Maximizing range on your BionX

by BionX Electric Motor on May 29, 2012

Many people would be surprised to learn that a semi-truck and a NASCAR stock car each extract the same distance from a gallon of fuel: about 4 miles. This seems impossible when you realize you are comparing a 3,000-pound machine traveling at nearly 200 miles per hour with a 10-ton behemoth traveling one-third as fast. But the explanation is simple. The two things that consume energy in a moving vehicle are weight and speed. The race car uses a lot of fuel because of its speed, and the semi-truck because of its weight, but in the end, they both wind up being gas guzzlers.

By now you’re probably asking, “What does this have to do with extending the range of my BionX electric Drive?” Patience, Grasshopper, and all will be revealed. As you probably know, the BionX Electric Drive provides power on demand with four different levels of assist, and amplifies the power in your legs. It does this through a proportional assist torque-feedback system, which provides more assist the harder you pedal.

Weight, Speed, and The BionX

Let’s go back to the beginning of this article, where we learned that weight and speed are the two factors that consume energy. In this case, that would be the BionX lithium, or LiPO4 battery. But you weigh whatever you weigh; you can’t change that, right? Yes, that is correct, as long as you are on level ground. But on hills, you can influence how much weight you carry up the hill, by pedaling, and how much the BionX motor has to carry. The system gives you the ability to glide up hills without slowing down and downshifting like you normally would, just using the power of the electric hub motor. Don’t do it! Forcing the motor to propel you uphill without doing your part will use more energy. Instead, shift down and keep pedaling in the lower gear the way you would with a non-motorized bike. This will use a lot less power from the battery. In fact, I shift my assist level down from my normal Level 2 to Level 1when I am climbing hills. It makes a big difference.

The BionX regenerates!

And don’t forget the regenerative braking, one of the unique features of the BionX drive system. Instead of sailing down the other side of the hill at 20 or 25 mph, set the regenerative braking (the “G” button on the control console) to Level 1 or Level 2, whatever it takes to hold your downhill speed to around 14-15 mph. Using the regeneration, you can recharge the battery 10% or more just using the downhills on your route. You can even pedal down the hill for even more recharging!

Work together with your BionX system

I sometimes ride in groups on organized rides, going 50 miles or more. Often another rider will come up alongside me and ask, “If you have a motor, how come you’re not passing me?” The answer is simple: I don’t want to.” Conditioned riders on $3,000 road bikes are not the enemy — fatigue is! For a “seasoned” rider like myself, the satisfaction comes with completing a 50-or 60-mile ride and being pleasantly tired, instead of fatigued and sore to the point where I want to spend the next day recuperating on the couch. BionX is light-weight and very efficient. But let’s face it. An electric drive system, any electric drive system is only worth taking along for the ride if it can go the distance. If I have to reduce my pace by 1 or 2 miles per hour, I consider that to be a small price to pay to insure that I finish the ride with power to spare.

So now you know the techniques I use to make sure I get the most that my BionX electric drive system has to offer. They work for me, and I think they will work for you too, allowing you to extend your miles and your enjoyment the BionX way.

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