e-bike woes.

The wisper I bought back in February is on its last chance.  Since I bought it, it has been back to the retailer four times, on average three weeks at a time.  The problems I’m having are a combination of a lack of knowledge about the bike from the guy I bought it from (which, to begin with, is entirely forgivable) and an amount of over-sell from the manufacturer/importer.

Now, to put this in perspective: I think the product itself is amazing. E-bikes are the first light electric vehicles that are practical and successful.  Wisper are (or have been) the top of the line in the pedal assist ebike market.  I would recommend the bike to anyone, bearing in mind the problems I have had I’m about to write about.

1. Support.  For a living I support new and complicated things.  I know what its like to have a new technology thrust under your nose and told to fix it.  Its even worse if you sold it to the customer in the first place.  I’ve found that first time it happens, customers are really very forgiving, and if they are enthusiasts, they will actual,y really work hard to help you.  When I worked at Demon Internet, that was certainly the case.  Now I’ve returned the bike for the fourth time the retailer is still just as clueless about the product as he was to begin with.  He is also unwilling to get support from the manufacturer to help: I think that he sees that as some kind of admission of failure on his part, which drives me nuts, as there is no way he is going to osmose the knowledge he requires: rather he needs to talk to some people who can help him.  Even after I hint at what I think the problem is, since my ideas are gleaned off the net from the very helpful and wise Pedelec forums, it is pretty much dismissed out of hand.  Very frustrating.

2) Oversell.  E-bikes help you climb up hills. That’s why you buy them.  I have a big hill to climb – Pine Hill, in fact – and if I didn’t I would not have bought an e-bike.  Unfortunately the wisper can’t deal with it, and hauling me up it overloads it, and burns out its controller.  I wrote to the manufacturer/importer before I got the bike, and got them to assure me in writing it would work.  The retailer assured me it would work.  I was skeptical.  It doesn’t work.

3) Asking too much.  I’m now going on 120kgs.  The hill I have to ride up is really steep.  As I wrote, I was skeptical the bike would work, and I was unfortunately correct.

Credit is really due to the importer: they are working really hard to try to keep my happy – admittedly they only reply to me after I post something in the international forums and get a hurry up from the European manufacturer – and the last thing we are going to try, well, they are going to try, is fit a much stronger (350 watt rather than 250 watt) motor and controller.  If that doesn’t work, its money back time – I think we would all be relieved to have this problem off our plate.

I love my Wisper.  Its a great thing, and perfect for what I want it for -if it worked.  I recommend it to people every day, and I get lots of people stopping me to ask about it.  I really really hope that the latest fix does it.

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