Hello from BC - Riding 10,000km a year on Bosch e-bike - Looking for a more durable system (if any?)

OLA

New Member
Hello,
I live in British Columbia and had e-bikes since 2008. I first got an used BionX system that we still have but the NiMH battery is dead and the console broken. In 2016 I bought a Bosch Performance Line e-bike for my long commutes and since then I had to replace the drive unit twice. One of the internal gears broke the first time after 12000km. The second time I got a recurrent error code 500 after only 7000km. Luckily the warranty worked both times, even if the 2-year period was over for the last replacement. They have been kind last time, but I doubt they will warranty the motor again next time.
I also realized that mid-drive units are more expensive to run than rear hubs. I have to replace the chain and cassette every 3 months due to the extra torque.
So here is my question:
What kind of e-bike systems do you recommend for me? My bike is like my "car" and I ride about 10,000km a year, rain or shine and need to go as fast as possible/permitted (I always use "turbo"). It seems like direct drive rear hubs are more durable, am I right? Also rear hubs do not cause extra wear on the chain and cassette. Now that BionX is gone, what are the alternative solutions?
Thank you.

Happy rides!
 

Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
BH ,a very reliable one that is out there. I put 7-8k miles/year. Some have hub some mid drives.

Hub option has a Japanese Dapu hub and 5year warranty. I ride it just like you- fast and often.
You will never have to post an embarrassing thread such as “ My ebike motor cutoff during a ride or my frame cracked and so on...”
 

ebikemom

Administrator
Staff member
I think you've answered your own question: A hub drive is great for lower maintenance, as compared to mid-drives. My neighborhood bike tech has told me that his customers have spent SO much money on maintenance on their middrives with him, doing the kinds of things you've described. (I have a hub drive, so he does things for me like ... put on new tires... add a suspension seatpost, etc.)

Have fun with your new hub drive bike!
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
Is 7,500 miles in Turbo mode really a bad life for a motor? I had a Bafang geared hub motor fail at 1,600 miles. Just Hall sensors, but it left me stranded in the snow. When you ride anything at maximum for every mile, I believe you are running outside the design parameters of any electric assist system. You are riding like an electric powered system. I get 2,500 miles on my chains on Bosch systems. At 3,200 miles I'm on original cassette.
 

Mike's E-Bikes

Well-Known Member
A solid commuter ebike could be built by ebike OEM's, using a hub drive and guaranteed not to fail in less than 50,000 miles, though I dont know too many builders targeting that type of reliability or durability.

Most are going for price, and or higher end components but that doesn't do anything for the motor and they are mostly going for range on a battery, but not cycle life longevity. (That is, a guarantee would include motor, drive train, etc and possibly even the battery).

What geometry frame do you prefer ?

By the way, the Electric Bike company builds probably one of the most robust hub motor and battery combinations on the market right now. For a commuter, choosing their 17 ah battery would be nice, as they are claiming 100 Mile range. Their warranty is 10 years on the motor. I believe 5 years on the battery. Beefy motor with lots of copper. It'll peak at 1250 watts so probably would be very nice even as single speed, which would reduce drive train wear to nearly negligible. Maybe you'd replace the rear cog around 50k miles ? Maybe go a lot longer.

Or you could do their 7 speed. Simplicity is the hallmark for longevity and reliability on ebikes though, so single speed would certainly be high on my list as long as the motor has the kind of torque and power that EBC provides.

Mid drives in general and the Bosch specifically could not touch that longevity ever with its very high component complexity, many internal gears, and heavy wear internals running at Super high motor rpms. It's not a knock, but just a fact of that type of design. Yes it's efficient but it's a steep price to be paid for said efficiency.

Good luck in your search.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
No wear parts but bearings in a DD hub motor.
I took apart a cheap $189 1000 W direct hub drive due to internal binding. The bad news, the bearings were 6801 made in *****. The good news, you can buy real 6801 made at a better factory at the auto supply under air conditioner parts. Just take the screws out, pop cover off, pull bearings, replace. I used that motor about 800 miles until replacing with geared hub motor. Last time I bought some the oreilly's computer couldn't recognize 6802 anymore, but could match it by dimension. Use dial caliper for dimension. Real 6802 bearing is used in riding lawnmower quills, where two will last about 4-5 seasons. The auto supply computer has no clue about lawnmower quills. Also used in takeup pulleys for v belt on air conditioners.
I fixed the internal binding by grinding the outside of the motor shaft down so I could fit slotted washers over it and still fit in my rigid cast? aluminum frame. 130 mm no spare. I used a 3"x1/16" wheel on a mandrel for that. Thinned the slotted washers down on a grinding wheel. Made the slot shape in washers with tree head bit in rotary tool. Use safety glasses using power tools. So the pinch of the frame is taken by the motor shaft, not the motor covers.
I've got a 17.5 AH battery and due to all the hills I run full power up, I use 2/3 the battery in 15 miles. the other 15 I pedal myself. I weigh 160, the bike is about 75 with motor battery dual stand panniers, I carry 60 lb supplies outbound most weeks.
BTW I have 5000 miles on my 8 speed chain and am not going to bother to measure stretch for another 3000. I do oil the exposed part of it twice a month. Real 5w non-detergent oil, not some spray wax. Just like factories use on chains.
Note on hub motors, they walk in the frame unless you use double nuts. No, blue loktite doesn't work. 14 mm x 1.75 nuts could once be bought at a local motorcycle shop, but since they sold to a national chain, I had to make nuts with a tap I got from victornet.com . I drilled out 12 mm nuts with a 1/2" bit and tapped from there.
 
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Johnny

Well-Known Member
Bosch seem to be one of the most reliable mid drives out there , sorry to hear that even that is failing for your commute. Did they give a reason on why the internal gear failed?

7500 miles for a mid drive , no matter what assist level it is driven, is ridiculously low.

Also riding a Bosch motor in Turbo or any other mode is well within the spec. On paper these motors are designed to work continuously for the nominal output(it is only 350W for the speed) they produce and a strong rider can max out the motor even in Tour mode.

In terms of chain life if you are on Turbo most of the time you will be wearing them out fast especially when it is 10+ speed. What conditions do you ride your bike btw? Snow/salt?


There are lots of people here who can give you directions on a reliable commuter that you can put a lot of miles on. Good luck with the search.
 
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Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Mid-drives, however wonderful, are not made for high mileage @ high speeds. They can do high mileage at low speeds but high speeds put a lot of strain on the system.
They are perfect for recreational riding at <20 mph, mountain biking but when you start piling 10,000 miles per year, you will quickly realize the limitations and the needed maintenance.


Dapu geared hub might work.
You may also want to check out OHM cycles, as they still have BionX motors and batteries and you might be able to get one for really cheap.
I know of someone who has put 30,000 miles on his BionX D series motor and still working fine...
 

sl_duck

Member
Since you are in BC, maybe contact Grin and see what they recommend among the direct-drive or geared hub motors. They finally have ones that use modern axle specs:
https://www.ebikes.ca/news/reat-thu-axle/

Your 3-month drivetrain life reminds me that back in 2015 Scottoiler tried to kickstart a chain oiler for bicycles. It was generally laughed at, and they marketed it as improving efficiency for race bikes rather than decreasing wear for ebikes. I wonder if there is now a better market for this kind of device. It would certainly increase the longevity of mid-drive drivetrains for people like you who ride in all conditions, every day. Manually oiling the chain seems like no big deal, but I can see how doing it every single day gets old. There's a few option from the motorbike world that could be adapted, like the Tutoro oiler.
Just out of curiosity, how diligent are you with oiling the chain?

a link to the old kickstarter page for the scottoiler cycle s1:
 
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OLA

New Member
Thank you all! I really appreciate your feedback and recommendations. Looks like I have a couple of options to explore further. I didn't know the BH bikes and the Dapu geared hub; this looks interesting to me. The Grin's website is full of information too and it looks like I could customize my ebike to meet my specific needs.
 

OLA

New Member
Since you are in BC, maybe contact Grin and see what they recommend among the direct-drive or geared hub motors. They finally have ones that use modern axle specs:
https://www.ebikes.ca/news/reat-thu-axle/

Your 3-month drivetrain life reminds me that back in 2015 Scottoiler tried to kickstart a chain oiler for bicycles. It was generally laughed at, and they marketed it as improving efficiency for race bikes rather than decreasing wear for ebikes. I wonder if there is now a better market for this kind of device. It would certainly increase the longevity of mid-drive drivetrains for people like you who ride in all conditions, every day. Manually oiling the chain seems like no big deal, but I can see how doing it every single day gets old. There's a few option from the motorbike world that could be adapted, like the Tutoro oiler.
Just out of curiosity, how diligent are you with oiling the chain?

a link to the old kickstarter page for the scottoiler cycle s1:
Thanks sl_duck for the links. To answer your question, I probably oil my chain every 2-3 weeks. I'm doing it when the chain sounds dry, which is probably too late, I know.
 

OLA

New Member
Bosch seem to be one of the most reliable mid drives out there , sorry to hear that even that is failing for your commute. Did they give a reason on why the internal gear failed?

7500 miles for a mid drive , no matter what assist level it is driven, is ridiculously low.

Also riding a Bosch motor in Turbo or any other mode is well within the spec. On paper these motors are designed to work continuously for the nominal output(it is only 350W for the speed) they produce and a strong rider can max out the motor even in Tour mode.

In terms of chain life if you are on Turbo most of the time you will be wearing them out fast especially when it is 10+ speed. What conditions do you ride your bike btw? Snow/salt?


There are lots of people here who can give you directions on a reliable commuter that you can put a lot of miles on. Good luck with the search.
Bosh rep didn't give any reason on why the internal gear failed. I even don't know if they opened the unit. I just been told by the bike shop that they never saw a unit with so many km on it.
As for my ride conditions, I ride year-round with lot of rainy days. Roads are salted in the winter, but snow is rare, I live in the Victoria/Gulf islands area.
 

sl_duck

Member
Bosh rep didn't give any reason on why the internal gear failed. I even don't know if they opened the unit. I just been told by the bike shop that they never saw a unit with so many km on it.
As for my ride conditions, I ride year-round with lot of rainy days. Roads are salted in the winter, but snow is rare, I live in the Victoria/Gulf islands area.
Hey, I live further up-island (with even more rain.) I found the biggest help with preserving my drivetrain was putting a low and wide mud flap on the front fender. Keeps the gritty spray off the chain. I have about 4000km on the Bafang G310 motor from Grin and it's been reliable. It's also very quiet, as opposed to some geared hub motors that have an audible gear whine.
 

Mass Deduction

Active Member
Interesting to hear this argument that mid-drives are less reliable and hub drives more reliable. We're getting Shimano STePS units lasting longer than the BionX units we used to sell ever did. We're in southern Vancouver Island which is moderately hilly. We've sold hundreds of bikes with Shimano STePS motors, and only needed to service one of them (an E6000), and that was after 20K km, and after a re-and-re (remove, regrease, and reinstall) it was running fine again. *shrug*

I don't know if any BionX unit we ever sold got to 20K km. Maybe another brand of hub motor would be better. But it doesn't change the fact that we mostly sell Shimano motors, and they're mostly trouble free, leaving us without a motivation to explore those options. Whereas if we were having problems we'd absolutely be considering our options. Maybe Shimano is more durable than some of its mid-drive competition?
 

JayVee

Well-Known Member
25,000 Kms on my Yamaha PW-45. Not the best “straight line” speed drive, but you can’t fault the longevity. Drivetrain maintenance is minimal. I spend 40 euros per 9000 kilometers, which is roughly my yearly travels. I suspect I’ll get another couple of thousand kilometers out of the drive. We’ll see.... Even if the drive breaks, I’m not sure I’ll change systems. The new Bosch Gen. 4 class 3 bikes cost a fortune in the EU and the prices keep going up every year. Buying a new drive will be much cheaper. And I’ll be good for another 3 years...
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
Hello,
I live in British Columbia and had e-bikes since 2008. I first got an used BionX system that we still have but the NiMH battery is dead and the console broken. In 2016 I bought a Bosch Performance Line e-bike for my long commutes and since then I had to replace the drive unit twice. One of the internal gears broke the first time after 12000km. The second time I got a recurrent error code 500 after only 7000km. Luckily the warranty worked both times, even if the 2-year period was over for the last replacement. They have been kind last time, but I doubt they will warranty the motor again next time.
I also realized that mid-drive units are more expensive to run than rear hubs. I have to replace the chain and cassette every 3 months due to the extra torque.
So here is my question:
What kind of e-bike systems do you recommend for me? My bike is like my "car" and I ride about 10,000km a year, rain or shine and need to go as fast as possible/permitted (I always use "turbo"). It seems like direct drive rear hubs are more durable, am I right? Also rear hubs do not cause extra wear on the chain and cassette. Now that BionX is gone, what are the alternative solutions?
Thank you.

Happy rides!
OLA OLA! I put on about the same mileage as you, 15,000 km in 14 months and so far no engine or battery issues. When my CX does eventually pack it in I WILL buy a new one. I am satisfied with this product. The chains and sprockets do wear out faster than my acoustic bikes but I have never put this kind of mileage on any other bike.
 

Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
Interesting to hear this argument that mid-drives are less reliable and hub drives more reliable. We're getting Shimano STePS units lasting longer than the BionX units we used to sell ever did. We're in southern Vancouver Island which is moderately hilly. We've sold hundreds of bikes with Shimano STePS motors, and only needed to service one of them (an E6000), and that was after 20K km, and after a re-and-re (remove, regrease, and reinstall) it was running fine again. *shrug*

I don't know if any BionX unit we ever sold got to 20K km. Maybe another brand of hub motor would be better. But it doesn't change the fact that we mostly sell Shimano motors, and they're mostly trouble free, leaving us without a motivation to explore those options. Whereas if we were having problems we'd absolutely be considering our options. Maybe Shimano is more durable than some of its mid-drive competition?



Q- What Speed pedelecs (28mph ) come with Shimano Steps 8000 ? That’s the most powerful version of the Steps system right ? I didn’t knew that they are so reliable.

I guess i could google it but it would take some time.
 

Feliz

Well-Known Member
Interesting to hear this argument that mid-drives are less reliable and hub drives more reliable. We're getting Shimano STePS units lasting longer than the BionX units we used to sell ever did. We're in southern Vancouver Island which is moderately hilly. We've sold hundreds of bikes with Shimano STePS motors, and only needed to service one of them (an E6000), and that was after 20K km, and after a re-and-re (remove, regrease, and reinstall) it was running fine again. *shrug*

I don't know if any BionX unit we ever sold got to 20K km. Maybe another brand of hub motor would be better. But it doesn't change the fact that we mostly sell Shimano motors, and they're mostly trouble free, leaving us without a motivation to explore those options. Whereas if we were having problems we'd absolutely be considering our options. Maybe Shimano is more durable than some of its mid-drive competition?

The Shimano E8000 is a new design where as the BionX is an old design, that's an unfair comparison. I had a BionX DD and it was great, back in the day they were the motor to get. There are millions of Bafang rear hub drives running around the world now that seem pretty reliable. Not taking sides, I actually prefer mid drives but I live in a pretty hilly area.