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Future E Bike Technology Part 2 | Are Lightweight Electric Mountain Bikes The Future?

We’re back with more in-depth discussion from some of the industry-leading brands and creative folk in charge of E-bike development with another look at what the future of electric Mountain Bikes has in store. This time, we’re focusing the conversation more on what bike weight and if there will be a definitive difference between categories of E-bikes in the future. Will the cycling industry be pursuing the split model we see now, of lighter, less powerful E mountain bikes alongside heavier, ‘full-fat’ bikes with more torque and long-range batteries? Let’s find out…

Many people think that the future of e-mountain biking will be modeled on the previous mountain bike one and i disagree with that i think e-mountain biking offers so many more opportunities i mean let’s face it what has actually happened to mountain biking in 20 years we’ve got more plastic less metal more travel less weight less cogs more cogs meal size changes

And seat droppers no e-mountain biking has happened and what was it that rob warner said they are literally the best thing to happen to mountain biking since mountain bike and i stand by that let’s begin then by considering that this is the picture that most of us are confronted with when we’re looking at the web pages of most brands websites e-mountain biking

Is no longer a sub-category for many brands it’s actually right there in the thick of it i mean look at these two bikes they’re pretty much identical three kilos difference in weight but a whole world of difference in performance so the first question we have to ask ourselves is how far will these bikes merge in the years to come will they even become one i

Think everything is going to get smaller i think all bikes are going to have some form of electrical capabilities in 10 years i think there’s going to be some aspect of assist or some aspect of electronic motor enhancement in all bikes in 10 years let’s get something straight if you weigh 90 kilos and we’ve got a five kilo backpack and are covered in mud then

A two kilo weight saving on your e-mountain bike ain’t gonna make much difference however weight will be a card that the mountain bike industry deal us into the future and beyond where are we at with the mid travel e-mountain bike is is there loads more to to figure out and understand with them yeah loads more i think especially when it comes to it’s kind of

Dependent on the supply chain and the technology like i think the big enough innovations will not necessarily come from the manufacturers it will come from the suppliers so the big innovation will come from you know battery suppliers if they can somehow make the batteries more condensed more powerful and lighter like that would be a huge jump for e-mountain

Bikes because everybody wants to have bigger batteries but everybody also wants to have lighter bikes and you cannot have both you know so which one do you do currently they’re making bigger batteries instead of lighter bikes some manufacturers they make super like high-end models which are getting pretty light but in the middle of the market the bikes are

Getting heavier and heavier and heavier because the batteries are getting bigger and bigger now many people want their emtb’s to weigh like mountain bikes which is actually quite a good thing but it can be overplayed because let’s face it emtbs are actually different tools now weight is a driving force in the industry a gram saving here a gram saving there but

Ultimately a lot of people miss the point in that weight is actually an important part of the control of your bike let’s have a look at the case example now turn the clock back to 2008 and trek’s new session downhill bike which went through many prototypes one in particular which i rode tipped the scales at just over 30 pounds it was 200 millimeter travel and a

Bike that was sub 14 kilos the bike was incredible it was like no other downhill bike but in reality it was a proper handful in downhill situations it was almost too light too prone to get bounced offline in nasty places so i’m wondering how much lighter will future e-mountain bikes be well i don’t really think that the weight of the frame and the components

Will change that much however the motor and the battery certainly will now if we look at downhill bikes many people agree that they should weigh between 14 and 16 kilos and if you look at a enduro style bike now i’m talking uh standard mountain bikes here not e-mountain bikes most people think that enduro bikes should weigh around 14 kilos and i don’t think

That it’s out to the question to think that high torque long range e-mountain bikes of the immediate future will probably weigh in around 18 to 20 kilos i would say right now everyone has learned how to use the given norms regulations and specifications to the best which means the limitation that we have in maximum power in wattage and all the tests that we

Have to fulfill to be compliant i think everyone knows how to balance with that and and customers are asking for a lot of talk for for that support and talk means energy you need to get out of the battery and that means if you want to have range means weight in the battery and with that i would say in the past two to three years also with the integration

Of the batteries into the down tube the bikes get too heavy and i think you saw this from 21 to 23 now some bikes have 25 kilograms that’s just too much and i think we we have to find a way to gather the system uh suppliers and uh and the bike manufacturers to bring this performance that we have in the cx with a good battery in the range of 20 21 maximum 22

Kilogram and if you want to go below that then you really have to do something to reduce maximum torque maximum power and also maximum capacity but otherwise you cannot scale down the weight of the bike without that rate of scaling down uh power and and and capacity and then i would say you are in a different in a different segment and there are a couple of

Systems out there who generate or create i would say not trying to create a new new segment that’s small right now um but i think it has the potential to attract new customer base yes as klaus mentioned the battery will have a significant impact in the future both in its physical size and also in its capacity in watt hours now that will probably allow some brands

To make lighter bikes uh with long range two but i don’t think it’s out of the question to think that in the immediate future we’re going to be seeing uh 20 kilo high torque bikes with a thousand watt hour batteries and also lighter 16 kilo bikes with lower torque weighing in about 16 kilos i think that is on the immediate horizon and i think we’re going to

See the evolution of e-bikes continue to get into two camps in my mind as one is going to be the big battery big motor kind of go anywhere lots of power more and i would say directed towards a recreational experience and then there’s going to be the smaller bikes with the lighter weight that’s going to get comparable to current lights which will be more of

An assist mode which gives it a more kind of natural experience and that’s going to bring in a larger crowd of the naysayers over the next few years and that’s that’s going to kind of i don’t think the big big motor big battery systems are going to go away i think they’re going to find their place and then there’s going to be the small battery smaller motor

Lighter weight systems that are going to have a different spot in the in kind of the market and that small motor small battery stuff will eventually i think trickle into everything how important is it that we don’t get carried away with making bikes that are super light because what i’m trying to say is you can you can lose some of the the characteristics

Which make them special with make them special as we learned them as e-bikes but on the other hand i think those minimal assist bikes or compact assist bikes they are bringing back that bike feeling what we learned over the last i don’t know how many years and so i think there’s a clear need not 15 years out but for sure within the next couple of years um

To to learn about both categories i think they’re clearly a demand for both bikes and as for sure i see their clearly for high um high torque bikes also benefit um having them at 21 kilos 20 kilograms um absolutely agree i think also here there’s a certain line which we should not uh go above like 25 or 27 kilogram high torque bikes i don’t like them um maybe

Customers or riders out them and and benefiting from from those more more heavy bikes i think for high torque bikes 20 21 kilograms is a pretty pretty good deal um but why not having an compact assisted bike at 16 kilograms and having again a bike which feels pretty pretty um neutral and pretty yeah pretty much the same as we experienced over the last 20 years

With regular bikes we now have two power category with the low power motor and the full power motor it’s going to be really exciting of how they developed is it a one-to-one is it is one taking off is the other one we have no idea uh i would i would hope it’s 50 50. um that would be fun um there is uh in terms of battery and range there is certainly way more

Digital tools coming in terms of better planning because a lot of the range anxiety comes from not you don’t have enough power it’s like you don’t know how to use the right modes to get you home like we’ve even in 2015 when we launched libro not only we had the full on integrated everything on the launch date we had smart control already you turn it on and

You just say i want to write for two hours and this thing does its job for two hours um i hope in 10 years from now we have smart control 7.0 or maybe 7.3 and actually i know we will because to me route planning energy consumption planning etc this is all something that has a significant impact on how people use the bike because nobody needs 1 500 watt hours

In the downtube people just want to ride for three to four hours and it doesn’t matter if you go uphill with 11 or 12 kilometers an hour it doesn’t matter at all all you want to do you want to ride for three four hours um you want to have a decent amount of assist and you don’t want to run out of juice pair that with a really fun mountain bike that doesn’t

Fail that always functions and pair that with some smartness that gets you home that’s pretty badass so yes as john riley of trek says that we’re seeing a split into two camps and we’re already seeing this with lapierre or bayer specialized but given that the lighter bike will do the same distance as the heavier bike but the heavier bike will climb stronger

And arguably descend quicker what type of bikes will people be buying range and battery capacity will be a big discussion the bikes will be available for sure but it’ll be up to you what type of rider you are a lot of the sl development came through test riding levos in using the mission control app to basically shrink the power to a certain amount of power

We believe that’s just the right amount of power and then based off that we basically measured the bikes and measured how much electricity are we using over one of our average rides we do and then we knew exactly how big the battery needs to be so we had like that mindset goal that we needed the range right we didn’t want to cut short on range and not cutting

Short on range means you really have to know how much electricity are you burning at what efficiency and that was basically most of the time we would just argue on that project is how big does the battery need to be that was number one number one argument on the sl some guys believed it can be much smaller than two days others had wanted it to be bigger and

Then what we i think what we ended up with is actually pretty nice with the 320 gives you the range you need and you have a range extender on top a big question on people’s minds at the minute and what people are asking is that if bikes such as the levo sl and or bay rise weigh around 17 kilos can they be made with more torque well probably after all the

Ep8 rs in the rise is an ep8 at the end of the day so 16 to 17 kilo e-bikes are a real possibility but currently only with less power adding torque will drain those little batteries but what if what if you could have a 16 kilo bike with range and torque nevertheless the issue of weight will continue to be a big subject and going back to that orbear now they

Say the weight was achieved 16 kilos because of less torque in the motor and hence they were able to use standard mounted bike parts now i guess you could argue that the difference between 100 kilo rider and a 60 kilo one riding that very same bike will have a big impact on reliability and talking through the system the same is they need to increase the the

Maximum weight restrictions for the bike so that means you need to increase the wall thickness on the frames you need to make everything bigger so if you ask like um the sales guys what does the customer want would they rather have a lighter bike or they rather have a um you know a higher max weight limit they would take the max weight limit any day of the

Week because the average customer 80 or 90 of the customers they probably weigh 80 90 100 110 120 kilograms once they’ve got their you know their buck sacks on and their all their gear and for sure over the weight limit so you know you have to take into consideration that it’s also from a liability perspective high bike and other manufacturers they need to

Increase their maximum weight limit at that moab event all of you all of the journalists they really said you know hey guys so so what do you like what you don’t like right be honest then everybody was like oh man it’s a little heavy if you could only if we could only trade like you know 10 pounds for turbo mode you know could we just trade turbo with weight like

I don’t think we need turbo mode but at that time in moab we were in deep development of dsl so in 2015 we had renders drawings technical specifications everything ready and we’re launching the first gen levo but in our mindset we were actually thinking as cell and then basically you second the whole the whole group of of writers their second our belief that

We believe there’s there’s room for a lightweight less less powerful more handling machine it’s nice the e-bikes are inclusive and this is one of the things i love about e-bikes as opposed to just you know pure trail bikes without a motor because anybody can get onto an e-bike and get out get some fresh air and start getting fitter and healthier and improving

Their lifestyle and improving their longevity in life like people will live longer when they exercise more they’ll drop their weight they’ll they want to get better as riders they want to progress so i see it as a really good thing to get more people onto bikes irrespective of what they weigh or you know what shape they’re in because it will be the start of a

Journey that will you know take them years and maybe even become a passion most likely if they if the bikes are you know as good as they are now like it’s hard not to fall in love with the sport wow all this focus on performance when ultimately the rider weight is very very key so the bottom line is that the system weight including the bike and the rider is

Going to have a bigger impact on the performance especially the range and the speed uphill than the bike itself so for the non-competitive e-mountain biker uh the human element is actually more important than the bike it seems we are building emtb’s lighter to make them more like empty bees whereas maybe we should be looking at making them the right weight

To make them better emtbs but still i think a 20 kilo bike 180 mil travel with a rangy battery and plenty of torque is still a bloody good proposition

Transcribed from video
Future E Bike Technology Part 2 | Are Lightweight Electric Mountain Bikes The Future? By Electric Mountain Bike Network