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  1. #1
    It's easy being green. recumelectric's Avatar
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    Broke down and got an Ezip

    The Bionx battery on my set-up has been dying out. Only reaches about half full when charged, and it is past the warranty. New battery is several hundred dollars ($850 from the store I originally got the Bionx from), so I've been putting it off and looking at other options. Plus, I tore up the recumbent seat, so that has to be replaced.

    The other day, I found a relatively new (2009) Ezip on CL and paid $225 for it. Just set it up the way I like with gel seat, carrying basket, lights, tires lined and slimed, etc. for another $160. So total cost of $385 for a whole new bike and motor.

    I think I'm going to end up liking this more than the big expensive electric recumbent I've got. Riding has been relatively comfortable. It seems to go stronger and further with throttle alone. Also a higher wattage than the Bionx, so my pedaling is better supported. It's been charging more quickly than the Bionx ever did. And the replacement battery is way cheaper.

    I'm thinking I should have gone this route in the first place. Now I have to figure out what I'm going to do with the electric bent...and maybe come up with a new user name for these forums.
    When I ride, the troubles just roll off my back.

    Originally Posted by Cody Broken :
    Every ride is a mission, a race, an adventure, a quest.
    Every bike is noble steed, a stalwart machine, a clever device, a stealthy speedster.

  2. #2
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    recumelectric

    Welcome to the club. I think you'll find it a happy place. I ride a recumbent too (not electrified). But as it turns out, when I just want to get someplace or maybe will be carrying two bags of groceries on the way home, the eZip always comes to mind first.

    You'll find the need to pay attention to hardware issues, but you sound like you are up for that.

    Don
    1971 Raleigh Super Course, bought for Honeymoon bikecamping trip around Nova Scotia, Updated with Phil Woods BB and 700C wheels, 2008 Currie eZip Trailz, with Ping LiFePO4's, Performance XPR Blaze, SWB Recumbent

    Life is too much fun, you almost forget the awkward bits, forgetting is dangerous.

  3. #3
    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
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    recumelectric,

    Welcome to the Currie club. I installed a Currie conversion kit on my mountain bike this summer and love it. I bought my mountain bike when I was living back east and riding trails that had minor hills. I now live in the Northern Rockies and ride real mountain trails on steep hills. The hills here were killing my knees and I wasn't riding much. However, with the Currie conversion kit I've got great torque to help me tackle the hills and I go riding every day. Eventually, I may look at alternate battery technology (probably LIFEPO4) for a second battery or when my SLAs start to die. I love my Currie kit.

  4. #4
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    It's nice to hear all the positive comments about EZIP. We sell tons of IZIP / EZIP bikes and have lots of happy customers. But when you come on these forums, it seems like everybody has something negative to say (ie: low quality, don't last, uncomfortable, loud, etc.).

    We don't get that kind of feedback at our shop... everybody loves these bikes! Of course, we have customers with more expensive tastes that go for our upper-end bikes too. But by far, we sell much more of the lower-cost IZIPs and EZIPs. Very few complaints.. and when there are issues... they're very easy to fix. People are pleasantly surprised they can get so much for so little...

  5. #5
    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecowheelz View Post
    It's nice to hear all the positive comments about EZIP. We sell tons of IZIP / EZIP bikes and have lots of happy customers. But when you come on these forums, it seems like everybody has something negative to say (ie: low quality, don't last, uncomfortable, loud, etc.).

    We don't get that kind of feedback at our shop... everybody loves these bikes! Of course, we have customers with more expensive tastes that go for our upper-end bikes too. But by far, we sell much more of the lower-cost IZIPs and EZIPs. Very few complaints.. and when there are issues... they're very easy to fix. People are pleasantly surprised they can get so much for so little...
    ecowheelz,

    I think the negative comments often come from those who may not really want to cycle but want motorcycle-like speeds, extremely long battery life and a low, non-motorcycle price. The Currie products have a very, very good price, but they comply with US safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Administration--meaning speed under 20 MPH and motor under 750W. It worries me that so many hobbyists in the US are buying Chinese kits with hub motors powerful enough to get them up to speeds that a bike wasn't meant to travel and which technically means their bikes need to meet moped/motorcycle safety standards set up the National Highway Transportation Safety Board (NHTSB). I suspect 99 percent of those upgrading their bikes with these powerful kits wouldn't be able to meet NHTSB safety standards. Also, I wonder what the long term stress of hub motors will do to the bike components like steel forks (we all know the risks of using aluminum forks with their cast drop outs, but what about long term affects on steel forks). If there begins to be a rash of e-bike accidents, I can see public opinion turning against e-bikes and possibly legislation restricting their use. Especially if some involve bikes with powerful kits that bump the bike into moped status but the owner never licensed or insured the bike as a moped. I think one thing that the e-bike vendor and hobbyist communities should join together to develop e-bike safety education courses. It's in our own interest as a community to see that e-bikes are built, maintained and operated safely. Otherwise, the day may come when, like NY riders now, we're told we can't legally ride them on public roads.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by recumelectric View Post
    The Bionx battery on my set-up has been dying out. Only reaches about half full when charged, and it is past the warranty. New battery is several hundred dollars ($850 from the store I originally got the Bionx from), so I've been putting it off and looking at other options. Plus, I tore up the recumbent seat, so that has to be replaced.
    Question:

    How many miles did you put on the Bionx batter so that it only recharges half full? If you don't know how many miles, then hour many years? Also, since the battery only charges half full, how long does it take to complete a recharge?

    Thanks your answers.

  7. #7
    Senior Member misslexi's Avatar
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    That's a bummer about your BionX battery, the cost of those if what kept me away from them. I'll stick with my cheap ping-like LiFEPO4 for now.

    Sorry more to lose a fellow recumbent rider, just picked up a used Rans Stratus XP to be electrified myself.

    Good luck, may your tires always be inflated with joy!

  8. #8
    oldie lost her password
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    Question:

    How many miles did you put on the Bionx batter so that it only recharges half full? If you don't know how many miles, then hour many years? Also, since the battery only charges half full, how long does it take to complete a recharge?

    Thanks your answers.
    Hi,

    I am recumelectric, but I lost my password and former email. So I'm answering th questions you asked to me.

    1) I think I put about 1000 miles on it. To some, that's a lot. To others, not so much.
    2) The kit and battery are a little over a year old. the battery is only warrantied for a year.
    3) I haven't really timed the recharges. I don't think they are significantly longer or shorter than before (2-3 hours) I just know that it automatically shuts off, but only reads a little over half full.
    When I ride, the troubles just roll off my back.

  9. #9
    oldie lost her password
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    Quote Originally Posted by misslexi View Post
    Sorry more to lose a fellow recumbent rider, just picked up a used Rans Stratus XP to be electrified myself.

    Good luck, may your tires always be inflated with joy!
    Thanks for the fond wish for my tires.

    I'm still not sure what to do about the 'bent. I will repair the seat and have the LBS guys remove the Bionx set-up in a few more paydays. Not sure if I want to keep it or sell it at that point. On the one hand, it would be nice to get some cash back, especially since I have another working Ebike. On the other hand, I might want to rig it up with something else in a year or so. The technology seems to be getting cheaper and better all the time, even with the high end stuff.

    ...Just no more expensive proprietary batteries for me. (I believe that Ezip has to have an Ezip battery, but it's only $100-200, from what I have seen.)
    When I ride, the troubles just roll off my back.

  10. #10
    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
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    formerly RE

    You aren't limited to buying a new battery pack for the eZip. You can open the case and replace the SLAs (much more cost effective). I'm in the process of reading through various threads on another forum that specializes in electric vehicles, including e-bikes, to see if anyone has successfully added tool pack batteries to Currie's Rack Mounted Battery (RMB) cases. Canadian users who had bought eZips with the long battery box behind the seat post were able to put two yardworks LIFEPO4 battery packs in their battery box to replace the two SLAs--they didn't even have to change out the BMS on the packs so the warranty on the battery packs remained valid. It would be nice if those of us with the RMB cases could do the same.

  11. #11
    oldie lost her password
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    Quote Originally Posted by nwmtnbkr View Post
    formerly RE

    You aren't limited to buying a new battery pack for the eZip. You can open the case and replace the SLAs (much more cost effective). I'm in the process of reading through various threads on another forum that specializes in electric vehicles, including e-bikes, to see if anyone has successfully added tool pack batteries to Currie's Rack Mounted Battery (RMB) cases. Canadian users who had bought eZips with the long battery box behind the seat post were able to put two yardworks LIFEPO4 battery packs in their battery box to replace the two SLAs--they didn't even have to change out the BMS on the packs so the warranty on the battery packs remained valid. It would be nice if those of us with the RMB cases could do the same.
    Cool. I was wondering about compatibility with other batteries. Keep us updated on anything you learn.
    When I ride, the troubles just roll off my back.

  12. #12
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    BionX battery dying in less than a year? That's nasty. That's terrible. Are you sure it's not because you overcharge or overdischarge the battery? Overcharge and excessive discharge (whıch may also occur due to long storage) lead the way to many problems. This is not likely though, since most cell packs has protection circuits and the Bionx charger should also have a circuit custom designed for the battery. It is very well declared in a website that "Manufacturers of li-ion batteries have very strict guidelines in charge procedures and the pack should be charged as per the manufacturers "typical" charge technique." So if you used through a different charger this is also susceptible for a caused damaged in the cells.

    Otherwise, I mean if you did nothing wrong, I must reconsider my future plans of getting a BionX kit, spending 800 each year for just batteries for a folder is foolish by even Bill Gates standards.

  13. #13
    oldie lost her password
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biont View Post
    BionX battery dying in less than a year? That's nasty. That's terrible. Are you sure it's not because you overcharge or overdischarge the battery? Overcharge and excessive discharge (whıch may also occur due to long storage) lead the way to many problems. This is not likely though, since most cell packs has protection circuits and the Bionx charger should also have a circuit custom designed for the battery. It is very well declared in a website that "Manufacturers of li-ion batteries have very strict guidelines in charge procedures and the pack should be charged as per the manufacturers "typical" charge technique." So if you used through a different charger this is also susceptible for a caused damaged in the cells.

    Otherwise, I mean if you did nothing wrong, I must reconsider my future plans of getting a BionX kit, spending 800 each year for just batteries for a folder is foolish by even Bill Gates standards.
    I have followed all of the charging guidelines. It started to degenerate after I hadn't ridden or charged for a few weeks (less than a month). The guidelines say to charge it up at least once a month, and I was doing that. I was hoping that the battery would last several years.
    When I ride, the troubles just roll off my back.

  14. #14
    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
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    Battery technology is the weakest link in most portable electric appliances. It would be nice to see battery technology make some giant strides forward that would improve battery life and performance and reduce cost, but I'm not holding my breath. I think one thing that may be the biggest stumbling block to wide adoption of electric cars will be the cost and the life span of batteries. (Except for the wealthiest of buyers, I think the price tag of replacing the battery power plant in an all electric vehicle will be shocking to vehicle owners.)

    I would be interested in seeing reviews of Toshiba's SCIB battery that Schwinn is using on some models. Toshiba offers a "commercial charger" that it claims will fully recharge the battery in 10 minutes. It would be nice to have an independent source verify this as well as do some long-term testing on performance. I haven't seen the battery offered for sale anywhere so I don't know if Toshiba has signed an exclusive agreement with Schwinn (these type of arrangements seem all to common, unfortunately).

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    Toshiba's SCIB looks interesting especiasllty because usually Lithium batteries do not like fast charging at all. And SCIB also promises a 10 year lifetime while even only half of that would be appreciated very much.

    For future I expect battery technology to take another route towards capacitor and we might then have an unexpected development that will open up a new era.

  16. #16
    Senior Member misslexi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biont View Post
    Toshiba's SCIB looks interesting especiasllty because usually Lithium batteries do not like fast charging at all. And SCIB also promises a 10 year lifetime while even only half of that would be appreciated very much.

    For future I expect battery technology to take another route towards capacitor and we might then have an unexpected development that will open up a new era.
    I agree if regen braking becomes commonplace. Fast charge for eBikes has limited used for now, IMO.

  17. #17
    Senior Member 15rms's Avatar
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    Recumelectric I am wondering if you have explored the idea of getting an electrician to figure a way to use another battery for your Bionx? That 250 watt on a recumbent would be a very comfortble bike using a 20 amp battery you could ride a long time. Do I remember right you are from Boulder county Co? I am from the same town. Are you considering selling your Bionx? If you want write me a personal message maybe we could explore some of these ideas. Maybe plan a ride together next time I am in town. Maybe you have seen my son riding around town. He rides a LWB Lightfoot World Traveler with a cyclone 500. He uses his bike for daily transportation so maybe you have seen him.

  18. #18
    oldie lost her password
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    Quote Originally Posted by 15rms View Post
    Recumelectric I am wondering if you have explored the idea of getting an electrician to figure a way to use another battery for your Bionx? That 250 watt on a recumbent would be a very comfortble bike using a 20 amp battery you could ride a long time. Do I remember right you are from Boulder county Co? I am from the same town. Are you considering selling your Bionx? If you want write me a personal message maybe we could explore some of these ideas. Maybe plan a ride together next time I am in town. Maybe you have seen my son riding around town. He rides a LWB Lightfoot World Traveler with a cyclone 500. He uses his bike for daily transportation so maybe you have seen him.
    Hi,

    I got your PM. I do not live in Colorado, or I would sell it to you. Whe I first got it, I was trying to extend the cable to the battery. (I had ordered the wrong size, and non of the Bionx dealers were answering my queries about getting a longer one.) I talked to several places. Radio Shack finally referred me to a local shop that does nothing but make cables. They said they could make a mold of the plug in and do it. It could cost up to $200.

    I'm thinking that they might be able to make another battery compatible with the same process. It seems that the cable plug-in is what makes it incompatible with other batteries. ...But now I'm remembering that someone on here said there was more to it than that.

    At this point, I don't have the patience to mess around with this. I would like to sell the motor and the battery to someone who does.
    When I ride, the troubles just roll off my back.

  19. #19
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    The problem with most ezips ect is noise. Most of the chain drive kits collect dirt as well. Its a problem when commuting to work. For the best reliability you are stuck with a brushless/gearless hub bottom line.

  20. #20
    oldie lost her password
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    Quote Originally Posted by JerseyEbiker View Post
    The problem with most ezips ect is noise. Most of the chain drive kits collect dirt as well. Its a problem when commuting to work. For the best reliability you are stuck with a brushless/gearless hub bottom line.
    Oh, yeah, I am aware that Ezip is lower end and hub motors are better. I just couldn't afford a replacement hub motor plus batteries. For the price of this whole bike, I could go through a bike a year and it would still be cheaper than going through a lithium ion battery a year.

    I do appreciate your comment about the chain. I will have to make sure to keep it clean and lubricated.
    When I ride, the troubles just roll off my back.

  21. #21
    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
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    I don't think the noise is that bad, but then I don't depress the throttle all the way when I use power. There's a long thread in another forum about the dangers of hub motors, especially those mounted on the front wheel. Clearly, you can't use a hub motor on an aluminum fork since the drop outs are cast and subject to failure without warning due to the added stress generated by the hub motor. However, far too many riders don't use torque arms on steel forks on on back wheel installations. That's a little dangerous and the debate in the thread in the other forum focused on those dangers. Given where I live currently, I needed a lot of torque and the Currie motor delivers the most bang for the buck, while keeping my bike legally categorized as a bike and not a moped. I don't think it's a big deal to keep the drive chain clean, no worse than the bike chain.

  22. #22
    Senior Member misslexi's Avatar
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    Consider using a "dry" lubricant on the chain, it's a requirement with the Ecospeed mid-drive I use, it really cuts down on crap sticking to it. I think most are silicone-based.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by formerly RE View Post
    I have followed all of the charging guidelines. It started to degenerate after I hadn't ridden or charged for a few weeks (less than a month). The guidelines say to charge it up at least once a month, and I was doing that. I was hoping that the battery would last several years.
    That's strange to hear. You should contact Bionx. I had a PL250 system on my bike. It took 2 years and about 7000 miles before the battery reached 60% full charge level. I don't use it as much anymore since I now have a PL500HS on a newer bike. THat one so far as 3500 miles and 1 year of usage and it still recharges to 100%.

  24. #24
    oldie lost her password
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    Quote Originally Posted by adamtki View Post
    That's strange to hear. You should contact Bionx. I had a PL250 system on my bike. It took 2 years and about 7000 miles before the battery reached 60% full charge level. I don't use it as much anymore since I now have a PL500HS on a newer bike. THat one so far as 3500 miles and 1 year of usage and it still recharges to 100%.
    How do you contact Bionx directly? I thought I had to go through the dealer. My guess is that the dealer will not replace this, since it's past the warranty and they don't get reimbursed.
    When I ride, the troubles just roll off my back.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by formerly RE View Post
    How do you contact Bionx directly? I thought I had to go through the dealer. My guess is that the dealer will not replace this, since it's past the warranty and they don't get reimbursed.
    There's a share your feedback page on their site. Although you can't get support for an out of warranty part, you could at least ask them what kind of mileage you should get out of these. I don't know what they would do though other than to have you recalibrate your battery meter.

    1000 miles is quite short even if you ran your battery on level 4 all the time. With the way I used my PL250, I would get about 25-30 miles per charge if I used it all the way. I guess if you have a decent battery and it dies around 1000 miles, you probably were getting 1/6 th of what I was getting - which makes it 5 miles per charge. That's quite low.

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