This review of the P 350 DV and P 350 RL BionX Electric Assist Kits was written by guest poster Dr. Len, who is 80 years old and a big fan of BionX!
Over to Dr. Len:
My wife and I purchased a BionX P 350 DV and a BionX P 350 RL Electric Assist Kit about six months ago. We are both 80 years old and in pretty good health, but naturally there are a few problems. In brief, these BionX kits are great. Both of us are now cycling many miles every week, and at a good pace too!
My wife hadn’t ridden in about ten years, but is now out there cycling about 60 to 80 miles per week, 25 to 30 miles at a time, at a pace of 14 of 15 mph. I have ridden continuously since I was a teenager, but have slowed down recently due to aging and a few neurological problems. Now my pace is back up to 14 to 15 mph and I am cycling 100 to 120 miles per week. We live in the Piedmont area of North Carolina, so the terrain is rolling.
Now some specifics about our bikes and the BionX Electric Assist Kits.
Specialized Hybrid with BionX Electric Assist Kit
My wife rides a Specialized hybrid. The battery is on a rear rack, since she doesn’t like anything on the downtube. We solved the water bottle problem with a cage that attaches to the handlebar. Her battery is 48 V – 6.6 amp. Her bike offers her four levels of assist, plus a throttle which she never uses. The motor responds to pedal effort; how much it responds depends on what assist level one sets. She generally uses between 2 and 4. In our rolling terrain her range is 50 to 60 miles.
The motor is in a hub on the rear wheel. It is totally quiet and smooth – it is not obvious you are riding an electric bike unless you look at the battery and the hub.
ICE sprint RS Recumbent Trike with BionX Electric Assist Kit
My setup is a recumbent trike, the ICE sprint RS. My kit has a 48 V – 11.6 amp battery. I wanted the biggest battery I could get for extended range and it works. I have gone 90 miles on one charge and had something left. The battery mounts on a special attachment (purchased from Terra Cycle) beneath the seat on the right. I typically set the assist at level 2 and leave it there unless there is a particularly steep hill. One’s range obviously depends on what assist level you choose.
The trike is obviously very stable and comfortable. Trikes like these can be ridden by those with significant handicaps (which I don’t have), for whom an assist addition is really helpful. There is a fellow in my area who has had a severe stroke, and yet is out on his trike almost daily.
Details about the BionX Electric Assists
More about the kits. I think BionX quality has improved in recent years and we have had virtually no problems since installation. The P 350 DV and P 350 RL BionX Electric Assist Kits are very similar in performance. Both offer 350 watts of the very latest BionX motor power. Further technical details can be found at the bottom of this post.
The BionX Electric Assist Kits are heavy – about 17 pounds, half of which is the battery. Loading onto a roof rack is challenging even with the battery removed. A trailer hitch rack is preferable.
The trike is another story entirely – fortunately I can roll it right into the back of my station wagon (with the rear seat down of course). My particular trike does fold as well, but that is a pain. I muscle my wife’s bike on top.
I would not recommend trying to install a kit on a regular road bike because of the weight. Stick with a hybrid or mountain bike.
Installation of our BionX Electric Assist Kits
Installation was challenging. There is no BionX dealer near where we live, so REI did it successfully, with a few fits and starts. After installation however, one needs to have the system activated by BIONX by a special computer link. I won’t bore you with the hoops we jumped through to accomplish this. In general I would try hard to find a BionX dealer locally to purchase from and install.
The only problem we have had post installation has been misalignment of a safety switch/magnet located in the right front brake that shuts off power when the brake is applied. This happened once, and left us with no power. Fortunately we were back in town, after many miles on a rural road and close to our parked car. Subsequently I have learned how to adjust this if necessary.
Bottom Line on BionX Electric Assist Kits – Great for Those Wanting some Assistance with Cycling!
To sum up, for those slowing down for whatever reason, or just wanting some power help, I highly recommend electric bikes. The BionX Electric Assist kits work extremely well. I did not mention it yet, but they are expensive. On the other hand, I have ridden a few specifically constructed electric bikes and personally I think the kits are better, but it depends on what bike you already own and how much you like it.
Technical Notes on the BionX P 350 DV
- BionX 350 watt P series motor
- Motor hub body for 7,8, 9, 10 and 11 speed cassettes
- 48 volt / 11.6 Ah lithium battery
- Center mount for console
- Assistance modes of 35, 75, 150 and 300%
- 135 Km’s (80 miles) range in assistance mode #1, in normal conditions
- Black console / motor / battery
- System weight: 8.8 Kg’s (19.4 lbs)
Technical Notes on the BionX P 350 RL
- 2017, 350 watt P Series motor
- Lithium battery 48,1V-LiMn / 6.6Ah
- Rear rack mounted battery with integrated rear light
- Assistance modes of 35, 75, 150, 300%
- 80 Km range in assistance mode #1, in normal conditions
- Black RC3 Touchpad / motor / battery
- System weight: 9 kg (19.9 lbs)
- Cassette mounting only
- Ideal for 7-10 speed rear derailleurs and 11 speed XT/XTR mountain bikes
Thinking of buying an Electric Bike? Check out my new 2017 edition of How to Buy the Best Electric Bike! Buy it here.
Read all about How to Buy the Best Electric Bike here.
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