BBS01 Cube SL Road Pro conversion and long distance commuting

mfj197

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jul 18, 2014
553
32
Guildford
#1
I have a 20 mile each way commute from Guildford to Teddington and in recent years I’ve generally been driving half way and then cycling the rest. Thanks to a very useful demonstration last year (thanks KudosDave and LEBC Tom) I found it would be perfectly possible to use an ebike for the entire journey, freeing up our one car so it can stay home with my wife and the kids.

The bike needed to be a bit more upright than my old roadie, a bit more comfortable overall but still quick (I need to get home to help put the kids to bed!). I chose to do a conversion of a Cube SL Road Pro flat bar road bike – lightweight, with plenty of tyre clearance and hydraulic disc brakes. I used a BBS01 250W from Eclipse Bikes for the electric assist, and I wanted to keep the entire thing stealthy.

Key points:
  • 10s4p pack welded up from Panasonic NCR18650PF 2,900 mAh cells held in a pack behind the saddle (with clothes, pump, tools etc.) charged to 41V
  • BBS01 programmed to allow full cadence in any assist level, and to provide full power under PAS only (both changes from the normal controller operation)
  • Set up for 5 assist levels
  • Tyres changed from Kojak slicks to Vittoria Voyager Hyper ultra-fast 40mm touring/commuting tyres
  • Wiring to provide a 7V supply to the handlebars for my lights (not yet fitted)
  • No throttle
  • Hydraulic brake cut-off sensors
  • Bars shortened to 595mm (from 660)
  • Ergon GP3 grips added
And here’s the result. All-up weight including the saddlepack is 18kg, although the kickstand adds another 300g.



So how does she perform? So far, very well indeed. In lower assist levels she rides very naturally with assistance right throughout the cadence range but not too much strain on the drivetrain (can happily change gears without using the motor cutoff switch on a brake lever). For her first run I cycled from Guildford to Cranleigh and back using assist level 2 – still quick enough to overtake club cyclists out riding in the Surrey hills.

Both trips combined used 4.4Ah of battery, so on the (crude) assumption of average voltage during the run being 38.5V the journey consumed 169Wh of energy, or 7.1Wh per mile. I was certainly putting in a reasonable bit of effort myself too. Distance and speed information taken from Runkeeper GPS tracking.

So how about commuting? Absolutely cracking. The first week's figures are here (there are two routes, A and B):


So the journey's taking a smidgeon over an hour, which is the same as my previous drive / cycle approach. Using assist 3 I'm averaging maybe 11-12Wh per mile and 19.5mph, and with assist 2 about 7Wh per mile and 18.5mph (but using more of my own energy).

The bike is working out very well. It is comfortable for distance, fast, and practical to use day in day out. Whether I'll continue every day or take a day each week in the car I don't know, but this week I'm continuing cycling every day. It definitely puts the miles on - it's already up to 378 miles!

Some further photos of the bike this evening to finish
Michael






 
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Fordulike

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 26, 2010
3,341
122
Tyne and Wear
#2
Great write up Michael. Good looking, stealthy set-up :)

When you've got a moment, could you post a close up piccy of the hydraulic brake cut-off, and explain how they're attached and also the distance of the magnet from the sensor for reliable working.

Thanks ;)
 
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Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
6,395
207
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West Sx RH
#3
Very nice Michael,
Where did you get your programming lead etc from or as I'm not to far way from you how would you like to have a look at re programming my BBS , there would be a beer or 4 in it :D.
 
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D

Deleted member 4366

Guest
#4
I think that's a nice way for fast commuting. I converted a similar bike recently with a hub-motor. I was surprised how much faster it was than a MTB with the same motor. The guy I built it for rides with me, and he's often free-wheeling, while I'm pedalling hard alongside him - grrrrrr! I'm thinking that I might build one for myself.
 

mfj197

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jul 18, 2014
553
32
Guildford
#5
Nealh, I'd happily reprogram your motor if you like. I'm not too far away from you. I got the cable from a vendor in Germany - I'll look up who when I can.

Fordulike, I'll attach a close-up of the sensors when I've taken it. You can see them in the frontal shot as well. I used epoxy putty to make a flat base for the sensors (same as I used for a gusset for the BBS01 to bear against the downtube). The magnets are stuck to the ends of the brake levers - in fact they stick themselves as the levers are metal. I've ended up using just half a magnet on each lever - inadvertently I might add. The magnets provided are pretty brittle and one broke in half but I found it would work perfectly well with half on each lever.

Michael
 
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Chris Wilkins

Finding my (electric) wheels
Apr 16, 2015
11
1
#6
Looks amazing and so stealthy, very good job indeed!
 

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
6,395
207
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West Sx RH
#7
Thanks Michael ,
I will take up that offer at some stage, when I get some spare time I'm going to transfer my BBS from my Norco to my Cube Ams so will pm you one day when all is finished.
 

4bound

Pedelecer
May 1, 2014
160
18
Neston
www.facebook.com
#8
I think the mfj197/Nealth Bike Company would find a great market for these bikes!
 
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Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
6,395
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West Sx RH
#9
Have to add that Micheal's Cube pro is one of the best and neatest conversions I have seen.
 

Fordulike

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 26, 2010
3,341
122
Tyne and Wear
#11

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
6,395
207
55
West Sx RH
#12
Price wise about 2.5 X more than Micheal's cube with barely enough duration to get you far, 1 - 1.5hrs is barely enough for a half decent ride out. In my view really up to it and not aesthetically as nice.
 

JohnCade

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 16, 2014
1,486
43
#13
It’s not really for the same kind of rider though. It’s for the dedicated recreational roadie who’s still almost got the legs but is getting on a bit and needs a bit of help now and then.
 

Fordulike

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 26, 2010
3,341
122
Tyne and Wear
#14
It’s not really for the same kind of rider though. It’s for the dedicated recreational roadie who’s still almost got the legs but is getting on a bit and needs a bit of help now and then.
This one's the budget version, although not quite as stealthy:

Sail on a bike.jpg
 

mfj197

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jul 18, 2014
553
32
Guildford
#15
1,000 mile review

Well, the bike’s now done a thousand miles (actually about 1,300) so how is it working out?

Motor
The BBS01 continues to perform with aplomb. I use it almost exclusively on assist 3 of 5 which provides a good balance of speed and a natural feel (and no need to cut the motor to change gear). The updates to the programming really make this motor – assist level 3 works smoothly throughout the cadence range whilst assist 5 provides far more power than the standard programming allows via PAS. Useful for getting you home when you run out of energy!

Reliability is an unknown at the moment. I’ve been feeling a bit of a buzz for a couple of weeks whilst the motor is running. I’ve taken out the main crankshaft and regreased the bearings (they were all fine) and also regreased the main freewheel which is now much quieter than before. However the buzz remains and I think it’s probably in the motor itself – I’ve come across a couple of tales of the rotor revolving inside the end bearing rather than turning the bearing itself, so I’ll probably need to open it up at some point.

Bafang have updated the motor very recently as I understand, so a couple that have been shipped direct from China have a proper oil/dust seal on the non-chaingring side instead of the plastic ring sandwiched between the two crankshaft lock nuts. I don't know if this is backwards compatible and we'll see how mine holds up in the rain.

Battery
I used to have the pack up against the seatpost in the seatpack but this placed a lot of pressure on one particular cell (which has slightly dented) and broke the sense wires running over it. I’ve rerouted the sense wires and now have the battery pack horizontal at the bottom of the seatpack with no noticeable effect on bike handling. Other than that the pack is working well – the cells are remaining completely in balance even without the use of a BMS and there is no sign of voltage sag under load.

Bike
The Cube is a very good fast commuter and is performing extremely well indeed. It is comfortable, surefooted and fast and has an air of quality about it. The mid-level Shimano components work faultlessly, and chain and sprockets showing no signs of wear. I find I’m only using the top 5 or so gears (out of 9) and whilst I could increase the chainring size to give a higher top speed I don’t really want to (spinning out at 31mph is fine by me!). The Cube Active 1.1 saddle is top-notch too.

Brakes
The Shimano Altus M355 hydraulic disc brakes may be entry-level but they sure do work. Fantastic power and modulation. The B01 resin brake pads provided as standard on these and many other Shimano discs are great in the dry but lose a bit of their edge in the wet.

Tyres
The Vittoria Voyager Hyper tyres are proving themselves to be master performers. They are basically 40mm slicks and the confidence they inspire when cornering or braking hard is great. The bike still feels very much ‘alive’ but without the handlebar buzz of narrow road tyres. In the wet the tyres also work well, with the added benefit of not kicking up too much spray from the road. I’ve had no punctures, and that’s including going along a less-than-perfect cycle path twice a day with small stones, fir cones and branches littered across the track. The one time they did let go was on this bike path in the wet on loose dust that had turned to shallow mud – they are definitely not ‘loose surface’ tyres!

The tyres are so good I’ve bought four more for when these wear out!

So overall then, the bike is working very well indeed. It is piling on the miles, the car is staying at home, I’m keeping fit and thoroughly enjoying the commute. Hopefully the reliability will be there, and roll on the next thousand miles!

Michael
 

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
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West Sx RH
#16
Good write up Michael, do you think the buzzing is anything to do with the reprogramming and did you up the amps at all ?
I also run the B01S resins on my M396 and M446 Shimano's yes they do lose a little bit in the rain but are excellent otherwise.
 

mfj197

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jul 18, 2014
553
32
Guildford
#17
Good write up Michael, do you think the buzzing is anything to do with the reprogramming and did you up the amps at all ?
I also run the B01S resins on my M396 and M446 Shimano's yes they do lose a little bit in the rain but are excellent otherwise.
No, the reprogramming would actually make life easier for the motor overall and it's nothing you couldn't do with the throttle anyway. I haven't upped the maximum amps so I'm still running a 250W version. The buzzing isn't getting any worse (indeed I sometimes don't notice it at all) so I'm not sure I'll be opening up the motor just yet. It would take the bike out of commission for a bit and also I might need to break off the supporting wedge of epoxy putty I have between the motor and the downtube.

Did 21 miles home in just under an hour today. I do love a good tailwind!
 
D

Deleted member 4366

Guest
#18
Good write up. Thanks very much. It's always nice to get long-term results. Can you temind us which battery you have?
 

mfj197

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jul 18, 2014
553
32
Guildford
#19
Yes, it's one I welded together myself from Panasonic NCR18650PF cells, 10s4P giving 11.6Ah. Here was a snap at the time, but I've since rerouted the sense wires as I say so they no longer run over the top but around the side.
 

awol

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 4, 2013
1,104
82
#20
Yes, it's one I welded together myself from Panasonic NCR18650PF cells, 10s4P giving 11.6Ah. Here was a snap at the time, but I've since rerouted the sense wires as I say so they no longer run over the top but around the side.
How do you do voltage monitoring and what is your charging routine, do you have a 10s charger?