Why do the big bike brands (almost) never use hub motors?

EMGX

Well-Known Member
Congrats on your BH Gravel-X with the Yamaha mid-drive... I have a riding buddy who loves his! 😉
You may want to consider adding Slime to your tubes for additional protection... works like a charm.
The more I mess around with hub drives (I've had a geared front hub motor for several years and tried it on a few bikes and just got a geared rear hub motor and testing it on a bike before installing on a tandem) the more I appreciate the Yamaha mid drive which has a natural biking experience, simple to use and has been problem free (similar experience with a Tongsheng mid drive that I put on a bike for my wife).

I've used Slime tubes or added Slime to regular tubes in the past and not fond of it. It tends to blow out of the valve when checking pressure no matter the stem location and after a few years I've found that it separates into a thin watery mess that didn't plug a puncture. Changing out a tube is quick and easy for the BH Gravel bike, definitely not for the hub motors.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
Here is a timely article from Electrek... looks like Bafang wants to compete in the EU mid-drive market. ;)
Bafang digs in to compete against European e-bike motor makers with new service plan (electrek.co)


Bafang is making a new play in its battle for European e-bike market share, introducing a Dealer Direct Service concept. Unlike the US e-bike market, which is dominated by affordably priced direct-to-consumer e-bike companies such as Rad Power Bikes and Juiced Bikes, the EU e-bike market sees conventional e-bike dealers holding onto a much larger role.

Higher-priced e-bikes featuring complete drive systems from companies like Bosch and Brose are much more common in Europe. Chinese competitor Bafang has made inroads in the European market in the last several years as a lower-cost alternative to pricey European e-bike drive systems.

Many riders have found that Bafang’s e-bike drive systems, while often not as polished as European alternatives, can provide excellent performance at lower costs. And by addressing a truly international market, Bafang has the freedom to innovate with higher power and more features than are typically found in European e-bikes.
 
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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
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They don't have that option. Not in the EU.
 

Asher

Well-Known Member
Here is a timely article from Electrek... looks like Bafang wants to compete in the EU mid-drive market. ;)
Bafang digs in to compete against European e-bike motor makers with new service plan (electrek.co)

Are they going to lock out non Bafang parts from their dealer issued Bafang kit (motor, controller, battery)? Sounds like they want to copy Bosch and give a discount, but it's not going to be as radical a shift if their systems are locked down just like Bosch is.

I'm betting they will lock it down, because constraining the cheap supply of batteries let's their dealers make more money too, and it's the dealers they have to please to win market share, not so much the customers.

View attachment 77781
They don't have that option. Not in the EU.
If it's DIY they can. Not legally, but DIYers are few enough to escape much punishment.

Proprietary tech aside, I'm guessing Bafang sees the DIY community as too much trouble for too little volume/profit to deal with, especially when DIYers already use Bafang so much.
 
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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
When did you ride e-bike in Europe for the last time, Asher?

It would be the OEM to be punished, not the cyclist here. It is easy to punish a company.

I see no option for Bafang to compete on a large scale in the EU with companies like Bosch, Brose, Yamaha, Shimano, Mahle. They would have to provide 250 W (nominal) motors, and they are weak at that. Even with derestriction at hand, the e-bike has to leave the factory limited to 25 km/h here. I also cannot see Bafang S-Pedelecs made in Europe (only a large e-bike manufacturer can afford type-approval here; it is no wonder EU S-Pedelecs belong to the most expensive group of e-bikes).
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Changing out a tube is quick and easy for the BH Gravel bike, definitely not for the hub motors.
Takes me about 5 minutes longer to change the tube on the geared hub motor versus the unpowered front wheel. double axle nuts instead of single, unbolt the hanger on the torque arm. I don't even unplug the motor, just cut a tie-wrap and lean the front wheel against the frame. I do take groceries tools & supplies out of panniers, but the battery stays on. Yes I roll the bike over, 85 lb w/o tools. When I had a display I put it on a mount that would loosen & turn down out of the way. No display anymore: the luna throttle shows voltage & that is all I need to know. BTW I lift a 3 lb weight 240 times every other day in winter & carry tree limbs all summer. Plus toe touches. Others over age 55 should do the same. If my shoulder joints weren't so light duty it would be a 5 or 10 lb weight.
 

EMGX

Well-Known Member
What motor/controller/sensor do you have?
This one
One of the brake inhibitors doesn't work and the supplied crank sensor doesn't fit for the bottom bracket cartridge on the bike I'm testing it on - it will fit on the tandem that I will eventually put it on. So for testing I bought a 12 magnet split sensor from the same seller but that one doesn't work at all despite the manual stating it is compatible. I know the sensor supplied with the kit works because I mounted the magnet disc on a drill and rotated it counter clockwise past the pickup which did operate the motor on PAS. The seller is based in China and seems to have some comprehension difficulty when I explain the problems but eventually I think they will figure it out and send me a new crank sensor and brake inhibitor. I rode the bike around some using the throttle, not sure it will supply what is needed for the tandem but I need to test it out more. It is a fairly complete kit and seems to be reasonable quality for what it is. The LCD8H display seems nice with good information (although the voltage on the display reads about 1v higher than my multimeter reading) and is easy to adjust settings. It comes set up to use the entire output of the controller but at full throttle the display only gets up to 600's watts whereas a 48v at 22a calculates closer to 1000w.
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Johnny

Well-Known Member
It seems like a budget hub with cadence sensor and a low end controller. Unfortunately It will not be as smooth or efficient as the higher end ones with torque sensor and a good controller. Also rated current on that controller is 11A which is the value that can be safely supplied (maximum rated current just shows the absolute ceiling, it means that the circuit will never draw more, does not mean that it can safely operate at that current).
 

Akrotiri

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
They mean that Bafang develops for places besides Europe where power limits are higher so they create different products.
That’s not what the the author of the electrek article implied at all. They clearly implied that bafang would bring their higher power motors to Europe.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
The article suggests that Bafang may bring their high-end limited assist 250W mid-drives and shown in the M800 photo below from the Electrek article.
bafang-800x445.jpg

Electric Motor System​
BAFANG M800 28MPH MidDrive​
Battery / Lithium-Ion​
BAFANG Integrated 215WH​

Despite Bafang’s unique advantages, the company has always lagged behind when it comes to service. Now Bafang has announced its new Dealer Direct Service concept, which is designed to help improve e-bike service for European dealers. The service will launch in phases next month as a trial in the Netherlands, according to BikeEU.

The initial launch will cover select brands of electric bicycles using complete Bafang drive systems, meaning the e-bikes sport both the Bafang motor system as well as the battery, controller, and other related parts. The support and service department will feature trained service engineers in a dedicated service center, a dealer online portal, and other necessary service components that will be made available.
 
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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Good point but keep in mind that Bosch, Brose, Shimano, Yamaha all have 250W mid-drives in name only... ;)
Many studies have shown that they all output considerably more power at close to 3 times the rated number.
For limited duration. Johnny has reported in this very thread how he was able to "cap" the motor power of his Bosch CX and how the motor had to return to its nominal power to avoid overheating. The article you quoted claimed Bafang would be able to compete with EU motor makers in Europe based on power. I said: "No chance". Because they would need to certify their motors for EU first. You simply do not compete by power in Europe; Shimano, the Japanese company seems to understand it very well.

Innovation? I would like to see a Bafang based e-bike do this:
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Smart control of assistance based on rider's heart rate. (Note: actual motor power here is some 221 W).
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Full smartphone & HRM connectivity with the bike (it's what you can have for a Specialized e-bike today).
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
It seems like a budget hub with cadence sensor and a low end controller. Unfortunately It will not be as smooth or efficient as the higher end ones with torque sensor and a good controller. Also rated current on that controller is 11A which is the value that can be safely supplied (maximum rated current just shows the absolute ceiling, it means that the circuit will never draw more, does not mean that it can safely operate at that current).
A KT controller is NOT generally considered a "low end controller". Quite the opposite actually.

Check it out - 11 amp capacity provides a little over 500w constant, and 22 amp surge is a little over 1000w available to climb a hill for instance. That certainly doesn't put it into a "high performace" class, but for a 500w motor it should be plenty in many (most?) situations. The beauty of the KT controllers is their "adjustability". That's something all but just a few controllers available in production bikes don't have available, and EASILY elevates KT out of the average "low end" category....
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
A KT controller is NOT generally considered a "low end controller". Quite the opposite actually.

Check it out - 11 amp capacity provides a little over 500w constant, and 22 amp surge is a little over 1000w available to climb a hill for instance. That certainly doesn't put it into a "high performace" class, but for a 500w motor it should be plenty in many (most?) situations. The beauty of the KT controllers is their "adjustability". That's something all but just a few controllers available in production bikes don't have available, and EASILY elevates KT out of the average "low end" category....

From his post I can not see any branding or link to a technical sheet that's why I said it looks like a budget one. If there is a detailed spec sheet I will be happy if you can give me a link.

500w is a good power output and should be enough that motor. However max current definition, at least in the States, is quite different. It does not mean that the appliance will operate at those levels the same way it operates at its rated current. It means that it will never pull more than that many amps under any circumstance which protects any other circuitry that is connected to it.
 

EMGX

Well-Known Member
A KT controller is NOT generally considered a "low end controller". Quite the opposite actually.

Check it out - 11 amp capacity provides a little over 500w constant, and 22 amp surge is a little over 1000w available to climb a hill for instance. That certainly doesn't put it into a "high performace" class, but for a 500w motor it should be plenty in many (most?) situations. The beauty of the KT controllers is their "adjustability". That's something all but just a few controllers available in production bikes don't have available, and EASILY elevates KT out of the average "low end" category....

Off topic but I have the kit fully installed now substituting a 12 magnet split PAS sensor for the 8 magnet that came with the kit (the pickup doesn't fit with the bottom bracket cartridge on the bike). After a little testing I'm more impressed with the PAS assist on this kit than I expected. It does take a quarter turn or so of the crank for the motor to kick in vs instant assist on the Yamaha but overall it seems pretty smooth, different, but not bad. Assist seems strong enough for what I want but I'll test it more on steeper terrain. I'll run it on my old Schwinn Sierra mountain bike during the winter then switch it to the tandem in the spring. Wife and I are looking forward to being able to ride the tandem again, haven't for a few years due to her knee problems.

EDIT:

I took the bike up a hill with over 300ft elevation gain in ~3/4 mile that has a section which is difficult to walk up. I put in a good amount of effort but the motor performed very well, didn't stall out at slow speeds and got me to the top almost as well as my Yamaha mid drive with a natural enough riding experience. The wattage readout peaked at over 800w.
I'm impressed and looking forward to longer rides when the weather clears some.
 
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EMGX

Well-Known Member
From his post I can not see any branding or link to a technical sheet that's why I said it looks like a budget one. If there is a detailed spec sheet I will be happy if you can give me a link.

500w is a good power output and should be enough that motor. However max current definition, at least in the States, is quite different. It does not mean that the appliance will operate at those levels the same way it operates at its rated current. It means that it will never pull more than that many amps under any circumstance which protects any other circuitry that is connected to it.


Motor:
48V 500W Brushless Gear Wheel Motor
Brake lever:
aluminum alloy, disc brake / V brake
Rims and spokes:
double-layer aluminum alloy rims with 12g / 13g stainless steel spokes
Sensor: 1: 1 intelligent pedal assist system.
Maximum speed: 32km / h
RPM: 265-325
N.M: 60-64.5
Controller:
Maximum current: 22 ± 1A
Rated voltage: DC48V
Speed setting: 1-4.2V
Rated current: 11A
Brake input: low level
Low voltage protection: DC40 ± 0.5V
Throttle:
FT-21X Thumb throttle
Display:
KT-LCD8H display
PAS:
8P magnet points pedal-assistance sensor
Brake:
MS-BK-2R Electric brake sensor for cutting power off
Packing list
1) 48V 500W Rear Rotate Motor Wheel x1 (without tire)
2) 48V 22A controller x1
3) KT-LCD8H Display x1
4)Thumb Throttle x1
5) Power Cut-off Brake sensor x1
6) Torque Arm Amplifier x1
7) PAS sensor x1
8) Zip ties and Protection line x1
9) Motor extension cable x1
10) 1 to 5 Cable x1
11) Front and rear light x1
12) 7 Speed Rotate flywheel x1
13) Gift!!! controller bag x1
Warranty
Motor:We offer a one-year guarantee of repair.
Parts:3 months of repair or replace.


No doubt this is a budget kit, cost $280 before tax, still it seems OK quality. Copper windings, 20 pole motor. 4.5:1 internal reduction gearing. The KT-LCD8H display is easy to program. After testing it some on a mountain bike I feel more confident that it will do what I want for our tandem bike to make up for my wife's lack of pedaling power on hilly routes. Power delivery seems smooth on PAS, it is quieter than the MXUS front hub that I have tried on a few of my bikes. Time will tell.