Review: Freedom E-Bike conversion kit
I bought a Freedom E-Bike conversion kit last Fall for my Swift Folder and have used it extensively. Others in the market for an electric kit might find my experience and thoughts helpful. The sellerís website is http://www.freedomebikes.com/default.html. The kit consists of a matched wheel with 250 watt, 36 volt motor, small lithium battery, controller, and twist grip throttle.
First, itís everything the seller promises: about 7 pounds for the new wheel with motor and small battery and controller which fit easily into the carrier Iíve installed over the rear wheel. They matched my wheel perfectly, it was easy to install, itís very easy to set up and use, the promised charge rate (about one and half hours) and top speed (about 15 mph) are accurate, and, again as promised, its range is around 9 miles (flat) and 5 miles uphill. For a small town like Santa Barbara, where I am very privileged to live, itís just about perfect because it gets me home (in lower Mission Canyon) from downtown, a steady uphill ride.
Second, I did run into some problems: the wire between the motor and controller had been spliced very poorly (stripped, soldered and covered with electrical tape) rather than properly crimped and covered with heat-shrink tubing. It broke on installation. After fixing the broken wire, I returned home after a ride and left the battery plugged in to the controller. The next day, it was completely discharged and ruined because these kind of lithium cells apparently cannot be deeply discharged. This seems odd because other equipment powered by lithium batteries can be deeply discharged (my toothbrush, iPhone, etc.) and they bounce back nicely with no apparent loss in charging capability. No instructions at all were included with the kit warning about this potential problem. The owners of the company were very good about these problems: they replaced the battery at no cost to me and are now including an instruction sheet with the kit to avoid this problem in the future. And, they have assured me that the run of wire between the motor and controller will either be continuous or done with proper crimping.
The standard kit also comes with a twist throttle, probably the least preferable method of controlling your speed. The owners tell me they are working on a thumb throttle, either standard or as an option, which should prove easier and less tiring to use. That would be another good improvement.
So, all in all, I recommend this kit, especially for a folder or lightweight standard bike that you want to keep light. If weight is not a problem, and especially if you have longer distances to travel, you will probably want a larger battery, so this kit might not be ideal.
Full disclosure: I offered to write an accurate review, good or bad, for a ten percent price reduction. The seller agreed. Iíve tried to write this review accordingly, without being influenced by that deal, and, FWIW, I think Iíve done so.
Do you have photos of your bike and the installation? Would be useful to see how you mounted the kit. Thanks.
Good idea. Here is one with the controller peeking out of the bag mounted over the rear wheel and the connection from the motor resting on the rear fender. The battery is also in the carrying bag.