Holmes' A2B Metro Review

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johnrobholmes   1.21 GW

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Holmes' A2B Metro Review

Post by johnrobholmes » Aug 25 2010 1:19pm

I picked up an almost new A2B metro from a local that said the motor was bad. Great deal for me. Turns out a connector was loose on it, so now I have a strong running bike! I will give my impressions of the vehicle as I poke and prod it. Any specific questions about it, just ask away! First up is to clean the bike and do some adjustments, all the brakes and shifting are out of whack and everything is dirty.

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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro

Post by johnrobholmes » Aug 25 2010 1:26pm

First impression, this thing is a tank! The website lists them as 72lbs, and I believe it fully. Nice solid construction though, and really fat tires. This isn't a bike I would want to pedal much, although at very slow speeds it isn't too bad. The mile of no throttle pedaling I did made the weight VERY evident when I would hit even modest inclines.


Second impression, the rear suspension is bouncy. Not too bad since it is just a 20mph bike, but it isn't what I would expect on a $2700 msrp ride. Absolutely no rebound dampening. Front suspension is pretty good however.


Third impression, it has power just like my 20a 36v "old trusty" Bafang build, except that I can tell the bike is heavier. Maybe a touch more acceleration, like a 25a limit. It rides solid, and is nimble enough. The motor makes a lot of groans at low speed, but gets quiet pretty fast once above around 5mph. Climbing hills at full throttle is quiet as long as the speed doesn't dip down too much.

Fourth impression- the seating posture is very upright and comfy. I would say almost too high for a commuter bike, but it does the job well.


More musings after the jump.

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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro

Post by johnrobholmes » Aug 25 2010 3:42pm

Went for another ride, the motor is still grumbly and loud. I would say louder than any other hubmotor I have used. It is probably the controller during amp limiting, because after 10mph the bike is almost dead silent. Maybe Ypedal can confirm or deny this as well?


Other observations (keep in mind I am a bike mechanic and semi-snob):

Handlebar and stem are proprietary. They used a HUGE bar diameter at the clamping area. I haven't taken off the stem yet, but I would not be surprised if the steer tube and headset were not standard either. The fork is extremely stiff, as it should be riding underneath a 75lb bike.

Charging is totally plug and play- the biggest bonus of this vehicle. Plug into the wall, plug into the bike, flick switch.

The rear hub does not freewheel as good as I would expect. Maybe it is direct drive? Browsing Ypedals thread now.. Also, the chain rubs on the chain guide when in the slowest gear. Not a big deal though, just worth mentioning because of the noise.

The cables on the bike need just a few centimeters more slack. They are all taught. Certainly enough play to rotate the handlebars, but I like just a smidge more breathing room so the cables don't wear from the tension.

The rear rack is STOUT. I may mount a seat on it and some pegs on the rear axle so me and my girl can double team it :lol: If nothing else, this will become a grocery getter.

And finally, the components on the bike are just OK. Brakes are great, but otherwise I would expect a bit more snazz to the shifter and derailleur and pedals. I would expect parts from a $1000 bike on this at least, but some of the components were skimped. Hydraulic brakes, better pedals, better seat, and better shifter/ derailleur would be on my "better value" list.

Now, I must mention again that I am very scrutinizing on these. Certainly, the components used do the job well. As we see more electric bikes come to market we will see better parts or lower prices. As it stands, I think the A2B is practically the first widely available E-bike in the US. As such, they can basically charge what they want. I would call this a great value at $1500 to $2000 new.


Overall, very happy with the bike. It is indeed very nice for what it is.

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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro

Post by friedwires » Aug 25 2010 4:52pm

congradulations on the great deal :mrgreen: i recently put an a2b metro motor on my e-scooter.an it also makes that groaning sound at startup.im running a 48v 25a controller.are you planning on any mods?

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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro

Post by johnrobholmes » Aug 25 2010 5:10pm

I'm planning to keep it stock for now. I have plenty of other bikes to mod, this one makes 5 running ebikes.

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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro

Post by friedwires » Aug 25 2010 6:02pm

nice!!! only two e-bikes here,but five out of six e-scooters are up and running. :D

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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro Review

Post by johnrobholmes » Aug 25 2010 10:30pm

This evening my fiancé and myself went for a little jaunt downtown for dinner. We took our electric bikes. I rode Old Trusty http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... 23&start=0 and she rode the A2b down there. Thoughts from the evening of mayhem, fun, and drunkardness:

She perceived the Metro as:

Bouncy. This was her first observation. Interpretation: Not enough rebound control on the shock.
Rough on the Vajayjay. Interpretation: Seat too wide for pedaling, and vibration from motor. Could have been caused from a seat a few cm too high.
Hard to handle at low speeds. Interpretation: Friggin heavy for a 113lb lady.
Difficult to pull over curbs. See last interpretation.
Nice throttle. Interpretation: she loves half throttles where she can rest on a normal grip.
Plug and play! She isn't into battery management, and I really don't like manual BMS either.
Fast! It was a mph or two faster than my old trusty, and has great pep.
Nice and tidy looking. Hidden wires, clean looks, etc.
Ugly looks. Too boxy, weird geometry, she likes round tubes (hehehe).
Pedals too far forward (or seat too far back). Interpretation: Geometry of the bike didn't suit her. It seems made for a much larger person with too little weight over the pedals. She is 5'4".


We swapped after dinner, and she rode my Old Trusty on the way back. The light weight and ease of handling on the homeade one was a winner, but the plug and play and tidyness of the A2B was a bigger factor if she were to choose one. With a BMS on Old Trusty it would be no contest for her if I put a half twist throttle on it, the heavy weight of the Metro was a HUGE negative.

One big thing I did notice on the ride home- the A2B Metro steering geometry does not have enough trail (or maybe way too much, I haven't measured). It is absolutely not ridable with no hands, it will flop around with no steering input. The profile of the tires may be a factor in this, but my gut told me that the steering angle was too sharp or the trail was too short.


Now, it may seem that most of the observations are negative. Certainly, the ride is not a bad one. In fact, we both had an absolute blast this evening no matter what bike we were riding. It should just be noted that a discerning enthusiast like myself, or even fairly novice rider like my fiancé will find items that could be improved on the bike. Certainly we hope that A2B could take notice and improve the bike on future revisions. What is really nice (to me) is that the electronics are totally set. Besides putting the PWM frequency into the inaudible range, there is absolutely nothing that would need an upgrade. What stands out to both of us is the geometry of the bike and the cheap rear shock, however.

Not all roses here, but NO WAY am I getting rid of this bike right now. We had an absolute blast, and I think the Metro is an all around great bike. It has secured a spot in my stable and will be used for years to come. Looks like I have to get rid of another bike now. I have limited myself to 24 bikes and this puts me past that limit....

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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro Review

Post by liveforphysics » Aug 26 2010 12:48am

johnrobholmes wrote:Rough on the Vajayjay.
If I had a nickle for everytime I've got that complaint... :twisted: :mrgreen:

johnrobholmes wrote: It is absolutely not ridable with no hands, it will flop around with no steering input.
I hate that in a bike. You would think with a comerical production bike that somebody would have at least rode it first before it went into production. lol

I'm glad it's working well though, and you can't beat the price! :)
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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro Review

Post by Ypedal » Aug 26 2010 8:56am

Absolutely, i agree on all points listed.

The bike is perfectly ' ok ' as delivered.. but for the pricetag on this thing some nicer pedals and a proper rear shock are in order, those 2 things alone would make the bike " Really Ok " .

I love mine, for what it is, legal power, ( and yes, it's direct drive, same motor as BionX, Ultra motor guy told me they produce the Bionx motor and own the factory ) ..

It's a submarine, no worries about riding in the rain with this bike. :wink: . i have FULLY tested it's water readyness..
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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro Review

Post by johnrobholmes » Aug 26 2010 9:14am

Do you get the pinging and vibrations at low speed too?

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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro Review

Post by Ypedal » Aug 26 2010 9:41am

Yep, i hooked up a cycle analyst on mine and it severely restrics power until the motor reaches a certain rpm ( like 7~10 mph ) and then the power comes on smooth.. but below this speed the controller is pulsing things up pretty harshly. good for the battery, anoying for the user.

edit : I kinda like the bell dinging sound lol.. the motor is bobbin wound and low pole count similar to a clyte... vs the 9C with alot of poles that makes the buzzzzz..
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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro Review

Post by MitchJi » Sep 05 2010 1:41am

Hi John,

How hard would it be to get a rear shock for this frame that would fix the suspension? Are there good enough shocks that are that small or do you think a longer shock would need to be fitted (if so how hard would that be)?

Would 8" disc brake rotors be hard to install?

I gather you think overall its a sturdy enough bike for a fairly powerful RC build and good safety at 25-35mph?

Thanks!

Mitch

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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro Review

Post by AussieJester » Sep 05 2010 2:57am

liveforphysics wrote:
johnrobholmes wrote:Rough on the Vajayjay.
If I had a nickle for everytime I've got that complaint... :twisted: :mrgreen:

johnrobholmes wrote: It is absolutely not ridable with no hands, it will flop around with no steering input.
I hate that in a bike. You would think with a comerical production bike that somebody would have at least rode it first before it went into production. lol

I'm glad it's working well though, and you can't beat the price! :)
LoL ... Luke...thinkz aboutz it, these guyz wouldn't feel right if the bars didn't flop about like that, for both John and YPedal MaN 20in rears with frocks in them on mountain bikes with 26in front wheels are the pinnacle of performance and handling aren't they :?: :mrgreen: flop is 'normal' for them :roll: :wink: :lol:

KiM

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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro Review

Post by johnrobholmes » Sep 05 2010 5:31am

It is sturdy enough for 25mph no doubt, but the handling is like a pig. I think a valved shock could be sourced that was short enough, but unless you are willing to weld on some new brackets a longer shock will not fit.

This could be a good source for a cheap valved shock http://cgi.ebay.com/MTB-Bike-Damper-Adj ... 53e35cac9e

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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro Review

Post by MitchJi » Sep 06 2010 1:49am

Hi John,
johnrobholmes wrote:It is sturdy enough for 25mph no doubt, but the handling is like a pig. I think a valved shock could be sourced that was short enough, but unless you are willing to weld on some new brackets a longer shock will not fit.
Really glad I asked :( ! Scratch that idea, it seemed like a good plan. Strong FS frame with space inside the frame for batteries...

Thanks For the Information!

Mitch

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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro Review

Post by zakmann » Sep 11 2010 7:29am

I own a metro A2B and it has a new updated shock. The new one is a small black unit with a plastic and rubber housing enclosing the spring. It is elastomer packed to limit the travel of the rear wheel - this stops the rear wheel and mud guard hitting the bottom of the rear battery on my bike. I have the 2 batteries fitted both the internal and the external one. I also have the rear panniers fitted and and top pannier - I weigh about 77 kgs and with the panniers loaded there can be between 90 and 100 kgs on the bike (occasionally 110kgs). The load distribution is always somewhere around 40kgs on the front forks with the rest sitting on the rear. This sounds heavy but with the updated shock the bike rides well. The ride is smooth and controlled now, where before, it was rough bouncy and hard and it was best to avoid roughly paved roads. I don't use the bike on gravel or dirt roads or tracks as the tyres are not suitable and the bike is in reality not meant for off road/dirt road use.

As far as I know it would be difficult to find a third party shock to fit the A2B for 2 reasons -

1 the length of the shoch is shorter than usual as stated above

2 the spring of the Kspeed shocks used is rated at around 1600lbs. This is because of the weight of the bike.

As far as i know there is not a another 1600lbs rated spring and/or shock on the market.

I have have found that with the two batteries fitted and the panniers the bike is ideal for everyday use and and for longer rides on the weekends. The bike and its battery, motor combination give plenty of power when not peddling but I always use the peddles as I love riding and for me a side benefit is this gives me extended range for my longer rides. The A2B is for me the ideal long commuter or "country cruiser" lots of power, good speed and range and heaps of fun.

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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro Review

Post by johnrobholmes » Nov 29 2010 2:42pm

So we had some issues with the bike. Fitting, since is probably 2 or 3 years old now.

First problem was that it was sagging on hills. 2 year old batteries? That is pretty normal.

Second problem was that it was cutting out randomly. Totally randomly. The a2b tech support said that it was likely the battery causing it.

Third problem was that the charger stopped working. Probably battery too.



So I made a tech support call and viola, the charger started working again! If only all problems were so easily solved :lol:


Not sure if I will sell it off at this point, or try and build a new pack for it. I have plenty of ebikes (really only need two, right?). Otherwise a new pack from ultra motor costs $650. Hmmm, maybe building a pack isn't so hard :mrgreen:

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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro Review

Post by Ypedal » Nov 29 2010 2:52pm

perfect opertunity to yank the pack and fill the frame with turnigy !. ( but that leads to inevitable opening the motor and removing the soft start controller !! )
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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro Review

Post by johnrobholmes » Nov 29 2010 2:55pm

I would keep it as stock as possible. I'm not about to go polishing this turd past the origional design :lol: Mostly because I don't like the geometry, I just don't like riding an unstable bike.

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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro Review

Post by wymjymn » Mar 04 2011 3:58pm

Hi,
Ypedal was nice enough to email me a few months back, which led me to find this website.
I have a 2010 A2B metro and after using it for a short while I have made several modifications to suit my riding style and environment.
This information might be of use to some, so here goes.
The original rear ‘shock’ was nothing more than an adjustable spring holder. There was/is no dampening (same as the front).
I ordered the newer UltraMotors shock from a semi local shop but they failed to deliver so I started searching. I finally found that the 2008 Manitou air shock would fit. The air spring can handle up to 300 psi, I weight 180 and am quite happy with it at 190psi. It has a secondary chamber which affects the ride and is adjustable along with a rebound adjustment. Everything fits fine, the UM bolt/spacer/axles all fit the air shock…you will need to shim the shock by .125” in order to center it and exactly match the oem spacing (easily done with SS washers)……basically, buy it…add the washers……pump it up and ride. I didn’t purchase a 2010 or 2011 model because the 2008 was more than enough for this e-bike and the pricing was more modest. ($100usd). 2008 Manitou S-Type SR SPV 152 x 32 Rear Air Shock
The end result? I now have a shock absorber that dampens……life its good.

Image

The gearing and rollers/guides didn’t work well for me…….I have a lot of higher speed riding and my legs couldn’t spin the oem 42 tooth crank sprocket fast enough, I purchased a 46T and that helped (and the bash guard still served its purpose) but it wasn’t a high enough gear, finally I purchased a 50T+ crankset with 175mm arms. This much better matches my riding and long legs. The chain doesn’t need to be extended and I did move several pulleys around and also spaced the bottom guide out by 20mm. The chain runs pretty straight in the upper three gears which is where the majority of my work is involved.

Image


Image

As Y-pedal mentioned the rear freewheel is harsh, I haven’t replaced it yet (waiting on the need to replace the rear tire) but in the mean time I replaced the gear selector with a shimano piece. I did need to reuse the oem inner cable but the shifting is much improved.
Image

Last but not least, the seat went into the closet and was replaced with a gel type + longer post.
Image

+ grips
Image

As others have mentioned…this is a nice piece that is what it is, I don’t want to destroy it and expect to simply add a secondary battery and be happy with it for a year or so.
If there are any specific questions…..post away and I’ll try to answer.

wj
ps.....I have two broken spokes, if anyone knows the exact length I'd sure appreciate that info.......

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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro Review

Post by duncanjerry » Mar 09 2011 9:33am

Thank god, a shock that fits the a2b!!!!!!!! I've googled the 2008 Manitou S-Type SR SPV 152 x 32 Rear Air Shock and all I can find is the 2010 model, which is more like 250$. Where did you purchase your 2008 model?
bomber#36
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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro Review

Post by wymjymn » Mar 11 2011 7:33pm

I bought it on ebay.
I just checked the sellers listings and did not see another 2008 model.
Here is a 2006
http://cgi.ebay.com/2006-Manitou-RADIUM ... 56420501d3

just make certain that you can still purchase a rebuilding kit for it and that the area around the down tube mount isn't too congested with fittings. I think this 2006 will fit but I'd like a little better image before sending my monies.
The bikewagon shipped the shock immediately...good deal around.
Be careful of some old rockshox (air) that are being auctioned...there is a unique 'U' cup that falls apart so the secondary chamber will not hold air...this 'U' cup is no longer available.

good luck

wj

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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro Review

Post by MitchJi » Mar 14 2011 2:54am

Hi,
duncanjerry wrote:Thank god, a shock that fits the a2b!!!!!!!! I've googled the 2008 Manitou S-Type SR SPV 152 x 32 Rear Air Shock and all I can find is the 2010 model, which is more like 250$. Where did you purchase your 2008 model?
Here's a 2008 but it's over $200:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/2008-Manitou-S-Ty ... 0726053850
2008 Manitou S-Type SR SPV 152 x 32 Shock
Price: £129.99
* Stroke Measurement: 32mm or 1.25 inches
* Eye to Eye Measurement: 152mm or 5.98 inches.
* Weight: 195 Grams
* Retail Price: $487.99
* Comes without hardware, busings and spring (if applicable) will need to be purchased separately.

Condition: New in bag

Top spec shock at a bargain price, new and unused. See this link for current UK sale price of £179...
Best Wishes!

Mitch


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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro Review

Post by Shurafa » Apr 23 2011 4:57pm

I purchased the Manitou 2006 model off of ebay. It fits perfectly!

I dont think it is what I am looking for though. I am looking for a shock that will support the load of a second passenger on the rear. The original one did not have enough recoil and no lockout option.

Does the 2008 model have a lockout option? What about the 2009 2010 models?

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Re: Holmes' A2B Metro Review

Post by wymjymn » May 28 2011 10:47am

My 2008 does not have lock out but it has two chambers and I can pump them up such that there is very little compression...rock hard...there is also a rebound adjustment as to the speed of the rebound.

wj

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