New York City weather can be unpredictable: one day it’s 10 degrees and trying to freeze your eyelids shut, and the next day it’s be 40 degrees, sunny, and the sidewalks are overflowing with folks from around the world enjoying the best weather of 2014 so far. With Alt-J playing in my headphones and a Chrome Warsaw II on my back, I carried the Montague Crosstown down the stairs of my walk-up and out into the beautiful Brooklyn weather.

BionX Crosstown in Times Square

Montague Crosstown in Times Square.

Dodging Pedestrians

On any given beautiful day like today, at least 1/3 of NYC’s 8 million citizens are almost guaranteed to be outside enjoying the early spring weather. From Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, to the 87 block sprint to the shop along 1st Avenue in Manhattan, there were people everywhere overflowing the sidewalks and into the bike lane–seriously giving the Crosstown’s maneuverability a run for the money.

As a messenger, every aspect of my daily bike (a 2007 Fuji Track) has been designed around two major components: maneuverability under load and comfort under load. It takes a lot of pride to say that, given the conditions, the Montague Crosstown handled itself better snapping in and out of stray pedestrians than anything I have ridden so far, including my own bike! I had no problem squeezing through crowds, or avoiding a collision.

This particular Crosstown was suped up with an electric conversion kit called the BionX System which NYCeWheels bike shop had installed. The BionX is very versatile and can be installed on virtually any bicycle. Average Joe Cyclist, for example, friend of NYCeWheels and author of the Avereage Joe Cyclist Guide, put a BionX on his Devinci Copenhagen 2008, converting it into an electric bike.  In this case, the Montague Crosstown had been fit with a 350 watt BionX motor and a 36 volt lithium Ion Battery.  It was fantastic, I never thought a hybrid bicycle–let alone a hybrid folding bicycle–could ride like that.

700c Hybrid…folding?

Yes, I said folding. You got a problem with that? I don’t. At 6’5″ and well over 300lbs I couldn’t believe that I, too, could ride a folding bike without looking like, well, a big guy on a really little bike (not to say the little bikes don’t hold their own!).

Combining elements of mountain, road and touring bikes, hybrid folding bikes take the best out of all three worlds and put them in to one package. Montague managed to put those elements in to one folding package, and do it right. NYCeWheels managed to take that great package and stick a great motor on it, and that’s even better.

BionX Crosstown MotorPut a motor on it.

The snappy responsiveness of the Crosstown wasn’t noticeably affected by the weight of the BionX motor, but the motor made a definite improvement on my (already late) commute across the Williamsburg Bridge, allowing me to soldier up the span at around 15 mph and comfortably coast down at 20, speed kept in check with one of the folding bike kit’s four user-selectable modes of regeneration.

Mind you, regeneration is not a substitute for at home charging, but it does help stretch the battery life out. By intelligently using regeneration, I was able to make it all the way up to NYCeWheels on one charge!
[you can view my commute on the Crosstown here via Edomondo!]

Summing Things Up

I really enjoyed my ride on the Crosstown BionX bike, and I definitely appreciated the fact that it’s a folding bike that feels like a full size bike, because, well, it is a full size bike. Which folds and has a motor. What more can you ask for, the Crosstown BionX bike has it all.

Dylan

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BionX Online Resources!

by Jack R. on February 13, 2014

BionX conversion kits are fabulous machines. Strap a motor to your rear wheel, a battery to your frame, and you’ve got yourself a custom made electric bike – it’s like combining the best of Robocop, Frankenstein, and Terminator, with all of the fun and none of the monsters or explosions.

Exceptional support with BionX

BionX Support team

Another great thing about BionX is that, aside from making products of great quality, they also offer some of the best customer support in the business. The BionX warranty is itself exceptional, providing a universal two years of coverage on motor and battery.  If you ever need parts or repairs the company  is easy to deal with and very reliable; anyone who has ever gotten an old electric bike off craigslist and tried to find parts will know the value of having this kind of support.

Online BionX Resources

If you’ve purchased a BionX kit from NYCeWheels, and ever have any problems you are welcome to give us a call or email and we can help you troubleshoot in person.

 

BionX Bike Fit

If we can’t provide a quick fix, we can contact BionX and see about getting you a new kit under warranty or order you a new part to get you up and running in no time.

But we’ve also worked very hard to provide ways for customers and browsers alike to get information and troubleshoot online.

Will a BionX fit your bike?

If you’re just beginning to research BionX bikes and would like to know if the BionX will be compatible on your bike, we’ve uploaded a detailed BionX article which has everything you need to know, including pictures of different types of frames, and an explanation of all the requisites for installation, drop out width, gearing etc.

BionX Troubleshooting

BionX expertIf you ever have problems with your BionX kit there are also a wide range of online articles which we have uploaded to help our customers address issues as fast and as efficiently as possible.

Of these articles, the BionX Troubleshooting Resource is the most general, acting like a home page for all more specific troubleshooting BionX pages.

This is a good place to start, including an introduction to the three most common problems, providing resource links for 1) those who have a BionX system that will not turn on, 2) those whose BionX system will turn on but is not functioning properly, and 3) for those whose battery is not charging.

BionX Conversion Kit

BionX Conversion Kit

From here you can click on links to a wide range of articles addressing the more specific problems that could be the cause of the more general symptoms outlined above, including a BionX diagnostic for At-Home Battery Recovery, a BionX Console Trouble Shooting Guide, and even a form where you can describe your problem in your own words, and submit it to our BionX experts.

If you’re having any problems check out these links. Hopefully you’ll be able to find a quick and easy fix, and you’ll be back on the road, enjoying your BionX Conversion Kit in no time.

All the best,

 

Jack

 

 

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Tern Link D8 with custom BionX motor

I always look forward to going to NYCeWheels to try out and review their products. I was excited to try something a little bit new and different. Peter suggested I try one of the lighter electric bikes in the shop, the Tern Link D8 with the BionX Motor Kit. This particular bike is equipped with the PL350 rear rack BionX model with a 350 watt motor and a 36V/6.4 Ah Lithium-ion battery. This was my first time ever riding an electric bike.

I initially noticed that the bike has a sleek look with its paintjob of a grey frame accented with baby blue that complemented the attached black rack, fenders and mud flaps. The black BionX kit easily blends in with the color scheme of the bike to give the complete Tern Link D8 with custom BionX motorset a seamlessly uniform appearance. The BionX Motor Kit does not add any additional bulk to the folding bike as it is installed underneath the rear rack. This helps keep the N-fold of the Tern Link D8 in the same dimensions as the model without the BionX Motor Kit and easy to take on public transportation.

This bike weighs approximately forty pounds in total with the BionX electric kit. The additional weight of the BionX Motor Kit on the Tern Link D8 folding bike made it a little more difficult for me to carry through public transit since it is about twice the weight than the regular folding bikes at the shop that I tried before. Despite the extra weight and my lack of upper body strength, I was still able to carry the bike down to the train platform; it just took me a bit longer.

The first ride home was quite an experience. I decided to take 85th Street westbound from NYCeWheels through the Central Park Loop to the Hudson River Greenway to get to Penn Station. Once I got to the loop I decided to use the BionX non-conservatively by aggressively using the throttle and pedal assist. From the first push of the pedal I felt the work of the BionX automatically giving an extra boost of power to my pedaling. It was surprising how smooth and effortless the pedal assist kicked in.

Tern Link D8 BionX consoleThe power of the BionX is controlled by the G2 console on the left side of handlebar. The console has an easy to read display with a backlight function that also turns on a rear safety light for riding during the night or poor weather conditions which can be switched on by holding the power button (upper left button) for four seconds. On the console, you can see the four levels of assistance (bars on right) and generation (bars on left) modes. When riding the bike there is Tern Link D8 with custom BionX motora control panel on the right handle to adjust the assistance levels and an extra red throttle button to give an extra boost of power. With the throttle button the top speed I maintained was around 11 mph during my route in Manhattan and my ride from the railroad station. The assistance mode helps aid you when pedaling. The higher you adjust the assistance levels, the less work your legs will have to produce when riding the bike. On the opposite spectrum, the generation mode that provides a level of resistance while the motor acts like a generator by recharging the battery of the BionX system. It gives a similar feel as if you were riding an exercise bike on the go. On the console you can also see displayed the speedometer and odometer to tell how fast you are traveling as well as how far you traveled.

The purpose of the BionX Motor Kit is to help provide assistance when riding the bike. For some riders an electric bike may be helpful for those who have difficulty pedaling due to a previous injury to their legs, biking long distances or generally when going on challenging steep hills. Most people do not know that eight years ago I had an athletic injury in high school when I landed awkwardly during volleyball practice from spiking. As a result I had torn my ACL and MCL ligaments in my left knee that required surgery in order to return to athletic activity and prevent further damage. After six months of recovery and rehabilitation I was able to resume in athletic activity, but only by using a sports brace for high impact activity to prevent future injury to the knee. When I push my limits, sometimes I do feel pain in my left knee. This is part of the reason I love to go biking since it is a low impact activity.

After about a total of twenty miles and a little over an hour of riding with aggressive use of the pedal assist and throttle, the battery life was only depleted about just under half its life. Recharging the battery was quite simple. The BionX Motor Kit comes with a power supply charger that connects to the BionX battery touch port by a four pin circular connector. Once the charger is plugged into a wall outlet, the bike takes about four to five hours for a full charge. The touch port has an LED ring that easily indicates when the battery is fully charged when it changes from an amber color to green.

Tern Link D8 with custom BionX motorTern Link D8 with custom BionX motor

Since I have started writing bike reviews for NYCeWheels, it seems that I have a knack for picking days to test ride these bikes during some challenging weather. Mainly this is due to the constant shift changes that I have in my other job and by chance of availability. In early December I took the Tern Link D8 with the BionX Motor Kit on one of my favorite paths on the west side of Manhattan, the Hudson River Greenway.

The Hudson River Greenway is the first path I took my Brompton for a spin in the city since it is an easy walking distance from Penn Station when I take the Long Island Railroad. My usual route is a loop from the Inwood stairs at the northern part of the greenway to Vessey Street in Lower Manhattan where the lower part of bike path has been closed off due to ongoing construction. There is another section closed off for construction by 133rd street that has a detour on to 12th Avenue to the continuation of the greenway at 135th street. This route is about a little over two hours and twenty four miles round trip. The majority of the greenway is relatively flat from Vessey Street to the Little Red Lighthouse with very few easy hills.

Heading north past the Little Red Lighthouse is where the greenway gets challenging. There are two steep hills to challenge your leg power. The first hill is just after you pass the lighthouse. I would rate this hill at moderate difficulty. After riding up the hill many times I had built up my leg strength, but I have seen many other bikers struggle on this hill. The most difficult hill is the switchback ramp just after the underpass tunnel. The high difficulty of this hill is due to its angle of incline at almost forty-five degrees with a short curve to the left about three-quarters of the way up to the top. I still find this particular hill hard to reach the top without getting off my Brompton at the curve and walking it to the top of the switchback. Therefore, I thought that this would be the perfect path to test the assistance of the BionX Motor Kit. On this ride I decided to use the BionX system more conservatively.

Tern Link D8 with custom BionX motorThe BionX worked like a charm up the hills toward Inwood. Using the power assist while riding the Tern Link D8 felt effortless as the BionX system allowed the bike to climb the steep hill without difficulty. I was able to pedal up the hill with just two bar levels of bike assistance without working my legs too strenuously. The third and fourth levels of assistance easily took the bike up the switchback at a faster speed. Once reaching the top of the switchback, the assistance mode can be turned off by squeezing the break lever that acts like a kill switch.

In the late afternoon I encountered a snow storm heading back south on the Hudson Greenway. The Tern Link D8 performed well on through the slick conditions as the tread on the Schwalbe Citizen tires was able to cut through the snow accumulation and not lose control. The fenders and mud flaps prevented the water from the path from getting on to my clothes during the snow storm. Since the conditions of the greenway were beginning to get a bit too dangerous, I switched the BionX system to the generation mode as I cautiously made my way back. After I made it back to my house, the BionX battery had at least three-quarters of battery life left after biking about twenty eight miles.

The Tern Link D8 with BionX Motor Kit was quite a joy to ride. I enjoyed the use of assistance mode for the steep hills that could bring difficulty in normal pedaling power. The throttle button gives you just enough burst of speed to help you not break a sweat on your ride. It is quite genius of BionX’s generation mode to have the bike recharge while in use. This gives less chance of the system draining out its power within a single usage. Overall, I would recommend the Tern Link D8 BionX Bike for any bike enthusiasts willing to give electric bikes a try.

Tern Link D8 with custom BionX motor

 

Read more blogs by Tracy Dong

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Thank You BionX

by Jack R. on November 20, 2013

Dear Bionx,

One of the best things about running our business on a daily basis is that we get to sell products that we not only know are fun and extremely cool, but are also often life-changing. At least, this is the case with the BionX electric conversion kits that we install every day.

BionX TrikeSeriously, what’s not to like about cruising at 20mph with no effort at all!? The ubiquitous reaction from our entire staff, and every single one of our customers to riding a BionX-installed bike for the first time is a big, goofy grin that tends to last long after the ride has ended.

This also tends to be true for people from all walks of life, from the elderly who purchase an electric kit to help keep healthy, to teens who take their BionX bikes on tricky single tracks and epic road trips.

Of course, there is also plenty to geek out about with the BionX system, for those who love getting the most out of their technology. With a full range of wattage, voltage, and amp hour options to choose from, not to mention the different BionX battery styles and mounting points, it is easy to see why so many people get happily pulled into obsessing over the exact configuration of their electric bikes. In fact, the BionX system is so versatile and customizable that we have had the pleasure of working with lots of different customers on some really wild projects, from tandems and recumbent bikes to trikes and folding bikes. Some from the latter category have actually proved so popular and useful that we keep them around on our demo floor permanently so customers can see how the system works. One of our most popular BionX-centric ideas was to mount your PL350 high-torque electric conversion system on some serious fatbikes. The result is way too much fun:


But how can a bike be life changing? In the case of our BionX-converted bikes, it turns out a bike can pretty seriously improve someone’s life very readily. In our years of experience converting standard bikes to electric bikes, we have met customers whose chronic hip, knee, or ankle injuries prevented them from traveling by bike, or even just on foot, who suddenly become free to travel easily with the acquisition of an electric bike. Many of our electric bike customers live in rural areas and ardently commute many miles to work on a daily basis despite the steep hills and winding country roads that they have to contend with. By adding a motor to their favorite bike, they are suddenly able to enjoy the beautiful scenery around them every day, and shuck their reliance on automobiles in the process.

BionX powered tandemSpeaking of which, probably the most regular occurrence of lives being changed by BionX is in the case of bike riders who want to be completely oil-independent. In many cases, these folks are already enthusiastic bike riders, but feel that using pedal power alone is impractical for some daily chores–buying big loads of groceries, or commuting 10 miles a day to a button-down office, for example. The excitement these customers exhibit at getting to keep their well-loved bicycles with the added practical use of a BionX kit is both palpable and contagious.

The world needs more companies that make great products, that are both practical and energy efficient, nifty and pragmatic. Most of all, we could all use more products that let a little more fun into the world, and change it for the better at the same time. In our humble opinion, BionX, the world could use more companies like you.

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Creative BionX Conversions

October 16, 2013

One spectacular thing about electric conversion kits is how they transcend just being a convenience or a toy, a tool or vehicle. With the ability to easily install a quality electric system on practically any bicycle, you become more than a mechanic or even an engineer–you become an artist! And some people have done truly [...]

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Why BionX and Folding Bikes?

September 14, 2013

At various times we have carried an assortment of electric folding bikes–that is, folding bikes with electric assist capabilities built right into the design from the ground up. It makes a lot of sense for NYCeWheels–we specialize in just two kinds of bikes, folding and electric, so why not combine the two? Well, somewhere along [...]

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The Case for the BionX PL250

August 12, 2013

I think when it comes to high tech gizmos, including electric bike conversion systems, it is easy to assume that more expensive necessarily means better performance. Even though it is easy to read all about the wattage and voltage of a whole range of electric conversion kits, it can be hard to understand what those [...]

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Fat Power: Surly Fatbikes With BionX Kits

July 8, 2013

By now you may have heard of the meteoric rise in popularity of the so-called “fatbike”. Fatbikes are a new breed of sort-of-mountain bikes that feature enormously wide tires utilizing low air pressure but high air volume. This results in a bike that “floats” on its gigantic tires, which are capable of absorbing a great [...]

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The BionX Man

May 7, 2013

The BionX electric bike conversion kit is an aptly named product. By clipping a battery to the frame of almost any conventional bike and installing a special rear wheel that houses an electric motor, the BionX essentially transforms the rider into a bionic super-human, with an electric boost that adds power to every push of [...]

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New Possibilities with Electric Conversion

February 12, 2013

An Electric Conversion Kit is not the most well known item in the general cycling community. I was an avid biker for years before I even started hearing about electric bikes, and it wasn’t until I learned about NYCeWheels bike shop that I realized it was possible to convert a regular bike into an e-bike. [...]

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