Charger GX, New Battery, Motor Maintenance

Wow. It’s been a while dear-worst-rider. How bout an update on worst-writer’s wunder e-bike? And. Don’t you know. My R&M Charger GX is still going strong. Lots of strong, I think. With that in mind. I’m about to surpass 18k kilometres? Is that a lot? I have no idear. My wife’s Charger Mixte is slowly creeping up to 5k kilometres. Are we happy with these bikes? Shur’nough. Then again…

After four years I’ve been considering getting a new e-bike. My better-half even insisted on it. But there was something that irked me. First, other than Stromer and Canyon, there’s nothing on the market right now that tickles my fancy. As far as buying another R&M? I don’t like the frame-integrated battery design. Then again, I didn’t initially like the design of my Charger. Then again again, frame integration for Stromer tickles a bit. What’s holding me back from moving on to a Stromer?

  1. They’re full-on with 45 km/h bikes. Come on Stromer!
  2. The company gives off an “Apple” vibe not only with pricing but service (from what I’ve heard; I do mange a Apple household; but I die-gress).
  3. I rarely see Stromer’s in the wild.

No. Seriously. I can count them all on one hand. Since I moved to e-biking, I think I’ve seen three Stromer’s out and about. Then again. To be honest. Should seeing a Stromer in the wild determine its buying factor? It does make me think though. E-bikes are everywhere now (in Germany). And we all know how expensive they are. Heck. Stromer does have competitive versions of their bikes. Btw, seen the new Pinion drive coming out soon from Stromer? Oh my. Anywho. Maybe it’s the 45 km/h thing that’s holding me back. To this worst-rider Stromer doesn’t make it easy. Or is German regulations what make it difficult? Certainly not the case with 25 km/h bikes. Let’s move on.

Wunder E-bike Maintenance

As mentioned, I’m at 18k kilometres. I would be 20k if it weren’t for covid. I’ve refrained from any long trips for the last two years. Long being trips outside a sixty kilometre radius of home. That said, it is both my chore (with panniers) and fun-time vehicle and, weather permitting, I keep within a thirty mile radius.

Apropos weather permitting. I started noticing that riding in the wet ill effected more and more the noise this bike was making. For a while there I wasn’t sure what to make of it. More on that in a sec.

Here’s a quick list of wear & tear on my Charger.

  • Grips. Showing lots of wear, especially the left grip. They’re gonna need replacing soon.
  • Handle bars, brake levers. No issues.
  • B17 Brooks Saddle. I luv this saddle, baby. I’d buy it again again and more again.
  • Thudbuster. It took me a while to come around to it but always takes the edge off. It does need luv & attention to keep from singing while you travel.
  • Steering. No issues.
  • Forks. No issues.
  • Frame. Other than wear on the rear rack from the panniers, which is pretty severe, no issues.
  • Brakes. I lost count of how many brake pads I’ve used. I shuffled between the Shimano recommended pads and Gorilla pads which aren’t resin. The Gorilla pads work better (IMHO). But. After a few hundred KMs, they are loud and squeaky. Oh. Another thing. I chipped a small piece off a push piston in one of the callipers last time I changed the pads. My bad! They’re working fine.
  • Front wheel quick-release (LOC). During a tire change it got jammed up. I had to remove the nut on the end that houses the quick-release do-hickies. The entire thing fell to the ground in pieces. Watch out for that, dear worst-rider. Now I’m missing one of the inner washers. Contemplating replacing it.
  • Derailleur. Going strong.

New Battery

Between 15-16k kilometres, in Sport mode, I couldn’t ride 10km without losing one of the five notches on the battery indicator on the board computer. The further I rode, the faster the battery wore down. The last two notches wouldn’t even go 5km. For the first year I got up to 25km per notch. I kept fiddling around with the various power modes but that didn’t matter. Eco mode would give more distance, of course, but Turbo would drain everything within 30km. From what I understand these Bosch batteries are supposed to last between two to four years. So I’m not disappointed.

I found a deal for a new Bosch 500w battery @ €675. Since the battery used to retail for just under €1000, I went for it. It’s a lot of money for some Duracells but what can we do, eh? (Sarcasm off.) I’ve put about 700km on the new battery and I’m relieved I don’t have to think about it anymore. The only issue remaining is what to do with the old battery. I’ve got this five pound brick of batteries in my basement now. Send it somewhere to have the cells renewed? We’ll see.

Motor Maintenance

As mentioned above, I was noticing how wet weather was ill-effecting my drive train. Now. As far as sprockets go, I’m on my third rear cassette, which is supposed to be higher quality, higher mileage. The front sprocket I change here and there between 13 and 16 teeth depending on my mood. They’re both fine. The chain is supposed to be high mileage too.

Apropos chain. I switched to car transmission oil for chain lube. I’ve found it to be the best bike chain lube I’ve ever used. An old Dutch friend recommend it. And if you’re not aware, dear worst-rider, the Dutch know a thing or three about bikes, e or not. Transmission oil doesn’t collect dirt like all the recommended chain lubes and is easier for cleaning. It’s also quieter (IMHO). Still. My wunder e-bike is noisy as…

After a trip to the German north shore (Sylt) in the fall last year and riding for days in heavy rain, when I returned home and took another ride the noise was unbearable. And it was clear that the noise had nothing to do with the chain or sprockets. It’s the motor. To avoid dealers (who seem to be overwhelmed with work because of covid which means extra long wait times and stupid money) I did a quick search on YouTube and came across numerous videos about this issue.

The noise is a common problem with Bosch e-bike motors. Something to do with the bearings (duh) and the nylon and metal gears that transfer power between peddling and the electric motor unit inside. The cure is to remove the right side of the motor, clean it, grease it all up and then make sure you get it all back together. Another solution is to buy the Bosch repair kit, which is available online. Price? Including shipping, I paid €130.

The kit includes everything for the procedure. The new and well-greased nylon gears are pre-assembled to a new motor cover that’s included. Once you remove the old parts, all you have to do is clean the motor of old grease, insert an o-ring (bottom bracket) and put the prefab unit back on. Worked like charm. I managed to do the job in about two hours, which was the result of paying close attention to the included instruction/installation manual. Result? Holy krapp, baby. It’s like I’m riding on a new bike. The bad news? My better-half’s Charger Mixte has the same motor and now that mine is renewed and quiet, it’s obvious that it’s not the amount of kilometres (miles) you ride that determine when this has to be done. I’m sure I’ll be doing the same on her bike soon.

In Wunder E-Bike Conclusion

For now I’m definitely passing on my better half’s recommendation to buy a new e-bike. I’m sticking with this one for the foreseeable future. It’s still that good, don’t you know. Heck, it even catches eyes here and there. What’s not to love about an ageing e-biker that attracts the attention of other ageing e-bikers on account… R&M Charger GX, baby. But enough of my worst-romanticising.

Rant and worst-ride on. Baby.

-T

PS Yeah. We make our own pumpernickel.

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