JonBlog
Thoughts on website ideas, PHP and other tech topics, plus going car-free
3,000 mile Juicy Sport review
Categories: E-bikes

Based on an estimated 40 miles per/week – probably a conservative estimate – my 18 months of electric bike ownership has seen me clock up over 3,000 (mainly commuting) miles. As per my earlier review, I ride a Juicy Sport – the design for which has changed twice since my 2010 model. I’m at the important out-of-warranty juncture where, as fate often decrees, things get worn out, and the total cost of ownership is discovered for the first time. My enthusiasm for this brand is somewhat reduced at present, since I’ve had several things go wrong with it; however, as I’ve noted in the comments on the other thread, one could by a much more expensive bike, and find that components fail anyway.

My woes started in September last year, just outside the warranty period, when the spindle sheared. A local repairer wouldn’t touch it, as they said the bike was of such poor quality it wasn’t worthwhile – which of course was disputed by the seller, Juicy/EcoRepublic. To their credit the seller did track down a local repairer, who was willing to remove the old (rust-frozen) bottom bracket, and install a new one. It’s worth pointing out that the bottom bracket is of such an unusual (and superannuated) design, it could only be supplied by Juicy (although at a guess, it might be possible to order one from abroad). This represents a small extra risk to the bike owner who likes to keep supplier options open (e.g. preferring a local repairer).

Unfortunately, four months after the third-party repair, I experienced a clanking noise coming from (I think) the bottom bracket, so I sent it this time direct to the seller for a better repair (£20 carriage each way). The bearings in the Suzhou Bafang motor also had failed, and I was getting fed up of repeatedly adjusting the cheap mechanical disk brakes, so I asked for the rear hub to be replaced (whole wheel @ £160) and for the brakes to be upgraded to hydraulic (circa £200). Unfortunately the bike came back with poorly-adjusted gears, and the clanking from the bottom bracket was reduced but not eliminated, and just as I complained, the new motor stopped working!

So, the bike is out of action, and I am awaiting a decision from Juicy as to when it can be repaired. I’m frustrated that the gears weren’t adjusted, as that was avoidable; the spindle clank is admittedly intermittent, but nevertheless will be clear to an experienced rider after ten minutes of use. The motor brand is generally well-regarded, but bearing failure (in a sealed unit) after 18 months is pretty poor. That the new one has failed may just be bad luck, but the next eighteen months will determine whether the original price of £750 was good value in the long run. My repairs have come to £275 so far, including pickup/delivery but excluding alternative transport costs.

If we add in say £100 for alternative transport, that gives us a total of £1125 that could have been spent on a somewhat better bike. That puts the Urban Mover Motion Electric easily within price range (£750) although personally I reckon the low-voltage, low-capacity battery doesn’t cut the mustard (after natural depletion, the range might be seriously reduced). The Wisper 905eco can be had for £1000; I’d normally prefer disk brakes, but I suppose if the Wisper’s V brakes are reliable they’ll still be better than the Juicy’s standard mechanical disks. Lastly the Oxygen Emate Sci is slightly outside this price range (£1200) and would have to have zero faults in eighteen months (quite unlikely) if we were to do a like-for-like comparison. That said, all three have a two year guarantee on components, which would have saved me most if not all repair costs – and the Oxygen even uses the same motor as the Juicy. Bah!

Am I recommending against the Juicy Sport? Not at this stage, no. It’s great that reasonable bikes are available at this price range; it is all very well to suggest that a £1200 bike may be a better buy, but not everyone has that kind of money sitting spare. For budget buyers, it might be worth considering things like the Oxygen in the second-hand market, although a check on eBay shows that there are very few available (perhaps their owners like to hang on to them).

Summary: time will tell. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed the Juicy Sport, and hope I may continue to do so! I will update here.

Update 28th May

Today I’ve published a support timeline and TCO analysis of the Juicy Sport bike.

4 Comments to “3,000 mile Juicy Sport review”

  1. […] notching up 3,000 miles on a Juicy Sport coincided with an unhappy sequence of mechanical and support issues, which have troubled my bike […]

  2. Rupert Wilson says:

    Hello
    I read your Juicy Sport review with interest.I have a Juicy Amsterdam model ( the one with the basket on the front)and it’s been generally good EXCEPT FOR THE REPEATED MOTOR CUT-OUTS, which occur when using lower gears and travelling uphill.
    The support from Eco Republic has been abysmal
    and I have the impression that they don’t have any real understanding of the technical issues involved.
    I purchased a new motor from them, but after a short time, the same defect occurred. They are not able to suggest any reason for this failure and give the explanation “Well, you do live in a hilly area”. That is the reason I bought the machine in the first lace. Flat roads need no power assistance.
    After a short time switched off, the motor works again, but only for a limited period.
    This suggests some kind of thermal cut-out, but Eco Republic cannot confirm or contradict this.
    Have you any idea what the fault could be and how to eliminate it?
    Yours
    Rupert Wilson

    • Jon says:

      Hi Rupert. Thanks for your comment, apologies for the delay in replying – I need my blog to email me when I get a comment. 🙂

      I imagine the design/components of the Juicy range will have changed a fair bit since I had my one. I’ve since purchased an Ave XH-3, and when that was accident damaged, upgraded to a KTM Action Macina. Both are much better than the Juicy I had, but cost around two and three times respectively more – so they’d hardly be fair comparisons.

      There’s a couple of things you can do. Firstly I would be surprised if Juicy/Eco Republic would not be willing to have the bike back in to at least look at it. I’d hope they’d actually take the bike out themselves on a hill (Buxton has plenty of those) and see if the cutout is occurring when it should, or is in fact a system fault that needs rectification.

      The other thing you can do is to sign up for a forum account at Pedelecs (http://www.pedelecs.co.uk/forum/) and post in their ‘Electric Bicycles’ discussion forum. It’s very friendly and there’s a lot of knowledgeable folks there. They might suggest some electrical checks you can make.

      Good luck sorting it out, and do let me know how you get on! I’d love to think that Juicy have ironed out some of their product difficulties I experienced, but getting data on that is difficult, since the only ones that come to light tend to be the product failures!

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