Problem with buying a Vectrix

4 replies [Last post]
Joined: 06/23/2010
Points: 128

I’ve been considering for some time now buying a vectrix, but there are a few things I have noticed about them and some of them are the way they sell them.

It comes across to me that these bikes are being sold in rather a haphazard way, there seems very little support and direction, very little after market services, and especially almost no service manuals at all.

If I buy a gasoline bike I can also in almost all cases get a servicing manual for a price, even if it is only available on disc.

It also appears that these bikes have major problems, such as replacement parts issues and reliability of parts.

Bikes breaking down after only a few hundred miles, batteries failing, controllers failing.

Now I’m no expert on these matters but if they were a gasoline bike the owners would be hopping mad going ballistic at the thought of spending around 7 thousand pounds to travel a few hundred miles and have to park the thing up while the manufacturers twiddle around deciding whether or not to honour the warranty.

Why are there no after market paten parts for this bike? No pattern parts to drive down costs.

Why does a throttle control console cost so much money to replace?

Why is it considered better to buy a new bike rather than fix the one you already have when the electonics fail?

Surely this defeats the object of trying to ride your bike in a way that is supposedly better for the environment?

For this reason alone I have been putting off buying a vectrix, I’m not a rich person, every penny I earn is valuable to me, if I buy a vectrix I want to know that it won’t break down on me for at least a good few thousand miles and then when it does I want to be able to open my servicing book and repair the problem myself at a reasonable price no matter what is wrong with it.

If the battery fails I don’t want to have to spend £3000 to replace the whole thing, I want to be able to repair the battery by replacing cells, if the control console goes wrong I don’t want to spend thousands to replace it with a new one, I want a reconditioned unit at a fraction of the cost with a part exchange.

These are just basic things that could make the vectrix more appealing to me.

No amount of financial incentives are going to afford me to swap my gasoline bike for an electric one until I can be sure the repairs are financially viable.

I think electric bikes are a great idea and I would love to own one, but there just seems way to many problems with them to make them worth the investment.

Couple that with the fact that you only get a short distance before you have to go in search of a power point and they seem difficult to justify the expense.

Why is there no emergency reserve power for these things or some means of charging them in case you run out of GO by accident, with a gas bike you run out of juice you simply push it to the nearest fuel station and fill up, with these electric bike you run out of juice your stuck.

Let's have vectrix get real with their product and just maybe it will be worth the investment of my hard earned cash.

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Joined: 05/27/2010
Points: 220
Re: Problem with buying a Vectrix

Yeah, don't it just remind you of the early days of gas engine cars? Remember the way the particular make you wanted might not have been available in your state and how even the Model T was tough to get parts for, or find someone who could fix it? And remember how that cycle repeated when foreign cars came to the U.S.? Of course not, this was all worked out before we came along, except maybe for an occasional new entry to the market. Which is my real point.

Yeah, what great support those gas engine bikes have. Well, at least the NONChinese gas engine bikes. I mean, if you're lucky enough to own a Husqvarna AND live close to one of the available service centers, it don't feel haphazard at all. Of course my nearest service for one is a bit of a drive. If they ever do sell more, BMW owns Husqvarna now, so they'd be ready to get more parts and more service people out there once there's a market for it all.

And that's how it's going to be for the electrics. They need time to have their growing pains, just as the cars did. They need a volume of sales to be build for their to be a volume of trained service people.

Old U.S. military axiom: No plan survives execution. The point being that it alwasy looks so good when you first put it together, sometimes it takes awhile for the problems to surface. Success always involves damage control. Just as the Model T needed a 2.9 liter engine just to put out 20 horsepower, electrics have a long way to go to realize their full potential. It's taken more than a century to get internal combustion to this point, electrics will need their time to catch up.

So for the time being, if you want the advantages of the electric, you'll just need to accept that you're stepping out onto a bridge that is being built as you cross it. If everyone waits until the electric bike is "Ready," none of us will live to see that "Right" bike getting built. If you want to stay with gas bikes, all you have to do is buy gas bikes. That will ensure that gas bikes will be what is available. Vectrix didn't file for bankruptcy because they sold oh so many bikes.

One of my relatives worked at the Toyota plant in San Antonio, blow molding interior parts today to be installed on the assembly line tomorrow. "Just in time" supply. That gas engine part isn't going to be waiting for you at the motorcycle shop, I don't remember ever getting anything without ordering it. It's the age we live in.

I honestly don't believe there will ever be a solution for the running out of juice problem, just as people still run out of gas. As for faster charging, only time will tell.

Oh, but check out this old time Husqvarna bike, from the board track era. I'll venture a guess that elecrics are actually more reliable than this was, although it sure looks great.


WHo dares, WINS!!!!

Joined: 06/23/2010
Points: 128
Re: Problem with buying a Vectrix

The funny thing about what you say is that I actually agree with the sentiments of your points, but I don’t agree that vectrix couldn’t have got their act together in a much better way.

For instance, I’m not in the USA but the UK and when we want a part for our bikes most parts are available and those that we can’t get new we usually get second hand or may have to order just the same as you, but we expect our parts within no more than a few days.

All consumables specific to vectrix could be provided as reconditioned units where you should be able to have the choice of purchasing a brand new unit or a recon unit, the recon unit should be a lot cheaper than a brand new unit but function just as good.

In the UK if your alternator fails on a gas car you can purchase a recon unit at a fraction of the price of a brand new unit, often come with a six month warranty but in most cases last many years/miles.

The batteries we know are able to be reconditioned, and so are all the electronics, so why don’t vectrix offer a swap recon part at an affordable price or replaceable cells sold in smaller cheaper packs?

It would be so easy and build a huge amount of confidence in their product.

£7000+ is no small amount to pay for what is considered a 125cc in the UK and you can’t even use it to go to the coast if you live in london, because it won’t make it and if it did it sure wouldn’t get back.

The range on this thing though may be one of the best electric bikes is still very poor.

Which again really strains the justification for such a vehicle, and sure does not justify the price tag.

As I said before I would love to own one of these bikes especially for riding around the city, but as hard as I try I just can’t find the justification for spending so much money on what is basically being sold with the same mind set as a washing machine.

But I will keep an eye on them and when vectrix get serious about their product I may well be willing to spend a reasonable amount on one, it’s not even worth buying a second hand one because the parts should it break down are way over the top in price.

Get your act together vectrix, make available recon electronic units, recon swap the motors and batteries and you have a real product worth bothering with.

With regard to certain sections of the bike, ie the electronics, vectrix could produce them onto separated sectioned off boards and the most unreliable boards could be reconditioned thus reducing the price to keep the bikes on the road.

If you had six seperate boards in the bike a service manual to show what each board did and potential faults and recomendations as to whether it is time for a replacement then this would reduce the cost of said bikes repair bill, and make them easier and faster to repair.

I say six but it would depend on each function of the single board that is now in operation.

So can you see there are ways to reduce the cost and make them more desirable to those wishing to take the risk, but the risk must make sense and at the moment it just don't.

Joined: 07/07/2007
Points: 1686
Re: Problem with buying a Vectrix

just_looking wrote:

The batteries we know are able to be reconditioned, and so are all the electronics, so why don’t vectrix offer a swap recon part at an affordable price or replaceable cells sold in smaller cheaper packs?

replacement cells can be had from those who have wrecked bikes (Hibba has a collection, Mik might soon).

the problem is the compression banding, or rather applying it.
so that means you really have to replace cells in groups of 8 or 9.

unfortunately, the electronics usually aren't worth fixing (especially when you have a warehouse full of new components).
alotta the components are behind a plastic layer.

that makes it a little tricky to replace individual components, and much harder to quickly test them.

incidentally, if you would like to buy electric bikes that are based on parts that are easily interchangable, cheap and easy to get hold of, look at:

chinese bikes like the xm5000li or, or,
build your own around kelly controllers and that 10kw spoked hub motor and a frame of your choice.



Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah
Vectrix 60Ah Lithium Tyres Fuel Registration Insurance cycle analyst 2 x TC Charger & MC
Spent so far: $5800 + $7000 + $2040 + $1200 + $425 + $800 + $140 + $3000
Cost to do it again: $1000 + $3800 + $2040 + $1200 + $425 + $800 + $140 + $1500 (lasts longer)
Cost for a Petrol bike:$6000 + + $1440 + $7560 + $1000 + $1600 + $4000 servicing
Total spent: $20405
Total to do again: $10905
Total to have used a petrol bike: $21600
Total distance travelled so far: 102'120km

Other vehicles:
2008 Mazda 2 conversion
2009 Blade Electron
1997 Prius - plugin hybrid mod

Joined: 06/23/2010
Points: 128
Re: Problem with buying a Vectrix

That’s fine them having a warehouse full of parts that no one can afford but if people are to make vectrix a world wide name that people can trust they need to sort themselves out.

No one is saying it would be easy for them to solve all the problems, but they could make life better for those people that actually purchase their product.

I considered making my own bike but I just don’t have the space to do it.

I think the vectrix is a really good looking bike and the performance appears to suggest the best on the market at the moment, but from what I have been reading about them when the thing goes wrong it is a nightmare to fix, plus getting hold of parts can it seems take forever, and the price is way over the top.

There are just certain things any vehicle producer should follow, and one of them is affordable pricing for their spare parts, especially if the product is not reliable and prone to break downs.

Like I said before the electronics could be separated into sections so when one console breaks down a simple and cheaper solution of swapping out the part without considering repairing the board, these boards could be shipped back to vectrix for reconditioning.

The most unreliable boards could be identified and the price fixed accordingly, battery that fail could be replaced by part exchange swapping, thus reducing the price.

It really comes down to this, either vectrix wants to become a real world leader in electric bikes or they are happy to sell washing machines and as much as I like the idea of the vectrix I have found absolutely no justification for forking out such a huge amount of money for a bike that is unreliable and where you have to wait an age for replacement parts, assuming you can discover what is wrong with the thing in the first place.

A clear and concise service manual with fault finding and recommendations, plus easy affordable pricing on replacement parts and any special tools needed for testing the bike should all be available.

In the early days of gasoline motorcycles there was not much choice, so it would have been either a horse or the new fangled internal combustion engine, that was about it, today however there is a choice and that is what vectrix is up against.

If I want a 125cc motorcycle I can pick one up from around £600 and I would expect to get several thousand miles out of it before anything serious needs doing to it, if I want a vectrix I’m looking at maybe £3000 and will expect it to go drastically wrong within one month if I fail to charge the batteries or 2000 miles due to some issue with one of the electronic parts.

Where is the sense in purchasing an electric motorcycle if they are so expensive and so unreliable?

They are a rich kid’s toy or at best a washing machine on wheels.

I want to see vectrix succeed because I want to have one of these bikes some time in the future, especially their sports bike it looks really good.

But if the price is going to be astronomical and the reliability is going to be so poor and replacement parts are going to be ridiculously over the top and hard to come by what could possibly make me want to spend my money on a bike that is only good for the city even if it would be possible to get a speeding ticket on it.

It’s pointless.

For £7000 I can buy a nice sports bike or other bike that I don’t need to keep chasing power sockets for, I can go anywhere with it and even get speeding tickets worth having on it, not that I want speeding tickets of course! But I could.

As for Chinese bikes, I purchased one once, never again they are death traps or at least they were, perhaps they are better now but they were seriously bad at one time, so I avoid them, but they were reliable.


If specific parts are more prone to failure vectrix should at least put these parts on a separate board and provide tests that could be conducted by any competent owner following some safety precautions of course.

Most people my self included, would put up with a great deal if I could be sure of being able to keep the bike on the road.

They really need to get their act together else someone will come along and snatch their hard work out from under them, which means their potential customers will go else where when the tech comes around.

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