Alter Ego Rebel Cargo (Himiway Big Dog)


New Member
Hey guys,

New to the Ebike - community, but not to biking in General. I guess this would be more of a combination Vendor/Bike review. I was needing a cargo ebike that could carry two kids, without being a long tail, and eventually found a local-ish company called Alter Ego bikes - it's about an hour away from me which caused a bit of pause, but that should be better than a "direct to consumer" only place shipping from God-knows-where right? RIGHT??

I headed out there and test rode their Rebel Cargo, which as far as I can tell, is a rebranded Himiway Big Dog with matt black paint and hydraulic logan brakes. I was looking for hydraulic brakes as I tried the Rad wagon with mechanical discs and they were NOT cutting it. Quick specs on the bike:
  • Step Through Frame
  • Integrated Battery
  • Hydraulic brakes
  • 48V 20aH battery
  • 750w hub motor
  • 20" fat tires
The 10 minute test ride went well, Ok dynamics, steering was a little twitchy, Pedal assist engagement was a little abrupt and pedal assist disengagement was slow (it would keep going for 1 to 1.5seconds after you stop pedaling. But generally it rode pretty well, had good brakes, was decently powerful, and was equipped with a large Samsung 20ah that should give pretty good range (on paper). Got one that was new in the box (they removed the factory short rack and gave me the long rack) since I chose to upgrade my rack to the long one.

Got home and started putting the bike the "fun" begins.
  • Cargo rack mounts were misaligned - the top mount was off by 6-7mm from the mount. This rack is VERY stiff and you will strip the threads in the aluminum frame if you try to just torque it in from one side.(See photos)
    • a. Was told this was normal and it's a "self-assembly related" issue
    • I managed to torque the bolts in after loosening both sides and repeatedly alternated between torquing both sides in. I was very uncomfortable with how much torque I was subjecting the aluminum frame threads to...this rack is NOT coming off anytime soon.
  • Tail lights stop working after about 10 minutes use
    • a. was told I left the light hanging and probably pulled the wires loose - again "self-assembly related" issue.
    • I researched and found a video on youtube describing the exact problem - Lights would work then stop working after the long ride - and the fix was a resistor wire from the manufacturer. Informed them of the video and they requested, received and sent the warranty fix from the factory to me within the week.
  • Front brakes started getting progressively louder until it was a howl - my wife could hear it from inside the house with the windows closed as I went down the hill beside the house.
    • a. Was told "Squealing brakes are a very common challenge with any bike equipped with disc brakes" and given a link to their site which talked about common brake squeal fixes. I reiterated that it was extremely loud and the bike is basically brand new, and the reply was "Brakes will squeak right out of the box. "
    • 😅I am starting to sense a trend...I fixed it by installing Shimano brake pads - maybe the OEM brake pads were sub-par?
  • The tire was out of round (improperly mounted) on the rim. At higher speeds the bike would start shaking.
    • a. Was told to re-seat the tire which I was already planning on doing
    • Took a couple of tries and finally reseated the tires with minimal wobble - seems to me like the tire bead is just so ever slightly bigger than where it seats to the rim - This is the first fat tire I've dealt with so I don't know if this would be normal. The tire reseat worked and the high speed shake that the bike had is now gone – thank goodness!
Is it just me or has this been a lot of work to get a new bike into working shape?

Now, it's not all bad - the GOOD

1. The bike is plenty powerful to get up the steep hills in my area.

2. It's a good looking machine.

3. It can carry my two kids after I made a custom seat etc for the bike.

4. Alter Ego bikes customer support is VERY responsive - if not particularly helpful.

General Observations:
  1. Loading up the back of a cargo bike can lead to funky steering behaviors (guess that's why they are normally a long tail).
  2. With all the uphills I'm doing I saw a range of about 40km from full to 2 bars left...pretty decent
  3. The pedal assist can be adjusted to start softer - I have it on the softest setting and it's a pretty gentle ramp up now.
  4. The bike is pretty comfortable to ride - the cushioned seat, along with the front suspension and the fat tires makes for a pretty cushy ride.
I did get an offer from the owner to return the bike for a full refund after he saw my email chain with customer support. At this point I feel like I've chased down all the issues and I'm better off keeping the bike - the bike itself is pretty decent - just has some factory QA issues that I needed to address. I just wish customer support felt more like a team trying to solve the issue than being told "everything is normal" and left to my own devices. I requested that they compensate me for the $15 Shimano brake pads I had to put on to get the bike to an acceptable state, I feel like the howl was an issue with the stock pads and cropped up early enough it should be considered a manufacturer's defect. Surprise surprise - response was "We provide good quality brake pads with all of our bikes. We will not reimburse you for choosing different brake pads." I chose to save my ears and myself from the embarrassingly loud brakes - guess it's my fault.

At the end of the day, even though I quite like the bike - unless if you are very handy yourself AND ARE WILLING TO PUT IN THE TIME or work with a local bike store - I can't in good conscience recommend this store or the Rebel Cargo.


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Update - the dealer has flagged my Google maps review - guess it goes into a process now to determine if it is in contravention of google's policy - but it's taken off google maps in the mean time. And right before that their response to the review is that they are exercising their right to refuse service on my bike, that's I'm "harassing and bullying" them...I literally just left a negative review and haven't been in touch with them since last week after I realized they weren't going to help me address the various small issues, detailed above, that came up.

Now I REALLY do not recommend dealing with them 😅