- A powerful electric bike kit designed to replace your existing rear wheel (works with 24", 26" and ~28" wheels)
- Offers throttle mode and five levels of pedal assist, locking removable battery, great wire management
- Rear heavy design adding ~25 lbs back and fairly high up, the battery mount rattles and flexes with quick turns, installation is more difficult than a front wheel and requires uncommon tools
Dillenger is an Australian company that has been assembling and selling electric bike kits since late 2007. Their products are value priced and use industry standard parts like 8Fun / Bafang motors but feel a cut above cheaper options because of the excellent packaging, solid year-long warranty and little extras like wire management brackets and brake levers with integrated motor inhibitors.
The 750+ watt kit seen here is going to deliver more power than some of their other kits which is useful for transporting large loads or navigating hilly terrain. The ~$1k price point is great in my opinion but the installation work may require more time and energy along with a couple of extra bike-specific tools that you might not already own. As long as your bike uses 24″, 26″ or 700c ~28″ sized wheels, has a freewheel cogset that can be transferred to the threaded hub on the Dillenger wheel and there’s room somewhere on your frame to mount the small triangular frame bag (for holding the controller and excess wires) you should be good! To be frank, this is not my favorite kit because it makes for a rear-heavy and somewhat top-heavy platform that rattles and feels flexy. There are definitely great applications for a kit like this and I feel Dillenger has done a solid job piecing this one together but there are some big trade offs to consider.
The motor included with this kit comes pre-laced into the wheel size of your choice using sturdy 13 gauge stainless steel spokes. The rim is also very sturdy, using a double walled design. Being gearless, this motor is a bit heavier but should be more durable than a geared design because there are no moving parts inside. One downside of direct drive hub motors like this is that they experience cogging drag which happens when the large heavy magnets inside repel against the electromagnetic stater while coasting. There’s no regenerative braking or “regen mode” built into this kit to capture back some of that lost cogging momentum but this keeps the control system simple and cheap. the rear axle is extra long and feels very sturdy but barely fit in the rear dropouts of my test bike. Once the motor was on the bike and being powered it felt strong but did produce some zinging noises (especially at low speed). The axle does not come with quick release systems so once this is on (and your sprockets are all installed and the cable is connected) it’s not going to be as easy to fix flats or transfer back to your original wheel… You will also have to transfer back your tube and tire if you decide to remove the kit at some point.
The battery pack powering the kit is a generic looking aluminum encased rectangle that slides onto a rear rack. It offers 48 volts of power which is above average and 10 amp hours of capacity which helps the larger motor reach its full power potential. I love that it’s removable and appreciate the integrated plastic handle and the clean black aesthetic but there aren’t any LED charge level indicators built in and you have to leave the keys in while riding which can produce some noise and be more vulnerable to bending and breaking if you try to add packs. I found out after installing the kit and doing the review that there are rubber pads included to help reduce the rattling noise produced as the battery slaps the rack mounting point as you ride over rough terrain so keep those in mind… All in all, the battery is fine and even the rack is acceptable (though somewhat flexy and limited for use with bags) but I did not like how close the cable mount came to the rack mount, I almost had to bend the plastic to get it to fit into the battery and the wires inside seemed more exposed and just cheaper than I’ve seen on other Dillenger kits.
Operating the kit is fairly intuitive. First you insert the key into the battery and turn it all the way to the right for “on” and then hold the “Set” button on the control interface for a couple of seconds. The backlit LCD display comes to life and lists your standard speed, battery level, odometer, trip meter and time data. From here you can arrow up or down to choose from one of five levels of pedal assist. There is also a zero level which is basically “throttle only mode” and at any time the throttle can override assist. I love this interaction because I like to use throttle mode when starting from rest to help avoid straining my knees. The kit uses a 12 magnet pedelec disc which is responsive but still requires some pedal movement and that could prove difficult if you’re starting in a higher gear. The included mechanical brake levers do include motor inhibitors and these are useful for immediately stopping the motor but again, the pedal assist sensor is quite responsive. Installing the pedelec ring is very easy with this kit because you don’t have to remove the bottom bracket, the disc comes in two halves and clips around the left part of the crank spindle. All in all, it’s a good setup and one that I’ve become fond of while testing other Dillenger kits, the one big complaint is that the display panel mount can sometimes collide with the curves of your handle bars.
In conclusion… while it was fun to ride, I found that this kit was tricky and time consuming to install, probably wouldn’t work well with a trunk bag or panniers (despite the extra rails they include) and rattled a lot (but again, that was likely my fault for not installing all of the rubber pads correctly). Having used mid-frame batteries with fancy LED charge level readouts and integrated USB chargers this type of pack feels antiquated now and that may be why it’s priced so low despite offering a sizable capacity. The 750W Gearless Kit does offer power but you also hear the motor more than I would have expected. It is compatible with a lot of different bikes but it will always be rear heavy and more prone to impact handling or tip as a result. The packaging and customer support are good but there may be superior products to consider. If I were to buy this kit I think I’d stick to smooth, paved roads and avoid lots of quick turns. I would also use a bicycle platform that I didn’t intend to switch back to non-electric frequently because there’s a lot of work involved with taking the rear wheel off. For a larger rider who is looking for more power or possibly someone who wants to reach greater distances this could be a decent choice and one that’s available in multiple global regions.
- Fairly affordable at just under $1,000 considering the powerful motor and large battery pack
- The four signal-input connector cables are color coded so you know which ones to connect! This includes the two brake levers (Red), the twist throttle (Yellow) and the LCD display (Green) in the front
- A unique plastic bracket is included that allows the front wires to connect to your frame (it resembles a reflector mount) and this keeps wires out of the way while riding, the kit also includes a plastic wrap for gathering cables and a hand full of zip ties
- The battery pack locks to the rear rack for security and is removable for easier transport and charging
- Comes standard with twist throttle and a five-level pedal assist function which will extend your range, it felt very natural and responsive with a 12 magnet disc
- Available in three standard sized double walled rims including 24″, 26″ and 700c ~28″ with sturdy 13G stainless steel spokes (tube and tire not included)
- Solid one year comprehensive warranty, Dillenger has been doing business in Australia since ~2007 and is now a global brand with a good website and solid customer support
- Because this is a kit, there are extra wires to run along the frame which creates clutter… this one also requires a frame bag to store the controller and that may block your bottle cage or not fit if you have a step-thru bicycle
- You may have to buy a special freewheel remover tool to remove and transfer your cog set as well as a chain whip to reinstall it because the Dillenger axle is so wide (our tool would not fit due to the length and width of the axle), this could delay the install or cost extra mone… consider getting help from your local shop if they don’t charge too much
- Despite the sturdy clamp and two supporting arms for the rear rack, it can flex side to side in a sort of “crack the whip” feel and creates a lot of noise while riding because the plate comes into contact with the battery pack
- I love that the rack includes pannier blockers but the top rails are almost completely blocked by the battery box which means it may be difficult to actually put a bag on, there are also no mounting points on top of the battery box
- The power port at the back end of the battery (where it connects to the controller) is very close to the rack tubing which actually requires the plug to bend and scrape the rack a bit
- Unlike the other Dillenger kit with the mid-mounted battery, this one does not include a USB charging port or an LED power level indicator
- The rear-rack battery design positions weight high up and makes the bike rear-heavy, especially with the larger motor also being positioned in the rear
- The key must be left in and turned to the “on” position while riding, this means it could jingle around or get bent more easily if you try to put a bag or panniers on the rack, the key head does not bend down like some others I’ve seen which would reduce the potential for unwanted contact
- This is not the quietest gearless motor I’ve tested, especially when starting from rest as there is a noticeable hum, it also suffers from a bit of drag due to cogging (as with other direct drive motors)
- The LCD display unit is a bit small and was difficult to mount on our test bike because the edge of the unit collided with the curved handle bars
- The stock brake levers will only work with mechanical brakes, Dillenger will replace them with hydraulic levers for an upgrade fee of $29 which would be worth doing to get the motor inhibitors in my opinion, alternatively you could simply forego this feature (not sure if the kit will work without plugging in the brake levers?)
- Does not include a tube or tire like some kits, this means you’ll have to do extra work setting it up and that if you want to switch back to your old wheel temporarily you’ll have to move the tire again
- There doesn’t seem to be a throttle only mode or a zero mode for riding the bike with the display on but not having any drive systems active, basically you are always in some level of pedal assist and the throttle can be used at any time
- Official Site United States: http://dillengerelectricbikes.com/electric-bike-kits.html
- Official Site United Kingdom: http://dillengerelectricbikes.co.uk/electric-bike-kits.html
- Official Site Australia: http://dillengerelectricbikes.com.au/electric-bike-kits.html
- More Pictures: https://goo.gl/photos/11yrZq5TtNPd8aCQA