Over the last few months we’ve been working to find the best e-bike setup for a folding bicycle and we may have found it! Folding bikes are an excellent choice for those who need to use public transport as a leg of their commute or who have limited space in which to store a bike either in the home or at work.
The bike in question is an XDS City Pro. It’s a well equipped and well priced folding bike that’s absolutely ideal for shorter commute distances. When in action, its generously sized wheelbase is comfortable enough for a larger framed rider yet it is still able to fold down to a manageable size for stowage on peak hour public transit services. Furthermore, the smaller 20″ wheels make this bike extremely agile around town which is likely where this bike will see most of its action.
The City Pro’s componentry is of excellent spec for this price point with a SRAM X4 8 Speed rear dearilleur and a pair of Tektro V Brakes for reliable stopping. Pair that with a lightweight alloy frame and XDS’s comfortable finishing kit and you’ve got a seriously capable bike at an excellent price point of $550.
The Electric Conversion
To make this already great bike an even more versatile e-bike, we’ve fitted it with a Solarbike 20″ rear-drive swift kit. It features a street-legal 250 Watt rear hub motor and a Panasonic 36v 9Ah ‘Frog’ Battery specifically designed for use on folding bikes. The rear-drive configuration affords the high torque motor extra traction which is sure to make the steering performance more predictable. Furthermore, the seatpost mounted battery retains the functionality of the City Pro’s folding mechanism.
The e-bike conversion kit from Solarbike provides the XDS City Pro with great all round performance. The 250 Watt motor should give a top speed of between 25 and 30 km/h with the smaller 20″ wheels allowing for great acceleration and hill-climbing ability. Meanwhile, the 9Ah battery should give ranges of up to 35 km/h with light to moderate pedaling making this e-bike ideal for inner city commuting. Perhaps most importantly, with its snappy handling and great acceleration, the electric City Pro is great fun to ride!
Pricing and Availability
Currently we’ve got one electric XDS City Pro setup and ready for a test ride in our store down in Fremantle. Alternatively, the bikes can be ordered in and setup within 7 working days.
The Electric City Pro is competitively priced at $1750.
Finally, if you’ve got an existing folding bike that you wish to have converted, Solarbike conversions start at $1150 Installed.
When you’ve converted as many bikes as we have, you grow accustomed to seeing a multitude of hybrid, flatbar road, comfort and mountain bikes coming in for electric fitouts. As a result, it’s always a real treat to work on something completely different. By this standard, we really got lucky when Luke brought his Specialized Fatboy in to us a few weeks ago.
Fatbikes have become popular in Australia over the last few years. They’re now used for everything from recreational cruising, to high performance off-road use on surfaces that conventional mountain bikes just can’t handle. That said, a great many fat bikes have been chosen simply because they’re so radically different to conventional models. It was this appeal that made the Specialized a bike that Luke wanted to ride everyday.
The Specialized Fatboy is one of the better entry level fatbikes available today, with a lightweight alloy frame furnished with a dependable wheelset and rugged componentry that makes it more than suitable for the rigors of off-road use. It also sports a very comfortable riding position that affords good all round vision and predictable handling. These features gave it great potential as a high powered e-bike.
Quite possibly the ultimate E-bike!
The main challenge with converting any fatbike is finding a suitable hub motor and wheel combination. Up until recently, a custom wheel build was required. However, fortunately we’re now able to offer a Solarbike 1000 Watt rear wheel kit made specifically for use on fatbikes which greatly simplifies the process.
Battery placement was the next consideration. The 48V Tiger Shark style battery can be mounted centrally within the main triangle of the frame to allow for optimum weight distribution, however Luke preferred to have a rack style battery fitted given that he planned on using the rear carrier to mount pannier bags. This choice also allowed a larger capacity 48V 17Ah Panasonic Lithium Ion battery to be fitted to give this high-powered machine a range of around 35 kms on a charge with a cruising speed of between 40 and 45km/h. Pretty blistering performance we think you’ll agree!
We’ve electrically converted a handful of fatbikes in our store over the past couple of years but few have been quite as exciting as this one! It goes to show that there are a great many possibilities when you choose to custom build an electric bike. So if you’ve got a specialist e-bike build in mind why not drop in and see us at our Fremantle store to discuss our great range of conversion options.
This is the Elliptigo It’s a strange contraption that gets along by doing a type of skiing motion. Toby asked us to convert it to electric about 8 months ago. Here is his review:
“I ride a weird bike because I had a spinal fusion and cannot ride a normal bike. Its less like riding and more like running. Combine the running, the smaller wheels, a 36 km daily commute and you have a recipe for exhaustion and overlong days.
Enter the electric conversion. I can use my bike every day now, the commute time is manageable and I’m not exercising into an early grave. The best part is I still get to exercise. Riding with an electric motor is a bit unusual. The extra power doesn’t stop me pedalling, but there’s a steep drop-off in return past the max speed generated by the motor. I had the conversion done around November 2015. Eight months later, the battery and motor are still running smoothly.
The Fremantle crew were great. Converting the Elliptigo required some creative thinking and a wheel rebuild but they got the job done and were cheery and enthusiastic throughout the process. I wholeheartedly endorse electric conversion kits for commuter cyclists. Anything that keeps you riding every day pays for itself very quickly with lower transport costs and better health. Give it a go and if you do try the Fremantle people, they seem nice.”
Though the vast majority of electric bike conversion kits take the form of hub motors, alternative systems such as mid-drive systems have carved out a solid niche in the market. While they lack the simplicity of hub drive systems, they may well fit the bill should you have specific needs. Their compatibility with existing drive trains makes their power delivery extremely flexible being able to make use of high torque gears in the hills whilst also being able to use bigger gears for efficient cruising.
Of all the major mid-drive conversions available, the BAFANG BBS systems caught our eye as the best option for performance and integration, in particular, the 48Volt BBS02 which we fitted to an Avanti Montari 4 Hard Tail mountain bike.
A top notch Hard Tail Mountain Bike equipped with BAFANG’s phenomenal BBS02 Mid Drive motor
The end result is a spectacularly fast, robust not to mention purposeful-looking electric bike with 750 Watts of power for going and reliable Shimano Deore hydraulic brakes for stopping. Short of the 2000+ Watt monsters that some manufacturers are supplying in Australia this is one of the best performing electric bicycles that this mechanic has ever ridden.
It’s also worth mentioning that BAFANG make these mid drive systems for all applications, offering more modest power outputs of 250, 350 and 500 Watts that should suit everyday commuting and recreational use extremely well. What’s more, the nature of the mounting system means that the bike’s existing wheelset can be retained.
If you’ve been thinking about an electric bike conversion but perhaps want to try something a little different, a mid-drive system is well worth considering. This AVANTI Montari is currently in our Fremantle store and available for a test ride. It’s also available to buy with a demonstrator discount for just $2400 down from $3150.
Also, if you’re thinking of converting your bike using a BAFANG system, we now have them available starting from $1500.
Although we’re known for our great range of purpose built electric bikes from great brands such as GEPIDA, MERIDA and BH EASYMOTION, our real passion here at Perth Electric Bicycles is providing one of Australia’s best ranges of Electric Bike conversion kits. Over the years we’ve converted a huge variety of bikes to suit all types of riding. We’ve also got a great range of conversion-ready bikes from brands such as AVANTI, LEKKER and ORBEA.
Here are a few of our latest conversions:
Avanti Montari 4 with BAFANG BBS02 Mid Drive Kit
Lekker Sportief with 350 Watt Front Wheel Kit
Papillionaire Cafe Racer with 350 Watt front wheel kit
Avanti Inc 2 with front wheel QT kit
Electric Schwinn Cruiser
Merida Big Seven with 650B rear wheel motor
Lekker Jordaan with Front Wheel Conversion Kit
Montague are a bike company in the US that started up about 30 years ago. In 1987 they took some money from the US marine corps to build the Paratrooper bike, designed to be folded quickly and used by Paratroopers to exit from military aircraft. The rumours around the shop being told were that paratroopers would jump out of planes and attach a 10m rope to the bike, the bike would hit the ground first and allow the jumper to land in clear space. The bike apparently would survive the fall due to its robust build. We were skeptical so did the old google tube search to find this video. You make up your decision on how well the bike would survive and how useful bikes in war would be but that’s the story. So, Montague Paratrooper made its way into our shop last week and we were asked to put a conversion kit on it. We fitted it up with a rear wheel motor and a seat tube battery. It goes nicely and it retains its extremely well designed fold-ability. We couldn’t recommend throwing it out of a plane though.
Electric Avanti Inc2 with SAMSUNG battery and SOLAR BIKE motor kit.
People who have ever ridden a belt driven bike never use a chain again and the same can nearly be said for both using an internal hub and an electric motor. This bike has it all! The AVANTI INC2 comes with a belt driven SHIMANO Alfine 8 speed. It’s a beautifully smooth and quiet bike. It changes gears cleanly with the touch of a finger and the belt makes riding silent. We’ve added the SOLAR BIKE mini-motor and a 36V 14.5Ah SAMSUNG lithium ion battery pack. This bike should have a range well in excess of 60km. It’s our new favourite shop bike.
Quality entry level mountainbikes like this Specialized Rockhopper are excellent bikes to make electric. Featuring a durable aluminium alloy frame, 100mm suspension fork, hydraulic disc brakes and a reliable shimano drivetrain, the Rockhopper can take whatever you throw at it- be it out on the trail or on the daily commute.
We’ve fitted it with a rear wheel mini motor kit running an upgraded 500 Watt controller paired to our lightweight Panasonic 11.6Ah Tube battery to give outstanding performance out to a range of around 30kms. This one will probably see mostly commuting use, but with a rear- drive setup, it’ll comfortably handle heritage trails and varied terrain- ideal for longer weekend adventures!
Here’s a real nice cruiser conversion with a 500W Solar Bike hub motor on the front and the battery incorporated into the rear rack. It’s the Nirve, made electric with a direct drive hub motor. 7 speed on the rear can hardly keep up to the electrics. Smooth ride, comfy, stylish and unique. Came together with a bit of love and attention today in the Perth Electric Bicycles shop.
XDS Electric Street Bike $1700
Classic flat handlebar steel bike with modern features. Very neat conversion, well balanced and rides beautifully. 5 speed Sturmey Archer internal gear hub. Customer wanted a 25 km range, 9AH 36Volt tube battery fits neatly into middle of frame. Best value electric bike in Perth.