This is a compilation of 4 previous reports:
500 mile report
700 mile report
1000 mile report
1600 mile report
500 Mile report
I purchased my first E-Zip mountain bike 3 months ago from Walmart.com, $349 plus tax, shipping included, to local store. 1/2 to 1/4 the price of anything else I could find.
I loved it, used it as an electric bike, used motor only, cruised at 16 - 18 mph on dozens of 3 - 4 mile trips. I always recharged after every trip. 2 hour charge time, with supplied charger. I purchased the optional 4amp charger and reduced recharge time to 1 hour. After 3 months, 2 -3 trips each day, battery capacity has finally degraded enough to make it an "electric assist" bicycle, I have to pedal some to maintain the same speed. Batteries are easily replaceable just haven't felt the need yet. OEM battery pack is pricey at $130, plus $20 shipping, from California.
A few pointers.
1. Sharp edges on the left hand shifting control. Skinned my thumb knuckle. File or sand all sharp edges, emery board works well.
2. Inflate tires to maximum pressure, it arrived with minimum inflation. Higher pressure gives much better speed & distance.
3. Fully charge battery pack. The bike uses "Sealed Lead Acid" battery. This type battery is permanently damaged, (capacity reduced), by deeply discharging, and by leaving in a discharged state. Use pedal more if speed decreases noticeably. Charge often and immediately after each use.
4. Keep an eye on the brakes, keep them adjusted up and check for wear. Slowing down from 18mph at every stop sign etc. takes its toll.
Things they don't tell you!
1. The motor is regulated to 18mph. Faster than 18mph it is all you pedaling, no motor assist, the motor turns but at a speed slower than the wheel.
2. The front brake disengages the electric motor. I found out the hard way, hopped off the bike at a crosswalk and released the left brake, the bike jumped forward, dragging me, because the throttle was partially engaged by my right hand.
3. The ON\OFF switch next to the throttle is not "non-functional" as some have claimed. This switch produces different modes. "ON" is electric bike, full all-time electric power. "OFF" is electric-assist bike, electric power only when pedaling, power assist begins 1 second after pedaling begins and continues 3 seconds after pedaling ends, recommended mode for all but the most lazy. Both modes are regulated by the throttle.
4. The main power switch is located at the rear of the rack, it switches between left & right battery packs, center position is off. Also, there is an auto shut off, if unused the power disables, you have to turn it "off" then back "ON".
1. The first problem I noticed was a sloppy kickstand, after a couple hundred uses it seemed loose. When I disassembled it I saw that the detent pin was almost worn through. A couple weeks later it wore completely through and "stand" was useless. Disassembly is easy, highly recommend large "channel lock" Pliers. Press in the bushing-ring around the kickstand, this will relieve the tension holding the retention "pin" underneath the stand, if it doesn't drop out wiggle it out. The pin retains a spring & washer, if still in good shape, lubricate with heavy wheel bearing grease, if bad, drive out pin using nail set or heavy nail. I found a tight replacement pin at local hardware store 3/4" x 3/16" approx. Cutting a 16D common nail should also work.
2. The battery "rack" loosens up. Next time you're at the hardware store buy a small handful of 1/4" "split" lock washers, 2 cents each. Anything that loosens up add one of these and re tighten.
3. The chain has de-linked 3 times, under "loaded" radical shifting, one side of a link has separated, pressed back together with pliers. Finally replaced with repair link, (Master link), no problems since.
Will try to keep everyone updated.
EZIP ENGINEERING 101
700 mile update!
After 100++ charge-discharge cycles my batteries have finally given out, noticeably decreased speed after a couple miles. Battery pack comes apart easily, 5 screws, very tightly packed with 2-10ah batteries and several wires. Extreme care must be taken when reassembling pack, wire placement is slightly difficult-tricky, many wires and very little room. The most annoying problem was that the wire connectors were also soldered to the battery terminals, required a very powerful soldering iron and see-saw tension to remove. Being this late in the season I decided to take the cheap way out and replace with the cheap, and easily available 12v 7ah batteries. $30 for a pair, shipping included. Installed easily, lots of room, almost an inch shorter than the 10ah batteries. Top speed is slightly less, about 15-16mph on the level with a 200 pounder on-board, no pedaling, but worth it, for the price.
Over the winter I plan on proper maintenance and upgrades.
1. Proper 10ah battery replacement.
2. Alternate 36 volt power supply. 3 thin 12v 10ah batteries secured inside the frame and connected to the terminals in the second battery pack slot. That way I'll be able to switch between legal 18mph mode and "'illegal", if I get caught, 36v 27mph mode.
3. All bearing, chain and motor lubrication.
4. If I get ambitious, Quality rear tire w/puncture resistant tube.
5. New front wheel with quality disk brake.
EZIP ENGINEERING 101
1000 mile report - update
Finally hit the 1000 mile mark. Just in time, the cold & snow has settled into upstate New York. Time to hang up my bike till spring. No complaints except that I found out that @ 25 mph snowflakes hurt when they hit your eyeballs.
My major update, since my 700 mile update, is that I upgraded to 36 volt. All my reports use a carefully calibrated speedometer, tires inflated to maximum pressure (65 lb.+) and reflect a 200 lb. rider. The OEM 24v configuration motivated me at approximately 16 mph, 36v approx. 23 mph.
36 volt upgrade
Before committing to 36v I had to test, of course. My major concerns were flexibility and simplicity.
My first testbed:
I found a toolbox that fit 3 12v 11ah batteries perfectly, Home Depot $5.99, yes, added a fusible link, for safety:
Keeping flexibility as my main priority I staged refinements:
36 volt benefits!
1. Love the speed increase!
2. Love the range increase, almost 50% further per charge.
36 volt detractions!
(2010 Note! Newer models require "controller" upgrade, for 36v")
1. Gearing prevents pedaling at much past 20 mph, the electric assist bike becomes a electric bike, pedals are only usable for getting started, partial throttle or going up steep hills.
2. The bike seemed to produce a worrisome noise, a harmonic oscillation at about 21 - 22 mph, sounds fine at slower and faster. Either it diminished or I got used to it, don't notice it now.
3. Exceeding 20 mph, without pedaling, violates the federal guidelines defining a, "bicycle", making it a motorized vehicle. I've considered installing a "set screw" regulating the throttle to the "legal" 20 mph.
4. 3 SLA batteries mounted on the rack make it "top heavy". I'm experimenting with alternate battery placement, much better weight balance.
Making plans for next spring, will keep you informed.
EZIP ENGINEERING 101
E-Zip 1600 mile report-update EZIP
Sorry, ... planned on making a 1500 mile report, but the weather has been too nice.
Purchased E-Zip Mountain Trailz in June of 2008.
Replaced batteries near 500 mile mark.
Went to 36 volt near 700 mile mark.
Approximately 1000 mile mark, replaced Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries with "home-made" Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery pack.
All statistics are based on a 200lb rider and tires at maximum 65lbs pressure.
Began this spring near the 1000 mile mark. Getting ready for spring I did a complete Lube job, oiled all moving parts and greased the gear-reduction components of the motor.
I'm very happy with the bike. Most impressive would seem to be that I have been running 36 volts, on a 24 volt system, with no modifications, for 900 miles, with no problems! As a rule, I "pedal assist" at startup and "getting up to speed" as well as "help" on hills. Typically, I cruise at near, the legal, 20mph and avoid "full throttle". When I installed a proper voltage meter, I was shocked at the power drain caused by full throttle.
Yes, upon occasion, 25mph+ spurts are necessary for, fun, passing cars, or flying by the, muscle-bound, Spandex-wearing, guy huffing & puffing along on the $1000 mountain bike.
I began experimenting with Li-ion cells during the winter. Purchased a 36-37 volt Li-ion charger, and began charge-discharge diagnostics with a 10.4ah, 40cell, pack. Charging was fairly equal between cells. 10ah, with Li-ion cells, is not sufficient for an E-Zip, had several failures due to both over heating and minimum low voltage reached during heavy throttle. Li-ion cells have protection fuses built-in, non-replaceable. When 1 cell fails, the current demand on the other 3 cells in the bank of cells, increase sharply, causing them to fail. Replaced cells several times.
Oh ... forgot to mention that I own a small computer shop, piles of "bad" notebook batteries have accumulated over the years, typically 6-8 good cells are salvageable from each battery. Each cell individually tested with special 3.6 volt charger.
I did finally put out the $$$ for a PCB module, (Protect & Charge Board, or similar?), it equalizes charge between cells, hence all the wires, and regulates output, with additional low-voltage cut-off. This module retails for $80 and since I have plenty of batteries I made the module "quick-change", using cables from "bad" computer power supplies.
Finally decided that the 36v 20.8ah, 80 cell pack was the perfect size, smaller and, almost 1/2 the weight of the stock E-Zip battery pack with 3 times the power. Several test runs give 20 mile + range at 18mph without pedaling, except to start. With moderate pedaling should have range of 30-40 miles.
I started out using padded cardboard boxes to hold batteries but finally found some padded, water resistant, lunch-cooler bags that work perfectly. (Walmart $4)
One picture is worth a 1000 words!
Will "fill-in" this post with more info as I have time, and find pictures.
EZIP ENGINEERING 101