Dengfu E06

Jon A

Member
Region
USA
There seems to be a fair amount of interest in these lately (even saw one on the EMBN Youtube channel the other day!), so I figured I'd offer my experience for those who may be interested. For this bike I didn't build from the frame up for various reasons, mainly I wanted a functioning bike a bit quicker and wasn't sure I'd be able to get all the parts I wanted when I wanted, etc, so I ordered a complete bike. The fork and wheels I want to run still aren't here yet, but for now I have a functioning bike I can ride and upgrade when the parts come in.

I ordered through Dengfu's store on Aliexpress. I ordered the "Economy" build, but with parts shortages industry-wide and substitutions being made, I can't guarantee these are the exact parts that will come on another bike, just what came on mine. Initial order was on April 7th, it shipped May 18th--I asked for a custom color which may have slowed that down a bit--and showed up July 20th. I got no useful tracking information the whole time in transit, when the shipping company called to schedule delivery, that was the first thing I heard.

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Seemed to be well packed.

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The display it came with was the DPC18, which is much nicer than the G961 shown in pics on Dengu's site:


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It's a bit big for my tastes and so enticing to look at it's a wonder I didn't get run over by a bus on my first ride as I couldn't stop staring at it!

Most happily for me, despite the internet saying all Bafang Ultra's would be Canbus starting in 2021, mine is UART which means I can program the motor with free software and the Eggrider will work (which lets me program the motor with my phone, will log and graph data of rides, etc). I don't know when/if they'll start coming with Canbus, so that's something to think about when ordering any new bike with the Ultra motor.

Here's what it looked like out of the box, 100% stock:

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And that's right, even though the Economy build wasn't supposed to, it came with a dropper! It works fine, but for me the 18" frame is on the big side and one of the flaws if the Zoom dropper is it has an obnoxiously long insertion length for a mere 100mm dropper--in the pic above it's lowered as far as it will go. Here it is compared with a Loam 150mm I thankfully had on a shelf:

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So on the 18" frame, the 150mm PNW Loam dropper stuffs down almost completely:

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The bike's a lot easier to handle when my feet can touch the ground at a stop! I was pretty happy it came with the dropper mainly since I didn't have to route the cable when I added one--I wasn't looking forward to that.

So far, I've installed the Eggrider and re-arranged things a bit to clean up the cockpit:

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Also swapped on a PNW bar and stem, though the stock stuff wasn't bad. I was happy it came with a pretty short stem instead of the long ones shown on Dengfu's site. I also threw on some big Maxxis FBF/FBR 4.8's I had laying around:

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Another pleasant surprise--I was told due to a cell shortage my battery would only be 12.8 Ah...but it looks like I got the full 14:

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So I got a lot of pleasant surprises: Nicer display, UART, 14 Ah batt, dropper, decent/usable bar and stem, taller axle to crown than I was expecting so it can handle a decent length fork.... I would say the biggest disappointment was the fork itself--I expected it'd be cheap on an "economy build," but one of those inverted things? I hate those! Definitely a thow-away item. Hopefully my Mastodon gets here soon!

Other things: It came with Sram Level brakes with 180 rotors which are OK. I'll upgrade eventually I'm sure, but for now I'll throw some 200mm rotors on there and call it good. The wheels are heavy and cheap, but they work. I'll keep them as spares when my carbon 27.5's show up.

The S-ride 9S 11-50T seems to be working OK now, it did need some adjustment. It's not high end but I think with enough adjustment it would be functional enough. I don't know if this derailleur actually has a clutch, but it does keep the chain really tight and the chainring is a narrow-wide (40T) so users shouldn't have much of a problem with the chain coming off. While it's cheap, I'm sort of intrigued with a wide range 9S for E use. If this was my only fatbike I'd consider upgrading to one of the Box 9 speed setups when the stock stuff wears out. But, since I already have a manual fatbike with 12S Sram and I want to be able to swap wheels I'll be throwing that on this bike soon, even if 12 gears aren't really needed on an Ebike.

A couple other notes for the curious:

It didn't come with brake sensors or a shift sensor. I'm glad it didn't come with the brake sensors as I don't think they're really needed on a torque-sensing bike. I'm still up in the air about the shift sensor--with the stock motor programming, shifting had to be done quite delicately. With the programming changes I've made so far, that is dramatically improved to the point you can pretty much shift it like a regular bike by just lightening the pressure on the pedals when you shift. But I think I'll install one when I put the 12 speed on just to see how I like it.

For those looking to add a rear rack, the axle size is:

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The Old Man Mountain Rear Fit Kit 808 is listed to work for axles with 223 to 229 mm length, but I talked to the guys at Robert Axle Project and they assured me it would work. If I don't think I'm getting proper clamping force on the axle I should be able to add a washer or two and make it work. I'll let you all know how that goes....

As far as riding impressions, I obviously don't have much time on it and haven't taken it offroad yet, but it is a blast (even with the crappy fork). With the stock programming, the lower assist levels are very powerful, but you can still get a workout if you like on the lowest one. The higher assist levels are insane--for when you want to get somewhere fast or have really steep hills to climb. In just a day or two of programming I've pretty radically transformed the feel of the motor for the better making it much smoother and progressive with less need to change assist levels--thank you UART!

I've got quite a few plans for the bike, it'll be used for everything from "fun mountainbike-type rides" to "transportation device" around the ranch to "beast of burden" during hunting season.... I can document the mods and experiences here as they come if people are interested.
 

Jon A

Member
Region
USA
Thanks guys. A few upgrades done, here's how she looks now:

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The big one, the Mastodon Pro. I ended up ordering a 100mm STD version since I actually found one in stock. I've set it up to 130mm EXT configuration. My quick measurements suggested the stock fork had 551 axle to crown (a spec missing from all of Dengfu's info). I figured I'd set it up to 561 as 10mm shouldn't be enough of a change to matter much. After getting stock fork off and measuring more closely, it seemed to be closer to 560 than 550, so 561 really isn't changing the geometry any noticeable amount.

I decided to use EXT config (three bottom out spacers on each side) since I might get a wild hair to try 27.5X4.5's at some point. Also, it's much easier to run a decent fender on a Mastodon when in EXT config--when in STD config the arch travels above the crown when it's bottomed which can guillotine your fender. In any case, 561mm axle to crown (one top out spacer on the air side) lets you have 130-150mm travel with this fork depending upon how much tire/fender clearance you want.

The bike came with a 10mm extended lower bearing cup:

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It's a good thing too, as it looks like it was needed:

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It just barely touches. I'd actually like a bit more clearance, but hopefully this is enough to prevent any serious damage in a crash.

Next was the drivetrain. A Christini 104mm adapter (fatbike version) and a 36T chainring:

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Chainline is within a mm or two of stock and about perfect putting the chain right in the middle of the cassette. Speaking of cassette, Sram 12 speed upgrade:

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Complete with the blingy gold chain! It was the only one I could find back when I ordered.... I found 126 links was about perfect as-is for the 36T chainring. Besides the better shifting, the best thing about this is being able to downshift multiple gears at once. I'm so used to doing that on my other bikes when rolling to a stop or approaching a steep incline, it was driving me nuts not to be able to do it.

Did a little wire management:

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I still consider that temporary, some of the cable housings/brake lines are longer than they need to be, I'll get around to fixing that eventually but for now it's good enough.

Also added 200mm rotors and new pads. The brakes feel quite good after that, perfectly adequate for now.

Weight! I'm sure some are curious about this... Naturally, this beast maxed out my Park Tool scale so I didn't get a weight when it was completely stock. Here's the first weight I got (after buying a damn crane scale!):

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I did try to weigh and keep track of the weight of the parts as I was swapping; I believe I had removed about 1.5 lbs when that pic was taken. So I'd put the weight of the factory bike at 69.5 lbs. Here's where it is at now:

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So, I've removed about 4 lbs so far. Big hitters were tubes--still running them, but 2 Maxxis tubes were nearly a pound lighter than the Innova tubes it came with. The Mastodon was about 1.4 lbs lighter than the stock fork. The Christini adapter and 36T chainring was 13 oz lighter than the stock combo. The rest is an oz here and there--display, different seat, etc. When the carbon wheels get here, with lighter tires run tubeless, with a GX cassette instead of the NX on these, it should drop a few more getting closer to 60 lbs.

Don't worry, I'm not going weight-weenie on this thing. I think anybody wanting to do that probably shouldn't choose an Ultra equipped bike. That said, one of the reasons I chose this bike was to have a more "reasonable" weight. Most of the Ultra bikes sold seem to all be 80 lbs+. The Hydra with a similar build should be close, but the bigger battery will put it a little higher.

It's getting better...the Mastodon hugely improves ride quality and I feel so much safer at 30 MPH+. The cheap upgrade to the brakes make them feel pretty darn good, I'm always amazed at how fatbikes can brake--so much traction! The Sram setup is nice as well, though 12 gears is more than needed, the system works well. After some tuning on the motor I'm getting surprisingly good range/economy even in the higher assist levels, even with those ridiculous (for pavement) tires. I'll need some time offroad on some serious hills before I get too excited about that though.

So far, I'm pretty darn happy.
 

Jon A

Member
Region
USA
Forgot to mention one thing: The Lekkie Buzz Bars are a no-go, even the "offset" version. I thought they would fit, they looked like they would fit, but after torquing one down completely I found it rubbed the chainstay. Not enough offset.
 

TForan

Well-Known Member
Beautiful bike ! Do you ride predominately off road ? If not, a set of street tires would be sweet.
 

Jon A

Member
Region
USA
Do you ride predominately off road ?
I will be, just haven't yet. I should have mentioned that--for people doing a lot of road use, I would NOT suggest the 36T chainring. With the 11T highest gear cassette, I can still pedal to beyond 30 MPH (which I figure is about enough for offroad, even gravel) but I'm really spinning the cranks! Here's Garmin tracking of a ride I took a couple of days ago:

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With the GX Cassette's 10T top gear, I'll gain back to the equivalent top gear of the 11T/40T so I'll be fine. But I would imagine spending a huge amount of time in the 10T if commuting or something is going to wear it pretty fast. For road/commuting use one may actually want to go up to a 42T or 44T--I should have checked the clearance of the stock one before I took it off. There's about 1.25" of clearance now between the 36T and chainstay and I don't remember the 40T being close, so I'd guess there's enough room to go up from 40T a bit, but probably not to the 50T+ ones some use on their road Ebikes.

For comparison, here's the fastest run I made with the 40T (had to try one in max assist mode!):

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All of those were with the Maxxis 4.8's which are quite a bit taller than 26X4.0's. I think most street tires people might try will be shorter as well.
 

ElevenAD

Well-Known Member
I will be, just haven't yet. I should have mentioned that--for people doing a lot of road use, I would NOT suggest the 36T chainring. With the 11T highest gear cassette, I can still pedal to beyond 30 MPH (which I figure is about enough for offroad, even gravel) but I'm really spinning the cranks! Here's Garmin tracking of a ride I took a couple of days ago:

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With the GX Cassette's 10T top gear, I'll gain back to the equivalent top gear of the 11T/40T so I'll be fine. But I would imagine spending a huge amount of time in the 10T if commuting or something is going to wear it pretty fast. For road/commuting use one may actually want to go up to a 42T or 44T--I should have checked the clearance of the stock one before I took it off. There's about 1.25" of clearance now between the 36T and chainstay and I don't remember the 40T being close, so I'd guess there's enough room to go up from 40T a bit, but probably not to the 50T+ ones some use on their road Ebikes.

For comparison, here's the fastest run I made with the 40T (had to try one in max assist mode!):

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All of those were with the Maxxis 4.8's which are quite a bit taller than 26X4.0's. I think most street tires people might try will be shorter as well.
Wow that bike hauls ass! .....and so does the rider!
 

Daxxie555

Member
Region
Europe
Hi Jon, great bike.

I run 27.5 x 4
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and 27.5 x 4.5 on mine.
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I didn't find an extended lower bearing cup so got a blocklock headset instead to prevent the fork from hitting the frame.
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Chainring is a 46T

Here is a partslist.
partslist.jpg
 

Boostin22

New Member
Region
Canada
Thanks for the post and all the information Jon. I have a Dengfu E06 frame on order and will be building it up over the fall to be ready for some winter riding!
 

TomD

Well-Known Member
I thought X1 was 2300W nominal, 3000W max.
They sell a labs edition for those that want ludicrous power.


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Jon A

Member
Region
USA
Hi Jon, great bike.

I run 27.5 x 4
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and 27.5 x 4.5 on mine.
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Beautiful bikes!

I didn't find an extended lower bearing cup so got a blocklock headset instead to prevent the fork from hitting the frame.
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That probably is a better solution. I was looking for those when ordering stuff but couldn't find any in stock. What size lower headset does this frame use?
 

Jon A

Member
Region
USA
Time for some long overdue updates. I'll try to keep these in order.
I'm still up in the air about the shift sensor--with the stock motor programming, shifting had to be done quite delicately. With the programming changes I've made so far, that is dramatically improved to the point you can pretty much shift it like a regular bike by just lightening the pressure on the pedals when you shift. But I think I'll install one when I put the 12 speed on just to see how I like it.
I went ahead and added one:
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While it's intended to mount closer to the motor, with the nice internal cabling there isn't much space in front of the derailleur and since I'll be complicating things with a rack I decided to mount it up on the bars. I had to extend the wiring which was more of a PITA than I planned, but I got it on there and it works as intended.

The verdict? I love it. I know some don't so it's a personal choice, but I love it. Even after programming I was still not getting the motor to back off as quickly/smoothly as my legs when wanting to downshift. I take great pride in my ability to downshift gears smoothly on my manual bikes, even when going uphill, and that was just not possible to consistently do smoothly, even when doing it right. The sensor pretty much ensures if you're doing things right you'll be fine. The cut to motor power is super brief, but as long as you're pedaling with a decent cadence it's enough and it's perfectly timed. I wouldn't expect it to save you if you're doing things wrong...if you find yourself in much too high a gear on a hill and you're standing on the pedals...then no, don't expect it to allow you to downshift as you wouldn't on even want to try on a manual bike.
 

Jon A

Member
Region
USA
I put quite a few miles on it in its intended habitat:

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The bike exceeded all expectations. This thing covers rough ground FAST! I'm so glad I didn't opt for a hardtail--ground that feels really rough on a full suspension manual bike, becomes really, really rough when you're blasting over it at twice the speed! Oh, that reminds me, I forgot to mention another mod made before this trip:

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I had told myself I wasn't going to spend big money on shock for this bike (most were out of stock anyway), but found the stock a bit harsher than I expected. So I threw a Debonair can on it and all is well--it's very plush now, a big improvement and quite cheap. Anyway, it worked great as did the Mastodon as expected.

The motor was a monster. I have it tuned similar to the "Frey Smooth" tune and did 90%+ of my riding in PAS 3 out of 5--there's certainly no need for 9 levels with that tuning. Very controllable over slow, technical stuff and yet plenty of power for pretty steep hills. I was averaging between 20 and 25 watt hours per mile for most of these rides, which puts the useable range at about 30 miles for this type of use. Most of these were hard rides and I was pedaling hard (read going like a maniac!), I'd expect better than that under more casual use. It was only the crazy-steep slopes where I felt better upping it to 4 or 5.

And by crazy-steep, I mean CRAZY STEEP! slopes. These are slopes that would be un-rideable on a manual bike. I was amazed at how this thing could climb. Slopes where I'd be flipping over backward and/or spinning out on my manual bikes I was able to charge right up.

There are several reasons for this--obviously it has more weight on the front with the motor and battery biased toward the front, this helps keep the front tire on the ground. Second, this frame as a nice, long chainstay which helps a bunch. And finally, with enough motor power, since I didn't need to be in optimum pedaling position, I was able to lower my seat and crouch forward, significantly lower the CG of the bike in a way you just can't on a manual bike.

That all adds up to the ability to climb slopes that just can't be climbed on a manual bike--not even close. This means I can go places on this bike no bike has ever gone before....

I found the throttle a lot more useful than I thought it would be. Heck, I thought I might take it off when the bike came...not now! It turns out many "trails" I had walked and ridden horseback my entire life have sections that just can't be pedaled. Be it sagebrush grabbing your feet, really deep ruts or really steep sidehills...there are many occasions where you simply can't pedal. The throttle is a great tool to get you through those sections. With stock programming it's quite jumpy though. I found putting it in current mode and power to go with your PAS made it much more usable.

The big FBF/FBR actually did better than expected. This is the most time I've spent on 4.8's in summer conditions and I have to say they did OK. Certainly not "sporty" handling, but they weren't quite as slow and clumsy as I had feared. And they had tons of traction obviously, even through some muddy water crossings. While not my first choice, I have to say they'll get the job done, especially for "transportation device" type of use. If not the best for any one thing, they're certainly capable general use tires.

So all in all, the bike worked very well for the terrain I got it for. It's an extremely capable and very fun tool to have on the ranch.