Few electric bike manufacturers have decided to ignore the federal definition of E-bike and make a bike that is fast. The Stealth Bomber is a 50-MPH 120-pound monster capable of going up to 40 miles on single charge (flat ground and moderate riding). It has ample acceleration and performance for most users…meaning this bike will scare the hell out of you. The Stealth Bomber and Fighter are at the forefront of electric bike technology, building a bike that is well respected in the e-bike community for quality construction and great performance. They are top of our list of purpose built e-bikes, meaning they are rare examples of bikes built from the ground up to be an electric bike. If you want a reliable and super fast electric bike, turn key and ready to ride and you have the dough to spend, the Stealth Bomber is among your best options. Also Take a look at the lighter less expensive Stealth Fighter see our review here. If a Stealth bomber is not fast enough for you, read how one person modified his bomber to be even faster.
The Stealth Bomber is #5 on our list of 10 most expensive electric bikes.
This summer I was super excited when I got the phone call that a colleague had gotten his hands on the latest model for a test ride.
My eyes set sight on a black Stealth Bomber on a blistery San Francisco morning when Nich Rothman from Green Gears showed up with the lastest generation of Stealth Bombers direct from Electric Motorsports for us to take a test ride. He had to pack it in the back of a truck, this bike is too heavy for his regular bike rack which has toted electric bikes around with before. It took both of us to lift the Stealth out of the bed of the truck and it was a hassle. My first impression of the Stealth was therefore heavy and unwieldy. This is not a bike for you if you have to park it up a flight of stairs for example. Nick saw my worried expression after putting the Bomber on the ground. My first thought was scary….Scary is right..like get a hernia scary and we hadnt even turned it on yet. The Stealth feels weight wise like a small motorcycle…and at a 120 lbs it practically is. Allthough I have nothing against motorycles per say…I am an E-bike enthusiast and prefer my bikes to be light as bicycles if at all possible.
Once on the ground, the Stealth at least appears visually like a bicycle. Its lines are smooth…there is no sign of unsightly wiring. It does not look at first glance like an electric bike. The motor is hidden in the rear hub…so if you were looking for a motor it would be hard to find unless you were familiar with the idea of a hub motor. It really does look like a bicycle. Maybe that is part of the reason for the “Stealth” Name. Also as I will go into later, this bike is definitely stealth quiet.
The Stealth Bomber is not an electric bike conversion as most commercially available bikes are, this bike was designed to be an electric bike, and a monster electric bike at that. This bike is ballsy. …and hats off to Stealth for unleashing this thing on the public. As you look at it you realize…wow I could get into serious trouble with this thing. I heard the US military is thinking about buying some of these things to do scout runs on. When I look at it I envision robbing banks or being a modern day Jesse James running down subway trains.
The frame is a custom full suspension frame designed to work with the SunTour Vboxx pedal transmission system. What is the vboxx? The Vboxx is a gearbox that takes the place of traditional bicycle bottom bracket and is a 9 speed pedal transmission that eliminates the needs for clunky derailleurs and still allows for high enough gearing that you can pedal the Bomber at top speed and low enough gearing so that when the battery dies you have a chance of pedaling the monster heavy Stealth Bomber home. The Vboxx was designed for the high end mountain bike community but because of its heavy weight (9 pounds) and expensive retail price ($900) it fell flat as a product. Stealth saw the virtue in using it in theBomber since the weight and cost dont seem to add much when you consider the excesses of the Bomber as it is. The V-boxx allows the bomber to look cleaner than a regular bike without the derailleurs and shifter cables.
The frame rides on a custom made swingarm and suspension system. The rear swing arm gives this bike motorcycle like travel in the rear…a whopping 9 inches of travel. The front suspension on our bike was the RST- R1. This is a budget no name suspension fork (you can find them on the internet for around $300) which is a double crown fork which gives you 7 inches of travel. You could jump off a building with the Bomber and probably not hurt yourself. It uses bicycle standard mid range bicycle shocks in the front and the back. For a whopping $1200, the front suspension can be upgraded to a White Brothers Grove 200. Looking and playing with the RST-R1 on our tester bike, I found the suspension to look good and to perform well giving an adequate ride and plush feel. I cant imagine the upgraded fork making a huge difference unless your the type of rider who is actually going to attempt 10 foot drops.
The Stealth Bomber utitlizes mass produced mountain bike components at every juncture. It uses many mid range components like the RST- R1 suspension fork…for example hydraulic 6 pot disk brakes on front and rear, bicycle wheels and tires, handlebars and seat..etc. It looks like whoever designed the stealth chose descent budget bicycle components…which makes sense because of the weight of this bike I wouldnt want to waste too much money paying for top shelf bike components, which are known to appeal to weight weenies. For example maybe the biggest drawback to the RST-R1 fork is its known for being heavy compared to comparable top end double crown forks. Well what difference would 2 pounds make on a 116 pound bike?
The electric components on this bike are pretty standard and nothing new to a build your own electric bike enthusiast like myself. The Bomber is powered by the 25 pound 5304 crystallite motor built into the rear wheel. (Read our review on the smaller crystalyte here). The Bomber uses extra wide drop outs to fit this extra beefy hub motor. This motor is known to be a heavy and reliable power horse on the Endless-Sphere forums for a number of years. It is silent and waterproof, and if you want even more power it can handle considerably more power than the stock Stealth set-up and do so reliably. Even stock the big Crystalyte can power the Bomber to speeds over 40mph and can climb any hill with ease. With just switching out the controller on the Bomber, once could easily exceed speeds of over 50mph with a bomber. Read our article on hot rodding a hub here.
The Bomber utitilizes 72 volts 20ah of lifepo4 batteries. Stealth claims that the battery will last up to 1000 charges. The lifepo4 battery is known to have a fairly safe chemistry, and Stealth shrouds it in a metal case, meaning that the Stealth Bomber has very little chance of burning your garage down if the charge cycle malfunctions, and as crazy as it sounds, that is very possible with lithium powered DIY bikes. In the name of fire safety, Stealth also built into the stealth its own custom battery management system which will cut the battery off if it gets too low in charge, or cut it off if it gets too high while charging. The bike charges in 2 hours from standard household current. For further monitoring the stealth features a Cycle Analyst, a reliable battery monitoring system made by electric bike manufacturer e-bike ca. The Bomber has the Cycle Analyst built into the frame rather than the standard mounting of the unit on the handlebars…a nice touch.
Powering up the Stealth bike and jumping on it I was immediatly transfixed by its power and smoothness. The throttle control is very linear and smooth…nothing scary about the way it comes on. Usually for a 40mph electric bike you feel this front wheel lifting power that can be kind of disconcerting if the throttle is too twitchy. Stealth power comes on nice, smooth and manageable. It feels like you would have to work to wheelie this bike. Once you’re on top of the bomber its heavy weight becomes a non- issue and your just entranced by its power. The package comes together well once your riding, and powering it up the hill behind my house..a standard steep san francisco hill (the kind you would be slighlty nervous turning sidewise in your car on it) the stealth jetted up it effortlessly. I was a little suprised since I knew the Bomber utilizes no type of gearing inside the motor. This is a one speed gear system. However electric motors are very torquey in their nature, and the stealth manages to have plenty of torque and hill climbing plus ample top speed. There is another advantage of stealths direct drive hub system. Less moving parts means less to go wrong. Also the motor is virtually water proof…so even in rainy wet riding it should hold up fine. I have seen tests with direct drive hub motors with their covers drilled with holes and submerged in an aquariam and they will still run for months without failing.
Behind my house and up the giant hill and through the SF veterans hospital parking lot sits a golf course and is my acid test on how “stealthy” an electric bike is. Its simple. If you electric bike is too big and bulky or doesnt have pedals, if you ride through the golf course someone will either yell at you or call the police. It is considered really uncool to ride a motorcycle through a gold course. Plopping off a slight grass burm and onto the golf cart paved path, I remembered how motorcycley the stealth seemed lifting it out of the truck, but I reassured myself as I pedalled my ass off, atleat giving the illusion of pedal power. The Stealth true to form was silent as I sped through the gold couse. Even though there were many golfers out not one of them gave me a second look . I just looked like a regular mountain biker cutting through the gold course (sigh of relief).
There is a stretch of highway leading to the Golden Gate Bridge. This is where top speed on an electric bike becomes a safety plus, because you can go the speed of traffic which is generally about 40mph on semi hilly terrain. The Stealth tackled this road effortlessly. 40 mph was no problem for this bike even on an uphill gradient. The bike was silent..mostly tire noise at speed. I timed 0-40mph in about 15 seconds. The suspension takes road bumps with ease. It feels like an electric motorcycle in these conditoins. One thing the gearing is not high enough to provide pedal assist at 4omph, but at these speeds and with the weight of the stealth it would make little difference. The bike corners suprisingly well at high speeds. If feels safe, secure and well balanced. The Bomber was obvioulsy designed with the prospect of high speed riding in mind.
Going across the Golden Gate bridge on the bike lane, the Stealth Bomber is tamed and stealthy at low speed. Its illegal to use electrc power on the Golden Gate bridge but I wasnt about to pedal for 3 miles my weight plus the bombers weight. I just used moderate power and was not stopped by the bridge patrol…another acid test for the Stealthiness of the bomber.
One thing I would like to comment on is the pedal gears. The Stealth Bomber is a 9 speed, where as the lighter Stealth Fighter is only 2 speed (read our Fighter review here) . I found on my ride with the Bomber that the top gear is used 95 percent of the time during regular riding. In fact the only time I can imagine using the full gear range of the 9 speed is if I run out of juice. Because the Bombers battery is so large, and the Cycle Analayst is so accurate at monitoring the battery discharge rate, it would be hard to accidently run this electric bike out of charge. And if I did run out of charge, I would be likely to have a friend with a truck to come get me rather than pedal this heavy beast home. By the way with the bikes electrical power turned off the rolling resistance of the hub motor is also a factor. And as I keep saying this bike is heavy…so you are pulling a lot of extra weight, plus the bikes inherent drag in the event of power loss.
Once across the bridge and into Marin County, the birthplace of the mountain bike,I was able to test the Bomber in its defined domain. Off road the Bomber is tight and at the same time powerful. I would put in somewhere in between riding a mountain bike and a offroad motorcycle in terms of power and exhileration. The Bomber is solid..no rattlling or jankiness. A lot funner than both a motorcycle or a mountain bike because of the trails you are able to conquer with no fear of the forest ranger. I heard rumors recently that Stealth is wooing the USA government to buy Stealth Bombers for military patrol and I can see why. This bike gets you there effectively no matter how rugged the terrain and does so silently.
The 7 inches of travel feels nice and cushy when riding off road. On fire roads and single track the Stealth feels pretty surprisingly good. The bike has tons of ground clearance to get over rocks and debris. Its geometry feels similar to a 125cc motocross motorcycle.
One big qualm is that the Bomber has 25 pounds of unsprung weight in the rear wheel because of that gigantic hub motor. Any off road motorcyclist will tell you this is bad for handling, and really does effect the feel and the balance of the bike. Also because of its nature of being an electric motor, hub motors like to run fast. If you are stuck on a steep trail, it can be hard to get moving up again with this particular motor simply because it lacks low gearing. In essence the Bomber is a single speed powered vehicle. Even though it does have a 9 speed transmission, that is for your legs, which have little input in such a fast and heavy machine.
Another issue you will need to face at some point or another is how to service this electric bike, either yourself or find someone nearby who can, since shipping the bike back to its Australian factory would be ridiculously expensive. The good news is that all the parts on the Stealth Bomber can easily be accessed, and are parts that are readily available. So the Stealth should be cinch to repair for anyone familiar with electric bikes. Also most repairs that do not involve the electronics, can most likely be done at any bicycle shop.
In terms of reliability, this particular configuration that the Stealth uses is the most reliable possible high performance electric bike. You will not find an electric bike on the market with more rugged electrical components than this e-bike.
In terms of warranty repair, from what I have heard the company offers great support. If you bought your Bomber from a nearby dealer you should have no problems in terms of getting your bike worked on when you need it. It is well worth if you have local dealer to buy that way even if it is a little extra cash. If you bought your bike over the internet, and you call Stealth for help, more than likely you will be assisting them troubleshooting with a Stealth technician on the phone, and once the problem is identified they will send you the faulty part for you to replace yourself.
Once you own this bike you will eventually need to learn the basics of what this bike is comprised of electronically (a controller, hub motor, and battery) because through years of ownership undoubtedly you will have to repair or replace some of these components. If you do make this purchase I would highly recommend you join the owners thread on Endless Sphere and introduce yourself. Also spending a long night reading that entire thread wouldn’t be a bad idea if your seriously considering purchasing a Stealth Bomber.
As of this writing the Stealth Bomber cost 10k-14k plus shipping depending on what options you select.
I really do not mind the high price of this bike given all that you are getting. You are not buying an over priced one hour conversion mountain bike like Hi-Power Cycles sale, but a very high quality E-bike built from the ground up to be an E-bike. The Stealth Bomber is definitely among the highest quality, fastest ebikes offered as a turn key ready to ride machine. I like that the company seems to be straight up, and offers decent customer support and doesn’t exaggerate or over hype their performance numbers . What I see a lot of on the Stealth website is tons of quality pictures and videos. They let the product speak for itself. The Stealth Bomber has definitely earned a respected spot in the electric bike community, and the company has a good reputation. Basically with most ebikes, the DIY types clamor they could build a bike thats better for cheaper. The Stealth is so custom built that there are very few home made bikes that can rival it in terms of build quality and performance. I would say the Stealth Bomber and the Stealth Fighter are among the two most respected commercially available turn key bikes by the DIY community. A few extreme DIYers have even resorted to Hot-rodding the Bomber and Fighter for the ultimate in performance.
In conclusion I would say the Stealth Bomber is fast, agile, quiet, long range, and cool looking. What’s not to like?
This bike has 2 major drawbacks. One is the price. $10,0000 for just the basic configuration. Second is the weight. 116 pounds is considered super heavy even by electric bicycle standards, and a lot of that weight is in the unsprung back wheel.
If you can swallow those 2 expensive and heavy pills…the stealth bomber just may be for you.
Top Speed: 45-MPH (tested)
range 30-miles (estimated normal riding)
weight- 116 lbs
Battery: 72V / 10-aH LiFePO4 (claimed to be good for 1000 charges)
$10,000-$14000 depending on options.