Any experience with Qulbix?

Discussion in 'Electric Motorcycles' started by Viking84, Aug 27, 2018.

  1. Viking84

    Viking84 Long timer

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    I've finally accepted that I live in Norway, and all motorbike riding in any kind of challenging off road conditions is punishable by death (or at the very least results in hefty fines and a confiscated motorbike).

    To get around this I'm looking into getting an e-bike, but of course I want this to be as close to a motorbike with pedals as I can get it. In that regard I've been looking at Stealth bikes (Stealth Bomber B-52), and Qulbix.

    Does anyone have any experience with the latter? The prices seem OK, and they have the only mid-drive e-bike with a solid battery and enough power for some proper hillclimbs.

    https://qulbix.com/

    Edit: This is my bike, user review at the bottom of page 1 ;)
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  2. ctromley

    ctromley Been here awhile

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    No experience, though I think you'll find that the chassis-mounted motor in the Qulbix is a huge benefit when the going gets knarly compared to the Bomber's unsprung hub motor. Have you been Very Thorough in determining what exactly qualifies as an e-bike in Norway? Norway is not an EU country, so their regs could be anything. If they default to EU standards, an e-bike in the EU is a bicycle equipped with a motor rated at no more than 250 W, much less than the 750 W allowed in the US. 250 W is still a significant assist, but will not give you an almost-EM by any stretch.

    Which may not be such a bad thing. I've started cycling recently, and the improvement in fitness and stamina is quite satisfying. I suspect you can find some killer e-MTBs out there - it's a rapidly growing segment. If EM performance is what you must have and Norway doesn't allow it, you'll be forced to get a suitable e-bike and hotrod it, or convert a standard MTB and roll your own extra zoom (probably easier), and then be careful how you use it and in front of whom.
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  3. Viking84

    Viking84 Long timer

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    Sadly Norway follows the EU e-bike regs, so this thing is miles off being legal. That said nobody seems to care, and as long as I ride sensibly in the forest instead of bombing past pedestrians in town at 50mph then I doubt I will get into any trouble :) Mainly looking for a bike that can carry myself and some camping gear around single track trails with a good range, and this thing has over 4 times the battery capacity of a regular "pedelec".

    As you say the mid engine setup on this one should be a big benefit over the more "normal" rear hub motor bikes like the Stealth series, hoping this will feel a bit like a light weight enduro bike with respect to handling.
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  4. ctromley

    ctromley Been here awhile

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    Even someone who knows nothing of e-bikes would strongly suspect that the Bomber, Qulbix or that ilk are not really e-bikes. There's a very good chance you'd spend a lot of money for something that only results in hefty fines.

    IF (big if) roll-your-own e-bikes are permitted in Norway and don't invite a lot of scrutiny, my approach would be to get a strong, beefy (with suitable load rating), highly capable standard MTB. Then convert it using a Bafang BBSHD mid-drive from LunaCycles.com. They can load a hot-rod program that gives it 1600 W of peak power. (Some intelligence is likely needed to use all that power reliably, but it shouldn't be an issue.) Outside it looks like a nice, professional, compact add-on system that does not scream "outlaw". The bike it's mounted on is a real bicycle, so attracts virtually no attention.

    With that kind of power you can do things no normal MTB can dream of doing. It's not a dirt bike, but satisfying in its own right. You can get as much range as you want since battery packs are priced separately. If you run out of range you can still ride it back to camp, something I would definitely not look forward to on a Qulbix. (Might not even be possible, depending on what you traversed before the battery quit - looks like you only get a single speed for pedaling. Which means you'll end up pushing way too much weight.) And the roll-your-own-e-bike approach is much cheaper.

    My only concern about the LunaCycle system is that they describe it as water resistant. So don't leave it submerged in a creek for too long.

    Next big question: Does Norway even allow e-bikes off-road, chewing up the countryside?
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  5. Viking84

    Viking84 Long timer

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    E-bikes are allowed anywhere regular bikes are here, for the time being :) I've seen quite a few home-brew fatbikes out in the forest that are nowhere near legal, but as you say they may look more normal to a moderately bike-savvy eye. The Qulbix does have a "plausible deniability" mode which limits it to 250W and 25 kph, so in my head it is basically just a regular e-bike with a purpose built frame and a huuuuge range. At least that is what I plan to tell anyone who asks :p

    Edit: That said, I reckon the key here is to not ride it like a motocross bike on the trails, but ride it like a bicycle, put a bell on it to warn hikers that I'm approaching, and generally not behave like an ass. If I do that I doubt anyone will be bothered :)
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  6. tokyo

    tokyo Been here awhile

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    +1 on the MTB with Lunacycle add-on. For going on trails and running in stealth mode it is hard to beat an actual bicycle with an add-on motor and a backpack battery.

    I am not a fan of hub motors off-road for various well-documented reasons, but they are the most stealth. Luna has a new Mac hub motor that can run 1700W and mostly hide behind a disc brake. They have a 6 turn (speed) and 12 turn (torque) which may work depending on how much hill-climbing you plan to do. https://lunacycle.com/mac-motor-asi-high-performance-hub-kit/

    For another potentially stealthy option you should check out Bikee Bike out of Italy. They have adapted a pancake motor to use as a mid drive. So kind of looks like a big fat cassette up front so with a backpack battery and the right paint job could be pretty stealth. They can get you big power if running 72V. Talk with Mateo he will hook you up. https://www.bikeebike.com/

    As always the tiny Tangent Ascent is another mid-drove option for serious power in a small mid-drive package. Pricey and supposedly kind of loud it has very favorable reviews from those who have made the plunge. https://tangentmotors.com/

    All these will require DIY which can be a hassle. It isn't really that hard though, is rewarding and allows for maximum power in a stealth package. Plus you can spend as much or as little as you want on the base bike.
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  7. tokyo

    tokyo Been here awhile

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    By the way I am not encouraging breaking any laws. I usually ride my 1500W fat bike off-road on the same single track as I used to ride my motorbikes. Mixed use trails where pretty much anything goes.

    Its just much less work (unless I want to pedal) quieter, more enjoyable and I can carry my bike on a bike rack on the back of electric car to the trail head.
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  8. ctromley

    ctromley Been here awhile

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    I won't argue that in general, but the BBS02 and BBSHD mid-drives are both very quiet. There's probably more noise from the tires when off-road.
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  9. tokyo

    tokyo Been here awhile

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    I agree, I have a BBSHD and it is very quiet.

    By stealth I meant hiding the motor itself visually, not necessarily sound.
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  10. Viking84

    Viking84 Long timer

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    My understanding is that the Qulbix Q140MD uses a hub-drive style motor but mounted in the middle, so it should be pretty much silent :)
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  11. Viking84

    Viking84 Long timer

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    New video out of the Q140MD. This thing really is quite impressive! Totally silent and plenty powerful for some technical trails. As long as I can resist riding it like I stole it I should be fine off road with this I reckon.

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  12. Viking84

    Viking84 Long timer

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    Well, the money I had budgeted for an enduro bike next year just got spent on a Q140MD. This should be a fun new way of exploring the forest! 2 months til delivery, fingers crossed for an unusually dry and warm winter ;)
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  13. tokyo

    tokyo Been here awhile

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    Congrats!

    Looking forward to hearing more..
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  14. Viking84

    Viking84 Long timer

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    2 weeks left of the build time now according to Qulbix :) Hoping it might arrive before we get too much snow!

    As a side note, judging from range figures presented for the Sur Ron Light bee which has a marginally smaller battery and no pedals I should be able to get 50-60km of range if I'm heavy on the throttle and ride at higher speeds, or upwards of 80km if I stick to slower speeds. Pedalling would add even more potentially.

    That is a LOT of range for a 50kg bike, and more than enough for a couple of days riding trails in the forest and camping :)
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  15. Viking84

    Viking84 Long timer

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    The first pictures of my Q140MD have arrived! The guys at Qulbix have done a really good job, and the colour scheme turned out great.

    I'm especially pleased with how "bicycle-like" this ended up looking. The frame is beefy, but the white stickers around the head and triple clamp area help to mask the size, and of course the bicycle seat helps greatly compared to the moto-style seat.

    Shipping will take place next week, hopefully I'll have it in my hands by the week after, ready for my first test ride :D

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  16. 9Realms

    9Realms Drawn in by the complex plot

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    That looks like loads of fun. Are you thinking of some kind of saddle bag that throws over the area with the panel covers in front, or running with a backpack?
    It seems to be suspiciously (naked) lacking conventional hardware behind the seat area for the ability to run some saddlebags behind the rider.
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  17. Viking84

    Viking84 Long timer

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    Luggage options will be investigated thoroughly during the winter months :D Current plan is for a seat post bag on the back, a handlebar roll on the front, and hopefully a bag on top of the frame for smaller items. And of course a backpack for the beer ;) Camping gear will consist of an Amok Draumr hammock + tarp setup + compact sleeping bag so hopefully I should be able to do some decent adventure rides in our local forests on this thing while still keeping it all nice and light weight :D
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  18. Viking84

    Viking84 Long timer

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    So, here are my experiences, fresh from my first short ride. I will try to keep this as objective as I can...

    :jack Just kidding!

    I have spent the last 30 minutes laughing with joy in my helmet :clap This thing is INSANE!!! I have a fairly steep driveway, about 80 meters long, and by the time I'm halfway up it is doing over 50 kph and I have been fighting wheelies all the way. I quite literally cannot lean far enough forward to give it full throttle from a stand-still without looping it out :p

    I have done a tiny section of single track with a steep but short climb and apart from having way more power than I need the bike feels nimble, easy to control and really well sorted. It is also pretty much silent apart from chain and tire noise. Throttle control is excellent although with so much power on tap you will do wisely to keep a finger covering the rear brake if things get out of hand.

    A proper review and youtube video will come shortly, but first impressions are very very good. It really feels like someone took the power of a motocross bike and stuffed it in something the size of a mountain bike, which was exactly what I wanted :D
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  19. Viking84

    Viking84 Long timer

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    First proper ride done - it gets dark here around 4pm now so the pictures are a little blurry unfortunately!

    The bike really is fantastic. I rode for 2 hours on icy and technical single trail that would have been a serious challenge on an enduro bikelike my old KTM 500 EXC I used to ride, but on this thing it really was a piece of cake. Tonnes of grip and power, as mentioned before the only challenge is keeping the front wheel down on hill climbs. I even rode through an icy bog of dirt and semi-frozen water, almost up to the axles, but the bike has so much torque it just powered on through without any complaint!

    I have played around with regular and ECO mode, and for forest riding I prefer the more mellow response from the ECO mode. Still enough power to lift the front over obstacles, but not enough to flip you over every time you look at the throttle. The way I have it set up it also limits perfectly to 25.6 kph on flat ground which is great for legal riding in Norway. I will probably leave it in that mode 90% of the time when I'm trail riding :)

    The suspension is really good, I added a full turn of pre-load but otherwise I've left it stock. It is nice and supple and even fairly gnarly climbs with lots of big rocks were no problem, just power on through and try to pick a good line! What I did notice is that unlike a motorbike you can't use your legs to hold on, so when you are standing all the force from the motor goes through your arms. The result is that I found myself sitting much more than I'm used to which was a bit strange.

    At the end of the 2 hour ride I had done 16.2 km, with an elevation change of +300 meters, and used 918 Wh of juice. Averaged 52 Wh/km which for that kind of riding with barely any pedalling was pretty damn good I reckon. Max amps drawn were 164, which makes for something like 15Kw of power.... it sure feels like it!

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  20. Viking84

    Viking84 Long timer

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    And to finish off the evening, here is my first ride impressions and some riding footage on Youtube:

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