SURFACE 604 -SLOW SUPPORT, BUT ISSUE EVENTUALLY RESOLVED SATISFACTORILY

abridges01

New Member
Purchased a Colt a couple of years back, and was quite quickly disappointed by decreasing range within first ten months, My concerns were exacerbated by their poor response, and then total blanking of questions when I pursued their (obviously bogus) 50 mile range claim.
Then this May (bike is now a little over two years old), my Surface 604 Colt power started dropping out on my 22 mile commute. Battery would suddenly show zero and no power, but after a couple of minutes, it would kick back in for a few, 10 ~ 20, seconds.
Contacted John Dem at Surface 604 who advised me it was a battery issue, so I reluctantly sprung $350+ for a new battery - no difference.
John said to send it back, so I paid $75 to ship it to "Toys 4 Boys Motorsports" in Calgary, Canada. After chasing them and getting them to look for it (John responded to my multiple emails with "Ok, we have it here somewhere"!!!) they claimed to have fixed and thoroughly tested it for only a $180 display unit, which I reluctantly paid.
Upon receiving my bike back, it failed with complete battery failure 3.5 miles into very first commute ride (see attached). Since then, Surface 604 have ignored my multiple emails and calls and refuse to communicate with me in any manner. I am now left with no option other than to pursue them in the small claims court.
AVOID THESE CROOKS
 

Attachments

Ebiker01

Active Member
Wow... maybe post it under other thread (Ebikes to avoid !!) as well as leave a google review for that company or maybe parent company(Surface) as well ?
 

Mike's E-Bikes

Well-Known Member
The new Rook looks awesome, and S604 definitely listened to their dealers and short comings with revisions they've introduced.

Improved fender attachments.
New torque sensor. Better location.
Better position for battery, lower center of gravity, and allows for larger option capacity of 14 Ah.
New color display. USB port.
New and vastly improved adjustable stem.
New and improved crank arms, and bottom bracket. Stronger.
Shimano Alivio derailleur ( usually you see lower level altus or Acera at this price point)
Full range throttle. (Not limited by assist level).
More body space in step through area, and down bar has better slope for possible water bottle attachment near top, still leaving good spacing. (Very easy for a dealer to install rivnuts for bosses to allow attachment of cage)
More comfortable leather and cushioned grips.

The little things above add a lot to what has been a very solid product except for an occasional hiccup for a few customers, one might and does see on any brand of ebike.

The torque sensing adds more range (probably could get 65 to 75 miles on level 1 or 2 with the 14ah battery option) than typical cadence ebike, and with it being such a comfortable riding ebike, besides the 'natural feel' , it's now definitely one of the more refined ebikes on the market for the $1900 to $2500 price range. You'd likely pay more than $3000 for another brand to get a comparable performing and comfortable ebike that checks pretty much all the boxes a commuter or recreational rider would ever need. Occasional smoother trails or gravel would not be out of the question with this hybrid format ebike either on 2" wide tires.
 
Mike, your touting of the new and improved features do nothing at all for Abridges01; who is literally at the mercy of the people behind this bike brand. I do not know if you are a dealer for this brand; but as a dealer of ebikes in general, I'd have expected a more constructive effort that would actually help this person from you.

This site is full of similar stories like this, of unresponsive bike businesses that shut off all communication between buyer/owner and seller/manufacturer/middleman. As an ebike owner, I still cannot imagine the frustration and feeling of being ripped off by these second or third tier level ebike brands.

As this ebike world settles out, brands like this are either going to smarten up and treat customers with respect and immediate, proactive service-after-the-sale or they are going to be GONE.

I believe in the end, the survivors are going to be the big name brands, who have the financial muscle and dealer network to back up their product. Thinking Trek, Specialized, Pedego, Yamaha. I even question my Haibike's parent company, who sure seem to love to sell the sizzle & their latest and greatest All-Whatever 10.0; while if someone wants to buy a new decal to fit their replacement battery, that person has to go to Italy to buy it.....

Original Poster: I know nothing of this drive but that it is a Bafang. The easiest things you can do at this time is to ensure all connections between the controller, display and motor are clean and making good contact. I would get acquainted with any and all applicable Bafang posts, articles and videos that can be of help troubleshooting that which the Seller will not or cannot do for you. Do your research on local ebike servicing shops that can see your bike, inspect it and hopefully have an answer to your repairs. Bad battery off the shelf replacing a battery that internally is not up to par? Anything and everything at this point cannot be overlooked.

Court could do us all a public service with a lengthy review of the bikes and edrive systems that have proven to be problematic; ones to stay away from, etc.

I wish you well!
 

abridges01

New Member
Mike, your touting of the new and improved features do nothing at all for Abridges01; who is literally at the mercy of the people behind this bike brand. I do not know if you are a dealer for this brand; but as a dealer of ebikes in general, I'd have expected a more constructive effort that would actually help this person from you.

This site is full of similar stories like this, of unresponsive bike businesses that shut off all communication between buyer/owner and seller/manufacturer/middleman. As an ebike owner, I still cannot imagine the frustration and feeling of being ripped off by these second or third tier level ebike brands.

As this ebike world settles out, brands like this are either going to smarten up and treat customers with respect and immediate, proactive service-after-the-sale or they are going to be GONE.

I believe in the end, the survivors are going to be the big name brands, who have the financial muscle and dealer network to back up their product. Thinking Trek, Specialized, Pedego, Yamaha. I even question my Haibike's parent company, who sure seem to love to sell the sizzle & their latest and greatest All-Whatever 10.0; while if someone wants to buy a new decal to fit their replacement battery, that person has to go to Italy to buy it.....

Original Poster: I know nothing of this drive but that it is a Bafang. The easiest things you can do at this time is to ensure all connections between the controller, display and motor are clean and making good contact. I would get acquainted with any and all applicable Bafang posts, articles and videos that can be of help troubleshooting that which the Seller will not or cannot do for you. Do your research on local ebike servicing shops that can see your bike, inspect it and hopefully have an answer to your repairs. Bad battery off the shelf replacing a battery that internally is not up to par? Anything and everything at this point cannot be overlooked.

Court could do us all a public service with a lengthy review of the bikes and edrive systems that have proven to be problematic; ones to stay away from, etc.

I wish you well!
Thank you Mike TT, I appreciate you calling out the (possible) dealer or manufacturer trying to divert the intent of my original posting.
Strangely, since posting my tale here, I finally heard back from Surface 604 promising to refund me for the battery, and send me a controller, which they now suspect is the cause of the issues.
I will keep everyone posted of any developments.
 
Thank you Mike TT, I appreciate you calling out the (possible) dealer or manufacturer trying to divert the intent of my original posting.
Strangely, since posting my tale here, I finally heard back from Surface 604 promising to refund me for the battery, and send me a controller, which they now suspect is the cause of the issues.
I will keep everyone posted of any developments.
Abridges: Thanks; the main thing is getting back on the road again and enjoying your ebike! :)
 

JoeinJP

Member
No profit in that.
TJ, are you suggesting Court only operates on a profit motive? Considering your profile lists you as a well-known member, I can only assume that's an ill-informed opinion unless I'm misunderstanding the comment. I have read his reviews extensively for 4 years and gain valuable information not only on ebike models but battery, drive types etc, and am aware that he now charges a fee to COVER his travel costs. I doubt he's in danger of being in the 'top 2%.'
 

Solom01

Active Member
So there's no easy answer here. There's a reason why reputable review sites like Consumers Report don't take advertising, regardless of any disclosure taking money from manufacturers makes everything suspect. But on the other hand there has to be a source of income. Even the bikes selected for review appear to be skewed not towards the most interesting ones, but constant almost identical reviews of bikes made by vendors who are paying for publicity. Maybe there's no other way, and I'm sure Court is honest, but how much would you trust the reviews in consumer reports if the vendors of the items reviewed paid for them to be reviewed?
 

abridges01

New Member
No profit in that.

To the OP,

Buy a budget bike, get budget service. Look, I deal with DIY customers everyday. There are so many potential problems and varied solutions that can sometimes even run counter to what seems logical. For example, A simple speed sensor can throw seemingly unrelated error code.

Is the bike the problem? Or is it the dip wad seller?

Nothing at all wrong with the Colt components, but you bought in as the support shop. You assumed the responsibility for trouble shooting. You became the LBS if purchased direct. Buyer beware, of your ability to DIY. $500-750 more and you’d have an LBS and support.

So, get a multimeter, figure out what the display, controller, and motor are...jump on Google and sort it.

Lesson learned.
Can't decide it this time was an attempt to bolster your post numbers, or really intended as being helpful?

I've been dealing directly with the manufacturer, Surface 604, throughout, no third party involved. Surface 604 apparently operate with/under 'Toys 4 Boys' so I returned to the address as the bike manufacturer directed.

Perhaps you should collect some facts before mounting your high horse in future TJ.
 

Mike's E-Bikes

Well-Known Member
Mike, your touting of the new and improved features do nothing at all for Abridges01; who is literally at the mercy of the people behind this bike brand. I do not know if you are a dealer for this brand; but as a dealer of ebikes in general, I'd have expected a more constructive effort that would actually help this person from you.

This site is full of similar stories like this, of unresponsive bike businesses that shut off all communication between buyer/owner and seller/manufacturer/middleman. As an ebike owner, I still cannot imagine the frustration and feeling of being ripped off by these second or third tier level ebike brands.

As this ebike world settles out, brands like this are either going to smarten up and treat customers with respect and immediate, proactive service-after-the-sale or they are going to be GONE.

I believe in the end, the survivors are going to be the big name brands, who have the financial muscle and dealer network to back up their product. Thinking Trek, Specialized, Pedego, Yamaha. I even question my Haibike's parent company, who sure seem to love to sell the sizzle & their latest and greatest All-Whatever 10.0; while if someone wants to buy a new decal to fit their replacement battery, that person has to go to Italy to buy it.....

Original Poster: I know nothing of this drive but that it is a Bafang. The easiest things you can do at this time is to ensure all connections between the controller, display and motor are clean and making good contact. I would get acquainted with any and all applicable Bafang posts, articles and videos that can be of help troubleshooting that which the Seller will not or cannot do for you. Do your research on local ebike servicing shops that can see your bike, inspect it and hopefully have an answer to your repairs. Bad battery off the shelf replacing a battery that internally is not up to par? Anything and everything at this point cannot be overlooked.

Court could do us all a public service with a lengthy review of the bikes and edrive systems that have proven to be problematic; ones to stay away from, etc.

I wish you well!
I was the one who brought the issue back up to Surface showing them this thread, and hence the prompt resolution he suddenly got out of the blue . So instead of all the word blather like you guys have been proposing b.s., small claims court, and other crap, I took action and got him results. Now go back re-read all the positive attributes about the product and stop getting side tracked about a rather one sided story. Stuff happens with these products. Go look at all the terrible quality stories with specialized bikes that cost twice this price and more. Bosch mid drives have even worse problems. His surface was out of warranty, and its not like a lot of other firms I have seen who completely dodge responsibility. Even during warranty like the story about Voltbike recently posted by the lady in southbend.
 
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Solom01

Active Member
So folks instead of going at each other buyers need to realize that ebikes are kind of the wild west. Even "premium" brands have crappy warranties and in most cases don't cover labor, etc. So, always make sure to buy with a credit card from a bank that values you as a customer. When you get the bike ride the heck out of it and make sure everything is ok. If there's a problem and the vendor gives you any issue don't sweat it, just do a chargeback. My bank will charge back at the drop of a hat. Don't depend on other people or the vendor to help you, you're the bank's customer and they don't mind charge backs, they take the money back from the vendor and charge them a fee. Yes, you can beg and ask the vendor for help, or you can just cut them off at their income source. Charge backs are harder if you are at a store in person, but for an internet order where the card info. is taken over the phone they are a breeze.
 
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I was the one who brought the issue back up to Surface showing them this thread, and hence the prompt resolution he suddenly got out of the blue . So instead of all the word blather like you guys have been proposing b.s., small claims court, and other crap, I took action and got him results. Now go back re-read all the positive attributes about the product and stop getting side tracked about a rather one sided story. Stuff happens with these products. Go look at all the terrible quality stories with specialized bikes that cost twice this price and more. Bosch mid drives have even worse problems. His surface was out of warranty, and its not like a lot of other firms I have seen who completely dodge responsibility. Even during warranty like the story about Voltbike recently posted by the lady in southbend.
Mike's E-Bikes..... Regarding your latest post referencing " word blather, proposing b.s., small claims court, and other crap"..

'abridges01' had a problem with his bike... He did what most reasonable folks might do and I quote from his post...

"Contacted John Dem at Surface 604 who advised me it was a battery issue, so I reluctantly sprung $350+ for a new battery - no difference.
John said to send it back, so I paid $75 to ship it to "Toys 4 Boys Motorsports" in Calgary, Canada. After chasing them and getting them to look for it
(John responded to my multiple emails with "Ok, we have it here somewhere"!!!) they claimed to have fixed and thoroughly tested it
for only a $180 display unit, which I reluctantly paid....

"Upon receiving my bike back, it failed with complete battery failure 3.5 miles into very first commute ride (see attached). Since then,
Surface 604 have ignored my multiple emails and calls and refuse to communicate with me in any manner. I am now left with no option
other than to pursue them in the small claims court. "

Based on the above, Surface 604 / Toys 4 Boys did not repair the bike even though it was in their possession, returned it and then
refused to respond to their customer ( 'abridges01)

As a consumer, that is a terrible position to be in and your foolish reply to a very frustrating near hopeless situation and I quote your post.....
" So instead of all the word blather like you guys have been proposing b.s., small claims court, and other crap, Stuff happens with these products."
Stuff happens ?? You're correct stuff happens.....

abridge01's bike had a problem, he followed Surface 604's advice, when the 'repaired' was bike was returned to the consumer it failed
in 3.5 miles. In the process abridge01 paid $615 in shipping and parts. Toys 4 Boys refused to respond from that point forward.
That's what happened !

You wrote...." I was the one who brought the issue back up to Surface showing them this thread. I was the one that took action and got him results."

That is laughable. You simply informed Surface 604 of their negligence and they attempted to mitigate the mess they created when they
would not respond to their customers emails etc.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
... Go look at all the terrible quality stories with specialized bikes that cost twice this price and more. Bosch mid drives have even worse problems...
You're always making these claims but I can't recall that you've posted any evidence. If you're an industry insider how about giving us some industry stats on failure rates, number of units in service, number of units in service over 10,000 miles etc. Or even stats from your own shop and personal experience? Are you always throwing shade at these brands because its in your interest (you're not a dealer and don't really have much personal experience with them) or do you have some industry reports with some stats on failure rates?
 
I was the one who brought the issue back up to Surface showing them this thread, and hence the prompt resolution he suddenly got out of the blue . So instead of all the word blather like you guys have been proposing b.s., small claims court, and other crap, I took action and got him results. Now go back re-read all the positive attributes about the product and stop getting side tracked about a rather one sided story. Stuff happens with these products. Go look at all the terrible quality stories with specialized bikes that cost twice this price and more. Bosch mid drives have even worse problems. His surface was out of warranty, and its not like a lot of other firms I have seen who completely dodge responsibility. Even during warranty like the story about Voltbike recently posted by the lady in southbend.
I'm quite happy standing by my original post here. If it helped contribute a little bit in the overall rattling of chains, to the Bike business in question or to you in actually helping ABridges01 by your contacting of Surface; all the better for him. My sincere apologies if you took offense to my post. All he wants to do is commute and ride with his bike. Not deal with phone or email tag games to a business that on the surface (no pun intended), decided it would be better to just shut him out. I personally don't think it's word blather or bs when a person becomes frustrated enough to want or need to take his problem to court in order for the situation to be resolved, either. 2 grand or 5-6 grand for an ebike; that is alot of money to most folks; it makes no difference and is no excuse if they are to simply just shrug their shoulders and say "Well, it's a lower end ebike and the warranty is up; what more do you want from us?"

Mike and Thomas J: Us simple ole ebike riders need your advocacy, your voice when these businesses aren't listening to our needs when something goes wrong. I'm appreciative of the pros in the ebike business like you two on these forums, as well as Chris Nolte or Ravi or Pushkar, folks who are in or close to the business who can make a difference. We need to know what things to stay away from; we need to be made aware what are the reliable e-drive systems. Solutions to problems, either on the bike or with the seller. I'm appreciative of that fine line people like you would have to walk, being the middle guy between buyer and business. And I'm very appreciative of these forums within EBR. I don't know where we or the ebike hobby would be today without it.

I fully expect in the coming year or two, we are going to see a flood of these types of problems come up, as the warranty ends, the miles add up and the bike owners are the lab rats for what is going to work for the long run (and make those people ebike converts) or fail (and make those people swear they will never buy another ebike again). And that applies to both the lower end, price-point built ebikes or the higher tier, German or Japanese powered ebikes.....
 

Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
we are going to see a flood of these types of problems come up, as the warranty ends,
Too many batteries, motors, and controllers will be junk in 5 years. Not because they were bad builds/components, but parts availability and repair skills will be diminished. A significant number of motors are already unrepairable because there is no parts stream. I'm not the brightest build in the pack and I tried with scores of hours of research to find a bike/kit that I could ride to the grave. (figuring I've got 10 years left) I support and

I have 4 motors that are dead when they fail. Just spent a few hours today looking for rebuild parts, I was truly dissapointed. No replacement parts and China could give a flying f^$k.

My dream was to see American made kits. It would be incredible if there were a line of bikes with standardized components, I have quality tools that are 25-40 years old. Sadly the eBike market is not dissimilar from automaking. Planned obsolescence. Maximum profit. It's the nature of our worldwide economy. My apologies for being pissy. New members don't deserve it. My reaction is born out of the half dozen calls a day with riders stuck with a direct seller that offers zero phone support and slow email responses. The bright side is the incredible fellas on endless_sphere that have cracked the firmware of one motor and have made huge improvements over the maker.

Again, my apologies. It's frustrating to watch sellers convince buyers that the $500 plus discount is only a discount for buying direct. FACT is these fellas have a much better profit margin. Just like the largest Bafang mid-drive reseller. Best profit margin and support is largely from the community, not the reseller and manufacturer.

If we had incentives like Poland we might have had an American made series of motors. Then again, I've never owned an American car. Except for the 1952 International Harvester Travelall with a false floor for hiding fellow hippies and not pay the ticket price for the Wadena Rock Fest. (Edgar Winter and Siegal Schwall Band)

IH vehicles were a parts nightmare. Even when new. But we still bought hem.

do you have some industry reports with some stats on failure rates?
EEK, if only it was that simple. I know of no such data. 1%-3% is a value I use with some battery folks like UPP.
I'm appreciative of the pros in the ebike business like you two on these forums, as well as Chris Nolte or Ravi or Pushkar, folks who are in or close to the business who can make a difference.
I wish I could count myself as one with 20% of what Nolte, Ravi, and Pushcar have in those brains boxes. I'm pretty myopic and limited to kit building and battery(still learning) pack construction. Trying to keep abreast tracking purpose-built eBikes. So much to learn. I need endless_sphere, ES Facebook, several Bafang pages, and inordinate amounts of time learning and Googling. I'll domy dit nap with more questions than direct answers on many bikes. I do try just because it can help me help someone. I just donated 4-5 hours ofsearching suggesting a motor I don't sell only to have the lady do exactly what suggested was a mistake. I'm veering off here but askholes are the toughest n00bs. I sourced custom pats from Italy and clearly suggest a relationship with the shop is important

I wrote this,
"Here's what I suggest, your dealer/shop is a business, they can easily become a dealer. That won't lower your price but it means they make a small margin. THAT will help to establish a strong relationship with you. Shops typically HATE installing other sellers products, Having a small piece of the pie for a shop is a good thing
Your bike shop will supply the disc brake assembly. Likely something like the AVID BB7 known to the eBike world as the best mechanical, not hydraulic, brakes. Hydraulic brake would be better.
Ask them to be a dealer! A process that is quite simple.
Typically they will bargain of bikes even with their low margin but not on parts and labor.

Remember that there are TWO parts from Italy. The brake bracket AND the battery?controller mount.


The response was,
"

"Thanks, Tom, for the great final advice. I'll reach out to the shop about being a dealer.

Glad you enjoyed this process - it was certainly a puzzle with moving parts! Take care!"


So the customer placed the order and didn't confirm anything with the LBS.
no margin for the LBS and an expensive exchange

returns from the USA to Canada get expensive when shipping a wheel and motor.
So much for a warranty on that kit... Thank deity the customer did listen and went with a Grin kit.

This perhaps gives a glimpse into my curmudgeonly approach.
 

Trail Cruiser

Well-Known Member
Thank you Mike TT, I appreciate you calling out the (possible) dealer or manufacturer trying to divert the intent of my original posting.
Strangely, since posting my tale here, I finally heard back from Surface 604 promising to refund me for the battery, and send me a controller, which they now suspect is the cause of the issues.
I will keep everyone posted of any developments.
You better get your records and documents all organized and be ready to file at the small claims court if things still does not turn out satisfactorily. I suspect they sent you a bad battery (old stock). However, I think the company will keep their promise this time around since they are now under the watching eyes of current ebike owners in this blog and potential ebike customers.
 

abridges01

New Member
Wow, didn't expect my OP to spark this debate!

I have to say that since posting on this site, Surface 604's support has been amazing!
They've sent me a new controller that, although I'm struggling to install correctly (I believe the issue is due to my lack of mechanical 'sympathy', and no fault of theirs) and after a five mile initial test ride with the battery 'taped' onto the frame, it appears to have at least remedied the complete shut off issue I was experiencing since the bikes return. I think I see light at the end of the tunnel.

More news to come as it develops, stay tuned!