When it comes to installing an electric bike kit, many potential buyers are nervous about the technical difficulties of that task, and they are drawn to systems that have a very simple installation, even when that choice might limit the performance aspects of the kit. Here is an index of several low-performance kits that make the installation super easy.
[Before we get started, I want you to know that I appreciate any company that is trying to sell electric bike stuff, so I do feel bad about my negative reviews below, but…I have to be truthful to my readers, and these kits keep popping up in the news. For some reason the media seems to be enchanted by every new version.]
#1, Copenhagen Wheel
I am putting this kit first, because they seem to be the most well-known, and that is because they have had the most comprehensive advertising campaign. Since they use a torque-sensing “Pedal Assist Sensor (PAS)” that is built into the rear hubmotor, there is no need for a bottom-bracket (BB) PAS, or a hand throttle on the handlebars.
One of the main features of the “All In One” hubs is that…the battery pack is built into the wasted space that exists in the center of the hubmotor. I have to confess that I like any company that is trying to build, sell, and promote electric bikes. That being said, my biggest concern about all-in-one hubmotors is the size limit on the battery pack. This forces the buyer to accept low performance and short range, in exchange for saving a couple hours on the installation.
If Copenhagen Wheel contacted me for technical advice, I would have suggested that they have an optional kit where there was no battery built-into the hub, and there was a socket for any 48V/52V battery to be plugged into it. But then again, if they did that and went out of business, maybe it would be my fault, or maybe they would have gone out of business anyways…
Before we get any further, I want to confess that I don’t recommend any of these all-in-ones. I live in the USA, and my most often ridden ebike has a 1500W Bafang BBSHD. The one change I plan on for this next summer is to swap-in a higher-amp controller for 2500W (and also to build a DD-hub cargobike).
Almost all of these “all in ones” are marketed in Europe, because of their ridiculously low 250W power limit for “street legal” electric bikes. If you live where the terrain is flat (and you want to obey the law), then these 250W all-in-ones are actually not horrible. The problem I have is that there are hills where I live, so…
The Copenhagen Wheel is reported to have been developed at MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. That is a world-famous high-level university. If this is true, then I am disappointed in MIT (I didn’t go to university, and I know high-school students who could have done better). The one thing they got right was to name it after Copenhagen. That is a city that is very pro-ebike, AND…it is very flat (no hills). This kit has low power and short range, but if you live close to work (and you want an easy and quick installation) it actually is perfect.
The large red disc stands out, but I like that. This is clearly for someone who is NOT trying to hide that it is electric. If you can’t hide it, embrace it! The custom spokes probably didn’t help. If you break one, they would be easy to re-install, but you could only get them from the company you bought the kit from.
It WOULD also be perfect for the very flat city of Manhattan (in New York, USA), but…NY is cracking down on ebikes. It appears that their environmentally-friendly politics only work outside of the paradigm of taxis, limos, and the subway gathering millions of dollars each month into the city treasury (during the Watergate scandal, the investigators mantra was “follow the money”).
#2, Zehus / Flykly
The Zehus “all in one” holds a soft spot in my heart, because they were an early adopter of this style. I respect entrepreneurs who take risks and are new to the game. Also, Zehus purchased control of “FlyKly” to gain access to their patents.
In June of 2014, we reported on the Zehus drive as a part of the the beautiful and expensive Pininfarina-designed Fuoriserie ebike.
The graphic shows that they have a 2P battery pack (two cells in Parallel) using 18650 cells. If they are using modern 10-amp 3400-mAh cells, they have roughly 6.8-Ah of range, and the graphic shows an 8S voltage of a nominal 28V, and 20A of peak amps available.
#3, iMortor 1.0, from Yunzhilun
This kit was originally called “UrbaNext”, when it began on kickstarter and Indiegogo. If you don’t do anything else today, please watch this short video from a German blogger reporting on this ebike kit. Don’t ask why they spell it “iMortor”.
This kit has a battery pack that is 10S/1P (ten of the 18650-format cells), so…using currently available parts, it is 36V /3.2-Ah…(see the 10:33 mark). The MH1 cell shown from LG-Chem (in the 18650 format) is rated for 3200-mAh and 10A, so…
That being said, this product is advertising itself as having a Field-Oriented-Control (FOC, the best kind of sine-wave controller), and they are available on Amazon. Plus, they have a wireless smart-phone app that connects your device to the controller. The single cable is only to connect to the dashboard.
The half-moon protrusion on the right side is the removable battery pack. The kit is also reported to have a socket that allows the user to plug in a bottle battery pack to extend range.
The iMortor 1.0 provides 250W up to 27-km/h, (16-MPH, the legal limit in the EU), using a 10S / 1P battery pack.
#4, iMortor 2.0
The newer and larger iMortor 2.0 provides 350W up to 34-km/h, (20-MPH, the legal limit in the USA). Although the 2.0 version uses a lower voltage of 24V, it also has more cells inside that are configured in a 2P arrangement, so it can draw more amps. It is 7S / 2P (14 of the 18650-format cells).
The odd protrusion on the left pic is the proprietary battery back that is removable. Yunzhilun also sells larger 24V bottle-shaped batteries that can be plugged-into their hub to extend the range.
#5, Electron Wheel, by Currie
The Electron website can be found by clicking here. If I ever find pics of the insides, I will post them here. Currie is a HUGE global ebike company. They may not be well-known in the USA, and that’s understandable because they are focused on the large EU market for 250W ebikes. I’ve taken dumps that used up more than 250W after a chili cook-off competition…(and yes, beer was involved)
#6, Evelo Omni Wheel
If you live in a city with flat terrain, the Omni Wheel actually isn’t too bad. It only uses a 7S / 24V battery pack, but, the geared planetary reduction means that the modest 250-Watt’s of input are converted into a lot more wheel-torque that you might expect from 250W. This short video shows that it even has FOUR cells in parallel (4P). If they are using a modern 3.4-Ah cell, then 3.4-Ah X 4P = 13.6-Ah of range, along with a decent amount of amps.
The motor on the Omni Wheel is a small 250W unit (see below for perspective, the motor is the white disc in the center), but…the fact that it is “geared” means the available input watts are magnified mechanically into the maximum possible amount of wheel torque.
#7, MIT Greenwheel
If you search for all-in-one hubmotors, the MIT Greenwheel will show up as being hot in 2008, so…here it is…this design group decided that within the available diameter of hub, they wanted the battery to be bigger (occupying the outer diameter area) and the motor to be smaller (in the center).
The battery pack is 8S / 2P, so it uses 28V and depending on the 26650-format A123 cells it used in 2008…it’s hard to say how many Amp-hours (Ah) it had, and amps of current it could put out.
#9, Daymak Shadow
This ebike was a hot new item in 2011, and then…they quickly went out of business. The articles talked about how the throttle controls were wireless, but the power was only 250W, and they are no longer available for sale…
Motor: 350W continuous (Peaks at 500W)
Battery: 36V 10-Ah Lithium
Controller: Daymak Drive
Weight: 59 lbs / 26 kilos
Top Speed: controller-limited to 34 km/h (20-MPH)
Uses “Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum” technology to prevent interference
ISM Wireless Frequency (2.4 GHz)
#10, EZ Wheelie Wireless Electric Bike Conversion Wheel
“…Completely wirelessly, this all-in-one gadget fits any bike size from 20 to 29 inches. Thanks to its versatile design, EZ Wheelie is compatible with most bicycles, including kid’s bikes and mountain bikes. Additionally, the wheel takes just one minute to install. Simply download the app and start riding. You can also use an optional Bluetooth display to control the bike. Moreover, the wheel comes with multiple battery size options, offering a 20, 40 or 60-mile range. It also provides five levels of pedal assist, allowing you to ride up to 20 mph without doing all the work…
#11, DK City Hot Wheel
Not much info available, but I am impressed that they chose a battery that is 14S / 2P. Here is a video that they posted. The motor is geared.
#12, db RevO
These guys aren’t posting much info about the specs, but they seem to care most about having several colors available.
Here is a late addition from a post below (Thanks, Roger!).
#14 Hycore Centinel Wheel, and T1
A reader sent me a link to the electric bike section of the newatlas.com website. Their early “all in one” model was called the Centinel Wheel (top pic), and their most recent version is the “T1” (bottom pic).
Two of the fat spokes (out of three) hold a cylindrical motor that applies a drive gear onto a part of the central hub. Each motor has its own controller. The fatter spoke houses the battery pack. On the newer model, the outer appearance of the spokes is evened out so they look the same, and there now seems to be a variety of colorful side-plates to choose from.
As I stated before, I am not a fan of these. They concentrate ALL of the motor and battery weight into a single wheel, at one end of the bike. However…if you live in a flat city and don’t need a lot of range or power, they aren’t horrible.
That being said, my biggest peeve is that the battery is built in. I want the option to mount the battery where I want it to be. I also want the option to swap-in a larger battery if I want to ride a much longer distance (forget about any of the range claims in the ads for these). I also want to be easily able to buy and mount a new battery when the old one wears out.
I decided to compile this list so I have something to link to when someone asks me about these…again…and again…
Written by Ron/spinningmagnets, January 2019