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Xiongda 2-speed hub motor Review – First impressions

The Xiongda double-speed motor is a brilliant innovation in ebike hub motors. It could be the solution to my mountain-climbing, motor-overheating problems. It looks like a useful option for people riding low (or legal) powered ebikes in steep country or who otherwise need more torque.

I recently took delivery of some hub motors from Xiongda Motors ( I’ve installed one of their 2-speed hub motors on the front of my main folding bike, and have had a few weeks and a few hundred km to get some first impressions. So far I’m very pleased with it.

What is a double-speed motor?

These motors are geared hub motors like most small ebike motors, where the motor spins faster than the wheel and is geared down with a planetary gear drive. The difference is these have a second internal planetary gear which can deliver two different speeds.
The 2-speed hub changes gears simply by reversing the direction of the motor inside the hub. Internal freewheels deliver different speeds from the planetary gears according to the direction of rotation – but still drive the wheel forwards.

Here's a video showing how it works inside:

How this works is explained very well in this post:
These endless sphere forum pages have a lot of discussion and some good photos of the motors’ internals: 

Installing the 2-speed Xiongda

Xiongda Motors was very good to deal with by email, and the motors and associated equipment arrived with the best packing I’ve ever seen when buying Chinese ebike parts.
For my Dahon, I ordered a front motor, wound for the folding bike’s 20” wheel size. This is a 250w unit, intended to be (approximately) road legal.
All the Xiongda motors were supplied with waterproof plugs in the motor power cable, at a position chosen by the customer, enabling easy disconnection for repairs (e.g. flat tyre). Power cables exit the motor through the axle.
The front forks needed a little bending to fit the front motor, as these motors are slightly wider than standard 100mm. Additionally, these motors have a boxy shape to fit the extra internal gears, making them even harder to fit in some forks, especially suspension forks (especially forks not made to fit disc brakes).
Because of this width, the front 2-speed motors are not able to take brake discs.
Xiongda provide enough handlebar switches and displays to nearly fill up your handlebars.
An LCD display (in middle of handlebars) attaches to the controller with a plug. The LCD is permanently attached (on a cable) to a power, up and down switch (in photo above on left side, below brake lever). This switches the controller on with the middle button, changes pedal assistance sensor (PAS) power level (I don’t have a PAS on this bike). Switch combinations change the LCD display items. The LCD is able to set a maximum powered speed, but I suspect this is when using PAS (I need to get a PAS and find out).
If you don’t buy an LCD, you need a “short circuit plug” to enable the controller to turn on, seen attached to the left hand controller in the photo below (at top, with red and black wire loops).  
The controller for the 2-speed motor is the right-hand unit in the above photo, the left-hand controller is for a single-speed motor, and has different plugs.
Note also on the handlebars there is a switch marked HAL: High, Automatic, Low. This connects separately to the controller, and selects the gear in the 2-speed hub.
After 11,000 km of using a previous front hub motor, I noticed some flaring of the fork dropouts on this bike. Considering the additional torque the 2-speed motor would impose on the dropouts, I installed a torque lever (from, to manage torque forces.

Riding with the 2-speed motor

After you plug in your charged battery, you need to turn on the controller with a long push on the power button. Once on, you can change the display to show a few options, including battery voltage, odometer and trip distance (if you reset after trips – the LCD instructions tell you how).
I haven’t installed a PAS, so I can only power with the throttle (after re-reading the forum discussion at endless sphere, I wonder if this is the cause of my relatively high power consumption with this motor). With a PAS, you can select different assistance levels with the up-down buttons.
Using the HAL button, you can choose high or low gear manually, or let the controller decide by selecting A for Automatic. I find automatic works well most of the time, but sometimes I manually choose a gear, e.g. when I’m doing a long climb and I don’t want it to keep changing gear during flatter sections.
In high gear, this motor provides useful power (that you can feel) to about 29km/h at full throttle. In low gear, the motor spins out at about 16km/h.
In Automatic mode, the motor will usually start in low gear. Once you get up to 16km/h for a few seconds, it changes to high gear automatically. When it changes gear, the bike loses power for about 1 second, then starts again in high gear. This also happens when slowing down for a hill: when you’ve slowed to about 15km/h for a few seconds, the motor power drops out for a second and then restarts in low gear.

My feedback

The quality of the motor and other parts provided by Xiongda is good, as is their service.
The 2-speed motor solves a significant problem for some ebikers: the overheating of motors when running at low speed and full throttle for significant periods. As I’ve written elsewhere, for normal 250w, 25km/h hub motors (approximately road legal in Australia or Europe), working at full throttle, slower than 15km/h, for more than about one minute, generates potentially damaging temperatures in the motor windings. At these speeds most of the electrical energy consumed by the motor becomes heat, instead of power.
The 2-speed motor changes gears when the motor starts working in this overheating zone, and consequently avoids overheating, reduces energy consumption, and maintains a better speed. From my calculations it appears that at 13 - 14km/h, which the motor tends to maintain in low gear on steep climbs (around 15% slopes), the motor is close to peak efficiency.
The KT controller does seem to get very hot during long climbs, getting too hot to keep a hand on, in a partly-ventilated aluminium box (with some heat-sinking from the box). Its label gives it a 7A continuous rating, 15A peak, but it appears to deliver about 15A continuously during climbs. I suspect overheating due to the high current is the cause of some dropping out of power during long climbs, especially during gear changes. Bonnie at Xiongda suggests getting a Nanjing Lishui controller as a higher quality option – I’ll try soon.

Who would the 2-speed motor be useful for?

Most ebike users ride in flat cities, carrying small loads. For this purpose, the common single-speed hub motor is excellent. Steep hills are usually short, and the simplicity and reliability of the single-speed motor makes it the best option.
The most obvious beneficiaries of the 2-speed motor are people like me who live in mountainous areas with long, steep climbs. For us, the double speed motor reduces overheating, and is faster, lighter and more efficient than heavy motors such as the Bafang BPM, which also deals well with hills.
I expect the 2-speed motor would also help people who can’t provide enough pedal power to deal with their hills. Someone old and light might be able to travel on hilly roads without needing to really pedal at all. It would be good in any situation where a single-speed motor would spend long periods labouring at a low speed and risking overheating.

2000km update

After 2000km I'm still using the Xiongda on my Dahon. It's still going well.

I've installed the PAS (pedal assistance sensor) so I can motor without the throttle. This is significantly different from using a throttle, mostly because you can select different assistance levels which in some situations can help to meter out the battery energy to last for a long trip.

10,000km update (September 2016)

We now have about 10,000km of total travel clocked on 2 Xiongda 2-speed motors: this motor on my Dahon and a 26" rear motor on my son's mountain bike. My confidence is increasing - enough to buy 3 more 2-speed motors. 
These motors do seem to be the best solution to our hill climbing, motor overheating problems. Over and over again, they haul us and our luggage up steep hills, especially the 3km of continuous ~15% climb up our mountain, without trouble. 
They can be noisy - this seems to be in the freewheel unit. I haven't yet explored where this noise has been coming from, I need to take some time to pull one apart. Changing freewheel units has eliminated the noise on one motor. 
We have had 2 breakdowns, each time the same part failing: the nylon sun gear. See my post on this at
Interestingly the gear that fails is the high speed gear, not the gear that does the heavy climbing (which is the nylon internal ring gear). Xiongda is working on this problem, apparently with a stronger plastic gear material. 
For us this is an acceptable weakness, given how much of a problem overheating has been with single speed hub motors, and I expect Xiongda to find solutions. 
Currently I tend to set my power level at 4 (on the KT LCD) for pedelec power, and use the throttle (or switch to power level 5) to give me full power for steep climbs. I expect this will reduce wear and increase life for the nylon sun gear, as well as increasing my range. 

Extra info on Xiongda

As well as the 20” front 2-speed motor, I bought a 26” rear 2-speed motor and a 26” front single-speed motor from Xiongda. I haven’t put these into bikes yet, but I am impressed with them at this stage.
Here is the 26” rear 2-speed motor:
Xiongda 2-speed rear hub motor
Xiongda 2-speed rear hub motor

Note that the threaded boss for the spin-on cluster is steel, and not part of the aluminium casting. This avoids a common cause of rear motor failure, where the threaded boss can break off the motor side plate.
The rear 2-speed motor is disc brake capable (there isn’t room between the forks to fit a disc on a front 2-speed motor).
Here is the 26” front single-speed motor:
Xiongda single-speed front motor (similar to Bafang SWXK)

Xiongda single-speed front motor - note cable exit from shaft
It is disc brake capable, and has an unusual (to me) exit of the power cable through a hole in the axle inboard of the dropout. The side plate looks very similar to that on a Bafang SWXK but cannot be removed with an SWXK side plate tool.

Motor drawings 

These drawings are from late 2014 and were accurate at the time. I'm not sure if changes to specifications have occurred since. The motor opens by unscrewing the side plate (clutch plate) on the right hand side, which has a right hand thread. 


  1. Have you tried the nanjing lishui controller yet? Is that the controller as shown on their website kit, do you know? If not, do you know where to get one, and would you need a different controller? Thanks.

  2. I just got mine, with Lishui, installed 2 weeks ago. They give you a choice. Love it. I can feel the controller going down the road, and it gets a LITTLE warm after lots of full throttle. And my 16" application is on the front wheel of a recumbent tandem, so it's dragging ~200 kg up and down hills. Simpler than the other brand too....

    1. Hi Bob,
      how is your experience by now? I want to install a 2-speed in the 20"front of my Douze Cargo bike (simillar to a bullit). On the bike is a huge Toolbox, so the whole system weight is arround 150kg (me 75kg, the bike 25kg, the tool box loaded 50kg). And the bike needs to carry me arround reliable for about 40km daily in Berlin (not very hilly, but need to get up sometimes steep ramps). I don't like to peddle much, since I am usually exhausted from work (I am industral climber, very physical work), so would love the motor to drag me most of the time. Am considering either a dd drive, but fear it has not much torque in low speed or this 2-Speed, but fear it is not reliable enough (its for work)? What would be your suggestion?
      Any advice from someone else?

    2. Hello Florian,
      This is a good question!
      The Xiongda would probably be good. It would give you a higher speed to travel around on the flat, and would have plenty of torque to haul up ramps and hills. However you are right that it has some reliability challenges. See my page on repairing the Xiongda 2 speed at:
      As the page outlines, it appears to me that the usual weakness is the nylon planet gear, which is relatively easily replaced, but there is still the cost of breakdown time. Xiongda is switching to a stronger material for this gear, which may reduce the risk. I've done about 4000km on my current (not new material) nylon planet gear so they aren't terrible.
      Another option I would suggest is a Bafang BPM code 10 front motor (the higher speed version). See my page on the Bafang BPM at:
      I think bmsbattery is offering this at this page:
      It's unclear what code the motors are on this web shop - be cautious about the specified rpm.
      The BPM is a very strong and reliable motor. I haven't laced one into a 20" rim but I'm not sure how it would go with 1-cross. Perhaps it would need radial spoking due to the shortness of the spokes. The other limitation of the BPM is that it would be relatively slow. My expectation is that a code 10 motor in a 20" rim would have a top powered speed of about 22km/h.
      Good luck, I'd like to hear how you go. Bruce.

    3. Hi Bruce,
      sorry for the long delay. Have bought meanwhile a complete motor already spoked into a wheel, controler, display, 650wh battery for cheap 480 Euros from Leon Cycles, cause I know someone there. It works cause Berlin is flat.
      But now I consider to ad a biketrailer for the extra material load on bigger construction sides. I assume the single speed from leon will not give enough push with this load.
      Unfortuanately I have disc breaks.
      Bonny from xiongda said its possible if the fork dropout is 110..? My 100mm fork is steal, can I widen it that much?
      What do you think?

    4. I think you should be able to make this work fine. Widening steel forks (with no suspension) hasn't been a problem for us so far. They can be bent cold. I put the steerer tube into a vice and bend the forks one at a time. Bending the first fork should give you half the increase you are wanting.
      If you are using disc brakes, you may have some complications due to slightly changing the angle of the disc brake mount. However this is likely to be able to fix either with adjusting the caliper mounting bolts in their slots, or perhaps using a thin washer between the frame lugs and the caliper bridge, or even filing the bridge a little.
      I haven't used a disc on a XD front motor yet, only rear motors. On rear motors it is best to use a disc of at least 180mm to give clearance between disc and motor hub for the caliper, and I suspect the front motor will have the same situation.
      Perhaps send a photo of your forks?

  3. Is the display detachable??

    Will all motor functions work without the display on the bike??

    Is the display optional??

    Thank You.........Thomas

  4. The display is optional, I did order one motor without display. The motor can be installed without the display, using a short circuit plug instead (this is my understanding - I haven't tried it yet). The only thing the display enables in motor function is PAS power control - which is actually quite useful if you want to reduce power consumption and increase range. Once installed with the display, it is detachable but not easily: unmount it from the handlebars by unscrewing the mounts, unplug it from the controller, plug in short-circuit plug in its place.

  5. Bruce, Thanks, finally some practical info on Bafang motors and the new XD double speed motor. I have a CNE Bikes 200w 36v front hub 26" wheel kit now 2 years old and it never had much power. We previously had folding 200W E-Bikes from E Value-E-Bikes which had lots more "grunt". Now it continually blows the 20 amp fuse that is inside the new 36v 11Ah bottle lithium battery. I got GreenSpokes to check it and at 50% load it consumes 257 watts. Stall torque used 14.5 amp consuming almost 600 watts. As it is blowing a 20 amp fuse it must be consuming about 600 watts so naturally I cannot ride the bike for the expected 1.7 hours duration, it only does about .7 of an hour and the effective power is considerably less than 200 watts. It has a LED 880 model control and the low and medium settings are virtually useless. CNE website states "Brushless DC motor controller. Intelligent controller, engineered to be safe, prevent overheating and avoid motor or battery damage." Clearly my controller may not be working properly and the motor is very inefficient. CNE have not answered any requests for clarification. I was considering a Bafang replacement until reading your Bafang problems and SD D/S motor praise. I have asked for prices from Bonnie at Xiongdamotor and if an SD kit with 26" wheel will be produced. If not maybe a local bike shop can change-over my existing wheel. I live up a hill so the SD looks attractive. Swoosh ! Steve Garie

  6. Bruce, Bonnie replied with US$ : SD D/S motor 130, controller 31 (unsure which one), LCD display 28, PAS 3, throttle 7, lacing 26" wheel 35 (assume they supply it), delivery 140, total US$373 so about AU$570 but a Bafang 250W 36V front hub 26" from Value-E-Bikes is AU$285 and add delivery maybe $60 ? So I need to consider spending the extra $200 for the extra climbing power and assumed longer life. Bonnie thinks a rear SD D/S motor would be better which conflicts with your practical usage and front/rear/centre motors do not seem to have any particular advantages except the front is easier to fit. Cheers, Steve.

    1. Hi Steve, you have some trouble! Please clarify:
      - your fuse is blowing frequently now. Did it not blow at first, but started blowing at some point?
      - what sort of work is your bike doing? Heavy loads? Steep hills? Low speeds?
      - what sort of gearing does your bike have? Derailleur? How many sprockets in the rear?
      Shipping whole wheels is expensive. That is why I had to learn wheel building.
      Rear hub motors do have better traction. On steep dirt roads, or steep wet roads, front motors can skid which is a real nuisance, especially for light riders. With 2-speed motors this problem is worse, as there is more torque.
      I like hub gears, which means using front hub motors. However if you're using derailleur gears, there is not much disadvantage to a rear motor. It is harder to install a rear motor, and the XD 2-speed motors require the frame to be bent outwards a little to fit the wider motor in.
      Looking at the CNE bikes website, their front kit appears to use a Bafang motor. Do you know?

  7. Hi Bruce, Fuses started blowing so I got it checked and since then too often. The maximum size 20x5mm fuse I can get is 20A from Aztronics. No fun going out and stopping to change, the same reason I use Schwalbe Marathon 26x1.5 tyres. I am 80Kg and cycle real easy using thumb throttle but pedelec most of the time and the fuse blows when I least expect it, usually under no great load or where the motor would be hot. My old Diamond Back bike gears are Shimano Exage now with 2 front & 7 rear sprockets. I am happy using a front hub motor on sealed roads & Linear Park paths with some steeper inclines and more pedalling effort which is OK but the XD motor looks brilliant. CNE motors are not labelled and there are no specs. There was a rumour of Bafang copies so I was surprised that you had problems with genuine ones. I think my inefficient motor combined with a now faulty controller is the problem so would like to buy an XD with the associated bits to rule out existing problems. Please advise the shipping cost for a motor as the website does not provide this option. It can come by sea if cheaper as there is no rush to ride with Winter here. I will see my bike shop re cost to rebuild my CNE wheel which is a Samson High Power double wall alloy rim with 36 spokes as I do not anticipate needing to buy the various tools. My Diamond Back has a steel frame so would I need to fit torque levers ?
    Cheers, Steve*

  8. Bruce, A few queries before I email Bonnie again for specific parts prices and then an order. Her previous kit delivery without a wheel was US$75, still expensive. Bonnie suggested a Nanjing Lishui controller for XD motor but it is not mentioned anywhere or the required model so the reversing function electrics must be in the motor ? Can Bonnie supply a Nanjing controller and torque levers ?
    Maximum diameter stated 132mm but what diameter is that ?
    How much bigger than 100mm is the front fork distance as you bent yours to fit, mine being steel may give a bit ? It looks like a H-A-L switch is supplied but I can probably use my LED 880 display,PAS & thumb throttle.
    My bike shop will charge about $40 to rebuild my wheel, may reuse spokes if able. Please clarify any points. Steve

    1. Hello Steve, Bonnie is very helpful and provides really good service - hard to find in the DIY ebike scene. I haven't used a Lishui controller yet, I have one ready to go tho. I have so far used the other option for XD 2spd which is KT. I understand the Lishui are probably better quality. You need to use the controller from XD as the speed changes happen in the controller. I recommend getting a display, PAS and throttle from Bonnie as they have a smaller size of plug than what has been normal on parts I have previously bought.
      The motor overall diameter is 132mm. The flange spoke hole circle diameter is 121mm, the same as the 250w Bafangs, so you have a good chance of re-using the spokes if you stick with the front wheel and your current motor is a Bafang copy. Re-using spokes is a good plan.
      The over locknut dimension of the front XD 2spd motors is 110mm. If your spokes are steel this shouldn't be a problem. You will probably need to bend the forks before installation. I suggest taking the forks off the bike and putting the steerer tube into a vice. Bend one fork blade out to make 105mm between dropouts, then bend the other blade to make 110mm. My experience is that normal steel forks bend fine cold - but I haven't tried many forks.
      A torque lever is a good idea, otherwise your dropouts may bend out over time. I've used the ones sold by Green Bike Kit, but I'm not that happy with the 2-piece design and I'm more inclined to make a custom unit.
      My Bafangs burnt out because of what I did to them. Long slow climbs at 10-12km/h isn't okay for them. I have had some fail without long-term abuse too - clearly there is a lot of inconsistent quality control in ebike manufacturing.
      Does this cover everything?
      Best wishes from Bruce.

  9. Bruce, All good. I will email Bonnie, get all the items, see my bike shop for fitting and probably bending the forks as I have no vice and then post the results here. Thanks for all your help and practical experience. Steve

    1. Hi Steve,I've been wanting to build a bike using the rear wheel XD version for quite some time and have been looking at wheel building videos by Bruce and others, but at $40 I'd rather a professional do it.So I'll be keen on hearing about you're build. Could you please provide the name of who will be building your wheel as I am from Adelaide, and wondered if you are also from Adelaide?

    2. Bruce & Rob, Bonnie is very helpful & will advise me early next week if cheaper, slower delivery can be arranged. The XD display is a Bigstone C600 at The Lishui XD controller comes with a variation on the HAL switch. They can provide motor installation widths from 100mm to 145mm so assume this is similar for rear motors.
      I use International Cycles at 70 Payneham Rd, Stepney, 83622609 and the price is about $40 if no problems and we may be able to reuse the spokes. A wheel supplied by Bonnie is US$35 (AU47) but local also saves on freight. I do not think a normal wheel is strong enough and I am reusing my CNE wheel with the inefficient motor. If you are definitely interested in a XD motor we could share the freight but I am placing my order after Bonnie advises the freight. Email me at if interested. Cheers, Steve.
      See my E-Bike at

  10. Well done, sir...and thank you for linking to our article (

  11. Could you tell me the spoke length and rims used on your 20" wheel please? - I am thinking of a Raleigh Twenty rebuild with a simple rear wheel Hub of this type (no gears just freewheel).
    I built one using a marin Kentfield (Front Wheel Kit) and it was fun but I am thinking a much simpler machine now.

    1. Hello Ian, I used a 36hole 20" rim and 140mm 13gauge spokes from, with 1 cross. Have a look at my page on wheel building for ebikes at:

  12. I like you enjoy reading their comments and sometimes get ideas from them.
    12v dc gear motor

  13. After looking for electric 1, I bought petrol motorbike, now I was thinking it would be good to also have electric power on it. As I would want 2 speed, slow that would get up any hill, & fast about 40-50 mph, I found this site.

  14. Bruce, you seem to have good knowledge on this motor so I have a few questions, hope you can help me. I have a 8fun BPM motor on a single bike that I tried on our tandem, it worked fine, but this 2 speed motor may be better. I realize I have to spread the dropouts,but am concerned that it won't clear the fork blades. The BPM motor just cleared the blades by the disk bolts by a few mm's. The dropouts are welded at the center of the fork blades at the bottom, not to one side ,so there is more blade on the inside to interfere with the motor. I haven't found any dimensions for the 2 speed motor, do you know of a site that has that information?
    Do you think this would be a better motor than the 8 fun for a tandem? Luna Cycle has a kit with a 48 volt battery that I am thinking of getting. Thanks, Paul

    1. Hello Paul, I think your concerns are valid. The XD 2speed is a wide and square hub which will fill up fork space. Despite this I managed to fit it (just) in my Dahon front forks, which also have centred dropouts.
      I've added 2 drawings to the bottom of the blog page above which might help.
      Would the XD be better for a tandem? Hard to say. The BPM is a modest, simple and reliable motor which I am very fond of for cargo bikes. In its sweet zone it is higher powered and faster than the XD. However it requires a trade off between speed and torque. E.g. a code 12 36V BPM would haul a tandem up 10 - 12% hills really well, but not power you faster than about 24km/h on the flat (see my cargo bike page
      The XD 2sp will give higher top speed, good climbing and higher efficiency than a BPM, at the cost of complexity and perhaps less reliability.

  15. Bruce, thanks for your prompt reply. Your Dahon fork seems to be similar to what I am using on the tandem. Can you tell me how much clearance there is between the fork and motor 60 mm up from the axle centerline. At that dimension my fork measures 23 mm diameter. I just don't want to order and receive it and not be able to use it.
    Like I said, the BPM motor moved us along just fine,we do pedal up the hills in low gear,and we really want the e assist for the wind at your back feeling,you know what I mean. I am leaning toward going with another BPM for the tandem Would like to have a bit more range though, the kit I would be buying comes with a 36v 11ah battery. The 2 speed motor would have a 48v 13.5 ah battery. Decisions. Thanks,Paul

  16. Bruce, wondering if you saw my last post about decisions? Paul

    1. Hi Paul, I had a chance to measure and photo my front hub, photos at the bottom of the page above. The gap measures about 4mm minimum.
      Re range, I often travel with 2 batteries, e.g. on the round trip to our nearest train station which is 29km and 650m altitude away from home. I would consider keeping the same voltage as any other bikes you have to make this possible. It may be necessary to insert plugs (I use Anderson 15/45A plugs) to join in other batteries. I also use an extension cable made with Andersons to join to a second battery in a pannier.