What are FlyKly hub owners saying about it now that they've had a chance to use it?

Alessandra

New Member
Hallo.
I'm almost in the AemerC situation. I'm actually a copenhagen wheel customer who is completely tired of the eternal postponing of delivering dates, no or contradicting news and so on.
I was thinking of buying a flykly, which is the only alternative I see at he moment, considering:
1) price
2) I do not want a new bike, as I'm very fond of mine (I just bought it one year ago looking for the "before end of 2014" CW delivering time)
3) I want and need to use my muscles and have the "biking" sensation. (so no high power motor and no throttle)
4) I'm in Europe, so I have to follow european regulations concerning power and maximal allowed velocity.
The only problem is I would like to use it to commute to work. And to do it on a steady basis I need a little help.
It's in fact 18km each way, and hills. It's about 300m height in both ways (both ways first downhill, flat and then uphill). On the 16th km I have a hill about 1 km long reaching 23% slope. To do it I use most of my gear span. So I'm scared that I would not be able to do it with the flykly single speed. On the way back I have around 3km slighly upward.
So I need as much as possible infos from people who already tried it, to help me decide if to buy it (also suggestions to valid alterantives are also welcomed)
Thanks in advance
Alessandra
 

Ablaze

New Member
Ok, I got my FlyKly about 2 months ago, but I just managed to find a bike that it would fit on last week.

For the most part I am quite happy with it, although it does have a few flaws and surprises. When I first got it the motor did nothing. It literally never engages if you don't log in with the app and set the wheel circumference and number of teeth. When it is boosting it makes a slight wrrrrrr, so if you're not sure if it's working at all listen for that.

I've been using it to go to work and back. The route is 9 miles each way. I can put it at 100% boost and arrive back home with ~12% charge.

One time I forgot something and had to backtrack about a mile and on the way home I ran out of batteries. Running out of batteries actually isn't so bad. At about 5% charge I started feeling the lack of push, which made me stop and check for a flat tire. The wheel doesn't lock up and make you walk, it just stops boosting. You get to find out just how much those little hills that always seemed like no problem before actually suck. Strangely enough, the regenerative breaks also don't work after you run out of batteries.

The breaks are strictly a "slow down when you have time to plan ahead" type of break. They take about 10 seconds to slow you to a casual strolling speed. They do not stop you completely and they would not do much to prevent an accident if something jumped in front of your bike. Also, if you end up going too fast (about 18mph) then the breaks can't kick in at all (the magnets can only pulse so fast). The 16mph software limit is actually more like a design limit. Even at about 16mph the engine will wrrr but provide hardly any boost. I find that most bikers will tend to go about 20mph, so expect to be passed a lot by other bikers if you ride on paved biking trails. On the other hand, you can out accelerate almost any mountain biker for the first 3 or 4 seconds after a full stop without even really trying.

Based on that I think that a better way to save energy than reducing the boost % would be to reduce the top speed of the boost. I haven't tested this yet but it would make sense since the motor really seems to have almost no effect but still be pushing at full power when you're moving near it's limit.

Another problem I've found is that the motor has some weight to it. I guess any motor would, and most have more weight than this one, but it's an issue. If you buy the wheel then you're probably not a lean biker. Plus you probably want to carry your stuff, and the easiest way to mount a basket or something is directly over the back tire. Even when I'm not on the seat my back tire is quite heavy with the basket and the motor (the front one is light as a feather). The first time I took my bike out I didn't worry about weight and when I went over a slight bump it pinched the tube and gave me an instant flat. Fyi, flat resistant tires don't do squat against pinches. Too much weight on the tire and you can actually have the tire spokes break. To solve this I moved my bike lock to the front of the bike and ditched my laptop bag and I avoid going over large bumps or curbs.

The app is useless except for configuration: 1) if you're going on a long ride you want to set the boost level to something less than 100%. 2) When you first buy the bike you have to register and set up wheel values. 3) You can lock the wheel up BUT BEWARE: THIS CONSUMES POWER!

When the wheel goes into sleep mode it will not connect to the app. I didn't know this at first and spent like half an hour trying to connect to a sleeping wheel. The best way to unsleep the wheel is to lift up the back wheel, spin it, and then backpedal the pedals. A dim blue led comes on when it wakes up, THEN you can connect via bluetooth. Plugging in the charger is an easier way to wake it up.

I had the same problem that someone earlier mentioned where my bike would jump out of my hands when I tried to walk it. It was because the pedals had so little resistance (new bike) that they were turning with the wheel. After a few days they collected enough dust to coast on their own instead of turning with the wheel and now I never have the problem. If you have that problem try poring a little bit of soda or something behind your front gear to give your pedals just a little resistance.

Despite all the problems that I just brought up I would say this wheel is just about the best thing I have ever received from kickstarter. I am in nowhere near good enough shape to bike 9 miles to work and back using a mountain bike. It really helps on the hills a lot. It takes a 20% grade or so to require you to exert yourself. Once you have the equipment it becomes so very cheap to go somewhere. No more gas.
 
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rey

New Member
For those of you who have installed the flykly on a bike, did you install it on a single speed bike? When I try to put it on my multi speed bike, the chain does not fit the sprocket. The gear on the flykly sprocket is a little bigger than the chain, and when I asked a local bike shop they said that most multi speed bikes (at least in the US) have smaller chain size than single speed bikes. I'm very surprised to find out about that. Now I just have to find a single speed bike or change the front sprocket and the chain on my current bike. Is this the same experience for other flykly users? Have anyone installed flykly on a multi speed bike?

chain-doesnt-fit-small.jpg
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Now I just have to find a single speed bike or change the front sprocket and the chain on my current bike.
Hey Rey, welcome!

If you want to use that hub the way it is setup you will need to change the bike more than you think. Single speed bike frames have horizontal drop-outs in order to tension the chain. To use your frame that has vertical drop-outs you will need to install a spring loaded chain tensioner that attaches to your derailleur hanger, they look very much like a rear derailleur except they don't move inward or outward. In addition you will need to pair a front chain ring to the rear cog and get the proper chain. Single speed chains are usually bigger and more robust.

I know very little about the FlyKly, just what I've read in reviews. I don't know if you can add a freewheel or cassette? Is there room in the frame? Will FlyKly exchange your single speed hub for one with gears? There are options for you to make this work, but they will take some work and unfortunately money and time as well. And of course you will have to decide if you want a single speed ebike.

Good luck!
JR
 

rey

New Member
Hi JR, thanks for the suggestion! Flykly does not have option to have multiple gears. I don't think I can add freewheel or cassette. I'm also surprised that they don't make the sprocket for the smaller chain (which what most multi speed bikes have). So I'm asking flykly if I can change the sprocket on the wheel that matches my chain size (that seems to be the most reasonable option). We'll see what they respond. It's a bummer that they advertise that it will fit most multi speed bikes when the fact is that multi speed bike has different chain size than single speed bike.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Hi JR, thanks for the suggestion! Flykly does not have option to have multiple gears. I don't think I can add freewheel or cassette. I'm also surprised that they don't make the sprocket for the smaller chain (which what most multi speed bikes have). So I'm asking flykly if I can change the sprocket on the wheel that matches my chain size (that seems to be the most reasonable option). We'll see what they respond. It's a bummer that they advertise that it will fit most multi speed bikes when the fact is that multi speed bike has different chain size than single speed bike.
A good bike shop should be able to swap out that hub cog for a different one. If you can change that, you could possibly pin your existing rear derailleur to tension the chain. My only question at that point; does the FlyKly cog align properly with a front chain ring? If so, you'd be good to go!
 

waldyrious

New Member
I'm also surprised that they don't make the sprocket for the smaller chain (which what most multi speed bikes have). So I'm asking flykly if I can change the sprocket on the wheel that matches my chain size (that seems to be the most reasonable option). We'll see what they respond. It's a bummer that they advertise that it will fit most multi speed bikes when the fact is that multi speed bike has different chain size than single speed bike.
FWIW, my bike is a multi-speed and the chain fit the FlyKly sprocket without problems. The different chain size could be something specific to the US (I'm in Europe).
 

deuble

New Member
Rey, I had the same problem as you. I was able to get things working without modifying the gears by replacing just the the chain on my multi-speed with a chain for a single speed bike. You could probably do it yourself if you have a chain tool, but it only took the guy at the bike shop about 3 minutes to replace the old chain.

The chain is wider than my original chain but it runs over one front gear, the gear on the Flykly and the derailleur just fine. I had to use the rear shift lever to move the derailleur so that it lined up evenly with the gear on the Flyfly, but once it was lined up things worked smoothly. You have to remember not to use the rear shift lever once the derailleur is properly positioned or the chain will pop off the Flykly gear, but I've been able to get away with using the front gear shift lever to shift from the biggest front gear to the next one down to get a little extra power going up steep hills, which is nice.

Hope that is helpful.
 

rey

New Member
Hi deuble, I just did the same thing, I changed the chain to SS chain and it seems to work fine with the front gear, though while pedaling I feel the chain skipping a gear once in a while. Thanks for sharing your experience.
 

SunGold

New Member
Hi,

I'm thinking about buying one of these hubs but it is a bit of a commitment to plunk down 1100 USD without first having a chance to ride one.

Thanks in advance!
I've had mine a few months, and I'd never buy a FlyKly Smartwheel. Good news: If you have disk brakes, you can keep the front brake. Other good news: When I received it, the wheel assist kicked in the first 3-4 times I rode it.

The bad news: It no longer provides any assistance. The "whirrr" and assist just don't happen. I thought the battery was fully discharged due to the other bad news: the charger connector is so small and delicate that it's a) hard to connect and b) easy to damage.

I was able to connect again and charged the wheel for two days. The bluetooth lights were on, so I felt confident that it was charged. Still no assist, so I will be junking this wheel.

More bad news: when it did work, I got little uphill assist anyway. Nobody needs assist downhill and little on the flat, so it was essentially a silly gimmick.

Then there was the day when it wouldn't connect to bluetooth at all...and the other day when the FlyKly server was down, so even though I'd connected via Bluetooth, I couldn't re-register after the battery had fully discharged.

I'm one of the North American customers who had to replace the chain. I did it at a local bike shop, and they'd have been more than happy to import and sell the bike. No way now.

Short story: Avoid! Avoid! If you are still interested, you can have mine for $250 ... because it's otherwise going into the landfill, batteries and all.
 

rey

New Member
Other than the problem of getting it installed on my existing bike, my experience has been OK so far.
Pros:
I have an electric bike!
My wife really likes it, normally she needs 30 minutes to bike to college but with this wheel, it only took her about 15 minutes, and she doesn't feel too tired.

Cons:
It's true that sometimes I have to try a few times to connect it to my phone. I don't know if this issue depends on the phone model you have. I have a more than 3 year old galaxy nexus phone.
It will disconnect when the phone is just more than 2 feet away, which means I cannot keep it connected to my phone when I put the phone on the bike handle.

Note that you only need to connect to your phone to change the settings (max assist speed and how many % assistance you want from the wheel). If you don't need to change this, you don't need to connect it to your phone, you can just start biking and it will automatically turn on after you pedal forward and backward a couple times.

At the price I paid ($590) as kickstarter backer, I'm pretty happy. I don't think I could get any electric bike with the technology as cool as this for that price right now. The only closest thing is the copenhagen wheel by super pedestrian, but that wheel does not have any release date yet. Looks like they won't start shipping until summer 2016.

At their selling price now ($1000), it feels a little too expensive, especially with the problem I mentioned above. If you don't mind waiting a little longer, wait until copenhagen wheel is released and then you can see if it's a better product for about the same price. If you really want it now, just buy it :) or find a used flykly on ebay.

SunGold, why don't you put the wheel on ebay? at $250 I think that is a good deal for anyone wanting a flykly (if it still works of course).
 

SunGold

New Member
Other than the problem of getting it installed on my existing bike, my experience has been OK so far.

SunGold, why don't you put the wheel on ebay? at $250 I think that is a good deal for anyone wanting a flykly (if it still works of course).
Update: The customer service staff at FlyKly is trying to help me remotely. With the 8-hour time difference, it's awkward, but I'm hopeful.

Sadly, I can't put it on eBay because it doesn't work. That's the problem.

I love the concept and enjoyed the initial 3-4 rides. My son, an avid cyclist now enjoying the belt drive bike I bought him, thought it worked well on his test ride last July.

It's the current "failure to launch," or total lack of assist that prevents me from riding it. It's impossibly sluggish when there's no motor function.

FWIW, it has been stored indoors at room temperature at all times. My current level of disappointment says "not worth it."
 

corbettamatak

New Member
For those having issues getting setup, I had a lot of frustrations not getting it to work because I did not put the circumference in (it simply will not work at all). So, be sure and NOT skip this step! This is a silly design flaw on the SW. It should simply prompt for this on setup and if left blank, then give an error message saying that "the wheel will not work without providing wheel circumference", interaction design and user experience 101. The lack of that message cost me 2 hours and a nasty email to flykly.

Oh to back up other comments here regarding Bluetooth - It is as bad as they say. In my opinion, because of the bluetooth (non) functionality, the product is not ready to ship, but the sent it anyway. There is no way you can monitor your speed like in the videos, at best it will stay connected for about 10 seconds. I'm not sure if it's old BT protocol, crappy hardware or interference from the battery or mechanics, but it does NOT WORK, you literally have to dismount, hold your phone (I have an iPhone 5c) within 20 cms from the hub.... try doing that while running.
 

slimgubez

New Member
Hi folks,
I have been looking for an integrated system like Flykly or Copenhagen for years before they came about. I first discovered the Copenhagen wheels some years ago and thought "Finally something I would like to have!". But it seemed like they were never releasing the wheel, always making promises. That´s when I discovered Flykly. Followed them for quite some time (over a year), and then decided to buy the wheel last Xmas (by then they had bumped up the price). Here are my deciding factors:
-the wheel is not red and much more compact than C wheel (better looking design)
-the wheel is available!!!
-the wheel is made in Italy (I'm in Sweden) so I could avoid import taxes. Sweden has very high taxes.
-the specs suited my needs

So what do I feel about my purchase? Well the BT connection is dysfunctional. That's a fact and a disappointment. But the wheel works very well. I haven't checked the range but I'm not too worried about that, as I only have a short ride to and from work (6km). The wheel is "heavy" in the uphills, but still offers some support, that's what I'd expect from 250 w. Let's be realistic about performance here, if you want a super powerful wheel, there's better options out there. In Europe, the wheel is following the regulations, ie. 250W and max speed 25km/h.

Here I should explain that I am not interested in maximum performance, but in convenience. I've been looking at commercial E-bikes but find them boring and uninteresting from a styling point of view. So I wanted to build my own creation. I've looked at all variants with battery packs and found them too cumbersome. I wanted a minimalistic look. So the Flykly is great for that purpose.


mybike.jpg


This is my bike. As you can see, I'm playing around and the Flykly wheel suits my need. I'm building a custom bike with a retro feeling, a bit raty, and people don't understand that it's an E-bike when they see it. This is a heavy bike and the Flykly wheel compensates for the heavy design.

If you're looking for performance, then go for another system. A integrated hub system will not satisfy you. But if you want something easy to install and convenient, then this could be interesting for you. I am playing around and experimenting so I'm more curious than craving. The wheel is expensive so if budget is an issue, there are better alternatives out there too.

All the best,
Simon.
 

corbettamatak

New Member
A follow up to my review a couple of weeks ago - Yesterday morning I was getting just a little bit of assistance from the wheel, so I dismounted, got on my knee and held my phone the requisite <10CM from the hub and was finally able to connect after 2 minutes! Sure enough, battery was down to 5%, no problem. When I got to work I charged it up .

Now, it's at 100% but has stopped providing any help! I'm able to connect to the app, change settings, I've even done a factory reset... still not working. The braking system is not working either so it's entirely disengaged although it does turn "on".... 2 Weeks, 70KM or less. Anybody have any thoughts on this or know how to fix? I've contacted support but have not heard back yet.
 

corbettamatak

New Member
Update: The customer service staff at FlyKly is trying to help me remotely. With the 8-hour time difference, it's awkward, but I'm hopeful.

Sadly, I can't put it on eBay because it doesn't work. That's the problem.

I love the concept and enjoyed the initial 3-4 rides. My son, an avid cyclist now enjoying the belt drive bike I bought him, thought it worked well on his test ride last July.

It's the current "failure to launch," or total lack of assist that prevents me from riding it. It's impossibly sluggish when there's no motor function.

FWIW, it has been stored indoors at room temperature at all times. My current level of disappointment says "not worth it."

Do you have any update on this? I'm having the same issue so I wanted to see how it was going for you.
Thanks!
 

SunGold

New Member
Further update: I recommend avoiding the FlyKly Smartwheel, and here's why:

Sadly, after many emails, FlyKly determined that I had caused the connection problem and they declined to help. Here's the thing: The charger connection is tiny and very hard to connect. In trying to connect the charger, I bent the very thin wires. I requested that they replace the charger free of charge as it's a design flaw and I have successfully used the wheel only 4 times, but they declined.

They told me to buy another charger at $159+ shipping to Canada. A new charger would have the same connection problem, so I'm forced to scrap the wheel. For the record, I looked into replacing only the plug, but only one place would try to replace it and they charge $85/hour for their work.

The connector to the charger and the terrible bluetooth, along with FlyKly's refusal fix these problems show a company that's willing only to shove a product out the door. I sent the wheel to the recycle yard and consider it an expensive mistake. It's too bad, because it's a great concept with great potential. Making things right would cost money in the short term, but make them a fortune in the long term.
 

corbettamatak

New Member
Further update: I recommend avoiding the FlyKly Smartwheel, and here's why:

Sadly, after many emails, FlyKly determined that I had caused the connection problem and they declined to help. Here's the thing: The charger connection is tiny and very hard to connect. In trying to connect the charger, I bent the very thin wires. I requested that they replace the charger free of charge as it's a design flaw and I have successfully used the wheel only 4 times, but they declined.

They told me to buy another charger at $159+ shipping to Canada. A new charger would have the same connection problem, so I'm forced to scrap the wheel. For the record, I looked into replacing only the plug, but only one place would try to replace it and they charge $85/hour for their work.

The connector to the charger and the terrible bluetooth, along with FlyKly's refusal fix these problems show a company that's willing only to shove a product out the door. I sent the wheel to the recycle yard and consider it an expensive mistake. It's too bad, because it's a great concept with great potential. Making things right would cost money in the short term, but make them a fortune in the long term.
Sungold & others, was the person you were in contact with named "Kale"? If so, I'm wondering if they have 1 person running everything. When I first enquired on status, he found my wheel in the shipping area but from what he wrote, it sounded very much like they have a skeleton staff, which concerns me. I mean, they raised over $700k, then merged with another company, used low grade technologies and sometimes hardware (Bluetooth v -2), etc.
 

SunGold

New Member
Sungold & others, was the person you were in contact with named "Kale"? If so, I'm wondering if they have 1 person running everything. When I first enquired on status, he found my wheel in the shipping area but from what he wrote, it sounded very much like they have a skeleton staff, which concerns me. I mean, they raised over $700k, then merged with another company, used low grade technologies and sometimes hardware (Bluetooth v -2), etc.
"Kale" originally answered, and seemed sympathetic, even helpful. Then Adam took over and turned me down on the second email.

I want to repeat, in case FlyKly sees this, that they are losing goodwill for what would be a handful of $$ by refusing to send me a second charger. Yes, I bent the wires, but it's a bad design. Replacing even 100 of these chargers would benefit them in the long run. "Penny wise and pound foolish," as the saying goes, and good customer service is what builds companies.
 

SunGold

New Member
What FlyKly doesn't seem to understand is that we want the SmartWheel to succeed. If they work with us, their customers, we'll be the best and cheapest promotion they'll ever get.