After coming back from
a long tour of France I decided it was time to put a motor on the Pino. I had mulled it over for some time and, because a new ‘e-pino’ is horrendously expensive, I decided to fit a Bafang Crank Motor.
I bought the motor and battery together, from ‘Aliexpress.com’ and ordered it from China, as it’s cheaper than using a European supplier, but delivery times are longer. If you are in a hurry for the kit, a UK or European supplier will get it to you sooner.
The hardest part was getting the old BB out – it had been on the bike since 2011. I swapped the stock control display unit for a SW102 combined controller/display which is very small and sits neatly at the bar-end. I also had to fit hydraulic brake sensors (bought at the same time) and I fitted the plain, right-hand crank from a Thorn Tandem ‘Captain’s’ crankset from SJS Cycles. The total bill was around £700.
Fresh back from a ride, so it’s not clean – the left-hand Hase crank with freewheel and the motor sitting under the BB shell.
The Hase crank has a square taper axle – in what I call a ‘square, square’ pattern. The Bafang cranks supplied in the kit are ‘square, diamond’ pattern, so, in order to retain the Hase freewheel, you need to source a ‘square, square’ right hand crank. These are available as a
Tandem Captain’s crankset from SJS Cycles. You will have to buy the crankset, as they don’t sell individual R/H cranks.
The ‘Square, square’ hole in the Thorn crank matches the hole pattern in the Hase Pino freewheel crank. Our Pino is 2011. Hase may now use a different crankset, so it’s worth checking before you buy.
The Thorn, right-hand crank from SJS Cycles and the 46T covered chainring. You can specify different sized chainrings but we’ve found, coupled to a Rohloff with 15T sprocket, it’s a good size that allows us to climb well and keep pedalling up to 25-30mph.
The 17.5Ah battery bought with the kit. The battery doesn’t have an ‘off’ switch or a USB socket. Both features worth having I think, so it may be a good idea to buy the battery separately from the kit, or make sure these features are on the battery. The battery locks into place on the mounting bracket with a key.
The mounting plate for the battery. There was more than enough power cable, so I shortened it to fit the layout better.
Right side of battery showing charging port. This is quite a large battery at 17.5 Ah but there’s enough room to slide the battery off the mount to remove for charging indoors.
Mounting plate from right side. There’s a bottle cage mount on the frame (under the black cover on the bracket), that can be used to mount the bracket. I had to drill a couple of holes in the bracket, to allow it to be fitted using the holes in the frame and sit in the correct position. A zip-tie keeps the front end tight. The power supply cable runs out of the rear of the battery mount and behind, then under the BB shell.
Rohloff hub with chain tensioner. Chain alignment is pretty good.
Please excuse the grotty Ergon Grips – that’s 9 year’s worth of accumulated gunge. The SW102 controller/display. This is not the standard display and separate controller that comes with most kits. I added the lumps to the buttons, as selecting up/down on the unmodified rocker switch was tricky with gloves on. The cable runs along the underside of the grip, but it could go down the inside of the bars for a tidy look, but you will need extensions to do so.
Since the first photo, I added some padding in the form of a chopped up handlebar grip to cover the brake clamp, which I found irritating on long rides. I am going to do the job properly using bar tape.
The thumb-throttle at the end of the bars – handy for pulling away on hill-starts or from junctions. Again, the cable runs along the underside of the grip. The Rohloff gear selector is a left-hand one which I find works well where it is mounted.
We have a hub dynamo on the front wheel, to which we connected a Busch & Muller Lumotec IQ2 Luxos headlamp. This has a USB outlet, so I have run a charging cable from that to the handlebar, to keep my phone charged while I use it to track rides and navigate. The waterproof bag is a Topeak dry bag.
The magnet mounted to the brake lever and the sensor, mounted to the brake lever body so that pulling on the brakes cuts the power to the motor. I used the very useful mouldable glue ‘ Sugru’ for the job. It sets in about 24 hours, so a little tape was necessary to keep all in place while the glue set. The brake sensors were extra, but the cables fit in place of the cable brake levers supplied with the kit. All the cables on the kit have different colours for matching male/female connectors as well as different pin patterns, so it’s pretty well impossible to make a wrong connection.
The wheel sensor and magnet on the rear wheel. These need to be fitted and aligned well, as if they don’t work, the motor will cut out after a couple of minutes if it’s not registering any rotation.
This may all look a bit complicated, but I am no mechanic or engineer, and I have fitted two of these motors now. As I said at the start, the hardest part can be removing the old BB.