Just like it happens every year, the rite of Eurobike has been performed again on the shore of Constance Lake, in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Thousands of cycle enthusiasts, producers and sellers (not to mention the media) have gathered the admire the new models for 2016.
In a hyperconnected world such as ours, Eurobike’s importance is diminishing, in terms of getting the news out. Producers now prefer to organize their own shows during the summer, in order to get more attention from the media. Thi is why we already knew very well most of the new products on show at Eurobike. Even the biggest media teams get overwhelmed by the wealth of material to be published during Eurobike, and therefore the attention of the public is spread along many issues. We at the Ebikeportal prefer not to rush into publishing ANYTHING that we stumble upon. We may be late, but here you will find only the best and most interesting stuff come out of Eurobike for what concerns ebikes.
This edition of Eurobike has been a little different from the ones we saw during the last few years. This time there was no “big” trend concerning ebikes. The trends of e-mtbs or fat ebikes has continued, but there was no new big trend to talk about. Some 27,5 Plus e-mtbs were present at the show, but not in the scale we saw for other trends in previous occasions.
This lack of revolutionary news is not bad. On the contrary, it shows that the product “ebike” is now mature, and only small but constant adjustements are now needed. Slowly but inevitably the market is going towards high-quality central motors, always getting smaller and more silent; batteries are more and more integrated within the frame, so much so that it is almost becoming difficult, at first view, to tell an ebike from a normal bike. Last but not least, more and more people (especially in Europe) acknowledge the importance of ebikes as transportation, especially if they take the place of a second car or a scooter.
We think that the future will see a consolidation of the market; many small producers with medium to low quality ebikes will disappear, leaving the market to an oligopoly of big producers, complemented by many high-quality niche producers; a bit like how it is in the car sector. From a more technical point of view, another future trend is the greater implementation of automatic gear change systems.
Here are the most interesting ebike models seen at Eurobike 2015:
Wallerang M.01, a modular Smartbike from Scandinavia
It’s a simple and functional city ebike. It is called modular for the ease with which it is possible to mount or dismount the front and rear racks, adapting the bike to one’s needs. It’s an interesting bike for urban commuters who regularly practice cycle tourism. When you are riding in the city, you can leave just the front rack on, for a small bag where you can carry what you need for the day, having it always in front of you while riding. If you decide to go touring somewhere, even “last minute”, you can quickly add the rear rack to load everything you need. This is the reason why it has been awarded a Eurobike Award.
Of course, you can do the same on a normal bike as well, but the Wallerang M.01 simplifies and speeds up these operations; if what we have just described is your typical use of an ebike, this could be the right one for you.
As for the electrical components, this smartbike is based on the Shimano STEPS system. As we know, this is meant exactly for an urban or touring use, and less for off-road use. All the other choices made for this ebike are consistent with this usage (urban and touring).
According to Wallerang, their ebikes are hand-made in Goteborg, Sweden. Pictures are taken from the website of the producer, linked above.
Compact ebike Winora Radius
Those who follow us regularly know that we like compact ebikes very much. Adding a motor to an ebike changes its characteristics and its driving style, and what is valid for normal bikes is not valid on ebikes. Let us explain.
We think that a 20″ ebike is the perfect vehicle to pedal within the city. Small tyres makes it agile to drive and easy to park; because it is compact, it suffers less from one of the defects of ebikes: the weight. Moreover, the lesser efficiency of 20″ tyres is compensated by the electrical assistance. One of the ebikes that we liked the best, among those that we tested, was the Uualk Air, exactly for its agility and reactivity (thanks to the torque sensor as well), which helps to move among the obstacles of the urban jungle.
This is why we would like to try first-hand one of the ebikes that received an Eurobike Gold Award, the Winora Radius. It’s a compact ebike, with 20″ wheels; tyres are particularly “fat” (Schwalbe Big Ben) to compensate for the lack of a suspension fork. The Yamaha central motor (36V 250W), with a 400Wh battery on the down tube, helps to keep the weight balanced. The torque sensor is a guarantee of a speedy start and a natural feel. The “handle” in the frame helps to carry the bike up some stairs. The transmission is based on a belt drive, with a 8-speeds hub gear.
We don’t like the choice of having hydraulic disc brakes. They may make sense on a speed-ebike (the models that go up to 45 km/h), but for the standard version used at 25 km/h mechanical disc brakes would have more than enough stopping power, and would require less maintenance.
The bike is available in four versions. The one that we like the most is the “tour” version, with mud guards and a rear rack, to make the bike even more functional; it is the version seen in the picture above; it weighs 22,3kg, and costs 2500€. Below you see the “plain” version: 19,7 kg and 2200€.
Flyer TX-Series 7.0, a full-suspended touring ebike
This ebike can seem, at a first look, not particularly innovative: this Flyer TX-Series 7.0 is in fact a good versatile ebike, designed for a mixed urband and touring use, with a central Bosch motor and high-quality components. But, if you look closer, you can note that this bike not only has a suspended fork, but also a rear shock, something which is usually reserved to mountain bikes. This is the detail for which this bike has received an Awards, and also for the fact that it is in general a high-quality bike. Let’s make it clear from the beginning that mounting a rear shock on a bike of this kind is not a choice that fully convinces us.
A rear shock has some pros and cons: on the one hand it makes the bike more comfortable to ride, and helps the rear wheel to always be in contact with the terrain. On the other hand, however, it makes the pedalling less efficient, and it makes the bike weigh more. We are the first to believe that adding a motor on a bike makes it possible to completely rethink the design of a bike, and so we thing that mounting a suspended fork can make more sense on an ebike than on a “normal” bike: the assistance of the motor makes it possible to compensate the higher weight and the inefficiency. Adding also a rear shock for a bike which will after all be mostly used on asphalt or on easy unpaved roads is maybe a bit too much. Moreover, the presence of the rear shock may make some people go beyond their technical skills, without realizing that their bike is still very different from a mountain bike.
Anyway, it’s good to have more choice, so that anyone can choose the bike that he or she prefers. This bike can after all be useful to those who ride often both on asphalt and on bumpy tracks, or to those who suffer from back pain and therefore want the most shock absorption. The important things is that everybody is aware of the pros and cons of their bike.
This ebike has a price of 4299 for the 7.0 version to 4799 for the 7.70 version (with better transmission, brakes, fork and rear shock). The motor is a Bosch Performance (36V 250W) limited to 25 km/h, powered by a 400Wh battery (add 200€ for the new 500Wh battery, which we recommend).
For more details you can consult the Flyer website, from where we have taken the pictures that you can see here.
BESV JS-1 ebike
It’s an interesting city ebike with a rear hub motor. Both the battery and the display are integrated within the top tube. The ebike has a torque sensor (as happens with the Bosch and Yamaha systems) which make for a more natural feeling.
Display and control for ebikes BLOKS. remote 14d
This is a very small display to be used on ebikes. It has two buttons on the side, to activate the motor and the lights of the bike. The unit is slightly curved to better match the profile of the handlebars. The display is a monochromatic LCD: simple and probably very well visible in broad daylight. The BLOKS website is very short of news, and it is not clear which ebikes this should be compatible with.
Touring ebike Riese & Müller CHARGER GX Rohloff
This is a touring ebike, robust and versatile, with a front rack. It has a belt drive and a Rohloff 14-speed hub gear. It also has mtb-style tyres to ride almost anywhere, thanks also to the Bosch motor of course.
COBOC Commuter Bike
This is a nice ebike, made to travel within the city. The battery integrated within the frame, and a very small rear hub motor, make it difficult for an untrained eye to understand that this is an ebike. Only 15,4 kg.
An ebike designed and built in Italy. We had already seen it at Eurobike 2014. Particularly interesting is the 8-speed electronic sequential gear, the central motor, and a modern and clean design.
Specialized Turbo Levo FSR
We have already talked about it a few weeks ago. The e-mtb presented by Specialized has won a Gold Award. For more information please refer to this article.
Haibike SDURO HardFour RX
An e-mtb for children, with 24″ wheels, and a 250W Yamaha motor.