A Maxon Bikedrive

Discussion in 'Other Brands' started by Bikedriver, Jun 21, 2016.

  1. Bikedriver

    Bikedriver New Member

    I was lucky enough to try a Maxon system from Switzerland while in Europe at a Demo event last year, since I've been counting the days til I could get them in the USA earlier this year. It is hard to explain how it "feels" so different to other e-bikes I've tried, but it just does. This bike is so much fun, nothing short of Awesome.

    Giant Reign Bikedrive build.jpg
    vincent and JayVee like this.

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  3. JayVee

    JayVee Well-Known Member

    I'm afraid Maxon is too late to the market, and not distinctive enough. The drive is "designed and made in Switzerland" according to a 2015 press release. With a strong Swiss franc, it's going to be an uphill battle... Moreover it's a hub drive, and everyone is going mid drive... I realize the company makes other types of drives, but I just don't see Maxon being a major player. There are lots of cheaper alternatives. My suggestion to Maxon: either leave the e-bike business entirely or move production facilities to Spain or Portugal. Labor is much cheaper... That's how BH Easy Motion manages to produce bikes that are competitively priced. If I were the CEO of Stromer the very first thing I'd do is move production to Spain. It's a no brainer... All these Swiss e-bikes are far too expensive... A Swiss made Flyer Speed Pedelec is nearly 900 dollars more expensive than a comparably equipped Haibike with an identical drive.
  4. Bikedriver

    Bikedriver New Member

    Humm. Well, JayVee, I must respectively disagree, especially about the "Not distinctive enough". Have you tried one? Cuz actually, as far as I can tell from my research, knowledge, experience, and test riding of various ebikes, maxon is the most distinctive on the market.

    Curious, do you know the difference between a conventionally wound, outer rotor, inner rotor, and ironless core brushless motor design?

    Do you understand what magnetic detent is?

    Or perhaps do you know why organizations like NASA, the Jet Propulsion Lab, or the European Space agency pick Maxon to build motors for things like the MARS Rovers out of all the motor companies in the World? (Hint, same reason you might consider them for your MTB)

    Do you have any idea how expensive some Maxon motors, gears, and controllers are or can be? I do from working with them professionally. There is a reason for that, they haven't been in business making motors for 50 years if you could easily get the same thing in Spain, or the far east, ...or anywhere. Yeah, I agree, it's expensive, but its all relative and you get what you pay for, the price of this system is a total steal as far as I am concerned.

    I really like that it's a hub drive regardless of what most of the industry is doing. Mid-drives required dedicated bikes, I am really not a fan of this. Hub drives, or at least this one, can go on just about any normal bike. Mid drives require all the internals to be serviced at some point given the amount of plastic parts used, and additionally wear on standard drivetrain components, while this one uses metal gearing, not plastic, also per the 2015 press releases in Europe. The torque is on the wheel, not the chain or components, shifting is super smooth and can be super fast no matter what and it doesn't require what we see starting now "dedicated e-bike components".

    Outside of any technical advantages the maxon system might offer, ultimately the performance and "feel" of this drive is what truly makes it unique and very distinctive in my opinion. It's different. It accelerates faster than anything I've ever tried and it loves high speeds. Plus, I can just remove the wheel, its a standard quick release, and throw the normal wheel back on, and its back to my normal bike. I never do though, I love riding it too much.
    guschke likes this.
  5. JayVee

    JayVee Well-Known Member

    It might be a great drive. But the general public rarely picks up on technical nuances... It's all about marketing... And price... Time will tell whether the company succeeds. I hope it does, but I feel it's the wrong time to enter the market, particularly if you're "starting in Switzerland". The local market is swarming with Bosch, Panasonic, Shimano, and Yamaha drives. Not to mention Stromers. And if you're going to export, it's going to translate into a fairly expensive drive. A lot of companies have great ideas, but few know how to translate them into sales. For the general public, I'm afraid it will be seen as "just another expensive hub drive that's rear heavy and overheats on hills". That statement might be incorrect, but only marketing buzz and perception counts. Most of the local dealers I've spoken to absolutely want to sell Bosch powered drives. The reason is simple: the drives are reliable and, if a part breaks down, it will be replaced in a matter of days. The more exotic e-bike makers simply don't get it: support and logistics are just as important as the merits of the bike (or drive) itself. So if the economics and logistics aren't bulletproof, I'm afraid it's going to be an uphill battle.
    grench likes this.
  6. Bikedriver

    Bikedriver New Member

    Yep. It is an awesome drive. To be honest, I think they are all great, I have not met too many ebike’s I didn't like. I tried a lot of them in Europe last year, they are all really fun.

    But, Really? I feel confident that a good # of people, certainly myself, don’t make all buying decisions exclusively on who has the best marketing or who has the best price. Sure a lot do…oh well, that’s their loss. If that were the case I’d only drink Coke and only eat Fast Food. Many people make very educated decisions, regardless of what the masses are doing. So speak for yourself, marketing buzz and perception obviously didn’t mean much to me.

    It is however understandable that you share the common misconception of all hub drives as being "rear heavy and overheats on hills." You are right about being wrong, that statement is incorrect, especially relatively speaking. The motor is 7 lbs. / 3.5 kg. I can’t find anything lighter or physically smaller that provides 30 Nm continuous and 50 Nm peak torque.

    It’s funny you mention overheating though. The reason hub motors generally heat up at higher speeds and/or torque is because they are operating at very low efficiency = high heat losses while dumping current out of your battery. Every electric motor has an “efficiency curve” and can theoretically hit a “peak” at some point on the curve, however it’s the shape and slope of that efficiency curve that really matters, specifically where you fall on the curve when riding most of the time.

    I read a similar comment in a Hub motor vs. Middrive article recently in one of the e-bike magazines about a month ago. I can’t remember if it was in Electric bike action or E-Mountainbike. …but if I recall correctly, the article also stated something about how hub motors suffer from cogging torque when not powered and something to the effect that they don’t like high speeds or hills because they get hot in the “disadvantages” section.… that probably is true for most, makes perfect sense to me really, but not true for this maxon. The first reason is that it won’t ever overheat. You can’t overheat it if you try. Again because generated heat is the exact same thing as poor efficiency when it comes to an electric motor. If you look at maxon’s bikedrive website and the European press releases, they claim 85% typical efficiency (not peak), that’s pretty amazing, which means it’s not generating a lot of heat at typical continuous output power.

    Also from their web site;

    “The hub motor delivers 25 - 30 Nm continuously. The peak torque is 50 Nm. The brushless DC motor has an efficiency of 85%. Even on upward grades at 15 km/h and 30 Nm, the efficiency is still 75%.”

    To confirm that from personal experience, there is a temperature LED on the control grip that tells me the motor temperature at any given time while riding. 90% of the time I am riding, regardless of the terrain or speed, it’s Blue (cool) or green (slightly warm). It rarely goes to orange (warm) or red (hot) unless I really try to push it by using the turbo boost as much as possible or climb a very steep grade for a very long time at very low speed, like < 5 mph. That pretty much never happens for me but in that very rare case, I suspect most conventional mid-drives are going to be technically better from a motor design and heat point of view, primarily because they will run near their highest efficiency in that particular senerio. But that’s pretty much where I personally see any advantages of a mid-drive in comparison ending. Generally with this maxon, the faster I go, the better, the sweet spot seems to be anywhere from 7 mph to 20 mph at it’s cut off – it just purrs. But even if this motor does get hot, the controller won’t let it overheat, it just cuts back the current until it cools off, which generally doesn’t take very long.

    So about "Bad at high speeds"? And Cogging torque?
    Industry “experts” still have that 1% wrong. This motor, like the overwhelming majority of maxon motors is ironless core, which means there is no magnetic detent. There is no back iron, which is why it’s got very high power density and relatively low weight, and operates at very high efficiency. The rotor inertia is entirely different, which is why it accelerates so quickly, etc…

    I remain somewhat shocked but also incredibly pleased that maxon has entered the market. Just my 2 cents. To each his own.
    vincent likes this.
  7. Daniel Burnier

    Daniel Burnier New Member

    Hi Bikedriver,
    Can you tell us if the Maxon hub had a gear, then making more noise that a Bion-x hub for example ?
  8. Bikedriver

    Bikedriver New Member

    Yep, it's geared. It definitely makes noise...like whuurrrrzzziipppp! I love it. Such a sweet sound. Pretty sure that's because they are using metal gears, not plastic, which from a torque and life perspective, makes a lot of sense.
  9. grench

    grench Well-Known Member

    Do you ride with any other Ebikers? How does the bike compare?

    30-50 Newton meters would be weak for me I need lots of help. My Bulls puts out 80. Maybe there is a diff in peak verses normal??
  10. Bikedriver

    Bikedriver New Member

    Hey Grench,

    well, I think looking at torque only is misleading. For example a KTM freeride E only puts out 42 Nm peak torque, but would blow away your bulls or any 250-350 watt ebike on a trial at 16,000 watts. ...doubt you'd think that bike is "weak" at 42 Nm if you rode it. Power is a function of torque and speed. (X pi/30) You can have higher torque at lower speed or higher speed at lower torque for any given "power."

    Hard to compare really to be honest. I've owned and ridden Bosch, and although never a Bulls, I've ridden the rotwild and the new Levo , which I believe all use the brose system.

    IN general, I'd say the comparison/difference is most evident at very low speeds and high torques. On very steep off road climbs, at very low speeds, the Bulls, or any mid drive I've ever ridden, is definitely still superior. The maxon falls behind on very steep climbs unless I shift down and add the extra human power to the pedals to make up for it. However on less steeper uphill grades, road uphill, on flats, rolling hills, and downhill, there is no comparison. It's acceleration is so fast and general "feel" is so different in comparison...hard to describe, other's don't compare.

    The bulls seems pretty cool though..., especially that new one, it has an impressive battery range at like 600 wH (but of course, is heavier).

    Some other differences that are massive and unique on maxon vs. anything else I've tried ...shifting - is incredibly fast and smooth, no matter if you are going uphill under high pedal power or down.... Shifting fast on a midrive at high torque can be harsh. And then the other massive difference - pedaling without power it the battery runs out...it's not terrible and silky smooth.

    I do wish they had a larger battery. Range is actually really impressive on the road and at lower levels given the size of the battery (360 wH) by my experience so far. I keep wanting to try to limit myself to level 2 and ride on road until the battery dies to see what kind of range I can get, but just haven't yet (I'll report when I do). I'd guess maybe 15-20 miles on level 2 and maybe 30+ miles on level 1 is possible ...I hardly ever ride the road though and pretty much always ride level 3. Off road, level 3, using the turbo - pushing it as hard as I can on very technical XC trails, I personally can get and plan for about 12 - 13 miles per charge. But my buddies girlfriend who also rides a maxon can get like 15-20+ miles off road on the same trails per charge - she comes back 1/2 full while we are empty - rider weight and road / off road seems to be a big factor on range of the maxon.
    vincent and grench like this.
  11. grench

    grench Well-Known Member

    I agree we all tend to think our bikes perform better than someone's else's bike.

    That's why I started my post with 'have you ridden with other Ebikers'.

    I continue to ride with every Ebike I can find. I also ask to switch bikes so we can take some of the rider input out of the equation.

    I weigh approx 350lbs and I continue to eat ST1s up on small hills and flats. The ST2 has more top speed - after they catch up:D.

    I would love to put this Bulls Outlaw (not a 250/350 mid drive - but a Suntor hub drive 500) up against the KTM or the Maxon. It would be fun. I live in Wichita KS are you anywhere close? I travel a lot also...maybe close by you someday?? I rode a KTM with a Bosch performance while in Austria...nice bike but nowhere close to the acceleration of the Bulls. Maybe it will out climb the Bulls?????

    Trust me when I find one that fits me and outperforms the Bulls - I will own it;).
    vincent likes this.
  12. Berry78

    Berry78 Active Member

    @grench have you tried the 500w bionx system? If so, what did you think?
  13. grench

    grench Well-Known Member

    Yes very nice kits. I rode one on a fat tire bike and had a blast. I also rode an OHM loved the power delivery and the looks of the bike but it didn't handle my weight :-(.

    Expensive but I would not hesitate to go with a Bionix kit if you already have a bike you like.

    On the other hand you can buy another equally impressive purpose built bike (similar cost)...and you get the bike almost free:D.
  14. Berry78

    Berry78 Active Member

    Ok, have read this a couple times and am drawing a blank as to what you mean... a specific bike?
  15. grench

    grench Well-Known Member

    You can buy an entire purpose built Ebike of equal performance for relatively the same price as the just the Bionx D500 kit.
    Berry78 likes this.
  16. Bikedriver

    Bikedriver New Member

    Hey Grench, sorry been travelling. Ahh I see what you mean, OK, yes, I have ridden with other ebikes such as bosch, etc. Assuming equally skilled riders, my experience is that if it's not a maxon I am riding with, but in the similar motor weight category - no way they will keep up in the low to moderate uphill grades, windy technical flats, and accelerating into the downhills...not a chance. Good luck with that. However slow uphill for long periods of time on very steep grades, the maxon can't keep up, mid drives and others have a higher continuous torque advantage at steep grade uphills / low speeds. I really should stress that this only applies to reasonably technical off road terrain and as mentioned, and only at low speeds. After about 5-7 mph, the maxon starts to literally sing and it's nothing short of brilliant.

    For the road or brute torque and perhaps with heavier weight riders, I can't say maxon is going to give any advantage over your suntour, or bionx, or whatever, but honestly I've never tried the suntour. If you ride the road mostly I'd think you'd also want something that goes 28 mph, I would anyway... maxon only goes 20. But Sure, I'd put it against your suntour if I could, never been to KS and I am far away - sorry. RE: suntour from looking at the specs, - don't see a 500 watt version on their website. Just the 250 watt (400 watt peak) version at the same claimed weight as maxon. Looks like a cool motor anyway but just my guess - it will be no match for the maxon (assuming both bike riders testing at similar weight and skill, of course).

    Well, try a maxon anyway if you can. To be honest it was hell, expensive, and took me forever to get my first one here in the USA but it's much easier now, I've got 2 more since.

    Sure you can buy an entire "purpose built" ebike for the price of just a bionx kit and a maxon is even more. Personally I like to choose the bikes I ride, and not be limited to "the purpose built bike" it comes with...but I am picky about bikes, geometry, suspension, etc and like I said - I only ride off road. In general, I'd find it very hard to believe that anything else at all at the moment is "equally impressive" as the maxon. From both a technical (take a look at maxon motors) and performance point of view, from my experiences, etc - there is nothing that is as impressive as my maxons, no comparison. The best way I can describe it is that the feel of the motor is entirely different to anything else - it's so awesome. At the moment I can't sleep because I can't wait to ride today :)
  17. Joven Cabague

    Joven Cabague New Member

    Hi Bikedriver, i am really interested to try the maxon drive hub motors on my existing MTB bike. My 1st question would be, to save some bucks can i still use my existing rear wheels or i need to buy the maxon drive motor hub with the its DT swiss wheel ? Also, I have two MTB's, one is Fuji 26er and 27.5 Star cruz. I like to put it in the Sta cruz but the VPP suspension design might block the battery. Meanwhile, the 26er Fuji bike is a hard tail and has enough room for the battery. What are your thoughts on this? Thank you in advance