Dead BionX PL-350 (serious!)

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Andrew.R.W
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Dead BionX PL-350 (serious!)

BionX 236km report

Purchase:
The purchase was not completely satisfactory. The fellow I bought it from neglected to mention that the system was 2 years old. I found this out the hard way and I know the battery is weaker than a new battery would be. On the positive, it had been stored and kept charged according to recommendations.
Also, the dealer forgot to mention that I wsa buying the kit with an additional 2v jack for accessories. It wasn;t until I was handing over the cash that I learned it was an extra $75 - he gave it to me for his cost $40, so I kinda got stuck with that.

Justification:
After purchase the next stage was to convince the boss that this wass a good idea. The math was easy: $120 every 10 days for gas, I'd save $12/day etc. ... it worked! I probably should have done this first :)

Installation:
I had no trouble installing it. Like most people I hear from I read the manual, took in all the important stuff, and got to work. Cable lengths, details, all good. The one thing I didn't count on was needing a special tool for the notch alignment. I use a 3-legged puller and it worked fine, but the tool would have helped. At one point I borrowed one from the dealer and it wa easier, but the puller worked well enough.

The neoprene velcro binding for tying down the cable on the rear fork is just tacky. Sorry, but duct tape works better. I used the neoprene thing but my heel kept stroking it and eventually it would have been lost, so I ditched it.

Torque numbers for the back wheel would be a good idea. "Tighten" is just too subjective. It needs significant tension to prevent the notch from turning under the force of accelleration and regenerative braking.

Waiting:
I live in North central BC, Canada. We get 7 months of winter and 5 months of bad sledding so I had to wait for the snow to back off. We got 25 inches in March. The waiting was the hardest part so far.

First 2 weeks:
Sunshine, no snow! I rode to work 8 times in 2 weeks, about 30 km each time plus a bunch of roaring around other days. The thing behaved as advertised (high praise!). I made a few minor adjustments to the notch position and got it running smoothly with little trouble.

Failure:
On the 8th trip, about 236 km total distance on the odo, I noticed a gravelly noise in the rear. I was nearly home, grinding up a very steep (8%) long hill. I figured the noise was sandy residue in the freewheel, as there was a little grime built up from a couple of wet days. However, I was getting no assistance from the motor. The throttle worked, and that got me the last hundred yards or so up the hill and home.

I took the wheel off, removed the freewheel, and cleaned everything. Rinse with the hose, touch of Tri-Flow on the sprockets and chain, and put it back together. Still grinding, still no assist.

I called the dealer and he wasn't much help apart fom giving me BionX's phone number.

I don't blame anyone and I'm not angry. Things sometimes go awry, and nobody bats a thousand. I am disappointed and concerned though, because cycling season is not going to last long, my new bike is on the way, and my motor is out of service. It's the first day of a long weekend, and I guess I'm going to have to get used to the idea of not riding for a week or two or three.

The dealer wouldn't give/lend me a replacement. Just told me I was out of luck. Tough cheese pal, I have to go now, see ya. He's leaving town for a month, so It's between me and BionX next week I guess.

Support:
The big question now is "How is their support?" I would like to think they might act quickly to get me rolling again. I hope they do. Not having the BionX is going to cost me $12/day in gas!

Andrew.R.W
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Last seen: 11 years 3 weeks ago
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Re: Dead BionX PL-350 (serious!)

Today was my first opportunity to talk to BionX about the warranty situation (Monday was a holiday in Canada). I am pleased to say they have treated me very well so far.

First, the dealer should have handled the situation from the get-go, so they talked to him and got him oriented to the warranty process. I had packaged the system up and faxed them all the documents, so all I had to do was deliver the system to the dealer for shipping. Really, it was more a matter of limiting my liability and putting the onus on him to ensure adequate packaging.

Second, BionX would have preferred to have the installation done by an authorized dealer. This was the first I'd heard of it, but it was evident that they didn't like the unknown element of a self-installed unit coming back for warranty. There was nothing wrong with the installation but you can see how they'd want to limit the number of people they have to trust to do it correctly.

Still, they never made me feel bad or tried to imply that it ws my fault, and there was no hesitation to take care of things. The unit is on its way back, and they assured me they'll deal with it quickly and get me back on the road.

The one stipulation is that the new one has to be installed by an authorized dealer. I'm fine with that and I'm having a different dealer do the install, even though it will cost. The installation is a snap anyway, and I can work with the installer to keep costs down.

From a customer-service perspective I give BionX full marks. They were courteous,professional, intelligent, and prompt. I'm not sure there is much more you could ask for. Let's see how this finishes up.

Andrew.r.w

davew
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Re: Dead BionX PL-350 (serious!)

From a customer-service perspective I give BionX full marks. They were courteous,professional, intelligent, and prompt. I'm not sure there is much more you could ask for. Let's see how this finishes up.

I'm glad this worked out for you. From what I glean from your story there is no way even an incorrect installation could have caused those symptoms. If the notch isn't right then the auto assist just won't work properly. If you don't tighten the wheel enough, well, you'll have even more obvious problems. I'm not sure it's possible to tighten the wheel too much. I torque mine down pretty good after it loosened up on it's own once. That was a year ago.

I like that you're going to an authorized dealer. Think of it as cheap insurance. If you installed it yourself and had another problem Bionx might start to get annoyed.

"we must be the change we wish to see in the world"

Andrew.R.W
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Last seen: 11 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: Saturday, March 15, 2008 - 18:40
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Re: Dead BionX PL-350 (serious!)

It's been over a week now. I haven't heard from them and the UPS tracking isn't very helpful. I'm guessing the received it today. Now the customer service kicks in ..

macnobili
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Re: Dead BionX PL-350 (serious!)

Just a question that might seems stupid but comes from a french speaking man .. What does torque mean ? just screw the axe of the wheel very hard ? do you need a special tool for that ?

sandorszabo
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Re: Dead BionX PL-350 (serious!)

Torque: from the Latin torquere - to twist. French cognate: tordre. Yeah, I know: GOTCHA!

Andrew.R.W
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Last seen: 11 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: Saturday, March 15, 2008 - 18:40
Points: 20
Re: Dead BionX PL-350 (serious!)

Torque, or twist, is a quantification of how tight the nuts are on the shaft. Using a torque wrench you can actually measure how tight they are. Torque meausrements are often in Ft. Lb. (foot pounds) meaning pounds force applied to a lever one foot from the axis of rotation.

Andrew

Andrew.R.W
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Last seen: 11 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: Saturday, March 15, 2008 - 18:40
Points: 20
Re: Dead BionX PL-350 (serious!)

So here's a quick update on the BionX warranty situation.

I got the BionX back from warranty after 3 weeks. I've been away and busy, so I haven't completely re-installed it yet. This will be complicated by the fact that there isn't a dealer available at the moment to install it for me (as stipulated by the BionX people to continue my warranty).

The system looks good. The original parts are all there except I have a new motor wheel. I am pleased that BionX replaced the wheel. I think they did well by me, and I have no complaint about the BionX support team.

Getting the system reinstalled has been a trip. My new bike is a quite-low-style recumbent and there isn't much room for the battery. I built a bracket fit the battery between the seat, frame, and rear wheel. Everything is in place but the motor wheel. Now I'm off on another out-of-town trip.

I should be rolling again in a little over a week.

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