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The Convert: Electrifying a Honda CB200

The expansion of the electrical car market has sparked a brand new development within the automobile world. Older autos like Land Rovers and VW Beetles are having their busted motors ripped out, and changed by electrical drivetrains. Since a automobile’s motor is hidden the conversion doesn’t destroy its appears—however on a bike, the whole lot’s on full show.

For those who’re going to transform an outdated bike to electrical, and also you don’t need it to look scrappy, you want a extra thought-about strategy. This cute Honda CB200 from Omega Motors exhibits the way to do it proper.

Omega Motors is a side-project for Nick Nieminen, James Hollis and Ian Iott. Nick and James used to work on the San Francisco e-bike firm Monday Motorbikes, and after they left, began throwing across the concept of a ‘fashionable traditional’ electrical motorbike.

Nick is in San Francisco, however James moved to Germany and Ian is predicated in Ohio. So the blokes labored in small bursts after they might all get collectively, and remotely the remainder of the time. It took them about three years to go from a bone inventory 1975-model Honda CB200, to this: the Omega ‘EV200.’

Nick and James had plenty of untested concepts from their time at Monday, so the undertaking was a method of attempting out stuff that wasn’t sensible for a manufacturing bike. “We felt like many manufacturers have been taking the newfound design freedom of electrical drivetrains a bit too far,” says Nick, “making bikes that had misplaced among the motorbike spirit that makes people get nostalgic.”

“We needed a motorcycle that performs like a modern-day electrical car, however evokes related feelings to the bikes that we’ve grown to like—relatively than a boxy, futuristic aesthetic.”

Retaining a lot of the unique CB intact was central to the undertaking. So the blokes refurbished the Honda’s entrance forks, wheels and brakes, even retaining the cable-actuated entrance brake and rear drum brake.

The body wanted solely delicate modifications. The crew shortened it and eliminated the welded-in rear fender, lower off the passenger peg mounts, and lower a small bit out of the backbone to weld in a mounting plate for the controller. Surprisingly, the unique motor mounts are nonetheless intact—the brand new electrical motor and battery are connected by way of a set of customized mounting plates.

The motor itself is an off-the-shelf unit from Golden Motor, rated at 5 kW nominal / 10 kW peak energy. Omega added a Kelly Controls controller, and made their very own PCB. These are all packaged underneath the seat and the modified gasoline tank; the cost port is accessible by way of the fuel cap.

On the coronary heart of the bike is a 1.6 kWh battery pack, designed and constructed particularly for the EV200. “We had thought-about shopping for one thing off the shelf,” says James, “however the choices for an acceptable pack again then have been extraordinarily restricted. It was principally small e-bicycle packs, or cumbersome kits for golf carts that might’ve made for a extremely underwhelming motorbike expertise.”

The thought was to construct the battery as a quick-and-dirty proof of idea, however then the blokes visited Jeff Tiedeken—who was a welder and fabricator at Roland Sands Design. Jeff noticed potential for extra, so he helped the blokes fabricate the trendy aluminum enclosure you’re taking a look at right here.

That impressed the blokes to go to city on the finishes for the EV200. It ended up with a crisp white livery on the gasoline tank, and vibrant orange cables to imitate the spark plug cables on older bikes. Up prime, the unique seat was trimmed down, then recovered in brown leather-based.

The identical leather-based’s been used on the customized tank pad, a part of which lifts as much as reveal the battery show display screen. However there aren’t any seen digital issues—Omega rewired the whole lot to work with the unique speedo and switches, and even repurposed the clutch lever as an analog regenerative braking management.

“Retaining the unique switches was really a serious ache within the ass, and a little bit of wiring nightmare,” admits Nick. “However we thought it was an vital contact level for this sort of reinvigorated retro vibe.”

As for the numbers, they’re modest—however the guys are nonetheless dialing within the settings, and have been by no means aiming for eye-watering efficiency right here. High pace is presently 60 mph, with a spread of 30 miles and a cost time of 5 to eight hours. However the EV200 weighs solely 245 kilos, which is 22% lighter than a inventory CB200.

The powertrain is configured to peak at 200 amps, a play on the bike’s unique 200 cc displacement. “The CB200 was at all times a small bike,” says James, “so the powertrain of the EV200 was supposed to match that around-town use case. The battery is as a lot as you want for an city bike with out weighing it down, and presently it’s geared extra for torque than prime pace.”

The EV200 is an enchanting design and engineering examine, a fantastic first undertaking, and a good-looking customized bike as well. The crew’s already engaged on the subsequent logical step: conversion kits, or on the very least, partial kits for customized fitment. Simply the ticket for anybody with a traditional within the storage with a blown motor, wouldn’t you say?

Omega Motors | Instagram | Pictures by Isaiah Jones

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