Car Companies developing eBikes

Seems that everyone is jumping into the eBike market these days as we can see from some recent announcement by Tesla, General Motors and Maserati.

 

Tesla Electric Bikes?

We know that Elon Musk is always working on something. From electric cars to rockets, and solar energy systems to underground roadways… he’s got a lot going on.

In a recent interview he mentioned that Tesla maybe looking at developing an electric bike, specifically designed to compete with Uber and Lyft ride share systems. No details have been announced but if past experience is anything to go on, we can look forward to some rather interesting technology coming from the Tesla brand,

 

General Motors Announces  New E-bike… and it needs a name. 

GM is looking to be very close to launching a new propriety eBike developed by their Urban Mobility Solutions division in Oshawa Ontario.

Under the guidance of director Hannah Parish (who brings a wealth of cycling industry experience to the project) it appear this eBike will be available in two models… one that folds and one that does not.

GM_eBike

GM’s CEO Mary Barra said in a press conference that a concept eBike would be “designed to help people stay mobile in an increasingly difficult-to-navigate urban landscape.”

At the current time GM has not released and technical specifications, but based on images it appears that the bike will have a great deal of integration, delivered in a sleek and compact package.

The bike is yet to be named… as such GM has also announced a public naming contest with a rather healthy $10,000 USD for the winner and $1,000 for the other nine finalists.

https://www.ebikebrandchallenge.com/call-for-entries

 

Bafang Powers New Maserati E-road Bike

From the high-performance world, Maserati has just announced the Trofeo e-race bike which features Bafang’s ultra-compact M800 mid motor.

The Bafang M800 has a 200W power output and a max torque of 55Nm. The claimed total weight of the system is less than 4.4k, including the integrated 200Wh battery, 2.2” TFT display and ‘satellite shifter pods’.

MaseratiERoad

According to the official Maserati press release, ‘Since an e-road bike will very quickly exceed the legal motor assist speed threshold, the drive unit has been tuned to perform optimally when starting off and accelerating on short sprints and steep climbs. But even more important: when the limit is reached, the drive train runs almost resistance free and the rider’s own pedaling effort is not affected.’

The Maserati Trofeo will be available in Europe from Spring 2019 at a suggested retail price of € 9999.

There is no word yet, if this technology will be available in North America. We can hope.

#RideTheFuture

Guest Blog: The New Bike in Town

Thanks to Explore Magazine for the permission to re-run this editorial in our eBike Emporium Blog.


THE NEW BIKE IN TOWN

E-bikes have hit the mountain bike world full-force — what does this mean for trail networks and users?

By Ryan Stuart (Explore Magazine)

As an Olympian, World Cup racer, two-time national champ and winner of multiple mountain bike stageraces, Andreas Hestler is no slouch on knobby tires. He can race through roots and rocks faster than most, but when he jumped on an electric mountain bike he still saw the potential.

Andreas
Andreas Hestler, Canadian cycling legend.

“They’re a lot of fun,” he says. “They open up a lot of possibilities and new kinds of riding and open the sport to people who wouldn’t ride otherwise.”

Hestler is not unbiased. He works for Rocky Mountain Bicycles, which launched a motorized version of its Altitude mountain bike this year. Hidden in the drop-tube of the bike is a small electric motor that’s integrated into the bike’s gear system. When the rider pedals, the motor kicks in about one horsepower of assistance, enough juice for any of us to keep up to someone like Hestler. (Most e-bikes max out at about 30 km/h.)

It adds distance for people without the time or inclination to build the stamina themselves. Which is why they’re selling. According to one retail tracking company, mountain e-bike sales in North America increased from $500,000 in 2015 to $2.5 million in 2017. Just about every major brand sells a mountain e-bike now. There are even e-bike categories at some races, and a dedicated magazine.

The problem is where to ride them. Even whether to allow them on paved bike paths has cities conflicted. When it comes to mountain bike trails, uncertainty paralyzes land managers and clubs as they fret over everything from increased traffic and corresponding trail impact to how to allow e-bikes without opening networks to electric dirt bikes. A sure sign of the indecision comes from the International Mountain Bike Association Canada, the grand poobah of mountain bike advocacy.

“It’s a very challenging topic to have a consistent, countrywide recommendation for clubs,” says AJ Strawson, the group’s executive director.

“What might make sense in one community might not in another.” He notes that everything from traffic, terrain type, drainage and weather and other factors come into play.

Generally, most trail networks consider e-bikes motorized, which makes them illegal on humanpowered trails, though many jurisdictions are reviewing their status. The biggest issue with changing the rules, says Strawson, is liability, which generally rests with mountain bike clubs or land managers. “Right now trail networks are designed to use distance as the filter, putting harder trails farther away or at the top of long climbs” he says. “Only the strongest, fittest and most skilled riders can get to them. E-bikes disrupt that system.”

Not all clubs think that will be a problem. Rob Sanders, general manager of the Mountain Bike Club of Kingston, one of Ontario’s largest clubs, says none of the 1,400 members have asked about e-bikes yet.

“Most people that mountain bike do it for the workout,” he says. “The guys who are going to buy these bikes are the ones that can barely get around our easiest loop right now. They’re going to give a group of people who couldn’t mountain bike otherwise a chance to get on the trail.”

On busy trail networks that’s enough reason to ban them. “Our trail builders are telling us they can’t keep up with maintaining the trails with the usage they already have,” says Strawson. “Adding another user group is not something they’re ready for.”

But, as motors shrink further it will become difficult to tell an e-bike from a normal one. Then there is the blurring lines between pedal-assist and throttled electric dirt bikes. Where to draw the line between what’s allowed and what’s not, how to distinguish between the two and then how to enforce any rules is only going to get harder.

In some ways the tables have turned. For three decades mountain biking fought for legitimacy with other user groups and land managers.

Now mountain biking is one of the most popular sports in the woods. Mountain bikers learned to share the trails before and they will figure it out again, says Hestler. It will just take time.

“The problem,” he says, “is that everything is changing and growing so fast in this sport it’s getting harder and harder to keep up.”

ExploreMag


Editors Note: Click here to to subscribe to Explore Magazine

Caught in an electric Trance!

Now that we’re done with the obvious, yet necessary pun…

Powerful. Capable. Inspiring. The 2019 Trance SX E+ Pro 1 introduces a different style of riding to your typical rip in the trails and is an experience like no other; from smartphone connectivity to ride quality, this bike is awesome! I rode it around the city and in the Don Valley for two days, and it was hard to get the smile off my face!

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Around the city, the instant power makes stop signs and red lights less of a nuisance, now that your acceleration of the line closely matches a car’s. The 140mm of travel in the rear and 160mm in front, renders potholes, bumps and streetcar tracks meaningless, especially when paired with the beefy 27.5+ tires. For a commuter this monster of a bike gives you confidence, speed and comfort, all while you get to work or school without sweating. It also makes that little piece of single track you pass by that much more tempting, knowing you won’t be late and won’t be defeated by the Dons’ punchy cliffside climbs.

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For my own riding and the trails I frequent, (lower Don, Science center and Loblaws areas) the highest level of assist is just too powerful! I found myself mostly using Levels 2 or 3, out of the 5, and still with significant benefit from the extra torque and power, meaning my two-hour ride covered more distance, because I didn’t need to stop and catch my breath.

Now for the Tech side of things. The Giant Aluxx frame, Fox suspension, Shimano XT 1×11 group with 4-piston brakes and Maxxis Minion DH tires, all deliver a predictable, smooth and responsive ride.

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The 2019 Trance SX E+ Pro 1 features their SyncroDrive Pro motor which delivers “360% support.” (Meaning tons of fun!) The weight, being an eBike, is still a downfall in my mind and does take some getting used to in-air and in tight technical sections.

All-in-all this bike is crazy fun and seriously impressive.

Special Thanks to Giant Bicycles Canada for providing this beast of a bike.

@natewksnow
#fullsend #giantbicyclescanada

THIS WEEK IN e… 10/08

eNews

eBike Group Ride World Record
As with all breaking trends, new records are part of establishing the trend as more than just a short-term blip, and more of a major new development.

Now, a world record has been set for the biggest eBike group ride, helping the new phenomenon to become more established in the public’s mind. In Seattle on September 15th, 406 eBiker riders broke the previous record, which was set with 271 riders, by riding a 2 mile circuit around Magneson Park.


eBikes Becoming Increasingly Important
Milan, Italy – There is a growing interest for participating in the e-bike section of the upcoming EICMA motorcycle and bike show.

In Italy and many other countries, eBike mobility is now a growing reality. Italian companies are contributing to the market, not only in manufacturing and sales, but as part of the whole supply chain – suppliers of components, and designers with established patents. In 2017 production in Italy of eBikes increased by 48 percent compared to 2016. Sales of approximately 150,000 in 2017 represented an increase of 19 % over 2016.


Bully for Bulls
The German high-profile eBike company Bulls has released in their words, “the most cutting-edge eMTB bike on the market”. Although somewhat tricky to remember, its name is the E-Core Evo EN Di 2 27.5+, and it offers a high-end dual-suspension, a big twin-core battery pack, all packaged in a sick-looking design.

e-core-mtb

Along with a new lightweight eRoad bike concept (below), called the Alpine Hawk Evo featuring the super light and compact Fazua Evation 250 watt drive system. They are e-just two of 14 new Bulls e-bikes announced at Interbike for 2019, including eMTBs, eTrekking, eRoad, eCruiser, eCommuters, and more!

ecargo


Haibike Hands Out More Now, and There’s More Coming
The latest Sduron, Xduro and Nduro eBikes from Haibike were displayed at Interbike, and they teased attendees with a preview of their 2020 prototype Flyon eBike featuring the new high torque TQ mid-drive motor system.


Bosch Previews Kiox Colour Display
The latest Kiox color display from Bosch eBike Systems was shown by Claudia Wasko, Director of eBikes, Bosch America. Offering many new features including ride data on speed, rider performance, heart rate, battery charge and more.

While presenting, Claudia also related how more police and fire departments are using eBikes in their range of vehicle fleets, and that increasingly, ski resorts are welcoming eMTBs to their trails.


Survey Predicts Big Future for sCargo Bikes
A 2-year study into the use of ‘Light Electric Freight Vehicles’ concluded that eCargo bikes are a great alternative for perhaps 20% of all delivery vans currently being used in large cities. The study, involving the improvement of city logistics, was conducted in partnership by the Amsterdam and Rotterdam Applied Sciences. A sobering thought was also suggested with the information that various practical problems have yet to be solved.


eBIke Torque Requires Stronger Chains
Specifically, the torque generated from mid-drive motors has been proven to put too much strain on a chain made for regular bikes. This results in early chain wear which also affects the condition of the cassette. The answer is stronger eBike-specific chains.

Showing the industry is on its toes when it comes to eBIke tech developments, stronger chains are now starting to hit the market. A prime example is a chain from TAYA using their exclusive DHT self-lubricated hardness treatment. The process involves applying the treatment on the pins to strengthen them by more than 50% over regular chain pins.


New ‘e’ Trend Fuel For New Frontiers
Now that there is no longer any question about the new and established trend of eBikes, it is seen to be driving the ‘planning & analysis’ of other areas feeding into the trend. Electronics, with the inherent sophisticated software, are finding their way into helmets, locks, brakes with ABS systems, ‘connected’ bikes and as mentioned in a previous post, clothing featuring graphene to make any wearer fully ‘connected’. And we’re witnessing just the beginning.


Bosch PowerTube 500 Wins Award
Reno, Nevada, announced as the 2nd annual eBike Product Innovation award winner, Bosch PowerTube 500 took the prize for its clean integration into the bike frame down tube.

bosch-500-btt3

“We’re proud of this award and to see so many gorgeous PowerTube-equipped eBikes start to hit dealer showrooms,” said Claudia Wasko, Vice President & General Manager of Bosch eBike Systems Americas. “The PowerTube 500 sets a new eBike standard by showing it’s possible to get both a really capable, high-range eBike that looks more and more like a regular bicycle,”

eBikes for Fitness and Health

slider-ebike-2017

University of Basel researchers reported that eBikes are comparable to conventional bikes in promoting health and benefits. Specifically, less-well-trained and/or overweight people can enhance their lives by riding an eBike.

For 10 years, Switzerland has been running a month-long ‘Bike to Work’ program inviting commuters to ride their bike or eBike, and this year nearly 65,000 cyclists participated. The start of the BtW campaign was the starting point for the pilot study.

In short, the researchers from the Dept. of Sport, Exercise & Health, when examining how eBikes compare to conventional bikes in exercise intensity, found them to be similarly effective with comparable health benefits. In addition, after just 4-weeks of training, they found that participants improved their cardiorespiratory fitness. Of the 30 or so volunteer participants who were untrained and overweight, half rode eBikes while the other half rode conventional bikes a distance of over at least 6 km for at least three days.

A month into the program the participants were tested again and found both groups had comparable fitness results as measured by their oxygen uptake capacity. By maintaining this pattern permanently, participants would see their risk of cardiovascular death fall to a clinically-relevant point. As well, both groups were found to have more efficiently working hearts.

A major finding suggested that eBikes can increase motivation in older, overweight people as a way to keep up their fitness training regularly. As well, blood pressure, fat metabolism, and mental well-being was also improved. Overall, the suggestion was that eBikes offer a grand potential for preventing adverse health problems.

Fast on the heels of the above article, Forbes Magazine just ran another article countering the wide-spread notion that using an eBike is ‘cheating’. The article reports that sales of European eBikes in 2017 rose dramatically with 9% increase in the Netherlands, 19% in Germany and a whopping 30% in France. The US was on a similar trend but the 25% Trump tariffs have put a halt to that trend.

At this point in history when climate change is hounding us increasingly, the conventional bike market is in decline. However, eBikes are in the position to help promote increased use of 2-wheel travel by more and more people as the sweat-free fun way to move about during their day.

With all change comes the resistance to said change, and advocates for conventional bikes remain unmoved with comments like ‘eBikes are gadgets for the laziest people’. These people, unfortunately, forget history and the various ways regular cyclists ‘cheat’ while cycling.

After a race in 1902 where a man was defeated by a woman using a bike with a derailleur, it was referred to as a new ‘gadget’ that made cycling easier. It was scoffed at. Of course, there are many more ways cyclists use to make it easier. Riding downhill, crouching over handlebars to create beneficial aerodynamics, drafting behind other riders, and the freewheel that lets a cyclist stop pedalling while moving, are all ways to make cycling easier. Nobody would claim those changes as cheating.

Screen Shot 2018-01-30 at 11.16.38 AM

People using eBikes report good exertion levels as tracked by their wearable fitness-tracking devices. Researchers from the University of Colorado reported in 2016 that eBike riders got an ‘effective workout’ with similar benefits as pedal-only cyclists got.

All these studies and the anecdotal evidence suggest eBikes are definitely a healthy way to travel locally, but as evidence also shows, people who see their traditional way of cycling as the only true way to ride a bike will be the last ones to understand the health and societal benefits. After all, from the time it was introduced in 1902, it took another 32 years before the Tour de France allowed the use of derailleurs. As noted earlier, change is hard for some.

See you out there,

Cycling The 6ix

This Week in e…

Dockless Scooters

BIRD eScooters

Not only are eBikes in, now eScooters are also making the scene, and in a big way. In the search for the solution to the ‘last mile’ – efficiently getting from a drop-off point in a commute to final destination – electric powered Scooters are quickly finding their way.

 

To indicate the power of these little vehicles, you only need to know that the category is attracting billions of dollars in venture capitol. Adding to this is the news that both Uber and Lyft have enthusiastically launched into the dockless eScooter-Share world as part of their inner-city transportation solutions. Notably, Lime and Bird, two eBike-Share companies, are also very much in the game.

Of course, a portion of the market wants their own eScooter for even more convenience. Look for these improbable, yet totally awesome machines in your favourite Gears store soon.

 

Back to the eBike Boom

Turbo Levo Trail Riding Experience

An earlier post on eBike Emporium recalled that the bicycle, one of the most ingenious inventions ever is 200 years old, and that everything old is new again, hence eBikes.

Why the bike has been deemed that way (ingenious invention) is because a bike is the most efficient and healthiest form of transportation. That thinking applied to eBikes simply provides the way for more people to get on bicycles.

 

Graphene and the Bike Business

If you have read about the new wonder material, graphene, you know that its use is being explored in just about every industry. So where is it showing up in the bike biz? Well so far, it is only being used in higher-end tires (Vittoria). But, more is promised.

Graphene, it is said, will be widely used in wearables to create ‘smart’ clothing for Accident-Free Mobility through Internet connectivity. And although clothing is not the first product in which you would expect Graphene to be used, that would be rubber, nonetheless, that is the bold prediction.

Tires are certainly an important part of a bicycle, and the unprecedented characteristics of Graphene improve air-retention, provides lower rolling resistance and improves grip. But its use in apparel, well that’s just batty!

Verge Science, a US-based company, is betting on connected clothing made possible through the use of graphene. Ease of printing on fabric along with superior conductivity makes possible their easily-believed prediction. They say it’s coming in 2019, stay tuned.

Connected clothing brings us closer to total connectivity, a world where everybody and everything is internet connected and thereby closer to accident-free mobility.

Bosch predicts by 2025, more than 470 million connected vehicles will be operating.

 

Bosch Prepares to Provide Connected Mobility Services

cube - women

BERLIN, Germany – Bosch plans to become a provider of mobility services. The components manufacturer (for automotive and bike) has a new Connected Mobility Solutions division with 600+ associates developing and selling digital mobility services – vehicle sharing, ridesharing and connectivity-based services.

 

Bosch envisions, not only fundamental changes in the way we travel from A to B through increased connectivity, but also helping to solve today’s traffic problems.

The market for mobility services and other digital services will be worth approximately 140 billion in just four years. Bosch is positioning to leverage that emerging market with significant double-digit growth.

 

New City Bike Drive System from Brose

BERLIN, Germany – Brose has developed their 5th eBike system with the Drive C, a drive system specially designed for city bike models. The design provides smooth power within a 20-70 pedal cadence range, and always delivers 50Nm of torque regardless of cadence level.

As a Brose representative states, “The drive smooths out any inconsistent rider input, which results in a harmonic riding feeling.”

brose motor

The unique aspect of the Brose motor is the internal carbon-reinforced belt made by Gates. The benefits from this difference are the reduction of noise and the prevention of vibration transmission to the pedals. If and when battery power runs out, their free-wheel technology decouples the drive allowing peddling as easy as a regular bike.

Along with Drive C, the other motors in the Brose line-up are Drive S Mag & Drive S Alu for mountain bikes, the Drive TF for pedal-assist up to 45kph (illegal in Canada), and the very efficient Drive T for longer-distance touring. All systems are made in Germany.

 

A Better Level of Understanding for Consumers

When it comes to eBikes, we hear one question more than all others; How far will it go? As with all things powered with electricity whether phone, laptop, car, camping lantern or eBike, it’s always on our minds, so it is an important question.

Moterra_02

Although a little murky because of the various claims made from online, less-scrupulous eBike sellers, battery range estimates have been less than accurate with wide degrees of variation. Now that’s about to change.

A new standardized range test called the R200 has been developed in Germany with the intention being to provide assistance to manufacturers in being able to more realistically quote the range of their batteries, and also to help bike shops assist their customers with more accurate information.

Importantly, the new standard achieves reproducible results, which isn’t always the case in the bicycle industry’s eBike sector.

 

 

Trend or full-on major shift!

Although most people in Canada still don’t know about eBikes, or if they have heard, it hasn’t made much impact on them, yet eBikes are showing signs worldwide of causing a major shift in the very way we think of bicycles.

As news about eBikes is increasingly carried in mainstream media, it will become more obvious to more people that there must be something to this new electric bike thing. Well, this news should cause a bit of a stir!

An exciting piece broke this week to help raise the profile of eMountain bikes (#eMtb), a sector of eBikes that, in Europe, is climbing to new heights every month.

Now Canada will be treated to the spectacle of a fully-endorsed UCI* event. The 2019 World Mountain Bike Championships, where the Rainbow Jersey will go to the world’s best eMtb rider, will take place at Mont Sainte Anne, QC August 21-Sept. 1st.

* Union Cycliste Internationale is the world governing body for sports cycling and oversees international competitive cycling events. The UCI is based in Aigle, Switzerland.

 

Awesome Fun for Autumn – Shred Now, Pay Later!

Nate_Levo03

Now is the time to jam in some extra trail-riding fun for this year. To gear-up for the eMtb Championships next year, one of the very best eMtb products is being offered right now on a ‘pay-later’ promotional event.  

The top-rated Levo from Specialized is available now to allow keeners to get in a full winter riding program while only paying for their ride in the spring. Come into any Gears shop to get the scoop, and scoop up one of these Levo beasts*.

(See “Beasty Boy Does the Don” for full review of the 2018 LEVO)

Nate_Levo01

My Sweet Ride & The Best Croissant, Ever!

Finally, the ride I’ve been waiting for and working for all summer, is mine. At the beginning of the season, I was teased into thinking it would come my way a little earlier than it did. Oh well, life doesn’t always pan out the way it’s planned out, and who can really complain when all that angst is in the past. Now that I have my Vado 4.0 (I’m naming it EldoVado) I can only look upward and go onward.

Fleur de Jour

Suddenly, with my Specialized Vado, I’m inclined to think up places to go with it. And now that I’m thinking about going places, having a destination would probably be a good idea. Initially and immediately, I thought of food! So I’m going off (on my Vado) in search of food, and in this instance, inspired by a local establishment, the specific food is called the croissant.

Owner FleurduJour

Although probably not that original, I’m calling my search Quest for the Best…and in this croissant case, it’s the quest for the best real French croissant, baked by real French-trained pastry chefs. My best real croissant so far is from my neighbourhood Fleur du Jours at 603 St. Clair W near Wychwood. So now that I have the bar set (and set fairly high I might add), I’m starting to research and plan my next croissant conquest in the Quest for the Best to see if there is a more impressive croissant out there. 

Not only am I personaIy going on this search, I’m inviting anyone who cares to join my quest for the best to send in any entry you feel is deserving to be in the ‘competition’. Once we’ve   got a few competing patisseries to consider, I’ll get croissants from each of them for a ‘formal’ judging.

So now, on to the research. My next post in this quest will follow the leads/suggestions I get. More croissant quests to come…More croissant pounds to pedal away…

 

See you out there,

Cycling The 6ix