Build report on 5 new FLX Blades

86 and still kicking

Well-Known Member
Hi folks:

I ordered 5 FLX Blades. While the build is just being finished I thought I would provide some commentary on early observations:

-The bikes are double boxed for protection and are as well protected as any bike my mechanics have received.

-Out of the 5 units, we had a paint chip on one stem cap and the company immediately agreed to send out another one.

-Once source of constant damage is from front wheel rotors rubbing against the frame of the bike. We like the fact that FLX shipped the rotor in a separate box as it only takes a few minutes to install.

-Unlike a lot of vendors we have dealt with, these bikes came with the batteries on the bikes as opposed to separate packaging. We don't have an opinion that one way is better than the other.

-The specs on the Blade are above average all the way around. We replaced the Maxis off road tires on one bike with Schwalbe Super Moto's. The Super Moto's were 27.5 X 2.8 rather than the stock 27.5 X 2.5 Maxis tires. No problem with the slightly wider tire.

-All bikes were shipped with front brake lines on the outside of the front forks. We remounted the brake lines to the inside.

-We always remove the wheels and check truing and spoke tension. Wheels were well built.

-We removed the rear freewheel cassette to check hub lubrication and found they were all dry. I must admit that the SRAM EX1 cassette is pretty fantastic. It is very light and we are told that it is CNC machined from a single billet. Very cool. The only downside is the 8 gears. This is done to minimize chain angle so as to prevent undue stress on the chain. The system shifts are clean and crisp. What you might miss from a system with more gears is the ability to find just the perfect gear for your riding style.

-We like the fact that there is both a chain ring guard and a frame mounted stopper to prevent the chain from falling off during extreme rides.

-Rotors required the usually time to align for smooth operation. We've never had a new bike build that did not require rotor or disk alignment.

-We ordered after market rear mount kickstands that work just fine.

-We also ordered some chainstay skins for greater protection than FLX provides.

-One customer wanted a different handlebar and we installed a Metropolis with no issues.

Lastly, I must admit one error in judgement. We ordered (3) black and (2) raw metal. In video reviews the marked, scratched, and flawed finish of the raw metal turned me off. Upon seeing it in person I was mistaken. The look of the bike is fantastic and I prefer the raw metal look .

Overall, these bikes are as well integrated and built as any other brand we have put together. Sure some vendors do a better job with cable routing/hiding, and some do a better job with battery frame enclosure, but overall, for a small young company, the bikes are very very good.

I will report later on with photos and some ride experience. We purchased these bikes specifically because we wanted some riding experience with the Bafang Ultra 1000 motor. More to come soon.....
 

86 and still kicking

Well-Known Member
We ordered 5 rear racks separately. The came in good condition with nice mounting screws. They are a little wider than ordinary but they fit the Ortlieb trunk bag (we ordered them for every bike) lock mechanism just fine. They will also take panniers.
 

86 and still kicking

Well-Known Member
Maiden voyage this morning. Fairly short ride as it was very crisp out. Lazy cadence on flat ground was at 26mph. Had to stop multiple times to adjust seat, seatpost, brake levers, comfort grips to get everything dialed in. Silent shifting and no noise from brakes. The color display from Bafang is easy to read and contains all the information you would want. I do not see a lockout on the front shocks but there is a "firm" setting that creates a reasonable stiff ride.
 

86 and still kicking

Well-Known Member
Below are some photos (poor quality and blurry) I snapped of the bike during a ride stop today. I've done a little personalization to include:

a. DMR Vault Pedals
b. K-Edge mount with Taz 1500 and Garmin 520
c. FLX rack with Ortlieb Trunk bag
d. Ergon Grips
e. SQLabs Active 621seat
f. Cirrus Cycles Kineckt Seat-Post
g. screen shot of display information...you can change the speedo display to show up to 60 mph.
h. a cheap aftermarket kickstand
i. a SpurCycle bell (ear candy)

Forgot to mention that I put a stem riser on the bike. Not sure I like it. Easy to take off though.


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86 and still kicking

Well-Known Member
The bike rides tall (I'm 5'10") and not what I would call nimble. It has a solid ride feel though. It shift effortlessly even under load. The 8 gears do not allow some to find the exact correct gear for their riding style but the speed and power of the bike tend to compensate for not finding that perfect gear. This is less of any issue for mountain or off road riding where the road is not smooth.

About gearing, I'm an old fat man and really old and it looks like I'll be using 2 perhaps 3 gears at most. I blasted up some modest hills at 23-26mph without a lot of effort.

My guess is that range for top power level in sport mode with hills is around 30 miles for someone weighing 250 lbs or more. I suspect that average weight riders will see someone between 40-50 miles per charge (which is excellent). Of course riding in eco mode with lower power levels should get much better range and be perfect for those that use the bike for longer range commuting.

Between the front shocks and the Kineckt seat-post the ride is very pleasant without harshness.

I've not taken it on an extended ride yet as 25-30mph with temps in the 40's tends to get pretty chilly for me.
 
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86 and still kicking

Well-Known Member
I also forgot to mention that the rear rack is a matte black and has a different finish than the bike. While the rear rack is of very good quality and strongly mounted, it is clear that accessories are an engineering and integration afterthought.
 

86 and still kicking

Well-Known Member
First minor issue today. It appears as is the manufacturer provided a little too much slack in the gear sensing cable that runs behind the seat tube frame section. My rear tire wore the insulation off the cable exposing bare the 3 inner wires. Due to the slack I was able to cut each of the wires, re-solder each one, add shrink tubing over each wire and then shrink tubing over all 3. I then zip tied the line to the back of the seat post frame section. This did not work. FLX is overnighting a new gear sensor for replacement under warranty. In the attached photo you can see how the cable might rub on the wear wheel. I'll take a photo of the fix in a day or so.
 

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86 and still kicking

Well-Known Member
FYI I just bought some new gloves. I prefer a thin glove for feel regardless of outside temp. I purchased a brand called 100%. The model is called Cognito. They fit very well and have malleable knuckle protection that becomes instantly hard upon impact. Never heard of this before.

I also ordered and installed a bar end mirror from a company called Venzo. Very good quality and fit perfectly on Ergon GS1 grip.
 

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86 and still kicking

Well-Known Member
One more observation. Having ridden and sold quite a few motors; Dapu 500, Stromer ST2 synch, Bosch, Yamaha, Brose and the Bionx D500 from Elby, I must say that the Bafang Ultra blows all of them away. Not only is it quick off the line, but the yank at speed up hill is impressive. Normally I just leave a bike in the highest power setting and ride like a bat outta hell. I find that while there are 5 power levels on the FLX Blade, I find myself riding in levels 3 and 4 the most. I let my local bike shop owner take it for a test ride (he's in much better shape than old, fat me) and I noticed that his average speed was 27.8 mph.
How’s the parts access for the ultra? Weak points?
I am unsure of the weak points. I do know that FLX has, in San Diego, a small number of replacement motors. I am fortunate to have a kit builder not too far from me who can do service if necessary. At the very least, I can have my local dealer pull the motor and send back to FLX for repair. I believe that some folks like Luna Cycles also carry replacement gears and controllers.

I'm also fairly easy on the motor as I tend to ride at a constant speed with little shifting solely on clean streets. If you are an aggressive mountain rider who is constantly shifting, applying a lot of torque, and getting the bike muddy or dirty you'd probably provide more stress.

I do believe that there are some on the forum who have put thousands of miles on this motor with good results. Hopefully some of them might respond.
 
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TForan

Well-Known Member
One more observation. Having ridden and sold quite a few motors; Dapu 500, Stromer ST2 synch, Bosch, Yamaha, Brose and the Bionx D500 from Elby, I must say that the Bafang Ultra blows all of them away. Not only is it quick off the line, but the yank at speed up hill is impressive. Normally I just leave a bike in the highest power setting and ride like a bat outta hell. I find that while there are 5 power levels on the FLX Blade, I find myself riding in levels 3 and 4 the most. I let my local bike shop owner take it for a test ride (he's in much better shape than old, fat me) and I noticed that his average speed was 27.8 mph.


I am unsure of the weak points. I do know that FLX has, in San Diego, a small number of replacement components for the motor. I am fortunate to have a kit builder not too far from me who can do service if necessary. At the very least, I can have my local dealer pull the motor and send back to FLX for repair. I believe that some folks like Luna Cycles also carry replacement gears and controllers.

I'm also fairly easy on the motor as I tend to ride at a constant speed with little shifting solely on clean streets. If you are an aggressive mountain rider who is constantly shifting, applying a lot of torque, and getting the bike muddy or dirty you'd probably provide more stress.

I do believe that there are some on the forum who have put thousands of miles on this motor with good results. Hopefully some of them might respond.
One more observation. Having ridden and sold quite a few motors; Dapu 500, Stromer ST2 synch, Bosch, Yamaha, Brose and the Bionx D500 from Elby, I must say that the Bafang Ultra blows all of them away. Not only is it quick off the line, but the yank at speed up hill is impressive. Normally I just leave a bike in the highest power setting and ride like a bat outta hell. I find that while there are 5 power levels on the FLX Blade, I find myself riding in levels 3 and 4 the most. I let my local bike shop owner take it for a test ride (he's in much better shape than old, fat me) and I noticed that his average speed was 27.8 mph.


I am unsure of the weak points. I do know that FLX has, in San Diego, a small number of replacement components for the motor. I am fortunate to have a kit builder not too far from me who can do service if necessary. At the very least, I can have my local dealer pull the motor and send back to FLX for repair. I believe that some folks like Luna Cycles also carry replacement gears and controllers.

I'm also fairly easy on the motor as I tend to ride at a constant speed with little shifting solely on clean streets. If you are an aggressive mountain rider who is constantly shifting, applying a lot of torque, and getting the bike muddy or dirty you'd probably provide more stress.

I do believe that there are some on the forum who have put thousands of miles on this motor with good results. Hopefully some of them might respond.
 

TForan

Well-Known Member
Do you know if the Ultra is tuned to 750 or 1000 watts ? I have one and really enjoy it but it's good to hear from someone with much more experience with other bikes.
 

Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
I am unsure of the weak points.
For me the strong point is being able to repair and access parts, the frustration is, even though we have the largest online selection of BBSxx parts Bafang stinks at support and getting repair parts can be a nightmare of calls emails and cajoling to keep up inventory. Kind of a love-hate relationship. I still run 5-year-old BBS01 350W and have two more NOS 250W. Great park bikes. My BBSHD were great and we sell them every day. I just didn't need the power but enjoyed wrenching on them and learning to support them. Given all i know, I'd still lean toward Bafang. But that's the DIY I still insist on. A not so healthy pension precludes a current Bosch powered bike. So I just admire them and watch for a steal of a deal.
 

86 and still kicking

Well-Known Member
For me the strong point is being able to repair and access parts, the frustration is, even though we have the largest online selection of BBSxx parts Bafang stinks at support and getting repair parts can be a nightmare of calls emails and cajoling to keep up inventory. Kind of a love-hate relationship. I still run 5-year-old BBS01 350W and have two more NOS 250W. Great park bikes. My BBSHD were great and we sell them every day. I just didn't need the power but enjoyed wrenching on them and learning to support them. Given all i know, I'd still lean toward Bafang. But that's the DIY I still insist on. A not so healthy pension precludes a current Bosch powered bike. So I just admire them and watch for a steal of a deal.
To each his own....LOL. Having ridden and sold (corporate mobile direct reseller) quite extensively for the past 4 years I have no interest in wrenching of any kind on my bikes. I have never had an interest in mechanical anything. I'd hire someone to change the lightbulbs in my house if I could....LOL.

I'm definitely the Zen part of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance." I played sport for over 20 years and yet have no interest in watching sports on TV.

Now if you want to talk about variations on Coq au Vin and dissect Descartes, then I'm all in.

I was a sr. executive for public rapid growth tech companies for over 20 years.........hated every minute but loved the financial reward. I was always jealous of those who loved what they did for a living.
 

86 and still kicking

Well-Known Member
I forgot to mention that I replaced the Maxis off road tires with a set of Schwalbe Super Moto tires. I had a rather extended ride today and I must say that these tires have excellent grip on the road. I took some pretty aggressive corners and they were firmly planted on the road.
 

bob armani

Well-Known Member
Judging by the photos posted, looks like you have also done upgrades to the front fork to a RockShox and brakes to quad piston Magura with banjo style fittings if I am not mistaken.