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Stark Drive Torque - Testing Performance

12/09/2018

We have been working hard on the upcoming launch of Stark Drive Mini on Indiegogo December 15th at 12:00 PM (GMT+1) Swedish Time but that does not mean we have not also been working hard on the next phase of

Stark Drive's Master Plan

Which is all about Torque. You see unlike Stark Drive and Stark Drive Mini which operate using a hub motor, Stark Drive Torque uses a torque based sensing system which gives the rider unprecedented control when taking advantage of PAS Technology not to mention a dramatic increase in power to climb even the most challenging terrane.

A fairly comprehensive video on the subject (not done by us) has been published online which we have shared below:

The Speed Test was difficult to measure out on the streets for the simple reason that this bike is intensely fast and as you can see from the video below, we got it up to just over 80kph in our free wheel test.


We went all out on Stark Drive Torque Max which is a 48V based system and we have designed it to be modular and configurable. The base unit includes a 9ah battery pack however its been designed so that these packs are expandable meaning that you can attach extra power to the bike if needed when you are traveling longer distances or simply need power at your destination. All Additional batteries will function as Power Plants through USB meaning you can power your devices wherever you are.

USB Charging was a feature of Stark Drive from day one however there are many cases where you dont want to be chained to your bike when you arrive to your destination and with the Stark Drive Power Plant you no longer need to be.


Below is your base model Stark Drive Torque (SDT) based on a very powerful 36V system which coincidentally means that that the powerpack can out put more Ah meaning longer ride time with the same size pack as compared to Stark Drive Torque Max above.

SDT uses a Bafang based complete Mid Motor Torque Drive system which is completely integrated from an electronics perspective. The display as you can see below is crisp, clear and a GUI is as detailed as it is comprehensive with a lot of information such as assist level, trip distance, total distance, Max speed etc..


Bafang Go App Compatibility


In our increasingly connected world, it was not going to be long until there was an app for your bike and here it is. As our system is completely based on a Standard Bafang Package, it also means that our bike is 100% compatible with the Bafang Go App which works on iPhone and Android based system. There is simply not enough real estate on the built in display that comes with the bike in order to display all the information continuously being acquired by the drive system so this app gives you the opportunity to customize the interface to display that information that is relevant to you.

We will have more information out SDT as well as SDM coming in the near future.

Sincerely

Oscar
CEO, Stark Drive LLC.

Stark Drive Mini Competitors: Swagtron at $299

12/09/2018

Here is one of the competitors to Stark Drive Mini. Its called the Swagtron but there is one glaring issue with labelling it as a competitor as its not an electric bike at all. The Swagtron is a throttle equipped scooter. Once you run out of power, your going to be carrying it to your destination and it only has a range of 10 miles or 12 km which even our base Mini beats. Not to mention that If you do run out of power with Mini, you can conveniently pedal to your destination.

Stark Drive Mini Launching on Indiegogo on December 15 2018 at 12:00 pm (GMT+1) Stockholm Time.

Its also claimed in the advertising that this is a folding bike which of course is a bit misleading. the only thing that folds on this bike are the handlebars, the main frame itself does not fold like Mini does and as such if you do live in an older building or have a cramped elevator or staircase, it will be exceedingly difficult to being the Swagtron with you.

The battery on the Swagtron is not removable so that once you run out of power you need to wait for the batteries to recharge which could take hours.

The rear wheel is exceedingly small and not standard meaning that you will be depended on getting proprietary replacements from the manufacturer.

Its not such a great deal at $299 if anything goes wrong as was discussed in a review on amazon.

There are a lot of things lacking with this bike that we include by default with the Mini although its nice to see that they have a bike computer as standard.

Indiegogo: December 15th ➠ Which Mini Is Right For You?

12/08/2018

We are super excited to be working with Indiegogo again for the upcoming worldwide launch of Stark Drive Mini (SDM): the most affordable and customizable electric bike ever!

As a base model, SDM will start at a mind-blasting $299 US which is even more affordable than some of our toughest competition such as Swagtron and our bike still operates as a bike unlike some of our competition which are electric only.


We are aiming to cover the gambit of all last mile usage case scenarios with the launch of SDM whether it is someone that wants an ultra affordable and ultra light last mile transporter which they can sling over their back with our custom designed carrying case or on the other side an ultra compact powerhouse with a powerful 350W motor and upgrades in cruise control, display, as well as ultra durable disc brakes.

Now there is a misconception that perhaps exists whereby people think that a 350W motor is not very powerful and although there exists more powerful motors on the market such as up to 1000W one must also consider the weight of mini plays a significant factor in the acceleration of the bike off the line as well as the top speed.


Think of it as putting a V8 motor in a Geo Metro which used to operate on a 3 cylinder engine. Due to the low weight of the car itself, even though there are more powerful engines on the market, the V8 turns the metro into a powerhouse. The same is true for the 350W version of Mini which is the highest possible motor we could fit on these ultra compact wheels. The acceleration is mind blowing and the range is incredible.

We have also stayed true to our philosophy in adopting our configure to your unique usage case scenario on our upcoming launch. You can pick a host of options depending on what you need from a basic bike computer to a very advanced large format display to cruise control and throttle and even different sizes of battery packs that would even allow you to legally take SDM on a plane removing the hassles of finding transportation when you arrive to your destination.

We even have the option to change the tradition steel chain out to a carbon belt drive system which not only lasts much longer, and requires less maintenance but is also lighter.


Our visit to Burning Man 2018 was a huge success with SDM stealing the show on the agility courses that were set up at the event.


There will only be a limited number of Early Bird units that launch at our unbelievable price of $299 so stay tuned to Indiegogo on December 15th at Noon Swedish Time (GMT+1) to get yours.

Whether you Take the Subway, Bus, Boat, RV, or even Plane, Stark Drive Mini is your faithful companion which will get you there with ease.

Sincerely

Oscar
CEO, Stark Drive LLC

Inevitable Increase in eBike Prices for the EU

12/07/2018

Hello,

I am conflicted, and confused. The mantra has always been that the EU must work together in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and there has been a considerable effort in order to build more renewable sources of energy such as wind, water, and even nuclear (although the last one is debatable from an environmental standpoint).

There has also been several efforts throughout the eu to get more people to use electric bikes with government incentives in france, sweden and several other EU countries. There has even been a push for electric vehicles of the 3 and 4 wheeled variety and even slow but steady restrictions put in place preventing even these types of vehicles and their gas guzzling counterparts from metropolitan centers.

From an environmental standpoint, this is great and wise and logical. The logic from my perspective tends to disappear when one considers the fact that, even with incentives from the government, the average person still needs to be able to afford an electric bike and to that respect the EU (and the US to a degree) has decided it is logical to impose anti dumping duties on all electric bikes that originate from China stating that local companies can not compete.

I could write forever about business competition economics and the simple fact that in order to compete you must innovate be it on price or tech, if you can not innovate, someone else will and you will cease to exist, that is unless you get the lawyers and government involved.....this all sounds very familiar doesn't it my mate's.

You cant have your cake and eat it too. Pick your battle, if your battle is to restrict competition and limit consumer choice through government regulation, that’s great but on the flip side if your goal is to incentivize more environmentally forms of transport that people actually use and can afford then there should not be taxes that make this less appealing.

The EU since a few months back has introduced an anti dumping duty of about 84% on all electric bikes that originate from china. some companies have tried to innovate moving their production facilities to another country which is nothing but a short term fix to a long term problem. once the volumes get high enough in these new countries, the government will impose taxes here also.

The US has introduced protectionary measures of about 25% on all electric bikes originating from china when once there was no additional duties whatsoever for Chinese made electric bikes.

The EU tax serves to basically double the price of an imported electric bike meaning that even less people then before can afford one.

BLOOMBERG ARTICLE

EU ANTI DUMPTING

Stark Drive will do its best to remain true to our mission to have the most affordable electric bikes in the world, as always our prices are the lowest in the world and do not include any government imposed taxes for the respective countries of delivery. You should consult with your local import authority to determine what these additional costs could amount to.

Sincerely

Oscar

Stark Drive LLC

Stark Drive Torque - Unboxing and Assembly

11/26/2018

Hello,

I have been wanting to write about the the two prototype Stark Drive Torque units we have received for a while now but there has been a lot of my plate with the upcoming December 15th Launch of Stark Drive Mini on Indiegogo. You can see a preview of the campaign

here

With that being said, Stark Drive Torque (SDT) is quantum leap in utility and affordability for Torque enabled electric bikes.

Although SDT is based on our own custom frame design, our options were limited when it came to the drive system to power SDT. There are few players in the Torque motor arena and limited competition normally results in higher prices to the manufacturers that use these components and these consequently get passed onto the end user. To give you some idea of the cost of the 'system' for SDT, the cost for the motor alone is the highest cost on the entire bike followed by the battery pack. Conversely, on both Stark Drive and Stark Drive Mini, the battery was the highest cost component.

Having limited options for the drive system, we had to innovate in other ways to keep the price to our goal of under $1000 for the base SDT. One was to reduce the number of gears to 8 instead of 21 and then there was building our own frame so that we could innovate and lower the cost of manufacturing a substantial percentage of the total cost of the bike. SDT does not include rear shocks as we found this feature in SD to not be very appealing to our end users.

SDT will come in a variety of Power options, the ones we tested were 350 and 500W systems. We will offer from 250W to 750W systems when we launch. There will also be the option to go B&W for the display or full beautiful color as pictured below. The higher end display comes with some interesting extras such as auto-lights when the system senses that the brightness warrants it. You will also get access to a host of base system configuration options to help you fine tune your experience if you so desire.

Below you can see our companies (short) historical timeline. Although it has been an exceptionally bumpy ride, im pleased to announce that we are currently on track to fulfill our master plan as we had envisioned it several years ago. In fact its getting close to reworking it to Master Plan Part 2. We are discussing what is next for Stark Drive after Torque and will hopefully have something interesting to report in the new year...did someone say scooters?




As always Stark Drive arrives well packed.

All critical components that can be damaged have an extra layer of protection during the shipping process. This we have iterated to perfect after shipping thousands of bikes.

The beautiful BAFANG mid motor drive on this version of SDT.

The Powerful 500W version of SDT.



Pulled straight out of the box you can see everything is very securely connected and protected.



Here is the switching from ECO to SPORT mode giving you a lot more power and performance.

All in all, we are still refining SDT to make it even better by selecting all the features we will connect to our own custom frame design. These are prototypes in all senses of the word however we will be holding an auction on these two prototypes soon which will benefit charity. More details on that soon.

Sincerely

Oscar
CEO, Stark Drive LLC

Stark Drive Mini Launching on Indiegogo (Yes its true!) and Imitation is the Sincerest form of Flattery...

11/22/2018

Welcome to the rebirth of Stark Drive. We have been working hard to get Stark Drive Mini into the hands of those who need it no matter where they may live. We had thought that Kickstarter was the way to go and launched on there a couple months ago but quickly discovered that malevolence is the name of the game there with people that 'donate' $1 in order to leave disparaging comments and unfounded accusations which as a campaign owner your not able to address and Kickstarter 'Trust and Safety' could care less. Reporting a comment is akin to blowing against the wind with the same effect.

We are pleased to announce however that we are going to be relaunching on Indiegogo

December 15th 2018 at Noon Stockholm Time

With round two of Stark Drive Mini. We have always found the IGG platform more well suited to running a campaign with upgrades, options and this is especially helpful with an electric bike like Stark Drive Mini being so configurable.

Imitation is the Sincerest form of Flattery.

Namely Carbo who has the worlds lightest electric bike at 12.9 pounds (0.1 pounds lighter then the base Stark Drive Mini) has come up with the idea to offer their bike with an airline compliant battery and we were sent a video chat from a fan of Stark Drive asking about the run down and questions about their 'guaranteed refund policy' video taped below.

Mid Motor Stark Drive Torque?

Those of you whom have been following us on instagram, twitter or facebook have seen photos of our prototype Stark Drive Torque units (fat tire and regular tire variants) which we have been testing. We will be going in depth about the amazing riding experience, range and sheer feeling of power in an upcoming blog posting soon.

Sincerely

Oscar
CEO, Stark Drive LLC

Proven: The Fastest Way To Get Around In A City is A Bicycle

11/17/2018

If you build it they will come....

Ive long been a fan of public transportation but with the advent of electric bikes the range of travel has increased dramatically considering that most people use the bike as tool for commuting to another destination and not wanting to arrive tired and sweaty. There is of course public transport but you are frequently left with a lot of idle time while you wait for the bus or subway. One of primary reasons people choose to take a vehicle is that they dont have the luxury of time when they need to get something done.

Cycling has been an excellent alternative however until recently you were still left with several hinderances to using a bike such as weather conditions, and the simple distance that needs to be covered in a specific amount of time not to mention if you wanted to be carrying a load with you say if you were to go to the supermarket or out shopping. Then there was of course the problem of securing your bike once you get to your destination to ensure that your chosen environmentally friendly mode of transportation will still be there when you return.

From the start of Stark Drive i have tried to find the best compromise with affordability and ease of use while focusing on the bike as the sole means of transportation. From my perspective it was clear that biking somewhere is the best way to travel and that a folding bike was your best option once you got there as you could either take it with you up to the office or secure the entire bike (not just a single wheel or the frame) to a piece of street furniture with a heavy duty lock to ensure that nothing happened to it while you were out doing your business.

Although for me Stark Drive was the perfect bike enabling me to take it with me wherever i go and ultimately to even bring it up with me to my apartment or up to the office I felt it could still be improved. Not only from from a cost perspective but also to make it even more portable as improvements in both battery technology and motor technology over the last few years has helped to shrink components while maintaining the same or better power levels and energy density.

Stark Drive Mini

Thus came our next iteration of Stark Drive: Stark Drive Mini which for now is my primary daily driver. It is exceptionally light coming in at about 13kg and also packs a lot of power with a motor of up to 350w which combined with a high capacity battery can get you where you need to go without even needing to pedal.

This was further discussed in a recent Forbes article linked to below:

Forbes Article



With Stark Drive Mini you dont even need to worry about locking your bike, combine mini with one of our carrying pouches and you can bring it right in with you after you are finished your journey and the bag even doubles for carrying your shopping once you are ready to ride home. The Bag we have designed includes wheels so that if you do not feel like carrying Mini on your back you can roll it along with you not needing to break a sweat and feeling confident that your mate is safely with you at all times.

Stark Drive Torque


While we feel that both Stark Drive and Stark Drive Mini address a wide gambit of usage case scenarios, there is still one aspect that we feel was lacking and that was of the performance all terrain bike that will help you up those steepest hills and roughest terrain and we have been working hard to keep our schedule for releasing the next iteration of Stark Drive in both Regular and Fat tire called Stark Drive Torque.

Recently after receiving our prototype Stark Drive Torque models we have been testing them extensively. It's no suprrise when talking about a torque based electric bike that the torque system itself comprises a huge percentage of the total cost of the bike itself, much more so then a hub motor based electric bike. We have been working with our manufacturing partners and in tern with suppliers to our partners to bring the price down so that in short course we will be launching a torque based electric bike. The cost of this bike for comparison purposes if we take into account the historcal cost of electric bikes will be on par with what a hub motor based electric bike cost just a few years ago. And herein lies our companies mission: to lower the barrier of entry to electric based transportation.

In order for any technology to become mass market and affordable you have to have a critical mass of people that are buying the product to help to reduce the cost along the entire product development chain. This is similar to what crowdfunding websites are doing when someone with a campaign has created a new gadget or gizmo that previously cost a lot more but they have developed a way to manufacture it in a better and faster way helping to pass those savings onto you: consumer.

Of course, when speaking of crowdfunding not all campaigns are successful and some ideas or products are before their time. Such may have been the through process when just a year ago we launched Stark Drive for an entry price of $399 USD. Many people doubted that we could create an electric bike for such a low cost but we proved them wrong.

Kickstarter Stark Drive Mini


About 2 months ago we launched Stark Drive Mini on Kickstarter. Stark Drive Mini Started at an unbelievable $299 US. This for some people was once again something they considered impossible espeically when similar products were selling on ebay, alibaba, or amazon for 4x the price. We were once again criticized for having unrealistic expectation and that we could never deliver a high quality product at such a rock bottom price.

Let me be the first to say that Stark Drive will once again prove them wrong.


All of us that work with Stark Drive do so not for fame or wealth, as we do not have any salaried employees but rather we work for the betterment of environmentally friendly transport and to make the benefits of switching to electric transportation so desirable that many will feel there is no choice but to do so as financially it no longer makes sense to choose anything else.

For example the cost of a monthly pass for public transit is approximately $100 US. Now you could continue to use public transit but as the prices for this keep going up and our electric bikes keep getting more and more affordable, there will come a point when for the cost of a monthly pass you can just buy an electric bike that works all the time, without needing to buy a subscription to use it.


The same is true with the mass distribution of scooters which have become all the rage lately in the USA and even in the EU. People are able to pick up a scooter with the help of an app and pay based on the total time they use the scooter. I think the scooter market is an excellent one that is yet to be tapped and given the Stark Drive Treatment. Arguably its even more portable than Stark Drive Mini and still gives you the range you need to get you from point a to b and is easy to fold and carry with you.

Thanks for reading. If you have any comments or questions, we would love to hear from you: hello@starkdrive.com

Sincerely

Oscar
CEO, Stark Drive LLC.

Stark Drive Battery Manufacturing

10/26/2018

Hello Everyone,

After a recent visit to our contracted battery manufacturer i wanted to share with you some photos and videos of the process.

note: photos taken are not photos of our batteries being made, but merely their general operations, as you can see the shape of the batteries they are making in the photos is contrary to our own powerpacks.

Its worth noting that the Lithium cells that we use in Stark Drive are not actually made in China, they are made in Japan (which is what our manufacturer has guaranteed us) but the pack itself is assembled in China. The main benefits of a Chinese assembly are the labor costs which are significantly lower then in Japan, however even these are rising making way for some Chinese manufacturers (not necessarily in the battery industry) to sub contact out manufacturing to other neighboring countries such as Thailand, Vietnam etc. This is a good thing as it help to raise the standard of living in these countries as well by bringing investment capital. Further as the final assembly is done in these countries, there may not be the same import duties involved when one then ships the product with the all important *MADE IN ______ * label.

For example recently there has been a significant anti dumping duty imposed in the EU member states (~84%) as well as in the USA (25%) - a country that until recently had no import duties at all on electric bikes.

The batteries arrive to the assembly factory already assembled and labeled and the factories job is to combine them in the right parallel and serial connections in order to achieve the required Voltage and Current required. Stark Drive uses a 36V system on our bikes currently with an upgrade planned to 48V in the near future for all our bikes.

Think of a Volt as the “force” pushing Amps through the system. The higher the voltage, the more energy can be moved, or the faster it can be moved. So, a higher voltage system can send more energy through the circuits to the motor. 36V batteries are common, but some high performance bikes get 48V batteries. All else being equal, a higher Voltage system will deliver more torque for quicker starts, but it will drain your battery faster.Think of Volts as the.

Watts = Volts x Amps. Or, think of it as Force x Volume. Lets say you have a 10A 36V battery, then it’s able to produce 360 watts. This is the real measure of power that a system has. The higher the Volts, the more Watts you will get out of the system so upgrading the system voltage will have a big impact on the total amount of power that can be delivered to the controller and consequently to the motor giving you more acceleration or umph (to put it scientifically) when starting out on your Stark Drive. Further with a higher amount of available power you end up being able to achieve higher speeds with all things such as rider weight, terrane, wind conditions, temperature being equal.


Above you see cells that have already been welded together in the proper configuration in order to be sealed and then connected to a battery housing for eventual use in Stark Drive. There is a lot of electronics that get added to this system to ensure balanced charging to measure system voltage and temperature and other functions to ensure the health and longevity of your battery pack.

Here you see workers combining the cells in guides and adding some all important electronics and protection circuitry.

This is battery testing equipment that measures all the important aspects of the packs to ensure they are of the highest quality before they leave the factory.

Here finally we see some Stark Drive packs all finished and ready to go.

Here we see packs not meant for Stark Drive in a much higher power configuration.

QUIZ:

As we explained above, the Watt Hour rating is the final number that’ll tell you what your e-bike is really capable of. How the manufacturer arrives at that number is interesting in that it tells you a little about how the system is designed. To illustrate, let’s look at the math and compare two seemingly similar systems:

  • BIKE A: 10Ah x 36v = 360Wh
  • BIKE B: 5Ah x 72v = 360Wh

Which one would you want? Both have the same Watt Hour rating. But Bike A has more available energy stored in the battery. Bike B has half the capacity, but because its voltage is twice as high as Bike A, the Watt Hours rating the same. Technically, both could be designed to perform similarly, but higher voltage systems are usually used for faster power delivery for quicker acceleration rather than efficient cruising. Think of Bike A as a fuel efficient V6 in a minivan, and Bike B as a turbocharged, nitrous-equipped V6 fed by a high pressure fuel pump. You cooooould ride Bike B like a minivan, but you’d be wasting its potential. In reality, virtually every street legal e-bike’s power output is regulated by law, which is why most are 36V systems however as the laws are written so poorly in the EU for example, you could take a 250W motor, connect it to a 72V system with a 10ah battery and 20amp controller and although it would shorten the motor lifespan, it would definitely give you a thrill when riding down the street at 100kph.

Sincerely

Oscar
CEO, Stark Drive LLC.

USA Batch 4 Bikes Cleared Customs and Most Will Arrive Soon

10/23/2018

Hello

We are super pleased to announce that the Batch 4 USA bikes have arrived to the USA and cleared customs. Most are set to be delivered by the end of the week. If you dont have your tracking number you can get it by emailing us at hello@starkdrive.com or by sending us your order number through the chat function on our website.

Batch 4 Canada bikes will arrive to the Canadian port by the 4th and once they clear customs will be delivered. We also have tracking information for your bikes which you can get from us if you have not already received this information.

Thank you

Oscar
CEO, Stark Drive LLC