2000km on the Luna X-1 singletrack only, was it worth it?

February 3, 2024
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Looking down at the odometer on my Luna X-1 I realized that I had just turned over 2000km on the clock. For normal ebikes 2000km is not much of a milestone, but considering how I only ride my X-1 on trails and thrash on it pretty hard every day I thought I would do an article on how it has held up and the good, the bad and the ugly about this bike. There is a lot of components I have replaced due to failures or just because I wanted to, there is nothing that I have done to this bike that I have regretted. I bought the X-1 on June 2019 and paid $3305 for it from Lunacycle. At the time of purchase this was the most money I had ever spent on an ebike by a far margin. The X-1 is no longer sold but has been superseded by the X-2 and the X-2.5 which I have not ridden.

A very well loved and more than slightly abused 4.5 year old Lunacycle X-1 with the Ludicrous controller

My morning routine is always about the same, I wake up and get on my double diaper (chamois shorts) on and head out the door to ride. I go biking before I eat or turn on a computer or do anything else because I know if I don’t get out to ride in the first part of the day, I probably won’t get to ride that day, and the dude cannot abide.

Things that still bug me about the X-1

My biggest complaint about the X-1 is the noise that the steel gear makes. It’s a bit loud, and not super stealthy like the BBSHD with the nylon gear. The newest X-2.5 (available here) uses a peek/carbon gear which should be a much quieter. The other issue I have had is there is a large ring bearing in the front faceplate that occasionally makes a lot of noise. It has already failed once and I could not get the bearing pressed out of the faceplate so Luna just sent me a new faceplate with a bearing in it. Every issue I’ve had with this ebike Luna has been absolutely incredible with helping me get parts for it at a very reasonable price. I would give their service department a 10/10 rating.

The metal piece that the rear through axle screws into has stripped threads so if I don’t tighten it down super tight it gets loose on its own. This has never been enough of an issue to try to fix, but the axle is on so tight that I can’t get it loose on the trails without special tools.

What I’ve replaced on the X-1

  • I swapped out the derailleur, shifter, main cassette and chain with a 10 speed instead of a 12 speed. I kept having chains break and when the derailleur started having issues I just threw it all away and went with a 10sp X9 system stolen from another ebike. The biggest pain with the switch was getting a new shifting cable through the frame.
  • The front hydraulic brake failed and I couldn’t get it bled properly so I replaced the whole mechanism with a BB7 cable brake. The original rear hydraulic still works, but I’m on my 6th set of pads.
  • At some point the chainring bolts came loose and the front chainring pretzeled. I replaced it with a smaller narrow\wide steel ring and really torqued down the chainring bolts. I also keep an eye on them out of a healthy dose of paranoia.
  • The rear freewheel blew out so I replaced it with a DT Swiss 350 Rear hub 12 x 148mm. This cost me $239 and was a pain to relace but was worth every penny. If you’re looking for more info on that swap this article is a must read. The stock spokes with the X-1 do not fit in the DT Swiss hubs so I had to order new skinnier spokes for the build and the final wheel build wheel is slightly offset by a few mm.
  • The original Luna pedals that came with the bike I completely destroyed the bearings. There was over 1cm of wiggle on the pedals when I finally swapped them out, I have no idea how they stayed on the bike without any bearings. Could have been all the pedal strikes I’ve had with this bike as the BB is low and the cranks are long.
  • One of the lower frame bolts broke recently and Lunacycle promptly got me a replacement even though it was not a replacement part on their website and it was quick and inexpensive.
I keep a strip of velcro tape around the area with the rubber charging port connector to give it additional protection from mud and moisture

Things I love about the X-1

I ride the X-1 almost every day for about 5 miles or so and it has become my favorite ebike over the last 4 years. If there is less than 3 inches of snow on the trail it is my goto ebike, more than that and I tend to take out the 5.05″ fatty with a backpack battery. Here is what I love about this ebike:

  • Having a built in battery that is somewhat stealth
  • Riding something with full suspension
  • How lightweight it is
  • The 2000W of peak power out of a drive system that is designed for 500W (Ludicrous controller)
  • That the motor and mosfets have temp sensors that lower the power of the motor automatically when either gets too hot
  • That it fits on my cheap hanging style car bike rack
  • The tires are fantastic in mud and snow (Maxxis Minions), most ebike I buy come with crap tires, the X-1 still has the originals on it
  • The original bike I bought was an XL (21″ frame) which still feels a bit small for me at 6’9″ but is still surprisingly comfortable
You can see some grease buildup around the rear shock but it holds air well and I have not rebuilt it yet

Would I buy it again?

I am knee deep in ebikes with well over $35,000 invested over the last decade. Of all the ebikes I own, the X-1 is my favorite for a number of reasons. The battery is reliable (the original charger still works after 4 years of being left outside on the porch) and tends to give me about 2 hours of riding on single-track with pedaling. I like the torque sensing because it forces me to get more exercise but it still has a throttle for the really steep stuff so I don’t have to adjust the PAS level. I tend to keep it on PAS level 2 unless the snow is deep then I go to PAS 3. I never use PAS levels 4 or 5, but I also really like getting exercise.

I am a big fan of 10 speed setups so I installed that on the X-1 and I am much happier now

In deep snow I have to get one of my more powerful fatbikes, but the reality is that the much bigger wheels and the much more powerful controller means that I churn though battery power much quicker. In order to ride over 90 minutes in deep snow I have to take my 24Ah 52v backpack battery which is a pain and is also quite heavy.

I replaced the front brake with a BB7 cable brake I had laying around, less maintenance and I only use the front brake in emergencies anyway

On a recent Black Friday sale the Luna X-2.5 came out and was on sale. I really wanted to get one, but the reality is that my 4+ year old X-1 is still preforming so flawlessly that there really isn’t a reason to upgrade. Luna is shooting themselves in the foot in a way by selling ebikes that work so well for so long and providing such good customer service for bikes that are way out of warranty that there is just not that much motivation to upgrade. I plan on continuing to ride the X-1 until the wheels fall off just like I do with my normal pedal powered bicycles. A typical non motorized trailbike lasts about 10 years for me (of daily use) until I upgrade and it looks like ebike technology has now gotten to the point where you can invest in a quality single-track ebike and reasonably expect it to last about as long even when riding it every day. I honestly never thought that we would get here, but now that we are I feel pretty good about it.

As for my X-1 purchase although this was the first factory-built ebike I bought instead of building myself, I have no regrets and this ebike has exceeded my every expectation.

Ride On.

Best part of the X-1 Ludicrous? Good power, overheat detection\depowering, torque sensing, suspension, weight and awesome stock tires

Karl Gesslein is a degenerate hooligan of the highest caliber living in upstate NY. His passion for e-bikes and all things sustainable causes him to be obsessed with climate change and finding solutions that will keep humanity from becoming extinct from our own hubris. His personal blogs include electricbike-blog.com, awaken-spirit.org & chestnutparadise.com.

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