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Industry Pro Reviews

E-BikeKit™ Review: Geared Front Hub Motor & Lead Acid Battery

ElectricBikeReport.com

Originally posted Pete Prebus at ElectricBikeReport.com.
Objective, honest and unbiased reporting for the electric bike industry.


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Are you looking for a complete and economical electric bike kit to add electric assist to your existing bike?

Well, you should definitely check out this complete review of the E-BikeKit with 350 watt geared front hub motor and 36V 9ah lead acid pack!

Make sure you checkout this article that includes the kit’s specifications, installation info, a bunch of pictures and a video!

E-Bike Kit is a company that has been around for 5 years and the owner, Jason Kraft, is dedicated to offering a variety of  kits that fit almost any kind of bike and riding style.  Jason is hyper focused on customer service and he wants your electric bike conversion to be a success.

Okay, now let’s talk about what the E-Bike Kit ride is like, the real world ride results, pros, cons, and who this kit is for.

What is the ride like with the E-Bike Kit?

With 350 watts of power in the geared front hub motor this kit definitely helps pull you up some hills.

It also does a nice job of taking the edge off of riding into the headwinds!

It is not totally a free ride (i.e. no pedaling) on the steep hills but it makes hills much easier.  When it comes to the steep stuff you will need to add some pedal assist.

Since this is a geared hub motor, it will “freewheel” when it is not providing assist, which is nice when you are up to speed and not using the motor much.  Direct drive motors generally have a little resistance, so they don’t have the same “freewheel” effect when not in use.

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Overall the 350 watt geared front hub motor E-Bike Kit takes the edge off of hills and accelerating from a stop.  Keep in mind that using the right riding techniques will help increase your overall range on an electric bike.  Here are 10 tips to increase your electric bike range.

Actual Ride Test Results

Max Speed: E-Bike Kit claims the top speed is 17.5 mph but the kit that I was using maxed out at about 20 mph when the battery was fully charged.  After the battery lost a little bit of charge the max speed dropped down to around 17 mph.

Range: As you can see from the GPS info that I recorded, the bike traveled 13.7 miles and did a total elevation gain/loss of around 1000 ft. Considering that I weight 190 lbs and I pedaled lightly, the 36 Volt 9 ah battery pack (324 Watt Hours) lived up to it’s claim of around 14 miles of range.

Please keep in mind that if you pedal more, weight less than me, ride slower and/or you use the bike in terrain that is not as hilly you will get more range.  These results are from tough testing.

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Weight: This kit with the lead acid battery adds about 26 lbs. to your bike.  The weight distribution is pretty good.  Since it is a front hub motor and the battery pack mounts on the rear rack, it balances the heavy components between the front and back of the bike.

Lead acid batteries are heavy and with the battery mounted on a rear rack you can definitely feel it when you stand out of the saddle to pedal.

E-Bike Kit does offer lithium ion battery packs which are much lighter and have a higher cycle life, but they are more expensive.

Pros

Hill Climbing:  As I mentioned before 350 watts in this geared motor provides enough power to help you tackle those tough hills.  On the steep hills you will still have to help, but not too much (unless you are riding the steeps in San Francisco a lot!).

I definitely could tell a difference between this 350 watt kit and the Clean Republic Hill Topper kit that has a 250 watt geared front hub motor.  The 350 watt makes the climb that much easier and on some grades allows you to enjoy the free ride (no pedaling), if that is something you would like.

Complete Kit:  I was impressed with all of the parts that came with the E-Bike Kit.

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For instance there are 2 throttles that come with the kit.  So you get to choose whether you would like a thumb throttle or half twist grip throttle.

The kit also comes with brake levers that have switches that will stop the electric assist when the brakes are engaged.  When the brakes are engaged a signal is sent to the controller to stop the assist even if you still have the throttle engaged.

Not all kits or complete e-bike have this and it is a nice safety feature.  If you decide you don’t want to use them then the kit will still work without them installed.

Quality:   One of the highlights of quality is the hand built wheel.  In fact the motor is laced and tensioned onto a double walled rim (with spoke eyelets) in Pennsylvania.  The wheel I received from E-Bike Kit was completely straight and round.

The battery packs are also assembled in the USA and they come with Anderson Powerpole Connectors (well known in the industry).

Convenient Connectors:  All of the cable connections had convenient plug connectors.  The connectors are all uniquely different (size & number of pins) so that it is easy to make all of the proper component connections.

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They are apparently all water proof connectors, but I didn’t have a chance test that here in Arizona during the time I rode with the kit.

Cons

Lead Acid Battery:  This is one of those “you get what you pay for”.  So it is not truly a con per say, but I think it should be noted in the review of this particular kit configuration.

Lead acid batteries are heavy and they do not last as long as lithium ion batteries.  E-Bike Kit rates their lead acid battery as providing 250 charge/discharge cycles before it falls to 80%  of it’s original capacity.  Their lithium ion battery pack produced by AllCell Technologies is rated at 1800 charge/discharge cycles!

BUT, they are lot less expensive compared to lithium ion batteries ($668 for the lead acid kit vs. $1192 for the lithium ion 37V 15ah kit)!  So if you can handle some of the lead acid battery down sides, then you get the benefit of a more economical battery.  And the battery can be the most expensive part of a kit, especially when considering lithium ion batteries.

Another note is that you don’t want to discharge the lead acid battery completely.  It can reduce it’s overall life signifcantly.  So just make sure you top it off as often as you can.  You could carry the charger with you or buy an extra charger to have at work for additional charging.

A lead acid battery can be a good way to get into an electric bike kit at a reasonable price point.  You could always upgrade to a lithium ion battery when the lead acid battery life has run out.

No Battery Indicator:  This kit seems to come with almost everything except for a battery level indicator.  It would be nice to have a simple led light configuration that could at least give you an estimate of how much charge you have left in the “tank”.

Cables:  The cables that run from the motor, throttle, and brake levers to the controller along the top tube add some “clutter” to the bike and it would be nice to see a way streamline this to look like one cable.  Maybe include some cable wrap?

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Noise:  All geared hub motors make some noise.  This motor is a little noisy, but it is not bad.  If you want a quiet ride then you should consider a direct drive motor kit from E-Bike Kit.

Who is the E-Bike Kit for?

If you are looking for a complete electric bike kit for a middle range price point (between the Clean Republic Hill Topper and the Bionx kit) then you should really consider the E-BikeKit.  It comes with all the accessories to convert your current bicycle to a full fledged electric bike.

e-bike-kit-on-critical-cycles-sunset

 

With the lead acid battery pack it provides an economical way to add electric assist to your bike.  If you want to really get into a nice kit you could buy the kit with the lighter and higher capacity lithium ion battery pack.  Or, you could start with the lead acid battery and upgrade to a lithium ion battery later.

This 350 watt geared front hub motor would also be a good candidate for a cargo bike.  This motor will take the edge off of hauling your groceries to the top of the hill.  If you want more power for carrying heavy loads you may want to consider one of the direct drive motors from E-Bike Kit.

The E-Bike Kit is also a good option for the technically savvy person who wants to create their own custom build.  You can buy the kit without a battery if you want to build or buy your own battery.

Please keep in mind that this is a relatively short term test.  This testing can’t really give you the long term review of durability and reliability.  My thoughts on the quality of this electric bike kit are from previous experiences with similar kits.  If you own this kit and have some input on the long term durability, please share your comments with the Electric Bike Report community below.


You can get the E-BikeKithere at this website in the E-BikeKit Shop or at one of the many Authorized E-BikeKit Dealers around the country.

-Pete