New Motobecane ULTRA eAdventure! / Preliminary Mid vs. Hub Drive Stats

Catalyzt

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
The monster arrived and is assembled! Full review coming soon -- there are not enough Motobecane reviews posted, and none for this odd model -- zip, zero, nada. Here's what it looks like-- cooler in person than the photo on the Bikes Direct website, I think:

Moto Ultra eAdv Small.jpg


For the three weeks it took to have the bike shipped and assembled, I've been agonizing over the question:

How different is this 49 pound 250 Watt 40 Nm torque-sensor mid-drive pedelec (max assist 20 MPH) going to be from 40 pound my kit bike (Trek 930/Hiltopper), a 250 Watt 30 Nm throttle-only hub drive Class III (max assist unknowable, but likely about 23 MPH)? I was on a budget, and I knew it would be underpowered, but how painful would it be? Would 40 Nm be enough?

The answer: Probably. Almost certain I'm keeping it. The power-to-weight is RIGHT on the edge, and I'm also seeking advice on the best way-- if there is one-- to solve that problem eventually-- I think it has to be dropping weight, because I do not think the Shimano E5000 frame mount will fit any other Shimano motor. The following crude test was done mostly at max assist for the Moto, though I did dial it down to normal, eco, or off when possible. These are rough estimates, as the Moto numbers are coming from the display, and the Trek numbers are from an app and a stopwatch. Let's start with the bad news:

Maximum Speed Uphill: Advantage Trek. On 4.4 miles (one way) with 850 feet of moderate but relentless vertical, the Trek is roughly 8.5% faster. Took me 22 minutes flat on the Moto vs. 20 minutes and change on the Trek. That's the hardest thing to accept. It's very back-of-the-envelope, I may have been working harder on the Moto, but I also used just a bit less assist than I wanted to at the very end of the run, because it's the last ride of the week and I was nearing the end of my range, I'm figuring those two things cancel each other out. Also was a bit sloppy with the chrono on the G-Shock, but probably pretty close.

Maximum Speed Downhill: Advantage Moto. Same route, 4.4 miles, at 31.3 MPH, the Moto was 8% faster. No surprise there, and again, sloppy numbers, but I know that on that run, I tried really hard, and repeatedly, on the Trek, but barely hit 29.

Average Speed: Advantage Moto! This was the biggest surprise, because the Trek feels faster. Guess what? It isn't. I can't figure a valid average, because I didn't record an average speed on the Trek for this particular run, but today the average speed on the Moto was 13.8 MPH. On the Trek, I've never cracked an average of 13 MPH on any of the 30 runs I logged. That means that just today, the Moto was roughly 6% faster than any run on the Trek!

Isn't that weird? Except for going downhill, the Trek feels faster for sure. I'd been told about this pedelec vs. throttle effect, that the subjective experience was misleading, but it's astonishing to experience. The motor does tend to surge just a bit on certain hills between 6 and 8 MPH-- goes from 1/2 to full assist kind of abruptly, and it's at a cadence and crank pressure that I find just a little uncomfortable-- a little too hard, a little too fast. So it is a real workout to ride.

Man, I just wish it was a little faster uphill. I'm guessing that it's possible to drop three pounds for about $1,000-- probably tires, CF bars, stem, and seat post, possibly different shocks/fork (though I really like the Suntour, I don't know crap about suspension) and that it might be worth doing. It's just right on the edge, guys... at the point where little stuff makes a difference I can feel. Locking out the suspension definitely made a difference (I did for this test). When I don't wear my 5 pound armored jacket (I wore it for this test), it feels closer to where it should be. If I can get it down to 46 pounds, and switch to a 2.5 standalone armored vest for a net decrease of 5.5, I think that could put me where I want to be.

Maybe I'm crazy and I should just ride the hell out of this thing for two or three years, then bite the bullet and spend 4 or 5 grand and then get a Class III. (Ouch! The Moto cost only $2,000 + $150 for assembly. And I love the way it rides and handles, size is perfect.) Interested in your thoughts.

 

antboy

Well-Known Member
I'm not familiar with the E5000 (have the E6100), but have you connected with the official Shimano app yet? That's the best starting point to see if you can fine tune the performance without going out of warranty.

It sounds like you're willing to tinker and take chances, so there's a couple of options to boost the speed, for far cheaper than buying a new bike or motor. :)

There are 3rd party boxes, like the BadAssBox that snap over the sensor to give you more speed... https://www.badassebikes.com/badassBox-4-Shimano-2019/badassBox-4-Shimano-2019
There are other brands as well, and you'd have to check compatibility with your motor and firmware version.

There's also a couple of 3rd party apps that will derestrict the motor in different ways.

I'll waiting until I'm out of warranty to play with any of these, so I can't vouch for them, but they appear to work...
or
www.eplus.bike - this one also has an option to flash a custom firmware on the bike that can apparently give you a max speed of 50kph (about 31mph) AND report the correct speed, but you'd need to buy the Shimano diagnostic interface (about $200 Canadian), and connect to a Windows 10 PC to flash the firmware.

If you try something, I'd be curious to hear the results. :)
 

Catalyzt

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Yes, I did use the Shimano app, and it definitely helped! It does not provide as much customization as it does for the 6100, 8000, or other motors in the series, but it adds a "Sportive" mode that makes "Eco" and "Normal" much more useful.

Yes, I've thought about Speedbox or other apps, but I'm with you-- not until the bike is out of warranty... maybe WAY out of warranty. The other thing to consider is that the E5000 is a lighter and smaller motor, so I don't know how well it would take to being derestricted. It might be more prone to overheating than other models. But please feel free to hit me back, either her or DM, to let me know if anyone's had any experience doing this with the E5000. Very hard to find ANY online feedback about this motor, let alone how it would respond to derestriction or one third-party app vs. another.

What would be ideal would be to add two new modes-- a high torque option that would get the torque to 50 or 55 Nm, and a high speed option that would get me to 25 MPH or just short of 28. I wouldn't want to push the motor harder than that-- and I wouldn't use those options except when I had to.

Money is a factor-- this is my biggest and only elective expense for the year, my business fluctuates unpredictably, and so do my expenses-- but if it cost me a grand to lose three pounds, I'd still be ahead of the game considering my low initial cost.
 

Catalyzt

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
lol when I saw the name Ultra, I thought it was powered by Bafang Ultra
Ha! Exactly the opposite-- more like "Ultra Low Power." Or could be the "Ultra Light" of the HAL e-series, which would also be comical... my back of the envelope is that it is probably lighter than any other HAL bike... by a whopping 2%, maybe 1 to 2 pounds!
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
Ha! Exactly the opposite-- more like "Ultra Low Power." Or could be the "Ultra Light" of the HAL e-series, which would also be comical... my back of the envelope is that it is probably lighter than any other HAL bike... by a whopping 2%, maybe 1 to 2 pounds!
FYI a delimiter will not make the motor faster or more powerful. All it does is defeat the governer so the motor will keep assisting past the cutoff. If you already feel a lack of power, maybe save up for a bigger motor and/or consider buying used to cut costs. It is a cool bike for sure and if I was 35 or 45 years old and very fit I would want it in my stable, but at my age ( 67 ) there is no substitute for power. (-:
 

Catalyzt

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
FYI a delimiter will not make the motor faster or more powerful. All it does is defeat the governer so the motor will keep assisting past the cutoff. If you already feel a lack of power, maybe save up for a bigger motor and/or consider buying used to cut costs. It is a cool bike for sure and if I was 35 or 45 years old and very fit I would want it in my stable, but at my age ( 67 ) there is no substitute for power. (-:
That is what I thought the first few days that I had it. I was almost ready to sell it; now you'd have to pry the handlebars out of my cold, stiff fingers.

It is really surprising me. 850 foot 4.4 mile climb took me 22 minutes three weeks ago, and I felt like I was pushing hard.

Two weeks ago, I did it in 21 minutes, and didn't feel like I was exerting myself as much.

Last week, I did it in 20 minutes, same as my first E-Bike, and it was even easier-- a good workout, but it wasn't push, push, push, go, go, go like the first run.

Yes, my shifting technique has improved, the lighter armor helps, I'm carrying maybe two or three pounds less weight overall, and I'm in good shape. But I have to believe the bike is breaking in somehow. It's got more power, more grunt. I can feel "Eco" now, and previously "Eco" seemed almost like nothing. When the power meter maxes out, I can feel the bike pushing harder. We've had a couple of chilly evenings when I went back to the heavier armored jacket, and it felt the same.

I'm 63, so my prediction is that with a little more weight trimming-- tires and a seat, maybe take it down to 47-- it will be fine...

...probably for another three or four years, e.g., until I'm 67!
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
That is what I thought the first few days that I had it. I was almost ready to sell it; now you'd have to pry the handlebars out of my cold, stiff fingers.

It is really surprising me. 850 foot 4.4 mile climb took me 22 minutes three weeks ago, and I felt like I was pushing hard.

Two weeks ago, I did it in 21 minutes, and didn't feel like I was exerting myself as much.

Last week, I did it in 20 minutes, same as my first E-Bike, and it was even easier-- a good workout, but it wasn't push, push, push, go, go, go like the first run.

Yes, my shifting technique has improved, the lighter armor helps, I'm carrying maybe two or three pounds less weight overall, and I'm in good shape. But I have to believe the bike is breaking in somehow. It's got more power, more grunt. I can feel "Eco" now, and previously "Eco" seemed almost like nothing. When the power meter maxes out, I can feel the bike pushing harder. We've had a couple of chilly evenings when I went back to the heavier armored jacket, and it felt the same.

I'm 63, so my prediction is that with a little more weight trimming-- tires and a seat, maybe take it down to 47-- it will be fine...

...probably for another three or four years, e.g., until I'm 67!
HAHA ! It is a very attractive bike!
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove
Actually the power to weight sounds very similar to my Como 3. It's 46 lbs with the small E class motor and battery, and about 45 nm of torque.
I ride in a hilly area and find the boost adequate to climb serious hills with serious effort, but I am almost 70 years old and out of shape , so there's that.
 

Catalyzt

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Actually the power to weight sounds very similar to my Como 3. It's 46 lbs with the small E class motor and battery, and about 45 nm of torque.
I ride in a hilly area and find the boost adequate to climb serious hills with serious effort, but I am almost 70 years old and out of shape , so there's that.
That is a nice bike, and I bet it is a similar experience -- "serious hills with serious effort" sounds about right, this describes my neighborhood rides as well! I do lock out the rear suspension and tighten up the front when I'm going mostly uphill on asphalt, so I bet you would find riding my bike here very similar to riding your bike there in terms of effort. IThe ride and handling would be different, of course.)

I am narrowing the gap in weight-- new tubeless tires coming and a CF seat, I am hoping to see 47 on the bathroom scale when I am done, though this will bring my total cost closer to the price of the Como 3 as well! I now have 200 miles on the bike, and should post my full review, it's really done, I just need to add one or two pictures.

I am very fit, but I have health issues-- history of two massive DVTs in my left leg, autoimmune disorder that comes and goes. When I am between flares, which can be 6 weeks to 3 or 4 months, I can get very strong. During flares, I feel like I'm 80 years old, and I'm very stiff, use a cane in the mornings. Conventional wisdom is that patients with these conditions (lupus, RA, MCTD, etc.) should rest during flares, but I disagree with this strategy. By mid afternoon, the stiffness and muscle pain is mostly gone, and if I can do 20-30 minutes of moderate cardio, biking, swimming, or elliptical, I think the flare ends sooner and I'm less debilitated overall.

In a flare now, and this evening, after my last client, I'm going to try for 20 minutes on the easiest, least aggressive routes through the hills near our house-- that will be about all I can do and I have a slow leak in my tire anyway, waiting for the new ones to be delivered-- and then 5 or 10 minutes of gentle lap swimming in the backyard pool. That will clear my head so I can write my notes quickly!
 

Lar

Active Member
Ha! Exactly the opposite-- more like "Ultra Low Power." Or could be the "Ultra Light" of the HAL e-series, which would also be comical... my back of the envelope is that it is probably lighter than any other HAL bike... by a whopping 2%, maybe 1 to 2 pounds!
I waited close to six months for one of the Hal bikes to become available there just to find out they're not going to be in till the end of this year sometime... maybe
 

Catalyzt

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Wow-- one of the reasons I chose Bikes Direct (I am assuming that is where you are looking or purchased) was because I heard they were pretty decent about shipping. I confess that another consideration was that I figured the ULTRA would not be as popular because it is underpowered, so they were more likely to have the bike in stock, and actually completing the transaction would be more likely.

Sorry you have to wait so long, man. That sucks!

BTW, an update: The Trek no longer has the advantage for maximum speed uphill. Riding the Moto Ultra, I have now matched my normal time for the same 850 foot uphill climb, though I don't know whether that's because the motor got 'broken in' (though I've never heard of that) or my shifting technique or physical condition improved since I first posted. I suspect a bit of all three.
 

Lar

Active Member
Wow-- one of the reasons I chose Bikes Direct (I am assuming that is where you are looking or purchased) was because I heard they were pretty decent about shipping. I confess that another consideration was that I figured the ULTRA would not be as popular because it is underpowered, so they were more likely to have the bike in stock, and actually completing the transaction would be more likely.

Sorry you have to wait so long, man. That sucks!

BTW, an update: The Trek no longer has the advantage for maximum speed uphill. Riding the Moto Ultra, I have now matched my normal time for the same 850 foot uphill climb, though I don't know whether that's because the motor got 'broken in' (though I've never heard of that) or my shifting technique or physical condition improved since I first posted. I suspect a bit of all three.
Not their fault and it worked out...
 

Catalyzt

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Not their fault and it worked out...
Glad to hear it!

Curious which HAL you got, battery and motor and what kind of range you are getting and with how much vertical. I guess it is normal for range to vary from 30-42 miles depending on terrain, with a 418W battery. To get over 40, I really have to hold the vertical to 4,000 feet per charge, which is not easy around here!
 

Lar

Active Member
Glad to hear it!

Curious which HAL you got, battery and motor and what kind of range you are getting and with how much vertical. I guess it is normal for range to vary from 30-42 miles depending on terrain, with a 418W battery. To get over 40, I really have to hold the vertical to 4,000 feet per charge, which is not easy around here!
It worked out in that I ended up finding a Trek Powerfly 9.7 with 70 miles on it. More money but I'm happy with it.

I was waiting for the m600 but would have gone for the other integrated battery one but in an email was told neither was expected till the end of this year.
 

Catalyzt

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Oh, yeah. The Powerfly is in a completely different league from the Ultra, and probably a big step up from the M600 as well. I'm sure you're having a blast with it!

I don't do any really technical stuff. My doctor would probably strangle me if she knew I was doing trails at all. I have a lot to learn, but as the weeks go by, I do find I'm spending more time on dirt and less on pavement.
 
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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Hi guys,

I have made some analysis based on hard data from my Vado, as that bike allows downloading and analysing complete measured data ride in Excel.

I was on a ride with friends on May 9th. As I was initially riding with a 74-yo traditional cyclist only, I set the assistance to so-called 25% "Specialized assistance" (theoretically meaning a quarter of maximum leg power amplification factor of 3.2x) and I also limited Max Motor Power to 25% of maximum peak power of 520 W. We both were riding uphill, and I was staying at that low assistance on purpose, heavily downshifting instead of increasing the assistance. Now, I could extract ride data for that very segment. A little bit shocking.

1620795436407.png

The X axis is the current trip distance in metres. So it was a mild, 1 km long climb.

I have determined that:
  • The actual leg power amplification factor was variable between 1x and 1.4x
  • The average motor torque was only 12.5 Nm! (Maximum torque value of 29 Nm). It's worthwhile to add the maximum torque is 90 Nm for that motor.
Of course, that very hill was not dramatic. My point is: If a traditional cyclist can climb a hill then your 40-45 Nm maximum motor torque is a lot. Honestly, a 90 Nm motor drags you uphill as if you were riding a lift... :)
 
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