Bottom line, how much?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.