BionX D-500 for hills?

John L.

Member
Hi, I'm new to the forum and I'm considering building a commuter and all-around errand runner with the BionX D-500 kit. I'd be building the kit onto a Surly Ogre 29er with rear rack for hauling stuff and also with a trailer hitch for a small cargo trailer. I live in a hilly area in Southern California, and my commute home is almost all uphill (gradual at first, steeper as I get closer to home). I'm on roads mostly, not trails. Here's my question: does anyone have any experience with the BionX D-500 as a hill climber? Hauling cargo? I've read that hub motors can overheat on hills, especially at lower speeds, but the D series is supposed to be less prone to that. Does anyone have experience with that? My other alternative would be a mid-drive, like the Haibike Xduro Trekking, but I like the Surly frame and fit better. Advice?
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
as a hill climber? Hauling cargo? I've read that hub motors can overheat on hills, especially at lower speeds

You want a geared hub. Look at the MAC 500/1000. Plenty of torque for hill climbing, 36V 700C 10T will give you about 22-23 MPH, 8T 24-26 MPH. The Bafang mid-drives would also be a good choice.
 

John L.

Member
Good info. I appreciate the advice. I've looked into the Bafang, and there's much I like about it, but my main reservations were (1) that it deprives you of a multiple chainring up front, and thus your lowest gear ranges (unless you get a SRAM dual-drive and I don't know about issues shifting an IGH with the Bafang), and (2) there's currently nobody in my area who sells/services them. I may be willing to take that risk with the BionX, because it's got a 2-year warranty and fewer moving parts in the gearless hub make for fewer maintenance worries (I would think). I'll do some research on the MAC.
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
Yes the shifting is a bit of an issue. I have a 36V 500W BBS02 conversion and to overcome the shifting dilemma I just pull the brake lever to the point where it stops the motor but doesn't engage the brake, shift and then release. Works like a motorcycle clutch. If you're concerned about repairs I'd buy a two built wheels with hub and have one as a spare to swap out if the primary hub needs repair. Each built wheel with an Alexrim is about $325, pretty cheap insurance.