Which system to purchase?

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jk
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Joined: 06/16/2008
Points: 11

Hi, I'm new to this whole pedelec concept. With the rising gas prices, I'm considering bike-commuting more often. The only catch is I have a 50mile/80km per direction commute to get to work. While I am an avid cyclist (road and mtb), I'm really only able to commute 1x/wk due to other stuff that I have going on. It takes me less than 3hrs on my road bike to get to work (avg spd 30km/hr).

From your experience with BionX, what system would suit me knowing the following:
- outfit to go on 26" or 700CC
- 90km range
- 25mph minimum (faster would def be better)
- re-charge time to 100% less than 7hrs

While I'm in no way biased with BionX systems (from my brief research, they seem to be the top of the line in terms of hub motor kits), feel free to recommend other systems out there that I'm overseeing.

Thanks.

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reikiman
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Joined: 11/19/2006
Points: 8444
Re: Which system to purchase?

I don't know the BionX system so I can't speak to it.

What will determine the range is the battery pack capacity. I have a bicycle with a Wilderness Energy hub motor, on flat ground it will get about 18 miles/hr or more with full throttle and/or modest pedaling. With the 36 volt 10 ah pack I have it will do 15-20 miles per charge (maybe more, I haven't tried to do a range test). Last night when I went to get groceries the cycleanalyst showed it took 2 ah to ride about 5 miles. I'd guess a 50 mile ride would require 30+ ah.

Your speed requirement might be better done with the crystalyte 5xx hub motor. It's sold through electric-rider under (??Phoenix??) brand name. But again I don't know the BionX system and maybe it can handle the speed requirement you have.

But what really occurs to me is the commute time and distance is quite a bit for a bicyclist. You said 3 hrs each way.. so factoring in an 8hr work day you're talking about 14 hours on that 1 day a week involved with your job? To me that doesn't sound very sustainable. Yeah you're saying it's once a week and it seems you're already doing it since you've given a time it takes you on your road bike. If it were me I'd be looking for a mass transit (bus or train) system which will cover some of the distance. Where I live (Silicon Valley) there are many who live in San Francisco, and work in Silicon Valley, they get on Caltrain and ride the 30 miles south to one of the Silicon Valley stations, and they use a bicycle ride at each end to get to/from work and home. On the other hand there are avid bicyclists who really get into long rides like this, and 100 miles of riding in one day is not a daunting idea.

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adamtki
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Joined: 02/09/2007
Points: 29
Re: Which system to purchase?

Bionx doesn't provide any assist when you get close to the mid 20's because of the cogging effect. The regular Bionx is not designed for high speeds. I use a Bionx PL250 and it takes my average flat cruising speed from 18 to 22. I ride a 700x32c tire. On my regular road bike, I can do a 90% sprint speed of 28mph on the flats. On the same flat, I can do about 27 or 28mph with my Bionx bike. Uphills are different. On one hill, I timed my best effort to be 3:45 to get to the top on my road bike. With my Bionx bike, I was able to get up at 2:20.

If you're ok with taking your cruising speed up from 18 to 22/23, then the Bionx PL350 should be sufficient. Just ride at level 2 assist. It will also be very handy or local runs.

If you want to go faster, you can try the Bionx PL500HS, but they only sell those to California addresses. That system is designed for high speeds. I've read that the cogging effect doesn't limit you until you get into the 30mph+ range. However, I don't know if you can get 50 miles out of one battery. You may be able to ride it without assist for 10 miles or so and kick it in later and cruise on the flats at 28mph (my guess).

dogman
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Joined: 04/29/2008
Points: 830
Re: Which system to purchase?

Riekeman made a real good point about a bus or train for that distance. I never think of that one, since in my town the bus system is so bad ridership is actually down about 50% this year. My ebike takes me 12 miles to work in 50 minuites, but the bus would take 2 hours or more including 2 miles walking or biking. It appears that the most efficient fast hub are the big chrystalites. People report pretty good range at fast speeds with them, and more importantly, that is the one that might go that kind of distance in summer without melting down. Your real dilemma will simply be affording, and then getting your hands on, enough lithium battery to get there. Once Ping gets back to selling after the olympics stop screwing up shipping from china, you could get 2 of his 48 v 20 ah batteries and run them one at a time. Bear in mind, that is 40 pounds of batteries! Right now there is a group purchase of lifebatteries going. A great battery if you have the money. 36 of those might be enough and with bms and stuff would be close to the price of 40 ah of pings. They would be a good investment since they can do faster stuff like a motorcycle conversion. Now that you are looking at a 40 pound load on the bike, day in, day out, you will need a real sturdy ride like all steel frames. One option is to tow a trailer full of batteries, and if you like hardtail, some of the oversise cruiser frames and 29ers have huge frame triangles to put the batteries in. 40 pounds on the rear rack with a big rear hub too will be too much weight on one end of the bike. And thick spokes and stuff will help a lot.

There is another way to skin the cat though, for that kind of range, and that is either a lithium powered motorcycle conversion, or a hybrid scooter. We are all waiting for somebody to try the one from harbor freight and give us a review. And at that distance a small motorcycle in the 125 cc sise would be an ok choice compared to a car that gets poor mileage.

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