Hello, and I think I may need to move on?

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
... It can be what is called 'ghost ridden' that is it will go full speed while slowly pedaling. There is a disconcerting disconnect between pedal speed (cadence) and chainring speed.
Hah you are pitching me a softball. Cheers for that :D I would not wish the factory programming for a Bafang motor on anyone. It has all the issues you describe and a few more. But its also pretty simple to alter that so the bike never runs away from you etc. Plus, don't forget she is using a cadence-sensor'd bike right now. A BBSxx will be a step up in that regard no matter what.


We are probably one year away from the CYC Photon being the holy grail of alternatives, seeing as it is only being released for the first time later this month. Until then, the tried/true BBSHD

Funny thing... for the bike I am building now I am not going to de-tune the BBSHD out of the gate like I usually do. There's so much need for power up the steep hills in that area, my Surly is on a higher power setting and I think I want to try it with closer to full power for the pedal assist, with the rough edges on engagement and disengagement smoothed out.

Not going to disagree on the merits of a new controller (I'd be last in line for that, I'm a big KT proponent!). The issue here is, will these merits be enough to get the job done reliably? I would feel bad if our OP spent the necessary time and money to do/get the conversion done, only to find out it STILL won't make it! That concern isn't there with a mid drive, especially a larger one (BBSHD).
^^^ this x 100. I have done the KT controller upgrades on this very hub motor. That includes a 35 amp controller, 52v battery and using the large 'bigfoot' internals (stator upgrade) out of the gate. Its still only an incremental upgrade over either 36v 20 amp or 48v 25 amp, both of which I have done on earlier bikes. Once I tried those upgrades and realized they were insufficient I went to a mid drive and that was the job done right there.
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Minnesnowta
DIY mods, upgrades and builds are great for those of us who have experience in making things, especially things electrical, but is bad advice IMHO for someone without the experience.
Um, how do you think we got the experience? Good land man, see YouTube and scores of well-written DIY scripts on any number of websites. We sold hundreds near thousands of kits to first-time builders. The owner sold kits for a decade before selling the shop.
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Minnesnowta
All valid points.

All valid points.
Horse pucky. ANYONE with a bit of ambition some tools and guidance can safely kit a bike. I had lots of customers have an LBS do the take apart and we sold EM3ev batteries that were SAFE well made decent warranty and matching connectors. In my youth, we did most of our own car repairs. We only gave up when electronics became so complex and the cost of the proper tools was astronomical. Fear-mongering kits is a darn shame. Converting a well-fitting great bike one has ridden for some time and is happy with...well what's better? Some overpriced OEM with proprietary parts that lock me into $50-$75 shop rates?
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
We'll need to agree to disagree here a bit. This bike doesn't need to hold up like one of your super duty builds. A super duty (all steel) hub for instance, just isn't necessary for what our OP want's/needs to do.
Well... yeah we disagree here cuz I think it does :D The OP is using a cargo bike to carry children up a 17% grade. I think its also likely there will be groceries and such on occasion. Thats a pretty heavy duty job. Not super duty, but still I'd say build for the bike to last. You are right we aren't talking about a bike needing a 200 lb cargo limit, so yes there is room to dumb down some, but a steel cassette in a 46T size is available and under $40. Mid-strong chain is the SRAM EX1 at $25. A steel cassette will keep the cluster from digging in - which will happen within 50 miles - and those are not necessarily found on expensive hubs. But that leaves the pawls underneath as the next thing to break. The SunRingles used by WattWagons apparently have a higher torque rating capacity than the DT350 Hybrid I prefer, so probably some money to be saved there.
I do agree on the DIY aspects. I did mention early on that this was not going to be easy. A quality build never is. But it's not exactly overwhelming either.
I don't think its overwhelming, but I think there is enough going on here that it makes the bike a bad donor for an upgrade that will do the job for her long term.
The RAD's OEM battery has been holding up fine on my 2017 RAD City w/MAC12t and 35a KT controller for years now. Provides very good performance. Sorry to hear yours didn't work out so well.
It didn't work out well because it was powering a hub motor. All I was saying was upgrading the controller to more amps isn't going to get you very much as a 48v commercial battery can only be counted on for so much, and its not going to suddenly make a bike able to climb a 17% grade no matter how many amps the controller can draw. Give it a normal job like a BBS02 or BBSHD, or a 35a KT... it'll do fine.
Last, you've listed reasons why a conversion might be expensive, wondering how you would suggest our OP proceed? Cost of going in that direction vs doing the mod here?
Not expensive so much as too expensive to be worth the trouble, with a parts flaw (the wheel size) that can never be fixed.

As you know I am not a fan of the Rad bikes, but that frame is very well fit for purpose. One decent choice would be to sell off the current model and acquire an older one .... it had 24" tires? Gut that bike and put a BBSHD on it. Not a BBS02. I've never been happy with half measures and its possible to turn down the power on a BBSHD, but impossible to turn the power UP on a BBS02. Better to run an overbuilt motor at half capacity than to run an adequate one at redline.

A less effort-intensive budget choice: A Yuba Kombi is $999 right now. Buy it and add the motor. They want $3300 for the electrified version so thats a good testimonial to why you may want to DIY that motor addition.

Or throw the budget out the window and look at a Surly Big Easy. I just saw a guy buy one on sale for $2400. Worth mentioning right now is there is a glut of ebikes on the market and you will find retail outlets frequently want to sell cheap. Take advantage of that.

Another "mid drives use the gears to climb hllls" fantasy. Believe in fairies too?
There you go again. Anyone who has ever rode (ridden? rided?) a bicycle up a hill knows you use gears to go up the hill more easily. Any gear. No need for them to be king sized for the benefit to be realized. The mid drive uses the gears just like a person does. Oddball theories about how they don't work unless a gigantic rear cog is in use don't make any sense, and you don't need to be any kind of expert in anything to know this..
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Petaluma, CA
They want $3300 for the electrified version
That's the thing! You can pick up a perfect, lightly used one with all the accessories for under $800. Those accessories add up. Then you are ridding a $3800 bike. What happens all the time is that kids grow too heavy for the analog version by the next school year for a mom to pedal in a hilly area. So she buys the electric version and sells the analog.
 

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kevinmccune

Active Member
Region
USA
Seems like the easy fix would be to replace the controller. You can go with Area13, but it’s really just a new controller and display. You can get a kit from aliexpress for under $100. You might want to look at Area13’s offering to see what the connectors look like. With a new controller, you can output more amps, which will give you more torque. You won’t be going faster, just stronger/quicker. But be sure you get a sinewave controller and Water Proof (WP) plugs. I did an similar upgrade on my Ride1Up 700xr and now have no issue with hills.

With a new controller and display, you’d have more control of the delivery of power.
True if I had a Bafang, the controller would be first on my list, stator change later on-"Citizen Cycle" did this and it made a significant improvement in pulling power( He said it was most bang for buck) The 750 wattBafang I had was rated for 85Nm with a 25 amp controller( the standard setup was around 80 Nm) One of the worst things on a hill is the motor literally giving up.I had this experience on two bikes a better controller fixed them, on the Human part of the equation a smaller chainring or perhaps longer crankarms will give more grunt to pull with and make sure your posture on the bike is correct one size fit all approach sometimes can hinder.
I actually fell on my face yesterday 4 times do not know if it age-related, I really watched what was going on and I think it is bike geometry, I am building a long-reach cruiser which I think will help me a lot

I have been tempted to build a 500 watt 36 volt TDZ according to the specs its a little torque monster and torque is what you need, be safe.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
It didn't work out well because it was powering a hub motor. All I was saying was upgrading the controller to more amps isn't going to get you very much as a 48v commercial battery can only be counted on for so much, and its not going to suddenly make a bike able to climb a 17% grade no matter how many amps the controller can draw. Give it a normal job like a BBS02 or BBSHD, or a 35a KT... it'll do fine.

I think we're on the same page here for the most part. You're saying "hub motor" which I'm interpreting as a geared hub motor. Maybe you mean a DD?
A less effort-intensive budget choice: A Yuba Kombi is $999 right now. Buy it and add the motor. They want $3300 for the electrified version so thats a good testimonial to why you may want to DIY that motor addition.
I looked, but maybe not in the right place? I don't see an electric Yuba Kombi for 3300. or anything close to that. A link maybe?
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I think we're on the same page here for the most part. You're saying "hub motor" which I'm interpreting as a geared hub motor. Maybe you mean a DD?
Not DD. I have done a Bafang 350w G060 fat motor at 36v/15a KT controller, and the same motor at 48v/25a KT controller. Also numerous front and rear 'bigfoot' 750w G060's all with 52v/35a KT controllers. I have also done conversions on freewheel 750's turning them into cassette motors, and have two three more in the shop; one a 500w front, another a 750w front and a spare rear 750w cassette from back when I had to rely on my twin-hub bike. The latter of which will replace a broken front motor on my mid+hub sand rat bike. I've got two G020's both rated at an unusual 48v/500w, mounted into 20" wheels that I use for front wheel power on my 2wd mid+hub Bullitts. KT 25a controllers. So... 100% geared.
I looked, but maybe not in the right place? I don't see an electric Yuba Kombi for 3300. or anything close to that. A link maybe?
Kombi analog. Regular $1199. Now $999 for probably the same reason so many others are discounting their bikes
And the electric version. Very next item on the menu after the Kombi. The Kombi E5. $3299 Interestingly its listed as out of stock, which I didn't think it was this morning.

I don't know if either of these bikes are the best option. However, @LisaJane706 if you join the Cargo Bike Republic on Facebook, you will be in a group of over 16,000 cargo bike owners and you can ask more questions there and talk to an audience who 100% understands what it is you are riding and living.
 

retiredNH

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Here you go: Yuba Kombi E5

Don't mean to steal your thunder @m@Robertson, but I happened to be looking at the Yuba website just now.
I doubt the Yuba Kombi E5 will fill the bill. It has Shimano's lowest performance motor, 40NM torque, coupled with a pretty narrow range gear set. A great climber it isn't. Good city cargo bike for relatively flat areas, but no hill climber, especially under load.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
... well there y'go. I am not a fan of manufactured bikes and this is one reason. To get up to decent performance you start looking at big money real fast. On Ebay there are some on auction but nothing is inexpensive. An older Rad Wagon, gutted with component upgrades, is starting to look better.
 
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Bicyclista

Active Member
Another "mid drives use the gears to climb hllls" fantasy. Believe in fairies too?

OP needs to sell her bike, and buy one with 48 tooth rear sprocket OEM plus a mid drive. Unfortunately cargo bikes don't come that way.
Really, it is car or gas scooter time for the OP.
I use gears to climb hills with either one of my mid-drives, a Haibike AllMtn Full-Seven and a Yuba Spicy Curry AT. It's my reality every time I ride, not a fantasy.

Many mid-drive cargo bikes come equipped with appropriate gearing for climbing hills. My Yuba has 11-46 teeth cassette, and coupled with its 20-inch rear wheel and 85Nm Bosch Cargo Line motor, it can climb any hill I have encountered in the San Diego area.

If you are going to recommend a car or gas scooter, keep in mind that the OP would have to spend more a lot more for a quality car or scooter. If the OP can afford spending say $5,000, I would instead recommend spending the money on a Yuba cargo bike, or a Tern cargo bike, or similar cargo bike, with a 85Nm mid-drive motor. (But keep in mind that motor specs are whatever the manufacturer says they are, and they are not comparable between brands.)

Others have made good and reasonable DIY recommendations. Only the OP can decide whether she is able to—or wants to—go the DIY route.
 
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Bicyclista

Active Member
I doubt the Yuba Kombi E5 will fill the bill. It has Shimano's lowest performance motor, 40NM torque, coupled with a pretty narrow range gear set. A great climber it isn't. Good city cargo bike for relatively flat areas, but no hill climber, especially under load.
You're probably right. I was just trying to be helpful in providing @AHicks with a link since he said he could not find the electric Yuba Kombi.

I am familiar with Bosch and Yamaha motors. I have found Yamaha motors to be much stronger than most Bosch motors. The one exception is the Bosch Cargo Line which is rated at 85Nm and seems to be just as strong as my old Yamaha PW motor (rated at 70Nm, if I remember correctly). I would not hesitate to recommend the Bosch Cargo Line motor or any current Yamaha ebike motor for hill climbing.
 

SC00CHB00CH

Active Member
Region
USA
Well... yeah we disagree here cuz I think it does :D The OP is using a cargo bike to carry children up a 17% grade. I think its also likely there will be groceries and such on occasion. Thats a pretty heavy duty job. Not super duty, but still I'd say build for the bike to last. You are right we aren't talking about a bike needing a 200 lb cargo limit, so yes there is room to dumb down some, but a steel cassette in a 46T size is available and under $40. Mid-strong chain is the SRAM EX1 at $25. A steel cassette will keep the cluster from digging in - which will happen within 50 miles - and those are not necessarily found on expensive hubs. But that leaves the pawls underneath as the next thing to break. The SunRingles used by WattWagons apparently have a higher torque rating capacity than the DT350 Hybrid I prefer, so probably some money to be saved there.

I don't think its overwhelming, but I think there is enough going on here that it makes the bike a bad donor for an upgrade that will do the job for her long term.

It didn't work out well because it was powering a hub motor. All I was saying was upgrading the controller to more amps isn't going to get you very much as a 48v commercial battery can only be counted on for so much, and its not going to suddenly make a bike able to climb a 17% grade no matter how many amps the controller can draw. Give it a normal job like a BBS02 or BBSHD, or a 35a KT... it'll do fine.

Not expensive so much as too expensive to be worth the trouble, with a parts flaw (the wheel size) that can never be fixed.

As you know I am not a fan of the Rad bikes, but that frame is very well fit for purpose. One decent choice would be to sell off the current model and acquire an older one .... it had 24" tires? Gut that bike and put a BBSHD on it. Not a BBS02. I've never been happy with half measures and its possible to turn down the power on a BBSHD, but impossible to turn the power UP on a BBS02. Better to run an overbuilt motor at half capacity than to run an adequate one at redline.

A less effort-intensive budget choice: A Yuba Kombi is $999 right now. Buy it and add the motor. They want $3300 for the electrified version so thats a good testimonial to why you may want to DIY that motor addition.

Or throw the budget out the window and look at a Surly Big Easy. I just saw a guy buy one on sale for $2400. Worth mentioning right now is there is a glut of ebikes on the market and you will find retail outlets frequently want to sell cheap. Take advantage of that.


There you go again. Anyone who has ever rode (ridden? rided?) a bicycle up a hill knows you use gears to go up the hill more easily. Any gear. No need for them to be king sized for the benefit to be realized. The mid drive uses the gears just like a person does. Oddball theories about how they don't work unless a gigantic rear cog is in use don't make any sense, and you don't need to be any kind of expert in anything to know this..
Yeah there was a Surly big easy in my area craigslist for cheap. Might need a fresh battery but it was a good price. Rock solid cargo bike.
 
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Rideagain

Member
Region
USA
City
South East
Unfortunately thats not going to do her any significant amount of good. If she updates her drivetrain, and on a hub motor, that upgrade is only going to help *her* fight/muscle the bike up the hill. It will be of no help with the motor, which powers the bike thru the axle and is entirely independent of the drivetrain.

I have been there and done that with regard to a big, fat Bafang hub and even with a 52v battery and a 35a controller, you still have a single speed hub motor. There's no real way to fix that with the bike at hand. The cheapest bandaid IS the application of brute force and revised gearing. After that you can try a controller upgrade that will increase your amps to the motor - which equals more torque (not a lot as its just a 48v battery). But even so - on a cargo bike that is at the extreme of extreme duty as bicycles go, you are only going to tick up a couple notches.

If you want to change the game, you go to a mid drive. On mine, on steep hills in my area I climb them at 12-15 mph. This is working hard on the pedals and letting the motor have at it on max pedal assist. If I want to let the motor do the work, I can do that too and just hit the throttle and take a break. On the steepest road in town (Prescott Lane in Monterey CA, just before the turnoff to the army base) - so steep people almost don't believe it when I tell them I can go up it, I am at about 8-10 and my ass is beat at the top. A hub bike has no hope trying this and I have seen Rad Wagon riders who give up as soon as they get to the steep part and go down to try and find another way over (they are available for rent here).

This bike has a 36T front chainring, which really does make a big diff since a mid can use the gears. 11-46T in the back and I can't use the big 46 thanks to the fat tires. But the 42 just under it gets the job done. A hub bike with a cargo load wouldn't have a prayer of conquering the same terrain.
View attachment 139663

A conversion of that Wagon would be tough. Mostly because of that oddball wheel size and the implications for the future with it, but also you'll have extra work and cost buying peripherals that aren't meant to work with the controller you'll have to discard. You already know the tire/wheel story I am sure. I did a series on turning a Mongoose Envoy into a really excellent cargo bike, but I don't haul kids, and that bike has 26" wheels which does not go ideally with squirmy little ones. Still, maybe something like this will give you some ideas for an alternative.

If your bike can go up Prescott ave, you can go up anything.
I had a VW out of high school(long... long... time ago) and avoided at all cost.. up or down! My Mom refused to ride with me and had to take David or Forest all the way to lighthouse.
As for Lisa's problem... I don't think she can do anything with the wagon. It's a good heavy bike. But the hill she is talking about must be pretty steep and with all that weight I don't know anything she can do. The kids are only going to get bigger and the problem worse. Maybe in the future there will be a 1000 or 1200w hub model.... maybe they will work.
She should call rad bikes. They been in it a long time and might have some ideas or a referral to someone.
 

Rome

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
How about a good used Japanese car till the kiddies get bigger, honestly some of this bike bravado goes a bit too far, the most precious things in life need accommodation,I shudder everytime I see a baby or small kid in one of those little trailers, cargo bike somewhat better. Just my opinion.
Our infrastructure here is not safe for transportation of precious cargo.
Even though we are continually building multimodal pathways, It hasn't caught on.
I see families with one or two kids behind ebikes but this is at a beach park where there's no vehicular traffic.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
If your bike can go up Prescott ave, you can go up anything.
I had a VW out of high school(long... long... time ago) and avoided at all cost.. up or down! My Mom refused to ride with me and had to take David or Forest all the way to lighthouse.
Yeah I have to admit once I made it up Prescott, then did it a second time, I decided thats it I am not going to risk my chain any further. I take David back up. On the other hand, going down is a thrill ride and I do sometimes take it down, turn in at the path, onward to Costco or Home Depot etc. Gets me past a lot of tourist traffic. I took these a couple weeks ago

PXL_20220827_232207491.jpg
PXL_20220827_235403067.NIGHT.jpg


The bike can take anything on the street, but to do the dunes I have to have a 2wd bike to keep the front from submerging. This was the one/only day I took the BFD out into the sand.