'21 Espin Sport project bike.....

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
We bought this Sport with the idea of using it as an affordable base for a comfortable city bike. Not looking for anything flashy. Comfort is the primary goal. We've had it for a couple of weeks now. Parts have been dribbling in to the point where it was time to start work. So here we are -

An update on the project bike - '21 Espin Sport

The Schwalbe Super Moto-X (balloon) tires are now installed (27.5x2.4"). They have plenty of room but I wouldn't want to go much bigger. Mounted on the 32mm rims they look pretty good. Initial ride indicating I may be able to drop the tire pressures 5psi. I took a guess at 35 front and 40 in the back, and they're still pretty stiff.

Thudbuster LT seat post with HD elastonomer (for fat guys) installed with my favorite C9 seat. The one with the Lycra covering. Just seems to work for me.

Handlebars changed to something like a mustache type with 3" rise built in, and Velo grips for a locked on comfortable feel. Pulled back style for wrist comfort.

Thumb type throttle installed on the RH side. That's a pretty tight fit. Unless you're stubborn and demand it, not sure I'd recommend that project. It ended up working great, but it was a PIA. Best left for those with a lot of patience....

I did change the shifter to one with an indicator - that reads backwards - but at least I can see where I'm at. Works awesome, but something we'll likely revisit sooner than later.

And the display/controller issue. I spent a lot of time screwing with it, looking for a magic combination that worked just the way I wanted it to - but in the end couldn't find one.

The 2 biggest issues are (no particular order)
1. The display washes out pretty much completely in direct sunlight. Now I understand it isn't too unusual with color displays, but this is the worst of the 3 I have (Bafang, KT and this Espin). Secondary issue, a big deal here, but many others won't care I'm sure, is the tiny power indicator (watt meter). It's impossible to read in direct sunlight, and not easy even under overcast conditions

2. Power runs on for a good 10' when you stop pedaling. That's complete nonsense, and there's no excuse for it in today's world. Espin advised me to "just tap the brake". Geez, thanks for that advice.....

After that, there is the fact it's speed based. Nothing terrible though. I think it uses cadence speed in the algorithm, which is kinda weird. For instance, in PAS 1, and lets say 2nd or 3rd gear, you can see 300 watts in use as soon as the pedals start moving at 6-7 mph. Exact same scenario, only with the bike in 4th or 5th gear (so you are pedaling WAY slower) there will likely be less than 100 watts in use. That's rideable and there's no big surge every time you start pedaling like there would be if the bike were in 2nd or 3rd gear. Different, but you should be able to get used to that.

So after checking around, we're going with another KT set up (waterproof KT 22a w/LCD 3). And this time, it's not even going to have a color display. The LCD display is MUCH easier to see in direct sunlight - at half the cost of the color. Please note!! This would not be a poject I'd recommend for a DIY rookie. There are NO Instructions included, and support will be sketchy at best. That said, if you have some extra patience, can solder a new connector on if necessary, and have a good working knowledge of electrical ideas (not necessarily electronic ideas) these mods are not TOO bad. -Al


Tires- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OJXA1FS?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details

Thudbuster LT -https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088Y7DXWX?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details

HD (fat butt) elastomer for Thudbuster - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08BW5589F?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details

Seat Cloud 9 - https://www.amazon.com/Cloud-9-Crui...&keywords=cloud+9+seats&qid=1623546022&sr=8-5

Handlebars - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08QZ889WG?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details

Thumb Throttle - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08CKBV1M3?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details

KT 22a Controller - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08Q4B915H/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
LCD 3 Display - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B089W7Y46C/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

To be continued....
 
Last edited:

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
There may be more details later, but the installation of the KT-22a controller with LCD-3 display pretty much finishes this project. I had some trouble with the first KT controller surging, and that turned out to be a defective controller. With the second identical controller installed, we were in business. I'll be messing with the adjustments to get them perfect for my expectations/riding style, but from that point on we'll be good to go.

The KT controller with it's power based PAS (NO changes in power as your speed changes), makes this bike an absolute pleasure to ride. No more surging as the pedals are first turned, no more nursing the bike along while at sub 10mph speeds, and the best part, when you stop pedaling, the power to the motor shuts off....

Noteworthy maybe, is that when I tell this bike we need to cross this street in a hurry, or climb this short steep hill, there are nearly 1000w (980w-990w) indicated going to the motor. That's some serious punch. Granted it's nothing you can use for long, but 10 or 20 seconds won't hurt thing. That's plenty of time to cross a busy road and/or climb any of the hills around here.... -Al
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
OK I lied about being finished. Today the Sport received a new set of front forks. Adjustable using air pressure, with rebound adjustment. At 5 miles or so, they seem solid and function well. There IS a difference in the vibration reaching the handlebars. Nothing is set though. Something else to dink around with getting it "just right". Will holler again with impression when that happens.

I went with a Buckos fork from Amazon (link following). I figured that at $130. I might learn something new and they would be worth the gamble. I did learn a couple of things.

The first was about the lower head bearing. The cone section is a pretty snug fit on the tube, and stayed on the old fork when it was pulled. I didn't even notice! When assembled, I knew something didn't feel right on the first test hop, and that caused me to back up looking for mistakes. That's when it dawned on me something like that may have happened. Getting it off the old fork just took some patience and a couple of minute to remove it without damaging it.

Noteworthy is the fact that though I ordered a 27.5 front end, there is just barely enough distance/clearance for the front fender with the Schwab Super Moto-X 27.5 x 2.4 tires! That bridge between the 2 sides of the forks is just a bit low. Maybe 1/2" or so lower than the original. It fits, but there is NO extra room at that point. If doing it again with these tires, I would likely order a 29" front end to get some clearance here.

Speaking of the tires, the more I ride these the better I like them. Awesome ride due to the ability to run them under 40 psi and absolute minimum rolling resistance. -Al

 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
The wife and I both were more than a little disenchanted when we received the last 2 bikes (2021's) - with shifters that had no indicator showing what gear you are in. While that may be OK for some, WE thought it a worthwhile project to scrap the stock shifter, replacing it with one that actually tells you where you are whatever it takes! Our earlier bikes all had Shimano, so we chose to go with those again. Nothing fancy, but they work! So we purchased and installed a pair of these shifters. A pretty easy install.


This is where the lessons (frustration!!!!) start...

Shifters installed, it turned out they were impossible to tune to the stock derailleurs. No matter how careful I was, I could only get 4 or 5 of the 8 gears working at a time. Could be the top 4, could be the bottom 4, could be the middle 4. The rest were unpredictable with noise and slipping.

Lesson: after a ton of research, it turns out the leverage offered by the shifter HAS to match the leverage requirements of the derailleur! If both sides don't match, you get exactly the situation I had.

Solution: new derailleurs, derailleurs that MATCH our shifters. Not sure of this solution just yet, I just bought 1, a Shimano Altus which turned out to be a pretty nice and reasonably economic shifter. Very happy with it.


Time to do the second bike, I couldn't find another Altus derailleur that wouldn't take weeks to arrive. Fingers crossed, I bought an Acera which was supposed to be a big brother to the Altus (or maybe I have that backwards?) Anyway, that was installed and easily dialed right in, with perfect shifts you can count on.....

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000F5EGA...d=1YO9TJ7X9M4LQ&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it_im

Now loving these bikes. They're perfect for our needs, and we're into them right.
 

Jmarc

New Member
Region
USA
The wife and I both were more than a little disenchanted when we received the last 2 bikes (2021's) - with shifters that had no indicator showing what gear you are in. While that may be OK for some, WE thought it a worthwhile project to scrap the stock shifter, replacing it with one that actually tells you where you are whatever it takes! Our earlier bikes all had Shimano, so we chose to go with those again. Nothing fancy, but they work! So we purchased and installed a pair of these shifters. A pretty easy install.


This is where the lessons (frustration!!!!) start...

Shifters installed, it turned out they were impossible to tune to the stock derailleurs. No matter how careful I was, I could only get 4 or 5 of the 8 gears working at a time. Could be the top 4, could be the bottom 4, could be the middle 4. The rest were unpredictable with noise and slipping.

Lesson: after a ton of research, it turns out the leverage offered by the shifter HAS to match the leverage requirements of the derailleur! If both sides don't match, you get exactly the situation I had.

Solution: new derailleurs, derailleurs that MATCH our shifters. Not sure of this solution just yet, I just bought 1, a Shimano Altus which turned out to be a pretty nice and reasonably economic shifter. Very happy with it.


Time to do the second bike, I couldn't find another Altus derailleur that wouldn't take weeks to arrive. Fingers crossed, I bought an Acera which was supposed to be a big brother to the Altus (or maybe I have that backwards?) Anyway, that was installed and easily dialed right in, with perfect shifts you can count on.....

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000F5EGA...d=1YO9TJ7X9M4LQ&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it_im

Now loving these bikes. They're perfect for our needs, and we're into them right.
So I have a '20 Sport with the SRAM setup (shifter, derailleur, 11-32t cassette.) I always found the shifting to feel clunky, even after tuning the gears. I have a regular city hybrid (not electric) that has a Shimano Altus derailleur and shifter, which I've always found to be smooth, quiet and quick on the gear shift. My Sport is the complete opposite, loud, clunky, slow, etc. How are your Sport's riding with the Shimano setups and would you say it mirrors closely to my Shimano example above or is there a bit of clunkiness still like my SRAM setup. I'm always wondering if the size and weight of the bike, have anything to do with it also. Look forward to your feedback.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
The shifts are immediate on both bikes, and the shifter clicking during the shift is all you're going to hear with the Shimano stuff. Highly recommended if you're up for the change. That said, one of our 2 Flows is a 2020, and it shifts pretty good. Changing that bike over to Shimano would be tough to justify.

Have you been through the whole thing to see if you have a set up issue (after viewing a set up video) or is there any possibility of something dragging?
 

Jmarc

New Member
Region
USA
The shifts are immediate on both bikes, and the shifter clicking during the shift is all you're going to hear with the Shimano stuff. Highly recommended if you're up for the change. That said, one of our 2 Flows is a 2020, and it shifts pretty good. Changing that bike over to Shimano would be tough to justify.

Have you been through the whole thing to see if you have a set up issue (after viewing a set up video) or is there any possibility of something dragging?
Definitely not a set up issue. Had the bike checked by an LBS after I put it together also. Made sure the gears were tuned, chain was greased, etc.. I since went and further tuned the gears myself watching the Park Tool video on Youtube. While the tuning always does help a bit, the shifting has always seemed clunky, heavy, noisy. I'm close to about 1000 miles on the bike now and do love the thing, but the shifting has always been that one thing I would change/fix if I could.

So you changed the shifter and derailleur. Did you also change the cassettes and chain as well? I'm assuming you would right?
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Personally, I would use the chain and the cassette over again as long as they passed muster. Do you have one of those chain wear gauge tools? They're cheap, and make a very clear go/no go call for you easily.

It's just the shifter and derailleur that needs to be changed.