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MY EXPERIENCE WITH E-MOTORS THUS FAR


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.

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WHY i HAVE SLOWED WAY UP ON THIS BLOG


I rather imagine some of the readers of this blog are wondering what all is going on as far as my not posting much on it anymore. I had mentioned previously that I just feel more less drained and in need of getting away from it. That is quite true, but there is another factor which weighs in and all by itself has put the brakes on. My vision has become quite poor and so it is quite difficult for me to do much work at the computer. I had a stroke occur in my only good eye and it has really dealt me a blow. Previously many years ago I had a stroke occur in my left eye which left me legally blind in the left eye. There was no medical treatment for this at that time. A few years later there was  so when it happened to my right eye I have been getting treatment since. That being said, things have not been going well and slowly it has worsened. Spending much time at a computer is hard on good eyes, but it is even harder on bad eyes.

As many of you know I also had a Facebook Group called Tadpole Rider Group. I was more less consumed by it spending most of my life involved with it. It was totally out of control and was really taking its toll on me. I had to make the hard choice to close it. Unfortunately something went very wrong and it didn’t totally get deleted.  I spent many hours painstakingly going thru all that Facebook required to close it only to have some fluke take place and leave it up to be seen (what there is left of it). I can’t do anything about it as I don’t have access to any of it any more. It is just in limbo … stuck right where it is at appearing  just as it does. I have attempted to get Facebook to delete it, but that is a near impossibility … trying to contact Facebook that is. Everything I have tried has been in vain. In short, Facebook is really one screwed up entity.

I still have the desire from time to time to post something more here on this blog, but I find it just too challenging most of the time to even attempt it. I don’t know what the future holds as far as my eyesight. I don’t know if it will get better, stay the same or get worse. There is a posting I want to do right now, but I don’t know if I will be able to. Time will tell. Again, I want to thank all the loyal readers of this blog. I am sorry things have come to this. It has been a drastic life change for me and is something I struggle with to accept and deal with.

At least for now I am still able to ride my trike. Spring arrived yesterday on the calendar anyway. I am hoping the weather shapes up soon and indicates it is aware of it.

Here is a rather poor quality image of my trike with the eZee hub motor conversion kit installed.

I am really enjoying it although I am a bit disappointed with the amount of torque it has. It is a geared type motor which is suppose to be more torquie than direct drive gearless motors. However, it doesn’t seem to have as much torque as the direct drive motors I have had. Never the less I am liking it quite well thus far and have no regrets about buying it as of yet. It is rated at 1000 watts while the BionX motors I had were reated at 350 watts. The first BionX motor I had definitely had more hill climbing ability than this eZee motor has. It would shoot me up a hill just by itself while this motor only assists my pedaling and would do rather poorly on a steep hill or a long incline.

Well, that is my story and I seem to be stuck with it … at least fo rnow.

GIVING UP ON BIONX & GETTING REFUND


Many of you know what all has happened since early last summer when I bought my 350 watt hub motor kit from BionX. At first I loved it even though it topped out at 19 mph instead of the 20 mph they advertise. I did have a problem of the battery not lasting nearly as long as I needed it to, but BionX was good enough to replace the battery with a larger capacity battery free of charge. All was fine for awhile, but then the “pedal assist” mode stopped working and all I had was the hand throttle which was not only a pain to use holding the button on as I rode, but it drained the battery down much quicker than using the pedal assist mode. BionX sent a new replacement motor under warranty, but they sent the wrong motor. This replacement motor lacked the torque (power) the original motor had. It would go 20 mph though which I liked. I complained about the low power, but it pretty much fell on deaf ears thanks to the BionX dealer telling BionX that my unit works properly. I didn’t appreciate that as I know how it worked when I first got it. This dealer didn’t know what he was talking about and wouldn’t listen to me. I talked to both the dealer and BionX about getting a full refund. The dealer said that I would have to pursue that with BionX and BionX said I would have to pursue it with the dealer. After some weeks past I emailed BionX about all of this, but it seemed to fall of deaf ears. I mailed a letter to the CEO/President of BionX explaining everything to him. I asked for his help and told him if BionX continues to ignore me I will have no choice but to contact the Better Business Bureau and file a complaint. BionX never responded back to me so I filed the complaint. BionX had so many days to respond to the BBB about the complaint, but they were silent. Being past the alloted days the BBB contacted BionX again and shortly after I got a phone call from BionX in which I was told BionX wants to resolve this to my satisfaction. I had been saying all along that this replacement motor is not the same motor I had originally, but I was ignored. As far as the dealer was concerned it was the same motor and it worked the way it was suppose to. The phone call from BionX finally got the truth out of them as they admitted that they had sent out the wrong motor … one which was not as powerful. So they sent out what was suppose to be the correct motor and I took my trike back to the dealer for the motors to be exchanged. While at the dealer I took the trike for a test ride and came back very disappointed. It still didn’t have the power of my original motor and the top speed was only 17 mph instead of 20 mph claimed by BionX. A few weeks past by and nothing changed so I emailed BionX requesting a full refund. I received an email reply today saying that the refund is being processed. Once I have the refund in hand and they have their hub motor kit back I will look into getting a different brand as I am sold on having a hub motor with torque sensing pedal assist and manual hand throttle. I will keep you informed of how that goes. Hopefully it will be better than my experience has been with BionX. It is a shame as I really liked the BionX unit. I will miss their display console and handlebar mounted control. They are probably the best of all those in use for e-bikes. I know many people have had no complaints with their BionX systems. I don’t know why I have had all these problems. I sure would have liked for it to work out otherwise. With my expensive but very nice BionX system I was hoping to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

update Jan. 16, 2018:  I took the BionX system back to the dealer and got the full refund. Now I am looking to see what I will try next. I am definitely sold on having the electric pedal assist system. I loved having it and am anxious to replace it. BTW, getting a different system can be done for half the cost (or even less) of the BionX unit and it will involve a larger size (power) hub motor and a larger capacity battery.