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.

Weight Matters – Not Only the Amount But Also Where It’s Located

E-bikes are inherently heavier than their oxygen-powered siblings. There’s no going around the fact that the drive unit and the battery which holds the energy stores for propulsion add weight to the bicycle. When it comes to ride-characteristics, total weight does matter, but how it is placed on the bike is at least as important. 

Bicycling and Kilograms

Bicycling has a long and complex tradition with weight. Almost the moment since the first racing bicycle was brazed together, another race began to make the frames and the rest of the components as light as possible. This led to a century-long diet that produced clever designs, pushed the development and use of new materials and also outright contraptions, like bikes made of “drillium“. UCI, the governing body in road racing, put a limit to the tomfoolery by mandating a weight limit of 6.8kg for the bike to be eligible to be raced on.

The obsession with weight – or the lack of it – has had its effects to this day in the bicycle industry. No other single metric can be evaluated as quickly as the number on the scale; the lower the figure, the better. The same simple logic can’t be applied to any other feature or part of the bike, take wheel size or the complex matter bicycle frame geometry for example. Weight has been an easy target that everyone could get a hold of and announce their verdict on.

Make no mistake, the power to weight ratio does matter. In the World Tour level, it is possibly the most accurate factor to predict who is going to stand on the podium. E-bikes are ridden under the same laws of physics, but as one will soon learn there is quite a bit more the matter.

Weight of An E-bike

A regular commuter bike weighs around 13-15kg, depending on the accessories like mudguards, panniers, and so on. A high-end full suspension mountain bike tips the scales at 11-15kg, depending on the riding discipline. A light cross-country racer can be sub 10kg when a gravity-focused rig can weigh as much as 16kg. 

The addition of electric assistance adds approximately 8kg’s to the bike which is divided somewhat equally between the drive unit and the battery. A capacity of 625Wh can be considered as a standard for a high-end battery which usually comes with a weight of just under 4kg. The bigger the battery, the heavier it is. Therefore, batteries with capacities larger than this often weigh more than 4 kg.  

With elementary school level mathematics, the total weight of an e-bike is north of 20kg, with the assumption that a full-sized battery and drive unit are used. Adding a bit of mass to the bike does provide some interesting effects such as a more stable ride behavior and better suspension performance in e-mtb’s to the extent that top times have been ridden with e-bikes in downhill sections which require no pedaling! It goes without saying though, that climbing an uphill is a task which is preferred to be done with the electric assistance turned on.

Weight Distribution

A number on the scale is not all when it comes to weight. How the weight is distributed is a big factor. The mid-drive is the leading solution when it comes to drive unit construction since the weight is placed in the best location possible, low and centered. The Revonte ONE Drive System takes this a big step further by including the gears inside the drive unit as well – a feature no other drive unit on the market currently has.

Derailleur-based gears have been the sole option in performance-focused bicycles for decades. A case can be made that what functions well in traditional bikes might not directly apply to e-bikes. This is especially true when it comes to gears. Derailleurs, cassettes, and the thin chains used to transmit power to the rear wheel are not up to par for the task when an electric drive unit is added to the drivetrain. Premature chain and cog wear is evident in e-bike use, not to even mention the dreaded snapping of a derailleur hanger which can ruin the entire rear wheel; a nightmare scenario which has plagued cyclists of all types since the advent of derailleur. 

The Revonte ONE Drive System removes the derailleur and the heavy cassette from the back and eloquently includes them inside the drive unit, bringing all the weight in the best possible location. The effects can be noticed even by picking the bike up. A back-heavy bike feels as if the rear tire is glued to the ground, no matter how much effort is put into lifting the bike up. The ride-characteristics of such a bike are not much better since it can produce a feeling similar to riding with a trolley. 

A center of gravity which is low and in the middle of the bike produces superior ride characteristics, no matter the type of the bike. Some of the most notable benefits are improved cornering characteristics, even traction on both tires, more stable and even planted feel. A neat side effect is that the suspension qualities are vastly improved in high-end e-mtb’s since part of the designing tuning is minimizing the unsprung mass (the parts that move when suspension moves, e.g. wheels and what is attached to them). Revonte ONE Drive System does just that by eliminating the derailleur and cassette from the rear wheel. 

In Closing

The bicycle industry has been traditionally nearly obsessed with weight. The logic has been that if it is lighter, it surely must be better. The advent of e-bikes has changed this in part by bringing some common sense to the table, but also by changing the nature of how propulsion is produced. 

With e-bikes, the power to weight ratio isn’t nearly as critical as in traditional bikes since there are literally watts to spare. This means that the bike will move swiftly in every situation and terrain and a difference of a couple of kilograms is barely noticeable. The sophisticated control software of the Revonte ONE Drive System further enhances the ride experience with its automatic and stepless operation.

Every type of e-bike will benefit from the supreme weight distribution and robust drivetrain construction of the Revonte ONE Drive System. Our drive system is not only the smartest around when it comes to software, but also in construction and placement of the mechanical parts.

Revonte Q&A – you asked, we answered

We made an inquiry in our social media feeds, i.e. Facebook and Linkedin, about things you wanted to know about the Revonte ONE Drive System. The most popular questions with answers are listed below in a Q&A format. Enjoy!

Q: Is the system capable of re-generation, e.g. recharging during riding? 

The Revonte ONE Drive System has the capability for re-generation, similar to KERS used in cars. Initially, that feature isn’t included in the system though. That might change in the future, depending on the future applications and needs that might arise.  

It is important to note that the re-gen is only possible with rear hubs that do not have a freewheel. Otherwise, the chain won’t be able to transfer the kinetic energy from the rear wheel.

Q: What is the weight of the system? How many kilometers can you do with one charge? 

This, of course, dependent on the battery. As a whole, the weight of the Revonte ONE System is competitive compared to any other current drive system.  All of the relevant specs can be found on our technical specification site. It is also worth noting that our system has an optimal weight distribution since nearly all of the mass is located low and around the bottom bracket.

The range depends on many variables, such as the combined weight of the bike and rider, terrain and elevation covered, the level of assistance used, tire choice, external conditions (wind, etc.) and battery size. Because of that, it is impossible to give even a somewhat accurate estimate.

When the specific bike model, battery size and other relevant variables are known, it’s possible to give estimates with certain conditions, such as the level of assistance used and so on. 

Q: Is it possible to use the bike while the battery is discharged?

Yes. The bike is 100% rideable. Because of the design on the drive unit, it can only be run with the lowest gear if the battery has run out completely. To counteract this, our software has been developed to conserve battery life to control the gears as long as possible.

Q: When will the drivetrain be generally available for sale with bike manufacturers in the US? What is the price range?

The Revonte ONE Drive System has been available for the US bike manufacturers since the launch of the system. Pricing is always negotiated case by case, since it’s dependent on several factors, such as the number of bike models, quantities and so on. 

Q: Can you provide a demo of the transmission software on YouTube? Is the software open source. 

The software is proprietary by nature as one could expect. However, some aspects of it or at least the basic functions and thought processes behind the development might be shared later on. Youtube would a good platform for this.

Q: When will we see full-suspension MTBs or fatbikes on the market (in my case in Germany) with Revonte Drive System? And in which price-range?

The launch of the first Revonte-equipped full-suspension MTB is solely dependent on bike manufacturers and who wants to take the lead in this front. We have already announced the first wave of e-bike manufacturers to use the Revonte ONE Drive System and more will follow. 

The price range is a decision that the bike manufacturer makes and is dependent on several factors, such as the frame, materials used, components and so on.

Q: Is the Revonte system available for the public and what’s the price?

At the moment we are providing the Revonte ONE Drive System only to bike manufacturers. It is yet to be decided if it will be available outside of the OEM market. We will provide further information about availability, pricing and other conditions when and if the subject becomes relevant.

Q: In the early photos we have seen belt drive, but it seems it’s gone now, and all marketing material uses a chain. I assume the belt or chain is outside of Revonte’s offering, but I would like to know if we can expect belt driven Revonte bikes in the future or not. 

Yes, our first render images used a belt drive. It’s not outside our offering or list of options by any means, but chain drive certainly is more common, affordable and easier to install. The use of a belt drive is solely a choice to be made by the bike manufacturer. The Revonte ONE Drive System will adapt to it without any limitations. 

Q: Some questions related to belt drive. What are the impediments for a belt system? Is a belt itself more expensive than a chain? Does a belt wear too quickly? Can a belt transfer the required torque reliably? 

Belt drives are inherently more expensive than a traditional chain. One can verify that just by looking at the prices for belts and “chainrings” required to use them. The more complex geometry alone needed for the “chainrings” increases the price somewhat. The durability of a high-quality belt is no less than a chain and it can even outlast a chain, which is something to consider since belts require zero maintenance. A belt can be very stiff, even stiffer than a chain in some cases so no power losses will occur even on the highest amount of torques.

Q: Is it too expensive to make a frame that can be opened (for putting on the belt) or is it just that most bike manufacturers don’t want to slow down the time to market by designing a frame for belt drive?

The construction of a belt-compatible frame is more complex and therefore more costly, but not considerably. Adding the feature needed (e.g. a drive side dropout with a bolt connection) is up to the bike and/or frame manufacturers to decide. The good thing about belt compatibility does not exclude the use of chain and therefore we are a big supporter of belt drive.

Q: How hard or easy it’s to drive without electric assistance? (in case the battery happens to go low and you are lost in the forest).

Easy, very easy indeed. The inherent drag on the drive unit is on the same level as in the rest of the market and perhaps even more towards the lower end. The design principle of our drive unit dictates that the motor can only be run on the lowest gear when the battery has run out. 

Our software has features to make the drive system work as economically as possible to prevent unwanted occurrences of running out of battery life mid-ride.

In Closing

Hopefully, you found this list of questions and answers interesting. If something left you puzzled or you want to know more about the Revonte ONE Drive System, follow us in social media and even give us a question and we’ll be happy to get back to you.

Revonte in Facebook

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Revonte Youtube Channel

Software as a Service – a New Look into E-bikes

Until now e-bikes are seen only as hardware that provides a means for transportation. The addition of electricity and circuit boards to a 200-years old invention can open doors that haven’t been discovered before. E-bikes can be so much more when some “smarts” are added to them and we are on our way in doing that. 

The Mechanical Foundation

It goes without saying that a sound mechanical structure is a prerequisite for a well-functioning e-bike, no matter if it’s a frame, wheels or in our case, the drive unit. 

Revonte ONE Drive System is based on robust and time-tested mechanical design, which is further refined to match the demands of an e-bike drive train. No matter how advanced or ingenious the drive units design is, there’s a limit when it comes to versatility

A drive unit that functions solely on mechanical principles is inherently limited. One does not simply have the space needed to add extra gears, differentials, cogs and, belts into the mix. If the motor compartment is limited in the automotive world, the real estate inside of an e-bike drive unit is truly at a premium.

Software in Command

When electronics are added to the mix and highly developed software is put in command, several limitations are overcome and possibilities grow almost exponentially! 

When the motor provides the working basis for the drive unit and the finer actions are left to the smart party – software that is – a whole new level of possibilities are brought to the table, such as:

  • Automatic and stepless function – the thing Revonte ONE Is known for. On the other hand, software preferences allow the use of traditional indexed shifting, if one wishes so.
  • Ride-diagnostics include tracking, mapping functions and service needs of the bicycle. 
  • Anti-theft feature. The bike can be disabled remotely in case if it ends up in the wrong hands. 

Software at Your Service

Besides the features listed above, the software-first approach enables a wide range of possibilities – some that have only been thought of before and some completely new. 

For example, the shared economy model is growing rapidly since people prefer to pay for the service and utility functions of products. In certain cases, owning something is more of a liability than an asset. With the growing density of cities and other changes in the urban landscape, the shared economy model simply makes sense. A small number of cars already work in this way. Bicycles are catching up and possibly even taking the lead soon! The highly adaptable software platform enables service providers, housing cooperatives and alike to harness the power of e-bikes to a large group of people with only a nominal fee compared to buying and owning a bike. 

The shared economy model has a lot in common with rental use. One could argue that it’s renting with the exception that it’s limited to a certain group of users. Since the commonalities are clear, the software can be easily adapted to be used as a platform for operating a rental fleet of bikes. 

The Revonte ONE Drive System has been planned from the start to have continuous updates. In other words, the bike and the ride-experience get better over time! It’s the opposite of what happens to utility products by default! Several update packages will be available so that the end-user can choose what features he or she deems necessary and is willing to pay for – an approach which is standard practice in computer programs and phone apps. 

The Next Step

Inventing the wheel was the first necessary step in the birth of the bicycle. The invention of chain-drive, pneumatic tires and gears have been some of the major milestones in the later developmental arc. 

It can be argued that the addition of electrical assistance and smart features provided by the software is the next big step! It enables features and possibilities that haven’t existed before and on top of that, one can choose the right combination of features and services that are considered beneficial and necessary – just like on a smartphone. 

Here at Revonte, we are taking the leading role with the revolutionary Revonte ONE Drive System. The first wave of e-bike manufacturers to use our drive system has been announced already. The latest addition broadens our operating field to cargo e-bikes which are among the fastest-growing sectors in both bicycles and logistics. We are thinking beyond the hardware and are excited to see the possibilities that lay ahead.

EAV and Revonte ONE Drive System – A New Type of Cargo E-bike

As you might have already heard we have collaborated with EAV – a new generation vehicle production company – with a goal in producing an innovative cargo e-bike by integrating the revolutionary Revonte ONE Drive System into a new type cargo bike platform.

The powerhouse of choice for the upcoming and innovative EAV models will be the Revonte ONE Drive System. 

Out of the Box Thinking

The traditional model for cargo bikes includes a bicycle with added cargo-carrying capabilities in the form of a platform or similar construction. EAV has taken almost the opposite route by approaching the design from a cargo van point of view. 

EAVans and EAVcabs have the capabilities and features previously found only from motorized vehicle categories, but it still falls under the legislation of normal e-bikes. Besides improved payload capacities, the EAVans bring several benefits from safety and operational point of view. 

Despite the hefty appearance, EAV’s models are incredibly light, thanks to a highly optimized design, material choices, and manufacturing processes. Besides the high-tech features, simplicity has been a priority throughout the design process so that the number of moving parts is kept to a minimum to make the EAVans and EAVcabs very robust and low-maintenance.

The Versatile Powerhouse

The highly configurable nature of the Revonte ONE Drive System makes it an excellent match for cargo e-bikes. Heavy payloads require raw numbers in the form of peak power output and torque to keep the bike moving – both of which the ONE Drive Unit possesses. It’s not just about the numbers, though. A first-class ride experience requires just as much brains as it asks for brawn, and this is where the Revonte ONE Drive System truly differentiates itself.

An ingenious mechanical design of the drive unit is enhanced with sophisticated software which is where the magic lays. The behavior of the drive system can be configured depending on the bike model and later fine-tuned by the user via our dedicated app. 

A list to summarize why Revonte ONE Drive System is the advantageous choice for cargo e-bikes.

  • Automatic & stepless transmission makes accelerating effortless in all types of terrain.
  • High peak power output and torque, up to 1500W and 90Nm to be precise.
  • Highly configurable assistance modes and ride behavior enabled by sophisticated control software. 
  • Mid-drive design is the optimal choice from a weight distribution and design point of view. This applies as well to cargo e-bikes as to regular bikes.

Combining the Revonte ONE Drive System with the modular construction of the EAV line-up opens new areas for the design and use of cargo e-bikes. The potential has been noted not only inside the industry but among the more mainstream media. One such example is a recent feature in the popular Newatlas.com tech site.

New Chapter in Logistics

EAV is the first cargo e-bike company to employ the Revonte ONE Drive System and among the first wave of e-bike manufacturers in benefiting the many features of the smartest e-bike drive system available.

We at Revonte are enthusiastic to collaborate with EAV to advance the logistical industry by creating a cargo e-bike with unprecedented features. No other solution has similar payload carrying capacities, safety aspects, simple but versatile construction, and forward-thinking feel to it. 

In spite of being a relatively new player in the field, EAV has already established relationships with globally operating logistics companies. We are excited to join the journey in turning the next chapter in the logistical chain.

Ride Experience Is More Than Performance Metrics

Evaluating e-bike drive systems is a lot more than comparing performance metrics, i.e. peak power or peak torque values. Numbers do matter but a lot remains hidden if the assessment is done purely based on them. To deliver an exceptional ride experience, the drive system needs to work in smooth harmony to determine how the available power is used 
Read further to learn more about the thinking behind the Revonte ONE Drive System and why the ride experience it offers is like no other.

Revonte in action
The Revonte ONE Drive System demonstrating the unprecedented ride experience during the Revonte ONE test drive video shoot.

Beyond Numbers

The mechanical design behind the Revonte ONE Drive System generates plenty of power even for the most challenging user-cases and conditions. Besides having a robust, time-tested and reliable mechanical construction, it was clear from the start that the raw numbers should also meet a high standard.

As the name suggests, Revonte ONE Drive System is compatible with all and every type of e-bikes, including cargo bikes which demand a lot of torque to move respectable payloads. 

We would have liked to announce the performance metrics of our drive system in a similar fashion to one well-known British car manufacturer as stating simply: “Enough.”

However, the number of questions and inquiries related to this domain reaches overwhelming quantities quickly which is the reason we decided to take the unequivocal route. 

Control Precedes Power

To put it shortly, raw power is important. Deficiencies in that department will show up in the form of slow acceleration and sluggish uphill performance among other things. No amount of power is useful though if it’s not controlled. A drag car can drive a straight line with considerable speed, but it turns almost useless when the first turn in the road presents itself. 

E-bike and the desired ride experience demands a lot more than merely delivering the most amount of watts or horsepowers to the rear wheel. Contol in the form of timing and the amount of power delivered is of the essence here – and we tackled the challenge to perfect that. 

To reach the desired assistance characteristics, the rider inputs are monitored continuously by the software among the incline, speed, and other relevant metrics. Based on the gathered data, the software calculates the right amount of assistance for every moment. It takes a considerable amount of work in the form of programming, testing and repeating this development loop more times than we care to count, but the resulting magic in the form of ride experience provided is worth it. 

Real-life Examples

Our recent and test ride video provides an ample amount of examples of how the Revonte ONE Drive System ride experience is ahead of the game.

  • Acceleration with a steady cadence – Using indexed manual gears requires constant changes in cadence for keeping in the optimal range for human-based power output. With the automatic function of the Revonte ONE Drive System, the whole acceleration can be done with a steady cadence, i.e. 70 or 90RPM. 
  • Smooth assistance – The nature of how the power is dosed from the motor to the rear wheel plays a major role in the ride experience. A quick and large burst of power gives a feeling similar to a motorbike, whereas a more mild-mannered dose of power preserves the feeling of a traditional bicycle. Either one of these and anything in between can be had because of the highly configurable nature of the drive system. 
  • Option to choose – It poses no problem if one wants to use a more traditional type indexed shifting. The switch from automatic to manual and back can be done easily via our App. 
  • Intuitive use – the human-machine interface is important but oftentimes overlooked aspect of the drive system. We took great care to make our Remote design right.
  • Focus on the essentials – Revonte ONE Drive System makes riding easy so that one can focus on the things that matter the most, the surroundings and ride itself. 

Software First

The recipe for ultimate ride experience constitutes of ingenious mechanical design which is further enhanced with a highly developed software. The vast amount of options for configuring the behavior and the ride characteristics built into the software which forms the core of the Revonte ONE Drive System. As our CEO Otto Chrons eloquently put it in a recent interview:

“For us, all the cool things are in the software.”

The unprecedented ride experience is a lot more than just having lots of power and transferring it quickly to propulsion. We have taken great care to design the Revonte ONE Drive System that it fills the demands of every type of e-bike in the market and perhaps even exceeds the rider expectations.

Cargo E-bikes Pave the Way For Electrical Transportation

E-bikes are here to stay and it is not something to be argued with. The relevant question is to what extent will e-bikes substitute their “acoustic siblings”. Commuter bikes and e-mtb’s are undergoing an electric revolution, but it does not end there. The main goal in developing our drive system was to make not only compatible but also the most competitive drive system to all types of e-bikes. Let us explain why the Revone ONE Drive System is the powerhouse of choice for cargo e-bikes.

Cargo bike concept

Challenges with Urban Environment

Unquestionably, the urban environment is changing and so is urban mobility. Private motoring leads to heavy traffic, long commuting times, wrecked nerves and pollution. Combine this with the ever-growing transportation of goods and the recipe of serious traffic jams are already brewing. Most – if not all – of city centres were not designed for the number of cars that swarm the streets. The roads and even the widest highways are often seriously undersized for the level of use they encounter daily.

Combine this with the lack of parking spots and living space in general, not to mention the poor air quality that most metropolitan areas suffer from. It is evident that alternative options for transportation need to be developed.

E-bikes offer one piece of the puzzle when it comes to commuting. It does not end there, though. The same technology can be harnessed to small-scale transportation as well. 

Pedal-driven Transportation

Bicycle-equipped courier isn’t a new invention. Pedal-driven velocipedes have been used for transportation purposes since the 1860s. A regular bicycle is well-suited for delivering letters and other small shipments, but the limits of the payload are reached rather quickly. 

The next organic step in the evolution of different bicycle types was the invention of cargo bike, or also known as the freight bicycle. First used by tradesmen to deliver mail and conveniences, like milk and bread. It is telling that in the UK, this bicycle type is sometimes referred to as a butcher’s bike or delibike.

Nowadays cargo bikes are used routinely in purposes such as:

  • Courier and delivery services in urban environments.
  • Child transport – this type of use is growing in popularity rapidly. 
  • Industrial use, ie.g. warehouse inventory transportation and tool and raw material transportation in large industrial facilities. 
  • Mail delivery – the UK post office alone operates a fleet of 33,000 bikes.

As one can see, the cargo bikes can be used in a variety of ways and they provide a competitive option to combustion engine powered means of transport, especially in short distances and small to medium payloads. 

Cargo Bikes Supercharged

Electrical assistance can literally supercharge cargo bikes. In traditional bikes, heavy loads and rolling hills will take the win over even the most dedicated courier unless he or she has the legs of a Tour de France contender or elite-level track cyclist

The continuous assistance of 250W will make the difference between a struggle on a saddle and enjoyable riding. Couple this with the high peak torque value of 90Nm which the Revonte ONE Drive System possesses. This amount of torque is enough to climb up even the steepest of hills with a respectable payload. 

Since cargo bikes are inherently heavier than traditional models, increasing battery size or even adding a second battery won’t cause any problems weight-wise. Bigger battery means more range so that one full workday can be covered with one charge. This, in turn, means more efficient transportation. 

Revonte ONE is the Powerhouse of Choice for Cargo E-bikes

Revonte ONE Drive System is the most versatile e-bike drive system around. Mid-drive unit is the best fit for all types of bicycles, including cargo bikes. Technical specifications are in the leading class and are more than enough for cargo e-bikes. Heavy industrial use is a case of its own but for everyday use, Revonte ONE Drive System is a trusty companion.

 The automatic and stepless function of the transmission is a very good fit for cargo e-bikes since it enables the rider to concentrate 100% on riding and observing the surroundings, whether it be in an urban or industrial setting. In a varied terrain with lots of hills or steep inclines, the automatic feature is particularly useful, since it prevents the rider from getting stuck because of too high gear selection. The sophisticated control software of the Revonte ONE Drive System continuously adjusts the assistance based on the inputs received from the rider and the angle of incline. 

Because of the software-first approach, the behavior of electrical assistance can be tailored according to the bike model and the type of use it’s designed for. Configuration can be done in two steps: by the bike manufacturer and lastly, by the rider. Not only can the bike manufacturer decide the ride-characteristics of the bike, but the rider is also able to fine-tune them as he or she wishes. Remote diagnostics and service recommendations are provided by the inbuilt 4G connection provides. This way, it is made sure that the bike is operational when it counts and recommended service times can be planned accordingly. The Revonte ONE Drive System is currently the only motor option to offer these features.

Cargo E-bikes provide a noteworthy option for transporting small to medium-size goods. Adding a highly-developed electrical motor to the mix quite literally supercharges the bike, giving it the ability to move heavier loads, further than before and with more convenience. 

The future of electrically-powered transportation is here and cargo e-bikes are a part of it. Don’t miss out.

If you’re in the business of building cargo e-bikes, get in touch [email protected]

The Story Behind Our Remote Design – Part 1

Those of you who have visited our site previously might remember the remote control which had a lot of similarities to existing control units. We have moved on from the original design because things have changed on many fronts. First of all our thinking about the subject has changed and the whole industry has made a notable shift as well. To summarize, we weren’t satisfied with the initial design and decided to create a better one. 

A bit more than a napkin sketch.

Core Values

The term core value is usually mentioned with company policy or business strategy. We´ve employed the same tool and line of thinking on the level of individual components whenever needed. This was the case with remote controllers since it is such an important part of the system and user experience. After careful consideration and idea gathering session the core values were condensed in the four following points:

  • Intuitive. If the rider needs to think about how to use the remote or the learning process takes a considerable amount of time, the design hasn’t met this goal. In other words, controlling the behaviour of the bike must become effortless according to the “No look” principle.
  • Screenless. An overflow of information will distract the user while riding – keep it simple! We believe that all the needed information can be conveyed through a led indicator. Our drive system does not require a screen and if the user wishes to use one, mobile phone or a dedicated ride computer will provide a platform for all the information imaginable and most importantly, with a customizable view. More on this later.
  • Right-hand side. Since the traditional shifter is gone and there is space to occupy, the right-hand placement is an obvious one and supports what the rider is used to at this location. A placement like this declutters the cockpit setup and creates a more streamlined and elegant looks.
  • Integrated. The goal was to integrate the remote into the cockpit rather than occupying new space.  

On top of these things, we decided early on that the index finger should remain free so that it´s always available for braking purposes. With e-mountain bikes this is an obvious design feature, but it applies to all other bike types as well. 

Design Drivers

From core values, we moved on to a more practical level. Design drivers are properties or features that we want you – the rider – to notice when using a bike equipped with the Revonte ONE Drive System. In this case, there were some similarities between them and core values, but the list got diversified and most importantly, more exact.  

  • Simple & intuitive design. All of the relevant functions to riding can be controlled underneath the handlebar by using the thumb only.
  • Versatile. Works on multiple platforms. No matter the handlebar setup, bike or ride computer you are using, our remote system will be compatible.
  • Simple & compact. The form and use should be broken down to a minimum without sacrificing features and functionality. No one will benefit from a huge clunky remote with too many buttons. 
  • Stealth & integrated design. No matter how good the function is, if the end product is an eyesore, it has not met all the goals – or not at least in our books. Smooth surfaces, shapes, tactile features, alloy construction on levers and a nice colour scheme are a must-have. Our remote integrates itself seamlessly to the cockpit.   
  • Great ergonomics. Although this is an obvious criterion, not all designs meet it. The remote should be comfortable to use, it should not require loosening the grip and reaching when used, etc. These are basic things and therefore something that we want to make especially well. 
A rendered photo of the final design.

Where´s the Display?

The decision to leave the screen out was made early in the design process. The reasoning behind it is quite simple. 

First of all, there is a limited amount of information that is useful when riding. Even if you ride in a straight road without any traffic or other variables that need to be considered, eye-contact should be kept mostly on the road (or on the nice scenery surrounding it). When it comes to mountain biking, the importance of this factor grows several magnitudes. If eye-contact wanders off from the optimal line choice, big trouble can ensue. Given these points and the fact that not too many metrics are useful to observe while riding, a need for a screen does not really present itself. When it comes to post-ride analytics, the situation changes of course. Ride data can be viewed and analyzed from a mobile phone or from a laptop interface. 

A second reason for leaving the screen out is that we want to give the control and customizability back to the user. If he or she wishes to use her own device, the option exists and is even the preferred one. The companies who manufacture ride computers know their job and we want to leave it to them. 

Closing Thoughts

There you have it. Those were the basic factors that guided our design process which resulted in innovations that led to filed patents. A component like the remote seems simple on the surface but the number and depth of decisions are quite surprising when the design challenge is truly tackled. The final product ended up being quite a lot like our motor: functional, robust and almost elegant in all of its simplicity.

No corners were cut in the process. We are happy with the end result and confident that you will like it as well. Stay tuned for more info and photos about our remote on a later date!  

The final product out in the wild!