In this week’s news:
- Bianchi’s New Sophisticated e-Omnia Range
- Lightweight Launches from Germany’s Möve and Spain’s BH
- Smart Bluetooth Tech Moves
- Skid Detection and Smart Parking for eScooters Plus the UK Debate Hots Up
- All the Latest eBike Biz News
New eBikes & eBike Systems
Bianchi e-Omnia – One Name, three Families and Some Eyecatching Prices
Once known primarily as an Italian brand with a long road racing heritage in recent years Bianchi has moved rapidly into e-bikes. They have now announced e-Omnia, the generic name for their three new lines of e-bike:
The C-Type is Bianchi’s take on the electric city bike with prices starting at €3320. There is a choice of 500 or 625Wh batteries. Choose from Shimano’s 1×10 Deore derailleur or their 5-speed hub gears and a host of carrying options.
T- or FT-Type (F meaning full suspension): Blends high quality Suntour and Rocckshox suspension and Shimano hydraulic disk brakes with the option of ABS anti-lock braking. Battery options are 500, 625 Wh or dual battery. From €3370.
X- or FX Type: mountain (FX-Type of course being full-sus). Again ABS braking is an option. There are also Shimano four-piston disc brakes with 203mm discs, 12-speed Shimano Deore or Sram Eagle gearing, Rock Shox or Fox suspension front (160mm) and rear, depending on the model. Battery options are 500, 625 Wh or dual battery. From €3450.
All models use Bosch’s Performance Line CX mid-drive , capable of delivering a maximum torque of 85 Nm, and assistance up to 340% augmentation of pedal effort. The display, integrated into the handlebar, is the Bosch Purion. All models also integrate high visibility lights (40 lux) front and rear which Bianchi claim allow you to see a hundred meters away, and to be seen at 500m.
Bianchi say that because of the plethora of colors, technical features and fittings and other options it’s possible to create over 8,500 possible combinations. The configurator can be found at bianchi.com/e-omnia
Lightweight eBike Launches
Möve’s E-Fly Airy’s stats speak for themselves; 15 kilograms total weight, 250Wh frame-integrated battery and a Range Extender option that can add an extra 208Wh. It uses Mahle’s ebikemotion X35 rear hub motor system rated at 250 watts continuous power and 40 Nm of torque.
Other features include a low maintenance Gates carbon belt drive, hydraulic disc brakes, integrated, high power Supernova LED lighting and a single control button in the top tube with the option of an Apple/android app that can be used to alter power levels or access a Google Maps based navigation system. An SP-Connect smartphone holder makes the latter option easy.
For the security-minded there is a GPS tracker, integrated motion-based alarm and frame lock (the latter can be electrically locked via the app). There are even fold out mirrors in the end of the handlebars.
There are plenty of alternative / upgrade options such as step-thru frame, Pinion bottom bracket gearing, Shimano chain and derailleur gear options and various suspension forks.
Prices start at €3700.
Moving from the city to the trail, Spanish firm BH bikes have launched an e-mtb with a headline-grabbing weight of 16.8kg. Their iLynx Race Carbon naturally has a a carbon frame but also sports their very own design of mid-drive the 2ESMAG with a claimed weight of 2.2kg – as also used in their lightweight Core Carbon e-road bike. The in-frame battery is 540Wh and there is also the option to add a range-extender bottle battery of some 180Wh.
A particularly nice touch is the FIT (Fast Intervention Tool), invisibly concealed in the steerer tube meaning you never forget your range of Allen wrenches, Torx T25, chain tool, chain lock and CO2 inflator.
Unfortunately BH pulled out of selling e-bikes in the US in 2020 but the bikes are available in Europe. The iLynx carbon covers four different versions from €5,999 to €8,999.
eBikes to Talk to Cars?
The Washington Post reports that ‘a consortium of bike and scooter manufacturers (are) coming together to develop and test new safety software that would allow forms of micromobility to communicate with nearby cars. Detroit-based Tome Software spearheaded the initiative in collaboration with companies such as Ford, Trek Bicycle and Bosch.’
The article adds ‘At the core of the effort is a software standard that would allow a wide range of vehicle services to exchange information in real time so that drivers in big cities and congested areas are more aware of riders out of their line of sight. It could also trigger visible alerts on bicycles when cars get too close.’
To give one example of how the Bluetooth 5 based tech might work, Trek say they are adding sensors to detachable taillights that could trigger an “interruptive” flashing light pattern meant to alert motorists. The company says the light is visible at all times of the day and claims studies show that it could decrease bike-related accidents by 33 percent.
New eScooter Tech
Slashgear reports that ‘Bird revealed that it has rolled out a Skid Detection system to keep an eye on when its scooters experience an unusual skidding situation. There are multiple potential causes behind this, including tires that need to be replaced or too much braking force. Another possibility? ‘Hazardous riding behavior,’ according to the company.’
Meanwhile Cities Today reveals that ‘E-scooter firm TIER has partnered with mapping provider Fantasmo to create what it claims is the world’s most accurate e-scooter parking system. Starting in Paris and York, TIER will implement Fantasmo’s “Camera Positioning System” (CPS), a new positioning technology that is ten times more accurate than GPS and can validate e-scooter parking within 50 centimetres or less using a camera phone. TIER says the new feature will all but eliminate irresponsible parking, an issue which has plagued city authorities globally since e-scooters were first rolled out on streets.’
eScooters for Indianola?
Meanwhile the Des Moines Register reports that ‘Electric scooters could one day hit the streets of Indianola. Indianola City Council members discussed that possibility at their Tuesday night meeting and gave city officials approval to study their usage and whether the city would like to allow private scooter companies to operate in town. Bird, a California-based scooter company, reached out to the city in late 2020 and said the size of Indianola and the presence of Simpson College makes it an ideal city for its scooters.’
UK e-Scooter Debate Hots Up
With licenced e-scooter trials only allowed in the UK there is clearly growing pressure from both retailers and users for full legalisation of individual use of personal e-scooters sooner rather than later. With ‘mainstream’ media reports starting to catalogue isolated incidents of misuse and create a vision of chaos (when in reality thousands of e-scooters are in daily use around the world without incident) it seems those who want to see e-scooters in the UK legalised think the time to act is now, normalising their use with the introduction of clear laws, before too distorted and negative picture is painted.
A string of contrasting stories at ebiketips sums up the overreactions perfectly; firstly a senior Metropolitan policeman appears to have politicised the issue by ‘suggesting that anyone who received an e-scooter as a Christmas gift should return it’ whilst a subsequent story described how another senior police officer in the West Country described the rollout of e-scooter hire there as a “policing non-event” adding that he now saw himself “the biggest convert out of everybody”.
To their credit the UK government has put online a list of detailed technical requirements aimed at making the trials successful but the critical question of if, when and how e-scooters may be legalised remains opaque, with the same website stating:
‘The intention is then for trials to run for 12 months, with the trial period beginning in each area as and when e-scooters become available to the public. The option for trials to continue beyond this 12-month period will be built into the legal mechanism, but any extension would be subject to local/national government agreement.’
With London trials due only to begin this spring the prospect of private users having to wait many more months before the government even begins to look at the question must seem incredibly frustrating, especially as the introduction of the trials themselves was fast-tracked to provide a means of healthy safe transport at the start of the Covid pandemic. The irony of the seemingly needlessly-extended nature of the process taking place when the UK has just recorded its highest tally of daily Covid-related deaths seems particularly poignant.
Just how valuable a role e-scooters can play in helping people get about safely and enjoy themselves at the same time – and the absurdity of the current situation of countless Londoners using them, illegally but largely without problems, on a daily basis – is summed up by this great video by our friends over at electroheads:
European eBike Sales to Overtake Car Sales?
Electrek reports on the seemingly massive potential for e-bike growth in Europe:
‘The Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry (CONEBI) expects the size of the European e-bike market to grow to around 7 million units by 2025. Other experts have even loftier predictions, projecting around 10 million e-bike sales per year by 2025, according to Bike Europe. To put that in perspective, car registrations in Europe in 2019 totalled around 15.5 million. But car sales are increasing at a much slower rate. In 2018, new registrations numbered 15.1 million. Many European countries are seeing yearly e-bike growth in the 30% to 40% range, compared to the low single-digit growth of car sales. That means e-bike sales could easily overtake car sales later this decade in Europe.’
Effects of EU Anti-dumping Tariffs Revealed
Leva-EU reports that ‘in 2019, Taiwan has taken the lead in the export of electric bicycles 25 km/h to the EU. Exports increased by 80% to almost 390,000. This was of course due to the imposition of anti-dumping duties on Chinese e-bikes. This forced companies assembling in China to move their operations. Some of them crossed the Formosa Strait to set up shop in Taiwan.’
Though dwarfed by the scale of Taiwanese imports, there were notable increases in e-bike imports from Indonesia and Turkey into the EU in 2019 with both countries registering increases in terms of units imported of several hundred percent.
Stay tuned for more e-bike news and reviews and thanks for reading!