I did it, I did it, I did it!

I built an electric bike, took me two years but I did it. Took it around the block and everything. Since I finished her at 10 at night and had no lights to see where i was going or how fast I was going, I can only tell you I was upwards of 20 MPH when I looked down at the speedo when coming to a stop sign and relying on the street lamp but that was off the throttle which at the time being is just a potentiometer taped to the left handle bar jimmy rig style with electrical tape, also both tires are flat, the front one super flat, and finally I am only running on three batteries instead of four because the controller is programmed for 36 volts only until I hook it up to a laptop and reprogram it to 48 volts

my goal is just highway speed 65 MPH and a range of 30 miles, but I’ll take anything, man it’s a trip to pass people and they don’t hear anything

The bike is a 1989 Suzuki Katana GSX600F you may know her by Wattana, I will share some pics and maybe a video soon

Wattana - Stock

The Magura electronic throttle arrived in the mail today and I was able to find the Serial to USB computer cable at Frys which I need to re program the Alltrax controller and low and behold my new (used) Husky broken air compressor decided not to be broken any more.


I programmed the controller for my 48 volt system and wired up the fourth battery. Then I wired up the throttle on the handle bar like god intended and removed my Mickey Mouse pot from the other side. Next I inflated the tires, front from 4.5 PSI to 24 PSI and rear from 2.0 PSI to 27 PSI (don’t ask why up to those numbers I just thought it was better than single digits, lol

Then I went for a test ride, and what a glorious ride it was. I piled up 10 miles before coming home. I also decided that since my batteries are not properly secured with any sort of tie down and all the wiring is held together by a thread it was the opportune time to do a speed test, so I opened her up and saw her climb just north of 45 MPH, not bad, not bad at all - this should improve with proper gearing and the addition of two more batteries

here are some pics of the setup from yesterday before today’s improvements, pot on the handlebar, mickey mouse kill switch, and the spaghetti of wires

just wanted to share with you pictures of the Magura Twist Grip ($50.00) which I bought from Electric Motorsports in Oakland California, since I live in Sacramento California I figured I would pay the tax and give the local boys my business. Anyway the first picture is what I thought I ordered, the second is what showed up, and having spoken to some people I am not the first to forget to order the stupid matching left hand grip which costs a bit extra ($2.50) if you set the “Matching left handle bar grip” pull down box to Yes in the shopping cart before you check out.

What I thought I ordered:

What came in the mail:

I’m not mad, just sharing a lesson learned, hoping to help someone else out there.

wanted to show you the issue I had with the USB to RS232 programming cable, I did not have the patience to order the blue one shown below from an EV supplier, so I found one at a local store called Fry’s Electronics for $20 bucks (It was from Aluratek [ahem] with a “k” and looked so pretty) that should have been my first clue, anyway the damn thing would not fit inside the Alltrax controller housing opening for the programming cable it was about 1/8th of an inch too wide… so out came a flat screw driver, and off came the pretty stupidly oversized plastic plug case… look it was late in the evening and I wasn’t going to be defeated (ever had that type of feeling?, lol) long story short, I got it to work

So here are the pics, the first one is what the official $15 dollar (plus shipping) cable looks like if you order one ahead of time. The second pic is of what I bought, the third pic is how I “modified” it to get it to work, and the last pic is comparing what I bought with a dime a dozen standard null modem RS232 cable/plug, if you squint just right you can see the size difference (I pealed off the sticker looking for a screw that I thought held the plug together, turns out it was just snapped together)

OK, so I finished her, here she is, yes there is a dozen small things to do, like source some front turn signals, mirrors, and windscreen, also painting the swing arm wouldn’t hurt, if not the whole bike, lol

I validated my choice of donor bike, this 89 Suzuki Katana 600 hides all the electrical components really well, and that was my goal. It also comes with a front wheel drive speedometer and trip meter, another reason why I picked her.

we need vid of this!

let’s see how much this conversion cost me, this will be the first time adding it all up, caugh when you see my wife approaching, lol

$490 - MARS ME0709 72 volt DC motor (EVDrives.com including shipping)
$450 - Four 12 volt 55 AH 22NF-AGM Lead Acid UB12550 Batteries
$318 - DMV vehicle registration
$300 - Used Motorcycle (Craigslist)
$185 - Alltrax AXE4834 Used Golf Cart Controller (eBay including shipping)
$100 - metal angle iron, plate, hardware
$66 - Magura twist grip throttle (Electric Motorsport including shipping)
$45 - six 6 gauge battery cables (O’Reilly, Car Quest, for different lenghts red and black 9", 12", 19")
$40 - OEM motorcycle battery for accessories (headlight, taillight, brakes)
$30 - wires, fuses, resistors, diodes, connectors, zip ties, misc
$25 - 12 Tooth #50 Sprocket (Grainger)
$24 - 48 volt Solenoid (eBay including shipping)
$23 - four 12 volt cheapo CEN-TECH battery chargers (Harbor Freight)
$3 - 200 AMP Fuse (eBay including shipping)

$2,099 - TOTAL


$90 welding machine (Harbor Freight)
$50 welding mask (Home Depot)

I still need:

$250 - 48 volt, 15 AMP on board battery charger
$75 - 65 tooth rear sprocket
$65 - brand new chain
$50 - 48 volt digital meter
$30 - 48 volt to 12 volt converter
$20 - 13 tooth sprocket

some photos of the strip down, I didn’t go as far as some, because my goal was not a perfect restoration, instead it was a proof of concept in terms of can I build an electric bike, and how fast and how far will it go, in that sense I believe I have succeeded, does it look as clean and neat as I would like - no, well not yet.

This bike has a complete frame, in other words the engine did not act as a sole stress member in the belly area. I specifically sought out this type of frame construction in order to maintain strength and rigidity, especially since the original plan was to use bolts instead of welding, but than I learned how to MIG / Flux Core weld, and Bob’s your uncle.

Often times you don’t notice the subtle differences as the two different cradle bottom tubes, one is a thin square tube, the opposite (with the side stand) is a solid piece of iron. Extra fun and excitement when it comes to welding especially for a beginner like me.

Notice the engine mounts below. The top ones do not align with the bottom ones, that sucked when it came to attempting to sandwich the motor between them, but I figured it out.

so pathetic me, is charging with four of these CEN-TECH $5.00 dollar chargers from Harbor Freight, they put out 750 miliamps

this is one of the things that I have learned works, that is if you don’t have a 48 volt battery charger you can use four 12 volt battery chargers or two 24 volt battery chargers to charge your 48 volt battery pack, yes there are some stipulations but I’ll let the experts tackle that

so how long does it take? a very long time, so long I time my charge with a calendar, lol, that’s right I think it takes about 4 days to charge my pack from 48 volts to 51 volts and some change, (again the experts can chime in how we should not completely deplete our packs, but I am still trying to figure things out so I am not even sure if 48 volts is good or bad)

things that suck are that I can’t even plug in all four of these ac adaptered chargers into a single seven port power surge protector strip thingie, because the one closest to the on/off button interferes with it and turns the darn thing off so I have to start in the next one over - see these are just all the little things they don’t teach you in school - jk