- An electric bike kit that includes everything you need to get rolling aside from an inner tube and tire (consider buying in advance or using the one off of your target bicycle)
- Available in 20, 24, 26, 27.5 and 28 inch wheel sizes! That means you can convert everything from trikes to city bikes and even mountain bikes to electric, it's relatively easy and fast to install, the cadence sensor clips on so you don't have to remove crank arms
- Offers a variable speed trigger throttle for smooth but instant power as well as pedal assist with a 12 magnet super-responsive cadence sensor, you also get a remote button pad for easy control of assist levels while riding
- The geared hub motor freewheels so there's no drag but it does still add weight to your front wheel and this impacts steering (and can lead to speed wobble when riding no-handed), the axle and hub screws were were wider than our fork allowed which required some filing
Dillenger offers some of the most polished electric bike conversion kits I’ve tested and their Street Legal Samsung Power product is one of my favorites. This kit is well priced at ~$700 including the motor, controller, display, throttle, battery and all of the wires you need to get up and running. The only things it does not included that will require extra money and effort to install are a an inner tube and tire. This saves waste because you probably already have a tube and tire on your soon-to-be converted bicycle… but it requires some doing and possibly even tools that you don’t have like tire levers. I also used a bike stand to get this kit on and you can find them for ~$100 which will save your handlebars and seat from wear (if you plan on flipping your bike). We had to flip our bike once to modify the fork and used some of the cardboard and foam packing materials from the box which was free :D
Okay, so installing this kit took longer than I expected (or perhaps remembered as I had already installed their older version a couple years back) but that’s just how it goes sometimes… because every bike is different. In this case, we used a Trek 7.2 FX model. It seemed like the perfect platform because the downtube was very open and had bottle cage bosses (offering plenty of strength and space for the battery pack to mount). Ultimately, we ran into some challenges because the dropouts on the fork were a millimeter or two too narrow and had to be filed down to fit the hub motor axle. We also had to file the screw heads on the hub motor itself so they wouldn’t rub on the sleek fork. This kind of alteration is always a little scary and might require even more tools (we used a standard mill bastard file) but that’s what I’ve come to expect with kits because it’s never truly one size fits all. I love that this kit comes in a range of wheel sizes 20″ to 29″ where the motor is spoked-in to a rim. That versatility comes with the trade-off of not being perfectly suited to any one specific bike. The rim might be narrower or wider than yours and the spoke colors might not match. I actually really like the black paint job on the hub motor, spokes and rim here because it helps them to blend in. There’s always going to be some screwing around when it comes to kits and even if the effort is minimal, the extra wires aren’t going to look as sleek and clean as if they were run through the frame, as is the case with purpose-built electric bikes. For this build, we were using a black bike so the black wires sort of fade away and the whole thing turned out really nice.
I like saving money, I love how well designed the Dillenger kits are (with color coded wires) and appreciate more open systems that give you throttle and pedal assist modes (making this a Class 2 ebike). I was a bit surprised that you can’t use the throttle at assist level zero for “throttle only” operation but it works great in level 1 and offers full power with variable output (so you can press gently for slower, less powerful operation). I enjoyed riding around with minimal assist then juicing it to climb a hill, take off from a stop sign or catch up with my friend. The display, throttle and independent button pad (used to switch the display on and select from five levels of assist) were easy to position and ultimately reach while riding. Our brake levers were integrated with the shifters and that kept the cockpit clean but didn’t align as well for the brake lever motor inhibitor sensors. The display isn’t removable which is a bit sad given how nice it looks (hoping nobody messes with it at the bike racks). I also struggled to figure out how to change settings like going from metric to imperial but my guess is that it’s possible? To activate backlighting you just hold the up arrow for a few seconds and holding the down button will turn on walk mode which is neat.
At 350 watts (250 for parts of Europe) the power offered by this kit is average but the battery pack is above average with 36 volts and 13 amp hours! That’s nearly a half kilowatt hour total meaning you should go further with each charge. Of course, if you don’t pedal and constantly gun it to top speed your mileage may suffer. The Euro version should deliver higher range as air resistance efficiency loss is much lower at lower speed. Note that you can ride above the top assisted speed if you pedal hard and the wheel freewheels efficiently, nothing will hold you back besides your own strength and endurance :) At the end of the day, the kit isn’t quite perfect (I wish it came with a paper instruction sheet for one) but I guess that just like the tube and tire, they are saving money and reducing waste. Instructions are available online and Dillenger has wonderful customer support options with multiple phone numbers (for the US, UK and Australia where the company is based). Even though I’ve stated that the motor size/power is average, in my experience it’s enough for pleasurable rides around town and small to medium hills. There’s always a trade-off when it comes to weight and price, what the Street Legal kit offers is great value and in practice it more than doubles my own pedaling output. The entire kit only adds ~17 lbs to your bike and the removable battery is convenient and easy to work with. This is a winner in my book and it’s easy to see why the kit is a top seller for Dillenger. Big thanks to Dillenger for partnering with me for this review.
- Relatively affordable if you’ve got a pre-existing bike to work with, you get the motor, controller, battery, display and all of the wires needed to get up and running for well under $1k
- The packaging looked great and seemed very well padded, none of the parts were damaged or missing! Frequently I receive kits or even ebikes with missing screws and damage, Dillenger also offers a solid 1 year comprehensive warranty
- The kit is indeed street legal in most situations, it maxes out at 20 mph but includes both assist and throttle mode for versatile riding, I like the throttle for use when starting at zero to reduce strain on my knees
- The front wheel design is super easy to install, way less complex than a rear wheel ebike kit, and the wires are all color coded to make them intuitive to figure out, you also get plenty of zip ties but I was a bit surprised that our kit didn’t have an instruction sheet? We had to go online to figure it out, I also love that the cadence sensor uses a clip-on design so you don’t have to remove the cranks on your bike
- The display is large, backlit and offers a ton of readouts including speed, odometer, battery level, voltage, watts and access to assist settings, it’s not removable but for what it is, it works well… I love that you get a separate button pad because it makes changing levels easy, you don’t have to take your hand off the grip
- The battery pack locks to the frame for security but is removable for convenient charging, there’s a built-in LED scale to communicate charge level even when it’s off the bike and a female USB port for charging portable electronics! It’s a solid design and the capacity of nearly 1/2 kilowatt hour is great, I also trust and prefer Samsung cells to generic
- I love that the kit included brake sensors so you can improve safety (cutting power to the system whenever you brake) and that if you decide to not use them, the system still works
- Dillenger offers this kit in multiple wheel sizes including 20″, 24″, 26″, 27.5″ and 700c 28″ so you can use it with some trikes, smaller bikes, city bikes and mountain bikes
- I like that the kit comes with a trigger throttle because it means you don’t have to cut your grip in half, triggers are also easier to use if you ride on bumpy terrain, they don’t compromise your grip at all
- The wheel doesn’t come with a tube or tire so you have to spend extra time swapping it from your original wheel… this means switching back to non-electric takes longer or you have to spend more money to buy an additional tube/tire but it also that there’s less waste and probably keeps the kit cheaper and lighter to ship
- We weren’t able to figure out how to switch from metric to imperial or enter into the menu and adjust the number of pedal assist levels… we did figure out the backlighting though, just hold the up button
- We had to file the dropouts on our Trek 7.2 FX bicycle to fit the larger axle that’s setup with the kit (it’s ~9.9 mm wide) we also had to file some of the screw heads because they were scraping the fork… but it worked!
- You need to be in one of the five levels of pedal assist to use the throttle, I love that it overrides at full power but kind of wish it worked at level zero for throttle-only mode
- The battery box is fairly large and took up the entire downtube triangle area on our test bike so even though there was a second set of bottle cage bosses we couldn’t use them, it’s just bulkier than some new purpose built ebikes with downtube integrated batteries
- Front-wheel powered electric bikes don’t usually offer as much traction because your body weight is usually further back over the rear wheel, I also feel that the added weight of the hub motor changes steering a bit and was told by Darlington that he felt speed wobble when trying to ride with no hands (this is when the bars vibrate back and forth with increasing speed)
- It wasn’t obvious which way to point the wheel… I have installed kits before only to find out that the motor is spinning backwards! I wish there was an arrow on the wheel or more information in the instructions
- Kits tend to have “one size fits all” extra long cables and that means you end up wrapping them and zip tying them to the bike, be sure to clip the ends of the zip ties close so you don’t get scratched, I used a tool like this, even if you do a GREAT job the bike still looks a bit messier than if the cables were the perfect length or integrated through the frame
- Activating this kit is a two step process… you have to press a power button on the battery then hold the power button on the control pad as well, it’s not a huge deal and this isolates power on the battery to reduce phantom draw and improve stability but it does add time and not all purpose built ebikes are two-step like this
- Official Site: http://dillengerelectricbikes.com/electric-bike-kits/best-sellers/street-legal-electric-bike-kit-samsung-power-13ah-by-dillenger.html
- Original Bike: http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/bikes/city-bikes/fitness-bikes/fx/7-2-fx/p/1323010-2016
- More Pictures: https://goo.gl/photos/1HAkAhTCiF6ceNcW8