Friday, 18 October 2019

A year with the A7 (brief thoughts)

so, its been a year with the A7 now. Its been an interesting and informative journey.

I can say that the A7 has been an more of an addition to my photography but has not replaced the micro43 system I have. They do things differently (especially with the same lenses).

The m43 is entirely adequate, video too is sufficient and its backed up by a better set of lower priced native lenses.

Of course that I can use my non-native lenes (by adapter) on both means that the A7 just added a body to my set of (older 70's legacy) lenses and this essentially changes what those lenses do and how the images render ...

For instance the FD200mm f4 lens is quite telephoto on the m43 (equating to 400mm) but is a lovely mid telephoto with nice DoF on full frame (the A7)

... which I simply could not do without something like a 150mm f2 lens in m43 (which I'm not sure even exists, certainly not for the $100 I paid for the FD).

However despite how compact it is with the nice little SamYang (top picture) it has not managed to really pull me over from using the GF-1 with the Panasonic 20f1.7 lens

which is such a sweet little bokeh maker and on the GF-1 (for which it was made) is a compact easy to carry on a hike little bit of kit. Interestingly, both the 20mm on the GF-1 the 35mm Samyang on the A7 are almost exactly the same angle of view.

Of course what I want Full Frame for is also shallow DoF, but in portrait lengths ... which the m43 also does but the A7 does just that bit better.

So this body has really added dimension to my kit while only costing a small amount.

Win Win

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Dual vs Single: power proving a theory (or two)

When I bought the Mercane dual motor Wide Wheel it was also to clarify a point.

I knew (of course) that the 1000W (pair of) motor(s) would provide much better hill climbing (that much was obvious), and my use of a calculator (explored in this post) made that an expected outcome. Experiencing it was actually more fun than I'd expected.

However what I was unsure about was this: did more battery translate to different range between the two scooters when there was double the motor? Given that there were a few considerations to make:

  • twice the torque on hills must use more power
  • however at fixed speed (governed by the speed limiter) power needs would be more or less the same between the scoots on a flat path
  • the dual will have a bit more rolling resistance (which I've measured as being about double) due to the additional motor
  • 422Wh battery on the Single and 633Wh on the Dual = 50% more battery on the Dual but 100% more power

The answer it seems is that having more power available does not use that much more battery, it actually gives a greater range. and this has been emerging as a picture in the fact that I've been able to go places, which are hilly, that I couldn't do on the single.

Hypothesis Clarified

Yesterday I went for a scoot with a mate and he took the single and I took the dual. The route is below:

The red arrow is where the single motor ran out on the way back.We walked along for a while (about another 1.5 km and then decided to do a "tow" where he balanced on the scooter and put a hand on my shoulder and I towed him. Of course I had to accelerate slowly and we found that a speed of about 10kmh was pretty ideal.

So this means that for the remaining (about) 2km the dual motor pulled him and me. I can say from the pressure on my shoulder that a few kilograms of force was needed to get him rolling and while of course less a few kilograms needed to keep him rolling.

My dual motor scoot was still at 49V when we got back to the car.

He had a great time (as did I) and the entire thing was a great fun after noon with a bit of "team building" type cooperative behavior tossed in for good measure.

Take outs:

  • The Dual motors is amply compensated for by the 50% increase in battery.
  • My friend had never scooted nor used a skateboard, but done a fair bit of rollerblading, so had the basic intuition for good balance. After the basic safety introduction (braking and stance) I moved into teaching him that balance is through your feet, and that if you feel wobbles in the bars its because you aren't balanced on your feet.
  • He picked that up pretty fast and within a few km was exporing which foot was better back and agreed that while one is naturally dominant that being comfortable with both is important
  • After he'd had 10 km on the Single I gave him the dual and he was impressed by the extra power
  • People love these things almost immediately and find that doing trips on them is just great fun.
The second theory I proved is that basic instruction makes a huge difference in learning curve and confidence levels (and growth of them) in a novice. There probably should be courses for scooting.

Happy Scooting

Friday, 4 October 2019

Mercane: prep for riding and regular "keep an eye on its"

Firstly this is about the Mercane Wide Wheel, but its applicable to ANY SCOOTER in a general way.

After talking this morning with the nice guys from Apollo Mvmt I thought I should do a post about general and preventive maintenance on the Mercane (as I've already done a few here in a piecemeal manner).

I think its important to note that these eScooters are toys, not "motor vehicles" which must conform to DoT safety standards ... and they're assembled by (probably) unqualified people who probably did not know as much (perhaps as you) when they started and (unlike you dear reader) didn't have anyone to make any suggestions to them.

As it happens the Mercane is fundamentally a sound design, robust in many ways, but not immune to poor assembly.

So with that in mind I'd say its prudent to do the following yourself:
  • from day 1 remove (one at a time) each external fixing bolt (all under the belly pan for a starter) and put a drop of permatex blue on it (or a light loctite), put just a single drop and put it on the tip. This will prevent vibration losses of those bolts.
  • remove and decently tune the brake caliper (make sure that the caliper clears the disc and that the inside pad is put close to the disc to avoid that "bending over" phenomenon
  • plug your charger in and turn it ON before plugging into the bike (avoiding electrical erosion of the plug and bike side contacts ... the plug is a high quality XT60 and is gold plated for good contact, why fuck it up right?
  • periodically pull the base cover off and check that all bolts are snug and no signs of deforming the washers is present on the steering head stem attachment bolts.
  • get a short length of aquarium tube (about 3 inches) the right diameter and use it as an outer protector for the rear brake cable run, it rubs on the chassis ... I'm about to inspect the drive side cable too, so you may want to look at that yourselves too, but I don't think its as big a problem due to the angles ... but worth looking right?
  • always note that your handlebar rings properly seated when you raise them. They're tapered and spring loaded (make sure you see the springs are working. I've seen one person complain of a folded bar soon after getting on.
  • while not exactly maintenance be careful with big gaps in pavement, as these are actually very hard 90° impacts like a hammer and chisel and if you happen to be turning or leaning (say avoiding something) will hit the tyre edge on and you can see the result on mine.
  • recently I felt that there was some play in the swingarm** so I took those covers off and (again one at a time) removed the retaining bolt of the swing arm and added a drop of permatex onto that too (see video below showing the bolt I mean). If it feels tight (mine was loose as I expected from the movement I felt) leave it alone.
  • while you have those covers off examine the axle nuts (that hold the wheel from falling off), finger tightness test them and if you feel any movement then they're fine. If you are sus just give them a quick tightness test with the supplied spanner. remember "leftie loosie righty tighty" for direction of turn
  • lastly I'd say a bit of added foam in the battery compartment is handy as the battery is held in by velcro (I mean velcro ?? right-o). Now it is important to not block the holes in the battery base which allow drainage and some cooling air flow (important both of them. I used this.
Just as a follow up I think its important to mention that the permatex blue that I use is this, and an image I snagged off the web is this:

I don't have experience with the tooth paste tube style pack gel they are selling too. Anyway the key (meaning important) words in that are:

  • OEM specified. All-purpose, medium strength threadlocker.
  • Ideal for all nut and bolt applications 1/4? to 3/4? (6mm to 20mm). 
  • Eliminates need for stocking expensive lock nuts and lock washers. 
  • Locks and seals while preventing parts loosening due to vibration. 
  • Protects threads from corrosion. 
  • Removable with hand tools for easy disassembly. 

Read the directions on that page if you're unfamiliar with it ... myself I just make sure that the bolts are cleaned with a rag (and ours on the eScooters aren't likely to be oily...)

** As mentioned above this is the swingarm bolt which I was talking about (although the loose one was the rear on my Mercane single motor (which seems to have suffered the most from crappy assembly)

I recommend you watch this video, but you will not need to remove anything more than the side cover to access this.

Happy Scooting

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Public Perceptions

On of the things about riding the scooter is that while its legal (meaning also authorised) its only just become so where I live (and still isn't in other areas). So with that in mind I think its important to put the message out there to ride safe as well as having fun.

Whizzing past people may seem fun to you, but can frighten others and cause a swing of public opinion against scooters as valid transport.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

to the edge of the Rim

The area around here is called The Scenic Rim and its actually the edge of an old (millions of years old) volcano. Where I live is just back from the remaining walls of that and the plateau (500meters above sea level) gradually recedes over hundreds of kilometers to the west into the deserts of the center of Australia.

In previous videos I've gone up to the top of the range from Killarney to the tops of that (Queen Mary Falls and over to Carrs Lookout) and down to The Head. Today I took the scoot from just near The Head (where I parked last week) and took it right to where it descends down onto the eastern side of the Great Dividing Range.

This is a view from Carrs Lookout to the East showing todays journey with the red line.

Some of it was below the visible edge over there.

Here are the GPS stats

...and the trip video

I mentioned in that video I would provide a link to some of the bird sounds I've previously recoreded in the Rainforest near there so here is one.

You may have noticed the trees there (on my brief excursion) are buttressed ... this is one just near where I parked in there (although not taken today).

Its a fascinating and complex landscape.

I had a brief bit of excitement on the tail end of that above video when I decided to go down and sus out the cows ... a Red Bellied Black snake was out and took some exception to me riding past him (had a bit of a go at me but as I was going fast he kept going his way:

Some Australian language can be heard

As I mentioned earlier this pretty much completes the trip (done in sections) riding my scoot from my house all the way (car lifted some sections) to the edge of the range

All up that's about 30Km and actually I think that if I modded the scoot to have regen brakes then I may indeed be able to do it in one hit, because there are enough really steep down hills which may indeed make it possible. Cos then I could use the regen to save my brakes AND charge my battery for the last bit.

Especially given that I've done some of those bits "there and back" as well (like I rode up to Queen Mary falls and back, and have done the entire top of the ridge and back to Carrs from Queen Mary falls too.

So, there you go ...  a quick tour of the area on a Sunday Arvo.

PS: almost forgot to add in Pete scratchin around on his Beemer

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Day Tripper

So this afternoon I thought I'd go over to the next town, which is just across the border into New South Wales, its a tidy little trip for the Mercane with a nice hill climb and some interesting scenery

This is the trip map from my GPS

and the GPS summary of distance, speed and altitude

at the border crossing there was a cattle grid (don't want the cows walking across the border carrying pests now do we) (and the rabbit wire)

which represents more challenge for my scooter than one may expect watching the cars go over it ... I carried it over.

Countryside is beautiful (even if it is dry)

and its always nice to spend a little time tootling around town

and some local has always got something "that they're gonna  do up"

I like that the wide wheel stays put in thick foliage all by itself...

church was already closed ...

thank god right ...

So having seen the sights (well the touristy ones) I came home and still had 47V showing on the dial


The Mercanes (Single vs Dual) side by side on the same trip

I've been wanting to do this comparison this way for a while, but only just recently found the editing tools required to do it. So here is both the Single and the Dual motor versions I have on the same trip. There are a few differences but aside from having to kick a few times on the 9degree slope and needing to walk up my driveway its only a 10 or soe seconds difference in trip times.

So, by the time of the top of the first hill it was only about 7 seconds in the lead (not much) and required me to give it a few kicks ... if it was a race then I'd go more power (and torque) but its just a trip to my mates house (usually for a cuppa or an afternoon beer), so a few seconds doesn't really make a big difference.

Is the extra power of the dual worth the money? Well it depends on you and also on the price difference. In Australia that price difference approaches 50% more for the Dual motor.

I've got a few more thoughts on this over on this blog post.

Hope that helps

Saturday, 21 September 2019

up the steep bits

I'm always one to be interested to find where the limits of things are, so naturally I wanted to test the Mercane up the steepest long ascent in the area, so I picked this one

My GPS shows that its a bloody steep climb

and you can tell by the drop to walking speed about a kilometer after starting back that something happened!

Yep, I found not the limits of the motor and battery power, but of the brakes!! On that steep descent trailing them relentlessly caused the disc to overheat and I had to walk back most of the way (easier down than up I suppose!) or risk brake failure.

Here is my gopro footage of that.

so ... now I'm wondering about how to use the regen brakes capacity which I understand is in the in the controller in concert with the disc to perhaps get this little baby to its limits.

Or maybe accept that I've pushed it past where it was ever thought of that it could go ;-)

Thursday, 19 September 2019

dead battery walking

Well, I took the Mercane single motor off to the "far away shops", got what I thought was not far from home and realised I was wearing my cap not my helmet and went back home for the swap. Then went back to go to the shops. I suggest a quick review of that trip data (and interestingly discharge data discussion) here.

Anyway, I did almost the whole return trip before it caved ... about 2km from home, which was not bad and did a nice predictable draw down consistent with what I'd expect from the discharge curves.

I was watching the battery voltage carefully and can report that at about 42V (running along on a flat smooth road and no head wind) it suddenly (within 2 seconds):

  • dove down hard
  • powered down the display during that (much like turning it off at the switch)
  • powered down the indicator LED's on the "dash"

It then would not power back up, so I walked for a while and clicked on the ignition switch and it briefly powered up and then repeated the above.

So this verifies my understanding of the discharge rates and my concerns about how far I'll get once I start seeing 46V on the flats and buckling down to 44 on the steep hills. It also lets me know when the battery management system denies power drain, and its also at a level that's slightly higher than the "low cut off" on the motor controller(s) which is 40V. So this means (assuming correct voltage reporting) that the BMS shuts my battery pack off at about 3.23V per cell. I've done some calculations on "pack" level voltage from this wonderful data source:

interestingly their "Unknown" battery dies at about where my battery died and follows a very similar discharge curve to what I see. If I'd had genuine LG batteries in there I might just have got home ... maybe.

I checked my trip on google maps and it turns out that my turn around point was just past half way, 4km. So that means that my distance since charging this morning is pretty close to 23Km, which given I did this on "Power" mode is pretty close to what the makers claim for "up to" distances. And I have a number of hills on that trip too.

I got home and stuck it on the charger and it took just under 3 hours to charge (normally I recharge earlier and its under 2).

In my view the battery pack in the Mercane seems "reasonable" for its budget and isn't fantastic nor is it crap.

I hope this data is useful to someone

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

what's fast enough?

I can say that from my experience in motor bikes that "wanting a bit more speed" is a seductive and in reality beguiling goal. Its cyclic because when you get something faster it doesn't take long before its "pedestrian" and you need faster to feel like you're going fast.

Same is true with scooters.

On my blog I've put up quite a few posts showing distances, speed as numbers, and even speed relative to a bicycle (however in a more open road). Speed feels fast relative to whats around, and more related to how close things are to give a sense of how things are moving relative to you. Look out the window of a jet at 30,000 feet and if feels as if nothing is happening, but you're going much faster than when you were taking off.

So tonight I tried to make a quick video of me going to where the local shops are (just around the corner) where things are more crowded and lots is happening in close. In a situation like this 24km/h is really the sensible speed limit (as well as the one imposed by law in Australia), even a little fast at times.

So if that's not fast enough for your wants then ... well at least you know the Mercane isn't for you ;-)

Sunday, 15 September 2019

afternoon ride

Reilly Report:

I took the Mercane up to the other side of Carrs lookout (before it gets super steep) in the Pajero to have a tootle around

which more or less went like this :-)

and went back again after the tourists left to enjoy the lookout in a bit of solitude...

Always travel prepared to hydrate ... this is Australia after all.


Saturday, 14 September 2019

Sheared Bolt Head (fixing it and I hope preventing it happening again)

So, lets see how this goes:

Video Part 1

So, about extracting that bolt it didn't go down without a fight ... but I won.

First I tried the "proper way" and drilled it and used an "Easy Out" ... sadly that didn't work and the fucking thing broke in.

here you can see the broken tip of the "Easy Out" and the mangled end of the bolt which came out "the old fashioned way" by brute force. Yep I was able to get clearance between the gooseneck and the bolt and do it with "vice grips"

This time on this battle I fought the law (friction) and "I won".

Now when I took the bolts out I saw that the primary problem was that the heads of the bolts were not given an even surface upon which to grip (thus dis-advantageous forces could be brought onto the edges of the bolt head). This is evidenced by the shitty crapy washer that was used:

So, suitable for a pie tray, but not in this sort of environment. Now I've used double (and better) washers. This will mean that more even pressure will be applied to the bolt head (reducing the chances of another "pop off".

giving the heads a good chance of survival ... I mention this aspect in the last video.

Next, while I had the need to pull the headset off to get at that bolt I thought I'd show you what it looks like (hopefully you'll never need to see it). I'm quite impressed.

This design is actually very sound as it will enable the system to fail gracefully and safely should one or more bolts fail ... this is because the design will cause the front bolts to fail first letting you know something is wrong pretty quickly while having the remaining two still hold shit together. Very nice.

Analysis Segway

Lets just segway off here on a quick analysis of this design: as you can see the back of the gooseneck holding the steering bearing is strongly supported at its back by large flat bit of cast metal against large flat bit of cast metal cast and held down from movement with 4 bolts. So referencing that above close up picture of the neck out, lets look at the angles of force here.

Principally there are 2 directions of force that the mount can take, one is the transfer of road impacts the other is the riders weight (and of course momentum changes which effect what your weight is).

The shape of the gooseneck and its "keying in" to that slot to the anchor points means that the road impacts (the fastest shocks the system will experience) are taken against that pair of thick cast pieces, not on bolts. This means there can be no mechanical wear from stress ( == a good thing).

Next the weight of the rider pivots around that angle shown above and has an amount of leverage (the length of the straight red line) but because of the way the mechanism is seated the only bots to take significant load are the front two anchor point bolts (orange). These will be under tension only, which is good because shear is what scissors do (... which is why we call them shear) and bolts have much lower shear strength than tensile strength. (keep that in mind when reviewing the basic kiddy level engineering on the (quite high powered and fast) Zero which failed below).

No wonder it failed ...

End Segaway ... 

Anyway at the end of all this it looks like this (with the double washers) and is now test driven and back on the road.

Lastly I took this opportunity and pulled the belly pan off the Dual Motor and inspected that. Its interesting how different that is in assembly:

They have "double washered" the leading edge AND used spring washers and used lower tensile strength bolts. Now this may seem like a "bad thing" but actually its possible this is a good thing. You see that higher tensile strength bolts are less "brittle" and inclined to strech (or bend) before snapping.

So maybe what's happened here is that my Single Motor Mercane is an older one and they've just dressed it up to look like a 2019 (with the key operation) ... perhaps they've learned about what's better (by observing failures) and adjusted accordingly.

Either way now both are fully operational, I understand (and I hope by sharing this you do too) more of what I need to keep an eye on with my scoots and things will go well from here on in...

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

stitch in time saves nine (and maybe some skin and bone too)

I'm a big fan of preventive maintenance, its how I've kept so many things I own lasting for so long (like my 1989 Pajero which is still going nicely thank you).

I decided that I thought I could feel some movement in the steering head bracket where it joins the board and pulled the base plate off to have a look if any bolts were loose.

Turned out one was, but not how I expected:

So this bolt has had the head shear off, but I am not sure this is what's causing the small amount of play, as the others were tight.

None the less I'll be now taking extra care in riding on bumps until I can get back up home on the weekend where it will be:

  • easy out that bolt shaft
  • go to the bolt shop to get a replacement (maybe more)
  • remove and inspect the other bolts
  • replace those washers with something better (perhaps even a stack)
Interestingly the bolt is FKE 12.9 which as it happens is a very high standard of bolt strength. I got this information (from this site)

Property Class 12.9 

PC 12.9 parts have a minimum tensile strength of 1220 MPa for all sizes. These parts are very high strength. In fact, they are the strongest of all the parts that we have covered in this series of blogs. 1220 MPa are roughly equivalent to 175 Ksi.
So that's encouraging ... especially how my scoot always gets used on "smooth roads" ... a compilation of one of my favorite tracks around a wetland area

My advice to you is if you haven't pulled the belly pan off your scoot I recommend you do so because you don't want that other bolt to go and risk a situation of having no front wheel (at speed). Like this one I observed on a website:

which goes to show that bolts need to not only be high tensile but also screwed into something which will take the forces (which are magnified by speed). As it happens that bike was doomed from the start because the maker did not put the full compliment of bolts that were needed in on assembly:

pretty fucked for a scooter which costs nearly double mine...

So if you value your physical health, take safety inspections (like brakes) seriously.

Happy Scooting

PS: my solution to my problem is here (well, its the next post above this too, but if you didn't come in through the front page you may miss it)

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

More to life than simply death

A friend of mine (and Father figure) often mused "that there must be more to life than death" ... I believe he is correct but not in a way he was perhaps angling from.

We are not just individuals, we are a functioning part of a society. When we focus on just our own lives then we fail to see the ongoing interconnectedness that our lives have in society.

 If *we* are achieving nothing then that's our choice. We do actually (see it or not) form part of a fabric of society.

The cotton plant produces short fibers which are spun into longer threads and woven to make a blanket, jeans or a shirt. We don't see that bud but it was there.

What happens when I die I can't imagine, but what I can do to help others is something that I can imagine, and choose to do.

Be that Cotton Bud

Public Service Announcment: Mercane Safety Issue (and what you should do)

UPDATE: I'm revising part of this post as new information has come to light and I've redone some of the videos, so:

There appears to be a number of disc brake calipers that have failed (see this post on Reddit for example) and according to the notification by one of the US resellers the problem may be related to a caliper adjustment being set too far forward (and possibly loading the cam up into a weak place).

To be clear we are talking about this part here:

Mine is adjusted so that the lever is pretty much all the way over to the right before brakes are applied, and only moves a small amount (less than half its throw) in activation.

This is a video I made showing the operation and movement of mine in reply to a discussion on one specific example of failure showing normal operation of the caliper. Take note of how far it moves and from how far over on the right (back) of the bike it moves.

This is an example of a video of a failed caliper:

when you watch that video take note of the starting position, his brake caliper lever is further forward than mine ... I would think this is a key symptom (and it has emerged it is ;-)

So IF you are in a situation where you don't know and don't have a dealer you can discuss this with, I propose that to diagnose this you do the following:

  1. check that the starting position of the lever is more or less all the way back by undoing the bolt securing the cable and it will then fall back to its "un tensioned" position. It should not fall far
  2. if it didn't fall back very far then its probably all good, if it did then you'll need to look more carefully. Either way return the lever to where it was and re-tension that bolt holding the cable.
  3. take the scooter to a place where you can test the brakes without needing them to stop. A wide open grassy area like a park (not filled with people) would be good because then the grass will stop you pretty quickly by just powering off. If you can lock up the back wheel and it does not fail then you know its good to go.
Now, if any of the above seems mechanically too complex then my most sincere advice is :
  • "don't own a scooter" or 
  • "ask or pay someone who has mechanical aptitude to do this for or with you"
So, IF you found that the lever was too far over to the left (the cable side) to actually activate the brake then you'll need to adjust this. There are almost no good guides on the internet for this (probably because until recently these calipers were used on mountain bikes and people usually figure it out themselves in that community or take it to a bike shop). That may be a good option for you here.

However assuming you like me want to do it yourself (because that's how you've learned so far) then I've put together a few videos showing what to do and some "discover as I video" commentary. Each of these is about 3 min long. I'll put them here for your reference.

Taking the caliper off:

Now, with the caliper off lets "cut to the chase scene". The US distributor has paid for an engineers report exploring the problem and offering a way to clarify what the problem actually is: here.

In case that ever vanishes I've made a copy of that on my Google Drive here.

Unfortunately there are no guidelines as to how to be sure if that retention ring is properly installed (I may have a look myself). But the above paragraph makes clear that the symptom of the arm movement discussed in all my videos is pretty much a key indicator.

Lets first look at the components:

I've got an arrow on the left (in red) pointing to a small lubrication port (which I mention in my below video) and an arrow pointing to the thrust bearing where some grease is shown.

In the figure below they've cut away the caliper and shown how the part sit in together.

from this I was then confident to dismantle mine further and look at exactly that retention ring.

The ring is intended to be turned with a two pointed tool which matches holes and allows you to turn it. The spring compresses as the arm is moved and the retention ring forms a point where the arm can not go further because the spring is fully compressed. As shown here:

at this point one simply can not apply more pressure on the brakes because the retention ring is stopping the piston moving out further ... as it should because that's how stuff works. This means that if you need more movement you in fact need to adjust the pads (shown soon).

My caliper shows this normal range of movement in my above video and so if yours is showing that range of movment then you probably do not need to go further. But for the sake of showing how to fix the problem I have. In the video below you can see the retention ring, the brake pads and how caliper moves them.

You can strip it by doing the reverse of my process ... and if you find you need to, you adjust that retention ring (as I show in the video) to the place where the spring does bind at the logical end of caliper lever travel (which I show also).

After that you may need a few small tweaks of adjusting that inside pad adjuster to get things just right and you'll also perhaps need to adjust the way the caliper sits on the swing arm relative to the disc, that's shown also in this video which becomes clearer in what its talking about now that one knows there is an adjuster for the outside pad too...

I talk through some more adjustment bits here, but I'm no professional presenter so you may find it a bit "rambling" ... but I feel (even given that) its worth sharing still. Among other things it shows how to position the caliper (which may surprise people to learn was not a custom job for the Mercane and us used on other bikes) exactly relative to the disc. The important thing is to have the disc in the middle of the caliper and then adjust the inside pad (which otherwise does not move during braking) to be just kissing {but just not} the inside of the brake disc) and then the outside pad (which moves when you squeeze the disc) to  allow the brake to release or operate.

I don't script these videos so sometimes I say the wrong words (or struggle for words)  as I'm not an anchor news reporter reading from an autocue, but just an engineer.

Lastly I do not believe that the gentlemen who explored this in another YouTube video have actually nailed a solution to the problem, but rather like my earlier versions of this post have just shown a way of testing if you do have the problem or not.

Ultimately if you feel that you are uncomfortable with this  you may consider it best to consider a change of caliper the best course of action. I know many discuss the move from a cable activated mechanical one to a cable activated hydraulic one, or even a complete hydraulic system ... myself I don't because I'm of the view that'll just be another different set of problems. The choice is yours

Either way its my view that unless you have one of the faulty calipers that its just best to disassemble your caliper and inspect it as I've done.

Monday, 9 September 2019

evening ride

Lovely evening ride tonight, even with two nails, so watch out for the occasional swearing

some interjected thoughts about my Mercane Single motor scoot and riding around. I get that in the USA the single motor isn't competitive with the dual because of the way its priced there, but over here there is a 50% extra premium on the dual ...

Sunday, 8 September 2019

(pimping my ride) just because I can

After spending a bit of time this weekend working on a mates (electric) skateboard and doing a bit of quick preventive maintenance on my Mercanes I thought I'd just whack the old fish eye on the camera and have an in close look at the Mercane from a perspective you almost never see on the web.

Firstly you can see the strength and simplicty of the solid cast gooseneck and suspension system.

while it may not be a lot of travel, you can see it definitely has room to soak up bumps. Now while a pneumatic tyre may deform a little bit more (those who know about riding bicycles with 80psi in there will know that's not always true) there will be a point where the penumatic without suspension will pinch between the obstacle and the rim and you'll be walking home.

The rear has suspension too ... and as you can see a disc brake (which I've just put that tube onto to protect the cable sheath from rubbing).

The disc is easy to maintain (well unless you're fully and utterly incompetent, so I guess that's a good portion of Millennials I'm sad to say) and just requires occasional adjustment to ensure that its nicely aligned.

The wide tyres actually give good grip and personally I don't see any point in altering the system because relative to the diameter of the wheel that disc brake has enormous potential to lock that wheel up >>which you don't want to do<< if you can avoid it because a sliding wheel does not get as good a grip as one that's not (hence ABS).

What you do want to do howere is to develop a body reflex that when braking your put your weight back and down (shift your arse back and down, not stand like a statue).

Indeed the scooter has an integrated part of the chassis which allows you to put your foot right back there and take that weight. Look at the re-enforcement of the cast alloy based on its shape.

This isn't just intended to be sexy looking, its intended you'll put your rear foot (not both feet, keep one forward to help you with stability and feeling direction and slides) and take weight.

If you grew up on a scooter that had only a rear fender brake, you'll instinctively put your weight back there (because that's how you stopped), but if you've got some bicycle experience you'll have that brake lever right there on your hand and you have excellent control.

Being a disc it sheds heat well, so you can apply gently early to prevent too much speed build up on long down hills in town areas (although lengthy {like over a half a mile without a break} steep down hills on mountains will challenge it).

So far I really enjoy both my Mercanes (the single motor and the dual). Sure there are lighter scooters, sure there are more powerful ones, but for someone who wants a low maintenance scooter (bye bye checking tyre pressures or flat tyres, as I've had bicycles for years) this scoot is hard to beat.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Mercane brake cable sheath: repair and prevention

In my last post I identified that swingarm movement had caused some wear that broke through the outer plastic covering of the cable outer (sheath?) which will eventually lead to water ingres and rust, resulting in threading a new cable through ... being one to avoid pains in the arse by following "a stitch in time saves nine" adage I thought I'd nip this in the bud on both my scoots.

in closer the breach in the outer skin of the sheath is clearer (I mean that's how insignificant this is):

So basically my fix is this:

  • short length of 5mm nylon tube
  • apply a small amount of silicon sealant to the cable sheath where its breached
  • slide the tube over the cable and thread some of it down the neck of that aperture
This is what I used (cost $1.70)

This is how I did it and an explanation of what I did.

So pretty simple stuff and something I'd expect takes no more than 5 minutes to fix. Indeed I did it on my Dual Motor version (showing no sign of wear yet, perhaps as the single gets the most miles?) I did it in around 2 minutes. If I wasn't dividing my attention between checking camera screen and doing the job and talking about it it would have been under 2 minutes. So here is that video from start to finish: