Posted by Steve Newbauer
It took several years, but I have finally succumbed to the concept of my using electric motor pedal assist. It is a matter of aging I think and finding it a bit more challenging climbing hills. I can still climb them, but oh so slow and if I am riding with others I just watch them ride on away from me as I can’t begin to keep up. So I bit the bullet and got myself some help. Now I can shoot up those hills and don’t have any problem keeping up with my friends should I choose to ride with them.
The electronics are quite sophisticated and pretty well thought out. The reviews of Bionx are extremely favorable. Pretty much everybody say they have the best system going. The company is out of Canada.
They have 3 different size batteries. They are all 48 volts, but their power in amperage varies providing a choice of 50 miles, 65 miles or 80 miles between charges. The one pictured below which fits under their rack is the middle one. The largest battery mounts down low behind the seat alongside of the frame.
Although with this battery mounted up under their rack means the weight is carried up high effecting the trike’s center of gravity and handling it also means that the battery is positioned so that it doesn’t get nearly as messed up from water, mud and other crud being splashed up on it like would happen if it were mounted down lower alongside the frame. Also having it higher makes it much easier to get at to charge it or remove it.
Their controller (shown above) has been upgraded as have their display console.
This display unit (shown below) has replaced the larger combination display controller they had previously.
This next video features an older version of the console and controller which has been replaced with the ones shown above. I offer it here as it still is helpful in understanding some factors of the Bionx system.
The new electronics also offers a Bluetooth connection to their free smartphone app which among other things is a tracking and reporting info of the route, ride and even pulse of the rider. The Bluetooth module sells for $175.
They offer 250, 350 and 500 watt hub motors. I understand that Bionx limits the top speed of 20 mph for all units shipped to the United States to comply with the law.
If your trike has a 20 inch rear wheel you are limited to the 350 watt hub motor as the 500 watt is too large in diameter to be laced into a 20 inch rim. If you have a larger diameter rear wheel such as a 26 inch or 700 the larger 500 watt hub motor is available for them although the larger motor may not be needed. The bike shop dealer told me that unless one lives someplace with a lot of steep hills to climb the 350 is more than enough power to use on a trike.
Having a FAT trike with electric motor pedal assist sounds like a very helpful addition for off road riding. It might require someone skilled at wheel lacing to come up with a wheel laced to a hub motor.
It is my understanding that the batteries can be charged approximately 1000 times. Replacement batteries cost between $900 and $1000 so they ain’t cheap.
The bike shop I am involved with is a Bionx dealer. He told me about the high tech system Bionx has in place making trouble shooting and repair easy for the dealers. They simply plug the unit into a computer with Bionx software installed on it and it connects with Bionx while running diagnostics on the system. The dealer gives permission for Bionx to remotely do various things while connected to your unit over the internet and they can remedy most problems or at least know what is wrong so it can be remedied. With this system the dealers don’t have to learn and know a lot about the Bionx system yet they can take care of the customer.
In closing I want to mention that there are more powerful hub motors made and available which can propel a trike much faster (not legally mind you) and even at 70 years old there is still a part of me that is attracted to riding along at 45 plus mph on my trike, but I am wise enough to know that when you play with fire you are likely to get burnt. I would probably wrap myself around some tree or telephone pole. Nope, I best stick with the 20 mph option. That is plenty fast enough.
With the use of electric motor pedal assist it can help us to …
ENJOY THE RIDE & kEEP ON TRIKIN’
Update (5/3/17) – I now have the Bionx hub motor system installed on my trike and I am loving it. I haven’t been able to ride it much as it has been raining for 3 days straight. I took some pictures of my trike with this unit installed. I remounted the controller from where the bike shop had located it. I like it much better now as I can see it much better and get at it much handier. I probably should paint the blue piece of steel tubing I used to place on my mirror where I mounted the controller. I need to paint it black so it is not so conspicuous. 🙂 Anyway, riding with this motor assist is amazing. For the same effort I used to exert to ride 5-7 mph I can now ride about 14-16 mph. And for the same effort it took to ride 10-12 mph I can now ride 19 mph. The battery has a built in LED taillight which is extremely bright. Above the taillight is a large red reflector. As I said, I haven’t been able to ride it much yet, but hopefully I soon will be. And it surely looks like I will most definitely …
ENJOY THE RIDE!