Drivetrain wear

Captain Slow

Well-Known Member
One of the advantages cited for hub motors are that mid-drives wear out the drivetrain faster.

Optibikes have very powerful motors with high torque. I'm wondering for those who commute on your Optibikes how many miles/km's do you put on your Optibike annually and how often do you replace your drivetrain.

Also wondering what locking techniques you use for your Optibike.
I'm waiting on a voltbike enduro as my 1st experience with a mid-drive. Im curious if I should keep a spare chain and cassette around for similar reason stated above. I currently have a radrover with a hub. Other than cleaning the chain/spockets/chainwheel, the hub and drivetrain have been maintenance free, so far...
No replies? Is that because not many own an Optibike or their owners don't come to this forum?

I rode an Opti for 5 years. Yes, the power did cause chain stretch and cog wear. Especially on the upper gears (Smaller) cogs.

I had to replace chain and cassette every 3-4k miles, and earlier if more off road stop and go.
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Chain every 3-4k miles isn't bad, the cassette every 3-4k miles seems a bit more frequent, but not outrageous. Certainly less frequent maintenance than I thought it might be.
No replies? Is that because not many own an Optibike or their owners don't come to this forum?
I was an Opti owner until late 2012 and wanted to try a hub. I am back to a mid-drive now, a Focus PAS for $4k. I did the Opti throttle for 5 years, have a hub with PAS and/or throttle, and now a PAS mid drive. Because of the high investment, I won't go back to Opti until they offer the PAS and hope for a rear light off battery option.

Opti use to have an active google page,but it is pretty dead now. EBR is where it is at for OEM bike. Endless Sphere forum for DIY. All seem to be Opti haters because of the price point.

I think Opti struggles to compete at low end price points because they are American made, and want to use higher quality components. The advantages from the MBB are being equaled and surpassed by the big dollar engineering investments of Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano, etc. Still, they only offer legal safe power outputs (350W) and likely 500W peak power. That can meet the class 3 spec (On flat roads). The Opti MBB has oil cooling and more power (750-1500w) and will maintain the upper speed ON HILLS where the Bosch will slow down accordingly. That is all to say that Opti maintains a peculiar spot on the ebike spectrum (besides most expensive), apart from the 100's of models. They offer an ebike-moped level, Class 3+, (Need an ebike class 4 most states call them mopeds) The high quality brakes and suspension support the long term use and high speed operations and handles very well. If money wasn't a worry, I would have a high power Opti for commuting - safe, fast, but strongly want a PAS option so I can get a better workout and be more efficient with the battery. Pic from 2007 below.


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Opti doesn't have a PAS mode? I am very surprised at that. I mean there are pedals and a motor. The motor power is independent of your peddling?
I agree with you then, there's no way I'd pay that much and not have a pedalec. At that price I would expect a sophisticated torque sensor, let alone PAS.

I get emails regarding used Optibikes, I think I just decided to not bother with Optibike despite previously being curious.

That flaw is pretty significant, anyone who wants a cycling experience isn't likely to buy a bike that has power independent of pedalling.
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Drivetrain wear varies a lot depending on the setup, maintenance and how hard you ride. Getting rid of the cassette and using the Rohloff 14 speed hub helped with chain and sprocket life a lot. I would say 2-4k miles would be reasonable if your riding it hard, more if you ride easier. We have 500 miles on our new R15C and there is almost no sign of wear on the chainring or cog, I would expect to get another few thousand out of it riding to town and back and a lot of offroad singletrack, fire roads and dirt bike trails. Keep in mind our bikes have a lot more power and torque than most of the other mid drives out there, so they are going to be harder on the drivetrain.

We have always been a fan of throttles because they offer better control especially when riding offroad, but we talk to a lot of people who would like PAS and we would like to have that option on our bikes. We actually have a PAS we can put on the current Optibike MBB but it doesn't perform as well or as reliably as we would like to put it into production.

A torque sensor is definitely something we want to do in the future.
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Sorry, but I strongly disagree on the throttle offering better control. On my bike with a torque sensor, I have complete control over the power using my legs and brake levers (integrated motor cut-off). A throttle would be one more thing to coordinate and make it harder to control the power as there's an extra variable.

The past couple of years I loved the idea of an Optibike for commuting. But after owning a couple of different electric bikes I think my next electric will almost certainly be a lightweight road bike with a lower power motor. I do like the lightweight model Optibike recently released and the website says it's a pedelec with torque sensor so I'm a bit confused.
Those are good points, everyone has there preferences and there are advantages to each kind, we prefer a throttle as we come from a motocross background and like to ride our high power bikes like the R15C more like a lightweight motocross bike with pedals (where legal of course) rather than a bicycle with some assist. But like I said in the last post, we want to have all the options so PAS is something we are working on, we are definitely not ignoring all the demand for it.

The Pioneer Carbon SL has a torque sensor and no throttle, might be right up your alley.