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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

Don't Consider ONLY The Purchase Price, Think about Replacement Parts

10/16/2018

Hello Everyone,

One thing that many first time electric bike buyers do not fully take into account is the extremely important question of:

'what will things cost to replace if i damage them or need a replacement due to ware'.

We at Stark Drive believe not only in offering the most affordable electric bikes in the world but also in offering the most affordable replacement components in the world. if you look at our competition the prices for replacement parts are several times the cost of what we charge to replace say a replacement or extra battery, controller, or motor. The most expensive components on an electric bike are anything to do with the electrical system with the most costly part on any electric bike being the battery pack. The battery pack is overwhelmingly the most costly part on any electric bike with it costing most time more then all the other components on the bike put together (including the motor etc).


Generally, the battery pack will need to be replaced after a few years whereas the motor will continue to work for many years as all the components for this part are sealed and generally quite durable so long as they are not mistreated. the next most common failure point on an electric bike is the controller which our competition sellers for several times the cost that we charge for the same component.

Other than these parts, the other components, in regards to the electrical system, are easily replaced at a reasonable cost. All non electric components on our electric bikes are not costly to replace and can be done at any bike shop.

We are trying to create an electric bike with a total ownership cost that is miles ahead of the rest of the pack in terms of affordability.

Don't believe me? Take a look at the competition yourself and then come back to our site and check out our accessories.

Sincerely

Oscar
CEO, Stark Drive LLC

Stark Drive 1000W & 4000W Models Being Prototyped, EU Legal

10/11/2018

Hello Everyone.We have been closely following developments in the electric bike legislation that is ongoing in the EU and it seems that the forces that be are warming to the idea of electric bikes. Despite imposing a hefty duty charge on all electric bikes that are being imported from China, they are warming to the fact that higher power electric bikes, so long as they are speed limited, should be allowed. I spoke about this issue and the gross misunderstanding at the governmental value in a previous blog post here:

https://starkdrive.bike/blog/australian-new-zealan...

Just as i had written about previously, it seems that it will now be the maximum speed that is what the legislators will look to regulate instead of the maximum power of the motor. We had of course not been resting on our thumbs over here and did manage to get the L1e-A certification for Stark Drive up to 1000W here in europe and have been working on our 750W motor prototype which we can now comment goes crazy fast with an exceptionally powerful acceleration.

The regulators are even warming the idea of a 'throttle' meaning that you will not even have to peddle if you do not want to when using an electric bike so long as the speed does not exceed 25kph.

Furthermore, they are also thinking about cargo and helping to get electric bikes on the road to help replace transportation vehicles for the family or when you are carrying groceries or other goods from point a to b. Regulators are currently looking to also legalize up to 4000W motors on electric bikes so long as they have 3 or more wheels making them the perfect substitute for urban dwellers looking to run the odd errand or transport the family within town.

A perfectly environmentally friendly way to get around.

You can learn more about this at about the 10 minute mark in the video below discussing the issue.


Sincerely

Oscar
CEO, Stark Drive LLC

EU Batch 4 Bikes Loaded and Shipped (includes Stark Drive Torque prototypes)

09/22/2018

Super excited to announce that the Batch 4 EU bikes have been loaded and shipped. We will have tracking numbers for all you buyers shortly. Normally it takes about a week to get the tracking numbers as it first must clear chinese customs agents on the way out of china and the carrier does not create a tracking number until they know they will actually be shipping it. This is common in any items manufactured for export in china and the reason that we dont have tracking numbers right now.



The USA/Canada bikes we should also receive the tracking numbers for this coming week and we will update the blog when we have these on your respective accounts.



We will also be receiving 2 prototype Stark Drive Torque units which we hope to launch in 2019. These will be tested enthusiastically by our staff here to ensure they are up to scratch before we go into full production. The design is incredibly clean and the frame is our own (no more open mould frame for this model). You can also see we went to a little extra effort to emboss the Stark Logo in the frame as well as adding some contact information on these prototype bikes. They will eventually be available in both standard and fat tire variants, both of which are different castings and require separate moulds.


Also included here are our STOCK bikes which means that there will no longer be any waiting time for delivery when you get a stock bike (http://www.starkdive.bike/stock). They are shipped in just a few days to anywhere in the EU.



Batch 4 USA and Canada Orders Leave Factory (Tracking Numbers Soon)

09/20/2018

Hello!

we are pleased to announce that the batch 4 bikes for USA and Canada have left the factory. We should have tracking numbers for these bikes soon. we have hidden of course the purcashers addresses from the photos below. Remember that we have batch bikes now available so any purchases from the 'STOCK' Category ship immediately. (www.starkdrive.bike/stock)