Project X: Building the Fastest BBSHD EBike Ever

Pumping 3000 watts through the BBSHD sounds ludicrous.

But it’s this weeks project at the Luna Lab and we love doing out-of-the-box stuff when we aren’t shuffling boxes.

Luna Cycles is built around extremes, and every day we try to throw something crazy into the mix and move forward. I guess that’s us in a nutshell…do something that scares us every day, learn something new every day,  and move forward in some way.  (hopefully at high speed)

This week we built what we think is to date the fastest, most powerful, most awesome BBSHD Ever.  3000 watts of power.

This is one of the nicest electric bikes I have ever ridden and can possibly be the “holy grail” I have been looking for.

Price to Build

Lets cut right to the meat. It goes 35-40 mph and it cost 4k USD to build.

Here are the ingredients:

Total for this build: $4000  Of course being the owner of Luna Cycle has its perks.   I got a lot of awesome stuff laying around (batteries, rohloff, chain rings, etc) so this bike probably ended up costing me a lot less.

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Why Modify?

Modifying kit bikes are in many ebikers blood same as some guys like to hot rod their cars.   Until recently  you could not buy an ebike kit with decent power. A lot of guys spend a lot of time on endless-sphere searching for the holy grail of electric bikes that we know can never be bought ready-to-ride.   So what is the holy grail of ebikes?  Thats an easy equation:

The holy grail of electric bikes

  • Powerful
    Light Weight
    Stealthy/ Cool Loooking

A Quest  for The Grail


For the last 6 years I have been in search of the ultimate electric mountain bike. I have spent thousands of dollars and wasted many hours on that crusade.

I spent so much time searching and researching that i decided to build my own site … to help share what I have learned.

I started  on this slippery slope with a high end Turner mountain bike i bought used off Craigslist and installed a 40amp BMC geared hub motor from Hi Power Cycles.

You can see my enthusiasm about this build in my first endless sphere posts here.   The post is called “Dream Bike” and  I was dumb and naive.   I thought I had found the holy grail of ebikes….and boy was I stupid.

My dream bike was awesome but I burned it out its $500 motor after just a few charges.   I proceeded to burn out 3 more BMC  motors before I realized that I was not going to get that spectacular 40mph performance out of a lightweight BMC hub motor.  When i wasnt blowing motors I was blowing through hobby king packs….  I went through thousands of dollars in bad batteries and suddenly electric power was making less and less sense.

After tons of research and blowing more motors I did what i had to do. I went down the dark and heavy road of direct drive hub motors.   I installed a Crystallite direct drive hub, and that along with my rear rack battery made a ridiculously heavy  and unbalanced bike that was no good for off road riding. My dream bike suddenly become uninteresting and not fun for me.  It still sits in the back yard and I barely ride it… I kind of hate it because it reminds me of what I once had and what I lost, and how much money and time I spent trying to get it back to no avail.

From there I bought a used Optibike. It was great and I realized a mid drive was the answer for off road riding.  But the Optibike lacked power, was super  expensive, and most annoying was noisy as hell.

I then started building my own mid drives which was an expensive frustrating path. Some of my bikes i spent many thousands of dollars on to get the performance I wanted, and then they would always miss something…usually be to noisy or unreliable.


Enter The BBSHD

The BBSHD is a $700 kit that has hit the market this year like a bombshell. It is a kit that almost establishes the Holy Grail right out of the box.

The BBSHD is powerful enough to climb any hill that a regular bike ever could and can achieve speeds of over 30mph with pedal assist. It can be either a great climber or a speed machine because it uses the bicycle transmission to give it gears and thus versative performance.

It weighs only 11 pounds…but most importantly that weight is right where it is optimally mounted…in the center of the bike as low as it can go…

In many people’s minds the BBSHD is enough as is and who would want anymore?

Hot Rodding A BBSHD

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No doubt when you start hot rodding lightweight kits such as the BBSHD to take more power, expect reliability plus warranty to go out the window.  But we wanted to Beat our our buddy Karl on to the punch of building the baddest ass bbshd ever.


Read Karls sad story here on

After that it was just a race on who could get their story up first and Karl beat us out there.

Karl blew out his nylon gear which may very well be the weak point in the bbshd, and he did so riding at top speed until his drive got hot and seemed to have melted the gear.

One  issue we notice is there is a huge difference in heat build up depending on how the controller is timed and programmed for the motor.

With the Adappto we are able to adjust the timing to tune the motor just right so it runs more efficient and get less hot.

Karls Frankenstein Set Up

Check out how Karls hot rod set up look liked….you think he got the timing right on this motor?  Look at that big ass Lyen controller he has mounted under his downtube……is that aluminum foil hes got enshrouding that thing?

He has got the Lekkie bbshd Bling ring…the only thing that I like about this set up is those awesome xt90s connectors 🙂 and that awesome battery pack behind them 🙂 .



Our  Platform – Downhill Full Suspension DARE

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We started with a brand new bbshd and a used Ellsworth DARE mountain bike….

I bought this bike a few years ago. Here you can see a video of the bike by the original owner.

I have gone back to the beginning with this build…. my first idea with electric bike. Get an awesome used bike on craigslist with really awesome suspension and  hydraulic brakes. This one probably cost over $4000 new I and got it on Craigslist for $1000 barely ridden.

Installing the Adappto

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We took out the old controller from its housing and wired the BBSHD to fit an Adaptto Mini-E controller. The Adappto is the most amazing controller I have ever seen for an ebike. It is a sine wave controller with amazing features such as temperature monitoring, traction control, and auto on//off  switch. Installing and configuring this beast was no easy task….the Adappto is far from user friendly and you need to be a surgeon with a soldering gun to pull it off.

We brought in our soldering hit man Zak to do the install. Zak is from madmanebikes and he is amazing.

To get temperature data we attached the temp sensor that comes with the Adappto controller to the Stator of the motor. This is incredibly useful because the adappto will automatically dial back the throttle of the drive starts to get to hot. This will keep us from getting peanut butter gear like our friend Karl. But we do not think our system will run as hot since it will be tuned for the motor…so far so good.

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Plus using the sine wave Adappto the motor should run more efficient and cooler than running a Chinese square wave ebike controller.

The Adappto does an automatic configuring the first time you run it to a motor which makes it a helluva lot easier to get up and running.

But then plan on spending hours  tweaking the advanced settings to get the optimal performance by perfectly matching controller with motor.

Mounting the Controller

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It sucks having an external controller to mount on the BBSHD and reminds me of how spoiled us BBSHD builders are. Dealing with the wiring and size of even an Adappto Mini-E  which is small and less wirey than most eibke controllers is such a hassle. So hard to keep the bike looking good.

Luckily we had a perfect place to mount the controller behind the rear wheel…but lost a few inches off the precious 6 inches of rear suspension the Rogue gives us.

So no compromise…we decided to go with a 24 inch tire so we still get the optimal place to mount the controller, and also have full reach of the suspension.

Maiden Voyage…. Single Speed and  Duct Tape Pack

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We had my new dream bike built but only on a single speed, a 26 inch rim that hit the controller when we went off a jump, and a 52 volt Luna Cycle Battery duct taped inside the triangle.  We knew it wasn’t ready for prime time….but it was good for a test ride!!!

We tested the bike up and down the block a couple of times…and then got so excited we went on a Palos Verdes trail ride where we did a 2000 foot climb at full throttle in a very high single gear .

The motor would get hot creeping up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit but kept going strong.   We took a few breaks to let the motor cool down….and resisted the temptation to really test it to see what it would take.

We were hitting speeds of 35mph the acceleration was super brisk when on the street….but most amazing is how quiet and smooth the bike was.   Just amazing.

We were riding on some pretty awesome single track in the hills of Palos Verdes that we didn’t even know existed. ….even at single speed our Ludicrous BBSHD performed wonderfully although there were many parts that were too steep for a bike without low gearing and I had to walk it.   The whole time I kept thinking how much single speed mid drives suck and how I couldn’t wait to do the same ride with a transmission.

What an awesome day….rare day for me and Ashley to get out riding  with friends and enjoyed every minute and swore we would do this every weekend …with or without the baddest most awesome BBSHD bike in the world.  But hopefully it keeps going so it can keep coming with us.

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Back to the Luna Lab for Perfecting and Tuning

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So once we had ridden the bike it was obvious we were going to have to make some changes if we were gonna claim the most awesome bbshd ever.

Have to lose that 26 inch wheel and the single speed transmission….had to lose the duct tape battery pack in the triangle….no duct tape is allowed on  hot rod ebikes…the same as duct tape should not be allowed on car hot rods.

Had to fine tune the Adappto to give us more accurate temperature read outs and also tune it to be more efficient so that the motor will run at its coolest.


The Ultimate Transmission for the Ultimate Ebike

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As mentioned before we needed to change to a 24 inch wheel to  keep the suspension from hitting the controller on big dips.  In this 24 inch wheel we decided to install a Rohloff which we know has no problem putting up with 3000 watts of power and also give us an amazing 526 percent of range so we will have the lowest of low grannies and the highest of high speed gears.

The Rohloff is the absolute pentacle of bicycle technology that holds 14 speeds built into the rear hub. No Derailleurs, no chain tensioners, no sloppy chain line…. 14 speeds with 530 percent of gear ratio.

Read our article Rohloff on an electric bike

The Rohloff is absolutely wonderful on a mid drive.  It just makes having gears such a joy and works flawlessly.  I really think its a great investment because these things were made to last a lifetime…and you can switch it from bike to bike as i have been doing with my 3 Rohloffs for years.


Battery Final Choice

pansoinc ebike pack

For battery we used a Luna Cycle 11.5ah Panasoinc PF in a back pack. The Luna has a 50 amp continuous BMS. We set the Adappto to have a maximum of 50 amps and the battery had no problem supplying that demand.

The bike is so beautiful we decided not to ruin it with out battery duct taped to the triangle (we had it this way on the first test ride).

We decided to go with a back pack battery…the first bike I have ever made that concession. But  I think Since Karl is giving up on backpack mounted batteries (thanks to Tiny Luna packs mounted in his frames)  its a perfect time for me to pick them up.  With a back pack battery you can keep your full suspension bike looking awesome…becuase there really is no good place to mount more than a 10ah pack….and fI want the option of packing a larger pack when  I go out for longer rides.

The 11.5 ah Panasonic feels like nothing in a back pack so its no weight off my back and i am good with it. But dealing with the wire hanging from my back pack was a real annoyance. I guess i will have to do some research how the back pack guys do it.

Observations at 3000 watts

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It’s wicked and its silent….not any louder than a stock bbshd. We think that the sine wave controller helps silent it down.

Once you run 40 -50 amps through a mid drive like this….you will forget all about hub motors.

Top speed is around 36mph without pedaling.

Power comes on smooth thanks to the throttle ramp up on the Adappto.

Quality full suspensions is soooo nice on an ebike. It has been a long time since I rode an ebike with really expensive components like this one.

The 11.6ah Panasonic PF pack had no problem putting out 50amps on demand…and was not getting overly warm.  For sure we were going to fry the motor way sooner than we would hit the temperature cut off on the pack.

Quality Hope hydraulic brakes….. wow….remind me to just spend the money on quality hydraulics on all my next ebike builds.  Stopping fast is as important as going fast….and quality brakes that don’t overheat or squeal are such a nicety.

For the $4,000 this bike cost to build,  i have not ridden anything at any cost with this level of performance and this kind of smoothness.

In general, I think this is one of the top 3 electric bikes I have ever ridden, and I have ridden some pretty spectacular ebikes.

But…. this may be short lived.

Is it Dependable?

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That is the $700 question.

I tell you if I can just have this 3000 watts and keep this 3000 watts I promise not to ask for any more power ever.

This is plenty of power and all I ever wanted or needed in an electric bike….. 35-40mph is just awesome for me.

We are monitoring the temperature in the inside of the motor and not allowing it to get over 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

For sure if the rider is careful how he applies throttle and monitors temperature this could be a reliable machine. These are settings that can automatically be programmed in the Adappto which offer not only high temperature shut down but also throttle mapping so the power never comes off jerky which could shred a gear.

I am not sure how Karl shredded his gear so easily….. but my guess is he was using a controller that was not properly tuned for the motor which caused it to get excessively hot too fast.

The ride he describes in his article should not have overheated the hot rodded bbshd….

Nobody should tell him anything though…i want him to keep burning out parts and ordering more from my store. 🙂

After continuous hill climbing I will notice the temperature approach to 300 degrees and then I will simply take a 5 minute rest and the motor quickly cools.

I am not sure where the fail point is where things start breaking…. but this is something we will later determine with an “acid test.” Right now i am enjoying this bike too much to ruin it. Seems like a sacrilege.

For the time being I am quite certain this is the fastest and badest BBSHD on the planet. And I  am taking  pride that it is holding up and I haven’t broken anything yet. Just writing about it has me itching to go take it off the charger and rip it around the block 5 or 6 times tonight.

One thing is for sure…this beauty will not waken the neighbors.  This bike is so silent I am really aware that nobody can hear me coming…and I am afraid for someone to walk out in front of me. Going this fast and being this quiet is a scary sensation.

I will end this story with a quote from Karl he sent my email on the real reason he decided to run 65 amps to his precious BBSHD and fry it:

“Eric kept calling every day telling me how he was putting more and more power into the BBSHD and it wasn’t breaking. He was up to 50 amps and the thing was still fine so I woke up and said to myself “F*** YOU ERIC, I’M GONNA BREAK THIS F***ing THING IN 5 MINUTES OR LESS”, so I did. You’re all talk. I’m action packed.”

And Karl beat me to press about his hot rod BBSHD…. drats.  But we are both having  a hell of a lot of fun on separate parts of the continent….and I think we are both got our sites  pointed at the Holy Grail of electric bikes at last.  And  I can think of nothing funner to do than Race with Karl on who will get that Grail first.


Eric has been involved in the electric bike industry since 2002 when he started a 6000 square foot brick and mortar Electric Bike store in downtown San Francisco. He is a true believer that small electric vehicles can change the way we operate and the way we think.


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