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  1. #1
    Member vermontcathy's Avatar
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    Question Question on Currie Ecoride or Via Rapido (Li-ion)

    I've got a Currie Ecoride on order (http://www.currietech.com/currie-tec...ctric-bike.php) but now I'm nervous about the "PAS Pedal Assist" system. With my ezip, often I would pedal without the battery - through traffic, through campus with pedestrians, on flats or slight (or major) downhills... But with the Ecoride (which I believe works the same as the Via Rapido), it says you have 2 modes - "Allows users to select between two modes.Pedaling Alone: This option gives 50% of available power assist, conserving energy. Pedaling while Activating Throttle: This option allows user to go from 50% to full power assist or anywhere in between."

    To me, this sounds like any time you're pedaling, the motor is running. At first, that sounds fine, but I'm thinking about: 1) when I'm going slow through traffic, around pedestrians, through a parking lot, construction zone, etc. where I don't want to be going 15mph - I just want to pedal slow. 2) When it is flat or downhill I don't need the battery and having it running will perhaps cause the battery to run out before I get to work. 3) What about when I'm going >15mph by pedaling (for instance, slight downhill)? With the ezip, I know that the motor doesn't spin fast enough to provide any boost when pedaling faster than 14mph or so, so I would never turn the throttle when going this fast. So with the Ecoride, will the motor be running simply because I'm pedaling, even though it's providing no help at all? If so, that's a total waste. I hope I'm misinterpreting the limited description on the website. Hopefully at the very least, the motor stops running if you're already going >15mph.

    This automated thing makes me nervous. I really want the better lithium ion battery over the SLA, but I'd rather just have a plain throttle where I decide when to use the motor.

    Does anyone have one of these bikes, and could shed some light on this?

    Cathy

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    Thanks for the email today Cathy... I just wanted to post my response to your questions about the Via Rapido so others could read. This should clarify how the bike operates:

    "We just recieved our first Via Rapido's last week and were able to take our first test ride...

    Once you turn the switch on, the bike starts off in pedal assist mode. As you pedal, the pedal assistance will kick-in automatically (and it's quite a "kick"). To provide the extra 50%, you can turn the throttle to add more power, but the throttle doesn't operate independently. To turn the system off, you have to reach back and hit the switch on the battery.

    To be honest, we were slightly disappointed with the design and voiced our concerns to Currie immediately. Since then, they have provided us a "jumper" wire to bypass the pedal assist so the bike can be fully throttle-controlled. So this is an option, but it will reduce the range (if you don't pedal) and voids the warranty."

    CONTINUED:

    "In particular, our main problem was you couldn't turn the pedal assist off without reaching around to the switch (which can be unsafe if manuvering in an urban environment). And the pedal assist is definitely not self-adjusting. When it kicks in, it's at 50% and it's quite a boost. Manuvering through people or in tight spaces, it's almost too powerful. And the only way to stop it is to hit the brakes or turn around to the "off" switch. Ideally this model should have a switch on the handlebar. But converting it to throttle-only, you have full control with the throttle."

  3. #3
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    ABOUT THE JUMPER:

    Currie provided us with a "jumper" to bypass the pedal assist on this bike. It's simply a looped wire with a connector. To install, just flip the bike over and access the door underneath the controller box (in front of the battery). Inside you'll find a loose wire (the only loose wire in the box) with a matching connector to the jumper. Once connected, it bypasses the pedal assist and it's fully throttle controlled like many IZIP / EZIP models.

    I was also told by a Currie tech if you take the TAG / PAS throttle (with red switch) on many Currie bikes and install it on the Via Rapido, it will allow you to have pedal assist - and the throttle - as two seperate modes. This is how all the new 2009 IZIP / EZIP (SLA) bikes work. Although we haven't verified this works yet, the TAG / PAS throttle has one connector that matches the existing throttle connection, and a second connector that matches the loose wire where the jumper connects. I'm guessing it will work great...

    At some point, we may add the TAG / PAS throttle (vs. the jumper) since it will allow riders to have both functions (like they should!). But for now, we're not going to invest the time and money into new throttles for every bike. Hopefully Currie will make the changes or provide us upgrade parts...

    Their logic is... riders will get more range if they're forced to use pedal assist. This way riders can't use the throttle without pedaling which will reduce the range significantly. But the big problem is... in the current form it's very difficult to turn the pedal assist off. There's no handlebar control, and the rider has to reach around to flip the switch. The TAG / PAS throttle would solve all these issues since it could be operated in pedal assist... then you could switch to throttle control to turn the pedal assist off...

    JUST MY 2 CENTS...
    Last edited by ecowheelz; 06-24-09 at 04:47 PM.

  4. #4
    Member vermontcathy's Avatar
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    And my two cents about riders getting more range if they're forced to pedal is this: I want to pedal at times with NO motor running - when it's flat or slight downhill. That will extend my battery power even more! With my eZip I probably used the motor less than half the time - maybe even just a quarter! OK, I'm off to beg Currie for a jumper...

  5. #5
    ol!
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    All you need to make the jumper yourself is a 2 inch piece of wire. Strip each end, loop it between the two pins on the yellow/brown lead (it's a black, two pin, female plug)

    The pedal assist sensor won't work at all, however, when these are jumped

  6. #6
    ol!
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    also, it's a better idea to ask for a PAS/TAG throttle instead of a jumper, since this will allow you to effectively jump/unjump on the fly

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    Quote Originally Posted by ol! View Post
    All you need to make the jumper yourself is a 2 inch piece of wire. Strip each end, loop it between the two pins on the yellow/brown lead (it's a black, two pin, female plug)
    I forgot to mention this in my post... you should be able to create your own jumper by simply connecting the wires. To do so, you can do as described above. Or, you could cut off the connector completely and splice the two wires together.

    But a better choice would be the TAG / PAS throttle (as mentioned). This should work... but we still haven't verified it yet...

  8. #8
    Member vermontcathy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ol! View Post
    All you need to make the jumper yourself is a 2 inch piece of wire. Strip each end, loop it between the two pins on the yellow/brown lead (it's a black, two pin, female plug)

    The pedal assist sensor won't work at all, however, when these are jumped
    Thanks. That makes me feel better, in case Currie won't send it to me. Sounds like you've got this bike and have tried this jumper?

    I obviously don't have a full grasp of how all the wiring works, because I'm thinking if the pedal sensor doesn't work at all - it seems the throttle wouldn't work, because it was my understanding that the throttle won't make it go if you aren't pedaling (ie. if the pedal sensor doesn't think you're pedaling).

    Although I'm curious about the PAS/TAG throttle, I don't think I'm going to ask for one. I honestly can't imagine ever wanting the motor to kick in automatically. It is very common for me to get up to a speed where the motor wouldn't help (but I'm still pedaling). I'll try the bike without the jumper just to see how it works, but then I'm fine with it being off forever. It is also possible that switching throttles will cause problems, or at the very least, the lights on the throttle indicating battery power won't work right, since the PAS/TAG throttle was made for SLA batteries. I have a SLA conversion kit from Currie that stopped working and they've stopped selling it because of problems, particularly with the wrong throttle being shipped (and the don't have the right one). So I'll be returning that...

    On another thought... Given Currie's logic for creating it this way (forcing users to pedal will save the battery) makes me think that they think of their customers as lazy people who, if given the chance, will not pedal and will just use the throttle (but then, why didn't they just make it throttle-operated where the throttle doesn't work if you're not pedaling?). They need to think of their customers (or at least some of the customers) as fairly in-shape people who like biking, but need a little help to make a long bike commute feasible.

  9. #9
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    I agree changing throttles or adding the extra handlebar switch I describe below seems to me the only sure way, if the TAG/PAS throttle does work. A jumper, as described, implies that all controllers are the same . I haven't found this to be true on eZips.

    I have two eZip controllers. I bought a backup when I bought the bike. I still have an unused one. I was looking at the Currie site one day and noticed that a controller purchased now has one 5 pin signal (vs power) connector total, including brake. My original(still used) controller has 3 signal connectors: brake and White box and black box ( two lozenge box sized doodads in with the controller. The 'spare' I bought has 2 signal connectors one with 5 pins, one with 2 for the brake. I have made adapter harnesses so if the need arises I can use the 2 connector spare in my 3 connector wired bike.

    The point is the wires are subject to change without notice. The functions stay fixed. I'm pretty sure the switch around the brake switch would meet your needs. About jumpers: a knowledgeable person could figure out which wires to jumper in this week's version, but it would be a little difficult to help the less informed to find out which version they have. Notice the 'pretty complete' electrical schematic in the OWNER's Manual has no color identification on the wires and sort of fudges the connectors.

    I guess I didn't make it clear. I suggested mounting a switch by the brake or throttle, a simple (hardware store) toggle. If you want to use Cathy power flip it one way. If you want to use the throttle to adjust UP from 50% power, with 50% as a constant flip it the other way. There are two positions, two modes. Switch pushed away from you Cathy power. It would be as if you had reached back and turned off power, except it's easy to turn back ON if you need it. Switch pulled toward (toggled, it will stay) you, you have what the designer had in mind.

    This switch wired around (that is in parallel with) the brake switch will keep the power off when a person wants to pedal unassisted and save a lot of battery juice. If by the brake, we're talking inches of wire all where it's easily accessible/ removable ==> returned to standard warranty configuration.

    Don
    Last edited by donob08; 06-25-09 at 10:18 AM.

  10. #10
    ol!
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    Quote Originally Posted by vermontcathy View Post
    Thanks. That makes me feel better, in case Currie won't send it to me. Sounds like you've got this bike and have tried this jumper?


    On another thought... Given Currie's logic for creating it this way (forcing users to pedal will save the battery) makes me think that they think of their customers as lazy people who, if given the chance, will not pedal and will just use the throttle (but then, why didn't they just make it throttle-operated where the throttle doesn't work if you're not pedaling?). They need to think of their customers (or at least some of the customers) as fairly in-shape people who like biking, but need a little help to make a long bike commute feasible.
    Basically when we switched to these Li-Ion packs, we found that the highest strain on the batteries came when accelerating from a stop. It was management's feeling that giving people the option to use the bikes with Li-Ion packs as "scooters" with throttle only would have more of a negative impact (by reducing range/effectiveness) than forcing people to use pedal assist.

    I'm of the opinion that our pedal assist system needs to be adjusted. The three points you made in your first post give credence to the exact problems I've been considering since first riding the things, basically that it's difficult to ride the bike as ONLY a bike, on occasions when you want to switch on the fly.

    I've been trying to make the case to R&D that the sensor needs to be speed sensitive, as opposed to being a pure ON/OFF switch, and that we need an ON/OFF switch on the throttle to allow easy disabling of the battery while riding.
    Last edited by ol!; 06-25-09 at 09:54 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ol! View Post
    and that we need an ON/OFF switch on the throttle to allow easy disabling of the battery while riding.
    ol!

    Your idea is just what the switch I described in the post above yours would provide. Mod parts cost <$1

    Don

  12. #12
    ol!
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    If it's not already clear, I work at Currie and I'm speaking about what I want to see as future changes to the product

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    Quote Originally Posted by ol! View Post
    Basically when we switched to these Li-Ion packs, we found that the highest strain on the batteries came when accelerating from a stop. It was management's feeling that giving people the option to use the bikes with Li-Ion packs as "scooters" with throttle only would have more of a negative impact (by reducing range/effectiveness) than forcing people to use pedal assist.

    I've been trying to make the case to R&D that the sensor needs to be speed sensitive, as opposed to being a pure ON/OFF switch, and that we need an ON/OFF switch on the throttle to allow easy disabling of the battery while riding.
    ol!... I think most people would prefer the independent throttle (and pedal assist) like the PAS / TAG throttle provides. This gives riders an option (and everybody loves options). But if management is worried about the throttle reducing the effectiveness of the battery, it should at least have an ON/OFF switch on the handlebars so riders don't have to reach around to shut it off.

    Why couldn't you use the PAS/TAG throttle and put a disclaimer on the spec sheet: "Up to 22 miles (with regular pedaling in PAS mode)"?
    Last edited by ecowheelz; 06-25-09 at 10:49 AM.

  14. #14
    Member vermontcathy's Avatar
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    ol! - I hope I didn't offend when I wrote "it's as if Currie thinks...". I think it's cool that you're here reading these forums. It's really the best way to assess what people think of your products. You've probably got such a variety of riders to consider (ie. can't make all the people happy all the time).

    I understand Currie wanting to lengthen battery life. So I'd be fine with the motor not working unless the person is pedaling. I just don't want it ALWAYS on. To me, the most obvious way to extend battery life is to not use it. If my commute was all flat, I would not be using an ebike at all.

    Thanks for explaining how to jump the wires myself. I've been communicating with Tracy at Currie - I only have a phone number, not email, and I really shouldn't be chatting on the phone while at work, so if you want, you could tell her that you've talked to me and she can disregard my begging phone message - she doesn't have to send me a jumper.

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    ol!
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    Your phone message made its way to me, I made the jumper personally and I'm putting it in with your bike. I also took some photos so you can see exactly how you can get it installed.

    I think it'll work very well for you

  16. #16
    Member vermontcathy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ol! View Post
    Your phone message made its way to me, I made the jumper personally and I'm putting it in with your bike. I also took some photos so you can see exactly how you can get it installed.

    I think it'll work very well for you
    Thank you thank you! You're my hero. I am so psyched that this bike will be more than 20 pounds lighter than my eZip with 2 SLA batteries (in case you haven't read all my threads, one SLA was enough at first, but I was draining it quite far down which damaged the battery). This will make it even easier for me to pedal without the motor more of the time.

    It may seem odd, that I'm excited to NOT use the "e" part of my ebike. I'm just pondering the mental/psychological importance of being able to NOT use the motor. With my eZip, sometimes I'd be pedaling along, without the motor, and think, "Hey, I think I'm using the motor less than I used to. I must be getting in better shape! Yay me!" I want to get some exercise while commuting. And I am proud of myself when I feel that I am becoming a stronger biker. For me, the ebike is like the machine at the gym that helps me do pullups by taking some of my weight. I aspire to do pullups on my own. I aspire to be in good enough shape to be able to commute on a regular road bike. That may never come to fruition, but it is still my aspiration, and so being able to only use the motor when I want to is critical to my workout and wellbeing.

    Maybe it's a girl thing.

  17. #17
    Administrator Allen's Avatar
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    ol!,

    You are good people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ol! View Post
    Your phone message made its way to me, I made the jumper personally and I'm putting it in with your bike. I also took some photos so you can see exactly how you can get it installed.

    I think it'll work very well for you
    NOW THAT'S CUSTOMER SERVICE! Currie has been great to us so far! And it's great to see them treat individual customers the same way!

    I hope no one at Currie takes offense to us posting information (and opinions) on the board. But we've gotten emails, calls and questions in our shop... and we want people to get all the facts.

    Once again... it's great to see you're taking care of this at the warehouse. GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE!

  19. #19
    ol!
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    Glad I could help. I actually work in product development, so it's always fun when I get a chance to help someone out on a personal level

  20. #20
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    ol!

    I agree it's great you're here and that you hear Cathy's thoughts by phone. I too think Currrie is better than average for vendors in fields in general. I have had great service in getting the spares I thought logical and getting replacements for manufacturing errors. I was particularly impressed when they extended the 6 month warranty printed on the documentation for my 2008 eZip, purchased in 4/08 to a full year warranty good to 4/09. That showed an attitude to be respected. In 1971 Toyota did something similar, I still drive Toyotas.

    One thought I have for Currie: they could spend a little more time on the " human interface design" in their choice of language (acronym/words used).

    Using PAS for Pedal Activated System, as in PAS/TAG (like the eZip) where pedal activated means pedaling ENABLES the throttle. And PAS on the Ecoride, standing for Pedal Assist System which means we turn on the power to 50% when the pedals turn, is not good practice when applied to two products that will appeal to the same people. Same acronym very different results.

    Also if the argument is that Pedal Assist System is to get people to avoid starting without pedaling, I think an 'always working' Pedal Activated System, no switch to TAG would have worked just as well and had other advantages as we know. In addition Currie had just spent years and $ getting people to understand what "Pedal Activated System" meant. At first everyone thought that red button was an ON/OFF switch for power assist.

    I see a considerable amount of confusion/unhappy customers coming from the change.

    I hope everyone at Currie is happy with your, sort of, representing the company here. Make sure the lawyers don't get tense. Glad to have you here.


    Don

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    An UPDATE:

    The Currie site will NOW download an Owners manual from the Ecoride page. And it does include wiring diagrams, just as the manual for the iZip did on 6/24 this year. It describes the circuits in my 2008 Mountain Trailz eZip the same way the iZip manual did, as well as other control systems. The printed Owner's Manual that came with the bike DID NOT describe any wiring. Unfortunately the "new" manual on the Ecoride page labled eZip is EXACTLY the same manual that was labled iZip on 6/24. There is NO description of the new Pedal Assist feature. There is not even a diagram with fudged connectors and no color identifiers.

  22. #22
    Member vermontcathy's Avatar
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    I got the ecoride yesterday. Got it put together, installed the jumper, charged the battery. The battery wasn't full until after dark, so I only got to ride it a tiny bit, and not on any significant hills yet. So far so good. Tomorrow, if it FINALLY stops raining as it is supposed to, I'll ride to work. Normally I'd do a test ride out and back to home, but I don't have a chance to today, and want to pounce on the first no-rain day in a while.

    I am very pleased that the bike is much lighter than the ezip trailz, not just because of the lighter battery, but also the bike itself is lighter. The website's listed weight of 54 lbs is dead on. I actually weighed it at 53.5 (with battery).

    The charger is much bigger than with the ezip trailz. But it's not very heavy, so carrying it to work shouldn't be a big deal. Probably not worth buying a 2nd charger to leave at work, at least not til my credit card recovers. The charger does have a built-in fan and makes some noise - kind of like a computer with it's fan running. Again, not a big deal, but I'll charge it in a different room than I'm in.

    The pedals that came with it don't accept toe clips/cages. I don't mean the kind that use fancy shoes, I mean these: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...X0DER&v=glance

    I took the pedals from my non-e bike, and will trade the stock pedals for the one's on my nephew's ezip trailz (which are the right kind) when I see him.

    The seat has a shock absorber, which is nice, but it causes the seat to not go as far into the tube as a regular seat post. I'm 5'4" and it's almost (but not quite) too high for me. Just so you know, if a kid's going to be riding it..

    I'm excited to test it out tomorrow!

    Cathy

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    saw this post by chance and I never mean to offend any body here, but just want to say something. I could understand the requirements of low speed no matter of pedallign or using only throttles, so speed switch button might be a choice for any ebikes. We have installed a 3 speeds button with the kit throttle for all our kits, seems this could solve the problem mentioned here. The low speed switch could limit the bike speed under 6mph, by pedal or throttle. Or you could simly switch off the system by the key on the headlamp, to use the ebike as a normal bike without any e-power.

    Details on this could be ready by http://www.endless-sphere.com/forums...hp?f=4&t=10466. Thanks.

  24. #24
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    Cathy
    .
    Congrats. Glad to hear you got your bike. I hope you have a great time on your ride tomorrow. You know we'll be waiting to hear your report. How far? Hills OK? etc.
    .
    Some day later in the summer, when your bored, it would be interesting to hear what you think of the system without the jumper. Currie could probably use some intelligent feedback from a paying customer.
    Have FUN!
    .
    Louis
    Glad to have you here. I looked at your's and www.worldwideelectricbikes.com's web pages. They look interesting. Please keep up the discussion with us. We all gripe about Currie but we do like them, my eZip has 2,315 miles on it (much with a LiFePO4 battery from Ping). Your product looks like it will keep Currie motivated both on quality and price.
    Good luck to your enterprise.
    .
    Don
    Last edited by donob08; 07-08-09 at 11:42 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by donob08 View Post
    Cathy
    Glad to have you here. I looked at your's and www.worldwideelectricbikes.com's web pages. They look interesting. Please keep up the discussion with us. We all gripe about Currie but we do like them, my eZip has 2,315 miles on it (much with a LiFePO4 battery from Ping). Your product looks like it will keep Currie motivated both on quality and price.
    Good luck to your enterprise.
    .
    Don
    Hi Don, thank you for all the comments, we just wish our product could supply the customers another posibility when they wish ebiking.There are many good products on the market and I believe Currie is one of them with quality and reliability.

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