Disadvantage of integrated mid drives that I don't see mentioned

EMGX

Active Member
Currently I have a Yamaha PW-SE mid drive gravel bike and a Tongsheng TSDZ2 mid drive on my wife's bike. From what I read mid drives, in general, seem to be reliable and long lasting. But what happens when one breaks down (there are plenty of anecdotes on this forum) ? The motor alone can cost $1000, not including any peripherals or labor for installation, parts might not be available for repair or be too complex for DIY or excessively expensive to have professional repairs done. Down the line motor design can change which can make the bike frame useless if the mounting points or other form factors don't fit. I have regular pedal bikes that are decades old but standard generic parts are still available, it seems unlikely that the same will be true for mid drive frames which are designed for specific proprietary motors as well as batteries. One could pay thousands for a nice mid drive ebike and in not too many years end up with a unusable bike. I like my Yamaha powered gravel bike a lot but most probably wouldn't have bought it (even at the greatly discounted price I paid) if I had been aware of the TS mid drive. I'm just a recreational road/gravel path rider but the TS seems as powerful and refined as the Yamaha, cost less than $650 including peripherals and the battery and can be easily and quickly removed from a bike to return it to it's regular analog state. There are some potential fitment issues on some frames, chainline and chainring considerations etc. but in the long run it, or similar add on kits, could be a better solution than much more expensive bikes with frames made for proprietary motors. Especially for purely recreational road and path riders - which probably covers the majority of ebike riders.
 

vincent

Well-Known Member
Plus I have run many 20 year old cars with 300,000 miles on them that I can still get parts for it and keep running perfectly fine

that is not even in the same ballpark

I think this is a good point and hope all of these motor manufacturers put out repair kits etc. for these motors in the future
 

Dallant

Well-Known Member
I guess think very differently about this. I don’t think of an ebike being an analog bike but with a motor. I still have and intend to keep my analog bikes if I need them. Thus, I don’t think of mid drives as disadvantaged any more than I think of my hybrid as disadvantaged.
Ultimately, I think parts will be available to repair or convert mid drives as needed.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
bosch dissed their generation one buyers. No parts, no batteries, no flange to convert the frames to the newer motors. My $221 geared hubmotor wore out a gear @4500 miles and I replaced it with another brand, another set of connectors, nothing compatible but the dropout width. Took 2 afternoons, would have taken 1 if I didn't have to make a new mount for the new controller. $550 for a better motor that uses 25% less watt hours on the same route. My battery is generic, too, made the mount myself out of aluminum angle. Plus I pedaled the worn out hubmotor out to summer camp 7 miles & home 3 days later 27 miles with no drag. Just the motor didn't pull anymore.
 
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AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Generic is the key. Anything built using generic components will be around as long as people want to take care of it.

Anything proprietary is a gamble....
 

EMGX

Active Member
Unfortunately, or fortunately, I have too many bikes as it is and would have gladly converted one of them instead, like I did for my wife's bike. I tend to hang on to things that work well for me. My 17yo F350 diesel is approaching 250,000 miles, I don't see any good reason to replace it yet.
 

Dallant

Well-Known Member
Unfortunately, or fortunately, I have too many bikes as it is and would have gladly converted one of them instead, like I did for my wife's bike. I tend to hang on to things that work well for me. My 17yo F350 diesel is approaching 250,000 miles, I don't see any good reason to replace it yet.
I get your point and have a 17 yr old Silverado I have no intention of replacing. But I also have a bunch of appliances/vehicles that have a limited repair life and my Allant+7 is possibly one of them. Only reason I bought an ebike was for my health, so in my mind it’s an exercise machine that does a whole lot more for me than my analog bike could at this stage in my life.👍
 

EMGX

Active Member
I get your point and have a 17 yr old Silverado I have no intention of replacing. But I also have a bunch of appliances/vehicles that have a limited repair life and my Allant+7 is possibly one of them. Only reason I bought an ebike was for my health, so in my mind it’s an exercise machine that does a whole lot more for me than my analog bike could at this stage in my life.👍
I agree which is why, while I wouldn't repeat the purchase, I don't have any regrets regarding the purchase given what I knew then. Still if the Yamaha drive goes seriously belly up it would be a shame if I didn't have any use for the frame.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Yamaha PW-SE mid drive gravel bike

If you get one of the latest Yamaha E-bikes from Yamaha, they come with 3yr, unlimited miles warranty on the motor.

People spend $700 or even $1000 every 3 years on phones. How many of us have kept the 2011 iPhone 3Gs or iPhone 4 and just kept upgrading the battery on it?
I am not sure if got that BH Yamaha E-bike from Bicycle Blue Book for $990. If that is so, it is impossible to find a bike of that quality at that price point.

Especially for purely recreational road and path riders
This is a very USA-centric view. Your argument holds true for this type of recreational riders. The majority of the E-bike market in the US is recreational but not so in other parts of the world. They use it as a reliable transportation method.
You will quickly realize the limitations of bolt-on motors when you start riding 5000+ miles/ year. The number of repairs, issues make it a money pit. If you are only doing 1500 or so miles a year, then any E-bike would hold up.
From a purely cost-standpoint, a hub motor would get you from A to B with the least expense.
If everyone looked at bikes and cars from that perspective, there would be no Mercedes, no BMW, no Tesla. Almost all of us would be driving a Civic or a Corolla.

The very nature of electronics makes it harder it keep it backwards compatible for 15 years, unlike automobile parts. How many of us use an iPhone 3Gs or Macbook from 2010 and not wanting to upgrade to the newer model?

I will look forward to your review of the TS after 3 years or after you have put 5000 miles.
 

Dallant

Well-Known Member
If you get one of the latest Yamaha E-bikes from Yamaha, they come with 3yr, unlimited miles warranty on the motor.

People spend $700 or even $1000 every 3 years on phones. How many of us have kept the 2011 iPhone 3Gs or iPhone 4 and just kept upgrading the battery on it?
I am not sure if got that BH Yamaha E-bike from Bicycle Blue Book for $990. If that is so, it is impossible to find a bike of that quality at that price point.


This is a very USA-centric view. Your argument holds true for this type of recreational riders. The majority of the E-bike market in the US is recreational but not so in other parts of the world. They use it as a reliable transportation method.
You will quickly realize the limitations of bolt-on motors when you start riding 5000+ miles/ year. The number of repairs, issues make it a money pit. If you are only doing 1500 or so miles a year, then any E-bike would hold up.
From a purely cost-standpoint, a hub motor would get you from A to B with the least expense.
If everyone looked at bikes and cars from that perspective, there would be no Mercedes, no BMW, no Tesla. Almost all of us would be driving a Civic or a Corolla.

The very nature of electronics makes it harder it keep it backwards compatible for 15 years, unlike automobile parts. How many of us use an iPhone 3Gs or Macbook from 2010 and not wanting to upgrade to the newer model?
Actually, I’m one of those with old MacBooks and an older iPhone. The real problem is you can’t upgrade the Macs or all your old software won’t work. And old iPhones suffer from network updates that make them obsolete and unusable.
 

ebikemom

Well-Known Member
But what happens when one breaks down (there are plenty of anecdotes on this forum) ? The motor alone can cost $1000, not including any peripherals or labor for installation, parts might not be available for repair or be too complex for DIY or excessively expensive to have professional repairs done.
For this reason, my local bike tech doesn't recommend mid-drives, though he said they are quite lucrative for him in terms of repairs, and his customers have a lot of down-time while he waits for parts.

He recommends hub-drives to anyone who asks him, unless they have a specific functional need for a mid-drive.
 

EMGX

Active Member
If you get one of the latest Yamaha E-bikes from Yamaha, they come with 3yr, unlimited miles warranty on the motor.

People spend $700 or even $1000 every 3 years on phones. How many of us have kept the 2011 iPhone 3Gs or iPhone 4 and just kept upgrading the battery on it?
I am not sure if got that BH Yamaha E-bike from Bicycle Blue Book for $990. If that is so, it is impossible to find a bike of that quality at that price point.


This is a very USA-centric view. Your argument holds true for this type of recreational riders. The majority of the E-bike market in the US is recreational but not so in other parts of the world. They use it as a reliable transportation method.
You will quickly realize the limitations of bolt-on motors when you start riding 5000+ miles/ year. The number of repairs, issues make it a money pit. If you are only doing 1500 or so miles a year, then any E-bike would hold up.
From a purely cost-standpoint, a hub motor would get you from A to B with the least expense.
If everyone looked at bikes and cars from that perspective, there would be no Mercedes, no BMW, no Tesla. Almost all of us would be driving a Civic or a Corolla.

The very nature of electronics makes it harder it keep it backwards compatible for 15 years, unlike automobile parts. How many of us use an iPhone 3Gs or Macbook from 2010 and not wanting to upgrade to the newer model?

I will look forward to your review of the TS after 3 years or after you have put 5000 miles.

The TS is on my wife's bike, she'll never get to 5000 miles ever but looking into it prior to buying the TS there seem to be a lot of people who have put serious miles on them without problems. The plastic gear can fail but is cheap and easy to replace as is a sprag clutch from youtube videos I've watched. Most ebike riders are likely to be recreational only riders who don't put that many miles on them. I have maybe 1200 miles on my BH gravel bike in a year including 60+ mile rides and a 3 day 174 mile mini-tour in eastern Oregon as well as frequent riding near home but it would still take me more than 3 years to hit 5000 miles at my present pace (I still do ride other non-assist bikes also).
I found the TS to be as smooth, refined and powerful as the Yamaha at a fraction of the price (hundreds less for the entire kit than a replacement proprietary Yamaha battery alone). I could replace the TS and battery at least 3 times and have money left over before replacing the Yamaha motor (without peripherals) and battery once. It takes less than an hour total to do a TS installation once you are familiar with them.

I did get one of the bicyclebluebook BH gravel bikes. They had what was essentially a "Dutch auction" and I paid $1500 for it which included shipping. At the lowest price I think buyers had to pay ~$250 for shipping and some got the base PW motor instead of the PW-SE with the PW-X display that I got. It is a nice bike.

By the way, I really dislike Apple/Mac operating systems, my worst purchases ever have been an iPhone and a MacBook pro, never again. Also not interested in Mercedes, BMW or Tesla as far as that goes, nice I'm sure but not at all worth it to me. Different choices for different people and uses. I'm just throwing this out there because I would have liked to had this info when I made my BH impulse purchase (still one of the best impulse purchases I have ever made). And also mostly because I have typed most of this thread while on an exercise bike (raining outside), when I ride a real bike the time flies by but on an exercise bike I count the minutes so a distraction is nice.
 

linklemming

Well-Known Member
I have owned a 52V TS mid-drive and even with opensource software it wasnt even being close to comparable to my Brose mid drives. I can go thru all the details if need be,

In addition, after less than 1k bearing slop was so bad, I took it off the bike and its resting peacefully in landfill somewhere.

All the points about factory mid-drives is true. Thats just something you have to deal with
 

EMGX

Active Member
For this reason, my local bike tech doesn't recommend mid-drives, though he said they are quite lucrative for him in terms of repairs, and his customers have a lot of down-time while he waits for parts.

He recommends hub-drives to anyone who asks him, unless they have a specific functional need for a mid-drive.
A hub motor doesn't cut it where I live, on a mountain.
Another problem with proprietary mid drives is if the frame fails you might have a good motor but nothing to put it in. I look at the Tongsheng as DIY for installation and maintenance, I've never needed professional work on any bike that I've had. This isn't the case for everyone though, for sure.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
You won't change my mind. The Bosch powered bikes are just absolutely perfect for my riding style. The control system gives me the same performance from 100% to 2% battery capacity. The natural feel and power is just what I want. You will find plenty of proprietary mid drive haters though, so just keep on preaching for their liking.
 

EMGX

Active Member
I have owned a 52V TS mid-drive and even with opensource software it wasnt even being close to comparable to my Brose mid drives. I can go thru all the details if need be,

In addition, after less than 1k bearing slop was so bad, I took it off the bike and its resting peacefully in landfill somewhere.

All the points about factory mid-drives is true. Thats just something you have to deal with
Brose much be much better than my yamaha drive then because the 36v 500w TS is the Yamaha's equal in my experience.
I'm not that impatient, if the TS on my wife's bike needs work I'd do it.