My experience with Stealth Electric Bikes and the Stealth Bomber

PRW

New Member
In September 2012 I bought a Stealth Bomber from a Stealth Dealer in Western Australia. This bicycle was a demonstration model, which had been built I believe towards the end of 2011.

Unfortunately, in July 2013, the bicycle stopped working. I had been riding, and was caught in a downpour; I stopped, and put the bike under shelter until it had stopped raining. When I tried to switch the bike back on, it wouldn't do so. I started to pedal home without any power; after about 5 minutes of pedalling, it started to work again, and I was able to power home.

When I tried to switch the bicycle on, approximately 1 week later, the Cycle Analyst computer (CA) wasn’t working. I contacted Stealth Electric Bicycles (SEB) via the website. During August I corresponded with SEB regarding how the bicycle could be fixed, including trying to diagnose if the CA was faulty, or if the controller was at fault. I was unable to get the bicycle to work.

The Dealer for Westen Australia had changed; the new Dealer diagnosed that the controller was faulty, and needed to be replaced. This work was carried out at a cost of $890.

The bicycle was collected towards the end of September 2013, once it was ready. On the first ride after collection, it worked for approximately 2km, and then again ceased to work. The bicycle was returned to the Dealer for further diagnosis. This time, the fault was determined as a faulty battery, which needed to be replaced. This cost $2,475. As the bike was more than a year old, SEB were unwilling to contribute financially.

As the bicycle was useless for its intended purpose without this further repair taking place, I told them to go ahead. I contacted SEB, first directly, and then under local consumer protection laws, pointing out that consumers are entitled to expect that things they buy be of merchantable Quality, which will last for a reasonable period of time, and be fit for the purpose for which they have been acquired. The Stealth Bomber electric bicycle could not be considered to be of reasonable quality; it is made for cycling outdoors, yet it was unable to survive a downpour of rain.

Their website quotes “800 charge and discharge cycles”. The bicycle had done approximately 1000 kilometres; with the quoted 80km range, this would imply approximately 13 charges!

SEB has stated that they cannot help, that the bike is out of the one year warranty. I would expect components on a $12k bike to last a fair bit longer than that. Other than going to court, which would be difficult, and potentially waste even more money, I sold the bike at quite a big loss.

I think the issue of water ingress is quite serious on this bike - my opinion, although it is just that, is that water gets into the controller from water sprayed up under the bike if roads are wet, and it affects the electronics. I hope this story helps others who might own the bike and hopefully the design will be improved over time so others aren't impacted like I was.
 
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Court

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks for sharing your story here. It would be devastating to pay so much for a bike and then have it get wrecked like that and require such a big outlay of cash to fix. I imagine you might have been on a budget when you bought the demo model and thus, the huge expense of repair would be even more upsetting - the opposite of saving money.

It almost sounds like having the controller go out contributed to the battery getting ruined. Without a charge monitoring system and without being able to even keep the pack charged for that period of time could have let it dip below the recommended level and thus upset the chemistry. I'm just bummed that it happened and that it cost so much to fix! I hope they gave you the parts at cost.

Again, I appreciate your testimonial as it may encourage others to avoid water and perhaps the company will reconsider their design going forward (maybe they already have made some improvements since 2011?) have you considered getting any other electric bikes since then? It's a bummer you had to sell at a loss, I had a very similar experience with my first ebike and it's part of what motivated me to start this site and open a forum where people could share.
 

PRW

New Member
thanks Court: yes, a bit annoying to be able to get a demo bike at a reduced rate, and then lose 000's over the next year!

I have just (yesterday) bought a BH Xtrem, and am planning to build (have built for me!) a dual suspension MTB with the Bafang mid-drive. The experince hasn't put me off electric bikes, luckily...
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
That's awesome! Hang in there, I'm sure you'll enjoy your new ebike. I really love the Easy Motion Neo line and the Xtrem is one of my favorites! It looks awesome and has a great controller with throttle mode, pedal assist and it uses a torque sensor!

What bicycle frame are you going to use for your full suspension build with the Bafang mid-drive kit? Sounds very cool! Did you consider getting the full suspension Neo Jumper at any point? BH is working on a new line with mid-drives by Bosch called the Xenon and I'm working to get the reviews out soon. I'm not sure if they have a full suspension model so it sounds like your custom build makes a lot of sense. The only other full suspension mid drive I've seen is the Haibike Xduro AMT Pro which is very expensive.
 

PRW

New Member
the bike for the mid drive is a Iron Horse G Spot - was going to put it on a Montague MX, but I wanted disc brakes. I looked at the Jumper, but the Xtrem is for street riding, and I wanted a bit power (750W) for off road for the full suspension bike. Haibikes look stunning... but very expensive!
 

EddieJ

Well-Known Member
Hi Court, I thought that BH have been selling the Xenon for sometime now and it's certainly detailed in my 2012 dealer handbook. At least with the bosch system there should be the possibility of fitting a dongle to give more power.

Sadly I have also just noticed that the NEO Xtrem isn't listed as a UK model anymore.
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Hmm, thanks for the update Eddie. I've got some reviews coming up on the Xenon models (not sure if they were available here before 2014?) I think I saw them at the BH headquarters in California a few months back by I've still got a stack of reviews to get through before them :)

The dongle thing you're talking about is also a new concept for me. This sounds very cool and I like the idea of hacking ebikes to make them go faster. My friend just got a Tesla Model S and is a programmer. He hacked it so that he can turn the lights on and make it sort of dance and do all kinds of stuff. Maybe in the future we'll have cheat codes and hacks for bikes like that.

It seems like BH is transitioning some of the Easy Motion specs on their bikes and maybe reshuffling the lineup because I was told that the 2014 Neo 650B isn't capable of reaching the 27mph top speed that last year's Neo bikes could in pedelec mode. A lot of their decisions and designs are made in Spain which follows the EU guidelines so maybe they are just backing off on the US higher speed thing or maybe they are just telling me that to be official. My recent Easy Motion reviews were all shot in the rain and with limited time at their headquarters, I didn't get to test them as thoroughly as I would have liked so I really can't say :(
 

EddieJ

Well-Known Member
Hi Court, the dongle can be seen from this link. http://www.e-bikeshop.co.uk/bosch-ebike-tuning-dongle They aren't cheap though, and I'm not really that keen on the way that they alter the display settings. I guess that was the only way to get it to work.

bosch-electric-bike-tuning-dongle.jpg

The Bosch tuning dongles remove the 15mph speed cut off point on all Bosch powered eBikes. They are software based and wire into the speed sensor using 2 wires (wire clips included). Real easy to fit, anyone with a mechanical mind can fit. (Fitting instructions on downloads page)

Works with all Bosch Model Years : 2011, 2012, 2013 - We do have a dongle kit for the 2014 Gen2 Bosch Motors. This can only be purchased with one of of own eBikes. We will include fitting within the price. If you would like one, please add a dongle and your bike to the basket together. We will then fit the dongle prior to the eBike leaving our workshop. The Gen2 2014 Bosch motor dongles cannot be purchased on their own.

Once fitted it doubles the cut off speed. It can also be used with the 350w Bosch S pedelec motors as it works in the same way. The dongle can be easily un-plugged whenever necessary to revert the bike back to normal.

There are 2 downsides to fitting these:
  1. The HID will read the wrong mph, you can easily fit an after market computer/use gps phone to see exact mph. Or after 7mph you can double the speed shown on the HID.
  2. The range can be affected due to using extra power. However speaking with the Germans they say before fitting the dongle they were using 'Turbo' or 'Sport' mode. Now after fitting they use 'Eco' due to the extra cut off speed and this has balanced the range out.
Obviously by going over the 15mph cut off these dongles are FOR OFF ROAD USE ONLY!

It's a shame that no one has yet come up with something to do the same on the BH, we are stuck with 15.5mph. We also don't get a throttle. :( I'll try an find some info on the Xenon and add it to the BH section.

As for the rain, we seemed to have had rain for months now, and I long to see some warm sunshine. :(
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Wow, that's an amazing mod! Thanks for sharing Eddie... I'd like to repay the favor, sending beautiful sunshine your way! Just reach across the pond... Reach!!

beautiful-sunshine-for-you.jpg

ps. I quoted the specs for the kit and added an image for reference, this is completely new to me and it's amazing that stuff like this is out there!
 

oilerlord

Member
PRW's experience was one of reasons I decided that buying a demo bike isn't always a great deal - especially since batteries have a finite lifetime regardless of how long they sit on the shelf; and at $2600 each (for a replacement Bomber battery pack), batteries are expensive. I was >this close< to buying a demo Bomber but decided against it - not only because of the battery concern but also because I realized the Bomber is basically the Harley-Davidson of e-bikes. I got a little hypnotized by the Bomber's power but finally came to my senses that fitness was the reason I'm buying a bike, and I had no need for a 120 pound cruiser. Of course, you could pedal a Stealth Bomber but if we're being honest...if you have 4.5KW on tap - why would you?
 

SeeNoEvil

New Member
Hi. I'm just new here and have been reading the Stealth posts while waiting for my new B-52 Bomber to be built.

http://www.stealthelectricbikes.com/stealth-b-52-bomber/

I've been scouring the net to learn as much as I can so that I'm prepared once my beast arrived. I found this thread which I find a little perplexing mostly because the huge majority of feedback that I find about the bikes is A+++, and since my bike is arriving soon I would like to hear more.

From Court's first post I'm not sure if the chronological timeline is accurate, or if I'm just reading it wrong. So can someone please clarify this for me?

ie. Court bought a used B-52 Bomber at the end of 2012 which was built in late 2011 and it broke down in July 2013.

Looking at my calendar, this means that the bike was at least 18 months old before it broke down. Is this correct?

Thanks for clarifying this as I'm hoping the build date of the bike wasn't late 2012. That makes a huge difference.