Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

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Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by Ham » Oct 25 2016 4:56pm

Evening All, I have a conundrum and am hoping more experience minds can share some thoughts:

I am of a mind for a second build and am contemplating a hub motor (my first is a Tangent Mid Drive), having said that I have zero ride time on a hub motor and ride a lot off road on my mid drive...which it is great at but I am starting to wonder about ways in which a hub motor would eliminate some of the mid drive issues such as drive chain stress and the need to change gears full stop :)

Does anyone have experience with both mid drive and hub motor builds offroad?

Most of the big boys like Stealth, Nyx, Vector and others I have seen seem to favour hub drives (perhaps they are better or as good as mid drives after all or is it just a cost saving going the hub drive route?) and seem to do OK, nay, built for offroad work. But I do wonder about unsprung weight and their ability to climb hills...at speed. The Tangent kit has zero problems with any hill I have ridden and does so with ease, at speed.


Any input greatly appreciated.

P.S. I was thinking about a Mxus 3kw build so far if I do decide to go the hub route...

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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by nutnspecial » Oct 25 2016 5:08pm

I would look at Johnbozi. His previous and current rides, and alot of mountain riding now with hub owners.

With a modest top speed of 30-40mph, and some limitation on climbing compared to a serial middrive, I'm a big proponent of a parallel middrive - single reduction. Perhaps consider Lighningrod's new build on a raptor. I have mine on an xc bike, and would only change the bike toward all mountain and not the drive system. They are extra tricky to pull of on a bicycle tho imo, although you could actually do the tangent that way. Something tells me it still wouldn't be quite the same as 11lbs of motor reduced straight to the wheel.

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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by drew12345 » Oct 25 2016 5:12pm

Can you tell us more about the trails you ride. Is it very hilly or mostly flat? Do you like to ride hard? Do jumps?

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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by Ham » Oct 26 2016 12:54am

nutspecial wrote:I would look at Johnbozi. His previous and current rides, and alot of mountain riding now with hub owners.

With a modest top speed of 30-40mph, and some limitation on climbing compared to a serial middrive, I'm a big proponent of a parallel middrive - single reduction. Perhaps consider Lighningrod's new build on a raptor. I have mine on an xc bike, and would only change the bike toward all mountain and not the drive system. They are extra tricky to pull of on a bicycle tho imo, although you could actually do the tangent that way. Something tells me it still wouldn't be quite the same as 11lbs of motor reduced straight to the wheel.

I've watched Bozi builds in the past and have been impressed. ..I'll have a look at his more recent hib stuff..thanks
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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by Ham » Oct 26 2016 12:58am

drew12345 wrote:Can you tell us more about the trails you ride. Is it very hilly or mostly flat? Do you like to ride hard? Do jumps?
The trails are lots of flowing single track and lots of long hills some up to a 1km long and up 15% gradient....
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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by brumbrum » Oct 26 2016 2:13am

Its the noise of mid-drives thats puts me off, espeically the tangent drives buzz. I want to go completely unnoticed in the woods so i use a hub and sinewave controller for a totally silent ride. The rear end is heavy with my cromotor and moto tyre in 17" wheel and even with a soft dhx rc fox rear spring shock the rear end bounce around when standing on the pedals. I have an NYX frame. I can take on any hill at speed, traction is the only problem when things get really really steep. I ride anything from 6-9kw. A mxus peaking at 6kw in a small wheel should cope with steep hills fine but will overheat quicker than the larger hubs like the cro and qs205

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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by spinningmagnets » Oct 26 2016 2:40am

If you don't take a lot of jumps and crawl over technical obstacles, being nimble isn't as important. So, having a large and heavy hubmotor on the rear means you can dump as many watts as you can afford into the motor without damage. As stated above, the sine controllers can run the motor very quietly, and by having a rear hubmotor...a full-suspension frame has the central part of the frame free to hold a lot of battery volume. That combo still makes a lot of builders pretty happy.

Up until about 2000W, there are a lot of benefits to having a mid drive run through the gears, but somewhere around 3000W (or more), the chain and sprockets can break or at least wear out very fast.

If I had a blank check right now, I'd get the Quilbix Q76R with the LightningRods big block on the swingarm at around 72V X 70A = 5000W. Still very quiet, and much more nimble than having the motor in the rear wheel...Just my opinion.

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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by st35326 » Oct 26 2016 3:00am

Ive only ridden Vail and Big Bear with my Stealth Bomber, mostly downhill. I really like the speed and silent power that a hub provides. I get why people ride mid drives though; balance, torque and... (can't think of a third reason right now but Ill edit this post if it comes to me).

From engineering standpoint I have an issue with the motor having to go through a transmission (chain, derailers, sprockets etc). Electric cars such as the Teslas, Leaf, Volt, Bolt and Spark Ev are all transmissionless. It would be an unnecessary point of failure IMHOP as electric motors do not require them. The noise of a mid drive is another issue for me, it shouldn't be the case that a 4700 watt bike that goes 55mph makes far less noise than a 250watt mid drive.

But maybe somebody near you has a Fighter or a custom build you could try before you invest?

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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by Ham » Oct 26 2016 3:55am

brumbrum wrote:Its the noise of mid-drives thats puts me off, espeically the tangent drives buzz. I want to go completely unnoticed in the woods so i use a hub and sinewave controller for a totally silent ride. The rear end is heavy with my cromotor and moto tyre in 17" wheel and even with a soft dhx rc fox rear spring shock the rear end bounce around when standing on the pedals. I have an NYX frame. I can take on any hill at speed, traction is the only problem when things get really really steep. I ride anything from 6-9kw. A mxus peaking at 6kw in a small wheel should cope with steep hills fine but will overheat quicker than the larger hubs like the cro and qs205

Silence is a bonus although my Tangent kit is not what i call noisy, sure people here me coming but that just means they are now aware of me and not just bimbling along oblivious to other trail users...bonus points there as far as I'm concerned.

Thanks for your experience
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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by Ham » Oct 26 2016 3:57am

spinningmagnets wrote:If you don't take a lot of jumps and crawl over technical obstacles, being nimble isn't as important. So, having a large and heavy hubmotor on the rear means you can dump as many watts as you can afford into the motor without damage. As stated above, the sine controllers can run the motor very quietly, and by having a rear hubmotor...a full-suspension frame has the central part of the frame free to hold a lot of battery volume. That combo still makes a lot of builders pretty happy.

Up until about 2000W, there are a lot of benefits to having a mid drive run through the gears, but somewhere around 3000W (or more), the chain and sprockets can break or at least wear out very fast.

If I had a blank check right now, I'd get the Quilbix Q76R with the LightningRods big block on the swingarm at around 72V X 70A = 5000W. Still very quiet, and much more nimble than having the motor in the rear wheel...Just my opinion.

I do jump but not anything serious at all...maybe a foot or so every now and then...I like to stay ground based as much as possible:) Light is good though and my set up is pretty damn light which helps make up for my lack of riding skill in the tough stuff
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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by Ham » Oct 26 2016 3:59am

st35326 wrote:Ive only ridden Vail and Big Bear with my Stealth Bomber, mostly downhill. I really like the speed and silent power that a hub provides. I get why people ride mid drives though; balance, torque and... (can't think of a third reason right now but Ill edit this post if it comes to me).

From engineering standpoint I have an issue with the motor having to go through a transmission (chain, derailers, sprockets etc). Electric cars such as the Teslas, Leaf, Volt, Bolt and Spark Ev are all transmissionless. It would be an unnecessary point of failure IMHOP as electric motors do not require them. The noise of a mid drive is another issue for me, it shouldn't be the case that a 4700 watt bike that goes 55mph makes far less noise than a 250watt mid drive.

But maybe somebody near you has a Fighter or a custom build you could try before you invest?

I guess I really do need to ride a hub to see how it handles and measure the pro's/cons against my current build....Does anyone have or know of a powerful hub set up they would be willing to let me have a ride of in or around London/Surrey/Kent/Sussex (UK) ?

Thanks
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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by Animalector » Oct 26 2016 5:45am

I've owned both. My first bike was a dual suspension rear hub motor 1500W it was great on road, and "ok" offroad, so long as the going wasn't rough.

Now i have a downhill bike with a BBS02 mid-drive it is brilliant for ANYTHING offroad including world cup downhill tracks, and will go up almost anything you point it at with the right gearing.

If you want to ride on the Road and on dirt roads, a hub will be fine. If you want to ride single trails / MTB tracks a mid drive with full suspension is the way to go.

For comparison, a mate of mine has a BBS02 on a hard-tail and the motor propels him fast on the MTB trails and it sounds like his bike is going to rattle apart... Dual suspension is a must for serious off road MTB trails... But, again, on dirt roads it would be fine...

Enjoy.

Andy

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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by dogman dan » Oct 26 2016 6:41am

All I can say is that so much depends on the kind of ride you plan on. If you want motorcycle like power and speed, then putting up with the wheel weight of a big hub motor is worth it. No,, it won't ride like a bike handles. It starts with carrying a big enough battery to supply that sucker, and gets worse from there.

But,, it will handle a lot lighter and nicer to ride ( for a variety of reasons) than some gas motorcycles.

But again,, it does depend on the ride. If the trail is super technical, being able to blast at 40 mph is worth nothing. If its a fire road, let that hub motor rip.

Right now,, I have two dirt bikes. Both hubs. I don't do any big jumps. One a 25 pound 5305 crystalyte, which I run at a modest 2000w. Great for the dirt roads in my neighborhood, taking the fun route to the flea market or dollar store nearby, riding it 25 mph on not so technical roads. I could make it much faster, but then I'd need to ride in armor. Hitting the dirt at 25 mph not so bad if happens, and not so likely at 25 mph.

The other is a 1000w geared motor similar to a Mac. This is the preferred tool for the technical trails, where maximum nimble is the need. Typically these trails cannot be ridden past 10 mph. I built them stupidly twisty to discourage people on quad and motorcycles. That bike handles great, I only carry about 9 pounds of battery on it, and the rear hub is light enough for me to barely notice it at all. At least compared to that 25 pound wheel, it feels super good.

There are other trails in the area that are extremely steep,, trails built in national forest for horse traffic. For those, I need a mid drive.. I fry hub motors on those trails. Some short rides on mid drives at interbike quickly convinced me they are the way to go for steeper off road riding, particularly if the trail is not good for riding fast. 'steeper than 10%, for miles and miles.

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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by Ham » Oct 26 2016 11:09am

All great feedback, thank you gents.

I am getting a test run on a B52 Stealth tomorrow now so I'll get a much better feel for it myself soon enough! I am intrigued to see what the power of the stealth feels like in comparison to my Tangent 3220 kit!

Updates to follow tomorrow
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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by ScooterMan101 » Oct 26 2016 11:54am

A point I have not thought about before, and an important point since most of those cars are heavy and they have to be designed/made to go up any kind of hill .
there are some very steep hills here where Tesla is Headquartered. Around here many of the people who have enough money to buy a Tesla, also live in expensive houses up in the hills.
and go on Vacations / have a second home up around Lake Tahoe, up in the Sierra Mountains.

Are those motors in those cars Direct Drive ?
or
Do they have gears , like the Mac. ect. ?

Most of the people I read here on E.S. that have " Fried " a hub motor going up hills over 10% grade , has really melted the solder around/to the Hall Sensors , myself included with my 6T Mac, going up a Mountain that was over 12% grade for a full mile . at around 10-12 miles per hour.

Is it time perhaps to design a better hub motor that would be designed just for off road/mountain climbing ? under 10 pounds.

Is that possible ?





st35326 wrote:

From engineering standpoint I have an issue with the motor having to go through a transmission (chain, derailers, sprockets etc). Electric cars such as the Teslas, Leaf, Volt, Bolt and Spark Ev are all transmissionless. It would be an unnecessary point of failure IMHOP as electric motors do not require them. The noise of a mid drive is another issue for me, it shouldn't be the case that a 4700 watt bike that goes 55mph makes far less noise than a 250watt mid drive.
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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by ScooterMan101 » Oct 26 2016 12:18pm

From many of the Posts here on E.S. that ask the same question about which motor is best for off road, Mid-Drive or Hub,
and the pro's and con's of each ...

I think it is time for a specific designed rear hub motor , one that is designed for 90% of the time being ridden/operated on slower 15 mph max speed, on single track technical trails that
often have over 15 % grades, and for long distances, ie: up a mountain for 1-3 miles .
for the handling issue, and balance issue, and un-sprung weight issue, ...
be made to weigh under 8 pounds or even at 6 pounds or under ( 3 Kg Max ) .

Your Thoughts ?
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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by chas58 » Oct 26 2016 12:28pm

Any problems with the gears on a hub motor?

I know people destroy the nylon gears on the road (usually from overpowering the motor), so I would think taking a hub motor with nylon gears off road would be a problem. That is what has held me back from doing technical trails. My off roading is pretty hard on my bike components (and that is without a motor!)
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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by ScooterMan101 » Oct 26 2016 12:35pm

A good question for anyone designing a rear hub made for mostly slower speed , mountain climbing , trails.
People with DD hubs seem to put allot of power into them, but the DD hubs are very heavy, so they are not good , at the present time
for this application.
Just make the Gears and the Clutch Stronger ?
as well as better Solder/Wires to the Hall Sensors ?

chas58 wrote:Any problems with the gears on a hub motor?

I know people destroy the nylon gears on the road (usually from overpowering the motor), so I would think taking a hub motor with nylon gears off road would be a problem. That is what has held me back from doing technical trails. My off roading is pretty hard on my bike components (and that is without a motor!)
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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by drew12345 » Oct 26 2016 3:10pm

I have a bbshd mid drive and mxus 3000 v2 both on full suspension bikes and ride them regularly for offroad.

In a nutshell, I like the bbshd the most. It's light, quiet, centered, and just enough power for trails I ride.

Hubs are fun also on the trail. The biggest factor for me was the heat. I would only be able ride hard for 20 minutes before having to take a break. And takes awhile for it cool down and would heat up easily once get going again. My hub is vented and have ferrofluid. However, I did just receive my hubsinks and tried on trail and does make a huge difference. Can last much longer and when I needed a break, it was significantly shorter.

The 2nd thing was noise level. I fixed both my bikes by going with bbshd for mid drive and using sine wave controller for hub.

The last thing was handling. The hub is a beast to handle. It's manageable but it is pretty bad. I still ride the trail with it though. I just love the simplicity of a hub and instant power and don't have to think about what gear I'm in.

If you went with another powerful mid drive, it sounds like you will run into same maintenance trouble you had with tangent. I had the beefed up cyclone and it was fun but the noise and maintenance from powerful drive got to me.

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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by nutnspecial » Oct 26 2016 3:45pm

^^^ Well said. Exactly what I'd expect to hear. I've actually not even seen a >3kw hub or a serial middrive in person before, much less ridden one.

I do think bikes like LMX and LR's new one can really have a good base taking from both DD and serial mid territorial benefits. Of course there's compromise but. . .
Get the high power of a DD without the unprefered weight and weight placement, more options to gear it for optimal efficiency/performance and benefit also from a > cooling design than any hub I'm aware of. Keep minimal noise and additional drivetrain losses and wear. . . I also highly tout use of a freewheel for the motor. Better efficiency and less drivetrain wear. I don't know the limit for the white HD but knock on wood mine's held up very acceptably to a beating with 6kw.

It all comes down to preference, but it sounds like you might wanna try a bbshd with more balanced power (and maybe a custom cluster) for less noise and drivetrain wear Hams. Unless of course you wanna see how a more 'dirtbike' ride does on your singletrack and hills. I see the appeal of a >6kw hub and they are easier and maybe cheaper to pull off than a single reduction mid, although I'm not so sure with LR's kit's coming available?

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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by Ham » Oct 26 2016 4:08pm

Thanks for all the great responses and experiences. I especially liked hearing about the mxus as that is on my interest list. Saddened to hear it suffers after only 20 minutes.

After my test ride tomorrow I'll have a much better understanding and feel for a heavy hub motor.

The Tangent kit is superb and if I run it more smoothly or on lower amps the drive train suffers not. I don't often run it at lower amps though as the stress is only high gears 7 8 and 9...early gears are a hoot and seem happy enough with full throttle in any situation:)

I am seriously considering trying the Alfine 8 to allow a straight chain line nearer the hub, also with a thinker chain too.
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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by MikeSSS » Oct 27 2016 3:56am

This thread will help people who are trying to decide between hub motor or mid drive, I'm one of those.

How it seems, so far:

For very slow off road use, walking speed transportation, not riding for thrilling speed, a 12T MAC, rear hub motor, on a rigid frame, might be the simple, easy and reliable choice. Add suspension fork and a Thudbuster seatpost, topped with a Cloud 9 spring suspension seat and you are there.

For faster riding, including both off road and on road, especially with steep climbing and fast road speeds too, a full suspension bike with a mid drive, would seem to be the choice. For durability and simple and easy, the BBSHD would be a good choice, or the BBS02 for slower speeds.

Does this seem reasonable?

Thanks,

Mike S

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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by liveforphysics » Oct 27 2016 4:16am

I've also had mid-drive bikes and hub bikes.

Off roading with both is fine. It's kinda a pick your choice in poison things, one cooks motors and one makes noise and throws chains.

For my latest build I went large hub on a Nyx, and hopefully it will be a potent reliable, silent machine. A bike can be an equally good performer mid-drive, and have better chassis balance in exchange for noise and a few added failure modes.
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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by dogman dan » Oct 27 2016 6:13am

Re the geared hub motors. These days gear problems seem to be pretty much over with, provided you aren't going crazy with the wattage and overheating them. The gears have a higher melting point than they did in 2008. These are 500w rated motors, so 1000w, even 1500w is not so extreme with them. But yeah, put 72v 40amps into one, and it will not like it.

The main thing to avoid is a big jump, and then land with the throttle on. That will be hard on the key that holds the clutch and gear assembly on the shaft. But technical riding seems to be no problem for the gears, for me, so far. I'm about two years into trying my best to break the one E-Bikekit sells, and all I could get it to do is shear that key deliberately jumping it and landing wrong. This is running it stock, 48v and 22 amps controller. I thought by now I could at least thrash the clutch, but so far no problems other than the grease slings off the gears and it gets a bit noisy. I run it hard as hell, and have had it very hot.

I haven't taken this motor to those horse trails in the mountains. I'm sure a 10t in 26" wheel is not going to cut it on those trails. They are just so rocky and rough that riding 5 mph on that trail is tough. Just plain hard to run any faster over that many roots and rocks. And it's just crazy steep going up and down into deep canyons. So it's a hub motor killer. That trail needs a mid drive you can gear low as hell.

Chances are you will like a big motor bike, like a bomber or the big muxus. But to get the most fun out of it, you need body armor, and roads or trails you can take at 30 -40 mph. Then you are going to enjoy the flyweight motorcycle thing.

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Re: Have you owned and off roaded both hub and mid drive?

Post by Ham » Oct 27 2016 7:41am

Well I've not long got off the b52 bomber and my thoughts are:

It is a lovely bike that feels very well built and solid. Very heavy too but that sits ok with me, i feel far more secure in a heavy lump than a lightweight when at speed. Although offroad my lighter set up would certainly be better for it's "flickability" and i am 90% certain the bomber would not keep up given equal rider ability.

The suntour gearbox seems like a nice touch also but perhaps it was just this demo unit i tried. ..it was very notchy and awkward/stiff to shift through any gear whilst just pedalling as you would a normal bike. Once in gear it was fine...smooth.

Now to the important part, the power.

5200 watts in a 55kg bike just simply isn't as fast acceleration as Daves Tangent kit running the 3220 at 100amps. It's close and on a straight run past 30 to 35mph the bomber i suspect would win due to not needing gear changes.

It was very nice and quiet which makes the acceleration deceptive.

Over all i enjoyed the bomber, clearly a nice piece of kit for sure but it's not for me until it is faster and lighter.

Until then the mid drive lightweight wins for me.

Now to find a vector or something similar to test.
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