Since long before Lunacycle was even conceived there was a bike that was just an idea in Eric’s head. The idea was to build a super fast, super cool looking fat cargo bike for commuters, hunters and survivalists.The bike has to be strong enough to carry 2 people and powerful enough to easily hit 40mph with one person and would in no way be legal whatsoever. The hardest part was that Eric wanted to make the bike affordable so that anyone could buy one, that turned out to be the hardest part of the whole thing. The Luna Rhino is available for preorder here right now for $3,350 although it’s likely the price will go up in the future.
When I first wrote about Lunacycle before I knew Eric or his whole Luna family, this cargo fatty frame was one of the flagship products that really excited me. I ended up buying one of his frames when they went on sale and over the years I have had grand plans for installing it with a Lightning Rods Big Block kit and an Astro 3220 setup. In the end, the motor I settled on was the stock 3000W Cyclone because that motor is ho-hum at 52v but totally insane at 72v with a 3-speed IGH. Luna built this bike with a special 5000W Cyclone motor and paired it with a tiny Kelly controller. The controller and battery are all included inside the aluminum box and the battery is epoxied into the box to make it more rugged and water-resistant. The battery is not removable and the bike is designed to be charged in the garage.
The components on this bike are pretty high-end. The tires are Chaoyang by default but for $150 you can upgrade to SnowShoe XL’s which are a bit fatter and have 120TPI. Mulefit rims are top of the line and the DD3 SRAM IGH is installed without a cassette. If you wanted to add a derailleur and a cassette you could give yourself 27 gears instead of 3, but I honestly don’t think you really need it. A single speed chain and cog are going to give you a lot fewer problems than a derailleur will. Remember that this bike is throttle only and not to shift the IGH under load and you should be just fine. If you do blow out your IGH you can get a replacement for only $100 which is pretty darn cheap. It would cost more than that for a wheel build at any local bike shop, not including the cost of the IGH.
The cargo racks on the Rhino look great and are designed to carry very heavy loads. I would be careful going fast over rough terrain when fully loaded, as the racks and frame of the bike are still aluminum. That being said the frame on the Rhino is the thickest and heaviest frame I’m ever gotten my paws on. The complete bike weighs in at 80 lbs, which is a lot. Riding the Rhino feels like a very light motorcycle and not so much like a bicycle at all. When you peg the throttle with a 72v pack the bike shoots forward like it’s gas powered cousins. The first time I tried a 3000W Cyclone at 72v I was hooked, and I decided that it was the design I was going to go with for my Luna Cargo build. Lunacycle took the madness one step further and installed a 5000W motor instead of the stock 3000W Cyclone which sticks out quite a bit further, but can shed heat much better. The Cyclone is a decent kit for the price and the motor is just about bulletproof. Luna has sold thousands of Cyclone motors (they are the world’s biggest Cyclone dealer) and had very few returns on the actual motors.
If you visit the Lunacycle warehouse you will see Luna Cargo bikes everywhere with almost every conceivable motor configurations. The Lunacycle team has spent thousands of man hours refining this build and getting it right. I am not aware of any other ebike that is manufactured in the US with most of the bike being constructed from scratch in the states that is for sale anywhere for a cheaper price. Bringing the Rhino to market has become a life mission for Eric and more than anything he wants to see it be successful. This bike is his baby and trying to bring it to market has consumed much of his time and thoughts over the last several years.
The main complaint I have about this bike is the seating position is too far forward. The seat tube was installed completely vertically instead of raked back like most seat tubes. This was done so that it could mount the battery box and not look strange, but it is a poorly thought out design. For me, I estimate the seating position is about 4 inches too far forward. This could be corrected with a Thudbuster LT with soft springs installed which would push the seat back about 2 inches or so. You could also get a ‘Laid Back BMX Seatpost 27.2’ from ebay which would easily move the seat back as far as you want and would cost about $12 instead of the $130 for a Thudbuster LT.
The other thing you notice right away is that the frame is big. For people who are shorter than about 6′ or so are going to have a hard time straddling this frame. There is only one size, so if you are a small person then you should forget about getting this bike. If you opt for the Luna Lander suspension fork then the top tubes are going to go up even higher. If you are not at least 6′ 2″ then you should forget about the suspension fork option. I’ve ridden the Rhino with the stock steel rigid fork and the Luna Lander suspension fork and I have to say that it is a much nicer ride with the suspension fork. When you hit big bumps in the road at 35mph+ without a front suspension you feel like you are going to fly off the bike. If you plan on taking this beast on the trails then you absolutely should forget about the rigid steel fork and ONLY consider the Luna Lander fork option. For the price there is no other fat bike fork that I have tried that even comes close (review coming).
The large central headlight really brings the build together and gives is a unique look that you’ll not see on any other ebike. It is extremely bright and has a custom machined aluminum mounting bracket for it. The thumb throttle is on the left and the right-hand side is where the 3-speed shifter is located. There is a 9 position grip shifter for the DD3 which is not used with this setup, the 3 position IGH shifter is located down and to the left of the grip shifter with little hills to show you what gear you should be in. At the highest gear you can easily go over 35mph on the flats with a top speed of around 40mph. You will burn through the 11.6Ah battery pretty fast at 40mph so some restraint will be necessary on this bike. I’m not a big fan of throttle only bikes, but this bike is still very fun even though it does not have a PAS system. The IGH is geared low enough so that you can easily pedal it if you run out of juice. If I were buying this bike I would not even consider getting it without the larger 17.5 Ah battery. 11.6 is just too small to go any serious distances and the upgrade is only another $250. That being said while testing Curt’s 72v Rhino extensively I have to say that I used up a lot less power than I would have on a 52v pack doing singletrack riding around Torrence.
- Looks insane
- Goes really fast with great acceleration
- For what you get is insanely cheap
- 72v battery stock with 48v optional (don’t bother with the low power option)
- You can use the controller with any size battery 48,52,60 or 72v
- Potted battery
- Everything is enclosed in a weather resistant box
- Bright headlight
- Bike was stable at high speeds and fun to ride
- Tires are decent although I would opt for the SnowShoe XL’s for $150
- Made in the USA
- Mulefit rims are top of the line
- The 3 speed IGH is geared perfectly
- Grips are great
- Very professionally assembled, not a DIY looking bike
- Stock 11.6 Ah battery is too small for long distances, get the 17.4 Ah pack for an extra $250
- Hit my ankle on the motor, needs offset non-drive side crankarm
- Heavy at 80 lbs
- Cannot remove the battery from the bike
- No PAS, throttle only
- Seat was way too far forward
- Not a high-speed trail riding machine, too heavy
- Noisy drive unit
So would I recommend the Luna Rhino Cargo Bike? I am building one for myself with the exact same specifications of what Luna is selling, so you better believe that I would. Although the bike is heavy and not really designed for serious trail riding, it is also insanely cool. There really is nothing like the Rhino anywhere in the world and it has a look and feel that is completely unique. What a long strange trip for Lunacycle it has been bringing this ebike to market. I doubt anyone who purchases the 72v Rhino is going to be disappointed in the performance of it. Don’t waste your money on the ‘street legal‘ 48v version. Remember that ‘street legal’ is whatever you can get away with cruising by a cop with.