Hey Discovery Channel? This is the guy you should have hired.
Usually when it comes to custom motorcycles we see the end result maybe with some “before” pictures. They’re lovely, but we don’t get to see the real blood, sweat and tears that go into a build. This one is coming at it from the opposite direction: he’s going to log the whole process. We get to see the planning, progress, and hopefully setbacks and redesigns along the way.
The bike is a 1969 Honda Sports Cub CA110, and it runs and sounds great. I think the builder anticipated the general wailing that will come from the YouTube commentariat, because he noted that “Honda made over one hundred million variations” of that particular bike and so “it is not a rare bike by any means,” and also that he will sell all of the parts he’s removing, so they will live on.
He says he will plan on using a 3kW electric motor in the bike, maybe “bump it up” to a 5kW, since it’ll need a little oomph to get up hills. He discusses the options of a mid-drive versus a hub motor, and their advantages and disadvantages. The engine position will impact how and how many batteries are mounted in the bike.
As for the batteries, he’s planning on a 72V system so that it won’t have to draw too much current, and a 30Ah capacity. His math shows that should give him approximately a 40 mile range on the bike between charges. Since it’ll be a knockabout city bike only a step or two above a bicycle, that should work out fine. Here’s the kicker, though: he’s planning on building the battery himself! Raise your hand if you didn’t know that was possible.
He continues with more typical bike build concerns, and discusses the drum brakes front and back that are acceptable but not great. The hub-mounted motor will argue with the current rear drum brake, though, so he considers a rear disc brake and a bar-mounted lever for it like a scooter, since an electric bike doesn’t need the clutch.
He’ll have to redesign the swingarm, install a torque arm, relocate the footpegs and deal with a couple other, um, minor mods, but I for one am looking forward to the chapters in this build and I hope he brings us all along on this adventure. When I think about those TV shows that feature motorcycle builders, I want actual work like this, not “we’ve swapped out the motor for one in this crate and sent the tank off to a painter and now we’re going to yell at each other for the last half-hour of the show.” Micah, you are the guy I want to watch build an electric bike. Take me with yooooouuuu!!