Dash rider, the first 1,700 miles.

Shea N Encinitas

Active Member
Greetings e riders, I'm Shay. I come from the road bike scene averaging 8 - 12 thousand miles a year for the last 5 years. I've been hit by cars, people and survived 40 mph death wobbles on a 15 lb carbon bike. The main reason I purchased a Dash was in all honesty the new toy factor, the reason I ride it way more than my carbon road bike; SAFETY! Niner's are so stable out on the road, it takes the comparative busy work out of riding coastal So Cal roads, and with the additional weight of motor and battery handles like a small motorcycle and gives me the confidence to enjoy the view a bit more. BTW I run daylight flashers front and rear, use a rear view mirror and BMX style helmet. On to the user experience style review:

DELIVERY
First off, naughty naughty bike shop for; letting that bike out the door with 40 PSI in the rear tire, front wheel bearing cones too tight, way beyond the compression of quick release. Fortunately I remedied these issues and some very loose spokes in short order.

RANGE
So after doing the full power assist joy rides around town, to the point of having to wait 10 minutes for the battery to cool before charge (yes I got the flashy error on the charger), It was time to 'go for distance'. I headed south in assist level ONE, avoided throttle bumping but still used a short full power burst to clear a traffic situation (safety factor). It takes some time to get used to the controls and the impulses of power that come from the 500 watt hub motor. I found myself still feeling these surges in bed latter. I'm not a fan of having to cycle through the assist levels VS more logical plus or minus controls, but did figure out assist level ZERO (single power button depress) will return to the previous setting (cycle levels depress) when conserving in downhill mode and returning to power. It is pretty easy to mix the sequence up and actually power down, so if you see me with my legs in the air for 8 seconds... With a 400 foot hill climb I was impressed with the motor assist and provided a high cadence to the cranks to hold around 12 mph on a steep pitch (inside Torrey Pines park). I continued south a bit more powering down at the Gliderport. This put me just over 15 miles out and I'm happy to report that I made it home with that last 'bar' on the battery indicator. So 30 - 35 miles range, but trust me I was putting out some watts of my own. BTW 16 - 18 miles in full power assist, 34 mph max with slight slope, full tuck and strong legs.

BRAKES
These are my first disc brakes and I'm riding them hard. I'm impressed with the stopping power of even the mechanical design, but I'm adjusting them every 4 - 6 rides. This includes cable take up at the brake, opposite pad adjustment, caliper alignment and even pad inspection via removal and replacement of that cheap and nasty cotter pin. Yes I read the manuals online and will probably replace them with hydraulic or the Avid's mentioned in another thread. This may be a bad move but I even swapped pads as disc deflection increased. I'm pretty sure the factory pads are about done. I just replaced the chain @ 1650.

MOTOR
Motor noise, rhythmic single rotational type, was apparent during coasting, perhaps more so with a warm motor. I was concerned she was going to throw a mag, and perhaps me, but I soldiered on. Luckily this noise went away around 1,200 miles, and with my new chain I'm running pretty stealth at the moment. I've endured about a dozen rear wheel removals, first a dry run at home to make sure I had all the tools I would need on the road and to get the layout. Then several flats. BTW - I change the back tire with the bike on it's side, usually in a grassy area, in the shade, drive side up. I once managed to cut the wire running to the brake circuit, the sharp edge of the cable adjusters at the lever combined with inverting the bike seemed to be my error. Busted out the soldering iron etc, back up in 10 minutes.

There are times when power seems to be lacking, I've seen this discussed here and while I've not run in diagnostic mode yet that day is coming. I'm not sure how much of this is phycological, after all I'm half charged too at that point. The controller does seem to run better over 20 mph. Hopefully you engineer types will hook up a scope and get to the bottom of this almost phantom issue. It would be interesting to swap to a fully charged battery when the body feels the effect.

ERRORS
I have seen the bike generate errors and lose power (@1,200 miles of use, some gentle off road), a quick gentle pull of the wiring harness near the display restored power while riding. Latter I investigated the connections per the user guides and basically strain relieved the wiring by tucking the brake cable under one of the electric cables and checking the full rotation of the handle bars for snags. So far so good.

COMPONENTS
At this price point I guess it is no surprise that some of the components are lacking, the brakes as mentioned here and elsewhere, heavy cranks - a different animal in the biking kingdom. Wheel balance, spoke tension, wheel roundness are not the best and have required some love along the way. I would not recommend this bike for the mechanically challenged or those that live far from their bike dealer. But if a little troubleshooting is your thing, or you're in tight with your local bike shop Go For It! The fun factor, fresh air and benefits of exercise are all bonus. When I demo this bike (max power), I tell people it is like having four friends push you. I also teach them to hold the brake lightly and pedal in tight turns to avoid the unexpected push.

I will let you know if I install any upgrades, and my mileage at one year. Have fun!

-Che

EDIT: I forgot to mention a couple of key points. The wellgo pedals have got to go. I filed the points sharper but the design flaw is the center axis is higher that the surrounding frame and nubs. I even filed grooves into the central aixs before recalling a very nasty accident where I slipped in front of the pedal,.. at this bike weight, well YIKES. Replaced with BMX style platform pedals with spikes, these can bite you if you are careless (handling or walking the bike, or at stops), but I'm used to them. Casual riders may never have a problem, but this is an semi-aggressive rig IMHO, so if you plan on cranking hard please consider this issue.

The other thing is pretty simple, the greased up seat post creeps down over time. Clean off the excess grease, inside the downtube and crank that quick release as hard as you can. Court pointed this out in his new review and mentioned a lip lock style with an allen head for more serious loads.

P.S. I will probably start a Dash Brake Upgrade thread as I get time and parts/photos to work with. -S
 
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DashRiprock

Active Member
Great in-depth review by someone who obviously knows their way around a bike (8-12K/yr...'wow').
I've added it to the Dash resource list and am sure that I will be referring to it later on.

Thanks!
 

Brian(J)

Active Member
Hey Che,
thanks for the input. My bike just went into the shop to have the BB replaced and they say the front brake pad is shot at 600 miles. Urban riding.
When you suggest that you may swap to hydraulic brakes what do you plan to do about the levers/brake sensors? Swapping to Avids you just reuse the existing levers.
 
D

Deleted member 803

Guest
I too put on 8-12 miles a year....................I am anxious to hear continued ride reports from a long distance rider. While I am not a cyclist, I am a tech weenie and wonder about long term durability due to power assist and some level of abuse (meaning ridden hard). I also think that reports from someone putting on a LOT of miles is good feedback for the vendors.
 

Shea N Encinitas

Active Member
My bike just went into the shop to have the BB replaced and they say the front brake pad is shot at 600 miles. Urban riding.

So did the BB come loose and spin trashing the wires on the sensor? I almost bought that tool 2 days ago.

600 miles, yikes that's not enough. Maybe you had uneven wear. My pads probably went a bit further due to constant adjusting and a slightly more XC riding scenario.

When you suggest that you may swap to hydraulic brakes what do you plan to do about the levers/brake sensors? Swapping to Avids you just reuse the existing levers.

Yeah I should probably look for a bigger lever that has room for the magnet that holds the reed switch closed, could be a deal breaker or an extensive DIY situation. I have lots of cherry & roller / micro switches and access to a decent metal shop, but do I need another project... Hhhmn, staying with mechs may suffice, especially with all this nice summer weather.

86, I wonder too (longevity under hard use), picturing the days when the warranties are expired and I'm hacking together batteries, cracking the cases or just putting a normal rear wheel on the beast.

Back on this 'losing power' thing, I did get a ride to my halfway point yesterday and so was able to trace the same ground back with a fresh battery. I perceived similar drag in the usual spots leaning me towards a phyco - physiological postulation. These drive systems can really mess with your brain, the first time I got back on my road bike, beyond missing the motor, I literally was surging when I stood up to pedal, like those muscle groups had been retrained. It took several miles before this went away. I also feel there is a tendency for our bodies to perceive coasting as drag after having the assistance of the motor burn in. Crazy stuff.

Thanks for your thoughts & replies, a full charge awaits.

P.S. This was my ride, he built that rig and designed and CNC milled the skates. It has a motor and goes about 30 mph. He was bleeding inside of 10 seconds.

Shea_RichTron_TPGP-small_6489.jpg
 

DashRiprock

Active Member
I too put on 8-12 miles a year....................I am anxious to hear continued ride reports from a long distance rider. While I am not a cyclist, I am a tech weenie and wonder about long term durability due to power assist and some level of abuse (meaning ridden hard). I also think that reports from someone putting on a LOT of miles is good feedback for the vendors.
It's huge for them and us for certain. One of these days (soon) we're all going to have to make that decision as to whether we (hopefully) buy up what we can to keep what we have going as technology marches on. Without members such as Shea we wouldn't have a clue as to whether this was a wise investment or not.
 

DashRiprock

Active Member
These drive systems can really mess with your brain, the first time I got back on my road bike, beyond missing the motor, I literally was surging when I stood up to pedal, like those muscle groups had been retrained. It took several miles before this went away. I also feel there is a tendency for our bodies to perceive coasting as drag after having the assistance of the motor burn in. Crazy stuff.
...so in other words...you really felt the total disengagement that your (I'm assuming high quality) road bike provided as opposed to what we (intuitively) feel isn't happening '100%' on our ebikes...
 

Shea N Encinitas

Active Member
Not sure what you mean, but I can elaborate that I was almost certain the brakes were dragging in the first 200 feet (of road bike riding), rhythmically like a severely bent wheel. Knowing full well the bike was in great working order I still had to get off and examine her. Then when I stood up to sprint, whoaa - like aliens had harvested a few muscle groups. I also nearly overshot the first stop having acclimated to the disc VS rim brakes. Almost as bad as playing tennis and racketball.
 

Shea N Encinitas

Active Member
Today at 1,900 miles I was definitely feeling a lack of power, not that reduced power thing that seems to kick in at 3 battery bars, but full cutoff of power. I guess I'm lucky in that I was able to enter diagnostic mode because at code 7 I had a brake fault. Turns out it was not the repair I did near the brake cutoff 'sensor', but rather it was the little junction box that those wires go into. I had the diag display up on code 7 and I watched it clear as I moved that area around. My confidence to head out on longer rides is not exactly shattered, heck I was a volkswagen beetle owner, but grabbing at the harness to restore power does give me flashbacks.
 

DashRiprock

Active Member
Turns out it was not the repair I did near the brake cutoff 'sensor', but rather it was the little junction box that those wires go into. I had the diag display up on code 7 and I watched it clear as I moved that area around. My confidence to head out on longer rides is not exactly shattered, heck I was a volkswagen beetle owner, but grabbing at the harness to restore power does give me flashbacks.
I am beginning to think that I would pay more for an ebike with engineered junctions/housings capable of clamping all wires entering or exiting same. It's awful hard to jiggle a wire and fix anything if this is the design parameter.
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
Bee
Greetings e riders, I'm Shay. I come from the road bike scene averaging 8 - 12 thousand miles a year for the last 5 years. I've been hit by cars, people and survived 40 mph death wobbles on a 15 lb carbon bike. The main reason I purchased a Dash was in all honesty the new toy factor, the reason I ride it way more than my carbon road bike; SAFETY! Niner's are so stable out on the road, it takes the comparative busy work out of riding coastal So Cal roads, and with the additional weight of motor and battery handles like a small motorcycle and gives me the confidence to enjoy the view a bit more. BTW I run daylight flashers front and rear, use a rear view mirror and BMX style helmet. On to the user experience style review:

DELIVERY
First off, naughty naughty bike shop for; letting that bike out the door with 40 PSI in the rear tire, front wheel bearing cones too tight, way beyond the compression of quick release. Fortunately I remedied these issues and some very loose spokes in short order.

RANGE
So after doing the full power assist joy rides around town, to the point of having to wait 10 minutes for the battery to cool before charge (yes I got the flashy error on the charger), It was time to 'go for distance'. I headed south in assist level ONE, avoided throttle bumping but still used a short full power burst to clear a traffic situation (safety factor). It takes some time to get used to the controls and the impulses of power that come from the 500 watt hub motor. I found myself still feeling these surges in bed latter. I'm not a fan of having to cycle through the assist levels VS more logical plus or minus controls, but did figure out assist level ZERO (single power button depress) will return to the previous setting (cycle levels depress) when conserving in downhill mode and returning to power. It is pretty easy to mix the sequence up and actually power down, so if you see me with my legs in the air for 8 seconds... With a 400 foot hill climb I was impressed with the motor assist and provided a high cadence to the cranks to hold around 12 mph on a steep pitch (inside Torrey Pines park). I continued south a bit more powering down at the Gliderport. This put me just over 15 miles out and I'm happy to report that I made it home with that last 'bar' on the battery indicator. So 30 - 35 miles range, but trust me I was putting out some watts of my own. BTW 16 - 18 miles in full power assist, 34 mph max with slight slope, full tuck and strong legs.

BRAKES
These are my first disc brakes and I'm riding them hard. I'm impressed with the stopping power of even the mechanical design, but I'm adjusting them every 4 - 6 rides. This includes cable take up at the brake, opposite pad adjustment, caliper alignment and even pad inspection via removal and replacement of that cheap and nasty cotter pin. Yes I read the manuals online and will probably replace them with hydraulic or the Avid's mentioned in another thread. This may be a bad move but I even swapped pads as disc deflection increased. I'm pretty sure the factory pads are about done. I just replaced the chain @ 1650.

MOTOR
Motor noise, rhythmic single rotational type, was apparent during coasting, perhaps more so with a warm motor. I was concerned she was going to throw a mag, and perhaps me, but I soldiered on. Luckily this noise went away around 1,200 miles, and with my new chain I'm running pretty stealth at the moment. I've endured about a dozen rear wheel removals, first a dry run at home to make sure I had all the tools I would need on the road and to get the layout. Then several flats. BTW - I change the back tire with the bike on it's side, usually in a grassy area, in the shade, drive side up. I once managed to cut the wire running to the brake circuit, the sharp edge of the cable adjusters at the lever combined with inverting the bike seemed to be my error. Busted out the soldering iron etc, back up in 10 minutes.

There are times when power seems to be lacking, I've seen this discussed here and while I've not run in diagnostic mode yet that day is coming. I'm not sure how much of this is phycological, after all I'm half charged too at that point. The controller does seem to run better over 20 mph. Hopefully you engineer types will hook up a scope and get to the bottom of this almost phantom issue. It would be interesting to swap to a fully charged battery when the body feels the effect.

ERRORS
I have seen the bike generate errors and lose power (@1,200 miles of use, some gentle off road), a quick gentle pull of the wiring harness near the display restored power while riding. Latter I investigated the connections per the user guides and basically strain relieved the wiring by tucking the brake cable under one of the electric cables and checking the full rotation of the handle bars for snags. So far so good.

COMPONENTS
At this price point I guess it is no surprise that some of the components are lacking, the brakes as mentioned here and elsewhere, heavy cranks - a different animal in the biking kingdom. Wheel balance, spoke tension, wheel roundness are not the best and have required some love along the way. I would not recommend this bike for the mechanically challenged or those that live far from their bike dealer. But if a little troubleshooting is your thing, or you're in tight with your local bike shop Go For It! The fun factor, fresh air and benefits of exercise are all bonus. When I demo this bike (max power), I tell people it is like having four friends push you. I also teach them to hold the brake lightly and pedal in tight turns to avoid the unexpected push.

I will let you know if I install any upgrades, and my mileage at one year. Have fun!

-Che

EDIT: I forgot to mention a couple of key points. The wellgo pedals have got to go. I filed the points sharper but the design flaw is the center axis is higher that the surrounding frame and nubs. I even filed grooves into the central aixs before recalling a very nasty accident where I slipped in front of the pedal,.. at this bike weight, well YIKES. Replaced with BMX style platform pedals with spikes, these can bite you if you are careless (handling or walking the bike, or at stops), but I'm used to them. Casual riders may never have a problem, but this is an semi-aggressive rig IMHO, so if you plan on cranking hard please consider this issue.

The other thing is pretty simple, the greased up seat post creeps down over time. Clean off the excess grease, inside the downtube and crank that quick release as hard as you can. Court pointed this out in his new review and mentioned a lip lock style with an allen head for more serious loads.

P.S. I will probably start a Dash Brake Upgrade thread as I get time and parts/photos to work with. -S
Great writeup... Let me offer some insight about upgrades and replacements. been doing Ebikes for over 5 years.

Electric Bikes age quickly, in a way that regular bikes do not. Multiple expensive components will need replacement in a few years, including the battery and probably the motor, which will be out of warranty.. .Costs for replacing these components? Over $1000. Secondly, the technology of Ebikes is now starting to accelerate with some major players investing in eBikes (Yamaha and Bosch).

Rather than spending a lot of money upgrading the bike, suggest you maximize its performance with incremental improvements like better pads and pedals or freewheel.. Use it for a couple of years, then sell it before you incur signficant costs.. By 2016-7 there will be much better Ebikes to buy, no doubt!

After I put 8000 miles on my first Ebike, and multiple component replacement, including a rear swingarm, decided that it was not worthwhile investing in older bike.. Bought a new Stromer and the improvements were impressive... I am now running with half the battery weight at a higher speed and much better ride.
 

Shea N Encinitas

Active Member
Yes, upgrades VS new bike, the story of my life. I've rebuilt complete drivetrains only to sell the bike a month later - and on e-bikes, like the half life of a doughnut, two minutes ago. For my lifestyle and safety I'll gladly drop a few bucks, stimulate the economy. Thanks for your thoughts. -S
 

Shea N Encinitas

Active Member
I am beginning to think that I would pay more for an ebike with engineered junctions/housings capable of clamping all wires entering or exiting same. It's awful hard to jiggle a wire and fix anything if this is the design parameter.
Yeah I hear ya, much of this design feels like retrofitting. BTW Those leads attach to a small circuit board and are bonded in place with epoxy resin. Since the junction box is polyethylene the resin has 'released from the mold' allowing me to see what looks like part of a circuit board with some rtv to initially hold it in place. Maybe some moisture got in there.

I considered a few integrated designs, battery in frame etc all, but I also pictured the day ( a few years later) when I would want to hack into the battery case, maybe frankenstein the parts onto another frame, etc. Imagine the e-bikes we will have in 10 years, and start saving now ;) -S
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
Yes, upgrades VS new bike, the story of my life. I've rebuilt complete drivetrains only to sell the bike a month later - and on e-bikes, like the half life of a doughnut, two minutes ago. For my lifestyle and safety I'll gladly drop a few bucks, stimulate the economy. Thanks for your thoughts. -S
Oh i'm all for upgrading bikes.. Just spent $700 rebuilding my 1970s Mercier track bike.. Now i have a sweet riding 20 lbs chromemoly ride in HD powedercoat Orange that I wouldn't trade for anything.... EBikes are another animal imo.
 

DashRiprock

Active Member
All good points which beg any further information gained from the manufacturer (wheel issues, etc.) on specific model years to be all that more valuable. A dead horse beat already (apparently)...but given the manner in which these manufacturers are 'subjugating' themselves (Bosch, Yamaha drives) to the anti-throttle based MTBing community..are our 'throttle out' type bikes soon-to-be-banned-boat-anchors..or possibly more valuable resale items in the next few years?
I don't mind upgrading my current bike...I'm just old enough to have learned my lesson in regards to determining exactly what exactly needs beefing up in the first place (and they're isn't a machine out there that is any different) before I make those decisions.
 
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Paul E.

Active Member
but given the manner in which these manufacturers are 'subjugating' themselves (Bosch, Yamaha drives) to the anti-throttle based MTBing community..are our 'throttle out' type bikes soon-to-be-banned-boat-anchors..
I thought the lack of throttle especially in the case of the Bosch system was mostly because of European regulations that allow only pedal assist for bicycles; throttle mode would require registering it as something else.
 

DashRiprock

Active Member
I thought the lack of throttle especially in the case of the Bosch system was mostly because of European regulations that allow only pedal assist for bicycles; throttle mode would require registering it as something else.
You're right in that I rarely consider what the Europeans are forced to deal with (same with say regulation-happy Californians here) and only speculate as to what at least 'I' would desire in an American marketed product (to a lesser extent) saddled with the same government-knows-best ridiculousness. It is curious to me though that so many even 'newbies' here (which I definitely consider myself) are encouraged to accept the non-throttled drives as the 'gold standard'...even when the throttled drives have many of the same benefits and obviously more.
Bottom line: If I was convinced to get in to a 'regulated' Bosch or Yamaha mid-drive and paid 3 or 4 times as much as a throttle equipped say Peak which could basically do much of the same and more..I'd be looking at my fellow helpful forum member or LBS salesman as to why any ability to simply 'throttle out' wasn't one of the first questions asked.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
You're right in that I rarely consider what the Europeans are forced to deal with (same with say regulation-happy Californians here) and only speculate as to what at least 'I' would desire in an American marketed product (to a lesser extent) saddled with the same government-knows-best ridiculousness. It is curious to me though that so many even 'newbies' here (which I definitely consider myself) are encouraged to accept the non-throttled drives as the 'gold standard'...even when the throttled drives have many of the same benefits and obviously more.
Bottom line: If I was convinced to get in to a 'regulated' Bosch or Yamaha mid-drive and paid 3 or 4 times as much as a throttle equipped say Peak which could basically do much of the same and more..I'd be looking at my fellow helpful forum member or LBS salesman as to why any ability to simply 'throttle out' wasn't one of the first questions asked.
Dash,
I like your passion for ebikes.
You need to remember that Bosch entered the US market just this year (Haibike, Grace, Felt ...).
European countries have very different rules and of course their roads are designed with bicycles in mind. American roads, cities are not built with sustainable transport in mind. With the rising gasoline prices, sustainable transport will see drastic rise and of course more ebikes.

Slowly, we can see many varieties of ebikes, throttles, regulations... so on.

With Bosch and Yamaha, you're paying a different premium and perhaps extra for slightly refined engineering. Let's see how TranzX and Bosch systems hold up after an year. Gen 1 Bosch in EU was ridiculed as a coffee grinder. But Bosch has showed continuous innovation.
You're the first batch of customers in the US for TranzX and your feedback will help design next gen of TranzX drive.

True reliability comes into picture once the newness wears off. The first few months, everything is exciting. We should have more detailed discussions after we have put up 2K or 3K miles or 12/14 months down the line.
 

DashRiprock

Active Member
I'd like to know who they were selling drives to 6 years ago..if any of those bikes are still around..or if their customer service was up to par for those who built their bikes around their products:
Link Removed
I had no idea that these two types of particular drives were making their American debuts here this year (thanks for the info).
In the meantime, it would be nice to know why the rim (wheel?) and chain changed in 2015 so that the motor can be properly evaluated (separately) by those who will never make these upgrades.