Bikes using the new semi-integrated battery in the US?

Gunnar Hillert

New Member
As discussed elsewhere BionX announced some interesting options for 2016 such as the semi-integrated battery.

http://ridebionx.com/bionx-2016-and-beyond-integration-and-multi-device-controls/

Is anyone aware of bikes (preferably hybrid bikes) that are destined for the US that will use the new gear for 2016? The only manufacturer that seems to fully embrace all the new stuff is Wheeler in Switzerland. They have some pretty neat looking bikes albeit not for the US it seems.

http://products.wheeler.ch/deu/e-bikes.html
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
BionX has partnered with Elby to produce a bike for the US in 2016 utilizing the new design. Court had the opportunity to look at Elby's new model using the upgraded D-500 system, newer console and special designed frame integrated battery while at Interbike. (Scroll down the page from the BionX interview to see the Elby video)
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Given that I'm living in Switzerland, I'm extremely tempted by the Wheeler Eagle Speed. The old 2015 model sold extremely well and was very reliable. They should open this bike up to the US market IMO. It would do extremely well.

I can see a lof of great things with the bike:

- It's cheaper than a Stromer ST1 or Turbo X when fully equipped.
- Unlike the ST1, ST2, or Turbo S, it comes with a suspension fork included.
- It easily outruns the Bosch-powered Speed Pedelecs on most terrains. It's also cheaper than most Bosch Speed Pedelecs.
- The new 2016 model is about 45% cheaper than an ST2. Yet both bikes are on par in terms of performance.
- It's fairly lightweight for a DD hub bike and Wheeler has pretty much reported the overall system weight accurately (23 kilos or 50.7 pounds). Without the battery it weighs about 45 pounds. I actually tried carrying it up a flight of stairs and it remains doable. Try carrying an ST1, ST2 or a Turbo up a flight of stairs - good luck.
- It comes fully equipped, no hidden costs. It even has a lock.
- Unlike the ST1 or the Turbo, the drive is 48V and it has an absolutely killer thermal design.
- The rack and fenders that ship with the bike are actually better than those provided with the Stromer offerings.
- The 2016 model comes with a thru-axel. Given the lightweight hub, changing a flat should be relatively straightforward.
- The battery comes with a deep sleep mechanism. This makes it easier to own a 2nd battery. No need to babysit your batteries over the winter months. A fully charged battery has a shelf life of 18 months according to Bronx. The lower the battery charge, the quicker it will go into deep sleep mode.

Some downsides:

- Comes with a somewhat small 557Wh battery. However, there's a slightly bigger battery on the way (reportedly 650Wh).
- Goofy gearing and derailleur options. We don't need 30 speeds on an E-bike. Even in Switzerland.
- It looks really ugly to me. However, I don't plan on taking selfies of myself whilst on the bike.

2015 Eagle Speed:

View attachment 5637

2016 model:

View attachment 5638
Looks really great. I thought the rear hub was bolt on?!
I like this one and the S-pedelec from Flyer with Panasonic drive and 640Whr battery + Rohloff IGH.
If it' really 45% cheaper than ST2, then there is no comparison. It has everything you ever need for commuting + more.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
I will be doing a full demo in a couple of weeks. Wheeler seems to have "lost" the batteries for the 2016 model in the mail for the moment. I demoed the 2015 model - it had the traditional "bolt on" hub from what I remember. I will report back on the thru-axel.
Such a bike with 650 Whr battery would be my ideal commuter vehicle. Not so much range anxiety and relatively light weight compared to ST2.
I use Neo Nitro which is a great bike for short distance and ST2 for long distance. This seems like a perfect compromise. Best of both worlds.
The only US company carrying this BionX system is OHM and they won't have higher capacity batteries until 2017.
 

JayVee

Well-Known Member
IMG_0455-small-p.png IMG_0451-p.png

I briefly demoed the Wheeler Eagle Speed 2016, so I thought I would plop in a little review. The first impression you get when riding the bike is that the power kicks in very smoothly and progressively. The power delivery isn’t instantaneous as on the ST2 when starting from a standstill, which was reassuring to me. You have to turn about 1/8th of a pedal rotation before the power kicks in. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. In regular traffic it’s great because you won’t accidentally go slamming into the back of the vehicle in front of you. But when starting from a standstill on hills, it can sometimes be a little difficult to get things going. The dealer said you could probably tune this via codes, but he didn’t tell me specifically which ones. I mainly rode the bike uphill and it performed exceptionally well in those conditions. In max assist I climbed a 15% incline without any problems whatsoever, and I was cruising along at about 20 kilometres an hour… Just as long as you get a good momentum going before an incline the bike just keeps on going… Even with my 200+ pounds… The assist is one of the strongest I’ve yet demoed on a street legal e-bike. That being said, the ST2’s torque sensor seems more sophisticated and responds quicker to rider input. At times, the power response seemed a little delayed, particularly on flatter sections. I’m pretty sure it would take less time to reach 45km/h on an ST2 if even both bikes were already in motion.

I hadn’t read the user manual before the ride and I’m not that familiar with BionX systems. Due to that, I encountered a problem during the demo: whilst going downhill I activated the regen mode several times (pull rear brake) and was slightly confused as to how to get out of it. I looked it up in the manual later and it says that you should press the + button. I’m pretty sure I did that but I was still in regen mode. So I powered off the bike and powered it back on and everything came back to normal. In the troubleshooting section, the manual says that this could be due to a faulty brake switch located under the brake lever. Because of my lack of knowledge of the system, I also missed out on another feature of the bike: mountain mode. This is a protective mode that’s meant to prevent the bike from overheating during long and sustained climbs. I climbed most of the hills in 300% assistance mode, which I think is OK because they were occasionally steep but fairly short. I would have liked to test mountain mode to see how the bike reacted in that situation (max assist in mountain mode is 200%). There is also a (limited) throttle mode which I didn’t manage to activate despite my best efforts. I was thinking that maybe this could be useful getting the bike to start from a standstill whilst going uphill (for example at a red light). But I watched some of Court’s videos afterwards and this feature apparently only activates when the bike is going 2km/h or more. The bike has 4 levels of assist: eco 35%, 75%, 150%, and 300%. I spent most of my ride in 150% and 300% as I was mainly going uphill. On the flatter sections 75% would be my level of choice. It offers sufficient assistance whilst still giving you a little workout. Despite my 200+ pounds, I always manage to get extremely good fuel mileage when I demo or rent e-bikes. And this one was no different. I think it’s because I don’t push the speed to the max. I covered about 20 kilometers whilst using 28% of the battery, with 8 kilometers being uphill (400 vertical meters). Based on this, I think It should be possible to cover roughly 65 to 75 kilometers (~40 - 45 miles) on a single battery. The range given by Wheeler is stated as being between 40 and 80 kilometers, which seems like an honest assessment.

One thing that really annoys me with this bike is the front triple crankset. I just don’t see the necessity of such a configuration on a DD gearless hub. Another customer who demoed said it helps when you’re in ECO mode. I can certainly understand that having more gears might help in such a situation, but I don’t see the need to have 30 speeds rather than 20 or even 10. It just adds complexity and isn’t really necessary. I spent most of the demo using the highest gears available, even going uphill… Wheeler has installed a 48-36-26 crankset at the front whereas the rear cassette is a fairly classic 11-36 configuration. I wish they had chosen a 10 speed configuration like the Ohm Urban XU 700, which also uses a BionX D500 kit…

The bike is noticeably lighter than many other DD hub configurations which makes it quite practical. I can barely budge a Stomer or a Specialized Turbo, but this one really seems to weigh the advertised 23 kilos (50.7 pounds): after removing the battery the bike only weighs 19.5 kilos (42 pounds) and I could carry it up a flight of stairs (not easy, but definitely doable). Maintenance should be (fairly) easy as the new BionX semi integrated kit comes with a thru axle type configuration (no need to carry a wrench around). The rack looks sturdy and well built, but the mud guards seemed a little flimsy on closer inspection. In Wheeler’s catalogue the bike looks ugly but in real life it actually doesn’t look that bad. The new BionX DS3 color display is extremely easy to read even in bright sunlight, which is one of the things I liked the most about the system. It’s a big improvement over the older 2015 console and also much better than many other consoles I’ve seen. You can click through most of the console's screens using the integrated "thumb shifters" provided with the kit which is really cool. They are placed right next to the assistance level buttons and are easily accessible. I wish I had taken a picture, but forgot...

bnx-ds3-console-web-p.jpg

Wheeler and BionX must be extremely confident of the quality of this bike: it comes with a 2 year guarantee (motor and battery included), and you can extend it to 3 years. All in all it’s a very appealing bike, but unfortunately the price for the 2016 model has gone up and is now roughly equivalent to that of a Stromer ST1 or to the Specialized Turbo X. I’m still interested but the steeper price tag (4500 Swiss francs or ~4700 US dollars) makes me pause for a while.

Edit: And about the battery, the larger capacity 650Wh should only be available for 2017 as said above by Ravi.
 
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Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
I don’t see the need to have 30 speeds rather than 20
I agree. 30 speeds on a hub drive is simply an overkill.
20 is more than enough. Sometimes, the 36T chainring comes in handy when you want to match your cadence to the engine support and certainly helps in extending the range.
Also the thru axle update is nice! None of OHM bikes have them as of now.
I like that this bike comes with just about everything you need.
 

oskar

New Member
I´m sorry but i don´t agree. If you want to do some workout only using mode 1 and 2, the triple crancset can be very useful.