Pro’s and cons of buying Cytronex

Discussion in 'Electric Bicycles' started by barrycoll, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. barrycoll

    barrycoll Finding my (electric) wheels

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    Having had out KTM MACINA s stolen, I am considering replacing them with Cannondale/Cytronex, in the full knowledge that better priced and better specced donor bikes are available elsewhere,
    Even Decathlon B’Twin.

    Lightness, plus excellent Dec 2017 forensic review in A2B mag. are very convincing.

    Any thoughts from possible ex-users????
     
  2. TobyAnscombe

    TobyAnscombe Finding my (electric) wheels

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    I ran a Cytronex for about 4 years and racked up well over a 1000 miles. This was pulling a trailer with the kids, towing them on a FollowMe tandem and generally larking about in Epping Forest.

    Never had a problem until I stopped using it and then came back to it to find that the motor was grinding. Could have replaced it but as the bike was a bit old and I fancied something more robust for the trails (kids are now older) I have stuck it in the garage to fix at some point and bought a Cube Acid One. Seriously considered getting their new CX1 setup and a new bike and converting but for the type of cycling I'm doing now a hub motor is probably the wrong type of assist.

    I know that they get no real love on here but all I can say is that it worked and I never had to worry about anything other than charging and pedalling...

    I had the GT Transeo which was an ok bike, not overly impressed with the Suntour forks but didn't want to spring for the FatBoy...
     
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  3. tagray

    tagray Just Joined

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    I ran two cytronex bikes consecutively in the original incarnation. The only problems I found were my own fault in not attaching the bottle battery correctly and finding that the bike objected to the electronics box getting caked in snow and grit when I cycled to work in winter (not surprisingly really!). The concept was simple and worked well. I now have a new C1 set up on a Cube Editor (hybrid bike with alfine 11). The new setup is much more robust. The battery is now lithium and so far I am getting about 30+ miles per charge with ease even for rides over the Surrey Hills. I fitted it myself - the company tailor it to measurements from your own bike then make it up for you. When I went to pick up the kit in February, the shop was going like a fair with kits being packed off and bikes fitted right left and centre. The new control is very intuitive and works like a charm. The only reason I have two electric bikes is that I do some much longer runs for which my Kalkhoff is more suitable but I use the Cytronex Cube every day as it is much lighter and nimbler and the Cube is superbly equipped.
     
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  4. ChrisBike

    ChrisBike Just Joined

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    We bought the first two of the original Cytronex bikes in 2008 and got on quite well with them. I posted on here very positively about these bikes (under a different name, chris_bike, that lapsed when I changed my email). The range was not what it might have been, but that is a consequence of the batteries being relatively small.
    We also have one bike in the new setup. It was built on a Carbon Planet X frame so not much over 12 kg all in. It works ok, but the set-up is quite flakey. The hall sensor that detects movement in the cassette is easily knocked out of alignment, which cuts all power. The battery is still only 5Ahr, which is really too small for any ebike. And the set up is quite expensive.
    In truth, I think Cytronex missed their market with this bike. It should have been launched 3-4 years ago (when it was "in development"). There are now bikes on the market with bigger batteries hidden in the down tube and considerably greater range (Orbea Gain, Focus, Willier, Bianchi and even Pinarello). The cheapest, especially if you search for a 2018 model, are cheaper than a Cytronex conversion and have a better range.
    I think the day of the bottle battery conversion is now past. I've recently found their after sales service wanting too.
     
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  5. anotherkiwi

    anotherkiwi Pedelecer

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    Yesterday I saw a coboc parked up at the market, very stealthy looking bike!
     
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  6. ChrisBike

    ChrisBike Just Joined

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    Yes, they are beautiful bikes but pricey at 3 grand. No gears, so suited for city riding rather than hills. The 9.3 Ahr battery is nearly twice the size of the Cytronex. Also look at the Orbea Gain F40. 7Ahr battery and 9 Shimano gears. A kilo or so heavier than the Coboc but available for £1499 at Cycle Surgery, which seems a snip.
     
  7. Mark/Cytronex

    Mark/Cytronex Finding my (electric) wheels

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    Chris – this is disappointing from you - I thought you would at the very least be honest about your grievance with Cytronex which is over the fact that I declined to send you a part free of charge for your ten year old original Cytronex bike yesterday. I’m truly sorry we’ve fallen out over this, but I have personally provided you with an extra-ordinary amount of support previously, including helping you remotely to put right your incorrect installation of Cytronex C1 onto your own bike a year ago (I’ve counted 11 emails - many hours of my time, plus long phone calls, etc.), and your comments then – until yesterday when you threatened us with bad publicity – were appreciative.

    I am not a regular contributor to forums but now I am here please allow me as Cytronex designer to put a few things straight about Cytronex C1– firstly it is not a bike like other products you are mention, it is a unique consumer retrofit kit which you can fit to your own bike in about 30 minutes adding only 3.6kg to the weight of the bike. It is certainly not expensive - you do not need to buy a new bike at all, but if you do and compare like with like it is highly competitive. The Cytronex sensor is unique and has been awarded patents internationally. When correctly installed it is extremely reliable. Yes the battery is 5Ah, that is because you don't need a big battery - AtoB Magazine have found Cytronex C1 to be by far the most efficient system they have ever tested ‘power consumption of 5.5Wh/mile (including charger losses) is the lowest we’ve seen. Yes ever, ever, ever’. Cycling Plus magazine got the same range (over 66 miles) as a Giant drop bar road ebike with a battery more the twice the capacity (11.3Ah) and the Cytronex bike got there faster. The AtoB review also thinks our approach is the way others will follow – predicting that people may in the future may say of some German products ‘impressive machines but largely irrelevant where the technology has moved on into lighter more precisely tailored solutions.’ Clearly, if you thought our product had been superseded some years’ ago it is surprising you invested in us again!

    Chris I’m sorry you are upset with us and that I’ve been forced into responding to your inaccurate post, but you’ve told me you bought the part you needed second hand so as far as I am concerned this should be water under the bridge, and I sincerely hope you get as many happy years on your Cytronex C1 assisted bike as you did from your original.
     
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  8. oldtom

    oldtom Pedelecer

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    I recently purchased a replacement battery from Cytronex as the original one doesn't carry me as far these days as it did 6 years ago. The Cannondale still goes well and fits me nicely so I like to use it for local stuff as it's a very chuckable machine, light and nimble. For serious distances with a bit of luggage, I prefer to use my Kalkhoff with its excellent Xion motor.

    I might try the new Cytronex set-up one day but the old model ain't broke and you know what they say about things that ain't broke!

    Tom
     
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  9. ChrisBike

    ChrisBike Just Joined

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    I took this thread to be about the pros and cons of the Cytronex system not my concerns about their customer service. If someone wants to start a thread about that, I shall be happy to contribute. I am pursuing my own complaint via Trading Standards, which seems the appropriate forum.

    So to return to the topic. It's true that we had some issues with the set up of the C1 system. Actually, it was installed not by me but by someone with experience of serving as mechanic to professional cycle racing teams which should, perhaps, raise concerns. I think that the exposed position of the sensor does make it vulnerable to being knocked out of allignment in the rough and tumble of everyday cycling.

    However, my original post largely avoided focussing on my particular experience because I'm more interested in the way the market is clearly developing. 10 years ago, the advent of the bottle battery was revolutionary. It enabled the creation of something resembling a proper bike rather than a post war moped. The original Cytronex had a limited range (the battery was 4 Ahr) but it felt like a real bike. It certainly cried out for a Li battery and that eventually arrived with the C1, albeit later than we had expected.

    Meanwhile in 2015, a German start-up company had crowd funded and launched a really revolutionary bike in which the battery was hidden in the down tube. The Freygeist weighed only 12 kg and had a claimed range of 100km. It looked a really interesting bike and got rave reviews, but the company went into liquidation in January 2017.

    However, the big bike companies were clearly watching and had started work on their own hidden electrical systems. The result is today's offerings by Pinarello, Bianchi, Focus, Willier, Orbea and, in a City bike format, Coboc (there maybe others I have missed). These all use Li batteries hidden in the down tube, usually about 7Ahr, but sometimes bigger. In the case of Pinarello and Focus, power is delivered via a bottom bracket motor/gear. The other examples use rear wheel motors. Ranges of up to 100km+ are claimed, but I guess we will have to wait for some real life reviews to know the truth.

    My point is that these bikes really do look like standard bikes. They can weigh as little as 11kg. They don't have a cats cradle of external wiring with precise requirements for bends of a given radius and sensitive cable routing. They come ready to ride and are covered by international warrantees (sometimes lifetime for the frame components).

    What about the cost? These bikes tend to come from top end manufacturers and they are not cheap. But what is the cost premiim for the "electrification"? I looked at this for the recently launched Orbea Gain Carbon bikes. These are endurance geometry bikes and can be compared to the non-electric Avant range. Looking at bikes with comparable specs in the two ranges suggests that you are paying about £1200 for the electric components. This is more than the cost of a C1 kit (£995), but not by that much. I suspect that competition between the 5 big manufacturers will also push prices down. Indeed, if you go searching for a 2018 model, you can find a very nicely specced Orbea out there for £1500, all in.

    I think this is the way the market is going. The bottle battery was a great innovation but, in the fullness of time, I suspect it will be remembered in much the same way as we think of the innovations of Alex Moulton - brilliant in their day, but overtaken by subsequent developments.
     
    #9 ChrisBike, Aug 12, 2018 at 12:42 AM
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018 at 6:52 AM
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  10. Nev

    Nev Pedelecer

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    I think Cube have 3 road bikes using the Fazua motor that Piarello have adopted, and Wisper are bringing out several new cracking looking road bikes with the same motor early next year. If e road bikes prove successful (I think they probably will) then I can see a lot more appearing in the next few years.

    I like the idea of being able to drop out the battery and motor of the Fazua driven machines when and if one can manage a certain ride un-assisted.

    I would like to think you are right about the price coming down on these types of machines but I am not sure if it will. Have the prices come down at all on e-mountain bikes? I don't know for sure but I don't think they have.

    Manufacturers improve the motors and the batteries (more power less weight etc) and charge either the same or a bit more for it. It's a bit like lap top computers, there are certain price points that manufacturers have. So although the specs keep improving the prices more or less stay the same.

    A £250 entry level lap top now has a much better spec than a £250 entry level lap top say 5 years ago, but its still £250.

    I really like the looks of the Orbea gain bikes you mentioned, but you don't have the option with them to drop out the battery and motor so that would probably put me off buying one.

    Having said that £1500 seems like a very good price, do you know what kind of weight that particular model is though. I would imagine its a lot heavier than 11 or 12kg which would be the kind of weight I would be looking for.
     
  11. ChrisBike

    ChrisBike Just Joined

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    I agree, the Fazua system is a very attractive proposition, allowing the rider to remove the entire weight of motor + battery in a moment. Some manufacturers produce a blanking plate which makes the bike look and ride just like a normal road bike.
    Orbea don't publish weights, so you have to search reviews. The D10, which is the same frame as the F40, but equipped with 22sp Ultegra weighs 13.65 kg and costs 3 grand. The G40 is Altus 9 speed - heavier groupset but single chainring and no front changer. This will certainly be a few hundred grammes heavier, but surely less than a kilo. So I'd guess about 14.5 kg.
    For comparison, I built a Cytronex C1 into a Planet X endurance frameset with an SRAM (v light) groupset. The finished bike (with an alloy rack) was about 12.7 kg. Of course, it should be admitted that the weight of the rider will have a greater effect on performance than a few hundred grammes on the bike!
     
    #11 ChrisBike, Aug 12, 2018 at 9:12 AM
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018 at 9:41 AM
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  12. Nev

    Nev Pedelecer

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    I didn't know that, but I was thinking about it the other day and was wondering if they were available and if not, then it might be a business opportunity for someone to stat manufacturing blanking plates.
     
  13. oldtom

    oldtom Pedelecer

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    Although I had read the material from the Cytronex website in regard to the C1 kit previously, I felt prompted by 'barrycoll's comments in post #1 to pay 99p and download the report from AtoB magazine.

    The report praises much about the C1 kit and the road test report of a ride using a Cannondale CAAD12 was very complimentary. I liked what I read and I shall keep an eye on the Cytronex website for any future development of their system. I might even buy the kit one day and fit it myself to a lightweight machine of my choice.

    Tom
     
  14. anotherkiwi

    anotherkiwi Pedelecer

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    https://www.bikester.fr/742403.html

    11.3 kg is about 10 kg lighter than the usual e-bike (47% lighter)
    Giant Road-E is given as 18.5 kg so you gain 7.2 kg (39% lighter)

    Those are not insignificant gains* for a bike that is sold for 3000 €

    * yes I dared :)
     
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  15. Nev

    Nev Pedelecer

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    That's extremely light for that price assuming the quoted figure on that web site you linked to is accurate. I've seen e-road bikes more than twice this price, heavier than this. How on earth have they managed to do it? For that price they can't be using a carbon frame, or a top of the range group set, I wonder if its a typo.

    I don't think they have a heavy casing on their battery so that should save some weight, and I wonder if their hub motor is lighter than the ones other manufacturers are using.
     
  16. ChrisBike

    ChrisBike Just Joined

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    I think the 11.3 kg quoted weight is for the carbon framed M10, which is Dura Ace equipped with carbon cosmic wheels (cost about 7 grand!). I have the M20 on order which has Ultegra and Aksiums (3,700 after discount). It should therefore still only weigh about 11.8 kg, but I'll tell you the bottom line when it comes.
    The Orbea will, therefore, be about the same weight (or slightly less) than the Planet X bike with the C1kit we built last year.
    When the Orbea arrives I shall pit them head to head in time trial mode on a local hilly circuit and tell you which is best in terms of both range and performance. They'll both have the same rider and I'll chose a still day, so it should be a fair comparison. (Yes, I am a scientist!)
     
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  17. Nev

    Nev Pedelecer

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    Thanks for that reply Chris, when are you hoping to get the bike. I have read that people have had their deliver dates continually put back. The problem apparently is not the lack of bikes but the lack of motors.

    £3700 for a bike that weighs less than 12 kg is really good value. The results of the head to head time trial should make interesting reading, I look forward to seeing how the bikes compare to one another.
     
  18. Woosh

    Woosh Trade Member

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    of course it is! I should revise my prices asap!
    joking aside, the battery is 250WH, I suppose it's 24 cells, 8S3P, 1.2kg.
    Take an 8kg road bike, add a YTW-06 (1.4kgs) or Aikema 75SX (1.2kgs), a small Lishui controller, KD58C LCD and a small saddle or triangle bag - the result could be a road bike less than 12kgs with pedals.
     
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  19. Nev

    Nev Pedelecer

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    Would you be able to get all that for £3700 including someone to build it. Even though I would probably be able to do the work myself I wouldn't want to, because I would not enjoy doing it.

    I like riding bikes I don't like working on them. I am the same with motor bikes, I love riding them but I don't like cleaning or maintaining them even though I will do the bare minimum.

    Also what the bike looks like is important to me, I like the stealthy look. I find bikes with huge bulging batteries just don't look very nice. I like the way the Orbea Gain has the battery hidden in the down tube. Not because I don't want people to know I am ridding an assisted bike, I don't care if people know or not. Its all to do with what the bike looks like.

    If I was to do what you suggest, what would that bike look like compared with the Orbea Gain?
     
  20. Woosh

    Woosh Trade Member

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    it's horses for courses. You can hide a 24-cell pack in a small saddle bag, you can't do that with 50-cells, weighing 3kgs. There are possibilities with current tech, I just don't know how big the demand for sub-4kg all in solutions is. The cost of such a system (without rims) is around £400.
     
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