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  1. #1
    LBKA punkncat's Avatar
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    If not BionX, then what?

    I am looking to "e" my wife's tadpole. I would much rather go with an "assist" system than "aux power" type system. My searches have only turned up the BionX, which on first appearances seems to be a good system...until you dig a little deeper. I find that there are some significant quality issues with the wheel build, and also some serious issues with battery problems exacerbated by the shipping regulations on them.
    I don't know if the problems are a real issue, or just more being made of them than what they really are, and have yet to find another (affordable) system that does the same. I have noted that Bosch has a system like it that doesn't appear to be set up for use on a 'bent, nor can I find a price on it...which usually is along the lines of "if you have to ask".

    I had started off considering a mid drive system, but find they are out of the price range I would like to stay in. The BionX offers features and price I like, but am concerned about the quality and replacement part issue. Is there anything else I should be looking into?

    Just for reference, the bike will be ridden no more than 10-15 miles at a time on relatively flat ground with a light rider. Bike and all will be under 180#.
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  2. #2
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    There are always "problems" with anything, even if it's only 1%... If there are 1,000 BionX bikes out there and something goes wrong then there would be 10 people on sites like this dissing the product, so far I have only seen 1 real pissed off person (battery problems) and a few with minor quibbles (spokes loosening or breaking) that got fixed. So in general I would not dismiss the BionX system that fast...from my perspective having put over 1,600KMs on mine, I think it's an excellent product/design, in my case hauling/assisting around 280 Lbs total bike, stuff and me.
    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...

  3. #3
    LBKA punkncat's Avatar
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    Thanks, I certainly agree with you to a point. Based on what I have found out there, for the simplicity, and look of the BionX I am not afraid to have to rebuild a wheel. The battery on the other hand, seems to be the scary part. I have noted more than a few threads talking about early failure, extreme cost of replacement, and an apparent difficulty with substituting off brand battery solutions to power it.
    I don't see the system getting a lot of use and if it help the way it appears to it would be a worthwhile first system to check into.
    Aside from that, I just want to know if there is anything else out there worth consideration that offers the assist mode.

    Edit- I am considering the ultralight 250 kit, or similar solutions for weight and battery life.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member rscamp's Avatar
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    Short version:

    I recommend an eZee with Cycle Analyst (CA) from ebikes.ca. Lighter, no parasitic drag, freedom to modify, good quality and with the CA it is very configurable. As the CA is a PI controller, you can easily mod to dial in constant torque assist for example...

    Long version:

    http://www.bentrideronline.com/messa...173#post540173
    Rob

  5. #5
    LBKA punkncat's Avatar
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    I saw this kit, but also noted that it appears to be a bit more expensive once you buy a battery. It avoids the whole "compatibility" issue, but appears to be a lot the same otherwise. I will read up on it more.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member rscamp's Avatar
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    Yes. Choices, choices. I can say without doubt the CA is a wonderful device and Justin at ebikes is second to no one with regard to knowledge, customer support, development and promotion of ebikes and ebike technology.

    Within reason, you can use any battery you want. I don't use the batteries from ebikes.ca for example. I use LiPos that cost about 1/3 as much.
    Rob

  7. #7
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    My BionX has been excellent and so has my mid drive, Epik Whistler

  8. #8
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    355htrr
    very well said
    for every one having problems with BIONX there are hundred happy BIONX riders
    If it comes to battery there is simple test to be done
    Go inside battery, disconnect string of cells for half hour
    Connect back and see can battery still power system?
    If yes so you can replace cells yourself
    BIONX is wonderful exercise machine with VERY smooth operation
    No hint of noise from motor
    Assist kicks in that you o not even notice
    driven by software it has lot of settings
    Very accurate batt meter
    Some prefer most prefer batt SOC meter instead Ah counting likeCA
    I
    Last edited by powell; 02-12-13 at 09:20 PM.

  9. #9
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    I have a Nine Continent 2806 on my recumbent trike, from ebikes.ca, which I love. It's excellent in a 26" wheel. I also have an EZEE motor from them, on a normal bike. Also very good. I don't think you can go wrong with either kit. The EZEE freewheels nicely with no power, the 9C has some drag, eliminated by applying 30-40 watts to the motor. Both are simple to install - the EZEE is a bit narrower on the rear - about 130mm - the 9C is 135 and may need some filing to drop it in. You will also need a freewheel to add to them, preferably one with 11 teeth on the smallest ring, to get your gearing up nice and high. You will save 50% over a Bionx, and will have a robust system which is easier to repair - money which can be put to a larger battery to give you longer range. The EZEE weighs less than the 9C - the 9C is a bit quieter and more powerful on the top end speed which is higher than the EZEE, however the EZEE is very torquey for its size, and a higher standard of waterproofing of the motor. I've repaired a 9C by taking the motor apart and putting in new bearings - it isn't too difficult - not much to go wrong. Ebikes.ca has great service and a full range of parts including their widely used "CycleAnalyst" watt metre - which has great customizability and can interoperate with their controllers. Check them out...

  10. #10
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    There are a number of "after the sale customer support" issues that you should consider before you buy any E-bike conversion kit.

    These issues can include some of the following:

    1. Does the system make use of one or more "proprietary" components that can not be replaced or upgraded without relying solely on the OEM?

    If so, you should make sure that these proprietary components are sold individually at reasonable prices. You may want to look elsewhere if the manufacturer can not meet these requirements.

    2. What kind of warranty does the manufacturer offer and, more importantly, do they "stand behind" their product warranty?

    More than a few e-bike conversion kit company/manufacturers are known for being somewhat unwilling to honor their warranty and/or having "spotty" customer service. Other warranty issues can include excessive warranty claim delays and/or expensive "returned item" shipping costs that must be paid by the customer. A minimal amount Internet research time can often shed light on some, or all, of these issues.

    3. Does the manufacturer have history of maintaining a reasonable level of customer and parts support for their older products and/or systems that have been superseded by newer versions?

    If not, you might want to look elsewhere. Owning and/or operating an entire e-bike system that is "no longer serviceable" can be a very costly problem.

    E-bikeKit and ebike.ca are both well known for having good, or better, customer service. Other US based ebike companies that I've "done" business with have been less than "helpful" during or after the sale. A certain "big" ebike conversion kit company went as far as recording my credit card and mailing address information followed by saying "we'll call you back after we find out if we have everything" you've ordered! I canceled this order after they failed to "call me back" within several hours. Another company told me that a part I was looking for "could be easily found on the Internet" when, in fact, this was not the case (this company then tried to tell me that this part "was not serviceable" for some lame reason or other. Then there was the e-bike company sales rep who couldn't tell me the chemistry type of a particular battery I was interested in ordering from them...
    Last edited by FMB42; 02-15-13 at 08:52 AM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member rscamp's Avatar
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    Very well said. Here's sort of a short version:

    Some are it in 'cause they love it and contribute to the technology and others are just handling the boxes...

    ...still have to understand the logistic support side I know...
    Rob

  12. #12
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    punknkat
    to leave aside ease of installation of eZee kit and Bionx kits but you can guess which kit is easier to install.
    shortly with Ezee you do not get battery and any kind of display.
    that is NOT complete kit.
    In this case Ezee is diffrent "animal" than Bionx
    Ezee is geard = noisy China brand.
    Bionx no geared ,complete kit, silent, Canadian designed and made.
    Even many direct drive /no geared/ China hub motors /which are supposed to be silent/ are not complete silent due to primitive control methods.
    From another angle:
    Ezee needs display like Cycle Analist kind so it requre some tech skills to install /no everybody can crimp/solder wires, right?/
    BIONX has all componets ready to plug matching plugs, maybe wires can be toolong but other that than it is "ready to use" product, no DIY project sort of.
    so apple to oranges comparison kind of.
    Last edited by powell; 02-14-13 at 12:16 AM.

  13. #13
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    The problem with Bionx is that the batteries are very expensive for what you get - and you can only use a new Bionx battery if anything goes wrong. They basically cost three or four times as much as other Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries out there, and are proprietary. Thirteen hundred Canadian for a 360 watt hour battery? Compared to 500 dollars for a big Headway pack with 720 watt hours of energy? Or a Ping pack of the same size. And the Headways can be repaired easily by puttting in a new cell. Batteries really are the the Achilles heel of ebikes, and you will go way further on a battery with twice the energy, as well as getting much longer battery life because you are stressing it less. There are bottom bracket torque sensors you can install that will give you a very similar pedelec ride, if that's your thing, for way less money. It makes sense to use commodity parts. And a throttle is not "primitive" - in reality it gives you total intentionality - as much or as little power as you want, when you want it - for fifteen dollars. Total freedom to use the bike as you wish at any moment.
    Last edited by chvid; 02-14-13 at 10:45 AM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by chvid View Post
    The problem with Bionx is that the batteries are very expensive for what you get - and you can only use a new Bionx battery if anything goes wrong. They basically cost three or four times as much as other Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries out there, and are proprietary. Thirteen hundred Canadian for a 360 watt hour battery? Compared to 500 dollars for a big Headway pack with 720 watt hours of energy? Or a Ping pack of the same size. And the Headways can be repaired easily by puttting in a new cell. Batteries really are the the Achilles heel of ebikes, and you will go way further on a battery with twice the energy, as well as getting much longer battery life because you are stressing it less. There are bottom bracket torque sensors you can install that will give you a very similar pedelec ride, if that's your thing, for way less money. It makes sense to use commodity parts. And a throttle is not "primitive" - in reality it gives you total intentionality - as much or as little power as you want, when you want it - for fifteen dollars. Total freedom to use the bike as you wish at any moment.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member rscamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by powell View Post
    punknkat
    to leave aside ease of installation of eZee kit and Bionx kits but you can guess which kit is easier to install.
    shortly with Ezee you do not get battery and any kind of display.
    that is NOT complete kit.
    In this case Ezee is diffrent "animal" than Bionx
    Ezee is geard = noisy China brand.
    Bionx no geared ,complete kit, silent, Canadian designed and made.
    Even many direct drive /no geared/ China hub motors /which are supposed to be silent/ are not complete silent due to primitive control methods.
    From another angle:
    Ezee needs display like Cycle Analist kind so it requre some tech skills to install /no everybody can crimp/solder wires, right?/
    BIONX has all componets ready to plug matching plugs, maybe wires can be toolong but other that than it is "ready to use" product, no DIY project sort of.
    so apple to oranges comparison kind of.
    ebikes.ca makes the eZee kit plug-and-play so this is not really an issue. And the CA is a great Canadian-designed product too.
    Rob

  16. #16
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    The "problem" with BionX, is it's "expensive"...
    The "problem" with the cheaper systems, is they are "cheap"...
    The "problem" with systems you put together, is they aren't plug and play...

    The old pay to play saying applies here. Just like anywhere else... You will pay, one way or the other, $ or fixing or experimenting...

    Thus, you need to pick what is MOST IMPORTANT to you, "expensive" = reliability and plug & play, or "cheap" = sometimes the more than occasional fixing but less $, or the fun of experimenting and having a "better" system (for you) for less $ than if someone else did all the work...
    Last edited by 350htrr; 02-14-13 at 09:09 PM.
    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...

  17. #17
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    Ezee does not have display so no complete kit right?
    Maybe you are so skilled
    For many wiring CA is a TASK involving crimping/soldering not so simple
    The point is it is not mount/ connect type of kit like BIONX
    BIONX battery can be refurbished PowerInMotion shop did it
    Send them email if you don't belive
    Last edited by powell; 02-16-13 at 07:45 PM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member rscamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by powell View Post
    Ezee does not have display so no complete kit right?
    Maybe you are so skilled
    For many wiring CA is a TASK involving crimping/soldering not so simple
    The point is it is not mount/ connect type of kit like BIIOX
    BIONX battery can be refurbished PowerInMotion shop did it
    Send th email if you don't belive
    No. It is plug and play. Take a look here. http://www.ebikes.ca/store/store_ezee.php
    Rob

  19. #19
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    The BionX downtube mounted battery is the best design available in conversion kits. It allows for easy removal, super-solid attachment and ideal weight distribution, PLUS your rear carrier can still be used to carry stuff.

    The water-bottle style battery, which is becoming more common, is a close second in functionality and the Dr Battery Lithium Amide version on my Epik Whistler could turn out to be the best chemistry yet. The cylindrical shape has the added benefit of stealth.

    I am very proud that both these excellent products are Canadian designs.

  20. #20
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    would you have a look at the link you supplied?
    CA is an option with this Ezee kit, NOT INCLUDED.
    you have to buy it seperately.
    when you look at CA sold on web site - none of them CANNOT be plugged, no plugs on them.
    Plug and play?
    Last edited by powell; 02-16-13 at 07:56 PM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member rscamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by powell View Post
    would you have a look at the link you supplied?
    CA is an option with this Ezee kit, NOT INCLUDED.
    This is a non sequitur as the BionX of similar configuration and capability still costs more. It is also a proprietary (closed) system with expensive parts.

    Note that the CA plugs in, everything on the display is readable and the feature set, particularly of the V3, is very rich.

    I actually like the BionX. But it just isn't the only plug-together solution as previously claimed and it certainly isn't the best in many practical respects.
    Rob

  22. #22
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    magic carpet
    very well summary of what BIONX battery is.
    I am DIY person yourself and love thinkering but...
    but there are limit to what you can do yourself.
    Bionx is a computerized system what many do not know or ignore.
    BIONX is govern by software which had to be written.
    It means all analog electrical inputs are digitized like
    example inputs from pedal sensor, are sent to computer Digital Sygnal Processor chip to analize and then to decide how much power assist motor should provide. Result is smooth power assist kick in that you merly notice.
    Battery electronics communicate with processor also. Battery electronics counts discharge precisly so you can have exact SOC display not useless China 3LEDs toys "meters".
    Digitized electronics are used on ebikes for a reasons.
    BIONX has all kind of protections built in, thermal protection beeing the most important - you cannot burn BIONX motor from overheating like your average cheap China motor.
    You must pay for all this.
    I know initial price is close to 1800 dollars versus cheap China kits but read on ES to what lenghts people go to make such kits work like installing temp sensors, changing radicoulosly thin phase wires , weatherproofing with silicone, replacing cheap hall sensors which fail, etc. etc..
    track record for quality of such kits is poor, poor and unpredictable.
    You get what you pay for aplies AGAIN.
    MIRO13CAR
    Last edited by powell; 02-17-13 at 02:36 PM.

  23. #23
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    I agree wholeheartedly with powell. The BionX system is a system, not a bunch of independent components put together (or partially put together) in a haphazard manner. Perhaps most important, as powell points out, the BionX system has been programmed extensively to provide the rider with an integrated and modulated power assist experience, plus a throttle assist when desired. I have about 500 miles on my BionX package and could not be happier. I've only had a couple of minor issues which were easily dealt with, even by a klutz like me! It is definitely more expensive than many alternatives, but in life you generally get what you pay for. For me, the reliability, the smoothness of the assist, the silence, and the unobtrusive nature of the whole package is very satisfying.

  24. #24
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by punkncat View Post
    I am looking to "e" my wife's tadpole. I would much rather go with an "assist" system than "aux power" type system. My searches have only turned up the BionX, which on first appearances seems to be a good system...until you dig a little deeper. I find that there are some significant quality issues with the wheel build, and also some serious issues with battery problems exacerbated by the shipping regulations on them.
    I don't know if the problems are a real issue, or just more being made of them than what they really are, and have yet to find another (affordable) system that does the same. I have noted that Bosch has a system like it that doesn't appear to be set up for use on a 'bent, nor can I find a price on it...which usually is along the lines of "if you have to ask".

    I had started off considering a mid drive system, but find they are out of the price range I would like to stay in. The BionX offers features and price I like, but am concerned about the quality and replacement part issue. Is there anything else I should be looking into?

    Just for reference, the bike will be ridden no more than 10-15 miles at a time on relatively flat ground with a light rider. Bike and all will be under 180#.
    Spent the day with done guys from Bionx today. Can't imagine what your concerns are. These guys will bend over backwards to keep their customers happy. Contact them directly if your dealer is giving you issues.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by powell View Post
    Ezee does not have display so no complete kit right?
    _____________________________________

    Met a guy couple days ago with a 5 year old BionX battery AND an Ezee rear hub motor and battery installed together. He could switch between either battery. The BionX battery was down to a fraction of its original capacity, but would still take him an additional 10k, if necessary. He claimed to have broken the axles on two BionX hubmotors and was 'dissing' their warranty and repair policy. He says 'once out of warranty, BionX will not repair their products, even at the owners expense'.
    He was touting the Ezee and the mail-order company he bought it from. He paid $1800 for the Ezee system, without a Cycle Analyst or control panel of any kind. That's practically the same price I paid for my latest BionX! He also claimed to get 50kph from the Ezee. Hmmmm?

    The BionX system he had would have been the previous version, so I'm hoping the axle strength has been increased since then. The BionX system does require the use of a rear freewheel, instead of a proper rear cassette, and freewheels are crude hunks of cheap Chinese steel compared to Japanese cassettes. The geometry is such that the axle is cantilevered in a freewheel set-up, which does put a lot of strain on the axle. As far as I know, most rear hub-motors require freewheels, so the problem is not unique to BionX.

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