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First Build: Trek 8.6 DS 2014 (Isozone Rear Shock) with BBS02 and 52V SharkPack

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    First Build: Trek 8.6 DS 2014 (Isozone Rear Shock) with BBS02 and 52V SharkPack

    THIS IS A BBS02 BUILD - not a BBS01...

    Have been meaning to become a member of this forum. I have been interested in eBikes ever since in some of my earlier commutes here in PDX when I was passed by cargo bikes going much faster than I could even imagine. With time I figured out how they did it...and the fascination has never stopped.

    I think I researched the production eBike market pretty well. Here in Portland, there is a huge biking culture and eBikes are a growing part of it. There are a variety of production stores. I thought about taking the leap, but having had buyer's remorse in many other venues, knew I had to understand more. I learned about BionX, thus realized that conversions were an option but I thought the cost was too high. Still reluctant to take the leap...then I came across some of the blog posts by Eric @ LunaCycle and it seemed the price points were more reasonable. The idea of doing a conversion looked ever more promising at that point, and so I finally took the leap.

    So this, my *first* conversion, was a Trek 8.6 DS 2014. I did this in stages, first buying a BBS02 from LunaCycle in November 2015, installing it, fussing with it. Then added a 52V 13.5A SharkPack - also from LunaCycle. Started to learn about some of the issues - first the power train. The shifting with the stock Shimano 10s cassette and SLX der was awful. Read a bit more here and there - changed out the stock 48t drive ring over to a Lekkie BlingRing 42T, but still had shifting problems. Meh. Added fenders for water protection. Then ran into a problem with the barrel charging plug for the SharkPack and had to solder in some XT90 connectors. Then changed out the stock tires to Schwalbe Energizer tires because the hybrid tires were probably not safe and made 'er slower.

    But then the rear wheel blew a spoke on the stock Bontrager 29'er 32s wheels and I had to rebuild it. Ultimately decided to rebuild both. I received some really great assistance from the folks over at ElectricBikeReviews.com who encouraged me to move up to a 36s wheel for safety and stability. Did some more research on 36s hubs in the 100/135 mm range and finally decided on the Shimano Deore line as I also wanted to drop down to a 9 gear cassette. I commissioned the wheel rebuild through Universal Cycles here in PDX because if I bought the parts from them, they would not charge me for the build labor. I settled on Sun Ringle Rhyno Lites with DT Competition double-butted spokes changing out the cassette to 9 speed 11-34t Shimano, then changed out the derailleur and shifter to Shimano Deore components. I had mixed success with hydraulic brake conversion kits, so changed the front hydraulic brake to a manual Avid BB7 to integrate into the wiring harness and BBS02 controller. Lastly, changed out the stock Bontrager chain for a KMC.

    She's now a rocket! Wow, I think the new bearings in the hubs made a difference because she really moves. And the shifting is a quantum leap from all the problems with the stock 10 speed Shimano set-up. Geez...the bike actually now works the way it should. But the learning has been really fun. I want to build another. Since I'm moving back to the East Coast (Boston, MA), I'm thinking about a Phat bike...

    Here's the build - I think it's now relatively stable:

    Trek 8.6 DS 2014
    Bafang BBS02
    LunaCycle 52V 13.5A SharkPack
    42T Lekkie BlingRing
    Schwalbe Energizer Plus Tires
    Sun Ringle Rhino Lyte 29'er 36s
    DT Competition double-butted spokes (2x)
    Shimano Deore 100/135 mm hubs
    Shimano 9S cassette 11-34t
    Shimano Deore derailleur M591 9s
    Shimano Deore Shifter 9s
    Avid BB7 front manual disc brake
    KMC Chain

    I'm going to add a front and rear light soon.

    Caveats for this build (not necessarily limited to Trek bikes):

    * Powertrain - for the BBS02 the stock drive ring is too bit (48t) and it's offset creates shifting problems. The Lekkie BlingRing (42t) made a huge difference in power transfer and as stated by Eric, does not seem to bog down the motor as much. I hate to make hasty generalizations, but I think if one is considering a purchase of the BBS02 kit, just buy the 42t Lekkie. Don't even think about it. Secondarily, most folks state that they tend to only use a couple of gears, mostly in the mid range. I agree with this statement and believe that unless you live in a hilly place like SF, PDX, or Seattle, you won't use those lower gears too much if your sole intention is for commuting. A 10 gear cassette is problematic. Going from 10 to 9 was a quantum shift. I would continue to say you might not even need 9 gears. I'm intrigued by the internal gear hub options that are available and it might be something interesting to consider.

    * Wheels - Look carefully at your wheels. You really need strong wheels. If you make a conversion using stock 32s wheels the mid-drive, increased speed, cornering, etc will create stress that is beyond spec for them, and you risk blowing a spoke. At a high speed this could be very very dangerous. This happened to me fortunately not at a high speed, so I feel lucky. Either throttle down or upgrade your wheels. I think this point is really understated.

    * Hydraulic Brakes - If you have hydraulic disc brakes, change out the front to a manual, like the Avid I used. You can use it just like a clutch to disengage the power to the drive train, making shifting much smoother. It's also a nice safety feature to have.

    * Battery - When you purchase your battery, add to it a pair of XT90 pigtails and solder them in *before* you install your battery. The barrel charging set-up, while convenient - is not well adapted to wear, it can deform, and you will not be able to charge if the connection to the harness is hard wired. Just install the XT90's.

    * Trek 8.6 DS Specific

    **Isozone Rear Shock - not so sure I like it. At speeds generated with the BBS01, you need rigidity in the frame and this intermediate member creates a bit of "slop" in the stability. I also think that it may have contributed to the rear wheel failing. The rubber shock can be replaced, but I'm still luke warm about it.

    **Bottom Bracket - the bottom bracket is longer than the BBS02 insert resulting in overlap of the tightening threads. Therefore, only the tightening nut can be applied and there's not enough thread to use the retaining ring. Also, this means the stabilization bracket does not fit flush up to the motor, and I used 6mm lock nut washers (3 or 4 of them) to take up the space and provide a snug fit. Further, though a minor point, the stock Bontrager bottom bracket cable guide is too high profile and it will not clear the distance between the motor and bottom bracket. Just purchase a lower profile guide. No biggie.

    One pesky problem I'm running into is that the threaded retaining ring for the BBS02 hub (which telescopes through the bottom bracket) is a right handed thread. Bafang could really do something simple by making this a reverse thread because the pedaling on this side is counter-clockwise and it creates a moment that causes this ring to loosen. Simple thing to fix. I hope they make that change.

    I'll add more thoughts over time, but I think this is it. Overall, you need to be willing to tinker with these builds. You often have to improvise, but it is worth it and a lot of fun. I'm hooked.

    Greetings!

    David

    NB I'm going to put in a plug for Universal Cycles here in Portland. They did a great job on the wheel build and didn't charge me anything for the labor...just the parts. A far cry from the Trek LBS that wanted to charge me $80 per wheel just for the build. They're a great group of people who offer great products at competitive prices. Highly recommend. (www.universalcycles.com)
    Attached Files
    Last edited by DrDave; 02-23-2016, 08:23 PM.

    #2
    That's a nice, classy looking bike. Good tip about strong wheels.

    There are add-on sensors you can mount to the hydraulic brake lever, if you decide you don't like the cable-actuated brake. Setting them up is a little tricky depending on the geometry. Stock setup won't always work easily. I wound up needing to superglue a small neodymium magnet to the lever itself, but it worked. That was with a Textro Draco lever.
    Fabrication is fun! Build something today. Show someone. Let them help. Inspire and share. Spread the desire.

    Comment


      #3
      NB This is not a BBS01 build - it's a BBS02. Sorry. My bad.

      Comment


        #4
        Nice build!......pretty much what I am looking to build next. Just put together a BBSHD Diamondback that I had sitting around here. Going on tryout this morning.

        Comment


        • DrDave
          DrDave commented
          Editing a comment
          I likes it!

        #5
        Thanks!........Tryout went very well. I may change the chainring to the 42t after awhile. Error code 21 comes up on the screen wondering if it is from not having a speedo sensor connected. I will look at it more tomorrow. The bike is fast and has a high top end. I think that I could probably keep up on the interstate with the traffic! (chuckles)

        Comment


          #6
          I took a new DS 8.6 for a test drive today at the Trek store. I think it is the bike for me. It will probably be my next build.

          Comment


          • DrDave
            DrDave commented
            Editing a comment
            Can't speak for BBSHD, but if for BBS02...should be pretty straight forward. You'll need a new bottom bracket guide for sure. Bontrager wheels are *hit. You'll probably need to change out the shifting too.

          #7
          It will be an HD for sure. As long as it is a 68mmBB I should be ok. I did have to drill a clearance hole in the motor mount bracket for one of the screws in the motor housing.

          Comment


            #8
            Update:

            Things have been moving along flawlessly until I made the decision to change out the Trek 8.6 DS "IsoZone" rear shock assembly as it was worn. As with so many things the law of unintended consequences seems to take hold - no different here. This "shock" consists of 2 support rods which are threaded into the rear triangle member and through which they articulate with the center post (see photos). Over these 2 posts are two rubber "Isozone" shocks and a retaining member. I was able to easily remove one of the posts, but the other was far more difficult. Once I finally removed the post, I found the culprit...the thread on the rod was stripped...much like the lug on a car wheel after the nut had been zipped on without first starting it by hand.

            I went to the Trek LBS and everything was fine with the warranty until I mentioned the ebike conversion...then all bets were off. A real gotcha!

            So, I'll ride this until the IsoZone member breaks down, then maybe replace it again, but eventually this threaded receiver unit will not hold the post and that will be the end. It's a shame a good frame is ruined by an overzealous pneumatic tool...

            And so it goes...

            Caveat: Trek discontinued the "Isozone" mechanism around 2014/15. If you are considering a conversion with the Isozone frame, think about trying to remove the support rods to make sure your recipient frame isn't rendered worthless likewise.

            E-bike mantra addendum: Consider a soft recipient bike "tear down" to make sure there are no issues with the build at the manufacturer. In this case, ultimately, the frame will be useless.


            DrD
            Last edited by DrDave; 03-22-2016, 09:18 PM.

            Comment


              #9
              Well,

              There are remedies for a problem like that.

              But, it appears that those two rods need never be removed at all, as the top aluminum piece that joins them and acts like a stopper looks like it can be removed to allow replacement of those rubber bushings. So, some Locktite at those stripped threads may be the quick and easy fix.

              Otherwise, you could consider a heli-coil, or tapping slightly bigger threads for new, custom travel-rods. Or maybe even modifying both of those travel rods, by using some stainless allen head bolts instead, that you could place a nut under where the bushing/shock would go, but not even use those bushings anymore, but rather just put some actual springs in there. Maybe some threaded couplers or some stainless tubing could also be used inside the springs. That may not look quite as nice, but maybe it would still look pretty cool and possibly give a little more suspension travel and adjustability.

              Apparently those isozone inserts are a maintenance issue. And there were those Pro Flex frames that used a similar elastomer bushing in that way too, which some people did replace with actual coil springs, I believe.

              Last edited by Christian Livingstone; 03-23-2016, 10:17 AM.

              Comment


                #10
                Hy Christian,

                Sorry for the delay in responding but we are in the midst of moving West coast to East coast.

                Actually, in order to replace the rubber shock mechanism, you do have to remove the rods - otherwise, I would not have done so. You could cut the old off, but in order to replace the new rubber isozone, you'd have to remove them. There's not enough travel in the mechanism to allow otherwise.

                I am aware that heli-coils can be used, but they have their own set of problems (I used to work in my father's auto shop). I could attempt to re-thread the receivers, then machine a custom rod. I hate to think how hard it's going to be to get this done. Thanks for suggesting the other options.

                The other option of course, is to put the shock mechanism to sleep by welding it into a hard tail. I guess it just depends on how badly I want to work with that. I think I'd be inclined to just switch horses.

                David
                Last edited by DrDave; 04-17-2016, 07:50 AM.

                Comment


                  #11
                  Hey Dave can we get a good picture of the completed bike?

                  I am doing a compilation of these build threads in this post and really want to see pic of how the bike came out :)

                  http://electricbike.com/forum/forum/...ictorial/page2

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