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  1. #1
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    Trek Valencia Plus - first impressions

    It arrived over the weekend and I rode in to work today. While I like it, I'm not sure it wouldn't have been better to install a Bionx kit on my old Trek 7100 hybrid. The most disappointing feature is the battery. Rather than using the 10 Ah battery that should come with the 350 motor, it comes with a 6.4 Ah battery that normally comes with a PL-250 kit. Slightly different because the 6.4 listed on the Bionx site is 22.2 volt while this one is 6.4 / 40.7 volt.

    The bike is heavier than I thought - I guess it would be even heavier with the 10 Ah battery though. It's ok on level surfaces without using the assist at all, but I wouldn't want to do it for too long. Assist level 1 overcomes the extra weight of the system and adds a bit of a boost. I'd like to use level 2 most of the time.

    My major concern is that I have a 30 mile r/t commute, and while being pretty conservative (mostly using assist level 1) it's still about 1/2 used after coming in. And that's with using regen modes coming down most hills. I'm guessing that it's going to get a bit better as it breaks in but I understand from the folks on this forum that the battery shouldn't be run down that much. An extra charger is around $70 and I already ordered one. I'll keep one at work and the other at home.

    The charger is very noisy (the fan) and I don't look forward to having it in my office but I don't really see an option. Maybe I can put a pillow over it or something. Astonishingly, the instructions call for disconnecting the battery from the charger once it's full rather than just leaving it attached until ready to go. I find it hard to believe that a system this sophisticated could actually hurt the battery by leaving it plugged in but that's the implication. I'll review the manual tonight but that's what I recall.

    The light that comes with the kit is decent but is really only a "be seen" light. It will not replace my MagicShine. It would be nice it if at least had a blink mode but it doesn't. The rear light (on the battery) is nice. Again, no blink mode though.

    The rack doesn't seem too well thought out, or maybe it's just my bag - which is designed for the Topeak rack system. Using the Velcro fasteners, the placement of the bars doesn't allow for much of the velcro to grip and I worry that it won't remain stable. I'm likely to get front panniers anyway, just for the weight distribution. The battery does slide in and out and lock nicely.

    When in mode 3 or 4, this baby does fly up the hills. Even being very conservative this morning I got in 10 minutes faster than normal. It will be much quicker when I'm not afraid of killing the battery.

    Well, that's the initial report.

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    You could always add more battery to it probably. Maybe add a battery and a watt meter to make sure you aren't killing it. It could be that the charger beings depleting the battery once it's fully charged. I've heard of some chargers that do that.

  3. #3
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    It's a pretty proprietary system. Maybe it can be done but I sure don't know how.

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    It probably has a BMS on the battery. You'd have to remove that and use a watt meter instead. It might be worth it, though. You'd have to just watch the battery on the watt meter. If the battery is lithium, you risk destroying it but it still might be worth it. You can't really destroy a lithium battery until it goes past about 90 % usage anyway. Actually, it'd probably be easier just to take that battery out, sell it, then replace it with a better one because that battery is such an unusal capacity size. When you add lithium, you usually want to match the capacity sizes so you don't kill your batteries so you'd have to buy another one of the same unless you just removed it and replaced it with a bigger pack.

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    Maybe when it gets to the point of needing a new one it might be worth doing but that's likely to be a few years down the road. I have bigger fish to fry - I broke it yesterday. I think I forgot to turn off the system before removing the battery. That's a no no I believe but fairly easy to do. But that wasn't the bad part. When I was getting ready to go home I inserted the battery but it wouldn't connect. I tried again. No go. I figured the lock must be in the wrong position and locked and unlocked it. Tried inserting again and still no go. Pushed a bit harder, getting desperate. I did not want to ride all the way home with no power on that baby.

    It was impossible to see what was wrong because the parts are indented. Finally I noticed that he connector housing was bent both on the battery and the bike. I am very upset. The thing is a cheap metal adapter like an RS232 connector. A serial port. That's what they're using for a $1000+ battery.

    So it goes back to the store to be fixed.

    That is just really bad design. I have no idea why it didn't just slide in like it's supposed to. The battery has to be in the track and there is no way it should be able to miss.

    I ended up leaving the battery at work and biking home without it. That wasn't a big problem since without the battery the bike doesn't weigh all that much and I'm used to a 15 mile commute anyway. Today I took the train and I'll bring the battery home and then take it all back to the dealer. Let them fix it.

  6. #6
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    I rode one of the Treks+ today. IT was a 7200 step-through bike. I tried it out when I went in to order a new bike (Trek Pure--I wanted a beach cruiser-type of bike).

    It was fun. I took it up a steep hill and it was easy.

    It's different than a lot of the electric bikes people are building. With the Trek bikes you have to peddle There isn't a choice. And the machine will only add effort to effort, so if you want to go fast, you have to peddle a bit fast as well. Setting number 4 is what I used (maximum setting) and found that going in the highest gear is what made it work better, so riding up hills on the small sprocket in the back was counter-intuitive, but it worked really well. I climbed a steep hill without any problems.

    I think, however, that they should have found a way to incorporate the battery into the center of the frame. Anytime you put weight behind the seat (above the back tire) you completely change the ride. Last year when I was first commuting on my Soho (four miles each way) I tried a rack and put my bag on it. It was about 7 pounds of gear, and it completely messed up the ride. So I started using a backpack instead. I'd rather have the extra weight on me than on the bike. It works much better that way.

    I wonder if that would work for a battery as well, put it in a backpack and feed a cable to the bike. You could definitely turn corners easier.

    I also thought the Treks were too expensive for what you get. The 7200 series by itself is about 500 dollars. So they are charging over 1500 for the electrical system, and I would think one could do it for a lot less than that and still get a lot more power. Plus if you do it yourself you can decide how much power you need to help you instead of the bike deciding. Just my opinion.
    I'm two-tired to ride today.

  7. #7
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    The Bionx kit is expensive and that's what the bikes use. But they should have used the real battery, not 6.4. That's really my only beef. I didn't notice much of a handling problem with all that weight in the rear. And, in NYC where Ebikes aren't legal yet, I figured the battery in the back was somewhat stealthier than a battery on the frame.

  8. #8
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    "It's different than a lot of the electric bikes people are building. With the Trek bikes you have to peddle There isn't a choice. And the machine will only add effort to effort, so if you want to go fast, you have to peddle a bit fast as well."

    All ebikes built for EU market must be pedaled for the motor to engage. If you stop pedaling then the motor stops working. It is the law. That is what PAS is all about. If you buy an EU compliant bike that is what you will get. Here in the states e bike laws vary from state to state but most allow much higher, up to 1000w, systems. As much battery as you care to haul around also. I feel that a battery should be 12ah minimum for any real use as there are sometimes that you need it and it is good to have it there.

    Trek is a big company and this effort partnering, among others, with BionX was a fast track to the EU market. Too bad they didn't do their homework and are supplying down graded components like the battery. I am thinking that version II will have the SRAM motors which will take awhile to work the bugs out of also but have potential to be very nicely executed. http://www.bike-eu.com/news/3923/sra...20maart%202010

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    The above post is good. Makes sense to me (the legalities of a bike that has to be peddled for the motor to engage).

    Like I said, the Trek I was riding was actually pretty good. I only rode it for a short distance (about half a mile) so I have no idea how it would do over a long period of time. I will say this, though: It went up a steep hill really easily.

    My commute is 4 miles each way, on dedicated bike paths. It takes a casual 30 minutes to get there (on the way I don't want to work up a sweat), and on the way back I can make it in about 20 (it's also not as uphill on the way home).

    If I were on that Trek electric assist bike it would make the commute really easy and much faster. I'd be able to get to work in twenty minutes without sweating, which is exactly what it takes me by car. Right now car is faster, and when it's dark or cold that's what I do. I don't like cold and dark. Not for me.

    But with electric assist I'd probably ride more in the dark and cold because I could bundle up and not overheat and sweat, etc.

    But $2100 dollars? That's way too much. Where I live (Peachtree City) I can get a good used golf cart for that price and ride to work much faster and have passengers. Our community is a golf cart community and the path system is very extensive and involves no cars. Just bikes, pedestrians and golf carts.

    I'd do it for a thousand bucks in a heartbeat, but not 2000.
    I'm two-tired to ride today.

  10. #10
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    You can do that easily with any e bike kit available, look for at least a 36v, or if you don't have a bike already just go buy an Izip at Best Buy or somewhere. You won't need an expensive one because SLA batteries will do the job just fine for your 8 mile r/t if you recharge the battery at home after each days use because SLA likes to be kept as charged as possible.

    The Trek/Bionix is alot of money but that is what the market is bearing in the EU right now for name brand bikes, many of which are specing the Bionx oddly enough which retails for $1800 or so. I saw the other day that 1 out of every 10 bikes sold in the EU is what they are now calling an Electric Pedal Assist Cycle or EPAC. If you feel like you want more range at some point you can spend some money on a LiFePo4 battery which will generally double your range for any given swap.

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    THat's good advice, but I'm just going to go with the Lifepo battery setup the first time. I don't want all the weight of SLAs on the bike.
    I'm two-tired to ride today.

  12. #12
    Jerry the Spinner
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    Rather than using the 10 Ah battery that should come with the 350 motor, it comes with a 6.4 Ah battery that normally comes with a PL-250 kit. Slightly different because the 6.4 listed on the Bionx site is 22.2 volt while this one is 6.4 / 40.7 volt.

    I am not sure how much of a difference this makes. I have plenty of power going up the 59 and Williamsburg bridge.


    My major concern is that I have a 30 mile r/t commute.

    When I started riding my FX+ was obsessed with how much battery was being used. My goal was to do my round trip on one charge. After riding for a month I would say you can do it if you are very conservative riding in 1 and 2 and using regen 3 and 4 when peddling down hill. The cold weather also has an effect on the battery so in the summer I would assume the battery life would last longer. After all that, I have decided I would like to enjoy my ride better and gave up on battery usage. My main purpose of the battery is to help when windy and not up to riding hard. On my normal commute in I can use 35% of the battery since it is more downhill. However, on my commute home which is more uphill I can use 80% of the battery if I am on Level 3 most of the time. Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that I have to recharge the battery at work. If you want to get more battery life or just change the way the peddle assist works. You should play around with codes 0007 and 0008. By default 0008 gives you extra assist at 10MPH. When going up a steep hill I ride it at 12MPH and do not need the extra assist I changed it to 14MPH. I also ride with a high cadence and changing 0007 can be very helpful. You can defiantly change the way the bike rides more to your liking.


    The rack doesn't seem too well thought out, or maybe it's just my bag - which is designed for the Topeak rack system.

    I did not bring over my bags. I purchased ORTILIEB Waterproof Classic Panniers and they are great.
    Bicycle Commuter from New York City.

  13. #13
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    I'm considering purchasing a Valencia+, but I'm definitely not a battery expert, so I'm hoping someone can explain this whole 6.4 Ah vs. 10 Ah battery issue to me. I'm guessing/inferring that the 10 Ah would provide more power (or power more quickly?) than the 6.4 Ah? How is the situation affected by the extra voltage in the Valencia+ battery (40.7V vs. 36.9V)? Would the increase in voltage compensate for the decrease in Ah?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenbrowns View Post
    I'm considering purchasing a Valencia+, but I'm definitely not a battery expert, so I'm hoping someone can explain this whole 6.4 Ah vs. 10 Ah battery issue to me. I'm guessing/inferring that the 10 Ah would provide more power (or power more quickly?) than the 6.4 Ah? How is the situation affected by the extra voltage in the Valencia+ battery (40.7V vs. 36.9V)? Would the increase in voltage compensate for the decrease in Ah?
    I hope someone answers that because I don't know either. I thought that 6 Ah would offer about 2/3 of the stored power of a 10 Ah, and that the heigher voltage would actually use it quicker. It does seem to last a while though. According to the manual, I'm supposed to use it down to the last indicator line for the first three times that I use it. So I commuted my 30 miles using 1 or 2 (the two lowest settings) most of the time, and using 3 or 4 for the steep hills. And then had to go out the next day and ride another 10 miles, again using the battery the whole time in order to knock it down to the last indicator line. So I rode 40 miles with it mostly on all the time. That's pretty good. I wasn't even entering regen mode going down hills and I was trying not to use the rear brake, which also causes regen to occur.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JerryTheSpinner View Post
    Rather than using the 10 Ah battery that should come with the 350 motor, it comes with a 6.4 Ah battery that normally comes with a PL-250 kit. Slightly different because the 6.4 listed on the Bionx site is 22.2 volt while this one is 6.4 / 40.7 volt.

    I am not sure how much of a difference this makes. I have plenty of power going up the 59 and Williamsburg bridge.


    My major concern is that I have a 30 mile r/t commute.

    When I started riding my FX+ was obsessed with how much battery was being used. My goal was to do my round trip on one charge. After riding for a month I would say you can do it if you are very conservative riding in 1 and 2 and using regen 3 and 4 when peddling down hill. The cold weather also has an effect on the battery so in the summer I would assume the battery life would last longer. After all that, I have decided I would like to enjoy my ride better and gave up on battery usage. My main purpose of the battery is to help when windy and not up to riding hard. On my normal commute in I can use 35% of the battery since it is more downhill. However, on my commute home which is more uphill I can use 80% of the battery if I am on Level 3 most of the time. Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that I have to recharge the battery at work. If you want to get more battery life or just change the way the peddle assist works. You should play around with codes 0007 and 0008. By default 0008 gives you extra assist at 10MPH. When going up a steep hill I ride it at 12MPH and do not need the extra assist I changed it to 14MPH. I also ride with a high cadence and changing 0007 can be very helpful. You can defiantly change the way the bike rides more to your liking.


    The rack doesn't seem too well thought out, or maybe it's just my bag - which is designed for the Topeak rack system.

    I did not bring over my bags. I purchased ORTILIEB Waterproof Classic Panniers and they are great.
    Somewhere in my garage I knew I had some cheap Nashbar rear panniers. I found them (garish yellow) and replaced the rear pack with the panniers. That has the added bonus of greatly concealing the battery since these aren't quite legal in New York.

    But I also ordered a front rack and pannier set, just to even out the weight distribution a bit. I'm not sure how I'm going to like front panniers, but one of my co-workers used to go on a bike tours and says that they're just fine. We'll see, if I don't like them they can sit in the garage until I need them one day.

    As for the battery life, as I wrote in another post, I got 40 miles out of the battery mostly using assist level 1. But I got a second charger just so I can leave it at work at not worry about using more assist if I feel like it. Today and probably tomorrow are going to be very wet so I left the bike home and took the train. But the rest of the week is supposed to be windy, and that's just why I wanted this bike. I'll be happy to ride in the wind now, as long as it isn't so windy that it's dangerous (like getting blown under a bus).

    So far I'm pretty happy with this bike. I even left it outside when I went into stores this last Sunday, with decent locks of course. It doesn't LOOK like a $2400 bike - those are all brightly painted and ultra-thin. It's sort of a stealth expensive bike.

  16. #16
    Jerry the Spinner
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgk02 View Post
    Today and probably tomorrow are going to be very wet so I left the bike home and took the train. But the rest of the week is supposed to be windy, and that's just why I wanted this bike.
    I rode in the rain today. I find the bike handles well in the rain. I had an issue with the bike last week and the LBS gave me a loaner Valencia +. I rode it on Friday in really bad rain and high winds. After riding the Valencia + for a few days I am very happy I bought the FX+. I found the ride to be much smoother and the handling much more responsive. The only issue I found was the fenders on the Valencia + get the bike much cleaner. I also found the pedals were a little better. I ordered fenders fro the bike and replaced the pedals with Shimano PD-MX30. I found the pedals to make a big difference. In the morning I biked over the Williamsburg bridge on Level 1.
    Bicycle Commuter from New York City.

  17. #17
    Jerry the Spinner
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenbrowns View Post
    I'm considering purchasing a Valencia+, but I'm definitely not a battery expert, so I'm hoping someone can explain this whole 6.4 Ah vs. 10 Ah battery issue to me. I'm guessing/inferring that the 10 Ah would provide more power (or power more quickly?) than the 6.4 Ah? How is the situation affected by the extra voltage in the Valencia+ battery (40.7V vs. 36.9V)? Would the increase in voltage compensate for the decrease in Ah?
    I feel the power is more then enough. I am able to go up steep hills at 18MPH. There is definitely no issue of power. Trek might be measuring power output in a different way then BionX is? I originally was going to buy the Valencia+ after test riding both. I bought the FX+. The FX+ with the carbon fork really soaks up the bumpy road. FX + components are much better and the bike is more responsive. In regards to rain which I ride in the Valecia+ disc brakes to not make much of a difference. When you use the brake on the FX+ it goes into regen 4 mode which really slows down the bike. When going down steep hills I put it in regen mode 2,3 or 4 which controls the speed of my decent. Therefore, the V brake does not get much use. I will however be putting fenders on my FX+.
    Bicycle Commuter from New York City.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JerryTheSpinner View Post
    I feel the power is more then enough. I am able to go up steep hills at 18MPH. There is definitely no issue of power. Trek might be measuring power output in a different way then BionX is? I originally was going to buy the Valencia+ after test riding both. I bought the FX+. The FX+ with the carbon fork really soaks up the bumpy road. FX + components are much better and the bike is more responsive. In regards to rain which I ride in the Valecia+ disc brakes to not make much of a difference. When you use the brake on the FX+ it goes into regen 4 mode which really slows down the bike. When going down steep hills I put it in regen mode 2,3 or 4 which controls the speed of my decent. Therefore, the V brake does not get much use. I will however be putting fenders on my FX+.
    Fenders are a must in the rain. Although I was once riding home at night in the rain without fenders and the water shooting up past the headlight was very nice. Dancing Waters and all that.

    So you take the southern route to Manhattan (if you're going over the Williamsburg). That must mean Grand Avenue or Metropolitan Avenue, something like that? That's a bit shorter than my northern route to the Queensboro bridge. I haven't gone by the southern route in a while; I always liked having a subway or bike shop nearby. Maybe I'll try the southern route as spring advances. Is there still all that construction and big trucks?

    The FX was supposed to be more of a performance bike than the Valencia, which is more of a commuter model. I rode both but couldn't really feel much of a difference. The components on the FX might be better but I couldn't tell. The geometry of the Valencia seemed to fit me better. Again, it's close. I just didn't want to get the cheap fork on the 7200+. The one on my 7100 froze years ago and that made no difference. The FX has 27 speeds and the Valencia only 24, but that wasn't a big difference to me either.

    I couldn't go wrong with either one though. It really has made it so much easier to ride. I find I'm looking forward to riding again instead of groaning and thinking about the hills. I was going to do it today in spite of the rain but I didn't want to take my new bike out in the rain and I'm also recovering from yesterday's Spin and Stretching classes. I'm a bit sore.

    Has anyone noticed that you were riding an Ebike? One person at Flushing Meadows Corona Park asked how I liked my Valencia (I was taking pictures of the old boathouse being demolished). I pointed out that it was an electric version and started telling her about it. I should get a commission if she buys one.
    Last edited by dgk02; 03-22-10 at 12:25 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgk02 View Post
    The FX was supposed to be more of a performance bike than the Valencia, which is more of a commuter model. I rode both but couldn't really feel much of a difference. The components on the FX might be better but I couldn't tell. The geometry of the Valencia seemed to fit me better. Again, it's close. I just didn't want to get the cheap fork on the 7200+. The one on my 7100 froze years ago and that made no difference. The FX has 27 speeds and the Valencia only 24, but that wasn't a big difference to me either.
    Is there a weight difference between the two models? Would either of you (dgk02 or JerryTheSpinner) be willing to weigh your bikes for us?

  20. #20
    Jerry the Spinner
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgk02 View Post
    Fenders are a must in the rain. Although I was once riding home at night in the rain without fenders and the water shooting up past the headlight was very nice. Dancing Waters and all that.

    So you take the southern route to Manhattan (if you're going over the Williamsburg). That must mean Grand Avenue or Metropolitan Avenue, something like that?
    I ride in going down Grand Avenue from Queens Blvd. I go home with the Queensborough bridge into 34th street. My commute home is around a mile longer. . I just find the ride is safer doing it this way.
    The reason why I find it safer is I need to go downtown when getting off the Quensborough bridge. I can take 2nd Lexington or Park Avenue downtown which I find very congested and hard to ride. When I come over the Williamsburg bridge I am able to take Clinton street to avenue A which have bike lanes. There is a section on Grand Avenue which is very commercial. Most of it is wide lanes so I feel comfortable riding. Where it narrows I ride on the sidewalk.
    When I ride home I go down 3rd Avenue bus lane to 36th and then go to 1st Avenue and take it to 59th street. Even though there are no bike lanes I feel it is a pretty safe ride.
    If you want to try it again I can meet you by the benches over looking the lake in Flushing meadow Park and can ride in together.

    I do agree with you! You can not go wrong on the Valencia + or FX+ they are both great bikes.
    Last edited by JerryTheSpinner; 03-22-10 at 07:12 PM.
    Bicycle Commuter from New York City.

  21. #21
    Jerry the Spinner
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenbrowns View Post
    Is there a weight difference between the two models? Would either of you (dgk02 or JerryTheSpinner) be willing to weigh your bikes for us?
    There is around a 3 pound difference. The FX+ 20inch is 37 pounds with battery and the Valencia+ 20inch is 40 pounds with battery.
    Bicycle Commuter from New York City.

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    18 mph up a steep hill? I don't think I can do much more than that with a 1000 watt system. How steep is that hill? By the way, you can imagine Ah to be the size of the gas tank, if the voltage and all else remains equal. To get more power, you would need to increase voltage or the size of the motor.

  23. #23
    Jerry the Spinner
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    Quote Originally Posted by crackerdog View Post
    18 mph up a steep hill? I don't think I can do much more than that with a 1000 watt system. How steep is that hill? By the way, you can imagine Ah to be the size of the gas tank, if the voltage and all else remains equal. To get more power, you would need to increase voltage or the size of the motor.
    I am not sure how steep the hill is. I am getting a Garmin 305 which will tell me. My old bike a Montague with a Currie 450W kit I was only able to go 10mph on a steep hill. The bike was 10 pounds heavier the batteries were 24 pounds heavier. If Ah is the size of the gas tank. That does effect the wattage going to the motor? I would assume then I am getting 350W to the motor. That is why I am able to go up a steep hill at 18mph. The only draw back is the range.
    Bicycle Commuter from New York City.

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    I remember reading that the Bionx PL-350 is what you want for climbing hills. The PL-500, a 500 watt motor instead of the 350, is what you want for speed. I guess it's a matter of how the power is used.

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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenbrowns View Post
    I'm considering purchasing a Valencia+, but I'm definitely not a battery expert, so I'm hoping someone can explain this whole 6.4 Ah vs. 10 Ah battery issue to me. I'm guessing/inferring that the 10 Ah would provide more power (or power more quickly?) than the 6.4 Ah? How is the situation affected by the extra voltage in the Valencia+ battery (40.7V vs. 36.9V)? Would the increase in voltage compensate for the decrease in Ah?
    10AH would provide more range, not more power. I wouldn't buy a commercial bike that only had a 6 AH battery. I got a 20AH battery on mine and by the time I get home, I've used about 10AH. I try to only use half of my battery though just for the sake of longevity. See if you can buy the bike without the battery. Unless the bike is super efficient, 6 AH will probably not be anywhere near enough for you. By the time I get out to a nice neighborhood to sight see, I've already used 5 AH. I used 6.5 AH just a few days ago on a 5 mile ride to my mom's house because I was going head-on into a headwind. I got a big motor, though but I was still only going about 22 mph the whole way. Unless the bike is super efficient, it won't be enough.

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