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  1. #1
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    Rating the Strong GT-S210 eBike

    For those who are curious about the Strong eBike, I'll rate my own bike by first commenting on their own FAQ and then adding a few more objective and subjective comments of my own.

    First, the bike itself:


    Website (Canada): http://www.strongcanada.ca/index-en.html

    And now for my comments on their FAQ:
    What is an electric bicycle?
    An electric bicycle is also referred to as a power-assisted bicycle. It is a bicycle to which electric components (motor, battery, and accelerator) have been added to facilitate its use. Safety features and other components like on-off switches, brakes with circuit breakers, battery charge indicators, speedometers, running lights and/or turn signals, etc. can be added to adapt to the users’ needs.
    Not entirely true. The Strong eBike isn't just a bike which has added electrical stuff. Their bike is specifically designed to be an eBike. You wouldn't want to ride this thing without the electrical stuff. It's too damn heavy.

    What about the battery?
    The battery is a key component of the electric bicycle. Indeed, the 36 Volt, 12 Ah and sealed lead-acid maintenance-free battery is directly responsible for the bicycle’s autonomy. The battery set consists of three 12 volt elements, which are all standard and easily found off-the-shelf.
    It's not exactly "off the shelf". Getting into that battery pack is not that easy. A new LiPo battery is now available however and I suspect that one has little to do with "off the shelf" parts.

    For whom is designed the Strong GT-S210 electric bicycle?

    For the men and women who:

    want or need to exercise without ever exceeding their limits
    want to take strolls, go on treks and enjoy different landscapes
    want to avoid the difficulties of riding a conventional bicycle
    want to have a means of transportation to go to work or school
    need to run errands and maximize their time
    need to make deliveries
    want to avoid using the car or public transportation
    want to be able to use this means in public areas and parks
    want to use it in camping facilities
    own mobile homes
    All true but many people don't need electrical bikes to do those things.

    Does the electric bicycle have a significant impact on health?
    Yes. On June 26th 2002, Belgium issued a press release stating that the use of electric power-assisted bicycles was beneficial to one’s health: “The question that everybody is asking today concerns the proportion of health benefits from electric bicycle use. The data from 20 subjects (aged 35 to 55) who used the electric bicycle for commuting to and from work (between 5 and 15 km) for a 6-week period was analyzed. A first evaluation 4 weeks prior to the study was conducted on the physiological parameters of the participants. The same tests were performed again after the utilization period. These tests assessed health related parameters like the maximal oxygen uptake, the lactic acid level and the maximum power output. No significant results were notified for the maximal oxygen uptake, yet the power output and endurance levels improved drastically. These results show that even the slightest effort while using the electric bicycle is beneficial to aerobic fitness and health in general. Moreover, the electric bicycle helps counter inactivity in a sedentary population.” See Press Release at: www.delathouwer.irisnet.be
    True. As an ex-smoker, I started noticing health benefits soon after I got my e-Bike. This is more due to the "bicycle" nature of the thing. The "eBike" (electrical) nature of the beast just makes up for weaknesses until you get more exercise and can go back to a regular bike. Or if you have some type of heart condition and just can't push yourself too hard.


    How do I operate the electric bicycle?

    You can pedal and control the motor at the same time in order to benefit from electric assistance. For more freedom, you can ride using the motor only.
    The bicycle works on a propulsion mode, therefore you can operate it without pedaling. It’s up to you!
    The Strong GT-S210 is equipped with a pedal-assisted system as well as an acceleration device.
    Let me add: Acceleration is easier in assistance mode rather than motor only mode. And if you're climbing a steep hill, motor only mode won't work. Instead, use the super low gear and get the assistance mode help you up the hill. I've been able to climb hills that left other mountain bike riders have to get off their bikes and push.

    Do I have to pedal in order to start up?
    It is not mandatory but we recommend you do it in order to reduce the battery’s energy consumption and to preserve the bicycle’s autonomy. The electric assistance function is accessible with a manual control.
    Let me add: If you're starting at the bottom of a hill, please do pedal to start it up. Motor only mode won't even get you started up a steep hill.

    What is the bicycle’s autonomy?
    The Strong GT-S210 has an autonomy that varies between 30 km and 100 km per charge. Its autonomy comes from various factors:
    physical effort, inclines, tire pressure, wind, motor speed and energy consumption.
    My real world testing has turned out as much as 40 km in full motor mode only and 70 km in assistance mode (pedaling). 100km is way too optimistic for real world conditions. Maybe on a completly flat terrain with no wind, stop signs, red lights etc. But in real world? 70km is pretty much the max I've observed. That's still pretty good since it took me a whole afternoon to ride that far.

    How do I recharge the bicycle?
    The bicycle comes with a charger that plugs into a standard power outlet. A red warning light indicates that the charger is functioning, whereas a green warning light indicates that the battery is fully-charged. This is the only 36 Volt battery charger to have met the Canadian safety standard (ULC).

    What should I do if I do not have access to an outdoor or garage outlet? It is very simple, all you need to do is remove the battery pack from its bicycle support and charge it wherever you want.
    Not entirely true. The LED (not light) will shine red if it's plugged in and not charging. It'll be orange-ish when charging and will gradually go green as the battery fills up. A bright green color shows a full charge. Also, makes sure you don't charge the battery on the bike with the ignition turned on. The connector is easy to short out and you could damage the bike's electronics that way. Just make sure the ignition is fully off before charging the battery on the bike. Tip: Pull the key out and put it in your pocket.

    Is this battery the same as a car battery?
    The bicycle battery is a lead-acid battery, just like the conventional car batteries. However, it is maintenance-free (no need to add water) and has a different technology. To start a gasoline engine, a great capacity of energy is needed for a short period of time, whereas the bicycle battery delivers less energy but for a longer period of time.
    It's a simple low draw SLA. Works well but it's heavy as hell.

    What happens when the battery is down?
    You can use your Strong GT-S210 like any conventional bicycle and pedal to any destination. However, your bicycle is specifically equipped with a battery charge indicator so you can manage the energy required to travel without worrying about running out of energy, just like a car’s fuel gauge. Note that there is no risk for the motor when the bicycle is operated with the pedals alone.
    You wouldn't want to pedal this thing with a dead battery. It's too damn heavy. And the battery indicator is misleading. The meter will show full or near full for a long time and then will suddenly drop to 25% charge and then will drain very quickly from there on. It's not linear. You can't really use it to plan your battery usage. You're better off just planning a route or using an odometer and trying to keep it below 50km travel distance overall.

    Does the battery recharge while pedaling?
    No. The battery can only recharge when plugged into a conventional power outlet. It does not include a dynamo recharge system. It is pure make-believe that we can recharge a battery by simply pedaling, like some brands stipulate. It does somewhat recharge when braking or going downhill. But even then, these actions never last long enough and only charge the battery with mini volts, the energy equivalent of a weak bicycle bulb.
    This is a weakness if you ask me. The Bionx system does use regen braking and it really does work well enough. Sure the battery won't recharge much but I've brought a mountain bike with a Bionx to a full stop by simply using the regen feature. Sure it took longer to reach a full stop but the rear brake never touched the rim. This saves the brakes. And on the Strong eBike, which is really heavy and uses disc brakes, this could very beneficial since I see myself replacing the brake pads very soon.

    How much does a spare battery cost?
    A spare battery costs 200 $ (plus shipping charges).
    Note: The new LiPo battery costs 2X as much.

    What happens when I exceed 30 km/h?
    Once you exceed 30 km/h, the electrical assistance becomes very weak. And according to Canadian legislation, riders can only be assisted up to 32 km/h, after which you will no longer be assisted. But you can ride faster by pedaling as you would with a conventional bicycle as there is no risk for the motor since it declutches automatically and switches to free-wheel mode.
    This does in fact work as stated. But I have a feeling it's not computer controlled to be 30 km/h max but instead it's just the motor running out of power at that speed. It doesn't feel like it's cutting out at 30 km/h, it feels more like it just has no power left at that speed. I have hit 52 km/h with the eBike on a long downhill segment. That was downright scary considering the weight.

    Do I need to wear a helmet?
    In Quebec, the law obliges the rider of any bicycle fitted with an electric motor to wear a cycling helmet. For basic safety reasons, we strongly recommend the wearing of bicycle helmets with all types of bicycles. Remember: 1 injury out of 5 in a cycling accident is a head injury. See SAAQ Article
    Just wear a helmet. eBike or not, wearing a helmet makes a lot of sense on any bike.

    For what degree slopes is the Strong designed for?
    Reasonably, you can climb 8 to 10 hills without forcing too much. Above that range, you will have to press harder on the pedals to get to the top. (See our Press Review)
    Actually, with it's mega low gear you can climb really steep hills. Especially with the assistance. You'll be climbing quite slow but the motor's torque combined with your own will allow you to climb really long and steep hills that average mountain bikers will need to get off their bikes and push.

    Is the electric bicycle more cumbersome than the conventional bicycle?
    No. They are just a little heavier because of the battery and motor. This weight difference goes unnoticed as you start riding.
    NOT TRUE!!!!! There's a significant difference in handling. You can really feel the weight all the time. It's hard to make tight turns, it's cimbersome to lean into corners. And although the disc brakes do a good job of hauling this massive bike down, you can feel the huge weight when you do so. The good side to all this weight is that it's very stable in high winds and the air displaced by large trucks barely disturbs it.

    BUT IT CERTAINLY DOESN'T FEEL LIKE A CONVENTIONAL BIKE!


    Is the electric bicycle permitted on cycle tracks?
    Yes. The electrical bicycle is considered to be a bicycle, and its use has been standardized since September 2002 by the Quebec Highway Safety Code.
    I think they mean Bike paths. Check your local laws first. Note: In Ontario, Canada, the MTO says electric bikes are not legal but under which law? I checked the laws and electric bikes are perfectly legal within the existing laws. So I'd like to see which laws the MTO would use to charge you with using an illegal vehicle?

    Does the electric bicycle come with a French instruction manual?
    Yes. The "User’s Manual" gives important detailed instructions as well as safety precautions and operation and caution notes.
    French or English manual is simple but does detail enough for the average person.

    Can the electric bicycle be driven in rain conditions?
    Yes. The electric bicycle is completely safe to be driven in the rain. All electric elements are hermetically sealed and protected in a shielding.
    I seriously doubt that. Most of the components are not sealed (battery guage, front LED light, ignition switch) and I wouldn't drive this thing in anything other than a light drizzle.

    Can the assistance mode remain activated?
    No. As soon as you brake, the electric system is automatically cut from its source of power. Both brakes are equipped with automatic circuit breakers.
    Also note that if you're not using the thumb throttle and you're in assistance mode, a second or so after you stop pedaling the assistance will disengage.

    What about punctures?
    Strong bicycles are equipped with puncture-proof air chambers. A self-sealing liquid inside the air chamber seals most of the perforations likely to cause punctures. All this with no additional cost. You can ride in a stress-free state of mind!
    Those things are awful. I put air in the tires and all this green goo kept spewing out of the valve. I don't think it's puncture proof. What will happen is that you'll lose all the air, the green goo will seal the hole in about 15 minutes and then you can put air back in the tire. That's not exactly "puncture proof".

    What precautions should I take before storing my bicycle?
    There aren’t any specific precautions to take for the electric bicycle, just like for the conventional bicycle, aside from storing it in a dry location at room temperature. For the battery, we recommend storing a recharged battery. The battery naturally loses a great quantity of energy per day. It will need to be recharged after about 12 weeks.
    After a season of riding I would also consider checking the brakes. This thing eats through brakes real fast.

    What does the warranty consist of?

    3-year warranty for the frame, handlebars and wheels
    1.5-year warranty for the motor
    1-year warranty for the electric components
    6-month warranty for the battery
    All parts can be ordered through Canadian Tire dealers
    IMPORTANT: Avoid completely draining the battery, otherwise it might never recuperate its initial charge. Avoid cold and humid places. Protect the battery from frost during the winter storage time.
    NOTE: Build quality is fair. Not as bad as many chinese eBikes but not as good as many other more expensive eBikes. Also note that many components are sub-par so be prepared to replace some of the cheaper quality parts. Especially those damn brakes!!!!

    Overall it's not a bad eBike but after having tried a regular mountain bike with a Bionx kit installed, I would much prefer the Bionx system.
    Last edited by Zeuser; 05-14-07 at 01:26 PM.

  2. #2
    Administrator Allen's Avatar
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    I have a Giant Lite (Uber Fred in my sig) and it's just had it's first birthday. The Giant comes in at 45 pounds, mine is almost 50 with the addition of the fenders, saddle, etc, and has nickel metal batteries. The Lite/Twist is no longer produced, which is a great shame. The major difference between it and most E-bikes is the motor is inline with the chain, not a hub motor, allowing a smaller motor the advantage of the gears.

    Mine is a strict peddle activated drive (you have to pedal to make it go), and has 2 settings, regular and economy (75% power). Range is 30 miles if you are being conservative with the juice, and as little as 15 with a heavy load and full power, averaging 22 miles between battery swaps. It's not too heavy to pedal without assistance, but it's a heavy bike and you'll never forget to turn on the juice.
    It rides almost identically to a moderately loaded touring bike, and is only twitchy when it's packed down.

    I have 2 batteries with mine, one lives on the charger, the other the bike. Battery one has about 300 charge cycles (out of an estimated 500 cycle life span) on it and retains 80% of it's original performance. Battery two has about 300 cycles and has no discernible performance from new.

    It's been through some heavy rain storms, many short showers and handled it well, nothing has died, and I spray it off at the carwash to clean it. It does have full fenders and mud flaps.

    Ridiculously fun to ride, great town/utility bike, that can handle heavy loads with ease. I hate that it's going to have a life span now that it is no longer produced. Sooner or later something is going to break and I'll end up scavenging the frame.

    If I have a load, this is the bike I grab. When my friends come over (even my bike geek friends) they always grab my giant to ride around.

  3. #3
    Mooninite shakeNbake's Avatar
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    I was gonna scream shill ,but that was a good review.

  4. #4
    e-Biker
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    A few more things I forgot to mention:

    The anti-theft system is nothing more than a lock on the rear disc. It works well enough because the bike is so damn heavy. With the rear wheel locked, I seriously doubt anyone would want to pick up the bike and carry it off. This thing is near 100lbs. The anti-theft also locks the battery down.

    The front LED headlight is really bright. I also didn't notice a significant drop in range with the light on.
    The electric horn is really loud too but I find it sometimes surprises pedestrians and they remain confused for a few seconds. The LED headlight and electric horn are the best part of this eBike. If I were to canabalize this thing, those would be keepers.

    That rear box on the touring model (see picture) is pretty cool but does have some issues. For starters it's plastic on plastic so it makes a lot of noise going over bumps. I put some silicon around the edge to dampen the noise a bit. Then there's the latch. It's not very good. If you take a hard bump the box will open itself. I've lost a mini video camera that way. It was stored in the rear box and about 100M down the road I noticed the box had opened. I noticed the video camera was gone and I was unable to find it.

    Overall it's not a bad eBike considering the sub $1000 CDN price. But there are some issues with it that you need to be aware of. And I suspect that most of it is due to that really low price. It looks like they put some really cheap components on the bike in an effort to keep costs down.
    Last edited by Zeuser; 05-14-07 at 01:23 PM.

  5. #5
    e-Biker
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    UPDATE

    I'm now driving a mountain bike with the Bion-x system. I'm much happier with the Bion-x system even though I haven't had a lot of seat time recently.

    The Strong is now in my father's hands. I'll see what he has to say about it in a few weeks.

  6. #6
    Senior Member The7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuser View Post
    UPDATE

    I'm now driving a mountain bike with the Bion-x system. I'm much happier with the Bion-x system even though I haven't had a lot of seat time recently.

    The Strong is now in my father's hands. I'll see what he has to say about it in a few weeks.
    Noted you have the BionX PL 350.
    Is your BionX ebike much lighter to pedal than the Strong with motor assisting?

    It seems that P250 could not self start.
    Could your BionX self start without initial pedalling?
    What is the max speed on flat without pedalling?

    Have you also tried P250 and how does it compare with your PL350?

    PL250 would have the same power as P250.
    P350 would have the same power as PL350 except its NiMh battery is in not the triangle position.
    I think if I am going for BionX system I would either get the basic P250 or the top PL350.

    Would like to hear about your experience on BionX. Thanks.
    Last edited by The7; 07-27-07 at 09:25 AM.

  7. #7
    e-Biker
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    Quote Originally Posted by The7 View Post
    Noted you have the BionX PL 350.
    Is your BionX ebike much lighter to pedal than the Strong with motor assisting?

    It seems that P250 could not self start.
    Could your BionX self start without initial pedalling?
    What is the max speed on flat without pedalling?

    Have you also tried P250 and how does it compare with your PL350?

    PL250 would have the same power as P250.
    P350 would have the same power as PL350 except its NiMh battery is in not the triangle position.
    I think if I am going for BionX system I would either get the basic P250 or the top PL350.

    Would like to hear about your experience on BionX. Thanks.
    My Bionx is much lighter than the Strong. I can easily pedal it without any power. And I can strip off the battery and motor in about 3 minutes and I now have a regular non-assisted bike. See my "Transformer" thread for the photos.

    The PL350 isn't supposed to self start (without pedaling first). But I've enabled that feature on my controller. I suspect this could also be done with a P250 (if you purchased the optional thumb throttle).
    Max speed on the flat with no pedaling is 32 km/h out of the box. I removed the limited on mine so it goes 35 km/h instead.

    I did try the P250 and it's pretty good. However, I prefer the PL350 on a mountain bike frame. the extra power comes in handy.

    My mom's bike has a P350 (nimh) and I've yet to try her bike out. She's very happy with it.

    Unless you've got a very light bike, and also don't plan on hauling lots of stuff in saddlebags and the like, I would stick to a 350W motor. The P250 is good for a light bare bones bike and if you're fairly lightweight.

  8. #8
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    But the best Bion X contact sanderskd@accesscomm.ca for info

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