Pino e-conversion

After coming back from a long tour of France I decided it was time to put a motor on the Pino. I had mulled it over for some time and, because a new ‘e-pino’ is horrendously expensive, I decided to fit a Bafang Crank Motor.

I bought the motor and battery together, from ‘Aliexpress.com’ and ordered it from China, as it’s cheaper than using a European supplier. The hardest part was getting the old BB out – it had been on the bike since 2011. I swapped the stock control display unit for a SW102 combined controller/display which is very small and sits neatly at the bar-end. I also had to fit hydraulic brake sensors (bought at the same time) and I fitted the plain, right-hand crank from a Thorn Tandem ‘Captain’s’ crankset from SJS Cycles. The total bill was around £700. A new e-Pino is over £7,000!

Fresh back from a ride, so it’s not clean – the left-hand Hase crank with freewheel and the motor sitting under the BB shell.
The Thorn, right-hand crank from SJS Cycles and the 46T covered chainring. You can specify different sized chainrings but we’ve found, coupled to a Rohloff with 15T sprocket, it’s a good size that allows us to climb well and keep pedalling up to 25-30mph.
The 17.5Ah battery bought with the kit. The battery doesn’t have an ‘off’ switch or a USB socket. Both features worth having I think, so it may be a good idea to buy the battery separately from the kit, or make sure these features are on the battery. The battery locks into place on the mounting bracket with a key.
Right side of battery showing charging port. I had to drill a couple of holes in the battery mounting bracket, to allow it to be fitted using the water-bottle cage mounting holes and sit in the correct position. A zip-tie keeps the front end tight.
Rohloff hub with chain tensioner. Chain alignment is pretty good.
The SW102 controller/display. This is not the standard display and separate controller that comes with most kits. I added the lumps to the buttons, as selecting up/down on the unmodified rocker switch was tricky with gloves on. The cable runs along the underside of the grip, but it could go down the inside of the bars for a tidy look.
The thumb-throttle at the end of the bars – handy for pulling away on hill-starts or from junctions. Again, the cable runs along the underside of the grip. The Rohloff gear selector is a left-hand one which I find works well where it is mounted.
The magnet mounted to the brake lever and the sensor, mounted to the brake lever body so that pulling on the brakes cuts the power to the motor. I used the very useful mouldable glue ‘Sugru’ for the job. It sets in about 24 hours, so a little tape was necessary to keep all in place while the glue set. The brake sensors were extra, but the cables fit in place of the cable brake levers supplied with the kit. All the cables on the kit have different colours for matching male/female connectors as well as different pin patterns, so it’s pretty well impossible to make a wrong connection.
The wheel sensor and magnet on the rear wheel. These need to be fitted and aligned well, as if they don’t work, the motor will cut out after a couple of minutes if it’s not registering any rotation.

This may all look a bit complicated, but I am no mechanic or engineer, and I have fitted two of these motors now. As I said at the start, the hardest part can be removing the old BB.

Christmas 2019

Enjoying the August sunshine of southern france, near Marciac at the International Tandem Rally 2019.

Two and a half years into retirement and we are coping well. We celebrated no more work with a month of tandeming in Germany, down the Rhine, a week with the International Tandem Rally in Oberhausen an der Nahe, then cycling up to Lippstadt for an Army reunion, after which we headed back to the Rhine and followed it downstream to the Hook of Holland and the ferry.

Last year it was Sweden, but a bit too far to cycle we thought, so we drove, stopping in each place for a couple of nights so we could have a day ride before moving on. Sweden was fun with unusually warm weather – which was good – and the island of Öland perfect for riding, though the headwinds were a bit grueling at times.

In December 2018 I was fitted with a pacemaker. After a few years of bradycardia and arrhythmia the docs decided it was time. It took a while to get right, but now it’s settled and I’ve got used to it, I forget it’s there most of the time.

In spring 2019 we headed back to Germany to join Tandemtreffen (TT) for a weekend of tandeming. This was our second TT and just as much fun as the first. We hope to go again in 2020, which will be in the area near the Mosel river.

In the summer of 2019 we set off from home on the 1st July for an epic tour of France, riding to the Mediterranean and on to Toulouse before picking up a car to carry on the the International Tandem Rally at Marciac. After an enjoyable week of cycling within sight of the Pyrenees, we drove back to Caen, dropped the car off and caught an overnight ferry home.

As winter takes a firm grip and Brexit looms, I wonder what will pan out for us in the next few years.