The plant doctor came into the shop recently to get an electric kit for his bike and kindly sent in a review.
“So I plumped for your 250W mid drive kit a couple of weeks ago for my Giant CRX. Fairly run-of-the-mill bike modified only with mudguards and kid’s bike seat. Installation went well, I only needed to re-route the rear derailleur cable as the motor would not clear the cable guide under the bottom bracket. Also added a Rivnut to mount the battery a bit higher up on the down tube. Cables were tidied up using a little tool bag that I had lying around, fitted just between the motor and the battery. I installed one cut-out brake lever which I find useful to hold on to while gently resting my foot on the pedals say at an intersection – avoids “riding the clutch”. Overall I am happy with the conversion – being all in black it looks quite subtle and it’s a relatively cheap way of going electric.
Performance is pretty impressive. I went with the 36V 11.6 Ah battery and I can easily get 50 km out of it, without trying to be economical either, using “Speed” setting pretty much the whole time. I removed the 25 km/h restriction, which is ridiculously low, and upped it to 350W output (don’t let Nanny know). I love the feedback you get from the torque sensing, and how it works efficiently with the gears. Gives a really natural feel. I almost never use the throttle except to have a play from time to time. I can now ride my daughter to school and then on to work, barely breaking a sweat.
So far I have done just under 200 km. At some point I managed to damage my chain (bent link), not sure what caused that – could have been pre-existing weakness – but I just swapped it out for a KMC Missing Link, problem solved. I guess it reflects the extra stress the chain is under (and this is on an 8-speed, so nothing too flimsy). As a bonus I discovered I can charge my front light with the USB port on the display. I am tempted to convert my other bike too, but then I might get a bit tubby with the reduced exercise!
I am considering upgrading the brakes and maybe a larger chainring in time. And maybe a couple more rivnuts to the top tube so I can mount a bottle cage there. But so far I am very happy with it and I’m looking forward to many more easy kms. Happy to spread the Solarbike word far and wide!