Dengfu E06

john peck

Well-Known Member
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.
Bottom line, how much?
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
The bike was a bit over $3K, but taxes/customs fees, etc + shipping added a bit over $900 so the bike as delivered was right at $4K.


If you say you want a custom color they can send a paint chart so you can pick the color you like.
Not bad, considering, but I´m a bit over the hill for a technical MTB. What I have serves well my needs.
 

Jon A

Member
Region
USA
The next big upgrade...wheels and tires!

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27.5x80mm Carbon wheels with 27.5X4" Vanhelgas.

I've been a big cheerleader for this tire size ever since I first tried it, but even I was shocked, and I mean shocked at the difference it made. I guess I had put enough miles on the 26x4.8's that I really got used to them on this bike. And granted, I was going from one extreme to the other--the 4.8's with tubes on very heavy wheels, these tubeless on very light wheels--so one would expect it to make a significant difference.

But even I was shocked at the difference it made. It feels like a completely different bike. It feels like a "mountain bike" now, very light on its feet, quick, easy handling. The ride over bumps/small jumps is much better, it feels much faster.... This change was a bigger improvement to the overall feel of the bike than the fork upgrade was. Now the fork upgrade was pretty huge, but mainly noticeable over rough ground and higher speeds. This change is in effect in a big way all the time--even on smooth pavement.

The weight savings was substantial:

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That also includes the weight difference of a GX cassette instead of an NX cassette, so the wheel/tire change alone is around 6 lbs. It may not sound like much, but with that weight all being unsprung and rotating mass, it has an outsized impact--it really makes the bike feel about 20 lbs lighter. The weight change + the tire size change is simply transformative. Given the 65 lbs I weighed the bike at before, you can see it is possible to get one of these bikes below 60 lbs.

For all those who think they don't like how Fatbikes feel/handle, etc, if you haven't tried one with this tire size on a light set of wheels, you don't know what you don't know. A huge step away from "fatbike handling," putting it much closer to "Plus bike" handling but with most of the "fatbike capabilities" intact--snow, sand, deep loose dirt, smooth ride dramatically reducing vibrations/"trail chatter," etc.

I originally wasn't going to do this right away as I think I spent around $1400 for the Nexties for my other fat bike...until I found these:


Cheap carbon 26" fatbike wheels have been around for a while from lots of brands including Ican, etc. But this is the first time I had seen "cheap" carbon wheels available in 27.5." I figured for $600 I was willing to take a chance on them. I can't recommend them 100% because I felt the packaging wasn't as good as it should have been, but other than that I have to say I'm pretty happy with what I got for the money.

They're double wall and rated for a rider weight of 330 lbs, so they should be quite durable. Obviously they come with Novatec hubs which I wouldn't expect to last forever under ebike use, so I'm already budgeting for an Onyx to replace the rear when the time comes, but they're probably better than the hubs that came with my stock wheels. Other than the hubs (I paid extra for Hydras on my Nexties for the other bike), I honestly can't tell any quality difference between these and the Nexties. They spin extremely true, the tire fits very tightly (should lessen the worry of burping out air/sealant at low pressures)....

They set up tubeless extremely easily:

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Overall, to be up and running on carbon 27.5's for that price I have to say is a pretty good value. Obviously I haven't had them long enough to vouch for their durability, so take that FWIW.
 

Jon A

Member
Region
USA
All camoed up!

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I chickened out on painting it...I hate painting things and I'm bad at it. I figured throwing some stickers on was the better choice for me--if I don't like it I can just peel them off! I used two sets (lots of acreage to cover on this bike) of these: https://groundkeepercustom.com/coll...amo-frame-keeper-mmf2k?variant=35537522983071 . Not cheap, but worth it to eliminate the hassle of painting. If I had to do it over again I'd do it differently and do a better job...but it's good enough for the ranch.

Now for a very significant "quality of life with the bike" upgrade.... Kickstand!

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At this point I consider the wisdom of adding a kickstand to a carbon fiber chainstay an open question. Most OEM's don't do it, but some do (Trek Rail):



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There's no doubt it adds some risk, but after weighing the pros vs the risk I gave it a go. With much of the use this bike is going to get--as a "transportation device," utility vehicle, etc, having to lay the bike down every time I need to open/close a gate or get off for any reason was a bit ridiculous. I can handle that on a "fun ride" with a mountain bike, but when my purpose is doing something else that's a different matter. When I'm hauling stuff and the ground is all mucky, that would be no fun at all. And when I'm hunting and laying the bike down means pointing a rifle in a potentially unsafe direction, that would really be no good.

So I figured I'm not going to live with that hassle for the next 5-10 years (or however long this thing lasts) on a daily basis just to avoid a bit of risk of something that probably won't happen. And if I do break it, I break it. I'll get a new rear triangle and drive on.

My goal was to attach the adapter to the chainstay securely and yet as "gently" as possible. I figured the best way to do this was to get as perfect a fit as possible. It wasn't as easy as it looks, as there are complex tapers and radii you don't see at a quick glance. I think I got pretty darn close.

The next thing was a layer of padding and isolation between them. For this I used nylon reinforced adhesive rubber:

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This provides a cushion against any fitment error that would cause a sharp pressure point, it provides isolation against vibration and it also provides tons of friction. The clamp bolts on the top of the adapter are tightened just barely light finger-tight, and yet it's solid as a rock and doesn't move on the chainstay at all. So I think I did it about as well as possible.

I designed it to tuck in pretty well, pointing straight back to minimize the chances of hitting it on stuff:

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For the kickstand itself, I went with this one: https://northwestbicycle.com/produc...ount-e-bike-kickstand-40mm-spacing-blk-ki5007

Having not used a bike with a kickstand extensively in about 30 years, I didn't really know which ones were good or bad.... I wanted something decent quality, offroad-worthy, sturdy enough to handle a heavy ebike, etc. I found this one, gave it a try and I have to say, so far so good. I've noticed none of the downsides I remember from the past--obviously due to its location there's no interference with your feet or pedals, so far have have yet to hear any rattling at all (much less a "spontaneous extension") over rough ground or even small jumps. And I haven't hit or snagged it on anything yet--I'm sure that'll happen eventually, but it's tucked in well enough hopefully that won't happen often.

It's the first bike I've ridden with a kickstand where as soon as I get on the bike I completely forget it's even there. It doesn't affect the ride experience at all, at least so far. And the bike is so much nicer to live with.