~50km on a 'baby' Bafang M500 around Prague


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My wife and I are in Prague for a few weeks, combination of work and a few days off..so of course, decided to try to find an ebike to ride... which in and of itself was kind of an experience, as a lot of the rentals and tours were very much short duration tourist-focused, a handful of electric 'mopeds' and scooters, misc hub-drive bikes etc. Spent some time searching and sent out a dozen inquiries, with only 3 responses - I wasn't expecting to necessarily find the equivalent of my Luna X2, but was hoping to at least find a pair of Bosch-powered bikes.

Compounding the above a bit, the whole COVID thing has had a significant impact on overall tourism, so some businesses have either closed or got on extended shutdowns, the most promising rental place I'd found, https://www.bikoadventures.com/bohemian-switzerland-ebike-easy/ - would have been a Giant Explore-E 2 GTS (hardtail with front fork), but they at least had some interesting tours, including one to Bohemian Switzerland - but apparently are fully closed until <sometime Spring 2022>. ecotours.cz had either a hub drive or a KTM Machina Classic - Bosch motor with front fork, hardtail ( https://www.damianharriscycles.co.u...ina-classic-8-di2-electric-2018-electric-bike ), which was seeming the best option, but even their 'long' tours were pretty much in-town tourism, and I was hoping for something different as this isn't our first time in Prague - was hoping for at least a bit of off-road, greenway, or trails.

A bit discouraged, but we finally settled out on prahabike.cz - where ironically we'd stopped by on our last trip, so I knew they at least had Bafang mid-drives available, and they and Biko really had the most interesting (to us) longer to all-day 'tours.' Unfortunately, their Bafang M500 bikes - were all no-suspension fat tires bikes, which I suppose does make some sense on Prague cobblestone roads, or some rear-hub ~2" tired 'city type bike.' My wife has a serious aversion to fat tire bikes since trying and hating my prior BBHSD fat tire bike, so no matter how much I tried, telling her it would at least feel 'kind of' like her Bosch-powered bike at home...she went with the hub drive bike.

All in all, we were out for ~7 hours, a mixture of trail/greenways, a little bit of single-track including a pretty fun section and downhill I wanted more of, taking a tiny ferry across a river with the bikes, and lunch at a Czech brewery.
The map below is approximate, as we did a private tour (no one else booked...) we deviated a bit at will so added some more mileage vs the below.


The bike looked to be another China aluminum framed bike like the Eunoraus. M500 motor, surprisingly with Shimano (2 piston) brakes, and Shimano Altus 9s. DP C240 display - like my X2. Looked to be an 11-34 sprocket on back..didn't count chainring teeth. The tires were even wider than my Kenda Juggernauts on my prior BBHSD bike, and while I never felt the 'self-steering' claimed by some on fat tire bikes on that bike - I could feel it at times on this one.

Riding the M500
On my X2 (Ludi V2 controller), I set the display to 9 PAS levels, put the overall mode in 'Trail' (street, Trail, or Ludicrous), and usually ride in PAS2, sometimes dropping down to 1, occasionally bumping up to 3.
So I figured I'd run in PAS2 on the M500, knowing it would be at less than half power of my M600 Ludi. This worked well enough on the flat sections, and the assistance was surprisingly pretty seamless overall, to the point you weren't really sure it was there (in part likely due to the reduced power), but it was.

We later hit a rooty uphill section so I bumped it up to 'max' of PAS5 just to see what it'd do and to make sure I climbed it, as my wife got stuck and walked hers from 1/3rd of the way up or so.
No problems, up we went although it felt rather weak vs my X2. It was only later I realized like on my X2, they actually had set the bike for 9 PAS levels, so I was around 'half-max' power on the bike.

There were some longer dirt ascents, and while I continue to decide on my next drivetrain for my X2 (e.g. moving from 12s to 9-10s possibly), and while it was all do-able, I think a strong case can be made for an 11-46T or 11-50T on these 'baby' EU-spec motors - I think I would have been hard-pressed climbing up the steep-ish downhill we'd done on anything short of max power.

I also found myself changing power levers more often than on my X2, which at times I just pick PAS 1 or 2 and do the full ride without changing. Here, I was changing power levels more as conditions changed, although I probably could have put it in 3-5 and been 'ok enough' for most parts of the ride. For flat to mostly flat rides, I settled on PAS 2 for much of it, going to 5 or more on parts of the return trip mainly for goofing around a bit on the way back.

The 25km/H cutoff was annoying, but it wasn't super abrupt, and it wasn't like hitting a hard wall, more like 'ok, I'm working harder now.' Silly EU laws. :(

Interesting, I'm unsure how I wind up feeling compared to e.g. my wife's Bosch 3rd Gen Performance Line motor. I did switch modes on the display to display Power, but as anyone with a DP C240 display knows, glare is not your friend, so would only occasionally catch power output in different scenarios. I know I watched it hitting up to ~680W fairly consistently when I was at PAS5+; unsure if it even climbed over 700W, but it would sustain at 600W+ if I wanted it to, which ironically is more than I usually am pulling from my X2. Oh - it's also quiet.

Overall - it's not a bad little motor, IMO. Ended the ride and still had somewhere > 70% battery after ~50km/30miles, with a bit of messing around in higher PAS. I'm uncertain that I'd want it on a bike like my X2 doing any tougher terrain, although I suspect proper gearing (and swapping out the fat tires!) could swing my opinion there, and I know a bunch of our overseas pals do build up the Dengfu E10 with M500s, so it should be do-able enough. The motor would have few issues as an all-arounder, city or commuter type IMO, and I suspect with proper chainring and sprocket sizing, probably OK enough for some mob use as well.

No, it's not an Ultra; it's not 'even' an M600, let alone a Ludiv2 M600, but if I want a motorcycle - I have (more than) one of those. Compared to my X2 I mostly ride in PAS 2 of 9, I suspect I'd bump the M500 to PAS 3-4 for 'default' ride settings, but again - so what? It did pretty well on battery, was quiet, and other than annoyingly overly fat tires, felt pretty good.

Oh - the pair of tour guides (which was pretty funny IMO, as there were only the 2 of us) were great, and I'd recommend Praha bikes for their tour/ride selection (they also do straight rentals), assuming you're good with a fat bike. I did later find one nugget which is cool - apparently the local power company...rents ebikes, and if you happen to be their customer, they're half price - they seem to offer a HaiBike Full(Fat)Six at least..