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CYC Photon VS BBS02 many opinions appreciated please.

jackarneson

100 µW
Joined
May 23, 2024
Messages
8
Location
Up North
I'm doing a build with my daughter and we checked a few motor templates against the BB area of our bike to see what would fit on the bike. BBSHD and TDSZ were too large (bike has wider chain stays). I am assuming the toseven motors are also too large. I know we can fit a BBS02 with perhaps a little shimming and maintain an okay chainline, maybe. I am pretty sure a Photon will squeeze right in, no shimming required, and have a great chainline. I would like to use a small chainring 30-36 as we plan on using the bike to climb trails in the eastern rockies.

My question is with regard to the reliability of the Photon. In some of the searches I've done on this motor, there seems to be quite a few indications that this motor is not as reliable as the BBS02. With regard to the fact that we plan on using the motor to climb quite a bit, I would be interested to know if reports of reliability or lack of can be confirmed by users of the community in general.

I will add that we like the idea of a torque sensor for trail riding. The idea of a motor for this build is to get to places "up high" or far away, not to go very fast. Would the PHOTON work if we use a smaller chainring to keep it a at lower speeds on hill climbs?

Thanks for your opinions
 
One moment please -🍿🍺🚬

More bike component specifics and/or dimensions would help, along with the rolling weight of said bike.
 
No. You can buy 3 X BBS02 for that price and I think for one reason
This video indicates this system reached it's limit within minutes during a modest hill climb on a very civilized paved road.

Worse (?) TOSEVEN motors IMNSHO
 
One moment please -🍿🍺🚬

More bike component specifics and/or dimensions would help, along with the rolling weight of said bike.
The bike is a 2014 Transition bandit. Size large. 73 BSA BB. full suspension with decent but not extensive room in triangle for battery. 2x10 chainring. 27.5 tires. Bike weighs +/- 30 lbs.
 
No. You can buy 3 X BBS02 for that price and I think for one reason
This video indicates this system reached it's limit within minutes during a modest hill climb on a very civilized paved road.

Worse (?) TOSEVEN motors IMNSHO
Yeah, I saw that video, however he seems to be running that motor unrestricted and full throttle up hills. I'm not surprised the motor overheats when used like that. That is what larger motors are for.
 
I've got a photon, it's got advantages and disadvantages. The build issues with the photon seem to be getting better, they rushed it out the door to early but seem to be getting a handle finally. Also the warranty support I've gotten from Golden has been great, didn't even have to pay shipping to get new parts. However I'd still go with the bbs02 any day if I didn't want a torque sensor so damn much.

As for my experience with hills, it'll haul me and my trailer plus groceries plus kid up some decent hills and I haven't had it overheat. Unless I run throttle only, then I can get it to overheat pretty easily. Road is different from trail though and my hills while steep aren't crazy long. It's such a hard thing to predict how it'll behave for you, but I figure I'll throw my anecdote your way anyway.
 
Presuming the given small chainring 30-36 desire, frame chain stay issue, and chain line, IMO at this time only the CYC Photon fits. Good for extended steep hill climbs - err, no, seems not, especially when poking along on a unpaved route or trail. As reliable as the revised trued & true Bafang BBS02, the production numbers aren't in the same league, but I doubt it.

Like @Epithemeus, I've good success on my hills, but I don't have long slow climbs to overcome. The rolling weight (as in a lack of it) may make all the difference.

Your could gander the Toseven DM02 dimensions, but I think they're in the same ballpark as the TSZD2, and AFAIK has the same chainring / chainline compromises as the Bafang and Tongsheng:

sss2.png
 
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IMO the key point is do you want a CYC torque sensor so it rides like a real bike, or do you want a BBS PAS that doesn't? Pretty simple. Don't believe all the reports of Photon heat issues... at least if you are a pedaler of a bike and not a throttle jockey.
 
I've got a photon, it's got advantages and disadvantages. The build issues with the photon seem to be getting better, they rushed it out the door to early but seem to be getting a handle finally. Also the warranty support I've gotten from Golden has been great, didn't even have to pay shipping to get new parts. However I'd still go with the bbs02 any day if I didn't want a torque sensor so damn much.

As for my experience with hills, it'll haul me and my trailer plus groceries plus kid up some decent hills and I haven't had it overheat. Unless I run throttle only, then I can get it to overheat pretty easily. Road is different from trail though and my hills while steep aren't crazy long. It's such a hard thing to predict how it'll behave for you, but I figure I'll throw my anecdote your way anyway.

IMO the key point is do you want a CYC torque sensor so it rides like a real bike, or do you want a BBS PAS that doesn't? Pretty simple. Don't believe all the reports of Photon heat issues... at least if you are a pedaler of a bike and not a throttle jockey.
torque sensor would be nice definitely, but I think I could be happy with PAS too if there was a way to adjust the BBS02 to fit with shimming. Things that are important to me

1. nice chainline
2. midsize (not to heavy) battery that is more range focused as opposed to speed focused (suggestions for bbs02 or photon?)
3. motor that doesn't hang too low.
4. decent but not outrageous torque for hills
5. small chainring availability for low speed hill climbing without killing motor.
6. lower weight components that are securely fastened.
 
No. You can buy 3 X BBS02 for that price and I think for one reason
This video indicates this system reached it's limit within minutes during a modest hill climb on a very civilized paved road.

Worse (?) TOSEVEN motors IMNSHO
Very interesting, from a non-electric cyclist and general road user perspective: in the video the bike seems to be used like a motorbike (heartfelt apologies if the rider is just a really fast and super smooth pedaler), yet he/she runs the stop signs like a bicyclist! Is that accepted behavior?
Also interesting, the amperage seems to be hovering around or even above 20A, which, assuming a 48V battery back, is a kW of power. I'm thinking about buying a Photon, but I would never assume that that motor is meant to be run continuously at one kilowatt or above.
 
You would be correct, for sure. But if you are riding pedelec at reasonable power it will really go on throttle for short bursts in unrestricted mode when you need it. But then need some time to cool back down again for another go.

I'm thinking about buying a Photon, but I would never assume that that motor is meant to be run continuously at one kilowatt or above.
 
... yet he/she runs the stop signs like a bicyclist! Is that accepted behavior?
It's common behavior in my experience, which IMO contributes to the distain or outright hatred from drivers towards bicyclist riding on public roads. Added to "in the way", "don't pay road-related taxes", etc.

I obey every traffic law while riding my e-bikes and use hand signals. I think I have been able to get across lanes to make a left in busy car traffic doing so. Either that, or drivers have no idea what my outstretched hand means and are taken aback. And not all drivers heed my signaling even though I have the right of way, being in front of them.

I also stop and wait at red lights.

I'll admit, as an analog commuter cyclist I ran lights and rolled through stop signs often.
 
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"... yet he/she runs the stop signs like a bicyclist! Is that accepted behavior?"

Accepted by who?
IMHO - more 'tongue clucking' does not answer the question posted by the thread owner.
 
"... yet he/she runs the stop signs like a bicyclist! Is that accepted behavior?"

Accepted by who?
IMHO - more 'tongue clucking' does not answer the question posted by the thread owner.
By you.
I'm trying to get a feel for electric bicyclist etiquette. Part of joining a new community is learning the social rules. I am aware of bicyclists routinely running stops signs, and I think (maybe wishful thinking) that other road users accept this (as long as you don't cut them off or run them over). But personally (as pedestrian, car, motorbike and bike user) I would not accept this for mopeds. The bike in the video is used as a moped (which I still believe - but I'd love to be convinced otherwise - the Photon is not suitable for).

As far as the original request for opinions on the Cyc Photon vs the Bafang BBS02, I'm very interested in those opinions, which is what brought me to this thread. I am considering electrifying my bike, and from 'review of the literature' (specs, advertisements, forum posts) I still assume that neither of the two drives is made to supply 1 kW/1.4 HP continuously. Hence my comment on the post with the video, in which it seems to be pointed out that the Photon is not thermally stable (but safe from self-destruction) when used in such a fashion for more than few minutes. I'd definitely like to learn more about the continuous power limits and electrical and mechanical sturdiness of the Cyc Photon, just like the OP.
 
The thing is that these 2 motors are really apples and oranges which is the point I tried to make above. One has a torque sensor and one has basic PAS. If you want to ride it like a real bike you need a torque sensor, and in that case you might want to compare Photon to TSDZ2 or ToSeven DM-01 or DM-02, or maybe even CYC Stealth. If you don't care about having a torque sensor then forget about the Photon and the DMs and just get the BBS02 or BBSHD.

As far as the original request for opinions on the Cyc Photon vs the Bafang BBS02, I'm very interested in those opinions, which is what brought me to this thread.
 
@Gruesome, there's a ~60 page thread here that dates back to the inception/announcement of the Photon. It covers some of the initial performance predictions, vendors, availability, repair parts (as well as some repairs made), and real-world riding experiences from owners. It's not been a trouble-free drive.

I don't think there were any realistic expectations that the drive would be a powerhouse equivalent to the BBSHD, or an especially strong hillclimber (which is not the BBS02's strong suit either). When pushed beyond its heat shedding abilities, it does try to protect itself - not something all of the mid drives do.

Some (rather simplistically) poo-poo the price, but as I charted here (Photon vs. BBSHD), depending on what you need to buy for your build, it's not out of sight. Repair parts are becoming available, though not all via the same vendor - why, who knows.

I own two of them (builds here and here). Both are configured with "street" and unlimited "race" modes. I use mine mostly on-road, for errands, and use race mode power levels (via throttle) while in dense traffic.

There's a fair amount of choice now, past what Bafang offered for the longest time. Tongsheng, Toseven, Bafang, CYC, Lightest, etc. Initial system purchase availability, support, and repair parts availability vary greatly depending on your location.
 
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@Mongo and @raylo32 , thanks! I had started working my way through that thread (from both ends, but have not yet read all 60+ pages) and used the search function before I started posting. I had not come across your price comparison post yet, and I'm still trying to figure which dealers to avoid, and which are recommended. I have started a separate thread with my specific questions, but no replies, so maybe it is better to just pile onto the long Cyc Photon thread.
 
If you were to build a complete hill climbing gear train the BBS02 has sufficient torque.

MONGOTYPE: " I don't think there were any realistic expectations that the drive would be a powerhouse, equivalent, say, to the BBSHD, or an especially strong hillclimber (which is not the BBS02's strong suit either). When pushed beyond its heat shedding abilities, it does try to protect itself - not something all of the mid drives do." WHICH MAYBE MODIFIED

According to Justin Le May 19, 2019 upon cursory research herein:
Page 1 Post #10
"But what's interesting is you could have all of this exact same improvement by simply starting with the BBS02 motor and then clamping on some additional passive heatsinks to achieve better thermal conduction and heat capacity! The additional size and mass of the BBSHD motor is not resulting in any improved motor performance, what gains they could have had from the larger size seem to be lost because of the lower pole topology and a lower flux internal magnet design. Instead the only benefit comes from the additional metal and surface area which is silly."
 
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1. nice chainline
2. midsize (not to heavy) battery that is more range focused as opposed to speed focused (suggestions for bbs02 or photon?)
3. motor that doesn't hang too low.
4. decent but not outrageous torque for hills
5. small chainring availability for low speed hill climbing without killing motor.
6. lower weight components that are securely fastened.
Seriously, Photon really is your best choice. The Transition doesn't have a lot of room by the chainstays, which rules out the more common and cheaper motors. Of those that will fit, still completely stuff up the chainline since the smaller chainrings can't be dished inboard due to the size of the gear casing.

I've had a Photon on my 1x Boost hardtail since April 2023, and it has been great. A couple of minor issues but nothing serious or showstopping and which CYC have mostly addressed with later updates. CYC designed these motors for modern MTBs and they got that exactly right. My conversion is way better than any OTS hardtail ebike you can buy. No artificial 32kph speed restrictions, for example (in NZ we - currently - have no speed restrictions for ebikes). More power and torque, and the ability to also use throttle for quick assists. Conversion feels solid, professional and does not creak or rattle. Very tidy installation.

Bike regularly gets used on >25% grades with no problems other than the front wheel barely touching the ground and steering in a mostly advisory capacity. The 34T chainring gives perfect chainline for me, ymmv. This bike will climb anything, and do it all day if you use sensible power and don't hurry.

The ability to easily configure the motor via Bluetooth and from the app should not be ignored, it is a big deal.

I get about 60km from a 520Wh battery with lower assist levels. Bike with motor and battery weighs about 21kg I think.

CYC seem to be committed to their products and their team is great to deal with.

20240527_152939.jpg
 
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