The Tektro Dorado (HD-E715) brake system provides the highest level of braking performance available for e-bikes. A growing number of high performance e-bike use this brake. Replacement pad availability was difficult to find until now.
We have ordered a bunch of replacement pads (D40.11) and made them available online through Amazon Prime. You can get them faster and with free shipping through Amazon's streamlined fulfillment system.
Nothing will wipe the “e-bike grin” off your face faster than a flat battery. It's just simple math:
More battery capacity = More range and more fun!
The U500 (ODK V3) has the largest battery capacity of any street-legal e-bike. And not by a small margin.
We calculated the Watt-Hour battery capacity of EVERY e-bike on the U.S. market. 231 different models were included.
The results are dramatically illustrated below:
It has been very challenging to ramp up production, but we are finally ready to ship more ODK U500 Utility Electric Bikes.
The car-replacement e-bike category is very demanding on the product. Our quality and performance requirements go way beyond anything our suppliers have been asked to produce in the past.
Here is a quick look behind the scenes:
Taking flight: As we move toward larger production volumes, every little detail becomes critical. There is a lot of coordination needed with our suppliers so the final product can go together smoothly. But the first step: Get on the flying bus...
Back in the office: My remote desk at Luyuan Electric Vehicle Factory one of China's top e-bike makers.
Luyuan E-Vehicle Factory Museum: The bike that started it all. This one was made around 1997. Our U500 is fundamentally very similar. Now Luyuan pumps out nearly 2 million e-bikes yearly.
Obsessing over every detail.
Long meetings to discuss how we can optimize our production. We work to find the bottlenecks that slow down assembly.
Testing out some prototype accessories and dreaming up some new ones...
We hit the road to visit some suppliers.
A visit to one of our battery suppliers. They are the second largest battery maker in China. They also manufacture roughly half of all the batteries for Apple’s iPad... that part of the facility is strictly off limits.
This is a super clean facility with lots of automated equipment for creating the BMS and packing the battery cells. Unfortunately, some parts could not be photographed.
The Lithium 18650- sized cells come from Samsung with slight variations. For maximum performance and reliability, cells need to be carefully matched to make a single battery pack. This machine automatically measures and groups cells together.
The internal bracket system keeps the cells in place and also helps to keep them cool. The U500’s relatively large battery pack is not easy to make. One U500 battery uses 3 to 4 times as many cells as a normal e-bike. Each battery has over 100 cells. We demand the best.
On the road again: It is best to stay well away from this monster.
Tianjing E-Bike show is a good sized event. It is something like a Chinese Interbike, but almost all e-bikes and mini cars ...and loud pumping music.
Luyuan's super booth. Wall-to-Wall LCD this year.
The booth has a "outer-space" theme complete with Tron-like outfits.
Walking the floor: Even Honda brands some e-bikes. The Asian, mainly Chinese e-bike market is huge and insanely competitive. It is also very reginal and localized.
Giant's Momentum sub-brand: A nice looking bike designed to transport a hot cup of gourmet coffee back to your studio apartment.
Finally some down time. Tianjing’s answer to Shanghai’s Nianjing road. The sky is hazy from smog, but soon China will take the lead in the whole "green" movement.
There is no suitable basket that already exist so we must invest the resources to make our own.
The latest prototype front basket is being tested on our factory runner which has accumulated a few thousand miles over the winter.
Because the basket mounts to the frame and not the handle bars, The weight will not effect the steering.
Here with 50lbs in the basket, the bike feels agile. The bike can even balance on the side kickstand without tipping over.
It is made of stainless steel and powder-coated. The basket mounts perfectly on the ODK V3’s front accessory mount. We have a little more time to make some adjustments before time’s up and we need to start tooling for production.
Just in time: The 2014 ODK U500s are now shipping!
Thank you for your patience as we carefully work through the pre-orders.
After a short delay, we are happy to have shipped the first production of our 2014 ODK Utility E-Bikes. The fully assembled bikes stack exactly in the container with only inches to spare for a couple of extra boxes.
The bikes will arrive to our San Diego location for customization and final inspection before going out to waiting customers.
Stay tuned for the list of accessories and custom parts!
All of the various parts are arriving at the assembly factory. We don’t waste any time taking them down to the lab for testing. The checks are to verify that the parts arriving from suppliers meet the correct specifications. We are going seven days a week and overtime for 6 of those days to fill the pre-orders. The first few production units are undergoing some road test. The bikes will be assembled relatively slowly for the first few production runs. Here is a long overdue update:
V3 production frames hit the gym
The frames arrive from the frame supplier. Units from the frame batch are immediately taken to the gym for measurement and load testing. We perform the bicycle standard test at 75 kg (165 lbs) and also a test at 150kg (330 lbs) intended for scooters. The test simulates years of use. We can monitor the frame quality as the production ramps up.
The custom designed handle bars work up a sweat.
The road most traveled
The wheels are tested over a 1cm bump surface with a 64 kg (141 lbs) load over a single axle. We can test various wheel configration to determine the strongest combination. This test takes all night to run, then we re-check the tension of each spoke.
Merry go round
The frames and forks take a few trips on the partially automated painting system. The frames can take up to 5 trips through paint booth and the oven depending on the color. The logos are applied just before the final coat of paint. The frame is still warm as we assemble the first few units for production-bike road testing.
Thinking inside the box
The new shipping boxes arrive. The new “7-layer” boxes are much stronger. The bikes will ship assembled and nearly ready to run after a battery charge. The individual battery shipping box is also improved.
We also find some time to experiment with some prototype parts.The new mounting system provides exciting opportunities for new accessories. The custom front basket is still under development. The prototypes are powder-coated and fitted to the bike. The basket is attached with four 8mm screws.
Because the basket mounts directly to the frame, the ride is super stable when loaded. We did some destructive test on the basket and continuously work to improve the design. The goal is to find the best balance between weight, strength and style. The basket should be ready in the spring.
Unlike other frame mounted baskets, the ODK V3 accessory mount does not puncture the downtube which can significantly reduce lifespan of the frame.
A battery of tests
The new V3 pack (right) is nearly the same size as the V2’s but around 45% more energy capacity. It makes better use of the available space, while maintaining backwards-compatibility with V2 bikes. We settled on the Samsung 18650 cell which gives us a good balance between performance, cost and availability. The case needed to be totally re-tooled to fit the new cells. The charge and discharge ports are moved to the same side. An illuminated switch with improved waterproofing is now used. There are two fuses for improved reliability. The aesthetics have been refreshed, including a darker color.
A normal battery load test runs at 10 Amps, but we blast the V3’s pack at 20A (about 1000 Watts) continuously until it is depleted. This test would empty a normal e-bike battery in less than 20 minutes. The new pack can sustain this rate for about an hour before the battery management system steps in to protect the pack. However, the controller will limit this situation from occurring when the pack is used on the E-bike.
The pack gets a hour-long shower to verify the water resistance.
Motor and electronics
Some motors are pulled for dyno testing. We can determine how consistent the motors are from batch to batch.
Some special test are conducted to push the limits of the system. Do not try this at home!
An electric bicycle can travel much faster than a normal bicycle. The rider maybe carrying a load which will increase the stopping distance. One of the top feature request for the ODK e-bike was to include a rear disc brake.
To incorporate the rear disc brake, the frame needed to be redesigned and a new 3-speed hub was required. The rear dropout now has a horizontal opening with 135mm spacing. Now most all internally geared hubs with disc brakes can be used. This includes 5 to 8 speed hubs and NuVinci N360 hubs.
With this new setup, we decided to equip, as standard, the best disc brakes available for e-bikes with cost not being the major consideration.
We chose to use the Tektro HD-710E which is the latest generation of hydraulic disc brakes designed for electric bicycles. Both front and rear axles use this setup. They are 100% compatible with bicycle standards so they can be serviced at any bicycle shop.
The stopping power is incredible. The rider will feel confident that the bike can stop rapidly under any weather condition. The hydraulic braking system requires much less pressure on the lever to slow the bike down. Modulating the braking level is easier as there is no "squishy" feeling that is normally experienced with cable-pulled disc brakes.
One major advantage of the hydraulic braking system is that both pads move toward the rotor and self-adjust as the friction material wears down. On more basic cable-pulled disc brakes, only one pad moves toward the rotor and the stationary pad must be manually adjusted. This can make cable-pulled disc brakes difficult to adjust, noisy, and eventually give reduced performance.
Here are some features of the Tektro HD-710E which makes it very suitable for high performance e-bikes.
Brake Cut Switch
One feature that all electric bikes must include is a brake cut-off switch. This switch cuts the power to the motor when brakes are used. Most higher-end disc brakes do not have this feature, but it is included with the new brakes.
Brake Pad Material and Size
Above is a closeup of the new brake pad compared to standard brake pad. The surface area is much greater resulting in better stopping power and longer service life between brake pad changes. The pad incorporates a high performance metal ceramic compound which glides more consistently over the brake rotor. There is less of the "scratchy" feeling felt with lower-end disc brakes.
Ease of Servicing
There are now two disc brakes (front and rear) so the stopping duty is better distributed between the two systems. Pad changes are less frequent. The pads self-adjust and require less fiddling to hush a squeaky rotor.
Improved Lever Design
Almost all of the high-end brake levers have very short blades designed for mountain bike use. This setup is not appropriate for road going e-bike. The Tektro HD-710E has a 4-finger blade with distance adjustment to suit the rider's comfort. The large blade has a ball-shaped end. The overall design is also very suitable for winter riding where gloves will be used.
Thicker Brake Rotor
The brake rotor is thicker than a standard rotor and has more metal material. This will help with heat dissipation and reduce the chance of getting warped if bumped. Both front and rear use the same 180mm rotor and pads which cuts down on parts variation.
Fluid Level Window
One impressive feature borrowed from the motorcycle industry is a fluid-level window. There is no need to guess the brake fluid level. The rider can know immediately if the reduced brake performance is the result of low brake fluid.
One issue with hydraulic disc brakes is their girth. The Tektro HD-710E has a slim profile which allows it to be used with the large 500-Watt BPM motor without touching the side of the hub. The entry angle of the cable hose can be pivoted to fit a bike's unique frame design.
The electronics have been upgraded to make the bike more robust and provide higher performance. Our goal is to make the electronics as simple as possible, cutting down on time needed to service the bike.
Reducing the system's complexity reduces the number of failure points. We target 10 minutes replacement time for any electronic component including the battery and motor. Here are some highlights of the ODK Version 3's new electronics system.
New Wiring System
It takes considerable effort to coordinate with all the parts suppliers to ensure that everything works properly. The 1-into-4 wiring harness has upgraded quick connect plugs. The new connectors now have a more attractive outer stainless steel lock-ring to prevent accidental disconnection and provide improved waterproofing. The cable design makes it impossible to incorrectly install a connector plug.
The motor's wire can disconnect near the controller and also near the motor. This makes both tire changes and controller swaps much easier.
The controller sends power to the motor when you twist the throttle. The sensorless controller has been reprogrammed for smoother acceleration. It takes into account the speed of the bike when delivering the power to the motor. There is reduced chance to slip the front wheel on a slippery surface even when giving full throttle. The delay in the throttle experienced on the V2 bikes after a brake cut event has been reduced.
The controller now uses 12 Transistors instead of the 9 used in the previous version. The reliability of the controller system is improved.
The new half twist throttle from Zannx has a more progressive throttle response. There is less on/off-ness than the previous Wuxing throttle. Also the throttle needs to be twisted less before the motor starts turning. Additionally, the larger grip feels nicer in your hand. Low speed control is smoother and easier to manage.
We have been working flat out on the new ODK 3's. It is a very ambitious bike and nearly every part has been upgraded in some way. The typical ODK rider puts a lot of miles on the bike. Many of the readily available parts from the bicycle industry are simply not good enough and need to be beefed up or custom manufactured. We intend to achieve EV-Class Performance with our products. It has a much more demanding job than what is required with leisure-class e-bikes. We will try to keep the production status updated as the ODK 3 bikes become reality.
The aluminum frame is the core component to which everything is attached. It is one of the hardest parts to make. Here are some highlights of the new frame design.
Rear Disc Brake Compatibility
The Version 3 platform demanded increased stopping power while retaining internally geared hub compatibility. It is now equipped with Tektro HD-710E hydraulic front and rear disc brakes which gives the bike incredible braking performance. This is the best disc brake avaliable for e-bikes.
The rear disc brake setup required us to upgrade to a SRAM i-3 Hub as the Shimano's 3-speed does not have proper disc brake support. The rear dropout is custom designed to support the rear disc brake. V-brake compatibility is still retained.
Manufacturing this dropout required some extra time and tooling cost. However its worth the effort to avoid a chain tensioner. The new design also puts the chain out of the way of the center kickstand. Additionally, it is one less part to source, stock and support.
Front Accessory Mount
One of the most requested features of version 2 was a front basket. The easy way is to attach a basket to the front fork. This is not a good solution as it negatively effects the steering. The proper way to attach a basket is to weld on some frame-mounted supports. The basket will stay in place while the front wheel is steered from side to side.
The new "Front Accessory Mounts" are spaced 10cm apart and 6cm wide. It uses four 8mm screws to attach anything you can think of to the front of the bike. We will be manufacturing some accessories including a basket which will integrate perfectly with the bike.
Water Bottle Cage Mount
New on version 3 is support for a water bottle cage. We worked to place the cage out of the way, but it is still easy to insert and remove tall bottles. Also there are some interesting accessories that use this same mounting system like the Bike Spike GPS tracker.
Improved Bridge Plates
The ODK has two kickstand bridge plates. Both side and center kickstands can be attached at the same time. The location of the kickstand bridge plates have been better optimized to work with the Ursus Jumbo double leg center stand. It is raised higher and flatter so when the kickstand is retracted, it is less likely to impact the ground during hard cornering.
Improved Rack Design
The rack is slightly shorter than the version 2 bikes but it has been made more functional. The 10 cm x 10 cm rack supports are beefed up significantly. We now have a super solid mounting surface for rack accessories. The rack now slopes more gracefully towards the seat tube.
The seat tube is now lower which allows for a lower minimum seat height of 29.5" or 75cm. Also the seat tube is now using a more common 31.6 mm internal diameter which provides compatibility with mountain bike and suspension seat post such as the Thudbuster. The pannier rails have been offset and narrowed to allow for easier insertion and removal of the pannier bag's hooks.
Improved Riding Geometry
The overall riding position has been adjusted slightly to make the bike easier to ride. The bike feels more "bicycle-like" and familiar to new riders. The end-to-end length is slightly shorter which will give the bike a more compact look and feel.
Pushing the "Copy" Button
The final pre-production frame sample has been signed off and the first production run has started. Bits and pieces will eventually get welded together and later heat-treated. The frames will be cleaned and painted before the various components are installed at final assembly.