Hub motors

John46

Member
I think George S. can help me the most with this considering that from what i have read on this forum most owners of DIY bikes are using bbsxx. Definitely a consideration for me but I actually started thinking about an ebike using a hub motor and I am now giving that a serious re-look. I have no hills, will never be off road, am looking for simplicity. Aside from what bike to buy which I have addressed in other posts I would like some opinions on (1) does this make sense for my limited, flat riding. (2) should I consider front or rear. (3) dd or geared.
 

Berry78

Active Member
I'm not @George S. . but I vote rear... dd will have some drag that could be irritating.. maybe you could mention how much load the bike will carry..your weight plus any cargo..
 

Marceltt

Active Member
I bought the Pedego ridge rider which has a geared hub motor and couldn't be happier with my decision. I was looking at haibike mid drives but decided like you for what I use it for is the best bike. You have so many options on how you want to ride the bike that no other compares in my opinion.
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
does this make sense for my limited, flat riding
Short answer...yes. MAC is a great motor very capable and powerful. The only drawback is lack of integrated components, it's more difficult to DIY then the Bafang BBSXX. If you do the MAC I would advise a 48V set-up.

Good luck!

Court J.
 

John46

Member
Thanks for the info. I weigh 170lbs and don't plan to haul anything. I am still looking for a bike and have been looking for suggestions. I am very handy so the DYI stuff will not be an issue. Is the geared a better choice that the dd, some of the dd drives are pretty inexpensive.
I posted this on another thread.

I am not having any luck finding a decent used bike on Craigslist or at my lbs so I may need to purchase one new. I am looking for some of your opinions and suggestions.
Is there an advantage to getting a mtn bike over a hybrid? I am leaning toward the mtn bike with a 16" frame. I was thinking of getting a bike without disc brakes and putting them on later but I am finding a lot of entry level bikes don't have the tabs. Are V brakes with upgraded pads as good as cheap disc brakes? I was looking at the Motobecme bikes, specifically this one with Tektro Novela disc brakes.
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/4ht_new_xii.htm
I could also get a Trek 820 at my lbs for a little more money but it does not have disk brakes nor does it appear to have the tabs to put them on.
Most if not all of my riding is casual and on paved streets and trails.
 

Berry78

Active Member
It sounds like a geared hub drive will work great. DD will as well, but then you are dealing with extra weight and cogging drag that you don't HAVE to deal with. (If you were going up hills and/or heavy, I'd have recommended the dd).

Sorry, can't help with the actual brands..I'm only familiar with Bionx DD.
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
I was looking at the Motobecme bikes
I used a Bikes Direct Motobecane Cafe' when I did a MAC conversion two years ago. End up with a great bike. You can buy a motor installed in a wheel for around $300 from Paul. As I mentioned the only downside was the lack of integration. Not a big deal but a factor. I ended up with a CAV3 and a 3 position switch for power settings. My most recent DIY using a Titanium framed Bike from BD with Lunacycles 52V Shark and a BBS02 48V 750 and a Rohloff 500/14 IGH is the bike I use as the near perfect commuter.

Have fun, whatever you do.

Court J


MAC.jpg
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
I would never have built a Mac if @flymeaway hadn't shared his build. There were issues with the BBS02 and a front motor seemed easy. I ended up with a steel fork, when I figured out it was not a 350 watt motor, but an 800 watt motor. Put a 48 volt battery on it and it becomes a 1200 watt motor. So the way they describe these motors is nuts.

The motor that seems to be 'universal' is the Bafang geared hub. You can see nice pictures of it here. The Mac has more durable composite gears, and it is a huskier build. But the Bafang retails around $150, much less wholesale. They use it in the Sondors bikes and a lot of other bikes. The 'hobbyists' bump the controllers to 48v and run 700 watts through it. It holds up OK. You can replace the motor and keep the case on the rim. You can't even really buy this motor for DIY. The geared configuration keeps the weight down, reduces the profile.

The US market lets people run 750 watts. In Europe, with 350 watts (Britain is 250 watts) you need a mid-drive for hills. The jump from the basic Bafang to a Golden DD or Mac geared is not a lot of money. And any 750 - 1000 motor is going to move you along, and even up 7% grades.

People are retailing or crowdfunding nice bikes these days, under $1200. Battery prices are down, so we see Panasonic and Samsung cells and good capacities. My local ebike dealer folded up shop recently. But he sold higher end bikes. I have 3 simple builds, different bikes. I can get parts and do the repairs.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
Listening to your bike needs, I would suggest an internally geared rear hub. DD is heavy and can be like dragging an anchor around due to cogging.
I have a Magic Pie 5. It's 22 pounds. It's too heavy. But it's simple and it's pretty tough. The thing is, it's built for 3,000 watts, with an external controller. So yeah, it cogs. I don't run over 1,000 watts. It's a satisfying motor. It responds. It starts up on a hill, and it climbs reasonable hills. It does everything you would want.

I have three hubs and guess how many times I've ridden back without power (out of 600 odd rides)? Zero. None have failed. It only cogs when you don't have power, which is why the simple design counts for something.

I have a Smart Pie which is 11 pounds. You notice it, when it cogs, but it isn't that bad. If you want to ride an ebike without the motor, any motor power, this is not the motor of choice. For sure.
 

John46

Member
I really appreciate the time you have all taken to respond to my questions. I has become a more difficult decision than I had originally thought because there are multiple good choices. I really think I would be happy with the either the bbs02 or the mac. I am leaning toward the mac because I don't to have to bother shifting all of the time and worrying about stressing the drive components, plus I really don't need much torque for hills since there are none in my town. Court J do you like the bbs02 better than the mac? If so why? Torque or speed? Seems like the bbs02 may not be a speedy on flat ground. The comparison that i once heard was a bbs02 is a motorcycle because you need to shift gears and the mac or any dd hub motor is like a scooter. I have had lots of scooters.

Court J or George (or anyone else that has the answer)
Since you have/had a rear mount hub did you get the 7 sp freewheel from em3ev and did it fit in the 135mm rear space without any mods?

Apparently the 8sp freewheel needs a spacer and that will make them too big. I also see that the mac will not accept a typical cartridge because it is a screw on unit. I think I also need the removal/install tool that they sell for $5.

Did you get the thumb or twist throttle?

I am confused on the wheel sizes they show DM, DX and DH what does this mean. Was the Alex wheel black or silver?

Do all 700 wheels fit 40mm tire widths?

I planned on using a Shark 48v 13.5ah NCRB battery, what do you think?

I think for now I will just go with the PAS display & sensor and think about the CA latter if I like the ebike.

What size motor did you all get? I was thinking about the 8t or maybe the 6t.

Is a torque arm necessary on a rear wheel?

I am also thinking I will get the Motobecame Elite Trail since it is kind of middle ground between a mtn bike and a cruiser, the 400 x40 c tires may be better than the 26" inch on the mtn bike. Thoughts anyone? Enough questions :)
John
 
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Marceltt

Active Member
YOU ARE HERE: HOME / ELECTRIC BIKE FAQ / UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN DIRECT DRIVE & GEARED ELECTRIC BIKE HUB MOTORS

Understanding the Differences Between Direct Drive & Geared Electric Bike Hub Motors
JUNE 5, 2013 BY PETE 15 COMMENTS



Guest post by Alec Burney from E-Bike Kit.



“Which one is the best?” We get the question nearly every day, and it’s not the easiest one to answer… because ultimately it depends on your personal riding needs.

Do you want faster or lighter? More torque or quieter? More durable or less drag?

The first set of answers corresponds to direct drive motors: they’re faster, but have less torque, they’re more durable, but they’re also heavier and drag some, making pedaling less efficient, and their range on a full charge is a little less. Direct drive motors are nearly silent, humming along smoothly.




In contrast, geared motors make some whirring noises, but are light and small, they could almost pass for a normal bike hub, and there’s almost no drag when pedaling, but your top speed will be lower, and though they offer more torque, letting you climb hills quickly and accelerate from stop lights like nameless doped-up ex-racers, the nylon gears can wear out under hard use, and the gears make a bit of noise as they spin.




What nylon gears? Direct who? The reason you’ve got a choice at all is because there are two basic ways to get motor power from the hub to the wheel.

The Direct Drive Motor



The direct drive motor is the simplest: the outer shell of the hub is part of the motor, and has a big ring of strong rare earth magnets fixed to it.


When the motor runs, it drives the wheel directly. That’s where the name comes from. This means that the wheel is simply a motor with the shaft fixed in place so that the body of the motor (the outer hub shell, and this your wheel) spins instead of the shaft.

It’s a simple system, but the motor has to be big and heavy to produce enough power – a small motor spinning slowly doesn’t produce enough torque, and the speed you want your wheel to turn at is relatively slow, so the motor needs to be as big as possible to produce torque at low speeds, or…

The Geared Motor



The geared motor is a little more complex, but the clever complexity makes it lighter and smaller. You can see the gears in the photo.


Gears are awesome; you already have gearing on your bike – it can turn a bunch of low-torque circles into a few high-torque circles, or the reverse – this is handy if you’ve got a tiny motor and you want to make it push along a loaded bike. The motor runs at high speed for efficiency and the gearing slows it down and increases the torque to push you forward.

And just like the gearing on your bike, ratcheting pawls let you coast without drag (in this case from the magnets), but the extra moving parts will eventually wear, just like the gears on a bike will some day crunch and skip and slip, and you’ll have to replace them (the nylon gears). And since the gearing is small and designed to make a wheel spin fast, heavier riders and riders with a lot of cargo may have trouble with long term durability.

For people that need a really strong push, special direct-drive hubs with the motors wound (using more copper) for higher torque and a lower top speed will make pulling heavier loads a breeze, they’ll go slower, but they’ll give lots of power and should last for many years.
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
I am also thinking I will get the Motobecame Elite Trail
Hi John,

That's a good bike. I used it on my 3rd DIY project, and was my primary commuting bike until I built the Titanium framed 52V 750W BBS02 this spring. In my picture it's the 2nd bike from the left. My wife uses it exclusively and the bike has around 4,000 miles, with only normal maintenance required. You asked a lot of question and I'll give you my $.02 on the ones I can help you with.

Did you get the thumb or twist throttle?

I don't put throttles on any of my DIY's

I am confused on the wheel sizes they show DM, DX and DH what does this mean. Was the Alex wheel black or silver?

Used to delineate type of riding BMX, MTB, Road. The wheel I got was Silver DH19. So far no broken spokes or loosening spokes.

Do all 700 wheels fit 40mm tire widths?

No...go to the MFG.'s website and check the tire sizes that fit the rim.

I planned on using a Shark 48v 13.5ah NCRB battery, what do you think?

For a MAC install great, for a 48V BBS02 or HD use a 52V pack. If you do the BBSXX you can buy the programming cable and adjust the maximum AMP output so you can "de-rate" the motor. I have my contoller set at 20A, which equates to a little over 1,000 watts when the pack is fully charged. That's plenty of power to ride at 28 mph on flats.

I think for now I will just go with the PAS display & sensor and think about the CA latter if I like the ebike.

That's a good compromise, but the CA allows you to program all the variables that effect performance. It really is a very good addition if you go with the MAC.

What size motor did you all get? I was thinking about the 8t or maybe the 6t.

8t

Is a torque arm necessary on a rear wheel?

Absolutely! If you look at the picture you can see the one I made. It's the white metal plate just above the axle cap.

Court J do you like the bbs02 better than the mac? If so why? Torque or speed? Seems like the bbs02 may not be a speedy on flat ground.

I like both, but I'm kind of stuck on the BBS mid-drives for a couple of reasons. The cost is comparable between the MAC and BBS. The BBS is a shorter install and even though I didn't have any trouble with the MAC install there are more opportunities to make a mistake. I believe the speed torque issue is not as significant as it appears when you read blogs. Both motors will drive the respective bikes a their top speeds without any problem. It may be a perception issue but when I ride the MAC it does seem to accelerate and achieve a top speed faster, however it isn't so noticeable that I'd say the BBS doesn't accelerate well. For me the "torque" issue is real, particularly on long grades. The advantage the BBS has is you can set the pedal cadence you want on almost any grade and keep the mid-drive running at a high RPM. But the MAC will turn at the speed of the wheel which is a disadvantage when the bike is moving very slowly at higher power settings. Heat can become an issue so power and speed management is more important with the MAC. Probably the biggest reason I favor the mid-drive is it allows me to use an IGH where the hub drive won't. I converted my two 750W 48V BBS's to Rohloff IGH's and my 500W 36V BBS to Nuvinci 360. Now that I've used IGH's I won't go back to derailleurs and gear clusters, simplicity, wheel strength, and reliability make the switch easy, assuming you're willing to accept the steep cost.

One last point. The disc clearance on the MAC (rear wheel install) is a real issue. I had to use spacers and modify the caliper mount on a milling machine before I was satisfied with the clearances and brake installation and the clearance was "tight".

Here's a link to my Titanium frame build with the Rohloff 500/14 install. You'll have a great bike no matter which way you go. Have fun with your build!

https://electricbikereview.com/forums/threads/my-next-build.3862/page-3#post-47731



Court J.
 

John46

Member
Hi John,

That's a good bike. I used it on my 3rd DIY project, and was my primary commuting bike until I built the Titanium framed 52V 750W BBS02 this spring. In my picture it's the 2nd bike from the left. My wife uses it exclusively and the bike has around 4,000 miles, with only normal maintenance required. You asked a lot of question and I'll give you my $.02 on the ones I can help you with.

Did you get the thumb or twist throttle?

I don't put throttles on any of my DIY's

I am confused on the wheel sizes they show DM, DX and DH what does this mean. Was the Alex wheel black or silver?

Used to delineate type of riding BMX, MTB, Road. The wheel I got was Silver DH19. So far no broken spokes or loosening spokes.

Do all 700 wheels fit 40mm tire widths?

No...go to the MFG.'s website and check the tire sizes that fit the rim.

I planned on using a Shark 48v 13.5ah NCRB battery, what do you think?

For a MAC install great, for a 48V BBS02 or HD use a 52V pack. If you do the BBSXX you can buy the programming cable and adjust the maximum AMP output so you can "de-rate" the motor. I have my contoller set at 20A, which equates to a little over 1,000 watts when the pack is fully charged. That's plenty of power to ride at 28 mph on flats.

I think for now I will just go with the PAS display & sensor and think about the CA latter if I like the ebike.

That's a good compromise, but the CA allows you to program all the variables that effect performance. It really is a very good addition if you go with the MAC.

What size motor did you all get? I was thinking about the 8t or maybe the 6t.

8t

Is a torque arm necessary on a rear wheel?

Absolutely! If you look at the picture you can see the one I made. It's the white metal plate just above the axle cap.

Court J do you like the bbs02 better than the mac? If so why? Torque or speed? Seems like the bbs02 may not be a speedy on flat ground.

I like both, but I'm kind of stuck on the BBS mid-drives for a couple of reasons. The cost is comparable between the MAC and BBS. The BBS is a shorter install and even though I didn't have any trouble with the MAC install there are more opportunities to make a mistake. I believe the speed torque issue is not as significant as it appears when you read blogs. Both motors will drive the respective bikes a their top speeds without any problem. It may be a perception issue but when I ride the MAC it does seem to accelerate and achieve a top speed faster, however it isn't so noticeable that I'd say the BBS doesn't accelerate well. For me the "torque" issue is real, particularly on long grades. The advantage the BBS has is you can set the pedal cadence you want on almost any grade and keep the mid-drive running at a high RPM. But the MAC will turn at the speed of the wheel which is a disadvantage when the bike is moving very slowly at higher power settings. Heat can become an issue so power and speed management is more important with the MAC. Probably the biggest reason I favor the mid-drive is it allows me to use an IGH where the hub drive won't. I converted my two 750W 48V BBS's to Rohloff IGH's and my 500W 36V BBS to Nuvinci 360. Now that I've used IGH's I won't go back to derailleurs and gear clusters, simplicity, wheel strength, and reliability make the switch easy, assuming you're willing to accept the steep cost.

One last point. The disc clearance on the MAC (rear wheel install) is a real issue. I had to use spacers and modify the caliper mount on a milling machine before I was satisfied with the clearances and brake installation and the clearance was "tight".

Here's a link to my Titanium frame build with the Rohloff 500/14 install. You'll have a great bike no matter which way you go. Have fun with your build!

https://electricbikereview.com/forums/threads/my-next-build.3862/page-3#post-47731



Court J.
CJ, what a nice build!!
Thanks to all of you so much for your help. After thinking things through for the nth time I have decided to go with the BBS02 750. I was going to get the Motobecane Elite Trail but is has integrated shifters and brakes. Since I won't need the FD I don't want the shifter to be there and I want the brake levers to match but maybe the brake lever that comes with the kit is almost identical to the lever on the integrated unit. I am trying to find out if the Motobecane Adventure has the same issues. It is $50 more. I am also getting the Shark 52v 13.5ah NCRB battery. I thought about the HD kit but figured the extra power was overkill for me? .
What sprocket size should I get? Maybe 44t
Is the C965 display good enough and do I need the programming cable?
Gear Sensor?
Should I stick with the ebrakes that come with the kit or stay with the stock brake handles and get the senors?
I have a fair amount of tools but none that are bike specific. I think where I am going to have a problem is getting the bottom bracket apart since I don't have a puller. I am thinking it may be more cost effective to take to a local bike shop. I think I know one that will pull it for a twenty. It looks like a tool is also required to tighten the BBS02 or isn't that the case?
Any other advice before I order everything? Hopefully this is the end of my questions, but who knows.
John
 
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flymeaway

Well-Known Member
I have a fair amount of tools but none that are bike specific.
Hi John,

I think a few tools would be helpful. If you haven't watched it, here's an installation video that is a good reference.


The C965 is all you need. If you buy the drive from Luna, their color display is nice. You don't necessarily need the programming cable, but if you want to change some of the operating variables it's nice to have. I use the 46T chain ring, but the 44T will work fine.

Court J.
 

John46

Member
I got the 52t because I have all flat ground. I also, for just cruising would like to keep the chain pretty much in the center and no inclines for me. I did not get the cable.
 

John46

Member
Hi John,

I think a few tools would be helpful. If you haven't watched it, here's an installation video that is a good reference.


The C965 is all you need. If you buy the drive from Luna, their color display is nice. You don't necessarily need the programming cable, but if you want to change some of the operating variables it's nice to have. I use the 46T chain ring, but the 44T will work fine.

Court J.
I ended up getting the 48t chainring but I wonder if that is still too large. The kit should arrive today. After reading some other posts I hope I did not error in getting the bbs02 vs the bbshd. I figured since it would be limited use and with no hills to climb 750w would be good enough, plus I saved a couple hundred $$. Do you have any regrets not getting the hd? I think my main concern is not so much speed but torque for getting started. I sure would not want to wreck the motor and controller. Have you found any issues in daily use of this motor and are you happy with the chainring?
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
I hope I did not error in getting the bbs02 vs the bbshd
I have 4 BBS02 mid-drive conversions, 3 are 750W 48V and the 1st conversion I did was 500W 36V. I can assure you that the BBS02 750W kit pulls like an Ox and accelerates like a Cheetah especially if you're using the 52V Luna battery. I have over 8,000 miles on the 750W kits and around 5,000 on the original 500W kit. I have had zero mechanical or electrical issues. All of them are running like new.

Here's my opinion on keeping your kit from frying or breaking (mechanically). Match the gearing to the motor RPM. In other words, don't start from a standstill in level 5 (full power) on your 11T sprocket you want the motor running in the higher RPM range at all times for efficient operation. Each level increases the amperage cut-off based on the program so from a standstill always set your assist level to 1 or 2. I always start in level 1 or 2 on the flat with my Rohloff set on gear 6. As the bike accelerates I move up the gears to around 12/13 and move to level 3 or 4 depending on how fast I want to ride. In less then 10 seconds I will be moving along at between 26-30 MPH on flats. If you want to quickly destroy a controller start in level 5 on your 11T gear from a standstill, or ride uphill in level 5 at a very slow cadence.

I can assure you that if you use common sense the 750W 48V BBS02 is all you need.

"I ended up getting the 48t chainring but I wonder if that is still too large."

Probably not if you don't encounter many hills. You can always change your gears in the cassette if you don't like the different ratios.

Court J.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
Tools?

-I bought the $19 Luna combo wrench after I installed my BBS02 kit. The nuts had worked loose. It works better than a pipe wrench or channel locks.

-If you get the combo tool, then you might need that crank arm puller to use it. They are $7 off ebay (and two weeks in the mail), or $15 from the local bike store. You may need it if you are gonna experiment with different gears too. Don't remember how it comes off.

-How about a chain breaker? They're around $5 at Walmart or Ebay. You probably need it if you want to save that front derailleur. I cut mine, and regretted it, because I could have used it on another bike.

By the way, the new thinking is to not re-use chain links we have popped apart with the chain breaker. They suggest a new 99 cent master link . I kind of agree. A re-used link tends to be sticky because the link binds on the bearing unless it's inserted perfectly. Sticky links are really aggravating on a mid drive. Causes chain jump.
 
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John46

Member
Court J. Thank you again for the advice. Hopefully you will not mind if I ask you about setting the display. Lunacycle does not provide any instructions for any of this equipment. I fully understand the mechanical stuff but the display programming i don't. I am also perturbed that the charger does not have any features, had I know that I would have upgraded. My cell phone charger does more than this POS.
John
Tools?

-I bought the $19 Luna combo wrench after I installed my BBS02 kit. The nuts had worked loose. It works better than a pipe wrench or channel locks.

-If you get the combo tool, then you might need that crank arm puller to use it. They are $7 off ebay (and two weeks in the mail), or $15 from the local bike store. You may need it if you are gonna experiment with different gears too. Don't remember how it comes off.

-How about a chain breaker? They're around $5 at Walmart or Ebay. You probably need it if you want to save that front derailleur. I cut mine, and regretted it, because I could have used it on another bike.

By the way, the new thinking is to not re-use chain links we have popped apart with the chain breaker. They suggest a new 99 cent master link . I kind of agree. A re-used link tends to be sticky because the link binds on the bearing unless it's inserted perfectly. Sticky links are really aggravating on a mid drive. Causes chain jump.
I did get the Luna wrench. I may need to get a crank arm puller but for now I am just going to have a local guy take out the bottom bracket. Fortunately my bike had a master link so cracking the chain to remove the front derailleur was easy.