Dave McGowan


Dave McGowan 




A beat Giant LaFree electric commuter bike that is sans battery.


The week Eric proposed the TrasherBash, I headed down to the local bike co-op to see what they had in the project pile in the back room. With the idea of finding the most “uncool bike that could possibly be made cool” in mind, I bought a $30 Late-'90s e-bike that had rotten tires, a missing battery and a Panasonic integrated drive system that was bound to cause issues later (foreshadowing? Hmmm…). Even though it looked like the offspring of a Dyson vacuum and a dutch bike, I had an idea.

Under all of that plastic cladding was an aluminum spar frame, a 1000W rated motor (even if it was at 24VDC), and something that reminded me of those Honda Super Cubs and Trail 110's that have been receiving such cool custom treatments by builders in Thailand and Indonesia in recent times. With the addition of some early 2000's suspension tech (Noleen/Girvin linkage suspension fork with an electronic "SmartShock" and a bolt-on "Shockster" system in the rear), a bolt-on frame brace/top tube that I fabbed up in the garage, and some knobbies on heavy duty wheels with a 9-speed, I would punch my ticket to the electric trail-bike/scrambler ride of my deluded daydreams. An old school lay-back BMX seatpost and a WTB saddle replaced the original fat flip-up unit, and Gran-Cru Klunker bars from VeloOrange raised both the bar-height and the attitude level. Brakes were replaced with Origin-8 V-brakes while crank arms and pedals were upgraded to something more off-road ready.

I lost a week of work time due to quarantine. During this period it became apparent that, while the 48V lithium-ion battery pack I'd mounted should be more than adequate, its accompanying motor controller was meant for a brushless, 3-phase motor, and would be of no use with my ‘90s-era drive system. That brings us up to the current state of the project: a rideable bicycle that has yet to move under voltage, but potentially (pun intended) could do so at a relatively high rate of speed.

This is where you come in. Want to see a crazy bald guy roost e-bike donuts in the dirt, try stupid hill-climbs and jumps with the twist-throttle pegged? Does the idea of replacing most of that Drug Test Sample Yellow finish with an '80s-inspired Spray.bike paint job make you wring your sweaty mitts in anticipation? If so, cast a vote for my project to continue into the finals. It's that simple. A vote for "Dirty" Dave McGowan is a vote for recycled bicycle parts and imminent self-inflicted injury. And who wouldn't want that?