OHM bike thoughts & impressions

e_adventure

New Member
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Meet the reincarnation of KITT (for those that watched TV in the 80's ;))

I've had my OHM bike for a few weeks now, and thought it would be good to share some of my thoughts/impressions after logging almost 500km on it so far. Obviously my riding style and preferences won't be the same as everyone's, but I hope my feedback can help those who are on the fence about this bike.

First off, it's been a game-changer for me. I have a 40km (25mile) round trip commute with big hill climbs, and a physical outdoor job during the day. I used to ride my regular bike almost all the time when I lived closer to work, but after moving could only manage 1-2 times a week with help from public transit for part of the trip. I now ride daily, and arrive at work feeling refreshed and ready instead of tired. Furthermore, my trip home at the end of the day is far more enjoyable, and gets me home consistently faster than driving!

I live just up the hill from OHM headquarters, and was able to talk with the awesome crew there in person (I'm stoked to have had the opportunity to support a local company!). These guys design and assemble beautiful, solid bikes, great for a diversity of terrain. My ride is the black XS750 frame with the urban setup (Big Ben's, rear rack, fenders... I also swapped over my clipless pedals).

The frame: As I already mentioned, solid. Built to handle a variety of terrain while still looking good. It's a well-designed bike paired up with an electric motor company that makes excellent products; you get the best of both worlds here without making sacrifices. I was able to get a sneak peak at their 2017 bikes with the integrated down tube battery, and they look pretty sharp (I'm not giving anything away here as they've now advertised it).

Bionx D500: Court has already mentioned this in his reviews, and I totally agree... This motor is QUIET! Much more so than other ebikes I tested, while delivering awesome power. The torque assist is very responsive, and feels quite intuitive as a result. The harder you pedal, the more power you get; I'm used to commuting on a regular bicycle so this feels good to me. I've had a chance to use a variety of levels of assist and regenerative modes during my commutes, and have honed in what works best for me.

My experiences: On my very first ride to work I pushed the bike pretty hard, and zipped along in mostly level 4 for my morning commute (all with a big silly grin on my face... Got to work in record time!). Needless to say I sucked over 50% of the battery's power, but due to the small size of the charger, it was easy to top off at work. I now use a variety of levels on my commute, and shift between them depending on the terrain (I find the thumb buttons on the right very easy to use and can keep my eyes on the road (though I should mention the +/- are quite close together and initially I would press the wrong one; it's less of an issue now that I more used to where to press). I'm able to do my round trip commute on one charge and still have extra power at the end if I need to run an errand or two (I find I'm looking for errands just so I can ride a bit more!).

I tend to pedal a bit harder in the morning as it warms me up for the day and leaves me with more juice for the ride home when I'm more tired. Lately i would say I use mostly level 2 for the long flat stretches (I've found this level most effective at higher speeds when I already have momentum), level 3 for the long gradual inclines or when I need to pick up speed, and occasionally level 4 for a boost up some of the shorter, steeper climbs (I have found that using level 4 for too long does drain the battery noticeably faster, and find level 3 is ample for the majority of the challenges). I haven't been using level 1 much, and really only skip over it when switching down to regen mode; it provides very minimal assistance and would perhaps be most useful if casually pedalling through the neighbourhood instead of commuting. If one were to have a mostly flat commute, you would be able to ride in mostly level 2 and get a lot of range out of the battery.

I also have a few opportunities on my commute to use level 1 or 2 regen mode, and I like how it keeps my speed in check downhill while recapturing some power (I've even seen a bar of power added back on so I know it works!). It's a great feature and I like how I can boost the battery a little with gravity-fed momentum. All this said, I'm usually using ~30% battery in the morning, and ~40% going home (on average), leaving a bit of extra for wiggle room. With this I'm even able to drag my butt up a very long hill climb on the last stretch home, using mostly throttle + pedalling along; that little red button is nice for those tired moments or for a quick boost. I've used as low as ~20% battery power on the morning commute, but I was riding mostly level 2 and using regen whenever possible.

The components are all quality parts, and really add to the riding experience. The ergo grips and upright riding position (upright, but still somewhat forward; it's not near as upright as a comfort cruiser, but more so than an aggressive commuter bike) make the commute more comfortable. The comfort saddle speaks true to its name and I don't think I'm going to swap over my Brooks saddle like I originally planned.

This bike was in lieu of buying a second car and it has exceeded my expectations. Hope this info helps those that are interested in OHM!

Cheers
 
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vincent

Well-Known Member
thanks for taking the time to write up your impressions

i am considering this bike but waiting on the 2017's to come out

and really wishing they would put a full suspension bike

very excited to hear about the downtube batteries for 2017!!

enjoyed reading this , please post back more as you get some more miles on it
 

e_adventure

New Member
thanks for taking the time to write up your impressions

i am considering this bike but waiting on the 2017's to come out

and really wishing they would put a full suspension bike

very excited to hear about the downtube batteries for 2017!!

enjoyed reading this , please post back more as you get some more miles on it
Yeah they look pretty sweet with the new semi-integrated downtube battery. Will also come with wireless Bluetooth connectivity and a new colour display from Bionx. I just couldn't wait that long! Here is some more info: (Link Removed - No Longer Exists)
 

e_adventure

New Member
Great report, thanks. I'm glad it's working out so well for you with the bike.

May I ask if you've tried "mountain mode"?
Funny, I totally forgot about the "mountain mode" function... I'll have to try that out on the long hill climb close to home next week to see how it compares!
 

Michel

New Member
Same bike, similar story
So I have been commuting to work, 30 km one way, 60 km total commute. I have 2 paniers, 4 hills with a total elevation of 335 meters, I used level 2 all the way, level 3 for the hilly part. My biking time is 51 min, average speed is 35 km/hr. I figure that I have at the most 10 km left for the battery after one way commuting. If I go slower with no assistance or level 1, my range would be much greater, but my goal is to arrive at work quickly pedaling strong. .

I am very satisfied with my OHM urban XU- 700-160. My bike is fast, very silent, confortable (seat post suspension is great). Essy recharging at work. I cannot be happier.
 

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Ken S

Member
Great write up, totally agree with all that was said and the comments.

After almost 19 months I'll be hitting 22,000 kms at the end of this week on my XU700, so you have many "big silly grin" trips to look forward to. Why is it that ebike riders are smiling and the regular riders aren't, something tells me that we just might be on to something...

Maintenance is so minimal, -a big advantage of the hub based design I think, -there is much less stress and wear on the drive train when compared to the center drive motors. I replaced the chain and bottom bracket at 10K, and after another 12K I'm just about ready to do the chain again, though it is not causing any issues, just figured it's time.... I have focused more on the lubrication and cleaning of the drive train that may impact less chain wear.

I did spoil myself a couple of months ago with the Body Float seat post. It is the ultimate in comfort. I've not ridden a full suspension bike but can't see how a ride can be more comfortable than it is with the Body Float.

Enjoy!
 

Michel

New Member
I had my first flat tire yesterday. Rear wheel, a fine sharp stone pierced the tire. I did the repair myself at home. Removing the rear wheel involve disconnecting some wires. Not that difficult, but you need cutter to get rid of 3 tirewraps. The rest was easy. I will make sure to have a tube, a small hand air pump in my repair bag just in case I am on the road. What to have with you in case of a flat tire?
 

Ken S

Member
Ah flat tires, now let's see I think my count is now sitting at 10-12, about 80% in the rear (tire that is;-)).

I'm doing better, as in getting less flats, after moving to higher puncture protection tires. I have settled on and recommend the Energizer Plus from Schwalbe, -the Marathon Plus have better protection but they can be too stiff for removal and install on some rims. One rim I was testing for Bionx I just could not get the Marathon on. Making sure the tire is in the middle of the rim (air out of tube) when putting it back on can help.

Even with the best protection a 2 inch drywall screw get through. If I can locate the offending object I can often repair the rear without removing the wheel and often back on the road in less than 30 minutes, (after a wee bit of cursing)... The worst punctures are caused by the wire from damaged truck tires, this very thin and hard wire works it way into/through the tire, causing small puncture(s), they can can be hard to locate.
 

e_adventure

New Member
May I ask if you've tried "mountain mode"?

I've had a chance to try out "Mountain mode" on some hill climbs on the commute home, as well as some other hills in my neigbourhood to push it a bit.

I first tried the mode on a somewhat gradual but long hill climb (1.5km with ~85m/280' elevation gain). After activating it on the flats at the bottom of the hill, the power is immediately zippy and smooth, not unlike the feeling of level 4. That's where the similarities ended though, as I found the power to be much more smooth and consistent throughout the duration of the climb, and feels like it's providing more low-end torque instead of the speed of level 4 (don't know if this is so, but just what it feels like). In addition to feeling more smooth and consistent on the climb, the biggest difference was the energy consumption in this mode. Doing this climb in level 4 assist drains battery power in a matter of minutes, where the mountain mode gets me to the top of the climb with minimal battery power loss.

I also tried the mode in a steeper hill climb nearby, on a dirt/gravel trail (1km with ~110m/360' elevation gain). Again, steady and smooth, with minimal battery usage.

This of course still requires moderate input from me, but I am able to spin at a higher rpm and get a bit more cardio instead of muscle exhaustion. I can still fall back on the throttle assist as well if I want a bit of a break. Overall, I do think the mountain mode is worth it for the low end power it provides along with the overheat protection and less battery consumption (when compared to level 4 assist).
 

e_adventure

New Member
I did spoil myself a couple of months ago with the Body Float seat post. It is the ultimate in comfort. I've not ridden a full suspension bike but can't see how a ride can be more comfortable than it is with the Body Float.

Enjoy!

Hi Ken, awesome to hear that the bike is still going strong after so many km's!

I'm close to buying a seat suspension post as well, to help make my daily commute more comfortable and kinder to my back. I'm currently testing out the Suntour NCX and am wondering if you had a chance to compare the two? From most reviews I've read it sounds like the Body Float is worth the upgrade. I wasn't planning on spending big bucks on a seatpost, but I'm starting to see the overall benefits of one for the daily rider.

I have been riding full-suspension MTB's for many years, but the seatpost suspension is a different animal to me. I'm used to standing up for bumpy sections, but with the ebike I can see the benefits of remaining in the saddle to maintain momentum throughout the ride. I'm finding that the NCX bobs a bit, but I suppose that's to be expected; it does smooth out the ride overall. Do you find that the Body Float shifts your body back on the bike (away from the handlebars)? With the way the saddle mounts to the NCX it seems that I sit further back in a neutral position and have to reach a bit more to my bars (even with my adjustable stem).

Any thoughts you can share about the body float are much appreciated!

Ps. I also noticed this budget option at MEC though it's a much simpler design https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5021-141/350mm-Suspension-Seat-Post#reviews
 

Ken S

Member
The original seat post I had was the Suntour NCX. It's OK, but when compared to the "Body Float", it like apples and kumquat's. The BF is really so comfortable I'm speechless, and that is unusual for me.
With the riding I do it is worth every penny, -again, for a cheapskate like me that is saying something.

The alignment is very close if not the same. I just took my old NCX with the Ohm seat still attached and compared it with the installed Ohm seat with the BF, it appears identical.
 

e_adventure

New Member
The original seat post I had was the Suntour NCX. It's OK, but when compared to the "Body Float", it like apples and kumquat's. The BF is really so comfortable I'm speechless, and that is unusual for me.
With the riding I do it is worth every penny, -again, for a cheapskate like me that is saying something.

The alignment is very close if not the same. I just took my old NCX with the Ohm seat still attached and compared it with the installed Ohm seat with the BF, it appears identical.

Thanks for your feedback Ken. I've decided to test out the BF as well, and this morning's commute didn't fail to impress. Will try it for a few more rides but I can't see how I can go back now! Cheers.
 

Ken S

Member
Sorry but I suspect that you're hooked now.

There was a recommendations for a different spring when I first installed it but the black springs I got with it seem to do the job just fine. I'm typically under the 200 lbs. cross over to the next spring, -unless I'm packing my groceries and that's usually for a shorter ride.

Must admit the Ohm seat adds to the comfort, it's one of the most comfortable I've had since my original leather Brooks saddle back in ... the 70's, and I've tried all sorts of gel padded and many shapes and sizes.

~20 months and 24,000 kms coming up this weekend. My poor vehicle is feeling totally neglected.
 

e_adventure

New Member
I'm right around the purple/black spring range at my 155 lbs, so it was recommended that I go to the stiffer black springs. I'm still fine tuning the tension, but I'm finding the suspension does wonders for the fast jittery bumps I often encounter on my commute. Patchy paved areas that used to almost eject me from my bike now leave me wondering if I even rode through the same area...

I agree that the saddle is quite comfortable too. I have a broken in Brooks leather saddle from my old bike, but don't think I'm gonna swap it over anytime soon!

Gonna have a few more rides on the Bodyfloat but I do think I'm hooked!
 

Cnugget

Active Member
Hey nice bike!! I too live in and around OHM head quarters. I could not afford but do like to drool. Once mine wears out, I may be able to afford one then. Happy commuting.. perhaps we will pass each other one day. :)
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
Awesome to hear the commuter tales. I hope to start ebike commuting next spring. I've set the goal of commuting 50 days next year (would average a couple of times per week in warmer months). I have a one way commute of 15 miles from suburb to city downtown (Detroit). I'm adding the Ohm urban to my list of candidates (hope to buy before March of 2017). I was wondering regarding the flat tires: how hard is it to get that rear wheel off with the hub motor? Can they usually be fixed on the road? I have no experience with this and the possibility of flat tires is what worries me the most about taking up bike commuting.