Custom Build Gallery, Richards’ Tango QS

July 7, 2017
3,537 Views

This Ruff Cycle “Tango” framed Cruiser has a simple drive system, but…it is the style and accessory choices that the owner made…which make it such an outstanding example of a custom ebike.

____________________________________________

Ruff Cycles

Richard works in the Bay area, right in the heart of silicon valley. I’ll let him tell the story of this awesome custom build from here on out.

“...I’ve wanted a powerful “fat e-bike” for years – ever since I saw the ones that my good friend Shaun James @Street Lethal Kustom (SLK) was building for friends and family in Shreveport, Louisiana. Last year (with permission from the “boss”) Shaun and I embarked on a project to build a custom e-bike just for my needs and to my preferences and specifications. We knew the process would be complicated by the fact that he’s in Shreveport and I’m in Austin, Texas, but…Shaun also happens to be the partner of my beautiful step-daughter, Sydni, so we visit them a lot anyway!

 

xxx

If you order a Ruff Cycles frame from Germany, this is what will show up on your driveway.

 

I decided to start with a manufactured frame rather than full on custom mainly for expedience. Another good friend, Clint Smith, was willing to build a custom frame for me (he built the frame for Warhammer, one of the fastest e-bikes on the planet) but he was involved in several projects at that time, so I decided to buy a frame that I already loved, the Ruff Cycles Tango. Ruff Cycles manufactures everything you need to build the coolest of fat bikes, and they also sell complete bicycles, including a new line of beautiful e-bikes called “The Ruffian”. Their frames are some of the prettiest on the market, IMO.

 

xxx

Once all the parts arrived, the build process began.

 

The Tango is one of many classic (but custom-looking) Ruff frames, and…I’d always admired the lines and how it was kind of a cruiser with a “chopper” look, plus a touch of low rider. Ruff makes nice forks and bars that go great with the Tango, so those decisions were easy. Shaun and I agreed he’d build me a fast street e-bike around the Tango frame, with a QS motors rear hub brushless gearless motor, and lots of battery juice from a reputable supplier.

It would be fast enough to satisfy almost anyone, but…not record-setting, with lots of pretty paint and bling componentry. The batteries and controller would be tucked away in a custom metal tank. Sort of an “urban attack bike” made to show pretty, but…still  ride fast.

 

xxx

Richards handlebar choice reveals a definite 1960’s chopper flavor.

 

To get the ball rolling, Shaun put me in touch with Clyde James at (web page) Clyde James Cycles. And FB: Clyde has a great shop in Haltom City, TX (DFW area) where he sells bikes, parts, and all kinds of services: bike repair, vintage restorations, customized builds, the works. I picked out a Tango V2.0 in the raw, a Ruff 38X600mm straight fork in chrome, Ruff Ron Bar, medium in chrome and then, I drove to HC to pick em up!

____________________________________________

The Battery

The battery is an 86V 15Ah HPC ELITE USA A lightweight, high performance Li-NMC battery system from Hi-Power Cycles. Nice video here. Headquartered in Los Angeles, Hi-Power Cycles (HPC) is an electric bike manufacturer, specializing in creating high performance e-bikes made entirely in the United States. UN 38.3 Certified Li-NMC Batteries with increased safety, more range, higher performance, lower weight and faster speeds.

Hi-Power is one of a small number of e-bike companies who “acknowledge”, but…decline to limit themselves to the e-bike power/speed limits mandated by US federal law at 750W/20 MPH limit in the US. Hi-Power builds bike with up to 8000W and 60+ MPH, but warns they be used off road only. I figure these are the guys from whom I want to buy my batteries.

 

xxx

The rectangular battery pack from HPC

 

The controller is an 18-FET 4115 Mark-II Highway Speed 84V-134V version from Lyen controllers. Edward Lyen’s controllers have an Infineon-clone based circuit-board that he modifies for high-speed and high-power applications. I wanted my system to be powerful (around 86V X 60A = 5160W), so…the Lyen controller was just right for the job.

A key characteristic of these controllers is that they are fully programmable. You can log the controller into a laptop via USB, and set parameters such as battery and phase current, low voltage cutout, high voltage cutout, or regen voltage limit. Plus multiple programmable speed settings, and so on. Edward performs modifications such as…soldering-in improved FETs, and wiring the programming cable onto the board. If desired, the end-user can get the traces beefed-up and also have the programming pre-set by Edward to your preferences.

The Lyen edition con troillers are most likely to help if you are trying to push your system beyond the stock design limits, and have the technical skills to do so. I believe that Edward sells to primarily the more-informed high-power and off-road enthusiasts…who are likely to modify thier ebikes, and have the skills to get that done safely.

I can say (from personal experience), that Edwards technical help (both pre and post-sale) is superb. He will answer any question expertly. I also bought a Cycle Analyst from Edward.

 

xxx

Laying-out the controller and battery pack. Most bicycle frames are a tight fit, but…Ruff Cycles? All of their frames have plenty of room for a huge battery (the dark object at the bottom of the pic is the foot of the photographer and builder!)

 

The Battery Box.

Christopher Samuel Thompson at Built 2 Clown Cycles made me an aluminum battery box custom-fitted to the Tango frame, that holds the battery pack and the controller. I think the box really makes the look of the bike. I love how it fits close to the upper bar on the frame. Chris also fabricated a wider bottom bracket that is needed for the 100mm rear tire, and the 135mm dropout width on the motor, plus the box itself. The bottom line is, we needed a wider bottom bracket and Chris made it custom for my bike.

 

xxx

“Built 2 Clown Cycles” already had a turquoise-blue Tango frame that they could use to fabricate a custom battery box to fit perfectly for Richards ebike.

 

 

xxx

There is something visceral that hits me right in the gut about raw metal during the fabrication process.

 

xxx

Notice where the steel turned blue from the heat of welding…this is beautiful even before its painted.

 

In the pic above, Richard chose the White Industries ENO Bash Guard Ring, using a chainring with 32 teeth, silver finish, and also the  EVO Road Crank Arms that are 165mm from the center of the spindle-axle to the center of the pedal-axles.

 

xxx

The parts are shown here after they got back from Powder-coating. That is a type of finish that is much tougher than common epoxy-based paint.

____________________________________________

Brakes

“…I used HopeTech3 V4 on both front and rear; Hope floating 203mm rotors, all in custom colors: orange and silver/polished aluminum. These may be the baddest disk brakes out there. Made for downhill racing, they are well made and powerful. I also picked up some other Hope parts: quick release seat clamp and some handlebar plugs. Also Hope F20 Flat Pedals…

xxx

These Hope 203mm front discs aren’t just powerful, they are beautiful too.

 

…The front hub is a White IndustriesXMR ISO Disc Front Hub – Silver 12mm thru axle, 36 Hole; Shaun found a custom Axle on Ebay, and it’s beautiful…”

 

xxx

Richard was able to find a hydraulic brake system set that had anodized aluminum colors that matched his desired theme, and were also high-performance.

 

xxx

I suppose you “could” use calipers with two pistons, but…if a four-piston caliper is available, why settle for second-best?

 

xxx

The beefy QS 205/50H hubmotor was dis-assembled and had its aluminum housing powder-coated to match the frame

____________________________________________

The Final Accessory List 

For handlebar grips, Richard chose the Portland Design Works  bicycle speed metal grip in Silver, 128mm 5″ Soft Grip Bike.

xxx

The Ruff Cycles’ “triple tree” solid fork is beefy and eye-catching.

 

Headset: Chris King 1-1/8” NoThreadSet Sotto Voce, with Chris King spacers

 

xxx

Every component, however small…was selected for performance and looks…and this pic highlights the dual-crown headset assembly.

 

xxx

Most ebikers wouldn’t normally mount a 26 X 2.5 Maxxis Hookworm tire on an 80mm rim this wide, but…I am seeing this trend more often these days in the custom street ebike scene. Doing this spreads the tire out so the sidewall is shorter and the tread becomes wider. The saddle is from “Project 346”

 

xxx

The left side has the opening to access the insides of the battery box. Notice the electrical cables are encased in stainless steel braided sleeves.

____________________________________________

Conclusion

xxx

Here is a “calendar pic” of this cruiser in its natural environment…actually having fun on the weekend.

 

xxx

This is probably the best pic Richard provided of the “ghost flame” paint job. It mixes a dark bronze color with a lighter bronze color. The color-matched motor-shell and rims are a nice touch that really make this custom ebike stand out.

 

The Motor

The Quan Shun  QS 205/50H V3 hubmotor shown is the 5T variant, and was sourced from Mike Moser in Philadelphia. Shaun and Mike have taken the time to find the most reliable motors direct from China, and US builders have been very satisfied so far. This motor is massive, and it pushes Richard along very briskly without getting hot. He used a 16T White Industries ENO freewheel to complete the package.

 

xxx

Richard has every right to be proud of his beautiful custom ebike. It’s not just gorgeous, it performs very well too.

____________________________________________

Written by Ron/spinningmagnets, July 2017

Grew up in Los Angeles California, US Navy submarine mechanic from 1977-81/SanDiego. Hydraulic mechanic in the 1980's/Los Angeles. Heavy equipment operator in the 1990's/traveled to various locations. Dump truck driver in the 2000's/SW Utah. Currently a water plant operator since 2010/NW Kansas


Leave a Reply