Babe (Bad Ass Belt-Drive E-Bike) Review

rope_byrne

New Member
I purchased the BABE online in January and have had a few months of riding on this bike. I've clocked somewhere around 2000 miles so far if that tells you anything about my riding. My typical ride area is in Colorado along the front range and includes some hilly areas as well as plenty of flat ground.

The Good
This bike looks good. I'm new to fat bikes and so I may not have a proper context to judge this particular bike against, but it rides comfortably, looks attractive, and generally gives you a feeling of a solid build. The components, in general, seem like good quality components. The front shock is definitely adequate for soaking up bumps without needing to reduce the tire pressure. It definitely surprised me how much bump can be soaked up by just letting a little air out of the tire.

Riding this bike makes you feel like you're capable of rolling over anything in the way. Riding trails on a traditional mountain bike is not tough, but it definitely requires more attention and skill than does the BABE.

The brakes are definitely adequate and are capable of stopping the heavy bike without any great strain. Similarly, I feel like the belt and motor combination are sized appropriately. I don't want the motor to be doing all of the work and I enjoy being able to provide a decent amount of pedal power while having the option to work quite a bit less if I wish. I ride in assist level 1 or 2 mostly, but I also have a replace IGH on the back (more about that in the bad).

The Bad
This bike comes stock with a terrible internal hub. Specifically, it is a new(ish) Sturmey Archer RX-RK5 5 speed hub. This hub is supposed to be designed for fat tire bikes and supposedly capable of handling the torque that can be delivered to it from a 750 watt mid-drive motor. The reality is that this hub is not able to handle higher levels of torque (search Luna Cycle's forum for other reports from BABE owners complaining about this hub) and it fell apart on me within about 3 months. I bought this bike new, expecting to be able to put some pretty serious miles on it and so even though the hub was clunking, slipping out of gear, shifting randomly, and generally making riding less joyous than it should be, I continued riding because, well, I bought a new bike to ride it not work on it. This hub has some history on endless-sphere that seems to have been missed when Luna chose to go with this option on the BABE and that is rather disappointing. I just replaced the SA hub with a Rohloff speedhub and I'm thrilled to be riding again, but Luna gave me zero support on replacing the (obviously inadequate) hub with something more appropriate and also ignored others when they suggested that the hub was insufficient for the bike. I also have had some minor complaints about noise and the bafang motor, but these are minor niggles. The Gates belt needs to be lubricated (silicon spray or paraffin wax) to keep it from squeaking. Mind you, that I wasn't sure what was squeaking and thought that it was the motor and so I bought a tool to open the case of the motor and replaced all the grease inside with the recommended grease only to have the squeak persist. That was when I discovered that the belt was the issue (sigh).

The other bad about this bike is that the crank arms are too long and can occasionally hit the ground or rocks while turning and pedaling. This is not a huge issue, but kind of annoying.

Lastly, depending upon your desired usage, the lack of any light, fenders, or rack as original equipment and the lack of any readily available options for purchase post delivery is also a bad thing.

My take on my bike at this point is that it failed miserably on delivering trouble free riding, but the sense of freedom and enjoyment that you get from riding it when it is working properly is worth working for (YMMV). Were I given the opportunity to reconsider my original purchase knowing what I know now, I would not buy this bike. Luna Cycle has not demonstrated decent concern for the early purchasers of this bike and knowing that their warranty is 30 days only leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. Do yourself a favor and look at the FLX bikes or check out what other manufacturers have to offer. Honestly, this experience has taught me the value of purchasing a bike from a local shop.
 

Asher

Well-Known Member
Sorry to hear about your experience. Luna is a pioneering brand but also seems pretty callous and quick to discard all responsibility. If you have a problem, it's because you need to be a more hardcore hobbyist, or so their attitude is.
 

rope_byrne

New Member
If anyone would like some photos of this rig, then I'm happy to post a few. It may be useful for anyone looking to fix some of the issues that they have with theirs?
 

yvesalf

New Member
It would be interesting if other owner of fat babe told us if they had a broken IGH or not. Mine is only one month old.
 

bob armani

Well-Known Member
Wow this a bad mark against Luna and their ability to deliver a quality product. I am sure the replacement IGH was not cheap, not to mention installation to replace a sub-par Luna SA-IGH that is not compatible or has a high failure rate. In addition, very disappointing to hear they were not willing to go the extra mile for a "new" purchase and ensure the customer was happy with it. Seems strange why they would not send you (FOC) the replacement wheel indicated above to rectify this matter.Thanks for the heads up! Nice and sharp looking eMTB indeed. Wish it could perform as well as it looks. Hope you have many great future rides. Cheers! ;)
 
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RDunagan

New Member
Yes, me too.

My Fat BABE out of the box

1. Belt WAAAY to tight (later resulted in a broken IGH axle...yes, right in two. Pics to follow. )
2. Front drive sprocket was installed on the wrong side of the crank mounting tangs.
When I address both issues, the damage was done. I continued riding (2 months waiting on parts) avoiding the worst gears 3 & 4, when the axle snapped.
I repaired with a ss pin but found the IGH too complex to reassemble for my patience (after I did a fine job with the axle repair...IMO).

When Luna got replacement IGH stock, they shipped a new wheel/hub to me. Works great but you screw up once or maybe twice with starting in too high a gear 3-5, you hear one clank and your toast. What concerns me most is guest riders.....not a loaner bike by any means. I'd probably buy another like bike with cassette.

Luna offered these options:
1) replace - (I choose because I wanted a belt bike and needed the add'l gears).
2) single speed belt drive
3) replace belt drive with chain, cassette, etc.

I understand that replacement wheels/IGH are out of stock....IMO unlikely to receive additional.


Here are my questions as I think about moving forward with this FAT BABE:
1. Is there a warranty available to purchase? (perhaps for the hub as it is less than 30 days old).
2. Can the original hub be rebuilt as a spare?
3. Are more IGH spares planned to be inventoried by Luna? I
4. Does Luna carry the kit to convert to step geared cassette (drop belt drive).
5. Does Luna carry the kit to convert to single speed, belt drive?

I love this bike. It's BA, get tons of complements, shift SO nice when you are GENTLE to the IGH (let the motor quit assisting before you shift) yet not threatening on non-motorized trails. I'm not sure what the long term plan is. My grand son loves it.
I purchased the BABE online in January and have had a few months of riding on this bike. I've clocked somewhere around 2000 miles so far if that tells you anything about my riding. My typical ride area is in Colorado along the front range and includes some hilly areas as well as plenty of flat ground.

The Good
This bike looks good. I'm new to fat bikes and so I may not have a proper context to judge this particular bike against, but it rides comfortably, looks attractive, and generally gives you a feeling of a solid build. The components, in general, seem like good quality components. The front shock is definitely adequate for soaking up bumps without needing to reduce the tire pressure. It definitely surprised me how much bump can be soaked up by just letting a little air out of the tire.

Riding this bike makes you feel like you're capable of rolling over anything in the way. Riding trails on a traditional mountain bike is not tough, but it definitely requires more attention and skill than does the BABE.

The brakes are definitely adequate and are capable of stopping the heavy bike without any great strain. Similarly, I feel like the belt and motor combination are sized appropriately. I don't want the motor to be doing all of the work and I enjoy being able to provide a decent amount of pedal power while having the option to work quite a bit less if I wish. I ride in assist level 1 or 2 mostly, but I also have a replace IGH on the back (more about that in the bad).

The Bad
This bike comes stock with a terrible internal hub. Specifically, it is a new(ish) Sturmey Archer RX-RK5 5 speed hub. This hub is supposed to be designed for fat tire bikes and supposedly capable of handling the torque that can be delivered to it from a 750 watt mid-drive motor. The reality is that this hub is not able to handle higher levels of torque (search Luna Cycle's forum for other reports from BABE owners complaining about this hub) and it fell apart on me within about 3 months. I bought this bike new, expecting to be able to put some pretty serious miles on it and so even though the hub was clunking, slipping out of gear, shifting randomly, and generally making riding less joyous than it should be, I continued riding because, well, I bought a new bike to ride it not work on it. This hub has some history on endless-sphere that seems to have been missed when Luna chose to go with this option on the BABE and that is rather disappointing. I just replaced the SA hub with a Rohloff speedhub and I'm thrilled to be riding again, but Luna gave me zero support on replacing the (obviously inadequate) hub with something more appropriate and also ignored others when they suggested that the hub was insufficient for the bike. I also have had some minor complaints about noise and the bafang motor, but these are minor niggles. The Gates belt needs to be lubricated (silicon spray or paraffin wax) to keep it from squeaking. Mind you, that I wasn't sure what was squeaking and thought that it was the motor and so I bought a tool to open the case of the motor and replaced all the grease inside with the recommended grease only to have the squeak persist. That was when I discovered that the belt was the issue (sigh).

The other bad about this bike is that the crank arms are too long and can occasionally hit the ground or rocks while turning and pedaling. This is not a huge issue, but kind of annoying.

Lastly, depending upon your desired usage, the lack of any light, fenders, or rack as original equipment and the lack of any readily available options for purchase post delivery is also a bad thing.

My take on my bike at this point is that it failed miserably on delivering trouble free riding, but the sense of freedom and enjoyment that you get from riding it when it is working properly is worth working for (YMMV). Were I given the opportunity to reconsider my original purchase knowing what I know now, I would not buy this bike. Luna Cycle has not demonstrated decent concern for the early purchasers of this bike and knowing that their warranty is 30 days only leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. Do yourself a favor and look at the FLX bikes or check out what other manufacturers have to offer. Honestly, this experience has taught me the value of purchasing a bike from a local sh
I purchased the BABE online in January and have had a few months of riding on this bike. I've clocked somewhere around 2000 miles so far if that tells you anything about my riding. My typical ride area is in Colorado along the front range and includes some hilly areas as well as plenty of flat ground.

The Good
This bike looks good. I'm new to fat bikes and so I may not have a proper context to judge this particular bike against, but it rides comfortably, looks attractive, and generally gives you a feeling of a solid build. The components, in general, seem like good quality components. The front shock is definitely adequate for soaking up bumps without needing to reduce the tire pressure. It definitely surprised me how much bump can be soaked up by just letting a little air out of the tire.

Riding this bike makes you feel like you're capable of rolling over anything in the way. Riding trails on a traditional mountain bike is not tough, but it definitely requires more attention and skill than does the BABE.

The brakes are definitely adequate and are capable of stopping the heavy bike without any great strain. Similarly, I feel like the belt and motor combination are sized appropriately. I don't want the motor to be doing all of the work and I enjoy being able to provide a decent amount of pedal power while having the option to work quite a bit less if I wish. I ride in assist level 1 or 2 mostly, but I also have a replace IGH on the back (more about that in the bad).

The Bad
This bike comes stock with a terrible internal hub. Specifically, it is a new(ish) Sturmey Archer RX-RK5 5 speed hub. This hub is supposed to be designed for fat tire bikes and supposedly capable of handling the torque that can be delivered to it from a 750 watt mid-drive motor. The reality is that this hub is not able to handle higher levels of torque (search Luna Cycle's forum for other reports from BABE owners complaining about this hub) and it fell apart on me within about 3 months. I bought this bike new, expecting to be able to put some pretty serious miles on it and so even though the hub was clunking, slipping out of gear, shifting randomly, and generally making riding less joyous than it should be, I continued riding because, well, I bought a new bike to ride it not work on it. This hub has some history on endless-sphere that seems to have been missed when Luna chose to go with this option on the BABE and that is rather disappointing. I just replaced the SA hub with a Rohloff speedhub and I'm thrilled to be riding again, but Luna gave me zero support on replacing the (obviously inadequate) hub with something more appropriate and also ignored others when they suggested that the hub was insufficient for the bike. I also have had some minor complaints about noise and the bafang motor, but these are minor niggles. The Gates belt needs to be lubricated (silicon spray or paraffin wax) to keep it from squeaking. Mind you, that I wasn't sure what was squeaking and thought that it was the motor and so I bought a tool to open the case of the motor and replaced all the grease inside with the recommended grease only to have the squeak persist. That was when I discovered that the belt was the issue (sigh).

The other bad about this bike is that the crank arms are too long and can occasionally hit the ground or rocks while turning and pedaling. This is not a huge issue, but kind of annoying.

Lastly, depending upon your desired usage, the lack of any light, fenders, or rack as original equipment and the lack of any readily available options for purchase post delivery is also a bad thing.

My take on my bike at this point is that it failed miserably on delivering trouble free riding, but the sense of freedom and enjoyment that you get from riding it when it is working properly is worth working for (YMMV). Were I given the opportunity to reconsider my original purchase knowing what I know now, I would not buy this bike. Luna Cycle has not demonstrated decent concern for the early purchasers of this bike and knowing that their warranty is 30 days only leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. Do yourself a favor and look at the FLX bikes or check out what other manufacturers have to offer. Honestly, this experience has taught me the value of purchasing a bike from a local shop.
Where may I find the Rohloff speedhub that is compatible with the Luna Fat BABE? Thanks, Rick
 

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yvesalf

New Member
Same story here, front sproket monted on the wrong side giving a lot of trouble. Third gears is skipping so i don't use it anymore. Otherwise it s a blast to drive. I hope Luna will find a good solution.
 

RDunagan

New Member
Now the SA 5-speed twist gear selector is shot. Seems cable pulled from its anchor in the twist grip and no apparent way to open/service. Any one tried alternative gear shift selectors for the SA 5-speed IGH? Thanks
 
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reed scott

Well-Known Member
Luna is a shame. Really too bad. Hard to believe a company that could produce the Apollo could fold up to such a ramshackle shell of their former selves so quickly. Covid and their own poor business morality did them in, to my mind. I still long for an Apollo. 😪
 

smorgasbord

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Luna is a shame. Really too bad. Hard to believe a company that could produce the Apollo could fold up to such a ramshackle shell of their former selves so quickly. Covid and their own poor business morality did them in, to my mind. I still long for an Apollo. 😪
We love our Apollos, but if we were buying today I'd be looking hard at Watt Wagons Hydra. My major complaint is they don't offer the SRAM 12 speed drivetrain, at least on the web site. You could buy the frameset and then choose whatever components you want, of course.
 

RDunagan

New Member
After rebuilding two SA IGH 5/sp hubs in less than 500 miles, I've decided to upfit Rohloff's 500/14 IGH.
So I am LOOKING TO BUY a Luna Fat Babe with a trashed SA IGH.
Please text me a 719threethree8537eight if you'd like to sell your FAT BABE with your dead/dying SA IGH.
Thanks,
 
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gavinar

New Member
Region
USA
For those on the thread that have done a Rohloff conversion on the Fat babe, I'm wondering what solution you used for the torque arm?

I was thinking the OEM plate that slides into the dropouts might work, but it could impact the ability to adjust the sliding in the dropouts, so I wasn't sure about it. The speed bone with OEM2 plate doesn't look like its going to work, as the chain stay is too thick for it. I was thinking maybe the monkey bone or fat bone with the OEM2 plate, but I was wondering what the folks who have done this conversion did?

I've got the Rohloff Speedhub XXL on order, and will be building out the wheel with a Mulefut 80 rim. For belt tensioning/centering in the dropouts I got a couple of Surly tuggnuts and ground off a bit off material to fit in the dropout, and that looks like its going to work. I'm just waiting on the Speedhub to build out the wheel and start experimenting, but was hoping someone who has done it might have some tips.
 

gavinar

New Member
Region
USA
Also, can confirm that this IGH is hot garbage for ebike purposes. This isn't even a particularly powerful motor as far as it goes, and it failed within 500 miles of riding after a single instance of starting in 5th gear. It's my dads bike and he wasn't exactly going nuts on the throttle or anything.
Contrasted with my home built belt drive Surly Ogre with a BBSHD and Rohloff, its really no comparison in terms of the reliability of the Rohloff vs the SA 5 speed. I thought the SA 5 speed would be fine given the reputation the SA 3 speed has for reliability under high power, but I guess this one is a dud in comparison.

I am hoping rohloff + surly tug nuts will make for a solid, reliable and trouble free drive train. The main reason I bought my dad this bike was low maintenance of the IGH + belt, but this experience has made it clear not all IGH's are created equal, and at least the SA 5 speed is not fit for this purpose.
 

reed scott

Well-Known Member
For those on the thread that have done a Rohloff conversion on the Fat babe, I'm wondering what solution you used for the torque arm?

I was thinking the OEM plate that slides into the dropouts might work, but it could impact the ability to adjust the sliding in the dropouts, so I wasn't sure about it. The speed bone with OEM2 plate doesn't look like its going to work, as the chain stay is too thick for it. I was thinking maybe the monkey bone or fat bone with the OEM2 plate, but I was wondering what the folks who have done this conversion did?

I've got the Rohloff Speedhub XXL on order, and will be building out the wheel with a Mulefut 80 rim. For belt tensioning/centering in the dropouts I got a couple of Surly tuggnuts and ground off a bit off material to fit in the dropout, and that looks like its going to work. I'm just waiting on the Speedhub to build out the wheel and start experimenting, but was hoping someone who has done it might have some tips.
Don't think you will get any help here. Wish you would. Ya never know however. What goes with Luna anyway? Any insights? I would have given precious energy and maybe parts to get an Apollo.
 

Terry777

Active Member
Interesting stuff!

I own a different bike, have the same IGH with the same problems! The SA 5 speed IGH doesn’t hold up to high power motors.

Hope you find a solution buddy.
 

rope_byrne

New Member
For those on the thread that have done a Rohloff conversion on the Fat babe, I'm wondering what solution you used for the torque arm?

I was thinking the OEM plate that slides into the dropouts might work, but it could impact the ability to adjust the sliding in the dropouts, so I wasn't sure about it. The speed bone with OEM2 plate doesn't look like its going to work, as the chain stay is too thick for it. I was thinking maybe the monkey bone or fat bone with the OEM2 plate, but I was wondering what the folks who have done this conversion did?

I've got the Rohloff Speedhub XXL on order, and will be building out the wheel with a Mulefut 80 rim. For belt tensioning/centering in the dropouts I got a couple of Surly tuggnuts and ground off a bit off material to fit in the dropout, and that looks like its going to work. I'm just waiting on the Speedhub to build out the wheel and start experimenting, but was hoping someone who has done it might have some tips.
Hi there.

I did the rohloff conversion and I went through cycle monkey to get it done. I used the same surly tuggnuts and they work great. The Rohloff Monkey Bone 180mm is what I ended up with for the torque arm. I did get the OEM2 plate and it all has been holding up really nicely for about a year now. I just replaced the M600 motor with a new one because I was continuing to have some issues that turned out to be the motor this time. I bought the CC version speedhub which required me to figure out a solution for the axle and I finally found one that wouldn't break on me. I bought the HED fat bike skewer (actually bought 2 in case one broke) at https://store.hedcycling.com/ and this one has been great.

I'm pretty hard on this thing with distance, mud, snow, water, hills and after the motor swap that I just did last weekend (with the nylon reducing gear) I'm happy. It needed a lot of work and lots of money, but I'm still riding it.
 

Newby

New Member
Region
USA
City
Stevens Point
Yup. I was going to buy a smart charger from them but decided not to after no response via email. Sounds like Luna going down hill. To bad!