Top End Force CC w/BionX
Today the shipping guy brought me a HUGE box with an awesome piece of machinery inside. Once he unloaded from his truck I eagerly attacked opening it. Inside was a new Top End Force CC handcycle with the BionX electronic assist drive on it and all the fixin’s. Once I had unearthed it from all of the bubble wrap, I delighted to see that most of the assembly was already done. I just needed to mount the rear wheels and a couple odds and ends.
Once it was free from all the packaging, it only took about 15 minutes to have it all together. It even came with all of the tools to assemble and adjust pretty much everything on the bike, as well as a tire repair kit, safety flag, and some spare parts.
A big thanks to Paul Schulte at Top End and Will Matay for all of your help in making this happen! I look forward to testing this beauty out and seeing what it is capable of. I have no doubt that I will be impressed.
One word.. SEXY!
First off, let me say that I may not NEED the electronic assist, but I am sure going to take advantage of it while I have it.
The BionX drive system does make the bike heavier (approximately 15 pounds), but even when the drive isn't engaged you don’t really notice it in the flats. The extra weight becomes apparent as you start off from a dead stop and up hills.. but that is what the assist is there for in the first place.
The lithium ion battery pack is removable, which is convenient for charging, and lockable once on the bike, so no one can walk off with it. You can also charge is with the battery in its dock on the bike if you choose. It takes about 5 hours for a full charge. Fun fact: lithium ion batteries don’t have a “memory” so you can charge it at any point and it won’t decrease the battery’s life.The literature that came with the bike (yes, I actually read it) states the battery has a life of 500 cycles -- draining and charging back up. It also states that the battery will give you up to 30 miles on a charge. On a very hilly ride with the assist all the way up to level 4, I was able to get about 15 miles from the battery. One cool feature with the assist is that you can actually switch it to "Generate" mode and actually recharge the battery some while on the ride. I would not suggest using this mode unless you are in some good downhills or you have a heap of energy to krank in the flats, because in Generate Mode, the bike had a really good drag on it for the motor to do its recharging.
The new foot loop mount and adjusting point has 2 allen bolts and a locking nut which requires 2 hands to loosen and tighten, but it is very solid and secure.
The double strap over your lap is very nice and in a great location to keep you from sliding around in your seat. It is held to the frame with zip ties, which I feel could have been anchored in a better way, but seems to be holding well so far. I am the guy that crashes a lot, so..
This bike came to me with all the fixin's, like I had said, including the dual rear disc brakes. Your right hand controls the front Avid disc brake and your left hand controls both of the rear discs simultaneously. The rear brakes you really won't use on the road unless you choose. The front has plenty of stopping power, but out on the trail you might end up using the rears to control your decent on steep declines. This is a good practice to avoid joining the Over the Bars Club
Oh, and did I mention that the matte black paint and red graphics are just down right sexy! This bike looks beastly sitting still with no rider, and definitely gets the looks on the trail.
So far, I have only put about 30 miles on this rocket. And I say rocket in full sincerity. It FLIES! The electronic assist is insane on its highest power setting and can definitely get away from you if you are not careful. And, despite its huge knobby tires and large frame, this bike is quite light and nimble on the roads. I will say that between the power levels in the assist drive and still controlling the 27-speed Shimano gears you do have a bit of a learning process to get everything to work smoothly and in harmony. And on that note, I am going to go for a krank and spend some more time learning this awesome machine..