Building An Electric Motorbike...Out Of Plywood? Plans Available

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Building An Electric Motorbike...Out Of Plywood? Plans Available 5

This was by far one of my favorite builds. Everything went well, and the bike works great! As you can see in the video, the roads around here are so bad we'd almost be better off going back to dirt and grading it once a month instead (I had to drive on the shoulder of my street - that's how bad it is). They're rough, full of pot holes and raised culverts, and are a good test for the structural integrity of this bike. After 200+ km's, so far I've had 0 problems and don't anticipate any popping up in the future. This bike is solid. Its frame is basically a fiberglass reinforced glue-laminated beam, after all.

When it comes to weight, the frame is ~60 lb, and the bike in total weighs 120 lb. This is comparable to the LMX free ride motorbike which weighs 100 lb. A motorbike with an equally sized engine in terms of hp (100-125cc = ~6-8 hp at 1hp per ~15cc avg) will weigh around 200-250 lbs, so this bike has a big advantage in that regard.

The motor is rated for 3000 watts continuous output, 5000 watts peak. It has loads of torque (max 85 Nm) for accelerating and climbing steep hills, a lot more than what I need. Top speed is rated at around 90 kph, but I've only had it up to 80 kph on these roads - they're just too rough to go beyond that for a novice like me, I'm still getting used to driving that fast on two wheels lol. Regardless, it has no trouble keeping up to traffic or overtaking slow drivers, if need be.

The battery consists of ten lithium 40V/5Ah Greenworks yard tool battery packs, which are wired in a series-parallel configuration to create a 72V/25Ah bank (nominal voltage for the packs is actually 36V) - I kept the leads from the batteries to the terminal blocks exactly the same length so that the internal resistance is the same in each, that way the packs are all charged and discharged equally and maintain a perfect balance between them at all times. They have a BMS built into them, so that really minimized the job of making the bank. I've been using Greenworks yard tools for a few years, so I figured the versatility of using their battery packs with this bike would pay off. They were close to the same cost as purchasing individual 18650's, so the choice seemed like a no-brainer to me.

In the video I take the bike for a ~35 km round trip from home to town and back, which took around 40-45 minutes and only used around 60% of a full charge (the time lapse of the trip is sped up quite a bit to save time, so use the speed settings in the Youtube player to slow it down if you have trouble seeing the speed and power input on the display screen). If I pushed it to the limit, I could probably get between 45-50 km's per charge on avg terrain. Ideally, to make the battery life last as long as possible, they shouldn't be drained more than 75% before recharging. This could mean the difference between replacing them in 2 years vs 10 years.

In total this project cost me around $2000 (Canadian): $600 for the motor and controller, $900 for the batteries, and another ~$500 for the suspension, plywood, fenders, lights, etc. Some parts are recycled from my old downhill mtb too. For comparison, to buy a 3000W electric motorbike - like the LMX 161-H for example - would have cost me $7800 Euros, or nearly $12,000 Canadian! That's not gonna happen lol.

Power: 3000W continuous, 5000W peak (~4 - 7 horsepower)
Weight: 120 lbs (54 kg)
Top speed: 56 mph (90 kph)
Range: 30 miles (~50 km), average terrain

Wheelbase: 53”
Head tube angle: 66°
Suspension travel: ~180mm
Wheels: 26”x3” front, 26”x3” rear
Seat height: ~35”

Controller: 72V/60A
Motor: brushless hub motor
Battery: 72V/25Ah

This is just the first of a few EV builds that are planned for the near future. The next will be done on a proper steel frame - it's ready and waiting for some parts. Building wind turbines and solar panels is fine and I have more of those projects planned, but this is fun and I really need to retire my old truck asap, so EV's are going to be the focus for a while. This bike is a good start, it'll save me from having to bring the truck into town every other day to run errands, but it has its limits.

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💬 Comments on the video

Your skill level and creativity is insane! Your channel should be 100x the size. Thanks for sharing with us!

Author — Gabe Lumby


the sounds are full of fun ( bam bam bam tok tok tok, rrr rrr rr ) haha.a very nice work, very well done

Author — visual land


Well done James ! Just one remark: the 'center of gravity' ( weight ) is an important aspect for a comfortable ride & stability and should be as low as possible. Thanks for sharing ! Cheers

Author — Filip 36


You are a one in a million, intelligent, talented, hard working
I'm envious.
I couldn't build a skateboard...

Author — Joseph Melia


Incrível! unica coisa que deveria ter mudado era a suspensão. Essas que foram utilizadas são praticamente ''pula-pulas''. Aconselho suspensões a ar da rock shox.

Author — ShixKing


I prefer hydraulic disc brakes. James you are a genius. Your bike is better than some factory made on the market.

Author — The Man who doesn't know Anything


Where is this like the Midwest or something? I just love how vast and open it is

Author — W.A. B


The editing itself is a masterpiece :D

Author — Q36BN


Having the build run at that freakish speed made me feel ill. What’s the hurry?

Author — Joe Kasson


Wow... that was pretty rad. I am impressed especially with the overall design and engineering

Author — Martijn V


your a fu*cking genius craftsman!...thats one of the most impressive builds I have ever seen!...BRAVO!

Author — Cam Thomas


DIY mastery level: 100% platinum with 5 stars
This is the coolest shit if it comes it bikes and e stuf I have seen so far

Author — Iggy Pi


Your are a genius! Wish I had your skills. Great job.

Author — Robert Worsena


this recommended by youtube is the best so far! your build is insane 🔥🔥🔥 and 1 thing can you be my dad?? 🤣🤣🤣🤣

Author — JDgaming


Did you make it out of wood so when the esc’s burn out you can have a nice camp fire

Author — jye traval


Easily the best looking home build E-bike I've seen. Also love the understated presentation of your vid. Thank you sir.

Author — Ian Bunyan


Unbelievably well made! My extended family from my mom’s side lives in New Brunswick too, just so you know. Is there any fire risks with placing electric batteries (lipos or whatever you’re using) directly on top of the plywood, ie. if you’re charging and it overcharges?

Author — Top Secret


Everything came sooo perfect..this is the kind of content youtube was made for 👍👏

Author — Ra Vee


Really appreciate, how is this possible being like this master? :)

Author — Ulvi Allahverdiyev


that was amazing, your talent is very much appreciated. you've got a new sub, and thanks for sharing with us, you're awesome 💯💯💯😎👍

Author — JNoBull