Custom Build Gallery, “Patient Zero” Electric Chopper

September 3, 2012

September, 2012

Word on the street is that Manny Da Silva (from Toronto, Canada) has put together an unusually radical idea for Tattoo and Piercing artists. When we first put out an article on Patient Zero it didn’t seem ready for the road. This chopper style bike features a beautiful hand built frame and a wonderfully handcrafted aluminum battery box.


check out the craftsmanship on this battery box


And some of the coolest “retro” battery gauges we have seen:



Although it looked pretty we had some questions. Why use SLA batteries, is the chain hooked up, and it weighs how much? Some of the techniques used on Patient Zero got us thinking, “Do they know about endless-sphere?” So, we at decided to follow up and contact Manny himself.

Patient Zero started as an idea to demonstrate green concepts with performance in an unconventional way. Manny is a former automotive technician, and he was asked if he could spearhead an electric chopper bike project. Manny tells us that Patient Zero was not his first electric bike build. He has experimented with various types of batteries, frame styles and hub motors for the past 5 years as a hobby. “There are other examples of my work out there”, he tells us.

Even with that experience, a team of skilled craftsmen were needed for some of the more challenging aspects of the build. Jason Parker is a well-known builder of custom motorcycles, and he took on the challenge of constructing the aircraft-grade aluminum battery box. The real leather seat was handmade by and other contributing members also sorted the anodizing and paint.

The E-bike uses a 1.2-kilowatt chain-driven motor connected to an 8-speed Sturmey Archer internal gear hub on a Surly “Large Marge” rim. When asked why not a hub motor, Manny replies, “ We find the use of chain driven motors more efficient than linear hub motors. It takes less energy to get the bike rolling.” With its current set-up, Patient Zero is reaching speeds of up to 50 km/h (31-MPH).


Beautiful mid drive system


Speed was not the main focus as a benchmark. “We know many guys out there with 2-kilowatt hub motors reaching serious speeds. Instead we focused on the distance”, Manny says. Patient Zero is the first electric bike we know of to use two separate battery chemistries to power one motor. It utilizes the characteristics of a 48V / 20-AH Ping battery for take off and hill climbing, while the 48V / 14-AH SLA packs are used for cruising speed when high amperage draw is not necessary.

“While everyone else looked at making things smaller and lighter we went the other way”, Manny states. All those batteries make up 100 of the choppers 160 lbs. “The weight of the bike provides much better stability when riding, especially in windy conditions”, Manny adds. All that battery volume amounts to a 100 kilometer range (62 miles) without pedaling once on normal terrain. So at full tilt you can get 2 hours of riding time on one charge. Not bad considering it takes 4 hours to charge the power system.

With so much weight moving at that speed, it requires some serious stopping power. Patient Zero is equipped with 8” disc hydraulic 4-piston Hope M4 calipers. To say it will “stop on a dime” just doesn’t cut it. These brakes are used in downhill mountain bike racing and have proven their reliable versatility.

Now for the final question we ask Manny, “Are the pedals working?”
“Yes and no”, Manny chuckles. We have a double sprocket that rests on the rear triangle of the bike. “The battery box was so wide we needed the clearance from the pedals to the motor”, he adds. It was noticed that the bulk of the sprocket set-up and chain covered the sponsors’ logos and so it remained off the bike until the new owner takes delivery.


Patient Zero’s last stop of this year’s tour is at the Montreal Art Tattoo Show September 7th, 2012.
If you want to know more about the build please visit Patient Zero Chopper on facebook.




Eric has been involved in the electric bike industry since 2002 when he started a 6000 square foot brick and mortar Electric Bike store in downtown San Francisco. He is a true believer that small electric vehicles can change the way we operate and the way we think.


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