Orbit Tandem & Woosh DWG22c 48v rear hub kit

Jodel

Pedelecer
Oct 9, 2020
113
102
After considerable amount of ‘umming and ahhing’, I finally got round to adding some electrical assistance to our Orbit tandem. This my first attempt at an e-bike.

The main reason for installing electric assist was to provide some help on the steeper hills. I had wanted to fit a mid-drive motor as from what I could gather, a mid-drive motor is potentially a better option in this case. Fitting a mid-drive motor to a solo appears to be quite easy, fitting it to a tandem does not seem to be a straightforward task, so the next best option seemed to be a rear hub motor. I had discounted a front drive hub as I had some concerns over the weight of a hub motor and the possibility of putting too much load on the forks.

I’m reasonably competent mechanically, so the DIY option appealed to me. I bought my rear hub kit from Woosh (as many here seem to) and followed their advice to go with the DGW22C kit as the preferred option for tandems.

I made ready for a day fettling in the garage. I had already removed the rear mudguard and luggage rack for better access. The first bit of good news was that the battery unit will fit along the boom tube – more on that later.

As per the Woosh manual, I started off with the Pedal Assist Sensor (PAS). My favoured position was the RHS front bottom bracket. I had a brief look at the proposed layout and found that the cable supplied was just fractionally too short to reach the battery unit. Fitting the battery ‘back to front’ in the frame meant the PAS cable would reach but the motor wire was then too short. Woosh sent me an extension cable for the PAS – great! As part of an annual ‘major service’ on my bikes, I remove the BB’s and re-apply anti-seize compound to the threads in the frame and cups, so extracting them was not a problem. It looked like the PAS would be a perfect fit on the front, but unfortunately it interfered with the eccentric shell on the front BB – this was really frustrating as it would only have to move about 1mm further out from the BB shell to clear – bugger! Woosh had sent me the (now surplus to requirements) extension PAS cable FOC, so it seemed only reasonable to return to them to put back into stock.

Ok, time for plan B. There was enough room on my rear RHS BB to fit the PAS, so that is where it is now mounted and is pretty much invisible when the crankset is fitted. I also chose to fit a throttle as hill starts on a tandem can be difficult and being able to call on instant power might prove useful. That meant installing the brake cut-out sensors too.

PAS Wheel With Cranks - Profile.jpg

I moved on to the wheel next. I didn’t bother changing over the cassette from the existing wheel, I just fitted a new one. We have three bikes in the household all of which have Shimano 9 speed 11 – 32 cassettes, so I had one in the spares ‘stock’ anyway. The existing cassette on the tandem is a 12 – 36, but I hope I won’t miss the slightly lower bottom gear now I have the motor. I fitted a new chain too – the existing chainrings are all in good condition so they’re being kept. When fitting the wheel, a couple of issues emerged:

The hub motor has a 12mm axle and a normal Shimano cassette tool won’t fit over that size. As the tool is made from hardened steel, I didn’t think it was worth the hassle of de-hardening it then drilling it out to fit over the axle. My Unior emergency tool for roadside removal of cassettes was pressed into service and it did the job.
https://uniortools.com/eng/product/1669-4-2-in-1-pocket-spoke-and-cassette-lockring-tool#44729
Another other option would have been to use ‘farmboy’ engineering and stick a pair of needle nose pliers into the lockring, then turn the pliers with an adjustable wrench (there’s always a way!). A deeper socket style lockring tool with a ½ inch square drive would have been fine as it could fit over the axle. I’ve now added one to the toolkit for future use. I believe cassette lockrings are meant to be torqued up to 40Nm, but I’ve never had an issue with one coming loose although I only tighten them until I feel a bit of resistance and hear a couple of clicks from the lockring – that makes taking them off a lot easier too!

A quick test fit of the hub in the frame brought more good news – the axle was a good snug fit in the dropouts and only a few spacers / washers either side would be needed for a perfect fit. Most tandems have a larger OLN dimension than solos at 145mm. Similarly, the rim looked pretty much dead centre in the frame – great. I started off checking the disk side of the hub and found that the spacing for the disk was dead on – I’d removed the brake caliper, to make fitting the wheel simpler but it bolted back into place exactly where it had been. As the axle is a larger diameter than the original at 12mm rather than 10mm, the disk has been moved down about 1mm away from the caliper, but this unlikely to have a significant effect on the swept area of the brake. I may yet remove some material from the IS mount to compensate and realign the disk in the caliper.

Next was the drive side and an issue emerged here. The OD of the supplied washers was just a fraction too large to clear the cassette lockring and butt up against the cone nut. When I tightened up the wheel nuts, this washer was compressed in to the small gap between the cassette lockring and the axle and was binding slightly. I had to make up a couple of spacer washers to fit. I could also have removed a small amount from the supplied washer on the bench grinder which would have worked just as well and in retrospect, would probably have been easier. As an aside, there is very little drag when freewheeling – perhaps fractionally more than a normal hub. I know geared motor hubs have clutches to allow for this – I assume they are the ‘sprag’ type.

41236

At this point I deviated from the normal installation routine as I wanted to fit torque arms to the bike. I sourced a set on ebay although I probably should have asked if Woosh supply them. I had intended to use these as a stop gap and make up my own set, but they look sturdy enough so, I’ll just keep them. The Orbit frame is alloy so I thought it would be prudent to try and distribute the loads of the wheel more evenly on the frame. I used some 5mm and 3mm steel arms. They’re attached to a brake caliper mounting on the non-drive side and a mudguard mount on the drive side.

Whilst coping with the torque reaction of the wheel was one concern, I was also conscious that the dropouts were never designed to cope with the 5Kg weight of a powered hub and might not take kindly to the shock forces transmitted if (when) I hit a pothole. I’m probably over reacting to the possible effects of fitting a low power hub motor without torque arms, but I’d rather do that than wreck the frame, hub motor and possibly me too!
Disk side Torque Arm.jpg


At the moment, I’ve used a few washers to get the correct spacing for the torque arms, but I’ll make up some proper spacers in due course. The motor connector plug is small enough to fit through the torque arm on the drive side. I’m happy knowing that it is now very unlikely that the hub axle will spin in the frame. I accept that I’ve added some hassle / additional steps to a road-side puncture repair, but that’s OK as far as I’m concerned. I have a neoprene chainstay protector which fastens with velcro and is large enough to allow it to be wrapped around the motor cable. This keeps the cable secure and avoids the need to zip tie it to the frame.

With the wheel now firmly bolted in place, I rechecked the alignment. I fiddled about very slightly with washers / spacers, but things were largely OK. Surprisingly, the distance between the hub flanges on the powered hub is quite a bit less than the original (tandem specific) Shimano FH-HF08 hub. The Shimano is 50mm, the new hub is only 38mm. The wheel is significantly dished on the drive side, although this is probably not an issue with 12 gauge spokes! Woosh seem to have the wheel build dead right – either through luck or judgement. Since they’ve been selling these kits for a while, I suspect the latter is the case. The wheel is laced in a twin cross pattern and was completely true as supplied. I’ll see in due course how this fares after some use – with a machine built wheel I’d expect a bit of twiddling with a spoke key over the first few hundred miles.

The rim is a ‘no name’ with a 25mm internal width (so quite wide). We tend to use wider tyres on the tandem anyway for a bit more cushioning / comfort, so that isn’t an issue. We’ve got 40mm Schwalbe Marathon Supreme fitted at the moment. They’re not as puncture proof as the Marathon Plus, but they are half the weight, comfy and roll very easily. More on tyres in due course.

I located the battery unit on the ‘boom-tube’ rather than the down tube as it keeps the weight as low as possible and helps centralize the mass. There are no bottle mounts on the boom-tube and I was not keen on drilling holes in the frame to fit rivnuts. Grin Technologies in Vancouver offer a useful alternative: https://ebikes.ca/shop/electric-bicycle-parts/battery-accessories/triple-bob.html
I bought one of these and it provides a very secure fit for battery unit.

ebike.jpg

Finally, I fitted the handlebar control unit and connected everything up. It all went together perfectly and everything worked without a hitch. It may be possible to source these kits via the internet, but I’m happy to have access to a UK supplier to call on for product support / guidance. The fact that the new wheel fitted straight off and all the electrical items worked instantly counts for a lot with me, so credit to Woosh for supplying decent stuff that does in fact ‘plug and play’.

Handlebar.jpg

Riding experience:

We’ve not done many miles so far. We did manage two 20 mile trips and the experience is overwhelmingly positive. One of our regular steepish climbs of about 1 mile, which normally requires the use of the granny gear (18.5”) and can see my pulse rate hovering between 160 and 170, was accomplished with ease. The assistance level was set at level 2 (of 5) and we just sailed up the hill at our normal 90rpm cadence. At one point during this maiden trip we got an error message 25 (brake sensor) and lost power but switching the unit off and on again cleared the fault and it has not recurred. Our first trip of 20 miles used up two (of five) of the battery charge indicators, but that included some quite steep ‘test’ climbs and one long uphill drag of about 7 miles. Most of the time we used level 1 or 2 assist. I didn’t charge the battery when we received it from Woosh, so although it showed ‘Full’, it probably wasn’t completely topped up.

When we returned from our first trip, as I was putting the bike in the garage, there was a bang (like a gunshot) and the rear tyre deflated. The inner tube was shredded and had obviously pushed the tyre off the rim. The tyres are 40mm Schwalbe Marathon Supreme. These are folding type tyres and were a very loose fit on the rim when I mounted them. On the tandem, we tend to inflate the tyres towards the upper end of the limits. I then tried a new 38mm Schwalbe Marathon Plus on the rim and even the Marathon Plus (a notoriously difficult tyre to fit) slipped on the rim with only light finger pressure. When I started to inflate the type, I got the same ‘bang’ at about 75psi and bits of tube scattered round the garage! I fitted another tube and dropping the pressure to 60psi was fine. For the avoidance of doubt, as far as I know I fit tyres correctly. I put in a few psi and work my way round the rim squeezing the tyre to ensure the tube is not trapped and that the beads are fully seating in the rim, I do the same check at 10psi and 20psi before inflating to full pressure. In decades of cycling, I’ve never experienced this before. In fairness to Woosh, I would not expect them to supply a top quality rim for the amount they charge for the kit, just a pity the rim is clearly at the small end of 700C size tolerances. I’ll probably change it out for something like a Ryde Andra 30 or a Sputnik built with Sapim Strong spokes.

Before our second test run, I had fully charged the battery and we set off to climb some steep hills and some long uphill drags. The extra assistance from the motor is excellent and we just romped up hills that we would have either avoided altogether or dropped right down to the granny ring. Again, we only needed level 1 or 2 assistance. One thing which is very useful is having the motor power when pulling away from rest (sometimes an awkward task on a tandem) or when constantly slowing down / stopping for inconsiderate pedestrians / dog-walkers on shared cycle paths. We covered just over 20 miles and the battery display was still showing ‘Full’. For our pattern of use, the range will clearly be much greater than we anticipated. We bought the kit to help, not to replace, our own efforts on hills and headwinds. Most of the time we were above the speed limit for level 1 and 2 assist, so the battery was not being used much. Still, both the power and the range are better than I expected. Towards the end of our second trip, there was a little bit of tinkling from the rear hub and when I checked the spokes back at home, the non-drive side had several pretty loose spokes. Tandems are notoriously hard on rear wheels although we’re a fairly lightweight team at around 130Kg. As mentioned above, I’ll probably replace the rim and spokes for something more substantial in due course.

Our tandem weighed 21Kg as delivered, 23Kg by the time a suspension seatpost and other bits were added. In current trim, with the motor, battery and so on it weighs 32.5 Kg. Riding without the motor assist feels like you would use 1 gear lower than a ‘normal’ machine – perfectly acceptable to me and easily capable of being ridden home if the motor should fail for whatever reason.

If you have been considering such a conversion and have been swithering, I’d say go ahead and do it. The fear of headwinds and hills disappears and it certainly opens up more options for getting out and about.
 

Raboa

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 12, 2014
498
168
50
Park tools do a thin wall cassette tool, the inner bore diameter is 12mm.


have not used this, only the thin wall freewheel version.
 
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Jodel

Pedelecer
Oct 9, 2020
113
102
Yes, that would have been just the ticket. However, I have already bought a socket type tool which does the job nicely.
 

Jodel

Pedelecer
Oct 9, 2020
113
102
Having covered about 200 miles now since the conversion, I thought I’d give an update. Bear in mind the hub-motor wheel is fitted to a tandem, so some of the comments below would probably not apply to a solo machine. Tandems are rather unusual machines and are generally higher maintenance than solo bikes. The wheel did not take long to lose its initial true and the spoke tension on the non-drive side became pretty slack after about the first 50 miles. Not entirely unexpected, as tandems are particularly hard on rear wheels and usually need hand-built wheels.

Originally, the hub-motor wheel was fitted exactly in the middle of the frame dropouts and the rim was also dead centre. This required quite a bit of dish on the drive side and the associated unequal spoke tension between drive / non-drive spokes probably did not help the wheel to stay tensioned and true. Anyway, the wheel has now been rebuilt with a Ryde Sputnik rim laced with Sapim Strong spokes. The hub has also been offset in the frame slightly towards the drive side to reduce the dishing of the wheel.

Reduced dishing on rebuilt wheel:
output-onlinejpgtools(4).jpg


Woosh do point out that a bit of fettling or adjustment might be needed with spacers / washers on the axle to get the correct set-up. I ended up using a torque washer only on the drive side and added the surplus spacers / washers from the drive side to the non-drive side to maintain the correct distance between the dropouts. The positioning of the hub is now very similar to the configuration of the original Shimano hub. The hub-motor axle is long enough to allow for a fair bit of flexibility. The brake disk was kept in the correct position by a combination of washers and lateral adjustment of the brake caliper mounting to accommodate the slight offset of the hub-motor to the drive side.

Shimano hub:
output-onlinejpgtools.jpg

Shimano hub:

output-onlinejpgtools(1).jpg

Repositioned Woosh hub:
output-onlinejpgtools(2).jpg

Repositioned Woosh hub:

output-onlinejpgtools(3).jpg

Although the same nominal size, the 700C Sputnik rim seems slightly larger than the original 700C so the tyre no longer slips off the rim when fitting. The Sputnik rim has an internal width of 19mm rather than the original at 25mm, so is a much better fit all round (pardon the pun) for the 32mm – 40mm width tyres we normally use on the tandem. I think rims ‘shrink’ by about 1mm when brought up to tension, but I believe that is quite minimal on the heavy duty Sputnik rim.

Overall:

It is still early days for us, but the conversion kit is definitely a great upgrade. The hub-motor is more powerful than we expected and the battery range is definitely more than expected. The motor assist means that we now tend to choose our routes based on where we actually want to go, rather than worrying about what direction the wind is blowing, or how steep the climbs will be. Already, it really has made quite a difference to how we use our tandem. When using assist level 2 or sometimes level 3 on some of the steeper hills, it feels like the stoker has been swapped out for Chris Froome or Bradley Wiggins! On the long / steep climbs, we still use the granny ring, but my pulse now sits between 145bpm – 160bpm. That’s what I was hoping for – putting in enough effort to get reasonable exercise without being completely knackered and drenched in sweat at the top of a climb.

Initially, I wasn’t entirely ‘sold’ on a hub-motor versus mid-drive, but having sampled the characteristics of the hub-motor I’m more than happy with the outcome. Each system has advantages and disadvantages, but for on-road tandem use a hub-motor is a pretty good option I think. I thought I’d prefer torque sensing rather than speed sensing control of the motor. Now I have experienced speed sensing, this method is actually rather a good match for tandem use. On each level of assist, the motor ‘cut-off’ point is quite subtle too and it doesn’t feel as though you are oscillating in and out of the power. Again, this characteristic is a bit better than I had anticipated. The sheer mass of the tandem that the motor has to propel probably helps mask any minor speed variations. Our ‘standard’ load is 130Kg of riders + 32.5Kg of tandem, motor and battery – that’s almost as heavy as one whole American, so the motor does well to cope.

Two items I would recommend anyone to fit:

1) Brake cut-off sensors. These are really helpful in some situations such as negotiating a low-speed tight turn where you want to keep some movement on the pedals, but you don’t want the motor trying to assist you. Light pressure on the brake lever keeps the motor power off. And …….

2) Throttle. Moving off from rest on a tandem, especially uphill, can be a challenge. Holding the throttle open whilst a brake is applied means the motor engages instantly when you release the brake lever and stand on the pedals. You get enough help to make getting moving a lot less stressful than it would be otherwise. The throttle on our tandem is on the RHS. It competes for handlebar space with the Deore rapidfire gear shifters, brake lever and a bell but is certainly an accessory I would fit by default.

Range:

As yet, we’ve never used up more than 2 (of 5) of the battery state indicators in the display before re-charging. I had hoped we’d get a maximum of 35 – 40 miles from a single charge, but based on evidence so far, it looks like closer to 70 – 80 miles will be a fairly ‘safe’ range estimate. Most of the time we only use assist level 1 or 2 and we normally ride above the speed where the motor would cut in at those levels. Still, the range is impressive and gives us just what we wanted.

Before buying the Woosh kit, we had seriously considered splashing out on a new e-tandem, but I’m not convinced that the £000’s more it would have cost us would actually have given us a machine significantly better than we now have. The way the Woosh kit has been configured to deliver a hefty amount of torque at low speeds is excellent for use on a tandem. I’m sure a shop-bought machine would be more polished and have fewer rough edges than our home-brewed attempt, but at a very significant price premium. Plus, where’s the fun in just buying something ready made from a shop when you can DIY?

I do have some queries on which the more knowledgable folks on here may be able to offer some guidance:

1) Is using the throttle from rest (even if only for a few seconds) likely to cause any long term damage to the motor? We are using the pedals too, but perhaps a big load from stationary is not a good idea?

2) We tend use assist levels 1 and 2 on the steeper hills and climb at about 8mph. Is there a limit on how long the motor can sustain this level of output without damage? As I understand it, hub motors don’t like toiling away at low rpm for too long.

3) I’m not clear on what (if any) additional maintenance the hub-motor needs. My annual ‘major service’ for my bikes includes includes dismantling, cleaning and adjustment of the cup and cone bearings of conventional hubs. I also tend to clean out the freehub body and lube that too. I don’t know if there is a requirement to routinely lube the planetary gears of the hub or if this even possible for a DIYer?
 
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vfr400

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 12, 2011
9,822
3,950
Basildon
1. No problem
2. 8 mph should be OK for some pretty long hills, especially if you're on low assist levels.
3. No maintenance required. It should be good for 20,000 miles. There isn't anything maintainable inside. Some people regrease occasionally, but it shouldn't need that with nylon gears.
 
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Jodel

Pedelecer
Oct 9, 2020
113
102
vfr400 - Thanks for the feedback. I didn't want to 'cook' the motor through ignorance or unintentional abuse.
On some of our climbs, we often use level 1 assist only as anything more than that means that we don't put enough effort in ourselves.

Cheers,

Jodel (or CBR1100XX :) if you like).
 

Nellie

Pedelecer
Jun 15, 2020
45
11
Hi Jodel nice conversion. I converted my tandem a Trek T900 almost a year ago during first lockdown. I went for a front wheel hub albeit a tranz x system I repurposed from an Ebco ebike. I had the battery recelled to a much higher capacity and apart from a dodgy lcd display which I replaced everything works nicely. The point you make about the range confirms my experience I have 3 assist levels and rarely need anything more than assist level 1. Your point about the throttle is also a good one on hill starts I use the button on my display for walk assist which gets us up to 5 or 6 mph helping immensely. Last November I bought another ebike same model I cannabilised for my tandem. It was three years old in immaculate condition but came with a dead battery. I just swapped in my recelled one and used the bike all winter for work. It’s a heavy bike and weighs much the same as the tandem but I noticed I needed higher assist levels and obviously reduced range. This was quite an eye opener as my wife and I are novice tandem riders . I had assumed less range on the tandem than a normal bike but it seems the input from the stoker more than compensates. We love it and take the dog with us in a box at the front. I hope you enjoy your rides as much as we do. Looking forward to our first ride of the year tomorrow forecast is sunshine and moderate breeze. Cheers Neil
 
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Jodel

Pedelecer
Oct 9, 2020
113
102
Hi Neil – always good to hear of the experience of others, so thanks for the update on your own tandem conversion. We’re not experienced tandem riders either, although we’ve ridden solos for decades. Being able to call on the additional push from the motor is really excellent for tandems, but like you we only use it when required.

I’m not familiar with the tranz x system you have, but I believe Woosh have the Shengyi motor-hub manufactured to their own specifications for heavy duty work and they seem to have got this dead right. I’m very impressed with the amount of torque available from the motor, it’s certainly more than I expected. Out of interest we’ve (briefly) tried using the throttle for motor power alone on some slopes and have been impressed by how well it copes. Hub motors seem to be a good match for tandems and based on my experience, I’d have no hesitation in recommending it to others.

Tandems generally are at least as fast as solos on the flat (same wind resistance but twice? the power) much faster on descents and much slower on the hills where all the extra weight takes its toll (ye cannae change the laws of physics captain ...). Certainly, we generally have no problem keeping up with (or passing) ‘normal’ riders on the flat. Carbon fibre mounted race-snakes can still leave us behind, but I’ve done the lightweight race thing in my youth.

That’s interesting to hear about the increased assist level on your solo ebike and that the range is less than your tandem – like you, I would not have expected that. We’re not ready (yet) to convert our solos to e-assist, but that may come in time. I still enjoy the relatively lightweight cycling experience of human powered solos. In comparison, the tandem feels more like an HGV. But – being able to trundle along with your partner and carry as much stuff as you like more than compensates. What about a nice little trailer on the tandem for your dog? :)

Glad you’re enjoying your tandem too – we think ours is great. I think if you can both get along with tandem riding, they’re absolutely brilliant fun. The motor assist simply adds to the enjoyment. If you don’t ride well together – well, not for nothing are they known as ‘divorce machines’. As one American wag put it – ‘Whatever direction your relationship is heading, it’ll get there faster on a tandem’.
 

Nellie

Pedelecer
Jun 15, 2020
45
11
Hi Jodel
i ride my carbon fibre race bike most of the time and prefer it . I live in the fens and most people seem to think because it’s so flat that it’s easy riding. Well it can be but there’s a reason they build so many windmills here in the past for pumping water and nowadays for generating electricity.When it blows here it can bring you to a standstill and it blows here a lot year round. I use my solo ebike when working fifteen miles or more away from home because it has a battery rear rack combination so I can use my big ortlieb panniers to carry tools in. I no longer drive so I bike to work every day the ebike just gives me flexibility on long journeys or windy days after all when I get to work I still have a full day to get through and I’m in building trade not office so it’s manual work. I prefer the dog basket upfront rather than a trailer it’s easier to manoeuvre and park and it’s only a small jack russel. Ive actually just ordered a new front tack that fits to the frame. Like the old butchers bike racks and not to the handle bars and forks. Here’s a pic just before I swapped in the front hub motor but everything else is attached.
 

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Jodel

Pedelecer
Oct 9, 2020
113
102
Excellent pictures Neil - love the basket on the front for your 'Navigator' :)

I still have my titanium race bike, which is a lovely thing to ride, but I'm just not bendy enough to cope with a stretched out race position these days. Your tandem looks like a serious beast of burden - I can well understand the desire for e-assist.

Hat's off to you for using your solo e-bike for work, especially if you're doing manual work in the construction trade.

We live in Edinburgh, which is also pretty windy a lot of the time so I know what you mean about headwinds. Edinburgh and the surrounding area has no shortage of hills either. We wanted e-assist so that we could be (relatively) independent of wind direction / hills when we go out. Thus far, the hub-motor has given us just what we wanted. I've not shown my partner your 'Navigator' basket as she'd want one!
 

sjpt

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 8, 2018
3,005
2,269
No pictures to hand. We used to ride tandem with various combinations as the children grew. Two in a trailer; one in a trailer and one on a crossbar seat; one on Hann trailer (Rann style tagalong made by Mr Hannington) and one on the crossbar; one on the back of the tandem and one on the tagalong (my wife on solo). Winchester is particularly unwindy, and we usually kept to the fairly flat routes and short distances.

Now it is just us on the tandem, with the help of a (fairly underpowered but enough) XF07 Woosh front conversion. (Right now not even that, my wife broke a kneecap in what should have been a really trivial a tandem slip.)
 

Jodel

Pedelecer
Oct 9, 2020
113
102
sjpt - sounds like you had quite a 'road-train' going at some points in your tandeming career!
 
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Nellie

Pedelecer
Jun 15, 2020
45
11
Hi Jodel im intrigued by the lever on the extension bar on your handlebars is it for the rear disc brake. Whilst looking at pics of your bike I had feelings of deja vu then realised it must be you on the e tandem conversion thread on Tandem Club forum. Small world sometimes. All the best Neil
 

Jodel

Pedelecer
Oct 9, 2020
113
102
Hi Neil, I posted on the tandem club site too, but they make it quite difficult to upload images, so I also posted on here.

The extra lever on the bars is an old-style MTB thumb-shifter and is used for the third (V-brake) on the back of the tandem. We don't go touring or carry heavy loads, so we don't need a drag-brake, but as an 'emergency' third brake a V-brake is a nice-to-have. Plus, it works really well as a parking brake when you lean the bike against a wall / tree etc. It stops it wandering off!
 

tandemfans

Finding my (electric) wheels
Apr 22, 2016
10
0
64
Hi Jodel,
Ive been reading and rereading your post about electrifying your Orbit. We too have an orbit, , pegasus pro plus. 700c wheels and drop handlebars. Ill try and attach a photo. Ours is a 145mm hub as yours was. Andy at Woosh thinks we will have problems lining up the rotor and calliper with the new wheel. From reading your account, that bit of the process seems to have been quite painless. In a right quandry as to what to do. We really would like a bit of assistance but cant really justify the expense of a new full blown electric for the amount of miles we do. any pointers or thoughts would be most welcome
Regards
Ray

IMG_20210916_161024.jpg44563
 

Jodel

Pedelecer
Oct 9, 2020
113
102
Hi Ray,

I would not expect there to be too much variation in the geometry of the various Orbit frames. I'm not familiar with the Pegasus Pro Plus, but it doesn't look very different to my Velocity 9 model. The guys at Woosh are pretty knowledgeable and helpful so I wonder what makes Andy think the disk / caliper problem could be? Off the top of my head, the shape or curvature of the seat stay or chainstay may interfere with the disk rotor, but that seems unlikely. My Orbit has loads of clearance for the slightly wider rim of the hub motor. I have Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres (622 x 40) fitted and could easily go to an even larger size.

That looks like a normal tandem sized 203mm rotor you have on yours and there is no problem with this on my bike. There is a fair bit of lateral adjustment (several mm) on my caliper (TRP Spyke) plus there is the option to use spacers between the disk and wheel or between the caliper and frame to make more adjustments. If you look at some of my photos you can see where I used some washers to help align the caliper.

Since those pictures were taken, I bought another DWG22C kit to fit to a solo bike. Long story short, the 'new' kit ended up being fitted to the tandem and the 'old' kit moved to the solo bike. The new wheel slotted in very easily and with the benefit of experience, was a much quicker installation than the first time round. I have changed the position of the wheel in the frame slightly to reduce the need for spacing washers on the disk / caliper. I don't have any pictures of the new wheel, but can post some if you need to see my very slightly revised installation. The rim is dead centre of the frame.

With the triple chainring setup at the front, there is no problem with chainline. On the middle ring at the front and 5th speed on the 9 speed cassette, the chain is absolutely straight. Keeping my triple chainrings and a decent chainline was one of the reasons I went with a hub motor rather than mid-drive.

For what it is worth, the Woosh kit is really first class and has made a huge difference to how we use our tandem. We still put in a fair bit of effort ourselves, but hills we would have previously avoided just aren't an issue any more - neither are headwinds.

We too considered a new e-tandem but the huge cost did make us think quite hard about it. Having tried the Woosh kit, I honestly don't believe there would be any significant advantage in buying a factory e-tandem. We're about 135Kg as a team and the DWG22C kit gives plenty of 'oomph' for us. You will definitely use your tandem more if you have a motor. I think we've done close to 1,600 miles this year and that would never have been the case without the motor.

I'm happy to chat things through further on the phone or via email if you want to PM me.
 

tandemfans

Finding my (electric) wheels
Apr 22, 2016
10
0
64
Hi Joel,
Many thanks for that comprehensive reply.i'll do some more pondering and suspect I will be back with more questions. Our wheels have 28mm tyres, not sure if we can go wider but woosh do a 700c rimmed kit so would need to clarify the width that is.
Thanks. , Ray
 

Jodel

Pedelecer
Oct 9, 2020
113
102
Hi Ray,

As supplied, the rims fitted to my wheels were 31mm external width, 25mm internal. With 28mm tyres I think you'd be right on the limit of what would be acceptable. Have a look at the attached Schwalbe tyre chart; https://www.schwalbe.com/files/schwalbe/userupload/Images/FAQ/reifen_felgen_2020/Reifen_Felgenkombinationen_2020_EN.pdf

The roads where you live must be a lot smoother than the ones I have to use! I'd have no end of snakebite punctures with such narrow tyres on the tandem. I did briefly try a 32mm tyre on the hub motor wheel, but the ride was too harsh at the high(ish) pressures I had to use. I found it much better to use a wider tyre at lower pressure. We currently run the 40mm Marathon Plus at 55psi front, 60psi rear and for our all-up weight of 165Kg, that works well.

I'm not always a fan of Andy Blance at Thorn cycles, but I do agree with him that most riders today use tyre pressures that are far too high. I tend to follow the old rule that the optimum pressure for the minimum rolling resistance will give a deflection (a flattening of the tyre) of 15% when the bike is loaded. With sidewalls as stiff as the Marathon Plus (especially the e-bike version) you can safely run quite low pressure even on a tandem.
 

tandemfans

Finding my (electric) wheels
Apr 22, 2016
10
0
64
Thanks again for more info. Will be doing some measuring and reading. Currently on a coach to London for the weekend. Definitely not day for tandem riding.
Our orbit came with continental gatorskins which were endlessly puncturing but since changing to marathons virtually puncture free. The old ones definitely rolled better but we seemed to spend more time with the wheels off than riding.. we're about 130kg as a team. We're in North Staffordshire with loads of awful roads so must just be lucky,fingers crossed.
Regards Ray