21-year-old La. Tech student engineers electric mountain bike

The bike will have a speed of about 40 miles per hour
Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 7:27 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - A 21-year-old from Louisiana Tech University has engineered his own electric mountain bike. Months of work, tons of research, and a chainsaw are only a few things Grice used to build his custom e-bike. The goal was to make the bike competitive at an affordable price.

“The main goal of it was to keep it cheap. Which it’s all relative, but an electric dirt bike, that is similar, to one with the same kind of specs as the one I have now, on the market would run you about $4,000. This one cost me about $1,200 including the materials I use to build it because I made it from a chainsaw. So I just went and got a chainsaw from Lowe’s, with all the metal and stuff, and made it myself,” said Ben Grice, a Louisiana Tech University Student.

Grice says he enjoys riding dirt bikes and this is similar to doing that. Meanwhile, school leaders say it’s great to see students come up with ideas that apply the tools and knowledge learned from the classroom.

“So, it’s always fun to see what a student comes up with and it’s so amazing, in what they’re able to do. They have great imaginations early on and we want them to be able to use what they learn here and kind of continue to grow. So it’s fun to be able to see when a student produces something, and we’re always anxious to see where it’s going to go from here,” said Heath Tims, Louisiana Tech University Associate Dean for Engineering.

Grice is on his third prototype. He plans to make a fourth version to work out some of the issues and improve the speed to about 40 miles per hour. However, he just loves to keep learning and improving his skills.

“The goal is to you know, find different things that I don’t know, and see how I can grow that skill to apply it to the bike,” said Grice.

In a news release, Dr. Timothy Reeves, mechanical engineering lecturer and mentor to Grice, says that the student’s success is due to an impressive amount of perseverance and talent.

“As Ben has been working on his electrified bike project over the past few months, he and I have had a number of conversations about various aspects of the project, such as gearing and basics of electric motors. He has demonstrated remarkable persistence on this project in two ways: First, he has not given up! He has constructed multiple prototypes leading up to the current version of his design, and he is still working on additional improvements. Second, he has been diligent in studying independently about the various components’ functionality, limitations, etc. The level of commitment and self-motivated effort he has shown on this project is truly outstanding. Given that fact, and an equally uncommon set of fabrication skills, one can understand why he has achieved this level of success on the project.”

Grice says he plans to improve this fourth version of the bike to the best of his ability. By adding guards above the tire, a kickstand, and a three-speed transmission.

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