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Frequently Asked Questions and Our Answers
Are electric bicycles legal?
Do I need a license to ride an electric bike and do I need to register my bike?
Laws are susceptible to change and certain states may implement their own restrictions or allowances on certain roads. Individuals should contact their state authority if unsure but the law more or less states:
Electric bicycles are not considered motor vehicles. Rules stipulate that low speed electric bicycles are exempt from classification as motor vehicles providing they have fully operable pedals, an electric motor of less than 1000W (1 1/3hp), and a top motor-powered speed of less than 20 m/h when operated by a rider weighing 170 pounds. An electric bike remaining within these specifications will be regarded simply as a bicycle for purposes of federal law. While federal law determines whether a low-speed electric bicycle meets applicable safety and manufacturing requirements, it does not preempt state and local jurisdictions from enacting their own laws governing the operation of such motorized bicycles on public streets and roadways.
How do I choose the right kit?
Please call 707.853.3892 or email us using the contact form, and we’ll be happy to discuss your riding environment to determine the best solution for you.
What is your most highly-recommended kit?
It’s difficult to say because all riders differ in their needs. However, we are finding that the most reliable one, the lightest one, the kit with the best range and the most generic to fit on nearly all bicycles is the 200W mini-motor kit with the 9Ah Panasonic tube battery. These are geared so have high torque at low speed (below 10 m/h) that is more or less the same as any of the higher powers. This kit also has a superb range, with riders reaching 35 mile regularly on a single charge. The one draw-back for some riders is the top speed; it tops out at approximately 17 m/h so this can be a bit low for the younger speed seekers. However, if you are just after assistance up steep hills and against the wind then you will find this kit absolutely ideal. Its total weight is about 12 Lb, 6 Lb for the battery and 6Lb for the motor.
How fast can I go if I pedal at the same time the as having the motor on?
The motors top speed is about 17 – 25 m/h. Of course you can go faster than this but that will be either due to moving downhill or pedaling. So the answer is as fast as your legs can go or as fast as gravity pushes you.
Do I have to have the motor running all the time and how do I turn it on and off?
You do not need to engage the motor all the time. You engage it when and as much as you like by twisting the throttle or using the thumb throttle. The more you twist the more power you allow to the motor. The motor is off until you begin to twist the throttle. You will unlikely use the motor when travelling downhill or in crowded areas. You can still use the bike without the motor but it does have slightly more resistance than usual. In practice, you use full throttle up hills and against the wind, give yourself power boosts on the flat and don’t use the throttle downhill.
What are the measurements inside the front forks for the Hub motor to sit in? Can the kits go on all forks?
The distance from fork to fork should be 4 inch/10cm. The distance between the fork gaps where the wheel axle sits should be 1cm-3/8”. Nearly all bicycles have these dimensions. You should have steel forks due to the strong motor torque. Chromoly forks are very good. Check to see if there is steel in your forks by making sure a magnet sticks to them. Don’t use carbon fiber forks or aluminum forks- the end of the fork tip may snap off, many people install these kits on bikes with light aluminum alloy forks but strong steel forks are better. If you haven’t got a good set of forks suitable for installation of a high power kit then please get a local bicycle shop to purchase a set of SURLY forks for you – these are very good for our kits. Always install a torque bar (one comes with every kit). Some sets of forks seem to be not ideal due to either the fork gap is too narrow and excess filing would weaken them or else an abnormal fork shape restricts the larger axle nuts being able to lock the axle to the forks. Please see the picture from the next question to see a typical set of forks that works well. The mini-motor kits have smaller axle nuts and washers so are more generic.
What is a torque bar and how do I put one on?
The torque bar is a small piece of metal one of our customers was kind enough to design and manufacture for us. It is designed to prevent the axle from spinning and wearing away at the fork axle gap by clamping the axle to the fork. Highly recommended if the forks have been filed, motor power is above 200W, the forks are not strong or are alloy. Click here to see a video on how to install it.
Are the kits easy to install and do you have a manual?
Yes, we believe the kits to be quite simple to install. If you can fix a punctured tire, then you should be able to install a kit with no problems. All you really need to do is put on a wheel, change a handle grip and connect some cables. Please also take note to install a torque bar on a conversion kit for safety reasons. Visit our Downloads page to view the manuals.