Tongsheng or Bafang - Why We’re Fans of the Tongsheng TSDZ2
by Brent Robinson on Aug 03, 2023
The Bafang mid-drive motor conversion kit is the most popular kit on the market. And if you look at a lot of the online brands, they are using Bafang tech on their bikes too. However, there are alternatives: the second major player is the Tongsheng mid-drive motor.
We’re fans of the Tongsheng for three main reasons, Better Ride, Better Efficiency and Range, and much easier installation.
Riding Experience - Torque vs Cadence Sensing
The biggest difference between the two is the way they sense pedal input. Bafang uses a cadence sensor, which measures how fast the pedals are turning, while Tongsheng uses a torque sensor, which measures how much force the rider is applying to the pedals.
Tongsheng mid-drive motors use a torque sensor instead of a cadence sensor. This means that the motor provides assistance based on how hard you are pedaling, rather than simply how fast you are pedaling. This results in a more natural and intuitive riding experience.
Bafang as the motor will simply provide a set amount of assistance based on the speed of pedaling. This can sometimes result in a jerky, on/off feel to the power assistance.
Tongsheng’s torque sensor is more sophisticated and can provide a more natural and responsive ride. It can sense when the rider is applying more force to the pedals and provide more assistance accordingly, resulting in a smoother ride.
Better efficiency & Range
Tongsheng mid-drive motors are more efficient than other types of motors, such as hub motors. This is because they are mounted in the center of the bike, which allows them to transfer power to the drivetrain more efficiently.
A torque sensor can also help preserve battery life by only providing power when it's actually needed.The increased efficiency of Tongsheng mid-drive motors means that you can expect to get a longer range on a single charge than with other types of motors.E
Easier Installation: Three vs Six Cables
They are both mid-drive installations so the mounting is exactly the same. It’s all about the cables. One of the biggest challenges with an eBike conversion is hiding the cables along the frame. The more cables, the more to hide, the jankier your bike looks.
Because the Bafang is sensing speed, it doesn’t know when you are braking or shifting and needs extra sensors to do so. The Tongsheng controller is designed to sense the torque you put on the pedals. When you ease up to shift or hit the breaks, it’s already turned off.
Both kits have caboles for the battery, speed sensor, and display. If you choose the throttle option, they each will have a cable for that.
Because the Bafang needs to know when you brake, you have a sensor on each brake lever. For mechanical brakes, you can get the integrated lever replacement. If you have hydraulic brakes, you’ll need the sensors that mount on your existing levers. You can use the tape that comes with the kit but if you want it to stay on there, JB Weld is a better solution. In either case, you have two cables to hide.
For the shifting sensor, you have to take the cable off the rear derailleur, clip the end cap with a proper cable cutter or it will fray, and thread it through a sensor that mounts on the chainstay. You have to reinstall the cable, crimp it with a cable end, and then route that sensor cable back to the motor.
Yeah, Tongsheng is easier to install.
A few other things to consider:
- Durability - I see in the DIY forums that the Bafang is considered more durable. I’ve ridden both through crazy single tracks with all kinds for rocks, and I’ve yet to break the case on either one.
- Noise - The Townshend is a little bit quieter. Honestly, it’s not enough to be a differentiator. Maybe because it’s on less you hear it less. Beyond that, meh.
- Cost - Because so many people are reselling Bafangs, sometimes you can find better deals. Relatively speaking, they’re about the same price.
- Speed - The Bafang has a higher top speed. Yes. It is faster. If that’s your thing, go for it. If you want to ride on the trails and stay legal, you want the torque sensing drive since it’ll slow down when you ease off the pedals.
If you’re a speed freak, have a pedicab, or are hauling some heavy stuff, you want the Bafang. If you want an easier installation, more natural riding experience, and to maximize your battery life, we highly recommend the Tongsheng mid-drive motor.