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My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

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Total votes : 19

My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby LoveMyBike » Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:48 pm

BICYCLE MOTOR KIT: Clean Republic Hill Topper Lithium Kit
BICYCLE: Day 6 Journey 7-Speed Large Frame
Total bike Weight with Hill Topper Lithium Kit: 57 pounds
Rider Weight: 143 pounds

What happens when you combine the most comfortable bicycle in the world with the most efficent, easily installed electric motor kit? Read on.

Last year I went on a quest for the most comfortable bicycle I could find. I visited countless bicycle stores, test rode many bikes, searched the internet. I'm picky and maybe that's why I never found any bicycle that really satisfied me. They were either too uncomfortable, not the right color, didn't feel right or not the right size and didn't look stylish enough. But if persistence is a virtue, I practiced it until It all lead me to the bicycles produced by Day 6 Bicycles at:
http://www.Day6Bicycles.com

The Day 6 Bicycles are semi-recumbents and come in a 7-speed and 21-speed, large and small frames. These bikes are different than many others in that they not only look cool, they make riding painless - no straining at all. With a step-through design you can easily mount the bicycle. The large ergonomic seat and backrest allow you to sit upright without hunching over. The swept back design make peddling as comfortable as a stationary recumbent exercise bicycle. The butterfly type handlebars also make steering natural and easy. I let one bicycle tech test ride my Day 6 Journey 7-Speed and his initial reaction was: "Oh! This is way too comfortable."

So, once I had the Day 6 Journey 7-speed, the only thing I found lacking was a little assist for those long rides that included miles of slightly inclined road and the occasional steeper incline. Again, I spent months researching for the best possible electric motor kit. Most of the kits include heavy lead acid batteries, and required you to do alot of installing such as changing out the brakes, cutting off your handlebar grip to install a throttle, fiddling with other stuff that I think would make most people a bit apprehensive if not totally put off at the time and complex labor involved. I almost gave up, but in a desperate attempt did a Google search: "fast easy electric bike kit". Try it! You'll see it turns up a YouTube video called "Easy DIY 3-Minute Fastest Electric Bike Conversion Kit" in which Clean Republic's Michael Shoppe demonstrates just how easy and FAST it can be to add an electric motor to any bicycle.

As soon as I saw that video, I instinctively knew I had found what I was looking for. However, this was several months ago before the Lithium battery kit was released. I talked to Michael, asked alot of questions, scanned the Research and Development Forums here, and decided if I was going to get an electric motor, I would wait and get the Lithium because it was substantially lighter than the Lead Acid kit. Am I glad I waited!

When it finally came, installing it was fairly straightforward and easy. I did have to file down the slots in the front forks a bit because of a tiny tiny bit of paint and metal that prevented the wheel motor hub from sliding in correctly, but that only took a couple of minutes. In fact, the most time was spent in neatly zip-tying the cables to the frame. I'm pretty picky about the way my bike looks though so for you it might not be such a big concern. I really like that the Hill Toppper Lithium Kit has black cables and a black battery bag and throttle as it blends in with my black Journey 7-speed. In fact, it blends in so well, most people aren't even aware that the bicycle is electric. I also put the lithium battery in a rear rack trunk (which also carries tools, cargo net, other utilities) not only for aesthetic purposes but because it would not attach to the seat as it would on most standard bicycles.

After installing the Lithium Kit I was surprised to find that it only added 9 pounds to my bike - 6 pound battery/controller which I put into a rear cargo trunk on my rack, and 3 pounds for the motor hub in the front
wheel. BTW, if you want to weigh your own bike just get a regular scale, weigh yourself, then carry your bike and step on the scale. Subtract your weight from the total of your weight and the bike and that gives you your bike's weight.

The Hill Toppper Lithium Kit is rated at a top speed of 15mph (without peddling) for a distance of 20 miles. I would have to disagree regarding the top speed. The top speed I achieved on flat level ground was 18 mph. I've only gone on short trips ranging from 3-8 miles, so I can't gauge if it can maintain that speed or any speed without peddling for 20 miles.

However, I plan to take longer treks in the future over a variety of terrain and accurately notate peddling/non-peddling/speed/time factors. I would also like to use an incline meter of some sort to measure speed up various inclines or hills. On one very steep incline, I was amazed that I was able to climb at 11 mph which is just phenomenal! Previously, I'd gone up this incline many times before and found myself just snailing along at 3-4 mph as I reached the highest part.

One thing I'd like to advise people who install this kit is about where you position the throttle. That throttle is velcro-attached and it's VERY important that you attach it in a position on your handlebar grip that is not too easily or accidentally activated because the motor will respond to a very light touch of that button. A few times before I found the safest place to position the throttle, I accidentally pressed it while walking the bicycle and it lurched forward surprising the hell out of me. I mean, can you imagine yourself at a crosswalk, walking the bicycle and accidentally pressing that throttle button? Your bike might just shoot out in front of you, maybe even hit someone or a car, not to mention damage your precious bike. I now have the throttle in a position that is easily reached with a thumb press, but is not in danger of being touched when I grasp the grip normally.

Like I said, I'm picky about the aesthetics of my bicycle and accessories. With that in mind I do have an observation and suggestion about the battery bag...The battery bag is open at one end with a small clip clasp that doesn't really neatly or securely close it off. You kind of have to fold and bunch it up. That's part of the reason I chose to put it into a rear trunk bag and for security purposes, as my trunk bag has a tiny steel cable Master combo lock securing it to the rack. In the future, I think a metal grommet added in the battery bag for securing and locking it to your bike, and a better fastener on the open end of the battery bag would be an improvement.

In conclusion, I can't tell you how much fun and practical use I am getting out of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit on my Day 6 Journey 7-speed. I can't go anywhere without people shouting out to me "Nice bike!" I mean people of all ages: kids, teens, adults, seniors. People want to know where I got the bike, and when I tell them that it is also electric, they can't believe it. But I just point at the front wheel hub and they say, "That tiny thing can move this bike?" And, I reply: "Yup! That and the 6 pound battery" which is neatly concealed in my small trunk bag.

I'll try post updates about my experiences. Hope this helps, excites, motivates and even makes some of you envious. Don't blame me...blame Michael Shoppe of Clean Republic and those folks at Day 6 Bicycles.

ImageImageImageImage
Last edited by LoveMyBike on Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby LoveMyBike » Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:54 am

UPDATE!

Ok, I have been running a number of tests on my Day 6 Journey 7-speed + Hill Topper Lithium Kit and it is quite impressive!

Yesterday, I took the bike out for a 20+ mile ride: city street riding, bicycle paths along a river, up some huge steep inclines, and around a dam and park. It was just fantastic as the weather was mild - sunny but not too hot, people all over the place, not too heavy traffic and the scenery just rocked with the mountains, hills, river, lake and all that nature around me. It was also great talking to fellow bicyclists comparing our rigs and various adventures on bicycles.

In an empty parking lot, I ran a test of how fast the Hill Topper goes from 0 mph - its rated maximum speed of 15mph. It seems the Hill Topper can go from 0-15mph in 13 seconds. I was also able to go up a small steep (I don't have an inclinometer yet to measure the actual grade/slope) I was going at about 8-9mph where other bicyclists were walking their bikes. I mean this incline was steep!

After my ride, I checked the battery using the push button gauge and 1 light was green. Completely recharging it took ONLY 2 1/2 hours!!! That is just amazing! Over 20 miles, not really peddaling much, feeling absolutely no physical wear after my ride and only 2 and 1/2 hours to fully recharge the battery. I figure with that kind of performance, I can go on a 30 mile, maybe even 35-40 mile trip with some added peddaling along with the electric assist.

I can't imagine riding anymore without the electric assist. It really does make a difference. I think most bicyclists have a subconscious memory of what the hard parts of their ride are like and it's that difficulty that eventually erodes enthusiasm and consistent enjoyment of bicycling. With the electric assist you have a confidence, almost cocky feeling.

Just be prepared for alot of envious stares, questions, complimentary shout-outs and explaining to people who become wow-ed by your electric bike.
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby LoveMyBike » Fri Feb 19, 2010 7:24 am

UPDATE #2

It's been a couple of weeks now since I got my Hill Topper Lithium Kit and have been testing it. Yesterday was a little off - although a 15 mile ride - with little effort can never be considered disappointing - at the end of the ride towards the last quarter mile the Lithium battery just quit on me. Evidently, it had run out of power.

I was trying to figure out why the day before I had gone more than 20 miles with power left over and now this 15 mile ride left me with no power at all. I've been leaving the battery plugged in whenever I'm not using it even between short rides and I'm thinking maybe this is the problem.

The other odd thing was that after the 20+ mile ride with power left in the battery it took 2 1/2 hours to recharge the battery (4 solid green lights), and after the 15 mile ride with no power left it took 2 hours to recharge completely - a half hour less time than the 20+ mile ride. When I compare the 20+ mile ride and the 15 mile ride, it seems the 20+ mile ride had more challenges: 1 very steep inline (up and down 2 times), various grades, city and country riding. The 15 mile ride was purely city riding, slight upward incline going west-east. Another difference was that in the 15 mile ride I held down the throttle for longer amounts of time working up the speed to 16-17+ mph.

I'm eager to do a few more long rides and see if the results are consistent. I'll try duplicate the same bike routes, vary the number of time and lengths of time I press the throttle, etc.

Anyone else, keeping track of the performance of their Lithium Motor kits? Love to compare notes!
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby LoveMyBike » Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:09 pm

UPDATE #3

Ok I took my bicycle outfitted with the Lithium Hill Topper kit out for another extended test ride. This time it was only on city streets. The results were similar to the previous experience in that I did about 15 miles before it ran out of juice. This trip got about the same mileage as the last trip utilizing the following uses of the motor: 1. holding down the throttle (1 minute or more) till top speed of 17+ miles was achieved + peddling, 2. occasional dead starts along with peddling, 3. peddling alone then giving it the throttle to work up to an average of 10mph and maintained with peddling.

I'm guessing that the less I push it over 15mph and the less I use the motor from dead starts, the longer range I'll get out of it.
Last edited by LoveMyBike on Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby LoveMyBike » Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:01 pm

UPDATE #4
20 Mile Ride with 4 solid green lights at the end!

This is the 3rd test run of my Hill Topper Lithium Kit that I'm sharing observations. I took my bicycle up to the mountains...actually, I should say I rode it up there and they are foothills, but they were pretty steep. The results are quite surprising as I took a different approach to how I applied the throttle. In previous rides I'd hold down the throttle till the speed peaked at around 17-18 mph along with peddling. In fact, many times, I'd continue holding down the throttle to maintain that speed along with peddling. The resulting drain on the battery was quite extreme resulting in 15-17 mile treks that left the battery completely drained.

This time however, I held down the throttle only enough to keep the speed up to 10-13 mph along with peddling. The result was at the end of my 20 mile trip, there were 4 green lights solid when I pressed that battery gauge button! When I plugged it into the charger, 3 solid lights and the 4th blinked for 1 1/2 hours till all 4 were completely solid. Usually, after a complete drain, it's been taking my battery 2 to 2 1/2 hours to completely recharge to 4 solid green lights. With that in mind, it seems like I may have had a little under 1/3 to 1/4 of the battery power left and possibly another 6-10 miles I could have gone with the same method of throttle application.

I guess, I'm going to have to re-test this to see if the results are consistent. But I have a feeling that if you want the battery to last long on your trips, don't hold it down till it reaches maximum speed for extended periods.
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby LoveMyBike » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:17 pm

UPDATE #5

All in all, after about 3 weeks of testing the Hill Topper Lithium kit on my Day 6 Journey 7 bicycle I can say that it's changed my whole bicycling experience. Perhaps the biggest change is my attitude about riding a bicycle. Previous to having the Hill Topper, I had misgivings about length of trips and areas I would venture. I would have previously had second thoughts about any ride over 3 miles because of the slight incline going one way or the other which while not difficult was enough to make you think about it. Now I have no compunctions at all about riding anwhere within a 15 mile total riding distance, because I know my Hill Topper will get me there and back, even if I use the motor most of the time instead of peddling.

Also, with that confidence of being able to travel further, it's opened up a whole new realm of possibilities of going on trips that previously were only dreams to me. Trips to the local bike trails, hills, mountains, lakes and rivers. It's widened my horizons allowing me to get up close and personal with nature and people in a different way. I often compare notes, exchange information with fellow bicyclists and the countless number of people who compliment me on my bicycle. People are so taken with my entire bicycle setup that I spend a great deal of time explaining the design of my Day 6 Bicycle and the incorporation of the Clean Republic electric motor and battery kit. They love the Day 6 Bicycle design and the fact that the Clean Republic Motor kit is so simple and seamlessly integrated into the bicycle. Most are surprised to learn that the bicycle has a motor, and I have to point to the front wheel hub motor and the small rear rack trunkbag that contains the lithium battery.

I must also say, with a bit of vanity, that it also feels great to be riding along so carefree and without all that straining and pain that other bicyclists must employ going up an incline. Looking at other struggling bicyclists whether they be on mountain bicycles or fancy foreign, skinny tire multi-speed bicycles, you find yourself smiling inside, if not outwardly, knowing that you have that secret weapon in the form of an electric motor assist. Oftentimes, I like to pick a target in the distance - another bicyclist - that I slowly creep on and then pass with the assistance of my electric motor.

Can't wait to get the inclinometer so I can start logging data on the use of the electric motor and tackling various degrees of slope.
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby miznomer » Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:13 pm

thanks, for the detailed review, it was very informative and helpful.
I did wonder about unintentional starting with the grip switch, i can't see from your pictures where you've placed yours? I anticipate great fun in this regard!
I think either your scales or your maths need to be rechecked because the motor is, to the best of my knowledge, closer to 6lbs. but the important thing is how it feels!
Isn't there an ampmeter gadget that can tell you exactly how much power you're drawing at any point?- if you want to optimize the battery that is. Sounds more fun than an inclinometer - but horses for courses and all that.
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby LoveMyBike » Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:07 pm

miznomer wrote:thanks, for the detailed review, it was very informative and helpful.
I did wonder about unintentional starting with the grip switch, i can't see from your pictures where you've placed yours? I anticipate great fun in this regard!
I think either your scales or your maths need to be rechecked because the motor is, to the best of my knowledge, closer to 6lbs. but the important thing is how it feels!
Isn't there an ampmeter gadget that can tell you exactly how much power you're drawing at any point?- if you want to optimize the battery that is. Sounds more fun than an inclinometer - but horses for courses and all that.



Hi...

I'll try take a pic later of where I put the throttle on my left handlebar grip (as you face it while seated). I put it on the left handle because the right handle is a twist grip for my 7-speed and is already pretty short. I positioned the throttle button such that you need to lift your thumb from gripping the handle grip (assuming we all normally grip our handlebar grips with the thumb curled around under) to press the area above. I don't know if that is clearly enough explained, I'll have to snap a pic of it. But I've found that this position doesn't tire out my thumb while pressing the button, nor do I ever accidentally press it while walking the bicycle or riding it.

For me, my front tire before changing out with the Hill Topper tire may have been heavy to begin with. Indeed, my original tire was 26 x 1.95 and the Hill Topper tire was 26 x 1.75. So when I put on the Hill Topper Tire, it only added an additional 3 pounds, combined with the lithium battery which weighs 6 pounds for a total of 9. I weighed the bicycle several times to come to this conclusion. So indeed the motor may weigh 6 pounds, but it only added an additional 3 pounds to my bicycle because of my heavier front tire to begin with. BTW, although the bicycle weighs 57 pounds total with the motor and battery added, I can still do bicep curls with it.

I'm still running tests on the kit. I did get the Sky Mounti Bicycle Inclinometer but found it difficult to use so returned it. Instead I ordered a Johnson Level & Tool 750 Pitch and Slope Locator which if you Google, will see is a 4"x4" device for measuring an incline in degrees and pitch. It hasn't arrived yet.

After seeing the Sky Mounti Bicycle Inclinometer, I did decide to adapt the idea and bought a $1 level and removed the bubble vile which was in a plastic container and zip tied it to an extra bicycle handlebar clasp I had. (I'll try take a pic of this also as I'm really quite proud of the design, it looks like it's a part of the bike!) I then positioned the level so that it registered level when the bicycle was on level ground. Now when I ride I can tell somewhat the variations in grade over what to most people look like flat level paved road. I am going to calibrate my Do-It-Yourself Inclinometer with the Johnson Level & Tool 750 Pitch and Slope Locator by placing the bicycle on various measured pitches and then accordingly mark the bubble vile with some hairline press on plastic transfer. I will probably just make no more than 2-4 marks so that it gives me a loose indicaion of what kind of inclines I'm tackling while riding all around those hills and mountains. For more specific measurements, I'll just get off the bicycle and make 2 maybe 3 measurements using the Johnson level at various spots on the incline I'm measuring.

I did stop at an Electric Bicycle store on one of my adventures. I showed my bicycle to the people working there and they were very interested. They got out some gauges and I let them stick it in the Lithium Battery to take measurements. All of their electric bicycles were heavy as hell! I tried to pick each one up and they must have all weighed something like 100+ pounds or at least they felt like that compared to my bicycle.

BTW, I've noticed that while charging the battery, sometimes after it's completely charged all 4 lights start blinking, as opposed to remaining steady.

I'm about ready to go on another 20 mile trip - 10 miles there, 10 miles back - and do one more test of how the battery holds up by maintaining a 12-15 mph assist use of the battery with peddling. Will let you all know along with a pic of where I placed the throttle on the handlebar grip.
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby LoveMyBike » Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:10 pm

UPDATE #6

POSITIONING VELCRO THROTTLE
Here's a pic of the way I've attached the velcro throttle for the Lithium Hilltopper Kit. I don't know if the pic is clear enough but it's position such that the top of the button is pointing straight out from the handlebar grip, parallel to the ground. Someone asked about what position I found the safest and most convenient for positioning the throttle. As I said before, it can be dangerous if you accidentally push the throttle while walking the bicycle out on the streets or trails and I found this position works for me. You might find a differnt position for the throttle more convenient however.

DO-IT-YOURSELF BICYCLE INCLINOMETER
I've attached a pic of my Do-It-Yourself bicycle inclinometer based upon the Sky Mounti Inclinometer that you have to pay $25. Mine was made from a plastic encased level bubble taken off a level that I found at a discount store for $1. I tried several size bubble levels ranging from 1" long to 1 1/2" to 1 3/4". The 1 1/2" bubble level was the best as the longer one bounced all over the place and the bubble would split into other tiny little bubbles.

It's not calibrated yet but once you mount it so that the bubble is dead center when the bicycle is upright - including the handlebars not turned - it can give you an indication when your bicycle is on an incline going up or down. It's surprisingly sensitive and stable and gives me an indication when the seemingly flat ground is really an slightly rising or descending incline. Calibratng the bubble level to various measured inclines will give an even better idea of what I'm tackling when riding.


Further riding tests of Lithium Hill Topper...

19 MILE TRIP
Yesterday, I took my bicycle out on a 19 mile trip and used the motor to keep my speed within the 10-13 mile range. I went up a long slight incline on the trip to my destination - a reservoir park. The ride in the park itself was through a lot of winding inclines ranging from mild to seriously steep, during which I used the motor to help me maintain a minimum speed of 7-10 mph with little effort peddling. When I got home, I immediately pressed the battery indicator button and saw 3 solid lights. I recharged it and the 1st light started blinking green and it completed its recharging cycle to 4 solid green lights in 1 hour.

11 MILE TRIP
Today, after taking an 11 mile trip using the battery to maintain a 10-12-15+ mph average pace the battery indicator showed 4 solid green lights when I got home. When I started recharging it, the 4th light was blinking and it took about 25 minutes to complete the charge cycle to 4 solid green lights.

What these two riding test results indicate to me is that maintaining a pace between 10-15 mph is the most optimum way of utilitizing the battery on extended trips so that you get the longest distance and highest speed. Before getting a feel for all of this, I was confident on going on 15 mile trips. I'm now confident I can do a 20 mile trip with very little effort peddling. The inclines, even very slight put a bigger drain on the battery than going on totally level ground. Again, that's why I like that little bubble level indicator I have on my bicyle, it helps me monitor what percentage of my trips are the hardest and require a bit more of assist from the motor.

I need to note here that my bicycle riding trips leave me only slightly tired if at all. I don't have aching muscles or end up all sweaty. In fact, any sweating I do may be due to a warm sunny day, not due to straining on my bicycle...and that's the way I like it. If you want a workout, by all means go for it, but I just like to take lazy rides.

Hope this gives you all a better idea of what the Hill Topper Kit is capable of doing...I'm waiting for Clean Republic's 2-3 pound Lithium battery which I'm told can deliver a 10 mile range at 10 mph. I think that might be something I'd like to carry along with this present battery for extended trips of 30 miles or just use as a stand alone for short little trips around neighboring towns.Image[url][/url]Image
Last edited by LoveMyBike on Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby LoveMyBike » Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:56 pm

UPDATE #7

Haven't really gone on any long trips this week. Been busy. I do manage to take short rides of 10 miles or less though at least every other day. It's just amazing the number of people that want to know about my bicycle, where I got it and are amazed to find out that it's electric. Most people think that the Clean Republic Front Wheel Hub is a disk brake of some sort because I've incorporated the Clean Republic Lithium Battery kit so well into my bicycle by carefully zip-tying the cables in an inconspicuous manner. When I insist that that front hub is indeed a motor, they can't believe that tiny thing is able to power the bicycle up hills and go distances of 20 miles at speeds 15-18mph. They expect to see extra gears, chains, and a motor that you'd see on a gas lawnmower. Everyone always wants to know how much the electric motor costs. I tell them there is a economy kit utilizing heavier, bulkier lead acid batteries for $400 and a lighter smaller and just as powerful if not more powerful but also more expensive kit for around $700. Most people are simply blown away by the 2-3 hours charging time on the lithium battery and that it costs only 3 cents to fully recharge.

One thing that I'd like to address is safety. Bicycle safety is important with or without a motor. But one of the things you realize after you add one of these motors is that the higher speeds and power can cut down on the reaction time you may have had in dealing with obstacles such as potholes, drivers opening doors, cars backing out of driveways.

I am super careful about bicycling now, never leaving anything to chance. If there is a blindspot ahead, I make sure I slow down to the point where I can stop if I have to. I am always checking sideview mirrors making sure cars behind me have enough room to pass while I am streetriding. One of the most important things to learn is to make eye contact with car drivers making sure their expressions register that they see you and acknowledge you. Most drivers are not looking for bicycles, they are looking for cars and while they may be looking in your general direction, many times, I've seen them look right through me. It's a good idea to wear a helmet, brightly colored clothes, use a horn or bell or be prepared to shout if necessary to alert others. Observe traffic laws and always ride defensively and courteously. Also, before and after each ride, check your brakes and make sure they are working ok.

Got the Johnson Pitch and Slope locator. I'll be able to start a log of how the Hill Topper performs on increasingly steeper inclines.

Happy Riding!
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby LoveMyBike » Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:37 pm

UPDATE #8
The Hill Topper Lithium Kit and Incline Tests

I made 2 small tests and measurements of the performance of the Hill Topper on my bicycle going up 2 inclines using my Johnson Pitch and Angle Locator and my Speedometer. Both inclines were on asphalt pavement. Measurements of the inclines were taken at 3-5 different locations to get the most accurate measurement. I started from a dead start at the bottom of the incline without motor assist and rode up to the top on the first run. On the second run I used the motor to assist me. The comparison was between speeds of non-assisted and motor assisted. I am making this report in as easy to understand and interpret terminology as possible. Everyone knows what 90 degrees is - a right angle. Half that is 45 degrees and you can get a better idea of what it means when I say the incline I went up was 5 degrees than if I use terms like gradient, pitch, etc.

Since these performances are relative to the weight of the rider (me) and the bicycle's weight and performance as well as the ability (strength, stamina) of the rider as well as the distance of the incline itself (longer distances might mean a decrease in rider performance), I guess these tests aren't as scientific as I'd like them to be. However, I consider myself to be of normal strength and weight so take it for what its worth.

Pictures of the 2 inclines are attached.

Incline #1
Distance from bottom to top: 100 feet
Angle of incline: 5 degrees
Non-Assisted: top speed 6 mph
Motor Assisted: top speed 12.5 mph

Incline #2
Distance from bottom to top: 200 feet
Angle of incline: 5 degrees
Non-Assisted: top speed 7 mph
Motor Assisted: top speed 12.5 mph

I think the fact that both inclines are the same and that the Non-Assisted speeds are roughly equal indicates a consistency of my ability to go up a 5 degree incline at around 6-7mph. Since Incline #2 was a bit longer than #1, it may be the reason I was able to crank it up to an extra mph faster.

The Motor Assisted speed for both inclines is 12.5 mph. I think this points to a double the speed capacity for the motor assisted rides going up a 5 degree incline. I don't know if you know how steep a 5 degree incline is, but it's PRETTY steep. I was watching those guys with 24 speeds take that 200 foot incline and in fact, rode right behind one and I was able to keep pace with no assistance. So I know if I used the motor, I could probably pass them.

I'm thinking my first tests and assessment of the results is a bit clumsy, but I hate to get too technical. I wanted this to be in Everyman's language. It's the reason I didn't like to use terms like pitch/rise/slope because they are confusing to people who don't know about them. I was thinking of using time as a measurement compared to distance covered, but felt that speed was just as good an indicator and in keeping with my aim of keeping it simple.

In future tests, I have no doubt that as the incline increases, that it will adversely affect both Non-Assist and Motor Assist results. Maybe another day, I'll see how I do up a steeper and even longer distance incline.ImageImageImage
Last edited by LoveMyBike on Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:04 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby Mike » Wed Mar 31, 2010 7:20 pm

Yo LMB!

Hey man, really sorry I haven't been able to respond to your posts in a while. We're workin like mad here just trying to fill the back-orders as the spring season is taking off and people are responding so well to our design.

I will respond to other posts and get back to the forum in a while, but I just wanted to say how awesome your install looks! Absolutely fantastic ride you have there. I've already forwarded these pictures around to some people as "the coolest Hill Topper install yet."

Thanks so much for sharing all your experiences and pictures.

More soon...

Mike
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby LoveMyBike » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:35 am

Mike wrote:Yo LMB!

I will respond to other posts and get back to the forum in a while, but I just wanted to say how awesome your install looks! Absolutely fantastic ride you have there. I've already forwarded these pictures around to some people as "the coolest Hill Topper install yet."

Mike




Hi, Mike!

People are always shouting at me from cars: "Nice bike!" It's getting so that if I'm in a rush to get somewhere on my bicycle I dread meeting people because they'll want to start asking me questions about the bicycle. I think people are hit by a double "Wow!" when they see me on my bicycle: first with the appearance of the bicycle and then with its performance.

Hey I know how busy you are with the orders, testing, development, etc. Ya, I'm surprised myself how seamless my install was too. Most people don't believe the motor didn't come with the bike and when they ask where they can get one I have to explain that the bicycle is from one company - Day6Bicycles.com and the motor is from another company - CleanRepublic.com. Both companies produce excellent products and I am a riding advertisement for them. Of course, I tell people that they don't have to get the bicycle I'm riding and that they can electrify their own bicycle.

The Clean Republic Lithium Kit is highly consistent both the motor and battery. I can consistently reach speeds of 16.5mph-17.5 mph without peddling. With peddling naturally you can even go faster. The Lithium battery performs outstandingly well and only takes 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hours to recharge at 1/2 - 3/4 drain.

Because of the Hill Topper I am not afraid to tackle that hill or extra miles which in turn expands your bicycling experience and horizons of adventure! Attached a few pics from the mountains, dams and wilderness trails ridden on my Day 6 Bicycle assisted by the Hill Topper Lithium Kit.

One Thousand Miles and Still Going!

LMBImageImageImageImageImage[url][/url]ImageImage
Last edited by LoveMyBike on Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby Mike » Sat May 29, 2010 2:28 pm

Whoa, you've ridden the kit 1,000 miles already? Nice pics! -Mike
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby iwordwatch » Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:00 am

Love your review! Most online reviews are way too short for my taste and have been written soon after receiving the product, so they don't really go into the performance over time. Yours is very satisfying.

I'm starting with the Clean Republic motor and SLA on a bike I already own, but I'll be saving up for a Day 6 bike and a LION battery!

Thanks again,

Alison
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby LoveMyBike » Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:20 pm

Mike wrote:Whoa, you've ridden the kit 1,000 miles already? Nice pics! -Mike


Hey Mike!

Actually, I've ridden the Day 6 Journey 7-speed over 1000 miles since I first got it.. I added the Hill Topper about 7 months after about 500 miles just peddaling the old fashioned way. So I'd say I did another 500 miles from February to May with electric assist.

It's been quite an experience, and I literally can't go anywhere without people commenting: "Tight!" "Sick!" "Nice Bike!" People shouting at me from across the street as I ride by, etc. All different ages, from little kids to teens, young adults, middle aged and elderly. A guy with a prosthetic leg even wanted to know where he could get the bike and motor so he could get back into bicycling again.

May go on a bicycling trip over the summer and keep you guys informed.
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby LoveMyBike » Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:35 pm

iwordwatch wrote:Love your review! Most online reviews are way too short for my taste and have been written soon after receiving the product, so they don't really go into the performance over time. Yours is very satisfying.

I'm starting with the Clean Republic motor and SLA on a bike I already own, but I'll be saving up for a Day 6 bike and a LION battery!

Thanks again,

Alison




Hi, Alison:

The Day 6 Bicycles come in two sizes and 2 speeds. I have the 7-speed Journey, large size made for people 5'5"-6'+. The smaller frame is for those who are 5'4" and shorter. If you're in that 5'4"-5'5" and lightweight I'd go for the smaller frame. The bicycle is much lighter if you don't add all the accessories like I did. I went overboard adding everything I could find and then some. The Day 6's also come in a 21-speed. The 7-speed is the internal hub version with no external gears to maintain.

Clean Republic's Hill Topper kit is the perfect compliment to the Day 6 Bicycles. You can't even tell the electric motor is an add-on. Time after time, when people look at the bicycle they think that front wheel hub is just part of the Day 6 Bicycle design - maybe a disk brake or just a wheel with a big shiny hub. Through careful zip-tying, and use of velcro to neatly attach the Hill Topper's cables I was able to seamlessly incorporate the motor into the bicycle's design. Notice the loop where the cable comes off the front fork and transitions into the bicycle's frame.

Another thing, if you do get a Day 6 or any other type of bicycle that is recumbent or semi-recumbent, make sure to measure the distance:

1. from the front wheel hub to where you wish to place the battery and then...
2. from the battery back to where the throttle button will velcro onto your handle bar grip.

Give yourself a few extra inches of room to play with. And MAKE SURE, when you order the Hill Topper that you mention these specific length measurements so Clean Republic can custom make the cables longer to fit your bicycle.

The lithium battery fits perfectly into the size Small Topeak RX Trunk Bag. You can retrofit it onto the rear rack by removing the plastic base on the outside bottom of the bag, and zip-tying it onto the rack then screwing it back onto the bag. The Topeak Trunk Bag is meant to fit onto Topeak's special seat rack but that won't fit on the Day 6.
You may have to remove the plastic guard on the inside front of the bag or drill a hole through it. I wouldn't drill a hole through the bag just make a cross slit with an x-acto knife or sharp scissors so that there is just enough of an opening that you can poke the battery cable plug through. The object is to make the battery easy to put in and take out when you have to recharge it.

One other thing, when you install your Hill Topper, I can't stress the importance of positioning that velcro throttle on the handle grip in such a way that your normal grip doesn't inadvertently press the throttle because that can result in some accidental forward surges of your bicycle.

Feel free to send me a private message regarding any of this if you need further assistance.

I can't tell you how enjoyable bicycle riding is for me with the combination of the Hill Topper and my Day 6.
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby gvenlet » Mon Jun 21, 2010 10:55 am

Thanks for doing all the research on the Day 6 bikes. I had never heard of them untill I discovered your blog on the Hilltopper. I ordered mine today and the hilltopper comes next!
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby drbuzz » Wed Aug 11, 2010 4:17 pm

Wow! Great review. Thanks for taking the time to share you experiences. I also had never heard of day6 bikes, but was in the market for a bike to convert. Your review and some additional research prompted me to order a
day6 bike. Likely I will order the Hill Topper as well.
I love those mirrors on your bike, what kind are they?

Once again thanks.
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby PhredG » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:11 pm

Totally great review and thread! Wonderfully detailed, well documented, great pics! I'm just getting started with all of this and I learned so much from this thread alone. Thanks all! But I do still have some questions I hope somebody can help answer:

(1) I'm having a hard time imaging a front wheel drive bike. How does a front wheel powered elec bike perform compared to the rear wheel bikes we are used to riding? Are there any big differences in handling? Without loading on the wheel - especially in this semi-recumbent configuration - isn't something lost? Any special considerations for turning on a powered front wheel?

(2) Is the throttle an all-or-nothing switch? Either on or off? Or is there some control over the acceleration? I'm thinking I don't always want to be going full speed and want to have some control over just how fast I am going based on throttle input. When the throttle is switched off is there any deceleration braking going on or are you just free-wheeling on the bike?

(3) Noise? How loud is the elec motor? Is it a quiet hum or a louder/higher pitch?

(4) Lights? Is there any way to run a headlight and tail light off the elec source? Most such accessories are battery operated - all well and good - but because of that they are so much larger than they need to be if they were being powered by the battery pack. Especially if you want a really good throw on the headlight. This being a motorized vehicle I would think we might want a more powerful headlamp than is standard on most bikes.

Thanks so much for your replies. I'm really hoping to get started on this asap. TIA.
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby PhredG » Thu Aug 12, 2010 2:15 pm

Wow. I had no idea. How something seemingly so simple can become so ...... complex? I started on this path a couple hours ago fully expecting it to be a brief visit and, uh, ..... I'm still here. During my journey I've found answers to questions #2 and #3 above. But I'm still looking for input on #1 and #3. And adding #5.

re: the throttle (#2) I appreciate the reasons for why the switch is designed the way it is even while I still wonder how happy I will be the on/off performance. Per some other comments I read it sounds like I should just give the throttle switch as-designed a try and decide later whether I like it or not. And decide later whether it is worth trying to re-design the function. That's cool.

Adding a new question #5 to the list: Are the usual caliper brakes adequate for motor-enhanced speeds? I note Mike is brewing up a drum brake solution for the kit. I wonder how many current riders are going to jump on this new option? Or do you feel the current brake configuration is safe enough?
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby PhredG » Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:22 pm

One more little thing. Carl's Custom e-Bikes has convinced me my concerns regarding FWD are lame. I still gotta believe there has to be some tactile performance subtleties between FWD and RWD which might be accentuated by the slightly recumbent profile of the Day 6 Journey 7 bike but I'll accept Carl's arguments regarding balance and speed. He's quite convincing. Thanks all.
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby LoveMyBike » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:31 pm

PhredG wrote:Totally great review and thread! Wonderfully detailed, well documented, great pics! I'm just getting started with all of this and I learned so much from this thread alone. Thanks all! But I do still have some questions I hope somebody can help answer:

(1) I'm having a hard time imaging a front wheel drive bike. How does a front wheel powered elec bike perform compared to the rear wheel bikes we are used to riding? Are there any big differences in handling? Without loading on the wheel - especially in this semi-recumbent configuration - isn't something lost? Any special considerations for turning on a powered front wheel?

(2) Is the throttle an all-or-nothing switch? Either on or off? Or is there some control over the acceleration? I'm thinking I don't always want to be going full speed and want to have some control over just how fast I am going based on throttle input. When the throttle is switched off is there any deceleration braking going on or are you just free-wheeling on the bike?

(3) Noise? How loud is the elec motor? Is it a quiet hum or a louder/higher pitch?

(4) Lights? Is there any way to run a headlight and tail light off the elec source? Most such accessories are battery operated - all well and good - but because of that they are so much larger than they need to be if they were being powered by the battery pack. Especially if you want a really good throw on the headlight. This being a motorized vehicle I would think we might want a more powerful headlamp than is standard on most bikes.

Thanks so much for your replies. I'm really hoping to get started on this asap. TIA.



Hi Phred...sorry I haven't been on here for awhile, been busy working. You probably have all the answers to your questions by now but I'll give you my opinion...

1. Regarding a front wheel vs rear wheel motor. I can only say that the front wheel motor has not been a problem other than the extra 6 pounds it may have added to the front of the bicycle.

2. The Hill-Topper throttle is simply a button that engages the battery and motor. The only problem I've had with it is that it is very low profile and that may make it hard to push. As has been suggested on here, raising the button's surface a few millimeters with epoxy might do the trick.

3. The Hill Topper motor is very quiet. Coming from behind on pedestrians you will notice that they turn their heads because they undoubtely hear the very faint hum of the motor. Oftentimes though it is not even noticed and I've had alot of observational comments how quiet my motor is compared to a gas driven motorized bicycle.

4. I believe the issue of connecting accessories to the Hill Topper battery has been covered and I'm not sure, but I think the general consensus was it's a bit too complicated.

Hope this helps!
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby LoveMyBike » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:36 pm

PhredG wrote:Wow. I had no idea. How something seemingly so simple can become so ...... complex? I started on this path a couple hours ago fully expecting it to be a brief visit and, uh, ..... I'm still here. During my journey I've found answers to questions #2 and #3 above. But I'm still looking for input on #1 and #3. And adding #5.

re: the throttle (#2) I appreciate the reasons for why the switch is designed the way it is even while I still wonder how happy I will be the on/off performance. Per some other comments I read it sounds like I should just give the throttle switch as-designed a try and decide later whether I like it or not. And decide later whether it is worth trying to re-design the function. That's cool.

Adding a new question #5 to the list: Are the usual caliper brakes adequate for motor-enhanced speeds? I note Mike is brewing up a drum brake solution for the kit. I wonder how many current riders are going to jump on this new option? Or do you feel the current brake configuration is safe enough?




Phred you are very creative, I can tell!

I like your observations, comments and questions...Regarding the throttle design, all I can say is if they can make the button a bit thicker it might make it easier to press.

Now regarding your 5th question about caliper brakes. I use caliper brakes and they have been more than adequate. I rarely go over 20 mph. The Hill Topper will take me to 17-18 mph with little to no peddling and my brakes have always been able to handle stopping at those speeds. In fact, if you had a non-motorized bicycle, I would think those speeds would be what you would be able to achieve in mid to high gear anyway and caliper brakes are standard for most bicycles.
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby PeterCarlson » Sat Mar 17, 2012 5:06 am

There's not a lot left to be said about the performance of the Hill Topper after Love My Bike's review, but I have a few comments on Clean Republic. I purchased a Hill Topper about 8 months ago - mine has the SLA battery. I made this choice because I didn't know if I was going to like the Hill Topper so I wasn't willing to take a chance on the more expensive battery. (The price difference is about $300.)

I am already on my third battery - and this is after only 8 months, and this was over the winter so my bike was stored away for 3 of those 8 months. The first battery was replaced free of charge by Clean Republic when I complained because it wasn't performing as advertised, but now I can see the batteries are working fine - the company is simply grossly exaggerating the capabilities of this battery. Initially, I was pleased by their customer care (after all, they did replace the battery for me), but that was the result of dealing with an engineer who informed me that recharging a battery before it's fully spent is not a good idea - even though the salesman from Customer Service instructed me to charge it after every outing.

I have had a very hard time getting in touch with Clean Republic by phone and have never been able to contact them with a single phone call - it always takes at least two or three call-backs. When I do manage to get them, they are polite and helpful, but since their website ordering system is not the best I've ever seen (not by a long shot), I really do need to get customer service involved when placing orders. (I'm still not sure I didn't accidentally order two batteries on my last order.)

I'm really starting to get the feeling that Clean Republic is some little hobby-business someone is running out of their basement in addition to their nine-to-five job, and that doesn't give me a lot of confidence in them. I like my Hill Topper, and I have seriously considered upgrading to the Lithium battery, but when I do, I really don't think it will be through Clean Republic. I will get the battery elsewhere and have my electrician adapt it to my Hill Topper. Frankly, I never would have purchased such an expensive item from this company in the first place if I had known how difficult it would be to get in touch with them after the purchase. The post-purchase customer support is just not there.

In summation - good product, nice people, but not very professional.
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby LoveMyBike » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:36 am

Hello, Everyone:

Haven't posted in awhile. I wanted to say how wonderful it has been to be a part of the Clean Republic experience. I bought one of the first Hill Topper Kits and can still remember how excited I was to get that surge of power from just pressing the throttle button. It made riding a bicycle truely painless and I have feared no incline, hill or extended bicycle ride ever since.

I've watched Clean Republic grow and develop their products and work out the kinks like any beginning business. I've got to know the team behind the business as well and how they interact working together to get a product out to the public in as efficient, economical and satisfactory a way as they can.

I still get bombarded by people when they see me riding my bicycle. They want to know about the bicycle itself and what the large round hub is in the front tire. When I explain that it's a motor, and that tiny cylinder in the middle of the wheel powered by a battery weighing only a few pounds, can help them get up hills or take them for miles without pedaling they are very interested, especially when I tell them that they can motorize just about any bicycle with the Hill Topper kit. (For those of you with smaller wheeled bicycles - 16" or 20" you can get the Pro Pack Kit which includes the hub without the wheel and have a local bicycle shop build a wheel for you. Info here:

http://www.electric-bike-kit.com/propacklithium.aspx

I still keep a Battery Log which details the distance, date and type of terrain covered with each use of the Hill Topper. I can say that the Hill Topper performance has only gotten better over time with batteries, and a motor that have proven to be reliable, durable and efficient.

With the rising cost of gas, concern for the effects of global warming and depleted fuel resources, the electric car and bicycle seem to be certainly a step in the right direction and Clean Republic is part of that effort. You can't argue with a power source that is clean, efficient and makes riding a bicycle fun and easy!
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Re: My Review of the Hill Topper Lithium Kit

Postby richg1998 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:36 am

I missed this forum thread when I joined.
My local bike shop, Manhan Bike in Easthampton, MA told me about the Hill Topper and installed it on the bike.
I traded in the lead acid which I found out was quite old when the kit was installed on the bike. I bought the 10 mile Lithium battery and I found out I got more mileage out of the lead acid than the Lithium with the same amount of intermittent use. I repeated the test a couple times. Go figure.
I had to get the 20 mile Lithium and put the 10 mile Lithium in a bag over the rear wheel. The cable can reach it.
With intermittent use, I can easily do about 100km. There is quite a steep hill a short ways from my house on the way home. I ride for enjoyment and health reasons. Seventy two and retired. I can get to local stores and not have to use the car.

Rich
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