Mounting a headlight on a MATE electric bicycle

An electric folding MATE bicycle

A lit­tle bit on the spur of the mo­men­t, I took part in a crowd ­fund­ing for an elec­tric fold­ing bike MATE. The fund­ing was a suc­cess as they raised over $6 mil­lion, more than 40 times the min­i­mum amoun­t re­quired to launch the projec­t.

I fi­nal­ly got this bike last month. My im­pres­sions are mixed and I’ll tell you a bit about it af­ter­ward­s, but in the mean­time, want­ing to use it to take the bus in the morn­ing when it’s still dark, I had to find a light­ing so­lu­tion.

Connector

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There is a black and red con­nec­tor on the front of the MATE that de­liv­ers 37 V when the con­trol mod­ule is in light­ing mode (after ­press­ing the top but­ton for a few sec­onds when the dis­play back­light is on). It is clear­ly de­signed to pow­er a head­light.

I had some trou­bles find­ing the ref­er­ence of this con­nec­tor. It is in fac­t a Hi­go mi­ni B that I was able to or­der on this web­site (or ar­chive). ­Ship­ping costs are a bit ex­pen­sive if you or­der noth­ing else, but I could­n’t find­ ­bet­ter.

Light

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I or­dered this light­ing kit which seemed to me to meet my ex­pec­ta­tions ( pow­er­ful front head­light, rear ­head­light, pos­si­ble to fix it on the bike and con­nectible to the Hi­go mi­ni con­nec­tor).

Assembly and result

The as­sem­bly was easy enough. The con­nec­tor is sold mount­ed on a ca­ble about 60 cm long. I mount­ed the lamp on the con­nec­tor with tin sol­der­ing of the two pre­vi­ous­ly stripped ca­bles, all cov­ered by a heat-shrink­able sheath, and a lit­tle chat­ter­ton tape.

The ca­ble from the front head­light to the rear head­light is a lit­tle short to al­low the rear light to be po­si­tioned at the top of the sad­dle — which is nec­es­sary to en­sure prop­er fold­ing of the bike. Care should be tak­en when ­fold­ing the sad­dle.

Here’s what it looks like:

Front headlight connection and attachment

Front head­light con­nec­tion.

Front headlight attachment

Front head­light at­tach­men­t.

Rear headlight

Rear head­light.

front headlight on

Front head­light on.

Impressions on the MATE bike

The de­liv­ery is made in a large, TV-­like pack­age. The pack­age is in­ ­good con­di­tion. The bike as­sem­bly is car­ried out with­out too much has­sle, ex­cep­t ­for a ped­al whose screw pitch is dam­aged. It took me some time to re­for­m the screw pitch of the ped­al arm by mount­ing the ped­al in­side out be­fore re­assem­bling it up­right.

Positive points

This bike is pret­ty nice. It is easy to use and gives a good help for the ­climb­s. All in al­l, he does what was ex­pect­ed.

It is fair­ly cheap (or at least it was at the time of the start of crowd fund­ing).

The qual­i­ty of man­u­fac­ture is rea­son­able, with­out be­ing daz­zling.

Negative points or disappointments

Here are some less sat­is­fac­to­ry points:

  • The bike is ad­ver­tised as a Copen­hagen bike, but of course it is made in Chi­na.
  • Be care­ful to re­move the bat­tery key be­fore fold­ing the bike. The ca­bles that pass by the key can bend it. It hap­pened to me once and I had a hard time ex­tract­ing it. Might as well say the key was un­us­able af­ter that.
  • The de­vel­op­ment at the great­est speed does not make it pos­si­ble to ex­ceed 30 k­m/h with­out get­ting nowhere fast. That’s a shame. A some­what larg­er de­vel­op­ment would have been wel­comed.
  • The lock­ing sys­tem of the fold­ing does not seem very ro­bust. It has al­ready ­jammed on­ce, and I twist­ed the lock­ing lever a lit­tle bit while try­ing to loosen it. A small turn of screw solved the prob­lem, but you must re­main vig­i­lant when lock­ing.

Conclusion

I will start us­ing it on a reg­u­lar ba­sis start­ing on Mon­day. Soon I will know a lit­tle more about the dura­bil­i­ty and re­al au­ton­o­my of this bike and if the ­head­light is bright enough for a night us­age.

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