Ride Report for Falco Emotor Bike

Bike_On

Well-Known Member
I added a 500W Falco Hx motor onto a Gravity Pro20 road bike. Total weight before rack, lights and Cycle Analyst was 39.2lbs. Upgraded tires from 25mm to Specialized 28mm Armidillos. 10-sp Shimano Ultegra set, but only a 9 sp freewheel, 13-32. Falco does not have a free hub design yet, but the motor is disk capable.

Here are my inbound commute ride stats. I use 3 computers: The Falco Console, a Garmin Edge 500, and a Cycle Analyst. I set all 3 to same wheel circmf. CA pick up is on the front wheel.

Falco ride 050614.PNG

I'll download my Garmin data later, and a short video.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Excellent looking e-roadbike..!
Would love to hear about the real world range and performance of Falco.
BTW, did you order from Falco itself?
 

Bike_On

Well-Known Member
From my Garmin:
In bound to work: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/494705181
Return home: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/494705177

Notes:
  • I was in level 4 both ways, the whole ride. Never needed to get to level 5.
  • Level 4, and slight decline made me top out in my 50/13 gear. Once I got tired of spinning at 95-100, I would tuck on the drop bars and use my pinky to throttle full on. At one point I was maintaining 32mph at 468W tucked.
  • If the road surface is smooth, the bike flies and is fun to ride.
  • The Falco controls have a good 1.5 sec run on time after pedaling stops and moving at higher speeds. You have to get use to this. By pushing the (-) button, motor goes immediately into regen. I recouped 1.5%.
  • The controls will occasionally go into 20mph limit after turn on. Not sure why when it says "CRUISE". Solution is to press + and - at same time, as before.
  • I used the HR monitor for the first time today. The Garmin HR and Falco HR tracked well together.
  • The Falco speed and Garmin , CA speed tracked well.
  • The Garmin and CA distance tracked well. The Falco distance was way off.
 

Bike_On

Well-Known Member
Excellent looking e-roadbike..!
Would love to hear about the real world range and performance of Falco.
BTW, did you order from Falco itself?
Ravi,

Yes, I ordered from Falco directly. Good service.

Real world range will depend on level. The ideal battery level is 417whr. I think I'm seeing 330-350 of solid energy, then voltage sage really hits the power from the battery. I might get 380 whrs. Running in level 1-2, I would expect a usage of 9-12 whr/mi. In level 4-5, expect 17-20 whr/mi depending on your effort.

Performance is solid. This is a high speed dd hub. Silent. Not a hill killer, but will pull 30 amps in level 5 to get up the hill. If running it hard, over 600W continuous, it will do a thermal cut back and I see 9-10A and 330W. If really getting hot, it goes down to 120W. On my cool inbound, more downhill commutes, I have never had a thermal cutback for the 17-18 miles. Coming home, after 18 or so miles, I see it in warm weather, unless I stay at level 3 or below.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Ravi,

Yes, I ordered from Falco directly. Good service.

Real world range will depend on level. The ideal battery level is 417whr. I think I'm seeing 330-350 of solid energy, then voltage sage really hits the power from the battery. I might get 380 whrs. Running in level 1-2, I would expect a usage of 9-12 whr/mi. In level 4-5, expect 17-20 whr/mi depending on your effort.

Performance is solid. This is a high speed dd hub. Silent. Not a hill killer, but will pull 30 amps in level 5 to get up the hill. If running it hard, over 600W continuous, it will do a thermal cut back and I see 9-10A and 330W. If really getting hot, it goes down to 120W. On my cool inbound, more downhill commutes, I have never had a thermal cutback for the 17-18 miles. Coming home, after 18 or so miles, I see it in warm weather, unless I stay at level 3 or below.
Thank you.
I remember you from your post on Endless Sphere about Specialized Turbo :) I live in College Park and we should go on a ride sometime..

I believe your speeds are much higher (~20+ mph) and therefore ~35 miles but I am pretty sure you would get much higher if you ride a nominal 17-18mph.
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
Great rig! You must be in excellent shape to ride 30+ mph on a solid diamond frame.

Is that + - switch a cruise button, and is there a throttle somewhere?
 

Bike_On

Well-Known Member
Joe,

The +/- switch is on the right, below my brake, and changes the power level, -5 to +5. Holding - invokes regen, and I use that all the time. Rakesh has given me a beta version to try out, and that function is not available yet on current models.

Stealth bikes have a red regen button too.

The dextarity of the Falco button is hard to sense if it is pushed. I prefer a more pronouces switch action, more displacement. If I try to push the - and do not hold it, the the controls simply lower the power level.

In shape? Not really, yet. It is a road bike with 28mm tires. I am in a full crouch for wind resistance on many stretches. The hub is a HS hub and the assist really propels the rider. The beauty of a DD (direct drive) hub. All of the geared hub guys can touch that. BMC, Easy Motion, will all top out unless you juice up the voltage...then heat gets them... Anyone can see the Garmin stats.

Additionally, I have not tweaked the motor with the Falco Gui yet. The current program is better than last summer. It gives less initial peak current >> torque, but saves the battery more and still is very strong. The power levels are more step even.

There is no "Cruise control" button or option. The console displays "cruise", which is suppose to mean you can ride 20mph>>.

There is also a Turbo mode, for more peak current.
 

Bike_On

Well-Known Member
Here is a snap shot of my rides for yesterday and this morning. I record my CA data, the Ahr, Whr. I also use the Garmin and HR monitor to get a kcal burned. From that, I compute the battery, motor and human power averages.

I can change the motor/human efficiency. Currently using 87% and 26% respectively.

The calculated battery efficiency in whr/mi (far right) is actually less on the CA because of regen, my 0.1-0.2.

Falco ride 050714.PNG

All the data keeping is a little over the top, but I do it to characterize the bike's performance.
 

Bike_On

Well-Known Member
I have both, a pedelec mode and throttle.

My throttle is near my left shifter/brake set. It is kind of a bulky thumb throttle. My original pics from 2013 didn't have it installed yet, and it is covered in the video. I'll post a pic.

There is plenty of assist in pedal mode. But the throttle has been very handy in the tucked, downhill position and starting off at a stop light.
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Nice! Thanks for posting the video, I like your light and the Cycle Analyst. Which version are you running? 2.5 or v3? I'm near DC and yesterday the rain was coming down so hard, actually had to cancel a bike review, I wonder if this was the same storm you were in?

How often do you have to charge the wireless Falco LCD computer? Is it detachable and is there some kind of little wire or USB cable to charge it? This is something I'm going to look at more closely the next time I see the kit. Any suggestions on other things I should test for future reviews?
 

Bike_On

Well-Known Member
I re-read Court's reviews of the Bionx kits and the Falco kits. I think the Falco kits have a decided advantage over the Bionx, which is why I bought Falco. Here are the comparisons:
  1. Speed limiting - Falco can override 20mph. Bionx must be hacked to do this.
  2. Power - Falco 500W vs 350W. 5 phase vs 3 phase.
  3. Battery flexible - Falco accepts any battery. Easy 48V upgrade. Bionx proprietary,
  4. Weight - Falco is 15lbs for 500W.
  5. Wireless - Falco has it, Bionx does not.
  6. High speed hub - Falco will top out and maintain 37mph on 36V, 3% downhill.
  7. Warranty - Falco 5 year. Bionx 2?
  8. Custom GUI for performance tweaking - Falco only.
I think Bionx does a better job with regen capability. The display is better. The throttle is better. Not sure if PAS is smoother, but I expect it is. Bionx looks more refined and has been established.

Both of these systems are moving towards 48V, IMO, to gain power, torque and efficiency. Both have internal controllers and a tight exterior presentation. Both are for cyclist, who want to pedal.

Falco has more upstart integration issues, right now. Their initial release had motor pairing issues (via the wireless module) and had a motor-lock mode, which I found to sometime get stuck in lock mode! New firmware flushed that away. I would like to try 48V on my 500W hub, but I am unsure if the extra power can be handled thermally. The internal controls will cut back to about 300-350W if motor heats up. After 10 min, full power restores.
 

Bike_On

Well-Known Member
The summer warmth is allowing my Falco direct drive hub to cruise along. Here is my commute log the past three weeks. Miles are really picking up.

Falco 062414.PNG
 

MarcD

Active Member
Getting pretty efficient. Looks like the past couple of weeks you are averaging high 16's for wh/mi with average speeds in the low 20's. Those are excellent, I think.

I'd love to see data like this on the Bosch system. My suspicion is that it has the potential to be very efficient, however will be highly dependent on the care the rider uses in keeping the motor in its most efficient power band, just like any vehicle with a transmission.

We need a series of Top Gear style challenges to put these to the test!
 

MarcD

Active Member
I meant to ask one other question: are you able to use the Falco without their LCD display and just the Cycle Analyst, or is the Falco display required for PAS etc?
 

Bike_On

Well-Known Member
I need the Falco LCD display in order to communicate to the motor to change levels and use the (-) button for regen. If the display battery dies, the motor stays locked in the level it died at.m However, by recycling power, the motor resets to level 5. Without a display, the default is level 5. So you can operate w/o a display.

For my road bike system, level 5 is kind of "too high of power", if that is possible to admit. It causes me to spin out on the flats and downhill. I compenesate by feathering the throttle, which overrides the PAS and powers at a lower current. Then I add more leg assist.

The system is about right. Level 5 puts out 25A continuous on a fresh charge, and down to 20 amps near 80% discharge, 9ahr. If I change platforms/bike, I can use the power. Also, because of battery droop, level 5 is good for about 15 miles before voltage hits 31V under load and limits output.