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Old 12-25-13, 07:14 PM   #1
FrenchFit 
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Clean Republic 26" Hill Topper Lithium "sprinter" Review

Christmas present for my wife who needs a little help on hills. 4.4 Ah Lithium battery came charged, 5 minutes top off. Battery is about 2 lbs, 6" x 2", fits nicely on the downtube or under the seat, small profile. Boxed condition was perfect. Installed on a '05 (lighter weight than current versions) Giant Suede with cro-mo suspension forks.

40 minute set-up, a good deal of that was simple changing front tire & tube with the Schwalbe MS we had on that bike...tweaking After a few hours of test riding, decided we wanted to move the battery pack and cables, so another 20 minutes of positioning and strapping.

No time today to ride it on the hills, but had 4 different riders testing it out on the flats. My son got her hybrid over 25mph with a simple assist. Love the smooth transition from pedaling/freewheel to front hub motor assist.

Easy peasy. So far, a terrific purchase - great fun factor. We'll have it up in the hills this weekend and post a performance review.
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Old 12-25-13, 09:47 PM   #2
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Nice! Interested in seeing a detailed review.
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Old 12-25-13, 10:01 PM   #3
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does your setup have a variable speed throttle or push button on/off ?
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Old 12-26-13, 12:05 AM   #4
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does your setup have a variable speed throttle or push button on/off ?
Push button. Bought as a power assist for hills, the button makes sense to me and the installation was simple. We'll see how it goes on some 10% grades.
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Old 12-28-13, 06:07 PM   #5
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Christmas present for my wife who needs a little help on hills. 4.4 Ah Lithium battery came charged, 5 minutes top off. Battery is about 2 lbs, 6" x 2", fits nicely on the downtube or under the seat, small profile. Boxed condition was perfect. Installed on a '05 (lighter weight than current versions) Giant Suede with cro-mo suspension forks.

40 minute set-up, a good deal of that was simple changing front tire & tube with the Schwalbe MS we had on that bike...tweaking After a few hours of test riding, decided we wanted to move the battery pack and cables, so another 20 minutes of positioning and strapping.

No time today to ride it on the hills, but had 4 different riders testing it out on the flats. My son got her hybrid over 25mph with a simple assist. Love the smooth transition from pedaling/freewheel to front hub motor assist.

Easy peasy. So far, a terrific purchase - great fun factor. We'll have it up in the hills this weekend and post a performance review.
Performance Review: 35 mile loop, sub-140lb rider, bike weight with Hill Topper probably 30-33lbs, terrain: 10% & 6% .5 mile hills & mostly constant 3-5% grade going out, long downhill then flat coming back.

Spouse used the e-assist with short pulses (mostly on the grades), says it takes a little time to figure out what gear to start and end in on steep hills, but works really well. She kept up with me rolling about 10-12mph on the grades, no problem with knees, quiet and smooth. On the flats I spun-up a little more than usual when riding with her, doing 14-17mph on my heavy touring bike. She would catch and release, and when she was in front she would spot me in her mirror and create and 10 bike length gap if I was closing. Good fun.

She says the bike handled perfectly, only really difference was lifting the front end over curbs when we stopped for coffee or at the market. She could hear the hub motor, I couldn't riding in front or back. One the pluses she passes along is the ability to zip through intersections on a short light or left hand turn arrow, not getting caught on a burning light.

Finished the 35 miles with no drama, her knees are fine. I guess she's come back with the battery about half charged or better. Now she's ready for a bigger challenge, bigger hills.

Only negative or want: She thinks the push button should be two stage, low and high. A low would make more sense then pulsing on the flats.

So, a complete success. Thanks Clean Republic!

Last edited by FrenchFit; 12-28-13 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 01-03-14, 09:17 AM   #6
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Thanks for the write up! Glad you are having fun.


FYI: Electric motors have a top speed above which they will not provide any assistance.

Your motor at 24 volts probably doesn't give much help over 15mph, and probably tops out at 17mph (just rough guesses on my part). You can measure this by seen how fast the wheel goes when spinning freely (hint: its below 20 mph). You max power will be something around 85% of its top speed, above which the power drops off rapidly to zero.

I have do doubt your son could pedal the bike at 25mph, but that speed the electric motor would be providing 0 power. It does seem to be a good match for what your wife is looking for though.

Enjoy!
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Old 01-05-14, 09:51 AM   #7
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Probably right. I haven't tested top speed myself; it may be he was just taking advantage the initial acceleration in a big gear.

Second long ride test yesterday; one long moderate grade, one very steep grade, (I was working hard in a granny gear). She had panniers on front low riders. Excellent performance for her, and I think she is getting stronger too; even with the assist she is challenging her legs a little more on these hills. And, I think it's making her a little more savvy about how to spin and use gears effectively while climbing. She's opting to use the assist 'strategically'.

Based on these few weeks, I'm surprised this "hill assist" technology isn't more prevalent. For her, it's the difference between riding exclusively on the flats and having the confidence to go anywhere she wants. It also means we can ride together at a pace and terrain that opens up all kinds of shared experiences. Wow. Seems to me hybrid makers are missing a golden opportunity, this "assist" would be a game changer for many people.

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Old 03-18-15, 07:58 AM   #8
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14 months later: after 50 or so rides the HT still functions like new. The leg conditioning my spouse has built encouraged her to get a lighter, faster bike which she prefers on the flats, 30m or less. When we anticipate hills or strong winds, she''ll opt for the take the hybrid with the Hill Topper. Nothing but raves, great product.
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