BionX

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
2old   100 kW

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BionX

Post by 2old » Mar 25 2019 5:01pm

A local e-bike store (third oldest in the US, AFAIK) still sells ELBY bikes with the BionX 500D motor and OHM still offers it on some of their models. How are they accomplishing this with BionX out of business?

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spinningmagnets   100 GW

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Re: BionX

Post by spinningmagnets » Mar 25 2019 6:03pm

There are some examples of new-in-box stock that are available due to slow sales when BionX was a viable company. It may have just taken some time to clear out the BionX hubs in the warehouse.

Its a good product, my only complaints are that the system is very proprietary, and it was a bit pricey. That being said, If I found a mint condition 1984 Mercedes 300D with very low miles, I'd buy it and I would not care a bit that they are no longer made...

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Re: BionX

Post by 2old » Mar 25 2019 8:41pm

The store in Laguna Beach sold BionX kits (as well as ELBY commuters). There is a very steep hill adjacent to the store, and I tested an MTB with a 500D kit. It was the most powerful "OEM" bike I've ridden and just flattened the hill.

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Re: BionX

Post by spinningmagnets » Mar 25 2019 9:08pm

I've ridden a couple of BionX D-series hubmotors at the Interbike meets. They were as quiet and any ebike I have ever ridden, and due to the large diameter, the hub had impressive torque for a direct drive.

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Re: BionX

Post by donn » Mar 26 2019 12:20am

If you could get the motor+controller set up to run with an (or any) ordinary 3rd party 36V Lithium-cobalt or whatever bicycle battery, then the proprietary issue wouldn't matter to most users, am I right?

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Re: BionX

Post by miro13car » Mar 26 2019 10:16am

I don't have a problem with Bionx being proprietary.
You get silent,high torque drive with thermal protection unlike your cheap Chinabrand kits, display with all those functions and info
What a shame any government agenda would not step in to here and help to save our own NAmerica product and technology.
History repeats itself. Do you remember Eplus bikes, TForce bikes ??
History repeat itself
They could not compete with cheap China labour resulting in cheap product
Eplus, Bionx

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Re: BionX

Post by 2old » Mar 26 2019 10:43am

I noticed that ELBY, which had a booth at Sea Otter last year, isn't there this year. Maybe their supply of motors is dwindling. Fantastic commuter though, well designed and executed. SM, are you attending?

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Re: BionX

Post by alan » Mar 26 2019 1:41pm

spinningmagnets wrote:
Mar 25 2019 6:03pm
That being said, If I found a mint condition 1984 Mercedes 300D with very low miles, I'd buy it and I would not care a bit that they are no longer made...
I owned a 1984 Mercedes 300TD-T (turbo diesel station wagon). Great handling and brakes, and power, once off the line. EVERYTHING ELSE ABOUT THAT PIECE OF TRASH WAS DISGUSTING! Worst part was the three transmissions in 6 years, although they were covered under warranty. Cruise control was worthless, except on flat roads without headwinds. Climate control was HORRIBLE, and there was no manual override. Radio was pure junk, with AM unlistenable. Door locks worked, occasionally. Dealer repeatedly assured me that the cruise, climate, door locks, radio, etc. were all within factory specs. Failures were VERY frequent (window regulator, head gasket, tailgate lift spring, turn signal flasher, etc., etc., etc., etc.).

I have owned two Saab 900s, two Volvos, a BMW, two Lexus', and various other brands since my first Pinto, but none of my other cars could possibly compare to the unreliability of this Mercedes, which actually was very reliable (ignoring the terrible cruise, climate, door locks, radio) for the first couple years, and then a non-stop disaster. Did I mention that '84 300TD-T was the last Mercedes I will ever own?

Now, back to the Bionx discussion. I have owned two Bionx units, put over 20K miles on each, and loved them both.

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Re: BionX

Post by 2old » Mar 26 2019 2:37pm

I would have grabbed a 500D conversion, but the dealer seemed mercurial and I opted to go in a different direction. The 500D was reportedly the least reliable of the BionX systems. The "350's" garnered glowing reports.

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Re: BionX

Post by markz » Mar 26 2019 7:32pm

Too fancy a word "mercurial" so I had to go and look it up, still don't understand the word in relation to the dealer. Dealer was shrewed? is my best guess.

Wikiword states:

Having the characteristics of eloquence, shrewdness, swiftness, and thievishness attributed to the god Mercury.

Quick and changeable in temperament; volatile: a mercurial nature.
2old wrote:
Mar 26 2019 2:37pm
but the dealer seemed mercurial and I opted to go in a different direction.

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Re: BionX

Post by donn » Mar 26 2019 10:03pm

What I got from it was that a reliable long term business model didn't seem to be there for these Bionx conversions. Can't imagine why not.

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Re: BionX

Post by 2old » Mar 26 2019 10:31pm

To me it means "Quick and changeable in temperament" (and it could easily have been precipitated by me).

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Re: BionX

Post by miro13car » Mar 27 2019 1:37pm

Whatever business model
if you allow import of ebikes from cheap labour China with no duties to level competition field you have what you have. - bankrupt companies
Europe had a guts to slap over 40 percent duties on China brand crap to protect German businesses.
Majority of people want just ready to ride reliable ebikes
Eplus, Bionx

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Re: BionX

Post by markz » Mar 27 2019 4:45pm

miro13car wrote:
Mar 27 2019 1:37pm
Whatever business model
if you allow import of ebikes from cheap labour China with no duties to level competition field you have what you have. - bankrupt companies
Europe had a guts to slap over 40 percent duties on China brand crap to protect German businesses.
Majority of people want just ready to ride CHEAPreliable ebikes

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Re: BionX

Post by Street_Rider » Mar 27 2019 10:17pm

I have a unblocked Elby that lets me go over 28 miles per hour with throttle up to 20. For commute is really great. I go on paths and streets and sometimes faster than cars! No traffic for bikes! :lol: :bolt: :bigthumb:

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Re: BionX

Post by miro13car » Mar 28 2019 9:48am

They cheat themselves thinking that cheap and reliable exist
Eplus, Bionx

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Re: BionX

Post by 2old » Mar 28 2019 10:42am

Unfortunately or not, the marketplace is the final arbiter of what is viable and what doesn't survive. I have a BBS02 that has survived four years of off road use without a whimper, a 1000w YESCOM kit for the same interval as an errand bike and a Luna 52V 10 amp battery powering them both. AIR, someone lost a fortune on E+; who wants to dump more money into a losing proposition?

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Re: BionX

Post by donn » Mar 28 2019 11:07am

miro13car wrote:
Mar 28 2019 9:48am
They cheat themselves thinking that cheap and reliable exist
Lots of people do, but there's a range of consumers. There's a market for well made, durable products, at least a small one but larger when there's a well documented difference in reliability. But it would be my guess that when you go that market with bicycle with proprietary batteries, too many of them are going to know better.

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Re: BionX

Post by miro13car » Mar 28 2019 11:09am

loosing proposition??
What do you mean?
I have 3 EPLUS ebikes and would buy another one if I could,
As you know from bikeforums.com.
Many people, majority are NOT technical people
Do not mix marketing and business decisions with technology.
Bicause you pick on EPLUS - it is wonderful ebike drive .
My summer Eplus has passed 26000 kilometers
for many people riding experience is everything.
9 power levels you cannot beat, 9 regen levels you cannot beat, thermal protection you cannot beat and list goes on and on. - riding experience.
You want to compare Yescom drive experience with Eplus - there is NO comparison.
Eplus, Bionx

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Re: BionX

Post by 2old » Mar 28 2019 4:24pm

You're right, NO comparison, YESCOM is still in business.

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Re: BionX

Post by markz » Mar 28 2019 6:10pm

As for the cheap argument, look no further then the Sondors fiasco, or a fancy paint schemed BSO from Walmart.

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Re: BionX

Post by Cephalotus » Mar 30 2019 3:44pm

donn wrote:
Mar 26 2019 10:03pm
What I got from it was that a reliable long term business model didn't seem to be there for these Bionx conversions. Can't imagine why not.
BionX made some significant mistakes in the European market and this where you get your money.

In 2011-2012 they had many, many OEM hat used their PL HT motors (sold with 250W stickers in EU), but than e-MTB emergaed and many complained about the heavy (4.7kg) motors in the rear wheel.

So BionX introduced the 3.4kg SL motor. This motor includes within this weight a built in 48V 30A cntroller and a built in torque and cadence sensing mechanism (BionX detects cadence from fluctuation of signal input). Imho this is still unmatched and could be forever.

Problem was this motor does not well i you ask for high power an steep hills. It overheats quickly under that conditions.

The new 250W Bosch mid drive systems introduced in the European market could climb almost any hill, slowly, but without overheating and for almost everyone.

At the same time BionX also had software problems and by far, worst of all, the swittched from their German bettary pack assembler (36V system) to a Chinese(?) assambler and at the beginneg almost every battery, tens of thousands of them, failed and the failed quickly. People bought expesnive BionX Pedelec and coulddn't climb steep hills with them. Worse, their battery oten stoped working within a few days and replacement wasn't available and if it was available the new ones failed again. On top of that theer had been some software problems at that time.

In 2014 no OEM (independent from Magna/BionX) sold BionX bikes. BionX not only destroyed their own business but most likely killed the European market for hub motors. It is 99% mid drives over here now.

Their d-Series is a very interesting concept. Its a relatively lightweight motor with quite accepatable heat dissapation (for a hub motor) and makes a very nice motor for a 45km/h setup. Problems are the special rims and the hub motor housing. It can work well for tens of thousands of km, but when the spokes apply uneven pressure on the housing and especialyy if the composite is hot (sitting in the summer sun) the housing can warp and the stator may touch the housing afterwards. Usually this is a total failure, because the d-Series motor is very difficult to service.

My opinion:

For me(!) the BionX is the best system out there for mots of my needs. I don't need a motor to go up steepest hills without sweeting, mostly I do not climb steep hills at all. I want silent motors and I want Pedelecs that ride like bicycles. The Bionx system can provide that, most direct drive hub motors weight significantly more and have significantly more cogging. This is imporatant for 25km/h pedelec, less so for 45km/h speed pedelec.
I like their connectors (exclduing the BAAS motor connector but you can change that to XT60L for example)

Recuperation from BionX system is as good as it gets.

I like their display and their small control elements.

I just ordered a complete setup with GRIN products from a German supplier incl all controls, CA3.1, phase runner, solar setup, Analogger, torque sensor and so on.
Not only is this significantly(!) more(!) expensive than the BionX systems, I aslo have to deal with operating units and displays that look like technology from 1980, dozends of connectors and stuff mounted to the bike "somewhere" and I just hope that it will be able to withstand heavy rain. BionX did that easily for many years. Recuperation will be a compromise compared to BionX, so I was told.

I bought it because I need some very unique features and for long range travailing where any failure in the otherwise so nice one piece Bionx motor, controller or torque measurement system could stop your trip.

So would I recommend to buy one bike with a BionX D series motor. Propably not. The risc is that your motor will fail. Elby has that special battery integrated into the bike frame, so it will not look so nice if you have to convert the bike into something else.

For me the BionX world is very different.

Me and my geirlfreid to ride 7 BionX Pedelec and Speed pedelec. I have many motors (the old PL and SL are dirt cheap and easily available used and they are serviceable), I have many displays and control units. they vera rarely fail, if they do so I just grab a replacemnt from my own stock.

I also have lots of replacment BionX BMS for the 48V battery systems. You can do without them (some hack) in a emergency, but you lose some fetaures, most relecant the very excellent regen function.

If you buy into BionX today you should get their BBI2 connection system to your PC. The development software is available for download and you can do almost anything with it. It offers a similar feature set to a cycle analyst 3.1, for some features it offers more, for some a bit less. Overall comparable in the ability to change the system to your needs.

The BionX RC3 controller puts 6 buttons, a thumb throttle, a battery gauge and some status indicator within the same space that the Chinese need for just two buttons. It has one single cable to the battery/motor.

This is my girlfriends speed pedelec with BionX D series motor:
Supreme_2_RH55_1_tarn.jpg


Incl. rack, fenders, stand, good light, Redshift suspension Stem and 618% gearing range it weights just around 20kg.

It is also quite efficient:
180722_Auswertung2_Grafik5.jpg
Here is an example what you can do with the BBI development software. DS3 with special firmware 4.1 offers a nice diagnostic screen for example:
BionX_DS3_Ver41_1.jpg
For my BionX systems I expect (hope?) the BionX d-series motors to fail after 10,000 to 20,000km average. They have been expensive and I only have 5 of them so I use them mainly for the speed pedelecs wheer they offer the greatest advantage.
After that and if nobody is able to fix them in the future I will sith to my SL motors. Biggest annoyance with those are the freewheels, which are failed technology from the 1970s. They also overheat in our speed pedelecs during summer.

The rest of my BionX components should hopefully last for another 15-20 years.

I have some old Chinese geared hub systems and they are fine for what I use them.

I look forward to the full "Grin" setup, how it will be able to compare.

For those that want to ride at 50km/h+ or need 2000W+ the BionX system is not attractive and never has been. It's for people that want an assistance while riding, not for electric motorcycles.

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Re: BionX

Post by John in CR » Mar 30 2019 5:43pm

miro13car wrote:
Mar 28 2019 9:48am
They cheat themselves thinking that cheap and reliable exist
A worse way people cheat themselves is thinking that more costly means better. Cheap and reliable certainly exists, though not as ready to ride store bought ebikes.

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Re: BionX

Post by rowbiker » Mar 31 2019 10:18am

cephalotus:
Recuperation from BionX system is as good as it gets.
I have used both the Grin and BionX regen features for several years and have found the Grin system to be more reliable and flexible. I have used both of these systems on 'rowbikes' (see rowbike.com), not diamond frame 'upright' bikes so the comparison to 'normal' bikes may be flawed.

These rowbikes have 20" wheels front and back, and in both examples we use DD rear BLDC hub motors running at a nominal 48V and decent sized lipo traction battery packs. The Grin setup uses a HT Crystalyte, while the BionX uses the "P" series 350 motor - both radially laced into 20" rims, with near identical tires on both setups. The bikes are heavy when setup for e-assist, weighing in at 45 pounds or better. The Grin used both Grinfineon and Phaserunner controllers, with a preference for the Phaserunner, all other things being equal. Variable regen on the Grin setup is handled with 'stock' gripshift throttles, both resistance (Magura) and cheap chinese (Hall effect), giving 'infinite' control in the regen voltage range (0 to ~0.84V).

The BionX used the original factory setup, with the G2 display and the 48V battery. The amount of regen is programmable and selectable in four steps via the display, but not 'infinitely' variable by the rider in realtime as is the Grin. I have found that I strongly prefer the smooth braking of the Grin's infinite range in everyday riding -- I can 'roll in' the exact amount of resistance I want, just as you could with well-adjusted mechanical brakes. Also, on relatively long and/or steep descents, the BionX system would not always engage or remain engaged reliably, requiring the use of the mechanical brakes. On the Grin system, I rarely touch the mechanical brakes anymore -- which for me is the primary purpose of the regen braking system in the first place.

I have followed your comments on the German forums as well as here on ES (I'm a native german living in the US for a long time), so I'm very familiar with your demonstrated expertise on the subject of BionX, as well as ebikes in general. Since you said you'll be trying the Grin system, I'm going to be *extremely* interested in your observations!

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Re: BionX

Post by rowbiker » Mar 31 2019 10:59am

If you buy into BionX today you should get their BBI2 connection system to your PC. The development software is available for download and you can do almost anything with it. It offers a similar feature set to a cycle analyst 3.1, for some features it offers more, for some a bit less. Overall comparable in the ability to change the system to your needs.
The OEM I partner with attempted to make the BionX system an e-assist option on our line of bikes. We eventually became a BionX "dealer" to facilitate the testing of BionX products on our prototypes. This included a licensed version of the "BBI" and the dealer configuration/setup software. I used this extensively during efforts to make the BionX components work effectively on our bikes.

I have much respect for the BionX hardware and firmware, but ultimately we weren't granted enough access to the low level proprietary firmware to make the adjustments we felt were necessary. This is in no way meant to be a criticism of BionX, since their focus at the time was clearly on 'normal' pedal bikes, not our unusual propulsion 'rowbikes'. As a matter of fact, it speaks highly of the design and engineering of the internal strain gauge and controller system used by Bionx that it performed as well as it did using only the adjustments available to dealers via the BBI and accompanying setup software.

While ultimately abandoning the use of BionX components for our OEM projects (only made permanent with the liquidation/bankruptcy of BionX), we (now I, mostly) transferred a set of BionX parts to a Rans Rocket I happened to have on hand. It also has 20" wheels, and is a 'pedal' bike, even though a recumbent vs upright. A slight adjustment of the notch in the axle to be perpendicular to the Rocket's elevated chainline, and we were good to go.

However, I recently attempted to use the original BBI and our dealer software (the original installation was on a Toshiba laptop running WinXP Pro), and a litany of software failures ensued. As best as I could gather, the program decided it needed to 'phone home' to the BionX online servers, which are apparently permanently 'down' and therefore not accessible. The software says basically 'try again later'. After many attempts, including re-installing the software and manually copying missing *.dll files, I finally gave up. After a recent test on my dyno, the BionX P series motor finally "blew" something, possibly on the internal controller, which resulted in the hub motor subject to heavy resistance to spinning freely ("cogging"). I was unable to see any error codes on the G2 console, and since I couldn't get the BBI to work, I decided to pull the motor apart and see whether there was anything obvious, like a blown MOSFET. There was no apparent damage, and not having access to schematics, I really couldn't see a way forward. I've, for now, decided to convert the motor -- which I like -- to be a 'generic' BLDC. I'd also like to re-use the internal strain gauge on the axle shaft, since it appears to be fully functional.

I know this is a very rambling post, but in the absence of an official BionX presence, you may very well be currently the world's best available resource for objective BionX expertise, so I'd be a fool not to ask this question: "Any suggestions?" :D

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