You Really Do Get What You Paid For (Motors)

tommybgood

Member
Region
USA
I finally had a chance to demo aventon's fat bike and also a bike with bafang mid drive.

The gap in quality (and safety) between the industry leaders such as Bosch, Shimano and Brose and the aforementioned is enormous.

With the Aventon, power did not come on at all without at least a half pedal stroke, and sometimes not even then. It was very unpredictable as you had no idea when the controller would actually switch on to motor power. The bike would then lurch forward at whatever assist level you set, so hopefully you took some care to check first!

The aventon had a strange, cheap feel aside from the motor itself; I couldn't narrow it down to any one factor. The unrefined motor and controller played a role, but so did the abundance of cheap plastic bits everywhere. It's also very heavy and a bear to maneuver and steer. The bike is an attention getter for sure, but not fun to ride.

The bafang motor was just flat out bad. Like the aventon hub motor, it required an unpredictable amount of partial revolutions before turning on, then surged forward in a very unnatural way. It was an on off switch which felt very unsafe.

I get that everyone wants to save money upfront but your safety is paramount and long term satisfaction should be your main priority, not shopping for a rock bottom price initially.
 

ElevenAD

Well-Known Member
🤣
why assume people using Bafang are trying to save cash? I use Bafang for performance related reasons, for instance if Brose or Yamaha produced a motor that was faster or could out climb a Bafang G-625 i would then switch to Brose or yamaha powered bikes. Bafang produce lots of different motors and their lower end cadence motors are not the same as their torque sensor equipped motors.
 
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indianajo

Well-Known Member
I finally had a chance to demo aventon's fat bike and also a bike with bafang mid drive.

The bafang motor was just flat out bad. Like the aventon hub motor, it required an unpredictable amount of partial revolutions before turning on, then surged forward in a very unnatural way. It was an on off switch which felt very unsafe.
The lurching & sudden turn on after 1/2 revolution is the result of magnet PAS, instead of torque or throttle control. They have to prevent turn-on until 1/2 the magnets are passed, so that one can wind the pedal backwards for takeoff. Then the cheaper controllers don't ramp the watts up gradually, they go to final watt limit immediately. It is not the motor's fault.
I deleted the PAS magnet wheel on my bike and use only throttle control. Much more gradual. Holding the throttle for 4 hours can be a nuisance on days when the headwind is strong all the way home. Otherwise I pedal unpowered except on steep hills.
 

ElevenAD

Well-Known Member
The truth is sometime you get what you pay for and sometime you don't.
....also "bike with Bafang middrive" or "strange and cheap but couldn't narrow it down" are not very specific details lol.
 
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theemartymac

Well-Known Member
I'd be willing to step up with a few caveats for discussion purposes. First, torque sensing vs cadence eliminates many of your issues. Many builders are going there now with both their mids and hubs, so that issue may all but disappear soon. Second, a "Properly Tuned" Bafang mid drive can be as smooth as the brand names. My UART Bafang Ultra with custom tune is silky smooth, and as good as any of the brand names I have test ridden. Other features are lacking of course, and I had to put in some work to get it tuned that way (and the new CAN bus controller units cannot yet be customized quite that easily). BUT, the truth is the motors are capable of being very close in comfort and safety. All for less than half the price of a brand name bike - and to those that say "Just save up for a better bike", well that's a whole discussion on privilege and reality. You do get what you pay for of course, but some people are fully content with a low mile recreational bike, and others just don't have the capacity to drop the price of a good used car on a bicycle. I'm in a third category in that I can certainly afford a "better" bike, but I like to tinker and mod, so the unlocked platform of the Bafang products is still quite appealing to me.

To oversimplify it all, if you like the simplicity and reliability of your Iphone, buy a Bosch - turn the "key" and ride. If you prefer Linux to Windows, buy a Bafang and do it yourself. ;-)
 

retiredNH

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I'd be willing to step up with a few caveats for discussion purposes. First, torque sensing vs cadence eliminates many of your issues. Many builders are going there now with both their mids and hubs, so that issue may all but disappear soon. Second, a "Properly Tuned" Bafang mid drive can be as smooth as the brand names. My UART Bafang Ultra with custom tune is silky smooth, and as good as any of the brand names I have test ridden. Other features are lacking of course, and I had to put in some work to get it tuned that way (and the new CAN bus controller units cannot yet be customized quite that easily). BUT, the truth is the motors are capable of being very close in comfort and safety. All for less than half the price of a brand name bike - and to those that say "Just save up for a better bike", well that's a whole discussion on privilege and reality. You do get what you pay for of course, but some people are fully content with a low mile recreational bike, and others just don't have the capacity to drop the price of a good used car on a bicycle. I'm in a third category in that I can certainly afford a "better" bike, but I like to tinker and mod, so the unlocked platform of the Bafang products is still quite appealing to me.

To oversimplify it all, if you like the simplicity and reliability of your Iphone, buy a Bosch - turn the "key" and ride. If you prefer Linux to Windows, buy a Bafang and do it yourself. ;-)
Interesting analogy! Yes, Bosch systems are pretty locked down....
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
You realized this much quicker than most :)
We are finally going to get the Bafang versus Bosch confrontation. Bafang has their factory in Poland up and running. The EU can't really do as much to restrict what Bafang does in the EU, if they produce in the EU. I've been building and riding ebikes for 8 years and a guy comes along, goes for a 5 minute test ride, and you say he is brilliant. Yikes. Quick would be the operative word.

Bafang knows they make a good product. They are partnered with Eunorau and they seem to have a lot of money. Bafang has Bafang Energy, to make batteries. Their 'forced' battery is about half the price of the Bosch 'forced' battery, double the capacity.

The problem for the US is that Bafang is not playing so nice anymore. Bafang talks about a small group of vendors for the newer models. That sort of suggests that they don't care if all these small Bafang dealers in the US dry up and blow away. People should spend some time on the Eunorau site. They are going after all the big name European companies.

I don't see the problems with any of the Asian motors I have used, Mac, Golden, and Bafang. Of course, I know how to ride an ebike.

I guess this is the new face of the Chinese ebike industry, at least in the US. He seems rather serious.

the new king.png
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
To oversimplify it all, if you like the simplicity and reliability of your Iphone, buy a Bosch - turn the "key" and ride. If you prefer Linux to Windows, buy a Bafang and do it yourself. ;-)
This really says it all. the folks who ride a factory-settings Bafang have NO idea what they could be riding if someone spent just a little time shaving off the VERY rough edges that Bafang factory programming introduces. And why they do it like they do is a mystery to me as it creates exactly this sort of false impression to every Western consumer. And thats probably the thing right there. Bafang pumps out mega volume. If you want to see who the biggest motor manufacturer is... its not Bosch or Brose or anyone else. Its Bafang by sheer weight of numbers. The Asian market is literally an order of magnitude larger than the rest of the world combined. Asian riders aren't interested in the whole foo-foo touchie-feelie mimic-analog-cycling experience. They want a motor to motor them somewhere because they have somewhere to go and things to do. Bafang's customer is not a recreational rider.

Thats why the American market is getting short shrift and its loyal dealers are getting hosed. The American market is primarily DIY ... but Bafang is so large we're only a bit more than a rounding error. They have goals and those goals are literally to take over the world with respect to utility cycling. That means they will sign on completely to stricter EU regulations (they did so recently in an official capacity) and simplify their product line to align with same (the entire new generation of HD and 02 drives that follow the Ultra into CAN Bus land).

The 'get what you paid for' stuff misses the mark, in my view. EU manufacturers held Bafang off or so they thought with their tariffs. Bafang responded with the Polish factory where labor rates still let them undercut the market and manufacture within the EU - and thus finally avoid the tariffs completely. Serious competition is about to start happening in this space and the traditional players are going to have to find a way to actually compete this time or be relegated to luxury niche status.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
This really says it all. the folks who ride a factory-settings Bafang have NO idea what they could be riding if someone spent just a little time shaving off the VERY rough edges that Bafang factory programming introduces. And why they do it like they do is a mystery to me as it creates exactly this sort of false impression to every Western consumer. And thats probably the thing right there. Bafang pumps out mega volume. If you want to see who the biggest motor manufacturer is... its not Bosch or Brose or anyone else. Its Bafang by sheer weight of numbers. The Asian market is literally an order of magnitude larger than the rest of the world combined. Asian riders aren't interested in the whole foo-foo touchie-feelie mimic-analog-cycling experience. They want a motor to motor them somewhere because they have somewhere to go and things to do. Bafang's customer is not a recreational rider.

Thats why the American market is getting short shrift and its loyal dealers are getting hosed. The American market is primarily DIY ... but Bafang is so large we're only a bit more than a rounding error. They have goals and those goals are literally to take over the world with respect to utility cycling. That means they will sign on completely to stricter EU regulations (they did so recently in an official capacity) and simplify their product line to align with same (the entire new generation of HD and 02 drives that follow the Ultra into CAN Bus land).

The 'get what you paid for' stuff misses the mark, in my view. EU manufacturers held Bafang off or so they thought with their tariffs. Bafang responded with the Polish factory where labor rates still let them undercut the market and manufacture within the EU - and thus finally avoid the tariffs completely. Serious competition is about to start happening in this space and the traditional players are going to have to find a way to actually compete this time or be relegated to luxury niche status.
On the bold, that concept taken in a different direction, to one regarding ALL of the current speed based PAS controllers, including those used with geared hub motors. If somebody responsible for this software took just a minute to see what could be done to improve them from a programming standpoint, there could be a world of difference in the "rideability" of them. No hardware changes necessary. Just some well thought out changes to the software. That's it!

Imagine just the change to power based vs. the current speed based PAS levels. That change alone would make some of these bikes WAY friendlier, if not safer.

JUST like Bafang's idea of the software they ship with their mid drives (junk), that we now KNOW can be made light years better, that SAME story describes the software that comes with the majority of geared hubs using controllers from several different controller manfs. What the heck are these people thinking? Why aren't they seeing this could be changed for the better so easily?
 

reed scott

Well-Known Member
This really says it all. the folks who ride a factory-settings Bafang have NO idea what they could be riding if someone spent just a little time shaving off the VERY rough edges that Bafang factory programming introduces. And why they do it like they do is a mystery to me as it creates exactly this sort of false impression to every Western consumer. And thats probably the thing right there. Bafang pumps out mega volume. If you want to see who the biggest motor manufacturer is... its not Bosch or Brose or anyone else. Its Bafang by sheer weight of numbers. The Asian market is literally an order of magnitude larger than the rest of the world combined. Asian riders aren't interested in the whole foo-foo touchie-feelie mimic-analog-cycling experience. They want a motor to motor them somewhere because they have somewhere to go and things to do. Bafang's customer is not a recreational rider.

Thats why the American market is getting short shrift and its loyal dealers are getting hosed. The American market is primarily DIY ... but Bafang is so large we're only a bit more than a rounding error. They have goals and those goals are literally to take over the world with respect to utility cycling. That means they will sign on completely to stricter EU regulations (they did so recently in an official capacity) and simplify their product line to align with same (the entire new generation of HD and 02 drives that follow the Ultra into CAN Bus land).

The 'get what you paid for' stuff misses the mark, in my view. EU manufacturers held Bafang off or so they thought with their tariffs. Bafang responded with the Polish factory where labor rates still let them undercut the market and manufacture within the EU - and thus finally avoid the tariffs completely. Serious competition is about to start happening in this space and the traditional players are going to have to find a way to actually compete this time or be relegated to luxury niche status.
For once in my life I bought the right product at the right time. ✊ 👍
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
JUST like Bafang's idea of the software they ship with their mid drives (junk), that we now KNOW can be made light years better, that SAME story describes the software that comes with the majority of geared hubs using controllers from several different controller manfs. What the heck are these people thinking? Why aren't they seeing this could be changed for the better so easily?
I think its because we Westerners are the only ones who care. the Asian manufacturers as a whole are catering to a much less picky customer, frankly. They want to push on the throttle and go. They don't give much of a damn about anything else. Look at Bafang's BBSHD PAS programming: Its like drinking from a firehose. WAY too much power and it kicks in like a mule. My first mod before I really started getting serious about tweaking it was just toning down the PAS levels so I would not be wasting so much power. Before I even got into the feelgood kinder/gentler stuff, I increased my range significantly by not letting the bike burn power unnecessarily.

On the other hand, some guy in Beijing's bike is a commuter that also carries his shopping and his kids to school and he just wants the thing to fire up and go. He doesn't care a whit about 'natural feel' or any of that. To him the bike is purely a transportation device and it has that job to do, period. And by the tens of millions, those are Bafang's primary customers.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
For once in my life I bought the right product at the right time. ✊ 👍
If I can just bring myself to do it, I need to buy at least a couple of spare BBSHDs. Sadly I have bikes using 120, 100 and 68-72mm axle sizes so buying one is not a spare for all of them :-(
 

theemartymac

Well-Known Member
And don't forget that revisions and changes are driven by the market. If Bafang continues to sell out their entire production capacity without any pressure to improve it, they won't spend the time and money on the R&D to refine it. Better to just look forward and move on to the next new product.

Hopefully as some larger builders/retailers start using their motors in mass production, there will be a demand for more product refinement out of the box and that will trickle down to everyone through core firmware improvements. Until then, we are probably stuck waiting for the enthusiast crowd to finish cracking the egg and building some open source options.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
And don't forget that revisions and changes are driven by the market. If Bafang continues to sell out their entire production capacity without any pressure to improve it, they won't spend the time and money on the R&D to refine it. Better to just look forward and move on to the next new product.

Hopefully as some larger builders/retailers start using their motors in mass production, there will be a demand for more product refinement out of the box and that will trickle down to everyone through core firmware improvements. Until then, we are probably stuck waiting for the enthusiast crowd to finish cracking the egg and building some open source options.
My thought as well....
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
I need to buy at least a couple of spare BBSHDs.
From here it looks like Bafang is gonna screw the pooch again! I'm guessing Bafang might leave us out in the cold as they did with the first versions and no more parts stream.

I had a conversation with a shop owner/mechanic regarding rebuilds or repairs. Once he crunched costs users are better off replacing the entire motor.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
From here it looks like Bafang is gonna screw the pooch again! I'm guessing Bafang might leave us out in the cold as they did with the first versions and no more parts stream.

I had a conversation with a shop owner/mechanic regarding rebuilds or repairs. Once he crunched costs users are better off replacing the entire motor.
I am actually in that boat right now. My Stormtrooper has a rhythmic squeak that I haven't yet been able to pin down. Its never present unless the motor has warmed up and the bike is under load, which it never is on a bench or up on a stand in the garage. I'm thinking I just replace the motor so the bike stays in service and slowly tear apart the one thats squeaking until I pin down the culprit. thats one 120mm motor right there. I have a 100mm motor on my BFD, another 120 on 2Fat and two more 68-72's on the Mongoose and Bullitt cargo bikes. I really need to address this before the shortage actually hits.

They pulled the motors from their (August?) release. Any idea when they are back on again?
 

tommybgood

Member
Region
USA
Brands will continue to spec bafang because of it's better spec to price ratio on paper.

This entails numerous problems for the consumer after purchase, however. Bafang motors are notoriously noisy and as many have pointed out, controller programming out of the box is poor, probably geared towards lurching, high powered starts which gives the impression of power, but becomes a liability for control and therefore safety.

Meanwhile brands such as Shimano are offering a superior user experience out of the box: quieter, smaller motors, lower Q factor, integrated batteries, and of course, a much more refined, linear power delivery.

You're paying more but the level of refinement is almost night and day.