Thursday, 23 July 2020

I want to ride my bicycle - Test - Keyde E-bike conversion kit

First of all.

It's a classical music advisor - but sometimes I enjoy another activities too.

Riding bicycle.

I am not a bike-tester, not interested in the High-End bicycles; not watching it on Internet. I do not mind when one pedal has 15g extra weight compared to another one.
I am not a sportsman. No speedometer. I don't know how many kilometers I could perform today. Nor yesterday or last year. I do not mind it.
No cycling clothes.
Not depilate my legs.  

Just an ordinary user.
Simply, I like riding bicycle.
I love my bike. 

It's a cross-trekking model with hidraulic brakes - means one finger needed even for the hardest stop-manouvers. It's a 28' (622) and very fast; nice 27 gangs Shimano gear set on the cockpit. 

Not used in hard off-roads; I enjoy the calm and long and speedy rollings.
I live next to the Balaton lake; hills are always coming. And bad winds; usually headwinds as every biker knows.

8 or 9 years ago when I had another bike - it was a heavy old Schwinn with 26' wheels - I used to try an E-bike conversion kit on it, a no-name cheap set from China. It was heavy LiPo battery 5.2 kgs 9 Ah, 4.3 kgs front hub motor, a big and hot controller and a kms long wires. And soooo noisy. Bad resonances on the all body of the bike. Horrible.
After a short year I sold it and bought this cross-tracking and realized that now I can keep almost that speed by my legs as I kept with that motorized heavy mountain-bike.
26' wheels - it was the most painful error in my cyclist-life.

Now is 2020; well, let's see the new chances and let's see the nowadays E bikes.
I spent a week to search after my wished E-solution.

My viewpoints were:
1. Keep my beloved bike.
2. I prefer front hub motor because of the balance.
3. Minimal weight of motor and minimal weight of the battery.
4. Battery capability is not critical; I think 250W needs around 5Ah for 25-30 kms with combined pedelec using. It is enough for me.
5. After removal the battery I want to use my bike as ordinary bicycle.
6. I don't want any drag in the hub when using freewheel.
7. Silent performance - I think it's the most important.

What I found:
Nowadays the best E-bikes are made with mid-drive motors; all the important developments are going to this area - good conversion kit doesn't exsist here.

Direct-driven hubs are so heavy and problems with climbing capability - out of my interests.

Finally I've choosen two conversion kits what I belived the lightest ones: Swytch and Keyde.

There was a light hesitation.
Swytch is a very smart and full of excellent reviews and their commercials are really good ones. Integrated battery and controller, very light and easy-to-use.

I realized that Swytch is an English company but they use Chinese hub motors and not from the best ones, it's a fact. Controller and battery seems OK - although battery is placed at the handle; a little bit strange. 

And Swytch says that 'keep your bicycle; use a conversion kit' because of environmental reasons. And they got a BIG money in EU because your eco-print will be minimalized by the Swytch kit. Do not need a new expensive E-bike. 
Well, this idea came from China. Where conversion kits - I mean 100ks or maybe millions of pieces - were produced from 2010s.

Serious development of front hub motors located in China only; yes, and few American small companies, so, the other favourite  what I found was Keyde. 

They have an average website; no real reviews and no real valuable technical information.
Keywords found me as 'silent' and 'powerful' and 'light'.
2 kgs motor and 1 kg battery - not bad numbers.
And that battery is sooooo cool....

And 'gearless' - it's an important topic; you will see later.

So, I decided to order a Keyde kit.
They use to the bussiness procedure; works quite well; contact and personal support is EXCELLENT; every stupid question was answered immediately or within 12 hours. Please remember they are 10.000 kms far and  a dozen of  time-zones are crossing.

Parcel started after 3 weeks; please remember that coronavirus was going on; arrived the 5th day; tracking was exact - so this delivery time is OK.
Packing is excellent; user manual sent by email in pdf.

Wires and connectors are very good quality. Directions/connections are signed. And waterproof of course.

I needed a help of our bike-shop for two procedures:
1. Build a new front-wheel with this hub-motor; I wanted to keep the original wheel.

2. Locate the plastic ring with magnets to the mid axle - removal the crank needed a special tool.

When I got a new motorized wheel and magnets on the right place - the conversion procedure took 20 minutes only by myself.
Hub suits exactly my fork; no a millimeter difference. It's so exact that brake disc didn't need any adjustment - strange. A copy of my ex-wheel.

Size of the wires is absolutely perfect.
Controller is inside the hub - it's very smart. No other company is doing this. And sinus-wave-operated of course. XXI century, isn't it?

Previously I connected the charger to the battery. Complet silent. What a nice job. No fan, no noise. A small LED changes to 'green' when full of charge.
And ready.

Now, what about the performance after a 6 weeks?

Extraordinary, that's the right word.
First of all: very silent operation. Really silent. Almost noiseless; of course, with full power a small noise can be heard but only in the tailwind and off-traffic - otherwise sourrondings produce a much more noise.
Sometimes you can hear a small noise when controller gives a max power and the tire is 'pulling'; the light friction-sound between the road and the tire; a type of micro-slip - never belived that I will ever hear it sitting on a bicycle.

No any drag when freewheel is going on.
As ordinary bicycle the rolling is the same as previously. 1.5 kgs extra weight is invisible.

You can adjust six steps on the LED controller; 0-5.

'0' means 'off', it's a pure conventional bicycle.
1-5 steps was a big suprise. Because 'gaerless' meaning is not that 'hub has no internal gears'. It means that 'stepless'. Means that assist mode '1' is a speed choosen around 13-14 km/h and the motor tries to keep it. If you are pushing weaker or the hill is coming, assist power is increasing, if slope is getting downhill or you are overrotating this speed by your strong muscles, motor let you (or the gravity) to be free. Mode '5' is over 34 km/h - not real in use my bike: I like riding bicycle not scootering.

Yes, it's really a very-very sophisticated tempomat. 1-5 speeds have small plus/minus ranges so you don't have to keep the very same rotation on your legs. As speed is decreasing - assist power increasing and vice versa.

Pedelec is excellent; assist departure is gradual and increasing in extra-gently way. When pedal stops, assist stops after half a secundum immediately.
From standing position controller is pushing you over the choosen speed a little, then let you to pick up the rotation then slows back a bit. If you are over-pedalling this speed, controller adjust back the assist-rate to zero.
Very, very clever machine. Yes, almost intelligent.

What about the torque?
Well, luckily, electric-motor is very similar to a steam-engine. They both deliver almost the max torque from the beginning - no rpm dependency so no complicated gearbox neeeded.

Keyde sent me a 110SWXDC33 motor; you can check the parameters; reduction ratio is 13.5:1

In a real using, the torque performance is very impressive. I remember the old heavy hub motor what I used.
It's another galaxy.
Almost unbeliveable that this small device can transport a bicycle.
Plus myself...

What about the 7Ah battery with a 1 kg monster-weight?

Serious battery managenent system inside, means that each cell is charged/discharged under strict control. And there is a protection for the overheat and over-current of course.

It's enough for me. After 30 km pedelec/mixed using still 50% power.
Let's be a mathematician. Motor needs 7-8A in max; effectivity is around 90%; means that you have approx 50 minutes with full max power. But using pedelec you never use fluently the max power, only for minutes only.

Depends on the wind and hills and your activity... and selected assist mode of course. Yes, in mode '5' on high slope you will kill the stored energy very fast. But regularry using I prefer mode '2' and when go to work as daily routine I select mode '3'.
And sometimes mode '0'. I think it's so important.
That plastic holder is very clever-created: locker suits well.

Beautiful view.

But hill is coming....underhant and disgusting and hard....

When Grossglockner Hoch-Alpenstrasse was coming, that was a straight story. Promised hardness and sweat and gnashing of teeth. (Yes, it was...)

Now here is a nice mediterranean land; one of the most beautiful part of Hungary - but that upward is really hard.

And you are pushing as usual, maybe a bit more and you feel that bike is very-very gently getting to be assisted; no noise, no grabbing. It's a quite strange as you remember what gear used on your Shimano set this place a week before with your non-E-bike, and you want to say congratulations to the Keyde team... And now you realize that reached the top. No steps; no gears; no adjusting, no any assist-mode switching. Then downhill is coming; speed is increasing and assist is slowly and gently removing itself from the project. And you push and switch up and up the Shimano gears and enjoy and go flat out. And you know that motor is not working and hub works now as freewheel - although it's a pedelec system and you are pedalling and assist mode is on '3' fluently...

Very similar to the automatic gear used in the cars: take to 'D' and forget it until you stop. On the bike adjust '1' or '2' or whatever you like and forget it and focus yourself to the beauty of the bicycling.
When you are very tired, let your legs to rotate a bit slower and slower until you feel that assist saves your life again....


Go to the bakery to buy a croissant. 1.5 kms only. Battery is at home; why an E-bike needed for this flat 3 kms project? Why should you have a 3k Euros E-bike for this mission? 
And you are riding your beloved conventional bicycle this morning; no real difference caused by the hub.

And croissant is very OK.

This Keyde set is very OK.

I say to my friends that this bottle-shaped thing is a special thermos what keeps the cool... yes, it's really cool.

Please remember, we are at the Compass Classical Music.
Well, a good Early Music is always connected to the freedom. Very important. If missing - music becomes boring immediately. Means that freedom is in the centre of the musical galaxy.

Riding bicycle is always connecting to the freedom too.
Yes, as Queen's song said in 1978:

I want to ride my bicycle, 
I want to ride it where I like

Be careful; not very simple lyrics... but it's a really true essence why should you get this E-device...

Keyde set is improving your bicycle in outstanding way.
And gives important things for you .

More possibilities.
More distance/range.
More views from the world.
A kind of technical elegancy.
And the feeling not-to-worry about going home even uphill or strong headwind..

More  freedom.
That's the most important I am sure.

Absolutely recommended.

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Thank yo for the images.