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Bafang PAS - Riding with another person or a group

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    Bafang PAS - Riding with another person or a group

    Just a quick question for Bafang owners... The way I understand it is that the PAS levels are each set to give a fixed number of watts progressively rising from level 1 through 9. I also understand that you can use fewer levels and program you own power settings. So, how does this work to maintain safe and consistent space from other riders in a group ride? On a unassisted bike or a torque sense e-bike you just pedal a little easier or harder when necessary to keep the desired clearance but pedaling easier in PAS won't work since you still get the same motor output as long as you are pedaling. Do you stop pedaling to slow down? But then as soon as you resume you may be going too fast again. Do you shift PAS levels up and down? Seems like that might be too much of a change in most instances. Just curious. I just completed a build with a Tongsheng TSDZ2 with torque sense but am thinking of building another bike with Bafang BBSHD and want to better understand the riding dynamics.

    #2
    That's why I use my throttle, almost 100% of the time, it offers the finest modulations in power levels, combined with my pedaling, and also gives me the longest range. It seems like some think using the throttle means you don't pedal at all, I go through this all the time with my buddies who ride Haibikes and other factory built bikes. We argue back and forth about it, they thing they are more efficient, range wise, but in practice I don't see it. I like being able to change my assist level, via throttle, second by second, instead of pushing buttons to change the displays PAS mode. I need to ride a torque assist bike sometime, never have....

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      #3
      And I have never ridden a PAS bike! I guess I haven't really even ridden my torque sense bike yet other than testing on my indoor trainer due to the weather and I just built it a week ago. Mine also has a throttle. I am not sure yet how sensitive it will be to changes in pedaling effort. There is a chance that it will be too inconsistent to comfortably ride close to others. Time will tell.

      I thought I read somewhere that the newer Bafang firmware disabled the throttle while the pedals are in motion? Is that not the case? I assume there are custom programs that will overcome that issue?

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      • AZguy
        AZguy commented
        Editing a comment
        That is the case... the controller can be modified though and I'm much happier with mine modified...

      #4
      First I have to say I have less than zero interest in riding in groups... for me two people is fine, three getting crowded and four's my limit... I also don't "formation fly" (ride close to others) unless I know the person and their riding exceptionally well and trust them from this familiarity... If someone rides too close behind me or rides by the side of me... well let's just say my normally friendly personality will take a nasty turn... It's not safe and invites collision and I want to own my crashes, not have someone else be in that mix... I've seen it too many times on motos and a few times on bikes and people get hurt. The potential for real injury is too high to ride this ridiculously and I'm too old an already beat up to accept this entirely unnecessary risk. It's just plain stupid to ride that close (kicking soapbox away)...

      Having said that I have my PAS setup with constant power (the BBSxx can be set very differently however) with nine levels in a geometric progression (exponential). When riding with other folks and not leading, when we are on the flats it's easy enough to usually just toggle between levels infrequently to either slow down or speed up while following a safe distance - the step resolution is good for that. Often just pedaling harder or less in one level can handle maintaining pace.

      If I am formation flying then throttle is the best option. Formation flying requires precision and constant fine tuning.

      Regarding range/efficiency... Prior to modifying my controller to provide for throttle-override - if operating in PAS while pedaling I can turn the throttle and PAS is ignored, pedaling or not like the newer BBS's - I ran a parameter set for several months that allowed for throttle operation only, no PAS. I can say quite definitively from my logs that PAS-only operation gets me around 40% more range than throttle-only operation at the same moving average speeds. I think there are two primary reasons for this... one is that having constant power is more efficient than constantly changing power if the average power output is maintained and the other is that PAS "enforces" milder acceleration than my throttle habits support (medical condition in my wrist =] ) and quick acceleration does very little for average speed and is hard on the charge, not to mention driveline components...

      I do recommend fiddling with the parameters and find what works for you... it my take some experimenting...

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        #5
        I am used to riding in groups hammering it out in pacelines inches apart. That is not something I would do on an e-bike. But looser groups are a possibility.

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          #6
          I'm not judging and I meant no offense and rereading I know I'm coming across a bit harsh.

          Aside from the formation flying rant my greatest issue with groups is the "group inertia". Getting the group moving becomes exponentially more difficult as the number of participants goes up. With one person when you have stopped for a break, you move on whenever you like it. With two it's still pretty easy. With three now the potential for lag is present but generally infrequent. At four, for me at least, it's already more likely getting painful. I was not blessed with a lot of patience and no matter how hard I try to improve on that... More than four is horrible in my experience. Stop for some water and maybe a quick snack and thirty minutes later you're still sitting there. I'm am really bad at sitting around waiting for people. People often live at wildly different paces in life and I get that but as a type A that is generally fast paced this is very difficult for me. The opposite type can slow you down but you can't speed them up.

          Then there is the fact that every additional rider ups the odds of mechanical issues or a crash. I find this particularly painful when the issues or crash are due to poor maintenance or bad judgement. When the ride becomes a rescue mission it can make for a long day that's not as fun.

          Also there's the issue that the group will be no faster than the slowest rider. Often not a big deal as I'll just ride ahead and turn around ride back (unless I'm the slow guy =] ) and then get out ahead and as long as I'm moving I'm fine.... I'll often just ride aheand and take a break while waiting carefully making sure I'm riding by the time they get there so they don't see it as time for a break and then we are back to the inertia issue. With larger groups the slowest rider may be very slow and if the group is large it gets much more difficult to manage...

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