Aug 14, 2012
Friedrichshafen, Germany - The 2013 season is shaping up to be yet another successful year for e-bikes. This seems all but certain in light of the new products slated to be shown at Eurobike, the world’s leading bicycle trade show, from August 29 to September 1. All signs seem to point to a significant uptick in the e-bike market next year, with several new types of drive systems and new manufacturers entering the field. Visitors will have a wealth of opportunities to learn about these developments and more at the show.
Motor offerings to be expanded
Until 2012, e-bike experts could still easily count the number of drive systems currently on the market on one hand. In 2013, they’ll definitely need a second hand, and even that might not be enough. For example, one new manufacturer of e-bike systems that has registered to attend Eurobike this year for the first time is the long-established brand AEG. The licensor for the brand is the Swedish appliance manufacturer Electrolux, which has partnered with Bike Solutions GmbH from the Hessian town of Hofheim in order to develop, build and market its products. The newly founded company includes several well-known figures from the e-bike scene.
The mid-mounted motor is coming
This much is known about the AEG drive system in advance of its debut at Eurobike: it will include a mid-mounted motor that operates noiselessly and features a compact construction. This new system will allow e-bikes to be designed with short wheelbases and frames that are comparable to conventional bicycles. The Taiwanese company TranzX, which is already one of the leading manufacturers of front-mounted motors, is also gearing up to present mid-mounted motors at Eurobike. Its new M07 system comes in two models of differing strengths, with a range of up to 75 miles.
From the middle to the back wheel
While the range of e-bikes with mid-mounted motors is growing, manufacturers that have so far been known for this type of design are going in the opposite direction - at least when it comes to optional features. For example, the Japanese company Panasonic, which pioneered e-bikes with mid-mounted motors, will also be offering rear-mounted motors in 2013 that will be included in e-bikes from KTM, among other manufacturers. Besides its technical specifications, including torque (40 Nm), and its generous battery capacity (412 Wh at 46.8 V, or 8.8 Ah), one of the most exciting things about the new motor from Panasonic is its compatibility with common bicycle components. This means that KTM doesn’t have to make any compromises for the electric drive system in its eRace mountain bike. Instead, it can combine the trusted ten-speed cassettes from Shimano with three-speed cranksets.
Derby Cycle is another manufacturer that has traditionally used mid-mounted motors and will be offering rear-wheel motors as an option in 2013. The company, which includes the brands Kalkhoff, Raleigh and Focus, is expanding its own range of motors to include the new Xion rear-wheel drive system, which will primarily be included in sports-oriented models.
Cables instead of chains
The Korean manufacturer Mando will be presenting its Footloose drive system at Eurobike, which is perhaps an even more visionary technology. This system features an important detail that might not be noticeable even at second glance: there is no visible means of transmitting power between the bottom bracket and the rear wheel, such as a chain, belt or Cardan shaft. The key to this riddle is a generator contained in the bottom bracket, which feeds a battery that powers the rear-wheel motor. If desired, the Mando can operate like a conventional bicycle. In this case, the electronic system powers the motor according to the power that the rider applies to the crank by pedaling. The system can also be used like a moped by turning up the throttle.
Some e-bike experts believe that this technology is the future of drive systems.
Thus, the e-bike manufacturers at Eurobike will continue to offer exciting opportunities for visitors, especially considering that many of the new models for 2013 will be available for test rides at the exhibition grounds in Friedrichshafen.
Eurobike takes place from August 28 through September 1. The first three days will be reserved for the media and trade visitors, and on September 1 the show will also be open to the public.
Further information is available at www.eurobike-show.com.