Dillenger/Arc 1000w Rear Hub Direct Drive Kit feedback


Hi everyone,

After an exhaustive review of ebikes and kits, I finally made a decision to purchase the new Dillenger/Arc 1000w direct drive rear hub kit.

The kit is in transit now scheduled to arrive early next week.

Here are some initial thoughts on my buying experience to-date:

First, I could have saved around $100USD had I purchased the kit directly from Arc's website, instead of Dillenger's. At first I found this a bit odd, since the two companies seem to have a very close partnership. Nevertheless, Dillenger is the distributor, which explains the higher price. While their price was higher, I chose to purchase through Dillenger based on the excellent support and communication I received directly from Dillenger's founder, Sam Sewell. Sam continued to respond promptly, thoroughly, and courteously to all of my nagging and sometimes stupiduyh questions over a two-week period. For that, I was particularly impressed.

Dillenger by their own accounts has an operation setup in the U.S. In fact, they have both an Australian and a U.S. website. At first, I was on the Aussie website, and the information and specs I found there differed from what was listed on their U.S. site. That was confusing at first, since I didn't realize the distinction. But Sam cleared that up.

Later, as I continued to pepper Sam with questions, he updated the Dillenger website with quite a lot more detail on the specs of this and the other on-road Arc 350w kit. In fact, even as of today (9/16/15), the specs listed on Arc's website are far less thorough than what is listed on Dillenger's.

While they haven't yet posted an installation guide for the 1000w offroad kit, they do have one posted for the 350w onroad kit. For the most part, the installation is similar, so reviewing that guide helped me quite a bit to understand what I'll need to do. While I realize there are cheaper kits around, I found their guide so much more easy to understand than some of the other kit guides I've seen. And compared to other kits, such as Falco, Golden Motors, Bionx, etc., I think this one is actually pretty reasonable for the specs.

So, I finally made up my mind and placed my order very late on Saturday night last weekend. On Sunday morning, I received a shipment notice from Dillenger. But no tracking number. I waited anxiously all day Monday to receive the tracking number, but didn't actually get one until Tuesday. Now it is in transit for delivery next Monday.

Interestingly, their U.S. phone number has a 734 area code, which I am familiar with as an Ann Arbor, MI area code. I live in Ohio, so I was hoping perhaps the system would ship from there. Alas, it is shipping from Southern California, hence the 5 day transit time via UPS Ground.

This will be installed on my 2013 Surly Cross Check for commuting purposes. Once I receive the kit, I'll post some pics and provide additional feedback as I unbox and install the system.

Thanks to all those here in the community who helped answer my questions and provide feedback over the past 2 months. I've found the information and dialogue here to be invaluable. Cheers!

I remember being extremely pleased that shipping was only $50 on my kit. I had thought the kit would have to come all the way from Australia (or China).
Interesting. I never really looked into the shipping costs for kits coming from China. Shipping on this kit for me was $38.
I just took my 1500W 48v kit for its first test ride - up and down the road and up and down the hill. Exhilerating is the only word to describe it. The motor is surprisingly quiet and very smooth. Loads of torque. I am thrilled! Thrilled! Will start commuting with it this week. I will say though that 40mph was a bit scary ;-p

Easy and straight-forward to build. What else is there.
Well, unfortunately I've had a bit of a setback. The Arc kit arrived yesterday. It was not packaged well, and looked like it had been through some rough handling.

I took pictures of the condition of the items and sent them off to Sam. He responded almost immediately and made arrangements for a reship out of their Southern California warehouse.

So I'll have to wait another week or so to get everything installed. Bummer.
An update: I've now ridden my first commute with my 1500w kit. I have a 9 mile commute from sealevel up to 1200ft. The 20ah battery held up superbly and had power left over when I arrived home. I averaged 20mph the entire way with very little pedaling until the final steepest hills. One BIGGIE - DO NOT attempt to ride this high-torque kit without a torque-arm installed ( I used GRIN Technologies unit). I twisted the shaft out of the dropouts twice before I realized that the torque-arm was a requirement, not just a good idea. USE A TORQUE-Arm.!! Other than that, I am absolutely thrilled. Super stoked :)
How's the kit going now?

Thanks for asking. I've been meaning to report back, but have been traveling extensively these past couple of weeks. In India at the moment.

So my experience was quite a frustrating one, which ultimately led to me having to return the kits. The folks at Dillenger were really helpful and responsive throughout the process, though. My hats off to them.

The first kit arrived somewhat banged up. I don't think any fault of theirs. They immediately sent a replacement, but that took another week.

What followed from there was about two weeks of frustration. First, I needed a freewheel removal tool because I installed the freewheel without knowing I first needed to install a washer that was included in the kit. At the time, Dillenger did not have the written manual completed that would have highlighted this.

But the axle on the wheel was so large, I needed a custom freewheel removal tool, which took several days to arrive, since I ordered that online. Again, to Dillenger's defense, they sell a tool kit and on their website strongly recommend purchasing it with a kit. I didn't, because I thought I already owned all the tools. My mistake.

I finally got the rear wheel installed. Once I started on installing the other pieces and parts, I hit another stag, but one which for me was insurmountable. The kit includes a cadence sensor disk that needs to be installed between the peddle and the crank arm. The design of my bike's crank arm had the distance between the two so narrow that the disk simply couldn't be properly installed. I believe I would have had to replace the crank arms, which I simply didn't want to do.

In the end, I simply gave up. I suspect the kit would have worked fine on another bike, but not the one I own currently and the one I wanted to convert. Unfortunatley I cannot report back here anything related to the actual performance of the kit.

I've decided that as much as I like my Surly Cross Check, I am going to sell it, and put that towards the purchase of purpose-built ebike next spring.

Once again, I'll say I was very impressed with how Dillenger handled everything. Ultimately, they sent me two UPS labels and I was able to return the kits at no additional charge to me. They have since released the installation manual for their offroad kit. So for anyone who is considering this kit, if you have the wherewithall to get the thing installed, and maybe just spend some time verifying that your bike will work with the kit, then I would suggest giving this one a try.
Thanks for dropping a line from India SQN. Too bad about the kit, I was looking into it myself. Still considering this kit since your review of them isn't so bad as incomplete. ill have to look at the distance i have available for that cadence sensor. Again much thanks!