Originally Posted by Steeljunky
thanks for the input...
the hilltopper looks like just the thing i am looking for. easy to install and simple implementation. i would really like to see some reviews after a full year or more of daily commuting to see how they hold up. the site seems to have reviews from mostly new users and only a few rides. still pretty pricey, but i guess that is just the way it is for ebike tech. wish i was an electrical engineer, might make understanding all this easier! anyway ,thanks, and if anyone has a bunch of miles on one of these kits i'd like to hear your opinion on longevity. have a good one!
I got a Hill Topper last month after researching/reading/discussing ad nausium after market e-assist options for literally months with friends and long suffering hubby. Went back and forth on hub vs. mid-drive, and finally decided that what I wanted to do - bike rallies, long rides, recreational, road, relaxed - was best suited to a hub. And I wanted something that was simple, easy for me to work with, easy to understand, had great reliability, freewheeled when not in use (very important) and didn't require a single tool to fix or install or uninstall. And most importantly was both fun, and saved my right knee (which threatened mutiny every time I climbed on my heavy one speed beach cruiser to do my daily 9-13 miles around Key West this winter). When I got back home this spring, my poor abused knee refused to be badgered into happy cooperation for any type of bike riding anymore. If I wanted to ride a bike, I needed an "electrical tail wind" on call exactly when and where I wanted it. Had to keep that knee happy.
So I devised the checklist of what I wanted, and the Hill Topper met every one of those bulleted items.
I ordered the 250W hub with two 20 mile lithium batteries because I wanted at least a 50 mile range (I'm a lightweight under 130 lbs) on my vintage (1996) cromoly steel Giant (Nutra) hybrid. I'm retired, so the riding is purely for pleasure and/or a workout between my times competing Endurance on horses.
1. It is basically a plug and play to install. It fit my bike's front dropouts with only one additional spacer, and the wires ran cleanly (and practically invisibly) from hub to handlebar for the thumb button on/off switch, and to the back rack where battery #1
is strapped. (Battery #2
resides in a pannier pocket with a side slit for the battery cable connector to come through for super fast connect/disconnect when I switch batteries, so neither battery has to be repositioned)
2. It has nice get-up-and-go, and is very responsive. There is a short yet gentle start up period where the motor, once engaged, smoothly builds speed and torque. No jerking or jumps. I routinely hit 19-20mph within seconds of engaging the drive, and the whole process is as smooth as silk.
3. The front wheel freewheels perfectly when the motor isn't engaged, and the bike feels totally normal when you ride it unassisted.
4. Pedal assist will REALLY extend the range of your battery. I have tested the pair of 20 mile batteries on a semi-hilly 41 mile ride, and with my own power adding to the effort ended up only using up 3/4 of one battery, and 2/3 of the other.
5. It is easy to "encourage" the motor to help you go >20mph. I know the motors are supposed to be limited to 20mph, but.... I've clocked 21.8 the other day (up a grade incline!), and could still feel the motor helping me. At the point where I pushed to 22, however, I could feel the motor back off and disengage. Since I was still powering up an incline I backed off my own pedaling a bit and felt the motor reengage and begin to assist me at 21 mph again. It was interesting. I was also flying past the lycra guys who were chugging away up that slope probably wondering where this little 60+ aged lady, whipping past on a hybrid no less, was getting the fire power to burn rubber. Which is answered below ...
6. The hub is unobtrusive. It is small, nicely polished, and matches a bike so cleanly that no one is even aware that they are looking at an electric motor. The on/off button is unobtrusive. It is tiny and you can place it (via it's own velcro strap) wherever you are most comfortable pressing it. The lithium batteries are nicely housed in black, clean, well stitched little packs that are also unobtrusive. On a back rack they become pretty much invisible. And they are super easy to charge since they come with their own dedicated charging input. No need to unhook or remove the battery from it's spot. The charger is small and highly portable, too, so you can carry it with you if you want.
7. It is a BLAST to ride!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1. There is no throttle, no in-between speeds. It is a "go/no go" system, so when you hit the button that motor very quickly has you doing the limit (20mph) if you are pedaling. If you are just riding it like a scooter, then you'll get about 18mph on the flat.
2. Because there is no variable throttle, if you ride pedal assist you will find yourself pedaling to keep up with the motor, and that means committing yourself to pushing along at 18-20mph, if not more. You WILL get a workout keeping up. What you won't get is dead tired from the effort because you are merely adding additional wattage, not supplying the main effort yourself.
3. Don't expect 250w to power you up steep hills all on its own. It can't, and it won't.
4. The wires were just barely long enough to run the frame of my step-through from front to the battery on the back rack. Just barely. It would be nice if Clean Republic had a set of wires for women's bike frames (step throughs) and not just wires suited for men's bike frames.
I have a lot of plans for this bike this year, and already have entered several of the Spring/Early Summer rides in my area of 40-50 miles in length. Will be posting my comments on the ebike's performance after this weekend's 47 mile ride.