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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.
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Re: CuMoCo's VX-1
As much as most of us don't want to admit it, having to cope with the shortcomings of our batteries (whatever they may be, depending on battery type) is a fact of life in the EV world, and most likely always will be. Luckily for all of us, battery technology continues to improve, and hopefully that will continue for the foreseeable future.
While I don't own a Vectrix, I did go shopping for one about 6 months ago. The salesman at the Vectrix dealership was no different from the other salesmen I've had dealings with in other EV dealers. Never a mention of any of these things, even when asked specifically. As a matter of fact, when I asked about battery maintenance, I was told exactly what all EV dealers seem to tell their customers: how far it can travel between charges (with no explanation about rider weight, hills, or speed being a factor), and that the charger does everything else except plug itself in. Of course, I only went to one dealer, so I can't speak for any of the other dealers around the world, but I wouldn't be surprised to find that it was not at all a rare occurrence.
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Re: CuMoCo's VX-1
Yes indeed, my impressions are very similar. The Vectrix should have been a consumer freindly, fully finished, defect free product. Well it just isn't. Not even in UK, where the climate, distance and servicing was at it's best. I have said it elsewhere, the V1 reminds me of a British Leyland Jaguar, great design, excellent concept, badly finished and a service nightmare! It is very sad to say, but if it has been produced in Japan, it would have been, despite it's high price, an absolute winner.
John, you are very fortunate to be entering EV production with the strengths and weaknesses Vectrix as an example.
Good luck, (Oh, and I love your great new Logo!)
Re: CuMoCo's VX-1
they explained me nothing when I bougth it ... I had to read a lot about nimh , ask sapce sattelite engineers to knos what to do, this bike is fantastic when it works.... nime works good but I fera that the dream stops...and it will soon or later ...
it would be great if third party companies could producce spare parts for vectrix user's ...
Re: CuMoCo's VX-1
I just bought my Vectrix (also off of e-Bay), and my initial experience was very like CuMoCos. After wanting a Vectrix for three years, I was really saddened that the company went into bankruptcy, even if one upshot was that I could finally afford one of their bikes.
I was frustrated to learn after the fact that Vectrix had screwed up such seemingly commonplace things as the format for the VIN number, and that the "plugs in to any standard outlet" sales pitch came with the important and unstated codicil that if said outlet isn't within 8 feet of a secure place to park your bike, you risk voiding your warranty. I recognize this isn't really an issue now that Vectrix is bankrupt, but it's given me a great deal of empathy for others who paid even more for the bike than I did.
I had the same issue with initial mileage that CuMoCo did. Having read the forum extensively before I took the leap, I expected that it would underperform on the first ride, but I was still shocked by how much. I started my first ride with a battery charge of about 10/17 and a range of 19 miles. After 2 miles of gentle riding in city traffic the range had fallen to 4. I parked the bike at a hardware store for 5 minutes in my quest for a 20 amp extension cord, and came out to find I had a range of 0--just enough, as it turns out, to get me the 2 miles back home at 10 mph. (Not fun on a major street.) It was even more frustrating to check out this forum right afterwards and learn that riding it home on such a low charge might have been bad for the battery--I think Mik calls it a BalPor fault or some such.
After a full charge, the range and the riding were both much better the next day. But there seems to be a huge inconsistency between the indicated range and the battery charge that I have yet to resolve. Day two also brought the flashing yellow wrench telltale and the "Conbus" error indicator. I took some comfort in learning from this forum that this is just a fleeting error, but it was pretty discouraging to get a "seek service" sort of message my second day out when getting it serviced seems impossible at the moment.
I've been even more discouraged to learn, again in this forum, how few actual miles people have been getting on these very expensive batteries. Very few people have reported getting more than 10,000 km (6200 miles) on their first battery--which is less than a year's use for the average driver in the U.S.--and a little less than two years the way I hope to use mine. For a bike as expensive as this one, that's pretty astounding.
I do love the way the bike rides. I really do. And the emission-free commuting is definitely liberating. Still, I can't help but feel that the suite of problems folks encounter with the Vectrix--like "inventing" their own VIN system--suggests a careless rush-to-market, with very little consideration for consumers. I really hope that some form of Vectrix comes out of the bankruptcy process intact and continues to make, service and improve what I believe could be a terrific bike. But I also hope that anyone who does take it over takes the time to do a serious review of the issues with the bike before rushing out the next model year, or some new product using the Vectrix technology. While I am convinced that eVs are critical to the future of transportation, I think that future could be significantly delayed if too many people end up paying thousands for vehicles that prove finicky, problem-ridden and short-lived--and then tell friends and strangers about it in forums like this one.
Which reminds me: everything I actually know about my bike, what to expect from it, and how to respond, I learned here in this forum. Thanks to all of you for one of the most thoughtful and useful forums I've encountered on any subject.
Re: CuMoCo's VX-1
How many miles should people have on a 2007 or 2008 bike that has a max range of 25-30 miles. I ride mine to work as much as I can, 17 miles each way. I have put 3500 miles on it in 6 months. Let assume you go 25 miles each way, charge and return. Do that may be 200 rain free days a year and you'll just about get to 10,000 miles in a yera. few people have owned theirs for much longer. Only time will tell.
Re: CuMoCo's VX-1
How is it going so far?
Any luck improving the wellbeing of that Banshee in the rear hub?
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