Reposted: Considering buying the new Dillenger/Arc kit - thoughts?

SQN

Member
Hello community.

I originally posted this in the Dillenger sub-forum, but due to a lack of response, I thought I'd post it here. Apologies if that is in poor forum etiquette! Was really looking forward to some feedback if possible.

I've been lurking here and sometimes posting here for about a month. I've gone from knowing nothing to learning quite a lot about ebikes, kits, etc. over the past month.

I've resolved to purchase and install a kit on my own. The kit will be for a Surly Cross Check for primarily commuting purposes - 32 mile roundtrip in a flat, urban environment. I'm focussed on cost, ease of installation, and speed.

And so, after looking at BionX, Falco, Magic Pie, and all the others with information on this site, I've arrived at a new Dillinger/Arc kit - http://dillengerelectricbikes.com/electric-bike-kits/arc-offroad-560wh-electric-bike-kit-by-arc.html.

This is a 560WH, 48V kit with a top speed of 28mph+. The price is reasonable compared to the others. It's a rear-hub, downtube battery design. I like that I can use my existing dropbar road style handbar and brakes.

I've communicated directly with the owner/founder, Sam Sewell. He seems nice, is responsive, etc. He sent me the installation manual and the display manual. They are well done, easy to read, thorough. These kits use the same color-coded cables as the earlier Dillinger units. Looks beginner friendly. Everything looks legit.

I'm pretty much ready to pull the trigger, except for the fact that I can't find anyone on the Internet who has actually reviewed one of these units. I'm reluctant to spend $1,400+ to be a first adopter since this is my first forray into the ebike world.

So I'm looking to this community for some advice before I move forward. Should I be worried or concerned? Or should I go for it? Would love your thoughts! Thanks!

Scott
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
I can't figure what ARC is:

(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)

It's too new. Sam has been around. He does interesting things, but mostly he is branding stuff out of China. (everyone does that.) The marketing on this is a little slicker. Not sure why the new company, but it's a different product. A mid-drive is another route, but it would be the BBS02. Dillenger sells them, but maybe you have a reason to want to go hub.

Not too many people convert bikes with drop bars, but that frame seems to support rather wide tires, up to 40c, apparently. It's not a heavy frame, so you would want to beef up the motor mounts. Not sure what you end up with.

You can get whole bikes around that price, like the Interceptor that Court recently reviewed. Volt Bikes.

This bike?

cross-check-15-orange_sv_930x390.jpg
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Love the Surly, but 1000 watts nominal? You won't need pedals with that build. With your power added you'll have almost 3 times the watts of a professional cyclist without the equipment or skill! That's a motorcycle. I would look to the BionX, it's a better matched system for that bike and tried and true.

I run a 576 WH battery with a 500 watt hub and my commute is 34 mile round trip without charging during the day. In the cold of winter I get 35 mile range and hot summer about 45 mile range. I don't know if a 560 WH battery will give you the range you want running a 1000 watt hub at full power.

I'm not trying to be confrontational or a downer, but I would think about that ARK offroad/road build. Good luck, let us know how it works out.
 

SQN

Member
Hi George. Yep, that's my bike. Just a different color. Mine is a 2013, and green. I bought it new, and just don't have the space. Don't want to get rid of the Surly, and it would be hard to justify to the family that I need a completely new bike, even though I agree and realize the cost savings is questionable at best.

Arc and Dillinger seem to be related companies, although I haven't pressed for more details.

I think everything looks pretty great about that kit. I just wish I could know more about the motor, and actually hear what it sounds like. Really amazes me that they don't have any videos themselves!
 

SQN

Member
Love the Surly, but 1000 watts nominal? You won't need pedals with that build. With your power added you'll have almost 3 times the watts of a professional cyclist without the equipment or skill! That's a motorcycle. I would look to the BionX, it's a better matched system for that bike and tried and true.

I run a 576 WH battery with a 500 watt hub and my commute is 34 mile round trip without charging during the day. In the cold of winter I get 35 mile range and hot summer about 45 mile range. I don't know if a 560 WH battery will give you the range you want running a 1000 watt hub at full power.

I'm not trying to be confrontational or a downer, but I would think about that ARK offroad/road build. Good luck, let us know how it works out.

Thanks, JR! This is precisely the kind of feedback I've been hoping to get. My first foray into the ebike world was to test ride a Stomer ST1. It was pretty exhilerating and eye opening to be cruising along at 28mph without even trying hard. I want the option of that kind of speed.

I'm not that technically saavy, so I like how seemingly simple the Dillinger kits may be compared with some of the other kits. Obviously the BionX are the gold standard, but they're significantly more expensive, and none go above 20mph to my knowledge. The Dillinger/ARC Street kit lists the max speed at 16mph, which is definitely not fast enough. I average 15mph now.

But to be clear, I have every intention of peddling along. So if the motor can get to 16mph without peddling, then how fast would the bike likely go if one is peddling along?
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
To be honest I don't know this ARK system there's little information on it and it's not likely you'll be going full out all the time, so the speed you could play with for the range. That Surly isn't a beefy Stromer though, with disk brakes and built for the speed. I wouldn't want to go 28+ on rim brakes. When you do the math for a 16 mile ride at 20 mph it's not that long a ride.
 

SQN

Member
Good points. You may be entirely right that riding consistently at 20mph+ on this bike would precarious. I've pushed it harder on some downhills, but they are rim brakes! I need to balance what is practical and realistic with what is possible. That's where I'm getting stuck. With all the different options out there, I'm really struggling to pin down what makes the most sense while not breaking the bank.

J.R., is yours a kit, or a purpose built bike? If a kit, what are you riding? You have a similar commute. Do you do that daily, or just every now and then?
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
There are some great kit-bike builders here and your Surly is a nice bike to do a build. My concern is not to overstress your components. You shouldn't have problems at 20 mph, you just want to go into this eyes wide open. I don't have a pure affinity to any one brand, but I (just me) want to stay at bicycle speeds and for me that's 25 mph+/-.

I ride most days, with 6000+ mi. in the past year. I'm also a lifelong motorcycle rider, so I know what you mean by exhilarating speed. I was where you are now this time last year with ebikes, let's face it most of us were with ebikes still being new tech. I'm in the process of getting my next ebike (I hope).

With so much information to gather it's not easy to make up one's mind. My biggest concern last year was range, so I went for big battery and not necessarily the bike I wanted for all time. I felt if this experiment wasn't both fun and real transportation, it wasn't worth it. It is fun, transportation and was well worth it!

I sent you a PM.
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
Should I be worried or concerned?

Wonder who they sourced the motor from? The LCD display looks like a re-branded C965. Battery used is less stable then LiFePO4 but how they get the current output required to drive the motor. It will definitely get you what you are asking for (speed), but they specify off road based on the motor. There are other options that will work as well for less $.

Court J.
 

SQN

Member
There are other options that will work as well for less $. Court J.[/QUOTE said:
Thanks, J.R. & Court J. Just curious, which kits would you consider to be equal or better options, for less money?
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
"which kits would you consider to be equal or better options"

Since I've never ridden the Arc kit I can't comment about the performance. The Arc kit can't meet the legal requirement of a "bicycle" based on the motor rating. That could become an issue that would prevent you from using the bike as a commuter vehicle; something to consider. I can only comment on Bafang mid-drives and MAC 500W rear geared hubs; systems I've installed and bikes I ride regularly. The Bafang 750W 48V BBS02 will provide you with the power necessary to meet your requirement and more. The motor cut-off speed can be set via the C965 LCD. It comes from the distributor set to cut-off at 20mph. Since the LCD in the Arc kit looks like a re-branded C965 I'm assuming the same programmable features. The MAC500W geared rear hub is a very capable motor. If you read the specs. it's quite impressive. Paul at Em3ev can provide more detail, but the motor can be configured in 36V and 48V versions. I can attest to the 36V version with a CA3 interface, it's powerful and easily pushes the bike along at 26mph. The performance profile can be easily altered to whatever you want by configuring the CA3. Interestingly, even though the motor is rated 500W at 36V, when you set the CA3 to 750W limit the motor will draw and run continuously at 750W.

Since I've used both kits in conversions I can tell you that either kit is pretty easy and straight forward to install. Anyone with a casual mechanical ability and a few tools can do it. I can also tell you that the BBS02 mid-drive is easier to connect all the components since the wiring and connectors are all designed into the system. Save the battery which is two wires, all other connections are color coded "plug and play".

If you do choose the Arc, the only suggestion I would make, is find out who makes the motor. It's probably a good motor, but I'd want to know the motor manufacturer.

I commute 28 miles round trip in a fairly hilly area in New Hampshire. For the past 7 weeks I've been riding the bike I converted with the Bafang 750W 48V BBS02 mid-drive. My average speed over all terrain is 20mph. On a flat (if I set the cut-off speed high enough 26mph is easily attained. I set the speed to cut-off at 24 and can keep the bike moving around 25-26mph with the motor off on the flats. I've just pushed past 1100 miles and the bike and motor run flawlessly. Only "issue" if you want to call it an issue; the chain is worn out after 750 miles and the 12T cog is taking a beating because I spend a lot of time there and shift on and off it when I encounter some of the hills.

Have fun, whatever you decide! ;)

Court J.
 

SQN

Member
Very interesting! Thanks, Court!

I was not familiar with EM3EV. I see what you mean about these kits being more cost effective!

I really haven't put any effort into researching the middrive kits. They seem like they'd be more complicated to install. Between the two you have there, which is quieter in operation?
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
We acquired two e-bikes with geared rear wheel motors this summer. One is a store bought LG and the other is a lower cost kit I put together. Both claim 500W motors. Quality is yet to be determined, but I bought a $199 rear wheel kit off ebay and installed it on a older steel frame Trek mountain bike, I also bought a $208 dolphin style battery on ebay and paid $80 for shipping, All in all, I think I have a workable kit for under $600 and some sweat equity. The store bought e-bike was also well under $1500. Bear in mind you can buy ebikes shipped to your door for under $800.

Still, our needs differ. I don't commute so I don't have to be at work on time. I just knock around on suburban streets and on local bike paths, where 15 mph is a safe speed. At a sustained 25 mph, I'd want good disk brakes that work when wet.

As a commuter, you will probably just make it home after 32 miles of riding. I often wonder how hard it is to pedal a direct drive hub, especially the high power ones, without any battery. The geared motors are transparent. You pedal them normally, but they won't go as fast under power as direct drive. The gears are also an extra point of failure.

Your battery will work hard, if it is charged 5 days a week, 40 weeks a year. You do want a quality battery.

With all that in mind, you should be paying more for quality components, but you probably don't need 1000 watts.
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
They seem like they'd be more complicated to install. Between the two you have there, which is quieter in operation?

They're not more complicated. It's fairly straight forward but you do need a few tools to disassemble the bottom bracket components. There are some great youtubes on the installation.


All three of the mid-drive bikes I've converted are very quiet. Except for a faint "whirring" sound and the acceleration as the motor kicks in you wouldn't know it was there. The MAC500 is similarly quiet. I have a BHEmotion Neo Carbon and the rear hub is noticeably noisy by comparison, even though I'd also say it was fairly quiet.

Court J.
 

SQN

Member
So here's an update. After an exhaustive 6+ week deep dive study into all things electric bikes, and communicating directly with Lectric Cycles, EM3EV, Dillinger, my local ebike shop, and others, and reading countless reviews, websites, watching every video I could find, etc., etc., in the end I did decide to purchase the Dilinger Arc Offroad 1000w/48v/560wh kit.
http://dillengerelectricbikes.com/electric-bike-kits/arc-offroad-560wh-electric-bike-kit-by-arc.html

I'll be installing this first on my Surly Cross Check. I've also purchased some wider 35mm Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires and some heavy duty tubes, so hopefully I'll be able to avoid the hassle of fixing a rear flat with this rear-hub direct drive motor design.

My rationale for going with the larger offroad kit is that (1) I can of course ride it on a lower pedal assist level and not max out the system, should the max assist be more than what would be appropriate for my bike, and (2) having this kit leaves me the option of swapping bikes at some point in the future should I decide to do so.

A quick shout out to Sam at Dillinger bikes. He put up with countless questions from me, and was always very quick to respond. Based on his support, I'm feeling quite confident I made the right decision. Of course, there are less expensive options, but given this will be my first attempt to install a kit on my own, and I'm not that confident in my bicycle mechanics skills, I have confidence in reading their well documented installation manual that I can pull it off.

Updates to come once the kit arrives and I embark on getting it installed...
 

one4torque

Active Member
I'll be lurking on your build.... please share your impressions! I might duplicate your build on another project bmx bike.