It’s been a while since the last installment. We had to go on vacation. Part of that trip was a fun bike ride on the famous Galloping Goose Trail in Victoria, BC, Canada. Watch for a story on that ride.
Back to the eZips. So, we started riding our bikes for the work commute. Ten miles each way, three to four days a week. Things were going fine, untill I started noticing a creaking from the bottom bracket. My experience with bikes told me the bearings in there were in distress. After mentioning it to Barbara, she said that maybe she was feeling something similar. I rode her bike and felt a different, but distinct noise. A little tear-down was in order. I found a lot of pitting on the bearings and races on my bike, and a broken bearing cage on hers. Also, the threads on one end of her axle were stripped. Now, if you remember, I have one complete bike of spare parts. Once again, they came in handy.
Using the extra axle and bearings that came with the spare bike, I was able to repair both sets of bottom brackets. Some special tools were needed. A crank puller and a spanner wrench took care of doing the job. Her bike had different bearing cups, and should be fastened with a cup socket of the correct dimensions. I will get the right tool someday, but I carefully solved that dilemma with a punch and hammer, gently used, of course. It is a straight forward bike repair, as the design has been used for many years. I cleaned all the parts, used a clear, synthetic bike grease, and adjusted the play in the bearings to my personal specs.
I decided that the reason the bearings had a problem was due to poor quality lube and the bearings being over-tightened at the factory. This made me curious about the wheel bearing assemblies. I checked all the wheel bearings and cleaned and lubed them in the same fashion. I did find some pitting on my rear wheel bearing race, but it wasn’t too bad for now.
I have mentioned how good Currie had been with the other warrantee issues, and once again they came through. After a discussion with one of their phone techs, two complete bottom bracket repair parts kits arrived in the mail. I also had them supply me with a complete rear rim for both bikes. If you remember, Barbara’s rear rim was fairly heavily out of true, and then of course, mine had a pitted bearing race. The front rim that was out of true was taken care of by me and my handy spoke tightening wrench. In addition, they supplied two new battery/rear racks to replace the ones that were bent from rough shipping conditions. Currie has treated me well.
This solved the bearing problems. The two sets of bottom bracket repair kits are still in their bags to be installed if further problems come up. I do recommend if you get an eZipp, to service the wheel bearings, and those in the bottom bracket. Check them well, and lube with a high-quality bike bearing grease. If you need a bike shop to do it for you, that is ok. But, it not hard to do for even the most basic of bike mechanics.
The next problem was in the electronic control unit (ECU) of Barbara’s bike. She was half way home one evening, when her bike went to full throttle on its own. That caught her attention in a hurry. Almost as quickly, the motor quit running. No smoke or other indications were noticed. She called me on her cell phone and I was able to go pick her and the bike up. This would not have gotten her stuck on the road, but the largest hill on her route was still ahead, and she would have had to push the bike up it. A few quick checks later told me the ECU had failed. The spare bike we kept came in handy again. It was easy to install and it has not acted up again. As the bike was over a year old by then, I didn’t call Currie for a warrantee replacement. Those electronic control units sell for about sixty dollars.
The final thing that I have had to deal with is battery leakage. These use sealed lead acid batteries. Each battery pack has two of them. One sits in up-side down. The ones that leaked were the ones that were right-side up. Normally, you would just purchase a new pack from Currie or your local bike shop that offers their products. I just replaced the leaking battery with one from a local battery shop. Make sure to give them your old one for recycling. Also, be careful of the liquid that leaks out. It is a caustic acid that can burn you, damage your bike, and ruin your clothing and floor.
To install the battery, the case has to unscrewed and the case halves separated. My first two packs did not have the connectors soldered to the battery, but the newer ones did. It is a little tough to unsolder the connector from the batteries. It is a two person job. The connection needs to be heated with a solder gun and pulled off while hot. One person holds the battery, while the other heats the connector and then pulls it off. Don’t forget to wear eye protection. When you are done, resolder the connectors to the battery connection. Be careful to hook it to the correct wires and tuck the wires in the case halves so the don’t get pinched.
I would recommend the lithium battery up-grade to eliminate any leakage issues. They are lighter and are claimed to have more power. Lithium batteries are not perfect, but they are the best E-bike batteries available at this point in time. We are planning to get the new ones from Currie and I will report on their performance in due time.
This brings to mind the only other problem I had. Both of my first two batteries lost their internal electrical connections at the fuse holder. Each one happened at a different time. This was on my bike so my wife did not have to live with the loss of power when riding. The first time it happened, I resoldered the connection. But when it happened again, I purchased circuit breakers of the right capacity at an auto parts store and installed them in place of the fuse. This took a little fiddling to get right, but has never caused any more breakdowns since the fix.
So, to wrap up this article, you can see that these bikes were not without things that would make them trouble-free. If you have the patience, time, and repair knowledge, these can be great bikes for you. The price is right and they have been good on the road, and our pocket books. I am not saying that your bike will have any of these drawbacks. I am not saying that they won’t be more trouble than ours. I just want you to be aware of the things I have gone through to make them good for us. At this point, I have been very happy with them. I do think of getting a pair of top end E-bikes in the future. Time will tell.
As I reread this installment, I realized there are a few things I left out or didn’t cover. I will fill in those details in the next article. Thanks for reading, Turbo Bob.
“The only regret I have in my life is never learning how to ride a bicycle.”—Helen Hayes.
E-bikes and kits http://www.nycewheels.com
E-bikes and rentals http://www.iselectricbikecenter.com