The beautifully retro Juicer ebikes with striking EV-Twin battery mount
By Paul Ridden
January 9, 2012
If you think that you've spotted a strangely old-looking motorized bicycle cruising around the streets of Los Angeles, don't worry, you're not hallucinating. What you're likely seeing is one of two hand-built Juicer e-bike models - both of which harken back to the very early days of motorcycle development, when engines and motors were fixed to bicycle frames. The Juicer 36 is fashioned like a stretch cruiser and the 48 is an homage to the board-track era. Retro styling aside, the stand-out feature for us has got to be the gorgeous battery/motor configuration, that's been arranged like cylinders of a V-twin engine.
If you're in the market for a hand-built electric bicycle but the luxury Terminus models from M55 cost just a tiny bit more than your budget allows, and Gabriel Wartofsky's folding e-bike looks a bit too modern in the Gocycle design sense, then perhaps Dave Twomey's Juicer e-bikes will fit the bill. Designed with a definite nod to the motorized bicycles of yesteryear, and using as many off-the-shelf parts as possible, these custom creations feature classic exposed machinery and something named the EV-Twin.
The first e-bike created by Twomey was the Juicer 36v electric cruiser with a Schwinn-style springer fork, a top speed of 37 mph (59.5 km/h) with no assistance from the rider, and a range of around 10 miles (16 km) at a speed of 20 mph (32 km/h). The Currie-style 1000-watt brushed DC motor was chosen so that the e-bike can remain classified as a bicycle in California. That eye-catching EV-Twin arrangement above the motor is home to a series of 12 Headway 10 amp-hour cells.
"LiFePO4 is a safer lithium chemistry in that they do not combust when they fail," explains Twomey. "The Juicer 36 has a Signalab battery-management system in the oil-tank area behind the seat-post tube, and a controller, voltmeter, charge-plug and kill-switch in the gas tank."
There's a petcock-style 3-way switch between the EV-twin cylinders, caliper front brakes and coaster braking at the rear - which is described as an overrunning clutch and a drum-brake all in one.
The 70 pound (31.75 kg) Juicer 36 is available for custom order at a cost of US$3,000.
The latest design and the new flagship model is the Juicer 48v electric racer. Twomey told us that this model "started as a Worksman Newsboy frame, sectioned and grafted to a loop in order to cradle a Etek-style motor."
It features a Manta brushed DC electric motor capable of an unassisted top speed of 46 mph (74 km/h), the same striking LiFePO4 battery configuration as the cruiser but increased to 16 Headway 16 amp-hour LiFePO4 cells (increasing the range to around 13 miles/20 km at 20 mph), and EcityPower battery management. The fuel tank is home to a Kelly controller rated at 400 amps (but currently limited to 100), a surface-mounted antique voltmeter, charging plug and ignition-switch.
The custom-made Hydroencephalac forks are based on designs by chopper builder John Brain, with rear-facing bicycle-necks that function as adjustable risers. There's disk braking at the front, a Y-brake at the rear, and Felt Thick Brick tires on the rims.
"Both Juicers achieve their gearing using a jackshaft," says Twomey." The Juicer 48's jackshaft, however, is a free-coaster hub being used as an overrunning-clutch to reduce drag while coasting."
The Juicer 48 is not yet up for sale, so no price is available at the time of writing.
Twomey also produces a few t-shirts sporting the Juicer logo, just in case onlookers are in any doubt about who made your cool ride.