"All I need is a good cup of coffee and a nice ride to work," I thought to myself. I had been buying and tweaking two-stroke race bikes from the 90s and cheap local scooters, all without a way to properly license them. Every once in a while one would get stolen (you could break into one and hotwire it with a butter knife) or taken by the police. It had been five years and 15 different two wheeled vehicles. I had to bite the bullet, get with the times, and go electric.
Super Cubs were timeless, stylish, highly customizable and nimble. Sized like a scooter, rides like a motorcycle, the predecessor to the step through design. Certainly the Cub is the perfect runaround bike for the city. In a synchronistic moment over a beer, I was told that another bike enthusiast was keen on building an electric cub. So with a frame and idea on hand I was introduced to Matthew from Shanghai Customs. We hit it off and the first eCub was born.
We were excited but knew getting the components to build something quality takes time. This was to be a no worries, wrench free ride. No special tools, if an adjustment is needed, just a no fuss bike that everyone could enjoy hassle free. I like old bikes for how straight forward they tend to be and the Cub was made to be worked on with a handful of simple tools should something go wrong. Take away the engine and there is almost nothing to fix!
With a giant magnet for a motor you remove a lot of issues and time involved with petrol bikes. But where to place it? We could have kept a chain or belt drive and put the motor in a similar fashion to the petrol engine. Matthew and I had a bit of back and forth with the end decision to keep the simplicity of a hub motor.
Since building the this bike I have tried to break it in through hard daily riding, but it just doesn't want to break! Up stairs, down stairs, jumps and bumps, it just keeps on going. Maintenance has boiled down to twenty minutes to replace a brake cable and brake shoe. Other than that all you need to deal with it is a quick wipe and clean. Maybe a bit of polish if you are as proud of this bike as I am. It has turned out to be a bit of a head turner wherever I take it in Shanghai!
As a bike enthusiast I’m always looking for new ways to tinker with and improve on my bikes, and this Cub is no different, but that’s all part of the fun. I will be working on the Cub and of course using it day-to-day in Shanghai so if you’re in town keep your eyes peeled, though knowing me it might look a little different to how it looks right now..
By Michael Cichon