250w Dillenger basic front hub kit on Holstar hybrid

Scotty T

10 W
Feb 14, 2015
I’ve had the Dillenger kit for several months now so here is the review thread.


First up most of the story can be found on Dillenger’s blog, they asked me if I’d write a blog review for them so here it is, while I don’t like to make you jump to another site, as a 20 year veteran of websites I can’t stand duplication, plus big plugs for Endless Sphere over in my story ;)


As far as the build, note what I said about the PAS in the above article, expect this with any bike that doesn’t have 3-4mm of bare bottom bracket showing between the crank and the BB shell. It’s a real bummer that this issue exists as it is the most difficult one to fix and unless you are good with bikes and in particular have removed cranks you will need help. It’s easier on a higher end bike where you have self-pulling cranks but it is still the hardest bit of any off the shelf ‘plug-and-play’ kit.
Since that review I’ve replaced the front end, with some Suntour NRX forks with lockout, a generic Aheadset stem and a Cane Creek headset. The old forks, stem and headset were getting scary with the amount of flex and play! Will post a pic.

The final bill for the build including the bike is $1250, including the fitting of the forks at the local bike shop. The forks are probably 500g lighter than the old one, the bike feels very light and the 8Ah battery makes a big difference there, now that I also have an 11.6Ah dolphin on my other bike to compare. If you don’t need to ride more than 50km in one day and you’re happy to run 2/3 PAS on this system, it would be questionable to buy a bigger battery. Most people can't even tell that it's an electric bike, which is partly because the battery looks like a water bottle.

The other awesome thing about the basic kit and the little battery is the controller is in the battery holder. This makes it so easy to chuck on any bike, no need to find a spot for a separate controller. It also comes with a quite small charger that has no fan. I hauled the charger in to work initially, as I said in the other story: “I basically held the throttle on full, and pedalled at a moderate to high effort. I arrived at work and found my battery indicating less than half” and it was negligible as far as extra weight, and I could charge it on my desk as there was no noisy fan.

It’d be up to 1000km ridden by now (one thing that sucks about the simple system, you need to log every ride) and the only issue has been a swag of flats. Some were because an idiot at my son’s school stuck some staples in the tyres, but one was from a thorn, and one a pinch flat. They were all on the rear tyre which was a basic 32c so upgraded the same as the front which is an e-bike Maxxis Gypsy 38c, I’d highly recommend them this far. I’d also highly recommend not mucking around with your tyres on the e-bike if they are mediocre, even a basic 250w can work them hard. Piss your old tyres off when you convert unless they are already good quality.

The three speed combined with front drive is just brilliant, I wanted to put a smaller cog on the back as I was running out of spin on the downhills and flats. My 16 y.o. son despite doing BMX racing and mountain biking (pretty fast down hills) with me doesn’t care for hurrying to or from school so I’ve left it. He tends to roll at about 20-22km/h average on the e-bike, and being a gamer type who is doing this commuting to get himself fit and lose some weight he rolls about 14-15km/h on a similar route on the normal bike but he’d struggle to that do both ways which is 24km. He runs on PAS 2/3 all the time with only a few throttle bursts over the entire commute. He’s stoked on it. He goes to an out of area school so need to take two buses, we’d still be dropping him off to the bus or school and him spending up to 1.5 hours bussing it 12km from here. He hasn’t done 5 days a week yet (winter is cruel here) but this week he’ll do 4, and so will I!

The other big thing I will say for this bike, it is bloody fast! I thought I’d kill my average of 24-25km on the 18k commute with my new build but I think two things have proved great on the hybrid. The first is the bigger wheel and the second is the light weight. It’s a good kilo and a half lighter than my 350w/11.6Ah Bafang CST, the new forks were a good bit of that but also a 3 speed setup, and a light battery make a huge difference. As it stands I only got 2km up on my best time from this to the 350w so far. Then again it took some time to get from 23 to over 25 on the Hybrid initially. The new fork busted the record by half a km without any more noticeable effort. But the thing was a tough call when you wanted to tuck down and motor, it’s basically impossible with the geometry.

All in all, if you are looking for an entry level kit, that can also work hard every day if you want it to, and you don’t need to ride more than 50km per day this kit is the business. It is compact, light, easy to fit and Dillenger are serious about backing their product. I’d also say if you are in the lucky position like me where your kid would and could (could meaning my son rides about 300m of road in a 12km commute and the rest completely off road cycle path) ride 10km + to school instead of being on a bus or in your car you’re winning. The bus would also be $480 per year and he’s in year 11 so the kit is paid for by the end of school, and it will keep getting him around as a young adult.
Nobuo said:
Nice review! I have a pair of questions
have you tested it with only throttle use?
Which cells are inside the bottle?

I see is 8Ah, what is the voltage?

Thanks for sharing!

This is the kit Nobuo:


The battery is rated 36v nominal, 42v charged (see the "Additional Information" tab on the linked page) with Headway cells. One thing I can add is that Dillenger have updated the site with all those detailed specs, previously there was no info on the cells nor the charger or BMS which was not that relevant to me because I was buying on Dillengers reputation for good specs. But for those looking carefully this is good information that shows you aren't getting some sub-standard system in a cool battery case.

I haven't tested with throttle only, I think on 250w/8Ah you just can't even take into account not pedalling so it's about how far can you go using different levels of effort. If you don't want to pedal you need more watts and amp hours :)
On the battery life in cold weather: My son managed to run his 8Ah battery out the other day (about 90% charge at a guess, all LEDS on battery were lit, 24km trip) and he said it rapidly dropped below half about 3km from home on the way in, it was -2.2c with apparent -4.3c! On the way home he had it cut out about a km from home, switched off, pedaled a few hundred meters, switched back on and it got him home (11c).

Updated pic with the new forks:

Fast forward all these years, it didn't get ridden since about 2016, a handful of times and each time the battery became worse, getting down to under 20km range on low PAS. Very disappointing, so the bike got packed away. Fast forward and my neighbour has back probems and no transport so we're reviving it for him to use, while Dillenger have the bottle battery available obviously they are crap quality. My 11Ah battery from E-Max (now defunct it seems, no site updates since 2018 and slightly broken site) is performing much better and still has a good range. I found these guys and bought this battery:


They have a bottle style battery but no idea if it's compatible so I grabbed this one, and have opened up the controller mounted on the old batery holder to detach the battery wires. My battery arrived very quickly but they missed my message to include the adaptor which they offer with all batteries so I could attach it to the old controller so I'm waiting for that and will post up how it goes.

Last ride it went on was in March 2018:

The neighbour ended up with an e-trike so my son has started using this bike. With the new battery it continues to chug along, doing a short 7km round trip for work each day.

It has never skipped a beat, and I pulled the old battery apart to salvage the 18650's but am yet to use one in another application.