2016 Turbo X: First week (and beyond) commuting impressions

Also...I have the resetting odometer syndrome. When I had the bike into the shop for the first spoke replacement, the mechanic said he was able to update the firmware while working on the wheel. I thought it was fixed. It seemed to be fixed for about a week, but now it seems to be resetting every time I turn off the power. Either the mechanic didn't update the firmware, or update he applied didn't include the odometer fix.

My plan now is to bring only the rear wheel to the shop for spoke replacement (will try to get it entirely rebuilt) and schedule to have the firmware updated again when I bring the bike with me to pick up the fixed rear wheel.
 

jamesthewright

New Member
I commute and weight 185 with a 2015 X. I haven't had a spoke fail yet and currently at 2000 miles.

I did true the wheel after I started hearing a little tick, which was a loose spoke, but aside from that nothing.

(BTW truing the wheel, if your not aware, is simply performing a whole turn or two on every spoke, and a little more on loose ones to match tensions). Unless you damaged the wheel that is. Google it if your curious! Takes a few minutes.

One question, do you ever bottom out on your seat suspension? I currently don't have one of those, but maybe its affecting rear spoke performance? Also your gear is positioned directly over the rear, maybe spread it out to the front using some front panniers or something?
 
Hello James,
Regarding the suspension seat post...No, I have never bottomed it out. I like it, but it squeaks after awhile and requires greasing. Not a big deal. For a long time I thought the noise was coming from the bottom bracket.

Your suggestions on weight bias in the rear was something I'd considered...but my gear plus me is less than the body weight of many riders so I decided it was not the cause of two spokes breaking. However, I have thought of another possible culprit - tire pressure. I have pumped up the tires since day one to the highest pressure stated on the sidewall of the tire. I think this is 70 psi. I've decided to take it down toward the lower end of the range - 55 psi. The reason being that the load is likely not as important as the magnitude of the force of rear wheel impacts (front wheel has a shock...so is immune). This appears to be a simple example of a high school physics concept: Impulse = Force X Time, where Time refers to the amount of time the force is applied. For a given impulse the force can be LARGE and and time small, or the force can be small and the time LARGE.

Harder tires (70 psi) and the load on the back may have created an Impluse = F x t situation (BIG force...small time of impact). By lowering the tire pressure the time of impact is extended (this is why air bags are in cars...not to soften the dashboard...rather, to extend time of impact, thus reducing the force on your face). An egg toss competition is another good example...extending the time of the catch reduces force and egg doesn't break... Impulse = f x T

It may not seem significant (even if we can feel the softer ride with the lower tire pressure), but the effect of lowering the tire pressure may be surprisingly effective (I hope so). Here's why... If I can double the time of the impact, from say one hundredth of a second to two hundredths of a second, the resulting force must be reduced by half (keeping the Impulse constant). Double the time of impact...halve the force. Triple the time of impact and the force is reduced to 33% of the original force. I will go out on a limb and guess that lowering the pressure to 55 psi will at least double the time of impact...(probably more than double it). And I hope this will make the rear spokes happier.

I should mention that the odometer fix appears to be working this time. I've only ridden it twice since the latest spoke repair and firmware update.

Jon
 

jamesthewright

New Member
Great theory and proof. I wouldn't be surprised at all if that fixes your issues.

I generally like my tires a little on the squishy side, as opposed to really really firm and this may explain the difference. Additionally I only have a micro pump with no gauge but I bet I rarely pass 60 psi.

Hopefully that is it!
 

Robie

Active Member
I think your on to something Storm trooper with tire pressure. I can barely lift my rear wheel when panniers are fully loaded on my St2. I am amazed the spokes ,tire, wheel take such a load. And also me at 205 lbs. It might be the 40 lbs. psi. I have in the Big Bens, makes sense now with your explanation. Might need to get some front racks to even out loads. I have noticed the bike is very light up front on handling.
 
I agree, the rear wheels on these bikes take a lot of load and a lot of abrupt inertial effects. However, the bike shop mechanic gave me some eye opening perspective on the static loads on the rear wheels -- the radial static tension (measured in Newtons or pounds) within the wheel is far greater than the weight of the rider and their stuff. This, too, points more to the instantaneous forces of impacts causing spokes to appear to break spontaneously (not involving an object jammed in the spokes). The torque of the motors isn't going to break spokes unless they are slack and being alternately worked like twisting a paper clip until the metal fatigues and fails (one of the main reasons to not ride the bike with loose spokes).
 

jamesthewright

New Member
Maybe that seat post is allowing you to take those bumps a little too fast :). I just put a BodyFloat on my bike literally yesterday (amazing).

I am definitely riding faster over things, so ill see if I start having issues with spokes too. Already, after my first 30 minute ride with it, I believe one of the tube bands broke, as I got a a lump in my rear tire....
 
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Good news so far. After three 30 mile rides the odometer has not reset. Also, the ride with the tires at 55 psi is perfect. Really surprised how much smoother the ride is. However, now when I ride through a dip or curb cut, the suspension seat and the squishy tire launch me out of the seat slightly more than before - the price of comfort (and hopefully no more broken spokes). Range has not been impacted significantly by running the tires at the lower pressure.
 
John - Sorry to hear about your ongoing odometer problems. This was the second time the shop tried to update the software to fix it. I'm wondering if they may have used an older version that was known to not have the odometer problem - I doubt it, but if it was a 2015 or older version the assist at the top end would be reduced....been awhile since I did a top speed run in Turbo mode. We'll see. I remember right after I bought mine I could feel the assist fading out around 27 mph. I'll give it a try in the same location and see how it feels. Until then, I'll assume I have a new update that fixed it.
 

John Dombrowski

Active Member
This is my 3rd S since I bought my 1st one at the end of last year. This was the latest batch built and it came with the latest firmware which I believe is 5.14?
But all 3 that I had kind of topped out at 27 mph and then I feel it bogs down a little.
If they don't get all the bugs worked out of this thing before the new Stromer does, I think I will cut my losses and get rid of this thing and go Stromer. I have always been a Specialized fan but their customer service just sucks for the ebike line.
 
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Had my first flat tire. A staple-gun staple in the rear tire, right in the middle of the tread. So much for the peace of mind from the Blackbelt puncture protection. I couldn't get enough leverage on the axle through-bolt with my folding compact Park allen wrench tool. Got a lift home. Yesterday I used an 18 inch breaker bar and 5 mm allen socket. Surprised how much force I needed to apply (way over tightened past spec...not by me). Patched the tube and found it pretty easy to reinstall it and tire on the rim. Pumped it to 60 psi and have been letting it sit a few days to make sure it's holding air. Will put wheel back on the bike this weekend if it continues to hold pressure. Now I'm considering adding Green Slime to the tubes. There's a good YouTube video on how to add it to Presta tubes.
 

ROJA

Active Member
Hey Stormtrooper- Great reports and thread!

You willing to do a quick update? How many miles do you have on the bike and are you still happy with it?
 

ROJA

Active Member
For what it's worth, I just did my first charge on my X (from about 50% as Court suggested) and the odometer did not reset. The battery reads 98% (after the charger light turned a solid green to indicate it's charged). Is that normal?

On 3 of the 4 turbos I test rode (3 Xs and an S, all new at bike shops), the odometer read 0, so maybe they all had the same issue with the odo resetting. For now , I don't seem to have that problem...
 
Hi ROJA - I love the Turbo X. I have to say even at 50% assist it hasn't been great for my fitness compared to riding my Trek Domane 4.5 (used to throw it in the car and drive to Ashburn station and ride the bike to Reston...a hybrid commute). The Turbo does such a great job doing the hard work of accelerating from stops, climbing hills, and countering wind, that the only time I feel like it's me doing the work is when I'm cruising on the straight and level - but then even on a regular bike Newton's 1st Law is mostly responsible for the steady forward motion. However, it is still way better than sitting in a car (often in traffic) for almost 2 hours a day (even in my new-to-me "14 Chevy Volt). I like that it's me doing some of the work, not burning gas, and not being sedentary. The ride West toward home on the W&OD gets more scenic and green with every mile, so it's a nice decompression after work. I don't know my exact miles because of the odometer issue. I think I have about 1500 miles on it. The mega snow storm last year prevented riding to work for about a month, and I had two broken spoke episodes. I've had no problems since lowering the tire pressure...and the shop rebuilt the wheel and made sure the tension was balanced all the way around. The rear tire will need to be replaced soon. The front is much less worn.

98% after an all night charge is normal. I see that most of the time. I see 100% occasionally. The Turbo X battery has more capacity than the base and less than the S. It's plenty of range for my 28 mile ride (one way). I'm able to recharge in less than 3 hours at work. I carry the charger, but plan to buy one to keep at work. I just need to remember to do it :)
 

James Kohls

Active Member
Had my first flat tire. A staple-gun staple in the rear tire, right in the middle of the tread. So much for the peace of mind from the Blackbelt puncture protection. I couldn't get enough leverage on the axle through-bolt with my folding compact Park allen wrench tool. Got a lift home. Yesterday I used an 18 inch breaker bar and 5 mm allen socket. Surprised how much force I needed to apply (way over tightened past spec...not by me). Patched the tube and found it pretty easy to reinstall it and tire on the rim. Pumped it to 60 psi and have been letting it sit a few days to make sure it's holding air. Will put wheel back on the bike this weekend if it continues to hold pressure. Now I'm considering adding Green Slime to the tubes. There's a good YouTube video on how to add it to Presta tubes.

Interesting about you thru-axle being torqued on so tight. Mine was relatively easy to remove. I think it is a good idea for everyone to try removing their thru-axle at home, just as a test. Gives some confidence when that day finally comes you have to remove your wheel on the road. Had my first flat a few weeks ago. Not sure what Blackbelt is intended to prevent, but it would seem anything that pokes straight through is going to puncture a Specialized tire no matter what.

I'm still not sure about the whole tire sliming thing. I'd rather keep the inside of my tires clean so if I do have to change a tube, I'm not dealing with a big mess on the road. I guess the thought process is slime would reduce the likelihood of needing to change the tube, but from my experience, punctures come in all shapes and sizes. Wonder how well slime would help if an object actually made it inside the tube. I've had that happen once before on my old road bike. I actually found changing my rear tube rather easy. My big 47c tire was pretty easy to remove. The rear wheel's weight was a bit cumbersome at first, but I managed. Having a thru-axle really made putting things back together a snap too!
 

reoutput

Member
Hey StormTropper, great reading this thread! I have a short commute compared to you, 16 miles, but have never really ridden on the road much until now...in the past,mountain biking mostly. I was very skeptical about using the bike to commute but a customer came in and said that if more people rode the bike that they would realize that the Turbo is a great alternative to a car. That got me thinking and the huge deal of getting a 2015 at a great price was too much for me to pass up.

Nine months later I am loving the bike more and more each day and plan to use it rain or shine everyday I work. The only problem that I have is with the headlight. There is a portion of my ride that has no street lights and I don't feel that the front light is enough on its own. I tried to find the rating of the light but have not found an answer yet but it seems like the 2015 headlight slots in around 200-300 lumen. I may need to follow your lead and add a light to my helmet as well. So when I work the closing shift I do not ride the Turbo but that may be changing soon as we head into winter with the shorter days.

Keep on trucking!
 

ROJA

Active Member
I've now done my first two commutes on my X (20 miles and 29 miles, respectively) and the bike is really fun and so competent at eating up the miles! It handles beautifully on dirt/gravel (better than I expected) and range is about what I figured so far. I've been using mostly Eco70 so far, which is a surprise (I expected to be running in Turbo all the time) but seems to offer plenty of power to cruise at 25-26 with moderate effort.