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Any motor and battery upgrades for "thin"


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24 minutes ago, johnc said:

Thanks @Chad Lauterbach! I also have  the LT48 14.4Ah. Hopefully this gets me going. Currently after a week it thinks I have been almost 400 miles haha. Only really been about 160. Have you done any other upgrades? In my commute I've determined I definitely want the suspension fork, a Suntour seat post as well as new brakes.  Any advise?

Yeah, love that battery. It's a great one. :)

I updated my front crankset and chain ring (FSA) to 53t. Got a nicer 1/8" chain. And got a White Industries 17t free wheel in the back. I had 46t/16t (the 40 up front was a joke after the motor upgrades) on it for a ~3 gear ratio and it still wasn't enough. 53t/17t is ~3.3 and it rides really nice about 25-28mph which is where I like to be when commuting. I also put in tire liners and slime tubes as getting flats on these things is the pits.

I have the suspension fork and it's great; couldn't imagine not having it. Definitely would get that if you don't.

My next two upgrades for sure will be a new bottom bracket of a higher quality and better brakes (as you mentioned). Up next might be an even nicer crankset/chainring up front (I wish I had spent more) + pedals, or new/better tires if I can find some. Bottom bracket and brakes are next definitely though.

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1 hour ago, johnc said:

@Chad Lauterbach why did you not upgrade to the 3sp? 

I ended up really liking the simplicity of the fixie to be honest and with the battery and controller upgrades I don't need the gears. At 53t/17t I'm really good on anything up to a 10% grade and while it's a bit of a workout over that as a commuter bike I'm rarely doing a long hill climb that would cause me to really need a gear. I might even go to 56t/17t at some point. Regardless, I can stand up on the bike for 1000ft and push over a little bump over the 101 freeway in Los Angeles when I need you. :)

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@Chad Lauterbach Probably not what you want to hear but you may as well hear it before you learn the hard way...

The Thin uses a bottom bracket that is an absolute Unicorn in this world.  Its a goofy size and there is nothing out there in the world to directly match it.  What size am I talking about?

80x142.  So 80mm housing and a 142mm spindle.  Good luck finding one of those.  

Here's another complication:  You need a VERY thin lip on your bottom bracket in order for the PAS sensor to work.  I have used this same PAS sensor system on other bike builds and I have found it can tolerate a MAX of 4.9mm distance from sensor tip to sensor disc.  Thats not a lot.  So if you have a nice BB that has thick cup ends... the kind that are like 10 mm wide ...  you will break your PAS functionality with one of those.

And thinking on the kind of riding you say you are doing - standing on the pedals and cranking hard on that spindle - you are the guy who is going to maybe find the breaking point of that BB unit.  I have only heard about a few Fattie and Thin owners breaking their spindles and the ones who did it were hard pedalers or riding singletrack and standing on the pedals like they were pegs.

So... what can you do?  Especially since Sondors does not sell replacement BB's for the Thin (I have seen them provide replacements free of charge to the couple of Thin owners I have seen break them, so they are aware of the difficulty of replacement and seem very good about helping out past warranty).

Here's an option:

https://lunacycle.com/replacement-standard-square-tapered-bb-for-cyclone-68-83mm/

I have used one of these on a Cyclone build and there is no reason you can't adapt same.  The BB is 66-83 mm which fits within your 80mm requirement.  This BB uses two included sealed bearing cartridges, which Luna also sells, so replacements are available.  The BB is meant for use with a Cyclone mid drive which is 3000w, so I assume its plenty sturdy.  I can say for sure you will need to add a second bearing spacer on the end to get a flush fit against the non drive side cup, and possibly two of them (my 68mm BB needed one 10mm bearing spacer so I am assuming your 80mm will require a second)

https://lunacycle.com/cyclone-bearing-and-bottom-bracket-spacer/

Look at the lips on both sides of this BB - very narrow, so you will not have the problem I described with the PAS sensor.  Also there are lips on both sides so if you want to run the sensor on the other side (you can do that with some settings changes) you can.

The bad news is twofold: 

1: Cost for the bracket and spacers is almost $60.   Bummer.  But it is definitely stronger than the original (BTW its made in Taiwan, not China, which is a good thing qualitywise)

2. Spindle length is 153mm not 142mm.  Your Quack Factor will increase by 5.5mm per side.  Could be worse.  I'd call that no big deal, personally.

If you find a third option, or a fourth etc.  please post them up as what is above is as good as it gets in terms of what the community knows.

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Brake upgrades:  I use Magura MT5e's.  4-piston monsters.  See the Magura Brake Project thread here, authored by me.  You may need extensions because of the short cutoff leads on the levers.  You will find links on where to get some made for a reasonable price.

A more plug/play option is to use the Shimano hydro upgrade that is so common with Sondors owners.  Only 2-piston brakes and no real improvement in stopping power (they use the same pads as your Tektros) but like all hydro brakes they are install-and-forget.  No cable stretching, no adjustments after removing/replacing the wheel.  They self adjust as do all hydro calipers.

https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Electric-Bicycle-Hydraulic-Disc-Cut-Off-Power-Brake-BAFANG-SONDORS-Pasion-Ebike-Parts/1088910_32749432485.html?spm=2114.12010612/itm2home-1.8148356.1.76a673486k5cLX

The US stores who sell these brakes buy them from this source (Wendy Xie).  At present Wendy is the only one who has stock.  She ships from China but is pretty fast.  I am getting some 10-magnet PAS discs from her delivered today along with some other parts and I placed my order on July 14... and it would have arrived sooner except Wendy waited a couple days for a response after asking me if I was sure as one of the things I ordered did not fit a Sondors, which she remembered I own.

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8 hours ago, johnc said:

Thanks @Chad Lauterbach! Those settings worked great and somehow have given me more battery life. Did you come up with those parameters yourself or was that somewhere on the web that I missed? Doesn't matter just curious. Thanks again. Now to determine what to spend my money on next!

The wheel size I just figured out, but the rest of the settings I got from the company that sells the LT48. I don't think I even tweaked them. I like PAS 5 being at 8 amps but being able to use my throttle to go to 20amps when I need it. :)

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5 hours ago, MattRobertson said:

Brake upgrades:  I use Magura MT5e's.  4-piston monsters.  See the Magura Brake Project thread here, authored by me.  You may need extensions because of the short cutoff leads on the levers.  You will find links on where to get some made for a reasonable price.

A more plug/play option is to use the Shimano hydro upgrade that is so common with Sondors owners.  Only 2-piston brakes and no real improvement in stopping power (they use the same pads as your Tektros) but like all hydro brakes they are install-and-forget.  No cable stretching, no adjustments after removing/replacing the wheel.  They self adjust as do all hydro calipers.

https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Electric-Bicycle-Hydraulic-Disc-Cut-Off-Power-Brake-BAFANG-SONDORS-Pasion-Ebike-Parts/1088910_32749432485.html?spm=2114.12010612/itm2home-1.8148356.1.76a673486k5cLX

The US stores who sell these brakes buy them from this source (Wendy Xie).  At present Wendy is the only one who has stock.  She ships from China but is pretty fast.  I am getting some 10-magnet PAS discs from her delivered today along with some other parts and I placed my order on July 14... and it would have arrived sooner except Wendy waited a couple days for a response after asking me if I was sure as one of the things I ordered did not fit a Sondors, which she remembered I own.

Thanks for the tip on the brakes! Really appreciate that. Sounds like the hydro option would best for me as the problem I'm having is the constant adjustment. Reasonable price too. Much appreciated!

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19 hours ago, MattRobertson said:

Brake upgrades:  I use Magura MT5e's.  4-piston monsters.  See the Magura Brake Project thread here, authored by me.  You may need extensions because of the short cutoff leads on the levers.  You will find links on where to get some made for a reasonable price.

A more plug/play option is to use the Shimano hydro upgrade that is so common with Sondors owners.  Only 2-piston brakes and no real improvement in stopping power (they use the same pads as your Tektros) but like all hydro brakes they are install-and-forget.  No cable stretching, no adjustments after removing/replacing the wheel.  They self adjust as do all hydro calipers.

https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Electric-Bicycle-Hydraulic-Disc-Cut-Off-Power-Brake-BAFANG-SONDORS-Pasion-Ebike-Parts/1088910_32749432485.html?spm=2114.12010612/itm2home-1.8148356.1.76a673486k5cLX

The US stores who sell these brakes buy them from this source (Wendy Xie).  At present Wendy is the only one who has stock.  She ships from China but is pretty fast.  I am getting some 10-magnet PAS discs from her delivered today along with some other parts and I placed my order on July 14... and it would have arrived sooner except Wendy waited a couple days for a response after asking me if I was sure as one of the things I ordered did not fit a Sondors, which she remembered I own.

@MattRobertson - These brakes look like exactly what I want from the site. The number one issue I have is constantly (once every 2 weeks or so) adjusting the brake lines. Drives me a bit insane.

I hit up Wendy on FB, but haven't heard back yet. Looks like there's four different "options" on that link. Which one is the correct one for the Thin? I have upgraded the motor controller and battery, but the connection to the brakes didn't change when I did that.

Thanks again!

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1 hour ago, Chad Lauterbach said:

@MattRobertson ... Which one is the correct one for the Thin?

The Sondors one that is not the Fold.  You use the same version of those for Thin and Original.  The issue is the cable length.  And while you are at it, unless you want to cut and resection the cables, and bleed them, you will not be able to put these cables into the cable guides on the frame.  Here is a $4 fix for that.    I bought a set from this seller just a couple weeks ago for a project I am working on.

 

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/MTB-Bike-Hydraulic-Disc-Brakes-Cable-Housing-Conversion-Frame-Over-Line-ClampTrap-Adapter-Clip-for-Oil/32790819895.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.40694c4dfl3JfT

 

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On 7/30/2018 at 11:57 AM, MattRobertson said:

@Chad Lauterbach Probably not what you want to hear but you may as well hear it before you learn the hard way...

The Thin uses a bottom bracket that is an absolute Unicorn in this world.  Its a goofy size and there is nothing out there in the world to directly match it.  What size am I talking about?

80x142.  So 80mm housing and a 142mm spindle.  Good luck finding one of those.  

Here's another complication:  You need a VERY thin lip on your bottom bracket in order for the PAS sensor to work.  I have used this same PAS sensor system on other bike builds and I have found it can tolerate a MAX of 4.9mm distance from sensor tip to sensor disc.  Thats not a lot.  So if you have a nice BB that has thick cup ends... the kind that are like 10 mm wide ...  you will break your PAS functionality with one of those.

And thinking on the kind of riding you say you are doing - standing on the pedals and cranking hard on that spindle - you are the guy who is going to maybe find the breaking point of that BB unit.  I have only heard about a few Fattie and Thin owners breaking their spindles and the ones who did it were hard pedalers or riding singletrack and standing on the pedals like they were pegs.

So... what can you do?  Especially since Sondors does not sell replacement BB's for the Thin (I have seen them provide replacements free of charge to the couple of Thin owners I have seen break them, so they are aware of the difficulty of replacement and seem very good about helping out past warranty).

Here's an option:

https://lunacycle.com/replacement-standard-square-tapered-bb-for-cyclone-68-83mm/

I have used one of these on a Cyclone build and there is no reason you can't adapt same.  The BB is 66-83 mm which fits within your 80mm requirement.  This BB uses two included sealed bearing cartridges, which Luna also sells, so replacements are available.  The BB is meant for use with a Cyclone mid drive which is 3000w, so I assume its plenty sturdy.  I can say for sure you will need to add a second bearing spacer on the end to get a flush fit against the non drive side cup, and possibly two of them (my 68mm BB needed one 10mm bearing spacer so I am assuming your 80mm will require a second)

https://lunacycle.com/cyclone-bearing-and-bottom-bracket-spacer/

Look at the lips on both sides of this BB - very narrow, so you will not have the problem I described with the PAS sensor.  Also there are lips on both sides so if you want to run the sensor on the other side (you can do that with some settings changes) you can.

The bad news is twofold: 

1: Cost for the bracket and spacers is almost $60.   Bummer.  But it is definitely stronger than the original (BTW its made in Taiwan, not China, which is a good thing qualitywise)

2. Spindle length is 153mm not 142mm.  Your Quack Factor will increase by 5.5mm per side.  Could be worse.  I'd call that no big deal, personally.

If you find a third option, or a fourth etc.  please post them up as what is above is as good as it gets in terms of what the community knows.

@MattRobertson Thanks for the super detailed information! This is really helpful. I don't consider the cost a major issue and the only reason the bottom bracket really came up is because my bike tech mentioned it was making noise and when I put a lot of pressure on it it seems to creak too. I ride up some pretty steeps hills around here and with a 53/17 fixie setup I'm standing on the bike when I do. I still really like the simplicity of the fixie, and I think it looks cool, and it's only really an "issue" during those brief climbs over maybe 5% grade. 

This is super helpful though and I'll probably order it just for the next time I take my bike in... My fear with having the bottom bracket pulled out is if I don't have a replacement on hand it could be a mess to "fix in place" and I don't want my bike out of commission for an extended period.

Thanks!

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On 7/29/2018 at 8:12 AM, Reddy Kilowatt said:

Forget replacing the Bottom Bracket. You won’t find a better replacment and every example you’ve referenced won’t work. I have over 8,000 miles on my original and although I have a spare in my parts supply, because  there is only one source for my bike, I don’t expect I’ll ever replace it. 

Read: Sheldon Browns description / crib sheet on Bottom Brackets for a better understanding of the variations. 

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/cribsheet-bottombrackets.html

the last example of the B.B. you supplied you referenced twice. The last in place of a tire you are considering. This forum is PACKED with various examples of the best tire for a Sondors. Everybody has a favorite they love.

I have no opinion on a replacment tire for a thin though, because I don’t own one.  The forum has gobs of info on tire choices. I thing the Stock 26 x 4.9 Chaoyang Fat tires and 26 x 4.0  Chaoyangs Narrow, tires, are tough and good riding tires. I couldn’t wear a stock set out and I had them on three Sondors  Bikes and on two non mororized fat bikes ..... but they are noisy (not necessarily a bad thing if you ride Trailways, where they announce your approach, to other bikes or pedestrians) but noise translates to excessive rolling resistance and I’ve chosen tires which better fit my mission. Vee Tire, Mission Command tires that are fast rolling, low RR, universal tread design and although are lugged, not a large off road pattern but designed to still roll fast on hard-pack/gravel/dirt and still afford good grip.

488CAC70-BC5F-4139-92DC-DF66F569CF0C.jpeg.b088b2d81abcc8d39ddc954886d078b2.jpeg 

image.jpeg.460181aebee7ca43d0f0c2b7c7188c24.jpeg

     Reddy

 

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  • 5 weeks later...

@Chad Lauterbach Can you give me some advise on a crank set? Or anyone reading this! My freewheel failed so I replaced it and would like to upgrade my crank set and chainring while I'm at it but, when I'm looking at these there are options that I don't understand for my Thin.  ex. 165mm, 170mm, 175mm and 180mm?? Thanks in advance.

john

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Hey @johnc! I ended up not replacing my bottom bracket. It's basically impossible to find a direct replacement for it without going to Sondors.

That being said on the crankset to my knowledge you have a large selection of basically anything that's a square taper. I just went to my local bike shop and found a crankset I liked and had them put it on.  I got a crankset with a BCD 130 pattern so then I can swap on any chain ring that's 130 BCD. One thing I might do at some point is swap it for a 144 BCD (track bike) as my bike is a fixie it's easier to find fixie chain rings that are a bit beefier and setup for 1/8" chain on 144 BCD vs 130 BCD.

Something like this should work... just depends on how big of a ring you want too: https://www.amazon.com/Crankset-Crankarms-Litepro-Folding-Protective/dp/B071LPKGT2/ref=sr_1_13_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1535735385&sr=8-13-spons&keywords=FSA+fixie+crankset&psc=1

I ride 53/17 right now.

I hope that helps a little!

Edited by Chad Lauterbach
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@Chad Lauterbach you spoke too soon :-)  The 100x177 is the identical replacement BB for the Sondors.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/high-quality-sealed-bearing-steel-fat-bike-snow-bike-100-177mm-bicycle-bottom-bracket/32696213446.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.2f054c4dxDt42v

I have abandoned my attempts to find a different sealed replacement.  I came very close with a 120mm Cyclone BB that adjusts down to 100mm and has a 178mm spindle, but the drive side extension is too short and cannot be easily drifted further out.

I went up to a 60T fixie chain ring on my 130 BCD crankset.  Driveline sells them on Fleabay, along with 58's, 56, 55 etc.  To fit anything past 52 you have to mount on the outside of the crank spider and do some work in the back to deal with the chainline.

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