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Any experience with Vilano ebikes (not Luna's old Vilano)?

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  • Any experience with Vilano ebikes (not Luna's old Vilano)?

    Any experience with the Vilano eBikes, specifically the folding models? There are a few YouTube videos for the Atom and Ion models, nothing on the Neutron that I am considering:

    https://www.amazon.com/Vilano-NEUTRO...s=Vilano+ebike

    Amazon link above, also available through Walmart etc.

    I am curious specifically about the Ah rating of the battery and any long-term reliability issues. Or anything else factual, other than what the bike is and is expected to be capable of on paper

  • #2
    I just received it, put it together, and rode it a bit. Will post details later.

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    • #3
      You can see my Amazon review for more details. It's a fun bike. It is one big 20" folder! Wheelbase (axel to axel) it is exactly the same as my XL sized 26" mtb (21" frame). The seat goes just as high and the handlebars even higher.

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      • #4
        Did 40km (24 miles) today to run some errands. Started from 42V (fully charged) and it is now at 29.7V, which is "empty"

        Mostly on PAS 4 and 5. I figured it indeed has 5 levels of assist, but the first only takes you to like 6kmh, the second to 10, third to like 15, 4th to 25kmh, which is just a bit lower than I want to go on flats, and 5th gets me assist up to 40kmh tops on downhills (33 or so on flats).

        The battery meter shiws lots of sag under full power, but recovers to full quickly when I ease off. It seems to fairly accurately reflect the SoC, going to almost empty when the battery was depleted. But it is not very useful to estimate range.

        PAS is slow to engage, takes a full 360 degree crank rotation, despite having 12 magnets ...
        Last edited by Kocho; 3 weeks ago.

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        • Kocho
          Kocho commented
          Editing a comment
          Hard to say if it is worth it. I think the question is will you be happy with this kind of performamnce. If yes, I think it is worth it. If you want a folder withmore power, I think a mid-drive like Luna's $1,500 folder would be better. But at 3x the cost, more or less.

          The brakes are extremely noisy, that's my main complaint [EDIT: cleaning them helped some, they are still rough compared to my higher-end brakes on other bikes, but at least the worst of the screeching is gone for now and they do stop adequately well]. The rest is fine for a low-end bike. It comes with a 100mm bottom bracket so some day it could be converted to a mid drive.

          The 14-28t freewheel I will be replacing with an 11-30t version, as the 14t. Is too low geared and only works well for up to 25kmh or so pedaling at a relaxed cadence. That's anoter $30 or so. I hate the noisy tires on pavement (though they are nice off road), will likely change to street tires, so another $50 or so. Needs fenders, and I can't find any for sale that would give full coverage (there are some generic partial fendersfor sale, but those are almost useless, IMO).

          The battery range and only 250W of power are low spec. 36V at 8.8Ah, or 316wh listed won't take you very far. I made a mistake with the range, fixed my post above. The qdvertized rqnge I think is accurate. I think it will do solid 20 miles with moderqte to high assist (PAS4 and 5). With my weight a d riding, I am getting 20-25miles with good PAS4 and PAS5 assist and active though not too strenuous pedalling, less if you rely mostly on the motor or have a lot of hills. So, if those specs are OK for you, and you are handy with adjustments,I think for the prrice it is not giving-up much to bikes costing afew hundred more.

          If you want a foder, and are average sized, I would say go with the Ion or Atom. One of the two, forgot which, comes with fenders and a rack, which are nice to have. Or if you want fat tires, go with the Neutron. The Neutron has slihtly larger frame than the other two. I am tall, 6'4" , and I don't think I would not be able to get proper leg extension on the other models.The eutron though is bulky, even folded.

          There are some offerings from Admotor on Amazon that look more attractive and better equipped and with more power, but they are at lest 2x the price or more.

          The controller onthis thing is tiny. A dgets pretty hot inuse at max power. I suspect it won't last long, but is standard a deasy to replace. The battery space inside the frame is limited,I doubt one can put 48V or hiher Ah version inside there. But a Shark pack could be installed under or over the frame as an upgrade some day.
          Last edited by Kocho; 2 weeks ago.

        • theronchaplin
          theronchaplin commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for the detailed explanation! It sounds like it would be more trouble than it's worth (for me) for something that probably doesn't have the power or range I'd like to have. Maybe a Rad Mini or something equivalent is in my future. Initially, this offering seemed awfully good for the price.

        • Kocho
          Kocho commented
          Editing a comment
          Because of the weak battery (both in capacity as well as in Ah rating), this bike feels best at up to Level 4 assist, which seems to give between about 20-25kmh (depending on SoC) top assisted speed. If you think of it as mildly assisted bike that will travel at speeds of a regular bike (or slightly faster) but with a little bit less effort, then it is fine. The motor is OK, but the battery sags too much in PAS 5, so I use PAS 5 mainly for downhills and passing.

          I did my daily commute in it today, staying in PAS 4 pretty much all the time. It maintained an average speed of about 20-22kmh with me oedaling along briskly but not too hard. That's a 38km (24 miles) round trip which is never flat, either up or down some hills, some pretty steep and relativelh short, most are mild but long. On the downhills and flat serious road bikers were passing me, I was passing the casual bikers on the path. Uphill, I was about even with the lycra-clad crowd in PAS 4 at about 22-24kmh, or could beat them in PAS 5 at 30-35kmh. Started this trip at 42V off the charger, finished at 36.7V. So I coild do probably 50-60km on a charge in this type of riding.

          No comparkson with my Bafang BBSHD, but that's not the promise of this bike. I think it has 10s3p battery with cells that are do not have very hih continuous current capability. I think if I build a 10s4p Panasonic GA or similar battery, PAS 5 willlastlongerand the buke will be more fun for longer. As it is, it is a slow ebike, slightly faster than regular bikes.

      • #5
        I posted an updated review on Amazon, and have uploaded some videos on YouTube

        Amazon review and comments and photos: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

        https://youtu.be/8g0UtRorzUw
        https://youtu.be/QNSusvAInNg
        https://youtu.be/IE8PiEL6zU0

        I rather like this bike for what it is. Works well within its design intensions. My daughter, however, prefers the handljng of full sized bikes (particularly the steering stability, a 20" folder will never be as good as a larger-wheled bike), the added power, and the throttle on my BBSHD built. But as a $600 bike, I am less worried to leave it locked outside briefly if I go run some errands (vs. $2k BBSHD bike). And it (barely) fits in the trunk of my Honda Insight when folded needed.

        The bike has a long wheel base, exactly the same as on my full suspe sion XL sized (21") frame trail bike. With the lower axel heigh (22" tire diameter vs. 26" on the mtb) the bike tracks well going straight and does not feel like I would go over the handlebars during an emergency stop or lift a wheel up or down a steep hill.
        Last edited by Kocho; 3 weeks ago.

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        • #6
          I just replaced the original knobby tires (CST BFT 20x4.0) with Sunlite street / smooth thread tires. What I ordered was the Sunlite Stingray 20x4-14" tires. They have a small yellow Kenda branding onthe sidewall, otherwise the thread looks like the photo at Niagara Cycles:

          https://www.niagaracycle.com/categor...gaAl84EALw_wcB
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          The CST tires are paper-thin between the knobs, probably not very puncture-resistant. The Sunlite (Kenda?) have considerably more thickness everywhere and especially at the thread. They are correspondingly a little heavier. The maximum width is identical betweenthe two tires, despite the Sunlite being specified at 4-1/4" and the CST as 4.0". The Sunlite is widest at the thread edge, the CST is widest at the sidewall. The Sunlite look like street motorcycle tires and I hope will handle paved roads bettr and be quieter than the noisy knobbies.

          I also ordered from Niagara Cycles a 11-34 teeth freewheel to replace the original 14-28 Shimano freewheel. Wider gear range by a noticeable margin, something I miss with the original setup. However, my freewheel removal tool turned out to be the wrong kind, so could not install and test-ride tonight as planned. Will getthe tool tomorrow from the LBS to finish the installation.

          The rear rim with the motor and disk, weights 10lb without tire. With the new Sunlite tire and CST inner tube, the weight goes up to 14.5lb. The front rim, disk, tube, and tire are 7.8lb. So just the wheels weight about 5lb more than my complete XL size aluminum road bike (a 2012 Giant Defy 1) ...
          Attached Files
          Last edited by Kocho; 2 weeks ago.

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          • #7
            So, new tires and new freewheel are on. Also added handlebar extensions to be able to switch hand positions. The bike gained about 3.4lb in the process, but more comfortable to ride, quieter, less prone to punctures.

            The ride is much smoother due to the street tires, I think traction on paved roads is also better now. With the 11 tooth 7th gear now I can pedal at a comfortable cadence up and beyond the top assisted speed (40kmh, had to pedal like a clown before, above 25kmh). Better climbing too with the 32 vs. 28 teeth 1st gear.

            The tires were $24 each, the freewheel was on sale for $13 (regular price more than 2x that, unfortunately only one was available at that price, or I'd put one on my other bike too, to gsin some better steep hill climbing). Bar ends were $7.
            Last edited by Kocho; 2 weeks ago.

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            • #8
              A bit of trouble, the little magnet that holds the brake pad in place broke. Fixed for now with the magnet from a spare caliper. Bike has 260km on it so far.

              https://youtu.be/o_1mFs28Vr8

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