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Final install and progress shots of the assembly and parts on bike. It works, I still need to trim the shift cable off and get black zipties, possibly rerun the shift housing.

I've been working on the shifting pattern and that is my new nemesis.

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I'm in the final stretch. Unfortunately, adjusting the derailleur has been a nightmare. I've read all the tutorials I can online, watched videos and I've spent literally the last 2 hours trying to get it right.

I cut the housing so there was less cable and ran it so there are no kinds, heavy bends or anything tough on the cabling inside to pass through. I then gently ziptied it to the bike with what I had on hand, figuring once I got it shifting right I'd put on black ties. At one point I pulled it from the way I passed it through the bike and just ran it literally straight back and down along the main tube, following the rear frame down to have the least bends this didnt help either.

It either works between 1 and 3, 1 and 2 or gets stuck on one gear and skips the others, or just shifts to the smallest gear regardless of the shifter being in the second spot when I pedal. And I've adjusted and readjusted tension and sometimes, no matter how tight the cable itself is pulled I end up with slack at the shifter.

I have my limit screws set so the unit cannot go inside or outside past the gears and dump the chain into the spokes or the axle. I've got the B tension screw set so the cog and chain pass close to each other but not too close.

I've adjusted the tensioners on both ends, loosened them, changed the cable's tension at the clamp. I am baffled and frustrated.

I'm thinking I may have to take it to the bike shop and have them try to get it adjusted. They've been, lets jsut say, less then helpful on this project. They've never seen or heard of a 3 speed freewheel, never worked on an ebike that has a rear motor hub (and won't do spoke lacing etc on them), they've never heard of the chain sizing issues, nor did they ask me when I bought parts. They are supposed to be pros and yet I know more then they do on this subject. Hell, I had to specifically ask for a certain chain size, make and model to get the right one because they sold me a 3/32nds chain for 1/2x1/8 gears. Sigh.

So, I have it ridable. But it's shifting is flaky at best and I am just plain sick of trying things. I get 1 working, but skips to 3, I get 2 working and it won't go to 1 or 3, lather rinse and repeat. Over and over.

I might ride over to the Trek shop and see if they can make the adjustments, its only 2 miles and can get there on my bike. I dont trust my rack on the car to carry the 65lbs Sondors across town, and riding it to the other bike shop would take me 1.5 hours. Thats 1.5 hours riding with a chain that I'm not sure will hold. Or using throttle the whole way knowing I'd have about 1/5th my throttle left to get back home in case of emergency.

Any suggestions? Beyond the bike shop?

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EUREKA! Project COMPLETE!

Thanks to a little knowledge from the bike shop near me and a few bits, I have successfully converted my Sondors to 3-Speeds and have it shifting as smoothly as it can be for a bike running single speed parts.

OK, so, my problems were caused by 2 things:

1) The shift lever. I was using a SRAM front shifter and it was not pulling the cord in the right amounts, thus my problem with it jumping gears or jumping completely off, skipping, etc. The bike shop suggested I use a friction shifter for the rear instead of the 3 speed front shifter.

2) The shift cable housing I was sold was labeled as a shifter housing but was infact a brake housing. Brake cable housings have some flex in them to give as you brake, so I was loosing tension because of this. This was also why it hopped gears, would not go into gears, etc.

The bike shop had a used Shimano SIS 5 speed friction shifter in the shop they sold me for $5 and they got me the correct housing. Put it together and viola, it works!

Because of the odd lengths required to shift these non-shift friendly gears in back, it's a little noisy, and to get into the hill gear I have to shift one notch past the mark, once its in gear I pop the lever back and it's golden.

I just rode 10 miles to test it and it works great!

I was told to check into a "Thumbie" by Paul Component Engineering to supplement the friction shifter and make it easier to reach and use:

https://paulcomp.com/shop/components/thumbies/

I'm going to replace the one they installed with something else that I can reach better or the above gadget to supplement it I think later but for now I like my used shifter, it's pre-loved and works. I may rotate the angle of it a bit or move the power/throttle angle a bit so I can reach it. I found I was shifting more then I thought I would so I think it needs to be easier to reach.

Beyond that, it works and I am so relieved. Now I get to play with the LCD settings and get the PAS working better in the new gearing. Since my middle gear is a 2.52 ratio and the stock gearing is 2.5 (or 2.44 if you go by the 39T/16T documentation it's just a tad off and I'm pedaling a tiny bit more for the same speed and the assist isn't sure what to do so I end up going up to PAS 2 to get the same amount of help.

Hill gear - so nice for starting from a stopped position and for hills, slight gradients and generally going slower.

"Stock gear" - to match the stock gearing ratio and speeds for the cadence sensor. I found I used this very little and was on the next up gear most of the time. Otherwise it's 14-18MPH pedalling in this year, the 18MPH-19MPH is frantic as it was in the past riding stock.

Fast gear - I can easily hit 20MPH or faster on this one, it's perfect for my personal taste in pace, I did have to turn PAS up a notch to get it to assist correctly but it lets me go at a much faster speed comfortably.

----

Wahoo!

I'll try to go back through and rebuild my official parts list to make it easy to find and see if I can make it sticky for others to reference.

BTW, I highly suggest if you undertake this conversion that you have everything you need on hand to avoid all the trips to the bike shop and orders online to get the right parts. Also, if you can do this with a shift ready cog/chainwheel system, you will get a much better smoother shift with a quieter ride since the chain and teeth on the cogs/chainwheel are meant to handle shifts and feed the chain from one to the next.

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Gratz on the success of your project, man! I'm sure going the way getting there was as facinating as educational. I sure learned a lot of watching the documentations here on the forums.

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Thanks! I want to do a cleaner write up and get Andi to sticky it or something so people can just grab the basic how-to and go for it.

I also still want to figure out the conversion of a larger cassette so I can pick steeper changes in gears. But I'm happy with what Ive got for now. I may put my focus more into the battery and motor next and let this be a small victory.

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I've got about 25 miles on the converted bike. Loving it. And considering changing the front chainwheel to make it 2 hill gears and a top end once my new battery comes.

I did have a chance to pull apart the 5-Speed freewheel from Sunrace and have a much more detailed look at it's internal parts. It looks like there's no way to cut it so it's shaft is shorter. You either end up cutting off the freewheel threading which you obviously need to mount it on the bike. Or the outside threading/removal fluting - and the threading that holds it together is gone plus there are bearings in there that would be gone and there's no way to seal it up and make it work.

So unless you want to spread your frame and deal with chainline issues, you are looking at the 3-speed I used as the best option for upgrading to more speeds.

I believe a front chainwheel upgrade is possible using a frame mount derailleur but the battery box is in the way for anything in that area. Which is why i picked the rear option myself.

Still a somewhat easy (now that I know how to do it) upgrade for someone who wants more pedal speeds vs more battery speed.

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Downgrade to 3-speeds complete - and don't let those wheels fall off, okay?

So, my 5-speed ended up being a 4-speed. And I didn't see much benefit from the small gap between the middle gears.

So I sent off for a 3-speed freewheel and installed it. I found no loss of utility and everything is happier back there now - it fits with the frame at standard width.

But another thing I noticed was that the "track fork" style slot for the rear wheel, when used with a derailleur instead of a fixed-length chain, would allow the rear wheel to slip off under hard braking if the bolts get loose. Other types of dropouts - vertical or forward facing horizontal - don't have that problem.

So I put some simple brackets in my vice and banged them into shape, turned the chain tensioners around forward and bolted them to the brackets to make a retaining device to prevent the wheel from slipping back far enough to come off. For those thinking of installing a derailleur I recommend doing something similar.

3-speed.jpg

3_speed_rear_view.jpg

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Smart idea @Steve Condie - I was going to put lock washers on mine and try to figure out how to put something on to keep the axle from slipping myself. I had to remove one of the two anchor bolts due to axle length so I was thinking I could do something new, not sure what at this point.

So hows the 3-Speed vs the 5? I'm considering changing my front chainwheel size a bit but beyond that I've been happy so far. I just need to get those chain links done right so they aren't so noisy. :D

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Yeah - I used two jam nuts on that side in place of the one large nut that comes standard, and put the tensioner/retainer between them.

Not much opportunity to ride the past few days since it's been raining off and on every day.  I got to go for a short ~ 3 mile ride today though and I'm happy with the gear ratios and shifting.  The 48 to 16-19-22 gives me a good variety of pedal speeds for the stuff I do.

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These 3-speed conversions are all being done with stock 350W hub motors, correct?  I'm exploring the best value for getting a little more torque or power for off-road use in snow, small climbs, and possible additional cargo or trailer load.  Not looking for speed or distance, just enough to get me and my hunting gear on a 2 mile round trip down an old (relatively flat) logging road/4-wheeler trail.  Currently using an older Trek 850 under pedal power pulling a converted In-step kids cart behind me.  Just gets to be a bit much with heavy weight clothing, boots, and all my gear in the wee hours of the morning without working up a big sweat.

How would you compare the benefits of the 3-speed conversation with minor power upgrades to a full out mid-drive Cyclone conversion (sounds like Luna has one in the works)?

Obviously a substantial price difference.

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@Steve Condie I figure I'll see what I think of the speeds once I have the new battery in. Right now I just have to change the pas level around a bit to get it to keep up with me on the gears. I'm thinking of also trying changing the pas cadence settings to see if that helps. I'm going to look into making something for mine to hold the axle steady as well, I like yours, I just don't have the stuff to make things without going to get some parts. Maybe this weekend. I was hoping to change out the washers I used and put in some lock washers anyway as well.

@MNhunter - Mine is a stock 350w hub motor and battery but with LCD/upgraded 20A controller. I'm adding a 36v/20a battery once it arrives and then a 25a controller and 500-750w motor down the line. My goal with this was two fold... 1) be able to ride with no battery in case I was stuck somewhere and it was dead. 2) give the motor a little help on hills and allow me to pedal at speeds that fit my style. I found myself pedaling so fast to go the speed I am used to with the stock gearing that I needed to make a change. And, the bike is pretty heavy so the motor needs a little help unless you upgrade battery and controller to give it more power. Then you risk burning out the coils if you stress it too much. So I figured this would be a useful project for hauling me and the bike around and up hills etc, and if I goto work etc and have gear with me so there's more weight.

Im sure if you went with a 48w/25a battery, 25a controller, lcd, and a 750-1000w hub, you'd probably get a serious kick in the pants and all the torque you needed to haul that stuff you mentioned, but if the battery is dead, you still have to pedal at the equiv of 2.5:1 ratio which is somewhere around 7-8th gear on a ten speed.

I'm a what-if guy. I needed to know I could get there and back without having to walk the bike minus having flats. And I carry eveything needed to fit those too.

The 3-speed can be done for $100 USD give or take. Requires no heavy modding or anything of that nature, just time and patience. And would fit alongside future torque and power upgrades as well. And you can always go back to stock anytime, it's a standard 170mm crankset with a 40T chainwheel in front and 16T threaded freewheeel in back and a 1/2x1/8 SS chain. (I know this now because of this thread.)

If it were me and I was hauling the load you mention, I'd do the 3 speed, but make the top end = stock speed or as close as possible so you have 2 hill/hauling gear speeds, and then kick up the motor part to get more torque and power.

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I've been silent for a few days but have been following your progress closely. My rear 3 speed sprocket came in so I have begun to get my parts. My biggest concern (and cash outlay) is the derailleur. Everyone seems to just buy the cheapest Shimano Tourney available so I decided to learn everything I could about derailleurs so I could make an informed decision. Boy, what a confusing topic. There are so many different models, all seeming to cater to people who like to shift a lot and have, in my opinion, way too many speeds . The hardest part of my research was to find a derailleur designed for a simple 3 speed cogwheel and a single chainring. Being the economically frugal type (broke) I wanted to purchase an appropriate derailleur that was properly sized, robust enough for my riding habits and as inexpensive as possible, to fit my meager budget.

While looking for parts on Amazon I ran across this informative review that finally brought some clarity to the confusing subject of Shimano derailleurs, their use, price and build quality. The derailleur in question is a Shimano Sora RD-3500-SS

***************************************************************************************************************************************

By D. Alexander

I've put about 500 miles on this derailleur and the front companion. It's solid kit. I wouldn't buy Sora as an upgrade, but it's nothing to sniff at if your bike came with it. It won't ever be the limiting factor in your riding.

Shimano's road line looks about like this:

Dura Ace Di2
Dura Ace
Ultegra Di2
Ultegra
105
Tiagra
Sora
Claris
Tourney

And then a few more layers of part numbers they haven't bothered to name. Among the mechanical models (non-Di2), it's magazine wisdom that 105 is the reliable, utilitarian, minimum choice for 'serious' riders. Ultegra is Dura Ace with some extra weight. Dura Ace is for people with more than one AMEX. Tiagra and below rarely merit a mention.

If you're a club racer, that ranking is true enough. Spring for 105. Paying more yields less weight, an extra cog, slightly faster shifting, somewhat easier and more consistent shift actuation pressure, and somewhat better shifting under load. But all that stuff is nice to have in same way leather seats are nice to have. You won't go any faster.

Sora has solid mechanicals. It doesn't miss or delay shifts, regardless of the load. I've caused a few misses; I won't press the shifter quite hard enough to snap into the next gear, or I'll come to a stop in a high gear, so I have to creak my way up six gears in five feet. It doesn't make nice sounds when I do that, but that isn't Shimano's fault.

So why is this review four stars? Partly because the shifting experience is merely good instead of the buttery cream you'd get with the higher models, but also because I've found the gearing somewhat awkward. My road-biased hybrid has 50/34 in the front and 11/32 in the back. I'm constantly shifting between the front rings. There's chain rub with 34/11 and 34/13 (expected but annoying), which is right around my most comfortable cadence and speed. There's actually more noise lined up straight with the big front cog than cross-chained with the small one.

The middle trim settings in the shifter for the front derailleur are almost vestigial; they're only useful for three gears. Finding the optimal combination of levers is a bit distracting on uneven terrain. Not difficult or objectionable, just more to manage. There's a 50/39/30 Sora triple that'd solve this. Likewise a Tiagra 52/39. With a faster bike, I'd choose the latter.

***************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

OK, now I'm still looking for a derailleur but at least I now know what the pecking order is, at least for the Shimano Road lines. After reading the above review I decided to buy a Shimano 105-SS. SS being the designation for the short cage. The cage length is important  when sizing a derailleur. The cage length is the length of the 2 takeup wheels and the cage that holds them. Cages come in three sizes, long, medium and short. The cage length allows you to use the larger cassette groups typically found on road and BMC bikes. The short cage is best for bikes with smaller cog sets and single or double chainrings. All derailleurs have a maximum tooth number that corresponds to the cage length. Here is the formula for calculating that number.

Needed Capacity = (largest cog - smallest cog) + (largest chainring - smallest chainring)

for our cog set  Needed capacity = (22-16)+(48-48)=6

For most SS derailleurs (small cage) the Max capacity=30-32t

This means that for our bikes the best derailleur would be a small cage type. The benefit of the small cage is shorter chain, tighter control of the shift cog, smother shifts with better control. Not to mention that the derailleur doesn't hang down nearly as much reducing possibility of damage (and it looks better).

Then there is the problem of the shift lever. Because most shift systems are designed to work with a specific derailleur family, all shifters will not work with all derailleurs. Here is a great site with all of the information about all of these systems and how they play together.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/speeds.html#shifters

After reading this page I found out that the Shimano 105 will not work with the Shimano ST-E51 that I was going to buy. The previous version of the 105 would but in their infinite wisdome Shimano change the configuration of the new model so it only works with the 105 or above lines at a huge increase in price (and I mean huge). I think I will end up using a Shimano Sora RD-3500 SS instead. It's a few bucks cheaper and is the one described in the review above. The left hand model has the 3 speed indicator and if I can find a source for it, there is a model that is made specifically for disk brakes called a 2 finger model. That model is sold out on Amazon, unfortunately.

I still haven't picked out a chainwheel set, yet, The one I wanted, on eBay was sold out in black and they only have purple left in the 48t model. The next clossest match I found was twice the money so I will keep looking or see when they will restock.

Well I hope this info will help someone wade through the intricacies of their drive train. This has been driving me crazy for the last week. I will post an update withi links to all of my parts when I finally get everything finalized and purchased.

 

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MNhunter, If you are not trying to get more top speed but need more bottom end torque, you could put a larger chainwheel on yours so the 22t rear cogwheel matched with your new front chainwheel gives you the stock 2.5 ratio. That would give you 2 lower gears to shift into if you needed a wider power range. I haven't done the math but I think a 52t chainwheel is about right. I think that's about the upper limit on chainwheel sizes commonly available, but I haven't checked that out yet.

 

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FWIW I chose the Tourney because it's what I saw in use (and therefore proven to work) on @biknut's Fatty. I did some research on it and it's gears were wide and would accept any chain width and pitch etc. And it happened to be axle mount and cheap.

I have considered chain-ging (pun intended) to a new one maybe one that uses an axle based hanger, shorter cage. But my rig works now so I don't want to break what ain't broken at this point.

Shift levers - I was given an education thanks to the wonderful nice John at Trek on Riverside here in Tulsa. He told me that unless you find a 3-speed shifter designed specifically for a rear derailluer that is the same exact shift distances, it will never quiet line up right. He recommended using a higher gear rear friction shifter and tuning the gearing to one side or the other of the gear numbers on the lever based on reach, ease of use.

On mine, which he said would most likely be typical, The gears are 5, 4, then I have to shift into 2 and then ease it back into 3 for it to ride smoothly on the final gear. The 2 position is where the tension is enough to pull the derailleur then backing it off releases the extra tension removing stretch and shift problems. He also told me this would pretty much be the case for most shifters since the 3-speed cog we are using has spacing for a SS chain. He guessed it was acutally meant to be hand moved from cog to cog with a single speed chain based on need, like a hilly track or a high speed track. Like fixie bikers do by flipping their rear wheel to get to the other gear.

I am searching for something that is more ergo friendly for me, accepting the fact that I will most likely not have perfect spacing and therefore the gears may need a "nudge then back" on one side or the other. I did some research and did find that there are afew companies who make these kind of shifters that can be literally tuned exactly to the exact tension shift point for each gear, moving notches etc. I haven't researched that as it sounded very expensive.

I look forward to seeing what results you get and if you can find some more fine tuning solutions to this on-going 3-Speed magic we are working here.

I take great pride in knowing that all I've suffered and learned, my inspiration from @biknut's Fatty, everything everyone else has to say, it's all going to help someone else upgrade.

AND, as far as I know I have 1 of 3 Sondors in my state, only one in my city and one of what 3 in the USA with 3-speed conversion. I like feeling like I'm important and on the forefront of something cool. And helping others get there makes me very much forget all the money, freewheels trashed, items returned, shifters broken, cables cut wrong, hours and hours of frustration.

So with that, I leave it up to you to fine tune and share so we can all journey forth together on this sweet ass upgrade. (No Im not drunk.)

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4 minutes ago, MisterFixIt1952 said:

 

MNhunter, If you are not trying to get more top speed but need more bottom end torque, you could put a larger chainwheel on yours so the 22t rear cogwheel matched with your new front chainwheel gives you the stock 2.5 ratio. That would give you 2 lower gears to shift into if you needed a wider power range. I haven't done the math but I think a 52t chainwheel is about right. I think that's about the upper limit on chainwheel sizes commonly available, but I haven't checked that out yet.

 

I believe 52T is what @biknut chose. I think its more like 54-56 to get the 2.5 ratio which sadly will not fit literally. At least without putting a much wider crankshaft on and putting crazy spacers on the chainring so it sticks out, then losing your chainline.

I can't find any chainrings that fit my BCD 133 chainring size, or I'd buy a 52 to try myself! Sigh. I may end up buying yet another crankset to get the right BCD to get the 52T. This project is not over for me. I figure by the end of the year I'll have all new everything at this rate lol :D

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AMS, if you would like to add a front derailleur without attaching it to the seat post, check this out. This an excerpt from Sheldonbrown.com probably the best bike info site on the web.

E-Type Front Derailleur

e-type.jpg

A front derailleur designed to be secured to the bicycle by the right-side bottom bracket mounting ring or cup, instead of clamping to the seat tube.

E-type derailleurs are commonly used on bicycles that have non-round seat tubes that are incompatible with standard clamp-type front derailleurs. An E-type derailleur also may be used on a small-wheel bicycle where the chain slants down toward the rear hub, or on a bicycle with rear suspension that would get in the way of other derailers. E-type derailleurs do not provide any adjustment other than the high and low limit stops, and rotation around the bottom bracket.

It is hard to install an E-type derailleur wrong, but on the other hand, it must be used only with the specific sizes of chainrings for which it was designed, and with a bottom bracket cup or mounting ring that has a shoulder to retain the derailer.

 

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Thanks all!  I'm on the pre-order for the current GoSondors campaign, so I have yet to see what these bikes can do even in their stock configuration.  Just looking ahead and trying to get a plan in place.  The three speed conversion looks like a great value and all your work will be a huge benefit when the bike finally arrives.  I'll know exactly what needs to be done and what parts to use.

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@MisterFixIt1952 Interesting, I will have to look into that possibly :D I think having 2 front chainwheels would also mean that you could make the one thats on the outside larger then what would fit now, so you could go to 54-58T if you wanted. Or go the other direction and make the inside stock sized or smaller and outside 42 or so :D

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That's pretty close to the 48/19 "stock" config with a 2.6-1 ratio, does it feel similar to stock, do you feel a benefit to the extra teeth vs 48/19 in the middle to get to 2.52-1?

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I'm still working up a parts list to sticky for this.

In the meantime, I have thought of something that could also be a viable solution for those who want to go 5-7 speed.

Bafang makes a cassette version of their rear hub motor, and as far as I can tell it's the same size as the threaded versions. This would mean you just have to replace the hub and could then use a multi-speed cassette.

Here's one I found on ebay (for pics and specs):

SPECIFICATIONS
Position: Rear Motor
Construction: Geared Motor
Nominal Voltage: 36/48V
Rated Power: 750W
RPM: 180-420
Max Torque: 80 N.m
Efficiency: ≥ 80 %

Mounting Parameters
Brake: Disc Brake
Weight: 4.6 kg

Cassette Freehub Hub dropout width: 175mm rear hub motor (Support 8, 9 or 10-Speed Cassette)
Cabling Shaft Center, Right
Spoke Specification 12G

Further Specifications
Cadence (Pulses/Cycle): 6/1
Reduction Ratio: 1:5
Magnet Poles: 20
Noise: <55 dB
Hall Sensor: optional
Connector: Waterproof

Tests & Certifications
IP-Code: IP 65
Certifications: ROHS / CE

s-l500-1.jpg

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Here's the same motor with the threaded cog system, looks to be the same exact size.

SPECIFICATIONS
Position: Rear Motor
Construction: Geared Motor
Nominal Voltage: 36/48V
Rated Power: 750W
RPM: 180-420
Max Torque: 80 N.m
Efficiency: ≥ 80 %

Mounting Parameters
Brake: Disc Brake
Weight: 4.6 kg

Hub dropout width: 175mm rear hub motor (Support Single, 6 or 7-Speed Freewheel)
Cabling Shaft Center, Right
Spoke Specification 12G

Further Specifications
Cadence (Pulses/Cycle): 6/1
Reduction Ratio: 1:5
Magnet Poles: 20
Noise: <55 dB
Hall Sensor: optional
Connector: Waterproof

Tests & Certifications
IP-Code: IP 65
Certifications: ROHS / CE

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The motor itself is attached to the threaded/cassette side of the hub body, so, in theory, if the body for the 350/500/750 is identical in side, you'd just have to pull the guts and gears and put the 350/500/750 cassette based motor into the body and close it up and put a 7+ speed cassette on and you'd be in business. Probably with very little frame spread or spacers. I've not seen or measured one of these to confirm this but the specs match so... possibilities!

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Hey @MisterFixIt1952 - any updates on your parts and conversion?

 

FYI, I spoke with the bike shop guy again and he said -any- friction shifter meant for a rear derailleur should work fine. I have 3 at home and one on the bike. I am going to see if I can figure out the best one that has the most ease of use. Currently I have to kind of reach up and over to the left, hand almost or compeltely leaving the grip to shift due to how the shifter sits. I am wondering if I loosen the cable and move the shift lever a bit if that will help. Otherwise I will probably try to find one whos lever makes more sense... I was hoping to use the Shimano SRAM X.4 right trigger since I love the X.4 on my Giant. I had originally tried to use the front/left one (posted about here on page 1) but its 3 speeds don't jive with the spacing on the gears. So I'm wondering if this will happen with the rear one too.

It's not a friction shifter, it does have watershed stops. But I don't see why you couldnt do the same as I do now, just shift over until you are in the gear, then back off if you had to skip a spot.

Ive read that you need a Shimano SRAM Derailleur for this to work correctly, but I don't see how that is relevant. It's not the derailleur that is the issue, it's the spacing of the rear cogs. The derailleur itself, you just set your limit screws so it cannot go out or in past the internal/external cogs and the rest is in the hands of the shifter itself.

The only thing that might be relevant is the spacing between the cogs on the bike and the topmost deraileur cog.

I'm considering buying one to try so I can add knowledge to this thread.

R 8-Speed Trigger : Bike Shifters And Parts : Sports & Outdoors 2016-03-17 14-52-40.jpg

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I have spent hours & hours combing the web for information about 3 speed freewheels with derailleur and shifter combos and you know what, there isn't any. There is literally nothing about a 3 speed with a derailleur. Everyone is obsessed with more speeds bigger cassettes, more, more, more!

I just want a 3 speed freewheel with a reasonably good, short cage, derailleur with an indexed 3 speed brake/shifter combo left hand. Is that too much to ask? Well apparently it is, or at least finding the right combination of parts is. There is a lot of information on the web about rear derailleurs and rear shifters. One of the best sites for information and compatibility issues is.

http://blog.artscyclery.com/science-behind-the-magic/science-behind-the-magic-drivetrain-compatibility/

There is almost no information about front shifters, which is what I would like to use, because they have 3 indexed speeds. The best (and only) information I could come up with, after reading more bike blogs than I care to remember, is this wiki article

Front Shift Ratios[edit]

The notion of shift ratio, the ratio of cable pull to the distance that the derailleur moves across the chain-rings is primarily of interest for indexed shifting, as opposed to friction shifting. Regrettably, manufacturers give no more information for front shifting than they do for rear shifting, and user data is scarce. The few facts that are available are these.

  • SRAM Front Derailleurs: The native SRAM shift ratio for its front and rear gear is in fact about 1.1, as opposed to the 1:1 family's implied unity. In general, SRAM shifters that are made for the 1:1 family can be used with native SRAM front and rear derailleurs, provided of course that they have the correct number of speeds.
  • Shimano Front Derailleurs: Shimano makes use of indexed front shifting. The Shimano shift ratio for front derailleurs is close to that of SRAM's 1:1 family, ie, unity or 1.1. Note that this differs considerably from their rear derailleur ratios of 1.7. Although this fact is not specified by Shimano, because SRAM advertises 1:1 shifters for their rear shifting as being suitable for Shimano's front derailleurs, the assumed shift ratio of unity seems reasonable. Shimano's front shifters however, differ for road and MTB use; a blog discussion implies that a MTB pulls 9.75mm of cable for a front shift whereas a road shifter pulls only 6.75mm; some 3mm less than the MTB.

 So here is a quick synopsis of the pertinent information that I have gleaned from my extensive reading. (I advise reading the above web link article for background info) Our rear 3 cog freewheel  has a 6.2mm pitch. Pitch being the cog to cog spacing, rather than the chain link spacing that is usually thought of when referring to pitch. I measured the pitch using a Mitutoyo digital caliper. The pitch varied a bit from cog to cog but 6.2mm was a good average for my purposes. Using this formula  Cable pull * Derailleur shift ratio = Cog pitch , (from the above web link) I calculated a required pull length of 3.65mm using the standard shimano derailleur shift ratio of 1.7. That means that an indexed rear shifter must pull the cable 3.65mm for every shift click to move the chain up or down the cog (for a shimano derailleur). Using an sram derailleur, the shift ratio is 1 to 1 or 1:1, which gives me a pull length of 6.2mm. According to the above information, about shimano front shifters, a shimano road shifter pulls about 6.75mm. I figure that with our actual cog pitch of 6.2mm and the shimano 3 speed front derailleur pull of 6.75mm, I should be able to use a stock shimano road bike left hand 3 speed front shifter. With cable stretch ,and such, I should be able to shift up and down from the 19t center cog without too much trouble.

The other alternative, for an indexed shifter, (from the above link table) is to use a shimano 11 Mountain bike shifter, which has a 3.6mm pull

6.2 pitch /1.7 (shimano ratio) =3.65mm (cable pull)

A shimano mountain bike, 11 speed rear derailleur shifter, should give you exact shifting pull between the 3 rear cog gears, using any shimano rear derailleur, with a 1.7 ratio, which is most of the shimano line (at least the affordable ones). Now the problem is to find out what 11 speed mountain bike shifter they are referring to. It seems that Shimano has a problem with publishing any information on their products leaving only blog postings and articles, such as the above, to glean actual information from. It seems that the more I read, the more confused I get. OK Forget this, the shimano mountain bike, 11 speed rear derailleur shifter is made for hydraulic brakes.

 

I would really like to use a stock 3 speed shifter, just for simplicities sake. I would also like to have a model with the integrated brake lever, to keep from further cluttering up my already overcrowded ( left) handlebar. (I have a motorcycle multiswitch for my horn, lights and turn signals), Adding a separate thumb switch for the shifter would mean moving the turn signals over where they would be difficult to reach with my overworked thumb. Shimano makes a reasonably nice lever combo for about $17 and you can just buy the left lever with the 3 speed shifter. This is the Shimano EF51, 3-Speed, Left Brake/Shift Lever. Be careful if you buy one, there are 2 styles, one for disk brakes and one for cantilever brakes. These are usually described as 2 finger and 4 finger. This whole subject is driving me a bit crazy. both types of shifters have the same model number and the product descriptions are really lame. I'll need to do more research before ordering to make sure that I am actually getting what I think I am.

 

Since starting this post (5) days ago) I've been doing a lot more reading and combing the blogs for any other information I could get on derailleurs and shifters and I think I've finally figured the whole thing out but due to lack of accurate information (mostly from Shimano) it's hard to confirm model numbers and different parts lines (Tourney, Altus, etc.). A lot of the articles refer to parts in general terms , like 11 speed road, or 11 speed MTB. This makes trying to locate actual parts somewhat of a nightmare.

The biggest problem I'm having is the shifter. I would really like to use an index shifter. Not so much for myself but to simplify shifting for my ladies bike. She likes things obvious and simple. Myself, I would use whatever I could cludge together, if I had too.  With only three speeds it just strikes me that you should just be able to thumb the shift lever and shift up or down with the indicator showing 1, 2 or 3. Yeah, right!! We all know what should be and what is are often miles apart. No one makes a 3 speed rear derailleur shifter. They only make 3 speed front derailleur shifters and the two are entirely different animals with different pull lengths.

I was going to erase this whole post but since it contains some good information I'm just going to post it anyway. AMS, you can delete this if you like or think it just junks up your fine thread. 

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