Apparently in Germany all of the bike mechanics have to go to bike school. 2 and a half years to become a basic mechanic and an extra year for the advanced qualification. It was great to have Tweety in the shop this week with her German qualifications. She gave us all a bit of schooling and broke the long held bike build record in the process. This here was one of the many bikes she assembled this week. It’s the beautifully designed VALLKREE scrambler in chrome. It rides like a dream and it’s nice to know all the nuts and bolts are tight!
This was an interesting cargo bike that we electrified this week. It’s a beautiful cargo bike from DOUZE that has a lot of top end parts on it. However, riding it loaded up with a child and groceries and heading into the sea-breeze is a bit troublesome so the customer asked us to electrify it. Hub motors were no option due to the front wheel having a through-axle and the rear 11 speed internal gear so our only option was to use a mid-drive kit. This proved tougher than expected due to the frame geometry but we got around it all by pulling the motor apart and installing half of it on each side then bringing it back together. It’s now a great electric mid-drive cargo bike that will serve for many many years to come.
Solar Bike. Fremantle Woolstores. January 2017.
This is one of the nicest conversions we’ve done this week. It’s the men’s Jordaan from LEKKER. It has a nice 7 speed Shimano nexus hub in the rear and it’s been converted with one of our rear rack battery/front hub motor. It’s a comfortable bike that has that classic Dutch style. Please come into our shop to test ride one.
We’ve been putting together a lot of the mid-drive kits lately and this one was worth a note. This was a simple fixie that a customer brought in. It’s quite a cheap and elegant bicycle that you can get from a lot of online places or even shop fronts. This model was a REID bike that sold for around $400. It’s simple and cheap but there’s not a thing wrong with it and it lends itself nicely to the mid drive kits. There are a few brands of mid-drive kits our there. BAFANG, also known as 8fun are very well known in the business but their kits don’t have torque sensing like their production electric bikes do. We’ve now got our own range of legal mid-drive kits that have torque sensing and they are proving to work exceedinly well. They will fit onto nearly all bikes and have both throttle and pedal assist LCD control. This bike came together easily and it is a great ride. The picture here shows it with a 36V 11.6Ah PANASONIC lithium ion battery in the middle of the frame.
There is often a trade off in life, one thing for another. Eg. The more organic you want your broccoli, the less money you’ll have to spend on beer. The more beer you drink, the worse you’ll feel in the morning. Well, the trade off in electric biking is the faster you go, the less distance you can cover. If you stick your head out of a car that’s not moving you don’t feel any wind. If you stick it out the window at 100km/h then it’ll blow your ears off. That increase in air friction is essentially the drag that you have to overcome with either pedalling or electric motor. The faster you go, the more friction there is and hence your distance will be less. It’s not a linear relationship either, which is what creates a problem for people wanting to travel long distances at higher speeds. A customer needed to travel the 35km he was commuting daily but wanted to do it at 35km/h and not 25k/h so opted for a 500W motor. He could manage this distance with an 11.6Ah 36V Panasonic tube battery but when his need increased to travel 70km he had to get more battery power. We did this by getting another 11.6Ah tube battery and running them in parallel. Doing this is very simple, you take the red leads from the battery and crimp them together and do the same to the black ones. Then connect this to the controller. You can control which battery you use by the switches on the bottoms of the batteries. Running them both together gives you a slightly greater speed. All worked well and he’s a happy customer covering a lot of ground through the week.
These are two of our greatest creations of late. One is a little baby girl and the 2nd is a downhill bike converted with a Bafang mid drive motor. The mid drive kits are really well worth a visit, they’re a little more comlicated than hub motors to set up but have some nice features. The Bafang (8fun) kit is probably the best on the market as a retro fit kit. They’re available in powers of between 250-1000W. This one here is the 750W model and it runs a 48V 11.6Ah SAMSUNG lithium ion battery. The battery had to be attached upside down on the down tube as often with dual suspension bikes there is no room within the frame. Rack mounted bikes are tricky also as unless it’s a seatpole mounted battery it won’t work. This bike rides like a dream, it gets about 25km range on the top level at about 45km/h. The mid-drive kits allow you to run through the gears so essentially speed depends on the gearing system. This one still delivers power at slightly above 50km/h but that’s pedalling at top speed as well. Larger chain rings are available if you need to go faster but that is pretty quick on a bicycle. Once you ride a dual suspension bike it’s hard to go back. It feels like a combination of a flying carpet, bicycle and hover board.
Vallkree are a group from Byron Bay who are designing, building and importing some pretty good looking electric bikes. We’ve got a few on our shop floor now so if you’re interested in this style of bike then please come by and take one for a spin. They have a rear wheel motor, pedal assist and also open throttle control. They’re suprisingly comfortable and look great. They have a variety of styles, accessories and colours available. Please check out their website here.
One of our new eye catchers is the converted Norco Indie with a mid-drive conversion kit. Before conversion, this was already a great bike with 8-speed gears, disc brakes and a stiff frame. We converted the Norco Indie to an electric pedal assisted bike featuring a 750 Watt Bafang mid-drive motor which together with a 48V 11.6Ah battery will take you quickly to your destination. The mid drive motor assists you pedalling along the streets while you enjoy your morning-midday or afternoon rides. All in all, a great bike that will draw some looks with you riding it.
This is the GIANT Halfway. It’s a folding bike that was interesting in its production because both wheels had stub axles, if you look closely you’ll notice that there is only one side to the fork and only half a rear triangle. This made installing a hub motor impossible so we put on one of the new SOLAR BIKE mid-drive kits. These new motors are smaller than all of the other ones and they come with torque sensing. It came together beautifully and performance of the bike was only changed by having lovely and smooth electric assistance coming from the cranks. Another nice custom conversion!
The brand new La Belle reinvents an old Malvern Star name from years gone by but wraps it up in a stylish and sophisticated modern way with more than a nod to the comfort and practicality of the famous ‘Dutch’ style ladies bikes. Whatever outfit you’re wearing, its ready to simply get on and enjoy the ride. Made even better with a Solar Bike long range 36v 17ah rack battery electric conversion at Ace Cyclery.
This is my old mountain bike – called the Centurion – that’s probably how long it would have lay about not getting used until I converted it to electric. I took it into the Solar Bike shop in Fremantle and put on a pretty beefy kit! It’s got a rear wheel 1000W motor and 48V battery now and the boys in there let me put it all together in the shop and give it a basic service for free – well I bought them a slab of beer actually for their assistance. Was great to have their experience with the assembly work. A couple of new tyres, some new cables and pads and it was the best birthday present a bike could get. It goes like brand new but feels like Cadel Evans is pedalling it for me. It’s made life much easier getting around town now. No traffic, no sweat, no public transport stress and no more cost for me getting around for a few years till I need a new battery. The bike is great to ride but the motor is a bit fast. I can’t keep up to the speed of the motor when I pedal so I’ll either have to get a few more teeth on the front cog or else ease up a bit on the throttle. I love it and suprisingly am getting a pretty good daily workout
Bill, Feb 2016
This was a conversion put together by Ace Cyclery for a customer who had a light weight carbon Colnago. Some purists may be appalled at making such a beautiful thing electric but not the customer or creator. It was a challenge to find a suitable fork and some handlebar modifications were performed but now it is an increidbly light weight electric bike that will cover thousands more kilometres than it already has. It has a 400Wh Panasonic lithium ion battery in the frame and a light mini-motor up front. On a bike like this with a little input you could easily expect a 50km range. The new upright riding position will make it very comfortable.
Ace Cyclery, February 2016
The Boda Boda is an elegant looking cargo bike made by YUBA. The step through version is very nice but it’s hard to find somewhere to locate the battery when converting it to become electric. Alex, the crafty mechanic from South Beach Cycles, has found a solution. He cuts and laminates a piece of ply wood and creates a 2nd layer under the carrier rack. With holes in the correct locations it’s possible to turn the switch on and off and also get the key in there to remove the battery. If you’re looking for an electric cargo bike then these guys are the ones to visit for sure.
Here we have a couple of electric bikes we put together and they couldn’t have been more like chalk and cheese. The first one was brought in by a customer and in all honesty it was such a piece of junk that it was hard to talk the customer out of converting it. Anyway, ahead we went and put on the motor and battery he wanted. In the end, we had to put a new rear wheel on, new brakes, new cables, new seat post brackets etc. Was a lot of work scrubbing the grit out of the chain but in the end it was a pleasant surprise and it rode ok.
The next bike however was a pleasure to put together. A new Carpe 50 from ORBEA, everything went together so smoothly and the bike ran like a dream. This is really a top model for a great price. We used the Panasonic 11.6Ah 36V lithium ion tube battery pack and a rear mounted hub motor. These bikes have such nice geometry for a flat bar road style bike that it feels more like a hybrid but with great handling. All up a busy morning here.
Solar Bike, January 2016
It was a pleasure to set up a couple of my favourite electric bikes for my friends David and Rosy for some of the first for the new year. These were the Orbea Carpe 30 – a lovely bike with great riding geometry and hydraulic disc brakes. Rosy’s was the Breezer uptown. A stylish ladies bike. Both are regular bikes we convert here in our new shop in Freo and I hope to do a bunch more this year!
Matt, Solar Bike, January 2016
Here are a couple of Christmas ebikes put together professionally at ACE CYCLERY in Palmyra. The top mountain bike will be a lot of fun. It’s a SCOTT Aspect 29er using a high power 1000W kit. The bottom one is a classic styled MALVERN STAR Vintage Wisp. It goes beautifully with the 200W long range rack battery kit. Both will be thoroughly enjoyed this christmas.
Click here to see a VIDEO of a simple and elegant solution to convert a regular wheelchair into an electric one. The video shows the nimbleness and speed of the system doing laps around our shop. It was done using a set of BMX forks and bracing them onto a regular wheelchair. The customer and creator absolutely love it – and so do we. Nice work!
Perth Electric Bicycles and Solar Bike. November, 2015
This is a nice little number put together by Ace Cyclery this week. It’s a Ladies XDS 8 speed deluxe with the long range Solar Bike kit (recently upgraded to 36V 17.4Ah rack Panasonic lithium ion battery). It uses a rear wheel drive kit so that there is no risk of too much weight being imposed on the forks due to a front baby seat installed on the head stem. Code Named BLACK BETTY!
This is a Solar Bike conversion kit put on a Zeitbikes shorthaul box bike. For those well travelled, you would have seen these types of bikes carrying kids, shopping and all manner of other items around many a beautiful European city. The lads down at South Beach Cycles in South Fremantle are fans of this type of bike and are the guys to see if you fancy getting one and having one of our electric kits put on it to make it much easier to pedal.
This is a classic model called the Papillionaire. It was made electric by Tony at Ace Cyclery in Palmyra. It’s a lovely stylish cruising bicycle that sports a 3 speed Shimano Nexus internal hub gear. The bike is valued at around $600 and the electric kit comes in for around $1100. It should be seen cruising up and down the streets of Perth and Fremantle with a happy smiling rider for years to come.
Ace Cyclery, September 2015
Leif has come from Germany many years ago and has taken one of our custom models out into the bush to help him with his prospecting. The motorised rim on the front and pedal power to the rear means that he can ride over the bumpy and sandy terrain with little difficulty. First few weeks out there yielded 5 ounces of Gold! The solar panel helps to charge up the bike to get him a little extra distance.
For ladies with kids, this is one of the best options you have available to haul them around. It’s an electric cargo bike called the Boda Boda. Once the kid outgrows the baby seat then the options are limited to a tow behind bicycle or a trailer. The Boda Boda is a much greater option. The bicycles are made by YUBA and imported by Cargo Cycles in Melbourne. The gentlemen down at SOUTH BEACH CYCLES in South Fremantle have come up with a unique solution to electrify the step through model with one of our kits. They make a special rack out of wood and insert the battery above this to take the weight and still allow it to be removed and easy access to the switch. There are plenty of handy accessories for this bicycle but the cage on the back that I assume is to stop the children falling out is not one of them. In case you’re wondering, it’s a couple of sets of chopped monkey bars bolted together!
Many thanks to Graeme, one of our customers, for this review. It has some good information on technical aspects of speed, power, weight, performance and general riding styles.
On the road
I suppose the first thing to say is that I really like this electric bike. It is definitely still a bicycle – it is not a moped and it’s not a little motorbike. On the road I first rode the bike just as a bicycle with the motor switched off – the bike is a bit heavier than a normal bike, noticeably up hill, but on the flat it felt no different and there is no additional noise or friction because of the motor and kit being fitted . The bike was still smooth with no frame flexing or awkward weight distribution and all feels good. Presumably the tubular battery weight being centralised and the bike’s rigid frame help this.
With the motor in use, the combination of bike and my own power is great fun. Acceleration from a standstill is quite strong and means I never really come off the big chain ring at the front and apart from hills only use the highest 4 gears at the back. Once on the flat and cruising at typically 32 to 35 km/h it can feel like the motor isn’t doing much, but hit a small climb or a headwind and I soon realised that I very rarely dropped below 30km/h and this makes journey averages even with headwinds stay quite high. Overall I still get a good work out but it all happens just that bit quicker and easier. As a final delight – it is great that the whole thing is almost silent when flying along. The only wining I get is from a few of the luddite cyclists that think you are somehow going against the purity of cycling – but what do they know?
Power and speed
There are some good write ups on the net about bicycles and human power that go into more detail on the science etc. I ride a racer bike regularly to work and on weekends and I find that on a typical ride of 2 or 3 hours I average about 30km/hr. For the more serious cyclists this isn’t particularly fast – for a recreational cyclist this is not bad going. With my electric bike, it is possible to not use the motor and just ride it as a regular bicycle. Apart from up steep hills where you notice the weight, it still performs well so it’s no real concern if the battery goes flat out on a ride. I found that riding my electric bike – using the electrical drive only gave almost exactly the same performance as riding it with no power and just me pedalling only. In flat out power, I can do better than the electric – but for sustained power me and the motor are pretty much equal. This was kind of the plan – I didn’t want something super powerful – but I was surprised it turned out so well. Electrically, I tend to ride the bike on full power all the time, unless the conditions hold you back
So, with me pedalling and the bike at full power the total power is about double. Something to remember is that if you double the power you don’t double the speed. Think for example about my bike with about 200 watts will do about 30km/h and Valentino Rossi’s race motorbike has more like 200 thousand watts and does about 320km/h – I know they are not quite the same, but you see the point – Rossi’s bike has a thousand times the power but only goes about 10 times faster – so the relationship of power to speed is not linear, and speed is the cube root of power (cube root of 1000 is 10). Similarly, if you have a bike with 8 times the power it will go 2 times as fast ( the cube root of 8 is 2) and if you have a bike with 2 times the power (like my bike ) it will go about 1.25 times as fast (cube root of 2 is about 1.25 ) So – whereas the bike will do about 30km/h with just the motor and about 30 km/h with just me – together we can go about 38km/h flat out.
The bike and the build
I purchased a Giant Cross City 4 bike. The cross city 4 has Chrome Moly forks and an alloy frame, large 700C wheels and 24 speed Shimano gears. As a road bike this is a really nice smooth bike. It weighs in at 12.1kg which isn’t bad for the price and the intention, By comparison my Giant TCR full carbon road bike weighs 8.8 kg. Having the 700c wheels makes the cross city roll as easily as a road bike so this is a quick comfy bike. The tyres are a bit bigger at 32mm (700C32) where the road bike is a 23 (700C23) but this is probably better when a motor is being fitted.
So, the electric kit. I went for the front wheel type smaller size motor which as I understand it, is similar for the 200w and the 350 watt set-ups, and got the Panasonic 36V, 11.5 amp hour tube type battery that mounts to the front frame down tube where the water bottle holder would normally go. The motor comes as a complete front wheel to which you fit your original front tyre and inner tube. The battery comes with a bracket that mounts to the bike frame using the water bottle holder bolts. The battery then snaps in to this bracket and requires a key to remove it. The battery like this rattles around a bit, but the kit includes some sturdy Velcro straps that fasten around the battery and bike frame and hold it all good and secure and no movement or rattle. Once all was fitted It was back on the scales. The cross city with the full kit fitted weighed 18.3kg, so the kit itself weighs just 6.2 kg which I thought was pretty good.
I fitted a wireless cat eye speedometer, fitted the sensor to the new front wheel, measured the circumference of the wheel (one revolution marked on the floor) as 2156mm and dialled this in to the speedo. With the battery fully charged I was able to lift the bike’s front wheel into the air and drive it with no load. With no load, the motor quickly accelerates in what feels like a series of steps as the thumb throttle is slowly rotated the ninety or so degrees from zero position to full. At 100% throttle the motor was able to drive the wheel to 39.6km/h where it quickly settled and then ran at this constant speed. When the throttle is closed off, the motor quickly comes to a stop but the front wheel continues to rotate freely showing very little friction.
Overall I was really satisfied with how comprehensive and easy to fit the kit was and now many months later it still seems solid and has had no issues or failures even in wet weather. The charger and peripheral gear are still all working great.
From Graeme, August 2015
Hi Matthew. Just to let you know that I’m getting along famously with the bike. I turned eighty last year and was finding even a moderate incline or head wind were a bit of a problem. Now with a bit of help from my Solar Bike kit I’m enjoying cycling again. Should have made the change years ago!
Many thanks, Doug Amey
The COM8 from XDS is now our new favourite bike to make electric for the everyday commuter. Click here for bicycle specifications. It’s such a smooth bicycle to ride and with the SHIMANO NEXUS internal hub, gear changes are extremely simple and quiet. It’s really well designed for commuting, comfortable, well priced and nice looking. Please come by our shop if you want to test ride it. All up, for $1900 it’s very hard to beat!
This is the Rat Fink from Electra that has been made electric using the Solar Bike electric bicycle conversion kit by Ace Cyclery in Palmyra. Click here to see the video. It uses the tubular shaped Panasonic lithium ion battery and a mini-hub motor. The Rat Fink is the limo of choppers. It is even better when it’s electric. It combines health, ease of transport, comfort and style all into one. It’s a great bike to make electric! Please drop by Ace Cyclery if you are interested in a vintage, retro or cool bike to make electric. There are a range of them there and Tony is an expert in putting them all together!
Ace Cyclery, Palymra, WA, July 2015
Snow on the hills here this morning – but nothing stops the daily commute. My trusty Solar Bike kit has now been running for over 15,000 km! Couldn’t live without it! The 1st battery survived a bit over 2.5 years and was run for 30km/day 5 times a week. I was initially a little disappointed about the longevity but there is simply no cost comparison against car or even public transport (bus) – the battery pays for itself in 10 weeks of driving and about 20 of using the bus, although the convenience, flexibility, and relaxed commuting are priceless. The help I’ve received from emailing directly has been nothing short of excellent. I asked about the initial purchase, battery installation, and about switch wiring; everything was promptly and clearly explained.
Patrick, Canberra, July 2015
This is a pretty solid bike to make electric. It’s the Urban 20 from ORBEA. We put on the new mini-motor kit that comes in black and is laced into a deep dish 50mm red rim. Looks neat and can be driven hard up to 500W. The bike’s great, it can really be thrown around easily and is also great for commuting with the 700c rims.
Perth Electric Bicycles, July 2015
This is a Giant CRX City that was converted to electric by Ace Cyclery. It’s a great commuter bike that comes with a Shimano Nexus 8 speed internal hub. One small problem was that it had a carbon fork and these aren’t suitable for electric front hub motors so they swapped out the carbon fork for a hi tensile steel one, this costs an extra $130 for fork and labour so you need to factor this in if you want to convert a carbon bike. It’s now a really great commuting machine. The kit includes a small mini-motor and a Panasonic 36V 11.6Ah lithium ion battery. Should have a range of between about 30-50km with light pedalling input.
This is the Carpe 30 from ORBEA. It’s a fine specimen of a bicycle and is even finer in our opinion when it’s made electric and the extra effort is made to relace the motor into the original red rim. This is a 500W model but it looks identical in 1000W as well if you really want to push things hard. It’s one of a selection of bicycles that can take higher powers. PERTH ELECTRIC BICYCLES have a great range of bikes that are been made into high quality custom conversions. Read the review on this particular model by clicking here, which goes into quite a bit of details on specs and performance.