By Turbo Bob
What’s it really like to ride a BionX equipped bike? Most every article and post I’ve read about a BionX conversion has to do with technical specs, installation, and hype. None of my own curiosities were satisfied until I got my own 48v BionX kit. Now I know and I will try to tell you what its like.
First and foremost, it is almost no different than any other bike. A quick push of the on button when you climb aboard will power up the display. This works just like a bike computer and with no other actions, you are off and riding. The BionX display head will show your speed, total miles ridden, trip distance and time, and your average speed.
But, you want some power, right? Easy enough. Just push the plus button on the display or throttle unit. You have your choice of four levels of assist. Let’s just go to level four for now (maximum). This simple action allows the intelligence of the system add to your own leg power. It is so noticeable at this power setting. The BionX motor adds lots of go power and you speed down the path at a never before known pace.
BionX kit modes of power
For most riding you will probably be better at the second or third level. It still offers lots of assist, but it will increase your battery range at this lower assist level. As you pedal harder, the motor adds power automatically to make you feel like you have been working out. If you are just cruising, the BionX motor is just cruising too. It is a great feeling.
At any time during your ride, you have the option of overriding the computer’s decision on the power added. Just push the red throttle button, and you are in control of the motor’s output. And there is a lot of power to control. If you juice the throttle to full at around 10 mph, you can really feel the acceleration. It is a rush that is fun to get used to. You want to do it over and over it feels so good. The BionX motor kit takes you right to 20 mph and holds the speed at that point.
If you use the push throttle, you will reduce the batteries range distance. I find that holding the button at a mid point and maintaining 15-18 mph is very satisfying. You don’t want to do this endlessly for a couple reasons. One is that it will use up the battery pretty fast. The other is that it will warm up the motor and battery un-necessarily. It feels good, but you are best to pedal and use the auto-assist.
Some interesting BionX motor features
One (two) last things before we talk about open road riding: battery regeneration and the display’s readout of power used and regenerated. When you pull the rear brake handle (not enough to actually activate the brake), the system will go into regeneration mode and slow the bike down. On a hill, you can use the plus and minus buttons to set the regeneration drag to maintain a continuous speed. (More on this in a minute.) On the display, there is a dual bar graph that shows how much power you are using from the battery or adding back in. It is fun to watch and very accurate. Nice touch, BionX.
So let’s take a ride. Push the display on and wait a few seconds for it to go through it’s self-check. I use this time to turn on my front and rear blinking lights. ( I use them in the day and the night.) Set the auto-assist to number two or three. A you pedal off, the BionX motor just works with no other input. Shift through the gears like normal and enjoy the ride. If you pedal harder, your speed increases quicker than your regular bike. As you hit a hill, you can increase the power level to really help cut the grade down to size. It all feels so natural and pleasant.
If traffic or the road calls for a burst of speed, pop the throttle button, and your BionX bike takes off. I feel so in control of my bike with the addition of the BionX E-bike kit. Normally I just use the pedelec mode and ride like I always do. I love the added strength my legs feel. You ride effortlessly and quietly. The only noise you hear is the hum of the tires and the rush of the breeze. It’s a great feeling and very satisfying.
Multi-function e-bike power
When you are ready to come to a stop, gently pull the rear brake and the motor slows you down, while replacing some of the battery’s charge. When you are ready, use the brakes like normal for the final stop. After a great climb up a hill, you will crest the top and work your way down. Toggle the plus / minus buttons and find the correct level to maintain a safe speed down. The motor acts like a drag brake, and sends power back to the battery at the same time. It saves the brake pads and keeps them cool for heavy use if needed.
So there you have it. It rides just like a regular bike only way better. BionX has put together a fantastic package. I don’t see how you could go wrong with this E-bike conversion kit. The motor adds no noticeable drag when not being used. So if you use up all your battery charge on a long ride, no problem. So far I have been able to do over 30 miles on a charge, and believe me when I say I use the power more than I should.
So bunny-hop your bike to the nearest BionX dealer and check it out! Over and out, Turbo Bob.
“Distance measured with a pair of compasses is not precisely the same as when measured by the leg.”—Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men on the Bummel.