It sounds kind of weird, but we are still in the infancy of eBikes and electric vehicles.  Yes, some electric bike technology has been around for about 10 years or so, but in the grand scheme of things, we are just barely scratching the surface of potential and innovation with these bikes.  Thanks to the Chinese and miniaturization, hub motors have become the prevalent propulsion method on eBikes, and that is purely an economic choice.

As a manufacturer of eBikes, Soul has tested a number of products to evaluate and build what we feel are the best and most dependable electric bikes. As you might guess, dependability is our primary focus, and closely following is performance.  With that, we choose to use mid drive systems over hub motors. So lets get into this debate a bit further.

Hub Motors – Big on Budget

Hub motors are great and all, and on a budget, they certainly fill a need.  One of the big problems in the industry, and many shops complain of this is that there are many hub motors that we don’t even know who made them, let alone where do we get parts? It gets a bit scary when a virtually new bike fails, the hub motor wont trigger, and there isn’t much that can be done other than replace the motor.  But since you don’t know the origins, you have to buy a complete kit, not just the motor.  This happens daily in the hub motor world.  Now, we can spec out a name brand motor, at a higher cost, and alleviate much of the issues, but we have other aspects of the hub motor to deal with.

Generally, a hub motor will have an internal drive ratio of around 5 or 6 to 1.  That is the only mechanical advantage the system provides.  For many, this is perfect for their riding needs.  Another comparison aspect on hub motors is many of our competitors use a derailleur based drive train.  They normally do not put high quality parts on, so you get a basic chain and gear set, an ok shifter, and a low end rear derailleur.  The maintenance of the drive train is increased, and is also vulnerable to damage.

We prefer mid drive systems over hub motors.  Yes, they are more expensive, but for that added money, the system offers many benefits.

In a hub motor system, you have an external motor controller, the wiring is quite messy, and the setup doesnt reach our benchmark of a simple easy to use bike and is clean and virtually maintenance free.  There are a couple of bikes on the market that have tried to solve issues with hub motors, but, it is still a key stumbling block of integrating the system into the bike cleanly.

With a mid drive system like we use from Bafang (the worlds largest eBike motor manufacturer) the components are integrated significantly better.  The controller is actually part of the motor for instance. A single harness cable runs from the motor up to the handlebars to help with controls. Other than that, you have the obvious power cables, and one sensor wire for wheel speed.  This is a far cleaner approach.

Mid Drives – The Mechanical Advantage

The main reason we prefer mid drive is the mechanical advantage it provides.  Remember from before, a hub motor is usually working at a 5 to 1 drive ratio.  On a mid drive, we work through the drive train, so we can create pretty any drive ratio we desire.  Add in using an internally geared hub. and the simplicity of riding up a hill, or on the flats is as easy as changing gears with the grip shifter. This torque multiplication through the drive train, just like in a car, is what sets the mid drive apart. This ability to vary the gear ratio, gives a significant advantage to mid drive motors.

We have used the Bafang BBSHD system primarily in our builds.  It provides 1000w nominal power, and can handle surges beyond 1500 watts for a few moments.  We are also employing the Bafang BBS02 into our Sonic Sport builds.  The key difference is in case sizes.  With electric motors, a bigger case usually equals more torque.  The BBS02 is about an inch smaller than the HD motor.  The HD will also handle more amperage.

When we built the original Sonic Sport, we were aiming at price point, but were surprised on our first ride of the bike.  The Sport is a single speed, 500w system using a 48v 10.5 amp battery.  It is the lightest weight eBike we make.  Amazingly, it accelerates very hard, and has excellent range.  We have reached over 40 miles on rides, and our customers back those figures up. This bike is quite surprising!

Our Sonic and Sonic SS models spec out the wider 170mm rear end frames and employ the Sturmey Archer RK SX3 hub.  While we dont recommend shifting under load with the hub, we get excellent results with it on our bikes.  Under take off in 1st gear, the bike launches very well, and shows the torque of the BBSHD 1000w motor.  On full power, first gear can get you up to nearly 20 mph, and the other gears even faster.  While not as efficient in power consumption, the bike can perform both on speed, hill climbing and in lower settings distance.


The Sonic Stomper has been a long time coming.  We set out to design our own eBike.  The majority of competing companies rebrand a generic bike, which can be good or bad. We didnt want to be the same as everyone else, and that is when the Sonic Stomper SS was born.

Over the last 2 years we have cut our teeth making eBikes.  We have converted our own bikes.  We have converted other brands into eBikes. Through it all, we have learned what makes for a good bike, and how many fall short.

One of the main keys is the frame.  With a motor, and added speed, the frame becomes the most important design aspect of the bike.  When a frame is underbuilt, the sheer torque of an electric motor will cause the frame to twist and contort.  If you compare any of our frames to the competition, you will see the frame tubing is significantly oversize, and is not round.  Overall, our tubing dimensions are nearly 3 times larger, which increases the strength and torsional rigidity significantly.

Our geometry is a bit different as well.  We run a 67.5 head tube angle, similar to a downhill suspension bike.  At speed, this helps with stability, and slows down steering inputs to inspire confidence.  A twitchy bike can work against you.

Additionally, we worked to integrate the battery into our frame.  From a security standpoint, this is better, but aesthetically, it looks so much better.  All of the cabling is housed in the frame as well.

The Sonic is truly a purpose built eBike from the ground up!

While most of our competition chooses a rear hub motor, we opted for a mid drive system from Bafang.  The smoothness of using a mid drive is unmatched.  And just like a car, we feel that it is better to use the existing drivetrain to push power through, rather than a hub.  You get significantly more torque, and you can use the various gear ratios to fine tune speed, or your efficiency.

On our SS model, we utilize TRP Zurich eBike specific brakes.  We felt it was important that the right brakes went onto the best cruiser eBike on the market! Disc brakes are a must on any eBike, the added stopping power inspires confidence.  We went a step further with the Zurich model over our normal Tektro hydraulic brakes. The Zurich is a 4 piston brake, where many brakes are either a 1 or 2 piston version.

A bike in this category should be simple to operate.  Effectively keep the battery charged, air in the tires and you are good to go.  That is why we use a Sturmey Archer internal gear hub.  This 3 speed hub is simple and strong.  It features the equivalent upper and lower gear ratios of any 7 speed system, and that is enough to get you up most hills, and achieve top speeds approaching 30 mph!


One thing that everyone loves about our bikes is the ergonomics.  We get tired of leaning over, with numb hands and and uncomfortable seat.  First off we feature one of the best seats for cruisers on the market.  This quilted saddle features multiple layers of foam, so it has just the right density.  Additionally, it has two rubber elastomer shocks built in as well.  All this makes for a comfortable sitting position.

From there, the dimensions of our bike try to position your shoulders directly above your hips.  We help that with our BMX style rise bars.  These provide just over 7″ of height, and are fairly wide as well.  The Sonic features a MTB style direct mount stem and a 31.8 bar size.  So it is light weight and strong.  The cross bar is there for looks, but also to support the bars for added strength.

We feature CNC billet platform pedals that are color coded to the bike model.  Not only do these look sharp, they also support your feet and prevent slippage.


When we completed the design of the Sonic Stomper, we wanted to make sure that we built a bike that we wanted.  It had to be strong, fast, comfortable and easy to ride.  Test ride one today, and you too will find how great this bike is!

I wanted to put some things together about our eBikes, systems and batteries.  This will be just about batteries.
Currently, almost every battery unit we sell uses LG Chem 18650 cells.  We did for a time have Samsung 35e cells, but have not used those in some time.  We are trying to get a better battery case, where the mount works well on our bikes, but also provides a USB port for running devices.  Our first group of batteries we had with these specs worked well, but as the installer I wasnt happy with the mount. I had to modify it far too much for a simple easy installation.

On charging:

Two trains of thought, one is to plug it in, and let it charge until the light on the charger unit goes to green.  About 5 hours on full discharge. The theory is that the charger only puts out 54.6 volts, so it cant overcharge.
The other train of thought is to purchase a light timer, like what is used for Christmas lights. I have used one of the $9 versions from Home Depot where you pull pins for when the lights come on.  Hook up the charger to it, and program it to charge for 2 hours, rest 1 hour, charge 2. This up down cycle puts less charging strain on the battery, and could potentially lengthen the total life of the battery.

Charge Cycles

The batteries are rated for 600 or more charge cycles.  That is defined to be full discharge to full charged state.  The batteries have a similar life cycle as a cell phone battery has. If you look up LG cell phone battery deterioration   you can get an idea how most lithium ion based batteries perform.


Heat is a major factor in both the motor and the battery.  We recommend during hot times of the year to charge the battery in a cool place.  Since we are based in the Arizona desert, we see 120 degree and above garage temperatures, and know that is beyond the safe limits of the battery and charger.

With the advent of manufacturing bikes in Asia, the function of quality has changed significantly.  There used to be a hierarchy where products from Japan were better than from Taiwan and so on. That still holds true today. And, the adage that you get what you pay for rings true more than ever.

If you start studying all bikes on the market, you will see a line, where below you have budget minded choices and above you achieve a premium status.  It becomes quite obvious where corners were cut, and value takes a hit.  With Soul Beach Cruisers, we aim to build that bike that is simple, but offers great value and achieves a premium level.

We do that by offering an internally geared hub to start.  Budget beach cruisers will have cheap drivetrains that use basic derailleurs, poor quality chains and bottom end gears. These rust up, and require more maintenance over time. They are also not simple for the owner to work on and maintain

All of our bikes use premium KMC chains that are nickle plated as a minimum, and most have extra coatings that further protect from rust.  All the gears are chromed as well on our Stomper and XTR models.

We use Tektro hydraulic disc brakes on all of our Stomper and XTR models. Stopping is so easy! One finger is all it takes.

Our frames are purposely overbuilt. We use hydroformed tubing throughout, and then reinforce stress areas with added gussets. This allows bigger riders to enjoy our bikes. But the biggest added bonus is they can accommodate electric conversions very well.

On lower end bikes, you will see the frames are underbuilt, and use lower grade tubing of smaller diameters. These frames lack structural rigidity, so if you were to convert to an electric drive system you will feel less than confident.

Many people wonder why bikes dont last as long as they used to. Schwinn used to be a premium brand. The added cost meant something, and provided a better quality bike that you were proud to own. We feel the same way, and have thousands of proud Soul Beach Cruiser owners.

The XTR & steel frame STOMPER’s are identical in frame geometry sharing the majority of the same components. XTR’s are 7-8 lbs lighter with the 6061 aluminum frame topped off with billet aluminum pedals, stem, and seat post clamps. Additionally the XTR features aluminum bars and seat post and upgraded Brako brake rotors. These rotors provide better braking power with an aggressive look and you won’t find them on any production bikes due to their cost.

The July 2018 production run of XTR’s will also have the new performance Soul Fast tires that are 35% lighter and provide a better handling ride as shown on the pre-production Shark Grey XTR. For the performance minded rider the XTR has it all.

What does this all mean?

The XTR and STOMPER are both great bikes. The overall purposes of both bikes are the same, have fun!  Both feature wider frames to accommodate the 3″ tires and wheels.  Most people are surprised riding our fat tire beach cruisers the first time.  The extra 2″ of width of the frame plus the big tires makes it way easy to balance.

The lower weight of the XTR comes in handy. Whether it is lifting it up stairs or onto a bike rack, the 8+ pound lighter bike can make a difference.  Where we see the big difference on the XTR is with an e-Bike conversion.  When we build the XTR for electric, it is so awesome.  The lighter frame absorbs vibration at speed. The result is an ultra smooth ride that doesnt beat you up.  The cracks and bumps in the road are less harsh.

We love the XTR for so many reasons.  Try test riding one, and you will like it!

Yes, our new CAD drawings are done! Small changes mean so much in making the perfect eBike.  Just like they used to say, this is not your father’s eBike…..

Like a number of manufacturers, they believed that all they needed to do was slap a motor on a bike and their engineering was done.  Many are finding now that there is more to an ebike.  Integrating a motor or battery is not simple.  We worked hard just on getting better ground clearance.  To have a high wattage motor, at this time you need a larger case for the motor.  Until motors improve further to produce higher wattage in smaller cases, we will have to contend with specific bike designs.  And, we love our fat tire beach cruisers for that purpose.  It is an incredible e-Bike platform.

Updates include:

  • A more secure integrated battery
  • Better ground clearance
  • An even stronger fork
  • Soul Fast tires that are 35% lighter than our current tires
  • Improved Tektro brakes

Visit the Sonic page, and fill out the contact form so you can receive future updates.

Entrepreneur Shawna from Paradise Valley AZ showing off her bad ass 1000W BBSHD Bafang powerhouse Miss STOMPER. She did an impressive 45 miles on her inaugural ride down the famous Green Belt in Scottsdale and around Tempe Town Lake.


If you’re looking for an e-bike that’s built to perform visit your friends at Soul Beach Cruisers have you covered.


See how we do it:

You want power…. we got it!!

Premium Performance Ebikes

Soul premium performance Ebikes are hand built in Tempe, AZ. Our sleek and sexy oil slick fat tire STOMPER’s with Bafang’s mid-drive BBSHDs are guaranteed to dust the doors off the competition.  See how we do it:

Turn to the pro’s at Soul Beach Cruisers for all of your fat tire and ebike needs.  We stock a full line of 48V go fast batteries, displays and gearing option. Full blown custom wiring and rigging. We are electric.


Go Green with SOUL     


Still in development, our Sonic SS and Sonic Elite models will feature:

  • Top level componentry
  • Custom cranksets
  • Unique forks
  • Oversized hydraulic brakes
  • A variety of battery options dependent on frame design
  • Motors from several manufacturers such as Yamaha, Bafang and others