When you come from an Italian town called ‘motor valley’ that happens to be home to both Ferrari and Ducati, you don’t mess around making piddly, underpowered motors. Accordingly so, when brothers Matteo and Luca Spaggiari decided to use their manufacturing expertise to create an e-bike conversion kit, they made one that’ll do proper burnouts!
While burnouts are fun, the real point of the powerful motor is to drive cyclists up any hill with ease, even super steep inclines found in mountainous areas. The Bikee Bike BEST kit features a mid-drive motor that replaces the crank and bottom bracket. The unit drives your bike’s chain on two front rings, and allows riders to use a full rear cassette.
There’s already a lot of interest in the concept- The BEST kit won several awards at CES 2016 (Consumer Electronics Show) and the product quickly doubled its funding goal on Kickstarter. This little piggy is definitely going to market, and we’ve got the details below…
The BEST kit’s inventors found out climbing steep hills (especially from a dead stop) could be problematic for hub motor powered e-bikes, so they set out to create a mid-drive conversion kit that could handle such demands. They seem to have met that goal, as they claim the Bikee Bike kit allows cyclists to tackle up to 58% grades.
The motor, which creates zero drag when not in use, drives your chain on a 28/46t two-ring front setup and whatever gear range you want in the back. Between the wide options for gear range and high-torque motor, there’s plenty of power on tap to whisk you along.
The BEST conversion kit comes in bottom bracket widths of 68-72mm, or 100-110 for fat bikes. Bikee Bike says the kit should work on most city, mountain, downhill, recumbent, fat bikes and folding bikes but you’ll need a reasonable amount of space in your front triangle for the battery pack, bottle cage lugs for the battery mount, and spacing for two front rings to start…not every bike is going to fit this kit. The creators also emphasize that their conversion kit is an ideal addition for cargo bikes, as its powerful enough to shoot you uphill with a full load in tow.
The motor provides 120Nm of torque and gobs of power- There are different limits for various countries, but America gets the most juice with 749w and 999w options. Regardless of the wattage, all the motors put out the same torque so even the weakest models can still handily haul you along.
The BEST kit allows for top speeds of 30mph and a range of 25-35 miles on throttle alone, which reaches to well over 100 miles with pedal assistance. The kit’s lithium-ion battery is 48v, but comes in your choice of 320, 420 or 550Wh depending on your priorities- reducing weight or having a longer range and more power. The battery’s charge status is indicated by a strip of LED’s on its casing, and the mount bolts to the water bottle lugs on your down tube. A USB charge port is also included on the mount, and the entire kit is waterproof.
A handlebar mounted throttle unit controls the motor modes. The motor offers pedal assist or full throttle, plus a throttle override which kicks in no matter what mode you’re currently in. To fine-tune the motor’s output, a smartphone app (compatible with Android or iOS) allows the rider to adjust power settings to their preference. You can select the Kickee mode for economy, Kickit for a bit more speed, or Kickass for all-out power.
Some interesting things to bear in mind are that the BEST creators acknowledge that the motor will accelerate the wear on your drivetrain components. Also, despite plugging the advantage of enjoying your full cassette, the creators warn riders not to shift your rear derailleur while the motor is engaged!
Depending on the motor and battery you select, the complete BEST kit weighs in at 16.5-18.7 lbs. With their powerful Italian-made motors, these kits don’t come cheap- The 749w version is currently available to Kickstarter supporters for $1430 USD, and the 999w for $1650. The eventual retail prices will rise to $2216 and $2438.
The first complete units are expected to be ready for November or December of 2016, and global shipping is available. Check out the Kickstarter campaign here, or visit their website for more info.