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  1. #1
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    BionX pedal assist mountain bike

    I was out at the Bike Press Camp last week and was stoked to try out one of the BionX bikes. Essentially, this is a stock Trek 6000 (hardtail, sub $1000) with a BionX battery, hub generator, and controller installed.

    We have a couple of these coming to the Mtbr offices, so stay tuned for a more in-depth review.

    Information and photos on the BionX is here:
    http://reviews.mtbr.com/blog/bionx-e...mountain-bike/


    Video interview with Vincent from BionX is here....explaining some of the features and uses of the BionX.




    Anybody out there own one of these? Or at least had a real test ride on one??
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails BionX pedal assist mountain bike-bionx.jpg  

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  2. #2
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    i have ridden a trek hybrid with the battery setup. works just like they say only assists when you pedal. level 4 gives a huge boost. the wheel is heavy. we have some battery issues at the shop, received 2 dead ones but trek has been good on replacements

  3. #3
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    I have a BionX PL-350 system mounted on a 2001ish Rocky Mountain Vertex Team Only. If you have any specific questions, I'll be happy to try and answer them.


  4. #4
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    Hey Keski, thanks for the info! How long have you been using yours now? For trails or commuting? If for trails, what kind?

    I will find out a lot as soon as my test unit comes in, but what I'm really interested in, is just how "trail-worthy" is the bike. I'm thinking that on certain technical downhills, the significant weight increase will be hard to get used to. But on the climbs, of course, the e-bike would pay dividends.

    -g
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  5. #5
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    I like the battery box on the BionX (instread of a wrinkled canvas rack bag).
    The price keeps me away from owning a BionX kit.

    Love the paint scheme on the Vertex.
    "I don't suffer from insanity!I rather enjoy it."

  6. #6
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    I have demo'ed a Bionx converted hardtail MTB at the bike shop in Elko, NV. and I have ridden the new trek electric commuter. These are both very impressive performing machines. The hardtail battery location makes for a balanced ride. I do want to convert my cargo bike.

    Although there are the ethical questions surrounding an electric bike being used on the trails, there are circumstances when the electric assist is the best answer to many questions.
    I don't know what trail we're on, but at least it's getting dark

  7. #7
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    Wish that they have a full suspension friendly version

  8. #8
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    BionX is the leader right now in bike motor technology. I've been riding our test bike around the office the last couple of days and the rush of acceleration from 5-12 mph is unbelievable! Then it goes all the way to 19 mph before the electronic limiter kicks in. This is all without pedaling on flat ground. I went over a freeway onramp today and was still at 15 mph by the time I crested without pedaling.

    The downside is it is heavy at 20 lbs. But it is a portable system and can be transferred to different bikes. We plan to put it on some high end full suspension bikes!

    Trek uses this system on all their high end electric bikes right now. The have a new cargo bike with this system and it is sooooo cool.

    fc

  9. #9
    tl1
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    The BionX seems like a pretty decent package

    As far as add-ons go but at $1500-2000 just for the parts without a bike you have to wonder how many they will sell.

    I keep looking at electric assist bikes and if they're going to be that expensive, I'll probably wait until there's something as light and unobtrusive as the setup that was supposedly hidden in Fabian Cancellara's bike at Paris-Roubaix.

    http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/64147,...tour-de-france

  10. #10
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    This BionX will shut down the motor at 20mph. When one is pedaling with the motor on, getting up to 30mph on flat ground should be no problem.

    But because the motor shuts down at 20mph, it becomes impractical to ride over 20 mph. It's like hitting a wall that shuts on and off.

    This is really a severe limitation in my opinion. Are there laws that require this 20 mph max?

    There used to be a way to disable the 20mph limit. Now it doesn't seem to work with the latest firmware as BionX has completely disabled it. Anybody get around this?

  11. #11
    tl1
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    20 mph seems to be federal law in the US

    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    This BionX will shut down the motor at 20mph. When one is pedaling with the motor on, getting up to 30mph on flat ground should be no problem.

    But because the motor shuts down at 20mph, it becomes impractical to ride over 20 mph. It's like hitting a wall that shuts on and off.

    This is really a severe limitation in my opinion. Are there laws that require this 20 mph max?

    There used to be a way to disable the 20mph limit. Now it doesn't seem to work with the latest firmware as BionX has completely disabled it. Anybody get around this?
    For the definition of an electric bicycle. Probably a legal or liability thing where BionX are reluctant to publish a way to defeat the 20 mph turnoff even if there is one.

    -----------------------------------------------

    Federal Laws and Regulation
    [edit] Defined

    The U.S. NHTSA Code of Motor Vehicle Safety simply defines low-speed electric bicycles as consumer products and not Motor Vehicles for safety standards.[22] In doing so they vest authority over commercial safety standards to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission(CPSC) stipulates that commercialy manufactured low-speed electric bicycles, or tricycles, must have fully operable pedals, an electric motor of less than 750W of power and a top motor-powered speed not in excess of 20 miles per hour (32 km/h) with a rider weighing 150 pounds.[23] An electric bike remaining within these specifications will be regarded simply as a bicycle for purposes of safety standards. This supersedes any state law that is more stringent, but only regarding safety equipment required on electric bicycles and the standard of manufacture they must meet.[24] The legislation enacting this amendment to the CPSC is also known as HR 727.[25]

    No known federal regulations apply to the manufacture of homebuilt electric bicycles.
    [edit] Use

    Where federal funds have been used in the construction of bicycle or pedestrian paths, electric bicycles (defined as "any bicycle or tricycle with a low-powered electric motor weighing under 100 pounds, with a top motor-powered speed not in excess of 20 miles per hour" (23 U.S.C. 217(j)(2)) ) are not permitted unless state or local regulations permit. Title 23, U.S. Code 217(h)(4).[26]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electri...and_Regulation

  12. #12
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    The EU electric bike market is driving the bus. Bion X is a feature on many bikes over there including Ducati and Opel to name a few and TREK as usual is just following the path of least resistance trying to get a market share there.

    But the problem is the anemic wattage restrictions there. 250w is their limit and Bion X is in line to sell stuff so that is what they supply. They do make a 500w kit, but boys, the legal wattage limit here in the US is 750w most states and 1000w in quite a few also. You think the lower wattage gives you launch Francis you should try doubling it The 20mph speed limit for electric assist bicycles is a factor for sure but for me it is all about how fast you get there, how much freight you can pack and how long you can soak the battery for.

    As mentioned the Bion X system is expensive and proprietary to the point where any parts and service in the future will also be expensive. There are many more hub motor systems out there that are cheaper and just as reliable if not more so. Endless Sphere dot com has a really informative forum about all that stuff and anyone with any real interest in this subject would be well informed to check it out. (not trying to drive them away G and F but knowledge is power and perhaps that power will come through more here if people are better informed?)

    After 10 years of messing around with all manners of small motors on bikes, both gas and electric I have come to the conclusion that motorized bicycles are never going to please me. Sure I have had some fun but any combo, including the Bion X system, only leaves one wanting just a bit more

    I had to laugh about the overpass no pedaling scenario. The only way I ride is to pedal as much as possible. You are missing out on all the big ring time if you don't pedal and you just as well might be on a scooter. One time I had crank issues on the Bumvee on a 25 mile trip to town and had to abandon pedaling and motor in. By the time I got to town I was cold and bored whereas every other time I arrive all warmed up and ready for action.

    So to all you knaysayers out there that say just get a motorcycle. Go ahead. But I will continue to seek a motorcycle that you can pedal. In fact my next setup will be a hybrid gas/electric machine capable of across town or across country rides. At considerably faster than 20mph
    The future is not google-able. William Gibson

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MABman
    The EU electric bike market is driving the bus. Bion X is a feature on many bikes over there including Ducati and Opel to name a few and TREK as usual is just following the path of least resistance trying to get a market share there.
    ......
    So to all you knaysayers out there that say just get a motorcycle. Go ahead. But I will continue to seek a motorcycle that you can pedal. In fact my next setup will be a hybrid gas/electric machine capable of across town or across country rides. At considerably faster than 20mph

    Awesome info. We are indeed in the infancy of assisted bicycles.

    Two cool things have occurred this week since we have two BionX mountain bikes at work.

    - one of our employees who hasn't ridden much this year and is many lbs overweight bike-commuted to the office. One way is 30 miles!!! He said it took 2 hours one way and he had a blast pedaling and assisted most of the way. The battery was drained at the office and he recharged back up before heading back home.

    - my 10 year old son has biked with me 3x this week. The rides are over 10 miles long on road, smooth trail, and mountain. He had zero interest prior and was completely focused on ball sports. Now, he says, this is more fun that video games. When I go on a full effort on flat or a climb, he can smoke me. He is pedaling 95% of the time and these are all 1-2 hour workouts for both of us.

    fc

  14. #14
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    More fun than video games is a good start.

    Fun and fitness is where you find it. Nothing wrong with either scenario as posted and there are many more options available. Let the games begin!
    The future is not google-able. William Gibson

  15. #15
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    Here's a photo from a recent ride. We've been doing 1000+ foot climbs every day now. It is close but he is faster than me on every single climb. I have a 17 lb bike and his is 48 lbs.

    We are extremely careful on descents but he is learning so much since he gets to do so much descending each time.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails BionX pedal assist mountain bike-bionx.jpg  


  16. #16
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    Kid with big grin on bike=priceless.

    Great application for assist. But just one of many that will develop over the next 10 years or so.

    You guys are going to have to start up a new site and call it emtbr
    The future is not google-able. William Gibson

  17. #17
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    Bionx system and mountain biking

    Hi All~

    I am an experienced mountain biker with a love for single track but have developed a muscle disease that is robbing my leg strength- so that I just can't "make" many sections along a typical mountain trial ride. I so want to keep riding so I am looking at the Bionx systems- but can not find anyone who has ridden real mountain bike trials. The 350 does not fit my Santa Cruz superlite so I am hoping to be able to use the 250 lite-but don't know if it has enough power. I am light- under 115 and have good technique. Has anyone out there used the bionx on trials? Please share your experience Thansk KIM

  18. #18
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    I looked into this a few years ago before my back operation. I like the Bionx system, but found information showing it is limited when it comes to long hills. I have not ridden one up a long hill myself. Batteries drain quickly because the motor does not have reduction gears. Your advantage is light weight. You may be able to take advantage of Bionx and have a slightly extended range because of your weight. At any rate you will have increased range and pleasure over what you have now. From what I have seen the Bionx is good in rolling terrain with shorter uphill stretches.

    I would say having a premium battery is more important than the wattage for your application. I have ridden a 250 and it gives a good boost. I weigh 50 lbs more than you.
    I don't know what trail we're on, but at least it's getting dark

  19. #19
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    My son, pictured below did a thanksgiving ride with 1000 other riders recently. He was on that Bionx Trek bike and we climbed 2700 feet in 6 miles. Bionx has 4 levels of assist and he put it in level 2. Since it was a casual ride, our group took a break about 4 times. The hill is very steep in the end averaging a 12% grade for miles

    Well the kid is 10 years old and he blew us all away. He waited about 5 minutes for us at each junction. He made it all the way to the top on that single charge, riding for about 1.2 hours and he had about 3 bars left on his battery (out of 12).

    It was perfect and blew away my expectations.

    The next day, I took the bike out on the same hill and tried to do a record run. I put it on level 4 and pedaled all out hoping to cut my hill climb record in half. I was climbing at about 12-14 mph consistently on the steeps. But alas, the motor shut down after 3 miles. I think it overheated and went to 1/4 power. It need a long break before it would go full power again.

    fc

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    My son, pictured below did a thanksgiving ride with 1000 other riders recently. He was on that Bionx Trek bike and we climbed 2700 feet in 6 miles. Bionx has 4 levels of assist and he put it in level 2. Since it was a casual ride, our group took a break about 4 times. The hill is very steep in the end averaging a 12% grade for miles

    Well the kid is 10 years old and he blew us all away. He waited about 5 minutes for us at each junction. He made it all the way to the top on that single charge, riding for about 1.2 hours and he had about 3 bars left on his battery (out of 12).

    It was perfect and blew away my expectations.

    The next day, I took the bike out on the same hill and tried to do a record run. I put it on level 4 and pedaled all out hoping to cut my hill climb record in half. I was climbing at about 12-14 mph consistently on the steeps. But alas, the motor shut down after 3 miles. I think it overheated and went to 1/4 power. It need a long break before it would go full power again.

    fc

    Want it, Need it, Gotta have it! How well does it work with the FS design

    I've seen one on the DaHon, man the guy just haul ass, no actually I did, he was just cruising at 20mph.

  21. #21
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    I know this doesn't do much to answer Biogirls question, but the question she really needs to ask herself is how long she expects to travel and how much assistance she will need.

    The equation here is Volts times Amp Hours = Watt/Hours. So if you have a 250 lite the battery is rated at 22.2V/6.4ah. Deduct a bit because there will be a shutoff that doesn't allow the battery to completely drain itself and so you can count on say 5.5ah. So 22.2 x 5.5 = 122.1 watt/hours. So with a 250w motor you will have about a half hour of battery at full power. Maybe up to an hour if you pedal as much as you can and don't get in to much steepness. BionX does feature a nice regen but it won't amount to that much gain in that short of a distance arguably.

    So wattage = power/torque, volts = more speed and amp hours = distance. I find that having more wattage is useful, especially in situations like the one that Francois recently tried to do. But without enough amp hours in your battery you can run dry in a hurry and more amp hours means more weight and bulk to carry around.
    The future is not google-able. William Gibson

  22. #22
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    Bionx and mountain biking

    Hi Guys~

    Thanks guys for the reply and the great caluations. I plan on pedaling as hard as I can the entire ride- my favorite trial is 13 miles long up and down- and will try to use the lower setting expect when I need the burst of power to get me up the hard part. So I am hoping to extent the .5 hour at full power. But it maybe that I will need the 350. I sure wish I could just try one on teh trails. The 250 lite doesn't fit inside my Santa Cruz frame so I will need to get a new frame anyway. That is also a problem cause I am small so I need a small frame and that reduces the area for the bigger battery.

    Can anyone tell me if the bionx system does well on trails with the intermittent steep rocky sections? and what small frame might work the best. Thanks for the help. Kim

    When I rent a downhill bike I get a 15.5 and my bike now is a small men's Santa Cruz superlite.

  23. #23
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    My question for you is how much assist you want? By far, the best setup for climbing will use the bike gears to help you out. What I have been playing around with is making a new rear end for my Bullit frame that has a motor in the swingarm. This way I can use the bike gearing and have a relatively light bike that climbs well.

    Otherwise you will have to use a hub motor. They are heavy, and do not climb well at low speeds. For your needs I could not recommend it.

    The third option which may not be best for your situation is a friction drive. A new one is on the market called the Kepler friction drive. It is the caddy of friction drive. But it is really for smooth tire and road use.

  24. #24
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    For Gregg bionx and mountain biking

    Hi Gregg~ I was wondering if you ever "gave the bionx system a good trashing" I am very interested in purchasing either the 250 or the 350 for my mountain bike. I have developed a muscle disease and have more and more trouble climbing the singletrack trails that I love. Please share your experience ...Is the system trail worthy? Cheers KIM

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by biogirl61
    Hi Gregg~ I was wondering if you ever "gave the bionx system a good trashing" I am very interested in purchasing either the 250 or the 350 for my mountain bike. I have developed a muscle disease and have more and more trouble climbing the singletrack trails that I love. Please share your experience ...Is the system trail worthy? Cheers KIM

    Whether or not the system is worthy for your trails depends on two things. How long and how steep are your trails?

    On a long climb (and by long, I mean over 20 minutes) under max setting of 4, it is possible for the system to seem to "overheat" and shut itself down. Also, if your trail is too steep, the same thing might occur. On a long AND steep trail, it will definitely occur.

    If you have a trail that is undulating and has alternating parts of climbs and descents, the system works a lot better. And of course, not part of "mountain biking" but if you use this for commuting or non-steep road usage, you should have no problems at all.

    My advice is to try a shop near you that stocks these and give it a demo on your local trails.

    Hope this helps.

    -g
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