Stepless Transmission Makes a Revolutionary Ride-experience

Almost since the advent of a modern bicycle, the stepless transmissions – and internal gearing solutions in general – have been the subject of plenty of discussions. Until now, the practical applications have been far, and between which is related to the criterions bicycles pose the gearing system used.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the challenges the bicycle gearing systems impose to the design, and most importantly, the practical implications of the stepless transmission which the Revonte ONE Drive System enables. Hold on tight and enjoy!

Bicycle Drivetrain

“If it would be easy, everybody would be doing it.”

This certainly holds for designing bicycle drivetrains since coming up with a good, and most importantly, an applicable solution is a tricky proposition. Since bicycles are (mostly) human-powered, a high degree of efficiency is of the essence. The oat-powered combustion engines, also known as humans, do not produce watts to spare. Therefore, high efficiency is needed to keep the bike moving in an efficient manner.

Not only that, there’s a weight limit – at least theoretically. Cyclists are notorious when it comes to making their vehicles lighter, and therefore anything that adds even a bit of weight to the bike is at least initially met with a cringe, even though the benefits would be otherwise clear. 

By now it comes quite evident why bicycle drivetrains have remained relatively unchanged for a long period. As the saying goes: long-lasting, lightweight, and cheap – pick any two. 

That is until now, however. The Revonte ONE Drive System is about to change that. with its ingenious design which combines a robust mechanical design and sophisticated control software all in the same package. To get an idea what the former looks like, refer to the previously published article at Pinkbike.

Pinkbike.com – A Look Inside the Automatic and Stepless Revonte ONE Drive E-Mtb System. 

The Human Element

Cadence is the speed of which the rider spins the pedals, and therefore the cranks attached to them. Cadence is quantified with rotations per minute, rpm’s for short. If the rider spins the pedals 80 times a minute, that would give a cadence of 80rpm and so forth.   

A lot of testing, spreadsheets, and sweat has gone into finding the optimum cadence when it comes to power production and efficiency. To make the (very) long story short, no perfect cadence exists. Instead, there’s a range in which the majority of the riders fall. Oftentimes the optimal range falls between 80-90rpm. Individual differences play a role as does riding experience; more experienced riders tend to favour slightly higher cadences. The preferred cadence is also task-dependent; riding on a steady pace is another matter compared to an all-out sprint.   

The most-honed pedalling motion has even a dedicated word for it – souplesse.

Riding with Indexed Gears

Anyone who has thrown their leg over a bicycle knows that keeping the pedals spinning close to optimal cadence is the ticket for enjoyable ride-experience and efficient locomotion. The optimal cadence range is largely determined by the function of the nervous system and the force-velocity relationship of the muscles involved. As anyone can surely attest, producing a good amount of force against the pedals gets quite challenging, especially if done for long periods of time. 

With traditional gearing, the rider goes through the gears to stay in her or his optimal or preferred cadence range. When accelerating, the rider goes through the gears since there’s a feeling of “spinning out”. An analogy of a traditional car isn’t far off. When accelerating after a stop in traffic lights, one needs to go into 2nd gear, then 3rd etc., to not to rev out the engine. 

The Stepless Revolution

The ingenious design of the Revonte ONE Drive System turns the ride-experience nearly upside down – and in a good way! When accelerating with traditional gears, the cadence starts from zero and increases to the riders preferred range which is followed by going through the gears in a step by step fashion.

With the Revonte ONE Drive System, the rider reaches the preferred cadence sooner, and can simply hold it almost independently to the speed of the bike. Riding has never been so easy – just pedal and ride! A schematic photo below illustrates the differences between the traditional gears and the Revonte ONE Drive System of which function is illustrated by the slashed line.

A schematic illustration about the differences between indexed and steeples gearing.

Configurable by Software

The goodness does not end here. Besides the sturdy and enclosed mechanical design of the Revonte ONE Drive System, the assistant characteristics and therefore the ride-experience can be tailored according to the type of the bike by the manufacturer, and later by the end-user, meaning the owner of the bike.

Cadence, which has been mentioned several times already, is just one of the many variables that can be tailored via our mobile application. 

Do you want your e-bike to behave like a sports car with poppy acceleration? No problem, it can be done. Or do you prefer to have a more mild-mannered bike which adjusts to the changing situations more calmly? That’s on the menu as well. On top of these, the Revonte ONE Drive System can be set emulate a traditional indexed-shifting mode as well if that’s preferred in certain situations. 

Advanced mechanical and software engineering are combined in the Revonte ONE Drive System, which brings a ride-experience with unprecedented features. 

Cargo E-bikes – What It Takes to Be a Winner?

On our previous post, we took a look into EAV and their vast range of cargo e-bikes. We are especially excited to be partnering with a company who shares the same forward-thinking philosophy as us, and that they’re quickly established the pioneer status of the rapidly growing cargo e-bike segment.

In this post, we take a look at what it takes to build a market-leading cargo e-bike and what demands it poses to the drive system.

Metrics Matter

The cargo e-bikes can be considered as a high-performance sector, even though this might not sound intuitive. Moving heavy payloads, and accelerating up steep inclines poses great demands on the drive unit. Even though Revonte ONE Drive System has a lot more going on than just performance metrics, it has plenty of brawn in the form of high torque and peak power to back up the promises. 

See a practical demonstration of the torque capabilities in our recent video.

To power a cargo e-bike, not to mention a heavily loaded one, an ample amount of torque is needed. The ease of use is maximized by our unique stepless and automatic assist mode – no need to change gears, just pedal and enjoy the ride!

Go the Distance

The demands of high torque situations and appreciable payloads come with a cost, and the currency in question is energy. In order to have a respectable range and a battery life which covers an entire workday, we’ve developed the Revonte AKKU – the most versatile e-bike battery in the market.

By using the latest 21700 Li-ion cells the AKKU offers excellent energy storage capabilities, high outputs to power even the most demanding situations, fast charging and long life. The AKKU was developed in collaboration with Akku Vision GmbH, a leader in battery development from Germany. 

Two models will be available: AKKU 5 and AKKU 7. The former has the capacity of 530Wh, and the latter 705Wh, respectively. Different capacities are provided to meet every price point and need in the market. Despite the different capacities, both models share the same physical dimensions, making them interchangeable. 

What makes AKKU a true powerhouse in cargo e-bike use is its unique Smart Connection feature which makes it possible to connect up to four AKKU’s in parallel, therefore giving a combined capacity of over 2.8kWh. Smart Connection function has the flexibility to the extent that it can be used with AKKU’s of different capacities, and charge states. All this can be done without any additional devices or electronics, thanks to the smart in-built battery management system AKKU has.

Special Requirements 

EAV has its finger on the pulse when it comes to the requirements specified from the industry – and by this, we mean some of the biggest players in the world of logistics. It goes without saying that we’ve listened carefully what they have to say.

Cargo tracking and inventory requires a high level of connectivity. We have met this criterion from the start since our drive unit has in-built 4G, GPS and Bluetooth. Whatever the task, provided the relevant software architecture exists, our drive system can log, track or sort it. 

Remote diagnostics is another feature we’ve had on our spec list from the start. Thanks to the powerful software humming inside the Revonte ONE Drive System it has more than adequate capabilities to recognize and communicate any detected problems to the user and further up the chain if needed.

Consider the End-user

When designing a product, it is imperative to consider the requirements posed by all parties in the chain: manufacturer, customer, and end-user. As can be seen from the broad range of EAV’s fleet, their products are directed mostly to professional use. When it comes to commercial applications, especially in the field of logistics, the three things surface themselves time and time again. 

Efficiency, reliability, and sustainability.

Since energy stores are finite (applies to both; battery and the rider), the drive system needs to highly efficient to prevail in the competitive market. Reliability is nearly self-explanatory; non-moving cargo e-bike does not transport any goods and is more of a liability instead of an asset, which holds true to any type of vehicle used in logistics.

The highly configurable nature and the fact that the Revonte ONE Drive System is compatible with any type of bike with no variations in hardware makes it a winning choice for cargo e-bikes. Our partnership with EAV will be a testament to that. 

Meet EAV – The Leader of Cargo E-bike Development

As you might remember from our previous press release, we have partnered with EAV who is the leading the development in the field of cargo e-bikes, and some might say that even in logistics. EAV shares the same forward-thinking ethos as we do which becomes obvious by just looking their lineup. Since the whole cargo e-bike sector is undergoing rapid growth and development we found it timely to introduce EAV in a more detailed manner.

The Missing Link

Humans have always had the need to move and transport goods since the origin of trade. The means of transport have improved greatly, from donkeys to locomotives and delivery trucks. Despite the great progress, there are still big challenges to solve. Interestingly, the weakest link in the logistic chain is the very final one, the last mile. This is especially true in modern urban environments which are densely populated, often overly built up, and therefore difficult to navigate through. Couple that with the notion that not too many people want to have a semi-truck stopping at their doorstep with the accompanying diesel fumes.

The logistical chain is not complete yet and it needs to reinvent itself and do so fast. EAV is here to fulfil that need.

Filling the Void

As you have learned the missing link in the logistics chain creates a void in the market. Considering the size of the global logistics industry, the void can be described simply as massive. EAV is filling this need with their innovative and eye-catching design, aiming to become the complete provider of sustainable urban transport. 

EAV has designed and engineered e-cargo bikes from a van down, rather than from a bike up! The electrical assistance enables the rider to effortlessly with a 150kg payload, without impending the ride characteristics. EAV has taken advantage of the torque and peak power that the Revonte ONE Drive System has at hand by designing an enclosed design; robust in looks and still light to ride.

The wide range covers all the models and needs one could think of. 

EAV Platform – Think of a lightweight pick-up truck that’s able to navigate in tightly built up urban areas as well as a factory floor. 

EAV Pickup – The perfect solution for transporting work equipment and other goods.

EAV 2Cubed – The best-selling model in the EAV range bridges the gap between a traditional cargo bike and a van. 

EAV RoRo – The modular 1.2m3-sized EuroPod container makes the RoRO a true asset for all types of industrial logistical needs.

HG EAV – What’s half-way between a cargo e-bike and tractor? Meet the HG EAV with its twin wheel trailer.

EAV Cool – Need to keep the cargo in temperature-controlled conditions? The EAV Cool has you covered.

EAV Range

The Man with a Vision

None of these ideas, and most importantly, the implementation does not happen by itself. Adam Barmby is the founder and the man behind EAV. His background as a designer, engineer and entrepreneur provided the ideal platform (pun intended) for the creation of such a disruptive company as EAV.

Adam Barmby

He has a passion for simple means of transport and wants to see a big cultural shift in daily urban mobility. His track record with his first company BAMD ltd progressed quickly from his friend’s garage to notable advanced composites manufacturer with a turnover of over £4.5m. Adam is set to do the same, but even on a bigger scale, with EAV. 

The logistic industry is looking for a solution for a big problem and EAV is set to solve it. We are especially excited to team up with Revonte since their drive system is the only one in the market which can meet the high demands of cargo e-bikes.”

There’s a highly experienced and competent team besides Adam. Take Nigel Gordon-Stewart for example, the executive chairman, who has over three decades of experience in the automotive industry.

In Closing

The logistics industry is looking for an answer for the last mile problem, and e-cargo bikes provide a solution that is not only practical, economical but has also green values with its zero-emission nature. 

In the next article, we will take a detailed look at the needs of the logistics industry and how e-cargo bikes are meeting them. 

2020 – A Year in Review

It can be said without any hesitation that the year 2020 was full of surprises, rapidly changing situations, stretched deadlines, and general disarray. We kept our head low, concentrated on the tasks at hand, and continued developing the Revonte ONE Drive System for the upcoming launch in 2021. 

Here’s a summary of what happened during 2020.

The Year of Revonte

A lot of things can take place within a year. This is especially true when developing a new and innovative product in a competitive environment. Steady progress and occasional challenges were accompanied with big breakthroughs and new partnerships. 

Read the following list to know the essentials of Revonte in 2020. 

03 March

During the first quarter of the year we announced our partnership with the innovative – even disruptive – company from the UK named EAV. Their forward-thinking concept of cargo e-bikes has set the pace for the whole industry. Cargo e-bikes solve the last-mile dilemma and EAV’s range covers every imaginable need and purpose. 

Also, a story about our Drive System run on Pinkbike. If you’re interested of knowing what’ inside the Revonte Drive Unit, this is the one to read.

05 May

Simple, minimalistic, even elegant – those were some of the design goals of the Revonte Controller. We purposefully decided to go screenless with the design which leaves the final decision to the user. After all, configurability is in our DNA and the Controller is in line with that. 

Instead of occupying more space from the usually crowded cockpit, we take the opposite approach. Two brake levers, and the Revonte Controller forms the complete interface between the bike and the rider. No separate trigger or shifter for the gears are needed. Less is more. 

08 August

One of the many strengths of the Revonte ONE Drive System is the simple, robust and clutter-free single-speed drivetrain. Besides the traditional and time-tested chain, the Revonte ONE Drive System enables the use of a belt drive. 

To answer the inquiries we built a prototype with the industry-leading Gates carbon belt.

09 September

An energy storage is needed to employ the features of the automatic and stepless features of the Revonte ONE Drive System. To make everything right from the start we decided to partner up with class-leading German battery manufacturer Akku Vision GmbH, and develop our own battery.

Meet Revonte AKKU 5 and AKKU 7. Both models share the latest Li-ion technology and physical dimensions to meet every need and price point in the market. A unique feature is the smart battery management system which makes it possible to connect up to four batteries with the combined capacity of over 2.8kWh!

10 October

Eurobike gets cancelled. First the premier event was postponed, and eventually cancelled. This was unfortunate since we had made big preparations for the upcoming show and were looking forward to it. 

Revonte GmbH – a German subsidiary! To meet the demands of the European market we established a German branch to the ever-growing needs of the European e-bike market. Mr. Uwe Daniel, a long-time member of our team, was appointed as the CEO of the new company.

Cargo e-bikes are picking up and big time! An interesting development took place in a short timespan; cargo e-bikes rose to the position of becoming almost an industry leader. Our partner EAV is in the forefront of this movement and providing solutions to the challenges faced in the logistic chain. It’s not a coincidence that the Revonte ONE Drive System is the drive system of choice for cargo e-bikes.

We are looking forward to the year 2021 and we believe we aren’t the only one.

12 December

The release of the long awaited Revonte test ride video saw its premiere in December. Besides some test ride material the video included a general update of the past year. 

See what’s up with the Revonte ONE Drive System by viewing the video. On that note, see you next year!

The Bicycle Drivetrain – How Would It Look like If It Were Simple?

“How would this look like if it were simple?” 

This is a basic question used in engineering which might spark much needed new approaches to the otherwise plateaued design process. When the question is applied to bicycle drivetrain, some interesting observations can be made, and difficult questions asked.

If It Was Simple?

When posing the question at hand to bicycle drivetrains, and especially on e-bikes, an answer including a protruding rear derailleur with a dozen or so chainrings hardly comes to the mind. This is further accentuated by the fact that there’s plenty of operating power available since the bike is already equipped with a battery of large storage capacity, such as the Revonte AKKU

Uniting the gears and the motor in one unit, and placing inside a housing protected from the elements make sense in every level. This is how an e-bike drivetrain should look like; simple on the outside while a lot of engineering has gone to make it so. 

This is what we have set out to do with the Revonte ONE Drive System and we are glad that the industry has taken note. Our first partners were especially fast to see the benefits our system has to offer. 

A Take from Lavelle

We established a partnership with Lavelle Bikes at the beginning of 2020. In this case, the collaboration is especially fitting since we share the same values and a strong will to make bicycles better. When it comes to drivetrains, and especially on e-bikes, we both feel that there’ is a lot that could be improved. 

Lavelle Bikes has a very clear stance on how an e-bike drivetrain should be built. “Gears should not be located on the rear wheel, and derailleur gears are a poor choice for any consumer bicycle,” states Paul Lavelle, the CEO of Lavelle Bikes.

He further adds. “We believe the best location for gears is at the bottom bracket, and that is why we are so delighted to team up with Revonte who is manufacturing a mid-drive motor and gear system all in one unit.” 

The Many Benefits

The advantages of a combined motor and gearbox built around the bottom bracket are clear and manyfold: 

  • Ease of installation and service. It is surprising how many bike owners can’t perform basic service operations because of the complexity of the rear derailleur and cassette. 
  • Elegant, and simple looks! A single-speed drivetrain consisting of a wide chain – or a belt – and one pair of sprockets is pleasing to the eye.
  • Robustness. A single-speed drivetrain is durable and care-free as opposed to derailleur-based solutions. The same applies to belt drive on which the Lavelle Bikes P2R uses. 
  • No parts that are easily broken. The Revonte ONE Drive System does not have any external parts that are prone to damage.
  • More mileage with lower costs. A single-speed chain or a belt drive will outperform derailleur-based drivetrains on durability and will give more mileage out of one set of components. On top of that, replacing the worn-out parts comes with a significantly lower price tag, especially if divided by the total mileage.

It is worth noting, that all of the listed benefits apply, no matter if it’s a regular commuter bike, a high-performance e-mtb, or a ground-breaking design as in the Lavelle Bikes P2R.

The Ride Experience

Besides the listed benefits above, one thing matters almost above all else – the ride experience. We have gone to great length in developing the hardware inside the Revonte ONE Drive Unit, but as much if not even more design work and engineering has gone into the control software. 

The resulting ride experience is something that is highly valued by our partners, and finally, the customers. “The Revonte system permits a fully automatic system – just pedal, that’s all there is to it!“, Paul Lavelle lists one of the major benefits of our drive system. 

The derailleur-based gears have hanged on for surprisingly long. The advent of e-bikes was the much-needed catalyst for the bike industry to move to the next level and we are doing just that with our partners. 

Ps. Interestingly enough, search for the simplest approach applies to all things in life, not just in engineering. 

Why Revonte ONE Is the Drive System of Choice for Cargo E-bikes

E-bikes are taking an ever-growing share of the bicycle market pie. With the advent of new bike types that were not even on the map some years ago, such as cargo e-bikes, the need for a matching drive system is higher than ever before. Even the most conservative predictions indicate that the popularity and therefore the market share of e-bikes is growing at a fast pace.

Our drive system will power any type of e-bike with a single set of hardware. From the start we’ve designed our drive system to be highly adaptable. When this is coupled with the high performance metrics and unrivaled battery capacity, we have a true winner when it comes to cargo e-bike drive systems.

Enter the Revonte ONE Drive System. Read further to learn more about its unique benefits and forward-thinking that makes it the drive system of choice for cargo e-bikes.

The Versatile Powerhouse

The Revone ONE Drive Unit has a lot of going on inside its stealth black surface. The housing contains the motor, the gears and circuit boards – or smarts as we like to call them – all in one compact package. As all high-performance motors, the Revonte ONE Drive Unit is a mid-motor. For cargo e-bikes, this motor type is the superior choice in every way. 

From the start of the design we wanted to have “one hardware” to fit all types of bikes – hence the name, ONE. A testament to this is that the Revonte ONE Drive System can be easily adopted from a city commuter bike to an heavy-duty cargo e-bike. All of the configurations are done on the software side. 

Even though the raw performance metrics are just one part of ride characteristics, Revonte ONE Drive System is all but a wallflower in this game. Very high peak values in torque and power guarantees that an even heavily loaded bike will accelerate in a quick fashion, be it flat or uphill. How much are those numbers exactly? “Enough”, as one British car manufacturer states their engine power.

Staying Connected 

All the “smarts” aren’t packed into the Revonte Drive Unit for nothing. Besides withholding the control electronics needed for delivering the smooth and honed assistance behaviour, it includes all the connectivity technology that one could wish for. In-built GPS, 4G and Bluetooth enables not only efficient communication between the drive system and the rider via our app, but also brings other features to the table which are highly valuable in a professional setting, especially when it comes to cargo e-bikes.

For example, GPS and 4G enable real-time cargo tracking with pinpoint accuracy, therefore making pick-ups and deliveries possible even on a short notice, not unlike how Taxi cabs operate in current times. Of course, the final list of services and options are to be decided by the service provider. But most importantly, the Revonte ONE Drive System opens the door for possibilities that have been so far on a nearly uncharted territory. 

Tailored Battery Technology

The Revonte AKKU is the most flexible e-bike battery in the market, and for a good reason! Packed with the latest Li-ion 21700 cell technology, it provides state of the art features when it comes to battery life, capability of high power outputs, and charging properties. The AKKU is offered in two models to accommodate a variety of needs and price points existing in the market. The two models are named the AKKU 5 and AKKU 7. Their respectable capacities are 530Wh, and 705Wh, respectably. 

The unique smart linking feature makes it possible to connect up to four batteries in parallel with the combined capacity of over 2,8kWh! This is a truly competitive advantage in the cargo e-bike domain since large battery capacity will keep the bike and cargo running for a full workday or even more without the need to stop for a recharge or battery change. 

Adam Barbmy, the CEO of EAV, values this feature highly because of the increased  operating range which is one of the decisive factors in commercial cargo e-bike applications. “We want to offer a range from 30-120km per day depending on application.”, says Adam. 

Learn more about our collaboration with EAV from our previous press release.

Revonte ONE Drive System to Power EAV Cargo E-Bikes  

Best of all, the smart connection feature of the Revonte AKKU does not require any additional electronics or components. The battery itself and the battery management system (BMS for short) was developed in tight collaboration with Akku Vision GmbH, a German industry leader in battery technology, with the goal of creating the most advanced and user-friendly solution for storing propulsive energy for e-bike use.

ONE Drive System for Every Need

The Revonte ONE Drive System is the most versatile drive system in the market, catering the needs of every e-bike type imaginable, all the way from propelling an ordinary commuter to powering a fleet of cargo e-bikes which fill the last-mlle gap in the logistics chain.

The mid-drive construction, simple and low-maintenance single-speed drivetrain, top-of the line performance metrics and highly configurable nature of the Revonte ONE Drive System make it the smartest drive system around, no matter if the application is heavy commercial use or occasional leisure ride with heavier than usual carry-ons.

Get in touch with our sales team to learn more and have your cargo e-bike equipped with the Revonte ONE Drive System, the leading choice for cargo e-bikes.

Cargo E-bikes – From Latecomer to Industry Leader

E-bikes are taking an ever-growing share of the bicycle market pie. In a short time span, the electric brethren has evolved from an absurdity into a market drawcard  – and this applies to every type of bicycle. Cargo e-bikes are a relative latecomer to the game, and interestingly this previously niché category is about to rise to the role of a major player in the e-bike industry.

One limiting factor that’s been handicapping the development of this highly potential industry is the lack of competitive drive system solutions – until now. As you can learn below Revonte ONE Drive System is the perfect match for the unique needs of cargo e-bikes.

Read further to learn more and how Revonte ONE Drive System fits into this picture.

The Last Mile

Much has been discussed about the logistic chain and especially the last part of it, also known as the last mile phase. What’s the best option to deliver goods, especially small to medium sized ones, commercial and industrial? 

A semi-truck? As cumbersome as an elephant in a porcelain shop, not to mention the nearly eclipse-causing diesel fumes.

A delivery van? Definitely a better option than a semi, but the same cons do still apply, albeit on a smaller scale.

A bicycle courier. A worthy and most importantly, a green option, but very limited in capacity.  

Do you see a missing piece somewhere in between? The cargo e-bike is the perfect option that fills the void that’s been left between the bicycle courier and a delivery van. 

Capacity vs. Maneuverability 

There’s always a trade off between capacity and maneuverability. A freight train has a tremendous payload capacity, but the manoeuvrability is limited to reach of train tracks. On the other hand, bicycle couriers can maneuver oneself to just about anywhere, but the capacity is limited to letters and very small items. 

Cargo e-bikes meet the payload capacity and manoeuvrability in a perfect spot! No other vehicle or medium of transportation can move relatively heavy items, up to tens of kilograms, in close quarters like the cargo e-bike. The feline suppleness and carrying capacity of a mule combined are combined all in one in a cargo e-bike, if a proverb from the animal kingdom is to be used. 

Colossal Market Opportunity

The size and scale of the logistics industry are hard to fathom. The number of daily deliveries worldwide is staggering and there’s a good reason to believe that it’s only going to grow from here side by side with ecommerce and general direction of consumer behavior, not to mention industrial needs.

If one would like to run the numbers in a very conservative way, let’s say that in the following years just 1-2% of the last mile deliveries would be done on a cargo e-bike, the number is still massive. Whoever gets here first and gets the process dialed all the way by the means of proper vehicle fleet, efficient control of the logistics chain and most importantly, by providing a viable green option beside the traditional means will certainly have the upper hand and the largest share of the market pie. 

For example, it’s no secret that one company which shares the name of a rainforest located in South America is looking hard into new last mile delivery options. And they are not the only one. The big logistic players with the three-letter names are taking part in the same race. 

The ONE Benefit

When it comes to drive systems for cargo e-bike use, the Revonte ONE Drive System is very – or even the most relevant option in the market. Instead of just taking our word for it, consider the following benefits our drive system offers:

  • Mid-drive drive unit. The hub motor isn’t relevant for high-performance applications which is even more relevant in cargo e-bikes. The mid-drive design gives the ultimate design freedom and flexibility for the engineer in designing the most efficient drivetrain, whether cargo e-bike or not. 
  • High torque and wattage. The Revonte ONE Drive Unit has class-leading performance metrics, even though the ride experience isn’t only about the numbers. Peak torque of over 100Nm will suffice moving a cargo e-bike of any type up the steepest of hills – assuming that loading (amount of payload) is done in a somewhat sensible manner.
  • Revonte AKKU – the most advanced e-bike battery system. We are confident in saying that the freshly launched Revonte AKKU is the most advanced e-bike battery. First, it uses the latest Li-ion cell technology and the smart linking feature enables unprecedented battery capacity and range. 
  • Other inbuilt features. The pros do not end here. The Revonte ONE Drive System has other inbuilt connectivity features that are very relevant for cargo e-bike use. These will be covered in our next article. 

It’s worth noting that with the exception of the mid-drive feature, pros listed above are unique to the Revonte ONE Drive System. Currently, no other drive system can offer similar features. 

Utility Vehicle of the Future

The fast-changing landscape of urban mobility is getting even more crowded, but still, goods and people need to move even faster and ever-tightening schedules. The new and increasing demands ask for new solutions. Cargo e-bikes are among those which has have been noted all the way in the mainstream media (e.g. Fully Charged show published on the 20th of October).

We are proud to be at the forefront of the green-colored technological advancement with the Revonte ONE Drive System, no matter if it’s about moving people, cargo, or both. Stay tuned for our next article about the subject.

The Case for a Belt

A belt can be a part of one’s attire or in the world of bicycles, a belt can take the place of a chain to transmit the power from the rider and the electrical motor to the rear wheel. In this case, the belt is often referred to as a belt drive.

Conveniently, the Revonte ONE Drive System is a rarity among e-bike drive systems since it can be used with a belt drive! Read further to learn what this means in practical terms.

A Different Tool for the Job

As said previously, a traditional chain can be replaced with a belt. Using a belt to transmit force is not exactly breaking news since you have most certainly sat in a car that has had one or more located in the engine compartment. Besides automotive and industrial applications, belt drives are gaining traction in bikes on an ever-growing basis. 

If this is the first time you hear a belt drive mentioned in the same sentence with bicycles and you’re skeptical about the strength of such a solution, have no doubt. According to Gates – the undisputed leader in the market – their carbon reinforced belts meet the EN 14766 industry standard, and exceed a regular chain when it comes to tensile strength

To summarize, belts are more than capable of transmitting all the power the rider and the drive unit can produce to the rear wheel, and most importantly, it happens in an efficient and reliable fashion – with some added benefits, which we are about to cover next.

(Very) Low-maintenance 

To choose a solution, especially something differing from the tried and true industry standard, it must offer some notable benefits. This is very much the case with belt drives. Not only is it different to chains, but also better in some aspects. 

“No grease, no rust (and no fooling!)”, is the slogan that Gates uses which holds a lot of truth. 

As opposed to chains, there’s no metal on metal contact which means no need for lubrication. Indeed, belt drives thrive on very little maintenance and will keep on ticking from miles to an end with very little care. The absence of regular lubrication also means that the drivetrain will remain very clean with just regular washing. Another neat feature of a belt drive is that the belt does not stretch – a thing that can happen with chains over time. On top of that, the mileage that can be had from a belt can be as much as twice the amount compared to a chain.

First-class ride experience and worry-free riding are what we are all about here at Revonte. Therefore, a belt drive offers a neat option that accompanies and fits the ethos of the Revonte ONE Drive System splendidly. 

Compatibility Considerations

When purchasing and installing a belt, it needs to be of a correct length and tightened to proper tension to provide the desired function. Gates offers comprehensive instructions for this, including a length calculator.

So, my bike is just short of a belt-specific sprocket, rear cog, and the belt itself and I’m ready to rock? 

Well, almost, but let’s not go so fast there. Since a belt can not be cut and joined, the frame – more specifically the drive-side rear triangle – has to meet certain construction requirements. In practical terms this means that the rear triangle has to have a bolted joint or similar feature for installing the belt inside the frame. Another option is to have elevated chainstays, but this is a solution which is way less common.

Our partners have acknowledged this requirement and have proceeded accordingly in their designs.


A Common Goal 

The belt drive is an option that is very well worth considering since it offers some notable benefits in which the maintenance-free nature can not be overstated. The Revonte ONE Drive System and the belt drive serve a common purpose of making riding fun again! In our books that means more time spent on riding, instead of working on your bike. 

The smartest drive system got even smarter when it’s paired with a belt drive. Meet the future of e-bike drive trains with the introduction of the Revonte ONE Drive System paired with Gates carbon drive belt.

When the Whole Is Bigger than the Sum of the Parts

Here at Revonte we’ve wanted to take the big picture view from the beginning. Our goal is to change how ebikes are ridden and thought of which requires more than just building a neat drive unit – although, that certainly is part of the deal. Besides providing a Drive System with unprecedented features, like the automatic & stepless transmission, we wanted to make the whole process of using the ebike easier, more pleasant and seamless, starting from the purchase.  

Let’s call it the Revonte Experience.

Ease of Use Starting from the Registration

Usually, attention is directed only towards the things that can be noted while riding. When it comes to ebikes – or any other product for that matter – the things that happen before that do matter, and often quite a lot. The ebike itself might be a pleasure to ride, but the experience might be dwarfed by a cumbersome process of turning just the power on. 

We’ve put a lot of thought to make the usability of the Revonte ONE Drive System as intuitive and smooth as possible. The process starts with registration, and at the same token claiming the ownership of the ebike. All of this is done via our App in a simple step-by-step manner. All the relevant instructions are clearcut and the amount of needed information is kept to a minimum.

If the registration process requires a PhD in electrical engineering or programming, then something has gone amiss. 

When Ensuing Riding

One of the design drivers of the user-interface and general usability of the Revonte ONE Drive System was that it should be so easy to use that a child could use a Revonte-equipped ebike (and they probably will.) 

Turning the power on and ensuing the ride should not be more complicated than starting a ride on a regular bike. In practical terms, this means that the power switch will be easy to use and no intricate button-pushing sequences are needed. Also, the app connects to the bike without a conscious effort by the user and starts tracking chosen metrics, if chosen from the settings.

Consequently, when the ride has finished or interrupted momentarily (remember, cyclists are big on coffee-breaks), turning the power off or putting the ebike on a stand-by mode should be just as easy as turning the power off. These things should be given but to our experience, there’s still a lot of room for improvement.

Controls

Making the human-machine interface – HMI for short – as simple as elegant as possible was high on our priority list. The Revonte Controller reflects this thinking in every way.

First, it simplifies the cockpit by replacing existing controls instead of occupying new space. Second, it’s intuitive to use and highly ergonomic. And third, it’s minimalist to the extent that the difference between a traditional shifter paddle can be hard to tell by a glance. Only the colourful LED’s reveal that there’s more hiding beneath the surface.

Going screenless was an easy decision for us since we wanted to keep the cockpit area as simple as possible, and most importantly leave the choice of having a screen to the rider. Any modern smartphone can be used as a screen with the aid of the Revonte App which has all the features one could ask for. And not only that, it’s continuously updated so that users can benefit from the latest developments.

Ride-experience

We’ve said it before that the ride-experience isn’t only about performance metrics. The goal of this article was to drive the point home that ebikes, and most importantly, the usability and the general feeling of using one is a lot more than just watts or newton metres.  

The user-experience starts from the purchase and besides the riding itself, includes registration, servicing, charging and turning the power on and off countless times.

We feel that the ebike industry has a lot of ground to cover in this area. A lot of the controls, HMI’s and complicated button-pushing choreographies are something that would not fly in any other industry. Starting a drive on one of the leading electric cars is simple; hop on to the driver’s seat with the key in your pocket and start moving. Why should it be more difficult when moving from four wheels to two? 

With this line of thinking, the whole is truly bigger than the sum of the parts. Ebikes should be easy and most importantly enjoyable to use. Could your grandma use one? And how would she find the experience?

The Story Behind Our Controller Design – Part 2

In this 2nd installment of the story behind our Controller design blog series, we cover additional facts and considerations, features that weren’t introduced in the 1st part, and add some color to the happenings behind the design process.

Future-proof

Forecasting is very difficult, especially when it’s about the future. Some of the biggest breakthroughs and even crises – no matter the domain – have occurred without a warning. While recognizing these limitations we wanted to make the Controller as future-proof as possible. 

What this means in practice, you might ask? Good question and we are glad you asked. As specified in the 1st part, our Controller is placed on the right-hand-side, therefore replacing the traditional shifter which is made obsolete by our design. Instead of adding more ‘stuff’ to the cockpit area, we choose the route of simplification. Less is more. Meanwhile, the right-hand-side placement leaves real estate for other controls, such as a dropper post lever which is a standard issue in e-mtb’s. Also, if a new technology comes along that requires input from the rider and therefore a human-machine interface (HMI, for short) that needs to be placed in the cockpit area, we have plenty of space available for it.

Ever-increasing connectivity is the direction we are going towards. Terms like Big Data and IoT (Internet of Things) are thrown around left and right on a daily basis. We wanted to make ourselves ready for widening the bandwidth of information by equipping the Revonte ONE Drive System with the latest technology when it comes to connectivity. Naturally, this includes the Controller as well.

Modular Structure

One very neat feature that we did not purposefully uncover in the 1st part is related to the modular structure. As can be seen from the photos, our Controller uses paddle-like levers which can be easily used with the thumb only, warranting the expression; rule of thumb. This is an important feature that reaches all the way to the level of safety. Index-finger should be free all times for braking purposes.

Back to modularity! The Controller is built with a modular structure that enables swapping the part that forms the actual surface for the HMI without sacrificing the water tightness and reliability. In other words, the levers can be detached from the Controller and replaced with a modular component that transforms it into a twist shifter. Although this shifter type has fallen out of favor in non-motorized bikes, there are clear benefits for e-bike applications. Or simply going completely without an option to manipulate the cadence or gears and let the motor do the work for you.

With the stepless and automatic function of the Revonte ONE Drive System, the twist shifter makes a lot of sense. For example, when running the non-automatic indexed mode, the twist shifter enables the use of truly stepless transmission and gear change. 

In our experience, the trigger model is a good fit for performance-focused type riding (e.g. e-mtb) where intuitive and highly honed actuation is required. Correspondingly, the twist shifter is a good fit for casual type or riding, like commuting in city areas. One benefit to mention is this type of shifter simplifies the cockpit and is very easy to use. During Eurobike 2019 we had several inquiries if a twist shifter type of Controller will be available later on. We were happy to provide an answer that was satisfactory.

One More Thing About Going Screenless

As you’ve learned from the previous part, we decided early on to take the screenless route with our Controller. This matches our minimalist philosophy when it comes to the cockpit area. 

Even more important is that by doing this, we leave the choice of freedom to the bike rider. Running the tidy and elegant look that we offer is the default option, but nothing prevents the rider – or the bike manufacturer – equipping the bike with the screen of choice and interacting with it by the Controller. Offering compatibility with the major head unit manufacturers is one of the reasons why we have considered the connectivity issue thoroughly. 

Screen technology is progressing rapidly with leaps and bounds on an annual basis. If the rider wishes to use a screen, our solution enables the use of the latest technology whenever preferred. It is also worth mentioning that our App provides an ample amount of ride data and post-ride diagnostic options as well. Running a screen does not require the purchase of an additional head unit since we have harnessed the power of the smartphone for the task.

Running your e-bike with or without a screen – the choice is yours. 

It’s All About DFM

DFM stands for the design for manufacturing, which is an essential part of product development. It’s one thing to make a good design and produce a handful of units accordingly. Oftentimes, it is a completely different game when the needs of high-volume manufacturing are taken into account. Some of the basic questions are:

  • Manufacturability. Is the design easy enough to manufacture with the costs allowed? Is the manufacturing process simple and robust enough to produce consistent quality? 
  • Materials. The materials used need to be up for the task. For example, there are many, many types of plastics and some of them might be a very good fit for the Controller as others might be so brittle that the first push of thumb produces a snapped lever.
  • Tolerances. Dimensions and tolerances need to be defined early in the design process. Ensuring that the materials and manufacturing methods can reach them reliably is another thing that might throw you in the iteration loop for several rounds. Defining the driving dimensions (i.e. the measurement that is essential for the design to work) is also a part of this step. 
  • Quality control. The design and manufacturing processes need to create a pair that produces quality parts consistently with the dimensions specified. Easy in theory, oftentimes much harder in practice. Quality control is the last line of defense in ensuring that only the components that meet the stated criteria leave the factory.    
  • Costs. This point brings all the steps together. One design might be superior in many ways but is too costly to manufacture. One thing worth pointing out is that the costs go up and down considerably when moving into high-volume production. Producing a high-quality product with the highest consistency and a competitive price tag is the ultimate goal of the design process.

In the end, it’s not all about DFM, but it is an essential part of the design process that can not be overlooked. 

That’s a small peek behind the curtains when it comes to our Controller that forms the HMI in the Revonte ONE  System. Hope you enjoyed the read and found it interesting.