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BBSHD on Motobecane Fantom29 TRAIL 29er

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    BBSHD on Motobecane Fantom29 TRAIL 29er

    This morning, I finally finished up my BBSHD build on a brand new Motobecane Fantom29 TRAIL 29er.

    It was a long, and sometimes frustrating process. Let's start with the end - the BBSHD is really amazing. Before embarking on this project, I had test ridden several purpose-built bikes, including Stromer, Specialized, I think an iZip, and Cross Current. All were impressive, and I knew I wanted a speed pedelec, as my main purpose for the bike will be commuting - a 32 mile round-trip, urban commute.

    I was very concerned about what the BBSHD was going to sound like, and how it would feel compared to some of these very expensive bikes. I definitely didn't want to sound like I was riding a motor bike. I found some of those purpose built hub motor bikes to have a very distinct noise to the motor - not in a good way. Well I can tell you, I can't hear the motor over the tire noise and wind. To me, it is effectively silent. And fast. I was easily able to sustain around 28MPH in Level 2 or 3. With the 42T Lekkie chain ring, I definitely can't max out the speed the motor is capable of - I can peddle up to about 32MPH, again without much effort. With the throttle only, no peddling, I was able to get to 38MPH by leaning forward and getting a bit more aerodynamic.

    So this bike is plenty fast for my needs, that's for sure! This time last year, I ended up buying a rear hub kit which I intended to use on my Surly Cross Check, but ultimately I couldn't get all the components to fit properly. As I considered things further, I realized I really would feel safer riding a bike with hydraulic disk brakes, and I'd likely be better off with at minimum front suspension.

    So after reading a lot on these forums, a ton at Electric Bike Review, and other various sources, I decided to buy a bike from Bikes Direct and the BBSHD Kit from Luna. I went with the Fantom29 Trail 29er because I thought I wanted the larger 29 inch tires. In retrospect, I'm not so sure that really is important on an electric bike. On pure peddle power, a 29 inch or 700c wheel might be more efficient and allow for a slightly higher speed, but with motor power, that probably isn't really a big deal. The bike is surprisingly large. I'm 5'10", and the 17.5" frame is really big. I may have been better off with the smaller 15.5" frame, but I'm not sure the battery would have fit. As you can see in the pictures, that battery just miraculously fits. Another 1mm and I think I wouldn't have been able to get it to lock in place with out some type of modification, since the battery mount cannot be adjusted - the holes are fixed. I also wanted a remote lockout fork, and the bigger the disk brake, the better. So this Motobecane checked all those boxes. And I wanted it to be black.

    The biggest mistake I made at the start of this journey was to buy the bike AND the kit at the same time. I rushed in to buying the BBSHD kit from Luna because they had a July 4th sale going on. I bought the kit in the middle of July, and I rushed into it trying to lock in the sale price. I think they're still selling at the same price now. The problem is, Bikes Direct lists the bike's specs incorrectly. Here's how they list the bottom bracket on the spec list:


    I thought that was weird, because I didn't really think this bike fit in the "fat bike" category. I sent an email to Luna's support, and they agreed with me that based on the spec, I had better get the 100mm BBSHD kit. That, unfortunately, was a big mistake. The bike actually has a normal 68mm bottom bracket. So, the bike arrives, and I get it put together. I don't have that much experience working on bikes - just the task of putting the bike together was admittedly slightly intimidating. But it wasn't that difficult.

    The bike itself is really quite impressive. I think the quality is great. Not one issue with the bike itself. So the BBSHD 100mm kit arrives, and I very quickly realized I had bought the wrong size.

    So back to Luna support I went. The advice I was given was, in the interest of speeding things up, to buy the correct size motor only, receive that, replace it with the large motor, and return to Luna. It took a little over a week to receive the new motor, and then I returned the larger size. Luna received the return almost two weeks ago, and I still haven't seen a credit back to on my card. :-(

    The next problem I had was that ordering the motor only meant that I didn't get the corresponding nuts and bolts that come in the kit - I had the nuts and bolts that went with the 100mm kit, not the 68mm kit. So then I had to track down the correct size nut and bolt at Home Depot. Eventually, I did succeed in getting the motor mounted correctly. I really struggled with the getting the nuts screwed in to the motor - I was worried I had cross-threaded the hole in the motor. Let me say that I was most intimidated about having to remove the bottom bracket, based on all that I had read. But in fact, that was really quite simple, after I had purchased all the correct tools.

    My next "problem" was that I really struggled to figure out how to connect the motor to the battery, given that I went with the shark pack with downtube frame mount. One of the videos that is posted on these forums showed someone splicing and soldering the motor cables directly to frame mount. I've never soldered anything in my life. So off to Amazon I went to buy a soldering iron kit and some heat shrink. That was pretty nerve racking because screwing that up could really be serious. But I managed to pull it off.

    My next issue was how to mount the brake cutoff sensors. I eventually found a way to mount the magnet and sensor, and I thought I was pretty clever coming up with that, and then the next night, I saw someone post on these forums the same thing. It seems to work.

    Following that, I really struggled with the gear sensor, once I decided where I planned to put it, I realized the cable was far too short. It never occurred to me to look on Luna's site for an extension cable - I just realized this morning that they sell those. Instead, with my new-found skill in splicing cables together, I pretty quickly decided to just snip the sensor cable, and then borrow some cable from the Bafang brakes that came in the kit that I wasn't going to use. Unfortunately, at least for me, splicing those cable together was really difficult. It took me several tries before I got it - and the last time, I forgot to put the heat shrink on before, so I had to resort to taping it up with electrical tape. I'm worried that might not work long-term.

    This morning on about a 5 mile test ride, the motor cut out twice while I was riding and not braking or changing gears. Took a couple of seconds to kick back in. I'm worried that either or both the brake sensor(s) or the gear sensor might be the culprit. I hope that doesn't happen often moving forward. We'll see.

    Then, I had a hell of a time getting the cable threaded through the gear sensor. In retrospect, I think the problem was the wire cutter I used to cut the wire since I couldn't get the crimped cap off was a bad wire cutter. Later on, at some point, I ended up buying the Park Tool wire cutter, and that definitely does a much better, cleaner job of cutting. What happened was the wire threads were just sticking out enough that I couldn't get the cable through the gear sensor cleanly. It went half-way through, and then I got caught up inside. While trying to push the cable through, I ended up ruining the cable. So my next step was to go buy a new cable. And then this led me to my final challenge, because that damn Shimano Alivio index shifter doesn't make it easy at all to remove the cable. I'm sure I did something wrong, because after I got it all put back together, it didn't shift at all. I was about to throw in the towel and finally take it in to bike mechanic, but gave it one last go this morning. I eventually got it working.

    So at this point, I think I just need to go back around and ensure everything is tightened to the correct tolerances. I've got Shwalbe Big Ben 28" x 2.15" tires arriving tomorrow or Tuesday. I then need to get fenders and the rack mounted. I happen to have Planet Bike fenders, which I believe are their widest 65mm fenders, but they don't quite fit. I'm worried about getting fenders that will fit, since that is a must have for commuting.

    The last items on my shopping list / to-do list are to get a new helmet, a kick stand, lights and a really good lock. This has definitely been an adventure, to say the least. The bike, kit, gear sensor, brake sensor, chain ring, etc. altogether cost $2047. To that, I added an Origin 8 handlebar, Ergonomic grips and Shwalbe tires that added another $200.

    Hope this helps someone out there. Happy to answer questions. Thanks to all those that contribute on these forums, and to everyone at Luna. The support and information has been invaluable!

    Looks like the link I included to the original bike on Bikes Direct was wrong or was updated. Here's an updated link:


      Thanks for the detailed review. I'm looking to do something similar with bbshd and shark pack.
      Did you get the GA 52v version? what kind of range do you get?


        Hi. I purchased the 48v Panasonic 13.5ah Shark Pack (Cell Choice: High Power and Long Rage GA 13.5ah).

        Unfortunately, I haven't ridden it enough yet to know the range I can expect from the battery. I'm hoping to maybe start commuting next week or the week after. Will report back.


          What Size is your Bike Frame and how tall are you? Hows it riding??


            My suggestion for other newbies, as you found out, wanting to feed the wire through the gear sensor and cut the housing.

            Don't spend $20+ on cable cutters. Get a new wire for $3-4 at a bike shop. And it is easy to feed the wire because of the welded end. My bike shop threw in a couple of those little crimping caps for the end of the wire for after I cut the wire to lenght.

            And for cutting the wire housing, use a bench grinder, or hand grinder, or dremel.


              So here is an update on my build. I added Schwalbe Big Ben 28x2.15 tires. Added a Topeak 29r rack. Tried my best to get the fenders installed without dropouts on the front suspension fork.

              I've pretty much got it to my liking. Problem is, I'm not riding it. Too busy with work now. New position, more travel, less consistent commute, and less time to allocate to riding. I've not once been able to commute on the thing, and before long, it will be too cold and icy here in Ohio to ride safely.

              I'm having second thoughts. Anyone want to make me an offer on this?

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                Nice tyres i have thw marathon on my wifes bike.


                  Whats the least you would take for it??


                    Just a quick question about your bike specs (not about making an offer) -- I'm planning on building my own e-bike (I have absolutely NO experience with bikes/mechanics, but I want to learn) and will be ordering a bike off of bikesdirect. The Motobecane Fantom29 caught my eye, and your bike looks like my dream e-bike. You said you're 5'10 -- I'm 5'7, what frame size Fantom29 would you recommend? And what are the dimensions of your frame "triangle" for the battery -- do you think a smaller bike really wouldn't be able to hold the battery? Thanks!


                    • limhrod
                      limhrod commented
                      Editing a comment
                      i think the 15.5" inch frame is the next size down from this one. and i think you can pretty easily just drill new holes in the battery holder/mount so that you can mount it higher up/towards the front.

                    • Albeegood
                      Albeegood commented
                      Editing a comment
                      They have a sizing chart 5’7-5’9= 15.5”


                    Hello, this looks like a great bike and seems like it would really do the job for commuting. I live in Fort Wayne, and will probably run into the same issue with winter weather around the corner though it's early enough that I'd get some use our of it now.

                    I've been thinking I'd build one in the spring, but the bike you put together seems like it could really be a perfect setup for what I'm thinking about.

                    I'm interested in the bike, depending on price. What kind of price were you thinking about?

                    I attempted a pm but may have messed it up...



                    • Albeegood
                      Albeegood commented
                      Editing a comment
                      limhrod that’s exactly what I had to do to mine.

                    very nice looking build SQN and nicely documented build thread. i've been looking at that same bike and glad to see that it can be converted so well.


                      I am interested in buying your bike. I live in Ohio. If everything works I'll give $1700.


                        Dude you are a life saver!! I also have the BBSHD 68/73 and for weeks I’ve been on bikes direct and so confused about their bb specs. I wasn’t sure if my kit will fit the fantom 29 trail which is also the bike I want. I wrote to bikes direct asking will my bbshd 68/73 fit that bike and this was their reply,

                        “Unfortunately we cannot not provide any information pertaining to spec, geometry, or compatibility for the purpose of installing any motor to any bike from any brand that is not designated eBike specific. Installing a motor on any bike that is not designated as an eBike is in violation of the manufacturers warranties.

                        so i want to thank you so so much for this post about your bike. I wish I lived near you so we can spin tires together. Nice bike I hope you make the most of it.
                        PS i am thinking on amping my controller with the Grin
                        Keep On Ebiking