This year has been the year of the BBS02 750W. The end of 2015 is proving to be a very exciting time with Bafang introducing the BBSHD and many of the more powerful 18650 batteries we have been promised this year are finally trickling out into the market. Builders are beginning to realize that with the new higher format cells that they can utilize inexpensive Chinese frame packs and cram them full of high quality Japanese or Korean batteries and have absolutely insane performance in a tiny pack that stays cool under higher load. Combined with a BBSHD drive unit this creates an ebike build that blows away anything on the market right now and looks as nice as any factory built ebike.
2016 is going to be the year of 3000+mAh 18650 cells and the BBSHD. So should you upgrade to the BBSHD and sell your old BBS02? This article may help you decide.
What we know so far about the BBSHD.
- Bafang is developing a brand new display for the BBSHD but it won’t be available for several months. The new display will be fancy but will likely only have the same features (more or less) as the older displays.
- The controller will ship with only 30 Amps programmed on the controller.
- The BBSHD should support a 52v pack (14S with 18650s) and still run very reliably.
- The chainring is still steel, the chainring is still heavy, the chainring still sucks. The old chainring adapters for your BBS02 will not work on the BBSHD nor will the Lekkie Bling Ring. The stock steel chainring that will ship with this unit is 46T, which in my opinion is much too big for any real trail riding.
- There will be two units, one for 68-73mm BB with an offset non-drive side crankarm and a larger unit for 95-120mm BB fat bikes. You will need to specify which one you want when you order it.
- The old programming cable will work with the BBSHD.
- You will not be able to program more than 30 Amps in the controller. You don’t get to be the biggest ebike motor manufacturer in the world without being pretty conservative, and this motor\controller is overbuilt for 30 Amps. It should be able to take 35 or 40 in my opinion. Aftermarket BBSHD controllers anyone?
- The Ebrakes and Speedo from the BBS02 will work with the BBSHD. It’s much cheaper for Bafang to just grab parts from the parts bin rather than redesign this thing from scratch. Since it is showing up on Alibaba already for $660 (if you want only one) that means Bafang is not selling it for all that much.
What we don’t know yet about the BBSHD
- Will there be different sized chainrings specific to the BBSHD? Since they are steel and they are stamped and not machined my guess is that eventually there will be several different sizes. It is unlikely that there will be one made that is smaller than the 46T but it is likely that they will make ones that are bigger for all the speed freaks out there.
- Will the old C963 display work with the BBSHD? Most likely, as the C961 will ship with the BBSHD until the new display comes out and Lectric cycles is selling their unit with a modified C965 5 button display so one would assume the C963 would work with the BBSHD as well.
- Will the new 12 Fet controller with the upgraded 3077 mosfets be able to take more volts? It’s likely that the new controllers will be able to take more than 56v packs without frying. Although the motor probably won’t work that much harder at higher volts, it should still spin faster. 150RPMs is already much faster than anyone can really pedal so I don’t know why you would really want to except if you want to go really, really fast. By hooking up a 58.8v battery to the stock BBS02 controller (with crappy mosfets) in this very entertaining video Bruno Bari Buccianti was able to get the 120RPM BBS02 to spin at a whopping 155RPM. I’m assuming the BBSHD can be overpowered with a higher voltage battery to spin much faster as well.
- Can I put a lot more watts through it? The factory BBS02 controller would throw an error if the voltage on the battery exceeded 59v. It’s unlikely the BBSHD stock controller will take more than 59v.
As I learn more info this article will be updated and I will move stuff from the “Things we don’t know” section to the “Things we know” section.
So should I sell all my BBS02s and preorder a BBSHD? The first question you need to answer for yourself is how much power do you need to go as fast as you want to go? Here is a video of our Aussie speed freak friend Bruno Bari Buccianti going a claimed 85km/hr (53mph) with a modified and overvolted (57v) BBS02 with a 52T ring on a high-speed road bike. I think he will still want to go faster because he is flipping crazy. Crazy is good as long as they can’t catch you.
One of the primary differences between the BBS02 and the BBSHD is that the entire unit was redesigned from the ground up to take more power. The windings in the motor are thicker, there are massive fins on the drive case and the controller to help dissipate heat. The factory BBS02 could put out 750W all day long without overheating unless you were on a long steep hill. The PAS set at its highest level would still only put out around 800 watts. If you wanted to access the real power you would have to use the throttle and if you spent too much time on the throttle then you would start to have serious problems with the reliability of the drive unit. This means that often you’d be faced with frequent repairs which were inexpensive to fix, but also annoying. Most people who wanted to go fast would get a programming cable and change the settings on their controller even though it meant voiding the warranty.
The BBSHD is an animal of a different color entirely. Although it is rated nominally for 1000W it is pretty clear right off the bat that this drive was meant to be run at 1500W with allowable peaks much higher than the BBS02. This means simply that you can lean on the throttle more on the BBSHD without fearing for the safety of your drive system. On average I break about one drive unit every 2-3 weeks of riding, I’m hoping with the BBSHD that number can increase to 6-8 weeks of riding at a time before drive unit destruction. It’s annoying having to constantly fix things because you are pushing the drive unit to hard.
Our suicidal resident speed freak Bruno Bari Buccianti sums up the enthusiasm that many of us are feeling about the BBSHD in this video here where he discusses in a very calm restrained reassuring tone his personal opinions on the matter. Check your setting volume before clicking and enjoy. I can’t listen to this guy without constantly giggling to myself like a Catholic schoolgirl.
The BBSHD is available for preorder here from the US vendor Lunacycles.com for $799 who should have the drive unit around or slightly before Nov 1st. I am told by Eric that the drive price may increase slightly once it is in stock. I’m very excited that this drive unit is available with the 52v Dolphin Pack that runs at 52v and is full of Grade A Panasonic NCRB cells for only $399 extra with a charger (the normal price is $450 without a kit). For more info on these new cells that are blowing away everything else on the market right now check out this article from electricbike.com . This means for about a $1200 you can have a whole drive system and battery that is almost 700Wh and weighs only 7 lbs. An insane deal, and right now it is cheaper if you buy this frame pack battery with a BBSHD drive kit. Is it really wise to cram large capacity cells into a high power pack? I have packs on order from Eric I plan on testing extensively in the coming weeks.
The e-RAD branded BBSHD is also available from the US company Lectric cycles for preorder here right now for $1,195 on sale from the usual price of $1,295. The e-RAD comes with a 5 button C965 display which I prefer to the C961 display (click here for more info on BBSxx displays). The e-RAD also comes with options for a smaller Raceface Narrow\Wide chainrings available from 40T – 44T. I recommend the smallest you can get for trail riding and the biggest you can get for the highest top speed. The e-RAD also comes with their gear sensor which automagically cuts the power when you shift with the PAS active as well as several options for throttles and brake sensors. The e-RAD is a refined solution for the discriminating ebiker and looks to be available by late November.
There is one vendor named BTN on Alibaba selling the BBSHD right now located here for between $590-660 that seems pretty legit. My guess is that if you order it they don’t have stock yet and it you ordered it today it still won’t ship for at least 2 more weeks. The price for one unit will be $660 but if you order a whole lot the price will drop. The unit ships with the C965 two button display but otherwise should be identical to the other drives purchased stateside (without any custom programming).
Expect to be gouged at least $100 from BTN for shipping which puts the price right around the range of the lunacycle.com drive unit. If you must buy from China I recommend you read this article first. It was written by someone who has blown thousands of dollars on shipping fees and bad batteries and drive units from China (that would be me). There is only one vendor who has been relatively trouble free in China and that is Paul at em3ev.com. Although he is not taking preorders on his website Paul will have the BBSHD as soon as it hits the market at a reasonable price. Frankly I’m done buying stuff directly from anyone other than Paul in China, as it has been the least pleasurable part of my ebike addiction.