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California Ebike: Our History and Future

Our History

California Ebike (CE) was launched in 2009 after my friends and I discovered the life-enhancing benefits of electric-assist pedaling via a simple hub motor kit and battery. Back in the day, this was the only conversion setup available! That said, I did some research and decided to engage the best resources available in China to start california-ebike.com. I was also lucky to know Mathew Timmins of Solarbike in Perth, Australia, who mentored me in my new endeavor and gave me the gift of his vast ebike experience.

Bafang mid-drives hit the market

Fast-forward to 2013, when Bafang (8 FUN), the now well-known Chinese ebike manufacturer, introduced its first mid-drive system ― the 350W BBS01, followed in 2014 by the 750W BBS02. I saw these new kits as a paradigm shift for the e-assist bicycle market and determined to put all future focus on this new development.

Becoming a Service Center for Bafang mid drive product

As the potential of these mid-drive kits quickly caught on among both foreign and U.S. retailers, it became obvious that replacement parts and customer service were going to be problematic. This was an inherent logistical problem in global commerce and was where we could offer our expertise. This would lead to my decision to make our niche in the ebike market as a Service Center for Bafang mid drive product.  

Service, tech support, parts, tools and components

Our initial focus was on service, free tech support and a complete inventory of Bafang parts and components. The next logical step was to offer specialized components and tools built by California Ebike under its own trade name, something for which my background in engineering made me well-suited. Though we originally imagined our customers would be locally based, we soon discovered we had an international following. In fact, our sales continue to nearly double annually!

Meet the CE Team

Doug Snyder ― Owner

Before launching California Ebike in 2009, Doug spent three decades as owner/operator of Snyder Systems, a manufacturing business that designed and built automated machinery.

Mary Merschat ― Manager of Operations

Before joining California Ebike, Mary was a program manager at Kaiser Permanente where she was instrumental in setting up their vision department and a major KP drug distribution center.

Tom Jaszewski ― Tech Support

After a career as a renowned horticulturalist for the Mirage in Las Vegas, Tom and his wife retired to Winona, Minnesota. An avid, all-weather bike rider, Tom is California Ebikes technical expert and a respected contributor on the ebike forums.

The Future

Ebikes are here to stay and we are excited over the tremendous growth opportunities that will play out throughout the next decade. Over the past 10 years, pedal-assist bicycle use has increased exponentially and municipalities are scrambling to build infrastructure to accommodate this rapidly growing phenomenon. Ebikes are no longer limited to the two-wheel enthusiast, as 2, 3 and 4-wheel ebike vehicles are now in widespread use by commercial delivery and rental companies, commuters, seniors and people with disabilities, to name but a few.

A customer-driven company

How is California Ebike going to remain relevant in this new decade of rapid ebike adoption and change? Our desire is that CE remains true to its core mission of being a customer-driven company.

One look at the team will surely suggest to you that we have a lot of years of experience between us. Being the oldest at 78, I have made it known that I would like to spend more quality time with my wife and family, and have announced January 2021 as my official exit date from the business.

California Ebike needs you

So how do I keep the mission alive and continue the good will we have worked so hard to build? That’s where you come in. My reaching out at this time is not an attempt to recruit investors, but to connect with creative, vibrant and focused individuals who have the passion and commitment to continue building on what we have accomplished at California Ebike. Interested? Then please drop me an email or give me a call. Let’s talk about the future.

With respect and thanks,

Doug

doug@california-ebike.com

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Lenexa Kansas Recreation supports seniors

Lenexa Kansas and their Recreation department goes all out to support their Golden citizens with pedicab transportation operated by trained volunteers. Hats off to the city leadership and Jeremy Reimer, recreation department supervisor.

They call these pedicab rides, Senior Strolls and use trained volunteers to take seniors from the many adult living centers on rides through the many beautiful parks and trails that are maintained by the City of Lenexa.  Located just South of Kansas City and just East of Lawrence, Kansas. A city that truly cares about it’s people.

“I wanted to pass along some photos of our program that you both helped us with.  If it was not for all the help you both provided by getting our bikes hooked up with motors, we would not have been able to make this happen! 

Thank you both very much for helping us get this program up and running! “

Jeremy Reimer, Rec Supervisor

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Annual news story from the Owen’s Valley Raider-Jerry Live!

The Raiders Trike, now 5 years old, is still performing yeoman duty hauling groceries and cargo every week. The recent closure of the only nearby market, made me create a backup for the Raiders Trike. Not wanting to go through the tedious process of modifying a frame, I decided to create an illegal trike, using a front wheel hub motor. The result is the Red Devil MotorTrikele, as the attached pictures.

Since CA eBike no longer sells hub motors, I bought a Dongdian 350w, geared, 27.5’’ wheel motor from China. The battery is your nude Frog Pack from 5 years ago, still pumping out juice. The frame is a stock Motobecane NT5, with only the front and rear dropouts opened for the larger axles. The rear axle is made from genuine, high-quality, Ace Hardware parts. The basket made with some nice cardboard and then glassed. Since the Motobecane was bright red on black, I wanted a red logo on the rear, but in keeping with the Raiders Trike. The local sign shop made me a nice Red Devil sticker.

There is no chain, so I planned to use the PAS for an alternate throttle, whenever the fuzz showed up. In fact, this worked great. When I returned from my 2nd test ride, I stopped in front of my front gate. As I got off the trike, I accidentally kicked the pedals, which with no resistance, spun around and the PAS caused the bike to leap forward into the closed gate. Fortunately, nothing bad happened. I realized at once that an evil event like this could only be caused by the Red Devil.

I disabled the PAS and gave up plans for an imitation trike. The pedal crank arms were set to the same angle, causing the pedals to hang at their lowest point. This turned out to be surprisingly low, due to the 20” rear wheels. Riding to the Post Office, while on the sidewalk, I came to a driveway, which high-centered the pedals, throwing my legs in the air, but I stayed in the saddle (some idle teenagers seemed to think this was amusing). Naturally, I immediately thought of painting over the Red Devil, but on further reflection, realized this could make matters worse. Removing the Red Devil was not possible, as I had applied the sticker before the black paint had cured, and it appeared that some type of molecular bonding had occurred.

Using some baling wire, I tied the cranks up forward, which gave a nice motorcycle position. The hub motor has an excellent electric whine, making the motorcycle effect even more perfect. Riding on a deserted road, I reached the exciting speed of 17.2 mph and then my cap blew off. Damn that Red Devil!

With things going from bad to worse, I was at wits end. Then I remembered my handicapped neighbor, who drives one of those medically approved chairs with 3 tiny wheels. I know he takes a nap in the afternoon. With a heat gun and a putty knife, I could remove his medically approved sticker and… Damn that Red Devil!

Have some fun every day.
Jerry…

Merry Christmas Jerry

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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.

Tools

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.”

Regards,

Tor

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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 : https://www.rohloff.de/en/products/speedhub/

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

Then:

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: https://vimeo.com/238272857

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: https://ffotr.com/

 

 

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,

Pierre

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Hiking, Biking Adventures

I recently got acquainted with Anne & Mike Poe of Hiking Biking Adventures as they are in the process of moving to Slovenia. Anne needed a couple of batteries sent ahead to be ready when she and Mike arrive in June. If you check out their HBA website   you will find they are real pro’s in the endeavor of writing and describing their adventures. Their guidebooks give you wonderful detail and descriptions of their own experiences so you may discover the same wonderful trails armed with very helpful insights.

Hiking Telluride-Hikes Chart

As the Ebike rider base continues to expand there are more and more people discovering the enjoyment of riding an Ebike. Not only the avid bike riders but many others want to get more exercise and rediscover the great outdoors. They are finding the adventures that Anne & Mike describe in their guidebooks once again doable. Having this information readily available for the new explorers is very exciting and much needed.

Thank you Anne & Mike, we will continue to follow you with your new discoveries!

 

 

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First Outing of Spring 2018

Finally got the California Ebike Pedicab ready for the 2018 Season and took my wife Joyce for a test ride. The hills here in Benicia California are very steep and long (some 10-12%). So we switched out the 46T stock chainring for a Lekkie 36T (HD). added a BSB-1 Stabilizer bar, 48V-40Ah battery pack, and of course added  programmable LED light strings to the overhead canopy for a little extra “Bling”. We’ll be offering FREE rides at the local Farmers Market as well as Free rides and the Solano Mini Maker Faire which will be held at the Solano County Fair this year (June 30 & July 1). Perhaps we’ll even be at the Oakland Bike Fest this year. Pedicabs are such a joy to operate when the are properly set up with Bafang HD

Pedicab

electric assist and have the right components to navigate those steep hills fully loaded.

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Reincarnation the the Owen’s Valley Raider’s Trike

Raiders Trike (RT), Raiders Trike 2 (RT2) and Motobecane (MB).

On 14 August 2017, RT2 was euthanized with bike specific chemicals. Using an automotive stethescope, it was determined that there was no heartbeat. All useable items were removed from RT2, and the remaining parts dismembered. It was given a short service before burial in the dumpster.

 

The front wheels (sealed bearings, Marathon Plus tires) were put on RT, along with the AllCell 36v 21ah battery. This battery keeps a high voltage for a long period. As a result, in a grocery run to Von’s, the dangerous speed of 12.6 mph was reached in 4th gear. Ducks and Geese better scurry!

The 350w BBS01 motor was intalled on MB. The Frog pack from RT under went serious plastic and metal surgery, reducing it to the 12 cell LiPo pack with its BMS. An aluminum mount was fabricated and the pack mounted on MB. And I thought RT was fast !

Jerry Heinsen