Optibike SIMBB 29C Review

Optibike 19r Simbb Electric Bike Review 1
Optibike 29er Simbb
Optibike 29er Simbb 600 Watt Mbb
Optibike 29er Simbb Cassette
Optibike 29er Simbb Control Units
Optibike 29er Simbb Headlights
Optibike Pioneer Allroad Shimano Acera Cassette
Optibike 29er Simbb Middrive Motor
Optibike 29er Simbb Pedals
Optibike 19r Simbb Ebike
Optibike 19r Simbb Electric Bike Review 1
Optibike 29er Simbb
Optibike 29er Simbb 600 Watt Mbb
Optibike 29er Simbb Cassette
Optibike 29er Simbb Control Units
Optibike 29er Simbb Headlights
Optibike Pioneer Allroad Shimano Acera Cassette
Optibike 29er Simbb Middrive Motor
Optibike 29er Simbb Pedals
Optibike 19r Simbb Ebike

Summary

  • The smoothest accelerating and lightest weight Optibike available
  • Motor, controller and battery pack are all sealed in the bottom bracket creating a very low center of gravity and minimizing wires
  • Mounts well on most bike racks, easy to lift and carry though battery is not removable
  • Offers only twist throttle mode, no pedal assist or cruise control settings can tire out wrists
Warning, in some configurations this electric bike is classified as a moped or motorcycle and may not be ridden on cycling trails or paths. It may require licensing, insurance and lights when used on public roads.

Video Review

Trusted Advertisers

Introduction

Make:

Optibike

Model:

SIMBB 29C

Price:

$5,700 USD

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Urban, Trail

Electric Bike Class:

Speed Pedelec (Class 3)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

1 Year Comprehensive

Availability:

United States

Model Year:

20132014

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

42 lbs (19.05 kg)

Frame Material:

4130 CroMoly Steel

Frame Sizes:

18 in (45.72 cm)20 in (50.8 cm)

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Red, Blue (Powder Coat)

Frame Fork Details:

X-Fusion Slide RL2 Suspension with 100 mm Travel

Gearing Details:

9 Speed 1x9 SRAM X7

Shifter Details:

SRAM X9

Headset:

Cane Creek 40-EC

Stem:

FSA OS-190

Handlebar:

FSA Comet, Riser

Brake Details:

Shimano Deore Hydraulic Disc

Saddle:

Serfas Tegu TGU-5

Seat Post:

FSA Gossamer

Rims:

Shimano MT-55

Tire Brand:

Schwalbe 29" × 2.0"

Wheel Sizes:

29 in (73.66cm)

Other:

Patented Cool Carbon Reduces Battery Heat, Closed System with Waterproof Connector, Wireless Diagnostic System Compatible with iOS and Android. NOTE: The Demo Model I Tested Had Different Components Including Fox 32 Talas 140 mm Suspension Fork, Avid Code Hydraulic Disc Brakes, Crank Brothers Iodine 2 Wheelset and WTB Bronson Tires

Electronic Details

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

600 watts

Battery Voltage:

37 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

13 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

481 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

4 hours

Estimated Min Range:

35 miles (56 km)

Estimated Max Range:

45 miles (72 km)

Display Type:

LED with Toggle Switches

Readouts:

Power, Lights, Speed: Eco (20 mph Limit), Fast (28 mph Limit)

Drive Mode:

Twist Throttle

Top Speed:

26 mph (42 kph)

Trusted Advertisers



Written Review

The Optibike SIMBB system is simply amazing. It stands for “super integrated motorized bottom bracket” and that’s because inside its sealed aluminum case is a 600 watt motor, 37 volt battery and control system. That’s everything you need to go upwards of 30 miles distance at nearly 30 miles per hour! The 29C model is kind of a prototype test unit for the SIMBB which will be available on a wider range of frames starting in 2014. The beauty of this system is that it hardly alters the original bicycle setup. Changing tires, servicing gears and transporting the system remain largely unchanged and that makes it more versatile and approachable.

That aluminum block of metal you see right where the cranks and pedals interface with the bike is the SIMBB system. The motor inside is geared and offers 600 watts of power which can be switched between the full output or a 300 watt eco mode to conserve the battery. When activated, it turns the front chain ring just as you would by pedaling. That in turn pulls the rear cassette and powers the bike. It’s a system that leverages the torque of climbing gears and the speed of larger cruising gears. The one downside is that it can create more wear on the teeth of the rear cassette if active when switching gears. As with regular bikes, try to reduce the strain on the chain when switching gears.

The battery pack on this bike is also contained inside the aluminum bottom bracket system. It offers a solid 37 volts of power and 13 volts of capacity. At half a kilowatt hour, this bike is capable of climbing in off road environments and hauling larger riders. The chemistry of the Lithium-ion cells is Cobalt which resists overheating (a great choice because it’s completely sealed up and rests next to the motor). The control unit is also packed into the SIMBB module and I’m told it is designed specifically to maximize power while avoiding overheating. In my somewhat limited time with the system, everything worked very well.

The control panel on this and other Optibikes is very simple with just three switches. It controls the on/off setting, lets you choose from eco or fast mode and activates the headlights. Speaking of lights, this thing has two ultra-bright bulbs that are capable of lighting an entire path or street area. Most bike lights are designed with safety in mind but this system takes it a step further and remind me of a motorcycle or car. While there is an LCD unit that lets you track speed and distance, it runs on separate power and is produced by Cateye. The biggest downside of this bike is that it only offers pedal assist and while this keeps it simple to operate and avoids complicating the control panel, it can get tiring to twist over long distances and can change the way you grip when riding off road. At the very least, a cruise control setting would be nice for longer commutes.

The founder of Optibike was a competitive motocross rider and that influence is evident in all Optibikes. They are powerful, fast and more about driving than pedaling. Of all the Optibikes I’ve tried, this one is my favorite in part because it’s so light weight and the weight is kept as low as possible on the frame. The biggest win however, is that the motor operates smoothly and the twist throttle doesn’t feel so abrupt. This is still an expensive bike, in part because it’s designed and built in Boulder Colorado USA by a small team. If you want one of the highest powered, lightest weight bikes around and appreciate excellent service and quality then this bike could be a great fit.

Pros:

  • Excellent warranty: 1 year bike, 3 year/30,000 mile battery, 7 year frame
  • One of the lightest weight off-road capable ebikes with the lowest center of gravity
  • Available with a beautiful front and rear rack for hauling stuff
  • Designed and built in the US with great customer support
  • Powerful 600 watt motorized bottom bracket can move larger riders and scale steep hills, it’s also very smooth
  • Larger 37 volt 13 amp hour battery pack makes this bike decent for commuting
  • Two ultra bright lights illuminate a wide area and make you more visible to cars
  • Control center is easy with on/off, lights and eco/fast switches
  • Cateye computer provides good stats but runs on a separate battery, would be nicer if integrated with control center
  • High quality front Talas 32 shock by Fox works very well on or off road
  • Hydraulic disc brakes work well for off road riding
  • Easy to mount on cars, busses and other racks due to standard frame design
  • Easy to service as most of the bike is left alone, just the bottom bracket is changed
  • Wireless diagnostic system helps to troubleshoot issues with the bike using a smart phone, Android or iOS
  • If the motor, battery or controller ever break, the entire kit can be removed and replaced/shipped for repair quickly and easily

Cons:

  • No front or rear fenders to keep you dry and clean, optional rear rack helps
  • Battery pack is not removable, has to be charged on the bike
  • Standard cassette is easier to damage if changing gears when throttling the bike
  • This is one of the more expensive electric bikes out there
  • Twist throttle only, no cruise control for longer rides, no pedal assist mode

Resources:

More Optibike Reviews

Optibike R15C Carbon Fiber Review

  • MSRP: $13,900
  • MODEL YEAR: 2018

A full suspension, downhill capable, superebike with carbon fiber frame, swing arm, battery casing, and handlebar designed by a former motocross champion, Fox air suspension, Boost hub spacing with plus sized tires. The frame is incredibly strong and rigid, capable of handling the peak motor output of…...

Optibike Rocky Mountain Commuter Review

  • MSRP: $3,995
  • MODEL YEAR: 2018

A mid-drive electric city bike specced for safety and commuting utility, the suspension fork, riser stem, swept back handlebar, locking ergonomic grips, and premium comfort saddle reduce fatigue on longer rides over bumpy streets. High visibility neon-yellow frame color keeps you safe at a base level but Optibike has…...

Optibike Pioneer City Review

  • MSRP: $2,995
  • MODEL YEAR: 2014

A high powered city style electric bike with headset suspension, adjustable riser bars and ergo grips for comfort. Efficient 700C wheels, full length fenders with mud flaps, chain guard, rear Led light and…...

Optibike Pioneer Allroad Review

  • MSRP: $2,795
  • MODEL YEAR: 2014

Sturdy, well balanced mid-drive electric bike that's capable on roads or medium grade trails. Improved motor strength and efficiency, this latest version is also quieter than the original...

2013 Optibike Pioneer Allroad Review

  • MSRP: $2,795
  • MODEL YEAR: 2013

Sturdy and efficient mid-drive motor system with pedal assist and throttle mode for under $3K. Motor and battery positioned low and center on the bike keeping it balanced and easier…...

Optibike R11 Review

  • MSRP: $13,990
  • MODEL YEAR: 2013

Optibike's top of the line off-road ebike is incredibly powerful, capable of moving larger riders and ascending the steepest hills. High end long-travel Fox 36 Talas fork, hydraulic Avid Code disc brakes, intense dual-bulb headlight,…...

Optibike R8HD Review

  • MSRP: $12,990
  • MODEL YEAR: 2013

A high end off road ebike that's capable of moving larger riders and climbing steeper hills. High end long-travel suspension by Fox, hydraulic disc brakes by Avid, ultra bright headlights, front…...

Optibike R8 Review

  • MSRP: $11,990
  • MODEL YEAR: 2013

A high end "all around" ebike that's comfortable on pavement or trails. Top of the line full suspension by Fox, Avid Code hydraulic disc brakes, ultra bright…...


Comments (11) YouTube Comments

amidmany
6 years ago

Finally an E-Bike I would spend lots of money on if I had it. Everything about it seems just right to me. Beautiful!
Also like the site update a lot! And your videos are top notch too.

  Reply
Anonymous
5 years ago

Can you put fenders on this bike?

  Reply
chris@propelbikes.com
5 years ago

Technically I think you could attach fenders but the bike doesn’t seem to have the bosses on the rear seat stays or the front suspension fork to make it easy. You’d probably end up using zip ties and having to customize your fenders a little bit…

  Reply
Peter Weinberger
5 years ago

Court, how is this bike compared to the r8 or 850r for power and pick up? I’m over 200 lbs and wonder whether 600 watts will be enough to climb hills during off roading. Please advise. Thanks.

  Reply
chris@propelbikes.com
5 years ago

Hi Peter, this is my favorite system from Optibike. It’s powerful, smooth and so quiet compared with the R series bikes. While I only weigh ~135 I think it offers plenty of power for someone 200+ pounds (I’m sure the guys who run Optibike weigh in that range). It’s designed to be a great climber and leverages the rear gears. As long as you don’t mind throttle-only then this is an excellent choice ebike in my opinion.

  Reply
angel stabolito
5 years ago

So much said about throttle assist when it’s totally not needed! Simpler is better. I say everything from experience. The shifter on the left side (unlike Pedego et/all) is huge in traffic. Shifting up and down, braking, and throttle control all with the right hand (as on my 4year old pedego) are far more a pain than not having a throttle assist! These glaring design features are far more important in real life on the street!. Also the power of the opti’s are so much more crucial than the putt around only capable bikes but not enough credit is given. More extensive and comprehensive reports are needed to get a true feel for ebikes. (no offense intended but that’s the truth!) Some are more than willing to pay more because of them being built in America, like me! Hope this helps someone……..

  Reply
chris@propelbikes.com
5 years ago

Thanks for the feedback Angel! I agree that it wold be good to have more in depth videos and time spent with these bikes. Pete Prebus over at Electric Bike Report has looked at the R11 and has a nice review here with more distance and power specs: http://electricbikereport.com/electric-bike-review-optibike-1100r/

  Reply
G.R.
5 years ago

Court, I’m about twice your age and the only reason I’m going to get an e-bike is because I need a throttle! For me, pedal assist isn’t enough, it hardly works and it’s jerky. PAS is nearly useless. I have tested a number of e-bikes and the only ones that work well are the ones with throttle.

  Reply
chris@propelbikes.com
5 years ago

Hi G.R. I appreciate your perspective and agree that it’s nice to have a throttle for those times when your legs get tired or you just want to cruise at full speed. Many of the newer, more fancy pedal assist modes are quite satisfying for me and I value the efficiency you get (and exercise) when helping the bike out. My favorite pedal assist can be found on the newer Bosch mid-drive systems that sense your bicycle speed, pedal cadence and torque. They are super responsive and let you hold onto the handle bars firmly when riding off road. My experience has been that trying to throttle while also holding on tight while on rough terrain can lead to hand fatigue and unintended jerkiness if your hand slips.

  Reply
John
5 years ago

Is it easy to peddle while at the same time throttling the battery (i.e. simulating “pedal assist” mode)?

  Reply
chris@propelbikes.com
5 years ago

Hi John, yeah this works out pretty well and if you enjoy the feeling of throttling vs. automatic assist then it can actually work out better and be more responsive because the SIMBB is so powerful. That said, Optibike is updating the design and future versions will have both pedal assist and throttle mode. Here’s a video of the latest version being setup on a fat style bicycle.

  Reply

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.