I’ve owned several different types of Chinese plastic cased battery packs over the past few years, including a 13.5Ah 52v NCRb “Shark pack” (reviewed here in 2016) and two 13.5Ah 52v GA “Shark Packs” ( review here). I think I’ve replaced a total of 3 BMS’s in all these packs, and I’ve replaced the plastic Shark Pack case at least 3 times for various issues. Lunacycle have been making a new type of enclosure in California called the “Wolf Pack”, I tested the v1 12Ah 52v 30Q Wolf as well as the v2 12Ah 52v bare 30Q Wolf pack. This article describes all the differences I could find about these two very different framework packages, and which one I recommend buying (spoiler alert, it’s the Wolf package).
I decided to break down the pros and cons of each package into groups
- The battery design is waterproof (whole pack potting)
- In V2, the battery connector is molded into the case
- About $50-100 more expensive than comparable shark packs (depending on options)
- BMS can deliver 50 amps continuous (compared to 30 amps continuous for Sharks)
- The BMS has never failed
- The magnetic mount works really well with the new mounting bracket, maybe even too good ($25 here) may require considerable force to remove the battery
- You can install it in a 30q battery for high power or a GA battery for long range
- Packaging is ultrasonically welded instead of spot welded
- The bag can be mounted almost anywhere on the magnets, making the bag fit almost any bike frame
- made in America
- There is no easy way to lock the battery to the bike
- Approximately 1.5 lbs heavier than comparable plastic Shark\Dolphin\Hailong cases
- In the v1 housing design the connectors are on the outside of the wires and over time the wire insulation can crack and wear out
- The charging cable plug doesn’t have a waterproof connector (you can easily make your own)
- Removing the battery requires a lot of force and can damage the water bottle mounting bolts
- The bag may wobble when mounted on a frame (need rubber tube mount adapter to help)
- The BMS cannot be replaced, the entire battery pack must be replaced
52v shark \ dolphin \ sea dragon frame bag
- A little cheaper than Lunacycle’s Wolf bag (can be found here $495). It will be much cheaper if you buy directly from China, but beware of counterfeit batteries. They’re everywhere and can easily burn down your house (and they do).
- Mounting brackets are cheap, you can buy them for all your bikes and move one battery
- lighter than wolves
- Most e-bikes on the market come with these style packs
- Only comes with a slower 3 amp charger, not the 5 amp charger that comes with the Wolf bag (although you can use a 5 amp charger with a barrel adapter)
- The packaging is not waterproof and some people have had issues with water getting into the plastic case and damaging the battery (this never happened to me)
- The BMS is a bit weak, on my NCRb pack, several times it stopped working and I had to take it apart and unplug the sensor wire and plug it back in to get the BMS to start working again
- In good weather, the BMS draws only 30 amps
- The packaging is spot welded and there is little shock absorption inside the shell
- The case has 6 plastic pull tabs that snap off easily which is the main reason I have had to replace so many cases
- Made in China, don’t know anyone making these bags in the US
- If it is not locked, it may fall off the bracket due to jolts
- The mounting bracket may not fit on some frames if the water bottle bolt is too high or too low
I’ve used both bags extensively and while I don’t have any issues other than the plastic Sea Dragon frame bag (Sea Dragon is a Chinese company that makes all the plastic cases), I haven’t had any issues with the Lunacycle Wolf bag yet. At one point, I even fully submerged the Wolf pack in water (but not the connectors) and ran it to make sure it was indeed waterproof. Even though I’m a rare breed for e-bike weights, I still feel the extra pound or so is worth it for the reliability and indestructibility of the Wolf pack.
No matter which frame bag you use, if you wrap it with 1″ velcro it will hold it more securely to the bike and put less stress on the water bottle mounting bolts. The water bottle bolts can only hold a pound or two, so they can’t hold a large 9-pound battery. I recommend using blue Loctite on the threads to keep the bolt from loosening. Be aware that the studs on alloy frame bikes may break or come loose due to the off-road riding pressure of the large battery connecting to the water bottle studs. I like to use the plastic tube adapter that comes with the Sea Dragon case to help support the Wolf magnet and keep the battery from wobbling side to side. I also recommend that if you have a pack of wolves, just charge the battery on the bike, as it can take a lot of force to remove it, and that force is transferred directly to the bad overworked water bottle bolt.
luna wolf bag is can be found here The 30Q version is $550 and the GA unit version is $600. If you are running with a BBSHD or any other high powered drive I recommend the 30Q version. If you’re using a BBS02 or a lower powered e-bike (considered legal) then I recommend the GA version. I’ve been very impressed with both batteries and have had no issues so far. As far as I know, no one other than Lunacycle is making fully encapsulated ultrasonic welding packages. These battery packs are pretty much the most advanced battery packs for e-bikes. Spot welding has had its day in the sun, but the future is ultrasound, baby.