Good bike, great service

gtawest

New Member
I live in Toronto, and wanted a bike that could be ridden year round. After about a hundred miles, I can say that the bike has performed as advertised. Low level is pretty much useless, but I've averaged 30 kilometres (20 miles) on a single charge using level two, which provides an easy 26 kilometres per hour or so. Once you've adjusted to the added weight of the bike, its a great bike to ride... the moderate hills in my area and headwinds are pretty much eliminated. I've added rear panniers and lighting to make it a versatile daily rider.

I did take the bike in for an initial setup at the local bike shop, and found that it was money well spent. The front brake has been very noisy and I've found the folks at Surface 604 have been excellent in supplying the parts to get the bike working properly. I was hesitant to buy online, but would highly recommend Surface 604.
 

chuck3436

New Member
I'm going to add a bit about the drivetrain which is why you consider lvl 1 power useless. It is geared way too high. The main chainspring is a 48t 5bolt. I swapped down to a 39tooth and the difference was ASTOUNDING. After you do this you will notice that lvl 1 power is more than adequate for pedal assist on roads and lvl 2 assist felt like what lvl 3 gave you before! The swap shouldn't cost more than $50-60 and is completely worth it. I felt the exact same way you did about the power levels after a short time. If you read around this is a common annoyance with the design of this bike, it is geared like a roadbike but should be geared like an all terrain fatbike!
Is it very cold in toronto right now? I know getting to freezing temperatures reduces the range of these batteries alot. In the summer with only pedal assist I was going 30-40km with only half the battery gone. Now in the winter and freezing temperatures I noticed my range decreased by 1/3 almost.

I also had setup issues when I purchased my 604. The derailleur and brakes were our of spec from the factory, a good shop setup is definately recommended.

What panniers did you find worked for the rack? I had a terrible time finding anything that would fit onto the rails with the battery in the way.
 

gtawest

New Member
Thanks for the drivetrain tip! I've ordered the 39 tooth, but it will a couple of weeks before it comes in. I'll be sure to post my experience with it.

I received the bike a few weeks ago, and all my riding has been at temperatures close to freezing. I expect that my mileage will increase when the weather warms up in a few months. Because of the weight of the bike, I've been very conservative with battery life as indicated on the display, and on my only 30 km (20 mile) ride, the battery had just started to flash the single bar battery indicator. In my limited experience with the bike, I've found that even moderate hills greatly reduce battery life, and I suspect that a level ride will provide a far greater range.

As for panniers, I've been using these from MEC, a Canadian company:

http://www.mec.ca/product/5036-278/mec-audax-roll-up-28l-pannier/?h=10 50012 50156&f=10 20034 50156

they don't fit perfectly, but seem fairly secure and I'm hoping just to use a few bungie cords to tighten them up. I may have to modify the setup when the weather warms up if the battery gets too hot.

Before I bought the bike, I felt that its biggest limitation would be ride quality. In fact, the fatbike has proven to be comfortable, stable and extremely versatile as a daily rider. If I can achieve anywhere near 40 kilometres on a single charge in good weather, the bike will definitely be a keeper. I'll upgrade components as they wear out and leave the car parked.
 
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chuck3436

New Member
Geez, your range seems way less than mine. I was actually surprised by the range I was getting.....

Are you using pedal assist much or alot of throttle only? I do use pedal assist 2/3- 3/4 of the time which may account for my good range. I actually found after the chainring swap to 39t my range improved even more, because I was peddling even more and using only lvl1 -2 power most of the time now and rarely using 3 except for short, steep hill climbs.

Another thing if you're interested, I just came back from the shop again to inquire about further drivetrain improvements. I switched out the derailleur to something a little more sturdy and asked about relatively simple gear improvement options. One thing that can be done, is that our 7 speed freewheels actually have 2 models, 1 comes in 11t-28t which is what comes stock on our bikes, and another comes in 11t-34t. It is exactly the same model except it has a huge oversized granny low gear in the 34t. All the other gears would remain the same. They are under $20 so if you want a super low direct and easy swap granny gear, it is possible. Other than that, there's not really much room to do anything else they told me short of fairly substantial workover of the whole crank and system...not really worth it or necessary. Be aware that when you swap that 39t you will lose the inside bash guard as it is part of the 48t chainring. It will affect nothing really.


Keep me posted on how things go with the mods you are doing!
 

gtawest

New Member
Thanks Chuck, its great to have someone to compare experience with. I'm hoping the difference in battery distance relates mostly to the cold temperature here. I never cruise using throttle only, but find it great when starting from a dead stop and as a bit of a boost when going up the rolling hills in my area. With battery life always my primary concern, I've yet to even put the bike in level 3 yet! I'll be very interested in seeing how the new chainring changes things.

Actually a new derailleur was next on my upgrade list. My fourteen year old Cannondale that has never been maintained shifts cleaner than the 604, and I'm hoping that a new derailleur will eliminate the toggling I have to do with the shifter sometimes to get it in the proper gear. I may consider the 34T freewheel at the same time. I was also thinking about upgrading the brakes to Avid BB7's, gut I'm still waiting on a few replacement parts for the front brake from Surface 604 which has been squeaking badly (who've been very responsive to my requests) before I make a decision. Performance wise, the brakes seem more than adequate for the commuting and light offroading that I do. My mechanic tells me the integrated brake levers may be difficult to upgrade due to the motor cutoff function. As I mentioned earlier, I'd like to get at least some wear out of the OEM stuff before I change it out.
 

chuck3436

New Member
I'm going into the shop again to do another drivetrain makeover.

They have an 11-32 freewheel which I may goto instead of the 11-34...32 may be preferable as 34 might be too big a jump. I'm feeling like just a BIT more low end is needed and it will be perfect. Also, I think I'm gonna try to get rid of all the cheap Shimano tourney parts on it for good. The only thing left I think is the shifter and freewheel now, and I think we're s*it outa luck about going to anything higher in the rear as there is just no space. Not many 7 speed shifter options out there either.

I'll update next week with information about what can and cannot be done further.
 

gtawest

New Member
+1 on the plan to eliminate the Tourney stuff... Please let us know how much it improves your ride.

Ok, I've just returned from a 35k ride and I guess confirmed the obvious: that cutting back to level 1 SIGNIFICANTLY increases the battery range. With this in mind, I've cut back to the lower level when cruising a bit or riding off road. Also, I've been much more comfortable in extending my ride when the battery level drops to a single bar when I'm on level two. This morning, after dropping to one bar on level two, I rode an extra 10k on level one, returning home with a healthy two bars. As an aside, when I got out of the saddle to hill climb on level one, the size and weight of the bike really wasn't an issue. I also noticed that when the battery is truly winding down, the single bar will flash, giving you some warning to switch to the lower level (if you're not already on it) or head in.
 

Mr. Fisherman

New Member
Thank you all for the contributions to this thread.
I am looking forward to changing the gearing.
What brand chain rings are you using and which freewheel 7 speed did you go with?
I am leaning towards the lower geared one myself.
 

chuck3436

New Member
My chainring is a BBB 39tooth now. Decent model actually, it's all 7075Al blah blah blah. Weight savings and immense strength isn't really necessary for us.

The 11-34 that you were more interested in is a standard Shimano megarange 7 speed freewheel, pretty common part.

The 11-32 I got is a DNP, never heard of them before?