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VVolt Proxima first impressions

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VVolt Proxima first impressions

Old 11-25-22, 03:55 PM
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VVolt Proxima first impressions

Just got the bike today. Assembled it in under half an hour and rode it around.

Pretty solid good bike. It has a Nuvinci/Enviolo CVT hub and a belt drive with a mid motor. IMO that likely is the best combination for a ebike because of the synergies of the systems and how they make up for each of their weaknesses.

I got the sm/md size. I had thought about the larger one but went with the smaller one. I am six foot and it fits me fine.

I took it on the steepest hill in the neighborhood. It climbed it very well. I still have to put a moderate amount of effort in to climb a hill but it is very doable and not exhausting like it would be on a regular bicycle.

The weight was less of a problem than I anticipated. It is 50lbs but it isn't that hard to pick up.

The enviolo CVT drive works well. The shifter felt a little loose while shifting which may be fixed with an adjustment to the shift cables, or it may not. You have to put in a moderate amount of travel in the shifter to move it around. Also you cannot shift under load. So you won't be able to incrementally increase or decrease gear inches like you could on a regular bicycle. You have to stop pedaling for a moment to shift.

The belt drive feels a little rubber bandy. Again there isn't quite the same direct feel as a good road bike. It all feels a little mushy.

The crankset is not directly tied to the chainring. So if you stop pedaling you will see the chainring still moving a little after you have stopped pedaling.

Charge ports have a little rubber flap covering it. You can charge the battery either while seated in the bicycle or removed from the bicycle. Charge port is a little hard to uncover and I wouldn't be surprised if the little flap broke later on.

I think those are 700c tires. I had been expecting shrader valves and was pleasantly surprised with presta valves.

Pedals are platform nylon and they were surprisingly solid.

braking is strong enough.

Overall a really good bicycle. This is the most I have ever spent on a bicycle but with the hilly area I live in this will do quite well. I had considered buying a standalone middrive kit from Bafang or comparable but the cost of a standalone middrive kit alone would be $800 and then on top of that I would have to put a lot of time into building it and working out any quirks that came about. and a belt drive is beyond what I can do on my own.

I was also surprised at how well it did with zero electrical assist. And balancing it was not bad at all because of the low center of gravity. I rode a Bionx ebike conversion built into a road bike and the weight plus the high center of gravity meant that keeping it balanced while riding was actually a little tiring. This one can work surprisingly well without any electrical assist.

So yeah, this looks like the best value ebike that's out there.
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Old 11-25-22, 07:02 PM
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I would suspect that in that under half hour things were missed and the company who made it probably didn't do any proper assembly and tuning before it got to you just a quick throw together which is not uncommon and even the biggest of brands do it, I would take it to a shop knowledgeable in Enviolo and belt drives and have them look at it and get the bike tuned up. A belt drive shouldn't feel at all rubber bandy because if a Gates Belt it is a carbon-kevlar belt with no stretch to it and a lot of others are similar to a point maybe not as nice but no rubber band feelings. That is probably belt tension and I would learn how to use the Krikit tool from Gates again if it is a Gates belt or just have your local shop do it which might be easier.

No system loves to be shifted under load but some of the Gates systems are deigned for heavy duty use in mind but even still if I am really putting down the power I will ease up to shift but shifting while pedaling is the proper way to shift an CVT hub. Enviolo says they can be shifted anytime but they are full of shift because you can easily snap cables if doing it too roughly. Have sold and serviced a lot of Enviolo stuff we have seen the broken shift cables a lot because people cranked the shifter while not in motion or just played with it roughly. Be nice to it and it will do you will.

Rubber covers aren't so bad I have almost 4000 miles on my Bosch bike and it has a rubber cover for the charge port and so far no issues and I am not gentle with it, I try not to abuse it but I am certainly not super careful all the time. I think they can be an issue but don't be abusive and it should keep going a while. I know with some systems like Bosch they are well potted and waterproof so if it does get absolutely soaked in a downpour because you were an idiot and forgot to put the cover on before you left that morning and forgot to do it before you left work, everything will be fine and unaffected by the absolute flooding it received.

I would be curious to here your thoughts after riding it for a long period of time a year+ (or over 1k or more) That is when you really get tuned to the bike and get a sense of it truly. A spin around the block is always fun but after a years worth of spins is it still the same? Hopefully yes and money was well spent.

Enjoy the bike and good luck for the future.
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Old 12-06-22, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
I would suspect that in that under half hour things were missed and the company who made it probably didn't do any proper assembly and tuning before it got to you just a quick throw together which is not uncommon and even the biggest of brands do it, I would take it to a shop knowledgeable in Enviolo and belt drives and have them look at it and get the bike tuned up. A belt drive shouldn't feel at all rubber bandy because if a Gates Belt it is a carbon-kevlar belt with no stretch to it and a lot of others are similar to a point maybe not as nice but no rubber band feelings. That is probably belt tension and I would learn how to use the Krikit tool from Gates again if it is a Gates belt or just have your local shop do it which might be easier.

No system loves to be shifted under load but some of the Gates systems are deigned for heavy duty use in mind but even still if I am really putting down the power I will ease up to shift but shifting while pedaling is the proper way to shift an CVT hub. Enviolo says they can be shifted anytime but they are full of shift because you can easily snap cables if doing it too roughly. Have sold and serviced a lot of Enviolo stuff we have seen the broken shift cables a lot because people cranked the shifter while not in motion or just played with it roughly. Be nice to it and it will do you will.

Rubber covers aren't so bad I have almost 4000 miles on my Bosch bike and it has a rubber cover for the charge port and so far no issues and I am not gentle with it, I try not to abuse it but I am certainly not super careful all the time. I think they can be an issue but don't be abusive and it should keep going a while. I know with some systems like Bosch they are well potted and waterproof so if it does get absolutely soaked in a downpour because you were an idiot and forgot to put the cover on before you left that morning and forgot to do it before you left work, everything will be fine and unaffected by the absolute flooding it received.

I would be curious to here your thoughts after riding it for a long period of time a year+ (or over 1k or more) That is when you really get tuned to the bike and get a sense of it truly. A spin around the block is always fun but after a years worth of spins is it still the same? Hopefully yes and money was well spent.

Enjoy the bike and good luck for the future.
"rubber band" might be too strong a word. But it won't have the same direct feel as a chain derailleur system. It just won't.

I did adjust the tensioner a little but it didn't make a difference. There is just naturally a little play in the shift mechanism.

Speaking of which, it looks like it would be a nightmare to change a flat tire. I'd probably have to walk it home or call a car.

I did take it out on an errand the other day. It performed as expected. I even had to push it up a rocky hill and it wasn't terrible having to push it because the weight distribution is pretty low.

It can climb the worst hills that I dread.

Still, it is also a much less emotional experience riding an ebike. There's less direct feeling of the machine.

It does, however, open up some routes which were basically undoable for me due to the steepness of the hills. I bought it in order to keep up with car traffic.
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Old 12-06-22, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by adlai
"rubber band" might be too strong a word. But it won't have the same direct feel as a chain derailleur system. It just won't.

I did adjust the tensioner a little but it didn't make a difference. There is just naturally a little play in the shift mechanism.

Speaking of which, it looks like it would be a nightmare to change a flat tire. I'd probably have to walk it home or call a car.

I did take it out on an errand the other day. It performed as expected. I even had to push it up a rocky hill and it wasn't terrible having to push it because the weight distribution is pretty low.

It can climb the worst hills that I dread.

Still, it is also a much less emotional experience riding an ebike. There's less direct feeling of the machine.

It does, however, open up some routes which were basically undoable for me due to the steepness of the hills. I bought it in order to keep up with car traffic.
Rubber band is a super strong word. I have a feeling the tension is still off. It could be the shifting as well being a little off and I would recommend taking to a shop that knows Enviolo and belt drives and have them tune it up so you have a better riding experience.

It can vary from person to person and bike to bike. Some motors do feel less connected. But it is certainly nice getting up a hill without dying.
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Old 12-08-22, 10:16 AM
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Took it out some more today. Did a doordash delivery with it.

It works really good, especially the hills.

I did hit the 20mph limit which did make me wish I had gotten the $100 class 3 upgrade. I feel though that it should be possible to hack the controller myself.

I end up leaving it on level 5 all the time and then adjusting the gearing as needed, not the electrical assist. 5 levels of assist aren't really needed. It should be the same range of electrical assist but 3 jumps: off, low, and high.

I'm likely not the first to wonder how to get drop bars to work with enviolo/Nuvinci but I don't think it would be viable. Maybe bullhorns.
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Old 01-26-23, 07:18 AM
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I think if there is a weakness to this bike it will be related to range and power. But more range and power require bigger and heavier batteries And motors. I took it to my parents house which is over a very hilly path and it did fine but it also took 2/3 of the battery for ten miles or so.

I also think that for ebikes some sort of analog lever needs to be developed, not this digital steps that is done now.

While the mid drive plus enviolo cvt drive works well, I also think that some sort of direct drive hub motor with a limited gearing to prevent motor burnout, and possible enable Regen braking, will probably be better. Adjusting both the hub and motor separately isn't the best and they should be more integrated.

Comparable models besides vvolt is priority current. Mercedes Benz nplus bikes also makes a mid drive/enviolo setup bike that costs more than the vvolt but less than priority.
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Old 01-26-23, 10:05 PM
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Regen braking works on cars because they have weight to them. Even the heaviest bike isn't going to generate enough power to actually recharge a battery. The whole recharging while riding is a very cute idea but not practical in the real world. Look at the struggle Robert FŲrstemann went through to make some toast and he is a world class track cyclist with HUGE quads:

I remember trying the old Specialized Turbo X with regen and it made it much harder to pedal and got me maybe 1% battery for way too much effort.

Not sure what is digital about a brake lever but if you try and quality brake lever from Magura or Shimano or TRP or even Tektro or SRAM and those will all be analog. Magura and TRP/Tektro do have cut offs but those are quite handy.

In terms of motors you will have a tough time burning out Bosch motor and if you do they have excellent support behind it. We have replaced in 5 years probably 6 motors over a few thousand Bosch equipped bikes and all under warranty and defects not burned out motors. My bike with dual batteries can get about 160 miles in Eco mode and about 60 miles in Turbo and talking real world like I have actually gotten 60 miles in Turbo. I haven't had a chance to really do the full 160 at a time but that is the plan.

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Old 01-27-23, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
Regen braking works on cars because they have weight to them. Even the heaviest bike isn't going to generate enough power to actually recharge a battery. The whole recharging while riding is a very cute idea but not practical in the real world. Look at the struggle Robert FŲrstemann went through to make some toast and he is a world class track cyclist with HUGE quads:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4O5...asterChallenge

I remember trying the old Specialized Turbo X with regen and it made it much harder to pedal and got me maybe 1% battery for way too much effort.

Not sure what is digital about a brake lever but if you try and quality brake lever from Magura or Shimano or TRP or even Tektro or SRAM and those will all be analog. Magura and TRP/Tektro do have cut offs but those are quite handy.

In terms of motors you will have a tough time burning out Bosch motor and if you do they have excellent support behind it. We have replaced in 5 years probably 6 motors over a few thousand Bosch equipped bikes and all under warranty and defects not burned out motors. My bike with dual batteries can get about 160 miles in Eco mode and about 60 miles in Turbo and talking real world like I have actually gotten 60 miles in Turbo. I haven't had a chance to really do the full 160 at a time but that is the plan.
brakes only slow down and anyways theyíre just a cutoff for acceleration. I mean an analog lever for level of electric boost.

Iíve seen arguments for regen. Primarily it is the reduction in brake pad wear. Also if the hub motor has some boost that effectively overcomes any mechanical drag.
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Old 01-27-23, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by adlai
brakes only slow down and anyways theyíre just a cutoff for acceleration. I mean an analog lever for level of electric boost.

Iíve seen arguments for regen. Primarily it is the reduction in brake pad wear. Also if the hub motor has some boost that effectively overcomes any mechanical drag.
Regen kills the ability to coast on flat ground, so it's a double edged sword. I use regen on my electric scooter for the exact reason you've mentioned - to save my disc brakes. I use cruise control otherwise, so coasting is irrelevant with it. For my ebikes AND acoustic rides I always coast, so regen would annoy me to no end.
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Old 01-27-23, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by adlai
brakes only slow down and anyways theyíre just a cutoff for acceleration. I mean an analog lever for level of electric boost.

Iíve seen arguments for regen. Primarily it is the reduction in brake pad wear. Also if the hub motor has some boost that effectively overcomes any mechanical drag.
No they are not a cutoff for acceleration, they are there there to brake and help you come to a proper and complete stop. You seem to be acting as if brakes are just useless and that sounds like a dangerous attitude that could wind up with people hurt. You do need to stop and sometimes you need to stop in an emergency that you cannot predict and just cannot magically not move without braking or doing something dangerous.

An analog lever for a digital system. Odd but I guess. I am fine with my Bosch buttons though, they are easy to press and have had zero issues. I mean a thumb shifter would be interesting but a little crazy.

My pads do just fine, I mean they do wear a little faster but not by much if you know how to brake it isn't a huge deal and in the end pads aren't that expensive I mean $20-35 once every 6 months or so isn't bad. My motor doesn't really drag I would just look for a bike without motor drag.
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Old 02-02-23, 08:09 AM
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I'm glad to hear that you appreciated the Proxima and wanted to provide everyone with my review of the Vvolt Sirius after about 300 miles. Here it is below:I purchased my Vvolt Sirius in September 2022 and I now have about 300 miles on my bike. This review outlines why I would not recommend this e-Bike.

The greatest reason is the range estimate the company provides on their website is a LIE. Vvolt says the range is 20-40 miles per charge. I have NEVER gotten over 20 miles after many attempts on slightly hilly and even flat rides using all of their recommendation.

I reached out to Vvolt about this and their support team said this:

1. They said it could be the cold weather if its 30-45 degrees out;

a. My rides were around 55-60 degrees every time

2. They said the “stock tires are a little draggy if you're only riding on the road” and recommend switching the tires.

a. This was absurd to me. Clearly you are lying if your recommendation is to switch the tires they provide

3. They said the motor is more efficient at 80-90 RPM.

a. Okay, I did this on my rides

4. They said to use level 2 (there are 5 levels) when it’s not hilly.

a. I did this on my example ride below. I used level 2 the ENTIRE time on a flat ride and got about 16-18 miles.

Let me give you the most detailed example so you can understand this better. I went for a ride in Virginia along the New River State Park Trail. The temperature was about 55-60 degrees on January 30th, 2023. This trail is compacted dirt and gravel and the conditions were partly sunny. The trail is flat as it follows a river the entire time. I used level 2 the ENTIRE time since you don’t need much more power than that. The power level on my bike while using the recommended app (xplova) showed 98% at the start of my ride. About 8 miles in I checked the percent and it was 55%.

This made me really mad. Not only would I not get to finish my ride, but I wouldn’t even get 20 miles out of this bike without power! And let me tell you, do NOT ride this bike without power. It is heavy and you will not be able to go up even the smallest incline without the motor. You cannot ride this bike like any other bike. The weight and gearing are not suitable.

Again, it is about 16 miles on a flat surface in good weather. The percent of power on bike went from 98% down to 13% at the end of my ride, so I probably could have gone a couple more miles but the risk isn’t worth it without electric power.

In terms of maintenance and putting the bike together, I haven’t had any issues. I wish the lights were integrated but instead you have to charge them every couple of weeks. But the fact that the company lies about the range or doesn’t have any disclaimer is deeply upsetting. There are many other ebikes that have more range, weigh less, and are comparable in price. I would not recommend Vvolt.
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Old 02-02-23, 12:00 PM
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375 wh (stated for the Sirius) is one of the smallest batteries I've seen on a production bike, so the range isn't surprising especially if it's ponderous. Data I've seen from others report about 20 wh per mile at 18 mph (of course this is incline, weight, wind, temperature and maybe something else dependent), so 20 miles is within expected range.
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Old 02-06-23, 08:20 AM
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Eh, I havenít taken it to the limits of range. For a really long ride Iím going to take my analog bike anyways. Iím using the electric bike for short spurts around town. I actually plan on using it for when Iím too tired from the regular bicycle.

Iíve never really cared for step through frames but something about the weight of the ebike makes a step through more desirable.

I think the vvolt battery is 10.4 ah? The Mercedes nplus ebike has a 7.6ah battery. So the vvolt has 50% more battery than a comparable ebike.

Looking at reviews, the ideal setup for an ebike is mid drive single speed belt drive paired with an internal gear hub. Besides the vvolt, there is Mercedes nplus and Harley davidson makes an ebike with the automatic nuvinci. And tbe priority current. So there are four comparable models.

I was looking at the bird ebike but it appears that single speed e-bikes with rear hub drives suck on hills. It seems pointless to have use an ebike on flat ground.
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Old 02-06-23, 09:15 AM
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they will always calculate the range on the lowest level of assist.
you have to spin at the right speed to get the most out of the motor on a md drive so if your not peddling at 80 or so rpm the motor is not efficient . the hub is limited in gear range and that will hurt things.
tires can make a difference. going from the 2.4" tires on my trek to 2" tubeless tires I gained at least 8 miles on my commute in range but traveling at 21 mph and not the usual 18 mph. starting and stopping a lot will really effect the range too.
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Old 02-07-23, 10:19 AM
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One interesting thing that I have noticed is that the Mercedes Benz ebike is a good 10 lbs lighter than the vvolt. The Mercedes ebike has either 7.6 or 17.6ah

Vvolt proxima has 10.4 ah.

wonder where the ten lbs goes in the proxima
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Old 04-06-23, 06:12 PM
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I've gotten about a hundred miles on it so far?

Front wheel got loose and was rubbing some on the rotor. I didn't catch it until recently.

Seeing noticable wear on the back tire. Brakes also feel like they're worn a bit. I feel like I'm going to have to change brake pads every 500 miles and rear tire every 1000 miles. Maybe sooner, actually.

It's a good bike but still wish it were a bit more powerful for the steep hills.

Light kit I wish were integrated with the big battery. They died on me. at least rechargeable with usb-b.
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Old 04-12-23, 08:07 PM
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Burnt some brakes tonight. It's on a hill I've done before in a regular bikes but the increased weight of the ebike put some strain on the brakes. Bike has about 100 miles and brake wear is a big problem. I still don't see the point of the hydraulic brakes. I wonder about the infamous radpowerbikes lawsuit and how the brakes burnt up on that bike.

The bike is otherwise pretty elegant climbing hills. Being able to pedal helps a lot else the electric motor would have to be much larger and heavier.

​​​​​​The brakes smoking after that downhill makes me want an ebike with Regen braking. My area is just that hilly and brake wear is a real problem.
​​​​
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Old 04-13-23, 09:12 AM
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It could be the quality of the brakes (pads) since the total weight of the bike plus rider isn't that much greater than a similar bike 20 pounds lighter (200 pound rider + 70 pound bike = 270 pounds, while a 50 pound bike = 250). You might try Shimano 200 hydraulics which on my Giant MTB stop well, are durable and inexpensive. Hydraulics are installed on premium bikes for a reason - they perform better. I don't think regen is an option since all mids that I'm familiar with have geared motors.
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Old 04-13-23, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by adlai
Burnt some brakes tonight. It's on a hill I've done before in a regular bikes but the increased weight of the ebike put some strain on the brakes. Bike has about 100 miles and brake wear is a big problem. I still don't see the point of the hydraulic brakes. I wonder about the infamous radpowerbikes lawsuit and how the brakes burnt up on that bike.

The bike is otherwise pretty elegant climbing hills. Being able to pedal helps a lot else the electric motor would have to be much larger and heavier.

​​​​​​The brakes smoking after that downhill makes me want an ebike with Regen braking. My area is just that hilly and brake wear is a real problem.
​​​​
you should not be having those brake issues. our e tandem at 400# and 18% grades we get 2000 miles from pads.
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Old 06-21-23, 01:26 PM
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First serious problem: there is a slight click in the crank when moving forward. It is not audible, but it can be felt. And only on the right pedal. It clicks near the top of motion. It also does not present when moving backwards. I hope it is something with belt alignment but I don't think it is. I think it is something internal to the middrive motor.

​​​​​​I do generally like this arrangement of mid drive and igh. I do genuinely think that it should be possible to enable Regen braking with this setup.

I keep on coming back to Regen because Regen on cars has so many benefits. As it is, ebikes have more brake wear than regular bikes. They potentially could have virtually no brake wear just like hybrid and electric cars.

Last edited by adlai; 06-21-23 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 06-21-23, 03:46 PM
  #21  
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Every mid-drive that I'm aware of has a geared motor, and except in rare instances (see ebikesca) they don't support regen.
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Old 06-22-23, 09:48 AM
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Thankfully the clicking isn't from the mid motor.

It was from a loose pedal. Is this crank arm salvageable?
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Old 06-22-23, 11:41 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by adlai
Thankfully the clicking isn't from the mid motor.

It was from a loose pedal. Is this crank arm salvageable?
You might be able to get it Helicoiled at your local shop if it cannot be rethreaded. In the end make sure your pedals are properly greased and make sure they are tight. If you are riding the bike often make sure you are keeping it maintained. As much as yes a belt drive is lower maintenance but you still want to maintain your bike and prevent issues like that as much as is possible.

If nothing else you can get some different cranks. I don't know what taper your bike is using but RaceFace makes some excellent crank arms for e-bikes. This is what I am using on my Bosch Gen 4 system which is ISIS taper: https://www.raceface.com/collections...39789152960594
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Old 06-22-23, 12:07 PM
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I had a crank arm with a few threads left and was able to salvage it using red Locktite when I installed the pedal, and it's holding well. If I were you, I would reinstall the pedal with epoxy or equivalent since your arm is pretty well chewed up.
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Old 08-22-23, 10:43 PM
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Further thoughts on the torque sensor and power settings.

2 is the best power level to use. It makes the belt drive feel like a chain. 3 can be used with slight uphills and is close to 3 in smoothness. 4 seems pointless when there is 5. 5 pretty much doesnít use the subtleties of the torque sensor and is for maxi power uphill. 1 is pointless. 0 is only for downhills when you donít want to burn brakes.

if I could redesign the power system it would be 0, 2, and 3. 5 would only turn on after a certain steep uphill angle.

sometimes when I ride the bike, shortly after turning on it will disengage on the very first hill.
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