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Want Ebike that actually pedals well at 21 speed (direct, mid, geared?)

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Want Ebike that actually pedals well at 21 speed (direct, mid, geared?)

Old 02-05-21, 04:55 PM
  #1  
austin2359
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Want Ebike that actually pedals well at 21 speed (direct, mid, geared?)

So if I was just going with a complete motorized experience, it seems like the direct drive is the easy winner, because it's faster, it's easier and it's more efficient. The problem is that i'm reading that direct drives ruin the pedaling because they're too heavy and I still want to be able to pedal.

So my question is how can I get direct drive and not ruin the pedal experience and if I can't, how can I choose between a mid and a geared rear hub? I suppose I want the option to either pedal or use the motor and I want one where you can put a stronger batter in to make it go faster than advertised.
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Old 02-05-21, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by austin2359 View Post
So my question is how can I get direct drive and not ruin the pedal experience and if I can't, how can I choose between a mid and a geared rear hub? I suppose I want the option to either pedal or use the motor and I want one where you can put a stronger batter in to make it go faster than advertised.
First of all you are probably not going to find it in a commercial bike. You have to start with a bike that pedals really well to end up with a bike that pedals really well after being electrified. Commercially you are more apt to find what you want in a mid drive than a direct drive bike.
The problem with direct drive is that there is drag while pedaling due to the magnets in the motor causing drag. The efficiency of direct drive comes from the fact that you can get about 5% more through regenerative charging.
There is a way around the magnetic drag on a direct drive but I don't remember the exact path as I don't deal too much in direct drives. Go to Grin Technologies and study the articles for Phase Runner controllers. I believe one of the Phase Runner models has the ability to turn off the magnetic drag on certain direct drive models. There is also a e bike simulator there where you can compare different drives and drive setups. You might find that a mid drive is cheaper all around.
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Old 02-06-21, 03:15 AM
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Seems like you’re way overthinking this.

Just go to the bike shop and buy an eBike in a color you like.

It won’t be efficient.

It will be faster than riding a regular bicycle at your preferred effort level.

Worrying about pedal feel on an assisted bike is like worrying about sports car handling in a pickup truck: The lowest, most powerful Toyota Tundra or Silverado is never going to be on-par with a Supra or 911.

The only way to have truly efficient pedalling is to have a bike naked of unnecessary stuff with wide gearing, a cleaned and lubed drivetrain, and supple puncture-prone tires.

If you truly value pedal feel, just get a bicycle, fit it with some wide slick tires and be happy with riding as fast as wind and gravity will allow. Sometimes that may be as slow as 5mph. Choose your gear accordingly. Stand up to give your butt a rest.

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Old 02-06-21, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by hsuBM View Post
Seems like you’re way overthinking this.

Just go to the bike shop and buy an eBike in a color you like.

It won’t be efficient.

It will be faster than riding a regular bicycle at your preferred effort level.

Worrying about pedal feel on an assisted bike is like worrying about sports car handling in a pickup truck: The lowest, most powerful Toyota Tundra or Silverado is never going to be on-par with a Supra or 911.

.
Not everyone is put together the same way. What a boring world it would be if they were. Feel is not the same as efficiency but may be perceived that way. The OP's question is very valid.

I am a touchy feely engineer and for me, a bike has to have a certain feel that talks to me and makes me feel like riding it. If the bike does not have that "feel", without power, I will spend until it does have that feel, or get a different bike. "Shut up and ride" is okay right up to the point that I don't like the way the bike feels. . Biking for me, is more than getting from point A to point B and exercise. For me, riding a bike is the entire immersed experience and being part of nature.
My bike has that "feel" but its heavier than dog snot. 50 to 85 lb (23-39 kg) depending on how I have it configured and expensive. I can pedal the bike 10-12 mph (16-20 kph) unassisted on level ground, low wind. In group rides I often have the bike power off or very low power. (Group rides average age is about 75 yo) I always pedal, no throttle except to get started once in a while. I put in about 100-140 watts of my own power and the bike makes up any differences. "Feel" can be the difference of getting out there and riding often or sitting at home not doing much or anything.
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Old 02-06-21, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by KPREN View Post
a bike has to have a certain feel that talks to me and makes me feel like riding it.
And that’s just too personal for a forum post.

OP’s gonna have to go out and just buy one. Then another. A-B them. But a third, sell one. Sell another. But another. Sell either it or the last winner. And whatever s/he gleans from that experience is going to be of little to no use in the forums as the market is so wide still when there’re tons of posters saying “build your own from a no-name motor from a no-name factory and stick it on any frame with unknown geometry- it’ll be just great!”

It’s not apples to apples unless they’re sticking to major brands with liability insurance behind them having their eBikes distributed through regular Bike Shops.

Just buy one. If you don’t love it, buy another. You can then compare notes on those established variables with folks who’ve experienced those identical variables.

The OP wrote of both feel and efficiency which is why I also did.
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Old 02-06-21, 12:25 PM
  #6  
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I truly don't understand the "I like to pedal" statement.

There isn't an ebike made that doesn't allow one to turn off (or turn down) the assist. You can ride it like a normal bike.

Have to echo what someone said about commercial bikes. A good battery is expensive, no way around that. A large number of commercial bikes seem to cut cost by using heavy frames and low end components. Many are targeting casual riders.

I put an mid drive kit on an old mountain bike. I really like riding the bike. Yes, spinning the cranks with the bike on the stand I can feel a slight resistance from the motor, but nothing major. I spend the majority of my rides with motor on a low or zero assist. Really only use the boost for hills or when I want to go fast.

Also have to disagree with your statement that direct drive (I assume you mean hub motor) bikes are more efficient. The gearing on mid drive motors lets them spin faster allowing for a more efficient motor design. The efficiency numbers on mid drive motors themselves are much higher.
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Old 02-07-21, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by hsuBM View Post
And that’s just too personal for a forum post.

The OP wrote of both feel and efficiency which is why I also did.
Hah, feel is entirely subjective and personal. For some people, every little thing changes the feel. For others, they could ride over an ATV and barely notice.

In another thread, the OP stated his intentions to build an e bike up from a donor bike. Starting with a donor bike that pedals great for the builder, is the best way for the builder to end up with an e bike that pedals well. If the bike already pedals poorly, making it an e bike will not change that.
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Old 02-08-21, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by austin2359 View Post

So if I was just going with a complete motorized experience, it seems like the direct drive is the easy winner, because it's faster, it's easier and it's more efficient. The problem is that i'm reading that direct drives ruin the pedaling because they're too heavy and I still want to be able to pedal.

So my question is how can I get direct drive and not ruin the pedal experience and if I can't, how can I choose between a mid and a geared rear hub? I suppose I want the option to either pedal or use the motor and I want one where you can put a stronger batter in to make it go faster than advertised.
Actually, mid drive is more efficient because of the mechanical advantage the gears give it.

"I still want to be able to pedal" I didn't want a throttle, so I got a pedelec. A pedelec motor only assists when you pedal.

When I get tired, I max out the motor and let it do most of the work.

Class 1 motors cut out at 20 mph. Class 3 motors go to 28mph, but they are not allowed in some places.

You can find Class 3 in rear or mid drive.

My wife has a Trek Verve 2. It's well made, and if there's a problem, there'll be a solution. You can't say that about all of them. It's pretty much what I would suggest getting, if your budget can fit it in.

See if you can't test ride one. Another bike you might want to try is a Gazelle. That's what sold me on what I have (which is no longer made). A couple minutes of riding, and I was sold.
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Old 02-10-21, 05:55 AM
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Old 02-10-21, 08:10 AM
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First you need to establish your parameter & expectation from a e-bike.

What kind of cycling do you want to do on it? on or off-pavement? among motor vehicles or only pedestrians?

Will you be carrying a heavy load (including rider weight)?

What is a fast speed (specify mph) for you?

Are you used to or comfortable riding at faster pace within your designated environment?

Given info above you might be able to receive better suggestions to narrow down your search.
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Old 02-10-21, 10:31 AM
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Good start, and some additional questions like budget, are you a DIY-type, do you need to carry it up flights of stairs, wind, hills, miles per outing, etc. I suggested a "sticky" for answering those questions before posting, but it was rejected. Now, IMO, mostly ignore ambiguous questions like "What's the best e-bike". Actually, it might be feasible to just send everyone to Amazon and tell them to buy the model​​​​​​ that has their favorite color since the first 10 items that are displayed all have 4+ Star (of "5") average ratings. BTW, I'm not affiliated with Amazon in any way, but get my groceries from them every week.

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Old 02-10-21, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by 2old View Post
Good start, and some additional questions like budget, are you a DIY-type, do you need to carry it up flights of stairs, wind, hills, miles per outing, etc. I suggested a "sticky" for answering those questions before posting, but it was rejected. Now, IMO, mostly ignore ambiguous questions like "What's the best e-bike". .
The original poster has answered many of those questions in another post in the Ebike section here. Want to motorize bike, what bike should I get to motorize?
He has not reference this thread nor transferred any of that information.
Hopefully I posted this right.
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Old 02-10-21, 12:02 PM
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The e-bike world is developing categories of its own. One of the more interesting ones has been small almost hidden motors/batteries on bikes that are meant to be pedalled much of the time. I think the most popular is the Specialized Turbo Creo line. The bikes weigh roughly 34 pounds though I think the top of their line claims to be 29 pounds. The motors also add minimal resistance with the power off. It's a lot heavier than a modern sub-20 pound carbon fiber road bike, but it's not far off normal non-ebike weight many years ago (a 1972 Schwinn Varsity weighed 34 pounds or so). Anyway, the Creo, the various Fazua-powered bikes from competing brands, and there's a Bafang mini motor all claim to be easy to pedal without power. I don't know that any of these would be ideal for someone trying a diy e-bike conversion, because most of these motors are meant to be hidden inside the bike frame. In the after-market realm, there are things like Share-Roller or whatever name it goes by now that actually let you completely disengage the motor.

I have an e-bike that's about 42 pounds with a full-sized motor and battery. The motor drags a little, but it's pleasant enough to pedal without power certainly for 5-10 relatively flat miles. There have even been times when I've turned off the motor for a stretch and forgotten that it was off. With the "conventional" e-bikes, the Yamaha powered ones have a good reputation for being drag free and they also use a 2x crank setup which allows for lower gearing. The extra weight is roughly a 1-2 gear penalty when riding without power. There was a post on another message board from a guy who was saying that he was doing 60 mile tours on a Yamaha-based e-bike and doing 40 miles of it or so without power.
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Old 02-10-21, 01:34 PM
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I found that the easiest and most "bike" like E bike experience is to just add a MAC front hub motor onto a good steel touring bike. You keep all the "goodness" that your normal bike setup provides but with a little bit of throttle your helped over the the most difficult terrain. MAC motors are geared so you have the least amount of drag and minimal weight.
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Old 02-10-21, 01:35 PM
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FME, geared motors, are almost drag-free. I've built a couple of mid-drive, sub-35 pound e-MTB's and both pedaled easily without assistance on flat or slight inclines.
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Old 02-10-21, 02:30 PM
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you want a light weight bike that's going to be easier to peddle without power its not going to be cheap. I can even keep my bosch powered bike to about 15 without power. it is a bit older and the motor has drag.
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Old 02-12-21, 03:33 PM
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Torque sensing provides much better feel because it's amplifying your natural effort level. That's typically only found in mid-drives, and mostly in pre-built bikes. A mid-drive can integrate the torque sensor directly with the motor electronics, so it's relatively inexpensive. Integrating a torque sensor with a rear hub requires a special bottom bracket, which significantly increases cost.

Direct drive is efficient for high-speed and throttle operation. For efficient pedaling, you want a mid-drive. Most of the moped style ebikes use rear hubs motor, because the pedals are for legal compliance, they are not intended to be the primary method of pedaling. The moped style bikes all have seats that are far to low to allow for efficient pedaling, the pedals are for resting your feet on, or navigating a parking lot. You're not actually expected to ride them by pedalling.
Ebikes that are intended primarily for pedaling such as most eMTBs are all mid-drive.
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Old 02-12-21, 05:16 PM
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Bafang’s geared hub motors put no drag on the drivetrain. My own dual 500W 48V hub drive mountain cargo ‘bent conversion actually coasts faster down hill now from all the extra weight. This system also reduces wear on the chain and gears, quite the opposite of mid drives. Considerably less costly too, and Bafang’s Intelligent displays allow them to be “overclocked” with 52V battery packs for increased power.

Torque sensors might offer the most magical feeling of assist but still not absolutely necessary for a smooth pedaling experience. I didn’t even bother to install the cadence sensors that came with my two Bafang hubs, just a pair of half twist throttles. With a 3x9 setup (and I only use 2x9, no need for the granny or even the largest, 28T cog) can peddle as hard or lazily as I like. Nine assist levels plus Walk Mode — highest I’ve used so far was level 4 when returning home from a shopping run. Kept the default speed limit at 25kph (16mph) and as the terrain undulates cannot feel the motors cutting in or out, the integration is so seamless. Without modding the software, speed limit can be raised as high as 45kph (28mph) though not sure how long the motors could sustain that when the bike is loaded with a hundred pounds of supplies.

TheeBikes offers 1000W and greater rear hub drive that can take a 9 or 10-speed cassette, probably the most simple and economical option for a high speed DIY conversion where there is not the need to comply with the nationwide 750W e-bike restriction.

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Old 02-13-21, 09:09 PM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by hsuBM View Post
And that’s just too personal for a forum post.

OP’s gonna have to go out and just buy one. Then another. A-B them. But a third, sell one. Sell another. But another. Sell either it or the last winner. And whatever s/he gleans from that experience is going to be of little to no use in the forums as the market is so wide still when there’re tons of posters saying “build your own from a no-name motor from a no-name factory and stick it on any frame with unknown geometry- it’ll be just great!”

It’s not apples to apples unless they’re sticking to major brands with liability insurance behind them having their eBikes distributed through regular Bike Shops.

Just buy one. If you don’t love it, buy another. You can then compare notes on those established variables with folks who’ve experienced those identical variables.

The OP wrote of both feel and efficiency which is why I also did.
Or maybe test ride a few instead of just buying them all first and buy the one that feeld free rolling, comfortable and efficient. You may be quite surprised that many of the good modern e bikes have basically imperceptable drag regardless of drive type. Test ride a few, ride them in different assist modes and without assist. Stay away from the awful cheap noname brands available on Amazon and ebay and just look at the ones you can test ride for yourself. From the sound of your post it sounds like you have not yet test ridden a Giant, Trek, Cannondale, Specialized, etc. so I suggest you see how far these good bikes will roll on a level sidewalk with just a foot pushoff... Maybe compare that to an non motorized one and see for yourself how significant the drag is...
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Old 09-12-21, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by austin2359 View Post
So if I was just going with a complete motorized experience, it seems like the direct drive is the easy winner, because it's faster, it's easier and it's more efficient. The problem is that i'm reading that direct drives ruin the pedaling because they're too heavy and I still want to be able to pedal.

So my question is how can I get direct drive and not ruin the pedal experience and if I can't, how can I choose between a mid and a geared rear hub? I suppose I want the option to either pedal or use the motor and I want one where you can put a stronger batter in to make it go faster than advertised.
Well, they do exist: I have on order a 21 speed Cyrusher 900 with 750w Bafang geared hub motor and a 48v 750ah battery. I will report back when it arrives. It has 4"x26' fat tires and both front (air fork) and rear (spring) suspension, weighs in at 68 lb, but actually has a triple front sprocket and derailleur. I'm coming from a long line of road bikes with triples and figure that with enough assist, I should be able to pedal this thing up Portland OR hills in the rain without getting sweat soaked in my Gore-tex. My sense is that at 28mph, the fat tires are a lot safer than my 25mm 700c's, which reach that on downhills around here, and will also soak up a lot of pavement irregularity.
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Old 09-12-21, 06:47 PM
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I ride all over portland on my bosch powered bikes every hill around we jsut went up power butte on the trails on our bosch powered e tandem. peddling feels natural and we can climb any hill. my bosch commuter I can do all hills I ahve tried usually one in the second level of assist unless its long them my body runs out. this guy is 0ver 20%

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Old 09-12-21, 09:19 PM
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If you want regen braking then get the GMAC rear hub motor from Grin.
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Old 09-15-21, 11:32 AM
  #23  
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Go with a Class III bike that will not cut out at speeds greater than 18 mph in actual use. At the upper end are the bikes from Specialized and at the lower end is the Yamaha Civante. What you buy in part depends on what is available to buy in your area.

Anything you buy will be a compromise so start by deciding what is essential and what are the nice to have optional aspects.
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Old 06-02-22, 05:32 PM
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Exclamation 700 mile report Cyrusher XF 900

So it did come with 21 speeds, but there were some surprises: front derailleur was a direct mount (mounted to a flat extension from ring held to the bike by the crank retainer) and of no name, very low quality. Gearing was 24, 34, 42 in front, 14-28 seven speed freewheel in back, Shimano tourney rear derailleur, Shimano thumb shifters. 5 levels of cadence sensor pedal assist, which worked by adding enough motor to get you to five different set speeds regardless of how much power you were putting through the pedals as long as you were pedaling. Lowest assist level pushed to between 10-15mph before phasing out. There is also a R grip twist throttle, which could be used to deliver a controlled speed, IF NOT PEDALING. There was supposedly a setting possible in the display to allow throttle only, without the pedal assist while pedaling, but on my bike, at least, this did not work. Others reported that a replacement display did allow this. There was also a problem with the gearing, in that almost no situation called for anything other than the largest chainwheel if one wished to keep up with the pedal assist power and deliver useful power through the pedals. Many other buyers on the company sponsored facebook group complained about this resulting in "ghost pedaling." Some ditched the entire front crank and derailleur setup for a single 52 tooth chainwheel. There was no way to have throttle only assist until I realized that I could wire a switch into the cadence sensor connection to the controller and cut the pedal assist, but leave the throttle. This helped, as did finding a couple of name brand no longer manufactured direct mount front derailleurs, an SRAM and a Shimano, that could be rigged to replace the original. I also replaced the crankset to give 24, 40, and 52 chainrings, the original crankset not having replaceable rings. These alterations have resulted in my being able to decide exactly how hard I want to work and what speed I wish to go. I see that Cyrusher is no longer offering the triple, and does not reveal what size the single chainwheel that replaced it is. Other alterations from the spec of my October 2021 delivery include dropping the front air fork for a spring unit. The rear suspension was a spring shock on mine and does not seem to have changed. I replaced it, as many others on the company facebook group did, with an air shock, which allows much better balancing of the front/rear bounce rates. The hydraulic disc brakes are Zoom, with 180mm rotors. I have recently replaced the rear pads with Shimano sintered metal ones, since I had worn out the original composites. These pads are still silent and work equally as well as the originals, My bike came with full fenders and a rear rack, both of which are of good quality, though the fenders are short enough to allow a lot of splash onto the crank area, both on front and rear, I modified them with extensions of flexible plastic. The stock rear light is a very small LED coin battery unit built into the seat, and definitely not bright enough to be seen in daylight. Headlight is adequate, but there is no flashing mode and only a single level of brightness. I added a motorcycle 12-60v LED from Amazon with a switch tapping into the headlight wire to use as "brights," as well as a Cygolite metro package of front and rear lights with "daylightning" flash settings. I also added a thumb lever to the handgrip throttle to allow finer control without hand fatigue. The enormous soft seat, which I thought I would want to change, actually works well when pedaling seriously, having a long nose that approximates the shape of a racing saddle, and is quite comfortable. ( I have Sella Italia Q-Biks on two of my analogue road bikes and a Cinelli on the other for reference.) The Bafang 750watt hub motor is powerful and will haul me up Portland's West hills at 10+mph in level one. The freewheel combined with the motor wire coming out of the axle means that one cannot use a freewheel remover because it won't fit over the motor wire connector and axle nuts and even the Area 13 special $50 large hole freewheel remover won't fit without filing off the edges of the flats on the 18mm hex axle nut. This means that freewheels need to be destructively removed, A cassette or an off side motor wire would be better. I added a Grin torque arm on the off side to keep the axle from rotating in the aluminum dropouts, which are only minimally protected by a slotted washer.The 17ah battery is a Hailong, and other than having a USB port that won't power my Pixel phone, works fine, delivering over 40 miles in the hills on a full charge and with generous use of the throttle. I have made a chart that allows me to predict how long to run the included charger to reach a 75-80% charge, which is what I normally use, reserving a full 100% one to once every couple of months to enable the BMS to balance the cells. The bike is very solid, feels strong and seems well put-together overall, though with the noted things that I thought needed modifications.
All in all, I feel that if one is willing and able to modify it, this is a pretty good value at $2700. If you are looking to just get it and ride, it works more like a moped, but at least the model I got can be made into a decent full suspension 65lb fat tire ebike if you spend another couple hundred dollars and a good bit of time at it. It cruises down hills at over 32mph with complete aplomb, feels super safe at those speeds and stops in a confidence-inspiring manner. I have taken it on short single track trails and while far from agile, it can be used for this, and actually works better if you ride it faster than you think is wise, sort of bulling one's way through. I would not say that is it's best use, however. Assist level 2 or 3 will enable one to feel pretty safe in city traffic, maintaining 15-20mph. If you want to use the pedal assist as a sort of cruise control, my added switch allows that, and the revised gearing allows adding meaningful power from your legs at any speed. The customer service is difficult, as you might expect from a Chinese company, but does respond if one is persistent, though not necessarily in providing what one asked. Caveat Emptor, but if you have skills to alter it, a pretty good platform to build on.
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Old 06-03-22, 10:51 AM
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2old
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Excellent review and good job modifying as necessary.
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