LVBU/Easy-Fit/SmartBikeWheel/Ultra Ebike/HABELO

Noodles

Just Joined
May 12, 2022
4
2
Howdy All.

I just fitted an LVBU KF system to my road bike, really couldn't find any reviews online so it was a bit of a punt. It was on Sale for £360 shipped to UK. I opted for a rear wheel version.

To Summarise first in case people are already put off. I'm happy with the Kit, but I would have gone with their older BY series (The Easy-Fit model) as there are some dissapointments.

It advertises as supporting 18W USB-C Fast charging. This is a stretch.

It comes with a dumb 42V 2A charger (84W) which has a USB-C connector and a label warning you not to use it to charge laptops and phones.
So Physically it is USB-C, Electrically it's an accident waiting to happen.
You cannot use a USB-C Laptop charger or Fast Phone charger to charge it.
What it can do is charge a Phone over USB-C. (The BY had a coaxial power connector and a USB-A socket for phone charging.)

The only way to turn it on and off is with a small pin. (They BY model had an off switch.)
I believe the intention is that you don't turn it off, and the standby drain is minimal, but It then sits with lights on all the time.
(It does have a nice "Lock" function in the App which requires it to be on. Essentially if someone tries to cycle away with it, it resists and sounds an alarm, a big Off button would negate this, but the lights should turn off after a while.)

They advertise it as being compatible with an ANT+ Pedometer. They even sell a rebranded Magene one, but the KF series doesn't support this yet. (Th BY model supports it)

Lastly, they advertise an adjustable speed limiter. This works, but not above 16mph, even if you can set it from 5mph to 30mph to unlimited.
The battery reads GPS speeds and limits you to the local legal limit.

The Good bits.

It works.
It works well.(It does 0 assist until 5mph above which it's like someone is hitting a cruise control reset button every second. If you accelerate it holds the new speed. If you squeeze the brakes and slow down, it holds the new speed unless below 5mph.)
It was simple to install, One cable no sensors.
It's not obvious it's an ebike.
The wheel/rim is very good quality
It was good value
Seller communicated well
They gave a thumb throttle if you want it.

The "Could be better"
Being able to shorten/remove the unused cables. It's made for a front wheel, if you have a rear hub, the cable is 2x too long.
I don't use the throttle, so have another cable dangling about.
Change the flashlight button into the power button.
I had to file out the dropouts as the axel was wider than mine.

The Bad
Had to fashion a bracket from sheet metal as the Battery is a bit flexible and hitting a big bump caused the motor to cut out, it needs to be able to recover from this state without stopping and resetting the app.
The charger, it's a nightmare born of wishful marketing and an electronics engineer who didn't understand or couldn't execute the brief.
the App, needs some polish.
 

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cyclebuddy

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 2, 2016
1,579
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Beds & Norfolk
I think it might have helped if you'd first given an overview of what this system is about, and perhaps a link to their website rather than assuming folk here would be familiar with it... because it's completely alien to me, and my initial reaction was "WTF is this guy on about?" For the uninitiated like me, it's here.

Having used google search and looked at the relevant website, I can see the system has some merit

I'm sure this is a credible alternative to a Swytch-type kit... but in the overall scheme of things, it to me is a little "Apple"... All style and restricted "garden wall" functionality (Eg: Why force a USB C charging standard... which for most isn't a standard at all, and a generic charger would've been fine)... and if it must have an APP, why overcook it to the nth degree?

I'll admit it is interesting. Please do let us know how it performs once you've cranked a couple of thousand miles on it.
 

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
20,461
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A link to the kit would help, it certainly one as mentioned we have come across.
 

Noodles

Just Joined
May 12, 2022
4
2
The link you posted does actually quote that LVBU is the manufacturer.

They definitely don't include Induction Braking though.
 
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walking

Pedelecer
Apr 10, 2021
30
7
Plus the cadence sensor is omitted for the gyroscope on the battery , the spec is so similar it seems they have based it on the LVBU kit.
 

matthewslack

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 26, 2021
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Plus the cadence sensor is omitted for the gyroscope on the battery , the spec is so similar it seems they have based it on the LVBU kit.
Some fancy words on the web page, and it may be very clever, but with no simple PAS sensor there may be issues of legality, and in my view there is a severe reduction of basic safety.

No PAS sensor to directly detect pedaling, and such confidence in their algorithms that there are no brake sensors either. Any issues whether hardware or software that misinterpret pedal input could have you launching unexpectedly with no way to stop except brakes against the motor, finding the power switch or departing the machine.

I'd want some pretty substantial external validation before I placed my safety 100% in the hands of software algorithms with no failsafe hardware override.

It sounds as though they are using a '6 degrees of freedom' (6DOF) sensor and a GPS to analyse motion, and somehow detect pedalling out of the background noise of movement, bumps and so on. Sounds a tall order to me, so I await with interest reviews telling me how good it is. Or not.

There is one point that does sound interesting, which is using the movement analysis from sensors to calculate a suitable level of assistance. That is potentially an advance towards the level of feedback that torque sensor systems give.

But for me, the feature made so much of, namely the simple installation because of the lack of PAS and brake sensors, renders it dead on arrival because of safety concerns.
 

walking

Pedelecer
Apr 10, 2021
30
7
I do like the simplicity of it but hadn't considered any of your points , so thanks for pointing them out.
 

guerney

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 7, 2021
10,696
3,079
No doubt there will be horror stories about this kit all over the internet, if it is indeed a danger to ride or uncontrollable. I like the ease of installation, but actively avoid any device which relies on an app. That being said, my Line 6 Amplifi TT relies on an app, but that app being pulled from app stores, or the phone/tablet having wireless connection problems because they've been updated, faulty or low in power/other, won't leave me without a fully functioning ebike.
 
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matthewslack

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 26, 2021
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No doubt there will be horror stories about this kit all over the internet, if is indeed a danger to ride or uncontrollable. I like the ease of installation, but actively avoid any device which relies on an app. That being said, my Line 6 Amplifi TT relies on an app, but that app being pulled from app stores, or the phone/tablet having wireless connection problems because they've been updated, faulty or low in power/other, won't leave me without a fully functioning ebike.
The problem with removing the sensors is that it will probably ride just fine until it doesn't, and then it will be too late.

It's like an outboard motor manufacturer deciding their algorithm removes the need for a kill cord, or a car cruise control being so advanced it doesn't need to know when you touch the brake pedal.

The Tesla on Autopilot driving under a lorry because it thought it was a bridge was in the news again a few days ago.

Safety management systems are part of my working life, and removing layers of protection is just the antithesis of good safety.
 
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Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
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The system is available here.

But the issue is with cost or replacements should they fail or brake, the controller £120 before postage and duty. But at least for now spares are available.
 

matthewslack

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 26, 2021
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I went looking for the full text of EN15194:2017 out of interest to see what it said in detail about pedal sensing. Needless to say, it does not appear to be available for free, and I was not €300 interested, so the following may well date to the pre 2017 standard.

There is a bit about required stopping distance, i.e. distance travelled by the bike after pedalling stops by which assistance must have stopped. 5m if brake sensors used, only 2m otherwise. That's a fraction of a pedal revolution.

This system does not claim to be EN15194 compliant, and on this measure it is unlikely to be.

 
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Brucenbs

Just Joined
Feb 25, 2023
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Hi,

How has you experience been with the LVBU ekit till now.

What are the issues you faced and is the supplier helpful with any concerns?

Does it have any safety and reliability concerns
 

Noodles

Just Joined
May 12, 2022
4
2
Thought I would check in on the forum.

I've had it for a year now. Still going fine for me. It's been rained on a bunch.

On seeing mine four other guys from work got the same model. 2 bought direct from LVBU and 2 from resellers.

2 of the guys have had issues. When the battery was left over winter it wouldn't take a charge in the Spring.
The guy with the reseller is waiting for a new battery pack.
The guy with the factory one received a Dongle to force charge and wake the battery pack up. It worked.
I don't know if this is firmware fixable, but I have had 2 updates in the last year.

I am getting through brake pads faster than I used to.
It still doesn't support the cadence sensor they offer.
It's actually difficult to go a constant speed unless its the top speed. Trying to cycle with my wife on her ebike, I'm always faster or slower than her.

Overall I would still reccommend.

With regards to safety and control concerns people have had.

From my understanding/experience, It uses wheel speed, gyroscope angle and GPS.

The GPS is only being used to calibrate your actual speed and check the limits in your locale. (It's not possible to make it go faster by telling the app you have smaller wheels or weigh heavier than you do.)
And even if you set it to unlimited, mine caps out between 16-17mph, the UK limit)

The Gyroscope is only used to see if you are going up or down a slope, or if you have fallen over.

The primary sensor is the wheel speed.

In terms of how it works, it seems like it has 3 states, Accelerate, Decelerate and Off.

Above 5mph if it sees your speed is increasing it gives you a boost and Accelerates.

If it's load(Current) increases a little but you aren't going uphill, or if you hit the limiter it switches to Decelerate. This gives you just less than what you need to maintain speed and you very slowly slow down.

If load suddenly increases a lot, or you fall over it turns Off the power as it senses you braking.

People seem to think that a PAS sensor. or brake microswitches ensure safety, They are not connected via hardware to the motor. It's all done in software in the controller. If A microswitch fails, you are screwed, if the PAS sensor fails you won't go anywhere.

On the LVBU, if the Gyroscope fails, it won't go anywhere, if the wheel sensor fails it won't go anywhere.

If you are worried the software might hang and straight up drive away on you, that's no different from any other e-bike.

And ultimately, a pair of standard bike brakes really should be strong enough to stop a low torque 250W motor.
 

saneagle

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 10, 2010
5,162
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And ultimately, a pair of standard bike brakes really should be strong enough to stop a low torque 250W motor.
People don't seem to realise that your energy goes up with the square of your speed, so if you're averaging twice the speed, you need four times as much braking to stop. Even going from 12 mph to 15.5 mph needs 67% extra braking, which can overheat brake blocks and cause them to wear out very quickly.

Additionally, you have extra mass, say 5% to 8% extra, so you need additional braking for that.

I cringe when I see those guys with cheap caliper brakes on their catalogue MTBs that install a 12kg 1000w kit, then boast that they can do 30 mph. They'd need literally 10 sets of those brakes on each wheel to get the same braking.