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A rant against Bafang. Is it too cheap to be worth anything

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    A rant against Bafang. Is it too cheap to be worth anything

    I have had a gut full of problems with my Bafang system, after only a few months of use. To the point that, the only thing on my mind, is to throw the whole junk away and look for another brand.

    Before I loose you in my rant, what other brands have you had a long term 'positive experience' with, over longer than just a few months or years??

    First of all, I lost the controller only recently. I just dont have the income to quickly buy a replacement. So, this is a major issue to me.

    Secondly, that USB program thingy, the fact that I need to take out the display cable, swap over and back again each time I need to check or edit a setting, is, getting to me also. Not only are they a nightmare to de-plug each time, each time you do that, is a great risk on damaging the pins each time, is, to me, 'an inherently cheap design' and 'cheap quality brand' this makes of the system.

    And thridly, I recently got one of those 'light conversion systems' of which, whilst I understand is not a bafang product, it is made to go with the system, and, I am yet to work out as to which wires are to be hooked up to my tail lights. I have spent weeks playing around with it, and, never having it work to any reasonable satisfaction. In fact I blame it for blowing up my controller a week ago.

    I have been forced, to keep on disconnecting those nasty plugs time and time again, to the point none of them are working any more. Again, this echos the cheap quality of the product to have such fragile system being part of the system.

    I am really greatful for those USB battery banks you get to charge your mobile/cell phone on the go, as this has been very effective in helping me work out how this light system may work in recent weeks. That, along with the cables from the now scrapped controller, I have been able to set up an effective little test station.

    I am a modist person. I do not expect much. However, from what I have learned from the Bafang system, I shall not tolerate anything as cheap in my life again. I just cant take the risk of these failures happening whilst I am out on a ride.

    That is enough of my rant. Time to learn about your experiences.

    you sound like a real stick in the mud. you tried to add a light system a blew something up. That's YOUR fault.


      Most of us here are DYI'ers and understand that working with pretty much any chinese hardware is what it is - so not so sure you will get a lot of empathetic responses... perhaps this is just a troll?

      I'm going to deliberately avoid discussing bafang specifically in this post

      There aren't much outside china suppliers for aftermarket kits and I encourage you to go try some of the others - let us know how you do, I think we would all enjoy alternative options

      If you can find something designed and built outside china it will almost certainly be 2x-3x the cost but then again at least you have a better shot at good documentation, consistent product and support - not something chinese companies are known to provide - when dealing with china suppliers best to go in knowing this

      China suppliers are also known to use cheap components although there's quite a spectrum from absolute crap to good stuff... engineering is all over the place from terrible to pretty good... but documentation is nearly always abysmal and product version control nonexistent, at least to the single unit customer... I don't ever expect German or even Japanese engineering and quality from china, it just isn't there, but then again you have to pay for what you get. Even if you could get a Bosch or Yamaha unit [at 2-3x the cost from china] you would likely get zero support unless you are an OEM buying hundreds or thousands of units. At least some china suppliers will provide single pieces on the open market although it's understandable at the cost there's not much support to be expected on one piece when it likely takes longer (costs more) to support that one piece user vs. the OEM purchasing quantities that will justify the support. Forget about getting "under the hood" in a Bosch or Yamaha unit to change settings - at least it's "safe" that way right? If you can't do it you are a lot less likely to break it.

      Regarding programming - it's not something that I've found I need to do often. Sure when I first go into the whole affair I fiddled a bit but once I got it all setup haven't touched them in a very long time - years and many thousands of km. Many systems don't even provide the access so I'm a thousand times happier to have that access even if it's a bit fussy. I was always very careful during that learning phase but now I don't touch them - no reason to they are outstanding and I'm glad I could make them that way. I've got another bike I can't get at them and it's settings just plain suck. About the only time I fuss with settings is to tweak other users and now I've got the practice.

      When messing with wiring I'm even more careful since it takes one momentary short or overload to destroy things. Nothing from china for the electric bike world I'm familiar with is built to tolerate shorts to pretty much anything. Again a known though. What little documentation that might exist on any china product needs to be taken with a boulder of salt since there's a good chance it's not even from the manufacturer (some other user) and they change versions often and without any notification.

      We'll be eager to find out what you come across that's out there

      And if you can't find anything better think of it as an opportunity to go start your own business and show them all how it's done!

      Just my .02

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      • ngant17
        ngant17 commented
        Editing a comment
        China can launch rockets to put lunar rovers on the moon, so I wouldn't ever assume they are technically incapable of making decent electric motors for ebikes here on planet Earth. FWIW I'm having a good run with my BBS02 motor and I've even pushed the overvoltages to the brink of tripping the 07 error code. I'm still riding it. If I build another ebike, I have no reason to pick another supplier since Bafang has served me well for the last few years. So far.

        Caveat: I only have 500 kms on the bike as of Dec. 2021.

        I've geared it on a Nexus 3-speed IGH with stock rear sprocket, also swapped out between a 30T granny gear and the Bafang OEM 46T chainwheel. Bafang main sprocket seems to work better overall with my 24in MTB frame and wheels. I lost my 30T sprocket due to misalignment of chainline and excess vibration forcing chainwheel nuts to drop out, increasing wear and tear of plastic secondary reduction gear cover. This was all on me, not the Bafang design. IMHO Bafang BBS02 can handle some abuse but I would minimize that if possible.
        Last edited by ngant17; 12-06-2021, 11:09 AM.

      Sincerely, your first lesson $£¢
      Build your own design or spend more money or give up and pedal.


        I don't know what to tell you either. For me its been pretty much what I expected. Support comes mostly from the user community including venders like Luna and Lekkie that make 'aftermarket' parts and upgrades which is the big reason I chose Bafang over the few other options. At least in the USA the other options had tiny user communities and pretty much no one that stocked any parts or had any upgrades. The Bosch stuff I have seen doesn't look like their connectors are much better and you are paying a lot more for something you can not at all modify or even service yourself. From what I hear dealers can't do internal motor service, about all they can buy is external parts like a display or wiring harness. You want to pay a lot more for less performance and much slower if any support?

        For sure let us know if you find something better.

        I think if you get the Eggrider2 display with bluetooth you can get a phone app that lets you change many settings. PhaseRunner I think also has options like that to do more advanced things including logging everything.


          Wow!...that really was a rant...rather than a discussion of real problems. I'm a motorcycle guy and an MTB guy. I've worked part time as a mechanic in both venues to pay for my bad habits. I've seen some quite decent engineering and component quality from Japanese motorcycle companies and top tier MTB manufacturers. Unlike your experience, OP, I was pleasantly surprised at the relative quality-to-cost nature of this Bafang setup...mine being a BBSHD.

          We're not talking perfection here, but I think your statement, "throw the whole junk away", is blatantly off base. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I think the numbers of these BBSXX units out in the wild may indicate that they yield some decent level of durability and reliability. Many maybe most of the issues I see presented on these forums are often a lack of knowledge or owner error/abuse. If a good number of these units were junk, the constant wailing and gnashing of teeth would be endless. In any mechanical device used over such a wide array of applications from MTB's to cargo trikes...and on and on and on...the flexibility of these motor kits is amazing. Again, not perfection but extremely usable and effective.

          As AZ and 73Eldo pointed out, the language and instructional information from the factory is next to non-existent. For me in a serious motorcycle and/or MTB scenario that would be a deal breaker. In this case, however, the wealth of info from all levels of users is nothing short of amazing. I've filled a computer document folder chock full of valuable advice and direction on the use, repair, tweaking, improving of these motors and attached components. I'm mechanically inclined, but I didn't have to reinvent the wheel and stumble around in the dark trying to figure out how to install, use, modify, and repair this motor.

          I'm not getting your issue with disconnecting and reconnecting the control harness plugs. Are you trying to do that with arctic winter mittens or something? I ended up playing with my hydraulic brake sensor cutoffs a ton of times due to experimentation. I never had issue with unplugging or plugging, and they have never exhibited wear or slopiness.

          The shop I work at sells Trek and Spec, and I get to ride a bunch of different high quality ebikes frequently. The beauty of the Bafang is that you can put a motor on one of your existing rides and have a whole lot of fun without a lot of least "expense" in light of what those high Trek and Spec bikes cost. And, there's always one or two of those bikes with a motor, program, or charging issue over in the corner of the shop needing attention, even as expensive as they are. As the other guys have pointed out, good luck finding something like a Bafang at those prices with the kind of knowledge and product support available over the internet. Between Luna Cycles and a host of other businesses and the wealth of real world knowledge of individuals, the Bafangs have improved and have aftermarket hardware and other options that stagger the mind.


            Originally posted by 73Eldo View Post
            I think if you get the Eggrider2 display with bluetooth you can get a phone app that lets you change many settings. PhaseRunner I think also has options like that to do more advanced things including logging everything.
            This is spot on, and it's what I use. There is no need to deal with cables or PC connectivity issues with the Eggrider2. You can also quickly do a lot of trial/error on the settings, as you can change settings pretty much on the fly. Worth the money (think around $99 now) for me.

            I also agree with most of the posts here. Bafang can be a great choice, depending on your desire. If you want fast, and don't mind tinkering a bit, Bafang is the call IMHO. If you want total integration, and a warranty over speed and price, you may want to consider an eBike from one of the major bike manufacturers. Good luck and let the group know when you pull the trigger on something!


              Originally posted by bizango View Post
              you sound like a real stick in the mud. you tried to add a light system a blew something up. That's YOUR fault.
              I completely forgot about this. I actually did something similar. you need to be very carful and willing to risk damage doing diy stuff.

              I really wanted to get my headlight to work using the display button, not a switch, so i ordered something for $20 on ebay.. well I was sloppy and let the live headlight wire short and it popped the the controller. i removed the controller and I was able to solder a link between the shorted component. to my surprise the controller fired right up! I don't understand why the hardware was set up the way it is(light controller) but I believe it is an adaptation of the piggy light control board found inside the bbshd on some models.

              the good news is your controller is probably fixable but I would not attempt to use the lighting hardware again, at least until the protection circuit is replaced. I took a break on this particular project and ordered a second controller for use on the bike while I mess with the original. this mistake cost me some prime riding time while on vacation but I blame nobody but myself. it was stupid to mess with something that worked so perfectly without a replacement on hand. If i'm honest the stuff Bafang and Luna makes is so good its almost too easy. By that I mean sometimes people get into the tool box who shouldn't and then get pissed when stuff gets broken.


                I ride urban South Florida. My ass is on the line every time I leave the house (bike or car). My BBSHD has given me zero problems in 3 years, except for breaking driveline parts.
                I don't connect my lights to the motor. I carry at least 2 of them. One is a Niterider Lumina off road light that can survive a serious crash, and the other is a NR Swift series street version with a more traffic friendly beam. I recharge them when I recharge the bike battery. IMO the lights are the problem.
                Last edited by Retrorockit; 10-15-2021, 08:36 AM.


                  I originally thought the integrated lights would be the way to go but then after I started riding was worried about them taking away a slight amount of range and ended up with rechargeable lights. I should note that only my headlights are rechargeable, tail lights all use AAA batteries. I seem to be getting about a year out of those so no big deal at all. I like the rechargeable and easily removable headlights because I can swap them between the bikes depending on what sort of riding I am doing. I also have found them to be handy lights to use off the bike.

                  Streets vs single track have quite different requirements especially since unlike most other operators on the streets (cars and bikes) I don't think blinding or strobing the frick out of oncoming traffic is a good idea. On the streets I'm usually in the dimmest mode and aimed down pretty far so I'm catching a lot of my front tire. If I am alone on the streets and it very dark and I'm riding fast I will tilt it up a bit but then tilt down for oncoming traffic again. Single track is a different game and for the most part oncoming isn't a big issue and I also ride with a helmet light because you often need to light where the bike is going as well as looking at the next turn and you can't do that if the light is attached to the bike.


                  • Retrorockit
                    Retrorockit commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I run the NR Lumina offroad light during the day, and prefer the older ones for the faster strobe. At night I use the Swift street version with the offroad light for a backup/hi beam. It works OK as a reserve light if you aim it at the ground to avoid blinding people. The fast strobe on those at night really gets attention by lighting up crosswalks at busy intersections (again pointed down for this purpose)
                    .But you are absolutely right. The NR Lumina is not a good choice as a primary headlight for night riding on the street.I carry 2 lights to avoid doing that.

                    I never run a helmet light on the street. It can seriously confuse drivers. Especially drunks and result in seriously erratic driving.
                    Last edited by Retrorockit; 10-15-2021, 09:41 AM.

                  • Dshue
                    Dshue commented
                    Editing a comment
                    The bafang headlight doesn't draw much. Not enough to be noticeable. It takes many hours to drop my 20ah battery 1v. The lighting circuit is 6v and the light draws 0.5a so 3w.

                  • AZguy
                    AZguy commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I've got a bike with the bafang headlight and like you mention it doesn't draw much, however it provides very little illumination - seems just enough light to meet legal requirements for night riding than much anything else... even on that bike if I'm looking for something to light the path ahead I'll use a secondary rechargeable light that has some umph!

                  Coming up on 7500mi with BBSHD


                    Originally posted by AZguy View Post
                    Coming up on 7500mi with BBSHD
                    You know I'm not fussed on your Avatar AZ, but I like your train of thought, hopefully we'll have a few good discussions in the months ahead. I just bought my first Bafang conversion, a 2004 Giant NRS fitted with a 750w BBS02B. I'd never even heard of that model Giant before and I own 6 Giant mountain bikes from 1999 up to a 2017 Toughroad. I hate racers but ride onroad so I began converting older MTB's. Anyway I just couldn't be bothered building a electric at the moment so I bought one, and I AM IMPRESSED. I did a fair bit of web research and the factory bikes seemed to have a lot of issues, and foremost I hated the idea of the gear arrangement in the bottom bracket. Chain and sprockets for me AZ. I often ride the NRS with the power turned off, only on flat ground mind you, I like that option.

                    Mine is geared low and I'm maxed out spinning at 25km/h but the motor will take it to 35 on the flats. It will climb trees, so I was told. I still ride my other bikes more often, I'm in it for the exercise value but there are some places beyond the hills around here I always wanted to explore on pushbike and I was never good at hills. Anyway enough for a first post on the forum, now I'll go have more of a stickbeak around.

                    I haven't changed the pedals yet but I will, I ride clipless, Shimano M520 SPD

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                    • AZguy
                      AZguy commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Yeah I ride a lot without power when riding with friends on their acoustic bikes... even riding with power I pretty much always pedal too... only exceptions are if my foot comes off the pedal in the rough or something

                      Avatar is in no way meant to offend LOL... just wanted to pick something when I registered and that was handy... sort of grew on me... or me on it =]

                    My take on the Bafang HD, is it is the small block chevy of the ebike world. Lots of mods and parts aftermarket. Tons of support, and they are tough little machines capable of alot more power. I am just getting into this sport, and built 3 bikes so far. Fun, and easy to do if you have past motorcycle experience, and are handy with tools, and basic fabrication. A real fun hobby.
                    Attached Files


                    • 73Eldo
                      73Eldo commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Is it the classic small block or an LS?

                    • Retrorockit
                      Retrorockit commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Too heavy to be an LS.

                    Originally posted by Tonerider View Post
                    I am just getting into this sport, and built 3 bikes so far. Fun, and easy to do if you have past motorcycle experience...
                    You often read in forums what seems like a lot of problems with the subject matter but I know from experience issues are usually rare. What's your experience with failures Tr? Have you put many miles on those bikes? Electronic connection issues is one thing I read about but I also hear about nylon gear failures. I'm not a "must be perfect" hobbyist but I like to know issues in advance if possible so I can have the part on hand lol. Also what about chains, do we need to run upgraded chains to accommodate the power? I'm just asking for your general opinion and experience, since you have built a few.

                    As for motorcycles do you currently ride? I'm sixty and gave up 2 years ago but relented and bought a little bmw sport bike recently. Just for fun an giggles up in the hills behind my rural town.


                      Well now... Like they used to say about newspapers, if your don't like it, you can always start your own. Have your tried designing your own eBike motor?


                      • huffnpuff
                        huffnpuff commented
                        Editing a comment
                        nice first post denton, I see you're going to fun.