Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Bionx Dominates

It seems that Bionx electric assist power drive systems for bicycles are becoming a major player in North America. More bicycle builders are using Bionx power systems for their bicycles. I believe some of the attraction to the Bionx system includes high quality, being made in North America, silent operation, and the possiblity of access to parts without having to transport from overseas. And the momentum for Bionx continues to build as more bicycles have these systems installed. These two video illustrate some of these points.

BionX engineer talking about the Bionx Battery pack(informative!)

BionX batery connector

BionX electric hub motor assist drive system installed on a Go-One velomobile. The hub motor is in the rear wheel hub and the battery back and controller are in the black bag on the rear rack above the rear wheel.

Bionx kit installed on a Go-One velomobile.

I am looking for video tutorials on changing BionX codes for performance modification and tweaking. If you got some, send me the info.


Anonymous said...

To be honest, the BionX is nowhere near as good as some of the www reviews seem to portray it. Sure it is near current “top end” with its proportional assist feature, IN THEORY. However, it is seriously overpriced and the spares are ridiculously overpriced. IN PRACTICE, BionX Canada appears to be a fledgling company, with some limitations on their responsiveness to customers. Their website remains amateur even after a few years, lacking much basic and advanced information for the casual installer/inquirer. Considering kits are also sold for conversion to e-biking, which is a good thing, limiting some information to dealers only is simply irritating. The user manuals are far too basic, and the programming steps are badly worded when you get hold of them.

My system, IN PRACTICE, really allows about 15kms use at assist setting 2 mixed with 3 before you have to worry about getting home without supportive power and a now heavy bike; it is on average necessary to use 50% power (setting 2) just to overcome the additional weight anyway, so realistically you have settings 3 and 4 as assist modes. There were several quality issues with my BionX kit from new as well (missing battery cell internal cushions (internal battery cells severely rattled around - dangerous), faulty cabling, amongst others (P250 NiMH system), so I worry about BionX quality control systems (see fledgling company comment above). The freewheel gearing is limited to low quality freewheels. Only the recent motors all allow brake discs.

Things advertised that don’t matter much:
Low weight (it is not that low, even if lower than many other systems!);
Regenerative ability (a nice to have but minimal advantage).

Pros vs other systems:
proportional assist works;
pedelec can be made Europe (and UK) legal, if that is really that important considering the law will have to catch up with the more common out-of-law use of pedelecs in general;
quick battery recharge off mains;

I will continue using my BionX until something needs repair/replacement, after which I will go for an alternate brand more customisable, lower priced, e-conversion kit solution next time around, if I can identify one.

Anonymous said...

Another commenter referenced Bionx limiting info to dealers. And that they provide inadequate user manuals.

I think those are valid points. It seems that an e-bike company, just like other vehicle companies, would be at best advantage to offer a comprehensive specifications/repair manual. This offer could be at a nominal cost and would be make thier product more valued, like VW's and other vehicles that have adequate reapir/maintenance resources for those capable and/or interested in doing thier own maintenance. I believe companies like Honda and others do offer for sale a comprehensive service manual through their dealers. It apparently is the same one that the dealer mechanics use. And it have virtually everything the mechanic needs to conduct any repair on the vehicle. The book isn't cheap, so to speak. But it is whorthwhile to have for those that want one. I think they often are priced at about $100-300 each.

As a creative full or partial fix the the Bionx issue. It is my understanding that anyone can become a dealer of Bionx. And that to establish a dealership only requires the purchase of 2 Bionx bikes. So, perhaps a person can find at least one other person (forming a club perhaps?) could set up a dealership, thus providing those in the club with full access to all the info, tools, manuals, and wholesale pricing, that a dealership gets.

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