Bionx Feedback

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Jhorrick
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Bionx Feedback

Looking to purchase a Bionx 350 XL kit which is the latest thing 48Volt and new design hub. I am looking for any comments from those who own the Bionx system now and what is your opinion of the system. Looking for comments on system such as battery life and reliability. I am 208 lbs and going to install on a Trek 7500 Hybrid. Any tips to get the most from the battery would be appreciated

Jhorrick

sutski
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Re: Bionx Feedback

Hi There, I have ridden 3000km's with my BIONX350HT and it is safe to say, it rocks. I partially re-charge every day at work, and I haven't really noticed any significant deterioration in 2 years, and even in the cold it still works great. I would imagine the 48v version will rock even more though! I would not hesitate if I were you. I use mine in the Swiss winter and like today, in the pouring, freezing rain :) It's great fun. I don't think there is anything out there to touch the Bionx yet IMO and I have test ridden quite a few new ebikes recently. There's nothing out there with regenerative capabilities or a totally waterproof battery that you can easily remove any how. Just do it!!! You will love it.

Cheers, ebg!

Jhorrick
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Re: Bionx Feedback

Thanks for the feedback on your experience with the system, I am in Calif and the weather is not as harsh as what you experience. Its good to hear from people who actually have the system and the opinions. Thanks again.

Jeff

J Horrick

cjr
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Re: Bionx Feedback

I've got an older PL350 system (I2C-based, not the more recent CANbus-based system) on my recumbent bike.

The older systems have a known quirk where they just stop working from time to time, especially on installations with long cable runs. (That may be part of why they made the technology change to CANbus.) The fix is to pull a connector from the console and plug it back in again -- annoying, but infrequent.) That said, I'm delighted each and every time I commute with it. Especially on the long upgrade home where I pass all those very tired looking people on the trail ;)

It is by far the best cycling experience I've found with e-assist bikes. The penalties you pay for that experience are cost, lock-in to a single vendor and their dealers, and less than stellar factory support. (If you change settings on the console to adjust ride characteristics, for example, Bionx will say that you've violated your warranty.) For me, buying the system -- and tweaking it -- have been well been worth it.

Charlie

alan in tempe
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Re: Bionx Feedback

My BionX PL350 has an interesting history. I got it over 2 years ago, and have about 8000 miles on it, doing 22 miles a day to work and back. When it was a few months old, I started having the cut-out described above where it would just turn off the motor and freeze the display, typically when I was going 18-20 MPH. I could go blocks before I would even realize it froze, but usually I could feel it cut out! The fix was to pull the plug on the console (on the handlebar) and plug it right back in (without stopping). It would happen maybe once in 50 miles, or a few times a week. Really not enough of an irritation to want to send it in for repair, but I did tell my dealer (www.birdrv.com) about it. He sent me a loaner unit and pre-paid for shipping to return my unit to BionX. BionX ended up replacing my IC2 bus-based unit with the new CAN bus system, but did not replace my batteries (just the circuit card with the bus electronics inside the battery unit). That leaves me with some very interesting observations between the old and new systems.

First of all, the old system was awesome. Aside from the occasional freeze issue, it performed beyond my expectations in all respects. The only noise was a very quite hum on take-off and when braking/regenerating. I doubt that anyone riding near me ever noticed it, but it was easy for me to notice the noise/slight vibration at these low speeds. While there was nothing wrong with my old motor, the new motor with the CAN bus is TOTALLY quite and smooth always. The only other difference I notice is the display is rock solid (slightly faster speed updates and steadier speed readout) and not a single freeze.

Another difference between the IC2 and CAN systems is that the old systems allowed you to disable the speed assist limit, but even on level 4, the assist at 20 MPH was very slight, and you would notice the assist cut off at 20, but it was not jarring. Turning the limiter off didn't really do much, except to remove the on-off sensation you got around 20 MPH. With the newer CAN system, you cannot disable the speed assist limit, but the cut off has been made more gentle, to the point of being virtually unnoticeable. That is, not being able to turn off the speed-assist limit is irrelevant.

I went with an ebike to enable my bike commute. The then 12 miles each way (now 11 since I have found better routes) took me over an hour, and left me very tired and sweaty. My first ride with the BionX system cut that 65 minutes to 45 minutes, and left me ready to go to work. That was with level 4 assist. In the following 4-5 months, I gradually reduced the assist to level 2 and the time to 35 minutes. Now I use level 1 always, but average just under 40 minutes with normal cruise at 18-19 MPH, instead of the 19-21 that I was doing on level 3. The battery is still leaving me with nearly 1/4 charge when I get home (no charging at work), and there is no noticeable drop in assist level at the end of the day.

I have tweaked some of the settings to get the unit to provide a bit more assist at take off, which helps get me up to speed. However, at level 1, there it virtually no assist above 18 MPH (level 2 and up assists up to 20 MPH). That means that I am doing most of my own riding virtually unassisted except from stops and when I slow a bit on hills. This is perfect for me. My original plan was to ebike for a year or two until I built up my strength and endurance, and then go unassisted. However, I love the ebike for commuting so much that I expect to use it forever. I still mountain bike (unassisted) on the weekends, and my abilities on the hills have gotten far greater since I started commuting daily on my ebike. Also, in the last two years, my border-line diabetes and sky-high cholesterol numbers are not only well below normal now, but my meds are less than 1/4 of what I was taking the previous 10 years.

My conclusion regarding BionX is simple. It is an extremely well designed and well built and extraordinarily well featured quality system that more than justifies its price. You can get more power and range with cheaper systems, but many important and useful features will be sacrificed doing so. Also, I can't recommend my dealer and his whatever-it-takes attitude about customer support enough (thanks, Dale)!

-- Alan

Jhorrick
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Re: Bionx Feedback

Thanks for the input. I knew about the freeze up on the early system and that it was improved with the can bus system. The 48V will be a updated design also including diff resr hub and diff battery. Hoping to improve mileage with going with the 48V system enen though a limited edition. I can do 35miles now on flat land with out assist but I love to ride in San Francisco and seem to do 20miles with the hills. Would love to be able to ride all over the city with ease. The new 48V system is suppose to be 2.6 lbs lighter than the 350 system now. The didtance is going to be key thing for me. Thanks again

Jeff

J Horrick

alan in tempe
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Re: Bionx Feedback

The 48V will be a updated design also including diff resr hub and diff battery. Hoping to improve mileage with going with the 48V system enen though a limited edition. ... The new 48V system is suppose to be 2.6 lbs lighter than the 350 system now.

BionX has no info about a 48V system on their web pages that I can find. Do you have any more info on the 48V BionX system? Also, what do you mean by "diff resr hub"?

-- Alan

Jhorrick
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Re: Bionx Feedback

Alan

Go to jvbike.com and click on electric kits and bionx and it is listed as a PL350HT SL XL limited edition which will be released in feb 2011. Also greenspeed.us also has info on system. Both list info on system with pictures of new white rear hub. Also the distutor in LA has info on web site.

Jeff

J Horrick

alan in tempe
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Re: Bionx Feedback

Jeff,

Thanks for the links. Looks like BionX has some great new products coming out next February. I love the new controller design.

-- Alan

idlook2
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Re: Bionx Feedback

J Horrick,
I finally got the SL 48v Bionx system a few weeks ago after it being delayed repeatedly from Bionx Company having some manufacturing delays.

I originally fit it on a recumbent, but due to the recumbent being higher maintenance, have changed it to an aluminum frame mountain bike. I put smoother tires on my mountain bike hardtail, and before the Bionx kit, the bike weighed in at about 25-26 pounds.

The system is great. the longest I have seemed to go on it was about 42 miles one day, and still had a little juice left in it, but i charged it for the next day. Another day, I had a full charge on it, i was only able to make it around 33 miles with the system, and the battery was to the point where i wasn't getting the full assistance for the assist level i had selected to climb the final hill completely.

I usually run the system on assistance level of 2, and 3 or 4 on the steep hills. (I live in Seattle, land of the hills) I have been averaging 16-17 miles per hour over the last 160 miles on the system, and usually have been going up Seattle hills at about 12-14 miles per hour.

With the Bionx, the Mountain bike has gone from 27 speed to a 24 speed. my largest chainring is a 44t ring, and i usually keep it in the 13t gear on the threaded freewheel for the bionx. I find myself not needing to shift hardly at all with the bionx, and the bypass accelerate helps me to get up to speed more quickly than if i didnt have the bionx and would need to down shift and build the momentum to get back to the top gear. (I am looking at moving to a higher tooth range 48t top chainring on my crankset to replace the 42t top chainring I have now; as to get up to even 24 miles per hour on a flat with my own energy, i really have to spin rapidly with the bionx wheel capping its assistance at 20mph.

Round trip to one of my offices is 31 miles. Round trip to my other office is only 10 miles. The system seems to need a charge after fairing the seattle trails on the 30 mile office trip. (I have not been bringing my charger with me to work so far.)

I do put it into regen mode when going down hills, and have added a bar to my battery level going down some extended hills and flats using regen mode. but I have yet to be able to take the system to the 65 miles as suggested on the website.

alan in tempe
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Re: Bionx Feedback

I do put it into regen mode when going down hills, and have added a bar to my battery level going down some extended hills and flats using regen mode. but I have yet to be able to take the system to the 65 miles as suggested on the website.

The 65 mile range given on the Bionx website does say for level 1 assist.

I started out using level 3 and 4, but was down to 2 within a couple months, and for the last 2.5 years, I use level 1 more than 90% of the time. About 12K miles on my 350PL unit now. Battery feels as strong with as much charge capacity as when new.

-- Alan

Jhorrick
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Re: Bionx Feedback

I have been able to get 55 miles and still have 2 bars left on my battery using assist 2 and 3. I did have issues with my first battery turning itself on and beeping all the time so Bionx sent my dealer another one and so far so good. The only issue I am having is that the battery gets real hot during a charge and takes along time for the green light to come on. The other day it got real hot during charging so I unplugged it and cooled it down in the freezer then charged it again and the light came on green after about 40 min. I am going to charge the battery in a cool enviroment from now on to make sure it gets a full charge. Rode the bike on level 4 assistance tonight up alot of hills and after 7 miles still had not used a bar on the battery. As with any battery they dont like heat when recharging. So just wondering if anyone else has noticed how hot to the touch the battery gets when charging or having issues charging the new design 48V XL system.

J Horrick

Jhorrick
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Re: Bionx Feedback

I am in Calif and seem to be getting very good mileage using multiple assistance levels. For me the trick is making sure the battery stays cool during charging so that it does get a full charge. I have gone as far as putting it in the refrigerator during charging. My first battery took a dump so my mileage went down to nothing. Are you having any issues with the battery getting real hot to the touch when charging? All in all it is avery imprssive system and its acceleration is fantastic. When my knees hurt real bad level 4 is the only way to go. I have gone 55 miles and still have 2 bars left on my battery. I am running 700 x23 on front and 700x 25 on the rear with 110 psi for the least amout of rolling resistance.hope you enjoy your system

J Horrick

alan in tempe
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Re: Bionx Feedback

I am a bit confused about the need to cool the battery. I live in Tempe, AZ (Phoenix area), and ride year round. My ride temps are typically 105-110 in the summer. When the expected temps are going over 100, I carry the battery into my office during the day, and otherwise leave it on the bike (in a locked bike parking area that is shaded). When the temps are high, I take the battery inside when I get home, give it a couple hours to cool down from the 11 mile ride, and then charge. Otherwise, I just charge the battery in my garage as soon as I get home. That is, the charger stays inside during the summer, and in the garage the rest of the year, but the battery is stored in my office during the day only when the temp is expected to reach 100 that day. Just shy of 3 years doing this on the original cells, probably at 12K miles, and all is working as good as new.

I may be too trusting, but I trust the temp sensor in the battery pack will let me know if charging or discharging temps go too high for the cells. There have been times when the battery's internal beeper let me know something is wrong; once for charge nearing empty, and a few times that I believe were too high of heat (where the assist automatically dropped, and I still got home just fine, but a bit slower than normal). It will also beep when removed while the system was turned on. The battery must be put back on the bike, system turned on, then back off, to clear this beep, or it keeps beeping about once/hour.

-- Alan

Jhorrick
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Re: Bionx Feedback

Alan

I live in calif and it does get pretty warm up here to but not as hot as arizona. My garage has been in the upper 90's for a couple of months now and that is where I store the batt and bike. This battery for the 48V system is a total new design and I think those of us who have them are just getting used to the characteristics. The charger does not have any cooling fan like the 36V and the battery has this new touch port for testing state of charge. I am just going by what I have experienced when charging other batteries and the effect of charge when they get hot. I am just experimenting and trying to get the most and full charge on my battery. Would like to hera if anybody else with the new system is experiencing any charging issues. After I out battery on the charger after I got home from a ride and it was at 50 percent,It was on ther charger for 4 hrs and never turned green and was extremely hot to the touch. I unplugged the charger then put in refrig in my garage to cool down. Reconnected charger and after 45min it finally showed green and was fully charged. So as I said just experimenting to make sure this battery is fully charged. I think you have a 36v system which is totally different then this new limited edition release. My first battery never stopped beeping even after all the updates and would turn system on at random and drain the battery. The new one so far seems to be acting fine but the hot touch during charging does concern me. So if anyone else with the new 48V system has any feedback on there experiences feel free to comment.

J horrick

J Horrick

alan in tempe
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Re: Bionx Feedback

J,

You are correct that I have the older 36V LiMnO system. It sounds to me like Bionx may still have a few kinks to work out of their new system, and that is probably why they are strictly limiting distribution (not because they knew there were problems, but because they could not afford the HUGE increase in dollars and time to guarantee perfection before the first sale). My guess is that Bionx will identify and fix the issue (which sounds to me like a BMS or charger issue), and then make it right as painlessly as possible for the current owners with these unexpected issues. I had one minor issue with my system (that was probably the reason Bionx switched from the I2C bus to the new CAN bus), that took a while for Bionx to identify, but they kept me informed, and gave me a loaner while my unit was fixed, and covered all expenses, including postage both ways.

Please keep us informed of the status with your system.

-- Alan

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