Fitting the Tongsheng TSDZ2 to a Kona Ute

By popular demand (well, two people, but for this site that’s practically beating the doors down), I’ll pen some notes about fitting the TSDZ2 electric assist motor to my Kona Ute, where it’s been happily spinning away for the last 2000km since we last spoke.

(For all my posts about this excellent e-assist retro-fittable motor, try this tag.)

Given that I’ve already gone through installing motor in interminable detail, we’ll just talk about the main difference: dealing with the fact that the motor expects you to secure it with a bolt between the chainstays:

and the Kona Ute (and Yuba Mundo, for that matter) looks like this behind the bottom bracket:

The chainstay of the Ute. Front of the bike is to the left. That bold on the right hand side goes through to secure the kickstand.

Happily, the solution for this is dead easy. If we think about the forces that chainstay bolt is resisting, we end up with a nasty diagram like this:

That’s looking at the bike from the non-drive-side, the front of the bike is to the left, and the cranks and pedals have been omitted (you philistines). The motor is driving the chainring in the direction of the blue arrows, pulling the chain to the left at the top (anticlockwise). To do that, the motor has to exert an opposite force on the bike frame (red arrows, clockwise), which is resisted by the bike frame at the chainstays (black arrow, bike frame pushing up equal to the force of the motor-securing-bolt pulling down).

Slight aside – it’s not quite that elegant, because the motor isn’t free to rotate within the bottom bracket shell. Instead it’s clamped in place by big nuts around the pedal axle that press against the bottom bracket shell:

(Ignore the big red arrow – I’m just being lazy in reusing a previous picture. We’re looking down on the motor from above now, front of the bike is to the bottom of the photo.)

Anyway, the punchline of this whole escapade is that we’re going to rotate the motor under the bottom of the bike until it pushes up against the downtube, and then tighten those big nuts (stop smirking at the back) to secure it in that position:

Front of the bike to the left, the seat tube is obscured behind the pedal crank. There’s a folded up piece of inner tube between the motor and the underside of the downtube to ensure the force is spread over as wide an area as possible.

Now, rather than the motor pulling down against the top of the chainstays, it’s pushing up against the underside of the downtube. The nuts securing the motor around the bottom bracket shell ensure that the motor doesn’t swing down under its own weight (and have been doing so without any bother for over a year).

Given how much I dislike clamping things around the chainstays anyway (Surly went through a phase of saying you’d void your frame warranty if you used a chainstay-clamp-style kickstand), I’d probably recommend using this method on all frames, even if you weren’t forced into doing so through the frame design. It also gives you a touch more ground clearance on the motor casing (maybe an inch or so).

The only other snag you might encounter in fitting the motor to a longtail is the length of the cable for the sensor that picks up the rear wheel magnet to determine the bike speed. You can either buy an extended cable, or build the sensor mount out a little so that it can pick up the wheel magnet nearer the rim. Once again, folded inner tube and cable ties are our friend.

In terms of reliability, I’m now just shy of 4000km on the system, and it hasn’t missed a beat despite being on turbo almost the entire time. It really is very good!


Add Yours →

I think you might get more hits for this blogpost if you gave it the title “Big nuts”!


The two nuts from the bottombracket are fixed to the black plate , my question is : The black plate with 3 wholes is not a fixed plate but it can move backwards , so how do you keep this black plate in place ?

So simply the only change is that you unscrewed the fix to the frame and you pulled the motor to the other side . Simpel and fast , the motor pushes itself to the frame so no further fixing is needed. Thats what you are saying from my point of view. No extra bolts or fixing needed , only the standard axel fixation that is already there?

Hi Kees – yup, nothing needed that doesn’t come with the motor. You’re just holding the motor up against the downtube when you tighten it in position, rather than back against the chainstays.

@Wendy – not as many hits as when the blog was BobsBentBlog (with bent being a common term for recumbent, obviously…)!

Hi Rob!
Do you think installing this motor will strip the threads on your bottom bracket? The Kona sutra has a chromoly frame, much stronger, but the Ute is in aluminium. The threads are much more fragile. Can you comment on that?
PS-Nice blog!

Hi Eduardo – thanks! Mine are still fine on the Ute 3000km in, and I suppose pros used aluminium frames for years, and they put out more power than me and my 250W (average…) motor do. Hardly science, but it’s good enough for me :)

Hi Rob,

Thanks for providing all this information about the tsdz2/Ute its been so helpful to me as I am looking to do the same. I was hoping to ask you – what are the dimensions of that hailong battery? It looks like a perfect fit for the frame.
Many thanks :)

You’re very welcome – it also means that when I need to fiddle with it at some point I’ve got a record of what I did!

I’m away from the bike at the moment, but yes: it fits the frame perfectly. Dimensions are also a bit misleading, because you’ve got to allow space to pull the battery forward out of the cradle, and also space beneath for the mounts and to clear any bosses on your frame.

You’ll probably be ok! The Ute is the tightest triangle I’ve seen on a bike that still has a “regular” top tube, and it fits.

I used a front hub motor from Electric Bike Outfitters on my 10 yr old Ute. Been using for 2 years – it’s a great setup.

Leave a Reply