New design for E-bikes: Compact, stylish and elegantly integrated
The next generation of e-bikes gets in starting position at the Eurobike in Friedrichshafen
Friedrichshafen - The e-bike euphoria among German cyclists continues, despite rather difficult conditions in the bicycle market this year caused by unfavorable weather. The ZIV, the German bicycle industry association, estimates that consumers will take home approximately 450 000 e-bikes by the yearís end. This reflects an increase in the size of the market by 70 000 e-bikes over the previous year. The industry is now eagerly looking forward to the e-bike marketís new 2014 models, which will be on display at the Eurobike in Friedrichshafen (August 28 to 31). Market observers expect that the leading bicycle trade show will showcase significant leaps in development by e-bike drive manufacturers.
Some things just take a little bit longer to truly become successful. This is certainly the case for the e-bike market. Some e-bike pioneers, such as the Swiss manufacturer Biketec Flyer and the Japanese technology conglomerate Yamaha, introduced market-ready e-bikes as early as in the late 1990ís. But it would take more than a decade until the bike with a motor was discovered as an attractive type of bike well-suited to everyday and leisure use. Since then, the market has only moved in one direction: straight up. Even the current year is no exception.
In the meantime, the manufacturers of drive components are already working on the next generation of e-bikes. One is the Canadian company BionX, which was a leading supplier of components, especially in the early phase of the e-bike boom. Now, the new generation of BionX models is intended to put the company back in the race - and chances look good. With its completely silent operation and the powerful support provided by the motor, BionXís rear wheel drive still has many fans among e-bikers. In 2014 it will be accompanied by a new battery, which, with more powerful cells and a redesigned battery management system, is intended to provide both long range (up to 135 km/84 miles) and high reliability. In next yearís models, the BionX drive will be used by bike manufacturers especially for particularly sporty e-bike models - such as the e-bike made by Austrian market leader KTM, whose new model combines the BionX drive with racing bike features.
The Japanese electronics company Panasonic is another prominent name among e-bike manufacturers and recently combined its e-bike and battery components with those of its former competitor Sanyo. The result is a comprehensive update of the Panasonicís economically successful central motor, which, with its harmonic power delivery, is seen by many market players as the ideal solution for comfort-oriented
e-bikes. For 2014, the Panasonic engineers have worked particularly hard on the size of their e-bike components. The result is a new generation of motors which are more compact and can be integrated into the e-bike more elegantly.
While Panasonic and BionX, both well-known component suppliers, are giving observers a peek at their cards heading up to the Eurobike, Bosch is still keeping its hand close to its chest as far as the 2014 model year is concerned. Since entering the market two years ago with its Reutlingen-based e-bikes division, the international supplier of electric components has established itself as the market leader in the premium segment. Now the time is ripe for a comprehensive update. Among market circles it is already known that Bosch is planning to introduce a new generation of motors in 2014 which will be capable of being integrated much more elegantly into e-bike designs than its predecessors.
However, one factor which is significant in the development of the e-bike market is determined by lawmakers. They have laid down regulations that determine when an e-bike is to be considered a bicycle, which in turn grants it certain privileges. In Germany, there have been two important legislative changes this year which have benefited e-bikes. In June, the German parliament decided that bikes may be equipped with walk assist functions without losing their legal status as bicycles. Also, just a few days ago, it also became public that German regulations will now permit bicycle lights to be powered by batteries. Until now, e-bikes had to be equipped with a classic generator to power their lights.
The Eurobike will be open to trade visitors from Wednesday, August 28, to Friday, August 30, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and to the general public on Saturday, August 31, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. More information is available at: www.eurobike-show.com
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