BIONX … THE JURY IS STILL OUT ON THIS ONE


This is an update — Many of you know that I purchased a 350 watt hub motor kit from Bionx. Everything was fine at first with the exception of not getting many miles out of the battery. I was truly disappointed in that factor as I found myself having to stop during my daily rides to plug in somewhere and recharge my battery. That was no fun. I wanted to be riding not sitting around waiting on a wee bit of charge to go back into my battery. One hour of charging was then used up in ten minutes or less. I shared my disappointment with the  Bionx dealer and they told me to bring my trike in and they would check things out. It is a 2 hour drive to the dealer so I am not crazy about having to drive down there any more than I have to. I went down and they checked everything out saying it is all normal. That being said, Bionx was good enough to send the larger battery free of charge to replace the medium size battery I had purchased which was rated at 65 miles. I was getting about 27 at best. The larger battery is rated at 80 miles. One of my friends has this battery with his 350 watt hub motor. He gets far more miles per charge out of his battery than I was … probably twice or more miles. While waiting on the larger battery to arrive my pedal assist mode quit working. All I had available to use was the hand throttle which uses up the battery even quicker. Again, I had to take my trike back to the Bionx dealer. Bionx determined that the problem was in the hub motor so they sent a replacement under warranty. Once it arrived I, of course, had to make another trip down to the Bionx dealer to get the new motor and the new battery installed. The pedal assist worked again, but now this larger battery didn’t perform as well as the smaller battery. I only got about 22 miles out of it before it was used up. And when charging it it got extremely hot as did the charger. So another trip back to the Bionx dealer was needed. They tested everything out and said that it all checks out okay (normal). They did however, replace the 2 day old battery installation with another battery. This one doesn’t overheat, but it still takes way too long to charge and two out of the three times I have charged it thus far it never showed that it was charged up. The green light never came on. Bionx states that their batteries should charge up in 4 to 5.5 hours, but I have been dealing with batteries that sometimes take as much as 11 hours to charge. As I said, the battery I have now most of the time never shows a green light indicating it is charged. It just remains red. BTW, they state in their manual that it first shows red indicating it needs charging and then when the charging begins it changes to amber and finally to green when it is charged. Well with 3 batteries it has never had an amber light … only red and green. My friend says he has never seen an amber light either. With this new battery and over inflating my tires 5 psi I finally got about 40 miles out of the battery charge. I am happy enough with that, but I sure am not with the matter of charging the battery taking so long and not showing it is charged after such a long time.

I also complained about the hand throttle not working right with this new motor and battery. They test rode it and said it works fine. They don’t know what they are talking about. It has no power when applied. Before when it worked right using the hand throttle was like having JATO assist. The trike really took off. I could shoot across a road getting out of the way of traffic or I could zip up a hill. Now I have to pedal up the hill as the hand throttle does next to nothing. My two friends who have this same setup both have hand throttles that work like mine used to. I could not believe that the dealer claimed that the hand throttle works the way it is supposed to.

So …. I have emailed Bionx and shared with them what is going on. I am hopeful that they will do whatever it takes to get me a system that works right and stays working right. I am not a happy camper at this time. I told them that if they can’t get me a system that works right I want my money back. I am waiting to see what happens. I will let you know.

From what I have seen I think Bionx has a serious problem with quality control. I sure hope they get their act together. I really like their system, but I sure can’t recommend it as things stand now. I mean … I want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

(and not driving back and forth to the Bionx dealer.)

Update – My battery problems seem to be doing much better now. I can ride much further on a charge and the battery seems to be charging normally now. Bionx instructed me to run the battery completely down so that the sensor would refresh and reset itself properly. That seemed to work. Now if they can just get the hand throttle working right I will be a happy camper.

verdict is in

Update – As instructed to took my trike back to the dealer (which is about 150 miles round trip) as BionX was supposed to resolve the hand throttle issue. It was a wasted trip as they accomplished nothing and said that there is nothing they can do to get it working like it used to. So I am stuck with an expensive system that doesn’t work right and there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do about it. I am considering requesting my money back. I have no idea what would happen if I were to do that. I have also considered attempting to file some sort of a consumer complaint against BionX which is a Canadian company. I have no idea how to go about that. Needless to say I am not a happy camper and as a result of all of this the jury is in and I give BionX and thumb down. It truly saddens me as for the most part I really like this system. I think they have a serious problem with quality control, but this is to be expected when one is dealing with Chinese made products. Advanced western nations never should have got involved in getting any products made in foreign countries with cheap labor. We should only make our own and thereby benefit our own people.

BIONX HAS PROBLEMS

Advertisements

About Steve Newbauer

I have a few current blogs (tadpolerider1, navysight, and truthtoponder) so I am keeping busy. I hope you the reader will find these blogs interesting and enjoy your time here. Feel free to email me at stevenewbauer at outlook.com

Posted on August 29, 2017, in electric motorized trikes, motorized trikes, options, tadpole trikes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Steve, I haven’t seen your system so I am not sure if this is of any help. If your battery is a Lithium (Most are now) it should have a charging rate of 2 or 3 amps. (Look on the charger) Knowing what your battery capacity is when you start charging & you should get a close estimate of how long your charge should take. Also, it isn’t uncommon for these batteries & chargers to get quite hot. Sometimes hot enough that you can’t keep your hand on the charger. Apparently this is quite normal however, I have found if you unplug the charger & let it cool down when you start charging again it doesn’t get as hot. It is definitely unsettling when that happens but it is still supposed to be safe. At least that’s what I am told by the engineers. My advice is to unplug it & let it cool down. What makes this even more perplexing is it doesn’t do it all the time or on the same make of battery & charger.

    • As an aside – you might find it interesting that I experienced nearly identical hot & cool problems while charging my Note 7 Samsung phone. Never caught fire and the hot, then unplug, cool down and plug in again functions were the same as what you mention above. Strange indeed these batteries.

  2. Sorry to hear about your Bionx woes. I hope this isn’t what my mom can expect with her Bionx setup– so far she loves it. But she doesn’t put nearly as many miles on a charge as you do so hard to say if she’s running into range issues. I can attest to the peppy throttle– the acceleration was so fast on her trike that we thought she could easily flip it if she hit the throttle unexpectedly while the wheels were turned, so we disabled it. I personally wish Bionx hadn’t integrated the throttle with the controller as I have no interest in it, but at least it is easy to disable. Sort of– it did require access to the magical dealer software.

    Wish I had some sage advice to add to daytriker’s thoughts. All I can think of is maybe look for a different dealer. Incidentally my mom has the P350 DX which includes the medium battery that it sounds like you upsized. I had planned to purchase the small battery but the supplier was out of stock, we might have dodged a bullet on that one…

    Keep us posted!

  3. I have been looking for a system for my bent for a long time now, and have decided that I would instal a mid drive to a my bent from a compnay in which is claimed to be one of the best in it’s field.. Now for whatever the reason everytime I stop at their web site they either don’t have my preferred battery at the time, or I have to wait for a part of the system to restock again.. But they are a reputable company and from what I have heard they are also a company which is recognized as a forerunner in the power assist drive industry… So needless to say I am still waiting for them to compile one system of my choosing before I even think about ripping down my midrive… But as to your situation I am sorry to say I have not heard of any good gossip about the bionx system, but rather the opposite, in which they are not a product for long term use, but the opposite, and predict usually have only a half life in this system… I only hope that the stories I have heard about them to be totally bogus and not as was gossiped about…!
    I am so sorry about the issues you are experiencing with your assist, and hope that they all get worked out soon…
    Armadillo Zack

  4. Steve, upsetting news about both your fine web presence coming to an end, and your experiences with your assist drive. I have installed a similar drive package from another company and have had many issues with it. My throttle also does not work as it should but I seldom use it. However these should work out of the box and not throw up constant nigglng performance issues. Most of my initial problems have been corrected by the mfg. company, but I still have issues with wheel build quality and the throttle thing. I want to believe in electric assist playing a role in the future of trike production. For now the jury is out.
    Best wishes, Bud Baker

    • Bud, what system do you have?

      • A Falco. Ordered in March. Took forever due to sourcing build components. In all fairness Rakesh, who is the owner of Falco and a respected engineer in the ebike community, has been proactive in getting my replacement hub working. Note replacement. The first effort couldn’t get out of regeneration. Much of the fussing was involving programming the torque sensor. Their newest hub motor direct drive has both a speed sensor and torque sensor. The speed sensor tells the torque sensor when to turn on. Then your rider input is amplified by a programmed value. This value is the make or break component in the rider experience. I also needed to learn what to expect moving from an 8fun BB 750 w setup on a DF bike. They are not equivocal. The throttle however still is not functional. My ride distances with some 6% grades is 20 miles with about 1/3 battery drain so 50 miles to empty is reasonable. There are times I still can’t figure out what the heck the motor is doing. Did it work out of the box? No. Am I still trying to find the sweet spot? Yes. Will I? IDK.

      • Bud, I suspected it was the Falco. It was on the short list for my mom’s trike and is still on the list for my wife’s. One reason I dropped it was because it didn’t look like it was in regular production– seems like they’re between designs. Utah Trikes stopped selling it temporarily because they wanted to validate the changes first (particularly the throttle as I recall). But it looks good on paper and is a much more open system than Bionx, which appeals to me. Both (especially Falco) have some pretty extreme marketing hype. The GrinTech stuff (ebikes.ca) is open and interchangeable but the designs look pretty rough, particularly for pedal assist. All of this to say I agree with your assertion elsewhere that researching the options to death doesn’t seem to provide any guaranteed confidence in product or company. The market for electric assist seems very immature.

  5. Hi Bud, I would add my .02 cents in that unfortunately it is the wild, wild West out in the market with systems ranging from $300. up to $5000. & sometimes the mark up in pricing is just from middlemen jumping on the band wagon. This leaves the end user just guessing & hoping they haven’t fallen for a slick sales or website presentation. The reality is you don’t always get what you pay for but if you buy an open source system, Keep It Simple for Stupid, if you do run into any problems in most cases you can buy a replacement part from any of a 100 suppliers online & fix it yourself. Paying $1000. for a decent system & battery is a risk if you don’t know the supplier or manufacturer but at least the sting is a lot less when you can buy the replacement components for $100.

  6. I often wonder if investing $900 less would have been the wiser choice. But time will tell. See my reply to Kurt. Researching the options to death doesn’t seem to provide any guaranteed confidence in product or company. In my case company has been responsive, but only after many requests for help. And I refuse to chalk it up as a bummer of a decision. So I keep futzing with the system. With all the shit there has to be a horse in there somewhere. Cheers.

  7. Thanks to each of you for your comments. I’ve just started “looking into” an electric assist for my ICE Adventure HD. I live in the mountains and since they aren’t getting steeper I have to accept that riding less and less is a function of my getting older and weaker. One of the “too many” options out there seems to be the right answer for me. And as I said–your input is welcome.