Project Rwanda Coffee Bike – CYC Photon Conversion

Took a weekend drive to bend Oregon to take a look at and buy this 8 Speed Cargo bike for $200. The product of a Tom Richie project that collaborated with coffee farmers in Rwanda. You can read more about these bikes here.

I ended up stripping and removing the wood decks, and taking a look at other components I would need, since I’m 6’4″. Ultimately, I would be upping the tire size from 26×1.95 to 26×2.1 which would mean the original kickstand would no longer work. The water bottle cage placement means the Cyc battery only has 1 screw point attachment, and the battery mount will be Velcro attached to the rest of the frame. If I feel like it later, I can rivet another riv-nut and make sure the battery is completely secured to the frame.

I went with the above components, the cool thing about CYC Photon, is that is uses the same cabling as Bafang and other E-bike manufacturers when it comes to brakes. This also is true of the shift sensors and means you can get a y cable to add a shift sensor to the CYC Photon Setup.

***USING A SHIFT SENSOR WORKS, BUT ULTIMATELY THE PHOTON KNOWS SOMETHING IS UP, AND THE BATTERY DISPLAY DOES NOT ACCURATELY REFELCT CHARGE ONCE PLUGGED IN**** You can use the shift sensor and rely on the battery voltages to confirm what percent you are at. Otherwise, you cannot use the sensor if you want battery level display.

The original 11-34 rear cassette was not a name brand cassette, and the zinc coating was starting to peel, so I ended up replacing it with a matching lightly-used 11-34 cassette from the Boise Bike Project. It’s probably a good thing I did this, because upon further inspection, the lockring for the rear cassette was not torqued down and a was able to loosen it by hand, yikes.

The installation of Tannus tire Armour was a first for me. I originally had the photon setup on a road bike, and I could tell there is some added rolling resistance /w the armor. To be fair, the amount of goat heads and what i will ultimately be using this bike for, having the protection is worth the time it would take to pull the rear wheel. I commute from near the Boise mall to downtown Boise resulting in a 6mi one way commute 12 miles round-trip. This will be a great bike for running to and from work and running to WinCo or Fred Meyer for Groceries.

My next Goal is to cut a new rear wooden deck and use some aluminum spacers to rise it a few millimeters above the tube frame of the bike. I need to figure out a slightly different pannier setup since the larger Yuba bags it came with hit the rear pegs. The side wooden decks may get replaced with thinner cut strips and spaced out with aluminum spacers. Debating on backing it with a clear or black thin mil plastic sheeting to prevent drivetrain interference or road splash.

Leave a Reply