E-Motobecane Finished Product Thoughts after 125 miles

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
OK....I've had plenty of time and hills to get used to the Bafang Mid-Drive. My overall impression, had I built this bike 1st I would not have bought the Neo Carbon. Don't misinterpret, I really like the Carbon, it's polished works as advertised and is a very good bike. But........

  1. the 36V 15AH battery is amazing. I rode a 22 mile loop with my wife on the Cross, I'm on the E-Motobecane. Lots of hills. She rides in Standard setting, I'm in the mid range output of the motor. When we get home she's lost 2 bars on her indicator, I've still got 5, didn't lose any. Ridden the bike 3 times commuting to work (28 miles) same story. Bottom line, I doubt I'd consider a bike with less than 12 AH in the future.
  2. Once I figured out how to set up the controller riding was a piece of cake. Basically the PAS levels limit your top speed proportionally. I initially thought I'd need more then the 3 settings set at the factory, but after increasing the settings to 5 PAS levels I realized that all it did was constrain the range per setting. So...the way to set this controller (IMO) is to first set the top speed. I set the top speed (motor cut-out) at a speed that I'd push, but not my cruise speed. At the highest assist level this is the speed the motor will cut-out at; for me that's PAS 3. At PAS 2 the motor will assist up to about 80% of the top setting, this is my "cruise" setting. By adjusting the top speed you can find the gear and cruise speed that works. Once I figured this out, I found I could ride the bike indefinitely in PAS 2 "cruise". Haven't found the battery limit, in this configuration but I'm pretty confident it's north of 50 miles.
  3. I've read a lot about the crank drive versus hub and the wear and tear on components...??????? OK, here's the simple solution, the left hand brake is adjusted so the braking action begins at the mid-point of the handle pull. The electric switch that disengages the motor (instantly) is engaged almost immediately when you start to brake...you can feel the motor turn off. So I just use the left brake as a clutch of sorts. When I want to shift gears, I clutch, shift while pedaling, release clutch. I've gotten so use to it that it's very natural and works flawlessly. No stress on the gears or chain.
  4. How quiet is the motor? I can't even hear it. The only way I know it's running is the torque and acceleration. The Neo Carbon hub motor makes a slight whirring noise, or hum. The Bafang Mid Drive is essentially silent.
  5. Torque versus PAS. Now that I've had a chance to ride both I have no strong opinion about which is better. The PAS seems more predictable and positive; pedal and Ye shall receive power. I'm assuming based on cost the torque sensor is more expensive. So for me PAS sensors are fine.
I like both bikes and ride them both. Best part of the deal, since we have three E-Bikes we can invite a friend to ride. Next project. E-Tandem...I have the 750W 48V unit and I think a tandem is in order. Looking for a suitable Cannodale or Trek bike. I CAN'T WAIT!!!

P1000087 (Large).JPG P1000088 (Large).JPG P1000089 (Large).JPG

Bottom line...for less than $2,000 and some time you can have an incredible Mid Drive bike with a very large battery capacity.
 

Bike_On

Well-Known Member
Fly-

Great job on the conversion and feedback. I looked long and hard at buying that Motb Elite too, but upgraded to a Trek DS 8.5. I haven;'t electrified it yet, but your system looks promising.

How would the 750W/48V feel on your bike?
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
Fly-

Great job on the conversion and feedback. I looked long and hard at buying that Motb Elite too, but upgraded to a Trek DS 8.5. I haven;'t electrified it yet, but your system looks promising.

How would the 750W/48V feel on your bike?

The bike weighs 55 lbs. and I'd assume a similar rated 48V battery would be heavier and bigger. I think the E-Motobecane with the 750W 48V system would be a very powerful ebike. If you have incredible hills to climb or want a bike that will do more of the work then the 750W would certainly fit the bill. I'm quite pleased with the 500W 8Fun package. The bike is very easy to ride long distances without wearing me out. I do like the fact that I still have to pedal even with the PAS engaged.

If you electrify your trek either system would work....but check the battery size, weight and shape for the 48V package. 15AH minimum (IMO)

Have Fun!!!!
 

Ian

Member
Hi FlyMeAway,

I've been following your threads with interest for the last few weeks and am considering the possibility of trying to replicate your E-Motobecane build, but am concerned about having the right tools and know-how as I consider myself a mechanical NEWB.

Would you mind writing briefly the steps you took to construct the bike, including what tools you used? I'm thinking I may need to find a friend or outsource a couple parts of the process if it involves milling, etc since I don't have easy access to that equipment. I'd like to mount on the downtube like you did as well, but maybe do an all black build with the X5 version of the Motobecane that's online.

Also, what's your average sustained speed if you're putting in a decent amount of effort?

Cheers
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
OK....I've had plenty of time and hills to get used to the Bafang Mid-Drive. My overall impression, had I built this bike 1st I would not have bought the Neo Carbon. Don't misinterpret, I really like the Carbon, it's polished works as advertised and is a very good bike. But........

  1. the 36V 15AH battery is amazing. I rode a 22 mile loop with my wife on the Cross, I'm on the E-Motobecane. Lots of hills. She rides in Standard setting, I'm in the mid range output of the motor. When we get home she's lost 2 bars on her indicator, I've still got 5, didn't lose any. Ridden the bike 3 times commuting to work (28 miles) same story. Bottom line, I doubt I'd consider a bike with less than 12 AH in the future.
  2. Once I figured out how to set up the controller riding was a piece of cake. Basically the PAS levels limit your top speed proportionally. I initially thought I'd need more then the 3 settings set at the factory, but after increasing the settings to 5 PAS levels I realized that all it did was constrain the range per setting. So...the way to set this controller (IMO) is to first set the top speed. I set the top speed (motor cut-out) at a speed that I'd push, but not my cruise speed. At the highest assist level this is the speed the motor will cut-out at; for me that's PAS 3. At PAS 2 the motor will assist up to about 80% of the top setting, this is my "cruise" setting. By adjusting the top speed you can find the gear and cruise speed that works. Once I figured this out, I found I could ride the bike indefinitely in PAS 2 "cruise". Haven't found the battery limit, in this configuration but I'm pretty confident it's north of 50 miles.
  3. I've read a lot about the crank drive versus hub and the wear and tear on components...??????? OK, here's the simple solution, the left hand brake is adjusted so the braking action begins at the mid-point of the handle pull. The electric switch that disengages the motor (instantly) is engaged almost immediately when you start to brake...you can feel the motor turn off. So I just use the left brake as a clutch of sorts. When I want to shift gears, I clutch, shift while pedaling, release clutch. I've gotten so use to it that it's very natural and works flawlessly. No stress on the gears or chain.
  4. How quiet is the motor? I can't even hear it. The only way I know it's running is the torque and acceleration. The Neo Carbon hub motor makes a slight whirring noise, or hum. The Bafang Mid Drive is essentially silent.
  5. Torque versus PAS. Now that I've had a chance to ride both I have no strong opinion about which is better. The PAS seems more predictable and positive; pedal and Ye shall receive power. I'm assuming based on cost the torque sensor is more expensive. So for me PAS sensors are fine.
I like both bikes and ride them both. Best part of the deal, since we have three E-Bikes we can invite a friend to ride. Next project. E-Tandem...I have the 750W 48V unit and I think a tandem is in order. Looking for a suitable Cannodale or Trek bike. I CAN'T WAIT!!!

View attachment 1394 View attachment 1395 View attachment 1396

Bottom line...for less than $2,000 and some time you can have an incredible Mid Drive bike with a very large battery capacity.

That is a very practical technique using the brake lever to cutout the motor while you shift..
 

Ian

Member
Also, if you could please be specific about which sites you used to buy your motor and battery that would be helpful as well. I know you said "Bafang" for the motor, but did you use eBay or another 3rd party site? And which version did you use? Same for the battery since there seem to be many different brands, etc and I'd prefer to just use the same materials you did if possible. Thanks!!
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
That is a very practical technique using the brake lever to cutout the motor while you shift..

Yes..Joe and it works flawlessly. The motor/gears/chain problem is really a non-issue. By the way, I'm almost done converting the MT1000 Cannondale. I'll have pictures and a description of the process and the problem(s) I encountered and had to work through...and there were a few. One problem I had was a serious pain!!!
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
Hi FlyMeAway,

I've been following your threads with interest for the last few weeks and am considering the possibility of trying to replicate your E-Motobecane build, but am concerned about having the right tools and know-how as I consider myself a mechanical NEWB.

Would you mind writing briefly the steps you took to construct the bike, including what tools you used? I'm thinking I may need to find a friend or outsource a couple parts of the process if it involves milling, etc since I don't have easy access to that equipment. I'd like to mount on the downtube like you did as well, but maybe do an all black build with the X5 version of the Motobecane that's online.

Also, what's your average sustained speed if you're putting in a decent amount of effort?

Cheers

Here's a youtube you should watch

The tools are basic: screw drivers, metric allen wrenches, crank puller, spanner for the bottom bracket nut, Park BBT-22 Bottom Bracket Tool for BB cartridge removal, adjustable wrench, wire ties. The installation of the mid-drive on the Motobecane was very straight forward. The most complicated part was building the battery box, but it wasn't a problem for me because I have a fully outfitted machine shop at my disposal and all the 6061 aluminum bar stock and sheet stock I need. Unless you have someone with a machine shop that will build you a battery box, you're probably much better off trying to find a "bolt on" option.

I bought the battery from this ebay store http://stores.ebay.com/imotorbattery?_trksid=p2047675.l2563 I bought the drive from Bafang, I'm interested in importing the kits.

The Cannondale MT1000 is almost done...should be great fun. Watch for the updated post with pictures.

Court J
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
Hi FlyMeAway,

I've been following your threads with interest for the last few weeks and am considering the possibility of trying to replicate your E-Motobecane build, but am concerned about having the right tools and know-how as I consider myself a mechanical NEWB.

Would you mind writing briefly the steps you took to construct the bike, including what tools you used? I'm thinking I may need to find a friend or outsource a couple parts of the process if it involves milling, etc since I don't have easy access to that equipment. I'd like to mount on the downtube like you did as well, but maybe do an all black build with the X5 version of the Motobecane that's online.

Also, what's your average sustained speed if you're putting in a decent amount of effort?

Cheers
I settled on programing the controller for 5 assists levels. I generally ride in level 3 and on a flat do 22-23 mph. In 4 it's 25-26 and at 5 it's 27-28. That's with moderate peddling. The controller can be programmed to cut-off at 50 kpm. At that setting those speeds would rise quite a bit.
 

Ian

Member
Thank you for your replies Court J! Are you still using the Kenda Happy Medium tires for your rides? I'm curious how efficient those are compared to road tires - they seem like they'd do pretty well.

Also, what is it with Court's and E-Bikes? I had never met anyone with that name before and now there are two on this one site...! Cheers
 

Ian

Member
I see that seller has a 36V 25AH battery up for sale; do you think that would be excessive? I was thinking I'd mount it on a rack in the back and use panniers for storage on the sides if I went with a battery that large.
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
I see that seller has a 36V 25AH battery up for sale; do you think that would be excessive? I was thinking I'd mount it on a rack in the back and use panniers for storage on the sides if I went with a battery that large.

A lot of battery to be haulin around.. Unless you plan on long distances or many hills every day better off buying 2 standard batteries and take the 2nd one only when you need it.
 

Ian

Member
A lot of battery to be haulin around.. Unless you plan on long distances or many hills every day better off buying 2 standard batteries and take the 2nd one only when you need it.
My distance would be 45 miles round trip for my commute with strong winds and a couple hills, with some of that being in winter conditions if I'm brave enough to do that in Minnesota. It would be nice to not have to worry about charging at work if possible, but it wouldn't be too big of an issue. I was also thinking that after a couple thousand cycles (waaay down the line) you're only at 70% or less of battery capacity, so starting out higher would be better in that case. That larger battery weighs 15 pounds
 

Ian

Member
Also, I weigh 175 lbs, so isn't having a 15 lbs battery kind of the same impact as if I weighed 190 lbs? The weight doesn't seem like it would be that big of a deal if you're just riding on pavement, but maybe I'm mistaken.
 
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JoePah

Well-Known Member
whoa.. that's over 2 hours saddle time every day. YOu stated above that you thought the range with your existing battery is around 50 miles... Why not just run that battery into the ground first and buy another battery later if you need it? A lot easier to just buy a second charger, and leave it at work.

honestly if i had to travel that far every day by bike I'd figure out what it would take to cruise at 25 mph and size the battery from there.
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
A lot of battery to be haulin around.. Unless you plan on long distances or many hills every day better off buying 2 standard batteries and take the 2nd one only when you need it.
I didn't weigh it before, but the finished product weighs 55 lbs. The battery/battery box and motr together weigh at least 25 lbs.
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
I see that seller has a 36V 25AH battery up for sale; do you think that would be excessive? I was thinking I'd mount it on a rack in the back and use panniers for storage on the sides if I went with a battery that large.
I agree with Joepah. If you're going to use that much battery every ride then makes sense, but lugging around a big battery on short rides might get old quickly. The Cannondale MT1000 has the battery box on the back rack and it makes the rearend heavy and the CG much higher up the frame. On a Tandem not such a big deal. The battery vendor has a constant stream of batteries arriving and the inventory changes a lot. Send him an email asking about other capacities.
 

Ian

Member
For shorter rides, pleasure rides and exercise rides I already have a lightweight road bike that I really like, so my e-bike build would be more focused on long distance utility than anything else. I'm thinking that 20Ah might be a happy medium, although mounting that to the downtube will be a challenge!
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
For shorter rides, pleasure rides and exercise rides I already have a lightweight road bike that I really like, so my e-bike build would be more focused on long distance utility than anything else. I'm thinking that 20Ah might be a happy medium, although mounting that to the downtube will be a challenge!

I do the same Ian... I took everything off my old steel track bike and it only weighs 20 lbs. I use it more and more.

Having owned an A2B Metro with one battery in the down tube and one removable battery hanging off the rear rack, for a total of 36V 23AH, I can tell you that too much dead weight changes the dynamics of the bike,, Handling stunk. It was nice to be able to dump half the battery weight when it wasn't needed.

The strange thing was even though I used the built in battery 3x as much as the secondary battery, they both degraded at the same rate. After 4+ years capacity was down to 60%...got rid of it!