Researching kits for my 1st and 2nd conversion.

Popparex

New Member
Region
USA
Hello All. I am looking to do a conversion of mine and my wife's bike to some type of ebike.
who we are:
- Me: 6'5" 215 lbs.
- Her: 5' 9 150 lbs. (sorry dear!!)

Current equipment:
- Me: Trek Hybrid 72FX: en14764 wheel 700x35
- Her: Trek Verve 3 Wheel 700 x45

What we want to do and expect...
- Natural bike function. NOT a motorcycle. Smooth Startup and transition through speeds.
- generally casual biking. Paved, gravel and packed dirt roads No Off road...
- Thinking PAS (torque sensor?), don't need/want a throttle but many come with both now...
- Typical speed 15 - 18 MPH... don't need more except to escape a charging bear/Moose
- Reliability over Cost. Distance over Power. Smoothness over speed.
- Probably would like to get a solar recharging setup as well.

Our big plan is to visit the Yukon and Alaska where i expect primarily gravel roads.

We tried a few ebikes and thought they were over priced, generally $2700+
thinking i can convert both bikes for the cost of one.?

Currently i have been looking at the Bafang BBS02B 750W.
Battery TBD. Briefly looked at building one but decided it wouldn't save me much (id any) if i stuck with name-brand batteries.

NOTE: Post on the forum suggested to go with the 750W due to beefier controller internals...

Questions:
Wattage. We may be heading up some long hills in the Rockies. Want to make sure sufficient power without overheating.

Is 750W overkill?
We are fairly healthy at the moment and have always biked normally... we're just getting a little tired out and want to not be limited by our aging muscles. a 30+ mile round-trip is not out of the question.
NOTE : One website recommends limiting the current setting in the firmware to 18 or 20 Amps to eliminate overheating issues.

Best Manufacturers?
So far Bafang and Bosch are the only two we have looked at. Bfang looked good. Bosch doesn't seem to make conversion kits? Just found references to the 750w Tongsheng TSDZ2 which i will also look into.

Batteries?
the description on the websites never give me a warm and fuzzy feeling that we are getting new batteries that are not factory seconds or refurbished.
- Who is your battery go to?
- %2v vs. 48V? NOTE : One website recommends limiting the current setting in the firmware to 18 or 20 Amps to eliminate overheating issues if using a 52 v battery.

Someone on the forum mentioned that bikes without disc brakes are not good candidates for conversion. I see disc brake kits online, but a local bike shop warned against adding Disc brakes as there may be frame incompatibilities. TRUE? or do i just need a rim that would support disc brakes?
Note: I am not convinced. Never had an issue stopping going downhill and i do no anticipate being addicted to high speeds in general.

That's all i can think of at the moment. Sure to think of more as soon as i hit the "send" button.

Thanks for your patience and input. It is greatly appreciated.
 

David Berry

Well-Known Member
Region
Australia
City
Ipswich, QLD
Someone on the forum mentioned that bikes without disc brakes are not good candidates for conversion… but a local bike shop warned against adding disc brakes as there may be frame incompatibilities. TRUE?
Rob and Cheryl…
Welcome to this wonderful forum.

Ebikes need brakes; they do not need disc brakes. Your current rim brakes should be fine. In any case, as your LBS warned, there could be incompatibilities. There most certainly would be!

35 and 45mm tyres are sufficiently wide but, if your frame (notably between the chain stays behind the bottom bracket) can accommodate wider tyres, then consider the 'beefier' option. (I suggest leaving that until later.)

Many forum members ride ebikes with Bosch motors. There is general, if not universal, satisfaction. If you go that way, start saving (or raiding) your pennies as conversion of your present bikes will not be an option. (There are a lot of Europeans who manage to climb genuinely big mountains on ebikes with 250 watt motors!)

Please let us know how the project goes.
… David
 
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Fatknee

Member
Region
USA
Does your normal ride include hills? I recently purchased a ebike with a geared hub motor. It handles hills just fine until they are very steep.

The ghm has much lower maintenance costs than a mid drive since the hub does not load the bikes drive train. Hub motors are much less $ and generally easier to install.

Are you mechanically inclined? There may be some bike/component specific issues that come up.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
Since you are experienced bike riders, and know how to ride with gears, I think the BBS02 750W ought to be fine. On a long pull, you're either helping it or letting it spin in a higher gear. All middrives will overheat if you lug them uphill in a low gear, although the commercial motors use thermal sensors to shut off. Bosch doesn't sell kits. I prefer the cadence sensor these days over a torque sensor. I like having the motor kick in for sure, and not have to push harder to make it happen.

I took my BBS02 conversion to ride rail trails in Colorado in 2017. The grades are for trains, so don't get very steep. but there's less oxygen at 9000 feet, so we were glad to have electrics. My wife had a 500W hub drive. Rim brakes on both. Both bikes worked fine. I've added a front disk to my bike since then, but it's for looks.

Buy a battery, Buy one that comes in a case, like the Hailongs, Mount it securely to the frame. The bottle mount screws aren't enough, Buy it with name brand Samsung, Panasonic, LG, et all cells.
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
Battery TBD. Briefly looked at building one but decided it wouldn't save me much (id any) if i stuck with name-brand batteries.

NOTE: Post on the forum suggested to go with the 750W due to beefier controller internals...
750W BBS02B is a great motor for an active pedaler. It should be ridden like a regular bike. Being sure to shift to a gear you'd use without a motor to take off from a dead stop.
Is 750W overkill?
No. I'd consider the BBSHD, 750-1000W
Bosch doesn't seem to make conversion kits? Just found references to the 750w Tongsheng TSDZ2 which i will also look into.
No kits and zero direct customer support.
One website recommends limiting the current setting in the firmware to 18 or 20 Amps to eliminate overheating issues if using a 52 v battery.
18-20 amp settings are not necessary if running BBS02B or BBSHD. Some of us do run those motors with lower amps, but there's lots of history of zero issues with factory settings. The reference to overheating with a 52V battery is just silly. Forums can have clueless posters.

I had a TSDZ2 factory sample to install and assess. I didn't like it. BUT they've improved. I worry about the future parts stream.
 

EMGX

Well-Known Member
This sort of question has been asked several times in the past so you are bound to get some repeat, broken record, answers, here is mine. For your use as you listed I'd at least consider the TSDZ2. I've found the torque sensing function to be excellent providing a very natural riding experience very similar to Yamaha PW-SE that I also have. I live on a mountain and found that it has good assist. I've never had it overheat or fail in any way including riding miles of uphill, on flats at speeds close to the top end of what it supports (28mph). I rarely ride in the highest level of assist as I haven't found it necessary even on long steep climbs but I put a lot of effort in and ride without assist as much as I can. It makes very efficient use of the battery, I've gone over 100 miles on a cheap 48v 15ah battery. I tested it pulling a one wheel trailer hauling a 35# weight up a long steep road and felt it provided excellent assist and the motor housing didn't get hot to the touch. I have a 36v/500w version and a 48v 750w version - I'd use the higher power one for what you describe.
Here is one of my bikes with the 48v version - since then I've been carrying the battery in a triangle bag. Individual preferences vary but I don't see ever wanting to go back to riding with cadence rather than torque sensing.

I am somewhat concerned about the impact of a lawsuit that I read about Bafang vs Tongsheng but if in the future I can't get any replacement parts (if needed), I won't be any worse off than with my Yamaha which has virtually no parts support. Plus if I ever wanted I could remove the motor and return the bike to stock configuration without any problem.

Regarding brakes, I have bikes with hydraulic discs, mechanical discs, rim brakes and roller brakes. The roller brakes are horrible but all of the others perform fine for me.

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m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
The BBS02B - coupled to some easy alteration to make pedal-assist butter-smooth and not run away from you - is going to be the most polished, reliable and easy-to-install setup of any mid drive. Its also going to have the widest aftermarket support. BUT I would recommend buying a BBSHD rather than a BBS02. I know this is more powerful than you want, and its more money. But the HD is the motor that succeeded the 02, and it did so by being beefier and more reliable. Lets say you only use a fraction of its power... which is going to be longer-lived... a motor running at 80% of its capacity or one running at 25%?

Don't get me wrong the 02 is a great motor. The HD - used like you will use it - is likely indestructible and 200% reliable. So both choices will work.

Treat yourself. 750w is not overkill. Is PAS level 9 too much? Fine dial it down to 2. Being chased by a lovesick moose (or you need to get somewhere quick in an emergency)? You will appreciate the option of more power. Especially chugging up a steep hill.

You can limit an 02 or an HD to lower amps (15a or 20a) again to preserve longevity... but when you dig into the Bafang settings, there are much, much better ways to tame the motor. Leave the amps set to full blast in case you want to lay on the throttle to get home in an emergency or something (it will happen). Set up the bike to be as de-fanged as you want for pedal assist, and let the throttle be the just-in-case override.

My HD motor on my Bullitt is 30a, running a 52v battery. On paper thats about a 1750w motor. However on pedal assist its only feeding about 400w when I am full blast on Level 9 of pedal assist (it gets another 200w from the front wheel motor but thats a whole other story). I dialed it back and you can too. See below and remember there is no such thing as a perfect set of settings - everyone likes it a bit different so invest in the gear and spend an afternoon tinkering. Set it, forget it and never regret it.


Bicycle Motor Works delivers excellent batteries at what amounts to a best price, USA made and constructed only when you order them. I have twin 16ah packs on the way to me right now from them (him actually... its a 1-man shop). He has built custom packs for me as well. Takes about 4-6 weeks from order placement to delivery. Top quality cells and reliable BMS inside.

Bosch does not make conversion kits. Break out the big stack of crisp $100 bills for a pair of Bosch powered bikes or do a Bafang.

Go 52v if you can and use it to power a 48v system. 52v is only 58.8v at a 100% charge. A 48v battery is actually 54.6v at a 100% charge. Only 4v difference. The magic of 52v is not that it gives you more power. Its that it gives you 4 more usable volts until the power depletes to a point where the battery is out of gas ('low voltage cutoff' in ebike parlance) and you need a recharge. its a way to squeeze more mileage out of your bike. The actual power increase is miniscule.

There are proponents of cabled brakes out there. At your power level, you can likely get away with them, but a standard mantra with DIY builders is that disc brakes are a safety requirement. Just like with a hot rod car, if you beef up what makes it go, upgrade what makes it stop. "My brakes are too effective" said no one. Ever. Hydraulic brakes in particular have no cables to stretch, self-adjust and if you buy smart, never leak or need babysitting. Heavy ebikes traveling at faster-than-analog bike speeds stretch cables and the most common complaint is not that they don't stop the bike, but the owner is pissed off s/he is having to adjust the cables every couple of weeks, and along with that the pads need re-centering. Hydros let you forget about the brakes until the pads need changing.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
Solar does not seem to have caught on. I use it. Basically, you can buy a 100 watt panel at Home Depot for $75. That's 18v, basically, to charge 12 volt batteries. So, you need to boost the voltage to 54.6 or so to charge a 48v ebike battery. The easy and cheap way to do this is with a boost solar controller designed for ebike batteries. There's one on Ebay, the blue one or the black one with the blue label. It basically takes the output from the panel and boosts it to any normal ebike voltage. Sometimes the presets are too high, maybe for a different chemistry, but you can do a user setting. You may not want a full charge setting.

There are details to learn on charging lith. But basically once the voltage is set up, with the correct connectors for your panel and your pack, it's plug and play. I have 3 of these, for different voltages. They are cheap and they work for me. You can use 2 or 3 100 watt panels. Maybe you can start a trend. It's basically a battery pack that might go 25 miles and you can charge it forever with no CO2 footprint and no cost. Who would want that?

mppt solar.png
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I often build rim brake bikes and use extra-long shoes. It is important to keep the rims clean. Upgraded shoes can lockup and skid. I prefer smaller torque sensing motors and lighter weight batteries. I also like to keep any added weight to the center of a bike and low. This is where you would put ballast on a sailboat. A good build will not look much like an electric bike.
 

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indianajo

Well-Known Member
Hydraulic brakes in particular have no cables to stretch, self-adjust and if you buy smart, never leak or need babysitting. Heavy ebikes traveling at faster-than-analog bike speeds stretch cables and the most common complaint is not that they don't stop the bike, but the owner is pissed off s/he is having to adjust the cables every couple of weeks,
Stretching cables cost $1 and are made of tin/lead/copper/zinc/iron . Real steel brake cables come from Jaguar and Clark's, and I can't stretch them. I use the stainless slick variety because I ride in the rain frequently. I adjust my front organic pad every 2000 miles; takes 5 minutes.
I've hit the side of a car that ran a stop sign in the rain with rim brakes. As long as you call a tow truck whenever it rains, you'll never need disk brakes.
I have a geared hub motor, but they are not suitable for 1000' in an hour grades. Much easier conversion than mid-drive, however. No machine work. My first KMC chain lasted 5000 miles and at 8000 I'm still on the second. If you don't install the PAS pickup you don't have to buy the special tool to take the crank arm off. I use throttle exclusively. PAS was too fast at level 1 and accelerated to fast, too. PAS was dangerous on bad pavement and when making sharp turns.
 

Popparex

New Member
Region
USA
Wow! Thank you for all the replies! It has certainly helped me to feel good that i have been on the right track with most of this stuff.

I definitely will take a look at the BBSHD motor as i am concerned more with reliability. I also appreciate the confirmation that rim brakes will be fine. I am not looking for speed and my feeling was that if those brakes are sufficient to stop me when barreling down a hill, it should be OK at 18 mph.

SO i'll be online black Friday hoping for deals, but i now have a good feel for what i am looking for. Appreciate all the help and i hope to comment more about the build and future rides!

Thank you all!

Rob, and Cheryl...
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Wow! Thank you for all the replies! It has certainly helped me to feel good that i have been on the right track with most of this stuff.

I definitely will take a look at the BBSHD motor as i am concerned more with reliability. I also appreciate the confirmation that rim brakes will be fine. I am not looking for speed and my feeling was that if those brakes are sufficient to stop me when barreling down a hill, it should be OK at 18 mph.

SO i'll be online black Friday hoping for deals, but i now have a good feel for what i am looking for. Appreciate all the help and i hope to comment more about the build and future rides!

Thank you all!

Rob, and Cheryl...
@Popparex, When I was new to electric bikes I thought that bigger is better. I gravitated to the notion that more is better. The HD is huge and heavy. It lacks feel and subtilty. Without sophisticated reprograming the lowest power level is too much. There is surge and lurch. It can be ghost pedaled. That means that if you don't use any pedal pressure, and pedal super slowly you will still go really fast. Now I am into the Zen Garden of less. This takes additional thought and care but is so very worth it. Before you pull the trigger look into some smaller mid-drive torque sensor motors. Also if it is being shipped by air from overseas, for the next four weeks air freight cost are triple their normal cost. Make sure that the seller is covering customs and freight or your kit could be stuck in limbo without recourse. You might consider postponing for a few weeks until after the Christmas rush. Just some thoughts I would share with a brother or a friend. This is what a clean build Zen, looks like. The third bike is an HD where I removed the ugly wires and connectors.
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Popparex

New Member
Region
USA
@Popparex, When I was new to electric bikes I thought that bigger is better. I gravitated to the notion that more is better. The HD is huge and heavy. It lacks feel and subtilty. Without sophisticated reprograming the lowest power level is too much. There is surge and lurch. It can be ghost pedaled. That means that if you don't use any pedal pressure, and pedal super slowly you will still go really fast. Now I am into the Zen Garden of less. This takes additional thought and care but is so very worth it. Before you pull the trigger look into some smaller mid-drive torque sensor motors. Also if it is being shipped by air from overseas, for the next four weeks air freight cost are triple their normal cost. Make sure that the seller is covering customs and freight or your kit could be stuck in limbo without recourse. You might consider postponing for a few weeks until after the Christmas rush. Just some thoughts I would share with a brother or a friend. This is what a clean build Zen, looks like. The third bike is an HD where I removed the ugly wires and connectors.
View attachment 107852
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Yeah... that's what i am thinking. Too much power. Again, we're into long and leisurely so i will likely stick with the BBS02B but will give the others a look.

Any recommendations on the displays?
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Yeah... that's what i am thinking. Too much power. Again, we're into long and leisurely so i will likely stick with the BBS02B but will give the others a look.

Any recommendations on the displays?
The smaller display the better. The less wires the better. I used to install bricks. In truth you never look at the display when riding. Just like you don't look to see what gear you are in, riding by feel. Want more power? You feel for the up button with your thumb while looking ahead. Even the SO2 is kind of clunky and lacks feel. The good ones, kits, measure pedal pressure or torque, not just cadence. Your input like and acoustic electric guitar is matched and amplified. Smooth, powerful. Intuitive. Still you. Just more.
 

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tomjasz

Well-Known Member
So often and perhaps a large share of the USA market becomes disappointed when their kit is whimsy. The BBSHD is the toughest of the BBSxx series. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve supported them for more than half of the last decade, but sold mine and am happy with MAC motors and BBS01 250-500W. But the BBS01’s, are the slowest sellers. I picked up four BBS01B motors from a USA reseller configuring their eBikes and found no one wanted them. $95 each. All 4 are owned by happy old folks not interested in speed. Battery sippers!
 

Popparex

New Member
Region
USA
Again, Thank you all for the comments.

OK, so this morning i had settled on the BBS02B until i read on a Tong Sheng vendor site (dated 12/2018!!) that the Bafang motor did not have a real torque sensor.

I quote: "The BBS02 delivers 100% power as soon as you start rotating the pedals. It can be too much power if you have it on a high setting. The BBS02 can be set on levels 1-to-9.... The TSDZ2, on the other hand, is torque-sensitive, so it detects how much pressure is put on the pedals and delivers more power the harder you pedal..."

IS this just old, outdated info? It would be a deal killer for me. we WANT the torque sensing and not some jury rigged process.

Thanks again!
Rob
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
The BBS02 can be "tuned" using a simple programming cable and readily available help and advice. Nothing is jury rigged. It has been by far the industry leader in DIY mid drives. See threads by Gionirocket, ahicks, and HarryS. Lots of help and support here.

I gave my TSDZ2, bike, and battery to a fella down on his luck. (70 years old with a $600 SS monthly check. Full disclosure, I have worked support for BBSxx series resellers for 6 years. But I have no financial gain and never sell or even reference the group I work with. There are several very good USA sources.

However, there are several TSDZ2 users that developed aftermarket products and firmware to improve the TSDZ2. IMO not the easiest path forward.

An exhausting TSDZ2 thread on endless-sphere.

The mounting of the TSDZ2 interfered with the kickstand. Make certain it will install properly on your bikes.
If the TSDZ2 is your choice, I'd buy the TSDZ2 from David Hall at Eco Cycles. His support is absolutely the best.


An example of BBSxx programming files.
Screen Shot 2021-11-26 at 9.55.38 AM.png

An example of BBSxx programming files.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
If you want the exercise with a cadence system, you can pedal harder and put in more power than what the motor delivers. With a torque sense system, if you don't press hard enough, you don't get any assist. It depends on where you fit on the pedaling spectrum as a bike rider.
 

Popparex

New Member
Region
USA
OK, I have flopped back to the BBS02B... (For now... should order it before i change my mind again!)

DO you guys have a favorite US reseller?

Thnx!
 

EMGX

Well-Known Member
FWIW in my experience (2 Tongsheng TSDZ2 36v/500w and 48v/750w) ridden for hundreds of miles each) a couple clarifications regarding above posts.

"if you don't press hard enough, you don't get any assist"
That isn't my experience with either my TSDZ2 nor my Yamaha PW-SE. The amount of assist delivered is proportional to your pedaling effort/pressure on the pedals. The power delivery is very natural. I also have a couple bikes that I installed geared hub motors with only cadence sensing (with power based rather than speed based KT controllers) they work fine but I never choose to ride those bikes (one is my wife's) because I much prefer the natural bike riding experience of the torque sensing mid drive - it is like riding a regular bike but as if I was a much stronger rider.

Regarding need to reprogram the controller - entirely unnecessary IMO. It works as well out of the box as my Yamaha mid drive. I get the impression that tomjasz and another member got old units or defective units or have never ridden a Yamaha system to compare it to. I don't recall ever reading about how Yamaha equipped bikes have poor programming or don't perform well and the Tongsheng is very similar in performance.

Regarding the Tongsheng installation interfering with the kickstand - that is only true in some cases if you choose to install an anti-rotation fixing block that fits above and between the chainstays just behind the seat tube. I've installed the motor on a few of my bikes without even using that fixing block without any problems and I prefer the position of the motor when it is rotated forward without that device anyway.

Installation of the Tongsheng on a compatible bike is an extremely simple procedure. If you have the ability to remove a bottom bracket cartridge you can install a Tongsheng. I've done it several times for different bikes I have, just because.

Do what you feel would work best for you but I plan on touring on my Tongsheng equipped bike similar to how I have with my Yamaha equipped bike and without reservations of any kind.