough to handle rough terrain. We put a photo of the rear suspension on an earlier post (September 22, 2015) Parker is one who enjoys the out of doors and is particularly determined to maintain his independence.  After we made all the custom parts and finished our installation of the Bafang 750 watt mid drive system, Parker had his mom drop him off at the bottom of Mount Diablo (elev. 3849 ft.) where he proceeded to climb to the very top and back down again – solo! He called me from a Subway after he made the climb to tell me the good news. I could tell by his voice he was smiling from ear to ear. Here he is again riding with a friend up on the mountain.


Larry from San Francisco

Larry came to my home about a year ago with a dear mutual friend, Ray Capper, to test ride one of my ebikes that has a Bafang 750 watt mid drive. He took the ebike up one of our steepest hills and was very pleased with its power, however he had also done his own research and decided to wait until Bafang had made some improvements. He came back this summer after Bafang upgraded the Mosfets in their controller and said he was ready to purchase the mid drive kit. Larry wanted to install the conversion on his carbon fiber road bike and I explained that the down curved road bike handlebars were just not suitable to mount the controls on. Larry told me that we were going to convert the road bike and he would handle any problems we encountered. Larry was anxious to complete the electric assist build because he has been battling MD (Muscular Dystrophy) for some time now and is an avid bike rider that likes to lead the pack, or at least be in the lead group. He had been slowly loosing strength in his legs and didn’t want to give up biking or worse yet, lag behind all the rest of the group. So here are some photos of what he was able to do with a little creativity. This electric assist is powered by a 48v – 24.8Ah triangle pack from EM3ev that should give Larry a range of at least 50 miles on a charge.



Larry was able to build a clever amp hour meter to monitor his battery usage with the Power Werx unit pictured in the center above and shown mounted on the right.
Below is a video of Larry riding up from the ocean at the Cliff House in San Francisco. A long hard climb.

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Chris Wilcox out on the “Range” in south Africa

Little Karoo in South Africa

Many of you will remember Chris was the winner of our Ebike give a way at the 2013 Clean Tech Expo here in Benicia in 2013.

Benicia Clean Tech Ebike WinnerChris rides his bike everyday to work at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California from his home in Orinda to BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), then from the station in Oakland to his work. He always smiles when he tells me how much he saves on car expense, fuel, insurance and taxes not to mention he has no issues with parking.

Seeing this picture of Chris and the road ahead in Little Karoo, I think he is missing his ebike.

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East OZ to Alice Springs via back roads where possible By Alan Melville

One of the things that keeps me going in the Ebike business is people like Alan Melville. I get emails from people all over the world seeking advise or just sharing their experience with me. In Alan’s case he was already well into his trek when he contacted me and said he needed help. Traveling across the Outback in Australia, he found his load was more than his body could manage. He had heard that California Ebike had developed a 100mm Bafang mid drive kit that would mount on fat tire bikes and he was a ready and willing customer if I could find a way to send one to him. I was happy to tell him that we had a very good dealer in Sydney, Emax Ebikes  that stocked our kits and would be happy to assist him. I checked with Ewan Maxwell later an found that he was indeed able to work out the logistics and get the kit to Alan along the trek.

I just received this email today from Alan and wanted to share it with all of you.

“I got some advice off you regarding a Bafang kit for a fat bike, which I bought here in Australia and subsequently used on a 2700 kilometre remote area bike tour. The Bafang performed really well, but charging the batteries by solar was a real headache.”

I will share some pictures with you that he sent.

Starting out the tour from Newcastle and finishing up in Alice Springs – WOW! But then after a shower and shave back to civilized!









You can read Alan’s journal here.

I live my life vicariously through these wonderful stories and hope that any of you out there will share your stories with our readers.

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Milan Velomobile with Bafang BBS-02 Mid Drive Installed

california-ebike-velomobile (6)If you haven’t heard of Milan Velomobiles you may not be alone. Which is why we were excited to receive pictures and details about the installation of a Bafang Mid Drive into one.

The Milan Velomobile is a fully enclosed bicycle-based vehicle designed for aerodynamic efficiency. A velomobile is capable of some very high speeds with lower effort than a traditional up-right bicycle.

Here is what Dave had to say about the details of his very slick velomobile,

This is my Milan Velo with the 350 mid drive installed along with the 14 AH batt and a 4 AH / 36 volt battery from STIHL. I am getting about 1 mile per .5 AH. I live on a 400 foot hill that I have to climb to get home. The Bafang is great in my machine. I weigh 220 lbs, and the velomobile weighs 65 lbs plus the battery.

Very impressive design and we hope to see more velomobile installations in the future. The Bafang Mid Drive addresses the achiles heal of a velomobile which is the dificulty in pedaling up steep hills. Velomobiles sure look fun going downhill though!

Here are some more pictures of the inside of Dave’s velomobile and how he managed the battery positioning.

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