FLX Baby Maker Review

Flx Baby Maker Electric Bike Review
Flx Baby Maker
Flx Baby Maker 250 Watt Hub Drive
Flx Baby Maker Battery Tube
Flx Baby Maker Cockpit View
Flx Baby Maker Bull Horn Handlebars
Flx Baby Maker Display Controls
Flx Baby Maker Active Saddle
Flx Baby Maker Belt Drive
Flx Baby Maker Battery Charger
Flx Baby Maker 2amp Charger
Flx Baby Maker Stock High Step Orange
Flx Baby Maker Electric Bike Review
Flx Baby Maker
Flx Baby Maker 250 Watt Hub Drive
Flx Baby Maker Battery Tube
Flx Baby Maker Cockpit View
Flx Baby Maker Bull Horn Handlebars
Flx Baby Maker Display Controls
Flx Baby Maker Active Saddle
Flx Baby Maker Belt Drive
Flx Baby Maker Battery Charger
Flx Baby Maker 2amp Charger
Flx Baby Maker Stock High Step Orange

Summary

  • A single speed road bike with a reliable and smooth belt drive, very aesthetically pleasing, minimalist design that hides the battery and uses a no-nonsense display, also comes in a variety of color ways to choose from, a perfect setup for those that want an agile and stealthy setup
  • Driven by a 250-350 watt hub-drive motor from AKM, 25mph top speed, high-resolution 12 magnet cadence sensor, comes with a minimalist display for a stealthy look, 36v 7ah battery is completely hidden within the frame, stays protected and helps the bike blend in
  • Mechanically makes use of a single speed belt drive, this makes the bike not only very smooth and quiet, but also means less maintenance and it won't rust over time and should prove more reliable, features linear pull brakes, these work great with the dual contact points in front and rear
  • Battery is not easy to remove and could result in poor battery life if left outside with the bike, no fender provisions, no rack provisions, aggressive riding position may not be for everyone, no motor inhibitors, and no battery integrated lights

Video Review

Introduction

Make:

FLX

Model:

Baby Maker

Price:

$1,999

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Urban

Electric Bike Class:

Speed Pedelec (Class 3)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

1 Year Comprehensive

Availability:

United States, Canada, Worldwide

Model Year:

2020

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

33.2 lbs (15.05 kg)

Battery Weight:

2.5 lbs (1.13 kg)

Motor Weight:

4.4 lbs (1.99 kg)

Frame Material:

Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

23 in (58.42 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

23" Seat Tube, 22" Reach, 32.75" Stand Over Height, 37" Minimum Saddle Height, 18.75" Width, 65" Length

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Gloss Orange, Black, Red, Lime, Hot Pink

Frame Fork Details:

Rigid Aluminum, 100mm Hub Spacing, 9mm Axle with Quick Release Skewer

Frame Rear Details:

Horizontal Dropout with Steel Sleeve, 125mm Hub Spacing, 3mm Adjustment Screws, 12mm Keyed Threaded Axle with 17mm Nuts

Attachment Points:

Bottle Cage Bosses

Gearing Details:

1 Speed 1x1 22 Tooth Rear Belt Ring

Cranks:

Forged Aluminum Alloy Arms, 170mm Length, Square Taper Bottom Bracket Spindle, 64 Tooth Steel Front Belt Ring with Aluminum Guard and 5 Bolt Spider Provisions

Pedals:

Wellgo M255, Aluminum Alloy Platform with Fixed Pins, Black

Headset:

Threadless, Sealed Cartridge Bearings, Tapered 1.2" - 1.5"

Stem:

Slight Rise, Aluminum Alloy, 35mm Length, 28.8mm Clamp Diameter

Handlebar:

Bull Horn, Aluminum Alloy, 80mm Rise, 135º Bend, 475mm Width

Brake Details:

Tektro R313 Mechanical Rim Brakes, Two-Finger Levers, Dual Pivot Caliper with Quick Release

Grips:

Black Bar-Tape

Saddle:

FLX Branded, Vinyl Covered Gel, Active Footprint

Seat Post:

Aluminum Alloy, Quick Release Collar

Seat Post Length:

350 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

30.4 mm

Rims:

Aluminum Alloy, Double Walled, 21mm Outer Width, 36 Hole, Black

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 13 Gauge Front 12 Gauge Rear, Black with Silver Screws

Tire Brand:

Kenda, 700 x 25c

Wheel Sizes:

28 in (71.12cm)

Tire Details:

Max 110 PSI, 7.7 BAR

Tube Details:

Presta Valve

Other:

Fixed Downtube Mounted Battery Pack, Sans 1.4lb 3 Amp Charger, Basic Assembly Toolkit

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Aikema (AKM)

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Geared Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

250 watts

Motor Peak Output:

350 watts

Motor Torque:

40 Newton meters

Battery Brand:

Samsung

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

7 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

252 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

2.3 hours

Estimated Min Range:

10 miles (16 km)

Estimated Max Range:

35 miles (56 km)

Display Type:

Topology SW102, Fixed, LCD Display, Buttons: Power, -, +, M, Walk Assist: Hold -, Backlight: Hold +, Clear Values: Hold M, Settings: Double Tap M

Readouts:

Pedal Assist Mode (0-5 with Arrows), Current Speed, Odometer, Battery Life (5 Bars), Average Speed, Max Speed

Display Accessories:

Display and Remote Integrated

Drive Mode:

Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist (12 Magnet Sensor)

Top Speed:

25 mph (40 kph)


Written Review

To run the forums, host the website, and travel, I charge a universal service fee for my reviews. This in-depth review was sponsored by FLX Electric Bikes. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased with you, this video and writeup are not meant to be an endorsement of FLX products. I welcome your corrections, additions, and feedback in the comments below and the FLX electric bike forums.

Pros:

  • A single speed road bike with a reliable and smooth belt drive, very aesthetically pleasing, minimalist design that hides the battery and uses a no-nonsense display, also comes in a variety of color ways to choose from
  • Currently a crowd funded effort, the bike is in pre-production so some minor details may change, but the foundations are here and the company and testers seem to agree, this is the setup to go with
  • Mechanically, it is operated by a single speed belt drive, it has a 64 cog ring in the front and 22 cogs in the rear, this makes the bike no only very smooth and quiet, but also means less maintenance since you don’t have to lube the belt and in addition, since it is made of rubber, it will not rust over time, overall, this is more reliable too, so a great choice
  • Stopping the bike are a set of rim brakes (sometimes called ‘cantilever brakes’, ‘linear pull brakes, or ‘v brakes’), sometimes these are a listed as a con for bikes since they are a more basic technology, but on the Baby Maker, it is high-end for what it is since it makes use of a dual contact point, rather than just simple one sided brakes
  • The brake levers are short and slim since they are mounted inward on the handle bar, I prefer this compared to other road bikes that put them on the outer horns, these are easier to reach in a bind and have a natural feel to them
  • Since this is a road bike, it is only natural you get 700c x 28 thin road tires, these make the bike extremely efficient and quick on paved surfaces and feature a deep section rim so you have stouter, stronger spokes, I would say its not good for off-road use, but I did take it on some grass during testing and it did surprisingly well
  • The handlebar section is done nicely, it has a very short stem with just a slight rise to it for active riding, the handles themselves are a bull-horn style with a 135 degree bend to them and gripped bar tape, this setup allows for a lot of different riding position possibilities and is a preferred setup for a road bike
  • If the bike is too stiff for your taste, but you still want to make it work for you, they have a 30.9mm seat post, you could swap this rigid seat post out with a suspension seat post like a Kinekt suspension seat post or a SR SunTour NCX seat post
  • The 36v 7ah battery is hidden in the down tube of the frame, it can be removed (with some effort) and I try to lay out some instructions in the review video if you are interested in doing so, I think with the smaller amp hour rating, you may be able to bring this bike in air travel via FAA regulations for traveling with electric bikes
  • Here at Electric Bike Review, we are big fans of bottle cage bosses, so I am happy to say that they are here on this bike and that is a great addition for a lot of reasons, you can fit a number of accessories on them, not just water bottles, there are aftermarket add-ons like a GPS tracker, a folding lock, mounting points for racks, and many others that can get your bike setup just the way you want
  • The display is small, minimal, and out of the way, some may wish for a larger display with more options, but I feel the compact display will match most desires the rider of a road bike like this might want, it has a 5 bar battery infographic and up and down arrow for pedal assist, I like that its one of the many ways the bike stays stealthy and doesn’t scream ‘electric’ when parked or riding
  • Uses a 250 watt nominal 350 watt peak hub-drive motor from AKM, a newer motor company to me, but they have been around making motors in other industries and applications, it offers a 20mph top speed, good performance for the size, and high-resolution 12 magnet cadence based pedal assist
  • The bike is comes in at just a mere 33lbs and that weight includes the battery, motor, and everything on the bike ready to ride, this is extremely lightweight for an electric bike and right where you want to be for road bike performance
  • That 33lbs helps drive the bike to one of its strongest points, the way it rides, it is incredibly nimble and agile, the balance is even wonderful, you could ride no-hands very comfortably and easily, this is one of the biggest wins for the bike overall

Cons:

  • After reaching your 20mph top speed (which is not hard for an active rider on a lightweight bike) you lose tension in the pedals and just start coasting, this is really easy to do in the highest level of pedal assist (level 5), so I would recommend using this mode mostly for hills and such
  • The minimal display is great, but as mentioned, it may not be for everyone, it lacks an accurate battery percentage level readout in favor of a less accurate 5 bar infographic in 20% increments, some new bikes offer the percentage readout as well as smartphone integration and other readouts
  • The battery is not easily removable, unless you really know what you are doing, I do not recommend taking it out at all, the video briefly shows you how if you are interested, but on average, I wouldn’t consider this a removable battery by conventional standards
  • In addition to that, having the battery not easily removed means that your riding and parking may be limited in extreme hot or cold weather, for example, living here in Utah, I would shelf the bike for the winter in the garage and still try to remove the battery and store it inside to keep it healthy and functioning
  • Although there are bottle cage bosses as mentioned, the bike lacks both fender provisions as well as rack provisions, so it may not be a keen commuter setup, most of what you carry around with you will have to be in a backpack of some sorts
  • Make sure you know what you are getting into with the aggressive riding position and active narrow saddle, this is meant to keep most of your weight forward and keep your butt off the seat, so it is not the most comfortable bike for sitting around, more made for standing and pedaling so do be aware of that
  • Similarly, the frame only comes in this high-step style, and it is quite a high-step, so not very approachable, this may not be great if this is your first electric bike or if you haven’t been on a bike in a very long time, but if it works for you, it is really great once you get on and situated
  • There are no battery integrated lights here, not a big deal on some road bikes, but it is a neat feature on ebikes that you are seeing more and more of each day, great for safety and visibility and when they are wired into the battery already, you don’t have to worry about them dying out on you
  • The rim brakes actually work well here as noted in one of the PRO bullet points, but I should mention that unlike some electric bikes, this lacks motor inhibitors, motor inhibitors are cut-off signals built into the brake levers that switch off the electric motor when braking to make stopping even more quick and effective, so it is a shame they are not present here

Resources:

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Comments (16) YouTube Comments

Dale
5 months ago

My jaw dropped when I saw “36v 17ah battery” in the summary. Made more sense in the specs “Battery Amp Hours: 7 ah”

  Reply
Court
5 months ago

Ahhh, oops, thanks for the heads up Dale. I’ll fix that :)

  Reply
Eric K
4 months ago

Very clean design and seems like a reasonable price tag!

  Reply
Court
3 months ago

Yeah, this is a special one, neat to see them creating new fast fun ebikes… with fun names :P

  Reply
Adan
3 months ago

I own a Baby Maker, probably the first one sold by FLX. I got interested after reading the review on this site, so when I was in San Diego recently I called them up for a test ride. The test ride impressed me, and to my surprise they offered to sell me one of their Beta models. I had some reservations about buying a pre-production bike, but in the end I bought it and took home to the Bay Area.

My assessment: the Baby Maker is a great combination of being lightweight, fast, fun, low maintenance, and afforcable. I don’t think there’s anything quite like it considering all those factors. The single speed belt is a big plus for me to minimize maintenance on a commuter. The frame and aggressive body position are probably best suited short stints, but the bike works quite well for my 35 mile roundtrip commute.

There are 5 levels of assist. Levels 1 and 2 boost your start, but cut out at about 5 and 10 mph respectively. The start boost is actually quite useful on a single speed, so I’ll usually leave it in one of these lower gears for stop and go city riding. Level 3 I’ve been using the least. It will help you cruise at about 15 mph, but generally if I’m on a long level stretch I’ll pedal without assist, as I can easily maintain 18 mph that way. Levels 4 and 5 I save for stiff headwinds or hills. On level 5 you can rocket up any hill, the torque and quickness is impressive. The top 2 levels are ridiculous fun. I predict it’s the rabbity feel in these levels more than anything else that will sell Baby Makers.

FLX says the motor will assist up to 25 mph. The real limitation is not the motor but the gearing. I find myself spinning out at 22 mph. The fun and usefullness is in how quickly it gets there.

FLX says the range is 10 to 35 miles. That’s consistent with my experience, but with the important caveat that the Baby Maker can pedal rather easily without assist on level ground. So in that sense the “Range” can be quite a bit longer. Going uphill it is not so much the weight weight as the gearing that forces you to use the assist.

My Beta model lacks rack and fender attachment points, which is fine with me. The folks at FLX told me the production version will have them.

I see tremendous value here for $2,000. I hope FLX can sell a lot of these.

A somewhat comparable ebike might be the Orbea Gain. Carbon Fiber Gains weigh less than the Baby Maker and cost considerably more. But the Gain is a different engineering approach. The assist on the Gain serves to enhance your effort but not replace it. The Baby Maker by contrast can move you expeditiously with little or no effort on your part if that’s how you want to use it.

  Reply
Court
3 months ago

What a great comment, Adan! It was awesome to read about your experience with FLX, getting one of the pre-production models… I’m so glad it has performed well for you. Drop by any time to post updates, I hope it lasts and provides many miles of smiles :D

  Reply
Adan
3 months ago

My Baby Maker developed a severe clacking sound from the crankset. Sounds like something’s going to break so I’ve had to stop riding until FLX addresses it. There is also a problem with the accuracy of the battery indicator, it shows a full charge until the battery is about to go dead. These are the sort of teething problems I was hoping I wouldn’t be dealing with in owning a beta bike, and now I’m dealing with them. The bummer is I was really enjoying the bike, it’s been a great tool for my commute. I hate that I can’t ride it. The good news is I’m in direct contact with the top guy at FLX and he has assured me all will be good. I’ll send updates.

  Reply
Court
3 months ago

Hi Adan, I’m glad FLX has been there to support you. Did you get the bottom bracket wet? I’ve seen traditional bicycle bottom brackets “creak” over time as dust and water get in there. Perhaps it could use some grease or a tune-up from a bicycle mechanic to make sure everything is tight and solid.

Adan
3 months ago

Thanks for the comment, Court. The sound I’m hearing is like someone’s hitting the bottom bracket with a hammer. You can hear it from half a block away. It’s much louder than I would expect if all that was needed was a tune up. But we’ll see. I’m still waiting to hear from FLX what they propose. I suppose this isn’t much interest to your readers since you can’t even order a Baby Maker yet. Maybe this becomes a fable about the perils of owning a pre-production bike.

Randall F Johnson
2 months ago

Where is a retail store for FLX Baby Maker, close to American Fork, Utah?

  Reply
Court
2 months ago

Hi Randall, I’m not sure FLX sells through any bicycle retailers. I think that you must order purchase online and have it shipped. Perhaps I’m wrong, but that’s my best guess. I recommend calling them to ask :)

  Reply
Jamshid Faryar
2 months ago

How about an airless tire option, for a truly low-maintenance ride.

  Reply
Court
2 months ago

Hey! I’ve seen a few bike tires that use foam instead of air. I’ve heard that they can be less comfortable, and weight more, but it’s a great idea… especially for electric bikes, since the weight is less of an issue :D I think Specialized and Trek have some cool runflat bike tires worth checking out. I rode one of the Specialized models last year (it was an analog bike vs. electric) and it felt pretty good. I couldn’t find the tires alone, but this is the bike that was using them.

  Reply
Josh
2 weeks ago

How does it do on hills? My commute ends with about a 400′ climb over about 3/4 of a mile, with a couple pretty steep spots (here on the bench in Utah). Could it handle that with the single gear (without killing me)? Thanks!

  Reply
Court
7 days ago

Hi Josh! I’d consider the Baby Maker to be a more active ebike, where you trade power for lighter weight. The 250 watt motor provides great support once the bike is moving, but not enough to start a climb without pedaling along. One way to deal with this, especially on a single speed, is to start at an angle if you’re already on an incline. Do I think it would work for you? Sure, it probably won’t kill you, just don’t expect an efficient little hub motor to propel you without some effort… learn how to work with the motor and temper your expectations, and you’ll enjoy it! Even the most powerful hub motors can struggle when starting from standstill on an incline… you might still have to pedal, but at least you could downshift before stopping and then have your own pedaling mechanical advantage with one of the more powerful ebikes vs. this one. But then again, they will probably weigh more, cost more, and require more maintenance.

  Reply

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