Street and Trail

Early in my ebike history I took my first hubmotor ebike up a steep fire road to the top of a hill. The trip was difficult, the hubmotor did not have enough torque for the grade and I had to push it part of the way. When I stopped at the top to enjoy the view and checked the temperature of the motor it almost burned my fingers. I let it cool for hours, it took a long time. I'm sure it was close to the damage point.

I've always wanted a more capable climbing lightweight ebike, so in December of 2015 I decided to make one. I selected the Bafang BBSHD mid drive, a Diamondback Overdrive Sport 27.5 mountain bike, and a triangle battery pack (BBSHD and battery from This makes a very capable ebike for street and trail use (where permitted). This makes a lighter ebike that is more capable of steep climbing than a similar power and weight hubmotor machine.

This ebike has a range of about 25 to 50 miles (depending on speed, gradients and loads) and can climb hills steep enough the front wheel won't stay down. The trunk and rack are instantly removable for that lean off-road look.

Mid drives take advantage of the bike's gearing to increase torque at low speed. Some mid drives are noisy, however this Bafang is quiet with internal gearing. This is not a difficult upgrade to your favorite bicycle, the Bafang drives are bolt-on, replacing the crankset and bottom bracket. Kits are available, and you can get help from local ebike friendly shops and consultants, or they can do the job installing a mid drive on your bike.

For more on this bike I wrote up theĀ Full Story Here

For a reliable daily commuting machine on pavement, the hubmotor is hard to beat. But for a lightweight machine that can climb scary gradients, the mid drive is a capable choice.

-- Alan