English speaking bike mechanic wanted to install Bionx system

boxsmith22

Warming-Up
Jul 4, 2012
1
0
0
Tokyo
#1
I have a recumbent trike, gekko fx is the model. I have all of the parts needed to install a bionx electric assist wheel and battery.I need an english speaking person to carefully read and follow the installation instructions (would be well paid of course). I have zero bike mechanic skills or tools, and I want it done correctly- I dont have the bicycle tools required such as a torque wrench. I m quite sure most bike shops wont work on it because they cannot read english well enough to correctly follow the instructions. If anyone is interested or can help, or knows someone who can help,please respond. Thanks.I am in Tokyo.
 

Dom

Warming-Up
Jul 31, 2012
2
0
0
Tokyo
#3
Easy to set up

I have just installed myself a Bionx system on a Dahon DashP18 folding bike and it was fairly easy, except for the installation of the wheel.

You should go to any bike shop and ask to put a new tire on the wheel and they will fix the wheel at the same time for about 1500¥. it should be bolted to 40 Newton. If you say "yonju niuton" the bike mechanic will understand. For your information, there is a Cannondale shop in Tameike (Minato-ku) and the staff speaks some English.

Then after ythe wheel is fixed, the remaining part is easy to set with just a driver and you can do it at home later.

Good luck.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
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Yokohama
#4
Dom, it's already been installed.

I went over and did the work for him as it needed to be modified and also correctly cabled up as he had the trip computer and turb boost button (Boy was that fun :D)

Actually I'm amazed at these motors - I gave it atest run on a fairly steep hill and I wasn't even soft pedaling and do 30km/h!
 

joewein

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Oct 25, 2011
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Setagaya, Tokyo
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#6
Actually I'm amazed at these motors - I gave it atest run on a fairly steep hill and I wasn't even soft pedaling and do 30km/h!
Does it count as a motorcycle then? For electric bicycles in Japan the boost may only work while you're pedaling. Motor assistance needs to drop off with speed, ceasing completely above 25 km/h.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
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Yokohama
#7
Joe to be perfectly honest, I don't know and don't care, it's not my bike not my responsibility just offered my wrenching and electronics expertise to someone that needed help and had a little play while I was at it :D

Although on Thursday me and Mike were on the way back from Miyagase and some guy was cruising at 30-35km/h on an electric bike without pedaling.
 
May 22, 2007
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#9
I think in Japan cyclists on "out of spec" electric bikes generally will be OK, but could get into trouble if involved in an accident.
I've seen a police officer pull over a yobbo on just such a modified 'assist' bike and ticket him. Good thing too. If these bikes are modified so that you can get propulsion without pedaling, they become an electric scooter and thus require (1) a number plate, (2) compulsory 3rd-party insurance, and (3) the rider to have a driving license.
 

dgl2

Maximum Pace
Nov 3, 2007
284
48
48
Tokyo - Minato-ku
#10
BionX

Dom and Boxsmith22 -- it would be great if you let us know how happy you are with the BionX after a few months.

I saw a bunch of the BionX bikes at a shop in Vancouver BC two weeks back -- you can see some photos here (as well as Tony Pereira's show bike from 2012 NAHBS/2011 Fall Northwest Constructor's Manifest winner with its BionX):

http://positivo-espresso.blogspot.jp/2012/07/sleepless-in-vancouver.html

(If you watch the last 30 seconds of the Manifest's competition video, there is a memorable few seconds' clip of Pereira zooming past someone on his BionX bike: http://www.oregonmanifest.com/2011/11/17/oregon-manifest-constructors-design-challenge-video/)

The BionX look really great compared to the ugly Japanese electric assists, plus the ability to retrofit an existing bike, and the feature Far East describes -- the harder you pedal, the MORE assist you get, plus regenerative braking (do Japanese electric assists have that?) make it seem like a winner.

BionX really ought to take on the Japanese market, if the regulations will accommodate their approach (or can be modified to do so). The market for electric assists in Japan is now huge -- half a million will be sold this year. (... if anyone is interested or has contacts at BionX, let me know).
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
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#11
The regenerative braking system on this was excellent and the sensor was very simple.

Has anyone seen the Carrera version - apparently they've got that one doing 90km/h on the flat! :D and you can't even see the assist system! :eek:
 

dgl2

Maximum Pace
Nov 3, 2007
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Tokyo - Minato-ku
#12
Some quick googling leads me to conclude that:

1. There is at least one regenerative version of a Japanese electric assist -- Sanyo (now Panasonic) model introduced in 2009 following change in the regulations:

http://www.tokyobybike.com/2009/02/sanyo-electric-bicycle-recharges-as-you.html

2. According to the most authoritative source, Wikipedia, in Japan:

Electric-assisted bicycles are treated as human-powered bicycles, while bicycles capable of propulsion by electric power alone face additional registration and regulatory requirements as mopeds. Requirements include electric power generation by a motor that cannot be easily modified, along with a power assist mechanism that operates safely and smoothly. In December 2008, The assist ratio was updated as follow:
Under 10 km/h; 2
10–24 km/h; 2-(Running speed - 10) / 7
Over 24 km/h; 0

So if I read that correctly, if you input 100 watts, you can get 200 watts of assist with the motor ... up to 10 km/h.

At 20 km/h if you input 100 watts, you get 2 - (20-10)/7 times 100 watts, or 4/7 times 100 watts -- 57 watts of assist.

And no assist at all over 24 km/h. Plus no electric motor unless it is assisting human effort.

So a 250 watt or 350 watt BionX is not quite going to comply without some serious limitations. I guess maybe there is room for a product with the style of BionX but a much smaller, lighter hub-based motor, a smaller battery pack and the right restrictions on the amount of assist. But it would be a new product.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
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#13
We had a small consulting gig for a company attempting to introduce hybrid (pedal+assist) bikes form Europe. They were snaffued by this same ruling - it essentially makes it nearly impossible to sell a lightweight, high<er> speed assisted bike in Japan. One of the main reasons you don't see hordes of them like you do in Taiwan or China. (I'm thankful for that, actually, as they are the most annoying thing on the road).

The e-bike makers seem to be touting more top-end performance as their value point rather than low speed assist (like the Japanese). If they swap this around a bit, I believe they'd have a chance in the market as there is especially room for more hip machines that suit OL's and Mama's other than the rather clunky Mamachari's you generally see.
 

Desune

Speeding Up
May 7, 2008
64
0
26
Tokyo
#14
If they could, Panasonic and Bridgestone would have already made faster electric bikes...thankfully, they can't legally sell them and still call them bicycles for sidewalk use. Also, the market for electric assist road bikes has got to be pretty small.

If you really don't want to be riding a mama-chari and still gotta have electric assist, there are already a myriad of options, including this: http://www.assista.jp/lineup/realstream/
 

dgl2

Maximum Pace
Nov 3, 2007
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#15
Thanks. I think I understand the state of play and when I think about it am inclined to agree -- I would not be happy if the mamachari electric assist bikes in my neighborhood were replaced with a bunch of faster BionX versions.

If more power is off limits, then the main places for innovation would seem to be lighter weight and more attractive design. ... the Japanese manufacturers do seem to be making slow progress, as the market is now big enough to merit resources. With the improvements in battery technology, I would think there is plenty of room for an inspired designer to come up with a model that looks really nice.
 

Jayves

Speeding Up
Nov 20, 2009
115
3
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Yokohama
jayves-rando.blogspot.jp
#16
The other side of the coin is, why wouldn't a bicycle manufacturer sell it as an electric bike with the usual vehicle registrations? I know in the past there were manufacturers did it but wasn't a hit. With latest battery tech, more acceptance of electric/hybrid vehicles and cost approaching that of a high end electric assist bike, should manufactures try again?

The question really is what is on the minds of the general mamachari riders that they prefer a 'pedal'?
- is it the registration hassle and renewal?
- is it the more relax bicycle parking rules than 'vehicles' on the side streets?
- is it easier to dispose (legally or illegally)?
- distribution issue? and not accessible by local mamachari shop? I saw electric scooters sold in general electronic shops.
- expectation of compulsory insurance?
- requires driving license? But Japan has high number of driving license.
- all of the above

Were the manufacturers lobbying for changes or they are happy with the rules now that there are wide acceptance of electric-assist and making $$$$$....

Having visited China and I do agree about the issue on scooters and observe first hand teenager coming out of a shop with new electric bike not really knowing the rules-of-the-road and operate an electric vehicle. With the higher speed, the consequences is greater than manual bikes.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
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#17
OK - so I think a few things kinda set Japan apart ---

1) Taipei always had massive bike, then scooter commuters. Mainly due to poor mass transit and quite spread out metro. Similarly in China.

2) Fuel prices in Taiwan and China are very high. You can hardly get Taxi to use Airconditioning. So - if you could use a vehicle that has cheaper fuel source (electric) it will get heavy adoption especially by people who can't afford the luxury of a car and / or live too far from train service to commute effectively. In Japan, its generally quite easy to commute to work by train or mass transit. So - people don't typically need this kind of cheap, relatively quick, transportation. In fact, as we know, Japanese companies frown on commuting by anything other than train or bus.

3) Sidewalk Bikes - this really ruined it for Japan, in my opinion. When they pushed the bike off the streets (in favor of the car) and onto sidewalk, they created the worst form of cycling environment. As a result Japan has lagged behind the entire planet in terms of cycling lifestyle, road use, parking, etc. In another country (including China and TW) cycling on sidwalks is rare - well, hell, even sidewalks are rare. But there are distinct cycling / light vehicle lanes and use well tolerated (if not dangerous) within the main thoroughfares. It's not uncommon, even, to see mryiad of cyclists, donkey carts, 3 wheel 1cyl diesel carts , etc on the main toll roads! it is well accepted by the general population - but mildly frowned on as evidence of lower class. (Hence the rise of the battery scooter) which -

4) Becomes the new 'Pigeon' of China - with which they can claim independence, advancement and mobility to the masses. Even though its an ugly step , it is a step into a direction away from fossil fuels - though I'm not convinced personally such a great one. Sicne the rules governing these lightweight vehicles powered by electrics is very weak, anyone can build or possess one. No license is really required - only simple registration. In fact - I think ANYTHING electric powered in China does not require a license (or so my staff told me).

So - with mama-charis stuck on the sidewalk and companies frowning on cycling in general, plus antiquated road rules and city planning - what niche would a high speed assist bike fit into? The cost of these is similar to the gas powered scooters (which go faster and longer) and I seriously think that people (yet) don't really care that much about their environment as much as we'd hope. from business, social, environmental and legal POV - they are still aways off.
 

Dom

Warming-Up
Jul 31, 2012
2
0
0
Tokyo
#18
I am driving the European version BionX 250W on a Dahon 20" since one month now and I feel happy even if a little worried to be caught as it is certainly illegal (although a little less than the more powerful US version). Maybe I should remove the BionX badges on the sides of the battery and replace them with a Yamaha or Panasonic stickers.

On the 2012 model, the aluminum cast cover of the wheel looks great. I don’t like however the battery plastic cover. A definite made in China look! Also the connector seems archaic.

Anyway the whole system works like magic. Really satisfied.
 

macrophotofly

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Aug 27, 2012
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#19
It would seem to me that the Bionx could easily comply with japanese regs? - based on their website that says
"The BionX system is intuitive. It supports you with additional power that is proportional to the power that you apply to the pedal. The harder you pedal, the more support you get; when you ease off the pedal, you receive correspondingly less support. When you stop pedalling, the system also stops delivering assistance. Every single step on the pedal is analyzed individually by the control processor. Your power is balanced, so you can fully enjoy your trip."

At the moment their software allows 25%, 50%, 100%, 200% assist on the 250 model. So all they need to do is reprogram the unit to provide a variable assist based on speed. No change to the unit, just a "Japan mode"?
 

dgl2

Maximum Pace
Nov 3, 2007
284
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48
Tokyo - Minato-ku
#20
It would seem to me that the Bionx could easily comply with japanese regs? - based on their website that says
"The BionX system is intuitive. It supports you with additional power that is proportional to the power that you apply to the pedal. The harder you pedal, the more support you get; when you ease off the pedal, you receive correspondingly less support. When you stop pedalling, the system also stops delivering assistance. Every single step on the pedal is analyzed individually by the control processor. Your power is balanced, so you can fully enjoy your trip."
?
I guess given the way the Japanese regulations seem to work, I am not sure they would want to call the resulting device a "Bionx". They would need to revise their website marketing to say:

The [Japan modified] Bionx is [counter-]intuitive. It supports you with additional power that is [pretty much inversely] proportional to the power you apply to the pedal. Your power is [un]balanced. But hey, at least you can get up that hill on the way back from the store with your kids and groceries, just like on the much cheaper Japanese electric assist bikes!