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Old 10-28-2008, 11:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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E-vroom

Hello,

I've been lurking for a while, finally joined last week. I suppose it's time to introduce myself. Better than working anyway.

I am a tinkerer by hobby and have long been interested in green home design. I suppose I got started in that around 8 years ago when my wife and I were doing some research in New Mexico. A friend asked us to help out on a small cultural resources clearance for a new subdivision. It wasn't just any subdivision, though, it was for a new community of earthships (Earthship Biotecture Putting Housing Back into the Hands of the People). I was amazed by those homes and my wife and I quickly decided that we needed to build something like them.

We've accumulated a lot of information and plans on earth-friendly living, but until one of us gets a permanent job there is no point in starting to build one. We've been practicing by remodelling whatever home we can afford with an eye toward eco-design.

Our current place is a real mess. It was an illegal brothel in the 1990s, raided by the police twice, and later used as a home for undocumented workers. The previous residents were 12 adult men in 800 square feet. So we've gutted and remodelled everything, particularly focusing on more effecient use of electricity and superior insulation. (Not to mention doors that actually close since the old ones were battered down by the police during the raids.)

My most recent contribution to our eco-friendly lifestyle was to total our V6 4X4 truck. Sad to see it go, but it left us with only a focus. To make up for the loss of transport I picked up a pair of junk motorcycles and rehabbed one into a nice little 50mpg (or better) around-town rider.

So now I've got an extra bike sitting around (1980 Honda CM400T). I had been thinking of what to do with it and until very recently, I planned on a cafe racer mod. Make it lighter, open up the airbox, tweak the carbs, some style work, and I would have a sweet little sporty rider. Last month though I was at the parts store when a guy on an old BMW started asking questions about the currently-working bike. When I mentioned that I was thinking of starting on a cafe racer project but would have to replace the carb and possibly head, he said "why not go electric."

Now I'm embarrassed to admit that it hadn't even crossed my mind. I'd seen EV cars, but with the kind of commuting and sometimes off-road driving I do it didn't seem reasonable. But my bike is just for town riding so a range of even 20 miles would be far more than necessary. So he gave some general pointers and I sped home to start surfing the web for ideas. I've seen lots of great bike modes including this one (CM4 Conversion) on a nearly identical bike, but this site seems to be the best home base for finding more info.

Who knows if I'll go through with it. I have very little time and less money. But I'm starting to build a fairly solid plan and if I can come into a cheap motor somewhere this will be my project for the coming year. I'll keep you posted if I can make this happen.

Until then, thanks for all the help you've provided already!

dp

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Old 10-28-2008, 12:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the site dcwp.

An electric motorcycle is a great idea for short range fun and commuting. I'd suggest (and you've probably already seen) Ben Nelson's conversion. I have an '83 CM400, and his bike is incredibly similar to it.

Also, for the green home improvement interest, we recently started up EcoRenovator - Ecofriendly DIY Home Projects.
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Electric motorcycle? Go talk to Ben.
*thumbs over shoulder*

Have fun and keep us posted!
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Welcome to EcoModder! Definitely check out EcoRenovator and be sure to fill out a garage entry so we can track your vehicles.
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Old 11-02-2008, 10:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the encouragement. Bennelson's bike was one of the first I checked out. Very inspirational. The biggest unique problem I'll have is that the 79-81 cm400s have an incomplete frame. The engine actually bolts directly to the frame and creates the necessary stability. The conversion I linked to above deals with this problem by adding an angle iron strut straight across then a battery cage that also bolts to the frame at the key points to stabilize the bike.

I'm a little concerned about this, but a couple of other folks have done it and don't seem to be having problems.

^Famous last words?^

I also checked out ecorenovator. Cool stuff, projects for the winter when it's too cold to work on the bike!

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