Thinking About buying A Prodeco Phantom X2
I didn't even know that this brand existed until a few days ago. I was going to try to put a front hub kit on my 25 YO mountain bike this Winter, but having read reviews of the Prodecos I'm seriously considering buying one, using a free financing offer from a third party. Does anyone here have a Phantom, Genesis, or any model Prodeco bicycle? I've read the reviews at Amazon, and the main complaints seem to be the disk brakes (too hard to adjust so they don't rub) and the thumb throttle, which has been replaced in the new model year by a half-twist throttle. I need to be as upright as possible, and I'm exploring the possibility of getting a Phantom X2 (because of the bigger battery, mainly) with Genesis midrise handlebars substituted, and possibly a suspension seatpost. Any helpful input would be appreciated.
I've never owned one - but the last time I went to InterBike (in 2010) I talked for a long while with the Prodeco guys, and did a brief test ride of one or two of their bikes. I was impressed with their attitude, and thought the bikes were well built and rode well. I see on the website "Made in America" so that's good for something.
What do you mean by "as upright as possible"?
I'm guessing you may mean the same preference I have for the Electra Townie or Giant Suede both of which I have and both of which have you sitting upright on a seat that's low enough you can put your feet on the ground w/o dismounting.
I really like this seating style a lot and have no interest in going back to one of the lean-over-the-handlebars bicycles again.
That's essentially it, although I don't need to be able to have both feet flat on the ground when stopped. My back, wrists and hands are in too rough shape to handle the leaned-over position. The only design flaw this bike seems to have is the location of the battery pack: it is right where the luggage rack should be, and can't support more than 10lbs of added weight. The only option for a rack is the kind that mounts to the seat post only, and that may not fit without raising the seat too high. The minimum height for these bikes is 5'6" and I'm 5'9".
Unfortunately most of the electric bike makers don't seem to be thinking about cargo bikes. Oh well.
FWIW on my Townie, I carry the battery pack in a Topeak back on a rear rack. The pack is a 36 volt 10 amp hour I bought from pingping about 3 years ago, weight is 10+ lbs and I carry the charger too. It doesn't seem to unbalance the bike, and I haven't had much worry over carrying other things on the rack. However for real cargo needs I attach a trailer to the bike.
I'm a bicycle mechanic.
I have a few options to check out for you:
Bike racks, Panniers, etc...
Bicycle Seats with Backrest:
Google/bicycle seats with backrest
Modify or make a rear rack to go over your existing rack to accept Panniers'
Also check out handlebar Bags.
Also check out bike trailers:
There is a good post-anchored rack on Amazon, and it has its own panniers and top bag available. I'm just surprised that having a rear rack makes a bicycle a 'cargo bike' these days. I assume the pack has a connector built into its mount, so I'd just put a rack above it and use a bag with at least short panniers to cover it. Because here in NY e-bikes are illegal for both street and sidewalk use. No one has ever bothered me in my town, though, so as long as I'm discreet I'm not all that worried.
This is the kit I'm considering as an alternative. This battery/rack: http://www.greenbikekit.com/index.php/wishlist/
and this front hubmotor kit: http://www.greenbikekit.com/index.php/36v-250w-gbk-100f-electric-bike-kit.html
Does anyone know anything abut this company or these components? I emailed them, to ask if the spokes come attached to the rim (they are listed as separate components!) but got no reply. For $369 I could add a front hubmotor and 10AH LiFePo4 battery to my old mountain bike. That's basically a thousand dollars less than the Prodeco Phantom X2, and I could afford it out of pocket.
Your wishlist is not visible to others so I don't know precisely which pack you mean. Most of the packs they're listing are using Headway batteries but with no BMS. I have to say that lithium packs require a BMS and that those saying otherwise are being foolish. I've got some Headway cells here and they're very fragile w/o BMS. I have the dead cells to prove it.
I have no idea about the motor.
I myself have bought two kits from e-BikeKit.com and am happy with them. The motor on my Electra Townie is one of their geared front hub kits - that makes the bike light enough to relatively easily lift and move around. Can't say that for other electric bikes I've owned.
It's also worth questioning those guys whether they are certified lithium shippers. There is an international ban on shipping lithium battery packs by air, unless the packs are protected in the appropriate container during transit. There are many vendors ignoring this ban, illegally.
I didn't link the kits directly from my wishlist, but site software can do odd things... Anyway, I generally agree about lithium cells needing a BMS, but PCarlson seems to have established that really good cells will self-equalize, like the batteries in my Lepton must have done. If that brand is fragile, though, that deal is off. Did you view the specific wheel kit? It's a 250-350 watt motor, with a choice of two RPMs to better match wheel size. (Mine is 26".) It's VERY reasonably priced, so if I could find a better battery pack...
Does it say anywhere that the Prodeco bikes use a BMS...?
I did a search, and while it seems that some Prodeco salespeople don't even know what a BMS is, they supposedly have one.
I've just bought the Phantom X2, with Genesis bars and half-twist throttle instead of thumb throttle, and with a free rear pannier bag, from Bike-Smiths on Ebay, for $1449.00. I *really* hope this goes better than the ZEV or LA Free did...
Well, the bike is ordered, and should be shipped tomorrow. I either got a good deal on what may be the only custom-configured Phantom X2, or the dealer is a brilliant liar who doesn't mind sending fake invoices. He has a 100% seller rating on Ebay, so here's hoping for the latter! Now I have to decide on a headlight for it, and possibly a better seat...and definitely warm non-leather gloves, as I don't usually ride in late Fall. I'll report on the bike when I get and ride it.
Despite having 513 "points" my reply to another topic never appeared, and I apparently don't have permission to post in the anti-spam topic. Anyone else experiencing this, or just me?
Same thing here: despite 409 points (for whatever, I never found an explanation how such points come about...) my reply yesterday evening to the "EV Pricing" topic only showed up for maybe one second, along with a red notice saying something like "your post has been sent to the moderator for inspection". It only showed up this morning, just as yours has here too. It will be interesting to see if the problem still persists this morning.
And yes, it is highly unfortunate that we cannot reply to Dave's "Anti-spammer measures" announcement, but this may have to do with the classification as an announcement? Dave, could you change that somehow so this discussion can evelove in the proper thread.
In any case I think this is good idea, as long as it works as intended and lets us "longtimers" (just a little over 1 year for me :-) post as before!
EDIT (it STILL works :-): My post showed up immediately (well, after waiting for some 30 seconds, but that is not unusual), and in parallel I got a new email from VisforVoltage stating that now 100points are necessary for posting "book pages". This is getting interesting...
The bike came today! It is early as many other people have reported from this seller, and the box has only minor scrapes on it. It doesn't seem to have been open and resealed, so if the dealer is honest, the factory does the custom build that I was told they don't do - at least not for private customers. We'll see when I can get some help to get the box moved into another room and opened. I really hope there isn't any damage (bent battery holder racks are not uncommon) or defects. I also hope I got the configuration I ordered. I was just finishing ordering Winter gloves and long underwear when it arrived. ;-)
Congrats on making the move to lithium. Looks like a nice bike. Hmm, that CA you bought would work nicely on this bike.
I'm going to pretend that the CA remark was a good-natured joke. ;-)
While I still think that good lead-silicone battery systems are the most reliable for most applications, I owned a SLA bicycle once and it was a disaster. Too heavy, some faulty sensor (that NYCEWheels ignored) kept shutting the motor off when I needed it most, and the battery charger ended up cooking two battery packs. The most expensive mistake I've made. Plus it was a steel frame and the bike weighed about 75lbs, IIRC. I'm hoping that the 52lb Phantom will be a good match for me. I'm diabetic, and I need to keep exercising to keep my blood glucose down, but unfortunately I have problems with my legs and feet. I have an indoor exercise bike, but rarely do more than a mile or two on it. I think I can go 5-10 miles riding outdoors, as long as the temp (including wind chill) isn't below 50F. Before my health went South, I used to take regular middle of the night 15 mile rides that included some looong uphills and downhills. I hope to tackle that route again next Summer.
I can only do things like bend over and lift things in the wee hours of the morning, usually after work, so at 5:00am or so this morning I unpacked and mostly assembled the Phantom. I suspected that Prodeco may have helpfully packed the manual inside the box, and I was right: the instructions for unpacking are at the bottom of the box. Fortunately I had done some Googling first, so I knew to open the top of the box, peel off the layer of expanding foam and plastic wrap, remove the front wheel, seat post, box with other parts (including the manual), box with battery in it... Prodeco claims that the bike comes fully assembled except, depending on where you read it, for the seat post and/or handlebars. It actually comes about 70% assembled. I think they may have started packing the front wheel separate to protect the infamous front brake rotor from warping in shipping.
After standing the main assembly on the center stand (another thing you have to find out beforehand) and struggling to get the seat post unwrapped from an amazing amount of plastic, I tackled the handlebars. They come with a rubber safety cap on the stem that isn't mentioned in the manual, but after about 10 minutes I realized I'd have to remove that to get the stem in; a few minutes later I'd also figured out how to remove the rubber plug and adjust the stem. I should mention at this point that the bike did indeed come as I had ordered it, with midrise bars (controls already mounted) and the new throttle assembly instead of the old thumb throttle. Now I wish I'd looked at the seats, because the Phantom's seat looks like it was designed to extract secrets from reluctant spies. Fortunately its shape is worse than its bite...
Anyway, I then put the seat post in, remembering to slide it through the reflector clamp first (the reflectors aren't mentioned at all), and after trying it 3" up from bottom because I'm 5'9", I hastily lowered it all the way. I can see someone 5'7" just managing to sit on the bike, but if you're 5"6", the claimed minimum height, you'd better have size 12 feet. I'll probably end up with the post 1" above minimum. That will let me stand on the balls of both feet.
The front wheel is a little bit tricky, but happily I do understand quick-release axle setups, so with a little help from my housemate I was able to seat and then tighten the wheel in place, *carefully* sliding that thin, thin rotor in place as I did. It rubs a *tiny* bit, but I think that may wear off, and I don't want to mess with the disk brakes.
Last - and I didn't realize at the time that this would be the last step - I tried to adjust the bars up to full upright riding position. They provide a three-bit hex (I hope!) key tool, but whoever put the bars on tightened them with an air hammer. Or maybe a body builder. At any rate, after donning gloves for extra leverage, all I succeeded in doing was breaking the tool. Hopefully it really is a regular metric or SAE hex head, and I can get it loose with a real hex key. That did me in, though: I took the bike outside, rode it about 30' to the garage, and put it away. I opened the battery but left it in the box, in the house. It reads fully charged, but I've read that that probably isn't the case. I have a long night at work tonight because of the time change in the US, but if I have the strength I'll try to finish it after work tomorrow morning.
Impression I got from riding it as a regular bike, briefly: this is a tall, sturdy, but not extremely heavy bike. With the Genesis bars it will let me (if I ever get the bars raised) ride completely upright, in comfort. The brakes seem quite strong. The shifter was a little reluctant, but that may be because some joker at the factory left it in 7th when they packed it. ;-)
I should have known. Another F*CKING vehicle damaged in transit. I don't have much time now, but here is an exerpt from what i just sent the Ebay seller:
"I would have spotted this immediately if I had any experience with
rack-mounted batteries, but I don't. The area where the rear support
struts attach to the battery mount is badly damaged. It is partially
crushed and will not accept the battery. The tops of the struts are
bent slightly over, and the case is cracked. (I didn't see the cracks
in the mediocre lighting of the room in which I assembled the bike.)
Also, bizarrely, at least one of the three keys is broken inside the
rubber handle. Finally, the forks seem to be seized. I turned the
preload knobs twice in both directions, and it made no difference.
Either the bike was dropped at the factory and then shipped anyway,
or it was shipped upside down and dropped from a considerable
Aside from having a rigid front end, the bike rides well enough without the battery. I'm so discouraged, though, that I could cry. Or break something, but that's been taken care of already... Ironically, the rack (and all the other damaged ones I read about) would have been spared if they shipped these things with the seats installed. The seat was better protected than the rest of the bike.
This morning I checked out one last possible problem. The front suspension forks didn't move up or down when I assembled the bike. It has adjustable preload, so this morning I turned both adjustment knobs (simultaneously) from full minimum to full maximum, hoping that it had been set to some sort of shipping setting. In none of the positions did the forks move - they might as well be welded inside. The seller emailed me yesterday, saying he wants to call me this evening to send me parts. Clearly the bike has to go back. I'm not making the same mistake I made with the ZEV and trying to get it fixed. Hell, I don't even know if the motor was damaged! It pedals, the derailleur works, the brakes - ironically - seem to be one of the good sets that don't make noise or rub. But I can't mount the battery to test the motor, the battery holder is badly cracked, the holder rack struts bent, and the front suspension seized. I also, as mentioned earlier I think, can't loosen the handlebar clamp to adjust the bar angle...
Anyway, I just registered the bike with the manufacturer (they give several serial numbers for each bike) and I'm going to Ebay to read the Buyer Protection Coverage. Damn.
It's hard to believe that any person could be this hapless. Maybe just bad Chi?
BTW, I was serious about the CA on the bike. It was originally intended for bicycles and most of the serious e-bikers out on endless sphere use and appreciate their CA.
The good news is that the dealer I bought the bike from on Ebay is factory authorized, and the factory will replace the bike (at first they just wanted to send me a pile of parts to install myself). The bad news is that I'd have to not just repack it, but also pay return shipping. Now I have to choose between spending about $100 (plus loan fees) just to extricate myself from this deal, or spend the same amount, get a new bike, and hope the same thing doesn't happen a second time. It isn't right that a bike sent from the factory with defective forks should cost me return shipping. The factory Rep defended that by saying 'The forks are sent to us very stiff.'
Could their be an Authorized dealer in your area?
Might be cheaper to drive to dealer if not to far.
Sometimes I think that people here feel I'm stupid. ("Hapless" has an unpleasant ring to it as well, even if it's technically correct.) Before I ordered a bike I did look for local dealers. There are none where I live. There are none an hour or two away from me, either. The closest is at least a three hour drive, and that one is probably flooded now. Upstate New York is not a good area in which to find dealers of electric vehicles, except for the Nissan Leaf.
On the handlebar...there should be a lever that controls the Lock-Out for the Fork.
looks similar to this:
Please, please post that photo! I can find no mention of a fork lockout in the manual, and the bike is in a sub-freezing garage at the moment. I can see references to a lockout fork when I view search results, but so far none of them seem to show a lockout on the actual page. The manual I got with the bike is a mix-mash of manuals from several models, and to make things more confusing I had a Genesis bar and 2013 twist throttle installed on mine. I wonder if there is a lockout engaged with no control lever on the bar....? I guess I have to change clothes and go brave the cold...
I can't upload a picture for some reason, but this should be the what it looks like :
In case Prodeco used a diferent fork:
Send me any info you can of the fork.
And i will get more specific info for you.
Sorry you are having so much trouble with your bike.
I'm glad I didn't go out to the cold garage, then. I stayed in and looked online. The Prodeco forks are similar but do *not* have that feature. They have knob type adjusters on both legs. I apparently have seized forks.
After posting extensively about my problems at Endlessphere, and exchanging quite a few emails with upper management at Prodeco, they have finally agreed to pay for return shipping, plus a full refund. I was told how to get the forks to move (hold the front brake on and push forward *hard*) but they still only move an inch or two, and that's with me on the bike, throwing my 180lbs forward, and in normal riding are effectively a "hard nose." The travel is supposed to be over 4". Prodeco wants to check them out, while still implying that it's really just a subjective thing, but at least I'm getting out with only a button missing from my shirt - the loan fee from BillMeLater.
If those forks are behaving as intended (Prodeco actually requested them firmer than they usually come as OEM units), I suggest that people keep in mind that any use of the pre-2013 Phantom X2 that would cause much action in the forks would probably tear the heavy battery pack right off its holder in the rear. The battery mount and struts and battery pack case itself have been beefed up for the 2013 model year.
I had been planning on packing the bike this evening, but a one-line email from the dealer (not the manufacturer) today made me decide to take it for a 6-8 block ride to see if, as he claimed, the forks just needed to be broken in. The verdict is "yes, and no." They did get a little more supple, but still only come into play when doing things like climbing a curb. We have a mix of smooth new roads and broken-up old ones here, and on the rough pavement the bike rides like an empty pickup truck. Which is to say that with the high tire pressure and forks that stay rigid, the bike gives a teeth-rattling ride. It also lacks directional stability - you have to keep your hands on the bars at all times, and at low speeds it can require an alarming number of steering corrections per second. Finally, the gearing (it's a 7 or 8 speed, depending on which specs you read - I didn't count sprockets) is too high in 1st, making the bike a bit hard to pedal up hills without power even with the heavy battery pack left at home. 1st on the Phantom X2 is about the same as 2nd Mid-range on my old Gemini 18 speed mountain bike, or 1st in the High range.
So, the good: a light frame for what it is, with the front wheel being especially light. Good solid welds, good to very good overall quality. A seat that's much more comfortable than it looks.
The bad: Geared too high on the low end, and from reviews I've read, too low on the high end. Shocks that are there only for potholes and curbs, so an overall rough ride on rough pavement - rougher than a mountain bike with 40psi tires and no suspension. And pre-2013 models have too-weak battery rack supports and too-thin battery case mounting tabs. I can't comment on the electric drive at all, because I wasn't able to attach the battery to use it. All in all the Phantom seems to be a bike with contradictory design features that would be best for larger people riding on smooth roads for long distances.
The bike is boxed (what a nightmare *that* was - they aren't packaged to be shipped back) and ready for pickup, and I'm sore and annoyed. By the time I was ready to pack it, the forks could be moved about 3/4 of an inch by pressing down on the bars. The company rep said nothing about it. The dealer mentioned it, but only after I'd been told they wanted me to send the bike back. It still rides like an empty truck, but now I'll be treated to the company posting that the forks are working just fine. The manual, which was apparently slapped together from other model manuals, says nothing about wearing in the forks. It also says very little about unpacking, and half of what it says is wrong, as it claims the bike is shipped with the front wheel attached, and nothing at all about repacking a damaged or defective bike. I'll never know if the motor was damaged or not. Another easily preventable disaster.