Here is your opportunity to design and own a custom bike

D

Deleted member 803

Guest
As many of you know, I spent about 30 years in the tech industry working as a senior marketing executive for public companies. And as you also know I have a keen interest in e-bikes. So keen in fact that I am considering selling them directly to corporations via a direct sales force and direct delivery with no retail presence. While I have had many interesting conversations with many e-bike brands large and small, I am intrigued by my contacts in Taiwan who manufacture most of the e-bikes in the world. They have indicated that they would be happy to build a custom brand to my specifications.

To that end, the minimum requirement for purchase is 100 bikes. Given that there are thousands of open (meaning publicly available) frame designs available and that everything else is sourced from companies like Shimano, it is not unreasonable to put together a high quality e-bike.

If I can gather enough interest and monies from the participants on this forum I am willing to enter into a contract to build and ship these bikes to the US. It will require some design expertise and some regulatory compliance but I am willing to go through the effort if enough of you are willing to take a chance.

This is not about building a cheap bike. It is about building a high quality e-bike that we can own for essentially the manufacturing costs plus shipping. I'm guessing that something like $1500-$2000 will buy us a $4K-$5K retail equivalent with top notch componentry i.e. Shimano gearsets, Samsung lithium Ion Batteries, hydroformed aluminum frames, Schwalbe tires.....you get the idea.

I'd like to hear from you regarding your interest in:

a. the specifications that are on your (realistic) wishlist
b. your willingness to reach into your pocket in advance to support the project
c. any other requirements that would make you comfortable as a consumer

Please bare in mind that this not intended as a new research and development project but an effort to take existing OEM components and engineering and build a very strong value proposition for the biking community.

I appreciate your thoughts.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
I had to sit with your proposal for a day. Thoughts? Many! Initial was; I like it, but the very next thought was; camel. It's been said a camel is a horse designed by committee.

I see the biggest problem would be finding enough investors to agree on the build. This would be a group-buy like many of the crowd-fund campaigns, but without the benefit of a preplanned proposal for the build. I could agree on the financial investment, but not sure about the time investment.

How do you see the build coming together, the timeline and control of the project? The idea intrigues me. I think the committee plan needs to be put in place, before the build plan.
 
D

Deleted member 803

Guest
I had to sit with your proposal for a day. Thoughts? Many! Initial was; I like it, but the very next thought was; camel. It's been said a camel is a horse designed by committee.

I see the biggest problem would be finding enough investors to agree on the build. This would be a group-buy like many of the crowd-fund campaigns, but without the benefit of a preplanned proposal for the build. I could agree on the financial investment, but not sure about the time investment.

How do you see the build coming together, the timeline and control of the project? The idea intrigues me. I think the committee plan needs to be put in place, before the build plan.
Thank you for your thoughtful response.

The intent is not to satisfy everyone's individual needs but to produce a bicycle that is designed for everyday commuting to and from work. This bike must appeal to companies who wish to support their employee health and wellness needs and encourage a corporate environmental (carbon footprint) objective.

The bike specifics are open but the general direction for the design will be:

a. an urban/touring geometry with a slightly forward lean to a flat bar. probably hydroformed aluminum.
b. a modified top bar that is not a low step but can accommodate those who want more top bar relief.
c. front suspension fork with lockout (basic RST)
d. hydraulic disc brakes (open on brand)
e. mid range Shimano or Sram groupset such as a Shimano XT or a Sram XO with at least 10-11 gears
d. a purpose built frame that incorporates a lithium ion battery that can be charged on or off the bike. Open on size but the objective is to get to a failsafe 25-30 miles in any mode.
e. probably a mid-drive as the bike must make hill climbing easy (open on this of course)
f. 700C wheels with puncture resistance tires somewhere between 28 and 40 wide and quick releases front and back
g. ergonomic grips (ergon like)
h. integrated rear rack (most commuters will want to carry something)
i. integrated front/rear lights for safety
j. backlit removable display with power adjustment ring near grips
k. thumb throttle

We'd limit paint schemes to perhaps two colors. I would hire an old employee who is Taiwan based and is one of the best manufacturing engineers in the Asia region to serve as the liason with the factory and to establish quality controls (incoming/outgoing). I live in an area that has a lot of frame designers and would probably ask a few of them to scoot over to discuss geometry, materials, and build process.

The good news is that the Taiwan/China skills sets are such that they can build anything we want since these few companies are producing not only the mass market low end stuff but some of the highest quality bikes in the world.

I am not looking for a design committee (the death knell of engineering) but early upfront wants/needs to see if I can amalgamate the feature set into something that will satisfy 90% of folks needs.

More thoughts later.....
 
D

Deleted member 803

Guest
The advantage to forum members is the value proposition.....a fantastic bike at basically manufacturing/freight cost. The advantage to me is a bike brand that I (I will create an LLC) can own and can sell directly to local municipalities, corporate accounts, police departments, US postal service et. al. Most of the forum members have enough shopping/purchasing experience to immediately understand the value statement. Monies would need to be committed up front to move the project ahead. I would provide monthly status updates along with a development/manufacturing schedule. The project is probably a 6-12 month from start to finish depending upon whether there is any custom engineering required. Plus, with e-bikes we will have to meet US/EU regulatory approval and they are brutally slow.

I will admit that the industry will do whatever it can to discourage this project. My only response would be that IF, we are successful selling to corporate with our employee incentive and fleet sales incentive programs, we will put a lot of e-bikes on the street. This will boost the sales of all vendors.

I might add that it is NOT my intent to offer the bike at cost to customers. We'd set a reasonable competitive retail price and stick too it. My background is about 30 years as a senior marketing officer for private and public high tech companies.
 

Llcjay

Member
As many of you know, I spent about 30 years in the tech industry working as a senior marketing executive for public companies. And as you also know I have a keen interest in e-bikes. So keen in fact that I am considering selling them directly to corporations via a direct sales force and direct delivery with no retail presence. While I have had many interesting conversations with many e-bike brands large and small, I am intrigued by my contacts in Taiwan who manufacture most of the e-bikes in the world. They have indicated that they would be happy to build a custom brand to my specifications.

To that end, the minimum requirement for purchase is 100 bikes. Given that there are thousands of open (meaning publicly available) frame designs available and that everything else is sourced from companies like Shimano, it is not unreasonable to put together a high quality e-bike.

If I can gather enough interest and monies from the participants on this forum I am willing to enter into a contract to build and ship these bikes to the US. It will require some design expertise and some regulatory compliance but I am willing to go through the effort if enough of you are willing to take a chance.

This is not about building a cheap bike. It is about building a high quality e-bike that we can own for essentially the manufacturing costs plus shipping. I'm guessing that something like $1500-$2000 will buy us a $4K-$5K retail equivalent with top notch componentry i.e. Shimano gearsets, Samsung lithium Ion Batteries, hydroformed aluminum frames, Schwalbe tires.....you get the idea.

I'd like to hear from you regarding your interest in:

a. the specifications that are on your (realistic) wishlist
b. your willingness to reach into your pocket in advance to support the project
c. any other requirements that would make you comfortable as a consumer

Please bare in mind that this not intended as a new research and development project but an effort to take existing OEM components and engineering and build a very strong value proposition for the biking community.

I appreciate your thoughts.
Unless you can provide warranty of decent length, like 2 years,or a shop willing into service them under warranty, why would anyone risk $2000 on an unknown u tested ebike?
 

grench

Well-Known Member
Random thoughts...
I would be open to the idea...however the comfort of the bike IMO would need 26" ballon tires and a front fork riser long enough to allow us 'built for comfort folks' to get the bars up so we can breath. Also think we should use high quality torque sensor with adjustable settings. This IMO eliminates the need for a throttle. I also agree with the mid drive. Have you thought of a 'roller' option? (Term race car guys use for a skeleton which allows end users to customize). Example the bike could come without grips, handlebars, pedals, and seat. Or some option which makes sense. One of the best features of the Stromer and Pedegos are the tires. Plug in options on the battery for lights and a USB port. I would also like some extra attention to water tight. The through frame cables are nice but need to be sealed or have proper drainage plans. I am wearing my air compressor out drying the cable hole leaks. More later.
 
D

Deleted member 803

Guest
Unless you can provide warranty of decent length, like 2 years,or a shop willing into service them under warranty, why would anyone risk $2000 on an unknown u tested ebike?
The bike certainly would not be an unknown other than the frame since it would be supplied with top quality components which are warrantied by the manufacturer i.e. Samsung, Shimano, Sram, etc. I would handle warranty claims for the manufacturers for the first bikes we build. The real issue is the value proposition. If you could buy a brand new $30K Honda Accord for $12K, how important is the warranty. The only real risk is the manufacturing standards and we would control or specify every step of the build. I realize this project is not without risks, but the key technologies that the major brands use is all readily available. What differentiates most vendors are the decisions or trade off they make to achieve a specific cost structure.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
I think it's a great concept but I wonder how big a pool you need as you whittle out anyone who hits the 'deal breaker' over some major feature. I've spent some time thinking about this concept, building off a frame, deciding the parts.

My inclination would be to go mid-drive, but the BBS-02 is what is most available. It still seems somewhat awkward, and I don't know where Bafang is going with the Max. I'm sure you could get the shift issues and the throttle program issues done at the OEM level, so maybe it's not a hard choice. A high quality rear hub is a decent option.

I agree on the shifter, having had good luck with lesser levels of quality. Pointless not to do it. The brakes would be a similar deal, why go cheap if you are doing a wholesale buy?

You could argue that you don't want a battery that is 'too' proprietary. You could get some sort of standard pack that fits the frame, that would be good. I have noticed cells are getting very cheap. I saw a pack with 2600 Samsungs, 10s4p for $250 on Aliexpress. All I want from a battery these days is the ability to ride the costs down, for a spare or replacements. Don't get locked in.

Anything you can replace off Amazon, say in an hour, is not much of an issue.

Right now, I can buy the bike I converted, a Bikes Direct Elite Hybrid, for $500. You could look at the specs. I can get a MAC front or rear for $400. I can get Samsung cells, in a pack, for $300. You might want to look at the specs of the Elite, and say how much you need to upgrade to really feel you have a much better bike? I'd say somewhat better frame, better susp fork, better crank, better rims, somewhat better drivetrain. This is a better version than the one I have. I know what it would cost to convert this bike. I'd like to see if pushing toward $2k could get a much more interesting bike.

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products...EXLtIaVeiZWvRNrvKYzRoSCarHHcdviqrgaArSr8P8HAQ

I like it as an exercise and hope something comes of it.

Thanks
 
D

Deleted member 803

Guest
Random thoughts...
I would be open to the idea...however the comfort of the bike IMO would need 26" ballon tires and a front fork riser long enough to allow us 'built for comfort folks' to get the bars up so we can breath. Also think we should use high quality torque sensor with adjustable settings. This IMO eliminates the need for a throttle. I also agree with the mid drive. Have you thought of a 'roller' option? (Term race car guys use for a skeleton which allows end users to customize). Example the bike could come without grips, handlebars, pedals, and seat. Or some option which makes sense. One of the best features of the Stromer and Pedegos are the tires. Plug in options on the battery for lights and a USB port. I would also like some extra attention to water tight. The through frame cables are nice but need to be sealed or have proper drainage plans. I am wearing my air compressor out drying the cable hole leaks. More later.
Thanks for your thoughts. Tires will be a balance between low rolling resistance and comfort. Most commuters want some comfort so I think we strike the right balance. I don't think that the pricing we might want to reach allows for a lot of customization and not sure how many folks want incomplete setups. The long term goal (for me) is to have one or two models complete that work for the vast majority of folks. No bike can meet everyone's needs so we need to be very middle of the road in our thinking.
 
D

Deleted member 803

Guest
I think it's a great concept but I wonder how big a pool you need as you whittle out anyone who hits the 'deal breaker' over some major feature. I've spent some time thinking about this concept, building off a frame, deciding the parts.

My inclination would be to go mid-drive, but the BBS-02 is what is most available. It still seems somewhat awkward, and I don't know where Bafang is going with the Max. I'm sure you could get the shift issues and the throttle program issues done at the OEM level, so maybe it's not a hard choice. A high quality rear hub is a decent option.

I agree on the shifter, having had good luck with lesser levels of quality. Pointless not to do it. The brakes would be a similar deal, why go cheap if you are doing a wholesale buy?

You could argue that you don't want a battery that is 'too' proprietary. You could get some sort of standard pack that fits the frame, that would be good. I have noticed cells are getting very cheap. I saw a pack with 2600 Samsungs, 10s4p for $250 on Aliexpress. All I want from a battery these days is the ability to ride the costs down, for a spare or replacements. Don't get locked in.

Anything you can replace off Amazon, say in an hour, is not much of an issue.

Right now, I can buy the bike I converted, a Bikes Direct Elite Hybrid, for $500. You could look at the specs. I can get a MAC front or rear for $400. I can get Samsung cells, in a pack, for $300. You might want to look at the specs of the Elite, and say how much you need to upgrade to really feel you have a much better bike? I'd say somewhat better frame, better susp fork, better crank, better rims, somewhat better drivetrain. This is a better version than the one I have. I know what it would cost to convert this bike. I'd like to see if pushing toward $2k could get a much more interesting bike.

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products...EXLtIaVeiZWvRNrvKYzRoSCarHHcdviqrgaArSr8P8HAQ

I like it as an exercise and hope something comes of it.

Thanks
It was not my intent to use "kit" stuff. As an example, we do not want to sort out mid-drives balanced with controllers and then kit a battery. I'd rather go to Shimano, Bosch, or Kalkhoff and license their proven products.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Thank you for your thoughtful response.

The intent is not to satisfy everyone's individual needs but to produce a bicycle that is designed for everyday commuting to and from work. This bike must appeal to companies who wish to support their employee health and wellness needs and encourage a corporate environmental (carbon footprint) objective.

The bike specifics are open but the general direction for the design will be:

a. an urban/touring geometry with a slightly forward lean to a flat bar. probably hydroformed aluminum.
b. a modified top bar that is not a low step but can accommodate those who want more top bar relief.
c. front suspension fork with lockout (basic RST)
d. hydraulic disc brakes (open on brand)
e. mid range Shimano or Sram groupset such as a Shimano XT or a Sram XO with at least 10-11 gears
d. a purpose built frame that incorporates a lithium ion battery that can be charged on or off the bike. Open on size but the objective is to get to a failsafe 25-30 miles in any mode.
e. probably a mid-drive as the bike must make hill climbing easy (open on this of course)
f. 700C wheels with puncture resistance tires somewhere between 28 and 40 wide and quick releases front and back
g. ergonomic grips (ergon like)
h. integrated rear rack (most commuters will want to carry something)
i. integrated front/rear lights for safety
j. backlit removable display with power adjustment ring near grips
k. thumb throttle

We'd limit paint schemes to perhaps two colors. I would hire an old employee who is Taiwan based and is one of the best manufacturing engineers in the Asia region to serve as the liason with the factory and to establish quality controls (incoming/outgoing). I live in an area that has a lot of frame designers and would probably ask a few of them to scoot over to discuss geometry, materials, and build process.

The good news is that the Taiwan/China skills sets are such that they can build anything we want since these few companies are producing not only the mass market low end stuff but some of the highest quality bikes in the world.

I am not looking for a design committee (the death knell of engineering) but early upfront wants/needs to see if I can amalgamate the feature set into something that will satisfy 90% of folks needs.

More thoughts later.....
Your design parameters and my thoughts:
a. yes
b. standard top-tube would be ok, mod. is fine
c. yes, hydraulic/air, lockout a must.
d. yes, hydraulic only
e. yes agree. 10-11 speed a must.
d. (2?). an existing frame design would be best, why reinvent the wheel. I would prefer a non-incorporated battery so one can install any battery they choose, future proofing.
e. (2?). mid-drive, yes
f. 700c. x 28-40. There are many existing rims available that accept 28-40 tires
g. grips, lock-on ergon or similar. (easy to upgrade)
h. rear rack, bosses for front rack. Industry standard to accept standard accessories.
i. integrated lights to be seen, lights to see can be added.
j. removable and movable display
k. thumb throttle, yes. Can be just a cruising/off the line throttle of 12-15mph.

aa. Fenders

2 or 3 colors would be fine. I would add good fenders.

You've answered many of my initial questions, I'm sure you have planned a simple contract that would set down what is expected by all sides.

I couldn't care less about a bumper to bumper warrantee as long as paperwork is provided for component manufacturer warrantee. My only real concern is the electronic/electric bits.
 
D

Deleted member 803

Guest
Your design parameters and my thoughts:
a. yes
b. standard top-tube would be ok, mod. is fine
c. yes, hydraulic/air, lockout a must.
d. yes, hydraulic only
e. yes agree. 10-11 speed a must.
d. (2?). an existing frame design would be best, why reinvent the wheel. I would prefer a non-incorporated battery so one can install any battery they choose, future proofing.
e. (2?). mid-drive, yes
f. 700c. x 28-40. There are many existing rims available that accept 28-40 tires
g. grips, lock-on ergon or similar. (easy to upgrade)
h. rear rack, bosses for front rack. Industry standard to accept standard accessories.
i. integrated lights to be seen, lights to see can be added.
j. removable and movable display
k. thumb throttle, yes. Can be just a cruising/off the line throttle of 12-15mph.

aa. Fenders

2 or 3 colors would be fine. I would add good fenders.

You've answered many of my initial questions, I'm sure you have planned a simple contract that would set down what is expected by all sides.

I couldn't care less about a bumper to bumper warrantee as long as paperwork is provided for component manufacturer warrantee. My only real concern is the electronic/electric bits.
Thanks for your comments. The key here is getting enough folks to commit monies based on a doable spec.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Thanks for your comments. The key here is getting enough folks to commit monies based on a doable spec.
I guess my point in posting my list to yours is to decide if we were on the same page. That goes back to my first response to this thread, no point even getting into the money if we aren't in the same ballpark. I think we are fairly close.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
Given the specs you and @JR have hammered out, which drive could you license/acquire and stay under $2000, for the bike? I like the look of the Haibike, which I've seen. If you are saying "We'll make something like a Haibike in terms of fit/finish, maybe with a Panasonic or Yamaha drive, upper end parts, and do it for $2,000, it's pretty intriguing. What drive at what price? I'm skeptical you could do Bosch at that number, but there are other drives. No talk of auto-shift. A really nice frame with a quality integrated drive, good parts, good tires, maybe a display with watts, throttle and torque sensors, for $2000. Sort of sells itself.

Few of us have any real experience with the drives. At some point, that is something you may have to decide, just to put a list of specs out there. Also, the time frame is rather critical. If you have a hundred people and the money is in escrow or whatever, how long?
 

PowerMe

Well-Known Member
Good luck.

I'm inclined to consider the Rivendell conversion to ebike option for the future.
 

Cameron Newland

Well-Known Member
As many of you know, I spent about 30 years in the tech industry working as a senior marketing executive for public companies. And as you also know I have a keen interest in e-bikes. So keen in fact that I am considering selling them directly to corporations via a direct sales force and direct delivery with no retail presence. While I have had many interesting conversations with many e-bike brands large and small, I am intrigued by my contacts in Taiwan who manufacture most of the e-bikes in the world. They have indicated that they would be happy to build a custom brand to my specifications.

To that end, the minimum requirement for purchase is 100 bikes. Given that there are thousands of open (meaning publicly available) frame designs available and that everything else is sourced from companies like Shimano, it is not unreasonable to put together a high quality e-bike.

If I can gather enough interest and monies from the participants on this forum I am willing to enter into a contract to build and ship these bikes to the US. It will require some design expertise and some regulatory compliance but I am willing to go through the effort if enough of you are willing to take a chance.

This is not about building a cheap bike. It is about building a high quality e-bike that we can own for essentially the manufacturing costs plus shipping. I'm guessing that something like $1500-$2000 will buy us a $4K-$5K retail equivalent with top notch componentry i.e. Shimano gearsets, Samsung lithium Ion Batteries, hydroformed aluminum frames, Schwalbe tires.....you get the idea.

I'd like to hear from you regarding your interest in:

a. the specifications that are on your (realistic) wishlist
b. your willingness to reach into your pocket in advance to support the project
c. any other requirements that would make you comfortable as a consumer

Please bare in mind that this not intended as a new research and development project but an effort to take existing OEM components and engineering and build a very strong value proposition for the biking community.

I appreciate your thoughts.
I'd be interested in a Gates Carbon Drive bike with Nuvinci N360 or the Shimano Alfine 8 paired with a 350W-750W, 48V mid-drive motor and a 600+Wh battery, front suspension, hydraulic disc brakes, brake levers with motor cut-off, and rear rack braze-ons. Pretty specific, I know, and I imagine that your project wouldn't mesh with my specs, but if it did, I'd throw in a couple grand in a pre-order. I'm basically looking to buy something similar to a Grace MX II Trail but for a few thousand less (I'm a little wary of spending $5,000 on an ebike!). Paired with the Nuvinci, I don't think you'd need a gear-shift motor cut-off, since there is no chain that switches from cog to cog. I'm simply not interested in buying an ebike with a traditional chain and rear derailleur anymore because I'm convinced that the additional maintenance (chain cleaning and lubrication, shifter cable adjustments) are just really unnecessary considering the various drivetrain options that are now available. It'd be nice if it would use a well-known controller and motor combo, like a BionX system, Bosch, Bafang, etc, so that we might be able to get the system fixed or serviced at many different ebike shops. Ditto on the battery. It'd be nice to use a battery that's a known product so that we could send it off somewhere to have cells replaced a few years down the line, or to get the pack problems diagnosed if there were any issues.
 

Cameron Newland

Well-Known Member
Your design parameters and my thoughts:
a. yes
b. standard top-tube would be ok, mod. is fine
c. yes, hydraulic/air, lockout a must.
d. yes, hydraulic only
e. yes agree. 10-11 speed a must.
d. (2?). an existing frame design would be best, why reinvent the wheel. I would prefer a non-incorporated battery so one can install any battery they choose, future proofing.
e. (2?). mid-drive, yes
f. 700c. x 28-40. There are many existing rims available that accept 28-40 tires
g. grips, lock-on ergon or similar. (easy to upgrade)
h. rear rack, bosses for front rack. Industry standard to accept standard accessories.
i. integrated lights to be seen, lights to see can be added.
j. removable and movable display
k. thumb throttle, yes. Can be just a cruising/off the line throttle of 12-15mph.

aa. Fenders

2 or 3 colors would be fine. I would add good fenders.

You've answered many of my initial questions, I'm sure you have planned a simple contract that would set down what is expected by all sides.

I couldn't care less about a bumper to bumper warrantee as long as paperwork is provided for component manufacturer warrantee. My only real concern is the electronic/electric bits.
I'm concerned about the inclusion of a 10-11 speed derailleur setup. 9-11 speed drivetrains tend to use narrower chains that are slightly weaker than traditional chains, and more importantly, rear derailleurs have a tough time shifting accurately on cogsets that have 9-11 cogs on the rear. If you were to use a 7 or 8 speed rear derailleur, you could use a non-narrow chain, and once your derailleur cable is properly adjusted, it would continue shifting properly for a longer amount of time with less derailleur cable adjustments vs. the 9-11 speed version. I have a 1x10 speed setup on my 2015 IZIP E3 Dash and I can tell you that I would prefer an 8-speed over a 10 speed any day. Having less speeds also means less shifting when accelerating and decelerating, and any loss in efficiency from having less gear ratios to choose from would be offset by not having to shift as many times. There's no good reason that any bicycle should need more than, say, 5-7 speeds (unless you're doing 40+mph downhill, and in that case, it might make sense to have a front derailleur with two diferent chainrings to choose from for low and high speeds). Anything more is just for marketing purposes and is not necessarily more pragmatic. All of the ebikes with 10-speed rear derailleurs today would perform better if they used 7 or 8 speed rear cogs and derailleurs. This is my personal opinion and people are free to disagree with me, but I challenge any experienced bicycle mechanic who understands the differences between different kinds of gear ratios and drivetrain systems and of packing too many cogs into a rear wheel and the drawbacks of using a narrow chain to tell me why a 10-speed would perform any better than a 7-speed with similar first and top-gear ratios.
 
D

Deleted member 803

Guest
I'm concerned about the inclusion of a 10-11 speed derailleur setup. 9-11 speed drivetrains tend to use narrower chains that are slightly weaker than traditional chains, and more importantly, rear derailleurs have a tough time shifting accurately on cogsets that have 9-11 cogs on the rear. If you were to use a 7 or 8 speed rear derailleur, you could use a non-narrow chain, and once your derailleur cable is properly adjusted, it would continue shifting properly for a longer amount of time with less derailleur cable adjustments vs. the 9-11 speed version. I have a 1x10 speed setup on my 2015 IZIP E3 Dash and I can tell you that I would prefer an 8-speed over a 10 speed any day. Having less speeds also means less shifting when accelerating and decelerating, and any loss in efficiency from having less gear ratios to choose from would be offset by not having to shift as many times. There's no good reason that any bicycle should need more than, say, 5-7 speeds (unless you're doing 40+mph downhill, and in that case, it might make sense to have a front derailleur with two diferent chainrings to choose from for low and high speeds). Anything more is just for marketing purposes and is not necessarily more pragmatic. All of the ebikes with 10-speed rear derailleurs today would perform better if they used 7 or 8 speed rear cogs and derailleurs. This is my personal opinion and people are free to disagree with me, but I challenge any experienced bicycle mechanic who understands the differences between different kinds of gear ratios and drivetrain systems and of packing too many cogs into a rear wheel and the drawbacks of using a narrow chain to tell me why a 10-speed would perform any better than a 7-speed with similar first and top-gear ratios.
Any bike we spec will probably have a minimum of a 10 or 11 cog rearset. There is no discernible long term reliability issues available and having more gears can only be a good thing. I live in the SF Bay Area and while I use 4-5 gears for most travel, there are times when the hills are enormous and lower gearing helps a great deal. Maintaining a comfortable cadence is what most folks want. There is simply no advantage mechanical or otherwise to limiting gearsets. The other reason is that the bike we spec will be compared to existing bikes on the market so any perceived substandard functionality works against us. We want the value proposition to be unmatched.
 

Cameron Newland

Well-Known Member
Any bike we spec will probably have a minimum of a 10 or 11 cog rearset. There is no discernible long term reliability issues available and having more gears can only be a good thing. I live in the SF Bay Area and while I use 4-5 gears for most travel, there are times when the hills are enormous and lower gearing helps a great deal. Maintaining a comfortable cadence is what most folks want. There is simply no advantage mechanical or otherwise to limiting gearsets. The other reason is that the bike we spec will be compared to existing bikes on the market so any perceived substandard functionality works against us. We want the value proposition to be unmatched.
Having more gears doesn't necessarily mean more range in gearing ratios. A three speed can be better at climbing hills and bombing back down them than a 10-speed, depending on the number of teeth on each cog and the resulting final drive ratio. More cogs on the rear just means more weight, more rider effort spent shifting, and also, especially with the narrow chains, more derailleur cable adjustments and less accurate shifts (i.e. you're more likely to shift from first to second to third and get stuck on the second cog while on a 10 or 11-speed cog with a narrow chain as opposed to a 7 or 8-speed cog with a non-narrow chain). 1mm of shifter cable stretch on a 10-speed/narrow chain setup makes the shifting much more inaccurate than 1mm of shifter cable stretch on a 7-speed. Just my $0.02.