- Kit delivers average performance but uses quality Samsung batteries and 8FUN motor
- Reasonably priced with excellent bag and wheel options, Leed provides good customer service
- Push-button style throttle must be held down to activate motor, no pedal assist option
The Leed 30k E-Bike Kit offers an affordable, low impact way to convert a regular bicycle into a simple electric bike. It’s relatively easy to setup, won’t add a lot of weight to your bike and manages to keep the weight it does add under control and well placed (unless you’ve got a step-through bike in which case you might need a rear rack to mount the battery). At less than 15 pounds total, this kit won’t impact ride quality or make pedaling much harder even when the system is off or empty. It features high quality Lithium-ion battery cells by Samsung and a geared hub motor from 8FUN that’s quiet and durable. Depending on the options you choose, the entire kit may cost under $800 which is pretty good if you’re going to convert a bike you already own. You won’t be getting a variable speed throttle, pedal assist, or much power with this kit but it’s still fun to use and the customer support and warranty from Leed is good.
The motor driving this kit is a 250 watt geared design by 8FUN which is a trusted name in the ebike space. In Europe, electric bicycle motors are limited to 250 watts or less but in the US, where 500 watt is common, this motor could be considered small and weak. However, since it’s geared you get extra torque for starting off and climbing minor hills. It worked great for me on flats and could even begin to climb as long as I had some speed going in. If you plan to ride into the wind or encounter a lot of hills then you should expect to pedal along with this kit. Overall, the motor is quiet and the optional quick release levers worked very well with my bike. Just make sure to check how close the hub motor is to your forks arms and use the included washers to create appropriate space so it won’t rub (I talk about this in the video above briefly).
One of the coolest parts about this kit is that it’s available in a wide range of wheel sizes. You can get the motor spoked into rims designed for 24″, 36″ and 700c or 29″ tires. If your bike has very small wheels that require 20″ tires or the new 27.5″ 650b diameter then you’ll have to pay an additional $120 but at least it’s available. This could be very handy if you’re building an electric push trailer because the 20″ wheel is common with Burley trailers and others. It could be a creative way to take the edge off pulling your kid or groceries around for example.
The battery pack driving this system is medium sized and comes packed in a black sack with multiple straps to keep it all secured. It’s not very sleek or attractive but the technology inside is good. It offers 24 volts of power and 10.4 amp hours of capacity which is medium/small (249.6 watt hours total). If you rode this system non-stop you’d probably go for about 50 minutes and reach ~17 miles depending on the wind, terrain etc. The upside here is that the battery pack is relatively small and light weight and the optional cases work really well. The charger is also light weight which makes it easy to carry along for charging at work or a friend’s house.
Connecting the motor to the battery a long black wire with a velcro encased button at one end. You plug one end of the wire into the motor and the other into the battery. Then strap the switch onto your handle bar somewhere that it will be easy to reach. The throttle button can be placed on the left or right handle, bar ends or drop bars. You can really get creative with this thing and I like that it’s so flexible but I was a little bummed that you have to hold the button down constantly to keep the motor running. Of course, this is a safety feature (in case you fall off, the bike will stop) and it’s not really that strenuous. The biggest drawback to the drive system is its lack of a battery capacity indicator. You really just have to guess how much juice is left before running out and having to pedal.
One quick battery tip: there is a toggle switch on the battery that goes from black to red when clicked. Black means off and red means on. Turn the battery off before plugging it into the charger and once it’s full you’ll see a green LED on the charger light up which means it’s okay to unplug (and it’s actually recommended to unplug once full in order to avoid damaging the battery by overheating).
All in all this was an enjoyable kit to ride. As shown in the video, assembling a new electric bike kit can take time and money that you didn’t expect to spend (the purchase of a new tube and tire or rack and bag) but it’s still much less expensive than a purpose built ebike. You’re not getting a lot of power, sophistication or drive options with the 30k E-Bike Kit (or any of the Leed systems I’ve tested) but you’re also not going to be weighed down. If reducing weight is your ultimate goal and you don’t mind sacrificing range then check out the PBJ by Leed as it’s a super-light weight option that costs under $500. Many of the parts used on this kit felt familiar and resembled the the Hill Topper ebike kit, which isn’t a bad thing. This is just one of the many kits offered by Leed that makes it easy to find your sweet spot between price and range.
- Relatively compact and light weight design, works best if stored in a frame or rack bag
- With the front hub motor only adding ~7 pounds to a bike, the ride quality is not impacted very much and pedaling remains fun and easy
- Simple to install, use zip ties to keep wires under control
- Available in multiple wheel sizes 24″, 26″, 700c and 29″ with optional 20″ and 27.5″ for $120 extra
- Rims are available for both rim brake and disc brake configurations
- Optional $39 frame bags work very well keeping weight centered on the bike and looks nice
- Throttle button is easy to use and mounts very quickly in multiple locations (left or right handle, bar ends, drop bars etc.)
- High quality Lithium-ion batteries are light weight and durable, should last ~1,500 cycles
- Geared motor design provides extra torque for starting and climbing situations (though the motor is not that strong, works best if you pedal along when climbing)
- Great customer service, kit arrived quickly and in good shape
- All of the little extras start to add up… Have to pay for a tube, tire, computer, bag, quick release levers and possibly for the correct rim size
- The 24 volt battery combined with the 250 watt motor don’t offer that much power
- Recommended use is with a steel fork, may weaken carbon or suspension forks (though with such low power I felt okay using it with my front shock absorber)
- No variable speed throttle (like a twist throttle would offer) and no pedal assist mode
- You have to hold the throttle button down at all times to power the ebike, may get tiring
- If you have a twist shifter like I have, you may have to get creative with throttle positioning as it will overlap the shifter and make it trickier to change gears when riding
- No real way to determine how much battery capacity is remaining, might want to approximate using an optional cycle computer
- Official Site: http://www.e-bikerig.com/products/30k-e-bike-kit-samsung-li-ion.html
- More Pictures: https://goo.gl/photos/MQCgkChZDa9D7dd7A