- An affordable electric bike kit with everything you need to get going: motor, battery, throttle, pedal assist
- Custom designed casing is narrower than many other 350 watt motors and fits in 100 mm dropouts without scraping the fork, perfect for cycle cross, fixies and city style bike conversions
- Front or rear wheel compatible, available in 16, 20, 24, 26 and 700c ~28" sizes, you choose from single speed, 6, 7, 8 or 9 speed cassette options for a bit extra
- Fewer magnets on the cadence sensor (5 vs. 12) so not quite as responsive, have to take the crank arm off to get it installed, smaller battery capacity (but also lighter and smaller size), solid one year warranty on the kit
The EBO Phantom Kit is my favorite product in the Electric Bike Outfitters lineup so far. It delivers all of the features and hardware you need to commute or just have some fun cruising around. The battery pack mounts lower and improves balance and handling over the EBO Cruiser Kit and I love how it matches the optional black hub and wires. For under $1k you get a relatively light weight kit with a nice LCD display, throttle and pedal assist mode and peace of mind with a one year warranty. It’s relatively easy to install except for the pedal assist sensor which requires that you completely remove one crank arm (that means extra tools and time) and the sensor itself feels a bit basic and outdated with five magnets vs. 12 on newer purpose built ebikes and kit’s I’ve seen around. Overall, considering you can get a front or rear wheel and choose from 16″ all the way up to 700c and go for a single speed or 6, 7, 8 and 9 speed cassette it’s a wonderful product. I got to test it out in the front-wheel style (which seemed quieter than rear-wheel) on a single speed State Tiburon which came out to just ~36 lbs with the kit installed! You can get this same frame yourself for ~$500 and it looks great, the real win is that the motor casing has been custom designed by Electric Bike Outfitters to fit without scraping the inside edges of narrower 100 mm front forks. That’s a big deal, I’ve run into this issue with previous kits and it’s not something you think about when selecting a bike. With the EBO Phantom you don’t have to think and it works with 100 mm, 120 mm and 135 mm setups (the larger two working with rear dropout widths).
Powering the wheel you select with this kit is a 350 watt internally geared hub motor. It’s generic… not 8Fun or some other brand I’ve seen, but clearly upgraded in terms of size and performance. I got to speak with the founder of Electric Bike Outfitters and asked about quality. He acknowledged that the entry level EBO Commuter Kit uses one of the cheapest options around but that more had been done with the higher end kits including the Phantom. In all cases, you get a one year warranty which is nice. Geared motors like this tend to be light weight, zippy and stealth (because of how small they are). You can choose from black or silver here but all of the spokes are silver and all rims are matte black. The rim is about one inch wide and should work with narrower tires as well as larger mountain style products but might not be ideal for the super narrow road tires. I believe the tires used for the demo were 700x23c.
Powering the kit is nicely sized “tube style” battery pack that mounts to the downtube. Most bikes with enough room in this triangle space (or an open downtube like a step-thru) should work as long as you’ve got two bottle cage bosses to mount it to. This does mean that you might need a rear rack with a trunk bag or saddle rail adapter to actually bring along water… The battery can be charged on or off the frame mount and clips in and out very easily. I commented on the EBO Commuter that it took longer to seat the battery pack because you had to manually screw in the power cable and that is not the case here. Inside the pack are quality Samsung Lithium-ion cells offering 36 volts and 10.4 amp hours for a very average 374.4 amp hours of capacity. I estimated range at 15 to 20 miles but you’ll go much further on some bikes than others. This State bike with its larger diameter wheels, hybrid-slick tires and narrow bar (for improved aerodynamics when reaching) could go 30+ in pedal assist mode on flat smooth terrain. Anyway, the pack has an integrated LED readout to help you discern the current charge level which is nice. The one downside is that you have to switch the pack on and off separately from the LCD display. It’s just an extra step that takes time and is easy to forget at the end of a ride.
Operating the EBO Phantom kit is fairy traditional once that battery and display have been activated. The display panel itself looks great and includes a backlight (hold up on the button pad). It can swivel a bit if you don’t over tighten the mount but it’s not removable so the sun and weather could take a toll over time. With the standard setup you’d have the three button pad mounted near your left grip and the trigger throttle over near the right. The display sits right in the middle and shows your power, speed, pedal assist level and some other readouts. I wouldn’t mind more increments on the battery icon (it just shows four) and while I love that you can override the five levels of pedal assist with the throttle it does not appear that you can operate it on level zero… so there’s basically no “throttle only” mode, just a low pedal assist with the option of full throttle override. All in all, not bad for a sleek and affordable kit.
I really like that this kit comes with everything you need and that it does not use a rear rack for the battery. I love that the battery itself is small and sleek looking, the motor is also fairly small and would hide nicely behind a cassette if you chose something other than a single speed. For the 6 and 7 speed options it’s $25 extra and for the 8 and 9 speed cassettes it’s closer to $50 but you’re still under $1k total. It’s fun to find a bicycle frame that suits your personality, style of riding or body type. Many taller riders struggle to find purpose-built ebikes that will fit them properly. Kits like this can be one solution and while the power and range are more average, they are still way better than human-only power in terms of speed and climbing ability. For people in more restrictive geographies, Electric Bike Outfitters offers a 250 watt version of their motor to comply with local laws. The cables are color coded for easy install and I believe you could also use this as a throttle only ebike or pedal assist only changing it from a Class 2 to Class 1 for use in different areas. Note that most kits add tackiness and ugliness with wires and zip ties vs. having them all integrated through the frame but you can hide this a bit with a darker colored frame. The review bike here had an extra long set of wires that were originally used with a tandem bicycle. The ones that come with aren’t as long… unless you make a special request :)
- Custom designed motor casing to fit in narrow 100 mm dropouts (commonly found on city bikes and fixies) without rubbing on the forks
- Very light weight kit, smaller tube style battery improves balance and fits (verses a rear-rack setup) and should fit on a wide assortment of frames as long as they have bottle cage mounts on the downtube, the controller is built into the bottom seating area of the mount so you don’t need an extra box or wires mounted to the bike
- The battery pack seats quickly and easily compared to the lower end EBO Commuter which requires you to screw a cable into the pack, it also locks for security and has an integrated LED charge indicator for use when the pack is not mounted to the system
- Color coded wires are easy to setup, the motor cable has a quick disconnect point that makes servicing the wheel (front or rear) much easier
- The included mechanical brake levers include a motor inhibitor switch which is important for pedal assist mode, they won’t work with hydraulic brake systems however
- The wheelset and hub design are compatible with traditional brakes as well as disc brakes, there’s a screw pattern on the side of the hub for mounting a disc rotor
- The trigger throttle works without changing your grip setup and doesn’t take up much space but you can also ask for a twist throttle if you prefer that style
- Available in a huge assortment of wheel sizes including 16″, 20″, 24″, 26″, 27.5″ (650B) and ~28″ (700c) so you can convert folding bikes, kids bikes, road bikes, mountain bikes etc. and they all cost the same
- This kit offers more Amps for increased starting and climbing power vs. the entry level EBO Commuter, that model is 14 Amps and this one is 17
- You can override pedal assist with the variable speed throttle at full power at any time but there is no throttle-only mode so you’ll need to be in 1-5 to use it
- The pedal assist cadence sensor requires more effort to install than some of the clip-on designs I’ve seen in recent years
- The cadence sensor only offers a five magnet disc vs. 10 or 12 on some newer hardware I’ve seen from other companies, it sounds like Electric Bike Outfitters might upgrade this in the future and frankly, it worked alright during my tests
- If you have hydraulic disc brakes, the brake levers that are included with this kit won’t work so you won’t have a motor inhibitor
- You have to power the battery pack on as well as the display unit to get the bike going… this adds a bit of time to each ride but also makes it easier to forget to turn the battery pack off when you park
- There are no lights built into this kit and I think it would be difficult to wire them in, I like when I can run everything off of one battery but you can always get some aftermarket lights that are rechargeable if you ride at night a lot
- Official Site: http://www.electricbikeoutfitters.com/ebo-phantom.aspx
- More Pictures: https://goo.gl/photos/WUcxH2NVTnWoDQdt9