News, thoughts and ramblings...

11/18/21 Closed for Thanksgiving Week

There is a lot of Black Friday talk in the US these days. Lots of sales (or pseudo sales), folks lining up for "door buster" discounts and unbridled consumerism. While this may be all in good fun, it's not so much for the people who have to work in it. For this reason, and otheres (hey, 2021 aint that much better than 2020...) we've made the decision to be closed for the holiday. Our web site and store will be open, but any orders won't be shipped until our staff returns the next week.

It may add a day or two to your delivery times, but I think we can all appreciate the time off with our families.

11/16/21 Remember to ABC!

Lithium batteries have some quirks that we just need to live with. They like to be charged up, but not too charged up. And they really don't like to be drained to zero. A lot of us got used to NiCAD batteries that had a "memory effect" and think Lithium cells also need to be drained to zero... Not only is this not necessary, it damages the cells.

Here's where your ABCs come in - Always Be Charging. Don't wait until your cells are dangerously low - give them a charge after each ride. It's better for the batteries and you'll always know your SmartBikeWheel is ready to take you where you want to go.

To learn more about how to care for your battery pack, we recommend visiting Battery University.

11/10/21 We've gone international!

Some of you might be aware that we have ben testing the waters on selling and shipping outside the USA. We think we got a handle on it now and are ready to roll ourt SmartBikeWheel to the world - at least some of it...

We are planning to start with English speaking countries to avoid translation issues with support and documentation. We've added a currency drop down to SmartBikeWheel.com and added some flat rate shipping for Canada, Europe, UK and ANZ. We have arranged to dropship these orders direct from our factory in China to save on shipping cost. And we made sure that each will be shipped with the country specific charging cable.

We are quite excited about our first step into international trade and hope to further our offers in the future.

11/06/21 Price Drop!

We've all been hearing bad news about inflation. How prices are going up and there is nothing we can do about it. Well, we were able to get a deal from the factory and decided to pass the savings on to our customers.

We rolled back prices on all of the SmartBikeWheel models we carry - both on Amazon and on our web site Smartbikewheel.com. Of course, prices are a bit lower on our web site than amazon, but we think you'll be pleased with what you see on either.

10/20/21 - What the thru-axle???

Some more recent bikes have a different way of attaching their wheels. Instead of having a dropout - a slotted hole that the wheel's axle slides into (as seen on the left), they have a separate axle that slides through a hole on one side of the forks, through the wheel, though a hole on the other side of the fork. (as seen on the right image).

SmartBikeWheel does not work with thru-axles. The axle on SmartBikeWheel is flat on two sides to allow it to fit into the slot of a standard drop axle front fork. The combination of slots and flat sided axle allows the axle to stay firmly in place so SmartBikeWheel can pull the bike forward. With a thru-axle, there is no slot, so even if you could get SmartBikeWheel mounted, it would just spin in place. I have only heard of one hub motor that works with a thru-axle bike, so this problem is not unique to SmartBikeWheel.

For more info on thru-axles, click here.

10/01/21 - Check your forks, people!

Lately we have been getting a few SmartBikeWheels returned because they just don't fit the intended bike. The forks may have the correct spacing between drop outs - 100mm or roughly 4 inches - but they taper inward causing them to bind against SmartBikeWheel.

Uninstalled, undamaged SmartBikeWheels can be returned for a full refund. I can't refund shipping, though, since the item still needs to be shipped.

The best way to avoid this is to use our sizing template. You simply print it out at full size, cut it out and place it between your forks. Then you will know for sure if SmartBikeWheel will fit your bike.



09/08/21 - Oh the shipping!

As you might have heard in the news, there are a large number of container ships anchored off the west coast of the US waiting to unload. Guess what's in them? 3 orders of SmartBikeWheels.

How did this happen? Well, when the economy improved over the summer lots of orders were placed for imported goods. Now there are more ships arriving than there are people to unload them, thus creating an unprecedented backup.

And that's why our store says "Out of Stock" on most every item.

We are told to be patient and our orders will be delivered. I guess that's all we can do...

09/01/21 - Unfortunately, prices must go up. =(

Sorry to say it, but SmartBikeWheel pricing is headed up. Suppliers want more for components, and shippers want more to Get our orders from the factory to our shop. The only way we can stay in this game is to raise our prices.

We are trying to keep our prices as low as possible - our 26 x 1.95" wheel (our most popular) is going from $495 to $510. That's only $15 more. Not much more. Just a little bit.

08/22/21 - BOOST Changes in the App.

Some of you have noticed a problem with the Boost function in the SmartBikeWheel App. The bike does not have to be in motion for the Boost function to work. This is great for taking off with extra power from a stop sign or red light, but, and this is a big BUT, a few of you have had "incidents" with the bike taking off unexpectedly...

One user pulled her phone out of her purse with the App open. Her thumb held the boost button down as she did this and across the room her bike took off, burning some serious rubber in here garage. Another user was putting his bike into a bike rack. As he lifted the handlebar, his thumb held the boost button down and his bike quickly ran over the bike rack and gashed up his leg.

I don't like to hear these stories, and I'm sure no one likes to experience them... So we changed how the Boost function works.

Now the Boost button will not work unless SmartBikeWheel is going 5 KPH or 3.2 MPH.

It won't be as much fun at a stop light, but it will be safer, and that, I think you'll agree, is more important.

07/20/21 - Electric Bike Reports - shows SmartBikeWheel some love.

We just got in a great review from the folks at Electric Bike Reports.

We shipped them a SmartBikeWheel in May for an evaluation, but they performed a really, really thorough test. And the results speak for themselves.

I really don't have much to say about it that Sam didn't say much better, so please take a few minutes to watch their review on YouTube.

One small correction and an observation - Sam mentioned that you needed to set the gyro with each ride - which is not correct - it only needs to be set once. And, beginning with 16:07 he shows the left side of SmartBikeWheel with the disc brake mounting bolts and ring removed. Doing this will allow water, mud or dirt into the motor housing - definitely a bad idea. Please keep your bolts in place even if you aren't using a disc brake.

05/16/21 - It's all in the Gyro - and I'm not talkin' about lunch!

Setting the gyro is critical to proper operation of SmartBikeWheel.

I know this since is true since it happened to me, and it seems to happen to a lot of you too...

The Gyro setting allows SmartBikeWheel to know if you are traveling uphill, downhill or on level ground. If it's not set right, the SmartAssist won't work correctly.

For instance -

  • If the gyro is set with the front wheel slightly higher, SmartBikeWheel will think it's going downhill when it on level ground - not giving you the power you want. When you ride up hill it thinks you are on level ground and doesn't give you the assistance you need to make it up the hill
  • If the gyro is set with the rear wheel slightly higher, SmartBikeWheel will think it's going uphill when it's on level ground - giving you extra power. Riding uphill won't give you any extra power and downhill, well downhill is trouble. SmartBikeWheel thinks it's riding on the level when you're going downhill, so it provides normal assistance - not what you want.
  • But my bike is level when I set the gyro - what gives?

    Here are some common issues -

  • Tire pressure is low - If your tires are soft, you may have the bike level, but when you get on it, the rear wheel is now lower, making SmartBikeWheel think it's going uphill. Make sure your tire pressure is correct before setting your gyro.
  • Hold the bike straight vertically too. We use a 6 axis gyroscope in SmartBikeWheel - same kind that is used in many drones today. Holding the bike at an angle when setting the gyro will cause it to be off as well.
  • Rear suspension bikes often have the same issue as low tire pressure. It's best to be seated on the bike when setting the gyro on rear suspension bikes.
  • Sometimes the ground is not as level as it looks. I always recommend using tennis or basketball courts to set the gyro. They may not be perfectly level, but they are more likely to be level than the average sidewalk or street.
  • It may take you a couple of tries before your gyro is set correctly, but once it is, you won't have to set it again.

    04/12/21 - Pedal Assist is here!

    We just got in our first order of Pedal Assist Sensors - A.K.A. Cadence Sensors.

    Some of you have asked for a little more control over your SmartBikeWheel's SmartAssist - and our Pedal Assist option does just that. The Sensor is fully bluetooth - no wires needed. You attach it to your crank, pair it in the SmartBikeWheel App and you are ready to go. A crank icon has been added to the center of the App's main screen to allow you to turn pedal assist on or off.

    With pedal assist on, SmartBikeWheel will only assit when it sees you're pedaling. No pedaling - no assist. It's that easy. Now the sensor doesn't know how hard your pedaling, so SmartBikeWheel still uses its SmartAssist to know how much assistance to give. And we built in a little grace timer, so if you foot slips or you need to adjust your sock or something, it doesn't suddenly stop and restart - which could give you an unexpected jerk.

    You can add a Pedal Assist Sensor to your SmartBikeWheel, or order it with your wheel. It does require you to use the SmartBikeWheel App as it is not supported on the Throttle/Display yet.

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