Electric Bicycles (eBikes) were first designed and patented in the late 1800’s. Yes, today we are seeing a modern interpretation of designs that were submitted to the United States Patent office back as early as 1898.
In fact, each of the motor systems of today (i.e. Rear Hub, Mid Drive, Friction) were all submitted as patents by the early 19th century. The BIG problem then was a really heavy problem and it was the Batteries. They were extremely heavy and prevented all the patented ideas to be realized as a popular and useful product.
Fast Forward to today when the eBike has been evolved for decades in Europe and been increasingly more popular. Today, 30%+ of all bicycles in Europe are eBikes. In Germany and the Netherlands, the eBike is almost equal in popularity with a traditional, non powered bike.
The Battery technology finally caught up with the eBike in just the last several years. Bosch has led the way in creating a very light, UL Tested and reliable battery, now in two versions of the On Tube and PowerTube options.
Bulls, Easy Motion, Riese and Muller, Surface604 and Tern all utilize the latest battery technology. Bosch has already provided one major upgrade for the same battery form factor that retrofits with the previous battery mounts, the PowerPack 400 & 500 models.
The Power to Weight Ration of the electric motor and the battery combines to provide a foundation for all the new types of eBikes being produced now. We carry the five major motor systems: Bosch, Brose, Yamaha, Shimano and Bafang.
The Bosch Mid drive system uses speed, cadence and torque sensors to feed information into the computer system. The system calculates these measurements at over 1,000 times per second to more naturally engage the motor system. This is governed by the Four Levels of Assist chosen through the two display systems offered, the larger Intuvia or the smaller Purion. Lower level assists with 25% more pedal input. The higher assist adds 300% increase in pedal input.
The Bafang Rear Drive Hub Motor detects Cadence and will engage the motor based on this metric. There are Four Levels of Assist with this Hub Motor. But one additional feature is added through the Hub Motor option, almost exclusively, which is a Throttle Feature.
Finally, the eBikes are categorized based on Three Classes.
Class 1 – Pedal assist up to 20 Mph. The motor does not assist at higher speeds.
Class 2 – This is a Classs 1 eBike with a Throttle Option.
Class 3 – Pedal assist up to 28 Mph. The motor does not assist at higher speeds.
Riding all the different motor systems on similar terrain will demonstrate unique characteristics. Currently, each motor company is learning through the use of the product and also what the competition is doing better. All systems are being constantly improved. This is the best thing possible for the eBike customers.