Anybody else go from a rear hub motor to mid drive?

330rcs

Active Member
I have had the juiced bikes fat tire Ripcurrent S with bafang 750w rear hub motor for 1.5 yrs and now I decided I wanted a mid drive so I got the Biktrix ultra eagle with bafang mid drive ultra motor (1500w Peak).

Has anybody else came here from a rear hub bike and switch to a mid drive? I feel like it's going to take me a bit to get used to. The main thing is how the motor drops rpms and you feel that slight pause when you change gears. It's kind of annnoying but I am just now learning this is a safety feature for mid drives. With my rear hub motor there's no kind of delay or pause or nothing between changing gears. I can go from a stop and speed up quickly and "click, click, click" all the way up to 9th gear right away.

With the mid drive when I want to take off fast from a stop and I want to change gears in the same way Im used to with the rip current it's like "click" "pause" "click" "pause". So it's annoying when you want to pedal hard and speed up quickly and then you get these pauses even though when the torque kicks in I am going way freaking faster on the ultra eagle than my Ripcurrent but it's just kind of weird I guess it doesn't feel "natural". The torque is pretty crazy but I just seem to get annoyed with the pause between changing gears because I'm used to changing fast.

Also with the rear hub if I was approaching a steep hill (lots of hills in Colorado) and forgot to get into low gear until the last second it didn't matter I can quickly change into the lowest gear right away and go up the hill just fine. However with the mid drive you have to change gears way before otherwise if you forget and try to change into the lowest gear at the last second while you're on the hill you will get stuck because the motor pauses between gear changes and you lose all assist and now you're trying to support this heavy bike midway on the hill. My entire power actually shut off on me at that moment when that happened.

I don't want to give up on it (the midrive cost me $4k) like I said maybe I just need to get used to it or find a different style of changing gears for the mid drive. I do notice during a gear change on the mid drive after the pause it picks up way more speed/torque all of a sudden which is pretty fun feeling. It doesn't really feel "natural" though like it does on the rear hub it feels more natural to me like riding a bike but with just a lot of assist with the mid drive you definately know it's the motor when it kicks in all of a sudden I guess the power doesn't feel as smooth from slow to fast because of the pauses.

I just got it a few days ago so like I said getting used to it but another thing I noticed again not sure if it's just in my head but I feel like when I stop pedaling on the mid drive it's like my speed starts dropping much more quicker than on the rear hub which feels like when I stop pedaling I can keep coasting for longer. I don't know if it's because the Ripcurrent is 4" fat tires or maybe it's the 52t chainring? The mid drive is 44t. Not sure if that has anything to do with it. Or just the fact the rear hub being in the rear tire it kind of "pushes" you so you are coasting on momentum? Does that make sense?

Or does it sound like I am just not going to be happy with mid drive? Maybe I can still return it I believe I have 14 days. If there's no real "getting used to it" then maybe I should just think about returning it and getting another rear hub motor? If it sounds like I prefer that type of riding style? I really want to like it it looks awesome I am having fun with it but like I said the pauses between the gears is getting on my nerves.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
I have had the juiced bikes fat tire Ripcurrent S with bafang 750w rear hub motor for 1.5 yrs and now I decided I wanted a mid drive so I got the Biktrix ultra eagle with bafang mid drive ultra motor (1500w Peak).

Has anybody else came here from a rear hub bike and switch to a mid drive? I feel like it's going to take me a bit to get used to. The main thing is how the motor drops rpms and you feel that slight pause when you change gears. It's kind of annnoying but I am just now learning this is a safety feature for mid drives. With my rear hub motor there's no kind of delay or pause or nothing between changing gears. I can go from a stop and speed up quickly and "click, click, click" all the way up to 9th gear right away.

With the mid drive when I want to take off fast from a stop and I want to change gears in the same way Im used to with the rip current it's like "click" "pause" "click" "pause". So it's annoying when you want to pedal hard and speed up quickly and then you get these pauses even though when the torque kicks in I am going way freaking faster on the ultra eagle than my Ripcurrent but it's just kind of weird I guess it doesn't feel "natural". The torque is pretty crazy but I just seem to get annoyed with the pause between changing gears because I'm used to changing fast.

Also with the rear hub if I was approaching a steep hill (lots of hills in Colorado) and forgot to get into low gear until the last second it didn't matter I can quickly change into the lowest gear right away and go up the hill just fine. However with the mid drive you have to change gears way before otherwise if you forget and try to change into the lowest gear at the last second while you're on the hill you will get stuck because the motor pauses between gear changes and you lose all assist and now you're trying to support this heavy bike midway on the hill. My entire power actually shut off on me at that moment when that happened.

I don't want to give up on it (the midrive cost me $4k) like I said maybe I just need to get used to it or find a different style of changing gears for the mid drive. I do notice during a gear change on the mid drive after the pause it picks up way more speed/torque all of a sudden which is pretty fun feeling. It doesn't really feel "natural" though like it does on the rear hub it feels more natural to me like riding a bike but with just a lot of assist with the mid drive you definately know it's the motor when it kicks in all of a sudden I guess the power doesn't feel as smooth from slow to fast because of the pauses.

I just got it a few days ago so like I said getting used to it but another thing I noticed again not sure if it's just in my head but I feel like when I stop pedaling on the mid drive it's like my speed starts dropping much more quicker than on the rear hub which feels like when I stop pedaling I can keep coasting for longer. I don't know if it's because the Ripcurrent is 4" fat tires or maybe it's the 52t chainring? Not sure if that has anything to do with it. Or just the fact the rear hub being in the rear tire it kind of "pushes" you so you are coasting on momentum? Does that make sense?

Or does it sound like I am just not going to be happy with mid drive? Maybe I can still return it I believe I have 14 days. If there's no real "getting used to it" then maybe I should just think about returning it and getting another rear hub motor? If it sounds like I prefer that type of riding style? I really want to like it it looks awesome I am having fun with it but like I said the pauses between the gears is getting on my nerves.

Stick with it... once you get used to the natural feel and balance of a mid-drive you will never go back. ;)

As a longterm cyclist, I could never seem to get used to the push and weird handling of a hub drive motor.
 
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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
I can give you a honest answer. I'm the person who switched from a hub-drive motor e-bike to as many as two mid-drive ones. "Switched" is a wrong word because I still ride my hub-drive e-bike, depending on my needs.

The whole idea behind the hub-drive motor is it gives constant assistance at given PAS level. Meaning, when I am on a long trip on suburban or country roads (I mean paved roads, not dirt ones), I'm getting at speed of some 19-20 mph and can pedal the bike at that speed for hours. That e-bike gives me impressive average speed on long tours.

However, city or off-road cycling is not a good application for that e-bike. Since we ride low-powered motors here in Europe, the bike accelerates rather poorly from a standstill. Blows of headwind cause uneven hub-motor performance. And that bike is a very poor climber. Of course, a North American 750 W motor (with a throttle) would be better in all these respects.

What makes the hub-drive motor e-bike really poor is it cannot really ride slowly (and there are many situation you need to ride slowly, for example on group rides with traditional cyclists), and at least that e-bike does not allow tuning the motor (in the sense of adjusting the assistance levels to the rider's needs). My 250 W e-bike is simply too fast in the flatland! It does not give me enough of exercise either.

Both mid-drive e-bikes I own technically require no pause on shifting (no shift detection either on the Vado or the Trance E+). I pause pedalling out of sanity myself, to protect my drive-train against quick damage. But I also pause pedalling on shifting with the hub-drive e-bike: That's just a good practice on any derailleur bike, even a traditional one.

Both bikes have 250 W nominal motors of high peak power and torque. The motor works together with the rider over the drive-train. No issues to climb even very steep hills. These e-bikes can be ridden slowly if necessary. The assistance levels can be perfectly tuned to allow slow ride with a lot of good workout and with impressive battery range; or you can use full power and ride very fast with these e-bikes. The ride feeling is very natural. While the hub motor works as if I were riding with a constant downwind (the motor is "pushing" me), the mid-drives give me an impression I'm a cycling Superman. And the mid-drives don't need a monster, heavy battery.

When it comes to off-road cycling, I see no alternative to a mid-drive motor. The assistance has to adjust to extremely variable ride conditions at any second and only a mid-drive can do it.

Stick with it... once you get used to the natural feel and balance of a mid-drive you will never go back.
I have to agree with that.
 

Captain Slow

Well-Known Member
I have a Juiced CCS and a Specialized Creo.

I don't think there's a shift sensor on my Creo and when I ride it and I'm shifting I honestly don't notice that it's any different than my carbon road bike that doesn't have a motor. The biggest difference I notice is that one is SRAM and double tap while the other is Shimano.

Maybe it's because the motor in the Creo is fairly low power so no shift detection to protect the drivetrain.

For me the biggest difference between the two bikes is that generally when I ride the Creo I use about 1-2 wh/km. With the CCS I use about 5-7 wh/km. So despite the Creo battery being just over half the size of the CCS battery, my range is much further. Range anxiety on the CCS is real anytime a ride is more than 80 km's - I have never had range anxiety with the Creo, even on a 122 km ride.
 

Captain Slow

Well-Known Member
Ok, I just saw your other thread and see you bought the Ultra Eagle. I looked it up and it has 160 nm of torque compared to the 35 nm my Creo has. I think that says it all. With that much torque a shift sensor and an interruption in power is necessary to protect the drivetrain. But with my measly 35 nm (I'm always in the lowest power mode so I'm likely using even less than that) it's not necessary.

I guess I'd say it's not necessarily mid-drive, but a powerful mid-drive that's the issue.

If it were me I think I'd learn to live with it and adapt, but if you don't want to I think that's your prerogative. You paid a lot of money for that bike, if you're not happy with it hopefully you can return it. If not, hopefully you can sell it without losing too much money.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
I test rode a dozen or more hub and mid drive bikes before buying. I did not notice the OP's complaints on the mid drive bikes I tested. I did not test a Juiced bike however. IMO, stick with it. Hub and mid drives are very different beasts each having their individual strengths & weaknesses. With time and practice, you'll get the hang of it.

I agree with Stefan's comparative observations above. Hub drives are indeed difficult to ride slowly. I ride a hub drive mainly because I want a throttle. There aren't many mid drives so equipped. To ride slowly, I set the throttle to whatever speed I want and apply a comfortable amount pedal effort. This works from speeds of 2 mph all the way up to the 20 mph max. When using this trick, you are assisting the bike rather than it assisting you. This is also handy when trying to match speeds with other riders.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Lumping all hub drives into one pile is a huge mistake if there is any attempt at providing any kind of accuracy when describing available performance. Stefan, who seems to pride himself regarding his opinions, should know this.

Let's bring a 750w - 1000w+ GEAR DRIVEN hub drive into this conversation, and then talk about low speed/city driving performance. I'm here to tell you that if you accelerate with a high powered gear driven rear hub like this, using full throttle from a stop, you had better have both hands on the handlebars. It's the only way to stay on it! That same acceleration is available well up into the high teens before leveling off to tops speeds in the mid 20's. These are NOT in the same class of performance available with the comparably gutless direct drives. Point being, when talking hub drives, you need to make the distinction regarding direct drive rear hubs, and gear driven. They are night and day when it comes to performance.

All that said, I'm wanting to try a "fatty" and have a Bafang Ultra equipped bike on order. I was going to buy a new bike with the big tires and decided to try a mid drive while I was at it. Have been researching them for weeks, and finally pulled the trigger on a Rize RX Pro.

I'm a DIY "tinkerer" by nature, so the idea of a tuneable user interface is appealing to me. The Bafang mid drives provide all of the adjustment a guy like me can make himself crazy with. There are tons of articles available to guide the beginning "tuner". So there's that.

I have read about the "shift sensors", and the comments regarding shifting gears while climbing hills. It would seem there's a lot of agreement, nearly universal, that there's an issue with them in the climbing a hill scenario. The issue makes good sense. The new bike I'm getting is equipped with one and I plan on using it long enough to see what the fuss is about. If I find it's a pain, we'll set out to see what's involved in removing/disabling it. I'm betting there's not going to be much to doing that. That'll be the end of that problem! -Al
 

330rcs

Active Member
Appreciate all the feedback and confirming that I will get used to it so I am going to stick with it for now. I went ahead and emailed the manufacturer anyway to see what they say about returns. I will try to ride as much as possible and hopefully I can get used to it before the return period expires (if it hasn't already).
 

330rcs

Active Member
So one thing that's a little concerning to me is are these pauses between gear changes an issue when you're in traffic? I don't really feel as comfortable taking off from a stop light with these pauses as I do with the rear hub. I haven't taken it into traffic yet just trying to get used to it right now.
 

antboy

Well-Known Member
Doesn't the Biktrix Eagle have throttle, which would alleviate accidentally forgetting to gear on hills/red lights?

I found the rear hub with throttle really lets one get away with shifting a lot less with the power on demand, and for someone who has always ridden pedal bikes, I "misplaced" my shifting instincts for a year or more. :)

When I switched my main ride from a rear-hub to a Shimano mid-drive my shifting instincts returned fairly quickly. "Oh yeah, I have to shift down at red lights again". :)

Other than that, I'm pretty much aligned with @Stefan Mikes here. I still occasionally ride the rear-hub on shorter rides/running errands as it's a fat tire, and has a low centre of gravity when loaded up with groceries (throttle helps in stop-and-go when carrying 40lbs + of groceries).
 

330rcs

Active Member
Doesn't the Biktrix Eagle have throttle, which would alleviate accidentally forgetting to gear on hills/red lights?

I found the rear hub with throttle really lets one get away with shifting a lot less with the power on demand, and for someone who has always ridden pedal bikes, I "misplaced" my shifting instincts for a year or more. :)

When I switched my main ride from a rear-hub to a Shimano mid-drive my shifting instincts returned fairly quickly. "Oh yeah, I have to shift down at red lights again". :)

Other than that, I'm pretty much aligned with @Stefan Mikes here. I still occasionally ride the rear-hub on shorter rides/running errands as it's a fat tire, and has a low centre of gravity when loaded up with groceries (throttle helps in stop-and-go when carrying 40lbs + of groceries).

Yeah it has throttle but there's slight delay to get up to speed compared to hard pedaling and shifting on the rear hub from take off, for me anyway. I mostly use the throttle as an additional boost and rely on gears and assist for the most part. If I have to rely that much on the throttle I'll feel like I have a motorcycle more than an ebike. I was also planning on doing the same using my rear hub as more of a commuter and running errands and the mid drive as more of a joy ride.

Also what happened to me the other day when I was entering an off road trail and there is a steep hill right as you enter and as soon as I hit the steep part of the hill I tried to gear down and I hit the throttle at the same time and my entire power shut off on me midway on the hill. Maybe it was a safety feature or glitch not sure.
 
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Taylor57

Well-Known Member
I look forward to driving a mid drive ebike at some point so I can feel the difference for myself. I can say in my first 2 hub drive ebikes, I have enjoyed the throttle for getting going from a dead stop...
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Yeah it has throttle but there's slight delay to get up to speed compared to hard pedaling and shifting on the rear hub from take off, for me anyway. I mostly use the throttle as an additional boost and rely on gears and assist for the most part. I was also planning on doing the same using my rear hub as more of a commuter and running errands and the mid drive as more of a joy ride.

Also what happened to me the other day when I was entering an off road trail and there is a steep hill right as you enter and as soon as I hit the steep part of the hill I tried to gear down and I hit the throttle at the same time and my entire power shut off on me midway on the hill. Maybe it was a safety feature or glitch not sure.

If your battery charge level was on the low side, you may have experienced a big voltage sag with the big demand for power. That "sag" may have triggered the low voltage cut off (LVC) which would shut the whole thing down as you describe. So key here, is the charge level this happened at. If on the low side, it was working as designed. If the charge was fresh (and fully balanced), it's likely something else altogether. Would take some troubleshooting to figure out.
 

330rcs

Active Member
If your battery charge level was on the low side, you may have experienced a big voltage sag with the big demand for power. That "sag" may have triggered the low voltage cut off (LVC) which would shut the whole thing down as you describe. So key here, is the charge level this happened at. If on the low side, it was working as designed. If the charge was fresh (and fully balanced), it's likely something else altogether. Would take some troubleshooting to figure out.

I was around 90%. I just got the bike recently, yesterday was the first time I came down to 54% when I got back.
 

330rcs

Active Member
How sl
I can give you a honest answer. I'm the person who switched from a hub-drive motor e-bike to as many as two mid-drive ones. "Switched" is a wrong word because I still ride my hub-drive e-bike, depending on my needs.

The whole idea behind the hub-drive motor is it gives constant assistance at given PAS level. Meaning, when I am on a long trip on suburban or country roads (I mean paved roads, not dirt ones), I'm getting at speed of some 19-20 mph and can pedal the bike at that speed for hours. That e-bike gives me impressive average speed on long tours.

However, city or off-road cycling is not a good application for that e-bike. Since we ride low-powered motors here in Europe, the bike accelerates rather poorly from a standstill. Blows of headwind cause uneven hub-motor performance. And that bike is a very poor climber. Of course, a North American 750 W motor (with a throttle) would be better in all these respects.

What makes the hub-drive motor e-bike really poor is it cannot really ride slowly (and there are many situation you need to ride slowly, for example on group rides with traditional cyclists), and at least that e-bike does not allow tuning the motor (in the sense of adjusting the assistance levels to the rider's needs). My 250 W e-bike is simply too fast in the flatland! It does not give me enough of exercise either.

Both mid-drive e-bikes I own technically require no pause on shifting (no shift detection either on the Vado or the Trance E+). I pause pedalling out of sanity myself, to protect my drive-train against quick damage. But I also pause pedalling on shifting with the hub-drive e-bike: That's just a good practice on any derailleur bike, even a traditional one.

Both bikes have 250 W nominal motors of high peak power and torque. The motor works together with the rider over the drive-train. No issues to climb even very steep hills. These e-bikes can be ridden slowly if necessary. The assistance levels can be perfectly tuned to allow slow ride with a lot of good workout and with impressive battery range; or you can use full power and ride very fast with these e-bikes. The ride feeling is very natural. While the hub motor works as if I were riding with a constant downwind (the motor is "pushing" me), the mid-drives give me an impression I'm a cycling Superman. And the mid-drives don't need a monster, heavy battery.

When it comes to off-road cycling, I see no alternative to a mid-drive motor. The assistance has to adjust to extremely variable ride conditions at any second and only a mid-drive can do it.


I have to agree with that.

How slow are we talking about? I have had my rear hub drive for 1.5 yr as my only form of transportation and in Colorado I go off road into the trails where I need to be slow and I also have a pet trailer that I take my puppy around on. If I want to go slow I just turn down the assist. I have never said to myself "I wish I could go slower on this bike".
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
I look forward to driving a mid drive ebike at some point so I can feel the difference for myself. I can say in my first 2 hub drive ebikes, I have enjoyed the throttle for getting going from a dead stop...
Make sure to try something besides the high powered Bafang mid drive. I'm crazy about the feel of the Bosch. It's exactly what I want with feel and performance. Especially nice on a mtb on single trails. Get the front tire on roots or rocks, going up a technical switchback, and it instantly responds with the torque sensor and you climb right on around.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
How sl


How slow are we talking about? I have had my rear hub drive for 1.5 yr as my only form of transportation and in Colorado I go off road into the trails where I need to be slow and I also have a pet trailer that I take my puppy around on. If I want to go slow I just turn down the assist. I have never said to myself "I wish I could go slower on this bike".

With the hub drives I tested, including the one I own, PAS 1 quickly accelerates to around 5 mph with very little pedaling effort applied. This makes it difficult to ride any slower. As the battery discharges, this effect is less noticeable. After the battery is 60% depleted, there is very little assist provided at all using PAS 1. Riding slower than 5 mph is actually easier if you use a lower gear and do most of the work yourself.

I'm sure this isn't the case with every bike but it was noticeable to me on the ones I tested. Some motor controllers do a better job of compensating for voltage drop than others. This wouldn't be a problem with proper voltage control.
 

linklemming

Well-Known Member
Make sure to try something besides the high powered Bafang mid drive. I'm crazy about the feel of the Bosch. It's exactly what I want with feel and performance. Especially nice on a mtb on single trails. Get the front tire on roots or rocks, going up a technical switchback, and it instantly responds with the torque sensor and you climb right on around.

Both my brose bikes are also pretty much flawless for the situations described in the original post. No cutouts at all and the power feels like its an extension of my legs. I do have to back off while shifting but its something I have been doing since I started MTBing back in the early 90s.

I also have a Juiced CCX hub drive bike.

Does the Bafang Ultra have shift detection?, If not, is there a delay when you get off the power for a shift and then get back on the power? My CCX does this and I hate it
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
The beauty of the Ultra is that if it is being done by the motor programming, and not an external shift sensing switch, that can likely be tuned (out) as well. I don't know which yet.
 

antboy

Well-Known Member
I can't say much about the Ultra since I haven't ridden one, but when I was considering a Watt Wagon, the blog had some interesting things to say about the 3rd party Archon X1 controller...


Might be worth looking at. I'm not sure if swapping out the controller (especially when under warranty) is a great idea, but hey, this is just for informational purposes. :)