night shift bikes leafy savage

4y ago

Here's what happened...

In the rear hub you’ll see a black motor, built by Enertrac. 13 HP continuous, 40 peak. It doesn’t need a transmission. You can see the wires that connect to the controller under the right side of the swing arm. When I let off the throttle, the motor switches polarity and recharges the battery through regenerative braking.

Where the motor used to be is a battery pack of cells from a Nissan Leaf electric car, wired here in series for a total of 116 volts. There are four flat-pack Lithium Manganese Oxide (LiMn2O4) batteries in each of the 14 cells on the bike.

Where the motor used to be is a battery pack of cells from a Nissan Leaf electric car.

Matt Candler

Under the seat is a silver Kelly controller rated for 250 amps which manages the electricity flowing between the motor and the battery. When you twist the throttle, the controller adjusts the duration and spacing of pulses being sent to the motor (think ABS pulsing). The harder the twist, the longer the pulses, and the smaller the gaps between them. This keeps the bike from ripping out from under you and creates silky smooth power delivery. I can connect my laptop to the controller through the blue data port above the license plate and adjust the power curve for better acceleration or more range. Its currently setup for quick but balanced city riding and a range of ~100 miles.

Sitting where the gas tank used to be is an Eltek charger that can provide up to 3000 watts at 220 volts. Right now its wired for 110 and can connect to any household outlet with an extension cord through a charge port below and behind the seat. It will charge in under three hours. Below the seat on the right side you’ll see a motogadget m-unit, a crap-ton of wires and two silver dc-dc converters. These two boxes step down the 100-plus volts of battery pack power down to 24 volts to drive the controller, then down to 12 volts to power the motogadget and the rest of the bike.

The radio-shack toggle switches control the dashboard, the controller, the charger, and kill switches.


This electric-drive conversion of a 2003 Suzuki Savage is the second ground-up Night Shift Bikes custom build. After I bought the bike, I broke it down and sold the 650 thumper motor, transmission and combustion parts for what I spent on the bike. I sent the rear swing arm off to the team at Enertrac, who laced an 18-inch rim to one of their custom brushless DC motors. It delivers 13 HP continuously and peaks to 40 HP.

Body work embraces the right angles of the components and the square-tubing I uncovered on the original bike. I did lots of tab cleansing and made a hoop for the custom seat from Karl Vosloh. Karl used some scraps of foam left over from JT Nesbitt’s Bienville Legacy; JT and a bunch of other New Orleans builders have helped me throughout the build. Component upgrades include motogadget’s m-unit, m-lock wireless key and m-button to keep things clean; LED lighting; rear disc; custom charge and data ports; and toggle switches from Radio Shack. Rearsets, shocks, front fork drop hardware and triple tree hardware are from RYCA - a shout out to those guys; if you have some wrenches, they’ve taken away your excuse for not building your own bike.

This is the second battery pack for this bike. I fried the first one and upgraded to the incredibly sturdy cells that Nissan uses in their Leaf electric cars. This new pack is more durable, dumps
more current for quicker acceleration, and floats in the frame in a more interesting way than the first pack.


2003 Suzuki Savage Rolling Chassis 96 Volt battery pack (32s2p Headway 15 amp cells) Custom battery box Custom Enertrac 602 Hub motor in 18" rear wheel Kelly Controller Orion Battery Management System Eltek Valere 3,000 Watt on-board charger Cycle Analyst RYCA motors CS–1 mod components fork inserts to drop front end upgraded shocks kickstand mod rear sets rear disc brake

pix - harlinmiller.com

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Comments (24)

  • Interesting, but why the misleading headline (it's less than one-third of a Leaf battery) and error in simple terminology (there are four cells in each Leaf module, not four "batteries" in each "cell")?

      3 years ago
  • Great job!! Love the 'naked' vibe!

      4 years ago
  • Бравос и само така да я яхна тази ми ти моторетка с Петка ;)

      4 years ago
  • What was the cost of the new battery packs? Battery replacement in the Leaf ~ $5k.

      4 years ago
  • How much heat does the battery pack generate while in stop and go trafic? Also what is the roough price tag for the complete drive system?

      4 years ago
    • Running cool - no heat so far. Abt 1300 motor, same for batteries, 400-700 for controller depending on how much amperage dump you want (acceleration)

        4 years ago