The snobby cyclist's noob guide to TSDZ2 & BBS02

Discussions related to motors other than hub motors.
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bjorsa   10 mW

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The snobby cyclist's noob guide to TSDZ2 & BBS02

Post by bjorsa » May 16 2019 7:01am

I'm more of a cyclist than an e-biker. That means I value the excercise, things like q-factor, cadence and a generally cycley feeling. Before buying all these motors I would have appreciated the info I'm about to give here and that's why I'm posting this.


SHARED ISSUES:

*The whole concept is just great: keep your fave bike, add a motor and when time has passed it by you simply remove that old motor and install the flashy new one you want. Your friend with an integrated motor is stuck. And with very limited modifying options. And poor from buying expensive. And worse for the environment too.

*The chainline is about the same on both: in no way ideal but perfectly manageable.

*Q-factor is also the same: seriously bad and also tilted to the right side. This shift can be managed by ordering cranks with right side q of 0 and left q around 14-18 mm (when you measure do it with the stock cranks fully mounted because the square tapers are not precision made and may trick you by letting one crank mount higher than the other). Q will be horrible at well over 21cm (68mm bb) but I find I can live with it.

*Stock cranks are of the cheap China kind but of decent quality and not unreasonably heavy. Neither solves the q-factor issues. (Interestingly enough if you happen to have a Bafang right side and a TS left side crank you're kind of good, even though you'll have just a bit of shift to the right still going on it's still much better than going all Bafang or Tongsheng both sides.)

*Both are rather quiet and look innocuous too. Individual units vary - my BBS02 is quieter than any of my TSDZ2's. Both are at least as quiet as any 2019 Bosch unit and quieter than 2014 Yamaha. Brose got them beat though.

*None of them rust.

*Both are offered with 5-6V light cables and both work well with any ebike lights. For TS it is more or less standard, though some old displays lack support for it. The cables are always flimsy. The china lights offered as bundled with the kits are ok. For weight-weeneing and/or a more refined light beam that's also legal in Germany, get something like a Busch+Müller EYC E or similar. You will need to do some simple soldering. (Weight-weeneing is mandatory stuff. Or you're not snobby. Unless of course you went the pimp route.)

*Both takes some time to install, especially if you got the Bafang with gear & brake sensors. If you're somewwhat handy it's not a complicated process.

*Neither come with decent instructions or support; if you're new to this be prepared to lurk forums.

*If you mount your motor swung up against the downtube both models still manage water drain but know that they are going to collect a ton of mud and stuff up on the outer casing.

*Use a stable bike frame that can handle the extra weight and speed. MTB's will do good and suspension really pairs well with any motor. For fast commuting I use a titanium touring frame. But stay away from any noodly race bike frame.


TSDZ2:

*Be aware the motor has a limited lifespan due to some weak mechanical spots. If you push hard you're likely to break the torque sensor with it's little knobs and grooves made from weak metal. I did this and then resorted to never ever pushing a pedal with more than 60 kg of force. Trouble is that even if you adhere to this careful strategy sooner or later the central main shaft in the bottom bracket will break. It is made of brittle metal that fatigues over time with movement. One day your left pedal simply drops off without any warning. Sometimes you can get away with a new torque sensor unit about USD 80-90, but often the bearings brake and damages the whole casing leaving the whole TSDZ2 unit unuseable. My unit's never lasted more than a year of almost daily but careful use.

*The torque control system is almost as good as the EU brands. Smooth, responsive and pleasant. The riding experience is on another level compared to the BBS; less fiddling around and feels more bionic and natural. One criticism would be that maximum torque sensing is rather low. That is to say, if you push somewhat hard on the pedals you're maxed out already - no point standing up to try and get more out of the motor.

*No need for brake sensors since if you stop pedaling the motor also stops. Gear sensing would have been nice for even snappier gear changes without motor torque applied, but it's not offered so just fahgettaboutit.

*Stock cadence is about a slow as the Yamaha Powerdrive (2014), which is to say the motor drops power around 70 rpm and just gives up around 80. Good for lazy sunday excursions, inadequate for sporty cycling. (If you want to push a high tempo you need high cadences not only to maximise performance, but also to avoid putting too much strain on your knees - the TSDZ2's low cadence is how my knees went from okay to kinda bad. As a point of reference professional cyclists do 90-120 rpm.)

*I hear the flexible open source firmware made by some smart dudes hanging around this place is fabulous, but at the time of writing this you need the KT-LCD3 display. I'd guess you should go for it since this firmware also solves the cadence issues and allows 52V batteries.

*An easier solution is to buy a 36V motor and simply run it with a 48V battery. I used to open my units and switch either the motor or the controller out but I now know there's no need; just mix! The controllers all take 48V. Note that for a 52V battery, with even better cadence, you need a 52V controller or flash a stock controller yourself. 52V is sweet for an avid cyclist: the motor becomes really peppy and responsive even on higher cadences.

*It's prefectly doable to add an outer chainring for a front double. The larger chainwheel can only be used with the chain on the smaller half of the cassette else chainline whacks out, but this is okay since that's where top speeds are to be found. (I made my own tight chainring setup and can post pictures for any interested parties.) However, since upping the motor rpm with more voltage I find the larger chainring is unnecessary. Top speed with 11-32 cassette and stock chainring is around 40kmph unmodified. With a 48V battery & 36V motor combo you can add 1/3 to that and be out of the woods. Or workplace.

*The mounting system would have you rotating the motor down and back using metal thingies clamping on to your chainstays just behind the bottom bracket. This will chafe the frame. I would recommend opting out and instead take good care to fasten the unit using only the bottom bracket screw nut thingie. It's not of high quality so add construction glue if needed. If you rotate the motor up towards the downtube it helps to add some support there (e.g. piece of wood and PL-300) to secure the position, save your bike frame and allow for any gear or brake cables to pass in between the motor and frame (under the bottom bracket).

*Swapping from a Shimano Ultegra bottom bracket bearings to the bearings in TSDZ2 is like trading in your Ortlieb panniers for paper bags from the supermarket. You can expect more flexing and some mild cracking sensations. Changing pedaling direction reliably produces some not-so-smooth hickups that doesn't really affect performance but hurts your inner perfectionist's soul. The motor doesn't add much resistance but the feeling isn't very nice. Also if you push too hard you'll break the torque sensor.

*Both stock pedal cranks have about 10 mm q, not ideal for the right side, to say the least.

*If your frame has wide chainstays allowing for tyres over 35 mm you can expect the TSDZ2 gear housing to push up against your right chainstay unless you put one of them plastic bb spacers in on the right side before tightening everything up.


BBS02:

*Good cadence even for active cycling.

*Absolutely horrendous factory controller programming. Also be aware the "secret sauces" and similar recommended settings you can find online and implement are tailored for an ebiker's mindset with an emphasis on constant throttle use and lazy legs. The way they all work is by letting the throttle (or PAS) sort of control your speed - not only actual motor power. That's right, at a certain speed the motor power is tailored off. Sounds insane on any other vehicle? That's because it is. (I'll post what I think is good BBS02 controller settings for MAMIL's and cycling minded nerds in a separate post following this one.)

*My 2019 unit from PSWPower still has the infamous "throttle can only do on or off" issue. No amount of programming seems to fix it.

*It is absolutely worth it to get brake and gear sensors for convenient cycling. Also, get the version with headlight connectors if you're going to use it for more than offroad duties because it's a godsend to always have at least decent lights on hand even if you forgot your high lumen set at home.

*The PAS is decent for commuting but it is in no way comparable to a torque sensing system. The incentive for working harder is almost gone and the whole experience is clonky and less responsive. Power comes with a fair amount of delay because without a torque sensor the bike get uncomfortably jerky otherwise, plus the simple system has still to protect itself from blowing all the circuits if you feed lots of current without moving. With PAS at least it's not totally in a scooter-motorcycle domain.
On my tourer I eventually got rid of the throttle altogether. Maybe wouldn't want to do that on my MTB, but then again, my throttle doesn't work properly and I commute on this bike. BTW, a working throttle can be easily modded to stay in any position so that it can be used instead of the PAS without keeping a finger on it. Not as safe but allows very immediate control.

*Mounting is secure and allows the motor to be pushed up against the downtube for better ground clearance.

*The bottom bracket bearings both flex and crack less than TSDZ2's but don't expect them to match real cycling bb's of good quality. Cycling with the motor off it doesn't add much resistance, but I wouldn't describe it as rewarding.

*Both stock pedal cranks have almost zero q. Good for the right side. I'd say you need to swap at least the left one out but this depends on wether you even care about cycling with both pedals shifted to the right. At least have the decency not to mention any of this to your physiotherapist friend at dinner since this may cause her or him nightmares and even provoke cardiac arrest.

*Display sw102 is super nice with a perfect size if you prefer a more normal looking bike. But note the lack of remote (annoying if you have drop bars, having to reach all the time) and that you can't adjust maximum speed without a reprogramming USB cable.



Thanks for your attention and please just shoot me down if you found any dumb shit.
Last edited by bjorsa on May 21 2019 4:03am, edited 13 times in total.

bjorsa   10 mW

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Re: The snobby cyclist's noob guide to TSDZ2 & BBS02

Post by bjorsa » May 16 2019 7:02am

To make the throttle and PAS behave like a normal gas pedal, you need to get rid of the Speed Limit weirdness. All the settings I've seen, factory inluded, limits speed as well as current.

Limiting speed prohibits for example riding at higher speeds but still with a small assistance.The motor basically pushes you to a pre-set speed and then stops giving a rat's ass. If you control your assist via PAS you end up with as many speeds as your display offers. In my case 4 (not including "Off") which means I can cycle 13 kmph on "Eco" or 18 kmph on "Tour" and so on. Trying to cycle 15 kmph means doing it with no assist at all. This dissuades pedaling, steers control towards the throttle and makes the ride more motorbikey overall. Except of course no motorbike I've ever driven or even heard of has a throttle with a speed limit on top of the usual varying of petrol flow. I just don't understand the thinking behind it; but of course, it all comes down to preference. (It's just that, needless to say, all the people online who even slightly deviates from my perfect opinions are evil and need to be flamed locked inside their baskets of deplorability. But you already knew that.)

Here are my commuter settings. My sw102 display has settings Off - Eco - Tour - Sport - Turbo. That's why you see clusters in four steps in my settings (clusters because I never bothered to find out where the display correlates the steps). It's explained here.
11.png
11.png (33.19 KiB) Viewed 130 times
13.png
13.png (30.75 KiB) Viewed 130 times
I never have my PAS set to Turbo when I start. So I go with a low Slow-start Mode setting to mitigate the slow starts and response times of the BBS.
As you can see I run my BBS at only 18A. I'm more of a cyclist than an ebiker (I'm too poor to risk anything anyways) which of course means I get to be snobby about it. Like, repeatedly.
PAS power starts at 23% which is good for many inner city situations. Going lower one might as well turn the motor off but I still like that helpful push that never threatens to take over from my legs. Then the setting gradually adds more in bigger and bigger steps that all clearly can be felt. But I can still get a small assist going downwind at 40 kmph, just like my mum would have wanted it.

I bought my BBS from PSWPOWER and they offered a programming cable as an extra. You can find one from many sources or make your own. Do yourself a favour and get one!

The excellent software is found here. Thanks, Penoff!
Last edited by bjorsa on May 21 2019 2:58am, edited 1 time in total.

2old   10 kW

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Re: The snobby cyclist's noob guide to TSDZ2 & BBS02

Post by 2old » May 16 2019 11:03am

Good job; interesting report; I ride MTB and eMTB equally about 2X - 3X a week each. My BBS02 is four years old (so the original controller) and used with the same 52V battery. For me, the programming is fine; using a maximum level three (of nine) on rides of 10 - 20 miles with ascents of 1500' - 3000' it seems like the amount of exercise is adequate. Glad I never messed with a "TS".

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Deafcat   100 W

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Re: The snobby cyclist's noob guide to TSDZ2 & BBS02

Post by Deafcat » May 16 2019 11:55am

What's wrong with a really good integrated solution like Bafang Ultra? I'm a cyclist and a gearhead, and won't really even bother with the "add-on" drives like BBS/TSDZ2, now that I've been riding the G510 based bike for a few months. Holy crap is it robust inside and out, and works extremely well for those of us who like pedaling, and occasionally using throttle for long cruise and higher speeds. I also ride the bike without a battery on the weekends, it's a very good drive system un-powered (is it even a drive system in this case, or an overbuilt bottom bracket? lol)

vovalos   1 µW

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Re: The snobby cyclist's noob guide to TSDZ2 & BBS02

Post by vovalos » May 20 2019 11:22pm

Hi bjorsa. A huge thank you for the detailed comparison. It's my first build, and not a lot of information is available apart from forums and having it all in one place is great. And like you I want an "assist" not a motorcycle, so your take on the comparison was great. I would love to just try them out... but there are no physical stores that sell conversion kits in Toronto, so all my info has to come from online.

From what I gather the key takeaways are:
- BBS is better built and will last much much longer, while being a quieter ride.
- TSDZ is a lighter model, that is cheaper but has a well working torque sensor assist

A few questions:
1. You've extensively commented on reliability, or lack of thereof, for the TSDZ. What's your take on BBS reliability? From other posts it seems it's great... but you just bough a new one, so I assume something did fail?
2. It seems like all the TSDZ come with a 42/46 teeth chainring, while you can get a BBS with 52teeth. You mentioned you've added an additional ring, can you simply replace the existing? is it easy to do? I want to get rid of the front gear shift (mine's rusted in place as I never switch from the 52 teeth) and I can't imaging I would want to go to a smaller ring with assist, when I only use bigger one without...
3. You said you'd post the "proper" BBS settings, but I don't see anything in that post. Did you miss a link? With the proper settings, can you get to a "this feels close to a torque sensor" feeling, or does it still feel like someone's pushing you? Is reprogramming a simple task, I read somewhere you need to buy an additional cable?
4. I know the BBS has a cable for lights (which I can assume can be split to feed both front and rear). Can lights be connected to TSDZ?
5. Did you ever look at a hub motor with a torque sensor? If you have, how do they compare?

Thanks!

bjorsa   10 mW

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Re: The snobby cyclist's noob guide to TSDZ2 & BBS02

Post by bjorsa » May 21 2019 3:48am

vovalos wrote:
May 20 2019 11:22pm
1. You've extensively commented on reliability, or lack of thereof, for the TSDZ. What's your take on BBS reliability? From other posts it seems it's great... but you just bough a new one, so I assume something did fail?
2. It seems like all the TSDZ come with a 42/46 teeth chainring, while you can get a BBS with 52teeth. You mentioned you've added an additional ring, can you simply replace the existing? is it easy to do? I want to get rid of the front gear shift (mine's rusted in place as I never switch from the 52 teeth) and I can't imaging I would want to go to a smaller ring with assist, when I only use bigger one without...
3. You said you'd post the "proper" BBS settings, but I don't see anything in that post. Did you miss a link? With the proper settings, can you get to a "this feels close to a torque sensor" feeling, or does it still feel like someone's pushing you? Is reprogramming a simple task, I read somewhere you need to buy an additional cable?
4. I know the BBS has a cable for lights (which I can assume can be split to feed both front and rear). Can lights be connected to TSDZ?
5. Did you ever look at a hub motor with a torque sensor? If you have, how do they compare?

Thanks!
1. Bafang reliability used to be questionable but in recent years has become quite good, at least if one is to trust the nerd forums. Personally I don't know because my unit is not old enough to tell. It certainly feels better built than the TS.

2. You can replace it, but make sure you get one with that distinctive curve to it or your chainline shall suffer. Don't know where you can find it but in google we trust.

3. Exams and stuff. I've posted it now.

4. Yes it's standard now, but some old kits lack display support, so check.

5. Actually, for regular commuting actually a hub motor is better and certainly offers more bang for the buck. But I want to be able to cycle at least 40 kmph along some stretches here and it's tough to find hub motors that can do that unless they're big. DD drives I hear you say, but I also pull a trailer now and then and I don't want a heavy and bulky hub motor with 1500+ watts just so I can go slow uphill with my kid. (Admittedly, I also don't want to part from my Phil Wood hubs and the touring wheels I built with them.)

The other problem is that standalone tourque sensors generally suck. They often measure only one pedal, measure angular motion instead of actual pedal force (meaning if you clip in you're messing it up), measure inexactly, break down, measure too slowly and typically measure a limited force span that you're likely to quickly exceed if you're well trained. Also, I'm bad with electronics and hesitated to DIY a Cycle Analyst CA3 wired to some obscure torque sensor and stuff. The torque sensor PDF file for the interested. used on Stromer seems good.

Read about torque sensors here.

vovalos   1 µW

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Re: The snobby cyclist's noob guide to TSDZ2 & BBS02

Post by vovalos » May 22 2019 12:19pm

Thanks for responding bjorsa.
2. What do you mean by "distinctive curve"? I googled, but I don't get anything meaningful.
5. Yea, that's my findings too, but like you I like to go fast ~35kph but with little assist (so ideally I would need a 350-500W motor that can keep up the assist at higher RPMs) and I'm having trouble understanding how to pick them out accordingly (and that's considering I'm a professional engineer... there's just so little technical info that's being posted). Plus I'm finding that the cost ends up being very similar to a mid drive and in some cases even more... so the incentive is gone.
As for combining a cycle analyst with a torque sensor, these guys (www.ebikes.ca/)seem to offer them as kits, so I would assume they would come plug and play, but with a torque sensor I'm about 10-15% more expensive than a BBS02.

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neptronix   100 GW

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Re: The snobby cyclist's noob guide to TSDZ2 & BBS02

Post by neptronix » May 22 2019 1:22pm

Pretty much all the reasons i won't use either of these, or most mid drives in general.
The Q factor hurt my knees, and i was riding with a BBS02 right before patellafemoral syndrome hit me and destroyed my life for a moment.

I really think the lopsided Q angle on the cranks is to blame but i can never know.
I do know that it was funky to pedal right off the bat and the stock crank arms kept falling off the drive due to questionable machining on the BB axle. And the controller started being intermittent in the first month.

This was in 2014 and i'm sure they've probably fixed a few things but i have not been a fan since. Went back to hubs and never looked back.
Efficiency is everything :bolt:


My first major build: 8T MAC motor on a Trek 4500.
The new all-arounder: Leafmotor 1500w on a Turner O2 full suspension.
The monster scooter: ? on a Cannondale Semi Recumbent.

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