Cyclone Motor Performance Testing
For almost everyone that is interested in a Cyclone motor or kit, the first questions
that come to mind involve performance. How fast will it go? How far will it go?
How steep of a hill will it climb? These are the most frequently asked questions.
To answer those questions we have fitted the 360 watt and 500 watt motor kits to several
typical bikes and taken them out on the road to see how they perform. To document
our tests, our bikes have been fitted with speedometers which have been calibrated to
the bikes. They've also been fitted with our Watt's-Up watt meters so we can accurately
document the performance of the batteries and know how much current is being drawn at
various points in our test rides. We also measured the temperatures of both the motors
and the batteries at the start and end of our tests with a
highly accurate non-contact temperature meter.
It is extremely important to understand that electric bicycle performance is effected
by a wide range of factors. Small changes in some factors can cause huge differences
in performance. For example, given the same weight and speed, it will take almost
twice as much energy to climb a 1 degree grade. (A 1 degree slope will rise 1 foot for
every 57 feet of forward travel.) A 2 degree grade will require nearly 3 times the energy
required for level running.
Bicycle wheel size and gearing are another extremely important performance factor. In
our tests, you'll see that the maximum speeds obtained with our 20" folding bikes are
somewhat lower than those obtained with 26" mountain bikes. Basically, at the same rpm, the 26" tire travels
1.3 times farther than the 20" tire. In effect, the smaller tire is like having a lower
gear, consequently the 20" folding bike will climb slightly steeper hills than the
26" mountain bike if both are using the same gearing.
About my testing...|
While I am the importer/distributor of the Cyclone products, I have tried to
do fair and honest testing. Rather than guessing at values, all test bikes
have been fitted with speedometers and wattmeters so that actual information
can be reported. In my trip logs, you will note that many of the rides have
been done for the purpose of obtaining maximum distance. To that end, the
speeds have been lower than what many bikers would consider a good or fun
speed. Like everywhere else in Southern California, the bike paths are often
crowded with other bikes, pedestrians and at times, even horses. Under those
conditions I've found that just following other bike traffic will dictate
an average speed of about 12-15mph.
The bulk of the tests below were conducted on the Santa Ana River bikeway in
Orange County, CA. This is a 30 mile long paved trail that is completely off
the road and has only a dozen or so places where you need to completely stop or slow
below 5mph. At each street crossing, the bike trail has an underpass. These
underpasses typically have a 100-200' length on both the down and up sides.
For the tests, I coasted down the underpass and used the throttle to climb up
the other side. This is a fair simulation of starting out from a stop on the
level like you would encounter at a typical stoplight.
Critics will probably say that these tests are biased, possibly even phoney.
To those folks, I say, bring your bike to Southern California and I'll be happy
to meet with you and we'll ride together. When we're done, you tell me if the
tests were fair or not. When reading through the test results, you will be
interested in the test of the 500w motor with the Li-Ion battery on the 26"
mountain bike. For this test I averaged over 19mph and still got over 23 miles.
In my trip notes you'll see that later tests of the same setup yielded over 30
miles when the speed is taken down below 15mph. If you're a throttle jockey
and love to do fast acceleration runs, you'll need to cut my results by 25-50%.
If on the other hand you like to pedal, you'll be pleasantly surprised that you
can get around 40 miles out of the Li-Ion battery pack even with the 500w motor.
If you're used to the results of some other motor system (Currie, hub motors, etc.)
remember that the Cyclone system has a huge advantage by working through the
bike's transmission. This allows you to optimize the power vs. battery drain
balancing act like no other system. Drawing too much current, shift down - it's
just like being a human rider - get it in the 'easy' gear. In some cases this means
that if you're riding with the motor only, you will actually be in a much lower
gear then if you were pedaling. For example, I can cruise with the motor at
15-16mph in 3rd gear (44/14). I could never pedal fast enough to go 15mph in 3rd
gear - this is the optimum gearing for the motor. If I want to pedal along, I shift
into a comfortable gear for me, and the motor acts as an assist. It's all about
optimizing the available power.
I should also mention that I not a little guy. I weigh over 220 lbs. so all of these
test (except where noted) are done with a big rider. If you weigh 165, you'll get
10-15% more mileage than I did and your advantage will be much greater if you
climb lots of hills. It takes much more power to haul my ass up the hill than it does
for a smaller rider.
Drop me a line, give me a call. I'd love to ride with you any time to verify
the test results below.
Each of the following links will give details of our performance tests for a
particular combination of motor, battery and bike. To get some idea of how
your project will perform you can look at the performance of a similar
combination in our tests.
360 Watt Motor, Two 12v 18Ahr SLA Batteries, 20" Folding Bike|
360 Watt Motor, Two 12v 18Ahr SLA Batteries, 26" Mountain Bike|
360 Watt Motor, 24v 13Ahr NiMH Battery, 20" Folding Bike|
360 Watt Motor, 24v 13Ahr NiMH Battery, 26" Mountain Bike - - COMING SOON|
360 Watt Motor, Two 24v 13Ahr NiMH Batteries, 20" Folding Bike|
360 Watt Motor, Two 24v 13Ahr NiMH Batteries, 26" Mountain Bike - - COMING SOON|
500 Watt Motor, Two 24v 13Ahr NiMH Batteries, 20" Folding Bike - - COMING SOON|
500 Watt Motor, Two 24v 13Ahr NiMH Batteries, 26" Mountain Bike|
500 Watt Motor, 24v 24Ahr Li-Ion Battery, 20" Folding Bike - - COMING SOON|
500 Watt Motor, 24v 24Ahr Li-Ion Battery, 26" Mountain Bike|
PREVIEW... 500w Hill-Killer Bike - Our latest project bike.|