BAFANG 750 WATT CRANK DRIVE MOTOR WITH TORQUE SENSOR

The Bafang mid-drive (crank drive) e-motor has long been a very popular choice but the one objection to it has been that it is “unnatural”due to lack of torque sensing. Well, Bafang finally did something about it and now … maybe … it is the best offering out there. (And I just bought a Tongsheng.)

750w Torque Sensor’ed MID DRIVE

https://www.ouka-ebike.com/bafang-mm-g5107501000-750w-1000w-m620-torque-sensor-mid-drive-motor-kit-p1103472.html

Bafang BBS02, 750W mid-drive electric bike motor Kit Review

Bafang Ultra Max, the new big dog on the porch

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eZEE HUB MOTOR REVIEW

have had my eZee hub motor now for over 3 years so I thought I would write a review on  it. After my bad experiences with BionX and Golden Motors the eZee motor has been reliable and performed relatively well for me. That is until recently. I am having trouble with it so I have replaced it with a different brand. I bought a Tongsheng crank drive motor which is what I have been considering if ever I were to buy another motor. That being said I did not know about the newest Bafang crankdrive motor that now has a torque sensor. I probably would have bought it instead of the Tongsheng if I had known about it sooner. The trouble I am having with the eZee motor system has nothing to do with the motor as far as I know. Personally I think my controller is acting up. I bought my eZee hub motor conversion kit from Grin Technologies. I have emailed them several times over the 3 years I have had it requesting their help on a few things. They have replied back but they have never really helped me. Overall the eZee motor has been good but I do want to cover the few things which have not been good. The eZee motor does not have built in torque sensing so a separate external torque sensor which mounts in the bottom bracket must be purchased. It is not cheap. And what they don’t tell you is that in order to install it it requires buying a new crankset … also not cheap … meaning this is all getting rather expensive.

 

I bought the new crankset and paid my LBS to install the torque sensor in the bottom bracket. The torque sensor didn’t work. Grin Technologies then told me that they have had a lot of problems with this particular torque sensor. (It would have been nice if they would have mentioned that upfront and advise against buying it.) They advised me to try a different one which they would send to me at no additional charge. All they asked is that I mail them back the defective one which I had to pay postage on. When I received the new torque sensor I discovered that it required yet a different crankset. My LBS looked but could not find one to order. So for over three years now all I have had is a manual thumb throttle to use. I have not had a torque sensor for pedal assist. All of this mess and expense could have been avoided if only the bicycle industry would standardize the cranksets instead of making various types and sizes.

The rear wheel which the eZee hub motor was laced into did not hold up for me. It cracked open and I had to replace it. This added a lot more expense to my e-trike. I now have a rear wheel which is holding up great. But why doesn’t the supplier of the eZee hub motor provide a rear rim which is better made?

The eZee hub motor requires the older type of rear sprockets known as free wheel. Just recently the free wheel unit has started acting up spinning forward instead of grabbing to propel the trike forward. That’s not good. I went to my LBS and they looked up 9 sprocket free wheel units only to find nothing available like I have now. I would have to sacrifice my lower gearing going from a 34 tooth sprocket to a 30 tooth. My system is just too old and it is hard to find these component parts for it. The industry has gone to 10 and 11 speed. 9 speed has become an antique so to speak. Anyway, they lubricated the free wheel unit and it has been working okay since then. I don’t know for how long though. What I am getting at is it is time to move on. I have the Tongsheng motor kit installed but I am waiting on an extension  cable so I can hook up the speed sensor to get it all working. That cable just arrived in yesterday’s mail so I will be installing it today.

Oh, another thing about the eZee hub motor I don’t care for is that in order to change the nylon gear inside the motor the electrical wiring coming out of the motor has to be cut in two to disassemble it to change the nylon gears. Then all those wires need to be reconnected and resealed when reassembling it. I think they made a change in this in the newer model they are manufacturing. They say the nylon gears inside the motor should last about 9000 miles I think. I had over 40,000 miles on the motor so I ordered a new gear and went to change it when I discovered this about having to cut the wires. I didn’t want to get into that. Even though I had several times more than the 9000 miles on the hub motor the nylon gear inside still looked like new so I simply regreased it and put it all back together. It is still sounding and working the same as it always has so I assume the gear has not worn out yet.

The eZee hub motor is a geared reduction motor meaning that is should be very powerful …   more so than the 350 watt BionX motor I started out with which was a gearless direct drive unit. For some reason unknown to me I have never been able to get any help from Grin Technologies as to why this motor lacks power (torque on demand). It should easily out perform the BionX but just the opposite is true. From a standstill or low speed up to about 12 mph or so the BionX will easily shoot away from my eZee hub motor. Once I am up to 12 mph or so I start gaining on the BionX and pass it by leaving it far behind. It has good top end … 28 plus mph … but on hills I have to assist it as it just does not have the power to climb hills. My BionX would shoot me up and over if I used the hand throttle.

Well, that is my review. Could I recommend it to others? No, not really. If these issues I have described didn’t exist then yes, I would recommend it. But hey, they do exist and as I have stated I have not been able to get any help to resolve them. It is time to move on. I want to get this Tongsheng working and see how it does. It will be great to have a torque sensor and true pedal assist.

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EXTRA WIDE LOAD

14 inches … let’s face it … 14 inches is not very wide. Most of us have bigger butts than that. Yet trike manufacturers seem to be dead set on designing and fabricating their trikes with seat frames that are only 14 inches wide. That means that a very large percentage of tadpole trike riders deal with varying degrees of “overhang” going on and the result is we are not as comfortable as we would like to be or could be if the seat was only a couple of inches wider.

Some people do something about it to try to help while others just deal with it. They add various types of cushions and pads to sit on. This may work but it raises them up higher in the seat effecting the center of gravity and the handling of the trike. This is not good. Also sitting on a cushion is not as safe as sitting down “into” the seat. Sometimes foam is added to the seat frame to make things a bit more comfortable. It can help but it is not as effective as a cushion. The dealer where I bought my trike did this for me. It helped for awhile but the foam did not hold up and self destructed.

There are a whole lot of us who weigh more than we should and subject our trikes to more weight than they are suppose to carry.

Yeah, I know … these aren’t trikes, but they do illustrate my point. I am sure that neither vehicle are made to haul that much weight. And some of us are exceeding the weight limits of our trikes. When I first bought my 2009 Catrike Trail the dealer told me that he has customers riding Catrikes that weigh over 400 pounds  (no, not the trikes … the riders) … far beyond their rated capacity. Yet the dealer said that all of the trikes are doing well handling the weight. Certainly some things are bound to  wear out or fail prematurely as a result of the extra weight they are subjected to.

It would be rather embarrassing to have to have signs like the one above attached to our trikes. No one in their right mind wants to be fat and certainly it is a sensitive topic and a difficult thing to deal with.

I personally started gaining weight in my early 20s while I was serving in the Navy. I was never overweight prior to that. I have battled obesity all of my adult life. It runs in my family, particularly on my mom’s side. I have lost all of my excess weight twice in past years but I have always put the weight right back on and even more. Presently I am about 23 pounds less than I was at the highest point in my past. It is very difficult for me to lose weight. I practically have to starve myself and be very careful what and how much I eat. I currently weigh nearly twice as much as I did when I graduated from high school. That’s not good and the older I get the more of a concern it is. I am 74 now. Fortunately I am healthy as far as everyday life. I can’t even remember the last time I was sick. I haven’t had the flu for more than 30 years and I have never had a flu shot in my entire life nor would I ever get one.

14 inches … just is not wide enough. Why do the trike manufacturers do this?

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IF YA CAN’T ACTUALLY GO THERE …

I am sure that I am not alone when it comes to not being able to travel to various places to ride my trike. There are many trails I would love to ride but alas it is very unlikely to ever happen. The Withlacochee Trail in Florida is one of those trails I would like very much to ride. Since I am not likely to ever make the journey I very much enjoy watching good videos created by those who have gone there and ridden the trail. Here is one example …

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LET’S RIDE!

As I watch this video my immediate thought is “let’s ride!” as it looks so inviting and beautiful nature to take in.

Here is what is found in the video description:

“Whenever we are in the Townsend, TN area to ride, we always run up Tremont Road. It has a manageable all uphill grade to the top and then a grin inducing downhill (pedaling optional) back to the start. The first two miles are very smooth pavement and the last three are packed gravel. Sometimes we just run up and down the paved part, but the gravel is where the fun really begins. You will need a trike/bike fitted with proper tires for gravel, no skinny racers for this run and suspension is a must if you value your teeth, haha.

There is no shortage of scenery along the way since this is the Smoky Mountains and the road runs along the Little River and the Middle Prong Little River. There is some light vehicle traffic on this road since there are hiking trails at the top of Tremont Road. Going down, we ride faster than traffic, so it’s never been an issue…wink wink.”

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RAILS TO TRAILS CONSERVANCY

Many of us ride our trikes on former railroad property which has been converted over from “rails to trails”. It is a good use for the land that otherwise just sits there going to waste, not being used for anything. The neat thing about rail trails is that most abandoned railroad corridors are quite long so a trail could go on for a very long distance. And for those who are not crazy about hill climbing railroads were built with limited  grades for the trains to deal with so trails that are built on the railroad corridors don’t have any steep hills. I think a 2 % grade is typical for railroad corridors.

Of course, the railroad companies don’t usually give the land away. They sell it and it can get quite expensive. Building trails is quite expensive not taking into account purchasing the land involved.

With one exception all of our local trails where I live are not rail trails. One is a rail trail however and it is a great trail. It is even named after something to do with railroads. Years ago steam locomotives ruled the rails. They were affectionately nicknamed “Pufferbellies”. Our local rail trail is called the Pufferbelly Trail. There are not any pufferbelly trains running on it anymore but it quickly became the most used trail among the several different trail offerings we have here in the Fort Wayne, Indiana area. It is not completed yet. It still has a few miles to be paved on the north end of it as well as a few at the south end to connect to the section already built to the south. Our local trail, the Pufferbelly Trail, is part of a much longer trail yet to be built which when finished will be approximately 90 miles long connecting the  Ouabache State Park near Bluffton, In. in the south to Pokagon State Park north of Angola, In. near the Michigan State Line. Our local trail will be about 13 miles long when completed. Right now I think about 7 miles is completed. More will be built to the north this year.

Oops, I guess I was wrong. Here comes a pufferbelly train now. Don’t worry, I don’t think it can get past the bollard …

I just had to have some photo editing fun.

In all seriousness, a group known as Rails to Trails Conservancy has a Facebook page you might enjoy checking out.

https://www.facebook.com/railstotrails/

They also have a website. Click HERE to visit it.

Here is their stated mission: “At Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, we are building a nation connected by trails. We reimagine public spaces to create safe ways for everyone to walk, bike and be active outdoors.”

One rail trail which is quite intriguing is the Great American Rail Trail which when completed will span all the was across the nation … from Washington State to Washington, D.C.

On a personal note, I have ridden on a few rail trails and found that they can be great trails to ride on. However, I have also ridden on some that are lousy … worse than driving on the interstate thru Kansas … just straight with no shade trees and quite boring. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for building trails using railroad corridors. They help us to …

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SO TADPOLE TRIKES ARE SLOW … WHO CARES?

Yes, definitely tadpole trikes are slow … slower than a bicycle. Why woudn’t they be? They are heavier and have 3 wheels rather than 2. We are not comparing apples with apples. But WHO CARES? I rather doubt that most people who buy a tadpole trike are doing so to be able to outperform a bicycle in the speed department. No, other issues and concerns enter the picture. Sooner or later most of us come to our senses and realize that bicycles are rather uncomfortable to ride and they definitely are not safe for many of us to ride as we age. Some bicycle riders have already experienced wrecks which convinced us of the concerns for our safety. Many have suffered life changing injuries or medical/health/physical problems resulting in changing over from bicycles to recumbent tadpole trikes. No, speed is no longer an issue for most of us. We have nothing to prove to others or ourselves.

All that being said, are tadpole trikes really all that slow? Not necessarily. Like any other human powered vehicle the determining factor is the motor. Some riders still manage to ride pretty fast passing up most bicycle riders. The bottom line to the question of how fast is a tadpole trike is … the same for any other type of bicycle … JUST AS FAST AS YOU CAN PEDAL IT!

Most of us don’t qualify. Some of us really slow up as we age and deal with various issues which slow us up. Without the assistance of an electric motor I am pathetic as I ride along at 2 to 3 mph most of the time. I didn’t use to be slow like I am now but after having both knee joints replaced I find that I can no longer push hard on the pedals so I have to ride along in lower gears. But, hey, when I was younger like the rider in this video above I probably could have given him a run for his money. Now at age 74, I have no interest or desire to attempt it much less the ability to do so. With e-assist I no doubt could fly by him if I wanted to. And I do tend to ride fairly fast most of the time as it makes for a lot more fun that the 2 to 3 mph I mentioned under my own power. E-assist has brought much joy back into cycling for me. Riding without it is simply misery and drudgery for me. Riding in constant pain barely moving along being passed by walkers is no fun at all. My e-assist is a game changer. I went from being a slow moving turtle to a road runner out there. So if you see a flash go by you it just might be me enjoying myself while I can. Yes, I pass bicyclists all the time on my tadpole trike, but I am cheating as some point out. Shhhh! Don’t say anything. Some of the bicyclists don’t know it.

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REAR FACING RADAR

Are you concerned about vehicular traffic approaching you from behind and not knowing about it until they are passing you? Modern day technology is here to help . Check out these products …

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TERRACYCLE FLAG MOUNT

TerraCycle is well known for high quality products for us cyclists. Their flag holder (mount) is no exception. It is definitely more expensive than other flag holders I have seen ($38) but hey it is really well made and will definitely do a superb job of holding a flag pole. As you can see it is easy with this mount to adjust the angle forward to back of the flag pole (or even sideways if you have the mount positioned sideways on the trike).

It is available for both 1/4 inch and 6 mm flag poles. The mounting clamps are available in 1/2 thru 1 1/4 inch diameter or you can order it without any clamps. To order their flag pole mount click HERE

With these mounts the flag can be placed various places  … rear stays, seat frame … anywhere that will work for you. I highly recommend not having your flag pole positioned where people can get their eye poked out riding or walking into it. I see this all the time … flag poles that pose a serious threat of injury of others. Be considerate of others and think about what you are doing. Don’t be part of the problem. Wouldn’t you feel terrible if you were the cause of somebody losing their eye?

Personally I remove my two flags after each ride so I need a system which is easy and quick to do this. My Catrike flag pole holders work great for me but I had to come up with my own mounting system which wasn’t hard to do

If you have not come up with what works for you or if you want to possibly improve what you have consider these TerraCycle flag mounts.

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