OneMotor and BikeShare


New Member
One big feature of OneMotor that I haven’t seen discussed as yet on this forum is its compatibility with various BikeShare programs. I thought I would share a bit about my experiences on that front.

Many dock-based bike share programs across the US and globally use some variant of the “BIXI” bike manufactured by Canada’s PBSC Urban Solutions. These 50 pound bikes are designed to take a beating, and can be pretty clunky to ride even in the best of conditions.

Mounting an OM on this kind of public share bike is quite different from a typical bike, where the OM battery is usually secured away from the OM motor module. Many share bikes use a thick metal triangular plate positioned just above the front wheel to lock and release bikes from the dock. OneMotor ingeniously uses this metal plate as a mounting bracket for both the battery and motor module. The OM battery comes equipped with a custom bracket that slides onto the bike’s metal plate, and the OM motor module mounts directly below the battery via a small hole bored into the metal plate. The retractable cord then connects the battery and motor module together for activation.

If it’s all done properly, the OM battery pushes up against the front basket above it to help bear down on the bike wheel and deliver the optimal friction drive pressure. There are a few nuances to optimizing the mounting process that I won’t go into here, but suffice to say, I’ve had very few issues mounting my OM to share bikes. The times when I did have problems was due to mechanical issues with the bike itself, such as a loose connection point on the frame or something like that. I’ve gotten pretty good at spotting the lemons ahead of time but if if I get a faulty bike, I just move on to the next one at the station.

The bike share ride experience using OM is pretty remarkable; it makes my ride significantly quicker and requires less effort, depending on how much assist I choose. The unit is very quiet, and one soon forgets that it’s there (one is reminded of it however, when effortlessly flying past someone lumbering along on another share bike and feeling just the slightest twinge of superiority). The OM unit automatically recognizes that it’s being used on a share bike and activates the appropriate maximum speed ceiling, which I believe is 20MPH. When riding, I use the OM’s wireless PAS unit magnetically attached to the bike pedal leg in conjunction with the OneMotor phone app. There isn’t really a straightforward way to use the OM wireless controller on a share bike because there’s no way to easily attach it to the handlebars. I have not missed its presence, though.

Lately I’ve been using my OM on share bikes more often then on my regular bike since the docking stations are quite convenient to where I live and work. It takes me less than 30 seconds to mount or dismount the OM unit on a share bike now that I’m accustomed to the process. The weight and effort of power-assisting a share bike means that my OM battery drains a bit faster compared to my own bike, but I tend to re-charge my OM at the end of each ride day regardless, so range anxiety is rarely an issue for me.

An important note: many bike share programs explicitly forbid “modifying” their bikes for any purpose, and a product like OneMotor may technically fall under this restriction. Check your local bike share program to see what’s allowed and what isn’t!
The bike shares out here all have those solid tires on them. How does the OM do with those, with the tread pattern?
The bike shares out here all have those solid tires on them. How does the OM do with those, with the tread pattern?
The SF share bikes look exactly like the bikes here. I haven’t noticed any issues with the tires or tread pattern with the OM on - the ride with it on is as smooth as it is without it.
Good to know. Maybe a good substitute for my Dahon single speed coaster brake rear wheel (which is kind of a pain to repair a flat on if I can't fix it on the rim). I'll have to look into 20" solid tires.