Well, I've just finished installing a BionX kit for the first time. I'll be honest, installing this electric motor kit was pretty easy overall, but there were a few problems that had to be worked through. This was a sink or swim BionX install, because the bike I worked with was a Dahon Matrix folding bike. Because folding bikes have collapsible frames, I had to be careful not to let the battery and cabling interfere with the folding mechanism. Alex, a BionX representative, was visiting our shop from Canada to help out and train me and Mark in the installation process. Alex was able to point out where most people run into problems and steer me clear of danger.
A BionX battery mount is designed to be bolted to the frame where the water bottle would typically go. I like this battery placement because it keeps the battery out of the way on most frames. Here is where I ran into my first problem. The Dahon Matrix has a really nice frame, but for some reason, the water bottle cage bolts were skewed off center. That meant that the battery was jutting out to an angle, which of course we had to fix. I don't want the battery bumping into my leg every time I have to pedal! It was a pretty easy fix, we filed down the cage mounts so that the battery mount rested in an upright position. When the battery mount was installed the BionX battery slid and clicked into place.
Because the BionX motor is built into the rear wheel, installing it was pretty easy. There is a large textured washer with a tab on the left side of the wheel. This should be loose so that you can fit it to your bike. Use the axle bolts to tighten it after adjusting the axle. There were only a few specialized things we had to deal with. The first was making sure that the little cutout piece in the rear axle faces downward. This is critical to ensuring proper motor function. If the tab is not facing downward, the BionX motor's torque sensor will not be able to determine how hard you are pedaling. Take the time to get this right! If you don't, the motor will not assist you properly and you will be wondering why you didn't just go for a walk! Our wheel went on smoothly, and then it was time to set up the controller and wiring.
The brake sensor magnet can be glued on with the supplied double sided tape but Alex decided to do the fancy version and drilled a hole in the brake lever to screw in the brake magnet. He recommended getting as close as you could to the brake handle body so that the magnet is out of the way. That way it doesn't get stressed when braking and is easy for the brake sensor to read.
We had to leave some extra slack when wiring up our BionX bike because of its folding action. You have to leave extra room for cables on folding bikes because they bend and flex when they folding and unfolding. A cable that is too short will stretch and snap. Alex has a good rule of thumb for BionX kit cable routing: Start at the ends not at the middle. In other words, zip tie the ends of the cables first (the wheel and controller), then work your way back to the middle (the battery) and roll up the excessive cable in a loop. We tried to wire our BionX kit up so that cables didn't cross each other, that way the bike looks clean and uncluttered. Hey, looks count too, right?
Once we had installed our BionX kit, it was time for my favorite moment: the test ride! After spending all that time being careful and checking the work, it was really fun to go out for the first ride. The BionX bike ran smoothly and had no problems. After a few loops through the neighborhood I rolled the BionX Dahon Matrix back into the shop. All in all, this wasn't a difficult or frustrating installation. In fact, I'm looking forward to building another BionX-powered bike. Come by the shop to test ride the BionX, or check out our Dahon Matrix with BionX kit online.