Tips & Hints
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Chain care and adjustment
We recommend for bikes with hub gears:
- The chain must not be too tight.
- It is best to allow 1-2 cm of movement up and down.
- A chain that is too tight produces noise and wears out too quickly.
- The gears are also subject to high wear if the chain is tight.
It is a misconception that if the chain is too tight, less tensioning is required. Exactly the opposite is the case. In addition, a chain that is too tight greatly reduces the efficiency, it is more difficult to drive.
As little as possible, only as much as necessary. The chain squeaks slightly to indicate that it needs lubrication. Then spray some viscous care oil like "Ballistol" on it and turn the crank backwards.
We warn against cleaning agents. They take the lubrication out of the moving parts. After that, you would have to clean and re-oil after every ride to avoid deteriorating the efficiency of the chain. With Ballistol, dust and dirt do not stick. If the chain gets dirty, then rub it with a rag or toothbrush and re-spray a little.
The life span of a chain can be very different by care and driving style. Our experience without closed chain guard about 6-8,000 km. With country chain guard about 14-18,000 km.
However, only with steel chainring at the front of the crank. An aluminum chainring wears out faster, this also reduces the life of the chain.
Some workshops use a gauge for chain wear. This was developed for derailleur gears. With hub gears you should not make the purchase of a new chain dependent on this. We recommend that you always change the chain and sprocket together.
Our X1 chain from KMC has a good surface treatment. If it is sprayed with maintenance oil from time to time, no rust is to be expected. The exception is when the bike is left outside for a long time without being ridden. Then be sure to spray well.
clicking noises on the bicycle
In the Utopia forum every few years participants write about cracking faults on their bike. Often the specialist dealer can't offer a solution quickly either. Problems of this kind occur again and again, regardless of the make of bicycle. Here are a few tips that can help.Step 1
- Cracking noises often do not come from the place where the ear localizes them.
- Through material, frame, rim, etc. sounds are transmitted.
- First test whether they occur only when driving or also when rolling. The first can indicate e.g. chain, bottom bracket, saddle and seat post. The second can point to the rim and spokes.
- First test the chain, if it is too tight, you will hear annoying clicking noises. It should have at least 1-2 cm play up and down. A chain that is too tight will quickly destroy chainrings and itself. The cracking noises are a warning of the impending Exidus because of incorrect assembly.
- Then tighten crank bolts and pedals
- Or the screws are too tight
- With aluminium cranks check the screw connection of the chainring.
- The plastic shells of the bottom bracket have loosened (see bottom bracket).
- Change saddle and seat post
- Check the rear wheel axle fastening for looseness and play.
- Check spokes. Too loose? Too tight or uneven.
- Cracks in the aluminium of the rear wheel rim.
- Loose eyelets in the rim.
- Check the handlebar connection, stem bolts.
- Finally, check the gears by replacing the rear wheel (rarely necessary).
- A reason can also be >new chain on old sprocket<. Then the chain no longer engages correctly in the teeth.
If you do everything one after the other and drive in between, you will find the culprit in most cases. Usually it is bad bolted connections, on older bikes also material wear of bolted connections.
Bearing damage in the inner bearing is rare. The bearing should only be replaced after the above checks have been carried out. It is even rarer that a crack in the frame produces these noises. A visual inspection is not wrong, especially with the fork.
The work requires a lot of patience. Unfortunately, some garages are overburdened for such intensive work or are afraid that the customer will not pay for the many hours of work.
squeaking of the brakes
Especially in the first few weeks, squeaking can occur when braking, then it usually becomes much less. Through Brakebooster it can be less quickly, but not immediately.
By other black, much softer rubbers it is almost completely gone to get. The disadvantage is then, however, that the braking power is up to 30% less. For travelers with luggage or heaviness, it is therefore in any case not useful.
We advise you to take the squeaking in purchase and the advantage that the other road users thereby becomes more attentive, to see as a positive.
The engine vibrations can loosen screw connections. Therefore, it is important to carefully check whether all screws are tight in the front part of the wheel. (Mudguard!). A loose screw leads to increased vibration noises.
Metal signs on Utopia wheels?
Again and again we get mails or are pointed out on fairs to make nice metal plates on the head tube of the bike. Why we have no plates, but transfers on our bikes, despite numerous tips, has a very banal reason: The plates must be riveted - and that is no longer possible today. The head tubes have become considerably thinner in the meantime, with CrMo steel tubes this is not possible. The rivets would not last long. You can't glue on the embossed metal plates either, they would only last a few years.
The alternative is to use thicker tubes again. This would not be desired by most customers, because the wheel would then become heavier. In the distant history of steel frames, metal shields were used with tube wall thicknesses of 2 - 3mm steel. Today Utopia works with high-strength CrMo alloys and wall thicknesses of 0.7mm.
Insert two or three rivets into a 0.7mm tube. This will move when driven hard. The rivet holes would quickly be a crack and break zone as known from light cable holes in the down tube which were drilled directly into the tube without a reinforcing sleeve. So unfortunately we don't see any way to use metal shields. At some point you have to accept, even in tears, that heavy frames because of metal signs can be just as unpleasant as cobblestones under monument protection.
Care of your tyres
Tires need little care, but always plenty of air! To ensure that your new bike always rolls easily, it is important that your tires have the correct air pressure.
Recommendation for air pressure:
Tires Min. / Max. 50 Marathon plus: 3 - 5 Bar Recommendation: 3.5 Bar*50 Marathon Supreme: 3 - 6 Bar Recommendation: 4.0 Bar*54 Marathon mtp: 3.5 - 5 Bar Recommendation: 4.0 Bar*55 Big Apple 2.5 - 4.5 Bar Recommendation: 3.0 Bar*60 Big Apple 1.5 - 4 Bar Recommendation: 2.5 Bar*
*recommended values for people weighing up to 85 kg, above that please increase air pressure. Below that less
If the air pressure is too low, your bike will run harder. Spokes, rims, tyres and inner tubes will be damaged by impacts. The handling can become "spongy".
The optimum air pressure for you depends on the weight of the rider and the luggage.
Rule of thumb:
- The higher the weight, the higher the air pressure should be (note maximum pressure).
- But it also applies: The higher the air pressure, the harder your bike rides.
- Please test at which air pressure you find riding smooth enough and at the same time comfortable enough.
- Please note that prolonged riding with too little air will destroy the tire and rim.
Does the starting aid make a moped out of my bike?
Clearly no. According to the new EU directives and also according to the templates of the Kraftverkehrsbundesamt, the pedelec always remains a bicycle and thus retains all its advantages.
What are the advantages of the front engine?
- It is often said that the mid-motor would distribute the weight evenly. This is wrong. Because the "mid" motor sits like batteries, gears, rider and luggage in the rear half of the bike, the front wheel remains unloaded. This increases the risk of the front wheel lifting off on a hill.
- With the Utopia front mount you have an "all-wheel drive", which gives you a high level of riding safety even on bad roads and soft ground.
- The front and rear of the bike are loaded about the same as a normal bike. Rear weight is prevented.
- With Utopia, traction control, similar to that on a motorcycle, also prevents dangerous spinning of the front wheel or excessive acceleration.
- However, "front wheel drive" is dangerous if the bike has a fork that is too weak for it. This is the case with many suspension forks. With Utopia bikes you can rest assured: Our forks are all tested for this load or are exchanged during conversion.
What is the reason for the different performance of the batteries?
- This is mostly due to the outside temperatures. At 18°-25° the battery brings its full power. At lower temperatures it decreases and can be up to 30% less at temperatures below 0°.
- If there are other reasons, you can determine them with the Utopia diagnostic program for your battery.
Will rechargeable batteries soon become cheaper?
- With rechargeable batteries it is like with all electronic components. As a rule, you can always expect prices to remain the same, but capacity to increase every two to three years.
- For cyclists, this means more range or weight reduction. Both are pleasing.
Are fast chargers really dangerous?
- One hears again and again: fast chargers can destroy the batteries.
- This is only true if the cells and the charger are not matched to each other.
- Chargers without a fan or fuse are also a danger. This can destroy more than just the battery. We therefore warn against the cheap "universal" chargers.
- Fast chargers are common and very popular in trade and industry nowadays. Special plugs in the battery systems of professional or DIY equipment prevent charging with the wrong charger.
How far do the batteries last?
With two batteries, a range of 85 to 160 km per battery charge is possible. That should be enough for over 90% of the trips. With the fast charger, however, you can also recharge on the way. With this, even the most beautiful mountain tours can be made. If a battery only has a noticeably low range, you can easily find the fault with the help of the Silent software.
Please always bear in mind that the weight of the rider and the load, headwinds and mountain routes can severely limit the range. Hence the wide range of 85 - 180km.
Speed of light
We often get the question that a front motor gets power from the battery with a time delay when the battery is on the rear wheel and the motor is on the front wheel. We have to contradict this concern.
Electricity flows almost at the speed of light. You might be able to measure a few fractions of a second time difference if the battery was in Saarbrücken and the motor in Copenhagen. But not from the front wheel to the rear wheel.
There is no measurable time delay between the front wheel and the rear wheel.
- An example, the controller gets data from sensors in the motor about 30 times per wheel rotation, from this the controller calculates that the wheel accelerates perhaps too fast and reduces the amount of current to the motor.
- This happens for example when you drive down a curb with 20km/h, the front wheel is very briefly in the air. You as a driver will not notice the intervention of the controller,
- but the controller has taken care of your safety in a split second.
What works with Premium Software 2.v0.60?
The premium software from Utopia Velo establishes the connection between Windows PC and the Utopia Pedelec. You can transfer different programs to the bike, which change the driving behavior very significantly.
In the new version from winter 15/16 is criticized in mails and forums that you can no longer create individual programs as in the old versions since 2011. It is no longer possible to change the parameters for motor, cadence, power and more.
The reasons for this are that the new controller v4.0 and the new firmware requires much deeper settings than before. It is not easy to demand 20-25% more power from a motor. This is done by the new controller and there the setting plays the essential role. It is no longer possible with a few small changes. More than 50 parameters need to be adjusted together.
That's why we've finished 8 new programs so far, each with very different driving characteristics. The changes are more profound than before, and therefore much more intensive and better.
We recommend test rides, especially now with smartphone control, where it is feasible to send new programs from the app to the controller while riding. You will notice immediately what has changed.
We are looking forward to hints for further programs...