Spark RX 500w Bafang mid-drive 27.5” with Shimano Alivio , 17 Ah

msport

New Member
Hey Ryan, congrats on the new bike! Would love to hear your initial impressions on it. I'm currently on the fence about ordering an RX and hoping to get some feedback from existing owners.
 

Ryan_Peters

New Member
Well the truth is my spark RX went out of commission the third time riding it (after maybe 20km) I went into an appointment and took the battery with me and when I came back outside and reinserted it the bike wouldn’t turn on. Then checking the battery indicator showed zero charge, I had to bike 15 km with no assist. My conversations with Sparkbikes over the last week have suggested it’s a blown fuse in the battery and they had me open up the battery and take a picture of it. I’m currently waiting for a new fuse to arrive from them but I may just go buy a fuse at Canadian tire today (they did allow this under the warranty which I appreciate).
I’m somewhat disappointed that
1. The bike’s electrical components failed so quickly.
2. The service team at Spark bikes had me actually open up the battery with zero training videos, or tips on protecting it. After opening it up it looks like there is wear on the gaskets and a circuit board has been loosened as well as some stripping of the Screws. I feel like even if it is the fuse my battery overall has taken some extra wear and tear by me having to go in there.
3. The service team sent this fuse saying it would take “up to 5 business days” without providing any tracking code even when I asked for one.

I feel like the correct course of action would have been for spark bikes to send me a new battery immediately expedited and take the broken one back but they refused to do so.

Other notes about the bike:
Speed was limited to 30.8 km:hr for some reason. When I emailed spark bikes to hopefully adjust this it took 5 days for them to get back to me (they have typically take a day or two to respond to emails) and it turns out the speed cannot be adjusted without a computer plugin with special software it seems. Either way it feels a bit slow compared to other ebikes I’ve ridden considering it also accelerates slower due to the gearing up cycle from standstill and cannot even reach the legal speed limit of 32 km/hr.

The best aspects of the bike for me were that the brakes came pretty well adjusted out of the box with tons of stopping power and only slight contact with the discs. I will maybe need to get them adjusted but maybe not, either way they work well for stopping. Also the ride is pretty smooth with the front suspension and seat post and feels better than my old Igo extreme. The gears are super well tuned and change very smoothly and accurately. Finally the weight is pretty well distributed so riding with no power is actually easy unless you’re on a hill. (I rode about 20km and it was still at 84% charge and I ride fast with a fair amount of assist, but assist 1 and 2 feel very strong)

Right now though I’m just worried about having to replace fuses frequently in the future or whether maybe the battery itself is defective. I would say the reliability of the bike is very questionable as it stands. It’s possible I’m just beta testing a bike that really won’t run with the combo of components installed even though they all look good on paper. I need to learn more about what the risks are of using larger fuses (above 30a) in the battery to determine if upping the fuse may be a long term fix (even though it would void the one year warranty)
 

msport

New Member
Well, that is a bit disappointing, I also think they should have just replaced the battery as it was brand new. Also, the weather sealing on the battery may now be compromised as you had to open it. I would grab a new fuse locally and try it to speed things up and make sure it is not a more serious problem. Hoping you get it sorted out quickly and back to riding.
 

TimJohn

Active Member
I think they went the fuse replacement route is because its real expensive to ship a battery. Usually it is considered dangerous goods and cannot be shipped by air at least because you need to be a certified dangerous goods shipper. If you did ship it with the appropriate shipping company I bet it would cost a lot.

Did you actually remove the fuse? You can check it yourself with a simple multi-meter.

If you see your speed limit restricted then it could be something very simple. I would check the speedo indicator against a GPS unit. Plus or minus 10% is probably well within the range of your speedometer. When I take your speed of 30.8 and your desired speed of 32 it is actually -5.6% less.

With the controller that I have (Cycle Analyst) I can actually measure of my front tire dimensions to adjust the speedo. Easy to do. Just marked a spot and lay down a measuring tape and then roll the bike until its done a full rotation. Take the circumference that I measured in m.m. and input this value into Cycle Analyst. You may want to try this. Do a little bit of math and figure out if the circumference of your tires are exactly the dimension that will give you your speed that is indicated. A little bit the thinking but its like our automobiles sometimes even changing the tires with have a dramatic effect on the indicted speed.
 
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Ryan_Peters

New Member
I think they went the fuse replacement route is because its real expensive to ship a battery. Usually it is considered dangerous goods and cannot be shipped by air at least because you need to be a certified dangerous goods shipper. If you did ship it with the appropriate shipping company I bet it would cost a lot.

Did you actually remove the fuse? You can check it yourself with a simple multi-meter.

If you see your speed limit restricted then it could be something very simple. I would check the speedo indicator against a GPS unit. Plus or minus 10% is probably well within the range of your speedometer. When I take your speed of 30.8 and your desired speed of 32 it is actually -5.6% less.

With the controller that I have (Cycle Analyst) I can actually measure of my front tire dimensions to adjust the speedo. Easy to do. Just marked a spot and lay down a measuring tape and then roll the bike until its done a full rotation. Take the circumference that I measured in m.m. and input this value into Cycle Analyst. You may want to try this. Do a little bit of math and figure out if the circumference of your tires are exactly the dimension that will give you your speed that is indicated. A little bit the thinking but its like our automobiles sometimes even changing the tires with have a dramatic effect on the indicted speed.
I went and bought some pliers today and managed to get the fuse out. It is blown. Unfortunately I bought the wrong size replacement, I showed spark bikes a pic of the one I was planning on getting which they said would work but in reality it was too large (the fuse is actually a mini 30 amp when they told me a 30 amp maxi fuse would work) so I will have to try again later. The support I have to say is pretty poor, when I asked for them to send the specs of the fuse (make and model) they just ignored me because I don’t think the support person actually knows much about the electronics. (I don’t either but am learning a lot now that I have to repair their brand new bike they sold me)

I’m glad people have taken an interest in this situation on the forum though, I would like to find out more about whether blowing fuses occasionally is an acceptable thing to be happening on an e-bike, or what kind of signal that means regarding mismatch of components or quality of components. I would expect blowing fuses would be more of a DIY issue for people running high watts and pushing the limits of the parts.
 

TimJohn

Active Member
So the question is why did it blow? You said that you removed the battery because you parked and took it with you. The question I would want answered is pretty simple. Is it possible that some how the terminals touched some metal or something conductive when you were transporting it? I would think not because the battery terminals are most likely buried within it's casing but look in over carefully. Was the battery dropped as you were transporting or experienced a sudden blow like dropping it out of a bag on to a concrete surface?

Also, if there were some issues internally with the circuitry maybe upon close examination, you can figure out if it shorter out. Look for unusual marks on the circuit board. You said it wasn't anchored down and appeared to be loose. Check this board and look for black marks like those that would be caused by sparking as in the case of a momentary short circuit.

I would look this over carefully before installing a new fuse. In the meantime, be careful with this battery. I would very cautious about keeping it close to anything that you wouldn't want to go up in flames...your house!

Just be thorough here and trying to be constructive.

Finally, if it is not the battery then check all your external connections.
 
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Ryan_Peters

New Member
So the question is why did it blow? You said that you removed the battery because you parked and took it with you. The question I would want answered is pretty simple. Is it possible that some how the terminals touched some metal or something conductive when you were transporting it? I would think not because the battery terminals are most likely buried within it's casing but look in over carefully. Was the battery dropped as you were transporting or experienced a sudden blow like dropping it out of a bag on to a concrete surface?

Also, if there were some issues internally with the circuitry maybe upon close examination, you can figure out if it shorter out. Look for unusual marks on the circuit board. You said it wasn't anchored down and appeared to be loose. Check this board and look for black marks like those that would be caused by sparking as in the case of a momentary short circuit.

I would look this over carefully before installing a new fuse. In the meantime, be careful with this battery. I would very cautious about keeping it close to anything that you wouldn't want to go up in flames...your house!

Just be thorough here and trying to be constructive.

Finally, if it is not the battery then check all your external connections.
Thanks! ya I did have the battery in my knapsack next to the seat post but didn’t drop it or bang it on anything. And the circular metal terminal looks perfectly fine. The loose circuit is only loose because when I was opening up the battery for the first time with the support on the phone they kept telling me that was the fuse and to “lift it out”. I kept saying it’s glued in and they kept telling me to not worry and pull on it. Either way they said it’s not an issue if it’s a bit loose since the wiring is intact.

I initially asked spark bikes if maybe the circular metal part of the battery that plugs in may have contacted the metal seat post and caused an issue but they said that couldn’t happen. I don’t really know...I only removed the battery so it wouldn’t get stolen as I had a family member whose battery was stolen the first day she rode her bike. It doesn’t help that the manufacturer decaled “17 Ah!” And “high capacity” on it just asking for it to get stolen. I’m probably gonna spray paint it tbh as that is a theft magnet.

Anyways won’t be able to report much more on the bike until I get a new fuse. Thanks for the fire warning I’m keeping it in a safe place now.
 

TimJohn

Active Member
My feeling is you probably will get another failure so I would hope that you could get some answers. Maybe you should go to an electronics shop and spec out that fuse and its source. It would nice if you could post a couple of pictures...
 

Ryan_Peters

New Member
I replaced the fuse now and it’s working again. The battery light indicator lights up and the bike runs as it was before but I only rode it for around 10 minutes.

The fuse that was inside looks like this E7480B4B-BF20-4485-A8C8-DA7CDBF2DBB3.jpeg
And the inside of the battery looks like this 002E609F-C5E8-4C12-B1D2-F6666A95CDB6.jpegF6D79C44-8769-496C-B9E3-628CDFC11928.jpeg
I replaced the fuse with this 02ECBB2F-D114-4712-AE45-CC4856F12547.jpeg

I’m hoping this doesn’t happen again but at least if it does there is a one year warranty on the electronics. That helps. Thanks for the interest in the issue, if anything happens again I’ll come back to this. I’d be happy to answer any questions about the bike too.
 

TimJohn

Active Member
OK looks like a quagmire of wiring and glued together with silicone. Can't see any signs of sparking and heating inside there so keep your fingers crossed then...good luck with it and keep us posted.
 

Feliz

Well-Known Member
They should have sent you a battery. I WAS considering a Spark purchase but not anymore. Whatever happened to customer service? Their website is crappy and full of BS, some things just plain didn't even make sense. I doubt if they're bike people. Good luck.
 

Ryan_Peters

New Member
They should have sent you a battery. I WAS considering a Spark purchase but not anymore. Whatever happened to customer service? Their website is crappy and full of BS, some things just plain didn't even make sense. I doubt if they're bike people. Good luck.
Thanks, ya in case you were wondering I still didn’t get the fuse they claim to have sent me (it’s now been 8 business days) so who knows what they are doing, definitely not providing support. If I hadnt been proactive and bought my own fuses the bike would have been out of commission for almost two weeks now. They also haven’t emailed me to check if things were fixed. I guess they don’t care if their bikes actually run or not. Very disappointed in the customer service experience and definitely regretting buying from spark bikes.
 

msport

New Member
They really should have been to get you a new fuse in a day or two at the most. I hope you are still having fun riding the bike and this is the end of the issues.
 

Ryan_Peters

New Member
Just an update on the bike, now that it’s working I noticed a major plus and wanted to emphasize the efficiency and range of this thing. I’ve made 2 day trips around the city with the same charge and the thing is still at 80% charge, and I can pass others and cruise at 20-30 km/hr on a bike path without even using assist. Just a whole different feeling than what I’ve experienced with hub motored bikes (which always felt slow without assist). The bike feels like a normal light weight bike when pedalling on flat ground and is actually easier to pedal than my old hybrid non motorized bicycle. Must be really good bearings and weight distribution.
 

Bcbob

New Member
Glad you are back on the road. Not so good about your problems. My wife’s spark city has about 400 km on it now and is working great and has good range even though it only has the 13ah battery. When we buy these lower priced bikes online you usually have to replace parts yourself (that they send you for free). Opening up the battery is a bit much though. Hopefully they can keep people happy as they seem to be a good bike for the price point.
 

Ryan_Peters

New Member
Did you ever get your speed issue figured out? I'm considering this bike as well.
Nope, they said they’d get back to me and never did. Still maxes out at 30.8 km/hr under throttle. Or if I try pedal assist with very little pedal torque it still maxes out at that. Only way to get above is to push HARD on the pedals which is unsustainable and that only gets me to 33 or so (anything above 32 and the motor cuts out so it’s all you at that point)
 

Ryan_Peters

New Member
Nope, they said they’d get back to me and never did. Still maxes out at 30.8 km/hr under throttle. Or if I try pedal assist with very little pedal torque it still maxes out at that. Only way to get above is to push HARD on the pedals which is unsustainable and that only gets me to 33 or so (anything above 32 and the motor cuts out so it’s all you at that point)
I would recommend against buying from spark bikes because their customer service was terrible and the bike just seems really cheap.

-(The cabling is haphazard and looks ridiculous with the rubber stopper where it enters the bike constantly falling out)

- the bell stopped working because it’s jammed in between the gear shifter and the brake lever, plus it’s a very cheap bell.

-the bottle holder is positioned so that it could never fit any normal sized bottle, not even a chubby soda, so it’s completely useless

-the fenders are a bad size and are so close to the wheel they almost constantly rub)

- As court noted in his review the magnet sensor is on the wrong side and prevents using a slap guard so the whole frame in that area has gotten so severely scratched from the chain the actual frame is shredding)

-(the light cables run through the bike and would be impossible to remove safely, the backlight wire actually runs through the back fender in close contact with the tire and looks impossible to remove

If I could do it all over again I would probably have bought a biktrix or the Fuell on Indigogo.