I have read and heard various things concerning BionX. Mostly I have heard that they are out of business even though their website was fully functional as far as I know the last time I checked it. However it only looks like it is functional. I checked it just now and found that it is quite deceiving. When I clicked on Finding a Dealer and then clicked on Dealer Map the page would not open. It gave the message “This site can’t be reached”. Wanting to know the truth I made a phone call a few minutes ago. I called and talked to the owner of the BionX dealer I and a couple of my friends were dealing with. I asked him about the status of BionX. He said that they are most definitely totally out of business and will never come back. So those who have a BionX system are out of luck if anything goes wrong with their systems … at least as faras gettng any help from BionX. No parts are available. Batteries are not even available. That is certainly not good news for BionX owners. I understand that there is one or more companies around which have some parts and batteries. And I would not be surprised if more businesses pop up offering some help in the battery dept. even if it is rebuilding one’s current battery. I sure am glad I made the decision to return my BionX system for a full refund when I did. I am really happy with my eZee hub motor system. HERE is an informative article about BionX.
I am not sure what is going on with Bionx since they went into “receivership” Feb. 27th. I know that their website was more less unavailable (non-functioning) following that news. There doesn’t seem to be much of anything available online to read about it. I was just checking out the BionX website and see that it is back up and functioning with no mention of their recent woes. If I hear anything more I will share it here.
update — One reader of this blog reports in a comment that he heard that BionX has been bought out from receivership and is indeed back in business. Sadly, the dealer nearest me has not heard anything out of BionX since all this started.. I have emailed BionX asking them what their current status is, but they haven’t emailed me back yet. It will be interesting to see if the new ownership does anything about the propietary structuring of BionX. I sure hope they make some needed changes.
Some of you know I have had 3 different brands of e-motor conversion kits installed on my trike. I can only speak from my experience with these three motors.
The first was a 350 watt BionX conversion kit. While it worked properly I loved it. Admittedly I didn’t love the price nor the replacement cost for the battery. Also I was not impressed that the largest battery BionX offers is only 11.6aH … only good for about 30 to 35 miles. The motor was a brushless gearless direct drive type which was relatively small yet quite powerful. It had a lot of torque for such a small motor. BionX is a proprietary system which was what I believe caused their downfall. They filed bankruptcy last February 27th. It is all such a shame as they really did have an excellent system. Everything fit and installed normally and easily.
The second hub motor I tried was a Golden Motor Magic Pie Edge. It was large and very heavy (19 pounds). It too was a brushless gearless direct drive type. It had quite a bit of torque, but far more resistance to pedaling with the power off due to the magnets. According to the dealer I bought it from it apparently had a bad controller built into the hub as the voltage from it was too low and the motor would only propel me at 14 mph top speed and that was only for a short time when the battery was fully charged. It ended up down around 12 mph once the battery power started dropping off. The motor was too large in diameter to properly fit in a 20 inch wheel. There was very little room left between the motor and the valve stem so removing the valve core and working with some tools/gauges was impaired and difficult. When I went to install my tire on the rim I found it most challenging and difficult. I had to resort to using tire levers to accomplish it. Once the tire was on the rim it would not easily center up concentric. I had a terrible time trying to get it centered and inflated. I have never had any of these issues with any other rims. When I went to install the wheel in the rear stays I discovered that the axle assembly was too wide and would not go in. (I had previously had 3 different BionX wheels and they all slipped into place quite easily.) I ended up having to spread my rear stays apart in order to get this Golden Motor wheel installed. I read that some of the e-bike wheels are made for a maximum of 7 cogs in the rear cassette. At 7 cogs they are suppose to be 135 mm. If one installs 8, 9 or 10 cogs the width increases and so the wheel won’t fit in a 135 mm space. Again, I didn’t have that problem with the BionX. Lastly, I noticed that the disconnect for the various wiring cables from the axle were far from the rear wheel meaning that when I needed to remove the rear wheel I would have to tear the wiring all apart to get to a place where I could disconnect it. That is ridiculous! It would involve cutting plastic cable ties, removing Velcro wraps, turning my trike over on its side in order to get at this wiring. With BionX and with my 3rd and current motor the disconnects are provided right near the rear wheel. I can’t imagine what it would be like trying to repair a flat tire while out riding. It was a nightmare to work with it in a shop where I had all the tools I might need as well as a means of suspending my trike up in the air off of the floor. Overall I was not impressed with much of anything about this Golden Motor and could not recommend it to anyone.
The third and current hub motor conversion kit I bought and installed is an eZee 350 rpm. As far as I know that is the only identifying information to set it apart from their other motor offering which is a 250 rpm motor. The difference is the 350 rpm is designed for 20 inch wheels while the 250 rpm motors are designed for 26 inch, 700 and similar diameter wheels. The 350 rpm means that it can propel the smaller diameter wheels about the same speed as the 250 rpm motors propel the larger diameter wheels. Unlike the BionX and Golden Motor the eZee motor is geared which means it is suppose to have more torque at low speed but less top speed. That is what I have read. However, my experience is far different. I have found just the opposite to be true. This hub motor lacks the torque the BionX and Golden Motor had, but I have a far higher top speed. The physical size of this eZee hub motor is slightly smaller that the BionX unit. It only weighs about 8.34 pounds so it is much lighter than most hub motors. I am disappointed with its lack of torque for climbing hills. The other motors would “shoot me” up a hill while this eZee motor lacks the ability by itself to climb much of a grade without my pedaling to assist it. Never the less, I am enjoying it immensely and thus far have no regrets about buying it. I would recommend it to others.
I like the fact that I am no longer tied into a proprietary system like BionX. The battery I have now is a 20aH and it costs about 40% or less than what BionX was charging for their 11.6aH battery. With BionX being in bankruptcy I don’t know what the future holds for BionX customers. Right now they have shut down operations and let their 80 employees go. They are looking for an investor/new ownership. I wish them success as I would hate to see all their many customers left with a hub motor system with no support nor parts to keep them operating. I have a couple of friends who have BionX. At this point in time I am just glad I returned my BionX unit and got a full refund. I am not faced with this concern like my friends are. Perhaps someone will start rebuilding BionX batteries and selling them … if that is permitted. If only BionX could survive and get away from this proprietary nonsense which got them into this trouble.