Future Innovation, Where Are We Going

I agree that most electric bikes in the States are recreational toys facing price pressure. Hence the high weight and crappy components on most. Like a Tourney on an Ultra. People are buying based on output specs and low price. Not on quality. Here is a chain below that I like. This one lasts like a belt at a fraction of the cost. Take this one-speed chain like the Dutch from a mid-drive to an internal hub of gears. Hopefully Holland is the future for us. Bikes for daily transportation everywhere. Here is one innovation I came up with this week. A bike that can easily switched from Class 3 to Class 1 to go into restricted areas. All it takes in getting off the bike and moving the chain to the smaller climbing ring. I also agree that batteries will get smaller. You can see the discharge wire in the first photo.
1661547006969.jpeg

1661547096163.jpeg
 

Attachments

  • R18Disc5.jpg
    R18Disc5.jpg
    523.7 KB · Views: 139
Trek, Specialized and R&M use "substandard" components? Maybe this is true of Rad, Lectric and a few others, but then again, their ebikes sell for less than high quality analog bikes! You get what you pay for....
Actually, I think even the high-end e-bike makers take quite a few shortcuts and we consumers are letting them get away with it.

First off, we all know that e-bikes on the average are heavier than their acoustic cousins, and let's face it, the average e-biker is packing a few more pounds than their buddies who do all of the work. But most e-bikes, even very high-end ones, come stock with 160mm disk brake rotors. At a minimum 180mm rotors should be standard, front and rear. There should also be an option to put a downhill rotor (203mm) on the front as well. One of the first things I check on an e-bike is whether there is room to upgrade the brake rotors.

Second, if you are spending more than $5k on a bike it is a mystery to me why that bike would come with the touch points (saddle, pedals, and grips). The fact of the matter is that if you are buying a bike like that you should work with the bike shop and have those components customized for your preferences.

Third, they often cut corners on things like racks and fenders. There are awesome fenders out there but you'd never know it when you look at e-bikes online. Similarly with racks. I think it is kind of lame to put a cheap $50 rack and $40 fender set on a bike that might cost $8000 or more.
 
Actually, I think even the high-end e-bike makers take quite a few shortcuts and we consumers are letting them get away with it.

First off, we all know that e-bikes on the average are heavier than their acoustic cousins, and let's face it, the average e-biker is packing a few more pounds than their buddies who do all of the work. But most e-bikes, even very high-end ones, come stock with 160mm disk brake rotors. At a minimum 180mm rotors should be standard, front and rear. There should also be an option to put a downhill rotor (203mm) on the front as well. One of the first things I check on an e-bike is whether there is room to upgrade the brake rotors.

Second, if you are spending more than $5k on a bike it is a mystery to me why that bike would come with the touch points (saddle, pedals, and grips). The fact of the matter is that if you are buying a bike like that you should work with the bike shop and have those components customized for your preferences.

Third, they often cut corners on things like racks and fenders. There are awesome fenders out there but you'd never know it when you look at e-bikes online. Similarly with racks. I think it is kind of lame to put a cheap $50 rack and $40 fender set on a bike that might cost $8000 or more.
but thats the way with most bikes. there are always sacrifices to get that price point.
 
I sometimes will build out of box internet only bikes for people. One arrived with a front dropout sticking outside the box and broken off. The non adjustable spring loaded fork could be used as a 20-pound dumbbell. The fork had goldish bronze polished stanchions and the right one had an orange O-ring on it. And it had a red anodized lever on top of the stanchion. It had the word Wolf written in the same style a Fox. With a logo of a foxy Wolf.
 
Yeah... The final price points on some of my bikes tend to be eye-watering. You do get what you pay for... But manufactured ebikes are still premium-priced with a lot of profit-taking that is not present in the analog bike marketplace. After all, a bicycle is a known mechanical entity and there is only so much BS a seller can shovel to justify that price point. Ebike riders who want a fully integrated, white-glove-serviced solution have been fertile ground for increased margins.

Just a couple of days ago I had some knucklehead in one of the Facebook ebike groups argue passionately on how much better a "bespoke" ebike is over a conversion. If you have a well-rounded English vocabulary you recognize any time someone is saying 'bespoke' for anything, they have no care for budget or value-for-the-dollar (by definition). Improving (back-filling) to analog cycling standards is I think going to be the near term trend.

I think if we are going to see innovation, it will be new players. The Bosch's of this world are too busy relieving suckers of their money. They're heading down-market (mass-market), if they go anywhere. I am far more interested to watch and see what Porsche comes up with. They are not in this to produce an expensive halo bike with their badge on it. they are getting into E-mobility across platforms in a big way.

 
The average person buying an ebike is an ordinary Joe just wanting to get back on a bike and ride for pleasure. If one wants a high end ebike that can be done but they are priced way above what the casual rider is willing to pay.
If I had to pay 5, 6, or 7 thousand dollars for an ebike that I ride for relaxed pleasure I wouldn't have one because I could not justify the price. Like the Ford model-T affordable bikes are priced for the masses and they sell like hotcakes.
 
I like where Bosch is going with their smart system (albeit some is just playing catchup). I'd like to see more widespread implementation of security and tracking systems. Monthly subscription plans could also be an additional source of revenue for the manufacturers. A locked up ebike in public still sticks out around my region.
 
More about the bike with the counterfeit fork. It had a warning sticker Do Not Go Off Road. But when you go to the Mfg's website it auto-loads bikes doing flips on a ski slope with the lift chairs overhead. It was 98-pounds.
I remove all tech from my bikes that is visible or interfering or tracking. All I see on the display is battery and power level. It does not data-log anything.
 
i think there will be a few evolving niches. look at the incredible growth of vanmoof for some hints. i see more of them than any other type of eBike here.

what would most interest me, assuming cost is no object on the engineering side:

small battery (200wh) fully integrated into standard sized downtube
small mid-drive motor with the motor’s gearing and the rider’s gearing fully integrated into a pinion type automatic mid-transmission. all one enclosed unit - geared motor and transmission.
belt drive
no display, integrated phone mount (quad lock or similar), fully programmable assist levels, over the air firmware, find my support, motion alarm, electronic locking of both the crank and the motor, etc.
hydraulic disk brakes with fully integrated cable routing
manual (wireless) or fully automatic shifting
lighter-than-standard-aluminum frame with built in rear rack platform capacity up to 50lb.

there are some bikes that already do some of these things, but none that do all for approx $5k and 25lb total weight.
 
That Onyx LZR is cool, but its basically a DJ/Park bike with a motor. Having owned a (non-electric) one, they are great for their intended purpose and very bombproof, but terrible for general riding. The frame geometry is very compact and designed to be ridden almost entirely standing up. Basically a big-wheeled BMX bike. The geometry doesn't lend itself well to sitting and pedaling.

First off, we all know that e-bikes on the average are heavier than their acoustic cousins, and let's face it, the average e-biker is packing a few more pounds than their buddies who do all of the work. But most e-bikes, even very high-end ones, come stock with 160mm disk brake rotors. At a minimum 180mm rotors should be standard, front and rear. There should also be an option to put a downhill rotor (203mm) on the front as well. One of the first things I check on an e-bike is whether there is room to upgrade the brake rotors.

Second, if you are spending more than $5k on a bike it is a mystery to me why that bike would come with the touch points (saddle, pedals, and grips). The fact of the matter is that if you are buying a bike like that you should work with the bike shop and have those components customized for your preferences.

Third, they often cut corners on things like racks and fenders. There are awesome fenders out there but you'd never know it when you look at e-bikes online. Similarly with racks. I think it is kind of lame to put a cheap $50 rack and $40 fender set on a bike that might cost $8000 or more.

Agree with all this. Especially brake rotors. My class 3 came with 160mm rotors and they work fine, but larger rotors give a lot of additional braking force and fade resistance for basically no cost increase. I've been 180mm on my mountainbikes for at least 15 years. DH bikes have been running 200mm rotors for decades.

As for touch points, most shops will tell you that high end bikes come with "good enough" saddles and grips (and sometimes pedals), mainly so the bike can be test ridden and the buyer can ride the bike home. Most people buying high end bikes are going to have preferences for those. I have a drawer full of stock saddles.
 
I agree that most electric bikes in the States are recreational toys facing price pressure. Hence the high weight and crappy components on most. Like a Tourney on an Ultra. People are buying based on output specs and low price. Not on quality. Here is a chain below that I like. This one lasts like a belt at a fraction of the cost. Take this one-speed chain like the Dutch from a mid-drive to an internal hub of gears. Hopefully Holland is the future for us. Bikes for daily transportation everywhere. Here is one innovation I came up with this week. A bike that can easily switched from Class 3 to Class 1 to go into restricted areas. All it takes in getting off the bike and moving the chain to the smaller climbing ring. I also agree that batteries will get smaller. You can see the discharge wire in the first photo.
View attachment 133307
View attachment 133308
Why not build to last, a lot of us"oldsters" do not like having to replace parts with regularity.
 
i think there will be a few evolving niches. look at the incredible growth of vanmoof for some hints. i see more of them than any other type of eBike here.

what would most interest me, assuming cost is no object on the engineering side:

small battery (200wh) fully integrated into standard sized downtube
small mid-drive motor with the motor’s gearing and the rider’s gearing fully integrated into a pinion type automatic mid-transmission. all one enclosed unit - geared motor and transmission.
belt drive
no display, integrated phone mount (quad lock or similar), fully programmable assist levels, over the air firmware, find my support, motion alarm, electronic locking of both the crank and the motor, etc.
hydraulic disk brakes with fully integrated cable routing
manual (wireless) or fully automatic shifting
lighter-than-standard-aluminum frame with built in rear rack platform capacity up to 50lb.

there are some bikes that already do some of these things, but none that do all for approx $5k and 25lb total weight.
Would be nice, How about durability? One of the most comfortable bikes I ever owned was over 3 times that weight and less than a fourth that cost.
 
I sometimes will build out of box internet only bikes for people. One arrived with a front dropout sticking outside the box and broken off. The non adjustable spring loaded fork could be used as a 20-pound dumbbell. The fork had goldish bronze polished stanchions and the right one had an orange O-ring on it. And it had a red anodized lever on top of the stanchion. It had the word Wolf written in the same style a Fox. With a logo of a foxy Wolf.
Received a trike like that once, looked like it had been dropped off a forklift.( most of the time its just bent wheels, good packaging OTH does not make up for a $h!++y bike-like one I got from a place in Wisconsin, that bike( if you call it that) was the worst piece of drek I had ever received, practically had to give it away to get rid of it.
 
Since California just passed a bill banning the sale of all gas vehicles by 2035 there will probably be a lot more people looking at an ebike as their primary or secondary transportation..


I see American big cities going much more to public transportation and high speed rail and EV buses will replace personal cars. Ebikes and small EVs that can be charged at home will become the norm for local transportation. Rentals will probably be a big part of that and even in my small town they are renting Escooters that seem to be very popular.

I also ride an Escooter


People will want to take their EV along on that public transportation so Ebikes and Escooters will probably get more compact, lighter, foldable and easier to carry just like phones have moved that direction.

I am getting a Lectric XP Lite for review soon and that appears to be the direction we are heading for many people.

 
Last edited:
Yeah, for all the "ebikes need to go 30mph for 50 miles to be useful!" people, the bestselling brand in the US is Rad, who only makes class 2 hub motor utilitarian bikes with good but not exceptional range. They've built a successful company by understanding that a huge chunk of the market isn't looking for a super fast bike, they want a reasonably priced one that is good for urban commuting and errand running, and primarily focusing on utility instead of power and speed.
Maybe RAD benefits from the fact that the most first time ebike buyers don't understand the merits of a bit more power and battery range. We have debated this before but I think most commuters would benefit from having the power to sustain upwards of 28mph on flats and 20mph going up say a 6% grade at 20mph without having to pedal so hard they are worn out in a minute (this is really where those 250-500W ebikes don't do well and I don't think climbing that hill at 5mph with minimum effort is all the wonderful for urban mobility value when time is money).
 
I mean a shiftable gearbox integrated into the mid drive motor unit, controlled on the handlebar like a derailleur setup. Seems like a logical next step. You already have the motor and reduction gearing in there, why not take some of the tech from an internal geared hub and put it in there as well? You really only need 8-10 widely spread speeds on a mid drive. Advantages are it lets you run any rear hub/brake setup you want, no need for a cassette or derailleurs, with a straight chainline you can run a heavy singlespeed/bmx chain or belt drive, low/no maintenance. On eMTBs, getting rid of the (easily damaged) rear derailleur would be great. Gearboxes tend to hold up better to bashing through gears under power too.

To be fair, I don't know that it would take over the market; I'm sure derailleurs and cassettes will be around for a very long time. But I think the first company that gets it right is going to sell a lot of them.
Derailleurs and cassettes not going away in the off-road market because they are light, fast shifting and large range. For urban mobility ebikes an IGH with a belt is simply a much better configuration.
 
My predictions (I'm only interested in urban mobility to keep that in mind when reading my predictions) ...
- We'll see higher torque rated IGHs with fewer gears than what Rohloff and Kindernay are promoting. Ebikes (especially powerful ebikes) do not need 14 speeds. What is important is allowing reasonable cadence for the rider to contribute from a stop to 28mph (or a bit higher).
- Some ebike OEMs will realize that battery integration into the bike frame isn't that important and will start designing battery packs that have an entirely different cosmetic element like what Vintage and Klever do with their battery packs (they add to the bike cosmetic instead of trying to hide the battery). Integration into the bikes frames was done because most people have a set idea of what a bike should look like so the marketing people at bike companies stopped thinking and just blindly followed that trend. Make the battery pack look cool like motorcycles have done for many years with their motors. I think we see this increase.
- We'll see less suspension forks on urban mobility ebikes as riders start to realize that wider tires and more upright riding positions do a good job of reducing road vibrations and shock. Urban bikes handle better without suspension forks in reality. Some passive suspensions like elastimers in stems, carbon bars, etc. make much better sense then suspension forks on street / urban ebikes. The OEMs like to push forks because they need more maintenance and thus bring in service and parts $$$s down the road.
- Everyone will realize that a good seat post suspension is actually more comfortable and far more pratical than an active rear suspension on an urban ebike.
- Belts will continue to displace chains as more realize the benefits of IGHs.
- We'll see some innovative new mag wheels that get rid of spokes on urban mobility ebikes. There is no reason anyone should have to deal with broken or loose spokes on an urban mobility bike. How long ago did most motorcycles start having mag wheels. Time for that to become common on urban mobility ebikes but again the industry likes spokes because they bring in future service $$$$s (sometimes you just have to get the bean counters and marketing people out of the room when making design decisions to have a great product).
- ebike tires should be made thicker and a bit heavier than regular bike tires so they don't experience flats and last at least 10,000 miles. I know I keep repeating but the marketing and beancounters will not like this but get them out of the decision process to improve the tires.
 
Since California just passed a bill banning the sale of all gas vehicles by 2035 there will probably be a lot more people looking at an ebike as their primary or secondary transportation..


I see American big cities going much more to public transportation and high speed rail and EV buses will replace personal cars. Ebikes and small EVs that can be charged at home will become the norm for local transportation. Rentals will probably be a big part of that and even in my small town they are renting Escooters that seem to be very popular.

I also ride an Escooter


People will want to take their EV along on that public transportation so Ebikes and Escooters will probably get more compact, lighter, foldable and easier to carry just like phones have moved that direction.

I am getting a Lectric XP Lite for review soon and that appears to be the direction we are heading for many people.

I would think that for last mile solutions most people don't need an ebike and something like a light Brompton makes great sense.
 
I hope derailleurs will be a thing of the past as well as tyre punctures. I think e-bikes are still far too much like traditional bikes. Also I wish speed were limited to 25 km/h because the situation on bike tracks and in the streets have become far too dangerous.
 
Back