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Bikes Direct Gravity Sniper + BBSHD

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    Bikes Direct Gravity Sniper + BBSHD

    Not much to say here. But don't try to install a BBSHD on the Gravity Sniper from BIkes Direct. Save your money and go with another donor bike instead.

    So you don't have to waste money we went ahead and did it for you and will break it down for you piece by piece: Click image for larger version

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    Bikes Direct Gravity Sniper full suspension $1500
    BBSHD 100mm from Luna Cycles $700
    Luna Cycle Mighty Mini: $55
    Luna Cycles 52v 11.5ah Panasonic PF performance pack - $435
    Total Spent : $2690

    Disclosure: We did not get far past the initial test rides to know this bike was not made for the power of the BBSHD so we went with our battery temporarily mounted on the frame with Gorilla duct tape. So nobody make fun of us for duct tape on a Luna Bike.

    Installation Notes Click image for larger version

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    Getting the old bottom bracket off was a royal pain in the ass. IF you decide to go against our advice and buy this bike expect this task to be the most difficult task in the build. We recommend taking this to a bike shop to have the BB removed…..for us we used a hammer and a screw driver. After the old drive was off, the bike came together quick with no spacers or grinding needed to fit the 100mm BBSHD kit.

    Chain line was super fine with the Might Mini....but the massive torque the mighty mini generates might be too much for this bike.

    The Bike - Grape colored Gravity from Bikes Direct 19 inch

    This is my first Bikes Direct purchase and even though it looks great and impresses the chicks.... I was disappointed. The bike came with multiple deep scratches in the paint. Because of its unique color...our only hope was to get some touch up paint from Bikes Direct. At $1500 these days for a regular bicycle (no motor no battery) i would expect more. I could have gotten a better bike from the local REI and had direct technical support. Click image for larger version

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    We noticed even on initial assembly there was a lot of play in the rear wheel. Even the rear wheel had play in it with its crappy quick release mounting solution. In addition, the entire suspension has a lot of sway in it making it almost cartoonish to match its fat bike looks. We did not know how bad it would get until later.

    Battery Mounting Solution Click image for larger version

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    This was easier than I thought. The Luna cycle panasonic 11.5ah High performance pack fits perfectly in the space in the triangle with no problem at all. It s a wonderful thing whenever you can get a battery to fit inside the triangle of a full suspension bike. As for battery choice even acid testing this battery with massive hills with the BBSHD at 30 amps continuous the pack barely got warm….this battery pack is an excellent choice for the BBSHD and I stand behind that despite what some naysayers say.

    We were working on making a custom battery mount just for this frame and even considering a custom 20ah 52v pack to fit perfectly in its tiny triangle..... but then we rode the bike and glad we stuck to the temporary fix of gorilla tape.

    Initial impressions before riding
    Wow the bike was beautiful we love it. The idea of a full suspension BBSHD fat bike is just awesome. This bike looks wicked and was a real attention getter. All my neighbors were asking how much and how fast.

    After the first test ride:
    We love the full suspension, and how cushy it feels….we were thrilled to ride a fat bike with not only the natural suspension the fat tires give you, but with quality bluto front forks and rear suspension this thing feels so cushy ….our first impressions around the block we were GIddy and we immediately loaded it in the van and went on a mountain trail ride.
    After we got over our initial impressions of how awesome this bike looks and how nice it is to ride a 30mph full suspension fat bike, we immediately noticed the problem.
    Massive Frame flex
    The rear suspension on this bike is awful for the BBSHD. It might be ok riding the gravity at normal 15mph pedal bike speeds…..but with the BBSHD installed and torquing the frame the rear swing arm was all over the place.
    This bike really sucks….and is not at all the right platform for the BBSHD.
    My personal theory is that this a cheap rear suspension unlike the Ellsworth Dare we tested along side it, and the Dare was rock solid where as the gravity was as twitchy as hooker in church.
    After one long ride w e decided that the Gravity is not a good platform for the BBSHD and we can not at all recommend it. Even as a non electric bike I cannot imagine a strong rider being happy with this amount of frame flex. You can visibly see the bike rocking from behind. It sucks.
    In fact we can't recommend this frame and this suspension to anyone after seeing how much play is in this rear suspension compared to any quality full suspension mountain bike suspension. This is a cheap excuse for a rear suspension, and at $1500 for a Bikes Direct bike I am very disappointed. It has wal mart written all over it except it looks a bit better.

    In high gears especially you can feel the rear end tweeking all over the trail, most prevalent when you press on the throttle and when you let off. For a rider not accustomed to this feeling it is downright scary.

    We Don't recommend this Bike to Anyone

    That being said the full suspension was a blast to ride off road despite the ridiculous frame flexing.
    Once you get use to the flexing it is fine and the bouncy luxurious feeling is fun.
    However you are compromising a lot for full suspension, and there is no reason not to wait for a full suspension fat bike that performs properly.
    Consider these points:
    • You are paying a premium for the full suspension. ($1500 for a Bikes Direct bike is a lot)
    • The full suspension adds significantly to the weight and complexity of the bicycle
    • The full suspension dramatically reduces the space you have in the triangle and you cannot use a convenient mounting solution for mounting a battery such as this triangle battery bag from luna.
    • With as much play as we got in the rear wheel, we think this suspension is chinese developed and very experimental. You are becoming a test dummy when you ride this bike.
    Conclusion: Stay Away or Buy Mine

    With this and the big scratches the bike came with we are going to go through the hassle of converting this bike back to a regular bike and sending this giant bike directly back to Bikes Direct.
    If anyone wants it for our cost of $2690 please message us quick :)
    Attached Files

    I love your posts and builds but how many freaking ebikes do you own at one given time ha ha. I have four and I've limited myself to that.


      Sorry you were unhappy with the Sniper, mine is working awesome.... Pictures in the next post...
      The Sniper solves all the chain line problems associated with the BBSHD
      To solve the battery problem I used 14 Hobbyking 52v for 10ahr cells and the Luna mini BMS
      May I add... the Sniper suspension is not a 4 link pivot design and not a fair comparison to the more complex multi link designs noted in the post
      Fat bikes were first developed for snow riding and made their way into single track and woods riding so I am not sure how a 30mph test of a low cost full suspension 4" tire fat bike that was designed to be pedaled... not a motorcycle
      In addition, reprogramming the controller helps the Sniper and a BBSHD work even better on single track, mud and snow
      By adjusting the throttle response from the "hot rod settings" takes out much of the chainline hard bang/wipe and swing arm twist... something that should be considered on any BBSHD bike.... if you care about extending chain and powertrain life.
      Last edited by eDavid; 03-14-2016, 02:52 PM.


      • eDavid
        eDavid commented
        Editing a comment
        Not knowing how your HD was programmed, but if the Basic Speed was all 100% try starting with 1, 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, then rest 100%

        Try taking the throttle down to 5% starting.

        We have very tight tree lined trails here so I am still working on trying to make the PAS stop faster when I stop pedaling... any suggestions

      • PoweredRide
        PoweredRide commented
        Editing a comment
        eDavid, to make the motor stop faster after stopping pedalling; on the Pedal Assist controller programming page set the Time of Stop variable to 5. This will also allow you to shift much faster - almost immediately after stopping pedaling. A side effect is that you will need to be in the right gear as the motor will not engage with slow cadences.

        A lot more info about this in this post:
        Last edited by PoweredRide; 03-14-2016, 09:03 PM.

      • eDavid
        eDavid commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks, I was working my way down and now with your help I know 5ms may be too short... i need some run on for shifting
        On my next setting exercise I will be trying 15ms and lowering the Keep Current down to 20%.
        I didn't mind the run on too much, it is how hard it would push at the at the wrong time...
        What do you think about 15ms and 20%?

      The fenders, big seat and smooth ride makes the woods an easy ride the roots and rock disappear...
      Last edited by eDavid; 03-14-2016, 11:03 AM.


      • mrm
        mrm commented
        Editing a comment

      • PoweredRide
        PoweredRide commented
        Editing a comment
        How is the battery box constructed?

      • eDavid
        eDavid commented
        Editing a comment
        Battery Box: TIG welded aluminium... padded with thin foam and covered with fabric... used 3M 77 contact cement to secure foam and fabric

      Yeah, I've always liked the idea of bike frames that have their swingarms or chain stay tubes up and out of the way of the chainline, so that the chain can't clang around on anything.

      Hey, tell me more about those specific pouch cells, like post the Hobby King site page for them. That's a 48v pack, right?

      Nice solution and a clean execution, dude!

      I suppose a Shark-style battery box could be mounted right above/ahead of the motor too, as there's two mounting bungs on the frame there already (where you got that water bottle holder), and plenty of room behind the front tire, which would keep the weight balance lower and probably look stealthier, too.

      Otherwise, like Eric mentions, that bike may not be the best eBike choice due to inherent frame flex.
      Last edited by Christian Livingstone; 03-14-2016, 03:50 PM.


        Beautiful bike David...really like your battery box construction.

        Point well taken that the suspension might be something to live with after re-programming the bbshd.

        Nice fenders! Where did you get them?


        • eDavid
          eDavid commented
          Editing a comment
          Eric, slow the big beast down before you hurt yourself :-( ... Maybe find some mud to play in and you may learn to like the Sniper as it has potential in the right environment... it is easy on the bones... Lou may love it ;>) Vintage plastic Enduro motorcycle fenders... I think I bought out the world supply of these because they are almost impossible to find anymore
          Last edited by eDavid; 03-14-2016, 03:52 PM.

        The Sniper frame does not have unexpect flex in the woods and is very pleasant single track fat bike... The headset angle makes the Sniper responsive for tight turns with only moderate lean in.... not practically optimal for 30mph road bike. IMHO, the overall design geometry of the Sniper is NOT new and is the key for what the bike was intened to do... $1500 is cheap for a full suspension bike with the hardware provided. FYI, the Vee8 tires are not suited for 30mph and unless inflated to 20 psi they are pure squirrels on pavement....

        Regarding the batteries,

        I cut up the 6s MultiRotor packs to make 14s 52v pack....

        FYI, The Shark Pack did not fit Sniper in the same area as the HK cells and based on how Shark performed on other bikes, the HobbyKing packs can be made lighter with superior performance to the welded cell packs.

        Tried mounting the Shark Pack on the down tube of another Dual Suspension bike... a large hose clamp around the pack and down tube is need to prevent the plastic mounting plate from breaking off... Shark was the only pack that would fit on the 29er down tube without hitting the tire

        To make HK packs, you will need to buy an aluminium soldering kit from Amazon... and a 14s BMS from Luna


          eDavid, I am also trying to better utilize my Hobby King LiPo packs, so I bought a 14s Tall Boy BMS from Luna - but haven't been able to find wiring info. that's consistent anywhere on the web. Could you share what worked for your pack? I'd love to build a few out of the 4 and 6s packs I have sitting around. TIA!


            Have not seen a Tall Boy, but I assume the cell numbers are etched on the board like most BMS.
            All you need to do is cut open the packs and build the 14s series pack and decide which cells is 1, 2,,,,, 14.... and select down the CORRECT balance and P or B leads depending on BMS design.
            (HK 6s 10000ma green multi-rotor are best because they are not clued together)
            Remember you will need the Aluminium Soldering Kit, packs cannot be modified without it
            Assuming you have a digital VOM and know basic electric, build the pack first before wiring the BMS.
            Again assuming your electronic background is adequate to save you from harm or burning the house down, the only hooks I have found is some BMS connect + balance leads and feed the - on the B as the battery/charge and some wire +/- balance plus - B/P and have a separate charging wire.
            WARNING, persons without EXCELLENT Basic Electrical skills should not attempt this, these cell are 100 amps capable and they will weld you and your mistakes into one smoldering mass