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  1. #1
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    What role would weight and tubeless play (Bionx) ?

    How would these two compare

    A 40 lb hybrid bike with tubeless tires added running Bionx (the more powerful one 350 I think it is)

    A 22 lb road bike normal tires running Bionx (again the 350 or whatever it is)


    The reason I ask is I have a 40 lb hybrid and plan to buy a road bike in the area of 22 lbs. I would love to make the hybrid a tubeless Bionx hardcore commuter, maybe even give it to my dad and we could go on rides together (me on the road bike). BUT, is there a lot of juice and speed wasted on that extra 20 ish lbs the Bionx is lugging around with the hybrid vs the road bike? (I weigh about 180 lbs)

    My guess is no because the weight of a person varies greatly, but I wanted to ask

  2. #2
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    When you add all the weight and power of a typical e-bike system to a regular bike, (in addition to the weight of a typical rider, which already dwarfs the weight of a 20 to 40 pound unpowered bike) you will find that the weight of the base bike doesn't matter that much. The things that limit your speed are mostly aerodynamics and the fact that typical e-bike motors are designed to produce optimum power and efficiency around 20mph or less. (but running higher voltage will increase the motor's speed and power without changing its torque output, and a recent post says this is possible with BionX.)

    I suspect any tubeless system that works in rough mountainbike usage will work equally well for an e-bike.
    Some awesome folks who are working to give Haitians the ability to manage their safety and their lives:
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  3. #3
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    I have a DiamondBack Approach Hybrid and a Bionx PL350. It works well and I have just started riding it to work. It's only 5 miles, but very hilly, with some pretty steep grades. I have also just ordered a set of Nu-teck airless tires for the bike.

    I'm 55 years old and I need the assist or else I probably wouldn't ride. The excersise has helped tremendously, even though a lot see the electric as a cheat.

    I have also towed a tag along with my 8 year old son with the bike and the Bionx, (on full assist!), that's over 330 pounds and all but the steepest of hills can be climbed fairly easily.

    I'm 220 pounds, so I guess we'll see how the whole package of Bionx and airless tires work out.

  4. #4
    It's easy being green. recumelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martybucs View Post
    I have a DiamondBack Approach Hybrid and a Bionx PL350. It works well and I have just started riding it to work. It's only 5 miles, but very hilly, with some pretty steep grades. I have also just ordered a set of Nu-teck airless tires for the bike.

    I'm 55 years old and I need the assist or else I probably wouldn't ride. The excersise has helped tremendously, even though a lot see the electric as a cheat.

    I have also towed a tag along with my 8 year old son with the bike and the Bionx, (on full assist!), that's over 330 pounds and all but the steepest of hills can be climbed fairly easily.

    I'm 220 pounds, so I guess we'll see how the whole package of Bionx and airless tires work out.
    Definitely keep us informed. I am very curious about the airless tires. I've dug up a bunch of old posts on the topic. Most complain about them, but a few are quite happy with the idea of never getting a flat.
    When I ride, the troubles just roll off my back.

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  5. #5
    ǝıd ǝʌol ʎllɐǝɹ I JeanCoutu's Avatar
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    Bikes that weigh >25kg feel like **** to ride. Gets to feel more like a motorcycle then a bike.

  6. #6
    Hooligan Abneycat's Avatar
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    Airless tires are an old joke by now. There is a reason you don't see them around as a common standard - they're not a new innovation, rather a dead horse being beaten into the ground.

    http://sheldonbrown.com/gloss_aa-l.html#airless

    Sheldon Brown's writeup explains the details quite well. In short, the ability of pneumatic (air filled) tires to respond to pressure changes in a near linear manner is invaluable, and is something airless tires do not do. As a result, they have consistently inferior handling, poor comfort, and some models may have the capability to damage your bicycle due to their inability to properly absorb road shock. They are poor equipment for anything other than light duty, low speed use.

    If you don't like flats, I would suggest going for a speciality high durability tire instead. Schwalbe Marathon Plus or Specialized Armadillo for instance have a high level of protection, without any of the drawbacks airless systems have - which are extremely considerable.

  7. #7
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    Its not just the weight, but the low rolling resistance of the tires also.

  8. #8
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    I ordered the nu-teck airless tires last week and got an email today that they shipped. If I get them by the weekend, I'll post a report.

    Hope I'm not disappointed.

    If I am disappointed, I'll start an, "I told you so...", thread.
    Last edited by martybucs; 10-21-08 at 04:39 PM.

  9. #9
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    The nu-teck airless tires are here!

    I got home from work, as my tire was slowly going flat from a slow leak, and on the front porch was the long, (well, not so long), awaited package with the Nu-Teck airless tires and installation tool.

    Naturally, I opened it right away. I wasn't sure what to expect, but at first, they seemed really hard, but then after pinching them, I could tell they had some give - about as much as my hybrid, 700X38 tires pumped up to max.

    I put them on the rims, following the instructions and using the installation tool and that was uneventful. I watched some guy putting them on his wheel using a screwdriver because his installation tool broke and he was having a devil of a time getting them on. I had no problems at all.

    They are coated with a silicone like substance so I cleaned that off before riding.

    I only went a couple of miles before dinner.

    First impression was that they felt funny on the bike, but only for about a city block worth of riding. Then, either I got used to the feeling or they settled in or something. I did this with the Bionx turned off.
    I rode up the street a ways and then decided I didn't align the rear wheel as well as I could have. Fixed that and went out again with the Bionx turned on.

    They're not heavy, in fact, lighter than the tube/tire combination I was using. They seem OK. I went up the street with some assist and then up a hill and back down and some fast straight a way. I did some slalom type of riding to see if that would be a problem and it wasn't. I did a fast stop and that was Ok. I did a quick, jerky turn at slow speed and that was OK. I road over some rough parts of road and that was actually smoother than my tube tires - no lie!

    I didn't custom order a psi, I just took what they gave me in a 700X35 size.

    My first impression is; that they are going to work for me. If anything changes, I'll let you know.

    If you had to get the tire off for any reason, I'm not sure how you would do that.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abneycat View Post
    Airless tires are an old joke by now. There is a reason you don't see them around as a common standard - they're not a new innovation, rather a dead horse being beaten into the ground.

    http://sheldonbrown.com/gloss_aa-l.html#airless

    Sheldon Brown's writeup explains the details quite well. In short, the ability of pneumatic (air filled) tires to respond to pressure changes in a near linear manner is invaluable, and is something airless tires do not do. As a result, they have consistently inferior handling, poor comfort, and some models may have the capability to damage your bicycle due to their inability to properly absorb road shock. They are poor equipment for anything other than light duty, low speed use.

    If you don't like flats, I would suggest going for a speciality high durability tire instead. Schwalbe Marathon Plus or Specialized Armadillo for instance have a high level of protection, without any of the drawbacks airless systems have - which are extremely considerable.
    I have to say that, perhaps the late Sheldon Brown, (may he ever ride in peace), never tried the Nu-Teck airless tire. The tire I just received and put on my bike seems very resilient and shock absorbing. The handling seems OK.
    After reading his comments and many others, I was concerned that I had just wasted my money. For now, I'm pleased and I hope that situation endures. Wish me luck.

  11. #11
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    Marty,

    Thanks for the review. It would have been nice if you had only installed one tire, so you could compare the difference with the same road conditions.

    Do you think the tires will develop flat spots if the bike sets for too long without riding?

    What's the installation tool look like and why does it cost so much?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by borland View Post
    Marty,

    Thanks for the review. It would have been nice if you had only installed one tire, so you could compare the difference with the same road conditions.

    Do you think the tires will develop flat spots if the bike sets for too long without riding?

    What's the installation tool look like and why does it cost so much?
    Not sure how the mixed tire set up would work. However, the tires initially felt very different; a little slick and handling a little different. After a mile or two, they seemed solid and the slickness wore off a bit. I'm going to be wary of them for awhile because I don't know what to expect long term or in a panic situation.

    I ride all paved roads to work and they're in pretty good shape. The few bumps I rode over seemed smoother than with my tube/tire set up.

    Hadn't thought about flat spots. How long are you thinking? My bike sits about 8 hours during the day at work and then overnight in the garage. Maybe I should hang it. I have some older bikes on the hangers now, that are in the garage.

    The installation tool is a long piece of aluminum with a notched end that fits on the wheel's axle. The installation head is a piece of formed plastic which fits loosely on the aluminum shaft. It has a lip on the inside edge which slides along the inside rim of the wheel as you coax the tire on. The tool also has a leading edge that helps guide the tire up onto the tool and over the rim edge and the tire eventually snaps completely on.

    It almost looks like the tire won't fit because the diameter doesn't look big enough, but the tire stretches over the rim and I guess the tension is enough to hold it in place, (at least I sure hope it is!).
    As for the price of the tool - it would be much harder to get the tire on without it. There's a video of a guy trying to get the tire on his wheel with a screwdriver and he is having a tough time. Mine went on relatively easy, by following the instructions. Some one that isn't very strong might have a little trouble, but the average person, male or female, would have enough strength to muscle it on. So, materials-wise the tools isn't worth it, but for ease of installation, I think it is.

    I think these are going to work out. Time will tell.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by martybucs View Post

    I think these are going to work out. Time will tell.
    I really wish you the very best of luck with the nu-teck airless tires.

    I had an Amerityre airless tire on my rear wheel for the summer and now I've gone to the Schwalbe Marathon Plus. I've had nothing but trouble with the airless tire.

    1) It slipped off the rim and bent it in the first few days. Turned out the bike shop sold me metal rim tire and I had aluminum rims. They are shaped differently and are not interchangeable. luckily I was going real slow when this happened and I didn't fall.
    2) At one point, the rubber band covering the spokes were torn by the torsion between the tire and the rim. It rolled up and made a rubber ball caught between the tire and rim. Went bump, bump bump at every revolution until I stopped and took it out. I then read you are supposed to take it out.
    3) With wear the tire becomes very hard and does not absorb shocks well. Just think of the tire like having millions of bubbles similar to bubble wrap. Every time you hit a bump, crack, rock or sidewalk a few bubbles are popped. With time so many are gone it doesn't protect anymore. Just like bubble wrap with popped bubbles.
    4) In sept because of the torsion exerted by braking and accelerating, the tire started to stretch and it spun inside the rim. It also started to feel loose in the rim. This resulted in the unscrewing of several spokes every 40 miles. I had to commute with my spokes wrench on me.
    5) With wear, it developed a flat line about half an inch wide instead of remaining rounded like regular tire. This increased the rolling resistance much and my range for my batteries reduced by much. It even got to the point pedalling in first gear on a flat surface ( motor off) required an abnormal effort.


    With the Marathon Plus, the problems are resolved. Rolling resistance is greatly reduced and they feel solid and smooth when hitting a bump. I think the poster above summed it up well by saying these airless tires are like beating a dead horse and they should only used in light weight and slow speeds.

  14. #14
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    Oooo. Thanks for the info. I'll be on guard against the items you mention. Nu-Teck advises taking the inner strip liner out of the wheel before installing their tire. So, that one problem shouldn't occur. I'll be on the lookout for the other potential problems.

    As long as I don't get hurt, I think this should be a good experiment. If it doesn't work, at least I'll know and I can always go and get a more durable tube/tire combo.

  15. #15
    Hooligan Abneycat's Avatar
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    Marathon Plus is also the tire I use on the rear wheel of my cargo bike, where the wheel can experience loads of 300+ lbs. There have been no incidents of flats since its installation, and I have hit some very prominent glass patches throughout their use. The front tire is a Marathon XR.

    Marty, it sounds good that your experience has not been bad so far. Let us know how it goes

  16. #16
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    Went for about a 6 mile ride today on an errand using the Nu-Teck airless tires I mounted yesterday.
    Definitely noticed more roll resistance than the regular tires. Usually staying above 20 mph is no big deal, but this was a bit harder.
    Had to make some quick turns and they do feel a bit skiddish, but they kept feeling better as the ride progressed. Maybe they have a break in period.
    Ride comfort is good, probably better than my previous tube/tires. Weight is also lighter than tube/tires.

    So, I'm most concerned about the roll resistance, since after riding the airless and then switching to a bike with tires and tubes and back again, I can notice a big difference.

    I'll ride them to work for awhile and see how it goes. If they get better or I get used to them then, all is good, but if I don't like them after a 100 miles or so, I'll go back to some conventional tires, but maybe puncture resistant.

    Funny, it's not one of those things on which you can make an immediate judgment. At least for me, I can't tell if I'm sold yet.

  17. #17
    It's easy being green. recumelectric's Avatar
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    martybucs,

    Thanks for the review so far. I'm looking forward to hearing how things go long term. Keep us posted.
    When I ride, the troubles just roll off my back.

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  18. #18
    Senior Member
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    First ride into work on the airless tires. Left the repair kit and pump at home. Lighter back pack.
    Handling feels squirmy, but not all the time and less so as the ride progresses. Maybe, if they warm up as I ride they get tighter or something like that happens.

    Definitely more roll resistance and so far this is my biggest complaint. Even with electric assist you notice the sluggishness and it shows in battery usage. Also, I go down some pretty steep hills and it was slower going downhill.

    These aren't the horror story I was expecting after reading some posts about them, but I'm thinking that commuting isn't the best application. Especially, because of the hills I have to cover.

    Maybe, I'll get used to them. It was nice to ride through, an unavoidable, patch of broken auto glass on the shoulder of the road and not have to worry.

    Like I said, I'll give them about a hundred miles. I can see them being OK, in a flat area, where speed is not essential.

    I have some other thoughts on the tires, but want to live with them a bit more.

  19. #19
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    The ride home took a full 4 minutes longer than usual. No extra head wind or anything. Only difference is the Nu-teck tires. Also, I completely drained the battery by the time I pulled into the driveway. I've never come close to doing that before.

    I know I said I'd give them a hundred miles, but I don't know now. It took me longer to get into work and the two hills on which I can usually coast up to 34 mph, I was only able to get up to 27 mph on one and 29 mph on the other.

    I really wanted them to work and I think they would work ok if that's all I had because they're round and they do indeed roll. However, the first commute has me feeling less than happy with the performance.

    I think they'd work out fine, as I think I've mentioned, some place that is not so hilly as where I live.

    Knowing I wouldn't get a flat was comforting also.

    I wonder if they have an UN-installation tool?

  20. #20
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    OK, the verdict...I took the airless tires off and replaced them with standard Hybrid tires and tubes.

    I couldn't overcome the increased rolling resistance.

    Interesting, though, I gave them to my wife. I installed them on her Giant Cypress, that has a front suspension and she thinks they will work for her. I also noticed a little less rolling resistance with them on her bike.

    Taking them off was actually much easier than putting them on. Neither process was difficult, though.

  21. #21
    Codger & Geezer Old Pa's Avatar
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    I went the Schwalbe Marathon Plus (32x700c) route when I built my Motobecane Cafe Sprint/Bionx PL-350. Took a while to get all the right parts together, but final assembly was without drama once I'd made some plastic tubing shims to compensate for the Cafe Sprint's ovalized downtube. Winter's closing in, but my first 13 mile ride was great with the Marathon Plus' being very stable and rolling right along.
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  22. #22
    Pedal faster not harder.
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    Have fun. If you are interested in removing the speed limiter this is how it's done, if you have not already done so.

    The instructions are:
    Press and hold the mode and chrono buttons for about three seconds
    The display should show four zeros. Use the a-key to change the first numeral to a 3.
    Use the mode key to get to the next numeral.
    Repeat until the code entered his 3773. At this point, the display should show Max alternating with Speed on the LCD. The number displayed should be 1. Use the g-key to change this to a zero. Use the mode key to get out of the menu. Your maximum speed problems should be a thing of the past.

    Here is a list of many of the BionX's codes and what they do.

    2001: KM or Miles
    2002: Generative braking On or Off
    2003: Time Last with Battery
    2004: Set Clock
    2005: Wheel Size
    2006: Programming Brake Sensor (part of generative breaking)
    2007: Polarity Throttle (0-5 volts or 5-0 volts)
    3771: Wheel Size (different than 2005)
    3772: Diagnostic Mode
    3773: Speed Limit On or Off
    3775: Throttle Max Speed (default is actually off, surprisingly enough)
    3776: Speed that Motor will Start (default is 3km, if you set lower..the motor may start running while you are pushing/walking your bike and ride off without you for a bit)
    5000: Full System Reset (highly suggest not doing this...doesn't restore the standard defaults, it actually disables just about everything to the lowest settings)
    1976: Motor Direction (clockwise or counterclockwise, suggest that you don't change this or your tire will start reversing when the motor kicks in)
    1234: Sensor Speed Signal (1 - slow and 5 - fast)
    1970: Configuration activation backlight and DCDC automatic
    0007: Sensor Signal gain, 0.1 to 4.0 (high means it is more sensitive to your input/more responsive)
    0008: Configuration of extra assistance (1.0 to 4.0...I increased this and the system seems to put more assistance per watt of effort I do)
    0041: activation of the I2C (not sure what that means)

    Whoops posted this in the wrong thread. My bad.
    Last edited by LesMcLuffAlot; 11-09-08 at 10:01 AM. Reason: mistakes

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