Help me design an e-bike for urban commuting


New Member
Hi, my name is William and I’m an industrial design student from Lund, Sweden. In my ongoing project I’m designing an e-bike for urban commuting with the focus on bike safety. Do any of you commute in the city and how to you lock up your bike? Just with locks or do you bring the battery and other components with you when leaving the bike outside? Do you feel like the bike is safe when you leave it? Other things I should think about? Any comments are welcome to help my project move forward. Thanks!
Security and safety are great to think about.

I use a Kryptonite u lock, but wish the storage clamp was more secure. A bike frame with a built in mount would be awesome but more importantly I wish I had a rear wheel lock on my Surface604 Rook. Nobody makes one to accommodate wider fenders like my 3"ers.

Now on safety, I LOVE the lighting integration on the Smartmotion Pacer. Give me five years and I'll be buying hat bike! The back lighting and down lighting made possible by led strips, large capacity bike batteries and Bluetooth are unlimited.

There was recently a bike reviewed that wouldn't let you start the bike without an rfid tap to the bike computer. If someone took this further and had it unlock a frame lock on the back wheel, security would be pretty solid in conjunction with a solid ulock.

I'm brainstorming. Anybody else have a ebike they covet and a reason why?
Hi William, I have warm memories of Lund having worked on a project with Tetrapak for two years. Fun times and great people there. But I never drove an EPA tractor . Here are some thoughts for your project.

1) Multiple.locking mechanisms. Thieves can defeat any lock, but two or more requires more time and having different tools. Cafe lock is helpful for quick stops. Movement alarm also activated.

2) Fixed seat post, quick release seat. Like a click lock. Once my seat post is set, I dont change it. Often seats on posts are stolen, I think only to vandalize the bike. I never understood quick release post clamps unless transporting the bike inside a car. I don't change seats once set up. But a removable seat has smaller profile to put in backpack that a seat with post.

3) Battery portability probably depends on commuting distance. Longer suggests charging at place of work for return trip. If shorter I'd prefer to leave the battery on the bike but high cost and theft is worrisome. A secure battery would help but thieves or vandals need deterrents. Chipping the battery to only work on my bike would be helpful. A high voltage discharge when tampered by vandals would be satisfying except for liability. Perhaps a permanent tamper dye released on vandal's hands, like some fire alarm switches, would deter or identify the culprit. Defeated by gloves. Oh well. Maybe a handlebar spray?

4) GPS tracking is a nice feature but adds monthly fees. I like Tile product, but it requires critical mass of users. Maybe a bike industry standard to help build the network.

5) Bike lockers. If I mostly ride to same work location, then bike lockers make a lot of sense since the bike is totally enclosed. These already exist, but requires big investment on site. Perhaps a better locking rack can be designed for universal ebike compatibility. Similar to bike share racks but capable of locking multiple types of bikes. Your bike design might provide the compatibility feature. I seem to recall a bike rack design already made like this.

6) Northern climates with early darkness means better visibility. Not sure you're looking at Safety of rider with your project but ebike come with USB connectors. New lighting systems like Nori Lights would be great. If hard wired, they could use different LED color, or visual alarm that bike is stolen.

Hope this helps. Bike thieves are so immoral. Unfortunately the legal system goes easy on them. I think I will write to Trump!
Locks and disabling devices are more about security than safety? Safety in regards to an e bike is more about the security of the rider.

To that end I hope that your bike design includes a lighting package that includes head, tail, brake and signal lights that can operate off the system. Include a rear view mirror/camera and a sound signaling device too. For road use this equipment is universally understood and in fact required primarily as a safety measure.

You might consider a tubeless tyre/rim system as they can provide a more compliant ride via using a lower bar and also improve flat protection via the sealant. Provide a rack system for carrying things with an eye toward even weight distribution to keep your bike safe to ride. Use a future proof battery that can be easily rebuilt or recycled when depleted not dependent on proprietary components. The same goes for the motor and all electronics, if they are easily serviceable/upgradeable in the future it will mean less cost in the long run. Do whatever you can do to make the bike as reliable as possible for its intended purpose and don't go too far design wise beyond what is already the accepted model structure in your country today.

My input regarding security would be to build in an alarm that makes a very loud and obnoxious noise if the bike is disturbed for more than 10 seconds and notifies your phone when it goes off and can also track via gps.

Good luck with your project and keep us posted as to your progression if you will.