Brian Wismann (@brammodesigner on Twitter) provides these bookmark-worthy tips about Enertia maintenance. If you’re an owner, you need to know these. If you want to be an owner, you’ll be glad you saved them. Thanks, of course, to elmoto.net for hosting some great discussions on the Brammo Enertia and EVs in general.
Aside from having designed the bike, Brian is also a proud owner of an Enertia and it’s p one of the best-maintained bikes out there right now.
Brian: I’ve mentioned over a few diffenent posts some recommendations for maintaining the Enertia or tips to get it working at an optimal performance level. I thought it would be really cool and quite helpful to current and future owners if all of this information and learnings were captured under one thread. I would hope to keep this particular thread “on topic” for the most part so somebody doesn’t have to read a bunch of heated opinions (which definitely should be expressed – just not here) in order to get to good information.
I would hope other Enertia owners could also kick in with tips and tricks that they’ve learned once we’ve got more of the bikes out there. I’ll go ahead and start things off…
I highly recommend a chain “wax” rather than just a lubricant. The wax doesn’t fling off the chain and repels water (which can corrode the chain) as well as dirt and grime. It also makes the chain noticeably quieter compared to a standard lubricant. There are many sources and manufacturers, but this is the preferred brand at Brammo, which we’re able to get from our local BMW/Ducati dealership:
Remember that to keep wear to a minimum and efficiency to a maximum, you’ll want to lube the chain every 200 miles or so. Once you’ve done it a couple of times, you’ll notice the noise of the chain change when you’re past due for a lube job.
A rear wheel stand will make lubricating and tensioning the chain along with general servicing of your bike a WHOLE lot easier. The Enertia can be lifted with nearly any standard rear wheel stand. A single sided swingarm or spool only race stand won’t do the trick. We’ve used Pit Bull stands for our race bikes and they’ve held up very well, so I’ll suggest that brand as reference:
There are other manufacturers out there, though, so you can probably find something cheaper that will work just as well.
Having trouble charging your bike? Don’t know how to tell if it’s charging or not? These instructions SHOULD have been in your owner’s manual, but may not be if you’ve got version 1.0. Follow this page, and you should be G2G (good to go). *EDIT 12/09/2009* – This IS the approved and final version of the charging instructions now published in v 1.1 of the owner’s manual.
Also… here’s a video I shot on my iPhone demonstrating the charge process:
Still can’t get it? Things to check:
1. Have you blown the circuit? If you’ve got other high current (electric heater, etc…) devices plugged in then there’s a good chance that you’ve overloaded that circuit by plugging in your Enertia.
2. Is the charge cord fully seated to the entry module on the bike under the seat? Sometimes pulling on the cable can unseat this side of the charge cord.
3. Are you running a super long extension cord? If the voltage on the outlet is low to begin with then running a long extension cord may mean that you don’t have enough power to run the charger at the end of the line. Try a shorter cord or plugging directly into the outlet.
4. It is possible that you’ve got a bad charge cord. We’ve seen it before. Contact your Brammo or BBY service tech and they’ll get you a new cord to try. If that doesn’t fix it, you probably have a rare issue with your charger.
BATTERY BREAK-IN PROCEDURE
I typically count on about a week of commuting type rides to near full discharge and overnight charging to get the batteries nice and balanced. I should admit though that I’m kind of OCD when it comes to this kind of thing. Basically, the balance function of the charger occurs after the bike reaches the 100% SOC (state of charge) level through a low current charge algorithm. It’s draws the equivalent power of a 40W lightbulb during this phase, but the longer you can leave the bike in this state, the better. There is a point when the batteries just aren’t going to be any better balanced, and so this extra time doesn’t help, but at first I like to give it all the time I can afford to. You’ll know your bike is in this balancing state when the SOC on the display is toggling between 99 and 100% every couple of seconds. Also… there’s a secret trick if you want to check the cell balance… if you have your key in the ignition during charging and hold the tank “start” button down for 8 seconds, a more detailed data screen will show up on the dash that indicates current being delivered from the charger as well as minimum and maximum cell voltages. I can show you what else is displayed in this menu when you stop by the factory. To exit this screen, you just hit the tank button again.
There are no speed or mileage restrictions. Just know that you’ll not be getting full range out of the bike until you get the batteries are conditioned.
CHARGE CORD (quick tip)
So… after running an Enertia on my daily commute for months now, the novelty of pulling a charge cord out from under the seat wears off just a bit…
Luckily, there’s a solution that is and easier and faster way to access the cord …*IF* you’ve got saddlebags.
Simply leave the cord hanging through the backend of the seat, lock the seat down, coil the cord, and stuff it in the saddlebag on whichever side is closest to the outlet that you most frequently plug into. It doesn’t take up much space in the saddlebag, and now you simply have to unzip, pull it out, and… plug in.
I still prefer to have my charge cord neatly wrapped under the seat most days, but if I’m in a rush, it’s nice to know that there’s a “quick solution”. You’d never even notice the six inches or so of cord running from the seat to the saddlebag.
Ok… so not exactly ground breaking, but certainly practical, no?
Nobody likes a stuck throttle.
Nobody likes a sticky throttle. For those of you that have been around EVs for awhile, you’re no doubt with the “throttle of choice” (or is that lack of choice?) for EV motorcycles… the Magura electric potentiometer throttle. Brilliant in it’s simplicity and cost effectiveness, this throttle also has several drawbacks. I assure you that everybody and their mother is “in the works” on a better solution, but we’ve yet to come across one that’s ready for production. So… we along with the rest of the e-motorcycle community are stuck making this work. And with a little extra care and attention, it can work quite nicely.
So… here are some tips to keep you from experiencing a sticky throttle. I’d recommend doing this check about once a month or whenever you’re lubing your chain… you DID lube your chain, didn’t you?…
The Magura throttle tube length is either a mistake or made for Chinese hand size grips, because almost every common motorcycle grip in existence is too long for the tube. So… Brammo installs a sleeve at the end of throttle tube to allow the use of a standard length motorcycle grip. Taaaa-daaaa…..
You’ll notice two white nylon washer “bushings” on the left hand side of the grip. These reduce friction between the rubber of the grip and the side of the throttle housing that can lead to stiction along this surface. Always check that the grip end is pulled back slightly from these washers and that they’re able to slide against each other and do their job. If they’re bound up, push the grip to the right to free them up.
On the other side of the grip is the bar-end. This bar-end takes the brunt of the abuse if your bike ever decides to take a horizontal excursion. It’s also another potential point of stiction on your throttle. Check it, and if it’s rubbing, pull the grip to the left to free it up.
Finally, do the ‘ol throttle twist test. The throttle should “snap” back to the zero condition. If it doesn’t, figure out what’s binding and work on it till it does. A sticky throttle is dangerous.
A couple of other tips:
1. You can apply a little bit of bearing grease on the ends of the throttle grip to reduce friction if contact does occur.
2. You can buy aftermarket grips that are a bit shorter and give more space on either side of the throttle tube, as I have done to ensure the grip doesn’t make contact.
I bought mine here: http://www.motostrano.com/redukero.html
Enertia Tire Options.
I get asked from time to time about what other tires will fit up to the Enertia. Luckily, there are quite a few choices available in these sizes ranging from more agressive street tires to full on knobbies. Here are the tires we’ve tested:
Kenda K761 Dual Sport – light off road, gravel roads, dirty road surfaces
From a performance “street-only” perspective, I’d recommend these in order. We ran the Pirellis on all of our prototypes and were very happy with them. Haven’t run them on a production chassis yet, so if you try them you’ll have to report back how they feel.
Pirelli Sport Demon – tested on Enertia prototypes
Bridgestone Battlax – not tested by Brammo
Metzler Lasertec – not tested by Brammo
We’ve also run IRC TR-8 dual purpose tires, but I wouldn’t recommend them for anything other than off-road riding as they do not make for a good street tire.