The E-Mountainbike revolution - BIONICON edison EVO "e-ram"
The E-Mountainbike revolution - BIONICON edison EVO "e-ram"
The lightest mountainbike center motor drive making you climb more - keeping your flow on the trails without compromise.
The lightest mountainbike center motor drive making you climb more - keeping your flow on the trails without compromise. Read more
Imagine you ride an amazing trail down a mountain ridge.
Now imagine you could get the same feeling uphill.
Mountainbiking - a story of compromises
As always in history of mountainbiking it is a story of compromises. Bikes that climb well had to be super light, feature poor suspension and lack durability when you take them into the rough terrain. And the ones which are made for the Trails and Downhills delivering the much desired flow, they are a "pain in the ass" to climb!
Recently the e-bike "tsunami" is sweeping across the bicycle world getting more and more people on bicycles - it is a positive tsunami in our eyes and we saw it coming around 7 years ago when the e-bike trend started to grow into a real business.
Conventional cycling wisdom
says that only the elders, girls and physical disabled should ride e-bikes... and they did so, enjoying the peaks in the mountains, getting addicted to this wonderful sport... like non e-bikers also do. In an industry which is ruled by male mechanical engineering it is no wonder that pride and fitness vanity is blocking a clear view on the upcoming potential, climb assisted bikes could have on mountainbiking.
When the climb is getting less of a pain it can become the greatest sport mankind ever created!
As the inventors of the famous BIONICON travel adjustment technology, we have designed, produced and sold mountainbikes for many years. We know our customers, we know the climbs near our office and around the world and we knew that we will not get a bike-park in the foreseeable future near our home base in the south of Munich.
So the only way to enjoy more trail time and make this beautiful sport more accessible for a wider audience would be a climb assisted mountainbike with a tiny engine hardly visible or feel-able. E-ram was born!
When you can't buy it you have to develop it!
As mountainbike developers we have a clear idea of what we wanted:
- The motor must be the lightest center motor on the market
- The motor must not cause any compromise in suspension design
- The motor must not cause any compromise in frame geometry
- The motor must be compatible with 2x front derailleurs
- The motor must completely disengage from the bicycle if not in use
- The motor unit must be easily replaceable with a standard crankset
- No proprietary mounting standards or interfaces
- The bike must feel and look the same on the trail with or without battery
- It should only provide as much power as a rider really needs
- No "range-anxiety" because even if you run out of "juice" it is still fun to ride home
What did the market offer?
When we started to think about e-ram in 2008, the E-bike market was city and road centered and still in hub-motor mode, which is an absolute no-go for mountainbikes. A 4 kg hub engine is a lot of inert mass and would never work with suspension. This is also the reason why nowadays hub motors are hardly seen in bikes which have suspension.
Luckily the market turned towards center motors, thanks to the excellent work of companies like Bosch, Panasonic and Co. They had the electro-mechanical know how to deliver reliable technology.
But these engines originated from the mindset of automotive and conventional bicycle companies which have not really been into mountainbiking and as a matter of fact could not see the potential which is ahead in this special segment of cycling. Not to talk about the fact that they were busy enough meeting the increasing demand of an exploding E-bike market.
In these early days we had countless meetings behind the scenes with most of the motor suppliers we know today. We tried to explain that mountainbikes might need a more lean and efficient drive concept, but understandably enough they could not buy into a rudimentary developed concept of e-ram created by a bunch of cycling nerds.
This understanding should change with Haibike introducing the first acceptable E-mountainbike at Eurobike 2011 based on an upside down mounted Bosch center motor engine. It created the awareness and produced a lot of smiles on people's faces who found mountainbiking to be a very exciting sport, once the pain of the climb is eased.
From there on the market moved according to the philosophy "A lot helps a lot", pushing the power and torque provided to the rider further and further into the sky. 300% support and up to 90Nm means you inevitably have to take more batteries with you, which will make your bike feel not as lively as you want it to be. Comparable bikes to the "BIONICON edison EVO e-ram 160mm" weigh 22kg as of today.
That does not mean we think the high power market will not have a future. We just think there will be plenty of room for our e-ram, something we call "super-charged mountainbiking". The people who look for the true original mountainbike feeling, or for those who tasted the sweet flavor of mountainbiking through their first E-MTB and now want to get a lighter bike.
Observing this new breed of mountainbike riders driven by the works of Bosch, our original guess was confirmed. People tend to use these bicycles as they always did ... as efficient as possible. Which means the majority of riders tend to chose "eco mode" most of the time, to overcome their range-anxiety, trying to save energy.
So why not design an engine from scratch, as small and as light as possible, around the "Eco-mode" segment.
e-ram - true innovation vs. newness
The biggest problem when starting a project like e-ram is to understand if there is something which could be used, modified and adapted to what we want to have, OR if you are facing a true innovation where it is hard to learn from others. If the latter one is the case one can talk about a true innovation which usually takes a very unpredictable path of trial and error - just because you can't ask people if they have done this already and naturally you have to make a lot of mistakes to learn from.
E-ram was such project and one of the reason why it took us 7 years and 7 versions to get to where we are today. Other reasons are the difficulties of keeping motivation among team members up and running especially when financial resources are getting scarce. This is becoming a "money-burning-machine" and one will find itself raising money trying to make it to the next step. Investors often lose faith because it is so hard to understand why things are unpredictable and not as written in the glossy business plans. So an incredible amount of patience and mental flexibility is needed to get through such projects and never think about the possibility that you might lose it all - just go ahead.
e-ram - the engine
Our engine is mountable on a standard 73mm BSA bottom bracket.
(This does not mean that it was designed to retro-fit every frame! Our strategy was to enable bicycle engineers and product managers to take existing well performing bikes, make minor changes to create necessary clearance and be able to offer a "super charged" mountainbike based on e-ram)
- Weight drive unit (w/o crank): 1.45 kg
- Weight crankset ( incl. axle & chainring): 0.85 kg
- Weight battery pack: 2.4 kg
- Motor data: 250 watt - max 60 Nm torque
- Voltage: 48V
e-ram - the battery
- Style: Backpack storage with protector padding
- Weight and size: 2.4 kg / 266mm x 200mm x 43mm
- Capacity: 48V / 5,8 Ah / 292 Wh
- Cell type: 14S2P Samsung 18650
- USB charging socket
- USB maintenance port
- ANT+ module (to receive speed sensor signal)
- BLE module (to connect to your smartphone APP)
- Communication over CAN
The battery pack is not a structural part of the bike frame, in order to avoid negative influence on the handling, suspension and appearance of the bike. Edison EVO e-ram can be ridden with or without motor, so following this logic it can also be ridden without battery. If we would have decided to go for a frame integrated solution, we would have had to give away this huge advantage, because you do not want to ride with a large hole in your bike frame.
The battery pack is designed to sit smoothly inside of the backpack distributing the 2.4 kg of weight evenly over your back and also acting as a protector in case you crash. You won't even notice it.
If you need power just plug onto the "magic-magnetic-socket" on the frame and after some seconds the bike will give you the expected support. If you unplug, the power is off and the motor disengages. If you crash with your bike the plug is torn off immediately. So lets say this is the best way to do an emergency shut down without having to use complicated software solutions.
Charging your phone
The backpack also contains a charging port to be able to fill some "juice" into your smartphone. We thought this is a useful thing to have if you are out in the trails and might need to make a call or check GPS data while running low on battery. I think we all know this problem of the 21st-smartphone century. Not to talk about the smartwatches;-)
Potential stretch goal:
We think that the backpack battery for this type of bike is an awesome solution. But we are also aware that some people might want to have a small interchangeable and frame mountable micro battery pack, perhaps only supplying half of the power at half of the weight. We like this idea very much too as we know from our test-rides, that such reduced energy source would absolutely be enough for a nice ride. If you need more you just bring a second one. Sounds all very easy, but needs a lot of thinking of how to cut the cost for electronics and finding a smart mounting solution for the frame. We have ideas (lots of them;-) but now we want to focus on what we offer here in this campaign first.
Motor, Electronics and Software - reduced to the essence
On the electronics side we work together with Emerge Engineering near Stuttgart. Tobias, the founder, is an experienced electronics engineer who is developing motor control solutions featuring the latest and most advanced control algorithms to power the heart of e-ram - the super-efficient TQ-Robodrive brush-less high-torque servo-motor. It is one of the motors with the highest energy density in the world, typically found in the aerospace or advanced robotics industry.
The electronics provide necessary connectivity in order to be able to do remote service if needed. The motor hardware is safely sealed inside of the motor housing. You can even take apart the gear without having to touch sensible electronics hardware.
Besides the core control program we decided to provide "one" rider mode only in the beginning, which features a climb oriented setup. Although we think this one mode is enough, later other modes can be updated and chosen through the Emerge smartphone APP, which connects through Bluetooth over CAN-bus with the motor electronics.
KEEP IN MIND: E-ram is made to operate entirely without any display or smartphone. Just switch on the battery once, go for a ride and when you need support... plug in. SIMPLE as THAT!
1. Poppy seed pastry voucher (by local pastry shop)
We will send you a postcard with this "yummy" poppy seed pastry pic and if you ever show up in our office you will get a nice cup of coffee and can grab this delicious sweet from the local bakery shop just handing out the post card. Perhaps you then can come up with an even better e-ram engine;-)
2. B-Labs "c.guide eco"________________________________________
For the small purse of our supporters one of the most useful things we have ever invented. The "c.guide eco" with 19 grams the lightest chain guide device on the market. Also a multiple award winner. Sometimes innovating can be very simple.
3. B-Labs "B-Rings" oval chain rings______________________________
Another award winner - beautifully CNC machined, anodized and laser etched - so beautiful you "wanna lick them";-) An integral part of every "edison EVO e-ram" to give you the final kick on the steepest climb. For the ones who cannot support us on a complete bike or engine, but want to get into the latest stuff of 1x11 drive train tech, this little oval beauties transform your cranks into damned cool and up to date stuff. You can chose between GXP, BB30 or RaceFace cinch featuring 28T, 30T, 32T 34T or 36 teeth.
4. BIONICON T-Shirts_________________________________________
What would a Kickstarter campaign be without a set of cool T-Shirts?... nothing of course!!! They come in black and bordeaux with three nice graphics.
5. e-ram and battery (complete set)____________________________
The regular price for one e-ram + battery pack is 1950,- EUR. Originally we did not plan to offer e-ram + battery as an isolated reward. But there are three reasons why we decided to do it:
- For the weak credit card owners: We know from past Kickstarter campaigns that credit card limits are a problem and if you have the cash but not a high enough limit to get the full blown "BIONICON edison EVO e-ram" on Kickstarter. You can support this reward only and we will grant you the right to buy the Edison Evo through our online shop on www.bionicon.com during the campaign period – killer price € 3,100 w/o crank !!!
- For the ones who own a BIONICON edison EVO already: There are many happy riders out there riding the latest EVOs and some of them have bought this bike just because they knew we will soon come up with e-ram. Order this reward on Kickstarter, bring in your bike and we are happy to install it for you on your Edison Evo free of charge.
- For the "Makers": Some people have bikes where it might fit or some other vehicles which might need an engine like this. We like everybody who is innovating and hacking things. So feel free to support us and have fun hacking e-ram.
6. BIONICON edison EVO e-ram - full blown
The bike only usually cost 3850,- EUR and the e-ram 1950,- EUR = 5800,- EUR
We will offer this full blown package to our premium backers for 4850,- EUR So this is 950,- EUR off the regular price. This is a deal you will never get again. Furthermore you will get once 10% on your next bike-purchase from BIONICON during the next 2 years.
Besides e-ram this bike comes in:
- Four colors (grey-yellow / red-grey / black-yellow / blank)
- 160mm or 180mm suspension on 27.5" wheels
- With or without BIONICON system
- 4 sizes (S / M / L / XL)
- For the "old-schoolers" we can even get you 26" wheels
They all cost the same and we will fix details with you in person after you have ordered. For more questions or extraordinary wishes which we try to fulfill just call us on +49 8022 660296
Prior shipping of bikes only: We will be able to ship edison EVOs dependent on color, size and spec before we will be able to provide the final e-ram unit. In this case we will ask for a little upcharge of 160,- EUR (regular retail approx. 250,- EUR) for the crankset incl. BB-shell which you can use instead of the e-ram engine. As we have learned this bike can ride with or without the engine and to sweeten your autumn days we thought this might be a nice idea for some of you.
We are not new to the business and are used to servicing complex products for many years. Our infrastructure is up and running and people who know BIONICON also know that we put a lot of work and passion in service and making our riders happy.
When it comes to warranty and guarantee of course we stick to what governments have thought up for our societies. This why we have laws in developed countries to regulate living and making business together.
E-ram is an advanced engineering project of B-Labs in cooperation with BIONICON as well as third party investors. B-Labs and BIONICON have both been founded by Andreas Felsl however the companies operate separately. BIONICON is focusing on building its core business of Mountainbikes from its headquarters at lake Tegernsee Germany, whereas B-Labs is focusing on advanced engineering in everything which has two wheels located in Biel Switzerland and Taiwan.
Main project partners:
Other partners (sorry we cannot list all of them because they are too many):
Risks and challenges
Like all product based Kickstarter campaigns, production delays and quality issues are our biggest challenge. We've been working on this project for around 7 years and have very good visibility of the performance requirements and the challenges we face during manufacturing.
The bicycle itself is a proven product running smoothly through our production channels for a while. The companies behind e-ram have complete infrastructure to develop, design, purchase and assemble bicycles and components for many years. As a matter of fact we can focus entirely on e-ram and its suppliers to assure quality levels.
The relation with our suppliers is intensive and established since many years. Should there be an issue we will communicate it immediately and adjust our fulfillment times if needed.
Our prototypes met our expectations and our main job is to assure quality standards of every component during the manufacturing process.
Keeping you informed is of outmost concern. Regular updates will be provided and questions answered in a timely manner.
If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to ask or call us.
Team "BIONICON edison EVO e-ram"
BIONICON GmbH | Wiesseer Str. 42 | 83700 Rottach Egern | Germany
Tel: +49 8022 660296
Fax: +49 8022 660297
For business (OEM) contact matters please contact with:
B-Labs SA | Fuchsenried 10 | 2504 Biel | Switzerland
Tel: +41 32 344 1666
Fax: +41 32 344 1667
- (36 days)