Dream-E: Changing a 1967 Honda CA160 to electrical


Honda CA160 Dream electric conversion by Danny Mantyla
What’s the toughest a part of changing a traditional motorbike to electrical? You would possibly assume it’s sourcing an applicable drivetrain, or wedging it right into a chassis designed for an inner combustion engine. Certain, these are all notable challenges—however the actual trick, is pulling it off with out ruining the bike’s classic aesthetic.

Beginner bike builder Danny Mantyla has all of it figured it out. He’s simply handled this 1967 Honda CA160 Dream to an electrical motor swap. And he’s accomplished it so effectively, that it arguably appears to be like even cooler than it used to.

Honda CA160 Dream electric conversion by Danny Mantyla
“One night time I used to be displaying my spouse an image of a Yamaha XS650 and a pink Honda CA160,” Danny tells us, “and I requested her which one she favored finest. She mentioned the Honda, however provided that it was black. That night time I wakened in my sleep and began Craigslist for no specific purpose.”

“After which I discovered it! A black Honda CA160. I purchased it the very subsequent day for $500.”

Honda CA160 Dream electric conversion by Danny Mantyla
Due to a decade spent sitting in a barn, the Dream’s engine was utterly seized. A busted engine, and a stamped body good for hiding wires, are good elements for an electrical conversion. However Danny had a couple of purpose for the swap.

“I needed my spouse to have the ability to experience a bike alongside me, however she doesn’t understand how or need to learn to use a guide transmission,” he explains. “She can be actually delicate to the odor of gasoline and exhaust fumes, and she or he hates loud bikes with a burning ardour. So this electrical bike is ideal for her.”

Honda CA160 Dream electric conversion by Danny Mantyla
Danny pieced collectively a 72v system, utilizing a 4kW hub motor from QS Motors and a controller from Kelly Controls. For the battery, he constructed his personal pack out of used, up-cycled LG Chem pouch cells. However it’s how he put all of it collectively that’s actually spectacular.

With the Honda Dream stripped down and on the desk, Danny was taken by the swooping silhouette of the sculpted body, and the curvaceous fenders. So he knew that no matter he added wanted to enhance that, not combat in opposition to it.

Honda CA160 Dream electric conversion by Danny Mantyla
“If Honda made an electrical motorbike within the Sixties,” asks Danny, “what would it not appear like? This was the design purpose when constructing the battery enclosure.”

With that in thoughts, he fabricated a teardrop-shaped enclosure, utilizing a bead curler so as to add some character. A testomony to Rob’s creativity and metalworking abilities, it sits throughout the Dream’s body as if it got here that means from the manufacturing unit. And it may be break up in half in a jiffy, if it’s essential to entry the battery pack.

Honda CA160 Dream electric conversion by Danny Mantyla
The controller was mounted straight into the recessed part of the body the place the previous lead-acid battery used to dwell. On the opposite aspect of the body, a discarded chrome clutch cowl was repurposed as an entry level for the controller’s wiring.

Danny packed a DC-to-DC converter into the previous gas tank, then put in an analog cost meter, energy swap and indicator gentle up prime. It’s a conventional EV conversion trick to show the previous filler cap right into a cost port—however the Dream’s filler neck was too slender for this to work. So the cost port hides away in opposition to the again of the battery case as a substitute.

Honda CA160 Dream electric conversion by Danny Mantyla
The Honda’s OEM headlight bucket and glass have been restored, then retrofitted with LED internals. There’s a kill swap on the handlebars too, for good measure, however the remainder of the controls look suitably classic. Danny scored the solo seat from a neighborhood swap meat, and he discovered the bags rack at an vintage retailer.

As for efficiency, it’s modest at finest—however going fast or far wasn’t the purpose right here. The highest velocity is round 55 mph, which is just a little shy of the CA160’s unique 68 mph prime velocity. And for the reason that up-cycled batteries solely have round 66% of their unique capability, the actual world vary is about 20 miles.

Honda CA160 Dream electric conversion by Danny Mantyla
Nonetheless, Danny says it’s a pleasure to experience. “It’s so clean and silent, it’s actually like a extremely heavy bicycle that’s magically self-propelled. Using it simply places a smile on my face, it’s a really nice expertise.”

“My favourite is when somebody sees it—somebody who is aware of nothing about bikes—they usually simply take a look at it and see a properly restored, however in any other case regular, traditional motorbike. They don’t even notice that it doesn’t have a gasoline engine.”

Head over to Danny’s web site for a full breakdown of his electrical Honda Dream construct, together with prices.

Honda CA160 Dream electric conversion by Danny Mantyla


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