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CYC X1 Pro Fatbike

Boostin22

10 µW
Joined
Aug 31, 2021
Messages
5
CYC X1 Pro Fatbike Build

Went for a winter ride in the river valley with my dad’s Specialized e-bike. It had 27.5 Plus sized studded tires. The power of the bike allowed you to explore the creek and river valley area. After that I was hooked and decided to build my own custom fat-e bike.

Night Ride.jpg

At the time, COVID had hit, and new bikes were impossible to find and used bikes were quite expensive. I wanted to try to keep the build on the budget. I came across a fat bike that Costco sold for only $500, the Northrock XCF.

Bike Outside.JPG

It had a decent 10 speed Deore Drivetrain, large front triangle to fit a battery, and a steel fork, which I thought was a plus to handle the stress and added weight from the motor system.

I ended up purchasing the CYC motor kit from Mark at Electrify Bike, who was great at getting me started spec’ing parts for the build. I’d highly recommend them to anyone in Canada or the US looking to build up their ebike.

https://www.electrifybike.com/

CYC Motor.jpg
CYC Motor 2.jpg
CYC Motor 3.jpg
CYC Motor 4.jpg

Part list:

Frame – Northrock XCF - https://www.northrockbikes.com/xcf/
Brakes – Original - Tektro 160mm Cable Disc Brakes.
Upgraded to Shimano MT420 200mm 4 calipers – great budget option with tons of stopping power.
Fork – Steel, slightly heavier, but useful for the added weight of the bike
Wheels - ~60mm rims, but can clear 4.6” tires. Running them with tubes. Oddball sized rims/hubs do not allow for an easy upgrade, one of the big drawbacks of this bike.
Tires
Winter – 4.6” Specialized Ground Control Fat – studded with Grip Studs
Summer – 4.0” Kenda Juggernaut low profile, great for summer
Bars – Came with narrow ~720mm bars, upgraded to Spank Spoon 60mm riser bars - 780mm wide. Made the “slightly too small for me” frame fit much better.
Stem – Stock
Light – Roxim X4EP Integrated Headlight / Taillight. 400 lumens. Powered directly from the battery accepting 6-90V. Excellent light. Had issues with non-integrated lights getting too cold and the battery stopped working. Not an issue with this model https://www.electrifybike.com/collections/ebike-lights/products/roxim-x4eb-6-90v-headlight-and-taillight
Seat/Stem – Stock Seat, added Suntour SP12 NCX suspension dropper post, which is a cheap way to add a lot of plushness if you aren’t going to run a dropper post.

Gripstuds.jpg
Gripstuds Install.jpg

Drivetrain
Cassette – All Steel, pinned cog Sunrace CSMS 11-42 10 speed
Hub – DT Swiss 350 w/ Steel Freehub body
Chainring – 32 tooth (winter) / 38 tooth (summer)
CYC Gearing Choice – 11/53 Winter / 11/63 Summer

Motor / Battery
CYC X1 Pro Motor w/ BAC 855 Controller
Battery – Massive 52V 21Ah GA cell battery – 1092Wh – Mega Shark Casing
Mounted to frame with Triple Bob (fastened to frame in three recesses with hose clamps after pic was taken)

Triple Bob.jpg
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Overall I’ve been very happy with the bike. Initially I had issues with the bikes chain skipping on the lowest two cogs. I had the chain jump off on me multiple times, eventually breaking two spokes on the rear wheel. I had the rear wheel rebuilt with newer heavier duty spokes.

I had attempted to adjust the derailleur multiple times with no success. I ended up taking the bike in to have the derailleur adjusted by my local bike shop. Best $20 I ever spent. They adjusted the limits perfectly, and I believe they adjusted the clutch system to keep more tension on the chain. I’d recommend everyone who isn’t very well versed in derailleurs have a bike shop set this up. Totally transformed the bike at higher speeds. Buying a clutched derailleur is also highly recommended.

Another thing I’d like to touch on is the drivetrain durability. Standard mountain bike drivetrains aren’t meant to handle this amount of power and torque. Also, higher quality bike parts on conventional bikes end up focusing on cutting weight which doesn’t help durability.

For e-bikes, steel is your friend. Going with a cassette that uses steel cogs only will greatly reduce the chances of bending or shearing off teeth on your cassette. Also, look for cassettes that have as many teeth as possible pinned together (you can see this from the back of the cassette). That allows the freehub body to share the load of the individual gear with neighboring gears and prevents it from biting into the freehub. Shimano Deore and SRAM NX cassettes are both valid options if you are running a 12 speed system.

Pinned Cassette
Pinned Cassette.jpg

Damaged Freehub Body (not mine)
Freehub Body Damaged Pic.jpeg

Originally, I’d stuck with a 10 speed drivetrain, since a 10 speed chain is a bit wider than an 11 speed and even wider still than a 12 speed chain. However, I came across this article, which changed my mind on this. For my next build, I’ll be going with a 12 speed X01/XTR chain which I think will be just as strong and durable.

Link to article - https://cyclingtips.com/2019/12/the-best-bicycle-chain-durability-and-efficiency-tested/

On that same line, aim for a bike with a steel freehub body. Most are made of aluminum, which is more prone to gouging from the cassette gears. The DT350 hub I chose had an available steel freehub body which I purchased to reduce the risk of gouging.

The DT Swiss 350 freehub uses a star ratchet system instead of ratchets and pawls like a conventional bike. The star ratchet system has 16 points of engagement on the ratchet, many more than the 3-4 pawls on a standard designed hub. Great for if you want to put out large amounts of power reliably.

dtswiss_ratchet_animation_pt1_legendary_reliability_fallback~-~375w.jpeg

More info here - https://electricbike-blog.com/2019/02/14/the-rear-fathub-that-just-refuses-to-die-dt-swiss-big-ride-350-197mm/

I run two gearing setups. A 32 tooth chainring with 11/53 motor gearing for winter and a 38 tooth chainring with 11/63 motor gearing for summer. The two gearing systems couldn’t be more different. With the winter setup, the motor delivers so much torque so quickly that you are almost instantly at max cadence when you start pedalling hard (on smooth flat ground). This makes climbing steep hills or travelling deep snow much easier to do. It is awkward in summer, as you spin out the gears so fast that you don’t feel like you are doing much. Top speed is limited as well.

The summer setup is much more slow to wind up, but delivers much more assist in the top end when you want it. I run the stock 4” Kenda Juggernaut tires, which are quite smooth and well suited for streets and groomed trails. I can easily go up hills at 30 kph and cruise along at 50kph when I’d like to do so. The bike doesn’t work well on single track. It has no suspension and it bounces and skips over every bump. The tires squirm if you throw any amount of cornering load on them and feel unsettled.

However, as a road bike/commuter it is great. The battery is large with good range, the light works, and it flys along paved roads and gravel double track. I sold my road bike as this bike performs that task so much better than it did.

If you could only have one bike, plus sized, dual suspension e-bikes are a great choice. They can handle singletrack summer riding without too much tire deflection / autosteering. They can also handle winter / offroad duty good enough especially on packed in hiking trails. They are, in my opinion, the best compromise.

I’ve enjoyed this bike so much, I’m starting to build up a 2nd electric full suspension fatbike based on a Dengfu E06 frame. I’ll post a build thread on it once I start building up the bike.

I’m open to any questions or discussions on the bike or the CYC motor platform.

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Very clean build, I've been strongly considering a CYC drive for my next bike (either that or a 2 stage belt drive reduction on a big outrunner) so very interesting to hear your experience.

I'm curious as to how it handles deeper soft snow where you don't have the flotation, I assume fairly well with the amount of torque available? Also for winter riding I highly recommend pogies, hippo hands, whatever you want to call them. Even in extreme temperatures a set of those you can use much thinner gloves that are more comfortable to operate the controls with.

I do think the other factor about chain sizes you may be overlooking though is snapping chains, thinner plates means you start popping plates off pins quicker. Although a lot of that is the exact pin design, how abusive you are, and I guess how willing you are to put chains back together on the trails. In terms of wear using a hot dip wax like molten speed wax (developed by Kerin who did all the tests in that article) really does help a lot, probably moreso than on non-ebikes since we put enough force on the chain to fully utilize the EP additives more.
 
Nice obese bike. I'm using similar studs on mine and love it. That's good you can stuff 4.6" tires on that frame; seems like good value. Enjoy the ride.
 
scianiac said:
Very clean build, I've been strongly considering a CYC drive for my next bike (either that or a 2 stage belt drive reduction on a big outrunner) so very interesting to hear your experience.

I'm curious as to how it handles deeper soft snow where you don't have the flotation, I assume fairly well with the amount of torque available? Also for winter riding I highly recommend pogies, hippo hands, whatever you want to call them. Even in extreme temperatures a set of those you can use much thinner gloves that are more comfortable to operate the controls with.

I do think the other factor about chain sizes you may be overlooking though is snapping chains, thinner plates means you start popping plates off pins quicker. Although a lot of that is the exact pin design, how abusive you are, and I guess how willing you are to put chains back together on the trails. In terms of wear using a hot dip wax like molten speed wax (developed by Kerin who did all the tests in that article) really does help a lot, probably moreso than on non-ebikes since we put enough force on the chain to fully utilize the EP additives more.

It handles deep snow OK. What's holding me back on this bike, is the rim size is only 56mm OD, so although I have 4.6" tires, they don't actually spread out that wide on smallish fatbike rims. My next build will have 90mm rims to get more float. I can't easily replace the rims either, since the front fork comes with an oddball 121mm hub, so I'd have to upgrade the front fork as wheel as the wheel to replace it. The axle to crown on the bike is relatively short, so I could only just barely fit a 80mm front suspension fork on there. For me, it's not worth the cost to upgrade on the bike. The rear is an asymmetric 170mm with a special wheel, so it's not easy to upgrade as well.

The torque is great through, it definitely has the power not to get bogged down, and it can climb any icy steep trail I can find due to the grip from the studs and power available. Short gearing also lets me do long trips at lower assist without worrying about battery range.

Regarding the chain, I'm going to take the chance on the 12 speed for the next bike. I rarely exceed 1000W of power as its really not needed on the trail. I'll keep the chain under high tension, and am hoping on having a decent chainline. I'd like to be able to have the option for really long trips, and having a wider range of gearing at low assist levels really helps.

Thanks for the tip on the wax, that'd probably be a wise choice, especially in winter with the constant snow and slush on the chain.
 
scianiac said:
Very clean build, I've been strongly considering a CYC drive for my next bike (either that or a 2 stage belt drive reduction on a big outrunner) so very interesting to hear your experience.

I'm curious as to how it handles deeper soft snow where you don't have the flotation, I assume fairly well with the amount of torque available? Also for winter riding I highly recommend pogies, hippo hands, whatever you want to call them. Even in extreme temperatures a set of those you can use much thinner gloves that are more comfortable to operate the controls with.

I do think the other factor about chain sizes you may be overlooking though is snapping chains, thinner plates means you start popping plates off pins quicker. Although a lot of that is the exact pin design, how abusive you are, and I guess how willing you are to put chains back together on the trails. In terms of wear using a hot dip wax like molten speed wax (developed by Kerin who did all the tests in that article) really does help a lot, probably moreso than on non-ebikes since we put enough force on the chain to fully utilize the EP additives more.

I think the CYC motor is the best bolt-on motor available for a trail bike. Lots of BB options for fitment, and it has such a high power threshold, that it's very versatile to upgrades down the road. Customer support and warranty are also very good with them. Torque sensing is also key IMO for anything that isn't going to be strictly a road bike. Good power to weight ratio.

The motor is loud compared to other ebikes, so you have to decide how important that is to you. One thing to consider is the X1 pro motor is longer than the stealth, so it has more length to mount higher on the downtube and give you more clearance. That was a key consideration for me. Some folks have even been able to mount the motor in the bottom of the frame triangle which is a great option if it fits.
 
Regarding the chain, I'm going to take the chance on the 12 speed for the next bike. I rarely exceed 1000W of power as its really not needed on the trail. I'll keep the chain under high tension, and am hoping on having a decent chainline. I'd like to be able to have the option for really long trips, and having a wider range of gearing at low assist levels really helps.

Thanks for the tip on the wax, that'd probably be a wise choice, especially in winter with the constant snow and slush on the chain.

It's probably less of an issue depending a lot on how abusive you are to your chain, which I'm probably a bit more abusive than some.... But for range the 9 speed stuff from Box and Microshift seems pretty good, you get all of the same range as many 10-12 speeds and the having exactly the right gear is much less critical when you have the motor to make up the difference. I have nothing bad to say about my Microshift Advent.

The wax has been pretty good with corrosion considering I don't add any and haven't touched the chain in months but I am looking for a corrosion inhibitor to add to my wax blend to improve it.

The noise is the only thing that worries me about the CYC, don't want to be too obvious... But if I did get one I would probably do some mods to quiet it down.
 
After about 600km, I've been very happy with it. Its almost 1100Wh, so tons of capacity. Just did a 31km ride in loose snow on mostly the max assist level and only used half of my battery.

They also carry a good charger that has the option to charge to 80/90/100 percent capacity which really helps to extend the life of the battery.
 
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