New Build Considerations - Input Desired

Ian

Member
So I've been mulling over the idea of putting together a Bafang based build that could be an all-season, durable commuter that could work for both summer and winter. My commute is 21 miles one way but generally flat (really just one decent hill) and a mixture of pavement and hard packed trail but I've got some rough streets before I get onto the trail so I'm thinking I'd like beefier tires and a front shock with lockout.

Seeing Court J's current build which will use an internally geared hub made me think that I would like to do something similar with a Bafang BBSHD. I'm considering buying a cheap 29er like this Gravity single speed one from BikesDirect - one idea I had was to have a LBS thread an internal geared hub (not sure which one, SRAM? Sturmy-Archer? ideally the best quality I can get for under $300, don't need too large of a range, maybe 300%?).

For the battery I was thinking I'd do something beefy (52V, 12 AH) or so and keep it in a backpack as I ride, and put my day's cargo on panniers.

I'm also thinking that I'd have spring/summer/fall tires that are along the lines of Schwalbe Big Apple's and then some studded tires for winter riding.

Is the geared hub doable without dropping $1000+ on a Rolhoff speedhub? Would something cheap like this $80 3 speed hub from Sturmey Archer work for what I need?

Curious to hear your thoughts EBR community!

Another consideration- would I be better off buying a higher quality, higher cost 29er with a derailleur and skipping the internally geared hub?
 

GMS

Member
I have about 600 miles on an Alfine 11 IGH, and really like it. The alfine probably won't fit into your budget, but it does demonstrate that you don't need the $1,000+ Rolhoff to make an IGH work. In anything over PAS level 2 I have to cut power in order to shift, but shifting is always quick and smooth without power. I also really like being able to shift at a stop sign.

Karl at electricbike-blog.com has done a lot of testing of the Sturmey Archer and Nuvinci IGHs - he really likes the 3 speed Sturmey Archer.

Going with a higher cost 29er with a deraileur would certainly be more straightforward.

My wife commutes on a converted 26" MTB with an XTR rear deraileur and doesn't complain about issues shifting with her BBS02 (I think she generally uses the brake levers as a clutch).

I would definitely recommend getting a BBS02 with dedicated wiring for a gear sensor and a gear sensor (this is now available from Luna Cycles at excellent pricing).

Good luck, and keep us posted on your build!
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
So I've been mulling over the idea of putting together a Bafang based build
If your commute is relatively flat I'd suggest staying with a standard 7 or 8 speed rear cluster. You're going to find that you use (at most) 3 or perhaps 4 gears. I'd also stay with a BBS02 48V 750W mid. For more power use a 52V battery.

You should be able to do a great BD conversion for less than $2,000.

Court J.
 

Ian

Member
Thanks for the input - so you're both in agreement that the output of the BBSHD is not needed and that the BBS02 would do all that I want? I'm thinking I'd like to maintain 25 mph on my commute on the flat parts to make it relatively quick - would the BBS02 be up to that task?

One other consideration I have is that I really like my drop handle bars on my road bike and was wondering how I could get the usefulness of larger tires and disk brakes along with the performance and flexibility of the drop bars a road bike offers. Are there any categories of bikes that offer that or would I need to create some kind of Frankenstein?

Basically I really like my road bike but it's not comfortable to ride 42 miles round trip regularly on those unforgiving tires and no suspension, so I'm thinking a 29'er would fit the bill as an alternative that could also do double duty in the winter. Maybe there is something better out there though?
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
I'm thinking I'd like to maintain 25 mph on my commute on the flat parts to make it relatively quick - would the BBS02 be up to that task?
I keep a 26 MPH pace on flats with mine. Could go faster if I wanted to. I guess I would look at any MTB or 29'er with a suspension as unusual with drop handlebars. If you want to keep the total cost at $2k or less then you probably will have to swap out the handlebar. I don't see that as an issue.

Court J.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Here you go. Fargo is an excellent all-terrain bike.

http://salsacycles.com/bikes/fargo
Great bike! Mad Max CycloCross bike. Worthy and capable of handling 1000 watts. That's a $500+ thru-axle fork on that bike, rims to handle 29"x 2"-2.5" cromoly frame with a tall head-tube and Cane Creek headset. With the frame geometry, fork and the offset seat post, that would be a comfortable riding drop bar, serious cross bike. A four season, all surface bike you could ride the road in a morning, in a somewhat aerodynamic body position and on the way home tear off road and rip up some trails.

I like the seat post offset placing the cranks ever so slightly forward for comfort. Only problem you wouldn't be able to keep the offset if you added a Body Float, unless they would custom make an offset post for you. You could go for a Brooks sporting sprung saddle, like the Conquest. This seat was the body float before Body Float. The cut and shape is similar to B17.
.Brooks conquest.JPG
The big tires could also help to tune the ride. The three models are built to a high standard with great components for all three price levels.

This would be something I would save my pennies for, but the Bafang bikes I've ridden, I missed a torque sensor. I hope that's something Bafang will address for a DIY kit. Maybe the MAX torque sensor will be something that can be incorporated in the DIY kit motors.

I do want that Fargo though! Anyone of the three would work on the trails, roads, Ice and snow I ride on. One tough ride!

Thanks for posting that @Ravi Kempaiah . I generally turn the page with drop bars, but this is in a class all it's own.
 

Attachments

GMS

Member
Ian have you seen a pic. of GMS ' S bike build ? It is a real nice job .
Thanks! The bike rides great too (over 600 miles and working well)!
Ordered a gear sensor from Luna yesterday, going to see if it is a nice upgrade...

IMG_2438.JPG
 
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Ian

Member
David, I just checked out GMS's build thread and it's a nice, clean set up. The Fargo is very nice but pricey - I'd like to do a cheaper first build. Maybe it will be simpler to have a dedicated snowy season commuter and just swap the batteries between the two setups. Well, enough thinking inside, time to go out and ride the bike I already have! Thanks for input, still undecided on my preferred setup. I test rode a steel Tamland this weekend and liked it. Also looking at something like the Surly Straggler, but that Marin Fairfax is also nice. So many options...
 

Ian

Member
One kind of bike that I like the idea of getting is the Diamondback Haanjo Comp - it seems like with some thick, voluminous tires it would be able to smooth out bumps enough and would still be pretty light and quick. This commuting bike blogger uses it as his bad weather bike. Here's a video of him riding it in the snow and it seems like it gets the job done. If only I could find a similar bike used for about $700 or less in my area, I think that would be perfect, then add in the BBS02 and a stealthy battery setup. I'm thinking that a Fargo style frame would be overkill for me since I do zero off road riding. I could also make a fat tire dedicated winter bike down the road if I really wanted to. This kind of dedicated winter set up seems ideal - just add a motor and battery and I'd be set :) Hopefully I can start my main build soon! Thanks for the input!
 
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Ian

Member
So I have one more (possibly silly) question if anyone is willing to chime in:
Could I build around a single speed bike? I'm thinking it would be nice to buy a cheaper single speed bike and one year down the road when I have additional funds put in a Rohloff. Until that point could I get by using a combination of pedal assist and throttle only? Just wondering since I can get really cheap single speed bikes on CL.
Thanks for the feedback.
 

Ian

Member
What about a Trek 8.3 Dual Sport as a conversion option for non-winter riding? Doesn't look like anyone has done a conversion on one yet here in the community.
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
What about a Trek 8.3 Dual Sport
You're tossing out a lot of different ideas Ian. I think you should settle on the bike you want and then make sure it meets your budget and will accommodate the various different components you will be adding (think comparability and component clearance). Unless you have a very specific bike in mind and want to go with it, I'd find a good hybrid cross between a 29'er and a MTB and start my search on BD. I'd also start with a standard 7 or 8 gear rear cluster. You can always add an IGH after which gives you the opportunity to ride the bike before springing for an Alfine or Rohloff. The one thing you've mentioned that I would not do is ride with a battery in a backpack. I realize that it's an option, but I'd be more inclined to use a stock battery mounted to the down tube.

Court J.
 

Ian

Member
Now I'm thinking about using the Motobecane Fantom29 Elite as the project build - I really like that I can fit large tires and have a remote lockout on the front suspension fork. The winter studded tire options for mountain bikes seem to be much more robust than those 45c and under. Too bad it's not available in my size until August... I suppose I'll just wait and save up cash until then or peruse Craigslist.
 
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harryS

Well-Known Member
I just put a BBS02 on an old Diamondback mountain bike. I unlocked the speed limiter and it will go 30 mph on throttle if the speedometer is accurate, 195 lb rider, 20 lbs of motor/battery and relatively heavy alloy bike. The gearing on this bike doesn't support pedalling over 24 mph. As my wont is to pedal at zero and low power assist (for exercise and battery conservation) , the BBS02 is more than enough. 19 mph in PAS 2 is so effortless, I feel guilty. I would think the BBSHD is overkill for a commuting bike. Maybe I'm wrong.

I'll put in some seat time and decide if I need a shift sensor. I'm thinking a button in parallel with one of the brake lever switches would be a cheap substitute. Does the shift sensor times out the engine for a preset interval?

I had a Dolphin battery from another e-bike that I was going to put on the downtube, but it's curved and I didn't want to spend the time fashioning a custom bracket, so I stuck it on a bag on the rear rack. It looks nice, and does not seem to affect my perception of handling, and what handling do I need for streets anyway. I may get a rack battery later.

I would not carry a battery in a backpack. You might never fall, but in winter you might. A pack means more wet stuff hanging on you, if you get caught in weather. Connecting the umbilical cord to a bike has also got to be a bother.
 

Ian

Member
Thanks for the input Harry, I've been thinking about going with the BBSHD mainly because it has been redesigned to be more robust. After seeing this thread I am thinking I'd prefer to stay away from the BBS02 as it seems like you have to do some DIY repairs and maintenance with regularity. I figure I'd just have the extra power there but keep it on low power - save the power for really windy days, going up hill, etc. I think I'm going to do a build with this bike with 40-45c tires and a suspension seat post as I don't do any off road riding and ride on relatively smooth pavement so a front fork seems like overkill. I'd also like to have over 30 miles of range in warm weather so in cold weather I can still do 21 miles without running out of battery.

I'd really like to get the slim rear rack battery pack but the 13.5ah is not available so I'm just going to have to wait. I'm thinking about buying every other part now though and just wait until that battery (or a GA version) comes back in stock. LunaCycles has not responded to my two emails about battery availability though so it makes me a bit worried. Does anyone know about how often/quickly they restock their batteries? Seems like the 13.5ah rack pack has been out of stock for over a month now...
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
I am thinking I'd prefer to stay away from the BBS02 as it seems like you have to do some DIY repairs and maintenance with regularity
I'm not sure where you came up with this idea of regular repairs and maintenance? I have 3 installed BBS02 with a total of 7,000+ miles with no issues at all. The latest converted bike just flipped 2,800 miles and it runs like day 1. With any mechanical device there is always the possibility of failure or wear, but I have found the BBS02's to be quite durable. ;)

Of course, I don't believe you'll have any issues with the HD version either.

Court J.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
Ian, maybe use the chat box and perhaps whoever replies will ask someone to get back to you about battery availability. I think the support line is one guy getting too much email about install issues, although he did respond to me about battery availability by telling me to sign up for the alert list. .

I rechecked my wheel size and the speedometer indicated 31+ mph with chain slip when I shut it down. That's 253.4 pounds of bike/rider/gear, 26" wheel, and 48/14 gearing. Crazy. After that, I set it for 9 level PAS so I can pedal at my slower speeds.

As for the chain slip. my donor bike was pretty used up. Yesterday, I ordered a new chain and free wheel. It has a 13T low gear, so I probably want to reduce the front gear also. More $$, but cheap compared to cars.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
There isn't much difference in price between the HD and the 02. There is no alternative to the 02, for the entry DIY mid-drive. Price should be more like $350. I gripe that Bafang is pretty much a monopoly. The Bafang drives are pretty serviceable. Most of the 02 problems are from pushing it. I believe if you use the PAS it is very robust. With challenging conditions, be in the proper gear. Don't buy the speed chainring if you need to climb steeper hills.

I think the idea is to make the Luna website much more information driven. It's very difficult to explain these drives, the options, the batteries, the build issues one call at a time. I can see everything in DIY making much more sense to people in a year.

Luna has shifted with the advances in cells and the need for more watts. So you've got the 52v packs and the GA cells. I think they inventory the stuff that sells, but it's not a huge inventory. Building season, now.