This site is closing

This site will close soon, probably at the end of this months billing cycle, in around 3 weeks.

The reasons:

  1. Constant hacking attempts, as many as 200 per day. They’re coming from all over the world, so a script kiddie trying to get access by using incorrect usernames. I have a firewall in place that bans them after one failed attempt, this is fast becoming a very large part of the database and .htaccess file.
  2. The site at certain times of the day can take an age to load. This is unnaceptable and throwing money at the problem won’t help.
  3. I’ve contacted several retailers and manufacturers to see if they’ll loan me a bike for a few days so I can expand the reviews to cover other models… none have called me or emailed me back.
  4. I can’t be arsed updating with new posts. There’s also little to cover if I can’t get hold of loan bikes to test and review.
  5. I might one day setup the site on my local network on a raspberry pi, and yes believe it or not, it would be faster than the current host.
  6. I’m also considering selling my bike. I am a carer for my uncle who is mentally handicapped, I get 3 days a week when I have a respite carer come in and look after him for a few hours. So of course riding is dependent on the weather and if I have other errands to run in my spare time. As things are. I don’t want to get soaked, cold and miserable during this time.

At LAST! A Spare Battery, and my old one is a donor for experimenting.

In my last post I considered a new battery because mine is getting a little weak, and this week I ordered a new battery and have just had it delivered.

With the battery came a leaflet from the manufacturer, Phylion in China. Jinshajiang Road, New District, Suzhou, P.R. China. Postcode 215153

Tel +86-512-6832-0283

Model Number: JCEB360-11

36v 11.6AH

So that’s the company and battery details, my question is… are you someone who knows about electronics and BMS, do you know how to read and reprogramme said systems?
Can it go faster than 16mph? Can the cells be replaced with bigger amp hour cells?  Can a barrel connector be made to charge the battery on the fly (while cycling)?

JCEB360-11

JCEB360-11

JCEB360-11

JCEB360-11

JCEB360-11

JCEB360-11

 

Ebike Range Anxiety

My bike and battery are now well over 2 years old, and my battery is begining to lose its capacity. I didn’t follow my own instructions on battery care and left it charged to 100% for a few months, and on more than one occasion. Plus when I did my 45 mile ride I dropped the charge all the way down to 2%… VERY NAUGHTY I know.

So as a result I’m now developing range anxiety, and instead of riding 25-30 miles in one go, I’m dropping this to 15 miles. So I’m worried and I need a new battery, but Halfords are currently out of stock of spare batteries. Then I started wondering if it’s possible to charge the battery with a power bank phone charger.
I’ve fired off an email to SR-Suntour to see if they can help, this is the email.

Hello to who ever reads this email.

Just over 2 years ago I bought the Carrera Crossfire-E from Halfords, and it’s been a blast riding this bike, your battery and motor make this bike awesome. I even made a website to share my thoughts and opinions https://the-bionic-cyclist.co.uk

Lately I’ve had a reduction in battery life, probably because I left it fully charged for too long, but hey this is England and the weather is totally unpredictable. The reduction is only around 10%, so even though I’ve not charged it the stated 500 times, I understand how Li-Ion batteries work and their limitations.

This brings me onto a couple of ways you the manufacturer could fix this in future.

1. Have the USB output stay on even when the LCD is off, this way I could easily discharge the battery and keep it around the 30%-40% mark for long term storage. Dendrites are the enemy after all.

2. The ability to charge the battery on the go, without mains power…. Wait whut? Yes, there’s now a metric tonne of power banks, some with 3, 4, 5, or even upto 20 18650 batteries installed. Sure they’re a little heavy, but so is a spare battery. So why not add another USB port that allows a rider to charge the battery while on the road. I realise there are limitations on powerbanks, mainly that they run only at 5v and a maximum of 5 amps. But a trickle charge still adds a few miles to a ride. Or you could manufacture a powerbank that outputs 36v and a socket to the main battery and charge a little faster.

The benefit of number 2 is simple, you could sell your own rechargeable power bank just for your battery packs (watch out for the input socket, it could get damaged, you could then have the spare power bank charged by another power bank… and so on,) and they would work with all your batteries out there now. It’s lighter than a spare battery and it should be a lot cheaper too. An extra 5-10 miles is still miles ahead of the competition.

The alternative is to add a USB INPUT to future products, but this leaves all current and future batteries limited to their initial state.

Personally I prefer number option 2, it’s flexible and adds a little more distance to all past present and future batteries.

Now on to a couple of questions I’d like an answer to please.

1. Where do I buy a new battery from? Halfords haven’t had the stock in a long time and mine is now giving me a huge amount of range anxiety.

2. Do you have a publicly available schematic for the battery? If I bought a new one then I’d like to teardown the old one and replace the 18650’s with improved new ones… thus giving me 2 batteries and preserving the old one to make it last another 2 years or more.

Please let me know what you think, personally I like the idea of charging on the fly, and I’m amazed that no one has yet thought of it. But if I’m wrong and it cannot be done or it would be impractical then just a quick reply will do.

 

What do you think, do the ideas have merit?

 

Cycling videos with Data!

I recently bought a Garmin Virb and shorlty after I bought a GoPro hero 6, these let me show speed, inclination and distance data amongst other things. I found the video to be far too compressed with the Garmin, though it does store a huge amount of data, the video from the Gopro is far better but it contains less data. But all the important stuff is there.

 

 

  •  This is the GoPro at 1440P, though it can do 4K 60, but even my monster PC struggles at that high a resolution, 4K 30 is excellent, but I find 2.7P 60 to be really nice and hardly a downgrade on clarity.

  • This is the Garmin Virb, the video is nowhere near as crisp and clear, but man it’s easy to use and has incredibly well rounded software.

  • And this one again from a GoPro hero 6

Why buy an electric bike?

I’m not talking about electric motorbikes, they are a completely different category of vehicle, though to be honest I’d love one 🙂 I have a full bike licence but not the cash.

So why buy an electric pedal assist push iron? Simple, they really really do help you get up them thar hills.

Electric bikes differ visually from a regular bike very little, with newer e-bikes you could be hard pressed to tell the difference, with batteries built in to the frame or designed to looke like the frame, that tell tale bulge is now difficult to even see. Even the motor is less obvious, mid-drives even more so. I had a chat about electric bikes with a guy called Steve last Thursday in Oxenhope, it took me a few minutes to even notice he had an e-bike! So e-bikes can look identical to a regular bike, but it’s not the looks that sets them apart, it’s the feel and effort that you’ll notice immediately, but only when you throw your leg over and start peddeling.

My previous bike was a Specialized Myca, a hard tail mountain bike, and it was awesome, but being a 35 year smoker even this bike was hard work to keep going around here. (Halifax and man do we have some serious hills).

My Carrera Crossfire-E is worlds apart, a different breed all together. The hills that I had to stop on and get catch my breath are no longer a problem. Even around Halifax I can ride just about any hill without stopping once. My last ride was 25 miles, I did record it, but it was such a stop start affair (28c heat and a lack of breakfast) that I just deleted the files. This ride took in some of the biggest and steepest hills around here, and even though I did stop for food and drinks and a chat with a couple of other cyclists, I didn’t stop once to rest.

I’ve had my e-bike for a couple of years now, and I’ve used it in all weathers, for doing chores , commuting and just for the sheer enjoyment of being out, and I love it, it really gives me the freedom that a regular bike doesn’t. I could also argue that it gives me more of a workout too. Instead of doing a stop start 10 mile ride, I now do a 25+ mile ride continuous ride.

The reasons for owning an e-bike will most likely differ from person to person, the overall reason will probably be the same, freedom. Instead of being limited to short distances you’ll find yourself going further and further, to different places and enjoy riding even more than ever. I maybe lucky living in such a beautiful area, and never being more than just 10 minutes away from vast open countryside, but no matter where you live, owning an e-bike will always be a better an easier way to move around. Granted if you live in a flat town or city then the reasons maybe difficult to justify, but even this can be a positive for owning an e-bike, because you’ll just be able to go further afield, instead of just commuting you might go shopping or to friends, or just finding different routes to get to work or return home, or just go out for the sheer hell of it, because you’ll enjoy cycling even more.

If you have an injury and find cycling a little too much effort, then e-bikes again are a massive help. A couple of years ago I tore the cartilage in both my knees, and my right knee had to be operated on, one week later I was on my bike again, even the surgeon and physiotherapist were surprised at how quickly my knee healed, and the only physio appointment I had lasted 10 minutes and I was discharged. This was due to the low impact activity.

For me cycling has made a huge positive impact on my life, and its all down to the e-bike, without that extra help from our friend the electron, then I would have probably given up or would have had to push myself much much harder just to get out.

I cannot get over the point strongly enough, e-bikes ARE amazing and good one even better. Give one a try and I guarentee you’ll be a convert too.

 

 

 

 

EU Rules Change – We will need a motor insurance policy

The EC courts have ruled that all pedal assist bicycles will need a mandatory motor insurance policy, however it’s not yet law so don’t panic just yet.

Also if it does become law and a state can adopt this as law if they want to, does this mean you’ll need an applicable licence and registration?

https://ec.europa.eu/info/publications/180524-proposal-motor-insurance_en

I thought the whole idea of restricting the speed was to keep pedelecs within the realm of bicycles, so should the speed limits be removed too?

Source: https://www.bikebiz.com/news/bikes-need-3rd-part-insurance-in-eu

How using an E-Bike changes you

As you no doubt know, I’ve had an electric bike for over two years now, and it’s left a fantastic impression on me physically and mentally too.

About me, I’m 47 years old, I’ve smoked for over 30 years, I live in Halifax West Yorkshire (a VERY hilly town), I also suffer with depression and have done for 20 years. I bought this bike because I’d started cycling again the year before I tore my knee cartilage, and I struggled getting any power through my knees.

A few months after buying the Carrera Crossfire-E I had my knees fixed, and soon after I was back to normal.

So now you know I’m a prime candidate for using an e-bike, and so far I’ve done 2,000 miles on it. But how has it changed me?

  1. I now get out of the house more than ever and it’s all cycling,
  2. I have lost a significant amount of weight, and it’s stayed off (mostly),
  3. My mood improves every time I go out, and I look forward to going out too,
  4. Instead of getting in the car to go to town or Asda for a few bits, I jump on the bike,
  5. I can also keep up and even beat the wanna-be pro’s, especially uphill,
  6. If I did have a job I’d almost certainly commute,
  7. Hills are not an issue anymore.
  8. If you ride instead of driving then you get all this and save money on fuel too.

There’s also the issue of distance. Previously when I owned a non E-Bike (Specialized Myka) I could manage 15 miles and only with nearly a full year of prep, now I can manage as much as 45 miles. That is what e-biking is about, freedom, it’s this that makes such a positive change from driving the car, all the benefits of cycling without the stress and strain of normal bike riding.

You don’t need to be like me to benefit from an e-bike, anyone can and will benefit from using an electric bike, even commuting to and from work would be an improvement, both in speed and sweat. If you already commute on a bike then an e-bike would be faster and a lot less sweaty.

So if it’s something you’ve considered and would like to try, then pop into a local bike shop and try one out.

 

(True story). I went to PedalSport https://pedalsportshop.com/ for a new bike light and a few bits just after buying the Crossfire-E, and while they did sell me what I wanted they scoffed at the thought of an e-bike and one person even laughed in my face. I haven’t since been back and never will because of the sheer snobbery and arrogance of the staff. But look at them now.

Tektro Vela Replacing the brake pads

I’m in desperate need of new (front especially) brake pads, and seeing as this is the first time I’ve ever done it, I thought I’d better get some pointers from Youtube.

This is a job that requires you to remove the wheel(s). But it looks dead easy and can be done in just a couple of minutes.

The brakes for the Carrera Crossfire-E are Tektro Vela. The second video is replacing the brake fluid.

 

My next 2 areas of maintenance are brake fluid replacement and a new chain.

UFO, my Story.

True story: My UFO sighting near Manchester Airport. It was around 2005 and I was driving from Halifax to Airdrie (Near Glasgow) and back.

I was a class 1 HGV driver, and since it was a very long drive and could over run my driving hours it was double manned, so there were 2 drivers taking turns. On the way back we’d come down the M6 – M61 – M60 – M62, and this one morning we were stuck in early morning rush hour traffic trying to get on the M60 just south of Bolton and I was driving, the other guy, (Shane) was fast asleep.

Then I noticed a small but very bright light to the south, around Manchester airport area, and for a while I just watched it dart around, sometimes smoothly moving around, sometimes darting, almost like it disappeared and reappeared instantaneously some miles away. After around 10 minutes (we really were stuck in traffic) I noticed what looked like a fighter jet trying to chase it. The jet had no chance, it just couldn’t keep up, I thought it was just my mind playing tricks, so I woke Shane up (he wasn’t happy about it) and told him to look, and he saw it too. This went on for around 30 minutes before the light vanished once and for all, but the jet kept circling for a while before it too disappeared (problably landed).