I have a 200W kit on my Trek mountain bike. I find that I can get around so easily and quickly that I use the bike where I would have once used the car. I read somewhere that Lance Armstrong averages 400W during a race so I have ‘half a Lance’ boost without the extra weight. I can easily keep up with, or pass, the ‘lycra set’ without breaking into a sweat.
I can thoroughly recommend SOLAR BIKE. I had a battery with a very intermittent and hard-to-trace fault. Matthew was very helpful and reassuring. He offered to replace the whole kit but that turned out to be unnecessary. He was always there with a prompt and helpful email as I worked my way through the problem. He replaced the battery immediately when that turned out to be the issue. The bike works like a dream now.
This review was kindly posted by Steve – who has put one motor on the front wheel and one on the back (see picture below). I’m sure that in the future many high-end electric bicycles will be two wheel drive and will take their inspiration from custom set ups like shown here…
Controlling system of this bike includes: two 500 watt hub motors, two 36 volt 10 ah Li ion battery packs, two controllers and throttles. This gear has done 1260 kms without a hitch. Speed is 34 km/hr without pedalling, topping out at 43 km/hr pedalling flat out and fairly sure I could get a little more speed with higher gearing. Speed only drops to around 31 klms going uphill in our area and really pulls hard. Range is 55 kms with light pedalling, one battery had shut down at that point but still managed to travel the two kms home on the other battery.
After a return home (minimum of 21 klms off road) which ends the trip at the top of a 600 meter long haul uphill at full power the batteries are just warm to touch, controllers and motors are at ambient temperatures which means it is all running well within design limits.
The frame I’m using now is a second hand REPCO mountain bike with full suspension, it has a steel rear swing arm so can handle the extra battery weight, the battery box has been positioned as low as possible to get the centre of gravity down which made a huge difference in handling, the suspension means I can run the tyres at a higher pressure to maximise speed and distance per charge while giving a soft ride, curbs and bumps are not a problem now and I only have to back off a little to soak up the bumps. The batteries and controllers are also mounted to the main frame so it’s all sprung load and takes the shock loads off the batteries. I constructed the battery box to hold two batteries, plugs and charging ports and is made from 304 stainless steel painted mat black. I fitted Torque arms on the hub motors very early on as the axles were working in their mounts.
All in all the equipment supplied is excellent and has far exceeded what I thought was possible, I still can’t believe the power density available in these batteries, the service and back up provided is also excellent.
I had a 200 watt geared mini-motor with a 36V 30Ah LiFePO4 battery installed on my modest road bike. The kit was installed by Solar Bike and had the battery attached along the crossbar (part of a research and development project). I was informed that deep discharge of the battery can cause serious damage and added a cycle computer ($50) so that I I could gauge the battery level from distance travelled. I also added an isolation “heavy duty” 24V@38amp truck switch ($20) to prevent deep discharge if the bike was left on for a long period of time.
After two weeks of immense enjoyment, never having to break a sweat or pedal hard up a hill and telling everyone who was interested about the joys of electric bikes I had a bit of bad luck; unfortunately, the motor failed. I returned the bike to Solar Bike who were extremely happy to help. When I explained that I had been assisting/pushing my girlfriend up a hill to avoid her needing to pedal by providing “powerpacks”, we agreed that I had probably over-heated the system and burnt out a hall sensor in the motor. Having being totally satisfied with my kit until then and willing to purchase a new motor, Solar Bike insisted on replacing the burnt out 200w motor free of charge as they assured me that the motor shouldn’t have burnt out and it may have been faulty.
I upgraded to a 350w motor and have been riding this new combination for over a month now and am extremely impressed and satisfied with its performance. The 350w motor produces a top speed of about 30km/h which is only 10% faster that the previous 200w, but most of the power is transmitted as torque which means it can push or pull harder. This gives me more comfort that I won’t burn a motor out again. However, I have set myself a rule to stick to keep it running in its intended torque range and under heavy load conditions (uphill/into wind/ pushing another cyclist) on full throttle, to ensure a constant velocity of 20km/h or greater is maintained by pedalling. I have been sticking to this and have had no problems to date. I have been able to achieve a range of 45km from a single charge and have already travelled hundreds of kilometres since it was recently installed.
Emil Taylor B.Eng. (Hons)
These are so Awesome!
I got a 500W kit and put it on my rarely used mountain bike. I use it every day now and love it so much. I’ve got so much healthier riding this around. It’s so quiet and relaxing and is the best way to get to work and back home in the evening. It’s amazing but it’s actually made riding a bike fun! I hardly ever use my car now and am going to get rid of it.
I made up an eco-box from an old fence paling to protect the battery from getting stolen and in case I drop the bike. It’s better like this because I drilled the charger connection into the side of the box and also an on/off switch and fixed this into the side of the box too. It’s now very easy to charge and turn on and off.
I don’t know how fast I go but it feels really quick. I travel a round trip of about 30 km each day and haven’t run out of battery yet, but it feels like it will go much further.
It’s been a few weeks since I bought my bike – I’ve been holding back on the feedback so I could get a good test in and the verdict is: Brilliant!
I am a very happy customer. The kit was easy to fit and seems to be built well. My motor (350w) is perfect for where I live as there are more hills than I thought and my return trip to work is only 22km. I also appreciate your time on the phone and your prompt email communications.
I fly past other cyclists and get the odd look or comment when I pull up beside someone. I like my setup too: I’ve put my control box under my seat and I’ve put a basket on my pack-rack. This is great because with out the battery on, the bike does not look like an electric bike that one might want to steal. And rather than make a mount for the battery, I’ve padded it up and it now lives in my shoulder satchel that I take to work so I just put the bag in the basket and plug the battery in. That’s easy too, because I’m using an IEC plug to connect it up so it’s a one-step action – the plug is also modified so that the male and female ends are unique to each other just in case someone tries to plug it directly into mains power.
I’m dropping your web address to anyone that I talk to about the bike. That fact is that you’re only about $20 – $30 more than the best Chinese deal one could find, but with that loose change comes piece of mind buying from an Australian business complete with phone number! So I hope you sell many more of these.
My Bicycle – once a tortoise now a hare!
Over the weekend, I installed an electric conversion kit that I had purchased from SOLAR BIKE onto my 15 year old Trek hybrid. The motor is 200watt and powered by a 36V lithium battery. This combination should allow me a top speed of 30+km/hr with the battery lasting for around 50kms before it needs to be recharged.
I have ridden it to work for the last couple of days and I can report that it has turned my bike into a rocketship! I am arriving at work in half the time it normally takes and no longer in a lather of sweat. I seem to be able to use a higher gear overall even without the assistance of the motor because I can use the motor as I am starting to pedal to get me up to a good speed which I can maintain with further blasts from the motor as required. There is a little more friction with the motor off, but in reality it is not really an issue.
There is a hell hill just before my home that I have been forced to push the bike up as my usual strategy of zig zagging up does not do the job. With the electric motor, I can get all the way up without too much trouble albeit in the lowest ratio.
So it has made making the decision to use the bicycle a far more viable proposition and I am still getting plenty of exercise. Highly recommended
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