The Case for the BionX PL250

by Miles S. on August 12, 2013

Road bike BionX conversionI 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 specifications actually mean in terms of performance. The result is that, for many, the hunt for the perfect electric bike conversion kit can be confusing and harrowing. At NYCeWheels, we think electricity and bikes should always be fun together, so I thought we’d take a look at BionX’s entry level kit, the PL250, and in the process learn a little about what the tech specs on an electric bike really mean in day-to-day life.

Watts are for Power

recumbent BionXAs the entry level BionX product, the PL250 kit features a 250-watt motor–hence the name! Most electric bikes have at least this much wattage, though several of our dedicated electric bikes have as much as 500 watts. For our purposes, you can think of the number of watts that an electric bike motor has as how powerful it is. Because all the BionX kits top out at 20mph for legal reasons, however, higher wattage does not translate into a faster bike in the case of electric conversions. Rather, with more watts, you will get a motor that is better at accelerating and riding up hills. Thus, the PL250 BionX kit is well suited for those who are looking for a more subtle electric boost for their bike, not necessarily something that will take them tearing up mountains, or doing 0-20 in 4 seconds.

Volts are for Efficiency

Powering the PL250’s 250-watt motor is a 24-volt battery. Again, let’s just skip over the technical explanations and get to what this means for you as a biker. In a nutshell, with higher voltage comes more efficiency in power consumption. This means that a low voltage battery will die more quickly than a high voltage battery powering the same motor. Thus, given that BionX’s other kits use 36- and 48-volt batteries, the PL250’s battery is the least efficient of the bunch. However, because the smaller motor requires less power than the more formidable kits, the PL250 manages a decent range per charge as compared to its more expensive siblings–approximately 25 miles, though often significantly further if the kit is used conservatively.
BionX battery attached to bike

Because the voltage of the batteries powering each BionX kit are matched to the power demands of that specific system, it does not end up affecting performance too much. When in doubt, I’d say just don’t worry about the volts.

Amp Hours are your Fuel

Finally, the BionX PL250 battery packs about 9.5 amp hours. Amp hours (no relation to the normal kind of minutes-and-seconds hours) are essentially how much power the battery can contain–if your bike were a car, you could think of amp hours as being the size of your fuel tank. More amp hours means you can go further before recharging.

The genius of the PL250 BionX system is that despite keeping weight and cost to a minimum, it manages to maintain an impressive range per charge and top speed. This makes it ideal for most riders looking for an electric boost to reduce riding fatigue and take some of the sweat out of uphill riding. Now that you know what all the fancy tech terms translate into in actual use, go order your favorite BionX system now!

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