TS eBall 29”er

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Bigwheel
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TS eBall 29”er

Post by Bigwheel » Dec 25, 2017 12:23 am

Now that I have my e road hub motor bike system down and winter is ramping up here in the PDX it is a good opportunity to see what kit mid drives are about these days. I have to say that there have been significant inroads since the GNG day’s.

I’ve of course been aware of the Bafang BB series motors but my test rides on then have always been not that inspiring. Mainly because my focus has been on road use and for me a hub motor wins that battle.

A local kit shop here, Portland Electric Cycles, was were I got turned on to the TS motor. The owner was very enthusiastic about them and after hearing his pitch I thought it sounded like what I was looking for. 68mm bb, torque sensing, non stock factory 52v controller and a compact size.

Made the deal and installed it on a 2005 29” MTB I have had since new. Installation was straight forward enough with one quick run to the hardware store for a few spacer washers.

Shakedown ride included some paved bike routes, one seriously steep hill climb, some old dirt roads. A mixed bag. The biggest impression was that it made the hill climb at a steady pace with output from both the motor and myself. Only used the 2nd assist level out of 4 for the job, in fact I never really felt the need to go beyond 2 during the ride and used 1 for the 7 mile shuttle ride to the park.

Used a little over 400w and went as fast as I wanted to go the whole ride. The ride quality with the tires set at 15psi is supple with lots of traction.

A lot of chatter about mid drives being better at hill climbing and I have to agree that for low speed loose terrain they are. But I still don’t think that it beats a hub motor for road use. I liked the torque sensor and although it has a throttle I never used it. Which is strange because I only use a throttle with no PAS on my hub bikes.
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Mud Guards

Post by AWD » Dec 25, 2017 2:54 pm

I have been riding road bikes with full fenders and it didn't take but one ride to remind me that mtb's need some coverage also. It is hard, if not impossible making it unnecessary to do anything one would consider full coverage. A downtube type and a seatpost clamp on have worked well enough in the past and are easy to swap in and out.

The maiden ride brought to light the fact that the motor location got pretty jammed with crud. There are three connections there and it's a pain to douche out so I closed it off with some .04 ABS sheeting I have on hand. It was pretty straight forward, one on the downtube and one on the seat tube look like they'll keep most of it out. Even got a skid plate out of the deal, I wouldn't call it a bash guard though.
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fechter
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Re: TS eBall 29”er

Post by fechter » Dec 26, 2017 12:50 am

I need something like that. The mud guard will have to come off during the summer or the motor will cook from lack of air flow.
"One test is worth a thousand opinions"

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Re: TS eBall 29”er

Post by AWD » Dec 26, 2017 8:52 am

Agreed Fechter, come the dryer months 3 zip ties clipped and presto. I had just bought a sheet of .04 ABS last week ($15/32 sq. ft.) for another fender related project for my road bikes and it was really easy to deal with. I hit it with my heat gun to help it form around the motor btw.

Trial run yesterday on some snowy single track. Bike stayed much cleaner. No unwanted noise or vibrations either. I need to fill in the space between the top of the crud catcher and the head tube though because at speed it still spits up through there.
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Overall quite pleased with the performance of the TS motor for trail use. I mostly stayed in my lowest gear and the lowest setting to ride yesterday and felt perfectly comfortable on the bike. I am a slow and steady type of rider and the extra help from the motor really helps to keep up my momentum. I have re-nicknamed the bike Qbota because it is like a tractor.

I still maintain that a hub drive is better for my personal needs for the road and light trail use but this bike makes me wish I lived closer to good single track for sure. Which ultimately is why I started my road bike project having more road access than trail for the first time in years.

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Qbota

Post by AWD » Dec 26, 2017 9:26 pm

Finally got the beta from the display figured out today. You have to press the +i- buttons at the same time at startup and toggle the i.

Looks like the controller is 15A x 52v = 780 or about a hundred more hot off the charger. Seeing as how I was only using eco and tour leaving sport and turbo alone and have been going as fast as I want it seems ok. Eco in tight single track is all I need and it will even climb a steep section at that. But if you kick it up to tour for steep climbs it does the job better. All with active pedaling. Anyway there were some other things to do but I didn't get a chance to really deal with it today.

Big surprise was the bike weighs 20.3kg (44.75lbs) ready to ride, and dirty. There is a lot of hub bub about the new Pivot Shuttle weighing 44lbs and how it is setting the standard for light weight.....ha.

And I quote:

Shuttle - Pivot Cycles | Pivot Cycles | Performance Redefined
www.pivotcycles.com/bike/shuttle/
Available only in Europe/UK. Pivot Shuttle – go further, ride harder, and conquer the toughest technical challenges with Pivot's revolutionary eMTB. At 19.95kg ( 44lbs) for a complete bike, the full carbon Shuttle sets a new benchmark for light weight,"

Granted that is FS compared to my HT but my FS bike weighs even less than my hardtail as it is aluminum and the Qbota is steel so adding the same system to it should actually be about the same.
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But it really depends on how you want to perform on a bike. Those that want to go as fast as possible on the DH and catch lots of air would probably benefit from spending the extra 8 grand or so but I have been riding mtb's for a long time and at this stage of life I feel like if I am on my mtb I am in no hurry to fly, go fast or fall off and a more XC oriented bike is just fine. But I do like the challenge of a good climb, and that is where the motor comes in, and low psi in the tires!

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Drunkskunk
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Re: TS eBall 29”er

Post by Drunkskunk » Dec 27, 2017 4:58 pm

Two Girvin forked bikes in the same thread? Now that's a rare sight.
That's a good looking bike. I'm curious how that TS compares to the BBS01
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Re: TS eBall 29”er

Post by AWD » Dec 27, 2017 9:18 pm

Actually the forks I use were manufactured by a French company called Fournales and marketed by another French company called LOOK. They date back to the early 90's and in 2000 when we were looking for sus forks to adapt to 29" wheels they came across our radar at Interbike that year. Fournales got out of the bike fork business, their main enterprise is making shocks for Harley's etc. and a guy in the Netherlands got a job lot of them which were mainly smalls (they are head tube specific S,M,L) because not many 26" wheel bikes had 4" head tubes. I picked up a bunch cheap, they were over 1000eu in their prime, and a friend with a CNC mill made new 35mm longer drop outs, took out the old ones and glued the new ones back in. Funky but functional for my style of slow and steady riding with more emphasis on the climb than the decent.

I would compare the TS as I have it set up @52v 15A more like a BB02. The big difference is in the PAS, torque vs. cadence. Still has a throttle, which although my 1250w front hub any road bike is throttle only I find the throttle only useful on this bike to get going from a stop, start to pedal and let the PAS take over. Not the realistic feel I get out of my other bikes unaffected drivetrain but I suppose it is efficient enough.Time will tell. Need to get a CA hooked up as the "display" is fairly worthless. Any are really if you are used to the info that a CA gives you.

Still not a conventional Q factor but not bad. Chainline isn't too bad either with a 10spd cassette, 11-40 and a 42t front ring. I have a few things in mind to do to minimize it and will when opportunity arises.

Took it out to the back 40 this evening and it is fun to just roam around on. In eco mode it has plenty of snot with the chain in the middle of the cassette and will give you the momentum you need to get through slop like this easily
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Re: TS eBall 29”er

Post by AWD » Dec 29, 2017 10:36 pm

Big Bamboo grove of Walking Stick with a working bike
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Bike continues to impress. Especially climbing steep nasty stuff. Fun.

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Re: TS eBall 29”er

Post by AWD » Jan 05, 2018 10:06 pm

Still fine tuning the install on this bike. Proper chainline, especially with the wide range cassettes available today, is important to shifting performance, drivetrain longevity and chain retention. Aftermarket mid drives like the TS and BBseries have a housing for the final gear reduction that pushes the chainring out pretty far so you only get decent chainline in the higher gears and horrible in the lower ones. Not good. That is why there are aftermarket chainrings that have offset teeth to the mounting holes so that it will "wrap" around the housing and get the chainring closer to the chain stay. Good.

The Bafang bolt pattern and the TS ones don't match up. The TS has a piece that is an adapter for a 110bcd chainring as well as it is bolted to the final drive. I took that piece and fit it under a Bafang ring and drilled holes through the chainring using it as the template. I then lopped off the bcd tabs as they weren't necessary and looked ugly behind the ring. Next size longer bolts and some bushings to space the ring off the adapter enough to clear the bottom of the motor housing. I used loc tire also. It was a little challenging to get the chainring running straight as I didn't take the best of care drilling the holes so note that operation is worth putting some time in.

Oh, a 42t ring is as small as you can go on a TS if you go with an off set type sprocket. I had a 40t on for one ride but it was a narrow/wide straight one that make chainline worse instead of better. But as seen in the photo below proper chainline has been achieved which to me means that you have a straight chainline while in the front ring (middle one if it is more than one) and the middle of the cassette or freewheel. That way either way from there is equal.
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Today's ride included grinding up some very steep terrain and I never felt like I needed a lower gear ratio than the 42/40 and using eco. With the improved chainline there was no grinding noise from the chain being overly side loaded in the lower cogs. Good. The chain stayed on the whole time too which is a bonus as losing the chain is also a common ailment that results from bad chainline.
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While I had the chainring off I kept going and dismantled pretty much the whole system to see what it is composed of. An amazingly small motor with a simple gear reduction system consisting of 3 different gears. The main helical gear that runs off the motor armature is a nylon one and I replaced it with a bronze one just because. Greased everything up and hit the inside with some T-9 and it went back together very easily. I like that it is a simple thing that is more than approachable by a back yard type mechanic. You don't need a factory authorized service course for this puppy!

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Re: TS eBall 29”er

Post by AWD » Jan 14, 2018 5:41 pm

Since piecing this bike together a few weeks ago I have been wanting to get together with a "manufactured" e bike for a comparison ride. Got the chance yesterday to do so in the Sisters, OR area. Which normally this time of year is full on snowed in.

The other bike was a carbon Levo which of course is a FS but by hand scale wasn't way too much more heavy. It had the 3.0 + tires on it also. The terrain was windy single track through the Ponderosas with rock outcropping features mixed in. Not a lot of elevation gain but many speed changes. My friend is quite a bit younger and more up with the whole single track for speed thing than I but we managed to stick together for the most part through out the 21 mile ride with him leading the way.

We swapped bikes, and shoes as I had ground down my non drive crank so it would better clear the chain stay after my quest for Q factor and it boogerd the spindle so that it wouldn't come off. Luckily we had the same size feet!

It took awhile for me to get used to the grabby and wandery steering effect that I find the norm with + tires compared to my usual 2.3's. The ground was mostly firm but as the day heated up it got a little sloppy with standing water on top in places. I am here to say the + tires suck in those conditions as I almost washed out in several corners due to the front end skating.

Power delivery of the Levo was perhaps a bit more refined than my TS kit but not so that it made a difference. The Brose system is quieter as has been noted due to their use of a belt in the gear reduction instead of a helical gear etc.. The TS is not loud but does have a bit of a growl to it.

Both bikes were kept in the eco mode all day, except for the first 1/2 mile after switching over the Levo had timed out and I rode it with no power and it felt every bit the heavy bike but still pedaled ok enough. Because there is no handlebar display it was not evident that was the case and I just thought the power delivery was weak...

After a few hundred miles now of tight single track use it is apparent to me for my style of riding that eco is really all one needs. Any more and the bike wants to "lunge" while doing tech moves which is disconcerting. Both bikes in eco mode provided assistance up to the top speed we both were able to travel at which was in the low teens for the most part. What the motor does is help to maintain momentum and get one back up to speed after an obstacle or sharp corner. My friend who rides these trails regularly on analog bikes also commented that in the flat section at the start the e bike made the corners more fun as his speed was elevated enough to rail them.

As noted above my kit system has a throttle which is really only useful for starting off or perhaps burping through a tech section where crank strikes might occur in order to keep the motor activated. Crank timing on a PAS bike doesn't work all that well. My friend liked the feature and agreed that it didn't do any harm to the world to have it available.

After this trial I am happy enough with my ghetto mid drive as it performs on par with a bike like the Levo and is lighter also. The ability to upgrade my battery to the new 21700 cells here soon and use the same battery on my e road bike and e mtb is a plus also. When the new battery chemistry gets traction they will show up in few years on the manufactured bikes but I would predict they won't be able to retro in to existing bikes. It's not that the current batteries are bad, they work fine, but the new ones will have a higher C rate and take way more charge cycles.

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Re: TS eBall 29”er

Post by AWD » Jan 16, 2018 4:31 pm

The display bracket broke when I was installing the motor that very first day. It was really not anything that I was excited about as it put the display out and over the bars and was doomed to break and made it so that the bike couldn't be turned up on to the bars and seat in event of that needing to happen.

I got away for a bit using the old mounting points for the bracket as a base for some rubber bands and fixing it to the stem. It was always crooked but only came undone once. I finally got around to thinking critically about the situation and came up with a plan based on the K Edge type mounts in use in the bike world.

I made a cardboard template first and then planned on getting some UHMW but as it happens my neighbor donated a small cutting board she wasn't using so that took care of that. Some Sharpie work, the right sized hole saw, a drill and bit and a jig saw with some time spent fiddling w/ the fitting and here is the result.
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After doing this it has inspired me to do a similar mount for my CA3's so now I have to track down another cutting board! Thrift Store here I come.

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