'Zen Skunkworks' - a new model in the development

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
We have couple of major updates.
  • We have another founding member along with me, Paul Daniel.
    Paul is an engineer and EV technologist who has been in the E-bike space for over 14 years. Paul also worked with a major electric motorcycle company "Brammo" as a battery development engineer.
    Having someone like Paul with deep knowledge of E-bikes and technical expertise is just great.

    From my experience, he is one of the most knowledgeable folks when it comes to E-bike tech. His creations are top-notch and ElectricBike.com even wrote this piece about his work:


    In his latest project, he single-handedly built a mid-drive motor with extremely high performance:weight ratio and is one of the very few mid-drives to use custom ASI controller+torque sensor for super smooth power application.

    1593543390751.png


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The second major update is that me and Paul have been developing a model that is truly unique. We wanted to bring a torque-sensing, hub motor version that provides exceptional value to the end user and yet maintains high-quality DNA.
    So far the project is coming along really well and we hope to have a full prototype ready by the beginning of October.

    The highlights of the products are:

  • 48V hub motor with thru-axle with nominal power of over 600W and 1000W of peak power. Thru-axle makes wheel removal super easy just like a mid-drive.

  • 48V, 14Ah fully integrated battery and with an option for dual battery ~(672 whr stock + 672 whr optional) total of 1340 Whr of energy

  • Custom tuned torque sensor

  • Tektro HD-E series Hydraulic brakes with motor cutoff

  • SR Auntour AIR suspension with 100mm travel and thru-axle up front.

  • 1500 lumen headlight rated at 20W of power and it comes with Hi-lo beam switch (lo-beam at 900 lumens)

  • Shimano Deore 10 speed drive train

  • Schwalbe Super Moto X tires with Greenguard protection

  • To be priced at $1990 including shipping.
 
Last edited:

TMH

Well-Known Member
@Ravi Kempaiah,

This sounds like it will be a fun project to watch. Coupla' Q's:

1) What torque do you estimate out of your hub motor?
2) Assuming a 'standard' (if there is any such thing, especially with new technology) prototype/development timeline, when do you anticipate having first production bikes?
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
@Ravi Kempaiah,

This sounds like it will be a fun project to watch. Coupla' Q's:

1) What torque do you estimate out of your hub motor?
2) Assuming a 'standard' (if there is any such thing, especially with new technology) prototype/development timeline, when do you anticipate having first production bikes?

  1. I am always skeptical about some of the torque ratings and I would always take any number with a grain of salt.
    I have seen numbers like 55 Nm on the spec sheet for this particular motor. I will try to put in on the Dynamometer once we have the bikes and report the data here.
    Having that, I am VERY familiar with this motor and have about 5000 miles on it and it is capable of sustaining 25mph average speed and is certainly higher quality than the Bafang hub motor.

  2. Production models will arrive on N American soil by Feb 2021.
    The prototypes will be here in Sep/Oct and we don't anticipate too many changes between the prototypes and the production model.
 

Martinet

Member
Suggestion: Since the other model is a diamond frame, if this new model were a step-through or had a dropper seat-post the market to a number of seniors would be opened up.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Since the other model is a diamond frame,

We will have step-thru frame as well but the prototypes will be based on diamond frame.
Step-thru frames need reinforcement at certain key points and this is especially important on a Class 3 E-bike. So, we are taking a conservative approach before we release the step-thru frame.
It needs to be vetted for frame rigidity and flexural strength.
 

byunbee

Well-Known Member
We have couple of major updates.
  • We have another founding member along with me, Paul Daniel.
    Paul is an engineer and EV technologist who has been in the E-bike space for over 14 years. Paul also worked with a major electric motorcycle company "Brammo" as a battery development engineer.
    Having someone like Paul with deep knowledge of E-bikes and technical expertise is just great.

    From my experience, he is one of the most knowledgeable folks when it comes to E-bike tech. His creations are top-notch and ElectricBike.com even wrote this piece about his work:


    In his latest project, he single-handedly built a mid-drive motor with extremely high performance:weight ratio and is one of the very few mid-drives to use custom ASI controller+torque sensor for super smooth power application.

    View attachment 57291

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The second major update is that me and Paul have been developing a model that is truly unique. We wanted to bring a torque-sensing, hub motor version that provides exceptional value to the end user and yet maintains high-quality DNA.
    So far the project is coming along really well and we hope to have a full prototype ready by the beginning of October.

    The highlights of the products are:

  • 48V hub motor with thru-axle with nominal power of over 600W and 1000W of peak power. Thru-axle makes wheel removal super easy just like a mid-drive.

  • 48V, 14Ah fully integrated battery and with an option for dual battery ~(672 whr stock + 672 whr optional) total of 1340 Whr of energy

  • Custom tuned torque sensor

  • Tektro HD-E series Hydraulic brakes with motor cutoff

  • SR Auntour AIR suspension with 100mm travel and thru-axle up front.

  • 1500 lumen headlight rated at 20W of power and it comes with Hi-lo beam switch (lo-beam at 900 lumens)

  • Shimano Deore 10 speed drive train

  • Schwalbe Super Moto X tires with Greenguard protection

  • To be priced at $1990 including shipping.
Will this motor be in your bikes?
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Sounds like a really great design, and a very good price. I'm excited to see and hear about the prototypes.

Thank you very much for the support. We will be sure to update you as we progress.

Will this motor be in your bikes?

That particular motor (mid-drive) was developed for a particular purpose.
Currently, we are sticking with hub-drive for sub $2K model and Bosch Gen 4 motors for our more premium bikes.
 

TMH

Well-Known Member
Currently, we are sticking with hub-drive for sub $2K model and Bosch Gen 4 motors for our more premium bikes.
Bosch, no doubt, makes an excellent drive system. But one 'downfall' (at least to me) is the inability to tune or de-restrict their Gen 4 motors.

Do you plan on your hub motor bike(s) to be available in Class 1, 2 or 3?
 

BTfl

Active Member
We have couple of major updates.
  • We have another founding member along with me, Paul Daniel.
    Paul is an engineer and EV technologist who has been in the E-bike space for over 14 years. Paul also worked with a major electric motorcycle company "Brammo" as a battery development engineer.
    Having someone like Paul with deep knowledge of E-bikes and technical expertise is just great.

    From my experience, he is one of the most knowledgeable folks when it comes to E-bike tech. His creations are top-notch and ElectricBike.com even wrote this piece about his work:


    In his latest project, he single-handedly built a mid-drive motor with extremely high performance:weight ratio and is one of the very few mid-drives to use custom ASI controller+torque sensor for super smooth power application.

    View attachment 57291

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The second major update is that me and Paul have been developing a model that is truly unique. We wanted to bring a torque-sensing, hub motor version that provides exceptional value to the end user and yet maintains high-quality DNA.
    So far the project is coming along really well and we hope to have a full prototype ready by the beginning of October.

    The highlights of the products are:

  • 48V hub motor with thru-axle with nominal power of over 600W and 1000W of peak power. Thru-axle makes wheel removal super easy just like a mid-drive.

  • 48V, 14Ah fully integrated battery and with an option for dual battery ~(672 whr stock + 672 whr optional) total of 1340 Whr of energy

  • Custom tuned torque sensor

  • Tektro HD-E series Hydraulic brakes with motor cutoff

  • SR Auntour AIR suspension with 100mm travel and thru-axle up front.

  • 1500 lumen headlight rated at 20W of power and it comes with Hi-lo beam switch (lo-beam at 900 lumens)

  • Shimano Deore 10 speed drive train

  • Schwalbe Super Moto X tires with Greenguard protection

  • To be priced at $1990 including shipping.
Will this be offered in a small frame? That’s great you are doing a hub!!!
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
But one 'downfall' (at least to me) is the inability to tune or de-restrict their Gen 4 motors.

It's easy to tune the Gen 4 motor using the Nyon display and create custom power-settings and rider profile.

To be honest, Gen 4 speed motors are more "punchy" than Gen 2 systems, especially with the latest update that boots the torque ratings to 85Nm.
I was not a big fan of the Gen 2 motors because of the reduction gear (associated ride feeling) but I do like the Gen 4 system a lot.
Because of the inherent design, you could hit 28-30 mph without much struggle and not feel like hitting a wall. It's a smooth transition on Gen 4 systems.

Do you plan on your hub motor bike(s) to be available in Class 1, 2 or 3?

It will be offered as Class 3 and the riders will have the option to use it as a Class 2 or 1.
From my experience, most people like to own a bike that has higher top speed (US laws are very generous in that regard). So, why limit it to Class 1?

Will this be offered in a small frame? That’s great you are doing a hub!!!

Of course!
 
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CityExplorer

Well-Known Member
How do these motors align with your 'masterpiece' (we hope) which is a pinion based bike? No Gen 4 there :)

Is your new partner helping with that, or you still see an off the shelf motor for that one? .... or you have decided to go (or leaning towards) Gen 4 and IGH ?


ps... very happy you are keeping the onboard battery capacity options above 1kW.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
How do these motors align with your 'masterpiece' (we hope) which is a pinion based bike? No Gen 4 there :)

Is your new partner helping with that, or you still see an off the shelf motor for that one? .... or you have decided to go (or leaning towards) Gen 4 and IGH ?


ps... very happy you are keeping the onboard battery capacity options above 1kW.

Great question. We have discussed it but right now, we want to get this model and Bosch +IGH designs out and make it bulletproof.
By doing too many things, we may spread ourselves too thin and not do a great job for the task at hand. Once we have traction in the market and cash-flow, Pinion drive is a natural choice.
Pinion is more expensive than Rohloff and only very few riders can afford that and have the flair to appreciate what it offers. So, it will be developed in 2021.
The last thing we want is to ruin our reputation by doing too many things at once.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Few people reached out to me with questions and I am going to answer them here:
  1. Yes, it does come with throttle and it will be limited to 20mph to comply with the law.

  2. We do have a 1000W motor option but that motor doesn't have quick-release like the 650W version does.

  3. We noticed that lot of bikes have sub-par controllers and customers end up spending extra money to upgrade the controller, upgrade their lights, brakes, suspension etc.
    With this bike, you never have to do that.

  4. We are testing the torque sensor to ensure it provides smooth assist at all power levels and there is no jerky-assist at any PAS level.

  5. With dual battery capability, you never have to worry about range. Yes, it will be compatible with Grin cycle satiator charger.
If you wish to see a functionality or a feature in that bike, please do not hesitate to reach out. We will do our best to include that.
 

onlineaddy

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
San Diego
We noticed that lot of bikes have sub-par controllers and customers end up spending extra money to upgrade the controller, upgrade their lights, brakes, suspension etc.
With this bike, you never have to do that.
With what components are you spec'ing the bike that you believe customers will never have to upgrade?!
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
With what components are you spec'ing the bike that you believe customers will never have to upgrade?!

Perhaps this needs a bit of explaining:

The bike is priced at $1990 and at that price level, the performance is top notch if not the very best.
For those who want a reliable mid-drive with excellent parts support, we have another line of bikes with Bosch Gen 4 system that use top of the line components like Gates belt, Rohloff, FOX suspension, Supernova M99 etc.
For 95% of the riders, the specs we have posted above will be more than sufficient (within that price bracket).

I am not aware of any E-bike in that price range that has the following components and features and if anyone can chime in why they would want to upgrade a certain component, we will be happy to discuss more.

  • Dual battery option for a total of 1340 whr, (enough energy for 80+ mile rides)
  • 48V, 25A controller ( peak power will be 1150+ W and this is enough for majority of the riders)
  • quick release hub motor (eliminates the issue of dealing with threaded bolts to remove the rear wheel)
  • Suntour Air suspension with thru axle (will handle varied terrain nonchalantly and we are not marketing this as a heavy duty mountain bike)
  • Well tuned torque sensor,
  • 1500 lumen lights integrated into the main battery, (I just don't see the need for more powerful light than that)
  • Shimano Deore cassette and derailleur (hub motors don't stress the drive train like mid-drives do and this should offer plenty of service life)
  • torque sensing pedal assist
  • E-bike specific hydraulic brakes
 

Quick514Biker

Member
Region
Canada
City
Montreal
Ravi, what will be the Canadian price of this bike approx. when it will be released? You will sell this bike as a Class 3 bike to Canadian customers?
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Ravi, what will be the Canadian price of this bike approx. when it will be released? You will sell this bike as a Class 3 bike to Canadian customers?

The Canadian price is not finalized yet but my rough estimate, it will be around $2700 CAD. It will be released in Q1 of 2021.
Currently, we are prioritizing the Bosch model first. We think that the Bosch model paired with Gates belt drive and Internally geared hub will provide very low-maintenance, high-quality option for N. American customers.

Yes, we will offer Class 3 option for Canadian customers. I think the Canadian E-bike laws are in their infancy and we would like to provide Class 3 option but we will have to do some more paper work.
Most E-bike owners are very responsible people and it becomes a problem only if the riders are very reckless and get into an accident.

Think of this: You never need to worry about drivetrain cleaning, snow/salt on the road has no very minimal effect on the Gates belt. I think this will be extremely beneficial in Canadian provinces where we have snow for 5 months in a year.
 

Quick514Biker

Member
Region
Canada
City
Montreal
The Canadian price is not finalized yet but my rough estimate, it will be around $2700 CAD. It will be released in Q1 of 2021.
Currently, we are prioritizing the Bosch model first. We think that the Bosch model paired with Gates belt drive and Internally geared hub will provide very low-maintenance, high-quality option for N. American customers.

Yes, we will offer Class 3 option for Canadian customers. I think the Canadian E-bike laws are in their infancy and we would like to provide Class 3 option but we will have to do some more paper work.
Most E-bike owners are very responsible people and it becomes a problem only if the riders are very reckless and get into an accident.

Think of this: You never need to worry about drivetrain cleaning, snow/salt on the road has no very minimal effect on the Gates belt. I think this will be extremely beneficial in Canadian provinces where we have snow for 5 months in a year.
Forgot to ask, what weight approx. will this bike be? For your mid-drive Bosch model, you will support the Bosch Performance Line Speed motor to Canadian customers? Unfortunately to my knowledge, Bosch doesn't officially support the Bosch Performance Line Speed motor in Canada(as Class 3 bikes are technically illegal in Canada, except in Manitoba).