It’s 2025 what does your ebike look like?

The bicycle itself has been a surprisingly resilient technology: the diamond frame, derailleurs, brake levers, and circular pedal motion have stayed at the core of the concept of the mainstream bicycle for a very long time. Disk brakes came from motorcycles to mountain bikes to road bikes and they may be one thing which might have a bike mechanic from the year 1950 scratching his/her head with a non-e-bike.

Because of the battery on th e-bike, I think a lot of the biggest changes over the next few years will be electronic.
We're already seeing things like blind spot sensors, smart alarms/locks, better lighting systems, smart-watch style monitoring, voice control.

Here are the things I'd like to see
1. better range: this has mostly taken the form of bigger batteries, but I'd actually like to see lighter bikes that are easier to pedal with the motor off (the e-bike version of a hybrid car)

2. I do like the idea of modular batteries (I think Bike Friday has them) instead of bigger batteries. With 3-4 kg batteries, I frequently just need to go a few miles and would rather not carry an extra 10 pounds. Smaller faster chargers are another solution. If there were a way to produce a very small AC charging device that could go to full charge in less than an hour...it almost makes more sense than a battery with a 100 mile range. With my laptop, I find that I generally don't need a 12 hours battery, if I can recharge my 5 hour battery in an hour or so.

3. I would like more creative thinking in marrying the e-bike to cars and public transportation. There's been a lot of activity with folding bikes, but there are things about folding bikes that make them a kind of second best solution. I could imagine marrying the electronic world to the bike rack in various ways or simply making it easier to get the wheels on and off.

I also like the share model for cities and things like one motor married to the share bike might have a lot of potential, though this depends on changes to infrastructure.

Some people have talked about smart highways for cars where cars that get on freeways would give up individual control so that a smart system can run them at higher speeds with the cars running much closer together (6 inches instead of 60 feet). It might be possible to do the same thing with bikes drafting one another, turning a pair or more of e-bikes into a virtual tandem

4. more bad weather riding solutions. My guess is that this will take the form of high tech smart clothing rather than changes to the e-bike itself.

5. if we're going to stick with the diamond frame, I think making the bike seat more comfortable would make a big difference. Again I could see a seat design that adjusts to the way you're moving or the amount of pressure you're putting on the seat, kind of memory foam with an even better memory (or like active noise cancelling headphones, but for butts) or being able to change the position/angle of the seat without having to get off the bike.

6. I'm not a speed guy, but definitely understand how getting the e-bike above 30 mph could make it a more attractive commute option. I personally get nervous at those speeds on a bike, but I think there may be a lot of things that haven't been explored in making a bike safer for higher speed crashes: stabilization, throwing the rider off the bike at a more favorable angle, even better brakes, better warning systems, different protective gear. In the last 45 years, the brakes have gotten better, lights are better, and helmets have gotten more popular, but that's been about it.. Cars changed a lot as they went from 25 mph vehicles to 70 mph vehicles. Bikes need to make similar changes if the e-bike becomes a means to double cruising speed.
 

Handlebars

Active Member
Chancelucky2, good thinking. I have a few comments.

The bicycle itself has been a surprisingly resilient technology: the diamond frame, derailleurs, brake levers, and circular pedal motion have stayed at the core of the concept of the mainstream bicycle for a very long time. Disk brakes came from motorcycles to mountain bikes to road bikes and they may be one thing which might have a bike mechanic from the year 1950 scratching his/her head with a non-e-bike.
So has the lead/acid battery. 170 yrs almost. Unfortunately, it would seem that their respective characteristics misalign in a way, for bike purposes. Maybe that can be worked around, though.

Because of the battery on th e-bike, I think a lot of the biggest changes over the next few years will be electronic.
We're already seeing things like blind spot sensors, smart alarms/locks, better lighting systems, smart-watch style monitoring, voice control.
Why do you think that it's because of the battery? All those things are going everywhere now, probably most people have some of them in the shower. But it doesn't matter, it just is the case that these things are appearing. We should expect them to all appear on humans just a little bit later. The bike will "know" how you feel and take the necesary steps to measure and pace your ride to where you're allowed to go, including going nowhere if you're drunk or otherwise "under the weather" sufficiently.

Here are the things I'd like to see
1. better range: this has mostly taken the form of bigger batteries, but I'd actually like to see lighter bikes that are easier to pedal with the motor off (the e-bike version of a hybrid car)
Yep, major hurdle to get over, for some needs. Most days my 17Ah battery is more than enough for me, but I would like 70Ah however it could be achieved (even now if I had lots of dough to spare I'd have 3 extras "just in case" and for sometimes taking a long trip).

2. I do like the idea of modular batteries (I think Bike Friday has them) instead of bigger batteries. With 3-4 kg batteries, I frequently just need to go a few miles and would rather not carry an extra 10 pounds. Smaller faster chargers are another solution. If there were a way to produce a very small AC charging device that could go to full charge in less than an hour...it almost makes more sense than a battery with a 100 mile range. With my laptop, I find that I generally don't need a 12 hours battery, if I can recharge my 5 hour battery in an hour or so.
That's an interesting angle to explore. My 17Ah charges a pretty good amount in an hour. What if I carried 4 of them stopped to charge for an hour as they get to 30%? I should time a charge for 1 hr to see where that leaves it.
Anyway, thinking around the problem might be surprising.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
OK enough about speed and regulation. I began this post to start a conversation about hardware and design possibilities. What do you think needs to improve and/or is possible by 2025. There are other places for the regulation discussion but I would suggest getting active with your local politics for action. Now back to ebike technology please
Yea...back to the tech. My feedback earlier was specific to urban mobility ... not mtn bikes which should be considered and entirely different breed of ebike. A few more items.

- Carbon components continue to fall in price such that it becomes preferred even for ebikes where it's weight advantages don't really matter but with the proper kevlar integration they become far stronger and safer then aluminum, steel, and even titanium. Carbon can be designed to have some passive flex so expect to see the bean counters still hoping to push suspensions on urban mobility ebikes finally realize no one is drinking their koolaid any more (the wider tires are already better suspensions for urban mobility but bike manufacturers cling to what they know and they love service costs of suspensions).

- Tight tolerance DD hub drives and make a comeback because riders start to educate themselves and notust auto believing that mid drives are the best solution for all applications. Oiled bath geared hub motors find a solid footing in the cargo bike market (plastic, and even steel, gears with grease will never be reliable enough).

- I could see a high end application for a mid transmission like the Pinion where the gears are programmed into the controller so the ebike literally upshifts and downshifts like a motorcycle (the progressive regen and braking increases with the downshifting).

I will avoid the debate on what data is provided on ebike displays because some people want to see every possible parameter but in my opinion they are not really riding the bike as much as trying to impress others with their big displays.
 

christob

Well-Known Member
While I've drooled over the few carbon bikes I've picked up now and then at the shop -- I recently read an eye-opening article about how fairly dreadful the production of carbon fiber bike frames is today (not to mention apparently how prohibitively expensive it is to attempt to recycle the material) re: environmental impacts.
It left me rethinking my previous automatic assumption that, of course I'd grab a carbon bike the minute I had the disposable cash...
So -- let's throw into the "future tech" wishlist growing here (though 5 years doesn't seem long enough!) a significant evolution in CF production & recycling technologies, in order to make the whole process less of an impact.
https://www.outsideonline.com/2261721/dirty-secret-hiding-your-high-end-mountain-bike
 
Because of the higher average speeds on an ebike you need suspension specially as you get older and can’t handle the shocks any longer. Ask me how I know. Commuter bikes rack up a ton of milage in year so comfort and reliability are important. I think a steel frame with aluminum forks and swing arm are the best balance of weight and strength. Aside from expense carbon fibre does not like any abrasion. And if you do scratch up the carbon fibre good luck fixing it. I remember when golf clubs switched to carbon and my first set were ruined because of the club heads touching the shafts of another club. In the real world carbon is too delicate for a day to day bike.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Because of the higher average speeds on an ebike you need suspension specially as you get older and can’t handle the shocks any longer. Ask me how I know. Commuter bikes rack up a ton of milage in year so comfort and reliability are important. I think a steel frame with aluminum forks and swing arm are the best balance of weight and strength. Aside from expense carbon fibre does not like any abrasion. And if you do scratch up the carbon fibre good luck fixing it. I remember when golf clubs switched to carbon and my first set were ruined because of the club heads touching the shafts of another club. In the real world carbon is too delicate for a day to day bike.
Companies like Canyon and Santa Cruz are making carbon frames that test far stronger than the aluminum counterparts. Carbon is almost always utilized for it's light weight but if a smart ebike frame manufacture came along and added 500-1000 grams of arimid fiber into a layer of carbon I think a vastly superior frame could be made that would never fail under typical street use. Too many people are stuck thinking a carbon frame must be as light as humanly possible for racing.

As for suspensions on street bikes I know schwalbe did a study on the impact of wider tires and found that the active suspension only improve shock dampening like 7% more. I think that was with only 2" wide tires so what is the results with something like Moto X at 2.4" or 2.8" or fat bike tires from 3" to 4" wide. Everyone in marketing at the bike companies are going to tell you that you need a suspension to be comfortable but in reality suspensions were put on mtn bikes to keep the tires in contact with the ground (not really about rider comfort as so many like to think). It's all but common sense that if non suspension bike was faster than a full suspension bike in off road races it's unlikely you would see suspensions on those bikes.

I have Moto X 2.4s on my commute ebike with a Magura air front fork and I honestly can't tell the difference when I lock the fork out when it comes to comfort but I feel the bike handles better with it locked out so that's the way I ride it 99% of the time and I'm 58.
 

ilanarama

Member
Why is there this obsession that an ebike look like a tradition bike? Why can't an ebike highlight the drive system like most motorcycles do. I think a lot of biker's have their Spandex too tight.
Remember I'm talking about mountain bikes, not road bikes here. I think that in order to be treated as bicycles (that is, to be permitted on trails which are for non-motorized vehicles - the argument is being made that ebikes should be allowed where bicycles are) they need to look and behave like traditional bikes.
 

ilanarama

Member
Because of the higher average speeds on an ebike you need suspension specially as you get older and can’t handle the shocks any longer. Ask me how I know. Commuter bikes rack up a ton of milage in year so comfort and reliability are important. I think a steel frame with aluminum forks and swing arm are the best balance of weight and strength. Aside from expense carbon fibre does not like any abrasion. And if you do scratch up the carbon fibre good luck fixing it. I remember when golf clubs switched to carbon and my first set were ruined because of the club heads touching the shafts of another club. In the real world carbon is too delicate for a day to day bike.
Try a modern carbon bike sometime. My mtb is carbon, and it's certainly not delicate.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Remember I'm talking about mountain bikes, not road bikes here. I think that in order to be treated as bicycles (that is, to be permitted on trails which are for non-motorized vehicles - the argument is being made that ebikes should be allowed where bicycles are) they need to look and behave like traditional bikes.
Seriously...so putting the battery inside the main frame tube is significant vs just mounting it on the tube. Sorry but that is nonsensical.

I've seen traditional bikes going over 100kph on roads and mtn bikers 50 feet in the air on traditional bikes. I hardly think that ebikers are likely to behave worst than that.

Even with all the hiding of batteries and integration of the mid drive motors I can still ID an ebike very easily. The only people being fooled are fools. I'm not saying that the integration doesn't look cosmetically attractive...I'm just saying it should not be a standard to judge an ebike by. There are a lot of "traditional" non-motorized bikes that don't look traditional.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I could envision a day when ebike motor manufacturers take a hint from motorcycles and make the motor part of the appeal of the ebike instead of trying to integrate it so the bike looks traditional.

Compare modern motorcyles with those from the 70's and 80's and everything is about the visual coolness showcasing the motor. Some hyper performance cars have clear covers to reveal the motor.

Right now the hot fad is to integrate the motor and battery so the bike looks "traditional" .... probably will fad away when cosmetically cool motors are produced for ebikes.
 
Chancelucky2, good thinking. I have a few comments.

So has the lead/acid battery. 170 yrs almost. Unfortunately, it would seem that their respective characteristics misalign in a way, for bike purposes. Maybe that can be worked around, though.

I would expect faster and more dramatic changes with e-bikes than we've seen with traditional bikes. I do think the e-bike calls into question a lot of assumptions we've made about bike design so far. The first cars looked a lot like wagons and buggies. Over time, they evolved into something different.


Why do you think that it's because of the battery? All those things are going everywhere now, probably most people have some of them in the shower. But it doesn't matter, it just is the case that these things are appearing. We should expect them to all appear on humans just a little bit later. The bike will "know" how you feel and take the necesary steps to measure and pace your ride to where you're allowed to go, including going nowhere if you're drunk or otherwise "under the weather" sufficiently.

I don't disagree. You don't need a big battery to do a lot of this stuff.


Yep, major hurdle to get over, for some needs. Most days my 17Ah battery is more than enough for me, but I would like 70Ah however it could be achieved (even now if I had lots of dough to spare I'd have 3 extras "just in case" and for sometimes taking a long trip).

I keep thinking that there's got to be a better way to do it than adding 20 pounds to your bike. My current bike has a range of about 50 miles and 95% or more of the time, it's enough. 99% of the time, I'd be able to get by just fine if I could recharge in an hour or less. In the meantime, the Yamaha bikes for 2020, the ypj series, seem to be claiming pretty amazing ranges (160 miles in eco plus and 60 miles in their version of turbo) with a single 500 amp hour battery. Hard to say how that's being calculated. 160 miles is further than I'd actually want to ride in a day and not sure how "optimal" their conditions are, but they do explain how they do their estimates.

That's an interesting angle to explore. My 17Ah charges a pretty good amount in an hour. What if I carried 4 of them stopped to charge for an hour as they get to 30%? I should time a charge for 1 hr to see where that leaves it.
Anyway, thinking around the problem might be surprising.
one of the issues seems to be that really fast charging eats into the number of cycles you'll get out of your battery.
 
Companies like Canyon and Santa Cruz are making carbon frames that test far stronger than the aluminum counterparts. Carbon is almost always utilized for it's light weight but if a smart ebike frame manufacture came along and added 500-1000 grams of arimid fiber into a layer of carbon I think a vastly superior frame could be made that would never fail under typical street use. Too many people are stuck thinking a carbon frame must be as light as humanly possible for racing.

As for suspensions on street bikes I know schwalbe did a study on the impact of wider tires and found that the active suspension only improve shock dampening like 7% more. I think that was with only 2" wide tires so what is the results with something like Moto X at 2.4" or 2.8" or fat bike tires from 3" to 4" wide. Everyone in marketing at the bike companies are going to tell you that you need a suspension to be comfortable but in reality suspensions were put on mtn bikes to keep the tires in contact with the ground (not really about rider comfort as so many like to think). It's all but common sense that if non suspension bike was faster than a full suspension bike in off road races it's unlikely you would see suspensions on those bikes.

I have Moto X 2.4s on my commute ebike with a Magura air front fork and I honestly can't tell the difference when I lock the fork out when it comes to comfort but I feel the bike handles better with it locked out so that's the way I ride it 99% of the time and I'm 58.
Wow you go right by that 7% improvement like it’s nothing. In most instances engineers are fighting for improvements of 1-2%! 7% is a huge improvement. If schwalbe is correct then I can remove the suspension from my motorcycle because it has 4” wide tires at 30PSI. When you hit the sharp edge of a pothole or curb at speed the suspension protects your rims as well as your body. Currently bike suspensions on street bikes are not very compliant. A full hydraulic suspension can react to both small and large bumps quickly.
 
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trainman

Member
Being an older rider (74) I see the older population riding more and the ebikes of the future for that age group will be ebikes like the Rad Runner, Rad Mini's, Super 73 scooter styles. These may even trickle down to the younger ages for there smaller size and ease of use. For the city bicycle riders it will probably become somewhat mandatory just by the economics of the situations that are ahead of us.