I put 1/2"of neoprene on the top and sides and ends of the battery and 3/16" covering the entire rest of the downtube in effort to cut heat loss. We have temperatures freezing and above freezing right now and wind often from 20-30km/hr. During my 1/2 hr trip the battery performed much better in energy sag and loss than it has been doing lately in cold weather. Battery is fairly new.I'm wondering if a neoprene cover and a couple of pocket warmers would help. I'm in Prince George and will be trying a few different ideas to see if anything helps with battery life. I fly radio control AC and a few guys at the field use the pocket warmers in there battery vaults while at the field to keep their charged batteries warm until use, may work for an ebike application as well.
Great reviewHi 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.