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Tested: Bike2Power BikeCharge Power Pack

bike2power bikecharge power pack box

Before smartphones became so prevalent in our daily lives, there was only one reason to carry a phone along on your adventures. For emergency phone calls, obviously.

Today, people are carrying their phones to help them navigate, to record their rides and runs on Strava, and to post photos to Instagram.

I do it too – just check my Instagram. It’s fun. But it drains your battery life something fierce.

If you want to do all this stuff, and still have some juice for when it matters, the Bike2Power BikeCharge Power Pack is your new best friend.

It’s a battery pack to recharge your phone when your battery is running low. You can also use it to power your phone, so it’s always near a full charge, even if you’re recording your adventure on Strava.

When the battery pack runs out of juice, you just charge it up again via the USB port on your computer.

Sometimes these things are referred to as “lipstick chargers” since they’re shaped like lipstick. There are plenty out there, but few are constructed to hold up to any impacts, falls, or inclement weather, making them poor choices for cyclists and other outdoor adventurers!

Not only is the BikeCharge designed to withstand adverse conditions, it comes with its own bike mount. You can easily mount this onto virtually any bicycle.

How to Set Up the BikeCharge Power Pack

If a product comes with good instructions, I don’t normally re-write them as part of my review. But if a product comes with terrible instructions, I’ll try to do something better!

In this case, the included instructions – nothing more than a picture and some symbols – are awful!

You open the box and see a metal tube covered in rubber, with no openings, along with what looks like another rubber tube, then a cord and an illustration. I was really confused at first!

Once I opened it all up, though, things started to take shape.

bike2power bikecharge power pack system

On one side of the charger, you can pull the solid rubber cap off, which exposes the two ports and LED battery life indicator light. And that rubber tube turned out to be three rubber caps packed tightly together!

If you look closely at the ports, you begin to see why there are so many caps included.

bike2power bikecharge usb ports

There’s your standard USB port, a mini USB port, and the LED.

It’s great to have all those openings, but at the same time, lots of openings means more chances for dirt and water to get in! So, Bike2Power included the different rubber caps depending on how many ports will be in use at a given time. Good thinking!

bike2power bikecharge rubber cover

This is the cap you’d use if you were charging up the battery pack and charging a phone at the same time. (You won’t use both ports at the same time unless you happen to be running a dynamo hub that’s generating power, but you get the point.)

Also, pay close attention to the thickness of the cap. It’s deep, which means you really have to jam the plug down in there, which means there’s less chance of any water getting through.

Mounting the BikeCharge Power Pack on Your Bike

Figuring out the rubber strap to attach this thing onto your bike is the easiest part. The adjustment strap works just like a wristwatch. If you happen to have a FitBit, the strap is nearly identical.

bike2power adjustment strap

You just position the mount, pull the rubber strap tight around the tube, and push it into place.

bike2power mounted on top tube

You can see it fits nicely underneath the top tube on this old Trek 800 I turned into a commuting bike.

bike2power mounted on stem

It can also be mounted on stem if you have room.

bike2power with iphone on handlebar

Depending on your smartphone mount, you might be able to charge the phone with it mounted on your handlebar. With the Satechi RideMate waterproof case (pictured,) you can’t actually charge the phone because the case seals shut. It just happened to be convenient for the photo shoot.

When positioning the unit, one concern is if you actually use it to charge something when it’s raining or you hit a puddle. Try to position it so the rain won’t directly hit the charging port area.

In my photos, when the unit is on the stem, you see the charging port is facing down, not up into the rain. When it’s below the top tube, it’s sort of hidden. The top tube offers rain protection, and the head tube offers some splash protection.

In case you are wondering, yes, the battery pack does pop out of the mount. It’s tight though! So don’t expect it to just pop out during a ride.

bike2power charger out of mount

When I first held this charger, I wasn’t sure if it was a one-piece thing, because the battery pack was so tight in the mount. But it’s two separate pieces, so you can slide it out with a little force.

That’s great because it makes it much easier to fit the charger in your seat bag!

How to Charge Your Phone

This can be sort of tricky! (Thanks to those lackluster instructions…)

bike2power charging palm phone

Here’s a funny story about how I figured it out:

During my second time testing the charging capability, I plugged in a completely dead Palm Pixi, sat back, and waited. Four hours later, the phone hadn’t even charged enough to turn on! I couldn’t figure out why, so I gave up.

Previous tests worked though, so I had to figure out what I was missing. And once I did figure it out, I felt like an idiot…

Remember that LED? I thought it was only an indicator light. It lights up green (full charge,) yellow/orange (low,) or red (dead.)

Turns out that it’s a button. But not just any button. It’s actually the on/off switch!

You have to press that button for two seconds to power on the unit. I had been doing that before, but only to check the battery power level. So whenever I knew the battery was fully charged, I’d just plug my phone in and let it go. Which explains why the phone wouldn’t charge!

So, just remember that you have to push the button until the LED lights up. Then plug in your phone!

In the picture above, you see the included cable. I think that’s included mainly for you to charge the battery pack, but it also hooks up to some Palm and BlackBerry phones.

bike2power beside iphone 4

It definitely doesn’t fit an iPhone though. So if that’s what you use, you would also need to pick up a regular iPhone 4 charger cable or an iPhone 5 lightning charger cable.

Does it work as promised?

So far, so good!

Bike2Power doesn’t make any outrageous claims, instead simply stating that this power pack “can take any smart device from zero battery to 90%-100% charged.”

I conducted my testing with an iPhone 4 and found that the charger can take it to about 110% charged.

And by that, I mean that it can take my phone to a full 100% charge and still have a little bit of juice left. And it only takes about two hours to do a full charge!

For comparison, it usually takes just over two hours to charge the phone from the wall outlet! So this power pack charges just as fast!

I’m guessing an iPhone 5 or newer will only get to the 90% range, and an iPad, probably a little less than that.

But they’re correct with their estimates then!

Once drained, it takes about three hours to re-charge the unit from a USB port on a laptop computer.

Compared to Competitors

Earlier I mentioned that there is no shortage of phone charging devices out there.

And considering this 2,600mAh charger carries a retail price tag of $59.95, you might be tempted to shop around. I don’t blame you.

Heck, I was walking through Best Buy on Black Friday and found some of these little 2200mAh lipstick chargers for $8. (And they’re actually even less at Amazon.com.)

And if you want to spend $20, you could get something like that the PowerAdd Pilot X3 with 10400 mAh of power. Yes, 4x the charging power, 1/3 of the price!

What’s the difference?

The cheaper competitors are either bigger and heavier, not meant to be used outside, or don’t include a handy bike mount.

The BikeCharge is waterproof, shockproof, and comes with a bike mount. That’s why it costs more!

What sucks about this thing?

The instructions. For the $60 price tag I’d like to see better instructions!

All the problems and hassles I encountered could have been avoided if they included decent instructions. I can only imagine how many complaints they get about that. Not to mention, people returning the product because they can’t get it to work, when the product is actually fine, you just have to have the patience to figure out how to use the darn thing.

Looking for a charger with a twist?

Remember that smartphone bike mount case I reviewed last week? Well, Satechi makes something like this, but with their own spin. It’s called the Satechi RideMate Headlight.

As you may have guessed, it’s a headlight. But it’s also a battery pack! So you can use it to keep your phone charged if the need arises.

It’s about the same retail price, but this is on sale at Amazon.com for $34.99 right now.

bike2power charging iphone

My final verdict is…

I don’t think I’d record a ride using my phone and the Strava app unless I was carrying this with me. It’s also an awesome power pack if you plan to use it hiking or backpacking.

You could save money by getting a cheaper charger and keeping it in a dry bag, but then you would lose the convenience you get with this. So if you want a power pack to keep your smartphone charged when you’re out biking, this is the one to look at!

Official website: www.Bike2Power.com

Buy online: www.Amazon.com

Product Review Details
Company: Bike2Power
Product: Bike2Power BikeCharge Power Pack
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Date last updated: 2014-12-20
Obtained Product: Free sample from company.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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2 Comments
  1. Thank you for your test.
    The notice is so insufficient!!
    That i did not undestand that the led was also a button.
    Thank you again.
    Serge

  2. @Louvel

    Yeah, it’s a nice design, and very sleek once you know the trick, but it’s not intuitive! I actually lent this to a friend recently and she thought the battery was dead, but it was because the charger was turned off. That stupid disguised button!

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coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

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Coach Levi is my favorite child and favorite cycling coach. I'd choose him over Christoper McCarmikael even. Did I mention that Levi can coach you to a healthier lifestyle where you look and feel your best?
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