Sparkbike 2019 Review

Dsixdsix

New Member
Hi All,

After a lot of research and time spent going over mid drive vs hub and differing brands I was still unsure what to do or if I should wait. I test rode about 8 different bikes. Nothing quite meet my exacting set of expectations. I have been tracking both Voltbike and Sparkbike as local Vancouver companies. I took the plunge and picked up the Sparkbike on their Black Friday sale saving around 470 dollars. ($1499 CAD) This I consider worth the risk as many others offered 200 or less on sale discounts for less of a bike.

With this I got a massive 48 v 17amp hour battery to quell my nerves on range anxiety. Motor is quiet with some hum and 500 watts and caps out about 33km on throttle. Pas 9 is great and less load on motor in the right gear. I tend to find riding along in gear 5 a good compromise and easy spin without losing momentum. The sealed cadence sensor is responsive but does take a half turn to engage. If on a hill this can be jarring as you struggle to start. A little throttle helps.

The gear range is good with 7 gears and I usually spin freely and easy in the middle as mentioned. Climbing is far better when assisting with PAS. I live on a steep hill and both throttle and PAS 5 and above seems to take me up no problem. I tend to find PAS 1-4 weak as the bike is heavy but thats just me.

The bike is pretty similar to many other models I have seen and tested. Yes I know its a Chinese bike but it seems pretty solid. This bike did have a larger battery and was local though. I could not find a bike in BC for anywhere near the price without going to Ancheer or other mega cheap brands.. I chose this Spark model as it suits my needs on tarmac and light trails. Suspension is spring but adequate for the above. Its far too heavy to go really off road but gravel is fine. I did think about getting a fat tire bike, till I test rode one. The ride is nice but my god that's a heavy bike. I also Fat bikes have high rolling resistance on the road and are so heavy I could barely shift the thing into the bike rack at work. If it works for you then great. I say buy the bike based on what you will do the most. In my case Commuting, no sand or mud riding.

Ordering was simple on line. Sparkbikes called me after 5 minutes of placing my order and we chatted. That was a quick and welcome reply time. They also answered my enquiry email the day before within 10 minutes. I like this level of response. Bearing in mind I emailed them at 7pm at night as well. I arranged my pickup as requested and had the bike three hours later. Bike comes very well packed. No damage to box or bike bar a small mark on the battery case. Had to put on wheel, seat post handlebar and other misc bits. Those were easy. Bitch of a time with front fender though. Kept rubbing and I took it off. May just buy a snap on front one. My rear fender was installed and I am pleased to report has no rubbing or noise when riding.

Bike itself feels good quality for the price. Not Walmart by any means with good welds and-stiff frame. A def mid tier bike with good components. Hydraulic brakes, large battery and proven frame. It also has indexed gearing with thumb shift, not the cheap "Micky Mouse" SIS shifter. Acera is a good mid range component and I have ridden my non electric hard tail for 9 years with the same gearing. Rear rack is good but cant take as much as other racks. It was fine with my small backpack. Tires are stock but do the job, I will look into Tuffy liners or Slime I think. Brakes work well but may need adjusting a little. No squeaking rotors yet anyway.

Yes it’s not a Bosch bike but I test rode one of those and Giant quick e plus, and both were like pedaling in treacle when you hit 32km. The motor fighting you to keep you at 32km no matter how hard you tried to go faster, Also the trek bikes were on average 2-3k more expensive at least. Leaving a 4-5K bike locked up worries me and I can’t justify that spend anyway. My goal is to get into the e bike market and then maybe I can upgrade down the road if it works out.

A cautionary note is to check all bolts and the head tube. I did a test ride after I thought I had done this. Wheel was loose and rattled. I check every ride now including brakes and tires. Wear reflective gear and ride defensive. Bike can hit 50km on a hill going down. Bike feels stable but after 35-40km you can really feel the wind resistance. Without real effort I can get around 35km no sweating. 40km if I go hard. Thats fast enough I feel for commuting. Fastest I got was 50km on a long hill max PAS.

I rode to work today. Pouring rain and bike had no issues. It was wet out and is heavy so please take it easy and don’t throttle on corners. I usually drop the PAS too so I don’t engage mid turn. Ride was from Delta BC to almost Second narrows bridge. Lots of hills and a few killers that my old mountain bike and I struggled up. The Alex Fraser bridge climb I have on Strava as around 11km speed on my old mountain bike. Today I hit 38km going uphill with no sweat PAS 8 with some minimal effort. It’s such a joyous feeling I was singing out loud over the rush hour traffic, in fact several driver were looking at me as I matched their speed on the bridge. When I got to work the battery was down about 17 percent when I arrived. 25 km trip pretty much full pas 7-9 and some throttle. Uphills and down, urban riding on street.

The Charger is 3 amp and fast but has a internal fan so makes a little noise. Light enough to carry, i topped of battery at work as wanted to test range on way home. But probally dont need to do this.

I will update as I go along. I aim to ride a lot to work in the summer. This will save me 15 dollars a day gas parking and transit. Therefore the bike will pay for itself all being well in around 100 rides.

Good luck if hunting for an e bike. Pick a price and test ride as much as you can. Choose one that suits what you will be doing most (Commuting, off-road etc.) The buy it and don't look back. It is amazing fun.

Thanks for reading.

Daniel
 
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Handlebars

Active Member
WOW, what a reduction for a Canadian seller! Which model is it? Fenders are the best ever on the City bike. Never a rattle. Try again, maybe it was on wrongly. You mount it BEHIND the part that joins the forks. Clearance is slight, but it never rubs and it does a great job.
Thanks for the "heads up"on the sale. Now I'm thinking to double up on the same bike maybe. I had checked Spark just a week ago or so out of idle curiosity to see if they had a BlackFriday sale.
My range anxiety is 100km so 2 batteries would take me just about as far as I might want to ride in one day, and I was considering buying a battery from China. But the 13Ah city bike at $1199 and free delivery is tempting me right away.

As you say, that is a massive reduction for Canadians - we usually get the Conor McGregor "You'll get nuttin".
 
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Dsixdsix

New Member
Hey, It maybe my fault as I cannot get the front fender to not rub no matter how hard I adjust it. The reduction is including the tax I saved. 460 to be correct still not bad eh! Its the 2019 Sparkbike model (The normal looking commuter one) Listed for 1499 CAD when I ordered down from 1899.
 

Handlebars

Active Member
Hi, i was editing in more info when you responded. The fender has to mount behind the part that joins the forks or it's a no go.
I have that bike and I love it. The Spark City. I might go for the regular disk brake and 13 Ah battery this time to put it in range of convincing my wallet.
 

Dsixdsix

New Member
Thanks for the tip..I did actually try that and its almost as if the metal arms are not long enough....anyways I will keep trying or add a cheap snap on fender. Hang on just saw your full reply.....I did around say 20% on 25km so it cutting it close on one 17 amp hour. A second battery would give you peace of mind. You can run low PAS but due to the weight of the bike I feel PAS 4/5 is the lowest I would go even on flat. Yes I hear you re Canada. I always see these good deals and such in the USA but not for us. I don't think you can beat 1499 CAD for mine without buying a real cheap Chinese brand with unmarked cells and cheap parts. Yes 1199 is very cheap as the battery alone must be 500 or more, 700 for my one. Good luck and safe riding my friend!
 
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Handlebars

Active Member
Hey, It maybe my fault as I cannot get the front fender to not rub no matter how hard I adjust it. The reduction is including the tax I saved. 460 to be correct still not bad eh! Its the 2019 Sparkbike model (The normal looking commuter one) Listed for 1499 CAD when I ordered down from 1899.
They fit with very close clearance. Is the wheel pretty straight? should be zero problem. I have the exact same bike. After you fit it behind the fork joiner, jack it upwards as far as possible, and tighten it in. Same with the support wire struts. Jack the fender up hard and tighten.
Possibly do each one separately and twist it before tightening to make the fender sit higher. fully tighten then do the other same way, so it bends the struts a little just by locking them in place like that one at a time
I bought locks from Pro Bike and Chain Reaction for good prices. I take the battery with me and use real heavy chain locks and good u-lock and screamer and I don't worry when I leave it to go shopping. Spend a couple hundred and don't have to kick yourself later.
 
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Handlebars

Active Member
I would put a good turtle wax coating on it or something and tape or otherwise protect the paint wherever the locks will touch or it could get scratched because the surface is a bit sub par.
 

Grump010

New Member
Great write up, I bought 2 of the Mini's during the sale. I've finished assembly and adjustments on one and the other will be done today. I'm very happy with these, after much research I think I made the right choice.
 

Handlebars

Active Member
Thanks for the tip..I did actually try that and its almost as if the metal arms are not long enough....
I just used a tape measure on the arms from the outside where the fork has the boss part sticking out then bending around and going to to the fender middle where it's screwed on, and it's 12 ".

You can run low PAS but due to the weight of the bike I feel PAS 4/5 is the lowest I would go even on flat.
I try to keep up with traffic a bit between stops and starts, so on main streets I generally am using gear 5 and PAS 7 but when I feel I need to keep up on longer stretches it's PAS 8.
Gears 6 and 7 are too small for the chain to run very smoothly, you can hear the difference. I usually stay between PAS3 and PAS 8, with perhaps PAS 3 or 4 on side streets with stop signs everywhere. PAS 9 almost never will go faster or quicker than PAS 8 except in freezing weather because PAS 8 is fast and quick.

Yes I hear you re Canada. I always see these good deals and such in the USA but not for us. I don't think you can beat 1499 CAD for mine without buying a real cheap Chinese brand with unmarked cells and cheap parts. Yes 1199 is very cheap as the battery alone must be 500 or more, 700 for my one. Good luck and safe riding my friend!
No way to beat the prices in Canada for the component set and large battery. Thanks and thank you for the tip off. It is possible to get a battery a bit cheaper in China with higher grade type and brand cells, but the B Friday deal could double up everything for cheap. Decisions decisions... :)

I would get 35E cells, cheaper and really good for our type of bike.
 
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HKPolice

New Member
I'm considering the spark city bike, does anyone know what speed controller is being used? What model of bafang hub & Kenda tire?

TIA
 

Handlebars

Active Member
Tires are Kenda 26" x2.1" and also give this: (54-55.9). Also K-1052-005
Hub says Bafang 500W and BFBPM 48V500W 26(13) 1906117375-1
Speed controller is inside battery case, and I haven't looked in there yet.
 

HKPolice

New Member
Tires are Kenda 26" x2.1" and also give this: (54-55.9). Also K-1052-005
Hub says Bafang 500W and BFBPM 48V500W 26(13) 1906117375-1
Speed controller is inside battery case, and I haven't looked in there yet.
Thanks for the info!


Seems like these tires are very basic, no K-Shield puncture resistance :(

The hub on the other hand seems to be 1 of the bigger motors.

Is there a switch to disable the thumb throttle without turning off the system? Seems pretty easy to accidentally press the throttle.

How is the chain tension? I've ridden other ebikes of a similar design and the chain kept falling off over bumps because it was too loose /w the same Shimano Acera derailleur.
 
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Handlebars

Active Member
Thanks for the info!


Seems like these tires are very basic, no K-Shield puncture resistance :(
You're welcome! I added Slime to the tubes. No punctures before adding it, no flats after in city riding.

The hub on the other hand seems to be 1 of the bigger motors.
I can't tell what other motors do, but this bike is peppy. Almost never does any car beat my bike across the intersection from a stop light.

Is there a switch to disable the thumb throttle without turning off the system? Seems pretty easy to accidentally press the throttle.
Yes, I did accidentally hit throttle. Also I hit the PAS when I wanted to hit the throttle. All when new to the bike. I therefore adjusted how the throttle sits and how the button controller sits. Then not a problem at all.
I assume you can also disconnect the throttle at the connector to comply with any local regulation if need be, without making trouble for the bike's system.

How is the chain tension? I've ridden other ebikes of a similar design and the chain kept falling off over bumps because it was too loose /w the same Shimano Acera derailleur.
Never had any chain issue whatsoever at 1000km now. Great shifting, never fell off. The smallest gear is simply too small for any of these bike chains to be a really good fit. You can hear a small different sound from the smallest gear, but no actual problem other than presumed wear and tear from it being so small.

I would count on buying a seat suspension system to take up the hard knocks on bad pavement which is many places here.
 
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Handlebars

Active Member
The thing I like so much now but was not a fan of before is the handlebar and stem. It's fantastic positioning with the smallish frame and low seat..like a chopper bike and I can put both feet flat on the ground.
 

Handlebars

Active Member
Great write up, I bought 2 of the Mini's during the sale. I've finished assembly and adjustments on one and the other will be done today. I'm very happy with these, after much research I think I made the right choice.
I think so too. You really can't do better in Canada for a ready-made ebike with these components.
 

Grump010

New Member
I did an unboxing and assembly video on Sunday and should have it edited in the next few days, I'll post a link here when it's posted to youtube. I've never done a video of this nature so it will be pretty basic but shows what you will get and how easy it is to get the bike going.
 

Handlebars

Active Member
Is there a switch to disable the thumb throttle without turning off the system? Seems pretty easy to accidentally press the throttle.
The answer you may have guessed, is "No switch." A physical switch would be a good idea. A "throttle on/off" choice on the display screen would be good too I guess if they could do that. Putting a switch between connector halves could work I suppose and might not even void warranty?
 

Handlebars

Active Member
I did an unboxing and assembly video on Sunday and should have it edited in the next few days, I'll post a link here when it's posted to youtube. I've never done a video of this nature so it will be pretty basic but shows what you will get and how easy it is to get the bike going.
OK, Grump010 I'll be looking for it.
 

elecbikenoob

New Member
I purchased and ebike from Spark, i wanted to buy local, so shortlist was Surface604 Shred, Voltbike outback. Considered a fatbike like Nashorn as well.

I wanted to test ride the bike but took a chance with the sale they had i could not resist and ordered the sparkbike mtb non fat tire, mechanical brakes. Ordered before noon and recieved a call that i would be getting details on when/where to pick up after 1pm. Picked it up later that day! It hopefully survived its trip from China but didnt want to chance on another courier throwing it on/off their truck.

Im new to disc brakes so spent some time getting the front wheel brake pads not to rub, the rear was fine. Tightened a couple of loose spokes in the rear and double checked all the bolts on the bike. I discovered a missing bolt on the derailleur guard so replaced with the extra bolts from the rear rack i removed. The bell stopped working but wasy an easy fix. Overall paint is nice no chips or anything, wheel rims have minor scuffs, probably from how they store them prior to assembly. Reseated the tire to take some minor wobble out.

Sparkbike emailed me to make sure to tighten the crank bolt. Mine definitely needed tightening, so that consideration from them was great.

For what the bike has parts/specs/looks i think it cant be beat. decent deraileur, shifter is nice and slim (unlike Voltbike) and more crank teeth.

This bike will not be for commuting, just a fun bike to do some fairweather urban exploration and mild trails. I have not been able to ride it outside yet but it does feel peppy with the room i have tested in. Im 5'6" and its a little large but doable.

😲Weather guessers say it will be sunny tommorow, so will be going for a test ride! Hope this bike is great and lasts! Original poster keep us updated in the longterm. Delta to almost Second narrows is 😲