Serious Electric Bike Conversion for Serious Cyclists

So you have been scouting the internet to find a great conversion system. And so far you have been disappointed. Search no more. Well here is what it boils down to:

 

      1. Incredibly inexpensive systems (Mostly from China );

 

      1. Advanced Systems

 

        • Falco and Bionx;

 

Newbies: Zeuhs and Superpedestrian

At the moment we are not considering the new systems - Zeuhs and Superpedestrian (No reliable data is available in terms of performance and longevity. Reports regarding Zeuhs here are not encouraging.). Both the teams are incredibly young. So products are most likely to have significant launch issues. Even Bosch did with 130 years of manufacturing experience and this and this. Also, the newbies have very little field testing data. They are going head first into full production. I expect them to learn a few fairly expensive lessons.

BionX has had a great success in the past. However, they have been meticulously replaced by Bosch in Europe and the US. They have had significant set backs in the industry for several reasons (Overheating, Performance, Quality). BionX new offering of D-series though exciting does very little to recoup the lost glory. They have lost a significant market share and leverage.

Falco has been meticulous and careful in not expanding rapidly. Diligently and deliberately, We have set up our R&D and manufacturing in India instead of China or Taiwan. Our manufacturing methods have been carefully evolved allowing us to offer 5-year motor warranty, which is highest in the industry. Below, we will go through a detailed comparison between BionX and Falco.

Mid-Drive Systems: Our views on mid-drive systems are well known. We reject the mid-drive system as an inferior solution for electric bicycles. Just because Bosch is leading the game, it does not make it the best solution. Have you heard the quote "Blind leading the Blind". Also, let us remember that bigger companies make bigger mistakes. Shimano has followed suit with their mid-drive systems. With all the band-aids being applied on the mid-drive systems, it is fundamentally a wrong approach. Read our views in detail here.

Chinese Systems: A number of companies have branded the Chinese systems under their own brand name. Unfortunately these systems are inherently complex and poorly made. A lot of components are put together from a lot of manufacturers. Branding does not make them better quality. The companies who brand neither have resources nor the skill to control the quality.  A number of these solutions are geared causing noise and gear failures. They require a tremendous amount of wires and components which are extremely difficult to manage. Such large number of wires and components are prone to significant failures. So We can never consider those solutions to be practical. Inherently, they are dispensable solutions.

Existing Electric Bikes: There are expensive electric bikes with poor bike components and there are expensive electric bikes with poor drive systems (such as mid-drive systems). And then of course, there is the styling of the electric bikes which is still very poorly done. The big companies shove down their poorly conceived products down consumer's throats with aggressive marketing. For an educated consumer, this is simply a poor choice. The choice of just regular bikes is so amazing that one can really get great bikes with great components and then it is easy to convert them into great electric bikes with Falco conversion. Companies can not do that. Consumers can.

So let us consider comparing BionX vs. Falco

250W Systems

  BionX (PL250M) Falco (250W, Hx) Advantage
Motor 250W 250W EVEN
Battery 249Wh (26, 9.6Ah) 317Wh (36V, 9Ah)* FALCO
Range 40 Miles 60 Miles+ FALCO
Weight 16.1lbs. 15.4 lbs. FALCO
MAP $1199.00 $1095.00 FALCO
Warranty 2 Years Motor (5 Years)Battery (2 Years) FALCO

* Falco offers 11.6Ah batteries instead of the 9Ah batteries.

350W Systems

  BionX (PL350 RR M ) Falco (350W) Advantage
Motor 350W 350W EVEN
Battery 240Wh (37, 6.4Ah) 417Wh (36V, 11.6ah)** FALCO
Range 37 Miles 70 Miles+ FALCO
Weight 20.5 lbs. 15.4 lbs. FALCO
Retail Price $1499.00 $1395.00 FALCO
Warranty 2 Years Motor (5 Years)Battery (2 Years) FALCO

**Falco also offers 48V, 556Wh, 11.6Ah lithium batteries.

350Dx vs. 350W Hx

  BionX (350 DX ) Falco (350W HX) Advantage
Motor 350W 350W EVEN
Battery 422Wh (48V. 8.8Ah) 417Wh (36V, 11.6ah)** EVEN
Range 65 Miles 70 Miles+ FALCO
Weight 16.1lbs. 15.4 lbs. FALCO
Retail Price $2099.00 $1395.00 FALCO
Warranty 2 Years Motor (5 Years)Battery (2 Years) FALCO

**Falco also offers 48V, 556Wh, 11.6Ah lithium batteries.

350 DX vs. 500W Hx

  BionX (350 DX ) Falco (500W HX) Advantage
Motor 350W 500W FALCO
Battery 422Wh (48V. 8.8Ah) 417Wh (36V, 11.6ah)** FALCO
Range 65 Miles 70 Miles+ FALCO
Weight 16.1lbs. 15.4 lbs. FALCO
Retail Price $2099.00 $1595.00 FALCO
Warranty 2 Years Motor (5 Years)Battery (2 Years) FALCO

**Falco also offers 48V, 556Wh, 11.6Ah lithium batteries.

Technology Comparison

  BionX Falco Advantage
Performance Fair High FALCO
Reliability Fair High FALCO
Warranty Standard High FALCO
Motor Technology 3-Phase 5-Phase FALCO
Pedal Resistance High Low FALCO
Front Wheel Operation No Yes FALCO
Crank Sensor Operation No Yes FALCO

Technology Comparison contd.

  BionX Falco Advantage
Throttle Operation from Zero Speed No Yes FALCO
Torque Sensor Operation from Zero Speed No Yes FALCO
Wheel Installation Reliability Poor (uses 1 Torque Blocker) High (Uses 2 Torque Blockers + Torque Arms) FALCO

Technology Comparison contd.

  BionX Falco Advantage
Open System No Yes FALCO
Cost of Battery Replacement Very High Low FALCO
Interface for Ride Customization No Yes FALCO
Wireless No Yes FALCO
Heart Rate Sensor Interface No Yes FALCO
Off-Road Capability No Yes FALCO

And we are yet to talk about Torque, Power Delivery, Efficiency, Smoothness, Noise, and Heat comparison between these systems.

Note: BionX D-series is an interesting addition to their line. It has a lot of potential. Unfortunately, its styling is at odds and it can not be adapted to wheel sizes smaller than 27.5". We will post a comparison with D-series soon.