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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb How to Cheat with the Bionx

    A few weeks ago I posted a message about how the Bionx is not cheating. Because I am an equal opportunity rider, here are my latest thoughts on how it is TOTALLY possible to cheat on the Bionx. And it doesn't feel good:


    I made a big show last week about how the Bionx is not cheating. Having used it with various assist levels for about 80 miles now, I would like to clarify:

    You can TOTALLY cheat on the Bionx, if you want to. I've done it. You see, in addition to the 4 levels of assist - which provide a torque boost of between 35% and 300% -- there is a little red button called the throttle. Press this, and the bike zips along at up to 20 mph without the need for any pedaling.

    When I first got the Bionx, I wanted to really push the system and see how much assistance was possible. I donned my heart rate monitor, put on my work clothes, and endeavored to get to work with as little perspiration as possible. Along the way, I kept my finger on the throttle button pretty much the whole way, pedaling (on the highest assist level) perhaps 5-10% of the time.

    It normally takes me almost an hour to bike the 13 miles to work, with an average heart rate of around 140. This time it took 45 minutes. My average heart rate was 87 -- I didn't even get into "Zone 1". And I felt like a total schmuck.

    For all my big talk about not cheating, holding the throttle most of the way TOTALLY feels like cheating. I didn't break a sweat! I was a lazy bum on my commuter bike and I didn't get a workout at all!

    The entire Asian world sees biking mainly as a mode of transportation. There are 100 million e-bikes in China! But we Americans tend to always equate bikes with exercising, and we have this ingrained belief that if we don't sweat, it's cheating. Intellectually, I know this is silly. Biking doesn't HAVE to be exercising, and throttling to work is not "cheating" because there are no rules. I just want to get to work.

    I know this. I have argued this. But even I don't really, truly believe it. I don't know if this is a testament to the power of cultural bias or what, but when I'm using my bike as a moped and getting to work without sweat, I don't feel good or smug or anything like that. I feel like an *******.

    So I will endeavor to NOT just keep my thumb on the throttle. It is totally possible to get a great workout in with the Bionx, and in fact on Saturday I did just that: a 30 mile ride in 90 degree weather, with an average heart rate of 150 over two hours! For the flats and downhills, I kept the assist on the bare minimum and hardly ever throttled, and only turned the assist up on the inclines of over 2% or so. And even with that assist, when the incline got close to 5%, I got a real workout Ė my max HR was 173! The only difference between hills with assist and hills without assist is that I can actually DO the hills with assist, as opposed to getting off and pushing (which is what I used to do).

    And itís still really nice to know that even when itís hot and Iíve been riding for hours and the only way home is 7 miles uphill, it will never suck. It will always be fun, and invigorating, and in many ways, kind of magical.
    Last edited by ztrawhcs; 06-18-12 at 12:12 PM. Reason: font style

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Beautiful post really

  3. #3
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    Hello, my name is Chris and I am a cheater. I prefer riding 30 mph on my hybrid e-trike tadpole electric lawnchair pedalling like crazy with the bike stereo blasting some cool Zeppelin or Tull and getting tons of exercise rather than 15mph on my little folder. It's because I am getting old and my family commitments are such that I just don't have enough time to ride a regular bicycle anymore, and I like rock music from the sixties which is kinda obsolete these days. Things like moving my elderly mother into the nursing home next week, and my career, and shopping, and hauling groceries thirty miles from Costco and those sixty milers on the weekend to pick up some nice strawberries. I've pretty well ditched the cage unlike most people who don't cheat, but I can't say that that sucks like they can, waiting in traffic to get to their road bike. Oh well. I can't be as immaculate on my carbon road bike these days as I used to be, and occasionally get a little tired when I cheat, but that's ok because I burned a thousand calories going up that damned 18% grade on Mount Finlayson Road with the cargo trailer full of toilet paper and paper towels. Of course I wouldn't enjoy the Zeppelin without visiting my neighbour for her medical marijauna which kinda helps with the messed up shoulder, which kinda explains the recumbent, other than the extreme fun of e-assist. It never felt so good to be a cheater! :-)
    Last edited by chvid; 06-18-12 at 02:55 PM.

  4. #4
    Member BobV13's Avatar
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    No! No! No! Say it ain't so! There are Cheaters among us. My Trek FX has no red button. I have no throttle. It must be the work of some nanny politician.

  5. #5
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    I ride on level 4 most of the time but without the red button. I have an approx 13 mile commute each way with some hills. On level 3 with pedalling it takes me 50 minutes on the clock each way. On level 4 with pedalling it takes me about 45 min. I can do both ways on one charge.
    If I would use the red button only I could probably do 12-13 miles at best with one charge and without breaking a sweat but I never tried that. I really like the idea of a stereo blasting Led Zepp - sounds more fun than the headphones

  6. #6
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ztrawhcs View Post
    A few weeks ago I posted a message about how the Bionx is not cheating. Because I am an equal opportunity rider, here are my latest thoughts on how it is TOTALLY possible to cheat on the Bionx. And it doesn't feel good:


    I made a big show last week about how the Bionx is not cheating. Having used it with various assist levels for about 80 miles now, I would like to clarify:

    You can TOTALLY cheat on the Bionx, if you want to. I've done it. You see, in addition to the 4 levels of assist - which provide a torque boost of between 35% and 300% -- there is a little red button called the throttle. Press this, and the bike zips along at up to 20 mph without the need for any pedaling.

    When I first got the Bionx, I wanted to really push the system and see how much assistance was possible. I donned my heart rate monitor, put on my work clothes, and endeavored to get to work with as little perspiration as possible. Along the way, I kept my finger on the throttle button pretty much the whole way, pedaling (on the highest assist level) perhaps 5-10% of the time.

    It normally takes me almost an hour to bike the 13 miles to work, with an average heart rate of around 140. This time it took 45 minutes. My average heart rate was 87 -- I didn't even get into "Zone 1". And I felt like a total schmuck.

    For all my big talk about not cheating, holding the throttle most of the way TOTALLY feels like cheating. I didn't break a sweat! I was a lazy bum on my commuter bike and I didn't get a workout at all!

    The entire Asian world sees biking mainly as a mode of transportation. There are 100 million e-bikes in China! But we Americans tend to always equate bikes with exercising, and we have this ingrained belief that if we don't sweat, it's cheating. Intellectually, I know this is silly. Biking doesn't HAVE to be exercising, and throttling to work is not "cheating" because there are no rules. I just want to get to work.

    I know this. I have argued this. But even I don't really, truly believe it. I don't know if this is a testament to the power of cultural bias or what, but when I'm using my bike as a moped and getting to work without sweat, I don't feel good or smug or anything like that. I feel like an *******.

    So I will endeavor to NOT just keep my thumb on the throttle. It is totally possible to get a great workout in with the Bionx, and in fact on Saturday I did just that: a 30 mile ride in 90 degree weather, with an average heart rate of 150 over two hours! For the flats and downhills, I kept the assist on the bare minimum and hardly ever throttled, and only turned the assist up on the inclines of over 2% or so. And even with that assist, when the incline got close to 5%, I got a real workout Ė my max HR was 173! The only difference between hills with assist and hills without assist is that I can actually DO the hills with assist, as opposed to getting off and pushing (which is what I used to do).

    And itís still really nice to know that even when itís hot and Iíve been riding for hours and the only way home is 7 miles uphill, it will never suck. It will always be fun, and invigorating, and in many ways, kind of magical.
    Your first post got it right - thats not cheating - its just being smart! Cheating would be mmmmmmmmmmm riding an unlocked e-bike and deliberately chasing down a group of spandex clad roadies out in their club colors and standing on the pedals to pass everyone and sprint ahead to the lead rider just to ask directions. Then dropping them all.....

  7. #7
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    I too have thought of this topic and have wondered if you can charge up the bike wile pedaling and using the regenerate button while going down hills, can you actually end up with a full charge after a days ride if you use the assist judiciously? And if you can, would it still be considered cheating? After all, you are putting in more effort when riding normal to make up for the assist up hills but still end up with spending the same energy? No? (I just ordered my BionX 350 and have never ridden with it so don't know if recharging to the full would be possible but that will be my first test).


    EDIT; and yes using the throttle only IS cheating, but so is pedal assist if you don't actually recharge the battery with just pedalling and downhill regeneration... JMO
    Last edited by 350htrr; 07-12-12 at 03:54 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member LandKurt's Avatar
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    You are definitely cheating.

    If you're not making your way to work barefoot and naked while evading predators, you're cheating. Modern human life is all about cheating nature. Having a roof over your head and plenty of food in your belly is cheating nature. However, if you cheat nature too much with a completely sedentary life style nature has a way of striking back at you; obesity, heart disease, etc..

    So you need to strike a balance in your cheating or nature will catch you and flunk you.

    I've only got a 6.3 mile commute to work, so I'm trying to improve my health by biking to work. I've failed to stick with it much in past years so this year I put together an e-bike to make it a bit easier in the hope that I'll do more.

    So far I haven't fallen in the trap of letting the e-bike do all the work. And since I've put together a 1000W system it could easily do all the work. I don't have a pedal sensor like the Bionx, just a throttle. I now only use the throttle on an annoying hill or two and pedal under my own power the rest of the time. So I've been using less electric power as my strength improves. According to my CA in the last 31.9 miles I've only used 134 Wh, an average 4.2 Wh/mi, down from 15 to 20 Wh/mi initially.

    I kind of wonder why I bother with the electric bike now, except for that last hill right before arriving at work. It's nice to arrive and not be completely winded. And once the heat advisory weather returns I'll likely be leaning on the electric more. Plus, gadgets are fun and my e-bike is quite the gadget.
    The upside of hills is the downside

    Novara Randonee

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by LandKurt View Post
    You are definitely cheating.

    If you're not making your way to work barefoot and naked while evading predators, you're cheating. Modern human life is all about cheating nature. Having a roof over your head and plenty of food in your belly is cheating nature. However, if you cheat nature too much with a completely sedentary life style nature has a way of striking back at you; obesity, heart disease, etc..

    So you need to strike a balance in your cheating or nature will catch you and flunk you.

    I've only got a 6.3 mile commute to work, so I'm trying to improve my health by biking to work. I've failed to stick with it much in past years so this year I put together an e-bike to make it a bit easier in the hope that I'll do more.

    So far I haven't fallen in the trap of letting the e-bike do all the work. And since I've put together a 1000W system it could easily do all the work. I don't have a pedal sensor like the Bionx, just a throttle. I now only use the throttle on an annoying hill or two and pedal under my own power the rest of the time. So I've been using less electric power as my strength improves. According to my CA in the last 31.9 miles I've only used 134 Wh, an average 4.2 Wh/mi, down from 15 to 20 Wh/mi initially.

    I kind of wonder why I bother with the electric bike now, except for that last hill right before arriving at work. It's nice to arrive and not be completely winded. And once the heat advisory weather returns I'll likely be leaning on the electric more. Plus, gadgets are fun and my e-bike is quite the gadget.
    I'm going to say that, when someone I pass on a $10,000 road bike gets in a huff and says that's cheating...

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    As long as you got some battery left.. finishing up hill and all..

  11. #11
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    Motor-less bicyclists are big cheaters too. If they get food from a place that transports it by motor vehicle.

    The only 'non cheater' bicyclists are the ones whose fuel (food) came from a non motor vehicle source. So you are legit if you pick it up from the farm... and you're also legit if your farmer brings everything to the farmers' market in a horse drawn wagon.

    Y'all are [bleep]ing cheaters..

    Can you tell i'm joking?
    Some awesome folks who are working to give Haitians the ability to manage their safety and their lives:
    Haiti Partners

  12. #12
    beeseecleta
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    I just bought an ebike with a Bionx 350pl kit installed. It has a 36v 10ah battery and I was wondering what kind of battery you have and how has it worked out for you.
    Is it still going strong? Do you constantly push the battery?

    Any info would be appreciated.

    Thank you

  13. #13
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    He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts...for support rather than illumination. I do like my beer, so sometimes I do end up leaning on the lamp-post...

  14. #14
    Senior Member 15rms's Avatar
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    I have a Bionx. Sometimes I ride on level 4 and am out there just to get some fresh air for an hour or less. Sometimes I am using level 1 those are rides of 2 hours or more. Usually I ride level 1 away from home and use level 3 to get home after I get tired. I don't consider any of it cheating. If anybody does believe me to be a cheater that is their right to be wrong and I don't really care.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by LandKurt View Post
    If you're not making your way to work barefoot and naked while evading predators, you're cheating.
    Well said!

    Quote Originally Posted by cerewa View Post
    Motor-less bicyclists are big cheaters too. If they get food from a place that transports it by motor vehicle.
    Imo, the same can be said for those who transport their motor-less bicycles with the use of a motor vehicle...

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