My new Magnum Ui5 : first impressions

Discussion in 'Magnum Forum' started by Nirmala, Sep 27, 2015.

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  1. Nirmala

    Nirmala Active Member

    I just got a Magnum Ui5 and I posted some impressions in the comments for the main review on here of this bike. But I thought I would copy and paste them here also for anyone who finds their way to this forum first:

    So, our Ui5 arrived today. I had a few hiccups setting it up: I was not familiar with the Neco headset and so at first I had no idea how to get the fork attached properly – you tighten a hex bolt inside the stem to connect the stem to the tube coming up through the headset from the fork. Also the adjustable stem still has about 1/2 inch of play in it even after I tightened it up very firmly. This means the handlebars move up and down 1/2 an inch as I ride. It is a little annoying, but it is still very ride-able. So far Magnum has been very helpful over the phone and I am still hoping to work with them to solve the up and down play in the stem. I will report back on how that gets resolved. (Note added: see this new video for clear instructions on how to install and adjust the handlebars and stem: )

    In the meantime, I was able to take it for a couple of nice long spins. Here are my first impressions:
    1-Size is a little small for me. I am 6’0″ and I have a 32 inch pant inseam. With the seatpost all the way up to the maximum allowed, my legs were still a little too bent while pedaling. Fortunately, I had a different saddle (this one) and that gave me a few more inches of height than with the stock saddle, which is now almost enough. The stock seat post is only about 300 mm, so it seems to me that Magnum could give you a bit longer seatpost to accommodate taller riders. I am also thinking of getting a Thudbuster suspension seatpost, and I know they have a 450 mm extra long version in the 27.2 diameter, so with that seat post, I will have more than enough height.
    2-The fenders are included now in the base price (rack is still $39 extra), but I immediately removed them as they were rubbing a bit, and here in Arizona, I will probably never need them. I do not commute to work, so I will not head out on rainy days which are few and far between in this climate.
    3-I used the trick of turning off the bike by only using the power switch on the battery. That way, everything gets turned off for sure, so I intend to make that a habit when shutting it off.
    4-Now for the fun part: this bike was a joy to ride. It handles very nicely, is much lighter than some other electric bikes I have rented by the day, and boy, is it fun to have that assist helping me along. I rode up some moderate hills and with full assist and low gear, I made it up pretty easily. There were a few steeper stretches where I still had to work a bit, but even then, the electric assist made it doable. The hills around here will mean that I still get some exercise even if I use a lot of electric power.
    5- I am about 180 lbs and I was riding up and down hills and sometimes against the wind for over an hour, and the battery is still showing about 2/3rds of its charge, so I think the 13 amp hour battery is going to be plenty for the kinds of moderate rides I intend to do on this.
    6-Someone at Magnum said that most people end up leaving their bike in power assist level 6. And again for a nice 1-3 hour joy ride where conserving battery is not an issue, I can see why that might be true for me. I quickly got spoiled by the effortless speed on the flats and also not having to think about upping the assist when approaching a hill. I guess it would be nice to have a full power throttle override in all assist levels, but when riding in the top level (6), it becomes a moot point. I also found that I quickly got the hang of adjusting the assist on the fly to a lower level whenever I wanted a more relaxed pace, and actually used the throttle less than I thought I would. Pedaling was generally so easy that I tended to forget about the throttle. Note: Pedal assist is a new experience for me as the ebikes I have ridden in the past were throttle only. I did go off road for just a little bit, and there I could see using the lower levels of power assist as it gets tricky to have the motor surging when you are navigating rougher terrain. But the Ui5 is not really a mountain bike, so I will probably stick to smoother dirt trails.
    7-This bike looks really good in person. I like the color scheme and the brown tires are classy. They also are a good compromise between a thicker tire for cushioning and a fairly smooth tread for easy rolling. I intend to add some slime to the tubes, and between that and the kevlar puncture resistance, I am hoping to not have to worry too much about flats. When these tires wear out, I am thinking of trying a pair of the Tannus tires that never go flat and never need pumping up: http://www.tannus.com/#intro

    To sum up: I think this bike offers a lot for the money based on having read a lot of the reviews on here, although I have not tried many other ebikes, so my opinion is based on very limited actual experience. It easily blows away the rental ebikes I have tried, and I have enjoyed the Ui5 a lot so far. I did have a few problems with the setup and assembly, even though I worked on a lot of bikes in my younger days. I spoke to someone at Magnum and they explained that they will be mostly selling through dealers once they get their network established, so anyone buying an assembled bike will avoid that issue.

    I hope this is helpful to anyone considering this bike.

    Some more observations added later:
    1-I definitely need a longer seatpost, so I am going to order the 450mm long Thudbuster. Even my wife who is 5’9″ found that she needs every inch of available seatpost as well as the added height provided by the cushier saddle we added to the bike. So anyone who is a bit taller may need to plan on at least getting a longer seatpost than the 300 mm post that comes with the bike. Note added: I got a 400 mm Thudbuster ST and it gives me plenty of saddle height. But now I am thinking about getting some handlebars with more height as I prefer to sit pretty upright. Anyone who is close to 6 feet or taller will probably need to make some adjustments to get this bike to fit well. Edit added: Instead of changing the handlebars which would be pretty hard to do as there is not a lot of extra cable length on the wires going to the handlebars, I raised the bars as far as I could with the adjustable stem, and also put a couple of slip on cushions that give a softer and thicker feel to the grips. This made the bike much more comfortable on my hands and wrists. The ones I used are made for motorcycles and are a real bear to get on (you better have really strong hands to pull them over the existing grips - note added: I discovered that it helps to use some liquid dishwashing soap on the existing grips and the cushions will slip on easily). These are the ones I used: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00230P2E4 They fit well on the Ui5 once you get them on.
    2-I put slime in the tires and added some other weight ( a rack, bag, toolkit, etc) but the motor is still plenty peppy enough for me. Very occasionally I need to work a bit on really steep hills, but that is also a chance to get some good exercise. The motor still makes a big difference on the steeper hills, compared to no electric assist, and more moderate hills are a piece of cake. I may someday upgrade the rear cogs to a wider range freewheel. Currently, the rear cogs are 14-28 and the front chainring is pretty big for a single chainring at 48 teeth. I think a 11-34 tooth freewheel set would work a bit better for the hills around here.
    3- Magnum has continued to be very helpful with the problems that showed up. They posted a youtube video that explains how the handlebars and stem are mounted and adjusted and I strongly recommend anyone who is interested in this bike to take a look: see video above. This video also showed me how to fix the problem with the 1/2 inch of play in the handlebars. Note added: Tightening the hex bolts under the Promax sticker as shown in the video above did correct the 1/2 inch of play in the handlebars, but the bolts loosened up again when I rode the bike. Magnum suggested using some locktite adhesive on the threads, and so far that is working to keep the handlebars tight and solid.
    4-Mount your handlebars right away when the bike arrives as otherwise the fork will fall out of the headtube and the bearings might get lost. If you are not particularly handy, you might want to take the bike in its box to a bike shop as the assembly is a bit challenging, or wait until Magnum gets more dealers up and running, and buy your bike assembled.
    5- A couple of other problems that showed up: My rack must have gotten slightly bent in shipping (it was in the box with the bike) and so it was a bear to get it on the bike. The good news is that it will probably never come off as the screws holding it on are under a bit of pressure. Also the charger that came with my bike was defective (the light should turn red when charging and green when fully charged) but Magnum took care of that with a replacement.
    6-I am quickly getting used to the controls on this bike. While the throttle override is limited to the assist level you are in, it is not at all difficult to change assist levels on the fly. It is no more complicated to operate than a typical multi-speed bike with both front and rear derailleurs, only instead of a front derailleur, you select different assist levels with your left hand. I am still surprised at how little I use the throttle on this bike. I just shift gears and power levels to adjust to the terrain and keep a nice easy cadence most of the time. Someday, I would like to try a mid-drive bike to see what it is like to have the motor drive the chain, but for now, I think I prefer having the motor input and my own pedaling input function separately to drive the rear wheel.
    7-I found that when maneuvering at very slow speeds, such as when making a tight u-turn in a cul-de-sac, it helps to lightly apply the left brake. This cuts the motor and allows me to pedal through the turn without the electric assist kicking in and surging me forward at the wrong time. It seems easier to balance also when pedaling through tight maneuvers at slow speed, and the motor surging can really mess you up if you are not careful. So the motor cutoff on the left brake lever has proven to be a very helpful feature.

    Overall, I am very happy with my purchase. Now that we have both had a chance to ride this bike, we are definitely going to buy another Ui5 so my wife and I can ride together.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
    Ann M., grench and J.R. like this.


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  3. Nirmala

    Nirmala Active Member

    Another tidbit: We ran the battery all the way down the first two times to condition the battery, and in doing so we traveled almost 70 miles! Pretty good range considering the hills around here.
     
  4. Nirmala

    Nirmala Active Member

    Some more real world experience with our Ui5's to report:
    I wanted to condition the new battery of our second bike, so I ran it all the way down. In doing so, I covered 45 miles (edit added: see note below as this may have been a fluke or miscalculation), and I was not babying the battery at all, riding mostly in the 3 to 6 pedal assist levels and doing lots of hills and using level 6 on the uphills. This is pretty impressive range.
    Unfortunately, our second bike has a problem with the controller so it only made it 4 miles or so and then the motor would not work. Magnum is taking very good care of us so far with these problems as they show up. I have no idea if these kinds of issues are typical, and it would not be fair to come to any conclusions regarding the reliability of their bikes given that we have only ridden two of them. The first bike is actually running great and the problems with that bike were all very minor and easy to correct. Magnum is saying they will fix the issue with the second bike even if it means shipping us a completely new ebike. This is a reassuring level of customer service when dealing with buying a bike online.
    I am still enjoying this bike immensely. I ride around for hours with a big grin on my face.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015
  5. Nirmala

    Nirmala Active Member

    Another nice feature to report: When reaching the top speed for motor assist on this bike, the motor cuts out gradually so there is not a sudden drop off in electric power. When using either pedal assist or the throttle the motor runs up to about 22 mph and then it very gradually reduces the power output as the speed increases above 22 mph. There is still some electric assist up to 25 mph or so.

    Interestingly, when I am in a lower assist level, there is less oomph, but also the power cuts out at a lower top speed. For instance, in level 2, the motor only runs up to about 15 mph and then gradually cuts out. This may be typical of pedal assist systems, but this is my first time using a pedal assist system so I am still getting to know how it works.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2015
  6. Nirmala

    Nirmala Active Member

    So we got our replacement bike, and I think we now have two working Ui5s! It is great that Magnum was so quick to replace the bike with the motor controller that failed. Good customer service is a real treasure.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
  7. Nirmala

    Nirmala Active Member

    I just wanted to add that the most recent time I ran a battery down all the way, I only got about 35 miles. So maybe the other time when I thought I got 45 miles was a fluke, or maybe I miscalculated the mileage :rolleyes: It was two different batteries, but I doubt there is that much difference in capacity. This is also more in line with the first report where I traveled 70 miles while running the battery down twice. So I would guess that 35 miles is a pretty realistic number when using pedal assist and pedaling most of the time.

    Note that when you get down to 2 bars out of 6, there is actually very little juice left in the battery and when it hits one bar you are out of power. So the first three bars last longer than the last three bars. If you are judging when to turn around and head home, I would do so when you first hit 4 out of 6 bars if not sooner. Probably roughly 15 miles out is a better way to judge when to turn around.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2015
  8. Tara D.

    Tara D. Administrator

    Wow, thanks @Nirmala for your great review of this bike. I hope you continue to enjoy riding it in the nice Arizona weather!
     
  9. Nirmala

    Nirmala Active Member

    Thanks Tara. I am taking full advantage of the gorgeous fall weather here in Northern Arizona :)
     
    Tara D. likes this.
  10. Nirmala

    Nirmala Active Member

    Another point: We are now removing the batteries every time we charge up as it seems to me the plug is torqued a bit when plugging in with the battery still mounted on the bike. In my experience putting this kind of pressure on a female charging plug can eventually end up with a loose connection inside the female plug. So this is a bit of a design flaw with the Ui5, and while it is a bit more hassle to remove the battery to charge, it still seems like this is a case of better safe than sorry.
     
    Tara D. likes this.
  11. Nirmala

    Nirmala Active Member

    I think I figured out what was happening with the charger. If I don't unplug the charger from the wall outlet after a battery is fully charged, the light on the charger will stay green the next time I plug in a depleted battery. It is supposed to turn red when charging. The charger seems to work fine as long as it is completely unplugged between uses.

    I hope Magnum gets a user manual together soon. A lot of my challenges with setting up and using my new ebike would have been avoided if I just had received some instructions. The bike arrived without any written instructions, except for a little safety insert that came with the battery.
     
    Tara D. likes this.
  12. Tara D.

    Tara D. Administrator

    Great updates. That charger information will come in handy for other users that experience the same issue with the battery light.
     
    Nirmala likes this.
  13. Nirmala

    Nirmala Active Member

  14. CJ3

    CJ3 New Member

    Hi Nirmala, great write up. I also recently got my Ui5 and it's been a very fun ride. I have the same problems as -- the fenders rub on the tire despite all my adjustments, and that rear rack was a bear to assemble on to the bike. I haven't drained down the battery yet as from my own research, this type of battery doesn't need conditioning but likes to be kept around 60%-70% charged. Maybe I'm misinformed. I also don't typically use #6, I usually just go with 3 or 4 in pedal assist. That's plenty help and I like to feel like I'm at least do something.
    Anyway, loved hearing your thoughts. Awesome you have two of these bikes. Happy biking!
     
    Nirmala likes this.
  15. Nirmala

    Nirmala Active Member

    I read somewhere that it was a good idea to drain a Lithium battery the first time or two, but then who really knows - hopefully it did not do much harm either. I also use 3-4 most of the time now in the assist, and sometimes down to 2 for a more relaxed pace. It is still good exercise at 3 or 4, but the extra speed with the motor kicking in is definitely addictive :cool:
     
  16. Tara D.

    Tara D. Administrator

    The information I am aware of is that unlike NiCad batteries, lithium-ion batteries do not have a charge memory. That means deep-discharge cycles are not required. In fact, it's better for the battery to use partial-discharge cycles.
     
    Ann M. likes this.
  17. Nirmala

    Nirmala Active Member

    I can't find the place where I read that it is a good idea at first to drain the battery all of the way. Most info does not say that, so it probably is not the way to go. Hopefully it did not do a lot of harm.
     
  18. CJ3

    CJ3 New Member

    I'm sure it's fine. You were probably going to drain it sometime anyway by riding. That's what batteries are made for :)
     
    Tara D. likes this.
  19. Nirmala

    Nirmala Active Member

    Accessories I like for my new Magnum Ui5:

    I am definitely a gadget/gearhead. For example here is my latest audiophile "headphone" system that provides full body sound:
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/756810/full-body-headphone-sound-yes

    So when I got our new Magnum Ui5 ebikes, of course I started buying accessories. I spent a bit of time finding the item that offered the most bang for the buck, so this list might save someone else some time reading reviews and shopping around. Here are some items I have found that have worked out well (links take you to the product page on Amazon):

    Lights: ( I use flashing front and rear lights even during the day as I sometimes ride on very busy roads and I want to be seen)
    Rear:
    http://amzn.to/1H3iVCw
    Front (and an extra red flasher I put on the back of my helmet):
    http://amzn.to/1Olx6pm

    Bell:
    http://amzn.to/20r2GpE

    Rackbag with space for a water bottle:
    http://amzn.to/1P7MFkv

    Strap on water bottle and holder (fits on handlebar stem):
    http://amzn.to/1Qbfhd2

    Helmet (adjustable, but only works for up to 7 1/4 hat size):
    http://amzn.to/1Q8JXKR

    Handlebar Mirror:
    http://amzn.to/1NoRpB0

    Floor pump (the gauge on mine reads about 5 psi lower than the actual pressure):
    http://amzn.to/1NaPyuW

    Car hitch mounted rack that carries up to two 60 pound bikes with a 1 1/4 hitch (and/or a 2" hitch with the special metal hitch adapter sold separately):
    http://amzn.to/1Q8KIna

    Extra padding for the handlebar grips (work great on the Ui5):
    http://amzn.to/1OlyJ6C
    (Read my earlier posts in this thread for tips on how to get these on the handlebars: hint: use dish soap)
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2015
    Tara D. likes this.
  20. Nirmala

    Nirmala Active Member

    I discovered that I can strap a second battery onto the upper downtube of the Ui5 using some velcro straps I got on Amazon:
    http://amzn.to/1NXeHwe
    I doubled up the velcro straps to get enough length and so I used 4 pairs of 2 straps to hold the battery. I also put a black sock on each end of the battery to protect the frame from scratches. This holds the battery very securely and keeps the weight down low as compared to putting it up higher on the rear rack, where I already keep a rack top bag. I can just swap batteries when the first one starts getting low and thereby travel up to 70 miles or possibly even more if you use lower assist levels.

    I did this today and went for a beautiful 42 mile ride that would have been a good 10 miles beyond the capacity of my first battery as there were several hills and a good strong headwind for much of the ride, and I was riding in levels 4-6 to keep a pretty fast pace. I am fortunate that I can just use the second battery from my wife's identical Ui5, as a replacement battery from Magnum sells for $599. I know I am not the first person to think of taking a spare battery along for extended range, but it is especially nice to find an easy and secure way to mount it down low on the frame of this bike.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2015
  21. Nirmala

    Nirmala Active Member

    Someone asked for a picture of the second battery on the bike:
    Magnum2.jpg
    It is kind of a lucky circumstance that the battery on this bike is rectangular shaped and so is the "top" tube that sits just above the downtube since it is a step thru frame. That makes it particularly easy to strap a second battery to the frame with velcro straps. Here is a picture from Court's review of the bike without the extra battery strapped on:
    magnum-ui5-downtube-samsung-battery-36v-13ah-300x225.jpg
    Even if you had to buy the second battery for $599, that still means you can get an ebike with 26 amp hours of battery and an easy 70 plus miles of range for $2300 total. A nice option to have if range is a big concern and you do not have the money for a higher priced bike with a big battery.

    Someone with a diamond frame could use one of the battery bags from HighPowerCycles:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/2015-HPC-LA...584304?hash=item1c2ea400b0:g:rTcAAOSwEK9T6QzW

    And while I am at it, here is a picture of the cockpit with some of the accessories from the post above, including the handlebar grip cushions, the water bottle holder, the bell, the mirror and the little rechargeable headlight that flashes:
    Magnum1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
    J.R., Tara D., CJ3 and 1 other person like this.