Wow, Nakto turned out to be junk, so what should I get?

Jason Knight

Member
Region
USA
City
Keene, NH
I'm new to e-bikes, and about 30 years out of date on bicycle tech... but reasonably well versed in electronics and mechanics. I got a Nakto because I knew jack about them, and... well... bad experience. First one died at the 20 mile mark the day AFTER it arrived. As in flat out refused to turn on. Fuses good, looks like it blew the ESC since it just stopped turning on even with a fully charged battery. They replaced it as troubleshooting was going nowhere... And the second one died yesterday at about 24 miles on it the EXACT same way. I wanted to enjoy an e-bike for the whole summer, and between shipping, returns, and weather over the past two months I'd be lucky if I enjoyed more than four days of riding.

It didn't help the step-over height was ridiculous for my 5'4" frame with the 28" inseam. They claim 5'3" and honestly, I wouldn't suggest that frame to anyone under 5'8".

And that's before we talk about how "from the factory" the brake calipers were loose, the second bike the right-hand oil seal on the front fork let go, and a host of other minor cock-ups.

What would you folks recommend to someone who wants:

500 watts or more
26" x 4" Fat Tires
FULL FENDERS not those tiny crappy things that look like clip-ons.
not a step-through as I don't trust that structurally
6-7 speeds
Thumb Throttle not twist
push-button up-shift
Max budget of $1500.

A number of smaller details like crank length and chainring tooth count don't matter as I'll be swapping those almost immediately for my own sets. (It's crazy, but I prefer 58 front and 170mm) That I'm at least well versed in.

Would I just be better off trying to DIY?
 

EMGX

Well-Known Member
were you riding as an assist bike or depending mostly on throttle, steep hilly terrain or mostly flat, how much do you weigh? I know of one guy on a different forum without an axe to grind has had a Nakto for a few years, frequent use, no problems so maybe you got a bad apple. If you read much on this forum you will find many who have bought premium, several thousand dollar bikes and have had nothing but trouble with them and very poor warranty service from their bike shop as well as the manufacturer. At least it sounds like you were able to return yours and get your money back?

DIY can be a great way to go, I have 4 DIY bikes, two mid drive tongsheng tsdz2, a 36v geared front hub motor and a 48v geared rear hub motor. All of them have been excellent but overall I prefer the mid drives which perform similarly to a $3400 MSRP Yamaha PW-SE mid drive powered gravel bike that I have. If you already have a regular bike that you like you could see if that would work with a conversion kit. Do what you feel comfortable with but I found it best to ignore the people on this site that dogmatically post stupid stuff like a mid drive conversion is too difficult or that you have to buy expensive batteries etc based on their inability or undefined and unsubstantiated claims and the such. At least that is my experience.

Here is my most recent destination for a tsdz2 mid drive kit that I've put on 4 different bikes including folding bikes and a beach cruiser, worked great on all of them. 36v 500w, throttle compatible but I haven't used a throttle.
(I also have a 48v 750w version of the TSDZ2 on another bike.) Cost about $600 including a battery depending on who buy from. US based sellers like eco-ebikes are more expensive than some china based sellers like recycles-ebike.

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harryS

Well-Known Member
I think you might have a problem with a 28" inseam and 26x4" tires, which are more like 29" high. Depends of course on the frame.

I did a DIY on a fat tire 26". That's not a good economic decision these days, and it wasn't that good 6 years ago.

You might also have a problem getting 4 days of riding this year on many of the popular models.
 

Jason Knight

Member
Region
USA
City
Keene, NH
I think you might have a problem with a 28" inseam and 26x4" tires, which are more like 29" high. Depends of course on the frame.
I've ridden normal fat-bikes without a problem... and my normal 26" cruiser isn't problematic either. The big problem is that on the Nakto super cruiser the upper tube is 34" from the ground, so the top of the seat is pushing 38" even with it down the whole way. That's a good 9" over the top of the tire line. I mean, see EGMX's pic? How the top tube is only 2 or three inches over the the tire? That's how it should be.

Though, are you guys basically saying they're ALL unreliable garbage and I've wasted two months for nothing?
 

EMGX

Well-Known Member
I'd stay away from fat tire bikes that rob power due to weight and rolling resistance as well as suspension forks that tend to be heavy pogo sticks on inexpensive bikes that I've ridden. That said there seem to be a lot of riders happy with sub $1500 ebikes. Something that price/brand snobs just can never get over. DIY isn't for everyone or every bike but it has been great for me.
Here is a 26" cruiser that I had the mid drive on for a bit. The large rear hub is a Nuvinci CVT, not a motor. The stand over height would be too much for your inseam but there are lower top tube cruisers to choose from.

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Jason Knight

Member
Region
USA
City
Keene, NH
were you riding as an assist bike or depending mostly on throttle, steep hilly terrain or mostly flat, how much do you weigh? I know of one guy on a different forum without an axe to grind has had a Nakto for a few years, frequent use, no problems so maybe you got a bad apple. If you read much on this forum you will find many who have bought premium, several thousand dollar bikes and have had nothing but trouble with them and very poor warranty service from their bike shop as well as the manufacturer. At least it sounds like you were able to return yours and get your money back?
Thing is it's not just one bad apple, it's two in a row with the same failure. I'd suspect the hilly nature here in New Hampshire, but I've not gone on any real hills sticking mostly to downtown and established paths, and they died on level ground. I mean I live in Keene, in the valley. If an e-bike can't handle that, what the devil is the point?

And it's not like I'm morbidly obese. 180 pounds and going down, and I stuck to assist as I only really wanted the electric to help me extend my range and increase my top speed. Both bikes actually died in assist 3 (out of 5) in first gear.

Sadly still waiting to hear back on ACTUALLY returning this one. Their last message said "how about we just refund"... and that was 36 hours ago.

DIY can be a great way to go, I have 4 DIY bikes, two mid drive tongsheng tsdz2, a 36v geared front hub motor and a 48v geared rear hub motor. All of them have been excellent but overall I prefer the mid drives which perform similarly to a $3400 MSRP Yamaha PW-SE mid drive powered gravel bike that I have. If you already have a regular bike that you like you could see if that would work with a conversion kit. Do what you feel comfortable with but I found it best to ignore the people on this site that dogmatically post stupid stuff like a mid drive conversion is too difficult or that you have to buy expensive batteries etc based on their inability or undefined and unsubstantiated claims and the such. At least that is my experience.
I have a 26" cruiser I've put a lot of work into, but I don't want to swap that out for electric as it's a 3 speed internal and I'd rather leave that be. It's just not a great candidate IMHO for a conversion without destroying a lot of why I bought it. Like my distrust for derailleurs, which was about the only part of the Nakto that seemed to be any good. Of course, Shimano so... of course that part was good.


Here is my most recent destination for a tsdz2 mid drive kit that I've put on 4 different bikes including folding bikes and a beach cruiser, worked great on all of them. 36v 500w, throttle compatible but I haven't used a throttle.
In the 40 miles or so I did across two bikes, I found that due to the size the throttle helped me get going a lot if I forgot to drop into a lower gear before stopping. Again, I'm traditionally an internal hub guy as due to my engineering background, the idea of jumping a chain from gear-to-gear in mid-air has to be one of the most dumbass ideas I've ever heard of. My experiences as a teen and young adult with derailleur bikes only reinforced the idea of how stupid it is. Still remember my first 3 speed internal -- Sturmey-Archer, 24", 1983 or so... Laugh is my local college still has it in their renter/loaner program.

Which is why I was so surprised at how smooth and reliable the Nakto was in that regard. Been well over 20 years since I rode a bike with a derailleur, and said bike was late '80's tech. The Shimano set was nice enough it has me re-evaluating that opinion. I honest to Joe was thinking that I'd spend most of my time owning it just leaving it in high gear because otherwise the chain would never stay on the thing and relying on the motor to get me going.

Hah! Joke was on me pedaling the dead bike home 8 miles in the dark at 10pm using the full gear range.

The DIY approach is getting more and more attractive, since I'm a "buy cheap and upgrade the s*it out of it" guy. Guess it comes down to finding a good starting point. Laughably I already have a larger battery I was going to add to the Nakto across a selector switch, so I could use that to get me started.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
Most freewheels are 8 speed. No idea what you mean by push-button up shift. I guess you are asking for a trigger shifter? I sold my fat tire, just no reason for the heavy huge rumbling tires for where I ride. Always felt like I was riding a big military truck! Steered like it too! Sorry I can't give you any recommendations. Edit; I've ridden 13,000 ebike miles with a chain and derailleur, not a single issue. Getting 3,500 miles per chain, and as an retired engineer I am quite satisfied with the reliability and low cost. I'm surprised you said you want to buy cheap and upgrade from there. Didn't you do that twice and have a bad experience? You need to try that a 3rd time? There is a word that describes the condition of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result!
 
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Jason Knight

Member
Region
USA
City
Keene, NH
The stand over height would be too much for your inseam but there are lower top tube cruisers to choose from.
Actually that stand-over height looks shorter than my normal 26" cruiser I've ridden for a decade. See this pic of the tubby b**** 100 pounds and three beards ago. Took that pic right after I added my own custom headlight of 3x Cree Q5's, hence the battery box on the cantilever. I had no problems getting on or off that even when I was up at a fatass 280. Though I did end up breaking some spokes. Feels so good to have that weight gone.
 

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EMGX

Well-Known Member
Thing is it's not just one bad apple, it's two in a row with the same failure. I'd suspect the hilly nature here in New Hampshire, but I've not gone on any real hills sticking mostly to downtown and established paths, and they died on level ground. I mean I live in Keene, in the valley. If an e-bike can't handle that, what the devil is the point?

And it's not like I'm morbidly obese. 180 pounds and going down, and I stuck to assist as I only really wanted the electric to help me extend my range and increase my top speed. Both bikes actually died in assist 3 (out of 5) in first gear.

Sadly still waiting to hear back on ACTUALLY returning this one. Their last message said "how about we just refund"... and that was 36 hours ago.


I have a 26" cruiser I've put a lot of work into, but I don't want to swap that out for electric as it's a 3 speed internal and I'd rather leave that be. It's just not a great candidate IMHO for a conversion without destroying a lot of why I bought it. Like my distrust for derailleurs, which was about the only part of the Nakto that seemed to be any good. Of course, Shimano so... of course that part was good.



In the 40 miles or so I did across two bikes, I found that due to the size the throttle helped me get going a lot if I forgot to drop into a lower gear before stopping. Again, I'm traditionally an internal hub guy as due to my engineering background, the idea of jumping a chain from gear-to-gear in mid-air has to be one of the most dumbass ideas I've ever heard of. My experiences as a teen and young adult with derailleur bikes only reinforced the idea of how stupid it is. Still remember my first 3 speed internal -- Sturmey-Archer, 24", 1983 or so... Laugh is my local college still has it in their renter/loaner program.

Which is why I was so surprised at how smooth and reliable the Nakto was in that regard. Been well over 20 years since I rode a bike with a derailleur, and said bike was late '80's tech. The Shimano set was nice enough it has me re-evaluating that opinion. I honest to Joe was thinking that I'd spend most of my time owning it just leaving it in high gear because otherwise the chain would never stay on the thing and relying on the motor to get me going.

Hah! Joke was on me pedaling the dead bike home 8 miles in the dark at 10pm using the full gear range.

The DIY approach is getting more and more attractive, since I'm a "buy cheap and upgrade the s*it out of it" guy. Guess it comes down to finding a good starting point. Laughably I already have a larger battery I was going to add to the Nakto across a selector switch, so I could use that to get me started.
Too bad about the Nakto, I'd take them up on the "how about we just refund" which I doubt would be offered as freely for the expensive lemon Specialized and Trek ebikes I've read about on this forum.

Why not convert your 3 speed IGH? I have a 3 speed coaster brake IGH bike that I thought of converting but it requires a mid drive that doesn't freewheel when pedaled backwards - tongsheng makes a version like this but I already have more than enough ebike stuff already and don't want to buy another kit.

I've done the Tongsheng mid drive installations several times on several different bikes so I have the procedure down pretty good but if you have basic bike maintenance skills like removing a crank assembly it is literally a 1 hour job. I've removed it from one bike and installed into another bike in an hour or less if I subtract time that I took to do other work on the recipient bike like chain cleaning, replacing cables, changing tires and the like (or throwing a chuckit ball for my dogs who always want my attention when I'm working on something). Post a picture of your 3 speed, if it has standard 3 piece crank and cables aren't routed right under the bottom bracket a mid drive installation is a piece of cake. It took me much longer installing hub motors mostly because of trying to figure out controller location and what to do with the excess cable rats nest that isn't necessary with the mid drive conversion.

Oops, I posted this after you posted the picture of your bike, is it a 3 speed coaster? It looks like a great candidate for a conversion, especially if you already have a battery to use for it. eco-ebike is Tennessee based seller of Tongsheng, costs up to $100 more than from China based recycles-ebikes but I thought it was worth it to me with faster shipping and eco-ebike answers questions promptly. No throttle option with the coaster brake version of the tongsheng though.
 
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harryS

Well-Known Member
I paid $700 for this ebike. Ecotric 20" folder. 65 pounds. 36V with a cheap 3 speed handlebar display like the Natco. I later pimped it up with a full LCD display, better multivoltage controller, front shocks, 3" whitewalls. It sounds like junk though. Motor has a tinny whine. If it were quieter, I might like riding it.

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I use the same display on all my ebikes eveb the one I bought above, and it delivers about 100-110 Watts on 36V in level 1 PAS. On most of my bikes that takes the edge off off pedaling. On a light one, it's more than I need. But 100W on a fat tire bike is making me work like it's not even electric. I have to get it up to 140-150W before it feels electrified. So I don't really care for fat tires.

DIY I know about. The fat tire. The mid drive beater which is quiet and fast. The beater's beater. I found that bike in the trash. I have another five or six I've done.


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Every bike has a thumb throttle on the left side, and a $14 mirricyle mirror. I'd like to put $5 Walmart bells on all of them, but that's where I get cheap. Some still have those 50 cent bells. When it gets cold and you have tp wear gloves, you can't flick the knob.
 

Jason Knight

Member
Region
USA
City
Keene, NH
Most freewheels are 8 speed.
In cruisers 7 seems more predominant, though Shimano has a pretty big 6 speed line.

No idea what you mean by push-button up shift. I guess you are asking for a trigger shifter?
I wouldn't call it a trigger. To shift down you use a thumb-lever. To shift up you press a button and it goes up one gear. Like the Shimano TX-30 that was on the Nakto. I actually really enjoyed that. Gone are the days of dicking around with garbage levers dead center mounted to the frame behind the front fork.

I sold my fat tire, just no reason for the heavy huge rumbling tires for where I ride. Always felt like I was riding a big military truck! Steered like it too!
I could see that. It would indeed depend on where you are. I live in New Hampshire, the possibility of using it in snow is really attractive vs. my current normal 26" x 1.25" which is basically useless 4 months of the year.

I've ridden 13,000 ebike miles with a chain and derailleur, not a single issue. Getting 3,500 miles per chain, and as an retired engineer I am quite satisfied with the reliability and low cost.
Again I think I'm just decades behind on the tech, and never ridden anything well made that had one. The difference in shifter tech in particular.

I'm surprised you said you want to buy cheap and upgrade from there. Didn't you do that twice and have a bad experience? You need to try that a 3rd time? There is a word that describes the condition of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result!
For most things buy cheap and upgrade has always worked well and saved me money. Take my normal cruiser where buying cheap got me a frame, rims, shimano 3 speed internal, bars... stuff any idiot can manufacture. I then put my own custom headlight on it, swapped out the grips, removed the ashtabula crank to put a proper bottom bracket in with some nice 170mm aluminum billet cranks, upping it from the cheap 48 tooth stuck to the cranks with a ton of flex to a nicely made 52 tooth...

Kind of like my saxophones. I buy the cheap Chinese ones, dismantle it COMPLETELY and re-assemble properly, swap out the pads, use a tensioner to adjust the bell shape for better tone, put a real mouthpiece on them (Yamaha 5C good as always), and for $250 or so in extra parts and tooling you can turn a $300 cheap-ass Alto professionals would laugh at into the equivalent of a $3000 model. The parts are as good as the big names, but it's like they were assembled by crack addict resus monkeys. A little knowledge, time, and labor can save you a lot of money.

I went with the cheap e-bike because I figured at least the ESC and hub motor would be good enough for a year or so... silly me.

Worst part is all the stuff I did to this second one I now need to undo for shipping it back as I didn't think the second one would die exactly like the first. Things like the new grips, headset, chainring and cranks, saddle, rear-rack and panniers... I was about to say screw it and put a new fork on it since it blew the seal and... well, even before that was -- as already said by @EGMX -- like riding a pogo stick particularly given how I was clearly bottoming it out without even hitting what I'd call harshe terrain. I'm kind of glad it died BEFORE I went and did that.
 
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Jason Knight

Member
Region
USA
City
Keene, NH
Why not convert your 3 speed IGH? I have a 3 speed coaster brake IGH bike that I thought of converting but it requires a mid drive that doesn't freewheel when pedaled backwards
Exactly that. I also want better braking since I want to make a winter capable ride, hence the fat tires. I'm sick of not being able to ride 4+ months of the year because the tire just spins and you go nowhere. It's why I'm eying some cheapo fat bike as my starting point. After riding a bike with disc brakes, I'm sold.

Kind of like how the derailleur on the Nakto has me flipped 180 degrees on my opinion of the technology. The coaster brake is cool for the clean lines, but stopping in slippery conditions is NOT its forte. Hence that ride being right off my list for conversion. It's pure comedy it turned out to be a s*it-show on the electronics front, but changed my mind about chain-hopping and braking tech.

Hell, maybe I should just say "oh well" for this summer and aim for late fall, by going with a bare frame and building from there?

I've done the Tongsheng mid drive installations several times on several different bikes so I have the procedure down pretty good but if you have basic bike maintenance skills like removing a crank assembly it is literally a 1 hour job.
I've got the tools and the experience for most simple stuff like that. I've done a number of ashtabula to BB conversions -- including my own -- so it's not like I'm unfamiliar with that area of a bike. I tell you, snaking out those one piece cranks is a PITA.

Which is actually another reason I don't want to dick with the old bike too much, it was built for a one-piece ashtabula, and I'm not sure the conversion for a normal BB would handle the stresses of a mid-mount if I go that route.

I've removed it from one bike and installed into another bike in an hour or less if I subtract time that I took to do other work on the recipient bike like chain cleaning, replacing cables, changing tires and the like (or throwing a chuckit ball for my dogs who always want my attention when I'm working on something). Post a picture of your 3 speed, if it has standard 3 piece crank and cables aren't routed right under the bottom bracket a mid drive installation is a piece of cake
I'm not going that route, since as I said there are "new requirements" the old bike doesn't meet like stopping power, winter-readiness, etc. But if I were to go that route again it started life as a one-piece ashtabula that I converted to three piece. 52 tooth front chainring (I now have a 58 to put on a new one already).

. It took me much longer installing hub motors mostly because of trying to figure out controller location and what to do with the excess cable rats nest that isn't necessary with the mid drive conversion.
That's actually my biggest concern is where to put the controller, be it hub or mid-mount. If I do DIY I should probably get the starting frame first. Oddly I'm really warming to the idea of just starting with a bare frame and building out from there. It's not like any part of the assembly is outside my comfort zone. I got lazy, and I think that's what really bit me. Guess the choice comes down to what motor and speed controller kit to get.

Might have to dust off my metalworking and leatherworking skills and DIY my own waterproof hardshell for that. Even if my medication induced parkinsonism means I shouldn't be trying to push large needles through hide. It's amazing I'm still as functional as I am.

Are there any vendors who make decent hardshell project cases for bikes? Or has anyone in the 3d printing crowd stepped up to the plate yet? I would think that would be a thing...

eco-ebike is Tennessee based seller of Tongsheng, costs up to $100 more than from China based recycles-ebikes but I thought it was worth it to me with faster shipping and eco-ebike answers questions promptly. No throttle option with the coaster brake version of the tongsheng though.
I was actually eying their 1000W Bafang kit, but balking slightly at the price since that's half my budget by itself... though again since I have a battery already that could be viable if their support is good and they ship promptly. Like you I'll pay a few extra bucks for that.
 

PatriciaK

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Pacific Northwest and Piedmont Triad
Espin Nero, Nesta, or Sport?


The fenders aren't what you want, but the Nero sounds close, otherwise.

I have a Flow (step through), and I'm happy with it - check out the Espin forums here for other's experience.

While the headline says Nero motor is 500W, the description says 750, so you need to clarify that. Also, this bike is class 3, so no paved bike trails. Most of the other offerings are class 2 (20mph top motor speed and throttle)
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
If you go for a torque sensing mid-drive conversion this part may be what you are looking for. The trigger works great with the Nexus 7 speed hub. Push-push. These hubs can have an internal roller brake that keeps out the weather but needs some grease to maintain. Then you can have gravel tires that do not need to be overly wide to have traction. And a extra-strong chain to handle the power.
 

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PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
@Jason Knight, These little efficient motors have a lot of pull. Enough for cargo on hills, mountains actually. This is a photo story particularly for @EMGX. It starts with a new cargo bike that is not electric, a Sweet Curry. And ends with crossing the curb, a sort of goal line that was crossed moments ago in the lowering California sun. I hope you like it.
The new owner's wife is disabled and they will ride with other couples, while she is sitting on the back. I put the throttle inside the pedals so like a car you just push down your foot to GO (its called a torque sensor). They now have some nice new accessories and a spare battery to round out the package.
 

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Jason Knight

Member
Region
USA
City
Keene, NH
I'm eying a number of the Bafang kits... but it looks like they've got the hall sensor magnets on the chainring so you can't just swap with normal parts... and the cranks don't look standard. That's kinda douchy.

Every brands kit I'm looking at seems to have a little detail like that which makes me go "no... to blazes with that". It's like working on a Dell or Apple computer with their proprietary BS that destroys any actual quality of the products.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
I'm eying a number of the Bafang kits... but it looks like they've got the hall sensor magnets on the chainring so you can't just swap with normal parts... and the cranks don't look standard. That's kinda douchy.
Strange. Perhaps you are looking at mid drives, the BBS02 and BBSHD. For these motors, there are adapters for ashatabula or whatever they call those one piece BB's. In my opinion, the middrive is the easier install for a non-electrical kit builder. The electronics are in the motor casing, so there's no black box to locate on the bike, no rats nest of wires to decode (worst case) or shorten. There's no worry about the motor/wheel jumping out of the slots on the frame. No face planting if you do a front motor and snap the fork off. No worry about performance. If you cannot climb a hill with a mid drive, you don't know how to shift gears, and probably are unable to pedal.

In the meantime, during the six years that I have been ebiking, prices of geared motor kits seem to have doubled from $200 to $400, while the BBS02 md drive has come down from the $440 I paid to under $500. You can still buy $200 direct drive motor kits but that more like e-mopeds. Fast, but not really a good pedaling experience, in my opinion.
 

EMGX

Well-Known Member
I'm eying a number of the Bafang kits... but it looks like they've got the hall sensor magnets on the chainring so you can't just swap with normal parts... and the cranks don't look standard. That's kinda douchy.

Every brands kit I'm looking at seems to have a little detail like that which makes me go "no... to blazes with that". It's like working on a Dell or Apple computer with their proprietary BS that destroys any actual quality of the products.
diy has compromises and isn't going to be everyone's preference.
Crank arms for the mid drives aren't the same as regular crank arms. The drive side arm isn't attached to the spider, instead the spider is attached to the motor drive gear so the drive side crank is the same as the left crank except the pedal threads are RH as opposed to LH. The Tongsheng comes with 170mm crank arms.
The tongsheng doesn't have magnets on the chainring and I don't think the bafang does either. Standard 110 BCD chainrings can be used on the tongsheng and it can even be configured for a double chainring but using standard flat chainrings the chainline isn't likely to be good. For a better chainline the stock 42t TS chainring is dished inward by 5mm but on one of my motors I went with a 10mm offset chainring sourced from eco-ebike because the 5mm offset still wasn't enough to be optimal. Eco-ebike also sells 26t, 32, 34 and 50t dished chainrings.
There are adaptors for single piece crank bottom brackets.
Tongsheng seems to be the preferred after market mid drive for those who prefer torque sensing and lighter weight, Bafang cadence systems for those who prefer more power and speed although they might have a torque sensor model, not sure.

If you just want a functional out of the box inexpensive ebike with good reviews Ariel Rideal might be worth a look.
 
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