Scope creep! Cruising on dirt & forest service roads

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I have both mid-drives and hub drives. Hub drives have their advantages (best at higher speeds, cheaper) but really are not as well suited as mid-drives offroad but are great for the flatter 'plains trails' and/or commuting. I just built a very powerful hub drive but would never take it up to nederland unless I stuck to paved roads.
Once again a poster mixes up direct hub drives, and geared hub drives. No adjective, no information.
Direct drives hub motors are cheap, are great at high speeds on flat territory, don't accelerate well. My 1000 W direct drive one would climb grades but used a lot of watthours doing so. The Radcity the OP rode is a direct drive 750 W hub motor.
I weekly ride a geared hub drive with up to 80 lb supplies on a 94 lb cargo bike, up four 15% grades 100' long; At the end of a 30 miles ride. The profile terraunbound posted include a 12.7% grade and a 500 foot rise. Totally doable with a 500W geared hub motor as I have. OP is not even carrying cargo and probably she doesn't load her bike up to 94 lb with tools, tubes & parts, water, racks.
Geared hub drives will NOT do 1000' rise in an hour, they will overheat and short a winding. Mac who made my motor said 40 minutes at full power and low speed will burn the motor. So in Colorado most road rides will be fine on their geared hub drive, maybe some off road trips would as that 2000' rise trip. PAS control is not suited for dodging rocks in true off-road mountain bikeing. I found PAS unsuitable for dodging ruts on state hwy 3, too fast, so I ditched the PAS sensor when I moved the motor from huffy cruiser to yuba bodaboda. I use a throttle. Torque sensing is more natural, is available on geared hub drive bike xtreme catalina.
I seriously did not want a mid-drive because I ride unpowered most of the time for exercise, using the motor only for days when I have to accomplish 30 miles into a 25 mph headwind. All the middrives drag unpowered except shimano steps, yamaha, & brose. They all wear out chains at 2 to 15 times the rate my bike does, which is a chain (8 speed) every 5000 miles. Mid drives cost more; my Mac12 hub motor in wheel+controller+throttle+charger was $640 and the battery was $610. The cargo bike for short people was $1500. So there is a way to save $1000-3000, if you can operate a terminal crimp tool and make brackets out of aluminum with a drill & hacksaw. Support is me. When I have drive problems, I throw the system away and buy a new one. My first geared hub drive was $221 and lasted 4500 miles before a gear wore out. Changeover to the Mac took 2 afternoons in my back yard. Changing the chain took longer because I did it wrong 3 different ways. I bought 2 $300 trash batteries & threw them away, limit your battery source to luna, ebikeling, or california. When a generic battery you built the mount for wears out in 1000 charges, you don't have to worry about a sleek made-to-fit battery not being available from a vendor that may be out of business.
I also live in metro Louisville. Ky, not Colorado. We have 15% grades in S. Indiana, but my total rise in 3 1/2 hours & 30 miles is 200'.
Happy shopping and riding.
 
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AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
My recent search for a new bike suffered the same "scope creep". Very easy to justify spending more money on extra power and features. In the end though, a reality check, and the final choice was a bike that was about half of what I had justified during the scope creep phase of my shopping!

Best of luck!
 

terraunbound

New Member
Once again a poster mixes up direct hub drives, and geared hub drives. No adjective, no information.
Direct drives hub motors are cheap, are great at high speeds on flat territory, don't accelerate well. My 1000 W direct drive one would climb grades but used a lot of watthours doing so.
I weekly ride a geared hub drive with up to 80 lb supplies on a 94 lb cargo bike, up four 15% grades 100' long; At the end of a 30 miles ride. ...
Geared hub drives will NOT do 1000' rise in an hour, they will overheat and short a winding. ... So in Colorado most road rides will be fine on their geared hub drive, maybe some off road trips would not. ..... PAS control is not suited for dodging rocks in true mountain bikeing. ...Torque sensing is more natural, is available on geared hub drive bike xtreme catalina.
IJ - you reminded me to hear about the direct drive hub motor vs geared hub motors. "Geared hub drives will NOT do 1000' rise in an hour" Are you saying that a Geared hub drive would burn out climbing a multi-mile slope but the direct hub drive would be ok?

Checking my understanding - PAS ( is Pedal assist system ... w/ cadence sensor?) With dodging rocks and crossing gullies, you mention PAS (which is Pedal assist... cadence sensor?) is no bueno while torque sensing works well. That makes sense due to the lag - unless I'm misunderstanding the definition of PAS.

What I've seen so far is that almost all hub-drives come with a throttle which to me is a nice way to control tricky situations and would overcome the cadence sensor lag. No mid-drives come with throttles (could be fitted later?)
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
IJ - you reminded me to hear about the direct drive hub motor vs geared hub motors. "Geared hub drives will NOT do 1000' rise in an hour" Are you saying that a Geared hub drive would burn out climbing a multi-mile slope but the direct hub drive would be ok?

Checking my understanding - PAS ( is Pedal assist system ... w/ cadence sensor?) With dodging rocks and crossing gullies, you mention PAS (which is Pedal assist... cadence sensor?) is no bueno while torque sensing works well. That makes sense due to the lag - unless I'm misunderstanding the definition of PAS.

What I've seen so far is that almost all hub-drives come with a throttle which to me is a nice way to control tricky situations and would overcome the cadence sensor lag. No mid-drives come with throttles (could be fitted later?)
Direct drives cool okay lugging, the windings are on the outside. Also ferrifluid can be added to direct drives if you climb a lot. Lugging DD motors waste energy. My DD hub motor ran my battery almost down on 77 hills & 27 miles. My Mac12 geared hub motor does 30 miles with a dozen more hills and arrives with 47 volts left. Same battery.
The 2000' rise profile posted has a 500' downgrade, so if momentum is conserved on pavement, a geared hub may be okay. If you pedal uphill substantially a geared hub motor is okay. If you are light a geared hub motor may be okay anyway. If your load holds a geared hub motor to 5 mph upgrade at full throttle for 40 minutes, it will overheat. My geared hub motor will haul 330 lb over 30 miles of 80+ hills with no input from me at all if my knee has a bad day. ( I have Viet Nam era vet knees,no cartlege).
PAS is jerky, and the one from ebikeling was too fast even for bad pavement I ride on. Throttle is easily controllable. Most mid-drives don't have it because they have to sell in Europe to pay for the engineering+tooling, and throttle is banned in Europe for bicycles. You can't add it later, the controller has no input for it.
Most mid-drives are 350 watt because that is the max in Europe. My geared hub drives, the ebikeling was 1300 W and the Mac12 is 500 W. The wattage over 500 wasn't worth much on the ebikeling drive, it didn't add that much more torque than 500 W. Plus I think the 350 W geared hub motors like magnum might be marginal in Colorado for riders 190 lb or more.
If I rode off-road more than I do I'd want a torque sensing geared hub drive. There are more & more of them around, it is popular. On a 3.5 hour day into a 25 mph headwind, my throttle hand gets tired.
 
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RandallS

Well-Known Member
Region
Canada
City
Calgary
FWIW, my current bike is a MY20 Giant Fathom E+1 Pro. Looking at your desired rideability locations, I'd have no problems recommending it for you. I too looked at the Explore as i wanted an all rounder to tackle paths, trails, hills etc.

I haven't had any second thoughts about the Fathom over the Explore, as it is a very capable ride for my style of riding. Once I started going down (and the associated up) trails and paths, i realised I preferred it to riding paved and groomed pathways, as it was, quite frankly, more interesting and gives me a better workout when i want it. I do ride with others however, and not all share my enthusiasm for hills and tracks, so from time to time i do some flatter pathway rides with friends, including someone who just bought a MY21 Explore Pro. Thats a beautiful bike which is the same price point as my Fathom.

With the Pro motor, my limiting factor on climbing is traction and technique. If memory serves me correctly,the steepest climb of any length is about 75m of 18-22% and I've done that climb numerous times.

I live in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, and although i could head east and rode the flats of the prairies, i go west and ride the hills on my hardtail eMTB.

Go ride some hardtails and see what you think. I chose a Giant, but Trek and others make similar bikes.
Whatever you buy, if you plan to ride that trail, make sure you get a dropper seat post.
 

linklemming

Well-Known Member
Once again a poster mixes up direct hub drives, and geared hub drives. No adjective, no information.
Nope, I didnt mix them up at all. Direct Drives have no use to me for the rides I do and as such are the last thing I think about. I gave no examples of direct drive in my posts
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
IJ - you reminded me to hear about the direct drive hub motor vs geared hub motors. "Geared hub drives will NOT do 1000' rise in an hour" Are you saying that a Geared hub drive would burn out climbing a multi-mile slope but the direct hub drive would be ok?

Checking my understanding - PAS ( is Pedal assist system ... w/ cadence sensor?) With dodging rocks and crossing gullies, you mention PAS (which is Pedal assist... cadence sensor?) is no bueno while torque sensing works well. That makes sense due to the lag - unless I'm misunderstanding the definition of PAS.

What I've seen so far is that almost all hub-drives come with a throttle which to me is a nice way to control tricky situations and would overcome the cadence sensor lag. No mid-drives come with throttles (could be fitted later?)
Just "PAS" means "pedals are your throttle" and nothing else; the very act of pedalling activates the motor. A quality mid-drive motor e-bike uses several sensors: Your pedal torque/power, your cadence (pedal frequency), motor rpm, the rpm from the rear wheel, and may even have an accelerometer and slope inclination sensor. All these sensors are used to create natural ride feeling, and help clearing technical terrain.

For instance, some Giant E+ e-bikes (and other brands based on Yamaha PW-X2 motor) support the "Zero Cadence" concept, meaning the motor starts exactly when you stamped on the pedal. Think of re-starting your ride uphill on rocks. Specialized Turbo Levo has similar features; you can define in an app how rapidly the motor should react to your pedal push (instant motor reaction in technical terrain might result in a wheelie if the motor started the assist immediately). You can even define your preference of spinning over "mashing" for Turbo Levo.

The major difference of the mid-drive over hub-drive is the former acts together with the rider through the drive-train. As long as you stay in low gear, the motor + your own pedal torque are amplified at the rear wheel. That way, the 80 Nm of Giant SyncDrive Pro motor becomes as much as 120 Nm at the rear wheel and that's from the motor alone; your legs add additional watts that translate to Newton-meters. That's why you can expect a wheelie during your energetic pedalling uphill in the POWER (Turbo) mode as described by @PDoz.

Respected mid-drives come without the throttle.

Why hub-drive is not really good for mountain riding? The hub-motor works on the principle of "pushing" the bike. There is no drive-train amplification help there. Hub-motors love spinning fast. To move uphill (and assuming you're using the throttle -- for clarity of thinking), you need to apply a lot of power to the hub-motor; it means a lot of heat release there. If you want to ride technically, you need low speed (and that's against the hub-motor principle to spin fast). For these reasons, hub-motors are not found in any premium e-MTB. Hub-motors might play their role on sealed mountain roads perhaps but not off-road.

Weight is an additional factor. To be able to ride uphill, the hub-motor needs far more power compared to the mid-drive. That translates to larger battery needed, and that makes a hub-drive e-bike heavy (not what you want on the trail).

Did I mention the weight distribution? Mid-drives have the centre of mass located centrally and low. Heavy hub-drives move the centre of mass to the rear and quite high.

Most mid-drives don't have it because they have to sell in Europe to pay for the engineering+tooling, and throttle is banned in Europe for bicycles. You can't add it later, the controller has no input for it.
Not that these sell to Europe. Mid-drive motors sell to mountain bike riders. An e-MTB is not and won't be cheap.
 
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AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Just "PAS" means "pedals are your throttle" and nothing else; the very act of pedalling activates the motor. A quality mid-drive motor e-bike uses several sensors: Your pedal torque/power, your cadence (pedal frequency), motor rpm, the rpm from the rear wheel, and may even have an accelerometer and slope inclination sensor. All these sensors are used to create natural ride feeling, and help clearing technical terrain.

For instance, some Giant E+ e-bikes (and other brands based on Yamaha PW-X2 motor) support the "Zero Cadence" concept, meaning the motor starts exactly when you stamped on the pedal. Think of re-starting your ride uphill on rocks. Specialized Turbo Levo has similar features; you can define in an app how rapidly the motor should react to your pedal push (instant motor reaction in technical terrain might result in a wheelie if the motor started the assist immediately). You can even define your preference of spinning over "mashing" for Turbo Levo.

The major difference of the mid-drive over hub-drive is the former acts together with the rider through the drive-train. As long as you stay in low gear, the motor + your own pedal torque are amplified at the rear wheel. That way, the 85 Nm of Giant SyncDrive Pro motor becomes as much as 120 Nm at the rear wheel and that's from the motor alone; your legs add additional watts that translate to Newton-meters. That's why you can expect a wheelie during your energetic pedalling uphill in the POWER (Turbo) mode as described by @PDoz.

Respected mid-drives come without the throttle.

Why hub-drive is not really good for mountain riding? The hub-motor works on the principle of "pushing" the bike. There is no drive-train amplification help there. Hub-motors love spinning fast. To move uphill (and assuming you're using the throttle -- for clarity of thinking), you need to apply a lot of power to the hub-motor; it means a lot of heat release there. If you want to ride technically, you need low speed (and that's against the hub-motor principle to spin fast). For these reasons, hub-motors are not found in any premium e-MTB. Hub-motors might play their role on sealed mountain roads perhaps but not off-road.

Weight is an additional factor. To be able to ride uphill, the hub-motor needs far more power compared to the mid-drive. That translates to larger battery needed, and that makes a hub-drive e-bike heavy (not what you want on the trail).

Did I mean weight distribution? Mid-drives have the centre of mass located centrally and low. Heavy hub-drives move the centre of mass to the rear and quite high.


Not that these sell to Europe. Mid-drive motors sell to mountain bike riders. An e-MTB is not and won't be cheap.

"Respected mid-drives come without the throttle." The bigger Bafang mid drives not only come with a throttle, the newest, the Ultra Max, comes with torques sensing. This in addition to the most power available anywhere, makes them second to none. If that's not enough, all of them feature completely customizable software. These features make them pretty well respected where I come from.

"The hub-motor works on the principle of "pushing" the bike. There is no drive-train amplification help there." That is, unless you are talking about a GEAR DRIVEN hub with it's 5:1 gears. Granted, you don't have the deep reduction a mid drive has. For many though, that's not necessary. Further, many will tell you a gear driven hub is a lot easier to ride.

"To be able to ride uphill, the hub-motor needs far more power compared to the mid-drive." A gear driven hub makes this pure nonsense. Possibly true only if taken to extremes. This may be true if talking direct drive rear hubs, but we don't know that as it's not been made clear which drive he's speaking of.

Regarding my gear driven hub comments, to be fair, I'm assuming we're riding on paved or hard packed surfaces. NOT a rock strewn single track with a nearly impossible angle of climb. Most of us will never see anything like that, let alone attempt to climb it....
 
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linklemming

Well-Known Member
Some more things to add on this:

Torque multiplication ONLY happens when the front chainring is smaller than the rear cog. For the case of the trance that has a 36t chainring, you would have to be using a 36t rear cog. I can tell you from experience that for that gear combination, Im going up something VERY steep and am having a hard time keeping my front wheel on the ground.

All other riding is actually experiencing torque reduction
 
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pmcdonald

Well-Known Member
The goal is to be able to ride and have fun, explore my bumpy little corner of heaven. There are plenty of dirt roads with rocks sticking up, small washed out gullies, etc to ride through/around, so yeah, the bike can't be a powder puff.
Regarding my gear driven hub comments, to be fair, I'm assuming we're riding on paved or hard packed surfaces. NOT a rock strewn single track with a nearly impossible angle of climb. Most of us will never see anything like that, let alone attempt to climb it....
Isn't that exactly what the OP is talking about? The track they listed also featured a 1000 ft rise over 2.5 miles. I wouldn't want to regularly attempt that on a geared hub if I valued the life of my motor!

Based on the info presented I think a mid drive is 100% the way to go.
 

linklemming

Well-Known Member
Some more things to clarify:

The trail pic I posted was not one mentioned by the OP. It was me showing what could be ridden in that area. I doubt that trail is even legal for ebikes. Its not the steepness of that trail that makes it brutal (its more of a rolling terrain ride), its the constant rock dodging and pedal strikes that just wears me out after awhile. The rides at Heil and Hall ranch nearby are just as rocky if not moreso but have nice long downhills

The OP seemed more interested in riding groomed access roads.

I mentioned riding Caribou road on a hub bike and now that I think about it, I dont think that would be a good idea. It would certainly be doable if one didnt use alot of assist but whats the fun in that.
 
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linklemming

Well-Known Member
Or, 51t :) That's -- as you know -- MTB gearing.
Are you talking about a 51t front chainring? If so your mid-drive has no torque multiplication (Im assuming your not using a rear cog larger that 50t)

Or perhaps you mean a 52t rear cog, with a 36t front chainring that would be some seriously steep terrain or your riding without assist. Please provide ride details of that

On my Bulls eMTB with a 34t front chainring and 11-42 cassette (three largest cogs are 32,37,42), I have only ever used the 37t rear cog once and it was so steep I basically had my chest on the handlebar. When I finally decided I wasnt going to make it and bailed, it was too steep to start again either uphill or downhill. It was definately steeper than 30%.

So in reality, I have only ever once had torque multiplication out of my mid-drive
 
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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
36T chainring and 11-51T cassette. Standard issue on Giant Trance E+ 2 Pro:
The website is in Polish but online translators do exist :) (The actual price was US$4000 incl. tax in May 2020).
 

McCorby

Well-Known Member
What a bunch of elitist horse manure.
"Respected mid-drives come without the throttle." The bigger Bafang mid drives not only come with a throttle, the newest, the Ultra Max, comes with torques sensing. This in addition to the most power available anywhere, makes them second to none. If that's not enough, ALL of them feature completely customizable software. These features make them pretty well respected where I come from.
I have ridden bikes with Bosch, Brose, Shimano, and Bafang mid-drives. In my opinion, Bafang is not in the same league as the others. Power definitely isn’t everything. How the power is delivered is just as important. To me, Bafang doesn’t have the refinement that the others have.

I definitely recommend test rides before making any purchase. That not only goes for the various mid-drives, but hub motors as well.
 

terraunbound

New Member
I value the back and forth discussion here!

Removing the throttle/no throttle discussion, the two main view points seem to be either mid-drive (stronger the better) or geared-hub drive (if one is peddling - which you have to peddle with a mid-drive, so keeping things closer to apples-apples, let's peddle with the geared-hub.

Stefan, this is the best description I've read about hub-drive yet; "Hub motors love spinning fast."

... Why hub-drive is not really good for mountain riding? ... Hub-motors love spinning fast. To move uphill (and assuming you're using the throttle -- for clarity of thinking), you need to apply a lot of power to the hub-motor; it means a lot of heat release there. If you want to ride technically, you need low speed (and that's against the hub-motor principle to spin fast). For these reasons, hub-motors are not found in any premium e-MTB. Hub-motors might play their role on sealed mountain roads perhaps but not off-road....

A gear driven hub ... ... we don't know that as it's not been made clear which drive he's speaking of.
AHicks - with your experience with a geared-hub, 5:1 gearing etc, on a steep hard packed road, ... and I'm peddling ... slowly ... help me out here ...am I still burning this motor up?
Regarding my gear driven hub comments, to be fair, I'm assuming we're riding on paved or hard packed surfaces. NOT a rock strewn single track with a nearly impossible angle of climb. Most of us will never see anything like that, let alone attempt to climb it....

I hear you linklemming and have learned that the super cheap route before means spending more $$ to step up, so I'm willing to start mid-pack quality.

Part of me is thinking ... if I find a slightly older mid-drive, yeah! or if I find a slightly older gear-rub bike for > ½ the price of the mid-drive, yeah - but it won't happen because everyone is snapping up these bikes!
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
AHicks - with your experience with a geared-hub, 5:1 gearing etc, on a steep hard packed road, ... and I'm peddling ... slowly ... help me out here ...am I still burning this motor up?

How much do you weigh? How much is the bike & load? What is the grade?
The grade you posted with a 1000' rise and 12.7% is fine in a geared hub drive to maybe 400 lb gross weight and no pedaling. My gross weight is 330 lb with 94 lb bike, 80 lb of weed killer, 156 lb me.
The grade linklemming posted with 2000' rise in a couple of miles is not fine on geared hub motor without a lot of leg power. As he said, ebike is probably not even legal on that trail.
The more you pedal with less assistance, the less you heat up the motor. If you get adventurous, help it out. I can ride totally unpowered 30 miles 80+ hills if rain takes out my throttle (which has happened twice). My bike goes down to 1:1 sprocket ratio. I can barely stay upright that slow, so that is as slow as I need, even on 15% grade with the load. Look at the bike gearset. Most mid drives don't even have a 2 speed front crank (Yamaha MTB's do). I have 3 front sprockets,52,42,&32, and with my motor on the front, I can use a 8 speed rear sprocket 32 to 11. Rear hub motors can only use 7 speed sprocket in a standard dropout. I tried to get a 12 to 32 7 speed sprocket when I had the DD motor (rear) but nobody ever had one in stock.
Reference used bikes, the ones with a bad weld in the battery, flaky connections nobody can find, or computer problems, become the bikes on ebay & craigslist. Local shops that offer a warrenty may have a better deal in used bikes.
 
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CodyDog

Well-Known Member
"Friends have the RadCity step-thru and RadRover. We went for a ride around Brainard Lake Recreation Area (before the snows arrived) ... me riding the step-thru; the Rover is way too tall for me. Up to the trail heads, around the parking lots, back down around the lake, over and over. I loved it! The RadCity is a potential ... but then I thought - maybe the RadMini would be perfect <$1500>.

The goal is to be able to ride and have fun, explore my bumpy little corner of heaven. There are plenty of dirt roads with rocks sticking up, small washed out gullies, etc to ride through/around, so yeah, the bike can't be a powder puff."


I have both the Specialized Levo Comp and the Rad Rover. I purchased the Rad Rover in 2018 with expectations of riding on bumpy/hilly conditions. The Rad is now my townie bike and the Levo my mountain bike. I highly recommend not buying a Rad Rover like ebike for bumpy and hilly. It's just doesn't handle it.

One thing to consider, which I didn't see mentioned in all the great responses, is the quality of components. Entry level components (build sets) do not withstand bumps very well on a regular basis. Also, front forks are very important in "bumpy" conditions. Good forks are expensive for a reason. My Levo Comp front fork cost around $1K, the Rad Rover front fork most likely around $100. Significant difference in riding response on "bumpy" conditions. Yes, my Levo can take 4 foot plus drops but a 1 foot drop and rocks can play havoc on a cheap fork. $500 is where good front suspension starts. Mid drives are significantly better for climbing.

You don't need to spend $6,300 on a Levo Comp but buy as much bike as you can. You can save a few bucks by going to a good hard tail. Mid drive, good front suspension and 29 inch tires (roll over rocks and roots like crazy).
 
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AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
I value the back and forth discussion here!

Removing the throttle/no throttle discussion, the two main view points seem to be either mid-drive (stronger the better) or geared-hub drive (if one is peddling - which you have to peddle with a mid-drive, so keeping things closer to apples-apples, let's peddle with the geared-hub.

Stefan, this is the best description I've read about hub-drive yet; "Hub motors love spinning fast."




AHicks - with your experience with a geared-hub, 5:1 gearing etc, on a steep hard packed road, ... and I'm peddling ... slowly ... help me out here ...am I still burning this motor up?


I hear you linklemming and have learned that the super cheap route before means spending more $$ to step up, so I'm willing to start mid-pack quality.

Part of me is thinking ... if I find a slightly older mid-drive, yeah! or if I find a slightly older gear-rub bike for > ½ the price of the mid-drive, yeah - but it won't happen because everyone is snapping up these bikes!
To help put my view into perspective, a bit about me and the area I ride frequently. I'm an active 70 year old, 6'2"/315. You won't see many riding a bike any bigger than I am, and I think it safe to say I'm not a "fast peddeler". I ride for my recreation, period, cuz I like to ride. My home is smack dab in the middle of a 10-12 mile area of rolling coastal hills - some pretty long and steep, but nothing like some of the stuff some of you are riding on with miles long steep hills. I have to ride through this area to get to the surrounding area which is flat - like most of Florida.

Because of my size, I've found the BIG motors work best for me. I HATE pedaling my butt off in a low gear and STILL being forced off my bike to walk it to the top of a hill.

My current bike is powered with a 1500 watt Bafang Ultra (mid drive), has 26x4" tires, and is a hard tail. There is no question in my mind whether it's going to climb any hill I point it at - assuming it's paved or hard pack (within my riding ability lets say). The Ultra may not have the "finesse" the European powered bikes offer, but it has twice the the power they have. It's also completely customizable. Everything from the effort it takes to energize the torque sensing, the power available in each PAS level, how MANY Pass levels you prefer, ALL of it, is totally customizable. Try changing any of that with a European motor. With those, it's their way or the highway....

My last bike, since taken over by my wife, is kind of a custom. It started life as a '17 RAD City with a direct drive motor, and was so gutless that the motor was swapped for a 1500w direct drive - which still left me walking to the top of local hills a few times. This bike is now powered by a MAC 12t geared hub motor, commonly accepted as one of the most powerful of it's type, rated well over 100nM of torque and conservatively rated at 1000 watts plus. This bike will also make it to the top of any hill I point it at. Again, to be fair, this bike is NOT representative of most gear driven rear hubs. It's way more about what can be accomplished with a gear driven hub. For my purposes, it's never shown any indication it might be getting hot. Most hills are climbed using no more than PAS 3.

Noteworthy is the fact both of these bikes could easily be duplicated for less than 3k, neither is ridden over 15mph, but both will really scoot when crossing a busy road......

All that said, gear driven hub motors, if/when pushed hard will get hot and overheat. The same can be said of a mid drive that's ridden in too high a gear. You need to know what you are doing. The design of these motors do not allow for very good cooling - makes no difference who makes them. If there is an outstanding feature available with the direct drive, it that they offer the best cooling. -Al
 

McCorby

Well-Known Member
My current bike is powered with a 1500 watt Bafang Ultra (mid drive), has 26x4" tires, and is a hard tail. There is no question in my mind whether it's going to climb any hill I point it at - assuming it's paved or hard pack (within my riding ability lets say). The Ultra may not have the "finesse" the European powered bikes offer, but it has twice the the power they have. It's also completely customizable. Everything from the effort it takes to energize the torque sensing, the power available in each PAS level, how MANY Pass levels you prefer, ALL of it, is totally customizable. Try changing any of that with a European motor. With those, it's their way or the highway....
Not true. Although Shimano is not European, you can customize the power output for each assist level using their eTube app. I believe Specialized, with Brose motors, also allows you to do this with their app.