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Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit: Overview
The Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit is a battery-powered electric outboard motor designed to work seamlessly with your iSUP for powered propulsion. The compact design fits neatly into your fin box (compatible with US, flip lock, and slide lock fin boxes via adapters) and the low profile battery sits on the rear of your board. The Bixpy J-2 is an excellent tool for anglers, paddling against the wind (though with some caveats), as a tool for SUP guides, and even an option for adaptive paddleboarding for people with disabilities. The J-2 can open up a whole new world of paddling, however it is important to note that it is critical to not rely on this device as safety equipment. Do not use it to paddle beyond your normal comfort zone, or rely on it solely to get you back home. With all electronic devices, they can fail or run out of power. For the paddler looking for a little extra pep in their paddle, the Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit is fantastic.
|Motor Power:||450W maximum output|
|Motor Thrust:||33 lb|
|Battery Size:||11.3” x 8.7” x 3.2”|
|Run Time:||Up to 12 hours*|
|Max Speed:||Up to 5 mph*|
Pros and Cons
What is the Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit?
The Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit is actually two different products. There is the J-2 Motor itself, and the Bixpy Outboard Battery. Now, they don’t have much functionality separate from each other (though the battery can be used to power other devices) and they are offered together in a kit as well as separately.
The motor itself is a small 24v electric marine motor, similar to a super efficient trolling motor, that runs off of a dedicated battery supply. The motor itself can be mounted to a number of different watercraft (including SUPs, kayaks, and small fishing boats) via different adapters.
Once connected to the battery, the J-2 is controlled by a wireless remote that lets you adjust the speed of the motor, forward and reverse, and stop the motor all from your wrist. The remote works directly with the battery unit rather than the motor itself, and the battery requires a magnetic killswitch to be installed prior to operation (similar to a kill switch on an outboard boat motor or treadmill). More on how the J-2 works in a bit.
Who is the Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit for?
The Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit has a number of different uses on a SUP, however I find that its best use (and my money is on most common use) is for SUP anglers. Fishing from a paddleboard can create a few challenges – particularly around paddle vs rod management, positioning, movement, heavy payloads, and trolling.
Using an electric motor like the J-2 gives anglers an extra boost of energy when it comes to paddling large iSUPs that are loaded up with fishing equipment, lunch, cooler, etc. Getting from the launch to your favorite fishing hole can be tiring (and don’t forget paddling back). The J-2 gives you a significant amount of thrust that you can either use on its own, or in conjunction with paddling to get you where you want to go easier. In addition to getting there, the J-2 also opens up the ability to easily troll from your board. Set the direction you’d like to go, select the speed you want to move, and cast out.
The Bixpy J-2 is also useful for paddlers who want that extra boost of energy to help them paddle around their local waters without feeling totally gassed at the end. Or maybe you want to explore up-river a bit. The J-2 can help you paddle against a gentle current.
As a former SUP guide, I can tell you first hand that towing clients when they get tired or the wind picks up absolutely happens, and it’s not fun. Towing another paddleboarder into a head wind is one of the best workouts you can do, and if you still have 2 miles to go, you’re going to feel it the next day. Had I had something like the Bixpy J-2 on those trips it would have made my day so much easier. To be able to either set it up on my board to tow the client, or set it up on the client’s board to help them paddle is a dream come true for a guide. Because the battery pack is separate from the motor unit, you can even carry multiple battery packs and swap them out if needed.
I’ve been involved in a local non-profit adaptive paddlesports program for several years now that helps people with disabilities get on the water and learn to paddle (shout out to Kayak New Mexico 501c3!). The Bixpy J-2 motor introduces a whole new level of activity that we can do with this adaptive paddlesports group.
Lastly, I’ll also be using the Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit during a local lake cleanup event that’s coming up soon. I’ll be installing it on a Gili Sports Manta Ray multi-person paddleboard. This will give me the weight capacity and space to collect as much trash as I can, and the Bixpy will help me get it back to the ramp for disposal.
How to Use the Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit
Using the Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit is actually pretty straight forward, however I found the included instruction manual could offer some better detail. After charging the battery, you’ll need to first pair the remote control with the battery. This is a process of clicking the buttons on the remote in a specific order as outlined in the manual. It’s a simple process that worked easily the first time for me.
Now that your battery and remote are paired, it’s time to install the motor on your board. For this you will need a phillips-head screwdriver to connect the motor to the appropriate fin box adapter using the four included screws. Once the adapter is on the motor, simply attach the motor to your board like you would a regular fin.
Before getting in the water, strap your battery pack to the rear of the board securely. It is positively buoyant in case it comes off, but it’s best not to rely on that! Then plug the motor’s power cable into the correct port on the battery. During this process it is important to make sure the connections stay out of the water and dry. Once the power cable is fully connected you are ready to put your board in the water.
To turn the motor on, attach the magnetic kill switch to the battery and then to yourself. It is critical that you attach the kill switch to you and not the board so that if you do fall off the motor will stop running. Also verify that the killswitch string is shorter than your leash, otherwise a fall may not engage the killswitch.
Once the killswitch is attached, you can start using the J-2 Outboard Kit.
The remote itself is simple, but could benefit from better markings. If you look closely at the buttons they are shaped a bit like a paddle board or a boat with a pointed “front” and square “back.” If you look at the remote with the Stop button (octagon) at the bottom, then the button on the left is Reverse (triangle pointing to the “Back” of the SUP-shaped button) and the button on the right is Forward (triangle pointing to the “front” of the SUP-shaped button). There is a single LED light on the remote that flashes to indicate when you press a button.
The BIxpy J-2 Outboard Kit has 15 total speed settings: 3 reverse speeds and 12 forward speeds. However there’s no indication on the remote or the battery which setting you are on. I feel that 12 forward settings is too many small steps. The difference between individual speeds is small and I found myself really using only two settings while going forward: Medium and Fast – though I can’t tell you which of the 12 forward speeds the “medium” speed was as it changed as I cycled the speed up and down. I found that the first few slow settings just didn’t have enough thrust to really move the board or overcome any drift from a very light wind. Having fewer settings would simplify the use of the kit and remote.
I really would like to see a better user interface with the remote in future versions of the Bixpy motor. An LCD screen that indicates your current speed setting (either 1-12 or simplifying the number of speeds to 3 or 5 options) and the battery life remaining would be ideal. Similar to how e-bikes show your pedal-assist or throttle setting, speed, and battery life.
How Well Does the Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit Work?
My first time using the J-2 Outboard Kit was on a Blackfin Model XL without the small side fins. I found the board tracked really straight, even dealing with some minor boat wake while being powered by the J-2. My cruising speed was a little over 4mph at max power with no additional paddling.
Once I started paddling I found that the J-2 motor does not make an effective fin on its own. It was very difficult to track straight while paddling along with the motor alone. When the motor was off, it was even worse.
The next time I took the J-2 Outboard Kit for a spin I used a Thurso Waterwalker 132 with its two side fins. While using the side fins the board tracked much better when paddling along with the motor or when the motor was off – but only as well as it would if you only had the side fins in any way.
Long story short, the Bixpy J-2 does not act like a fin while paddling. I would recommend carrying a regular fin with you in case you run out of power. It will be much easier to paddle with a regular fin installed than with the motor in the water, but not providing any propulsion.
So far I’ve not run out of power with the battery pack through normal use. Like any other battery-powered device, how you use it will greatly affect its run time. Bixpy states a maximum run time of 12 hours on the lowest power setting and 1.5 hours on the highest setting. These numbers seem to reflect some basic calculations and they will be greatly affected by what board you use (larger, less efficient boards will take more power to move), how much cargo you have (heavier loads will take more power to move), and any environmental conditions (wind and waves will take more power to move through). Because the only indication of battery life is a set of LED lights on the battery itself, it’s important to keep an eye on these and check them regularly.
With the Blackfin Model XL I was able to hit maximum speeds of about 4.5 mph on the highest setting. Paddling with the motor running took that speed higher to about 5.5 mph. The specific board you are using, payload, and environmental conditions will all impact your top speed and battery life. Sleek and efficient touring boards will be able to reach faster speeds, or extend the battery life, while wider fishing boards or multi-person boards will have lower speeds and shorter battery life.
One other notable point about battery life and longevity of the motor in general comes up when paddling through vegetation. If you are moving through areas with loose vegetation in the water (seaweed, grasses, etc.) they can wrap up and clog the propeller itself. I went through an area with low-to-moderate vegetation and noticed both a different sound and slower speed as I was using the J-2. When I came to a stop in a shallow area I found the propeller was wrapped up in plant matter. Once I cleaned it out (after taking off the killswitch!) it went right back to normal operation.
Reliability and Safety of Electric SUP Motors
I want to take some time to write about a few safety and reliability concerns with the use of any electric motor on your SUP.
First, I’ve found the Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit to work as expected so far – no issues with the reliability of the device itself, though I’ve only had it for a short time. However with any electrical device there is a chance for failure – particularly at connections. Make sure that all charging and output ports are fully sealed and that the motor power cable is fully seated and the connector screwed into place. The Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit did come with a small tube of dielectric grease – but no instructions on how to use it. Dielectric grease is not meant for the actual electrical contacts, but to help seal the connectors around the contacts. Do not apply the dielectric grease directly to the contacts, it is an insulator and can block or impede the flow of electricity to the motor.
It is very important to not rely on an electric motor as a safety device. Do not use a motor to take you somewhere you are not confident you could return from under your own power.
Be aware of the weather conditions – particularly the wind. If you paddle with the wind to start with, you’ll likely be moving into the wind on the way back. Depending on the wind speed the motor may not be powerful enough to move you back up-wind. The same goes for distance. If you are not confident you could paddle the distance required to get back to your starting point, do not go that far. If the Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit can propel you at 4.5 miles per hour for an hour and a half, can you paddle the nearly 7 miles back to your starting point under your own power? While the Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit can be used to help in certain situations (like towing another paddler) no electric motor should be relied on as a sole piece of safety equipment.
Lastly, like a paddleboard leash, always wear the killswitch on your person so that it is shorter than your leash. If you do fall off the board without wearing the killswitch or with the kill switch extended longer than your leash, the board will continue to drive until the battery dies or the board reaches land, potentially stranding you in the water or dragging you along by the leash.
Warranty and Customer Support
Bixpy warranties their J-2 Motor, Outboard Battery, and adapters for 1 year from the original purchase date. The warranty does not include the cost of shipping if you need to send your motor or battery back for repair or replacement. For questions or product support, you can contact Bixpy via email, phone or social media.
The Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit is definitely in a league of its own. There are other electric motors that are either made for SUP or can be adapted for SUP, however none of them offer anywhere near the performance of the Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit. If you are looking for an electric motor for your paddleboard, the Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit an extremely versatile package at a moderate price.
Overall Impressions/Review Summary
I enjoy paddleboarding because I like being on the water. I enjoy experiencing the places I go, exploring new areas, and sharing that experience with others. At first I was a little hesitant about the Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit. I was worried that it may somehow lessen that experience for me. Instead what I’ve found is that the motor has actually opened up new ways to use my SUPs. It can help take my SUP fishing to the next level (and next fishing hole). I can use it for heavier payloads or for helping paddlers who may be struggling with a headwind. I can even use it to help get more people on the water and experience those magical places that wouldn’t normally be able to. While the Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit isn’t an everyday essential for me, I have found it to be an extremely helpful tool.
Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit FAQ
What paddleboards is the Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit with?
The Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit is compatible with any iSUP that uses either a US fin box, Fliplock fin box (iRocker, Gili, Bluefin, etc), or a Slidelock fin box (Bote, NRS, Aqua Marina, etc). Bixpy has an adapter for each of these styles of fin boxes that must be purchased with the kit.
How fast does the Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit go?
Top speed will depend on the specific paddleboard, payload and environmental conditions. Typical top speeds are around 4.5-5mph but may be faster or slower depending on the exact conditions.
How long does the Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit last on one charge?
The Bixpy J-2 will last anywhere from 1-12 hours depending on what speed setting you are using, the specific board you are using, and the environmental conditions (wind and waves).
Is the Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit easy to use?
Yes. Once you have mounted the J-2 motor onto the correct adapter, you simply connect it to your iSUP like you would a normal fin, mount the battery pack on top, connect the motor’s power cable to the battery, and insert the magnetic killswitch.