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*Special Note: as of the beginning of March 2018 BionX has let all of its employees go and shut down operations. See the article here. Nobody knows at this time how or if their many customers out there will be supported. That is never a good thing. Their systems are very proprietary and require specialized support*
We often get asked about the difference between our systems and the BionX system; well, there are several differences, but most notably is the price to performance superiority of our electric bicycle conversion kit systems. So let’s pick their S-350 model priced at a whopping $2,099. For an even more in depth review of this BionX system go to electricbikereview.com. It is guaranteed that our 52v high-end geared motor system with the 5-level pedal assist, and robust display, priced at $1070, provides much more bang for your hard earned dollars. The BionX kit is indeed a very good system and they have done a good job of promoting the electric bike industry, but you are paying for overhead and markup versus the real cost of a comparable product. So let’s take a look at the key details.
The Motor: Peak wattage of a motor kit system is a mathematical equation determined by the amount of amperage multiplied by the available voltage. Our geared motor (6.5″ diameter, 8 lbs) systems have a peak wattage of 1300+ watts with a 52V nominal voltage battery and 25A controller providing lots of torque. Top speed is around 26 mph making it a California Class III electric bicycle. BionX advertises a top speed of 20 mph. Having sold geared motors since late 2010 (in business since early 2009) we have never had to replace the hard nylon gears, but they are inexpensive (about $30) and easy to replace. With all other things being equal, a geared motor will provide approximately 10%-15% more distance per charge than the BionX gearless direct drive motor. The BionX gearless direct drive motor will also have magnetic drag that creates resistance when pedaling if you run out of battery juice or desire no assist. BionX tries to offset this with what is called “regenerative” braking, but it is an over hyped technology that does little to increase distance. Here is an excellent white paper on the negligible effect of regenerative braking: regenbraking. A motor, like ours, with internal planetary gears is more efficient and pedals much easier than a direct drive gearless motor. In fact, we sold gearless direct drive motors for many years, but with the enhancements of today’s higher powered geared motors, we decided to discontinue the direct drive motors.
The Battery: The standard model for a BionX is the 48V 8.8AH; 0urs is a 52V 12AH. The extra 4 volts equates to 100 watts (4v x 25A) of extra power through the cycle of the battery. AH or Amp Hours is the fuel gauge of the battery. Do not be fooled by exaggerated miles per charge claims. Mileage varies widely depending on how one uses the system. If you keep it in level one of the pedal assist without many starts and stops you can go a long ways; however, it is much more fun to engage the throttle or go to a higher pedal assist level to easily conquer mountains, the wind, or just to simply get where you are going more quickly. Let’s go back to Amp Hours (AH): To get more amp hours requires more cells and more weight, so there is some give and take to get that extra distance. 12AH is an optimal balance and is 3.2AH more than the BionX 8.8AH or over 1/3 more in the fuel tank. This does make our battery a couple pounds heavier, but well worth having an extra third of a tank of gas combined with the more efficient, higher torque, planetary geared hub motor. Battery cell chemistry is the same for both systems except ours are made by Samsung and BionX’s are made by Panasonic. Finally, while these batteries will last for many years, try pricing a BionX replacement battery and compare that to our $535 cost (typically we offer discounts for return customers, so call before you purchase a replacement battery for any of our systems).
The Pedal Assist (PAS) Display: If you go back to the BionX review you will see a lot of similarities between the features of theirs versus our features which can be viewed here. In addition to having everything BionX advertises for their display, there are some note worthy differences/enhancements for ours: 1) 5 levels of assist versus BionX 4 levels. 2) Wattage level reading, which is the real time amount of power being consumed.
In summary it can be said again that the BionX system is a good quality one that is part of a very good business model. That said, when compared to our high-end high-powered geared motor kit the BionX system costs almost twice as much with less power, less fuel in the battery’s tank, and less display features. There are other things that could be discussed, but those mentioned in this article are the key items. If you have more questions please give the owner Doug a call and/or email:
Email: [email protected]