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First Build: Diamondback Haanjo Hybrid Commuter

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    First Build: Diamondback Haanjo Hybrid Commuter

    Diamondback Haanjo Hybrid Commuter Build
    Stu Summer


    My goal was to burn less gas. I have a short bike ride to work each day, but I wanted to bike instead of drive for errands to towns 10 and 20 miles away in my hilly area of upstate NY. I don’t have it in my legs anymore. My bike is a Diamondback Haanjo hybrid, 36 pounder.

    Summary: You can trust Luna! They are still a little disorganized. They are making the transition from a hacker community who love to tinker and “hotrod” to the rest of us who just want to put the motor on our bikes in the easiest and most economical way and ride. Installing the HD took me (good mechanic, non-electrician) 4 weeks of tinkering and ordering and asking to get it right. The result is excellent!

    The details:

    When I opened the well-packaged Bafang HD I was surprised that there were no instructions. I asked Luna and they said this was a “DIY” project and therefore no instructions.

    I turned to taking off my cranks and bottom bracket and found I needed to order some tools. A week later, tools in hand, off come the FSA crank and bottom bracket and on goes the power unit. Nope, doesn’t slide in. Turns out I needed to grind down a slightly protruding seat tube in the bottom bracket. I was glad I had a dremel. That problem solved. Still nope. I needed to find grind down the bolt head that holds my derailleur cable guide under the bottom bracket as the power unit hugs the bb shell.

    Now, with power unit in place, I faced that the power wire of the Bafang had an Anderson connector whereas the Dolphin battery pack had no connector, bare wires, but the kit includes a xt60 with tails. I wonder to myself how do I connect them? I try putting an Anderson connector on the Dolphin pack. For reasons I don’t know, no connection. With much trepidation and lots of reading (one of the Luna articles suggests the Anderson connectors are inferior to the xt60’s), I decide to cut off the Andersons and solder on the xt60.

    I had never soldered anything, wondered about the strength of the connection, had no tools. I was going to call a friend to help when I came across some crimps. So the whole connection is crimped with some electrical tape wrapped around it. Not pretty but it works! I intend eventually to solder that xt60 on both ends.

    I tried various layouts of the throttle, brake levers, display and gear shifters. Settled on the throttle on the left because there were too many things on the right. All was well until I plugged everything together. Evidently I didn’t have the arrows quite lined up plugging in the display and the pins bent. I tried straightening them. The motor would operate under the throttle but the display did not function properly and there was no PAS system available.

    I called Luna. The helper told me to cut off the connectors and solder the five wires together directly. This was the last thing I wanted to do to make my $1200 investment work! I emailed customer service and that person told me to send it in for a replacement. There ensued a number of miscommunications via email and phone. Luna really wanted to help but their customer service system didn’t collate advice given by phone and email and my emails weren’t read really carefully. However, after two weeks, I had a new display and a new wiring harness and, plugging it all in very carefully, IT WORKED! VERY WELL!

    To give you an idea of Luna’s really wanting to take care of me, I emailed also because the Luna charger cycled on and off all night, very loudly. They told me to send it in for a replacement and afterwards told me that the cycling was normal. Anyway, I got a new charger and it is working just fine.

    The system is now installed and I’ve put 30 miles on it. The power and speed are great. I’m getting the hang of backpedaling slightly to shift gears. I like the PAS system though I can see that a torque sensor added to the package would really boost the experience another level. The stock 46 tooth chainring seems about perfect for my commuting. Any faster would be scary, any slower frustrating. The whole package is very good.

    A few small improvements to the system would have made the install much easier:
    1. AN INSTRUCTION MANUAL with warnings of the little things to watch out for or links to install articles and videos.
    2. Xt60 connector installed on the HD and on the Dolphin. This would eliminate #3.
    3. Warning that soldering tools and skills are needed for the install.
    4. Sturdier pins in the connectors between the display, brakes, throttle and the wire harness. This would have saved time and money for Luna.
    5. The water bottle cage bolts holding the heavy Dolphin battery pack worked loose after 25 miles. Hopefully threadlock and more forceful tightening are going to be sufficient. Otherwise, a sturdier mounting approach will be necessary.
    6. Inclusion of zip ties for the cables.

    The Effects of Speed:

    More speed and mileage adds more wear to a nearing 60 year old body. On went a suspension seatpost. I’m wondering about the new crowd-funded ShockStop Bike Stem (pricey) versus front shocks (pricier). With more speed comes more water sprayed! Cobbed some old fenders on. Equally, my ears were filled with wind and turning around made me nervous, so I installed a mirror and glued bits of fleece on my helmet straps to break up the wind in my ears.

    Drag: Your bike is now an ebike, period. The Bafang unit definitely drags when you are out of juice. I estimate it makes pedaling 20% harder with the unit off. So if you want to ride much without electricity, use another bike or another system.

    Finally, I purchased a Nashbar cargo trailer. It tracks beautifully and the pair make a perfect commuting, shopping package. Now I only need the car in a time crunch or to take the recycling once a month. Eventually, I’ll have a perfect ecoride. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the process.

    Last edited by Stu Summer; 03-29-2016, 08:16 AM.



      First Build: Diamondback Haanjo Hybrid Commuter


        Hi Stu, great post. Highly entertaining. The advice you got to cut off the connectors and solder the wires together just about had me rolling on the floor. It was also fun to experience a blow by blow build from the point of view of a complete newcomer. You are right, a few instructions and some key warnings would go a long way toward a more seamless experience. The Bafang kit is lightyears ahead of where we were a few years ago so you are lucky to be starting now. But yes, there is still room for improvement. Your understanding and patience with Luna is appreciated. I am very supportive of what they are doing to make conversions accessible and affordable to a lot more people. This forum is an example of how they are tapping the collective experience of the diy e-bike builder community so we can help each other while they work to get us product at great prices on slim margins. I am sure this post will help more than a few first-timers to not make the same mistakes and will hopefully help Luna to continue to up their game of which I must say, they have been doing a pretty good job. Did you have fun and enjoy the project? I hope so.

        A few observations:
        1. Regarding the surprise modifications like grinding, fitting, replacing connectors, etc. Dude, you just built a custom e-bike!! Probably the only one like it in the world. That's what it takes. Congratulations!
        2. You might consider a shift sensor - no fussing around with brakes or backpedaling to get the motor to stop. It just happens seamlessly as you shift gears and protects your drive train from raw power equivalent to 4 world class cyclists. More about it here:
        3. Torque sensors are indeed nice but at this point it doesn't appear it is in the cards as an upgrade or retrofit for the BBSxx. Bafang has the technology in their smaller mid-drives for factory built e-bikes We can just hope they move it up to future versions of the BBSxx drives.
        4. I agree on the 46t chainring. 48 or 50t would be even better. But any of those on a Luna Eclipse would get my money over that boat anchor Bafang ships.
        5. Drag: The BBSxx drives do not drag. To test this with the motor off just pick up the back wheel or put the bike on a stand and pedal. It is just like a regular bike. If you want to feel what drag feels like do the pedal test on a direct drive rear hub motor. A direct drive motor is always engaged while on the BBSxx or a geared hub motor the motor has a clutch that completely disengages when the motor is not on. You do have the added weight of the motor and battery but with the motor off its effect is negligible on the flat, helps going downhill but you can definitely feel it going uphill. But hey, that's what the motor is for.

        Thanks again Stu. Fun stuff.
        Do something that is good for your health, good for your wallet and good for the planet - get an e-bike.