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84 of 84 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hill Topper Electric Bicycle Conversion Kit (SLA battery version)
[**Updates below**]
Hill Topper Electric Bicycle Conversion Kit (SLA battery version)

So I recently received the Hill Topper Kit with SLA (sealed-lead-acid) battery that I purchased direct from the website.

Shipping and handling:
Shipping took about one week. Box was a little banged up, but everything was intact...
Published on October 9, 2012 by reviewermasterer

versus
26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Eletric Bike Batteries Fail, Batteries Wont Work
I bought two lithium battery kits to take to Brazil. Ever since the beginning the range was very limited, not even close the 20 miles with assistance that I was promised on the website. Me and my wife ride from 7 to 8 miles at a time, and we usually use it just for passing other bikes, or in any case of emergency. I wasn't happy, but I could live with it, but quickly...
Published 23 months ago by Moises DaSilva


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84 of 84 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hill Topper Electric Bicycle Conversion Kit (SLA battery version), October 9, 2012
This review is from: Electric Bike Kit / Electric Tricycle Kit Clean Republic Hill Topper, Lithium Battery Included 5 min Easy Installation Made in US
[**Updates below**]
Hill Topper Electric Bicycle Conversion Kit (SLA battery version)

So I recently received the Hill Topper Kit with SLA (sealed-lead-acid) battery that I purchased direct from the website.

Shipping and handling:
Shipping took about one week. Box was a little banged up, but everything was intact.

Wheel/tire/motor:
This is a 250 watt hub motor, the tire supplied seems like it's a 26" mountain bike tire. and the rim looks like a generic rim. I don't have much knowledge about the quality of the wheel, but it looks pretty sturdy..I forgot to weigh the wheel but I think it was stated to be around 4 pounds.

Installation:
This kit states it can be installed quickly within 5 minutes. I believe that is true if you have a pretty generic bicycle with the correct clearance for the motor and dropout width. If there is a clearance issue, you're going to have to do some modding; with washers/spacers and filing the dropout to create more clearance width. Unfortunately for me, my bike had slightly narrower dropout width so I filed each end until the axle fit snug. Furthermore, they offer a disc brake compatible wheel version. I ordered this option to fit with my Avid disc brakes, and it worked out great! Overall installation time could have been less if I had a better file (used a small multi-tool file). Took me about an hour to get everything setup ready to go. Although zip-ties are provided, I bought some velcro straps to secure the wires better.

Battery (SLA battery):
So I am speaking only for the Sealed-lead-acid battery. And it is pretty heavy at 10.4 pounds! I got this version instead of the lithium primarily because of the cost difference. At this current time, the SLA battery range [about 10 miles] and price point [$399 for entire standard kit] seemed to fit my purpose in the kit. Lithium battery range and lightweight advantages seemed to be just more convenience to me. The 2 buckle straps used to secure the battery to the top-tube seems a bit weak yet it does the job so far. I just purchased a rear rack and front basket so I will have more options to place the battery securely. In the future when I'm due for a battery replacement, I might switch to the lithium version (20 mile or 40 mile range options).

Usage/First ride impressions:
On my first ride around the neighborhood I was able to conquer all the hills where I would have to struggle up it. It makes climbing hills easy so you don't have to sweat and gas out by the time you get up top (which is its primary purpose). On flat-ground I am able to go about 14-15 mph without pedaling. This is what the motor speed is limited to. You can pedal to go faster. As for how far I am able to do this I have not yet tested but from forum users I think it would be about 6-8 miles no pedaling. I'm not sure if this is just a powering up thing or if it is due to the SLA battery, but when I press the button for power, there is a 'powering-up' of the motor delay before I get any power to the wheel. I guess in car-talk terms, call it 'turbo-lag' feeling. In a way it's a good thing for dead stops and accidentally pressing the throttle button. This kit is not intended to accelerate you quickly from a dead stop without pedaling, but it will help you accelerate much quicker while pedaling from a dead stop. The nice thing about this kit is if you run out of battery, the bike still works normally with minimal drag (if any due to the extra weight) because it is a freewheel.

Charging:
Charging is simple and seems like there is a specific sequence to charge correctly. 1. connect battery to charger 2. connect charger to AC outlet 3. turn battery switch to ON. 4. wait until charger charging light turns red to green. 5. turn battery switch OFF and disconnect everything. Haven't depleted the battery yet, so not sure how long it takes to charge an empty battery.

Future rides:
My primary reason for this kit is to help me get to work quickly without having to exert too much energy or sweat by the time I get there. Being able to cruise at around 15 mph with minimal pedaling would be great in this case! Not having to find parking and also use up gasoline would also be some more advantages. As for durability of this kit I will find out! looks like the battery has an estimated life of 1-2 years at full usage.

Other electric bicycles I have ridden:
Sanyo eneloop electric bicycle. This bike was a pretty bike. It was pretty much a concept bike and had all the bells and whistles (Li-on battery, 250watt front hub motor, regenerative braking, fenders, rear rack, bell, front and rear lights, battery level indicator). I sold it because of a couple reasons; it stops assisting at 15 mph so going faster than that takes quite a bit of effort, it is hard to pedal the bike when it is off because of the regenerative motor (not freewheel like Hill topper), and this bike is pedal assisted so it requires you to pedal for the motor to activate. I sold this bike for about the price of the Hill Topper standard kit! And it was totally worth it in my opinion and criteria in electric bike purpose.

Other complete kits I had considered:
Currie (great pricing but requires rear wheel install), BionX (20mph max!,seems well made and customer support, entire kit seems awesome with great features, installs on rear wheel, and unfortunately for me it is not compatible with a gear hub wheel.) I even though of buying complete E-bikes, but I decided I just wanted to work with what I already have and save space and money.

Rating:
currently it is my first impression after a few rides.. but overall it stands at 5 stars for what it offers. I will be updating after a few months of riding.

UPDATE #1: 10/15/12
So I just installed a rear bike rack and the cable length is just the right amount.
SECURITY:
I realized the battery bag should have come with some kind of locking mechanism to secure the bag/battery to the bike. Also attaching/removing the battery is somewhat of a pain to do as it is. Now with the Topeak rear rack and bag installed, I just set it on top using the bungee cords to secure it.
POWER:
So the power issue about the power-lag I think has to do with the battery voltage/amperage. After reading up on the forums this is the gist of what I read: higher battery voltage rating = faster top speed, higher amperage rating = more torque (less power-lag). For example, the SLA battery supplied is rated at 24V/7.5amps (should get around 14-18mph on flat ground). One customer said they added a 3rd battery to increase the voltage to 32Volts/7.5amps and that increased the top speed by about 18-24mph. This modding WILL void the warranty. The battery controller is for 24volt system also. I don't know much more about battery configurations than the above and am not willing to risk it just yet!
RATING:
Went down one star, ONLY because a true 5-star rating would meet or exceed all areas.

UPDATE #2 10/20/12
Used the bike twice this week for work with a round trip of 7 miles. Used the motor all the time and would pedal lightly on the flats to get the bike up to 16-18mph. Without pedaling I managed to get 15mph on the flats. Coming home there is a VERY steep hill to climb. I have to be in first gear with motor on to get up it. I bought a front basket with the purpose of placing the battery in it, but with the SLA battery(11 pounds) it was too heavy and would make bike handling terrible/dangerous. With the amount of riding I do each time, it seems like it takes 2-3 hours to charge back to full capacity.. So far this kit is doing its purpose; getting me to work not sweaty and tired! Just wish it went 20mph stock :p

UPDATE #3 2/20/13
So as with most things I have bought, the amount of use decreases at an exponential rate.. The heavy SLA battery that came with my kit proved to be a hassle due to lack of security to just leave it on the bike in public. For example, if I go to the supermarket I would have to bring it in (unless I want to take the chance of having it stolen). Because of this (as well as the weather), I haven't used my bicycle since the last update haha, my car's MPG is decreasing and the gasoline bill is rising, The Clean Republic website has released a light 2 pound lithium battery (10-mile range) on their website. Since Spring is coming up soon, I bought one and waiting for it to arrive! Hopefully this battery will solve my battery weight/security issue. At 2 pounds, taking it off/on should be easy and carrying it into the store should be simple as well. I'll update when I can.

UPDATE #4 2/28/2013
So I got a chance to test out the new 2.3 pound lithium battery with 10-mile rated range. It is SO MUCH more convenient in weight!!! Had I actually got to hold the lithium battery and the SLA battery side by side, I would definitely pay the extra money and go for lithium. On top of being light, I realize that I don't have to secure the battery down to the rear rack as much as the SLA and worry about it sliding off since it is so light! I still can't get over the fact that it is so compact. I plan to ride to work tomorrow with it to test range (~7 miles round trip). An initial test showed 15 MPH motor-only easily. I was hoping it would do 20 MPH motor only but you gotta pedal heh. I got a 3 speed bicycle, so if i pedal moderate I can do probably 17 MPH. All I can say at this point is, lithium battery is the right way to go. Going SLA route first, will only make you want a lithium battery later. and once you do go lithium, you end up having a unused SLA battery.

UPDATE #5 3/8/13
Got a chance to ride the bike to work. The battery handles well. The top speed motor only is around 15.0- 15.3mph based off my GPS (My Tracks app). Was hoping it would go 20mph motor only, but I guess because of the battery voltage/amperage configuration (and/or battery controller) it will do max 15mph. Even though it didn't increase the motor-only top speed, I am satisfied with this light-weight lithium battery upgrade! The smaller size allows more cargo space in my trunk bag. And carrying it into work is simple now. If I had to recommend this kit, I would get the kit with the 10-mile lithium sprinter battery. BUT if you like speed and are lazy like me, you are probably better off looking at more powerful motor kits (500watts and up) to go 20mph+. I got this kit because it was inexpensive, front wheel and pretty much plug and play. Not many companies offer that.

UPDATE #6 8/13/14
Wow can't believe it has been this long since I've had this bike kit. I just wanted to let you guys know I'm truly lazy and leased an electric car! I really wanted to buy a Zero electric motorcycle or upgrade to a prodecco outlaw as (25+mph), but every time I ponder it, I see a motorcycle related accident. So I went the "safer" route. I've sold all my bikes. Therefore my kit is packed in its box. I can't tell you how reliable it is. I should have updated you guys earlier, because I did have an issue with the lithium battery where it wouldn't charge. Sent battery and charger back, and the seller sent me a replacement under the warranty agreement. There is only one replacement no matter what. So if there is another issue, I'm on my own. Probably another reason why I plan to sell my kit. I don't want to deal with a broken kit if it ever comes to that point. Take away is if I could afford a higher end brand with a great warranty I would have saved up for proven reliability. If I knew more about battery and wiring and didn't mind for fast speed and can't afford more, this would fit the bill.
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73 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zach, September 25, 2011
By 
This review is from: Electric Bike Kit / Electric Tricycle Kit Clean Republic Hill Topper, Lithium Battery Included 5 min Easy Installation Made in US
I want to reach out to all the big guys thinking about getting the Hill Topper Electric Bike Kit. I weight in at 287 LB and the motor is powerful enough to pull me up all the hills on my commute. I used to have to get dropped off and picked up at the park and ride 5 days a week, but now I ride my bike saving gas and time and get all the exercise I need to lose the weight. I have been riding for 3 weeks and lost 5 pounds and would never have done this with Clean Republic amazing Hill Topper Kit giving me the boost I needed.
P.S. Don't buy from this seller it's much cheaper from the Clean Republic site.

Update 3/3/2012
Hill topper still workers great! I'm down to 238lb and ride 40 miles a week. I'll post a before and after pic once I get to my goal of 190 LB.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hill topper electric bike upgrade kit, July 2, 2011
By 
Erhard (san jose, california USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Electric Bike Kit / Electric Tricycle Kit Clean Republic Hill Topper, Lithium Battery Included 5 min Easy Installation Made in US
July 2, 2011. Review for hill topper or electric bike kit
I just come back from a bike ride with the hilltoper from a little bit in the mountainous rough area and this was the first time that the battery went empty suddenly. So far I have biked about 150 miles with the hilltoper without any problems and I am pleased with its performance. I wish that charging could be somewhat faster. Right now it takes about four hours but it would be nice if they had an upgrade charger that maybe reduces that charging time to less than two hours.

When the battery suddenly died today I think they could easily improve the driver software to give a little bit of a beeping sound in the motor when you have like 5 min. or 10% of the charge left.
For normal street biking I think the on off button is fine however there are two situations where it is not ideal.
First situation is when you try to ride a little bit slower than 15 mi./h to may be staying with a companion who is driving with you. In that case you always need to toggle on off and it's kind of inconvenient to control this.
The second situation is when you are (easy) mountain biking the on off switch also is not ideal because when you turn it on I find it is too fast and again you need to go in kind of manual pulsing mode to make use of the hilltoper in that case it would really be nice if there were an adjustable power level may be quarter, half, three quarter and full or something like this. possibly even a switch on the battery.
In my case I ordered the kit with battery and front wheel and all the cables necessary. Unfortunately the front wheel was not very well laced many spokes were loose and I had to redo the entire wheel. I think this is a sign of poor quality control. A wheel like this should never have been shipped. I mentioned this to customer service but they didn't say anything. If I had done the wheel in a bike shop it costs about $50. So I bought a spoke wrench and did it by myself which also took me about an hour until the entire wheel was done well.
Overall again I find the kit is very usable. If someone wants to buy the components separately and puts them together it definitely will take more time it will be cheaper but that's a personal choice.
In terms of performance I would say I can easily go 20 miles with 1 charge or let's say not fully using the motor and that's basically the idea to have the motor simply as a support for your own peddling. Also when going steep up hills it is always possible to go in slow gear and basically master any slope that comes along which is very nice. However when you do mountain biking and there seems be some disadvantage having the motor on the front wheel because on steep slopes the center of gravity is pushing on the rearwheel so in that case front wheel is not ideal. May be you actually would need all-wheel-drive I don't know I'm not a mountain biker.
I also wish they would have an upgrade motor driver which possibly would allow regenerative braking because yes when you go up the hill you also go down the hill and in that case it would be nice to get some of that energy back.
I should probably add that I am about 155 pounds and the bicycle is about 25 pounds so overall we are a light package. I guess this helps the hilltopper to add to the reasonably good performance. Oh it looks I also did not mention I use the lithium battery with about 200 Wh capacity.
i need to add that i do have some concern about the water proof of the enclosure. the battery enclosure is basically a rubbery sack with a hole cut in to bring the electrical wires out. i live in California and rain is not really a problem over here but i would not trust the system in really rainy environments. I should add that customer service did not support my concerns.

update sept 16 2013
the reason i am writing this update is because i notice a reduction in the Li battery capacity - down from 200Wh to 130Wh. i have to estimate the number of charging to not more than 100. not sure if this is expected or not but buying a replacement battery is $499 (yes cheaper than the Tesla battery but still there is a reason i have only an electric bike and not an electric car). At this point the battery system shuts down after about 6 miles of cycling (on off usage). when checking the battery gauge there are still 2 out of 4 LEDs green) then i power off the battery and on again and get another shot for roughly 10-20sec of usage. i can repeat this until down to last LED blinking.
So my impression is that even the capacity is down to 130Wh the system behaves as if it were down further with its intermittent behavior. Overall still an ok system but wish the replacement battery would be cheaper.
the on/off toggling is also a little bit cumbersome. For comparison i had the chance to ride a bike with torque assist system - that was a really great bike but it cost $6000. It was this one [...]
what a ride - yes i know unfair comparison. I tried it out at the bike shop between crissy field and fort point in san francisco (btw. very friendly people there)
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Game changer for me, May 26, 2013
This review is from: Electric Bike Kit / Electric Tricycle Kit Clean Republic Hill Topper, Lithium Battery Included 5 min Easy Installation Made in US
I have always lived in very walkable neighborhoods, a mile or less from downtown. I walk to the store, walk to restaurants, walk to hang out with friends, and so on. A few years ago, however, I moved to a hilly cul-de-sac neighborhood, three and a half miles from the city's downtown area. The nearest store is a truck stop by the interstate. Not pedestrian friendly at all. At the same time, I have a health issue that benefits from exercise, but can really backfire on me if I wear myself out too much.

So, in my new town, anything I wanted to do required getting in the car. I like it here, and the people especially, but I was eager for the day my boyfriend retires and we can go someplace not so automobile centric.

I was reading a story about the Sanyo Eneloop, an electric bike that I don't think you can get in the U.S. Anyway, it's way out of my price range. Also, I'm not a gear head who collects expensive gadgets. But I could see how an electric bike could make downtown, parks, and the grocery store a lot closer and keep me in the sunshine and out of my car.

I did a little shopping on the internet, and ultimately chose the HillTopper with the 20mile Li-ion battery. I am very pleased with it. I ride it everywhere. My boyfriend bought one a week later, and has been riding to work everyday.

One day we went out for a long ride (for us) to the river and then downtown and it started to rain. It was an uncomfortable ride home, and we both got soaked. We had to ride through drainages of 6" of water. We'll try not to do that again. However, I can report that the bikes did just fine. No problems with the battery or the hub getting wet at all.

I can't imagine why everybody doesn't ride electric bikes. Especially non athletic types. It's brought me back the lifestyle I love.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simple / fantastic / unbelievable, August 5, 2011
By 
solocanoe (fort smith, ar) - See all my reviews
OK, this is just awesome. I'm using it on a steel mountain bike with an XL frame. I'm 6'4" tall and weigh 285 as I type this.

There's always "this one hill" isn't there? the one that stops you from going by bike to "that place".

For me, it was my work commute. I don't have a shower at work, it's been way over 100 degrees for a month straight as I type this..and yet...since I got this kit - I've been able to ride my bike the last few weeks every day. I leave in my dress shirt and slacks, tie in the backpack. Arrive at work (around 7 miles one way) in a bit and I haven't broke a sweat! I use the "magic button" as I call it for that one big hill one the way to work and sometimes for just not sweating! I strip to a t-shirt for the way home and usually take the long way (now!) and get in my exercise on a 10-12 mile ride home...with a few big hills I will use the button on, depending upon which route I take home.

I got the standard (base kit) with a 26" wheel and the plain regular battery. It's been just awesome. When I get to work, I unplug the battery, throw a chain on the bike and the battery in my backpack...take it out in my office and plug the charger to it. I don't even check it - it shuts off automatically! Unplug it on my way out of the office, re-connect to bike and take off. could NOT be easier!

I figure I've paid for it already...or will soon. I've gone from putting $100 a week in just my tank to maybe a tank every 3 weeks. That really helps when you have 4 vehicles on the road like I do. (spouse/ 2 kids who drive their own) Not to mention the fun, the satisfaction, and the weight loss and fitness improvements.

It's VERY nice how the hub and the added wiring from this kit blends right in. It's hard to tell there is anything different about the bike at all - I hang my battery bag in the triangle of my tubing instead of on a rear rack that I don't have anyway.

I'm expanding my range too. Grocery store trips for just a few things, errands, even a run to the DVD store...some of those trips on the weekends have been well over 20 miles across town (round trip) Of course, I pedal too...but I don't want the motor to do all the work - if I did I'd have bought a moped! :)

Can't say enough good about this product - it's really nice to give your that "added boost" when you need it!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great transportation, March 27, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This application is simple and sound. It makes an excellent addition to any bike, or a great means of transport without peddling. It takes me to work eight miles away with no problem on the lead battery. Charges in the two and half ours it says it does. What I like about it is that it provides simple and reliable mechanics, and provides smooth acceleration for a 250 watt. I weigh 180 with a steel mongoose hybrid on 26x1.75 slick tires. It feels as fast or faster that fifteen miles per hour. I would not hesitate to purchase.
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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Eletric Bike Batteries Fail, Batteries Wont Work, December 11, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Electric Bike Kit / Electric Tricycle Kit Clean Republic Hill Topper, Lithium Battery Included 5 min Easy Installation Made in US
I bought two lithium battery kits to take to Brazil. Ever since the beginning the range was very limited, not even close the 20 miles with assistance that I was promised on the website. Me and my wife ride from 7 to 8 miles at a time, and we usually use it just for passing other bikes, or in any case of emergency. I wasn't happy, but I could live with it, but quickly both batteries started to lose their performance (which already started out bad.) I contacted Hill Topper and they told me that I have bought those kits from some other company, I was not able to find the company on Amazon anymore. I checked the battery case and it says cleanrepublic.com, I noticed that they have a lot affiliates, I have been checking their website FAQs, forums, and I'd notice that they do have a lot of excuses for their batteries, after looking around for a solution to the problem without losing the investment I gave up and bought a different kit, another lithium kit for both bikes. I cannot tell you how happy we are, we are now able to ride for hours and still have both batteries almost fully charged. So if you want a piece of mind, there are other kits out there, smaller ones, lighter ones, cheaper ones that will do a much better job. Only gets one star because motor works just fine.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simple, pratical, and fun, September 6, 2013
By 
Walter (South Carolina) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Electric Bike Kit / Electric Tricycle Kit Clean Republic Hill Topper, Lithium Battery Included 5 min Easy Installation Made in US
The product is simple to install with very basic hand tools. I live less than 10 miles from most places that I regularly shop which makes the cheaper SLA battery perfect for my needs. I am 5 foot 8 inches tall and weigh 175 lbs. I have the front wheel kit installed on a Schwinn Meridian tricycle with lots of extras. My average speed with no pedaling is between 11 to 13 mph with moderate pedaling my average speed is 15 to 23 mph. I can easily get 6 to 8 miles on one battery pack. The SLA batteries can easily be replaced with larger Ah batteries if you need more distance. I am so pleased with this kit that I plan on purchasing a second one for another bicycle I own. I have added the link that will take you to the clean republic web site where you can ask questions and get answers to questions direct from the people that build and sell the kit along with a $5.00 savings if you chose to make a purchase.. [...]
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great product, August 7, 2011
i just bought the clean republic a week ago and works great however be aware take good care of it b/c the rubber is ripping a little but still works fine make sure to charge it only when the battery is at the lowest and only to use the kit as a assist and not to press the button continuously rather in short bursts less it will drain the battery VERY IMPOTENT DO NOT BUY FROM THIS SELLER HES RIPPING YOU OFF YOU CAN GET IT FROM CLEAN REPUBLIC.COM OR ON FACEBOOK clean republic I GOT MINE FROM CLEAN ELEMENT ENERGY AND USE THE PROMOTION iasked and will get it for 390 smartelementenergy.com
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kit = 8Fun 24V 250W motor + battery pack + cable set, October 2, 2014
This review is from: Electric Bike Kit / Electric Tricycle Kit Clean Republic Hill Topper, Lithium Battery Included 5 min Easy Installation Made in US
I have been using Clean Republic's Hill Topper Kit since 2009. It consists of assembled parts manufactured in China which includes an 8Fun 24V 250 W motor, a battery pack (either with an SLA with 2 UB1280 or Li-Ion with Samsung batteries + an LSW153-45-6 controller), and a customized cable connector (probably US made or also from China). Anyone can look these parts up on the Internet and perhaps buy them separately from different dealers. One other dealer selling similar kits is http://www.e-bikerig.com/

The common problem with the kit is it being prone to overheating in long climbs or if turned on for too long. The heat melts the cable plug soldering which disconnects the power causing the strange sounds on the motor or burns out the controller. Unless defective, the motor itself is sturdy and will last for a long time. My 2009 8Fun hub motor is still running after 5 long years. The melted cable plug connectors can be re-soldered or the controller can be replaced. The battery module (SLA or Li-Ion) life is limited or in unlikely conditions these batteries can be accidentally shorted when the recharging connector accidentally touches metal parts of your bike. If proper care is observed, the battery parts and motor will last for a long time. It is only the overheating issue that seems unavoidable since the purpose of using the kit is to assist in climbs. Read this blog for more details: http://esykkelnorge.blogspot.ca/2014/03/electric-bike-conversion-kits-battery.html
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Electric Bicycle Conversion Kit Lithium Hill Topper
$595.59
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