In the past several years I’ve owned several different kinds of plastic Chinese cased battery packs, including a 13.5Ah 52v NCRb ‘Shark pack’ (reviewed here in 2016), and two 13.5Ah 52v GA ‘Shark Packs’ (reviewed here). I think I’ve replaced a total of 3 BMS’s in all these packs and I’ve replaced the plastic Shark Pack cases for various issues at least 3 times. Lunacycle has been manufacturing a new style case called the ‘Wolf Pack’ right here in California and I’ve tested the v1 12Ah 52v 30Q Wolf as well as a v2 12Ah 52v naked 30Q Wolf pack. This article is about all the differences I can find about these very different two frame packs and which one I recommend buying (spoiler alert, it’s the Wolf packs).
I’ve decided to break down the pros and cons of each pack into groups
52v Wolf Packs
- The battery design is waterproof (the whole pack is potted)
- In V2 the battery connectors are molded into the case
- About $50-100 more than a comparable shark packs (depending on options)
- BMS can do 50 Amps continuous (vs 30Amps cont for shark packs)
- Never had a BMS fail yet
- Magnetic Mounts work very well, maybe too well, with the new mounting bracket ($25 here) it can take a LOT of force to remove the battery
- You can get it in 30q cells for high power or GA cells for long-range
- The pack is ultrasonically welded not spot welded
- The pack can mount almost anywhere on the magnet making this pack a fit for almost every bike frame out there
- Made in the USA
- No easy way to lock the battery to the bike
- About 1.5 lbs heavier than a comparable plastic Shark\Dolphin\Hailong case
- On the v1 case design, the connectors are external on wires and the wire insulation can crack and wear over time
- There are no waterproof connectors for the charging cable plug (you can make your own easily)
- It takes so much force to remove the battery you may compromise your water bottle mounting bolts
- The pack can wiggle when mounted on the frame (need rubber tube mounting adapters to help)
- Can’t replace BMS must replace entire pack
52v Shark\Dolphin\Hailong Frame packs
- A bit cheaper than the Wolf packs from Lunacycle (available here for $495). If you buy direct from China, they are a lot cheaper but beware of counterfeit cells. They are everywhere and can easily burn down your house (it happens).
- Mounting brackets are cheap and you can get them for all your bikes and move one battery around
- Lighter than the Wolf packs
- Most ebikes on the market come with these style packs
- Only comes with a slower 3 Amp charger instead of the 5 Amp charger you use with the Wolf packs (although you can use a 5 amp charger with a barrel adapter)
- Pack is not waterproof, some people have had issues with water getting into the plastic case and destroying the battery (this never happened to me)
- The BMS is somewhat wimpy, on my NCRb pack there are several times it stopped working and I had to take it apart and unplug the sensor wires and replug it back in to get the BMS to start working again
- The BMS only does 30 Amps on a good day
- Packs are spot welded and there is little to no shock absorption inside the case
- The case has 6 plastic tabs which have a nasty habit of breaking off, this is the primary reason I’ve had to replace so many cases
- Made in China, unaware of anyone building these packs in the USA
- Can come off the bracket over bumps if it’s not locked
- The mounting bracket might not fit on some frames if the water bottle bolts are too high or too low
I’ve used both of these packs extensively and while I’ve had nothing but issues with the plastic Hailong frame packs (Hailong is the company in China that makes all the plastic cases) I have yet to have any issues with the Lunacycle Wolf packs. At one point I even submersed the Wolf pack completely in water (but not the connectors) and ran it to make sure it was indeed waterproof. Although I am a rare breed of ebike weight weenie, I still feel like the extra lb or so of weight is worth the reliability and indestructibleness of the Wolf packs.
No matter what kind of frame pack you use, if you wrap it with 1″ Velcro it will cause it to be much more firmly attached to the bike and will create less stress on your water bottle mounting bolts. The water bottle bolts are meant to hold a pound or two, so they are ill-equipped to deal with a large 9lb battery. I recommend using Blue Loctite on the threads to keep the bolts from loosening up. Be aware that the studs may break or loosen up on an alloy framed bike from the stress of trail riding with a large battery connected to the water bottle bolts. I like to use the plastic tube adapters that come with the Hailong cases to help support the Wolf magnets and keep the battery from wiggling side to side. I also recommend that if you have a wolf pack that you just charge the battery on the bike as it can take a lot of force to remove it and that force directly transfers to the poor overworked water bottle bolts.
The Luna Wolf pack is available here for $550 for the 30Q version and $600 for the GA cell version. If you are running with a BBSHD or any other high power drive unit I recommend the 30Q version. If you are using a BBS02 or a lower power ebike (think something legal) then I recommend the GA version. I’ve been very impressed with both of these cells and have had no issues with either of them yet. As far as I know, there is no one else who is building Ultrasonic welded packs that are completely potted anywhere else other than Lunacycle. These packs pretty much are the cutting edge battery packs for ebikes. Spot welds had their day in the sun, but the future is ultrasonic, baby.