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E-bike conversion for dummies: Electra Townie with Luna Cycle's BBSHD kit

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    E-bike conversion for dummies: Electra Townie with Luna Cycle's BBSHD kit

    I do a lot recreational cycling on dedicated bicycle paths on my little Brompton folding bike, not exactly the idea bike for this type of riding. However, on my return home, I must ride up some pretty steep hills which are taxing on my bad knee.. I came across an e-bike shop with a variety of e-bikes ready to go. I liked the comfortable upright ergo's of the Pedego Interceptor. A test ride revealed the thrill of riding an electric assist bike, I was hooked, but with the 15Ah battery, the cost in Canada is $4300CAD plus 13% sales tax: $4859CAD (US$3700). The same bike sells in the US for US$3300 (with the larger battery) and sales tax varies by location, unless you buy it online. I just couldn't wrap my head around paying that much for a bicycle, which is basically a $600 or $700 bike at most and another $3000 for the hub drive, battery, controller, cadence sensor, display, etc..

    I started researching what other options are available. I settled on the Luna Cycle mid drive unit kit which costs $669 plus you get to choose the battery that suits your needs and your budget. I then settled on an Electra Townie as the bike which I will buy to convert to mid drive e-assist. The Electra Townie has a very roomy front triangle which can accommodate various sizes of battery packs. The bottom bracket is far from the rear triangle with is "flat foot technology" position, which also allows me to install the mid drive without any modifications or head scratching. I bought the bike in black so the wires and zip ties don't stand out too much.

    I rode my 7 speed Townie for a couple of months and really enjoyed it. It's comfortable and the gearing is prefect for my type of riding. I wanted to install mini ape handlebars to raise the bars and bring them closer to me so I'm seated in a more upright position but they were on backorder for several months to come, so instead, I tried beach cruiser type bars and really liked them. Plus, these handlebars have a lot of real estate which will allow me to mount the e-bike display, and its controller, throttle, mirror, bell, cell phone mount.. I paid $540CAD (US$411) for the bicycle.

    My mechanical skills: I'm pretty handy but wouldn't say I'm an expert bicycle mechanic. The level of skill on a scale of 1 (easiest) to 10 (hardest) to install the Luna Cycle BBSHD mid drive unit would be a level 2.

    So it begins:

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    I don't have the tools needed to remove the stock crank arms and bottom bracket. I priced them and it came to about $40, so I took the bike to my local bicycle shop and they charged me $15. I figured how many times am I going to use those tools anyway..

    The Luna BBSHD included:$669

    (Bottom Bracket Size: 68-73mm (Standard),
    Chain Ring: Stock 46T Steel Chain Ring,
    Luna Designed 42T Chainring: Luna Aluminum Chain Ring Adapter With 42T Sprocket $40.00,
    Display Options: Luna Full Color Display $45.00,
    Bafang BBSxx Universal Thumb Throttle,
    Bafang Handles with Built-in Ebrake cut off,
    Luna Wrench $19.00,
    Dolphin 52v GA 14ah $545.95,
    Smart Charger for your Battery (not included): 52v Advanced 300w Luna Charger $79.95)
    XT90-S Connector set with Pigtails $5.95

    I also purchased 3 throttle, brake Bafang 40" extension cables for $20 each in case I needed them.

    I hummed and hawed about my battery choice. I was tempted to get the biggest battery which is the Killer Whale but at 5" wide, it would have been a bit too wide to fit on the downtube with the pedal coming very lose to hitting it. I could have mounted it on the rear rack, but in the end I decided to go with the Dolphin 52v GA, 14ah.

    I watched the video instructions on the Luna site which are posted on the BBSHD page.

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    I mounted the battery mount. What I should have done was to solder on the battery mount terminals, but I figured I could do that later because like a little kid, I was eager to get this kit installed.

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    I slipped the BBSHD into the bottom bracket opening. Then rotated the motor up towards the frame and secured it with the included hardware, as per the video instructions.

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    I used the Luna bottom bracket wrench to tighten both fastening rings. I didn't need to add any of the spacers included.

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    I slapped the chain back on, without any problems. Then I put the pedals on and spun the rear wheel and had my son change gears up and down to be sure the chain moves well and doesn't fall off. No problems.

    Now I moved on to the handlebars. I remove the stock brake levers, I removed the brake cables and installed them in the e-brake cut off brake levers:

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    Then I mounted the LCD display and its controller (on/off, plus, minus buttons), and I mounted the thumb throttle on the left side, because my rotary shifter is on the right side.

    And obviously, this kit was designed for e-bike dummies like me: all the component electrical connectors are color coded: yellow to yellow, green to green, etc.. plug and play.

    Here's what it looks like finished and on the road:

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    I then installed the rear wheel speed sensor. There's a magnetic sensor which attaches to a wheel spoke and the pick up which attaches to the rear frame.

    Now I was ready to solder the XT90-S Connector set with Pigtails to the battery mount terminals and also to the Bafang mid drive unit. I cut off the connectors that it comes with and soldered these terminals on. I would say this was the hardest part of the whole job because I had to have my son hold the wires steady while I soldered, then slipped the heat shrink tubing over the solder.

    I then used UV resistant black zip ties and tied everything up.

    I couldn't wait to go for a ride, so I put on my slippers, opened the garage door and off I went like a 6 year old!! Yeeehaw!! Click image for larger version

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    I used a rubber strap to add some more secure reinforcement to the battery mount, as I'm not overly confident with the 2 water bottle bosses. Click image for larger version

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    Last edited by mingo; 10-04-2016, 10:44 AM.

    #2
    Riding impressions:

    I see people use their e-bikes as scooters, no pedaling, just electric mobility. That wasn't my goal with this conversion. I wanted to pedal as I normally would and get some assistance on hills. Just for grins, I took the bike to a long straight quiet road without any intersecting streets and started to pedal and then hit the throttle wide open to see what my top speed would be, I reached 55 km/h!

    I then went for a 25 km ride, using some level 1 assist which I found was more than helpful on slight inclines. On steep hills, I went up to level 2 and that made the bike feel like I was pedaling on flat ground.

    I did NOT install the gear shifting cut out switch. I thought let me try it without and if I need it I will add it. I've been able to shift while in assist mode without issues, so I'm not going to add it. There's a light delay between the assist coming on and coming off, so I would shift and start pedaling and then the motor comes on, so it's not an issue on this bike.

    I do find that once I reach a speed of 35 km/h in top gear, I can no longer keep up my cadence with the level of assist, and this is with using the stock 46T front sprocket. After riding 25 km, with some hills, when I got home, I checked the battery's LED meter to see how much juice I had left and it showed it was still full to the top LED bar.

    My questions to the experts is this:

    I purchased the Luna Cycle 42T aluminum sprocket. I was thinking of returning it as well because the 46T shifts perfectly and with less teeth, my top speed pedaling cadence will be even lower with the smaller chain ring. Do you think I need it?

    I hope this helps someone out there who's on the fence about doing this conversion. It's really not difficult. The only tools I used where hex head sockets (Allen keys) to mount the pedals and chain ring, Allen keys for the handlebar controls, snips to cut the zip ties, a soldering iron, solder, flux and heat shrink and electrical tape to wrap it up.

    By the way, comparing this LunaCycle kit to the Pedego bike (with it's 500 watt rear hub drive) I was looking at isn't really fair because this Luna kit has a lot more power, and a much bigger battery.. and for a lot less money!

    A big thank you to Luna Cycle for the super fast shipping; It shipped the same day I ordered it. I emailed a couple of questions and received prompt and helpful replies.
    Last edited by mingo; 10-04-2016, 11:00 AM.

    Comment


    • Scoonie
      Scoonie commented
      Editing a comment
      The 42T is a sweet spot for many. I went back to my 46T OEM and love it. There's a lot of things I can do with the $100 worth of bling. No need for jewelry here.

    #3
    Can you post a good picture of the chainline with the chain on the lowest gear? Nice build!

    Comment


      #4
      Thank you so much for sharing. Nice build. I am just getting started on my Townie 7 conversion. Do you have any updated comments or suggestions? Here is a couple of pics of my bike to give you a look at what I have to work with.

      Comment


        #5
        Mingo,
        Did you try to mount the BBSHD inside the fork of your Townie? I saw one done that way and it seemed to give more protection to the motor. Does anyone know if this can be done on a 2013 Electra Townie 7D?

        Comment


          #6
          Originally posted by pacname50 View Post
          Mingo,
          Did you try to mount the BBSHD inside the fork of your Townie? I saw one done that way and it seemed to give more protection to the motor. Does anyone know if this can be done on a 2013 Electra Townie 7D?
          I put a BBSHD inside the triangle on an Electra Cruiser and before I picked the cruiser I spent a lot of time looking at the Townies. The Townies' have more room from the BB to the seat post so it should slide right in. Even if it doesn't the townie down tube has a good angle for rotating the BBSHD upward. http://electricbike.com/forum/forum/...lectra-cruiser

          Comment


            #7
            Originally posted by pacname50 View Post
            Mingo,
            Did you try to mount the BBSHD inside the fork of your Townie? I saw one done that way and it seemed to give more protection to the motor. Does anyone know if this can be done on a 2013 Electra Townie 7D?
            I think you'd be one of the first to put the BBSHD inside the triangle on a 7D. I put one inside the triangle on an Electra Lux Fatt bike. I saw how calfee20 did his Electra Cruiser(not sure off the top of my head which model his is) but he used a clamp to indent the frame, but I did not have a clamp like that so decided to whip out the Ball-Peen hammer instead. You'd have to eyeball it once you get the crank out and see how much clearance you might need.

            I hope you can and are able to do it. Post up a thread of your build when you get going on it.

            But follow the link to my build and you can maybe visualize how much room you might need from one of the pictures I posted. There is one tab coming off the BBSHD that might need modification. Maybe you don't need that tab at all really since your motor wont rotate once it is inside the triangle. You might be able to cut that tab off completely, as I don't see a real need for it since the motor won't really rotate inside the triangle. Hopefully just cutting that tab off would do it.


            Just from eyeballing your pictures of the inside of the triangle on your 7D, I'd say cut the tab off the BBSHD completely and indenting the downtube just a bit would do it.
            Last edited by g725s; 11-30-2016, 07:04 PM.

            Comment


            • calfee20
              calfee20 commented
              Editing a comment
              You know looking at this photo again I am not as sure it will fit inside on a Townie. We need someone to try it and take a photo to show the interference if any. Hopefully pacname50 will at least position it there and take a photo.

            • g725s
              g725s commented
              Editing a comment
              Maybe he'd have to not only cut that one tab off completely, but also indent the downtube going into the BB and also indent the oval tube behind the BB.

              Again, There really is no reason to keep that one tab if the BBSHD is installed inside the triangle like that.

            #8
            Originally posted by g725s View Post

            I think you'd be one of the first to put the BBSHD inside the triangle on a 7D. I put one inside the triangle on an Electra Lux Fatt bike. I saw how calfee20 did his Electra Cruiser(not sure off the top of my head which model his is) but he used a clamp to indent the frame, but I did not have a clamp like that so decided to whip out the Ball-Peen hammer instead. You'd have to eyeball it once you get the crank out and see how much clearance you might need.

            I hope you can and are able to do it. Post up a thread of your build when you get going on it.

            But follow the link to my build and you can maybe visualize how much room you might need from one of the pictures I posted. There is one tab coming off the BBSHD that might need modification. Maybe you don't need that tab at all really since your motor wont rotate once it is inside the triangle. You might be able to cut that tab off completely, as I don't see a real need for it since the motor won't really rotate inside the triangle. Hopefully just cutting that tab off would do it.


            Just from eyeballing your pictures of the inside of the triangle on your 7D, I'd say cut the tab off the BBSHD completely and indenting the downtube just a bit would do it.
            I would hesitate on cutting the tab. If the motor was mounted outside yo could still mount the chain guard. Look at your own photo. The BBSHD would need a BB triangle that is nearly flat or 180 degrees. The Townie's BB angle isn't as flat as our cruisers

            pacname50 will have to decide himself once his BB is apart and the BBSHD is in hand. Then he can eyeball it and decide which way to go.

            Comment


              #9
              Originally posted by calfee20 View Post
              I would hesitate on cutting the tab. If the motor was mounted outside yo could still mount the chain guard. Look at your own photo. The BBSHD would need a BB triangle that is nearly flat or 180 degrees. The Townie's BB angle isn't as flat as our cruisers.
              pacname50 will have to decide himself once his BB is apart and the BBSHD is in hand. Then he can eyeball it and decide which way to go.
              Calfee20, just to make sure we are talking about the same thing here. I see no reason at all to have that one Hex Screw for the anti-rotation / anti-wobble washer in this case. If you mount the BBSHD inside a triangle where it will rest against the frame, it just wont rotate.

              Below the red circled tab is the one I'm talking about removing completely. If you take that one off you could slide the BBSHD in with at least 3/8" more clearance.

              In this picture below the BBSHD is resting on the seatpost, not the frame tube behind the BB. There is a gap under the BBSHD of nearly 3/8" becuse the BBSHD cannot rotate further back because it is resting on the seatpost.

              As looking at this picture if you could rotate the BBSHD clockwise 3/8" that would give a bit more clearance at the front of the BBSHD and the downtube. Does that make sense?

              I guess those 2 Hex Screws also remedy wobble of the BBSHD inside the BB, but you could make sure it is tight inside the BB and you'll still be able to use one of the screws (the one that screws into the motor housing, the blue circle).

              I'm not saying it will fit on the 7D, but it is worth considering, as that one screw (red circle) for the anti-rotation washer is not needed in this case. Also click on the attachment picture below to get a better view of the tab that the one Hex Screw goes into. Click image for larger version

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              Attached Files
              Last edited by g725s; 12-01-2016, 08:36 AM.

              Comment


                #10
                You guys are great! Thanks g725s and calfee20 for the pictures and detailed discussion. My brother and I are planning to do the build of the 2013 Electra Townie 7D together in January. I will definitely post a thread of the build as we make progress. We are really lucky to live on the West Coast of Florida where riding in the winter is actually better than the summers.
                Thanks again.

                Comment


                • g725s
                  g725s commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Awesome. Start now to polish up your ball-peen hammer or bend your frame with a clamp like Calfee20. And as Calfee20 unequivocally suggested below (LOL) prepare to completely disassemble your BBSHD ;-) LOL I mean you have to completely outdo what has been done before with this type of install, right? LOL Can't wait to see what you come up with :-) Of course you know I'm just kidding... Personally installing the BBSHD up front below the downtube is totally fine since it does not mess with ground clearance at all.

                #11
                Originally posted by g725s View Post

                Calfee20, just to make sure we are talking about the same thing here. I see no reason at all to have that one Hex Screw for the anti-rotation / anti-wobble washer in this case. If you mount the BBSHD inside a triangle where it will rest against the frame, it just wont rotate.

                Below the red circled tab is the one I'm talking about removing completely. If you take that one off you could slide the BBSHD in with at least 3/8" more clearance.

                In this picture below the BBSHD is resting on the seatpost, not the frame tube behind the BB. There is a gap under the BBSHD of nearly 3/8" becuse the BBSHD cannot rotate further back because it is resting on the seatpost.

                As looking at this picture if you could rotate the BBSHD clockwise 3/8" that would give a bit more clearance at the front of the BBSHD and the downtube. Does that make sense?

                I guess those 2 Hex Screws also remedy wobble of the BBSHD inside the BB, but you could make sure it is tight inside the BB and you'll still be able to use one of the screws (the one that screws into the motor housing, the blue circle).

                I'm not saying it will fit on the 7D, but it is worth considering, as that one screw (red circle) for the anti-rotation washer is not needed in this case. Also click on the attachment picture below to get a better view of the tab that the one Hex Screw goes into. [ATTACH=CONFIG]n23213[/ATTACH]
                I just went into my shed with a flashlight to look at the left side of the bike and I see what you are talking about. I agree if that tab were removed you could rotate the motor more and possibly slide it right on.

                Having said that I would like to add that I don't like removing anything. Now we can get into the fringe or strange installation procedures. This is something I would do but hesitate to suggest it. All that housing does is cover the armature, stator, and support the bearing for the non drive side of the armature. There is no grease or oil in there so if you carefully removed the housing that interfering tab would be out of the way. You could slide the motor into the BB and then reinstall the housing. This whole thing would probably work better with the bike laying on its' right side but propped up on something. When the housing is off care must be taken with absolute cleanliness and not allowing the armature to fall out.

                Here is a photo that shows that tab better and routing the wires underneath may not work any more.
                Click image for larger version

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                There is also the possibility that the rear tab will clear the rear tube before the front bulge hits the downtube. That would be nice. Insert rotate to the rear and insert the rest of the way but that would be to good to be true..................calfee

                Comment


                  #12
                  Originally posted by calfee20 View Post
                  This is something I would do but hesitate to suggest it. All that housing does is cover the armature, stator, and support the bearing for the non drive side of the armature. There is no grease or oil in there so if you carefully removed the housing that interfering tab would be out of the way. You could slide the motor into the BB and then reinstall the housing. This whole thing would probably work better with the bike laying on its' right side but propped up on something. When the housing is off care must be taken with absolute cleanliness and not allowing the armature to fall out.

                  Here is a photo that shows that tab better and routing the wires underneath may not work any more.
                  [Picture]

                  There is also the possibility that the rear tab will clear the rear tube before the front bulge hits the downtube. That would be nice. Insert rotate to the rear and insert the rest of the way but that would be to good to be true..................calfee
                  That is great idea, and an EXCELLENT SUGGESTION (LOL) to remove the housing.

                  But I got to say that your tab is completely different than mine. They must have designed a different housing, as the tab on mine is 1/3 the thickness of the one on your BBSHD. Mine is like maybe 1/4" thick, probably more like 3/16" thick. Look at my ATTACHMENT picture above and you can also see the sharp corners where yours is rounded.

                  Edit: I know why. You've got a larger BBSHD. Mine is the 68-73mm version.
                  Last edited by g725s; 12-01-2016, 07:55 PM.

                  Comment


                  • g725s
                    g725s commented
                    Editing a comment
                    You missed my Edit. I have the smallest 68-73mm BBSHD, yours is the 73-100mm version right? As my tab is way further back where the housing cover separates.
                    Last edited by g725s; 12-01-2016, 07:59 PM.

                  • calfee20
                    calfee20 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Mmmm do you think that will make a difference? I thought that they just make that shaft longer. Yes I have the 100mm version

                  • g725s
                    g725s commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yeah they obviously made the housings different so you can install that anti-rotation washer because of a larger BB.. My tab, is just that, a 1/4" tab with no ridge behind it. Yours has some meat to it, and a ridge that extends all the way to where it separates from the motor.

                  #13
                  Greetings g725s, calfee20 and anyone else that has experience or opinions on building a Townie 7D with the BBSHD kit.
                  All of the posts above were a year ago - late 2016. I ended up having to have spine surgery which has kept me off any bike for a year. So, I put off building my Townie 7D with the BBSHD kit until now ( Nov. 2017). Now I am ready and just purchased all the necessary kit parts from Luna. Any update thoughts or pictures on putting the motor on the inside of the frame bracket since I last posted? pacname50

                  Comment


                    #14
                    Originally posted by pacname50 View Post
                    Greetings g725s, calfee20 and anyone else that has experience or opinions on building a Townie 7D with the BBSHD kit.
                    All of the posts above were a year ago - late 2016. I ended up having to have spine surgery which has kept me off any bike for a year. So, I put off building my Townie 7D with the BBSHD kit until now ( Nov. 2017). Now I am ready and just purchased all the necessary kit parts from Luna. Any update thoughts or pictures on putting the motor on the inside of the frame bracket since I last posted? pacname50
                    The first thing we have to clear up is whether you have a Townie or a Cruiser. You can do an inside the frame job on the Cruiser but probability not on the Townie.

                    Comment


                      #15
                      I just went back over this thread and I stand by what I said in post number 6.

                      Hey when the BB is apart it will be easy to see if you can slip a BBSHD inside.
                      Last edited by calfee20; 11-27-2017, 01:28 PM.

                      Comment


                      • dwahunt
                        dwahunt commented
                        Editing a comment
                        My Townie conversion began with a 7 speed IGH that came with the bike. I discovered, much to the dismay of my finances, that the rear coast brake that came stock on the bike would not work. This solution was a new rear, 8 speed hub--8 being better than 7 from the standpoint of hub strength with a mid drive motor, I had read--with a roller brake. My lack of knowledge on the front end regarding this issue cost me app $570, so...Once that matter was resolved, the conversion was pretty straight forward. I am awaiting delivery of a Kinnect suspension post and am researching possible front supension, but otherwise the project, my first e-conversion with a steep and costly learning curve, has turned out great. I feel like I could do a conversion now, esp. since buying the convenient tools for doing so, in two or less hours. Hope that helps some and, as well, that you can somehow avoid the rear brake issue. dh
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