I realize that nothing is farther from a real fat-bike than my Death Trap 2000 build, but bear with me. About 8 years ago I thought I would buy some spandex grab some power bars and join the road-biking crowd (Insert gratuitous epic rap battle link here). I ended up buying a Dawes 1500 from Bike Island with a replacement carbon front fork for only $400 (they usually go for $550). Unfortudently I found out that I totally hated road biking and my ass looked fat in spandex, so the bike mostly just gathered dust in my barn. A couple of years ago I pulled it out and decided to switch the handlebars around to make it more comfortable to ride as I am 6′ 10″ and bending over that far is just incredibly painful for any real length of time. I ended up with a really cool configuration of the brake\shifters that make it look like a raging bull on a rampage. That marginally increased my interest in this bike for about a week. I think I even rode it to the voting booth once (true story). Everyone should vote, early and often.
I’m voting for Bernie Sanders because he’s gonna make all the rich people poor again just like me, and he sounds like a crazy homeless person when he talks about the Republicans. I love that.
The biggest problem with trying to mount a hub motor in a road bike is that you end up with a lot of flat tires because there is just too much weight directly over the wheels. The added rotational momentum of having a large hub motor also completely destroys the feeling of lightness and freedom that you get with a road bike. I decided that mid drive was the only way I wanted to fly with my road bike and I’m glad I did.
This road bike tops out at around 40mph on small downhills due mostly to the fact that all I had to use was a 46T steel chainring. My guess is that you could eek out a few more mph with a bigger chainring. You can save almost 1 lb if you opt for a larger RaceFace N\W chainring with a chainring adapter. I suggest a 52T chainring to get the maximum enjoyment out of this ride, but be aware that it will put a lot of strain on your primary nylon reduction gear.
I ran into a few problems mounting the BBSHD drive unit on a road bike instead of a mountain bike. The + / – / Power button cluster on the C961 didn’t fit around the thicker handlebars so I could only put one of the 2 screws in. The throttle also did not fit properly onto the wider & curved road bike handlebars. I couldn’t find a way to mount the normal right-hand throttle on handlebars so it would be easy to use. Instead, I opted to use a left-hand throttle which actuates on a different axis than the normal right-hand throttle does. I had to remove the metal ring and then carve out some of the plastic with a mat knife in order to get it to fit on the handlebars. By alternating the use of a mat knife and some sandpaper, I was able to widen up the plastic hole enough to force it on to the handlebar end. In the end I was very happy with the results, but I have to admit that it looks pretty strange.
Strange is good.
I had trouble getting the BBSHD to stay pushed against the downtube. It seemed like no matter how hard I torqued down on the main Lock nut for the drive unit I could not get it to stay tight enough to not sag down on the bumps. The BBS02 never seemed to have that problem and I’m not sure why it happened. It felt like the locknut was bottoming out and running out of threads and I needed a large spacer on the outside of the lockring to push the drive unit harder against the side of the bottom bracket.
In order to mount a BBSHD on this bike I had to reroute the derailer cable, as on the factory bike it goes down under the downtube and around the BB which would have interfered with the mounting of the BBSHD. Although it was a little annoying to reroute the derailer cable it went mostly without a hitch. The trickiest part was trying to figure out how to get the shifter back into the lowest shifting position so I could get the cable through it. I ended up not being able to find instructions on how to do this anywhere on the internet. By using a paperclip and sticking it in the shifter and pushing the tiny cam back through the gears, I was able to get the new cable in. I have no idea how non-bike mechanics are ever able to figure this stuff out.
I really like using the velcro “One” tie wraps to clean up the cabling. It took me about 90 minutes to do this conversion including the time that I spent rerouting the rear derailer cable. The BBSHD is an incredibly fast and easy install when compared to most other hub motor ebike kits I’ve tried to install.
How did it ride?
I like living on the edge, and the Death Trap 2000 is perfect for people who like living on the edge. The bike was very efficient and got up to speed quickly. For the most part on the level it went somewhere between 25-30mph with my 200lb giant fat ass on it. I strongly recommend using a Thudbuster with any road bike because not only is it a lot more comfortable, it also greatly reduces the wear and tear on your tires, tubes and rims when you hit road debris or potholes. One of the most exhausting things about riding around this fast on a road bike is that you constantly have to remain super vigilant about road hazards. A carbon forked skinny tire bike simply cannot really deal with much in the way of bumps or sharp gravel or any other kind of hazard on the road.
If you want to maximize your top speed without throwing pesky overvoltage errors I recommend that you get a 14S pack from Paul at em3ev.com or Eric at lunacycle.com . A small frame pack is probably the best way to go although I tested this bike with a backpack battery like I do with all my bikes because that’s just the way I roll.
So should you build an ebike out of a roadbike? Honestly, I can’t recommend it. Although the hyper rolling efficiency is very nice, with an ebike you really don’t need efficiency as much as you need safety. Converting a super light road bike and pushing it to it’s limits of speed and weight and then driving over potholes or road debris is a recipe for disaster. If you have good health insurance and like taking spills and chills on your bike then by all means you should go for it. I loved feeling like Lance Armstrong on this bike and going wicked fast all the time, but it was not particularly safe by any stretch of the imagination.
Remember what they say at Burning Man as they strap you into the Roaster Coaster (a carnival ride where they really shoot flame throwers at you).