BionX 236km report
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.
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 :)
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.
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.
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.
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!