Conversion kits
Electric bycicles

Electric tricycles

Solar system

From Gareth, Carine, Perth, October 2013
gareths solar electric bicycles

I've had a couple of solar powered electric bikes running well for the last 6 months so it's probably about time I wrote a review of the systems.

My wife works 24 km away in West perth & used to commute by car. I always thought this was insane. Apart from the painful drive, it costs a fortune to park. My wife had a few goes at riding to work; starting by riding one way & then getting the train home She'd leave the bike at work and ride home the next day. This seemed like a pretty good compromise between convenience & physical effort and continued until one day when I found myself in Carine Cycles and saw a Malvern Star with a Solar Bike conversion kit on it. This was the first electrically assisted bike I'd seen that looked like a normal bike & not something your granny would take to the shops with a basket on the front. We took it for a test ride, mulled it over in the Carine tavern with a beer and then bought it. My wife loves it! No more dealing with rude selfish people on the train, she gets a lot of exercise without killing herself and it's just a lot of fun.

The best way I can describe it is: it completely flattens out the hills; you get all the good bits about riding a bike without the pain. You use the throttle to get you going from a standing start & to pull you up the hills or into a head wind and it's even possible to tow the kiddie trailer with ease.

We were hooked & I wanted to join in. I bought the online special. At the time it was an 11Ah super tube kit with a solar charging set up. I fitted the kit to a Giant Cross City myself in about an hour. Really quite easy. The only modification I made was to put the thumb throttle on the left side, leaving my right thumb free to change gears.

I set the solar charging kit up in my shed, with the panel on the roof, this was a bit more technical but not complicated. The solar panel charges a lead acid battery during the day & then this charges the bike when you get home in the evening (when the sun is gone). This has worked very well for the three days a week my wife goes to work, but struggled a bit to charge both bikes if we used them at the weekend too. To be fair though, this is during winter with limited sun available. I expect this to change during summer. And even now in spring it's worked perfectly. I also use it to charge my bike lights. Of course it's possible to charge from mains if the solar system gets low.

I took the super tube kit out recently for a bit of a distance test. Using the power only when I needed it (up hills & into a head wind). It was going so well I decided to head home via the coast, unfortunately into a strong head wind. Eventually running out of charge at 56.76 Km. I believe if I hadn't struggled into the wind, I would have made the last 7 Km home. Still a pretty good effort!

My wife averages 28Kph to work, passing many "roadies" along the way. I heard recently that the average speed of cars on the freeway at that time in the morning is 32Kph. Considering the bike takes you from door to door (no looking for expensive parking, & walking the rest of the way), then traveling time is comparable to the car.

The biggest difference is that riding the bike is enjoyable & something to look forward to, not a stressful, frustrating, chore of a car trip. My 1st choice for transport is now the electric bike. Our 2 year old son loves riding in the child seat or trailer. Trips to the shops are a pleasurable adventure and it gives me great satisfaction that the powered assistance comes from the sun.



From Solar Bike, September 2013
folding electric bicycle

We've just added a folding electric bicycle to our range of ebikes. We previously tried importing a few ready to ride electric bicycles but all of them were quite poor quality and were really wobbly on the road. We also found it hard to find a decent folding bicycle that could be folded well with a conversion kit - but finally we have one! The bike we will now use is the Giant Expressway (2), it is a lightweight folding bicycle with an aluminum frame. It has 20" wheels and rides very smoothly. It can be folded to take on a train or put in a car but it is large enough to handle very well. We use a special 20" conversion kit with a seat pole mounted Samsung lithium ion battery (36V 9Ah). The electric motor has lots of torque at low speeds because of the small rim size so it will pull you up any hill. This bicycle is extremely zippy and will ride far better than any production line folding bicycle due to the light weight quality bicycle and electric components. This bicycle is available and ready to ride away from Cottesloe Cycles for $1590. Alternatively, you can purchase the bicycle from Giant bicycle retailers for $490 and the matching conversion kit from us for $1050 - you'll have to put it together though.

Matt, Solar Bike, September 2013

From Jim, Florida, USA, August 2013
jims electric recumbent

This is my electric recumbent I made. It's running with a mini-motor and a 36V 11.6Ah tube battery. I do about 4 rides a week on it for 2 and a half hours. My top speed ranges from 17 - 21 miles/hour but the motor tops out at about 16 miles/hour so anything over this speed means the motor is mainly free-wheeling. I've never dropped the battery to below 50% capacity during this time. Whilst excellent, like many others I'd like a higher top speed. I'm considering over-volting it with a 48V battery or getting a rear wheel motor, as the larger diameter will help with top speed.

Jim, Florida.

From Solar Bike, August 2013
1000W Electric Gomier Tricycle

This was made for a customer in Jurien Bay. Here is a slideshow of its making and a short video of a test ride.

1000W Electric Industrial Gomier Tricycle Video!

From Solar Bike & Dismantle, August 2013
dismantle cargo bike

This is Dismantle's cargo bike that has now been made electric. It uses a tube battery and 20" disc front hub motor. It will be a mobile bicycle repair unit. Tool boxes are being made and soon Pat will be riding it around to various schools to teach bicycle skills to school children.

Matt & Pat, Dismantle, Fremantle, August 2013

From King Dave, Scarborough, July 2013
Dave and Lukes electric bike

40 ks of funking every day! No gas, no trash, no fumes, no rush, no sound, no traffic, no lycra, no car, no sweat, no worries!

Dave, Perth 2013

From Col, Crack Neck Lookout, July 2013
Cols Cross City

I can't remember exactly when I bought my 500w kit. At any rate, I thought you might enjoy this recent snap of my trusty steed, having made it up the steep climb to Crack Neck Lookout, Central Coast NSW, near where I now reside. Everything is performing perfectly.

Col, Central Coast, NSW, July 2013

From Robert, Fremantle June 2013
Roberts Big Issue Electric Bicycle

Robert took advantage of The Big Issue electric bicycle project to convert a rarely used Raleigh into an electric commuting machine with a 500W super tube kit. The project offers a $100 discount and a year's membership to Dismantle in Fremantle - which gives you free workshop use and help with any bicycle work from numerous mechanics. These were his comments after converting:

"I haven't stopped smiling since we converted the Raleigh. I tried a long 40km + trip around the river on the weekend. It took 1hr 14min at an average speed of 32km/h. This was also into a head wind. I still had one green light on the battery after using quite a bit of power to counter the head wind. Mind you, I was giving the peddles a work out too! So with judicious use you might get 50k from the battery. Am loving it!"

Robert, Fremantle.

From Shital, Perth, May 2013
shitals electric cargo bicycle

My wife and I purchased this Nihola trike so she could take our son to school. It is an extremely well made cargo bike from Denmark but it is nearly impossible to ride up in the hills - especially with our growing son and groceries. We researched making it electric and Solar Bike seemed the best choice. I had a lot of correspondence with Matt and we sent a lot of pictures and ideas and in the end we put a rear wheel conversion kit on it. It makes an incredible difference now, it is truly a practical form of transport now and is well used and loved. We had to make a sacrifice with the gears, the bike came with an internal 8 speed hub and we had to lose that. The rear wheel has a 6 speed cluster on it but it is only setup as a single speed. If I get the time I may put a derailieur on it so I can use the 6 gears but it actually works very well with the single speed because the motor is very strong. We did have one problem with a failed Hall sensor in the motor after some extreme riding up a very steep hill with no pedal assistance. It was all resolved easily enough though, Matt drove over an hour to get up here and fixed it up for free because renting a trailer and a car was quite difficult for me to get it down to him at the beach. I am very happy now.

Shital, Perth, May 2013

From Peter King, Adelaide, May 2013

Peter King's electric bicycle

I had a 200W Solar Bike 9Ah Swift Kit put on my cross-country bike and I must say I am absolutely wrapped with the performance and ease of riding. It is a real hoot! People look in amazement at me riding uphill without pedalling! I had the system fitted by Matt's installer in Adelaide (Mic Chapman) and he did a super job. All round, a great package and a very good deal! If you live in Adelaide and would like to see the bike, let me know, I am more than happy to show and recommend this system to any potential buyer. My business is LEDsignSupplies, it's in Kent Town.

Keep up the good work and thanks again.

Peter, Adelaide

From Rusdy, Perth, May, 2013
Rusdy's Electric Bike

Good advice is definitely what you get from Matt. I originally ordered the 1000W with 48V 10Ah battery rack conversion kit, thinking to mix commuting with offroad use. Matt called me and asked me heaps of questions on what I actually need (vs wants). Long story cut short, I ended up with a slightly cheaper and different system (500W super tube kit) for my 60km return trip. I can happily report that it doesn't take much to overtake riders in lycra now - even though I'm one too. Regarding installation of the conversion kit, it's easier than I thought. The torque bar was the hardest bit for me due to a fat fork on my mountain bike but I did get it on. I also purchased a Cycle Analyst to measure all paramaters. These readings may be interesting for the more technically minded people, they were taken with light pedalling (no pedalling only consumes an extra 50-100W). Keep in mind, my mountain bike was already about 20 kg without the kit. The kit added nearly 10kg to the total weight.

Monitoring of 500W Solar Bike kit with 11.6Ah Panasonic tube battery:

1. The controller and battery take up to 700W - especially at slow speed, max crank

2. At cruising speed 34-35kph, flat, no wind, light pedaling, it consumes roughly 300W

3. When the voltage drops to 34V (when I'd consumed over 5Ah), the motor alone won't go any faster than 36kph (maxed out at 360W) on flat ground. Looks like the controller struggles to get more speed once the voltage has dropped a little bit. When the battery is fresh (let say less than 3Ah consumed, where 36V is still available), I have no worries getting to 40kph (around 500W)

4. I'd consumed around 6Ah (of 11.6Ah available) after travelling 28km with considerable pedalling

All up, extremely happy with both product, advice and service.

Rusdy, Perth

From Bruno, April 2013
Brunos Electric Bicycle

I came from Brazil to study at the University of Western Australia for a year. Getting around Perth isn't too hard but it can take long times and it can be difficult to get home at night after 12pm if you're in the city. I got an electric bicycle and it has made life so much easier and I save lots of time and money. I chose the electric fixie and put a 500W motor on it with a super tube battery. I can travel about 50km if I pedal heaps and about 25km if I don't pedal much. My ride to university is 9km along Striling highway and it takes me 12 to 16 minutes on my bike depending on how hard I pedal. If I use the bus it takes twice as long and when there is traffic it's terrible and can sometimes take more than 45 minutes. I love it and am wondering how I can take it back to Brazil.

Bruno, Brazil

From Neil, April 2013
Neils electic bike

My mountain bike was sitting around hardly getting any use. My friend got a Solar Bike kit put on his mountain bike and said it changed his life so I decided to do the same. I wanted something that gets about 40km/h so I chose the 1000W kit. I didn't want the rack battery because I like to keep things compact but the 48V tube battery didn't fit in the frame so I mounted it on the top bar. Works like a charm. It's so quiet and fast but still very safe. My friend was right - changes your life! It's simply just faster, cheaper and much more fun that driving a car in traffic. Get one!

Neil, Perth

From Cargo Cycles, March 2013
Electric Box Bike

We have responded to popular demand and produced a box cargo bike with a Solar Bike conversion kit! This can be fitted to both our Longhaul and Shorthaul cargo bikes. It is a great value for money option for electric box bike enthusiasts who would like some extra power. Available in Melbourne or parts can be shipped Australia wide.

From Simona, Hobart, March 2013
Simonas Electric Canondale

My fantastic brother put this electric solar bike kit on my Canondale for me for my Christmas present this year! It's the greatest present I've ever received and I'm loving it. I use it to get from Kingston, through Taroona, into the city and back - about a 25km ride all up. There are many big hills around Hobart and this just flies up them all. I still ride a lot so get a lot of exercise but it makes it so much more comfortable with the electric assistance and is now my first choice of transport for journeys less than around 30km. I generally just ride normally on the flat and only push the throttle from time to time but I hold it full throttle on all the hills and with a bit of pedalling it can get up even the steepest hills around here - and there are a lot of them. It's a really convenient form of transport and it's great not to rely on the car so much.

Simona, Tasmania

From Matt, Solar Bike, March 2013
Electric Apollo Trace 2
This was a conversion done for a local customer. He was looking for a road bike that could use the higher power kits and that also had disc brakes. It's sometimes hard to get the kits onto disc bikes, especially if using the larger direct drive motors as there is limited room to get the disc caliper between motor and disc itself. Thankfully, the Apollo Trace (model 2) came together nicely and posed no problems. It's also great for conversion due to the strong rigid forks. The bicycle itself typically retails for around the $600 mark and kits are between $1050-$1200. This kit used the super tube battery (11.6Ah) and I tested it and found it to still have battery power after 30km with light pedalling (using 500W motor).
From Matt, Solar Bike, February 2013
DAFWA electric bicycle
This was an electric protobike for the WA Department of Agriculture and Food. They monitor their crops for photosynthetic rate and other parameters using quite heavy machinery and batteries. The poor workers used to have to carry things and walk up and down the rows all day. Now they'll be doing it on some specialised converted electric bicycles. We were testing this one here with a 500W front motor; it worked well on most fields but bogged down when it got really sandy. Impressively, the 200W geared mini-motor with a 500W controller was a bit better but still struggled in the really soft stuff. The end product will be 200W mini-motor on front and 500W motor on rear. All the monitoring gear will be mounted in the middle of the contraption. Will make taking measurements of their wheat and barley trial crops a lot easier.
From Cottesloe Cycles, Febuary 2013
Electric Malvern Star Sprint

This is the latest special being set up and sold at Cottesloe Cycles and Carine Cycles in Perth. It's a very good commuter bicycle for the money. It's the Malvern Star Sprint - a flat bar road bike with the 200W mini-motor and Panasonic tube battery. Range about 35-50km depending on rider input. On special for a little while for $1450 (usually $1750).

Cottesloe Cycles

From Brizzie Bikes, Brisbane, January 2013
electric chopper from brissie bikes

This was a Chopper that was converted by Matt from Brizzie Bikes (in Brisbane) for a Gold Coast customer who is considering plans to rent them out. The Chopper is an amazingly in-practical form of transport and it takes a bit of getting used to - whether no power, electric or petrol powered - but they are comfortable. Not sure how these plans will pan out but it does look pretty damn cool! This Chopper is using the street legal 200W mini-motor and long range battery (36V 16Ah) so it should have a range of about 60km. Plans are under way to test a high-powered version out.

From Cottesloe Cycles, Perth, January 2013
electric schwinn

This conversion was for a customer that brought his bicycle into the shop. It's a retro style Schwinn road cruiser bike. It came together quite nicely and rides a lot easier for having the kit put on it. The black and yellow colour scheme also worked well. It is using the 200W mini-motor and an 11Ah rack battery that will give it a range of about 40km, cruises on the flat at around 28km/h without pedalling.

Cottesloe Cycles

From Christopher Lee, Canberra, January 2013
christopher lees electric bicycle

Thanks for a nice kit, it was easy to assemble. I got about 38km last night and had one green bar left so the range is good. Thanks for providing the small zip ties and bag, it is a very complete kit.


From Hannah Jean, Perth, January 2013
Hannah Jeans Electric Trike

I've had this tricycle for a while but now that I'm over 80 I found I didn't have the power to pedal it up some of the hills around King's Park. I rang up Matthew and he came over and converted it to electric. It's absolutely fabulous now, I use it for a 14km round trip to get the shopping and for exercise. I absolutely love riding and this has now enabled me to get outside and do some exercise whilst being comfortable in the hilly areas. It's wonderful to ride around King's park and I don't know how I managed without it. Thanks.

Matt from Solar Bike at the University of Queensland's algae laboratories. December, 2012
peers algae projects

A number of years ago I started Solar Bike with a goal to get electric bicycles running on hydrogen produced from algae. There are quite a few hurdles to achieve that goal but it is very possible. It was great to re-visit Prof Peer Schenk, who was my PhD supervisor 5 years ago, at the University of QLD to see the effort he has been making with algal biofuel projects. Many researchers often aim for very technical and highly engineered solutions. Peer aims for a very low energy and low tech solution; he is aware that the energy required to setup and run the operation must not exceed that which you can get from the algal biomass itself.

The top left picture shows some of the hundreds of algal strains Prof Schenk and his team have collected, isolated and grown up as pure cultures in the last 4-5 years. It is a very laborious and difficult task to isolate just one pure strain from a pool of murky water so it is an incredible accomplishment to collect so many strains and identify and characterise their potential practical uses. They often do mutational and selection studies in the laboratory to speed up evolution for higher amounts of oil or other products and then send these strains over to me at UWA to analyse for fatty acid content or other products. The top right picture shows one of their "mid-scale" growing bags that they use to keep stocks of pure cultures for times when the larger ponds get contaminated. The bottom left picture shows a small raceway pond, powered with solar panels, that is used to test both fluid dynamics with different pond designs and also strain ability to survive temperature fluctuation and contamination pressure. You can see from the picture this strain didn't do so well. The bottom right picture is a much larger facility that is under construction. It is being used to test an extremely low energy input system for growing and harvesting algal strains - using nearly all recycled materials. It is situated on the Brisbane river and they will use brackish water pumped from the river into a top pond. The water will drift by gravity through a series of "growth" and "fattening up" ponds that will be driven by solar powered paddle wheels, then it will pass to a final gravity based settlement pond, the algal biomass will be harvested and solar dried on special mats. Depending on the strains that are growing, they have developed techniques to settle and harvest the algal biomass from the large volume of water. Low energy harvesting of algae from the liquid culture is perhaps the most challenging step to a successful system. It's part a biological challenge, part chemical and largely an engineering challenge. As well as producing biofuel, another of their aims with this large pond they are building here is to produce algal biomass to feed cattle. Preliminary studies have shown an increase in growth performance using algal biomass. They are hoping to also produce beef that has high levels of the important omega 3 fatty acids that usually come from fish (fish get the good fatty acids from their algal diet). If any phytosterols accumulate in the animals then there is also potential for lower cholesterol and high omega 3 beef! You can see more of their work they do here:

Good work Peer and team!

From Matt, Solar Bike October, 2012
Electric Avanti Blade

If you happen to knock on the door of an Italian home, the host will likely yell out "Avanti!", this means come in or literally "forward". The Kiwis must have liked this word and it's been working for them because Avanti is a New Zealand bike factory that's been successfully designing and building bicycles for over 25 years. The "Blade" model first came out in 2003 and production continues today because it's always been a super well priced bicycle that is light and quick. It's a perfect bicycle for people who want to commute quickly but don't like to hunch over like beetles on traditional road bikes. This year's Blade 1 model is fantastic for electric conversion because it has a light Formtech alloy frame and Cr-Mo forks. The price is below $500 in bike shops and with a conversion kit makes a very cheap and high performance electric bicycle. It's built for speed and comfort and suits motors between 200W - 500W. Pictured above is a 500W setup we performed for a customer today with a new 11.5Ah Panasonic lithium ion tube battery.

Matt, Solar Bike

From Brenton, Adelaide, October, 2012
Brenton Barrons electric bike

I have covered many hundreds to thousands of kilometres on my bike with the Solar Bike kit. I am extremely pleased with it! My main concern was the battery but I am happy to report that the extra money paid for the long range battery was money well spent. I can travel around 100 km on one charge, albeit with considerable pedalling assistance. I am totally amazed! The 200w motor is more than adequate. It has plenty of grunt so I wonder why people would want the more powerful motors that drain the battery quicker. Several of my friends and work colleagues have had a go at me for fitting a motor to my bike.  They reckon I should just get a gopher and be done with it. Even though I know this is light hearted banter, I tend to pedal as much as I can. I live in the Adelaide Hills, the terrain around my home is very steep.  I can ride my bike to just about anywhere in and around Adelaide, but without the motor I can't get home again. I am 57 years of age, I think the best thing about having the motor fitted on my bike is the "insurance" factor.  It removes the anxiety that I used to suffer when I went on a long ride and was concerned about not having enough energy in my body to get home.  Now, if I feel like I am running out of steam, I know I can rely on the motor to get me home.  A far more relaxing and therefore therapeutic ride. Thank you for a brilliant product and truly excellent service.

Live long and prosper!

Brenton Barron

From Cottesloe Cycles, Perth, September 2012
Electric Giant Roam

The Giant Roam (2013) is a 29er that is good for electric conversion (only suitable with mini-motor). If your commute to work involves a fair bit of stop-starting and up and down curbs then an electric 29er is a good option. A 29er is essentially a mountain bike but with the slightly larger 700c rims. With slick tyres, it makes a very handy and fun electric commuting tool. Bike retails for $600, electric kit for $1050.

Cottesloe Cycles

From Rodney, Perth
Rodneys high power electric bicycle

Over the past 3 years I've purchased 3 kits from Solar Bike. The first 2 are always being used by family members. Recently, I decided to build a high power electric bicycle. I had been looking for a downhill frame but then I noticed the Phasor Prototype frame and the fun began. It has a Fox rear shock and Marzocchi forks, with 200mm front and rear travel. The bike produces 4000 watts and the battery has a 1.3 kWh capacity. The 100 volt battery can be charged in 1 hour. The battery was made here in Perth and the charger is a 1500 Watt Elcon charger. With moderate pedalling, I get 60-70 kilometers out of the battery. My commute to work is 46 km, so plenty left in the battery – especially if speed is kept to 30-40kms per hour with some pedalling. I have the controller in a position for airflow and also easy to touch to make sure it's not too hot. I’ve had this bike up to 88 km/h on a slight downhill. The battery reads 100.8 volts hot off a charge and drops down to 94 volts after a 25km ride. It’s set to cut off at 84 volts for protection.  

It wasn't cheap but it’s awesome and I’m absolutely loving it. I paid the following for all the main parts:
$1500        Dual suspension components
$750          Kit (Motor, controller and throttle)
$1400        Battery
$300          Charger
$2400        Frame (including postage)

Rod, Perth

From John, Perth, August 2012
Johns electric bicycle

I have a 12 km ride to work (24km return) and wanted to ride every day so my teenage daughter could share my car.  After 12 months I decided that my 49 year old body was never going to be fit enough to ride every day so I started researching electric bikes.  After months of internet research and test riding the two local electric bikes I decided on Solar bike.  Solar bike appeared to have quality parts and battery, a reliable motor and I was confident Matt would be around to offer technical support should something go wrong or breakdown. I emailed and spoke to Matt at Solarbike several times and he was fantastic, always supplying the information I was after without pushing a sale. I eventually decided on the 200 watt mini motor with water bottle style battery.  I originally wanted the carrier style battery for extra distance but they were out of stock and while waiting I changed my mind.  In hindsight it was the best decision as the smaller battery is lighter and sits better on the bike and still allows me approximately 50 kms of riding.  I started charging the battery every 2 days for convenience but  I now charge it each night as I usually detour on the way home and travel over 30km and I don't want to run the battery flat. Not being much of a bike mechanic I was worried about installing the kit myself but decided to give it a shot; I was amazed at how easy it was.  About 2 hours and it was going, and that included putting the front wheel on the wrong way so the motor ran backwards. I have been riding every work day for 6 months now and am still loving it.  Even on days when I'm feeling tired I know I can slack off and use the motor a bit more without worrying about hitting a headwind or struggling up hills.  I also use the bike more for any short trips up to 5-10 kms. Many people have asked me what riding an electric bike is like, the simple answer is it's like riding on flat ground with no headwind - all the time. I average about 27-28km/h on the flat, and about 20km/h up normal size hills. I'm 90kg's and reasonably fit and I still get a good workout during the ride as the 200 watt motor needs a reasonable amount of rider input to stay at 28km/h.  If you are over 90kg's or not fit you may want to consider the 350 watt motor. I can confidently recommend Solarbike if you are interested in an electric bike. Thanks for the great electric kit.

John, 2012

From Ray Robertson, Sydney, August 2012
Rays electric bike

I purchased a 700C Mini Motor 200W kit and created the battery myself. The battery consists of two 18.4 volt 5ah lipos wired in series, giving a nominal 36.8 volts, but delivers 42 volts at full charge.  I have been involved heavily with lipos for the last 4 years flying model aircraft and have dedicated high current lipo chargers. Soldering these batteries is not for the inexperienced. The batteries are model aircraft type from HobbyKing and cost about $43 each, so it makes for a very cheap 5ah pack.  For long rides I can take another 4 spare batteries (two packs) in my bike bag and change them when needed. The 3 packs should give me a great range. On my first test with my first battery pack I got 53K out of it!  It was a fairly flat ride but I used the motor on any rise in the road.  Today I did another ride of 35K with quite a few hills and used 3,500 mah out of 4,600 and that was carrying the extra weight of two spare battery packs. These batteries are rated at 15C and will take a current of 75 amps continuous, so at the 15 amp current limit of the controller, they are having an easy life. The batteries just fit snugly into the tube, which is 65mm plastic downpipe from Bunnings.  The battery tube holder is also made from 65mm downpipe and holds the battery tube very snugly but can be easily removed.  The end caps are made from 65mm downpipe fittings. The removable top cap is fitted with a switch and a 25amp fuse. The holder is secured to the bike with four 5mm nutserts. The battery tube is painted white to keep the temperature of the batteries down.  I started off with it painted black but in testing I found that in direct late summer sun the tube heated to over 45 deg C instead of 25 deg for the white. Both my wife and I are deeply in love with it!

Ray Robertson

Electric GIANT SEEK - from Cottesloe Cycles, July 2012
Electric Giant Seek

This is one we thought would be good so put together at the bike shop. It's the GIANT SEEK - a very robust flat bar road bike. It's running a disc version 200W mini-motor and Panasonic 36V 9Ah cylindrical battery. The expected range is 30-40km. For this setup you'd be looking at $900 (bike), $1050 (kit) and $100 (installation), total = $2150. If you live in Perth then you can get one setup at Cottesloe Cycles for $1800.

July, 2012

3500 Watt Kona Unit 80km/h - From Solar Bike, July 2012
3500W Kona Unit

This was an experiment to test the limits of electric bicycles - it's an R&D project to one day enter the World Solar Challenge. I put together the most powerful electric bicycle hub, controller and battery components I could find. Selecting the bicycle took a long time. I needed something solid with a decent area within the frame for a battery but most importantly, a stable riding frame that could take the power of the hub motor. The KONA Unit was my choice because it has a plate that bolts to the frame that holds the axle (see here), a feature that would later become necessary. The Kona Unit is a Cromoly single speed 29er (see here for specs). Regular bicycles won't be able to take the torque of high power and will strip the dropout. This happened to me after riding for 5 minutes with the 7mm aluminum factory plate - even with a regular torque bar installed. There's no way a regular bicycle could take a few thousand Watts of power without being well reinforced. I made a 7mm stainless steel plate (pic here) for both sides that totally encloses the axle. This has held to date and will not fail. The next point of weakness is the frame itself around where the plate is bolted. The frame is built well so provided this isn't under very harsh stress then it will also hold.

The motors can take more or less anything that you throw at them - or so I thought. My first effort was to get a rear motor with a 7 speed gear cluster. I powered this with a 72V battery and a 50A controller (theoretically 3600W of power). This went well until the rear dropouts gave way and the motor spun in the axle slot and severed the cables. Next motor, I opted for single speed as there was a higher rated option available and gears just became redundant anyway. With the same 50A controller and 72V battery the bike was extremely powerful and fast; quickly reaching a top speed of approximately 80km/h. It was only just possible to control the bike at this speed and definitely gets the adrenalin pumping but it was way too over-powered and you needed to be very gentle with the throttle. Eventually, when testing what would give first I took it onto the beach and up some sand dunes - really pushing all components hard. Finally, the wires between the motor and controller heated up so much the plastic coating melted and then something gave way within the motor itself - likely a Hall Sensor.

After blowing up another motor, a battery and a couple of controllers I believe the best solution for maximum sustained power with this sort of bicycle lies with a 72V 45A controller and 72V battery. The 50A controllers are a bit bigger and seem to give it extra grunt but the rest of the system doesn't handle it securely - though this will improve soon. The 72V Li ion battery I've been testing it with successfully has a 15Ah capacity. This has allowed me to travel around 25km. With the slightly down-graded 45A controller I expect to get a bit over 30km. I couldn't suggest using a lower capacity battery as the current drain will be too high and result in a short life or cut outs. I created a battery case from a wooden crate lying around work. Other mould options could be plastic, fibre glass and steel or aluminium. I like the wood though, just need a better carpenter. It should be possible to pack about 20% more battery in there to increase range.

The controller can sit well either below the frame for the larger 50A version or above the box & within the frame for the smaller 45A one. I tried controllers with sensors and ones without. Ones without the sensor are a bit more jumpy upon startup but more importantly they judder at high speed. For the extra potential problems with the sensors I think the performance outweighs their cons. I couldn't test power outputs accurately because the system blew up my Cycle Analyst computer. Estimates are 3600W with the 50A controller and 3240W with the 45A controller (72V).

Future additions will be hydraulic brakes, suspension forks and a well crafted wooden box to hold the battery. Until you move to a country where laws allow you to ride something like this on the road then I suggest you find a good off road location to ride and get something properly designed from Stealth.

Matt - Solar Bike

Electric Vanmoof July 2012
electric vanmoof

This is a Vanmoof bike (No 3) that I converted for the University of Western Australia's solar-powered electric bicycle charging shed. It came together pretty well with only a few minor considerations. The first of these was the need for an additional set of front brake calipers because the original rim had drum brakes. Because the brakes didn't then go around the mudgaurd I had to cut the front half off. It will function perfectly well but loses a bit of the original style. The battery holder needs points to attach to the frame and these were absent but a couple of hose-clamps worked well. The bike rides nicely when converted, it is very comfortable and easy to control. The 3 speed Nexus internal hub gear is adequate and works well for all motor powers between 200W - 500W, perhaps 350W would be best suited to the gearing and braking capabilities (legalities aside). The downside is that the bicycle is quite expensive, retailing for around $900. For this price a 7 speed internal hub is deserved. The good points are the frame - it's awesome and looks very trendy, there are also internal LED lights within the cross-bar that can be charged with a USB - though not particularly bright. There is another model (No 5) that has an internal lock that is very handy but unfortunately rules out use of the tube battery due to space dilemmas. If future models come out with disc brakes, brigher LED lights and a 7 speed hub then it will be worth the price. It should also look better with silver forks and the mini-motor. In its current state it is a trendy, robust, unique and simple electric bicycle that costs around the $2000 mark for all components and delivery.

Matt, July 2012

From Tim, Port Phillip Bay, July 2012
Here are some photos of bikes I have converted to electric. The first one converted was my wife's Giant Hybrid. An absolutely brilliant kit, she just loves it. The car tends to stay in the garage when she has to duck down the shops as it is just so much less hassle to take the bike and there is never any parking worries.

The second bike I converted was my Giant mountain bike, to which I fitted one of your specials. It transformed the bike and got me back on it after many years of neglect. We often ride a 25 km round trip to get a coffee and for us old retirees it is great exercise without the grunt of the hills on the return trip.

The third bike I converted was a Bauer flat bar road bike. I fitted another geared motor to it as I like the low down torque and quiet manners of it compared to the direct drive motors. It is really light and simple with no gears, I find you don't really need them with a motor fitted unless you tackle steep hills, which we don't, and I just love it. I also want to thank you for your support and quality products, as somewhere in the middle I tried to do it on the cheap by importing from china, and after blowing up the battery on the first plug in and rejecting a geared motor with bugger all torque and which complained loudly when put under any stress, I returned to you. There was not a lot of savings to be made in any case, what with bank fees for T/T plus freight etc.

Tim, July 2012

Tims Electric Bicycles
From Cottesloe Cycles, Cottesloe/Perth, May 2012
Electric Apollo Shadow

We're slowly becoming experts on the best bicycles to convert at our bicycle shop and we've opted to set up for a special sale the APOLLO SHADOW (full specs here). It's a really good Australian bicycle that came out for a while with a Nexus 7-speed internal hub gear. It really keeps the bicycle very simple with no derailleur and is extremely robust. The conversion kit went on great, we tried both with the rack battey and the Panasonic tube battery and the tube was obviously the best in terms of handling and light weight. We have just a few in stock and we hope to able to sell them to locals around Cottesloe and Perth. Usually, this electric bicycle would retail for $1870 but it will be on special for a couple of months for $1450. The only remaining sizes available from APOLLO with the internal gear have a large frame size, it suits riders from about 172cm to 188cm. The range with light pedalling will be about 30-40km and it's speed is around 28km/h.

Please come into our Cottesloe Cycles store if you'd like to take one for a test ride. We're sure you'll be pretty impressed.

Cottesloe Cycles, May 2012

From Bernie, Fremantle, May 2012
Bernies ebike
This is my Awesome 500W electric bike. I custom ordered it to be a rear wheel disc compatible version. It was the only way I could get a kit on a dual suspension bike. The tube battery had to sit under the diagonal bar but it goes great and the weight balance is perfect. I can ride this over nearly any bumps without a worry at all and it's super comfortable. The modifications I had to make were to change the shifter, with the motor I can only get a 6 speed rear gear cluster to fit on so had to change the original shifter to match. I also put a larger front ring on because the top speed was too fast otherwise and I do like to pedal every now and then. It's a great way to get to the pub and back and once I even got lucky. I told a girl that I had a confession to make - "I ride an electric bike" - she said she'd never been on one and could I take her for a ride. Very happy ending and very happy with my bike.
From Roumen, Perth, April 2012
Roumens electric Fixie

After a lot of research and looking around I went for the fixie/single speed with 200W mini-motor. Goes Fantastic Mate. I really love the bike. Something i need to tell you is about the weight of the bike. Fully equipped, it is only 17.5 kg - I measured it a few times. It is amazingly light!! All other electric bikes on the market are from 22 to 27, even 30 kg. This is one of the best points of the bike and I think is good for you to put it in the ad. For example if you have told me this at the beginning i wouldn't hesitate to buy it straight away.

Roumen, Blugaria and Perth

From Paul, Christchurch, New Zealand, March 2012
Electric Giant Fixie

Got the kit and used a Giant Fixie. Fits good and works great!

Paul, NZ

From Cargo Cycles, Melbourne, February 2012
Solar Yuba Mundo
This bike was put together by Cargo Cycles in Collingwood. They specialise in a variety of "Cargo Bicycles" and electric bicycles and are a wonderful distributor of our electric bicycle kits in Melbourne. This model used a disc kit and tube battery and came together very nicely. The extra motor assistance will certainly help pull those heavier loads that these bicycles are designed for. Please read their review on this model and visit their website by clicking here.
From Cottesloe Cycles, January 2012
Electric Haro

This is an electric Haro mountain bike that was put together at our Cottesloe Cycles store on a customer's bike. It's one of the few ones we've done with disc brakes and suspension forks. Using the modern suspension forks, it's generally only possible to install the 200W mini-motors because the higher powered motors have larger axle nuts that don't sit well with typical suspension fork dropouts; the mini-motor seems to be quite a bit more generic for this purpose as the axle nuts and washers are smaller and nearly always fit snuggly into the fork dropout. The disc kits aren't common but this one worked a treat. It's not always possible to use disc brakes because the motor can rub on the brake caliper depending on the brakes; usually they work ok but you need to be prepared to revert to V-brakes and pads if it doesn't work out or else you'll need to do some fine adjustments to get everything to line up. The tube batteries are a really good solution for these electric bikes we're finding now - hardly any problems and the performance is great. This is a really nice commuting machine and it's still pretty light, the kit only added about 6kg all up.

Cottesloe Cycles

From Richard, Darwin, January 2012
Richards ebike review

For over a year my Solarbike e-bike has been my main transport for commuting to and from work, a 30km round trip. Since I'm so happy with my bike it is time for a review, which I can do in one sentence:
It assists me to burn fat and keep fit, lowers my carbon footprint and is fun!

Here's a whole page review with a few more technical points.


From Cottesloe Cycles and Solar Bike, December 2011
Electric Giant Via
This is a model that came together particularly nicely. It's the GIANT VIA 2W made electric with the Solar Bike 200W mini-motor kit and a new design Panasonic 10Ah lithium ion rack battery. The complete setup cost a customer $499 for the bike and $950 for the kit. Total of $1449. It runs Great and is far better than any production line bike of similar geometry! The range with light pedalling will be between 30-50km at a speed of approximately 28km/h. You can get one fully setup in Perth by calling Cottelose Cycles (assembly is $120) or you can get the bike from your local bicycle shop that deals GIANT models and get the kit from us!
Stepahines Electric Bike, Perth, December 2011
Stephanies electric bicycle
This is a Giant CRX 4 set up with the Swift kit that had a 200W mini-motor and water bottle battery. It added just over 6kg to the bicycle. Its top speed is 28km/h. I went over 40km on a single charge and it hadn't run out and felt as good and powerful as at the start of the ride. Great up all hills I encountered and I only pedalled very lightly the whole trip.
From Kerry Faulkner from the POST and Jim Petrie from The Big Issue, December 2011
The Big Issue Electric Bicycle
From Rodney, Perth, December 2011
Rodneys Electric Nutcase Fixie

Since purchasing my electric bike (Solar Bike NUTCASE) 6 weeks ago I have travelled 1000 kilometers to and from work. The round trip is approximately 26  kilometres depending on the route I take. With the 500 watt motor I  recharge at work. With minimal wind the battery handles it well but with head winds I need to put in quite a lot of effort and in my state of fitness this is hard. Yesterday I had someone ask if I had lost weight. He is the first person to do so. Without a big change in diet I have lost weight and had to buy new jeans. To help with the head winds, I have since fitted another battery and with Matt's help put them into relay. I only turn on the second battery when head winds are strong or if I pushed myself hard the day before.  My fitness is gradually increasing with this method, instead of pushing myself too hard, as at my age this could cause me health problems. If you are thinking of purchasing a e-bike I thoroughly recommend Matt from Solar Bike.

Rodney, Perth.

From Gerorge at Scooters & Mobility, Sydney, December 2011
Georges Electric Cruiser

I just built this cruiser bike with a 200 watt mini-motor, it looks great and performs really well with the single speed gearing of the cruiser bike. The water tube bottle mounted well on the top bar and looks a little like a petrol tank. Very comfortable and stylish electric bike I think, perfect for around here in Sydney. 

George Poulos

From Elizabeth, Perth, November 2011
Elizabeth and kids on a Solar Bike

I used to cycle quite a bit with my daughter (now 4 years old) in the trailer for any trip less than 10km return. The trips got shorter with my second child (now 2 years old). But my main problem was my daily commute (2-3 times a week) to drop off the kids to their respective day care places and then go to work. It's a 50km round trip and there is no way I could do that on a normal bike. I found driving frustrating and a waste of time and money. I then somehow thought of an ebike.

Since acquiring my 200W water tube battery conversion kit from Solar Bike about 6 months ago I have not only used it for my daily commute to work (I have a second charger that I leave at work) but also to go shopping, to the beach, playground and any other trips with safe cycling conditions less than 20-30km return. The kids are as happy in the trailer as they are in the car or pram, and mum is definitely much happier.

So far I haven't come across a single slope where my ebike hasn't been able to pull the three of us up.  On a flat road without wind and light pedalling I travel at a speed of 20-25kph. Any faster would become dangerous in my opinion. Braking distance greatly increases with 2 kids at the back.

My only regret is that I hadn't discovered Solar Bike earlier!

Elizabeth from Perth!

From Manuel, Perth, WA, November 2011
Manuels Electric Bicycle

Having bought the 36V 200W front wheel  mini motor and battery, I found myself wishing I had purchased a more powerful motor for the 50km per day commute. Rather than start again, I put a 1KW motor on the rear wheel and ramped up the voltage to 48V by purchasing another 36V and 12V battery to give me both range and speed.

The result: a range of 50km with light pedalling when using the front motor (which cruises at 33kph) or  a range of 35km with light pedalling when switching to the rear motor on long straights (which cruises at 60kph). Essentially, using a combination of the two allows for the open road with the rear motor, and around town with the front motor give the best results. Common sense must apply – cars and people do not expect a cycle to come towards them at high speed so the rear motor is reserved for special circumstances – no traffic / cyclists / pedestrians in sight!

I have recommended Solar Bike to a couple of people who have taken the plunge and wished they had done so sooner. Some people may argue that this type of conversion distorts the definition of cycling, but I still pedal, and I am sure other cyclists would rather see me on the bike instead of breathing the fumes from my car. Now, where did I put my radar detector...

From Rupert, Albany, WA. October 2011
Ruperts electric recumbent

I just love my electric two-wheel drive (Australian designed) Cruzbike, which I have been using for five months. With the Solarbike hub motor on the rear it’s a dream to ride, the motor is so smooth and quiet.

I find saddles on upright bikes very uncomfortable, so always had a longing for those big seats I saw on recumbents. I purchased one of Cruzbike’s cheapest recumbents, their Sofrider model. It was a very steep learning curve riding this type of bike and it took a couple of weeks to get the hang of it; the hub motor is a great help for starting off uphill at the beginning.

Having just reached retirement, I was looking to make a bullet proof super reliable machine. After a bit of research I put on Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tyres and swapped the derailleurs for a Nuvinci CVP continuously variable transmission hub gear on the front. I researched various electrical assist options and Solarbike’s maintenance free, one moving part hub motor was the perfect choice! It was very easy to fit to my bike, I designed a simple aluminium holder for the battery and put the control box under the seat. I chose the larger 500 watt motor because I'm eventually planning to buy a trailer to take my two dogs regularly to the beach, with an all up weight of 26 KG, the extra power should help greatly up some of Albany’s hills.

As my riding is mostly recreational for keeping fit, I put as much effort into pedalling as I can. I use the motor minimally on flat roads, except with strong headwinds, and only use the throttle minimally on slight inclines just to maintain a reasonable speed. I use full power on steeper terrain. I do a regular two hour ride and only use 40% of the battery capacity. The electric boost is great for quickly getting across busy main roads. I have tried winding the power up on a quiet road just to see how it goes, it has amazing acceleration up to a high speed and is a very exciting ride!

I can highly recommend Solarbike products and you get great customer service.

Rupert from Albany, WA

From Alan Simon, Oxnard, California, USA. September 2011
Alan Simons Electric Bike

I have visited China many times and witnessed the large amount of the population on bicycles, many of which were electrical, and they were being used for everything from transportation to commercial vehicles.  I have been bicycling for over 50 years and realized that in the present world environment, this is the future.  I have investigated the Internet for e bikes and was overwhelmed by the myriad of "kits" available for converting a normal bike to e bike status...some good and some not.   

I decided to search for a proper bike candidate for conversion.  I settled on a 2010 Fuji Crosstown 4. The bike is perfect for conversion.  It has a high quality aluminum frame as utilized on the entire Crosstown line and a steel fork. The derailleur is a basic wide range Shimano 7 speed cluster.  Finding the right conversion kit was a bit of a challenge.  I finally discovered Solar Bike, and I immediately realized that this was the quality Green thinking company that I was looking for.  After initial contact with Matt, and expressing my needs to him, we assembled a proper kit.  It is a Swift mini-motor kit with thumb throttle.  Continuing exchanges modified the kit for my specific use.   

The whole project took a little while as I am in America and there were lots of emails passed, assembly took me about 3 hours.  I also slightly modified the stock bike, including a softer saddle to accommodate my aging 70 year old body as well as a bipod type kickstand to better support the heavier load, front and rear racks, and a cup holder for hot coffee - very important!   I am extremely satisfied with the final result. The bike is awesome and has been exceeding all my expectations.  The quality of the product shows!  Many people are amazed at the results! All the parts supplied are of the highest quality and I thank Matt for all his help, I could not have done this without him. I have already recommended Solar Bike to several people.  

Alan Simon, Oxnard, California, USA

From Peter, Tasmania, September 2011
Peter Gross Electric Bike

Here is my finished electrically converted Cross City 4. It has the 200W front mini-motor and the new 9Ah Panasonic tube battery. I just took it for a 21 km ride and it performed very well. I averaged 21.8 km/h, using power for all the uphill and acceleration. The battery is still showing 75% and I felt pretty fresh for an old dude without much fitness. I was pleased that there is very little rolling resistance from the motor and it is quite fast enough for my needs. I fitted a Spanninga 36V front light and wired this up to the tube battery and that works quite well.

Thanks for all your help with the bikes Matthew and I wish you every success.

From Dick, September 2011, Brisbane
Dicks Electric Bike
Here's my 500W converted bike with a battery put in a school lunch box with keyed relay inside. I made another torque bar for the other side of the hub that is not as flash as the one that comes with the kit but it is functional. The leads on the controller were just the right size for the bike and I kept the  battery leads  as short as possible. It works great, plenty of power and I barely need to pedal for any length of time up hills.  I reckon a 48 volt controller with a 48 volt batery on a 36 volt hub would really make it go. I dont think it would do the motor any harm provided the duty cycle is kept low.  At 65 years of age I still like a bit of excitement!!!
From Ray, September 2011
Rays electric bike video
From John O’Malley, Perth, WA. August 2011
Johns review
From Simon, Sydney. August, 2011
Simons ebike

My old Giant mountain bike was sitting in the shed not getting much use after I bought a cyclocross bike for my short city commutes and weekend rides. However, when I started a new job much further from home, I decided to look into putting an electric assist on the mountain bike to make the 20km journey easier. Checking out the internet, I came across Matt's site and from my first enquiry, he was friendly and helpful. I ended up buying the 200w Swift kit which has proved to be perfect. It has turned what was a bit of a grind into a pleasurable ride. The motor smoothes out all the annoying stops and starts. I leave the bike in top gear and having the motor means I can pedal up to cruising speed very quickly and maintain a good top speed for the whole of the ride. I fitted the kit myself and didn't have too much trouble. I had to file out the slots on the forks slightly to get the wheel to fit, but other than that, no dramas. Matt was very helpful when I rang with technical questions. I love my long commute now and I still pedal pretty hard and get my exercise. The great thing about having the motor is that you can take a break whenever you like and still keep moving, so the ride is less stressful and you never get too out of breath or sweaty, but still get a good workout.

Thanks, Simon

From Cottesloe Cycles, August, 2011
Electric Apollo Allure
This bike was set up in our shop (Cottesloe Cycles) on a bicycle a customer chose this weekend. The bicycle is an Apollo Allure, it was on special for $450, so with the kit ($950) and installation ($120) the total price came to $1520. This is a very fair price for a mid to high range hybrid style bicycle with a robust electric conversion kit installed. The kit used had the 200W mini-motor and the lithium ion phosphate battery in the rear carrier rack. We'd expect the bicycle to have a range of about 40 - 50 km with average riding input.
"A Shared eBike" by Derek from Bronte. August, 2011
Dereks ebike

My daughter Fiona and I share this bike which has a Solarbike 200w motor and the latest incarnation of 36v 10ah battery which also acts as a mudguard. The bike is a Mongoose Alta mountain bike which had been thrown out by a neighbour. We both like cycling but both have problems. My problem is age – I’m 77 now – I’ve been riding a bike to work, for shopping and recreation and on tours for 30 years. But I’ve been getting weaker and having to use progressively lower gears.  Now I’m finding it hard to keep up with my younger associates and also finding the distances between pubs when touring to be very long! My daughter’s problem is weight - she is pretty heavy but likes cycling to work a distance of 10km away. However she has trouble with hills and we live in a hilly part of Sydney.
Now that we have installed the Solarbike kit, Fiona can do the journey home without stopping for walks up the hills. And now I can rejoin my biking friends – last week I did a 65km trip with them from Bondi to Parramatta and still had a bit of battery left when I got home. Of course I didn’t have the motor on all the time – just for hills to let me keep up and for crossing busy intersections where one needs to be nippy. This encourages me to feel that I might be able to go back to country touring soon as long as I can recharge my battery at the end of each day! We both find the 200w motor to be quite adequate for the assistance we need. Installation after watching the video was straightforward although I needed to make an extra washer to stop the motor touching the fat forks on this bike. Overall we are both now looking forward to some good cycling days to come. We might even have to get another Solarbike motor kit to keep us both going!

From Derek, Perth. August, 2011
Peter Ks Electric Bike
Most fun I've had for a long time.  Great means of commuting to work and fitting in some "accidental exercise" on the way.  Bought a couple of extra duty panniers for waterproofing...lockers for work. Will see if I can ditch our second car for the family in place of this great means of commuting.  Despite the grueling weather some days to work... looking at the traffic jam on the Kwinana Freeway at a standstill... it makes it that much more enjoyable.  Thanks!
From Christian, Perth. July 2011
Chirstians ebike

My electric bike is amazing. I got this classic bike from the Glen Parker bike shop in Nedlands and put the Solar Bike 500W complete conversion kit on it. The bike is very fast and I only need to give myself occasional electric power boosts on the flat. I use the throttle full power on most hills and with a bit of pedalling on nearly any hill my speed will rarely drop to below 30km/h. My average speed on most journeys is between 30 - 40km/h. I've had it about 6 months now and haven't had any electrical problems at all. The only small issue was that the nuts holding the battery rack onto the bike had a tendency to come loose. Some Lock-tight has fixed that issue. I have ridden it just over 40km on a single charge without it running out. It's incredibly convernient as I work in the city and ride about 12km each way daily, I use it for about 90% of my trips under 20km as it's fun, cheap, faster than any other mode of transport, healthy and much better for the environment than driving. All up it has exceeded my expectation in every regard.

Sincerely, Christian Wesse.

From Cottesloe Cycles, Perth/Cottesloe. June 2011
Electric Giant Suede

The Giant Suede has been a very popular model for all ages. It's a well priced bike with good running gear and is extremely comfortable for riding. We've been selling Solar Bike's electric bike kits for over a year now and have had very few problems and excellent back up service. The new 2011 models from Giant have just arrived and we've opted to stock and sell a ready to ride electric Giant Suede. This model uses the lighter and smaller 200W mini-motor and the very reliable lithium ion battery that comes in the double layered rear rack. It rides extremely well as an electric bike and suits people of all ages. Similar electric bicycles we've assembled with the same electrical configuration have speeds of about 26-28km/hr and a range of about 50km. Pictured here is the ladies' model but it will work equally as well on the men's model too. Please come into the shop (19 Station st, Cottesloe, 6011) to test ride or purchase this model.

From George, Scooters & Mobility, Sydney. May 2011
Georges Ebike

I've been selling and testing a variety of electric transport for decades now and I must say that these kits are the best I've come across. Everything from the packaging, the quality and the service is spot on. I really haven't been able to find another supplier that offers even close to the range of kits and the battery quality in Australia at such a good price. The final product really depends upon the bike you choose to put it on but the electrical components are great. This bike here is one I set up to display in the shop. It's a 500W motor on a mountain bike with the 10Ah LiFePO4 battery. I've sold plenty of these kits through the shop in the last year and they are getting considerably more popular - it's actually hard to maintain a full stock of them. Once assembled correctly, I rarely hear back from customers with problems. If you're in Sydney then please come in to the shop if you are interested in purchasing a kit or having one assembled onto your existing bicycle. It's best to phone ahead to check what is in stock.

George Poulos, Scooters & Mobility. 422 Stoney creek road, Kingsgrove, Sydney. Phone: (02) 9150 0787

From Ricarda Fenske, University of Western Australia. Perth. May 2011
Ricardas electric fixie

I know Matt from working at the University of Western Australia and have seen and tested a few of his electric bicycles in the past. I very much enjoyed test riding all of them but I loved the design of Matt's newest model, the black and white chequered Electric Fixie, and it converted me from a test rider into an owner. I got the 350W version from Cottesloe Cycles for $1650. It's a fantastic electric bike and it's cheaper than the $1700 I pay a year for slow public transport ($3.70 each way) and it's much cooler, faster and better than other electric bicycles I've seen that look like things only my grandmother would ride. It takes me about 15-20 minutes to travel about 10km to work on the electric bike, which is way quicker than public transport which takes about 45 minutes and up to an hour sometimes. The bike has not had a single problem since I bought it a few months ago (though I did take it back to the Cottesloe Cycles bike shop to spin the back wheel around so it's single speed instead of fixed) and I use it for nearly all my travels as it's just lots of fun and really fast and convenient. Even on hot summer days I exercise a lot and arrive at work pretty fresh and don't need to shower. I find now that I exercise a lot more than I would have otherwise without it. It’s great overtaking those cyclists dressed in fluorescent lycra and it’s so quiet that they don’t even notice I have an electric kit installed. I absolutely love it.

Ricarda Fenske, University of Western Australia Research Officer.

From Robynann, Fremantle Markets, April 2011
Robynann's electric bicycle

The bike is absolutely fantastic!  It has in every way exceeded my expectations.   I'm having so much fun and getting in lots of fresh air and exercise all because the bike is such a joy to ride.   Without a doubt this was by far an excellent investment.   Thank you Herbert and Matt.  I just love my bike!  

Regards Robynann Davies

From Herbert & Matt, Solar Bike, Fremantle Markets, March 2011
Fremantle Market Stall
Herbert is the Solar Bike mechanic from Holland who was responsible for operating the Fremantle Market installation stall. This was operating a free installation service and open to discuss all electric bicycle ideas all day Saturday during the summer but is now closed for winter. We look forward to chatting to people and offering this service when the summer sun comes out again.
From JJ, EARTH HOUR, March 2011
Earth Hour is a global event held on the last Saturday of March annually, asking households and businesses to turn off lights and electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change. Millions to billions of people participate in this. This year earth hour coincided with a party at Solar Bike Headquarters and we could all respect earth hour and eat our BBQ goodness under lights thanks to an electric bike conversion kit. The kit had a hub motor (rear wheel) assembled on a thrown out exercise bike; a small controller converted the output to 12V and this was hooked up to some LED lights; 3 x 3W lights here. Earth hour turned into earth party while people took turns to pedal to create ample light all night. With such a contraption, an average rider should be able to comfortably power about 50 of these 3W LEDs.
jj earth hour
From Troy Hemetsberger, Perth, March 2011

I was lucky enough to pick up the 200W with 10 Amp/hr lithium ion phosphate battery kit. I travel 30kms each way each day via train and I was very conscious of the range offered by the kit – therefore shunning the 350w or higher kit and the water-bottle-style battery. I had some initial difficulties with the kit and the installation (doing it myself), and Matt helpfully resolved all of the problems I had created. Although the system is exceedingly simple to install if you know what to do, I botched it up royally, and would really recommend that the $90 installation fee is well worth the expense!

As for the performance of the kit it is awesome! It looks great, is very well finished and easily holds 30+ km/h along the flat with no pedalling. I do pedal as fast as I can as well, but being an overweight, ex-smoker having turned 40, it is probably not too much. My average travel time for the 30 km trip to work is currently 57 minutes and should improve soon; this is actually faster than my old method of commuting, which involved a bike ride, a wait, a train ride and and a walk - all up about 65 minutes. Riding a non-electric bike all the way probably would take me about 2 hours and just wouldn't be feasible. Hills are the best part for me – instead of dropping down to a low gear, I can stay in a high gear and keep travelling at 25 km/h+, rather than dropping to sub 10 km/h. Along the flat I now tend to be able to cruise above 35 km/h with relative ease.

The 30 km trip uses around 50% of the battery, I have actually ridden the entire 60 km return trip on one charge, however this used 90% of the battery (270 minutes to recharge) and I do not unnecessarily want to reduce the battery life so charge at work also. I researched the battery options extensively, eventually justifying the substantially more expensive LiPoFe04 Solar Bike battery based on performance, lifetime, weight and packaging. It is definitely worth the extra initial investment and is actually cheaper over the battery lifetime – roughly 40cents per complete recharge cycle. The battery itself can be key-locked to the rack, and easily removed so that you can take just the battery to your chosen charging point. The rack that the battery fits in to is well designed, and when you look at it in profile, it is very stealthy – hardly hinting towards it’s true purpose. You can see in this picture where the battery slides into the rack (battery has been removed). 

I put the kit on a new Trek FX7.0 and it looks great. A heavier battery would not have been a good choice, as you do feel the bike to be substantially heavier with the additional 10Kgs added by the kit. Mind you, I expect to lose 10Kgs over the next 6 months so things will even out. I now ride the bike to work every day, saving my $6.90 train fee and expect breakeven to occur in one year (bike, kit and extra accessories). I am about to get a 2nd charger, so that I can leave one at home and one at work.

The kit gives me the confidence to ride to work – in a mere hour, and although I have never just coasted along, I potentially could if desired. Each day I now get that little bit stronger, fitter and healthier, and potentially one day, the electric motor will only be engaged for the toughest of hills on the hottest of Perth days. Without the kit, the option to ride simply would not have been feasible for me.

The final thing I have discovered is how friendly the bicycling community is, with most of the hard-core lycra-clad riders quite impressed by the kit when they eventually catch up to me at the pedestrian crossings – eager to find out all about the kit. Some have mentioned it is “cheating” and in a road race it would be, but on my daily commute, I am only either cheating the trains, the traffic jams and the parking inspectors- certainly not cheating myself!

Troy Hemetsberger, L7 Solutions - Internal Account Manager, M: 0449 901 659

troys electric bike

From Adam from Perth, Western Australia, March 2011

As a Master of Science (Sustainability) student here in Perth I was looking to make my travel sustainable – in other words use less material, create less emissions and spend less money than I would using any other type of transportation. My main intention was to become much more in control of transporting myself around Perth and essentially replace the car and the bus or train to get around. Outside of this, other considerations included:

  • I could convert the bike back to a standard bicycle without the kit
  • Get to and from work without needing a shower
  • The weight with the conversion kit wasn’t excessive
  • The bike could be ridden if there was no battery power remaining
  • That I could charge my bike using renewable energy sources
  • Ongoing maintenance was as simple or as difficult as a standard bike

Solarbike’s electric kits ticked all the boxes. I did my research and after having ridden a few electric bikes from different stores I caught up with Matt to discuss a solution. Although I have a good mountain bike and was ready to convert that, after our discussion I chose the Giant Cross City 3 flat bar road bike (purchased from Cottesloe Cycles) as the better commuting alternative. The conversion took under two hours and I have not looked back.

Fully clad in trousers and shirt, I ride it to work every day under full throttle with minimal pedalling. For the really hot Perth days I make sure I have a few shirts handy at work and change into them when I get in because the backpack can heat up the shoulders and back a bit. On the way home I am usually under full throttle and pedalling flat out. Getting to and from work is now pretty cool. It’s more healthy and I’m finding that I’ve replaced about 65% of all my travel requirements with the new bike – the only reason this isn’t higher is that I’ve got a young child and 50% of the time I’m not on a safe bike path or a bike reserved area of the road. However going to the dentist, the pub, the shops, and pretty much anywhere that I just need a backpack is easier and in most cases quicker – especially to and from work now that I have worked out the bike paths. You know you’ve made a good choice when you pass thousands of cars all grid locked in peak hour. Finally, I chose to get two batteries so I could leave one on charge at home using the solar panels on my roof to charge that battery the next day while using the other. I would recommend the Solarbike solution to anyone interested in removing one more car from the road but without the need to get all lycra’d up!


Adams Electric Bike
From Matt, Solar Bike, February 2011

My own bike design just arrived and I've now set up a few electric single speeds (see assembly video). The one on the left of the picture has a 350W gearless motor and uses the 10Ah battery in the rear carrier rack; the one to the right uses the water bottle style battery and has a 200W geared minimotor. Riding the one with the small mini-motor seemed to me to be a bit under-powered. It was ok, but I like to have a higher speed and on this bike I felt that with the mini-motor topping out at about 25km/hr it was a bit weak for my liking.

However, when I increased the motor power to 350W, which uses a larger gearless motor, I was super impressed! Though it was heavier (especially with the larger capacity battery), the power was greater and it was very well balanced to the single speed gearing of the bike, not too strong so that I don't pedal somewhat but also not so weak that I struggle. I managed to ride 45km on a single charge with this bike before the battery dropped out, it is a very efficient bike so it allows a great range. I believe the increased range to other bikes is because with the single speed I use the motor a little less on average. If I have a fast bike with gears, then I will ride full throttle everywhere in top gear and will use the battery capacity quite quickly. With the single speed, on flat ground I tend to just give myself power bursts every now and then or sometimes ride with the throttle at about half to three quarters full. I find that I ride a little slower than usual with an average speed on flat ground at about 30km/hr but I thoroughly enjoy even this slightly decreased pace to usual. On my 45km test ride, I covered reasonably flat ground but did encounter a few decent hills; I never found I had to even get out of the saddle on these large hills and was comfortable riding at a happy power input, albeit at a decreased speed.

I believe this to be one of Australia's top electric bikes available. For my personal use, I believe that a 200W - 350W gearless motor with the water bottle style battery would be the correct balance, considering a likely range of approximately 30km with this battery option. The larger motors have a higher top-speed and more torque up hills but do decrease the great range available with the mini-motor.

electric fixies
From Anneli, January 2011

I  bought an old $40 bike from the Quokka and Matt from Solarbike did an awesome job of transforming it into a lean mean riding machine! I ride it everywhere now, and it’s great for trips that are a bit longer than I’d feel comfortable riding, or if I’m going out and don’t want to arrive all hot and sweaty. It’s also much quicker than being stuck in traffic or catching public transport, and once the conversion is done… it’s free! So obviously a great option for poor students like me (tip: if you can manage to charge the battery at uni/work it literally doesn’t cost you a cent.) =) I’ve had no problems with my mine, and can highly recommend Solarbike to anyone considering getting their bike converted. If you’re in Perth, Matt has all the gear and technical knowhow, and the conversion job only takes a couple of hours. Thanks Matt!

Anneli from Finland!

anneli and bike
From Stale in Norway, January 2011

I have ridden my bike to work and back (7,5km each way) for many years.  I’m from Sandnes, the western part of Norway and during winter it can be difficult to motivate myself to get onto the bike. We don’t have extreme winters where I live, but it is often windy and the temperature can quickly drop to -10°C, mix this with strong wind and you have the reason I got interested in electric bikes. I studied some electric bikes on various web shops but they all looked like my mother’s bike and way too heavy. I’m an “equipment freak” so these bikes were out of the question for me.  Instead I looked at the conversion kits; I wanted a kit as light as possible and it should give me the extra push when cycling against the wind. The Solar bike Swift kit was the one I decided to purchase.

The kit arrived and the packaging was really good, nothing damaged inside. It took me about an hour to install it onto my carbon fibre cyclocross bike. I know that carbon fibre forks are not recommended, but I took the chance.  I have ridden the bike daily for two months, everything is working perfectly. The temperature has been down to -12°C and it also managed 10 mm snow. The maximum range with “normal” pedalling is 50km. After one month of cycling in snow and rain I decided to look closer at the inside of the hub. I was afraid that water had penetrated, but everything looked great, no moisture at all. You can feel the extra 6 kg from the Swift kit installaion when riding the bike, but it gives you the extra push and it’s great in steep hills.

Stale from Sandnes, Norway

stales bike
From Solar Bike, January 2011

A very good bike to setup an electrical conversion kit on for high speed commuting is the Giant Cross City 3 and Giant Cross City 4. These are flat bar road bikes and retail at most bicycle shops for $799 and $599 respectively. The Giant Cypress (2, 3 & 4) are more of a hybrid style bike suited to the leisurely commuter and are also good bikes to convert but do not accomodate the water bottle style battery option. They are a cheaper option at $579, $479 and $379 respectively. If you are in Perth and want a high performance electric bike then I can highly recommend calling Cottesloe Cycles to organise the Giant Cross City 4 ($599) with the water bottle battery option and any motor power ($950) fully assembled ($120) for a total of $1670.

Tests were performed on two battery systems: a 36V 10Ah lithium ion phosphate battery (6 months old) and a 37V 7Ah lithium manganese phosphate battery (brand new). Measurements were performed using the Cycle Analyst (Grin Technologies). The measuring device was located between the battery and controller. Measurements were performed on a Giant Cross City 3 (700c rim, flat bar road bike) fitted with a "500W" motor. The rider was 35 years old and of average fitness. Riding was performed between North Fremantle lighthouse and Swanborne surf station (equally in both directions), this is mildly hilly terrain and on the day there were 20 knot SW winds blowing. Moderate but comfortable pedalling was performed throughout the tests. The tests began with a fully charged battery and were terminated when power assistance was negligible. The slightly higher Wh/km values when using the 7Ah LMP battery were due to this battery being tested immediately after the 10Ah LFP battery and the poor rider was tiring.

When using a 500W motor, the average Watt and Amp output was approximately 300W and 8.5A over the two tests. The watt output would reach 500W on some reasonable hills whilst pedalling but would decline to about 200W when on flat with some pedalling. When going downhill full throttle the watt output would drop to about 50W. When riding up a very steep hill with no pedalling until the bike came to a grinding dead stop it was possible to overexert the motor to output 710W and 37A, holding it at this point for any duration would surely burn out the motor or other parts of the system. This power was measured between the battery and controller so if measured at the wheel this output would be approximately 20% lower due to inefficiencies of the controller and motor.

battery tesimonial
From Brian, Baywater. December 2010

I purchased a 500 watt front wheel motor kit last April and obtained my own lead acid battery configuration. The existing bike with the 500 watt motor is a dream. I have been running it at 48 volts (instead of the system designed 36V). I'm using 4 x SLA 12v 9A/h batteries and have put them into a custom designed box you can see from the photos. It does just under 50 km/h with the increased voltage. I burned off a stinky 50cc petrol bike the other day. Running at 48 volts, I believe the motor is delivering around 750 watts at an average speed of around 25 to 30 km/h. I am getting a good 25 km with some pedal power before the batteries drop to 40 volts. The batteries have never dropped below 36 volts. I notice that some of the yanks are using Dewalt 36v power tool batteries in series at 72 volts. This almost doubles the power of the motor, amazingly without detriment to the 36 volt motor system. I have been running mine at 48 volts with no problem whatsoever. It is my belief that increasing the voltage increases the range as well as the power without increasing battery amp hour. I am game to try 72 volts. The yanks seem to be going for smaller batteries at higher voltages. I bought a managers special bike from Big Dub, reduced from $250 to $150. It is fully sprung, I thought it might fall to bits but its been great. I have belted it around everywhere over the last nine months, even over rough ground. The only thing that went wrong was the control wire to the hub chaffed on the forks with the up and down movement and I came to a grinding halt. I rejoined and insulated the wires and re-routed them, all ok now.  

From Jim, Queenscliff. October 2010
Jim did a very professional installation of the fixi kit. Please click here to download a slide show of it that shows some of the effort and craftsmanship that went into it.
Jims Electric Bike
From Hamish, Brisbane. October 2010

I've been a bike rider all my life but have been unable to enjoy it as much as I would have liked due to ill-health. I now live in Brisbane in the Fortitude Valley/New Farm area which is pretty hilly. When I learned of Matt's Solar Kit I moved heaven and earth to get hold of one and my life changed forever. Hills just disappear when you switch on the motor and as these are the bane of the cyclist's life this makes all the difference. I now do 90% of the family errands by bike and think nothing of it. I have kept my rear basket and sunk the battery in it, but because the basket is big I still get to use it. I now ride my bike more than ever and once a week attend meetings of a hobby-group at the Queensland Uni which hills would have made burdensome before. I arrive there and get home without a drop of sweat on my brow. I've done some more exotic trips too. I took the bike by car to my old home-town in the Darling Downs and spent the day zipping about getting sweet 'revenge' on hills that used to vex me as a child. On another occasion I rode from Lismore to Nimbin for the famous Mardi-Grass and back, a journey of some 60ks. Because I was sparing with the battery the bike still had charge when I returned but the journey was just about painless! Matt's solar kit is the best I have ever heard of and his courtesy and standard of service is second to none. Do yourself a favour and get a solar-bike as soon as you can. Here is a photo of 'Bilbo Bicycle' in former days,  but since the kit known as 'Shadowfax'. This bike has been in constant use for around 2 years now and has travelled thousands of kilometres trouble free.


From Steve, Brisbane. October 2010

This is a giant step-through bike that I put a 200W kit on for a customer. It goes very smoothly and offers excellent quiet assistance up the hills around here. The bike on the right is an electrically converted off the side of the road bike that my son absolutely loved and wouldn't get off all day. I'm operating in Brisbane (Acacia ridge) as an installer and dealer for the kits now so if anyone in the neighbourhood wants to get a conversion kit and/or wants to have it installed on their bike then please contact me after work hours on 0434 288 307.

Steve, Brisbane.

arky electric bike
From Matt, Solar Bike. Dual Wheel Experiment, October 2010.

This bike was a wreck from the side of the road that I removed everything from and kept only the frame, forks and seat. It has a front and rear 500W motor, each controlled by a separate battery and control system. Thumb throttles in each hand worked the best for me and I liked the olders style handle-grips. It was awesome but it was definitely too much for this bike. It wobbled a bit and with two batteries and a rear motor on the back wheel the weight balance wan't ideal. Also, after crashing it the rear rack snapped, possibly due to the extra weight but more likely the driver. Even though the bike wasn't ideal for this setup it went like bananas upon take off and when pedalling in a straight line it took off more or less as quickly as a normal car. There was heaps and heaps of torque up hills and it was possible to ride up all hills I encountered single speed in the saddle with hardly any effort. I've since removed the front wheel and water bottle battery and it is more tame and ridable with only a single powered motor. I'll retry this system on a more robust mens hybrid bicycle and put the water bottle battery on the diagonal frame to better balance the weight. I'll also connect both systems through the same throttle to see if it works and is better than two throttles. I'd say that if going for a high power electric bike option then the 750/1000W kit with a single 48V 12Ah battery is better than two individual kits. A very sturdy bike is needed and it might be best on a tough chro-moly frame with torque bars. The power from both wheels is great but it comes at a sacrifice of extra weight and a need to charge two batteries rather than just the one. Also, the 1000W kits have a slightly higher top speed than this dual 500W kitted out rocket ship. The acceleration and torque uphills is fantastic but I found that I'd get to 35-40km/hr nearly instantaneously and then it'd not do much more without pedalling very quickly. It seemed to be too much on the side of electric power than pedal power. One kit is ample but the rev head inside us all has to be sated.

Matt - Solar Bike

dual wheel electric bike
From Francis, Perth. October, 2010

My mountain bike was converted with a 200W motor and waterbottle style battery. It goes very well and I'm impressed with it's performance. It's made getting around Perth so much easier and I always ride with a smile now. It's my first step toward studying sustainable development.

francis electric bike
From Matt at Solar Bike. Perth. October, 2010

This is my latest fixie that I designed (prototype number 3, model: NUTCASE) and had built up to suit the Swift kit's light weight electrical components (click here to read the fixie story) . It's great. The single speed is wonderful; no clunky gears and absolutely no need for them with the electric motor assistance. It has a street legal 200W mini-motor and the water bottle shaped battery mounted on the diagonal crossbar. The bike is very smooth, fast and efficient and has been designed around a racing bike frame. It also looks great and very few people pick up on it being electric. It travels at an average speed of 30km/hr (no pedalling) up to nearly 40km/hr with some good pedalling. Range is about 40km. The only future changes I'll make to this current model are to include an extra set of retro style handlebars and adjustable stem to make it even more comfortable and add a bit more style. The velo plush seat and handle grips are really nice though so overall riding comfort in its current state is very high. It has a flip-flop rear wheel with a single speed free wheel cassette on one side and a fixed gear on the other side. Riding it fixed was just a little too radical with the added speed and weight of the electric components so I have flipped it around to ride in free wheel mode - it's more relaxing this way. I hope to make some final very small changes and import a small number of these bicycles to accompany the Swift kit for people wanting what I consider to be a perfect commuting machine and one of the best electric bikes in Australia. This model should be available in the first few months of 2011.

Matt - Solar Bike

electric fixie
From Matt at Solar Bike. Perth. October, 2010

I got this INDI 500 bike off the side of the road and put a standard conversion kit on it. This has a small 10W panel cable tied onto the carrier rack that re-charges the 36V lithium ion battery directly. There is no regulator between the panel and battery so electricians will likely tell you that this isn't ideal but it is certainly the most direct way possible to recharge the battery via photovoltaic. I had the panels specially cut to give a closed circuit voltage of 42.5V (the same as what the chargers put out) and so far it is working as intended. From my testing so far it seems that for each hour I leave it in the sun I can travel 1km. I am also testing another direct charging system using a 100W 48V panel with a custom designed regulator that outputs at 42.5V and that is functioning well too. A 100W panel is too large to put on a bicycle but if you have space to mount it at work or home where the bike can charge directly from it during the day then it can fully charge the battery from flat in about 4 hours.

Matt - Solar Bike

Solar powered electric bike
From Jack at Cottesloe Cycles. Perth. October, 2010

Residents of Perth looking for an electric bike are very fortunate to have Cottesloe Cycles present. They can provide you with a range of bikes suited to both you and an electric conversion kit at great prices. Jack is the resident electric kit installer and is able to give great advice on the ideal bicycle and can also do excellent installations. Jack performed this installation for a customer last weekend and had this to say:

"There are many low quality Chinese models on the market that no bike shop would be interested in due to difficulty maintaining the bicycle performance and having to diagnose electrical faults. The kits are great because the bike and electric components are essentially separate systems and allow us to use a high quality bike. It's much better to get a custom job on a bike really well suited to you and of much higher quality running components all under a warranty. The electrical components all seem to be of high quality and have not caused us any problems to date. This is an electric bike I set up for a customer recently. It's a Giant Cypress a customer had sized up for himself and it was fitted with a 200/350W interconvertible motor for both on and off road. The bike costs $500 and the kit $950 so all up for a fantastic bike and electrical components it adds up to $1450. This is a really great commuting machine and I welcome anyone into the store to discuss options to get one like this or similar made up for themselves."

Jack, Cottesloe Cycles

Cottesloe Cycles Electric Bike
From Peter, Adelaide. October, 2010

Peter and I traded ideas, design (see some of his work below), skills and solar bike components about 2 years ago. His bike has been running well since then and he recently sent me a short review on its performance.

From Peter: "Bike still going great. I'm able to make it all the way to work and back (via my gf's house) on a single charge. This is a round trip of about 35km with a 300m altitude change! Of that, the motor was in use solidly. A quick thermal check over the whole kit after ariving home found everything to be in good order. Only the fuse holder and controller were remotely warm and I'm confident that the fuse would give out long before anything else. The bike and I weigh about 115kg together so it was a fair old effort on the part of the kit. Of course, I was also pedalling, probably putting in about half of the energy moving the bike on the steepest hills and all of it on the flat. Having ridden up that road on a lighter but un-powered bike, there is no contest in my mind which I'd rather be on after a long day at work. The old prototype battery, controller, charger and switch fit perfectly into the ammo box mounted on the back. I'm sure there would be lighter solutions but this just looks the business. Planning to grab some kahki paint and redo the rest of the bike to match. Being able to carry the charger everywhere makes the idea of riding it a long way much more appealing."

Peters electric bike
From Jacqueline, Canberra. September, 2010

Jacqueline from Canberra sent in this review after converting her semi-recumbent Giant Revive into an electric machine. This was a custom order straight from the factory and took about 3 weeks to arrive as it was a 20" rim with mini-motor. There was a little playing around to get it fitted and a few emails passed between us but she succesfully installed the kit - replete with white unicorn and a lot of other paraphernalia - and it seems to be serving her brilliantly.

From Jacqueline: "It is absolutely wonderful. I can't stop grinning! I pedalled as usual on the flat, freewheeled down hills and used the motor to assist my pedalling uphill, just using it to take up the strain so I wasn't pedalling any harder than I would on the flat. It was as if the hills had all been flattened out! Which is saying something, out here on the Western fringes of Canberra; especially as I had two panniers of shopping on the back that I didn't even notice! There was no strain on my legs or my heart. I even kept up with my athletic husband on his lightweight carbon fibre racer! You have my utmost gratitude for excellent customer service and a superb product. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping to restore freedom to this arthritic granny!"

Electric Giant Revive
From Thomas, Hobart. September, 2010
I always have loved cycling but when I moved to 'hilly' Hobart the terrain took the fun out of it somewhat. Every now and then I would cycle to work and back home but I hated the steep hills on the way and so I used my bike less and less. I always thought that it would be great to have a little 'booster' engine to help on the climbs and started looking around on the net. When I came across SolarBike I really liked what they had to offer as it is a complete conversion kit, very good quality parts and extremely easy to install. Also, the great responses to my questions and technical insights from Matt along the way were a great help! 
All in all, it was so easy to convert my old Malvern Star bike and it was also a nice surprise to see a thumb controller and a tyre in the package. The thumb controller is a much better option in my opinion. The range is pretty good and I estimate that I use about 50% of the battery (2.5 hrs charging time) for my 16km return trip to work.
To sum up the experience riding the 'all wheel drive' bike is easily done with one word: FUN! I ride my bike to work almost every day now and I still work out on my bike climbing up the the steep hills and trying to go faster on the flat sections but my travelling time has been cut in half and I always cycle with a smile.
thomas electric bike
From Brett, Perth. September, 2010

This bike is freaking awesome! It has a 200W motor and travels over 30km/h. I had Matt from Solar Bike assemble the kit and it took a little bit of playing around to get the surfboard rack and battery well situated. Is great now. I travel daily about 24km from Mt Hawthorn to Belmont and back and it has added about 10km/hr to my average speed and has cut my trip time in half. I ripped up hills. But still plenty of exercise. It's so stealthy that I get around riding electric everywhere and no one notices. I'm getting to work and around the place much faster than if I were to use my car and getting a really great workout as well. I find that I use it all the time now as it's always a pleasure to get on and is a much better alternative to both a car and a normal bike for 90% of my trips.

Brett Roper

Bretts electric bike
From Dave, Perth. August, 2010
This is the most useful thing I've ever bought. I looked around a lot for an electric bike but didn't want to get a typical Chinese model as I didn't want a crappy bike and wanted a bit more power due to my weight and size. I found the kit option and have never looked back. I bought a new bike from Cottesloe Cycles and had them put the kit on. All up it cost $645 for a brand new Giant CRX and then $900 for the kit and assembly. I had the 500W motor put on and the bike is very streamlined. I nearly always have the bike in top gear and find that my average speed is nearly 40km/hr, this is riding mainly on flat ground with small inclines. Even though the bike travels a great deal faster than if it was just me pedalling, I feel safer because I ride with the flow of traffic and am able to avoid busy areas by jumping on to the footpath at times and taking the longer route around. In terms of exercise, I get a good workout every morning and night but never feel like it's a strain. I actually look forward to it as it's quite exciting compared to a regular bike. I haven't tested its full range yet but I regularly take it for 25 km rides without noticing any decrease in power. All up I'm very satisfied and am saving over $65 a week in fuel and parking. My one recommendation was to have a battery guage so I could tell how much power I have left but I've been told that the best way to determine this is actually by re-charge time. After my 25km ride it takes nearly 4 hours to recharge so I estimate that I'm riding to around 80% of it's range. Another suggestion is to put a spare fuse in the bag, I blew out a 20Amp one and have replaced it with a 30Amp one with no problems yet. The 10km ride home with no power was do-able but pretty heavy compared to when it's electric.
hilda high bike
From E.Z. Rider, Manjimup. August, 2010

The bike masters from Manjimup have just put together a couple of twin beauties! These classic bikes will be seen riding around south WA for a number of years. If you really want a nice custom setup then E.Z. Rider are definitely the people to contact as they pay a lot of attention to every detail to ensure the electric bikes they setup have no problems for years. Though nearly anyone can put together an electric bike, it really does take a steady hand, patience and an artistic touch to get it just right. From the E.Z Rider team:

"I have attached a few photos of the latest rides to come out of the work shop. These were beautiful and classic bikes and the kit suited them very nicely. Very smooth riding and well balanced. The customers were very happy with their bikes! The kids here in Maji have named them the Mambo Twins!

electric mambo twins
From Lil, Canberra. July, 2010

I bought a second hand bike and attached a Solar Bike kit to it and now it's is so exciting and fun. It has breathed new life into my working days. I have a 12km ride to work with a few mean hills in the morning and a shocker long climb in the afternoon.  I could do it on my normal bike but it took over 35 mins and I arrived home in the evening pretty exhausted at a time when I needed to have lots of energy to get dinner ready for my family etc .  It wasn’t really a viable alternative to the car. 

With my Solar Bike the whole commute is fantastic.  I am out in the open, making great time, zooming past all the cars stuck in traffic jams and the occasional lycra-lad and I can go door to door – no time and petrol wasted going round in circles searching for that elusive car park.  It is such a great way to get around. Since I have the extra help from the motor to get me up hills I am not so concerned about carrying excess weight and have added a big carrier basket to the bike that fits my hand bag and lap top etc, while my lithium battery is disguised in its own custom made box inside an old pannier bag.

While I was very nervous about making such a large purchase over the net, Matthew could not have been more helpful.  While I was doing all my research he was happy to answer numerous questions.  When I placed the order it arrived in very good time and even though I had a few teething problems Matthew was very quick to help.  Now my Solar Bike (‘Travelling Mac’) and I are a well-oiled team.  Every day when I get home I plug in the charger and its all ready and waiting to go again the next day.  No problems, just all the enjoyment that comes with riding without any of the drawbacks. 

From Lil in Canberra July 2010

Travelling Mac Electric Bike
From Chris D., Melbourne. June, 2010

I ride to work from Doncaster to Collingwood, which is a distance of 13.5km with a lot of hills. I was very surprised by the electric bike effect. When I started pedalling, the bike just took off, producing a harmonious partnership between man and machine. My normal cycle to work is sometimes a chore as I live in a hilly area and I want to get to my work place as quickly as I can. I love cycling, having completed nine "Around the bay" rides in a day (210KM). But commuting with hills and quite often head winds can be off putting. However, my experience so far with the electric assistance is nothing but enjoyable. I still have to pedal to maintain speed up the hills but this is a different type of exercise. Not the slogging type but a far more enjoyable type.

Now I must emphasise; the power assistance is not a wank. I have had comments such that I am cheating, reducing my riding fitness, using geriatric transport. This is not true in my case. I have learnt to pedal with a high cadence feeling the pull of the electric motor. It’s comparable to riding in a peloton that is really moving. The peloton is comparable to having electric assistance as one is caught in a draft but to stay in that position one must keep up the pedalling or get left behind. Am I cheating? No, because I am still pedalling hard but travelling faster and feeling more comfortable. For those individuals who have not cycled much and live in a flat area this is the ideal transport. Leave the car at home and get on the bike. For those who live in hilly areas and would like to cycle but are worried about the hills then try the electrical assistance, it certainly flattens out the hills, albeit with enjoyable pedalling. For me, I own many bicycles and even though I am 66 years old I will continue cycling without electrical assistance. However, for some of my commuting and at times as a substitute for the car/motorbike I will use the electrical assist bicycle. 

My thanks to Matthew for his assistance in setting up the bike. I phoned him on several occasions and he was always ready to assist me with my queries.  I have no hesitation in recommending Matthew for the further supply of this product.

From the sergeant at Cottesloe Police Station, Perth. May, 2010

Look out boys, we've just helped the local sergeant get a bit faster. Kitted out with a 200W road hybrid you'll have to be very quick to get away. This bike travels from Scarbarough to Cottesloe station daily without a hitch and keeps our streets safer than ever.

"It's a great bike and I'm on it just about every day. You can pedal, use power or have a combination. You have to keep fit being a policeman, and going to the gym bores me. If I jump on the bike I just have to start pedalling and get to work" - Lee Rudrum.

Don't worry too much though for those planning a big heist. If you want to stay one step ahead of the law there are always the mildly illegal 350W and 500W models!

From Rob - Henley Beach, SA. April 2010

I received the kit and installed it with no problems. All is working normally. I generally ride between 10k to 19k. I use the throttle sparingly as I want to pedal as much as possible. I had a heart problem in December and its OK now, but it left me with weak legs, so the Motor is a great help on the inclines. Here's a picture of my Bike, on which I am going to add Panier Bags to carry shopping items etc..Thanks again for all your help.


From Richard, Thebarton SA. April, 2010

My bike has a 200W motor and for my regular 12km trip to work it's going fine, have yet to find out how far a full charge will take me. The longest run was 35 km and it still ran well, took about 0.5 kWhr to recharge it. Compared to petrol in cost terms, I'm using 0.25 l/100km!!!

I mounted the battery on its side so that I could attach my panniers to the carrier rack.

From Ian Lloyd, Melbourne. Feb 2010

I have a 200W kit on my Trek mountain bike. I find that I can get around so easily and quickly that I use the bike where I would have once used the car. I read somewhere that Lance Armstrong averages 400W during a race so I have ‘half a Lance’ boost without the extra weight. I can easily keep up with, or pass, the ‘lycra set’ without breaking into a sweat.

I can thoroughly recommend SOLAR BIKE. I had a battery with a very intermittent and hard-to-trace fault. Matthew was very helpful and reassuring. He offered to replace the whole kit but that turned out to be unnecessary. He was always there with a prompt and helpful email as I worked my way through the problem. He replaced the battery immediately when that turned out to be the issue. The bike works like a dream now.

Ian Lloyd

From Steve, Perth, WA - February 2010

This review was kindly posted by Steve - who has put one motor on the front wheel and one on the back (see picture below). I'm sure that in the future many high-end electric bicycles will be two wheel drive and will take their inspiration from custom set ups like shown here...

Controlling system of this bike includes: two 500 watt hub motors, two 36 volt 10 ah Li ion battery packs, two controllers and throttles. This gear has done 1260 kms without a hitch. Speed is 34 km/hr without pedalling, topping out at 43 km/hr pedalling flat out and fairly sure I could get a little more speed with higher gearing. Speed only drops to around 31 klms going uphill in our area and really pulls hard. Range is 55 kms with light pedalling, one battery had shut down at that point but still managed to travel the two kms home on the other battery.

After a return home (minimum of 21 klms off road) which ends the trip at the top of a 600 meter long haul uphill at full power the batteries are just warm to touch, controllers and motors are at ambient temperatures which means it is all running well within design limits.

The frame I'm using now is a second hand REPCO mountain bike with full suspension, it has a steel rear swing arm so can handle the extra battery weight, the battery box has been positioned as low as possible to get the centre of gravity down which made a huge difference in handling, the suspension means I can run the tyres at a higher pressure to maximise speed and distance per charge while giving a soft ride, curbs and bumps are not a problem now and I only have to back off a little to soak up the bumps. The batteries and controllers are also mounted to the main frame so it's all sprung load and takes the shock loads off the batteries. I constructed the battery box to hold two batteries, plugs and charging ports and is made from 304 stainless steel painted mat black. I fitted Torque arms on the hub motors very early on as the axles were working in their mounts.

All in all the equipment supplied is excellent and has far exceeded what I thought was possible, I still can't believe the power density available in these batteries, the service and back up provided is also excellent. 

From Emil Taylor B.Eng. (Hons). Mechanical Engineer. Perth. January 2010

I had a 200 watt geared mini-motor with a 36V 30Ah LiFePO4 battery installed on my modest road bike. The kit was installed by Solar Bike and had the battery attached along the crossbar (part of a research and development project). I was informed that deep discharge of the battery can cause serious damage and added a cycle computer ($50) so that I I could gauge the battery level from distance travelled. I also added an isolation “heavy duty” 24V@38amp truck switch ($20) to prevent deep discharge if the bike was left on for a long period of time.

After two weeks of immense enjoyment, never having to break a sweat or pedal hard up a hill and telling everyone who was interested about the joys of electric bikes I had a bit of bad luck; unfortunately, the motor failed. I returned the bike to Solar Bike who were extremely happy to help. When I explained that I had been assisting/pushing my girlfriend up a hill to avoid her needing to pedal by providing “powerpacks”, we agreed that I had probably over-heated the system and burnt out a hall sensor in the motor. Having being totally satisfied with my kit until then and willing to purchase a new motor, Solar Bike insisted on replacing the burnt out 200w motor free of charge as they assured me that the motor shouldn’t have burnt out and it may have been faulty.

I upgraded to a 350w motor and have been riding this new combination for over a month now and am extremely impressed and satisfied with its performance. The 350w motor produces a top speed of about 30km/h which is only 10% faster that the previous 200w, but most of the power is transmitted as torque which means it can push or pull harder. This gives me more comfort that I won’t burn a motor out again. However, I have set myself a rule to stick to keep it running in its intended torque range and under heavy load conditions (uphill/into wind/ pushing another cyclist) on full throttle, to ensure a constant velocity of 20km/h or greater is maintained by pedalling. I have been sticking to this and have had no problems to date. I have been able to achieve a range of 45km from a single charge and have already travelled hundreds of kilometres since it was recently installed.

Emil Taylor B.Eng. (Hons)

Mechanical Engineer

From Sarah, Perth, WA - 10th December 2009

These are so Awesome!

I got a 500W kit and put it on my rarely used mountain bike. I use it every day now and love it so much. I've got so much healthier riding this around. It's so quiet and relaxing and is the best way to get to work and back home in the evening. It's amazing but it's actually made riding a bike fun! I hardly ever use my car now and am going to get rid of it.

I made up an eco-box from an old fence paling to protect the battery from getting stolen and in case I drop the bike. It's better like this because I drilled the charger connection into the side of the box and also an on/off switch and fixed this into the side of the box too. It's now very easy to charge and turn on and off.

I don't know how fast I go but it feels really quick. I travel a round trip of about 30 km each day and haven't run out of battery yet, but it feels like it will go much further.

They're brilliant!

Sarah Yay

From Warren, Melbourne, VIC - October 2009

It’s been a few weeks since I bought my bike – I’ve been holding back on the feedback so I could get a good test in and the verdict is: Brilliant!

I am a very happy customer. The kit was easy to fit and seems to be built well. My motor (350w) is perfect for where I live as there are more hills than I thought and my return trip to work is only 22km. I also appreciate your time on the phone and your prompt email communications.

I fly past other cyclists and get the odd look or comment when I pull up beside someone. I like my setup too: I’ve put my control box under my seat and I’ve put a basket on my pack-rack. This is great because with out the battery on, the bike does not look like an electric bike that one might want to steal. And rather than make a mount for the battery, I’ve padded it up and it now lives in my shoulder satchel that I take to work so I just put the bag in the basket and plug the battery in. That’s easy too, because I’m using an IEC plug to connect it up so it’s a one-step action – the plug is also modified so that the male and female ends are unique to each other just in case someone tries to plug it directly into mains power.

I’m dropping your web address to anyone that I talk to about the bike. That fact is that you’re only about $20 - $30 more than the best Chinese deal one could find, but with that loose change comes piece of mind buying from an Australian business complete with phone number! So I hope you sell many more of these. 



From Sirie, Five Dock, NSW - October 2009
Motor Size: 500w on 700c rim
Battery: Lithium 36V 10ah
Distance on charge: Approx 35km
Bike: Avanti Discovery 51cm comfort style.
Use: Daily commute to city and return 16km round trip, hilly terrain.
Performance: Fairly awesome, without pedalling the bike can cruise on the flat at almost 35kph. Hills are conquered very easily, pedalling does not require much effort but boosts the performance of the bike. The motor gives me the performance of a lycra clad carbon fibre rider going up the hills. One rider draughted me up a hill and later remarked he couldn't believe we were doing 30kph up a hill.
Advantages: No need to carry extra clothes as you don't sweat up, saving $60/week in parking, free underground parking at the office, reduced travelling time in city peak hour, no emmissions, being outside, using the bike instead of the car to go to the shops.
Likes: Most riders can't pick its electric, boosted perfromance, silent travel, ease of riding.
Dislikes: Nothing
Solar Bike service: Excellent response and delivery, the kit contained everything required to get up and running, and the fact that all the electrical connections were made was great.
From Ramsnake, Denmark, WA - October 2009

(This review was kindly posted on Ramsnake's blog page - click here to see)

My Bicycle - once a tortoise now a hare!

Over the weekend, I installed an electric conversion kit that I had purchased from SOLAR BIKE onto my 15 year old Trek hybrid. The motor is 200watt and powered by a 36V lithium battery. This combination should allow me a top speed of 30+km/hr with the battery lasting for around 50kms before it needs to be recharged.
I have ridden it to work for the last couple of days and I can report that it has turned my bike into a rocketship! I am arriving at work in half the time it normally takes and no longer in a lather of sweat. I seem to be able to use a higher gear overall even without the assistance of the motor because I can use the motor as I am starting to pedal to get me up to a good speed which I can maintain with further blasts from the motor as required. There is a little more friction with the motor off, but in reality it is not really an issue.
There is a hell hill just before my home that I have been forced to push the bike up as my usual strategy of zig zagging up does not do the job. With the electric motor, I can get all the way up without too much trouble albeit in the lowest ratio.
So it has made making the decision to use the bicycle a far more viable proposition and I am still getting plenty of exercise. Highly recommended

From Jeremy Purdy from E. Z. RIDER - Feb 2010

This is a review from Jeremy, the owner of E.Z. RIDER. Jeremy runs a bicycle shop in Manjimup that specialises in doing custom installations of retro fit kits for bicycles, high-end trials bikes and electric scooters. If you want a bicycle professionally fitted with either an electric motor, 2 stroke petrol motor or advice on electrical bicycles then Jeremy is the man to contact (0400743878). If you are in the neighbourhood then please visit his shop at 91 giblett st Manjimup, W.A.

"The kit arrived and looked great. Cheers for the speedy delivery and great looking product. It has been fitted and looks great, no problems. Fitting was a breeze. We had one very happy customer this morning. Awesome feed back! I have just had the customer that purchased your kit come back in to our shop a moment ago to let us know that they are very impressed with their bike, it is everything they had hoped it to be and much more. It handles the terrain very well and has no problems. Attached are a few photos of our shop and a little stall, also one with your kit." - Jeremy Purdy

More electric bikes we put together in 2009
And even more bicycles we've assembled...