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TSDZ-2 Montague Paratrooper Ground Up Build

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    TSDZ-2 Montague Paratrooper Ground Up Build

    Hi guys, it's been a while since I've been on an e-bike let alone built one. So it's about time to change both of those things! I'm looking to build a hardtail mountain bike to handle the local rooty, rocky trails and occasional commuting. I'd really like to keep it as light and nimble as possible so that it still feels like a bike. And it'd be even better if it fit in the trunk of my car! I'll do my best to satisfy all these requirements with my next build.

    The motor is a 52V TSDZ-2 that I bought from ES user eyebyesickle about a year ago intending to up the current and seeing what she could do on a mountain bike. Good thing I didn't as reports indicate that you can't push amps to these quite like you can a BBSxx. That brings me to the torque sensing. While I love BBSxx motors they inherently feel moped like. I hate the way the PAS feels. If I was going to build another mid drive it had to have torque sensing capabilities. The TSDZ-2 was the best option I had available to me at the time.

    The donor bike? It's a bare Montague Paratrooper medium frame I bought on sale a while back. Here's the current parts list (this hobby ain’t cheap!)

    Montague Paratrooper Closeout Frame
    TSDZ-2 52V Mid drive + modding parts
    Thudbuster LT seatpost
    Seat post shim
    Manitou Markhor 26" 100mm travel fork
    Sunlite 3" rise MTB bars
    Bontrager SSR 105mm 10 degree rise stem
    Mavic 26" X223 Disc wheels
    Coda Expert hubs
    Specialized Enduro 26 x 2.2" tires
    Afterpartz NV-8 hydraulic disc brakes / 160mm rotors
    Shimano HG500 11-42T cassette
    Shimano M6000 shifter and medium cage derailleur
    Race Face flat pedals
    ebay unbranded seat
    ebay unbranded locking grips

    Battery/batteries will be a single or pair of 30Q Mighty Mini 52V's that I have been using with all my bikes.

    There’s a very real chance that I will have my LBS finish up the last few driveline and steering components for me.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_0942.jpeg Views:	1 Size:	599.5 KB ID:	79805
    Last edited by moarpower; 12-21-2018, 06:58 AM.

    TSDZ2 is almost ready for prime time but so weak compared to BBSxx drives.


      Originally posted by Scoonie View Post
      TSDZ2 is almost ready for prime time but so weak compared to BBSxx drives.
      I picked this motor because it resolves some of my
      gripes with the BBSxx designs at the expense of maximum power, which it turns out I rarely actually take advantage of.


        Another Montague rider here, though I used a BBSHD. I'll be interested to see how your juice brakes work out, specifically when folding:will the brake lines deal with that? The ONLY thing I wish for is juice brakes. Otherwise, it's a great folder.


          Originally posted by Scoonie View Post
          TSDZ2 is almost ready for prime time but so weak compared to BBSxx drives.
          Excuse me, dear Sir, could You please elaborate on that? I was looking to replace my Bafang BBS01 with a TSDZ2 since I feel that the Bafang speed sensor (opposite to the TSDZ2 torque sensor) is giving me too little power when hill climbing because of my low cadence. I wouldn't want to hi-jack the thread, so feel welcome to reply in a personal message.
          Kind regards.


          • Rider
            Rider commented
            Editing a comment
            ES has a huge thread on the TSDZ's that outlines their shortfalls. I would recommend you test ride this torque sensor motor before you purchase. I'm told it is noisy (a dead in the water issue for me) and the torque sensor's really just change the power application source from cadence or throttle to foot. The torque sensor ebikes I have ridden have very little if any difference in power application based on pedal pressure (as manufacturers claim). It simply starts the motor at the setting which you have the computer set to. On a hill you are going to have strong pressure on the pedal, so you will likely be at max power for the setting you are on. YMMV...

            The BBS02B is several upgrades from the BBS01. I'd suggest you set your power level control to 1-9 and use it to change the power level that is applied if you are getting too much power. Just a suggestion to see if you can live with what you have. Good luck.

          • Scoonie
            Scoonie commented
            Editing a comment
            SHIFT! I just picked up a couple of NOS 36V BBS01B 250W. A bit too weak, but a BBS02B spanks a TSDZ2. That said, I think the fellas working on the programming are making it perform MUCH better. Or so they say...won't test here till it's warm again.

          It’s beginning to look a lot like christmas around here...

          The brakes were a $37 “Why not?” Amazon purchase. I really hope they work if I get clever with cable routing but if not they’ll end up on my BBS02 cruiser.

          I also have realistic expectations of this motor. I plan to run it like I stole it though. If it blows up I’ll throw my Ludicrous BBSHD on this thing and retire my Santa Cruz to mtb duty.


          • Rider
            Rider commented
            Editing a comment
            Nice! I don’t know what it is about unassembled layout photos that get me excited. Must be my enjoyment of the build. Can’t wait to see this one all together. Very interesting folding bike.

          LBS shop has the frame and forks. He's going to do the headset for me then I'll start semi-final assembly. Most of the parts should be in by the new year.

          Funny note, the LBS guy Bryan didn't seem to like the idea of ebikes for a few years. Today he told me that he's looking to do a front motor 1kw+ custom cruiser build with everything hidden in the tank. He said that he rode some local kid's Luna bike with one of those bomber-esque frames and seemed thrilled by it. Glad to see ebikes are catching on!

          I'll probably go back to the LBS before all is said and done to fit a 2 speed front derailleur since this is a non-standard application and I'm inexperienced in spec'ing them.

          No major updates until the frame is back. He has to order the parts so it may be a week or more. Enjoy your holidays folks!


            Parts are in with the exception of a brake rotor and levers. Of course I just had to use these stinkin’ Coda hubs with 4 x 44 brake pattern. The rotors are discontinued everywhere. You can’t find them in the US. I bought my replacements from bike stores in Europe.

            On a related note, the $37 juice brakes will end up on my BBS02 cruiser since it takes a 5 bolt rotor.

            It’s going to be full speed ahead once my LBS finishes up with the headset.


              Have you had a chance to look at how the chainline is lining up? That looks like the stock 42T chainring you've got mounted in the first pic, and I've read that the TSDZ-2B (latest greatest version) has "extra offset" built into the case, but I don't know how much.

              So, you got a "2", or a "2B" motor? How does the chainline look?


              • moarpower
                moarpower commented
                Editing a comment
                A cursory google search says that the model 2B is necessary to support >45V. This unit was among the first 52V compatible TSDZ-2’s manufactured so presumable it is a 2B. I did not see anything mentioned about chainline during my non-exhaustive search.

                I will be running dual front rings, a 42T + 52T. I don’t have the frame back yet to mock up/install.
                Last edited by moarpower; 01-14-2019, 11:21 AM.

              Have you decided how to carry your battery? I have a Montague Highline that I picked up yesterday. The LBS recommended and mounted a Topeak Explorer (Disks) rack, and the Topeak MTS / MTX expanding bag to carry the battery. I'm less than thrilled with the results. The rack interferes big-time with the folding of the cycle, because the downlegs stick out so far (because of the clearance built in for the brakes). The top tube leans directly on the bike rack downleg when folded, and really does not close enough to allow the (removed) front tire to be tied into its position.

              I've also considered a bag hanging from the top tube. I may have to go with this idea, the rear rack idea is becoming less than ideal. This idea allows a "short" brick or a triangle to be placed in the triangle. Battery size looks to top out at a 14S9P size when fitted there.


              • moarpower
                moarpower commented
                Editing a comment
                I was going to use a Blackburn if I go Ludicrous later on but probably just a stock battery bag with one of my Mighty Mini’s.

                I would not even consider mounting my battery to the rack unless I had no other options.

              • mebgardner
                mebgardner commented
                Editing a comment

                Yes, thanks. I've got the "short" model, and it will def work for some smaller batteries. I bought it from Amazon, based on that thread. Thanks!


                I fussed with racks and bags for days, driving my LBS crazy. The issue for me was maintaining the "folding" tech of the cycle, so that was primary. Once I decided that, I learned by experience that most of the "disc brake" rack offerings would interfere with the folding aspect, with the cycle's top tube rubbing one of the rack's front down tubes when folded. They're all "too fat", too wide. I could make a non-disc brake rack work in some instances, but it would have to share the rear brake caliper mounting post. That would not do either, as the first spill would bend the brake caliper out of alignment with the disc. Nope!

                So, I chose to buy the Montague PackRack, and reinforce it for battery use. A Bontrager Interchange Deluxe Plus bag w/panniers can be easily made to fit this rack by using simple application of tie wraps to the rack. No modification to the bag at all. I got the combo working in less than an hour, and now the bag mounts very securely, and dismounts from the rack in 10 seconds. (make a heavy duty tie wrap "loop" in front on rack, and latch the rear of bag on rear rack bar). Apply light dremel to the rear weld to remove a very small amount of the weld).This rack is built to not interfere with the frame closing, and I'm (at least, for now) satisfied it is up to the task of hauling battery. The bag is amazing, it has a solid aluminum bar from front to rear, spanning the bag's length.

                I think you choose to not rack mount because of the CG being placed too far aft, yes? I read where some have had an inadvertant wheelie with the battery back there.

                Now, I have both options: Below the top tube, and a removable rack mount.

              • moarpower
                moarpower commented
                Editing a comment
                “I think you choose to not rack mount because of the CG being placed too far aft, yes?”

                Yes. I feel rack mounted battery pushes the CG too far back, too high, and ends up feeling squirmy for any sort of slalom type maneuvers, even with additional bracing. These observations are just anecdotal in nature and obviously based on my own experiential biases.

                Too put it simply, I think loading a rack down does a serious disservice to the handling capabilities of any bike.

                “Now, I have both options: Below the top tube, and a removable rack mount.”

                Smart! I can do the same with my cruiser but just hate the way it handles with the batteries bagged on the rack. It is much more stable, predictable, and comfortable to mount them further forward. Again, just my two cents.

              Not an update... I remembered that I asked eyebyesickle to put a 36V winding with a 52V capable controller. The idea was to hopefully increase the maximum pedal cadence before the motor “revs out” at the expense of torque. I had planned to use it on my old road bike for a commuter/hill bomber but have neverhad the heart to take that bike apart.


                I had a custom padded bag made for my 11.5 AH battery, with built in 1 " web straps with quick snap connectors that go around my top tube. So, the battery hangs below, but snugged up enough to not swing around. I can put it on or take it off in about 30 seconds. In addition, I also made a rack for a 6 AH Mini battery on the forward side of the vert frame tube, secured by the water bottle bolts. It, unlike the larger battery, can stay in place when folding. Finally......I have a second 11.5AH that now and then, (it has to be an epic ride.....) I carry on the rear rack, so 29 AH total!

                Maybe I fold mine different, or need it as compact as possible for the way I carry it in my plane, but no way can I leave the rear rack on when folding, but it comes off easy enough. Pic shows just the small battery in the open front rack, it secures with 2 straps so removes quickly. Down nice and low, It's my preferred way to ride on less then 10 mile trips.

                My avatar I just realized, shows both batteries in use.


                  Got my larger front tire and wheel mounted up, a tubeless ready 24 mm rim and a 2.75" Surly Dirt Wizard. Now i have the largest front tire possible with the front fork, I'm keeping 2.25" in the back, not as much room back there.


                    I swear, every time I see a picture you post I wish I had your life.
                    Are you seriously flying to mountains then using an ebike as a custom ski lift to go snowboarding?
                    Absolute legend :D


                      Yes on the flying into the mountains thing, but not during the winter, in the summer for bike rides. There is a great little local blue collar ski area above my place, very demanding terrain and only a 3 mile ride, but a 1200' vert climb. Late in the season, when the road is ice free, I ride up one time, just so I can say I did. I love that Travoy trailer BTW, especially the way it folds, meaning i can take it in the plane.