2005 Giant Trance 1

This extra large frame full suspension bike was a craigslist deal.  I thought was a good deal considering other similar bikes, though it was not quite free. These were originally low $3k retail and commonly sold in the upper $2k range ... 5yrs old makes it priceless ... way less! 

A large frame triangle like this 22" is rare and just what I was after to fit components. Tires have little wear and could be original? Almost no cable wear points also support not much use. The few marks look to me like they were from automotive transport and storage without a kickstand. 

The front shock was replaced but is a low end. Original purchase manual packet was provided and he stated it was a shop demo when originally purchased. I figured this to be a pretty good base for my FS ebike build.

Not much chain slap. Some skid marks on the detailer

Rear suspension bearings feel tight and have no play that I could feel. The shock still had about 190lbs of pressure after nearly a month when I got my shock pump. The rear shock was sort of a crap shoot as to if it would actually be good IMO so I'm feeling pretty good about the bike overall...

Trance info links: http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=107871
Reviews: http://www.mtbr.com/cat/bikes/xc-suspensio/giant/trance-1/prd_364761_1526crx.aspx
I've found information that indicates this same frame was used from 2005 - 2008 http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/BikeSpecs.aspx?Year=2005&Brand=Giant&Model=Trance 1&Type=bike
2005 Trance Manual

Parts Ordered

BMC V3, Ctrlr, CA, w/Half-Throttle pkg
14S 51.8V 10AH LiPo w/PCM 40A and charger
Torque Arm, Wheel & Spoke
3 superbrite LED & DC/DC
Tires & Tubes(Big Apple 26x2.35)
Fenders (60mm Planet Bike SpeedEZ)
Rear Kickstand (Greenfield)
Softer seat (Planet Bike 5020)
Shock Pump Topeak DXG
Power Switches (3 - Pre, Pwr, Lights)
Rear Rack &  Bag

9C motor was considered with a screw on disc brake… http://www.bicycledesigner.com/defaulthome.asp?Main=/datasheet.asp%3FPartNumber%3D505202 I decided on another BMC build…

bikewagon (MTX disc QR Rack) Didn't stay on the bike very long and Amazon MTX EXP (later sold this)

buildyourbike MTX EX (perfect size)   and a MTX Office bag (computer fits perfect)

MTX V-Type rack and Niagara Cycle Works (Planet Bike SpeedEZ ATB) fenders

Cycle9 Large Frame Bag (Mountain Equipment Co-Op)

Niagara Cycle Works (Greenfield Stabilizer) … Niagara Cycle Works (Schwalbe Big Apple) tires

51.8V 10Ah pack is made by 14 pcs high quality Polymer Li-Ion cell of 3.7V 10000mAh battieries
51.8 v (working)   58.8 V ( peak)   35V ( cut-off)
10Ah   (518 wh)
Lifecycles >300
PCM with balance function to balance charging and protect battery module from
Over charge beyond 58.8V
Over drained beyond 40A (continuous).
Short burst up to 80A

Must wait min of 30 minutes after full charge to allow the pcm to perform balance function on all cells.

6.3" x 5.9" x 2.6" at 6.7lb



Lithium Polymer Li-Ion
Nominal:    10100mAh 
Min.            10000 mAh  
Average:    37 Wh  ( Capacity will reduce with cycle life , Battery labeled with Min. capacity at 300 cycles )
Energy Density:    171 wh/kg
Cycle life: > 500 times
Charging rate: 5 A Max.  (0.5C rate)
Discharging Rate: 50  A Max.  ( 5 C rate)
9.8mm (thick) x 59.5mm (width) x 157mm (length)
7.4oz / 210g




Protection Circuit Module for 14 Cells (51.8V) Pack
This protection circuit is specially designed for 51.8 V Li-Ion / polymer Li-Ion Battery pack with 40 A discharging rate. Different than normal PCB, it provides equilibrium function after battery pack is fully charged. PCM will detect each cell's voltage and trim higher voltage down until other cells reach the same voltage level. Therefore, it helps Li-Ion cells have longer service life. Also the PCM will provide the following protections:
Prevent 51.8V Li-Ion Battery pack from over charge
Balance each cell at Max. 4.325/cell 
(required voltage tolerance within 0.2V for each cell)
Protect 51.8V Li-Ion Battery pack from over discharge 
( 2.50V/cell) 
Limit discharge current to 40A continuous.

For 51.8V (14 cells) Li-Ion Battery pack charger Polymer Li-Ion and Cylindrical Li-Ion with capacity > 3000mAh
Built in cooling fan to ensure charger long service life
Safety protection Over Voltage & Short Circuit protection
Charging Current: 4000 mA (4.0 A)
Output voltage: 58.4VDC
Built in IC to cut off power when battery is fully charge.
Power indicator - Red, Charging Red & Green = full
Note: connect charger to AC before connection to battery pack.

DC/DC Converter Triple Output - Part Number: VKP60MT312
48V input (range is 33-75V)
Outputs: 3.3V at 18A and 2 @ 12V at 2.5A
VKP60MT312-8 with with pull down resistor makes 3.2v out. I found information on connections in this VKP60xT/VKP100MT application guide. This converter pictured is from Ilia and though it works fine I'll be using my own converter setup.

Rear fender was not meant for this type of frame geometry. This is a temporary mount as I wait for the rest of my parts to show up. Only the top QR fender mount wire was bent up a little more to fit this mount position and 2 holes drilled to tiewrap at the top wheel frame brace.

I may lower the rack mount under the rail and possibly to the torque arm drop-out plate once that is done. At that point the rear light mount will need to be bent out of the way but the fender could be mounted to the rack and eliminate one set of brace wires. Right now the taillight bracket is also zip tied to a fender bracket making the top wire pretty much useless.

The front fender was a close fit out of the box. I drilled a new hole so that the fender front down turn was almost level. Hopefully this will keep the spray back low enough to not matter but cover the rear water rooster too... I figure if anything the rear rooster could be knocked down by extending the rubber flap if needed.

Both front and rear fenders are mounted with the quick remove hardware they came with. Of course they will become permanent mounts later.

Parts arrived from ebikessf in a timely manner and nicely packed with everything as expected ... Parts list was put together via emails back and forth.

The BMC V3 hub and wheel fit the drop-outs perfect! Wheel is center and a thin washer keeps the freewheel  from touching. The valve hole was presta and I drilled it out to fit schrader stem, mounted up the Big Apple 2.35 and discovered it wouldn't fit into the drop-outs without letting out the air ... still it rubbed on my bottom fender mount. Wow, that's a tall tire! A good number of hours messing with torque arm, rack and fender mount possibilities. Discovered that I couldn't lower the rack mount point below the swing arm to the torque arm as I hoped because the tire was too tall. Had I known this I would have done the right side torque arm in the other direction so there would have been less cutting and grinding needed. Oh, well ... if the derailleur touch is an issue I'll flip it around later.

This torque arm took a bit of cutting and grinding. I should have run it the other way, on the top side, but had intentions of mounting the rack to it. Oh, well maybe at a later time if the derailleur touch causes issue?

Getting the electrical power parts together so I can figure out how to wire things up. The frame bag needs about 1 more inch to fit the battery. And that was the largest bag I found without having one made... though I do have a frame template made up just in case.

I cut the zippered top off of a small canvas tool bag, slit the backside of the frame bag and sewed the zipper on as an extension. Now the battery fits.

Switches for master power, lights and a toggle for pre-charge fitted into front part of the frame bag.

All wires less LEDs connected but not cleaned up. Good fit for the battery now with easy in/out at the new rear zipper.

Wires wrapped and tucked under the rack for a 1st quick spin down the street.

CA amp limit set to 30A worked well with watts staying under 1500w without any noticeable pulse or cutting out (smooth).. CA tire size measures 2140mm vs. 2220 of the other bike. Motor takes off smartly and went right up to 30mph when I let off. Bike is smooth and doesn't have any odd noises yet

Bike feels lighter than my other one

A 60lb FS eBike

First Charge (fingers crossed): Battery was about 53v to start. Plugged in charger and set battery in cooker 58.4v … Put the lid on to let it simmer for about 3hrs still 58.4 after 2hrs. Green light says it's done... only the charger got warm Is it odd that a volt check after disconnecting is higher than the charger was putting out?

A couple hours later and still at 58.6v ... checks with same  meter too…

First real test ride almost to work and back ... Very windy! Left the house at 58.5v from last night's charge. These are the shots from the CA upon return before bike was turned off. All the heat spots including the battery were warm but not hot.

A break in the rain, 70F, wind blowing, puddles, debris in the bike lane etc... Left the house with a fresh CA reset and at 58.5v from last night's charge. The heat spots were warm including the battery but not hot. Voltage ended up about 53v, where it was when I charged last night. Vmin looks ok to me considering I pushed it hardest right before getting back home. The wh/mi looked to be a bit better than my previous bike with similar conditions. Top speed of 37mph was right before home when I held the throttle open for a bit. Don't know what direction the wind was blowing but it felt like head on?

Most of the ride was near my normal 1kw load and the CA limit held nicely at 1.5kw when allowed to with only short moments above. Again, Ilia did a great job with that BMC controller mod! This ride normally averages 22-25mph with my other bike and I'm guessing that average will go up a little with this bike?

The ride is great! Really! Much more stable over rough stuff, especially going through dips in the middle of corners. I think the CA set to 30Amp limit is perfect for the V3. Peddling at 20mph+ is pointless so I really need to get my 51t chainring installed.

This hub seems to have slightly more whir sound from the gears, but nothing nasty. Battery or BMS doesn't get warm during charge and seems to me that 60% of stated capacity use is about right. Time will tell how well things hold up... for now ... all good. I call this bike usable and will now say goodbye to my Giant TranSend.

3rd ride was really roll'n in traffic and pulling 1200w regular. Motor and wires were nicely warm but not too hot for constant touch.

This bike is so nice compared to my last one! It's sort of hard to explain the differences. Basically fat tires and suspension make a huge difference in how well things handle at speeds into the 30mph range.

My daily commute is about 8.5mi these days on the shortest distance and can increase by as much as a mile depending on the where I enter/park and route traveled. Shortest route obstacles include; 10 stop signs, 6 stop lights, 10 speed bumps, 2 harsh angled drain washes, 18 right angled turns (3 with drain dips) and 1/2mi of parking lot and sidewalk where only very slow speeds are acceptable. Sometimes just slowing down at a stop sign is ok and if the gutter is clear I can maintain cruising speed past most of the speed rollers in a narrow patch of curbing. Other routes straighten and flatten the ride but are at the cost of longer distances and stop lights with more traffic to contend with. On the longer routes there's less speed fluctuations required but only if I hit the lights just right does it shave off any time. Sometimes the route is based on traffic and the timing of a couple stoplights but I prefer the short route section with a fun curvy road through a neighborhood.

The last bike had a 48t chainring and was useful up to 30mph. This bike leaves my wigglers spinning air at about 20 it seems. I found a good deal on a black arm set with a 48t and it sure would have been easier to just run that and not mess with the 51t.

I ordered a black 52t but they were out and 51t was the largest I found that anybody had in stock. I got it from J&R Bicycles.

I knew the jump with the original small set wouldn't work but figured I'd give the larger set a try... No amount of adjustment would work! Not even sure a roadie derailleur would work? ... So since it's useless I'll just remove it and shift these by hand when needed. Maybe I can replace the brake lever now with one that has cut-off built in since I don't need the shifter!

The 51t gets pointless over 35mph so it's perfect for rolling near 30mph and is noticeably better for assist at 30 than the 48t of my last bike. A 54+ would be more ideal ... maybe one of these days I'll trade out cranks so that I can fit a larger rings.

My Lipo charger blew up so I needed to run another battery until I could get another charger. This unfortunate incident started a shift in how things were mounted.

It started with sliding another battery into the rear bag and onto the nice low mounted rack. Power control was way up front so nicely tucked away in the frame bag. Oh, well it worked ... but I didn't like the long wire run.

Then during the maneuvers of getting to work I could feel wiggle that I at first just wrote off to weight in the rear that I'm not used to. Well it turned out that the mounts were not solid enough to keep movement out of the rack with 16lbs on top.

Worse than rack slop was that the rear suspension was sluggish to respond over bumps, the rear tire catching a bit of air when previously it would keep contact with an empty rack. I didn't notice this behavior with my former quick runs down the street as it's smooth compared to some sections of my commute.

A seat post mounted rack that sloped down (V they call it) arrived that night and since it was the weekend with some time to work on the bike I gave it a try. Wow... what a huge difference! Though the weight up higher makes the bike a bit more cumbersome to move around by hand that awkwardness completely disappeared when riding. The kickstand is still stable when loaded so the post rack is a definite winner. Hello eBay for a couple frame racks!

Having to switch batteries made me think I wanted more modularity to things... such as pulling the frame bag to put a 15Ah  battery in the triangle and another 15Ah in the rear bag for long rides etc... and with the electronics in the frame bag I couldn't remove the bag ... so I picked up a small fishing box from WallyWorld.

The harley key'd switch key would fall out when I moved the bike around and really pissed me off one morning when I didn't notice until I was locked out of the house heading to work but no way to turn the bike on! It's gone... Much simpler to use toggles.

Wired up another set of switches for main and pre-charge. Cut dividers for things to fit. It will be tight with a flasher for turn signals, another switch and a DC/DC converter. Most of the LED stuff has arrived today but will be awhile before I get those all figured out with how to mount as they are just bare parts now.

With the rack swap the controller also had to get a new home. It's about an inch too long to really fit places other than the seat post tube or the down tube. It is a good location for modular wire hook-up but is quite noticeable. Even more so with the wire box strapped to it. Oh, well it  will probably all get painted black someday.

I learned that suspended weight is far better!

Mounting the controller exposed to air made choices limited. I like the functionality of this location so it became a bit more permanent by shortening the long pigtail. Of course I ran out of right size shrink tube in the middle of both wire sizes so I made due with the pieces and sizes I had.

At this point the bike rides like a dream! Seriously! It handles better than I even imagined. The mud guards work great! …

Replacement charger arrived and the Lipo went back into the cooker to finish off the last charge attempt when the previous one died. The story there was that the charge light wasn't lit so I figured the battery was charged ... but no it was only 55v??? Hum... went and plugged in the charger and got no lights... and the GFI breaker was tripped. I found the plug fuse blown so I replaced it with one that came with the charger. When I touched the plug into the socket (kitchen counter of course) loud pop and flame or bright sparks flew out the ends.

Ok... better the charger than the battery ... ? right? :)




Putting together LED lighting from Cree P7's as best I can tell. Ilia's DC/DC converter had 1ohm on V1out 3.3v that made the output read 3.2v. Here I use another similar converter and set output with a trim resistor. Since the LED's specs say 3.4 or 3.6 as the low end of voltage I trimmed the 3.3v to 3.4v and wow the LED's got hot really fast! At normal 3.3v of the converter they get hot but would likely be fine if moving due to airflow. At 3.2v by trimming with 3.86k Ohm pull down resistance they are still too bright to look at but the heat sink doesn't get finger burning hot. This is the setting I'll use.

The on/off works by shorting with -Vin for off and open for on. Also the 3.3v V1 out must be shorted to the on/off to work.

To make these fit I had to make the opening larger. With this one my dremel got away from me and I took out way too much on the right side. The left side is about what the other 2 looked like when I JB Welded them to the LEDs.

I was worried that this would ruin the light output, but all seems fine with the lights after they were done. I'm sure that it changed the original 9 degree specification to something considerably wider but that's ok as it turns out!



Mounted to aluminum plate and painted with high temperature  BBQ paint.

DC-DC Controller and Flasher getting some test time.

The pot is set to 3.9KOhm and the 3.3v V1 out measure 3.2v. I can trim this down or up if needed such as 3.2v for summer and closer to 3.3v for winter when heat isn't as much of a factor.

The flasher requires some sort of additional loading to flash... I put a 130ohm resistor across the 12v and the flasher starts working. I'm not sure what the optimal load here would be...

The case around the automotive flasher was too big to fit into my Plano box so off came the round plastic housing and the long spades cut down.

Original LEDs picked up for turn signals were not bright enough for daylight use so I'll remove the lens from a couple and mount them to 12v P7s.

Notice the little switches, they are for speed limit and soft start.  Valet switches!

That's the turn signal switch… requires pressure to keep signal on … won't forget to turn this one off!

Wow... these LED's turned out to be quite an improvement... flat lights up the road big-time! I set the camera on manual mode and picked a shutter speed so all the following pictures should be equal light settings.  

I tried to make the following pictures a same same type test of my old light vs. this new one by using approximately the same pointing spot and camera position. As you can see it is completely different! The Cree LED's light up far and wide! What I find interesting is that the old light looks brighter in the pictures here than it feels going down the road.

The 6W Night Pro BULLITe just didn't light up enough of the road for rolling more than a few mph on dark streets. This near daylight visibility rocks!