Electric Bike, Cyclamatic Power Plus eBike

Getting Started

About a year ago I got myself an Electric Bicycle, to be specific a "Cyclamatic Power Plus eBike".  I'm getting on a bit and my old-duffer knees were having trouble getting me the 10 miles to work and the 10 miles back home again, so I had to resort to cheating, and using a motor.

How far does it go.


As I've said, it's 10 miles each way and not much of it is level, hills, hills, hills. The bike has three modes of travel.

  • Manual
  • Pedal Assist
  • Motor Only

By experimentation I've found that on a single charge I can use Pedal Assist the 10 miles to work, and use the motor on its own the whole way back. What I tend to do is actually use Pedal Assist the whole time in both directions.  The motor can push me up slight inclines but anything steeper and you have to help out by pedaling.

As I've read somewhere else, "the motor turns the flat into down hills, and up hills into the flat".

I can advise you against using manual mode. The bike is very heavy and when the motor is not in use it acts as a brake.  It's not so bad when the battery is removed but still harder than a normal bike.

Charging

From empty the battery takes the 6 hours mentioned in the manual, but I've only ever done that on the day I got the bike.  I tend to charge the battery at each end of my journey (using Pedal Assist all the way)  and it does not take longer than two hours.

Trusting the indicator lights

The bike and battery both have red/amber/green power level indicators.  I feel quite comfortable with these, even when the light goes red, you still have quite a bit of charge. However before looking at the lights, keep in mind they make the situation look worse than it really is if  the motor is working at the time.  Let go of the throttle and stop pedaling before you look at them.

Weather

I've ridden the bike through snow, hail and really heavy rain. The water and cold has never effected the performance...I can't say the same about my knees!

Changing the Rear Inner Tube

I have lived in fear of having to take the rear wheel off to change the rear inner tube.  I mean, it's got electric wires and stuff! Well, just last week I got a flat and discovered 8 separate punctures all at once. It was time for a new tube!

Turns out, it was not nearly so difficult as I feared!

Here's how I did it, the picture below should help if you need to do the same thing.




  • The first thing to do is put the bike in third gear, to help get the gears out the way.
  • Turn the bike upside down.
  • Drop the chain off of the front sprocket, this allows you to move the gears should they get in the way.
  • Slip the tyre off the rim and pull out the old tube.
  • The plastic caps (1) on the hub nuts work off easily by hand. Be careful of the wire on the right of the bike, you don't need to remove the wire, just wiggle the plastic off of the nut.
  • Undo the nut (2) that holds the the rear brake cable to the brass coloured lever.  Remove the nut completely, as this will allow the cable to slip free.
  • Undo and remove the two bolts (3) that hold the wing of the hub in place. Slide the bracket they went through out of the way.
  • Warning! I have read that the whole of the rear drum brake can fall apart when you remove the wheel.  It hasn't happened to me yet, as I've been very careful to hold the whole thing together just in case!
  • The next step is to loosen the main bolts that were under the two plastic caps you took off earlier.  Mine were so tight I had to use a mallet and spanner.
  • Your now ready to get the wheel out. It should pull straight up and out. BUT you don't need to completely remove the wheel. I had a second pair of hands ready for this phase, I lifted the wheel from the frame only a tiny distance and held the hub firmly in place as I did. The wheel only lifted enough to pull out the old tube and slip the new one in, then I dropped the wheel back into place.
  • Reverse the process to put it all back together.

It was all done without ever having to worry about the wires and technology.

10 Months Later

Well, 10 months after getting the bike I had a problem.  When the motor kicked in, it rumbled around in the hub but didn't move the bike.  I called the shop and after a lot of shouting, crying, some spitting and even some swearing, a replacement bike was sent out.

Was it a fault with that one bike? Is it a design fault? I have no idea because mine was replaced.  I'll let you know in another 10 months if it happens again.

2 Years In, the bike is dead.

To summarise.  I bought bike, 10 months later the motor failed, the bike was replaced under warranty, and after a further 14 months I think I can say the bike has had it.

It's currently sitting in the back garden, with busted spokes on the back wheel, blown suspension forks on the front, and a wobbly crank.  It may well have reached the end of its natural life.

The wobbly crank is a recurrence of a fault I had three or four months ago. Back then I had the bearings fixed and the crank repacked because the whole crank shaft had become wobbly. At that time I was informed that the wear it was showing would make re-packing the crank a second time pointless. At the same time I was told that the crank was also non-standard so the bike shop could not replace it.

The suspension forks have also gone causing the ride to go a bit wobbly.  I've never been a fan of suspension on a bike anyway, just extra weight for no real benefit in my book. Now that I know that not only is it extra weight, but it can fail, I'm doubly set against them. Replacing the forks is not too straight forward either, it requires a longer shaft than "normal" but these at least, do appear in the trade catalogs.

The rear spokes are a problem too, they are not standard. They are neither standard length nor standard thickness, again the bike shop was not able to help replacing them.

So this bike has reached the end of a useful life after a 14 months, the previous one only lasted 10 months before the motor went. That means that it cost £500 for the bicycle and that for your money you can expect to use it on a regular commute for no more than 14 months, with running repairs.