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Unread 02-20-2010, 06:14 PM   #1
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Default What motor to buy for a motorcycle project.

I'm going to be picking out a motor soon for an electric motorcycle project, I really want to go with a golf car motor because they tend to be common and cheap, the motorcycle I'm using has the space and I have a machine shop so adapting to the open face motor is not an issue, but I want to start out with a used motor to keep cost down but design it so it can be upgraded without changing my machined parts, I plan to make two of each part so if the first electric bike works out I can sell it or build a 2nd one to sell, so I want to do this right, thus I have alot of questions about details.
In an ideal world I would like to start out with a 48v motor but will live with a 36v if I have to and if higher voltage motors use the same spline and bolt pattern.
From what I read it looks like there are 10 spline motors and 19 spline motors, should I assume that all/most 10 spline motors have one style of face/bolt pattern and all/most 19 spline motors have another face/bolt pattern?
I've noticed some motors have an ear for what I assume is suspension, is the rest of the face of this style of motor the same? I ask this because I don't want to get "some weird motor" that doesn't allow me to upgrade.
Are there motors to avoid, ones with issues.
Any reason not to use a Sepex motor or should I stick with a series wound motor?
I figured I would ask the golf car pros the golf car related questions.
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Unread 02-20-2010, 06:16 PM   #2
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Default Re: What motor to buy for a motorcycle project.

a series motor 36v will allow you to 'overvolt' it with 48 volts giving you a LOT of rpms at a cheap price.
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Unread 02-20-2010, 06:45 PM   #3
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Default Re: What motor to buy for a motorcycle project.

To be more clear, my main question is about how all the motor options out there bolt on, lets say I have an axle that takes a 19 spline motor, will any 19 spline motor bolt to that axle? how about a 10 spline motor/axle, will any 10 spline motor bolt to a 10 spline axle? and is it just the splines that keep the 10 and 19 spline motors from interchanging?
I understand some motors are longer then others but I want to make sure I'm not overlooking details in attaching the motor when I go to machine the adapter and bearing plate.
My seabring vanguard citi-car has a 36v ge motor with a 48v pack and weighs twice what this motorcycle will weigh so I'm not worried about over voltage if I do choose a series wound motor, but I also know very little about Sepex motors, I just started reading about them and kind of like the regen braking idea.
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Unread 02-20-2010, 08:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: What motor to buy for a motorcycle project.

I have ridden lots of bikes. You could not get me on a regen braking bike on the street. It would put you in a skid on loose material in a turn when you de-accelerate hard Anyway you maaybe over thinking this. what if you use a CC 36v motor.(cheap) Chain drive and sprockets.... For gearing flexibility. Over volt it for speed and torque. Have the motor rewound for more speed or torque if needed? I don't understand the need for multiple motors? They are not all that different inside...... What do you guys think?
Great idea would love to see you build it here so we can follow ..... Lots of guys have put bike motors in golf carts. It is about time someone put a golf cart motor in a bike What are you think in terms of batteries, pack size, voltage? Weight?
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Unread 02-20-2010, 09:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: What motor to buy for a motorcycle project.

I want to make more then one of each part so I can make more then one bike, I want to do this for a number of reasons, first one of course is that it's not much more work to make 2 or 3 parts once I have the tooling set up, but if I make copies of the motor end plate and splined shaft and it only works with one model of motor then I'm stuck with that motor instead of upgrading at some point to a 72v motor from a GEM car, if in fact all 19 spline motors bolt up the same.
My goal is a highway speed motorcycle, that is why I'm going with a golf cart motor instead of an Etek motor like most people put in their electric motorcycles, I want to end up with 72 volts in the end but will most likely start out with a lower voltage, I'm also going to be using a shaft drive motorcycle so there is no gear changing option.
I'll start with lead acid batteries as I work out the bugs in my design, with a small lead acid pack made up of some 12v trolling motor batteries in the frame, if it all works out as well as I hope I might buy some FoxxPower lithium batteries or build up a trailer for a set of 6v T105's for longer trips.
Not to get ahead of my self, but if this does all work out I hope to machine a small batch of each part so others can build their own golf cart based motorcycle, but for now I want to make sure I have all the details covered.
Monday morning I'm going to call around and see if any of the golf cart shops in the area have a used 19 spline series motor that they can sell me, if not I'll be picking something up off Ebay, then I have a few weeks off from work that I'll try get a solid part design and start on ripping in to the gas engine bike to figure out what I'll need to make the splined shafts and motor mounting plates.
I've seen too many electric motorcycles that involved alot of cutting and welding of frames, bolting parts on that almost fit then stick some chewing gum in there, paint it up all pretty and you top out at 40mph, I don't want to fallow in those foot steps.
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Unread 02-21-2010, 07:37 PM   #6
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Am I correct that all 19 spline motors bolt up the same, so if I want to upgrade to 72+ volts in a few years I shouldn't have an issue?

Some people do swap different motors on to their axle, right?

So far I feel like the responses I've gotten are pushing at just picking a motor and living with it, that it's not worth having a design that can be upgraded because it would work with more then one motor, but no one has said "you can't do that" but are coming close to saying "why bother?".
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Unread 02-23-2010, 12:54 PM   #7
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Default Re: What motor to buy for a motorcycle project.

I called up a shop that is about 40 miles from me to ask what they have for 19 spline motors, turns out they have 6 or so good used EZ-Go series wound motors for $200 each from 2004-2006 EZ-Go carts that were changed to hunting carts, they also have matching controllers, new and used.
Anything I should look out for? the guy I talked to I think is the owner and seems like a good guy, I bought batteries and brakes from him for my Commuti-car a few years back.
Found a YouTube video on making the 19 spline shaft for go-karts that use golf cart motors, my brother who is going to school to be a machinist said it should be easy to make.
So far I haven't found any reasons that this project will not work out perfectly.
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Unread 02-23-2010, 01:41 PM   #8
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Default Re: What motor to buy for a motorcycle project.

That sounds good. Snif and shake those used controllers. The burnt electronics smell stays with them and the bad pieces rattle around in them like mirrachas
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Unread 02-25-2010, 05:59 PM   #9
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Default Re: What motor to buy for a motorcycle project.

Picked up a 2004 EZ-Go 36v series motor, that is clean and in good shape, suspect I paid a bit much for it at $200, but the owner of the place I got it from said he would give me a discounted price on everything else I needed, a package deal price even tho I only bought the motor so far, seemed worth it to be on his good side for advice and trouble shooting.
The motor is shorter then I was imaging, I'm used to the 6hp 48v motor of my commuti-car at over 18" long, this Ez-Go motor motor is about 11" long, so I'll have plenty of space.
I'm stalling on getting a dividing table (a rotating table/4 jaw chuck that you can clamp a part or in my case the shaft to cut a single spline then rotate) for my mill for now and am instead going to have my brother make the splines at his school, if I need to make more then 3 of these shafts then I'll invest in a dividing table.
This weekend I'll be hauling the motorcycle up the hill to where the shop is, there is still alot of snow and ice but it's starting to melt.
The controllers that were avalible used looked to be Curtis controllers and were smaller and lighter weight then I imagined, would I be best off just going with something like an altrax right away? I'm going to end up getting a 600amp altrax at some point for my commuti-car that I could use to just test the system with but for this project a 400 amps seems like it might be a closer match, right? that would be around 19 peek hp.
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Unread 02-26-2010, 06:29 AM   #10
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Default Re: What motor to buy for a motorcycle project.

Most of the electric bike guys use a 72-volt pancake motor .
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