Commute bike 12 miles Marin to SF, hilly

Alex Smith

New Member
Thanks for all the replies!

@Ravi Kempaiah @George S. - ah! So at 14% I didn't test the ST2 at full strength. More reason to return for another test. It was lively even at 14% (except on hills).

@RoyL and @flymeaway - good to hear the BBs02 is so quiet. Thanks for the pictures and the story Court. Where did you purchase your BBS02s? @RoyL - I'm not inclined toward the BBSHD as the guy at electric fat bike says it's too much power, out of control power. I don't want to pop wheelies. I worry about it being illegal (for a reason). I worry about safety. I'm on bike paths and the bridge for a considerable portion of the ride, with speed limits put in place for good reasons.

@Douglas Ruby - great points about the gearing difference. How much does cadence matter on these bikes? I understand that cadence is how speed is determined on a BBs02, but for a bike that senses torque or torque plus cadence with a rear drive hub, I'm not sure if it's faster to spin fast or spin slow and hard (standing even).
 

Douglas Ruby

Well-Known Member
Thanks for all the replies!

@Douglas Ruby - great points about the gearing difference. How much does cadence matter on these bikes? I understand that cadence is how speed is determined on a BBs02, but for a bike that senses torque or torque plus cadence with a rear drive hub, I'm not sure if it's faster to spin fast or spin slow and hard (standing even).
The Turbo is torque sensing. However, the issue has a lot to do with your own physical cadence and pedaling efficiency and comfort. I ride comfortably at a cadence of 75 to 90 rpm. If I can maintain that cadence and put more power into the pedals, then the amount of work the motor does is less for a given speed. In climbing, the issues around gearing on a torque sensing e-bike like the Turbo should be no different than those for a regular non assisted bicycle. I wrote fairly extensively about gearing on the Turbo in another post, but the bottom line is that at my natural cadence, my top gear (44 x 11 = 112") can maintain a speed of 30 mph at 90 rpm. Since the bike will not assist above 26.2 mph (42 kph), this is just fine. If I am going over 30 mph, I am in a steep descent and don't need to pedal anyway. At the low end, the 44 x 36 = 34.2" gear. This is 20% lower than the stock base Turbo with its 48 x 32 gear. The stock Turbo S has a gear range from 33.6" (48 x 40) to 122" (48 x 11). At 90 rpm, this is a speed range from 9 mph to 33 mph. If I had a Turbo S, I probably still would re-gear the front sprocket to 44T so that I could get a lower 1st gear for climbing.
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
@Alex Smith If you're really going to rely on an eBike for daily transportation, RELIABILITY is important.

Ask the owners of Stromer what their down time is, and ask the owners of DIY BBS kits what their down time is due to equipment failures.

For me 3000 miles and nothing... No problems that kept me from riding in 2 years. I think you'll find a lot of Stromer owners saying the same.
 

Alex Smith

New Member
I tested a Cannondale Movaro yesterday. I wanted to try a mid-drive system, and this was a shop I could get to easily on my drive home. Eh. Being limited to 20mph before the motor cuts out is VERY annoying. I get there in about 15 seconds, then I'm pedaling a 55lb bike without assistance. Painful. I could go up hills at 12-14mph with moderate pedaling. Not bad. But 250 watt motor didn't feel especially powerful. Quiet - I could barely hear the motor, but not silent like the Turbo or Stromer ST2. I didn't notice the drop off in power as the motor cut for shifting. That's good. Pretty ride across the Golden Gate bridge and back. Weather here is amazing for cycling recently. But long stretch with no rain is not good.
Here's a link to the route on Strava (most of it): https://www.strava.com/activities/489983874

I'm still leaning toward DIY with a BBS02 and my Marin Palisades hard tail. Wife wants me to get rid of two other bikes before she'll let me convert the hardtail. Says I'm at "n". (the formula for the correct number of bikes to own is n-1, where n is the number of bikes resulting in divorce).

Will any of these companies put out a DIY mid-drive with a torque sensor? As a cyclist, I have to say I worry I won't like the cadence sensor. Max drive for DIY kits?
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
Will any of these companies put out a DIY mid-drive with a torque sensor?
Probably not. The torque sensors are considerably more expensive and for DIY's the sensor would have to be incorporated into the BB bearing crank assembly. If your goal is easy DIY with bullet proof simple inputs (low cost) the pedelec is the right option. For DIY with torque sensing I'd suggest you look at Grin Technology, but I'm pretty sure you won't get a mid-drive set-up. It is a matter of preference, and if torque sensing is the option you want DIY mid-drive may be a problem. Send Paul at EM3ev an email and ask if there are any DIY mid-drive torque kits...he'll know the answer.

Good Luck

Court J.
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
Being limited to 20mph before the motor cuts out is VERY annoying
That's going to be a problem with many bikes. If you are so inclined you can program the controller on the BBS02 for much higher speeds, as long as you are aware of the possible legal issues and greater risk of riding at faster speeds. One thing you will learn about power and pedaling; unless you are on a flat or very slight grade you do reach a speed where (even under power) the motor while pedaling will not be sufficient to reach the motor cut-off speed. That speed depends on your strength and the terrain. I have learned to match my power setting to the terrain I'm on so I still pedal hard but can't reach the speed (at the power setting) to achieve motor cut-off. So I get plenty of exercise at speeds I normally couldn't pedal a bike given the terrain.

Court J.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
The Max is not a bolt on drive, it's something that gets integrated into a frame. Bafang makes the Max. Bafang makes the BBS02. The Max has a torque sensing system. The BBS02 does not. When you want the torque sensor in the bolt-on, you turn to the competitors of Bafang. Oh, wait. No competitors.

Want a Bosch with decent power? They don't even really say what the power is, so you have to test them.

Under the new Cal rules, you can have 28 mph, up to 750 watts, but then you can't go on bike paths. The paths are for 20 mph bikes.

You need to think of ebikes much like 16th century Europe. There are little shopkeepers who do what they do, and you take what they offer. The King makes lots of arbitrary rules. But all you had to do was wait for the Industrial Revolution. Maybe 200 years?

Want to be legal and go on paths? 20 mph tops.
Want to go fast and go on roads? Go Class 3
Want to take on 'the man' and go rogue? Buy a 3000 watt motor and tear up the bike lane.

You need to stand up to the wife and walk into bike shops with a big chip on your shoulder. Tell them "This ebike thing really sucks, but you're not going to get me down. So... can you do anything for me that works?" If you really knew what you wanted, you could build it. I get bikes that work for me but I don't buy into anything people in the industry are selling. We get a couple of 'lifers' over here, and I cringe every time I see they have responded to my posts.

People in the ebike industry do a mandatory six months of training with pom poms and giant megaphones. They are trained to be cheerleaders.

Everything is wonderful, but none of it makes any sense.
 

Logan Gogarty

Active Member
@Alex Smith I rode the turbo x for a few days and the 27 mph cut off was too frustrating for me. I'm use to going higher speeds on a regular bike. The BBSHD from luna has a 750W stamp on the bottom even though it's a 1000W motor that should help with your legal concerns. I highly recommend going with the BBSHD so you don't have to worry about overheating and have the extra power if needed. You can always use a lower pedal assist if you have too much power. I would much prefer to have too much vs. too little.

The BBSHD is not out of control power. If you are an experienced biker you will enjoy having that power when you need it and be impressed at your average speed up big hills. I commute 17 miles each way and have about a 1,500 elevation change. I average 25 mph on my way to work and ride on mostly bike paths. When I see other people I slow down and try to be respectful and I don't think anyone even can tell it's an e-bike. I can't hear the BBSHD motor at all so I wouldn't worry about that either.

My bike has been very reliable and if you read about the BBSHD there has been few to no mechanical problems. Eric at luna cycle has not received any back for mechanical failure and he is the biggest retailer.

I was really worried about not having a cadence sensor and almost spent a lot more to get lectric cycles BBSHD and now I'm glad I didn't. My bike feels smooth and shifts extremely well. If you are putting the BBSHD on a quality bike you can't go wrong.
 

Logan Gogarty

Active Member
For my situation I had to have a fat bike because of the snow. I also wanted a bike that could do 28 mph + At the time the izip sumo was the only class three fat bike and it was close to the same price of my DIY BBSHD build. My bike is 100 times better than the Sumo. I have Rock Shox front fork X9 derailleur more power bigger battery etc. Everyone's commuting situation is unique.
 

GMS

Member
Attached are a couple pics of my BBS02 commuter build on a Marin Fairfax SC6 with an Alfine 11 IGH. I love this bike, which has been more or less maintenance free for 300+ miles so far (with the BBS02 being completely maintenance free). If you are going to do a build start with a good bike platform that fits you well and has solid components. Your maintenance is very likely to involve loose spokes, flat tires, and other normal bike stuff that just gets more stressed from the speed and additional use that electric assist bring to the table.

The Marin has been fantastic, one flat tire - no other issues. I had (and still have to an extend) concerns about the longevity of the Alfine IGH (or any IGH for that matter) with electric assist. However, I use a motor cut-off switch when shifting in anything about PAS level 2, which should help the life of the IGH (also, it really doesn't want to shift under any significant load). IGH is great for commuter as you can shift it without pedal input.

I have purchased two BBS02 kits (motor, battery, and lights) from Luna Cycle (www.lunacycle.com) and believe that Eric at Luna Cycle has some of the best battery packs and pricing available (go with 52v pack on the BBS02 or BBSHD). Eric has also been very responsive to a couple minor issues I have encountered (and less quickly responsive on a battery pack return, but did make things right).

I also own a Diamondback Overdrive EXC 350W mid-drive (TransX motor) bike that is nice and has torque sensing. While I like the torque sensing and would jump at a DIY mid-drive kit that included the option, I can achieve a similar ride by switching between PAS levels on the BBS02. I mount the controls conveniently to allow for switching easily (mostly find myself between 2 and 3 out of 5 levels - maintaining avg. speeds just over 20 MPH). The other nice feature of the BBS02 is it is highly programmable, allowing you to tweak how the PAS system functions.

Bang for the buck I think it is still hard to beat the BBS02 or BBSHD (BTW, BBSHD is completely programmable to control the extra power and is also apparently much more tolerant of lower pedaling cadences).

I have also found building a bike to be a ton of fun (want to build more, but hard to justify with limited time to ride much more than I do now).

Good luck - this is a great place for information (along with Electricbike.com, electric-fatbike.com and endless sphere).

Cheers...
IMG_2438.JPG IMG_2439.JPG IMG_2440.JPG IMG_2441.JPG
 
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George S.

Well-Known Member
The BBSHD can be made legal in California. This is what you have to do:

http://www.electriccyclery.com/shop/electric-bike-kits/electric-bike-kits-bionx-electric-motor-kits/bionx-d500/

My advice is to read the whole thing. These guys are being completely honest about the whole thing, even noting that they will NOT offer a 28mph software update outside California. And the motor has to be set up for 750 watts.

Also note the Class 3 is street legal, not legal on bike paths.

They want to do this in Utah. I want to see what happens in Cal...
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
Attached are a couple pics of my BBS02 commuter build on a Marin Fairfax SC6 with an Alfine 11 IGH
Thanks for the pixs and post. Good looking conversion. After riding for 1000's of miles on BBS02 conversion bikes I've learned that the hardware is very reliable. I'd be interested in hearing how the Alfine holds up..over time.

Court J.
 

Alex Smith

New Member
Thanks for all the responses!

@flymeaway - understood about lack of torque sensing in DIY. Maybe it's not as big a deal as I thought it might be.

@George S. - like the 16th century analogy. Things are moving so fast in this industry, it's like we're in the industrial revolution but compacted into 5 years instead of 50. Hard for the laws to keep up.

@Logan Gogarty - you've convinced me to try the BBSHD. I am an experienced rider, and going 28mph is nothing. I've hit 50 on downhills (OK that was scary, but with organized ride, straight, flat, and we had our own car lane).

@opimax - thanks for the tip! checked out there sites. Still leaning Bafang.

@Logan Gogarty - good to have another positive review of the BBSHD. My hardtail has a rock shox fork as well (though not a fat bike).

@GMS - wow! Thanks for the pics and testimonial about your Marin BBS02 Alfie setup. Like @flymeaway I'm interested to hear about the Alfie over time. That bike looks like the perfect commuter. My Marin is a little more built up looking as a hardtail.

So now I'm leaning BBSHD from lunacycle on my Marin Palisades hardtail. Why Luna? Costs less with shipping. 52V battery. Slimmer shark pack battery. And biggest thing is actually - lights! I'm a big safety guy, and those lights you can wire directly into the battery make a ton of sense. Leave them on all the time. I've had too many commutes where my lights died on me before making it home. I'd prefer to have to remember just to charge one battery. Other shops don't offer integrated lights.

Sold my other 2 bikes (firesale prices!). So now cleared to set this up. Going away next week so probably won't purchase for a week and a half. Will get it set up and write up short and long-term experience.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
Sounds really good. Everything is a bit of a compromise, but most people are very happy when they finally cross the finish line.
 

Tom

Member
Hello everyone, Just out of curiosity I was wondering if a person was going to build a bike using the BBSo2 or BBSHD and needed to buy a bicycle which ones would work the best. It seems to me since your using an ebike kit, you wouldn't need a 27 geared bike. Also, you might want a stronger frame, like a hardtail, not a lightweight bike. You also might want to upgrade the brakes and so on.
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
which ones would work the best
That's a subjective question. You're correct on the gearing. Unless you're riding up extreme grades a properly spec. chainring and 7 or 8 gear rear cluster should be fine. For what it's worth, I use Bikes Direct for relatively inexpensive reasonably equipped bikes.

Good luck....

Court J.