1. Product Spotlight: Bionx Electric Bike Retrofit


    Running a bike shop we’ve learned many things, one of which is that people are often extremely fond of their bicycles. Regardless of how old it is, regardless of how beat up or abused, people have an affinity for their familiar two-wheelers. Then, it is not for lack of love, but because of the extenuating circumstances of the needs of modern life, hilly topography, or long distances, that so many bikes spend such a large proportion of their time in the basement than on the open road.   

    Well, show us a beloved bicycle hanging out with the dust bunnies and we’ll show you Bionx. Bionx is the best retrofit kit out there. It installs simply and seamlessly on nearly any bicycle and turns it into an amazingly useful and fun machine. Just like a purpose built electric bike, Bionx gives proportional assistance, meaning it feels like your riding a bicycle with Lance Armstrong as your tandem partner. Ride up a hill, and Bionx gives you up to three times your pedal power. Go down a hill and the motor switches to regeneration and recuperates your kinetic energy, making for an impressive range of up 65 miles per charge. Very nifty! 

    The Bionx controller

    Bionx delivers all of these features in a svelte, simple package made up of a new rear wheel, a battery that attaches to your down tube or slides into a rear rack, and a sleek controller/trip computer. The wiring is dead simple and inconspicuous as well: one data cable running up to the controller from the battery, and then one data and power cable to the motor, hidden underneath a velcro patch and easily unplug-able if you need to change a tire or tube.

    The speed demon

    The simplicity and elegance of Bionx extends to its engineering. The Bionx motor is what is called a direct drive motor. Peep inside as it spins and you will see all the innards - circuit board, copper coil, wiring - remaining completely stationary. Only the case moves. The design not only allows for silent operation, but also makes for great reliability. No moving parts means no parts to wear over time, unlike much of the competition.

    A look inside Bionx with Karen:

    Bionx comes in a few distinct flavors. The classic Bionx kit is called the Power Series System. It weighs around 19.4 lb. all told, and has a range of up to 56 miles on a charge. This system is an awesome hill climber, perfect for San Francisco. It retails for $1699 (add $100 for a rear rack battery) and we install it for free on your bike and include lifetime tune-ups on the bike it’s installed on for the original owner.

    The elegant traveler

    The newest addition is the Premium Series System. This new system has a new, more powerful and efficient 48V battery, together with a newly engineered lightweight motor. The whole system adds just around 16 lb. to your bike. The benefits of this system is that it is not just super lightweight, but also very fast. The lighter motor means less rolling resistance, which in turn makes it super easy to maintain a much higher cruising speed above 20 MPH. The motor, however, per California regulations, will only propel you up to 20 MPH. The Premium Series System is $1899 (add $100 for a rear rack battery).

    If you are climbing severe hills often, the Premium Series may not be the right kit for you. We would probably steer you towards a Power Series System, or, better yet, a custom kit that we are offering that combines the benefits and efficiency of the 48V with the hill climbing prowess of the Power Series motor. This configuration is particularly nice for cargo bikes. The price for this custom configuration is $1899 or $1999 for a rear rack model. 

    The child trucker

    I’ve owned a Bionx retrofit bike for about a year now and the thing is just a blast to ride around on. Perfect excuse for not driving a car around #dtLA for anything.