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Submitted by jdh2550_1 on Thu, 08/13/2009 - 09:32
As posted on other threads CuMoCo took the plunge and bought one of the VX-1's at "fire sale" prices off of ebay. On the one hand I realize that this is somewhat predatory, but on the other hand it gets us a bike and we can (a) use it for our own benchmarking & (b) help give back to the community with stuff that we learn.
Not that there will necessary be all that much new to learn because Mik (and others) have already "blazed a trail" of impressive breadth and depth.
The first two modifications planned are:
1) Fitting an ICL to ease maintenance (we'll be taking this beast apart more than the average owner - so having an ICL always available is a must).
2) Reading up on Mik's battery cooling mods and implementing something similar (care and feeding of the battery pack is priority 1)
No ETA on those mods yet (nor on the instrumentation and performance monitoring). However, when we do this stuff I'll be sure to take lots of photos and write up notes. I'm looking forward to having the time to do this - but it's likely a couple of months away yet.
This is my blog. All opinions are mine and are biased by my personal experiences. You might agree with what I say. You might disagree with what I say. This blog is about capturing what I think for my purposes and sharing it with others who probably should have better things to do with their time - but hey, at least I'm not "twittering"! I'll try and be a little rigorous about comparisons - but I won't try that hard. If I post in the Vectrix forum I will do my level best to be open, honest and transparent. But here on this blog - not so much. Capiche?
Boy this really is the Cadillac of scooters! I've ridden motorcycles from the big four Japanese (Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha) and not one of 'em had a light under the seat! Very pretty - and actually reasonably useful. This actually sums up the bike quite well - there's a lot of attention to detail. A lot of surprise and delight features - some of which work well and some of which leave me a bit cold. For example not sure I like the multi-function use key - which way do I turn the dang thing to get the seat open - oops that was the glovebox - nope that didn't do it - aha now I have it. Sure I'll get used to it - but I don't really think there's much advantage to such a complex arrangement. Kind of like showing off "gee whiz, look at this key honey" - not unlike Cadillac really. Then there's the "steel braided" power cord - looks good and probably costs five times as much as a plain one for no real benefit. Of course, today's show off features are tomorrow's must-haves.
The fit and finish is superb. I like the styling - and I like the color (burgundy). The seat is very comfortable but ergonomically it's a bit wide (when my butt is slid back to the "step" my legs are bowed and I'm on tip toe - if I slide forward my feet are closer to level but that's not where I'm comfortable sitting). Not a big deal. Haven't taken a pillion yet - but I'm sure they'll appreciate the comfort.
They do a great job of producing a quality bike that compares very favorably to any mainstream brand you care to mention. To look at and to touch and feel it certainly says "quality".
The most important thing is how it rides - and my first impression is not favorable. If I'd walked into a dealer two years ago and paid MSRP I'd be pretty darn unhappy right now. The ride from my workshop to home is about 19 km by the "scenic route". The bike came with 8km on it and when I left to go home it had about 17km on it. The range indicator said 30km - plenty to get home. By halfway home it was actually up to 40+ km and then 50 at one point. What the heck, I decided to open 'er up. I only got to 80kph which surprised me - then I looked down and the range remaining had plummeted to 8km. I went slowly home. And then more slowly home. And then creeping home. It will go quite along way after the range says 0 km won't it?
Well, the rule book says the first ride should be a complete discharge, followed by another discharge within 24 hours. And, yes, I bought it off ebay, it's a 2007 bike and it had 8km on it. Who knows how the batteries had been used up until this point? But I can't help wondering how different this would be for a bona fide customer walking into a dealer to purchase? I also wonder why Vectrix didn't condition the batteries? The rule book makes the battery regime to be followed by the customer sound quite onerous. Have to give it a shallow discharge once a week with regular riding and a deep discharge less often (once a month I think).
I'm curious - what do folks think of that? Do you care? Do you see it as a "price you pay" for riding electric? Did your salesman explain the battery regime and the importance of it to you?
To me it seems like a bad first impression to make. "Hey, you just got your new Vectrix - do you like it" "well yes, but it nearly stranded me on my first time out".
CuMoCo will be conditioning the batteries in its bikes - not asking the customer to do it for them. We also don't require such a finicky usage pattern. A cynical observer (my partner) mentioned that it read like a way to ensure folks don't meet warranty requirements... (hey, it's my blog - not a Vectrix forum so I'm going to let rip worse than this before I'm through).
All in all a little underwhelming first impression. Again, I'm trying to imagine being a new customer with little to no experience with EVs and going by what a salesman would have told me. Yes, I know I can't really do that - but I can at least try.
Feel free to let me know what your first impressions of your bike were or anything else you like. Did you have a good dealership experience? Did they seem like they knew what they were doing, or did you feel like you were both learning about EVs together?
I'm hoping for better things to come. It is a nice bike (the weight makes for a nice smooth ride).
Oh yeah - mine wails like a banshee which I understand is a not uncommon problem. I'll search VifV and find the cure for that.