Falco Hx 500 Review

Falco Hx 500 Electric Bike Kit Review 1
Falco Hx 500 Rear Drive Kit
Falco Hx 500 Regen Hub Motor
Falco Hx 500 Battery Mount
Falco Hx 500 Handlebar View
Falco Hx 500 Rear Torque Arm
Falco Hx 500 Removable Wireless Display
Falco Hx 500 Wheel Sizes Accessories
Falco Hx 500 Electric Bike Kit Canister
Falco Hx 500 Front Wheel
Falco Hx 500 Torque Arm
Falco Hx 500 Downtube Battery Mount
Falco Hx 500 Cockpit View
Falco Hx 500 Trigger Throttle
Falco Hx 500 Removable Lithium Battery
Falco Hx 500 Trigger Module
Falco Hx 500 Wireless Receiver
Falco Hx 500 Battery Slot
Falco Hx 500 Lcd Display Panel
Falco Hx 500 Electric Bike Kit
Falco Hx 500 Hub Motor
Falco Hx 500 Rack Mounted Battery
Falco Hx 500 Twist Throttle Option
Falco Hx 500 Fat Tire Display Panel
Falco Hx 500 Kit
Falco Hx 500 Gearless Hub Motor
Falco Hx 500 Fat Tire Brick Wall
Falco Hx 500 Fat Tire Torque Arm
Falco Hx 500 Fat Tire Battery Pack
Falco Hx 500 Fat Tire Cockpit
Falco Hx 500 Fat Tire Twist Throttle
Falco Hx 500 Fat Tire Chain Guard
Falco Hx 500 Fat Tire Electric Bike
Falco Hx 500 Fat Tire Hub Motor
Falco Hx 500 Fat Tire Sidewalk Shot
Falco Hx 500 Direct Drive Hub Motor
Falco Hx 500 Canister Lithium Ion Battery
Falco Hx 500 Assist Settings
Falco Hx 500 Axle Adjustment
Falco Hx 500 Rear Motor Installation
Falco Hx 500 Wiring Documentation
Falco Hx 500 Computer Console Instructions
Falco Hx 500 Electric Bike Kit Review 1
Falco Hx 500 Rear Drive Kit
Falco Hx 500 Regen Hub Motor
Falco Hx 500 Battery Mount
Falco Hx 500 Handlebar View
Falco Hx 500 Rear Torque Arm
Falco Hx 500 Removable Wireless Display
Falco Hx 500 Wheel Sizes Accessories
Falco Hx 500 Electric Bike Kit Canister
Falco Hx 500 Front Wheel
Falco Hx 500 Torque Arm
Falco Hx 500 Downtube Battery Mount
Falco Hx 500 Cockpit View
Falco Hx 500 Trigger Throttle
Falco Hx 500 Removable Lithium Battery
Falco Hx 500 Trigger Module
Falco Hx 500 Wireless Receiver
Falco Hx 500 Battery Slot
Falco Hx 500 Lcd Display Panel
Falco Hx 500 Electric Bike Kit
Falco Hx 500 Hub Motor
Falco Hx 500 Rack Mounted Battery
Falco Hx 500 Twist Throttle Option
Falco Hx 500 Fat Tire Display Panel
Falco Hx 500 Kit
Falco Hx 500 Gearless Hub Motor
Falco Hx 500 Fat Tire Brick Wall
Falco Hx 500 Fat Tire Torque Arm
Falco Hx 500 Fat Tire Battery Pack
Falco Hx 500 Fat Tire Cockpit
Falco Hx 500 Fat Tire Twist Throttle
Falco Hx 500 Fat Tire Chain Guard
Falco Hx 500 Fat Tire Electric Bike
Falco Hx 500 Fat Tire Hub Motor
Falco Hx 500 Fat Tire Sidewalk Shot
Falco Hx 500 Direct Drive Hub Motor
Falco Hx 500 Canister Lithium Ion Battery
Falco Hx 500 Assist Settings
Falco Hx 500 Axle Adjustment
Falco Hx 500 Rear Motor Installation
Falco Hx 500 Wiring Documentation
Falco Hx 500 Computer Console Instructions

Summary

  • A smooth, powerful, sophisticated electric bike conversion kit compatible with front or rear wheel
  • Offers five hall sensors vs. three on most ebikes providing smoother ride and more torque
  • Narrow design accommodates rear cassette and offers power regeneration, kit is relatively expensive and wireless display is a bit clunky and loose on some handle bar setups

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Falco

Model:

Hx 500

Price:

$1,695 USD

Suggested Use:

Urban

Electric Bike Class:

Throttle on Demand (Class 2), Moped or Motorcycle (Class 4)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

5 Year Motor, 2 Year Battery

Availability:

United States, Canada, Europe

Model Year:

2014

Bicycle Details

Battery Weight:

5.5 lbs (2.49 kg)

Motor Weight:

9 lbs (4.08 kg)

Spokes:

Single Butted

Accessories:

Optional Wireless Console, Optional Rack Mount Battery, Optional Canister Mount Battery

Other:

Compatible with Cassette or Single Speed, Compatible with Front or Rear Wheel, Slim Design Compatible with Multi-Speed Cassettes, 5-Phase Sensor, Controller Built Into Motor, DC Supply Voltage 55 Max 48 Nominal 24 Min, IP54 Protection System, Controller and Battery Current Max at 36 Volts is 35 Amps

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Falco

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Gearless Direct Drive Hub (5-Phase)
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

500 watts

Motor Peak Output:

750 watts

Motor Torque:

40 Newton meters

Battery Brand:

Panasonic

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

11.6 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

417.6 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

6 hours

Estimated Min Range:

20 miles (32 km)

Estimated Max Range:

70 miles (113 km)

Display Type:

ANT+ Compatible, Wireless LCD

Readouts:

Speed, Odometer, Battery Level, Assist Level

Drive Mode:

Advanced Pedal Assist, Trigger Throttle, Twist Throttle (Uses Torque and Cadence Measurements)

Top Speed:

28 mph (45 kph)(20 mph in USA Mode, 28+ in Off Road Mode)

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Written Review

The Falco HX 500 is a quality electric bike kit, and it costs a bit more as a result. Most ebike conversion kits use small or medium sized geared hub motors with basic control systems. By comparison, the Falco Hx series is direct drive (gearless) offering regeneration and multiple battery options along with either twist throttle, trigger throttle, pedelec or torque sensing pedal assist (or a combination of these three). It’s the kind of drive system you’d find on a higher end electric bike (light weight, slim, wireless) but you can get it stand-alone to use with your existing bike. The kit I reviewed used a 500 watt motor and was fitted to the rear wheel (I’ve also tested the front wheel design which is simpler to install but changes the way steering feels). These motors offer 40 Newton meters of torque, but you can upgrade to the Falco Hx 1500 for 60 Nm of torque or the Hx 750 for 80 Nm of torque (I realize that the numbers seem backwards; the 1500 offers 1500 watts of power at lower torque but is fatter and won’t fit with a cassette).

At the heart of this kit is a 500 watt direct drive (gearless) hub motor that you can either order on its own or built into a wheel size of your choosing (it can be spoked into 20″, 24″, 26″ or 700C to fit virtually any bicycle). The rims have angled holes to add strength to the spokes and are indented to reduce loosening over time. Considering that it’s gearless, this motor is actually pretty slim and light weight. It rides pretty quiet but cuts out abruptly at 20mph (to honor US legal restrictions). I wish they could smooth this out because it can be a bit jarring and doesn’t happen on other kits I’ve tried. Whereas most direct drive ebike motors employ only three hall sensors, the Falco motor uses five. These sensors detect wheel rotation and provide feedback to the controller allowing it to be more responsive and smooth. My favorite part about this kit is that it offers five regen modes that will reduce wear on your brakes and extend the range of your ride if you activate it while coasting down a hill. Alternatively, you can use regeneration as a way to add rigor to your ride or as an exercise machine using a track stand. While the motor coasts relatively smoothly when turned off it still suffers from some cogging (as shown in the video review). Note that the motor output can be changed from high torque to high speed and adjusted to be responsive or more dull if you get the optional $50 USB dongle and download their software. Here’s a video overview with the founder explaining how it works.

There are lots of choices to make with this kit and one of them is which drive modes to activate. The demo unit shown in the video review is setup with “triple drive” and can is configured to let each system override the next: torque to cadence to throttle. I love that you get to choose from these options but it adds to the price and I couldn’t tell a huge difference from one mode to the next. I also would have liked a throttle only mode at level zero vs. nothing… You can achieve this experience by turning the bike off so it felt like they missed an opportunity here.

The battery on this bike presents a few more options including size and configuration. The standard size is 36 volts of power and 11.6 amp hours of capacity which is a touch above average. It uses light weight, long lasting Lithium-ion cells and weighs ~5.5 pounds. You can upgrade this to a 48 volt pack that offers more power and can propel the bike faster if you get the computer console option and an unlocked kit. I’d say, if you do a lot of climbing or weigh over 180 pounds the 48 volt option is worth considering. The next choice is whether to get a rear rack mounting battery or a downtube canister. I personally prefer the canister design because it keeps weight lower and distributes it more naturally across the frame. It’s also easier to remove for charging. Still, it will take up the space where your water bottle cage might otherwise mount and some bikes just don’t have braze ons here or aren’t setup for it.

The last big consideration with this bike is whether to get a twist or trigger throttle (you’ll need it if you want throttle mode) and whether to pay extra for an LCD computer (which will show you the voltage, battery capacity, speed and provide readouts for ANT+ devices like heart rate monitors). The LCD is grayscale, a bit clunky (though removable) and includes a button pad break out with plus and minus to make it easier to reach and interact with when riding. I don’t think this accessory needed to be wireless and I’m sure that adds to the cost. I like that it’s removable but prefer the smaller, sturdier feeling designs on BionX and Easy Motion systems.

The Falco Hx kits provide a lot of options for custom configuration, work with non-Falco batteries and can be unlocked for higher speeds. I enjoyed test riding the kit and appreciated how quiet, smooth and small it was but feel there are a few oddities like the lack of a “throttle only” mode and jerky 20mph cutoff. Admittedly, I’m not the kind of person who builds ebikes from scratch but I could still appreciate the options and versatility of this kit. I also like how cool it looks in the all-black finish. It can be a little tricky to find online but the Electric Cyclery in Laguna Beach, CA carries it and will ship nationally in the USA. I don’t love the wireless communication box (required for use with the LCD panel) and didn’t see a big difference in torque sensing vs. cadence sending (they both could have been smoother) but realize this kit has been growing over the years vs. launching with all of these options at once. The software really lets you dial things in and the engineering team that built this has been a leader in the space focusing on durability, heat reduction and torque sensitivity so there’s a possibility that they will release updates to improve how the system performs and I’m sure their next project will be even more refined.

Pros:

  • Can communicate wirelessly with optional computer console and with ANT+ heart rate monitors
  • Offers cadence sensing pedal assist, torque sensing assist, trigger throttle or twist throttle
  • Compatible with a wide range of batteries or you can get the Falco rear rack or canister designs
  • 5-phase hall sensors provide a smooth ride with additional torque, motor is designed to run cool
  • Uses 15 embedded sensors to measure motor current, power, voltage, temperature, magnetic field and torque
  • Provides five levels of regen that charge the battery and reduce wear on brake pads if used instead of brakes to slow the bike down
  • Compact design provides enough room for rear cassette and is also relatively light weight at 9.9 pounds
  • Optional computer displays speed, distance, trip time, battery voltage, battery capacity, battery current and heart rate (with ANT+ device sensor)
  • Off-road upgrade for increased speed offering 1,000 rpm with no load delivers 25 mph or 30 mph top speed in pedelec mode using 36 volt or 48 volt battery respectively
  • Multiple activation sensors including throttle, crank sensor, torque sensor or combination

Cons:

  • Trigger throttle box and display panel are large and less aesthetically pleasing than some other ebike systems
  • The “off road” package is required to unlock higher top speeds and costs extra (hardware based, cannot unlock later if you get a regular kit)
  • Have to charge the wireless display separately with additional plug attachment (batteries should last several weeks)
  • Display panel attachment uses a quick release that doesn’t secure as well on smaller bars 25mm in diameter (may require rubber strips or extra padding)
  • Older models have less smooth cut off at 20mph, firmware updates have improved this on newer models
  • Wireless communicator box adds clutter to the system (required for wireless display)

Resources:

More Falco Reviews

Falco Hx 750 Review

  • MSRP: $2,195
  • MODEL YEAR: 2014

A modular, open source electric bike kit with powerful 750 watt gearless motor. Works in torque sensing, cadence sensing or throttle mode for different applications...

Comments (19) YouTube Comments

Miguel
5 years ago

Hi,

Can you set this conversion kit on a hybrid bike with Shimano WH-R500, 700c and Kenda Kwest Road 700×28 tires?

Thank you!

  Reply
Court
5 years ago

Hi Miguel, I think it would work if you stayed on smooth terrain and kept your tires full. The additional weight of the hub motor cold make it easier to get pinch flats but I know you can get a 700c wheel from Falco and from there it’s up to you :)

  Reply
John M
5 years ago

Hi Court, I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you. I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent in the last month watching your videos of different e bikes to inform myself to make a decision on which to get. You are doing a great job and service putting out really good info into very digestable videos and text. I have decided on getting the Falco 500W kit. And am rehabing my 9 year old Gary Fisher Capitola comfort bike to get ready for the kit. I am very excited and I think its going to feel like I am getting a new bike. Will let you all know how the Falco kit works out after a few weeks of using it. Again thank you for all the great info you provide.

  Reply
John M
5 years ago

Afterthought: Court your EBR site was particularly helpful for me as there is not much in the way of electric bikes around here to look or try. I had to drive an hour north to try a couple Pedego bikes and an hour south to try a 250W Bionx kit on a bike. Those are the only bikes I actually saw and tried, so your videos were so helpful. The gulfcoast of Florida is tough on bikes, mine has rusted in many places. I am in the process of cleaning it up as best I can before installing the Falco kit. I should also say that Paul of Electric Bikes of New England was very helpful answering questions on the phone and I called Falco and to my surprise the founder took the time to answer a half dozen questions. Impressive.

  Reply
Court
5 years ago

Awesome John! Always great to hear that the site is helping people and I’m very excited for you. Sounds like an awesome setup! Feel free to post pictures and thoughts in the Falco forums once you’re up and running, I’d love to see it :D

  Reply
Court
5 years ago

That’s awesome John! I’m always happy to hear the site is helping people and agree that Rakesh from Falco is a great guy. I hope the kit works well for you and holds up well over time. Feel free to share your thoughts on it in the Falco forums once you’ve had some time to test it out. I’m sure others would love to hear about it since you’ve tried a couple of other bikes.

  Reply
John Myers
5 years ago

Well it’s been 2 or 3 weeks now and I have put about 70 miles (on and off road) on the bike with the Falco kit. I am very happy with it. As they have said, the motor is silent, and there is very little resistance when riding with the motor off or on ‘0’ power level setting, or just coasting. It is powerful too. I am 205 lbs and the top speed I can get to with the throttle on flat surface is 18mph. I can get over 20mph while peddling. I have found that my average speed is 50% higher than usual for me before I added the kit, with the same or less effort. Installation was pretty easy, just remove the old rear wheel, put tube and tire on the Falco wheel with motor and install it. Attach the battery mount, connect and route wires, attach the +/- switch, the console and the thumb throttle, make some settings in the console. Put the battery in the mount and go. My local bike shop let me use their torque wrench on the axle bolts. I have rearranged the wiring a couple times to accomodate my car bike rack better. Falco has begun using a new style thumb throttle which is a ring around the handlebar and a up and down movable lever–it is very easy to use and takes up less space and is better looking than the old style. The console also has an easy adjust attachment system which is an improvement. Yesterday I forgot to take the console, which was not a problem because because of the built in torque sensor in the motor all you need is the battery and the motor to operate. I rode 20 miles on and off road with just the battery, motor and throttle, the ride was great, really fun, and used the throttle less than a mile. The torque sensor did a great job of giving me extra power with sustained peddling and a nice boost when I needed it more–headwinds, uphills, and sand trails. I have been able to ride much farther than I had before., and once again use my bike for grocery shopping, commuting, etc.

  Reply
Court
5 years ago

Awesome writeup John! Thanks for sharing your experience with the Falco Hx 500 kit. It’s neat that their system can run without the display panel and I do love how quiet it is.

  Reply
John M
5 years ago

I have now had the Falco system for about 5 months and I am even happier with my experience with it than I was in my Sept. 21st entry. Basically there are 10 power levels to choose from with the console. I have been using my bike for more and more: going to the grocery, to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions, to the library & bank, to visit friends, and for recreation. I love the silence of the motor and when not using the motor the bike feels just like it did before I added the system with a bit more weight of the motor. I love that I can go on a long ride and if I am too tired to pedal all the way home or have a big headwind I can use the throttle to power through some miles. And it looks good too. I regularly get questioned about it from other curious cyclists. It is just so useful–I love it.

  Reply
Court
5 years ago

Awesome testimonial John, thanks for dropping in again and sharing your ongoing experience with the kit! Ride safe out there, stay healthy and happy :)

  Reply
Mike B
5 years ago

You probably know by now, but that hard cut off can be tuned out, along with every other performance variable. How hard the assist kicks in, etc

  Reply
Court
5 years ago

Thanks Mike, my time with the kit was limited but if you have input on how to adjust the settings or how their newer stuff works feel free to post it here or in the Falco Forums, it’s great to have more in depth knowledge about settings.

  Reply
Mike Bradbury
4 years ago

You can purchase a USB dongle to insert in your computer to connect wirelessly (Antenna+) with the motor, battery and controller (all seperately). You can change settings on the motor to affect all areas of performance with the change of number/setting. There’s a lot going on, to understand, learn, set up. But the payoff is a bike (trike in my case) that is exactly right for YOU and how strong you are, how steep your hills are, your endurance, etc. All can be fine tuned to suit you.

I’ve ridden a few factory made e bikes now and they were impressive in performance, but didn’t feel much like biking. Way to much power, too early, making me feel like I’m on an electric motorcycle. I love to cycle. I want to feel like I’m cycling (I left the throttle off my setup) and just a little stronger when I need or want it. This is a great setup for that type of riding. With always the option to turn up the juice if you are dragging tush and just want to get home asap.

  Reply
Brian
4 years ago

Why is this considered a Class 4 system?

  Reply
Court
4 years ago

I’ve seen it shipped in off-road mode where the throttle can go well above 20 mph. It can definitely be setup as a Class 1, 2 or 3 as well and this all depends on the accessories you get and how you configure the control system. I wanted to communicate that this is a more powerful and fast kit than some others (namely BionX) and that it was capable of higher performance but not necessarily fixed there.

  Reply
Andrew Paddison
3 years ago

Excellent reviews of the various bike conversion kits. I purchased a Falco 500 and retro fitted to a handbike. Once I had downloaded the software, the system is extremely versatile and you can adjust all the parameters to suit your own riding style. The actual motor hub was fitted by another person and the question I have, do all electric motor hubs have a resistance when not in operation. i.e. you place bike on a stand, spin the front wheel or rear wheel on a normal bike, and the wheel will spin on it’s own a large number of revolutions. However, with the motor hub, you try and spin the wheel, the revolutions are extremely limited, say 4-6 dependent on how hard you spin the wheel, is this normal ?

  Reply
Court
3 years ago

Hi Andrew, this drag you’re describing is called “cogging” and results from large magnets inside the hub repelling metal staters (when not electrified). This happens on gearless hub motors because they do not contain freewheel mechanisms to allow for coasting. Geared motors do not produce nearly as much cogging because they do have freewheels but then you have added noise from the gears down converting higher RPM smaller magnetic motors into power to apply to the wheel. Here’s a guide I wrote about motors a while back that goes into detail about the different types. One advantage of gearless hubs like Falco is that some offer regenerative braking… and again, they tend to be quiet and durable vs. geared which might wear faster due to moving parts coming into contact vs. just bearings.

  Reply
John Myers
1 year ago

I have had my Falco 500 kit for 4 years now and am still very pleased with it. It still works well, though I think the battery has lost some of its endurance. I dont know how much, I can still get 30, 40 or more miles on a charge. About two years ago I did have 5 spokes break in the motor wheel-all around the same time, no broken spokes since then. I bought some replacement spokes from Falco. I did also have some problems with the control unit, the first had charging issues, a second also had charging issue, both were replaced free by Falco and the third one has been working fine for 2 or more years now. I have put more than 3,000 miles on it, still a happy peddler.

  Reply
Court
1 year ago

That is awesome! Glad the kit has worked so well for you for so long, it sounds like you’ve taken good care of it and Falco has been a good support. Hope it continues on, thanks for sharing your experience with us, John :)

  Reply

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