Experimental Electric Vehicles

April 19, 2010

Zion Upgrades

Filed under: 1 — tonyhelms @ 8:23 pm

After completing a conversion such as this, you will look back and want to improve and or change a few things. Either because you want too, or because it does not work and you need too. I have listed the modifications and upgrades made to the Zion motorcycle so far.

– Chain Grease Sheild

I was in a hurry during the last few weeks of building the bike in order to get it working for the TTXGP mid-ohio race that I didnt fully test and refine the motorcycle. After removing the faring in Ohio I realized what a mess the chain made all over my batteries, frame, wiring… So I made a sturdy, simple, and light weight chain grease shield that prevents it from contaminating other components. It is made from Sintra PCV board and attached with small screws and a bracket.


I had read all the features of the Veypor multi-function motorcycle gauge, it sounded very impressive. The key features included, digital and analog speedometer, odometer w/ trip, 1/4 mile timing, 0-60 timing, efficiency, the list goes on… I purchased the unit and initially I was impressed with what I had, everything seemed to work, the speed was calculated off the front wheel via a magnet sensor and the power wires were a simple installation.

Soon later I found the speed reading was erratic at times, the menu’s were hard to navigate and difficult to understand. The two main buttons on the unit had little to no “feel” to them, you weren’t sure if you pressed the button or not, epically if you were wearing motorcycle gloves. I was fairly disappointed with the performance of the Veypor unit, the few things I liked was the bright back lighting and large screen.

I then did some research and found people using these small “Sigma” bicycle speedometers that had accurate readouts and could calculate speeds past 100mph. The Sigma has all of the features of the Veypor other then the 1/4 mile, and 0-60 timing, and constant back-lighting. The Sigma is a simple to use and simple to read gauge that is easy to install and has a smooth and accurate digital speedometer. And for a fraction of the cost of a Veypor unit it can do almost all of the same functions at only about $30, as opposed to the Veypor ringing in at $175.

My conclusion, Purchase the Sigma (or cycle analyst, ill dive into that later) it is smaller, easier to install/use. and more accurate. The only major down fall is the lack of back-lighting due to it being powered off a small button battery, This can be solved with a small LED pointed at the unit for night riding.

-from 60 volt Odyssey, to 72 volt B&B

If you read my earlier post I had some charging issues with the Zion’s 60 volt 20amp charger (china made) When the motorcycle was in its early stages it only had one goal, GO FAST. So I installed 60 volts of high current odyssey batteries powering a Mars “R” motor which is only rated at 48 volts max, I figured Since I was looking at going fast lets push a little more voltage at it, well that motor only lasted about 3 miles until it burned up a couple brushes. I then purchased and installed a Mars “RT” motor rated to handle 72 volts.

Over the winter my 60 volt Odyssey batteries were killed by a faulty and poor quality charger. Since I had to purchase new batteries I figured lets upgrade it to 72 volts, I found the same cell size in a B&B cell called the “HR-22-12” they pack 22 amp hours and 72 volts making the pack 1584KW of power. This compared to the previous Odyssey pack of 60 volts and 17 amp hours making a measly 1020KW of power.

On top of this I needed to find a reliable and higher quality charger to ensure these cells work properly, and last long. I read many good reviews on the performance and longevity of Soneil chargers. luckily they make one for a 72 volt pack that is small and operates off 110 volt AC input. Because of its size and weight I decided to mount it on the motorcycle, now I can charge wherever I park the bike.

-Chain conversion,

The 50 size “original equipment” chain is over kill and I am currently in the process of machining new drive sprockets in 40 size chain to reduce rotating mass, overall weight, and drive train loss. This is the same 40 size chain I am currently using on the E*Speed motorcycle, and I have had no problems with its performance, and have noticed enormous noise reduction compared to the 50 size on the Zion. This modification is not quite finished yet because of delayed parts.

larger 50 size compared to the smaller 40 size chain.

Hopefully this helps in your decision making on your EV project. Dont waste money, learn from my mistakes!

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