What’s the toughest a part of changing a basic bike to electrical? You would possibly suppose it’s sourcing an acceptable drivetrain, or wedging it right into a chassis designed for an inside combustion engine. Certain, these are all notable challenges—however the true trick, is pulling it off with out ruining the bike’s classic aesthetic.
Newbie bike builder Danny Mantyla has all of it figured it out. He’s simply handled this 1967 Honda CA160 Dream to an electrical motor swap. And he’s performed it so effectively, that it arguably seems even cooler than it used to.
“One night time I used to be displaying my spouse an image of a Yamaha XS650 and a purple Honda CA160,” Danny tells us, “and I requested her which one she favored finest. She stated the Honda, however provided that it was black. That night time I wakened in my sleep and began Craigslist for no explicit purpose.”
“After which I discovered it! A black Honda CA160. I purchased it the very subsequent day for $500.”
Because of a decade spent sitting in a barn, the Dream’s engine was utterly seized. A busted engine, and a stamped body good for hiding wires, are good substances for an electrical conversion. However Danny had a couple of purpose for the swap.
“I needed my spouse to have the ability to journey a bike alongside me, however she doesn’t know the way or wish to discover ways to use a guide transmission,” he explains. “She can be actually delicate to the scent of gasoline and exhaust fumes, and she or he hates loud bikes with a burning ardour. So this electrical bike is ideal for her.”
Danny pieced collectively a 72v system, utilizing a 4kW hub motor from QS Motors and a controller from Kelly Controls. For the battery, he constructed his personal pack out of used, up-cycled LG Chem pouch cells. However it’s how he put all of it collectively that’s actually spectacular.
With the Honda Dream stripped down and on the desk, Danny was taken by the swooping silhouette of the sculpted body, and the curvaceous fenders. So he knew that no matter he added wanted to enhance that, not combat in opposition to it.
“If Honda made an electrical bike within the Nineteen Sixties,” asks Danny, “what wouldn’t it appear like? This was the design objective when constructing the battery enclosure.”
With that in thoughts, he fabricated a teardrop-shaped enclosure, utilizing a bead curler so as to add some character. A testomony to Rob’s creativity and metalworking expertise, it sits inside the Dream’s body as if it got here that approach from the manufacturing facility. And it may be break up in half in a jiffy, if it’s essential entry the battery pack.
The controller was mounted immediately into the recessed part of the body the place the previous lead-acid battery used to dwell. On the opposite facet of the body, a discarded chrome clutch cowl was repurposed as an entry level for the controller’s wiring.
Danny packed a DC-to-DC converter into the previous gasoline tank, then put in an analog cost meter, energy swap and indicator mild up prime. It’s a conventional EV conversion trick to show the previous filler cap right into a cost port—however the Dream’s filler neck was too slim for this to work. So the cost port hides away in opposition to the again of the battery case as an alternative.
The Honda’s OEM headlight bucket and glass had been restored, then retrofitted with LED internals. There’s a kill swap on the handlebars too, for good measure, however the remainder of the controls look suitably classic. Danny scored the solo seat from a neighborhood swap meat, and he discovered the baggage rack at an vintage retailer.
As for efficiency, it’s modest at finest—however going fast or far wasn’t the objective right here. The highest velocity is round 55 mph, which is a little bit shy of the CA160’s authentic 68 mph prime velocity. And for the reason that up-cycled batteries solely have round 66% of their authentic capability, the true world vary is about 20 miles.
Nonetheless, Danny says it’s a pleasure to journey. “It’s so clean and silent, it’s truthfully like a very heavy bicycle that’s magically self-propelled. Driving it simply places a smile on my face, it’s a really nice expertise.”
“My favourite is when somebody sees it—somebody who is aware of nothing about bikes—they usually simply take a look at it and see a properly restored, however in any other case regular, basic bike. They don’t even notice that it doesn’t have a gasoline engine.”
Head over to Danny’s web site for a full breakdown of his electrical Honda Dream construct, together with prices.