When I ordered the parts to build the bikes, I took a chance on a supplier, Elife bikes in China, and on my ability to mix and match parts. There was no “kit of parts” that exactly suited my requirements, and I didn’t want to compromise the important stuff (rear motor, 15 amp hour batteries). Elife Bike were just a supplier who seemed to have what I want. In the end, the important stuff, the batteries and the motors appear to be great, Bafang 8Fun hub motors suit our requirements, and the headway cells and the BMS seem to work well. Over the build we seem to have tried at least two of everything else. Throttles (thumb type, full twist grip), Pedal assist Sensors (5 magnet, 12 magnet), controllers, handlebar control units.Elife bike were not a great deal of help with what fits where, only once did they pick up on a mistake in my order, and once when I ordered two 36v controllers and LED units, they sent one 48V and one 36V.
So after a few weeks use, some bits are coming up for replacement and I am trying other suppliers. First off, using right hand full twist grip throttles on the left side was always going to be a short term thing. The grips were ugly, the action wrong, and Lynn felt her’s was actually dangerous – twisting by mistake while dismounting can be a little painful! What we wanted was half grip left hand twist throttles, and Elife Bikes don’t do these. So we found a Canadian supplier EBikes.ca who seemed to have a reasonable price and stock. They wouldn’t deliver to NZ, but I used my youshop address, and just a week or so later, they were delivered to the shop. I am having real success with Canadian suppliers in my computer business too, they are really efficient suppliers (and nice people to boot, even if their accent is as strange as mine!). This is what I bought.
So I have just fitted the new throttle, and the change to the looks, comfort and practicality of the bikes is amazing. eZee bikes in NZ seem to really encourage use of left hand half grip twist throttles, and I can now see why, thanks for the heads up on that one Jace! First ride will be in about 90 minutes, can’t wait!
The second item to be replaced is one of the battery chargers that Elife Bikes supplied. These both look good, but they were both very noisy, and considering the fans are the same size as those used in my “silent” Acer computer, I can see no reason for the noise, other than poor quality components. One of the chargers is still working fine, but one has been temperamental since it arrived, sometimes not switching on correctly. Once on it charged OK almost every time, only once did it switch off early. However, it got to the point where only giving it a good physical knock would get it to work, and then more lately, no amount of physical abuse would get it to work! So I looked around for a replacement. The 36v 4a unit supplied by Elife was only $30, and as it came with the headway cells, the postage was not relevant. Getting one delivered on its own can cost from $35 to $60, and the cost of the chargers can vary from $30 to $110. In the end I chose a Hong Kong supplier VPower who will supply one that does not look like the one I already have, for $72 with free delivery by airmail. Most others available at various ridiculous prices look exactly the same as the one I already have, so probably come from the same factory! Another risk, but we will wait and see!
I know that bikes are never going to be maintenance free, so replacing parts is just part of the fun of ownership, and is certainly cheaper than replacing car parts!
Stop Press – I fitted the new throttle to Lynn’s bike and she is really pleased with it, it is much more comfortable, convenient and safer. The feel and looks of the throttles is really good, a lot less “plastic” and more of a rubbery feel than some cheap twist grips. I certainly love mine, twisting the correct way is totally natural and took no getting used to, unlike twisting the wrong way!
Stop press 2 – 09/10/14. New charger just arrived, looks nice, sounds better than the last one too (noisy, but not rattly). Plug on DC lead matches AC socket, so a bit iffy on that score, but the kit included a spare socket for the 3 pin DC outlet, and a spare fuse. The mains cable was not for NZ, but that’s OK, I have those coming out of my ears anyway! Charging the battery now, voltage is going up, all is good!