My service call to Madison appears to have been successful. I will hesitate to declare it a total success until a week or two of tough field testing validate the flawless performance we saw in yesterday’s trials, but I’m more than confident that we nailed it. I’ll give an account of the complex problem and solutions in a separate entry. Meanwhile, here’s Mike on the steepest hill we could find during our testing in the balmy mid-thirties:
Here’s a video clip of Mike climbing that grade at 12 MPH, in a medium gear. In a lower gear he’d be able to haul me as a passenger up a steeper hill, albeit more slowly.
Earlier that day, Mike took it up to 30 MPH on the flat as I shot. The noise is the buzz of his studded Nokian Hakkapeliitta tires.
But here’s the best clip of all: Mike hauled my 170-lb self up to 25 MPH on the flat as I held on with one hand and my camera with the other (14 MB .avi). If you want a close look at Stokemonkey in operation, this is it: notice that the motor is motionless in the first few frames of the clip as Mike pedals on his own. Then he engages the throttle and shifts to higher gears to get us up to speed. The noise is the wind.
The climbing, speed, quiet, and major hauling capacity documented in these clips are what Stokemonkey is all about at a technical level, and what I believe put X/SM in a class by itself among light vehicles. I’m very happy to have helped get Mike up and running reliably, and my installation and troubleshooting instructions will benefit substantially from the experience.