Electric powered bikes, bicycles with motors Stories about electric bikes, powered bicycles

15Nov/130

BionX for Beginners

There's no doubt about it, we live in an age of wonders. When I was a kid, I loved science fiction, imagined a future of flying cars, teleportation machines, voice activated George Foreman grills that could produce a perfect medium rare steak in seconds, but it never occurred to me that the tech already existed to super charge my old trek bicycle with an electric motor conversion kit.

Maybe if I had spent less time watching Night Rider and more time reading science magazines I would have seen the electric bike revolution coming. As it is, according to a wiki article on the subject electric powered bikes made up 10 to 20 percent of all two-wheeled vehicles on the streets of many major cities by 2007, and the trend is only just beginning. Earlier this month I watched the first footage of an electric powered flying bicycle. My 8 year old self stands agog.

Powerful electric conversion

Powerful electric conversionThe electric conversion kit has got to be one of the most fantastic inventions of the 20th century, and as time goes on, the technology for it gets better and better. One of the most advanced kits on the market is the BionX conversion kit, capable of converting pretty much any regular bicycle into a powerful motorized vehicle capable of 45 miles on a charge and 20 mph top speeds.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

What is the BionX conversion kit? How does it work?

350-watt-bionx-kit-for-surly-fat-bikesWhen you convert a bicycle into an electric bicycle using the BionX conversion kit, you replace your rear wheel with a new wheel which has a motor in it. This motor is powered by a Lithium Ion battery which is mounted to the frame of your bicycle, and is activated using a console that is mounted on your handlebars. The battery is easily removable, and comes with a charger that can be plugged into any normal 110 wall socket. It takes about 4-5 hours to fully charge the battery. Your bike is still a bike, and you can still pedal it as usual, but now you can press a button and the motor will kick in boosting you along a flat at 20mph, or helping you up those pesky hills.

The BionX uses pedal assist

BionX ConsoleSome electric bikes use a throttle to activate the motor. In the case of a bike like the A2B Metro, the throttle is on the grip itself, just give a twist and you'll feel the motor kick in, whether or not you happen to be pedaling. On the BionX kit there is a throttle, which exists in the form of a small red button which you push with your thumb, but actually the BionX works best as a "pedal assist" electric bike.

Using the console on your bars, you select one of four levels of assistance ranging low to high, the motor then works in tandem with your pedaling cadence. At the lowest setting, the motor will do about 25 percent of the work for you, at highest, it will boost you along at 20 mph with absolutely no effort required on your part. What results is a system that is more powerful, more efficient, and more intuitive than a throttle activated system.

Are there different types of BionX kits?

There are three different BionX kits. The cheapest is the pl250 conversion kit, which uses a 250 watt motor, and a 26 volt Lithium ion battery. This is the entry level kit, lighter than most other kits on the market and with decent power and range.

The next step up is the pl350 BionX kit. This kit uses a more powerful 350watt motor capable of faster acceleration, and is powered by a larger 36 volt battery for more range and power. This kit one of the most popular as it offers more range and power at a mid range price point - a good meeting point between affordability and high performance.

Electric Conversion KitThe last option is the premium Sl350 BionX kit. This is the most advanced BionX conversion kit currently on the market, using a more powerful 48 volt battery for increased range and power, while maintaining a light weight. Including the motor, battery, and console, this kit will only add around 18 lbs to the weight of your bike. This means that if you convert a road bike that only weighs 25lbs to start out with, you'll end up with an electric bike 20 lbs lighter than most other electric bikes on the market.

So there's the basics! Hope this was helpful as an introductory guide. Check out the BionX conversion kit, and see where our future might be taking us.

All the best,

Jack

18May/130

Going Electric: the Folding Conversion

If there is one experience that I have noticed consistently blowing bikers' minds, it is trying out an electric bicycle for the first time. The experience is a total revelation. Climbing up hills suddenly feels like coasting downhill, and acceleration to 20 miles per hour or more takes somewhere between little and no effort.

Elegant Electricity

For many, while the electric option is an intriguing one, quality fully integrated electric
bikes are prohibitively expensive. Others don't wish to sacrifice their perfectly balanced bike setups, or the compactness of their folding bike, by adding a clunky electronic component. Fortunately, the Crystalyte conversion kits that we use at NYCeWheels overcome these issues elegantly.

These electric systems have the capacity to electrify almost any folding bike with 20"wheels--the standard wheel size for most Dahon and Tern bikes. The battery and controller (think of it as the system's "brain") are housed in a rear rack-mounted durable nylon bag, and the motor is built into the hub of the front wheel, producing an extremely well-balanced ride.

20 MPH Without Breaking a Sweat

A simple handlebar-mounted console lets you to select the power output of their motor, allowing you to dial in the exact amount of pedal assistance you want. On the lowest setting, pedaling simply feels easier, while on the highest setting you can fly at 20mph without breaking a sweat. And while the 10 amp hour battery will be plenty to carry you through your commute and back, the optional 15 amp hour version will have you biking around effortlessly all afternoon.

Compatible with Internal Hubs

This kit is especially useful for anyone who wants a bike with both an electric motor and an internal gear hub--since the motor is built into the front hub rather than the rear, as is the case with most electric conversion kits, it does not interfere your bike's gearing mechanisms.

It's a smart, convenient little package, so it makes sense that one customer recently had it installed on a Tern Link D8, itself an exceedingly well designed product. I think his face really says it all.

If you want to look that happy about your folding electric bike, look no further than this highly versatile conversion kit from NYCeWheels!

About the Author

Miles Schneider is a folding and electric bike specialist and blogger for NYCeWheels in New York City. He plays the 6-string electric violin and loves dogs.