The plant doctor came into the shop recently to get an electric kit for his bike and kindly sent in a review.
SOLAR BIKE is an Australian wholesale and retail supplier of electric bicycle conversion kits. We specialise in providing the greatest range of electric bike motors and lithium ion batteries Australia wide. We use batteries with the highest power to weight ratio commercially available for ebikes with the latest PANASONIC cells. There are bike shops Australia wide who stock and install our conversion kits and you can also purchase directly from us. We are located in Fremantle if you'd like us to do the conversion work for you and we also stock a range of great production line electric bikes there. Please contact us directly with any queries, we hope to be able to provide the best service in the country for electric bicycle related demands.
The plant doctor came into the shop recently to get an electric kit for his bike and kindly sent in a review.
It’s surprising to learn that Australia as a nation currently only recycles approximately 2-3% of its lithium ion batteries and these are now by far the most common type of battery in use. Why may you ask is it so small when they are so expensive to produce and when we are living in a world where every second headline is concerning global warming, turtles dying of plastic strangulation and tips on how to be a 1st class citizen eco-warrior? Well, there is some good news and some bad news. The good news is that recently Australia opened its first lithium ion battery recycling facility but the bad news is that we really just don’t know if it’s financially or energetically worth it. Strange isn’t it – how can it not be worth recycling them? Well, it’s a very complicated topic and after reading a rather complicated thesis about it I’m still a bit confused but the main points are that the processing technology is very energy intensive and produces its own waste. Recycling is largely driven by financial profits and whilst it is possible to recover copper, nickel, aluminium, lithium, steel, cobalt and manganese from some of these batteries, the only ones really worth recovering financially are cobalt and copper; the remaining metals are recovered either due to ease of processing or due to legal requirements. It’s pleasing to see that we are building more recycling facilities and now have a recycling capacity in Australia but it also appears that the design of batteries doesn’t need to focus solely on higher power to weight density but needs to focus also on ease of material recovery. The new lithium ion battery recycling plant in Australia that has been operating for about a year now is called Envirostream, it extracts steel, copper, aluminium and a mixed metal compound that contains lithium, manganese, cobalt, nickel and graphene. The raw materials can go back into Australian industries but the mixed powder is shipped back to Korea where it is used as stock for new batteries. The process used in Australia eliminates the high energy steps of heating to extract all of the expensive metals but rather uses a combination of crushing and pneumatic stress to recover the compounds, this allows for recovery of 95% of the products – with the exception being the plastic polymers used to hold the batteries together. By creating a mixed powder that can go back to the battery factories there is a large processing requirement removed. The leaders at Envirostream have created the powder product based on what is required at a battery factory. When batteries are made, the crafty metallurgists make a cauldron of metallic slurry that is rolled into the anode and cathode. These sheets are cut to requirements needed for battery cells and the left overs are chopped up and put back into the mix. By imitating this mix with the recycled product it is possible to recycle old batteries without needing to take each metal back to its elemental ingot form and save a lot of processing expense and energy. Click here for the most comprehensive read on recycling technology, difficulties and the industry worldwide. To recycle your batteries you can drop them off at one of these recycling centres and they should ultimately find their way back into your batteries in a few years time. Neat isn’t it?
This was a bike brought in by a customer this week looking for an electric conversion. Being a single speed, we decided that the street legal Solar Bike mid-drive conversion kit was the best option to keep a nice balance between motor power and riding speed with the single rear gear. Also, due to the original bike having nice deep rims it would be a shame to change one to a regular look with a hub motor. The battery in the frame is a Panasonic 36V 14Ah model so should have a great riding range in excess of 50-60km on a single charge. It is a beauty to ride too, it all came together so easily and really feels lovely to cruise around on.
This is one of the latest cargo bicycles coming out of Denmark. It’s called the trioBike and is imported by Cargo Cycles in Melbourne and sold by South Beach Cycles here in Perth. It’s made of plastic so has a very strong and light body and is fitted out with top of the line parts. However, whilst the frame is particularly light for this type of cargo bike, it does get heavy when your loading it up with 2 kids and lots of groceries. It is actually rated to hold kids up to the age of 9 and 90kg! This type of weight is great for working out the legs but if you’re more inclined to enjoy a leisurely daily ride then making it electric is one of the best ideas you’ll likely have this year. The skilled mechanics down at South Beach cycles have used the Bafang mid-drive kit on this model due it fitting the frame well and being one of the more robust kits suitable to take on the extra load. It is a speedy demon on the road now that certainly has it’s place in the genre of electric cargo bike family commuting.
The Big Babboe is a wonderful cargo bike brought into the country by Cargo Cycles in Melbourne. It’s the perfect bike if you’re thinking of starting up a family or already have a large one. We’ve electrified this one with one of our conversion kits to make it all that much easier to ride. If you’ve lost your job and need to down-size to one car or if the daily stresses are getting too much and you’d prefer a ride to work then it’s worth giving a little consideration to this model.
It’s getting more and more common these days for someone wanting to quit their oil and gas job, leave their life, sell their car and take off on an eco-powered adventure. More often than not the contraption they build is a hideous monstrosity that needs an over-size load vehicle running ahead of it and isn’t fit for purpose. This isn’t the case with Peter’s recumbent trike or life. I think that he’s nearly got it right. He’s used a well priced recumbent trike from Greenspeed and had us put on a Bafang mid-drive motor up front. A large capacity 48V 17.5Ah battery was located on the frame in front of the seat for a nice centre of gravity. The solar power system includes a 180W panel that feeds directly into the electric bike battery through a $50 multi-voltage solar controller. It’s still a work in progress and various test rides are necessary before he takes on the Nullabor but it’s a comfy and functional system that allows some long-distance eco-touring. With this system alone Peter is able to do about 200km with a battery charge supplemented with solar. He’d have to allow for a few hours of sunshine at the end of the day to reach the goal of being energy neutral by the time the sun sets but he’s not too far off with this simple system.
Why would anyone chose to convert a BMX into a tricycle and why they would then want to make it electric is beyond us but we are not here to question; we just electrify as instructed. We have no idea where you can pick up a rear end tricycle conversion kit for a BMX but it seems they are out there.
Nice conversion from Greg and nice review. In its entirety:
“It worked out really well and rides great!”
The DOUZE sits at the top of the list of elite cargo bikes. It rides nearly just like a regular bike in terms of performance even though it has an extremely long wheel base to accommodate children. The one problem though is weight when it’s loaded up with two kids and shopping. The obvious solution is to bring it to us to deck out with a conversion kit. Hub drives are no good as it has a rear Nuvinci gear system that you certainly don’t want to lose and the front wheel has a through axle that isn’t compatible with a hub motor. Next we tried our own mini-motor but that wouldn’t fit either due to the frame geometry. The only solution we could find was a BAFANG BBS02 motor, and even then we had to pull the motor apart and mount the halves around the frame. This motor mounts centrally in the crank. The hassle was worth the reward as the final product is perhaps the most perfect mode of transport for those with children wanting to ride instead of drive – and can afford it!
The Scene is a cracking new bike that has come out this year from NORCO. It’s a strange combination of cruiser, upright, step-through, mountain bike and laid-back riding. This is one extremely comfortable bike that is designed with performance and comfort in mind. It is a completely magic model for use with our electric bike conversion kits. This one here has been decked out with the PANASONIC 36V 14Ah tiger shark battery on the down tube and a rear hub motor; with internal routing of all cables it looks as if it’s come straight out of NORCO’s factory like this.
The bike comes out in two models and three colours. The Scene 1 is the more upmarket version that retails for $850 and has a black frame, hydraulic disc brakes and a 9 speed Alivio gear set. The Scene 3 is available in grey/white and raspberry, retails for $650 and has a 7 speed gear set and cable disc brakes instead. Both are ideal bikes for electric conversion. Please come in to test ride this bike if you think it may be up your alley. The performance is brilliant and with the rear hub motor, throttle and centrally mounted battery it’s hard to beat for the price.
Up until Christmas we are running a special on the Electric AVANTI Discovery 2 model. Usually $1990, and now it’s $1840.
This is one of the most comfortable and useful all round ebikes on the market. The AVANTI Discovery 2 comes with disc brakes, an upright sitting position and offers a combination of comfort, performance and commuting speed. With our SOLAR BIKE electric system the bike is suitable for a great range of commuters. The bike is available in either a men’s frame or women’s step-through style in small, medium, large and extra large frame sizes.
Please email email@example.com or call 0404 695 106 to place your order now, they take approximately a week to order and build.
Motor: 250 watt rear SOLAR BIKE hub motor
Battery: 36V 9Ah PANASONIC lithium ion
Fork: Coil Suspension
Gear shifter: Shimano 8 speed
Power Control: Throttle
Range: Between 30-50km depending on power to pedalling ratio
Gears: 8 Speed Tourney
Brakes: Front and rear mechanical disc
This is a review from John, who recently purchased and installed one of the SOLAR BIKE mid-drive conversion kits. We were a bit concerned about him using his own very small 4.4Ah battery but it seems to give him quite a good range.
HAPPY CUSTOMER. I just wanted to give some feed back. The motor I bought is just what I needed. The 4.4 Ah battery carried me on turbo mode in the morning and speed mode in the afternoon to and from work. I used the motor and pedalling for the 8.5 km journey. The battery needed a charge after this. Yesterday it used 25% battery capacity on the way to work. I Managed to hit speeds of 40- 50 km/h, though I can do this pedalling also. I will ask a friend to build me a water proof aluminium case for my battery and charger to fit in triangle. It took me 4 hrs to fit – inexperienced bike mechanic.
This is the GR8 from WORKCYCLES, imported by Dutch Cargo Bike and also sold locally in Perth. It’s very hard to see now but it’s been electrified with our mid-drive kit and PANASONIC 14Ah lithum ion battery, it just fits behind the seat tube. The bike is a superb bike for carrying loads up to 200kg and also for carrying kids. They have plenty of accessories to deck it out so a kid can sit on the front as is shown here or else on the rear heavy duty carry rack. The short wheel base and nice fat 26″ tyres make it very maneuverable around town. The conversion kit went on pretty easily, the only bit that required a fair bit of fiddling around was to get the original chain cover to go over the motor. Had to be spaced out and a few crafty cuts made here and there. All up, it’s one of the best electric cargo bikes we’ve come by.
This is the MERIDA Speeder 100 that we’ve made electric using our mini mid-drive conversion kit. It’s a super combination for people wanting a fast electric flat bar road bike at a top price. The bike handles really well and the geometry is designed for speed, comfort and performance. It has carbon forks to make it light and softer over bumps and has SHIMANO hydraulic disc brakes. This is MERIDA’s new 2018 model and it’s proving to be a splendid bike for electric conversion using either a hub motor or a mid-drive motor. Our small mid-drive motor has torque sensing, making it comparable in performance to either the BOSCH or SHIMANO mid-drive system with the only difference being you also get a throttle, are able to control paramaters like power output and set your own speed limits and you can also couple it to any of the latest PANASONIC lithium ion batteries. Please come in for a test ride, hopefully we’ll still have one set up when you get in.
When Bikies ride tricycles this is what they ride. This one was brought in by a couple of bikies after allegedly purchasing from “The Chinese government”. One of them had lost the use of his legs through a suspected motorcycle accident. They paid $1000 for the trike and $600 for delivery but when it arrived nothing worked except the battery. We laced a 1000W motor into the existing rim and it’s up and running. Pretty heavy on the steering, sloppy suspension and useless brakes but it certainly motors along!
We’ve converted close to ten bikes this week but this is probably our pick. It is the Joordan from LEKKER that we’ve electrified with our little torque sensing mid-drive conversion kit. In case you’re wondering, it’s pictured in front of Horatio’s Wall in the middle of Fremantle. The bike is just a great looking lovely and comfortable upright bicycle and the mid-drive conversion kit fits it spectacularly. It’s been paired with the 14Ah Tiger Shark battery using the latest PANASONIC lithium ion cells for a fantastic range.
The three wheeled cargo bike from the famous Danish company NIHOLA is arguably the best in the world of its kind. It’s great that they are being imported locally into Perth by the company “Dutch Cargo Bike” because they really have some features that are well advanced in comparison to other models. The have a lovely deep cabin floor that is low for extra stability. In combination they have their own steering system so that the wheels move independently of the frame. It makes this bike very stable and it’s a lovely smooth ride. This is great for picking up the kids, the shopping or anything else. It comes together a treat with our own mid-drive torque sensing conversion kit. It’s a little on the heavy side to ride without power assist but it’s simply beautiful and practical with a small electric motor installed!
The following is a review from Darius, we sent a kit up to Darwin and he successfully installed it a couple of weeks back and is loving it.
“Hi, thought you might appreciate a success story. I will start by stating that after a month of riding with the mid-drive kit I still have a big cheesy grin from ear to ear. “Installation…EASY!” – I managed to install the mid-drive kit with little mucking around. I only installed the drive unit, battery and the computer and did not install any of the extra levers and doodads; I considered them a waste of time and handlebar real estate. I have been riding to work regularly, 22Km each way (44 per day), and would sum the experience up by saying “watch out for the fat bastard smashing it out and giggling like a little girl as he passes everyone, young fit folk included, on his now short ride to and from work”. The extra push from the mid-drive kit has given a 100kg 53 year old fat bastard the motivation to work back to ironman fitness again…OK not ironman but definitely slightly firmer old man. All hail the mid-drive kit!
Tim and his son have set off on a wonderful outback adventure with a couple of kitted up ebikes. We helped set up a simple solar system to aid charging when no mains power was available. The solar system used was a 48V 100W panel wired up to a 48V regulator and this connected directly into the ebike’s battery. The system can draw energy from the sun while you ride and also power up the batteries whilst you dip with the crocodiles in the billabongs en route. The kits were put on hard tail mountain bikes and used the 48V 17.5Ah Tiger Shark batteries and Bafang mid-drive motor conversion kits. With careful power use you can stretch the riding range to about 80km a day and the modest solar system will recharge the battery fully given about 10 hours of good sun a day – and there’s a lot of that where they are!
This is a nice simple system showing off both how little energy you really need for your commuting requirements and also how you can deck out an ebike for long touring commutes. This system was devised numerous years back and for maximum efficiency it’s good to have a 48V battery matched with a 48V panel and a 48V controller (pictured below). The controller on this system was an $80 item purchased from ebay but it works a treat. These days, it’s possible to find $50 ebay solar controllers that are able to take any input voltage and put out any output voltage that you want to charge your battery. This allows you a wider range of panels with different sizes and power levels and also allows you to charge a wider range of batteries.
Wishing you two the best for the rest of the trip!
This is the Carpe 30 flat bar road bike from the Spanish bike building company ORBEA decked out with a mid-drive kit from BAFANG and a long range PANASONIC lithium ion frame mounted battery.
Style – tick
Speed – tick
Range – tick
Handling – tick
Seems to tick a few boxes!
This was an old 1950s Dutch style single speed bicycle that came into the shop a little while ago with lots of rust, mud and spiders.
We proceeded to electrify this lovely old bicycle as requested. There were a few small issues to get it electric. The first one was the decision on where to locate the motor. The front forks were not suitable for a hub motor due to their thinness and angle. The rear axle also wasn’t suitable for a hub motor as it was a single speed bike so the distance across the axle was only 120mm. It wouldn’t have been ideal to stretch it to the 130-132mm needed for a typical rear hub motor. The final option left to us was to use a mid-drive motor. We have been using our own designed neat little mid-drive motor (click here for details) a lot lately. It’s smaller than all other available kits and it has lovely torque sensing. It performs rather similarly to the BOSCH or SHIMANO mid-drive motors but with a few small benefits. The difference between a torque sensing kit and a cadence sensing conversion kit is that with torque sensing the motor responds to the pressure you apply to the pedals, with cadence sensing the motor responds to the revolutions of the pedals. The torque sensing kits are typically a little smoother in regard to performance but an added advantage is that you do not require a throttle to operate them. Whilst with a cadence sensing kit, the throttle is not an absolute necessity, the times you can get in trouble without the throttle is when you need to start up a hill. Because you need to rotate the pedals approximately half a turn to get the motor to engage it can be difficult to begin riding. The throttle is very useful just to give you that initial kick and then you don’t need it once you are up and riding and rotating the pedals. The torque kits are good in that the response is immediate as soon as you start pushing. The throttle is also available on our torque sensing kits and it is also rather useful in certain times when you want a little more immediate power – such as crossing busy roads or negotiating lots of pedestrians. The final hurdle was finding a rear brake. The original system had a rear coaster brake – that’s one where you pedal backwards to activate the brake like on your childhood BMX. Because the motorised crank drive system does not engage in reverse then this braking system was lost. We ended up searching far and wide to find a long reach rear brake caliper (99mm) that we could fit to this bike. In the end, the bike came together rather well. It is an extremely comfortable ride and it was lovely to put some life back into this 1950s classic. It will surely see a lot more kilometres now it’s electric!
Please come in this week to take advantage of our latest special. It’s the AVANTI Discovery 2 equipped with the SOLAR BIKE rear wheel mini-motor kit and PANASONIC tube battery. The electrics are superb and the bike is great. It’s designed for comfort and commuting efficiency. With suspension seat pole and fork it’s lovely to ride and the disc brakes will help you pull up nicely in times of need. It’s on special for one week only. $300 off this model. Was $1990, now $1690. Offer ending on the 27th June 2017!
Folding bikes are an excellent way of getting around with their small size making them convenient for commuting, caravanning or simply for those with minmal storage space at home. Don’t be fooled by the small wheel size or the short frame, these bikes are more than capable on the road or cycleway and ample adjustability makes them suitably comfortable for a wide range of riders. Converting them to electric bikes can raise a couple of challenges though, most notably in getting a model with suitable forks and enough space to mount a battery.
The XDS City Folding is an ideal solution! Not only is it equipped with quality parts and accessories but it also has a suitable strong fork to accommodate a front wheel motor as well as adequate clearance to fit a Solarbike seat post mounted battery. As a result, no compromises need to be made when it comes to the folding function of the bike. We set these two up over the weekend. They feature a 200 Watt front wheel mini motor coupled with a Panasonic 36V 9Ah seat pole mounted battery that should give a top speed of 28km/h to a maximum range of between 30 and 35 kilometres.
What’s more, their modest price tag of $1700 each make these bikes a great value option- one of the most cost effective quality electric bikes out there.
Of course, the XDS City Folding is a great bike without the electrics too, so if you’re just after a great value folding bike, we can offer them for $650.
One of ELECTRA’s beach cruisers came in this weekend for a conversion job and it came together very nicely. The customer opted for a direct drive front motor and a long range 36V 21Ah battery to enable him to get from Freo to the city and back. The bike is great to ride, the’re well designed for comfort and style with their “Flat foot” technology that puts the pedals forward to allow leg extension whilst still easily putting your feet on the ground for balance. The Springer front end is a nice touch too.
The industrial trike from GOMIER is the heavy duty mother of tricycles that can be used for carrying great loads. This was one created for SEA DOG TV, a company that has been shooting wildlife films on Rottnest island for the best part of the year for NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. It was proving to be a bit arduous carrying scuba diving tanks from place to place so the industrial trike was electrified and a trailer added so that the film crew can get across the island with energy spare to do their good work. The 14Ah 36V PANASONIC Tiger Shark battery fitted beautifully within the frame of this tricycle and should allow the crew to get all the way across the island and back. We hope to see some lovely underwater videos of Rottnest this year!
After a couple of years of reliable service the Red Baron came back to us for a complete system upgrade. This is the new look of the Luftwaffe; 1000W front hub and 48V 17.5Ah Tiger Shark battery mounted within the frame! The bike is the Red Baron from FELT.
If you want to make a high speed dual suspension electric bicycle then the GIANT ANTHEM is one of the best models to choose simply because there is room within the frame to mount a high capacity battery. This bike uses the BAFANG 1000W mid-drive conversion kit and you need a very solid battery for it to work as the motor has a 30 amp current draw and with this high power you need a high capacity battery to get a decent range. This battery is a PANASONIC 48V 17.5AH lithium ion battery and will give a range of approximately 30km with pedalling hard and lots and lots of motor power. There are very few other dual suspension bikes that have a large enough frame space to accommodate a good battery – nearly none we’ve found – so if you’re looking for something like this then for around $1000 you should be able to find a 2nd hand GIANT ANTHEM that will work well.
The next problem with this type of bike is getting a mid-drive motor to fit. The great majority of bicycles have a bottom bracket shell/crank width of 68-73mm. With dual suspension bikes it varies a little and this model has a 90mm bottom bracket shell. This is quite easily overcome by ordering an abnormal mid-drive BAFANG kit with a 100mm axle length. The problems do not finish there though because most bicycles have a cartridge style bottom bracket but lots of high quality dual suspension mountain bikes have a press fit bottom bracket. They look like this:
This means that the typical mid-drive conversion kit will be too sloppy in the shell and surely cause problems. We overcame this by doing a few measurements and getting some cups made that would fit in the press fit bearing slot and be the correct inner diameter to support the mid-drive motor. Here are our poor drawings but thankfully the machinist was high quality and produced some good parts for us.
The part for the drive side has a thinner outer diameter in an aim to keep the chain line as straight as possible in regular riding. This is what they look like when they are put in:
This is how it looks with the motor in place:
The bike rides beautifully. It’s near impossible to get a high power dual suspension bike for under a few thousand dollars but this is a great solution. The bike can hit up to 60km/h with good pedaling and a range of around 30km should be expected with a 48V 17.5Ah battery. Rough prices are bike: $1000, motor kit: $1000 and battery: $1000.
The fixie trend was about not so long ago, you’d see colourful bikes accompanied by men with man-buns and goatee beards lurking around the hippy cafes all along the streets of Fremantle and beyond. While this group of hipsters can still be found, the trend is dwindling a touch because in all honesty they’re just not that practical for the average punter needing to commute to work – or the coffee shop. True fixed geared bicycles are still being used on track bikes in velodromes but many of the “unpure” fixie riders have reverted to single speed and have lost the ability to lock their back leg out to get a good skid going and instead will employ both front and back brake levers – God forbid! What this trend has left though is a need to look good while riding a bike, LEKKER are a Dutch/Australian brand that makes bikes with looks at the forefront of their design aspirations and the Amsterdam is one of their models that has taken aspects of fixie culture and urbanised it. This bike has a 7 speed internal hub instead of the fixed gear but the frame sports that nice simplicity that you find in single speed models. We’ve taken it one step further and added a sleek electric conversion kit onto it to make it that one step more useful. We put a mini mid-drive kit onto it that can power it at between 250-350 watts and put a sleek PANASONIC lithium ion battery within the frame for high power output and handling. So, for all those who want to arrive at their favourite coffee shop with their man-bun, their goatee and their polka-dot shirt free of any sweat drops then we have the bike just for you. We present to you the Electric Lekker Amsterdam!
This is Mango Margot gracing the streets of her native Scheveningen in Holland. The bike is a train-bike; according to Margot “The old-school versions are the new hipster thing and converted to a solar bike it’s even more booming!”