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Brewerpaul

Lower gears for my Step?

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I've been loving my Step since I got it in August. I ride mainly on pavement,occasionally a dirt path. Nothing mountain-bikey. So far, only one long steep hill has made me get off and walk it up, which I'm pretty happy with since at nearly 70 I'm no young'n.
Still, I'd like to conquer those occasional tough hills a bit easier so I'd like to change my gearing. I thought of adding a smaller chainwheel, but that would be too complicated if I tried to add a front derailleur. Someone suggested a new cassette/freewheel which seems a more practical solution. I wouldn't want to lose my highest gears, but if I could switch to a cassette with a lower "granny" gear (or in my case, grandpa gear) that would be terrific. This brings up some questions;

1) what is the tooth count of my stock cassette? They're not listed on the website, and I'd rather not get all dirty counting them manually if I don't have to .

2) how much larger of a low gear could the derailleur handle without having to modify or replace the chain?

3) What would be involved with making the change once I had the rear wheel off the bike?

I'd love answers to these, plus any other hints and tips y'all might have.

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Paul, what do you brew?

I like the road cycling ethic, of the groups I see riding in your area.  I had friends that lived in Lovettesville, and I’d fly my Grumman light aircraft into Leesburg airport to visit https://airnav.com/airport/KJYO.   and later, when they moved to Lake Holiday, I’d fly into Winchester.    https://airnav.com/airport/KOKV 

Always freaked out in my friend’s Jag, on these locally hilly 2 lane, winding  blacktops, that cresting any hill you might encounter a Lance Legstrong Peloton group cycling towards infamy (been there done that).

I'm guessing that you could go to a 34Tooth low rear cog on the freewheel/cassette, whichever your bike’s hub is. My newer Bafang 750Watt motors designs are Cassette. Thats about as low as you can go and that will work fine with your long cage derailleur. I have no exact tooth count of your existing freewheel/cassette.. I don’t own one.  Finding a 11-34T would give you the best of both worlds and I use that exact cogset in the Cassette form  in my 750w  Fat, with a short cage, Tourney Shimano  derailleur.   You will get dirty, while making the exchange, unless you paraffin wax your chains and use White Lightning Clean Ride in between Hot Waxing.  You will have to add links to your chain to maintain proper indexing and shifting, if your spacing is like my Fat, but your Local Bike Shop might donate the necessary links for a small fee or could could buy an extra chain, to use links every time you buy a new chain to add the necessary length.  I recommend KMC 8 speed X8.99  chains; they are hard wearing, nickel plated on both inner and outer plates and easier to keep clean.   https://www.ebay.com/itm/KMC-X8-99-Silver-5-6-7-8-Speed-Nickel-Plated-Bike-Chain-fits-Shimano-SRAM-Campy/321974783654
The best tip I can give you is go to your LBS.  If you plan the exchange yourself, you’ll need a chain break tool and a freewheel removal tool.  You can review YouTube videos on replacing shimano freewheel/cassettes, my bikes are equipped with both.  To the benefit of any single speed Sondors owners, you’ll have to destroy your single speed freewheel to remove it. It will be well worth the few dollars you’ll pay a bike shop for labor for installing the extended chain, your new Freewheel/Cassette and adjusting the rear derailleur, plus you’ll be developing a relationship with guys who can professionally wrench on your Smart Step, in the future. 

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          REDDY

 

 

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Shimano TZ500 7-Speed 14-28t Freewheel Tooth count for your stock Step 7 speed Freewheel: Cogs: 14-16-18-20-22-24-28T

I have owned my Sondors Step since August 2019. I am pretty sure you will need a FREEWHEEL gear cluster (it screws on) and not a cassette. Some Sondors owners have  recommended the  Drift Maniac E-Bike FREEWHEEL 7 Speeds 11-34T Epoch (found some on Amazon) to replace your Shimano 14-28 OEM FREEWHEEL. Your new 11-34 Freewheel will give you greater climbing ability and increased top speed as well.  The chain on my Step at 120 links is almost on the brink of too long as it comes from the factory. So it might pay off to try the chain you have before you break it and/or replace it. I decided to JUST change the chainring on my Step to 47T from the original 52T. Smaller chainrings are available, but I only like to make small changes at a time. A 47T chainring and pedaling much harder worked for me.  I use my Step for cruising on the flat and the "bunny hills". For the more serious hills, I solved my problem by adding an MXS to my Sondors stable. Changing YOUR Freewheel to an 11-34T (Shimano has a 14-34T) could be an interesting project and you could share your experiences and successes with the group. Photos and details please. 😉

 

Edited by Warehouse-guy
To list Step freewheel gear tooth count.

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On 2/6/2020 at 8:35 PM, Warehouse-guy said:

Shimano TZ500 7-Speed 14-28t Freewheel Tooth count for your stock Step 7 speed Freewheel: Cogs: 14-16-18-20-22-24-28T

I have owned my Sondors Step since August 2019. I am pretty sure you will need a FREEWHEEL gear cluster (it screws on) and not a cassette.

 

Warmer weather is coming and I'm eager to do this!

How fan I tell whether I need a cassette or freewheel?

How big a deal is making the change once the rear wheel is off? Special tools? I have the basics. Would I be better off letting the LBS do it,if they're willing to work on an electric that they don't carry, and didn't sell? This is just mechanical work, not part of the electric system.

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Well it’s not a big job at all, to remove or install the Freewheels. It can be accomplished without a Freewheel Tool or ChainWhip but I’d recommend buying both, plus a chain break to remove your chain and a quick link and extra matching links to equal the new max tooth count, less the quick link / master link. You’ll want a Park Tool FR 1.3 Freewheel Tool because it has a large hole to fit over the Large Higo Motor Power Cable Connector, when removing the Freewheel plus any manufacturer chain whip, will work, to tighten the Freewheel and a little grease. See

Before this tool, with the desired large hole was available, we sawed the original version of the tool in half, at the shop, so we could slide both halves into the Freewheel, eliminating the need to slide it over the connector.  
Of course, it’ might benefit you to take your  bike to a LBS to assist or watch and increase your knowledge base and start an association with competent  bike mechanics and buy your parts and tools from them. 
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               REDDY
 

 

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How to know if you need a freewheel? All Sondors have freewheels. If that doesn't convince you, just do an internet search on the model number that is printed right on your Step's freewheel. My Step came with a Shimano TZ500 7-Speed 14-28t Freewheel. Cogs: 14-16-18-20-22-24-28T

I decided not to change the freewheel on my Step. I first changed the factory 52T chainring to a 47T. I liked that, BUT NOW,  I am successfully using a Shimano 41Tooth chainring. CHEAP and EASY. I took the path of least resistance. However, when my current freewheel wears out .... the sky's the limit.

I just watched the video posted regarding freewheel removal. Very nice, thank you very much for that. A freewheel removal tool would make the change much easier. I'm pretty sure that the chain whip tool would not be needed, as just pedaling your bike will tighten your new freewheel very nicely, as suggested in the video. and attested to by other Sondors owners that have changed their freewheels. While it would be very handy to have a chain break tool, extra links and quicklink  handy, I would recommend not breaking the chain until you try using the chain (no load) as is. The chain on my Step is a little on the long side right from the factory.  Good luck, happy and safe riding no matter what you decide to do.🙃

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You’ll find a post on this forum detailing what I had to do to my SONDORS X to make it up 40% grades in the foothills Hills East of Anchorage Alaska75DC7177-6CED-4507-B544-BDE9F4AE830D.thumb.jpeg.95a7141f9070f753382e12c870b3e248.jpeg

14-28 changed out foa a 14-32

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I changed the original 50T For a 32T - this was the silver bullet

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The Trek bike shop in Anchorage changed out the cassette,  as I did not have those tools with me, but I ordered the 32T off of Amazon, along with chain break and master links.
It worked out very well.
 

It would  be nice to see SONDORS come out with mountain bike gears, 10-50 with a 32T Chainring

 

 

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All Sondors eBikes come with correctly lengthened chains for their front chainring and rear cogs, installed on your bike.  Any change in either, will require resizing the chain length to maintain proper indexing and derailleur cage tension. The one exception to this rule is that, Single Speed Sondors don’t have derailleurs but also require resizing to maintain proper dropout alignment when gearing changes are made. 
I’d like to review the posts where changes in gearing only used pedaling to tighten their freewheels as "attested to by other Sondors owners that have changed their freewheels". I’ve been unable to verify this, but I’ll repeat that a chain whip is a necessary tool to consider in your inventory. Just ask any bike shop mechanic. 

Further, there is no such gearing available with either a 10 tooth or 50 tooth rear cog set.  Sondors Factory Engineers carefully selected the correct and most popular gearing for the majority of Sondors owners, now numbering over 50,000. But here again, Sondors eBikes are so easily customized and those procedures are one of the functions of this forum.  Misinformation also appears in posts here. 
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                        REDDY

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Reddy,

We have had several conversations in the past concerning SONDORS gears.  

My last line, "It would  be nice to see SONDORS come out with mountain bike gears, 10-50 with a 32T Chainring".  This was not a retrofit idea, this is a totally reengineered SONDORS MTB bike.

435965845_10-50TCassette.thumb.jpg.90ad42e4bb342da634e2f301b8490614.jpg

SONDORS is coming out with new bikes every year, my MXS is a great example of the engineering SONDORS is bringing to the e-bike market.

I spent 2 1/2 weeks east of Anchorage, AK, riding in the foot hills. Without MTB gears it is impossible to take on 40% grades with ice and snow! I upgraded the Cassette with a 14-32, this is a direct replacement for the stock 14-28, and the 50T Chainring with a 32T, this took an existing SONDORS X, without suspension, and turned it into a great Flat Bar Gravel Bike for ice and snow!

My comment was a suggestion to SONDORS, to take a look, but if this is not their market, then case closed. The conversation was driven by a SONDORS ad, that showed a SONDORS biker riding in a glacial setting, which was totally wrong, without Studded Tires, and the right gears. Don't forget the Pogies!

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SONDORS Ad that ran during February 2020

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This is what a brand new SONDORS X looks like properly outfitted for AK, February 2020!

I had SONDORS ship this X to AK!

You know Reddy, this is the reason we both own several SONDORS bikes, they are a great bike, and we love to work on them!

    

Edited by Albert Werth

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This is not the venue for either your suggestions to Sondors, nor your complaints about Sondors the Company’s advertising, which are a violation of the terms of service that you agreed to when you signed up, joining this forum.  This is not a complaint board.
Please take your wishes and complaints to Sondors.com, if that’s who you want to reach or admonish. They do not monitor this forum nor wish our advise.  This Forum is a private entity not connected to Sondors the Company. Your type of warrantless complaints, on this form breeds discontent, as experienced in the past, thus those applicable statements in the terms of service agreement, and you again persist in violating the user agreement, by repeating your dissatisfaction. Your demeanor here is negative and this form exists as a positive enity for Sondors owners and prospectives. You have already been sanctioned for an earlier Faux Pas and violation of the terms.  I’d like to suggest that your trip to Alaska has you RIDING ON THIN ICE... but I won’t at this point. <]:^)
I have and will always address misinformation that is posted on this forum. 
I have neither the inclination not time to try and explain Sondors marketing or their business plan and you must be fully aware of the fact that they offer valuable products at the most reasonable prices because of the simplicity of basic design, engineering and manufacturing of their product line and my evaluation of your suggestions are unreasonable to maintain the line’s affordability. But I don’t make decisions for Storm Sondors or the Company. That’s why this is absolutely the wrong place to air your wishes directed towards them. 
My own Original Sondors Fat,  I was one of the first purchasers, and one of the first to be delivered, can hardly be called a Sondors because the Only, original parts on my Electric Black Lightning (I like to promote it as the Modern Electric version of a Vincent) )) are the Frame, Fork, Battery Box and Bottom Bracket. ... oh and an occasional nut, bolt and screw. Every other part is after market including the Headset which in my estimation is the weakest link on the bike (pun intended).  I have no complaints.  On the contrary, I was in the process of building a scratch built eBike costing several, "Several"... times the purchase price of my Original, when Sondors & Indiegogo offered the Original Fat. I appreciate the platform and have enjoyed the adventure of converting and upgrading it.  I have to add that I’ve been here from the beginnings of this Forum and I might have missed a post or two during my reviews but I believe you are the first individuals who tries to tell Storm how he should build his products. I think, I would remember especially since I take Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide and Resveratrol, thanks to David Sinclair.. Thanks for mentioning; Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger. It’s not only in my riding playlist  https://open.spotify.com/track/5mEDzksquyffq78nAbXPB7?si=2IJ_JiLySAiO79e_giiCSA.  but the result of my Diet, based on Jeff Volek & Stephen Phinney’s two books and mostly "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance" and a 20hr daily fast with one substantial meal a day .... autogaphy as my goal. 
A few problems with your desired rear cog set. Geometry does not allow the space nor the tight radius for a 10 tooth rear cog or the chain to fit/turn on the hub, and I don’t believe there is an available 50T rear sprocket either designed for the freewheel or a Cassette, which my bikes use either, or. There is no derailleur designed for that size of spacing. But you might entice Phil Wood or the like, to custom manufacture your desired cog set but I’m pretty sure that’s at least a few thousand dollar investment. I’d suggest you review Sheldon Browns site to verify your desires but it seems to me that adding a double chainring could accomplish your intended range and that’s already been done by more one owner on this forum.. None the less, that issue, as you suggested, Is Case Closed.. 
Oh, and on my flights to Alaska, I didn’t take a single bike in my aircraft but I was there for Dolly Varden and Salmon not snow.  You shoulda seen the one that got away.  As long as we’re bragg’n bout our bikes, I’ve got $7,000 invested in this Litespeed Ultimate ... that’s almost twice what I paid for my GS1100ez Suzuki, new  (the 25th Anniversary Shimano Dura Ace Limited Production Presentation Groupo, that I use, listed for $2500 alone, that said,  it did come with a commemorative watch) and I had to build it.. I have a matching Litespeed Vortex but with a standard Dura Ace 7700 groupo. Both feature the original PowerTap Power Meters.. I’ve always wanted and shopped for a 1999 Litespeed Blade, to complete my Litespeed trifecta. It was the Model Lance Rode to his Time Trial Victories, in his first Tour de France Title Win, disguised as a Trek but that has escaped me. 
E41E7DAD-4552-4846-B814-05C76713EA0E.thumb.jpeg.9811edca1614e9ae87ffcbd707447b27.jpeg 7CD0B46D-39BA-4F1A-B542-ACB825531CA7.jpeg.20176cd88d356dde215601ffd1dab133.jpeg
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‘Cute Ain’t She.... a nudder one that escaped .... 

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             REDDY

     OVER AND OUT 

‘SMOKE”M  IF YA GOT’M  

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