Road safety in relation to e-bikes is a much-discussed topic in public media. For dirt road bikers as well as road cyclists, the introduction of ABS brake systems was long awaited for as it will make cycling much safer. Blubrake was the first to launch such a system some years ago, but the Bosch/Magura introduction at Eurobike 2022 will eventually lead to a breakthrough on the market. Raicam launched a similar product making the Italian company a good alternative supplier.
Bosch launches new e-bike ABS system
Already in August 2017, Bosch and Magura announced a joint project for the development of ABS systems for e-bikes. “The front wheel brake on a bicycle is crucial for a short braking distance,” says Claus Fleischer, CEO of Bosch eBike Systems. The new Bosch e-bike ABS with brake components from Magura presents the world’s smallest ABS developed based on motorcycle technology. All e-bike manufacturers can equip all models with this optimised brake assist technology. According to Bosch, the control unit is 77% smaller and 55% lighter than its predecessor and blends unobtrusively thanks to its integration into the entire system.
Bosch offers the e-bike ABS for different modes, each of which is designed for the braking requirements of different types of e-bike and surfaces. The ABS system comes in different settings. ABS Cargo is meant for accurate braking when carrying a full load, while ABS Touring is for city biking, with changing road surfaces, crossing pedestrians and traffic lights all part of every trip. ABS Allroad was specifically developed for off-road riding on e-MTBs while the ABS Trail mode, which was developed together with athletes, is directed more towards sporty riders. The ABS is activated automatically as soon as pedalling starts.
The world's largest chain manufacturer, KMC has added an e-cargo bike chain to its portfolio. The Ecargo 1 chain, with a focus on strength and long life, “provides 50% higher strength than industry standards”. E-bikes have become an increasing focus for KMC chains, who launched its 12-speed e-bike chain the E-12 a couple of years ago. “The E-12 is in our product range already for mass production, but it has been enhanced for this year’s Taipei Cycle show. We really want to spread knowledge and promote chains specifically for e-bikes and we think it’s important to encourage our customers to specify their bikes with specific e-bike chains,” explained Harry Yang, Overseas Sales manager. He predicts that the quantity of e-bike chain sales will be equal to regular chains in the next couple of years.
Ecargo 1 chain is the company's most recent product. “E-cargo bikes used to be a niche market in Europe, but since last year we saw that more product managers are looking for extra stronger chains for cargo bikes,” explains Harry Yang. The Ecargo 1 chain attributes its extra strength to wider and thicker plates which have a special anti-drop plate design. The heavy-duty chain is suitable for single speeds and hub gears and has a minimum tensile strength of 1,350 kilograms force (kgf).
The family-owned company Raicam is engaged in the production of products for driveline and parts for braking systems for the automotive industry. The growing awareness of safety in cycling made them decide to step into the market for ABS bicycle brake systems.
For Raicam the bicycle project started already in 2019 and at Eurobike the company showed its full product range to the industry for the first time. The RG is a heavy-duty braking system designed with focus on pure stopping performance thanks to its monoblock caliper design. According to Raicam it is particularly suitable for Downhill, Enduro or any gravity disciplines, but it is also compatible with e-bikes. The RXC has been designed with a focus on weight saving combined with braking performance. The RXO was presented as a more all round braking kit, while the RXO cargo has been development for heavy duty usage. Besides ABS, Raicam also a CBS version. A combined braking system (CBS) is linking front and rear brakes. The amount of each brake applied can be determined by a proportional control valve. The advantage of CBS over ABS is that it comes without electronics, is fully hydraulic and easy to maintain. Except for the discs, all components are made by Raicam themselves.
New player adds competition to the belt drive market
The demand for e-bikes with a belt drive system is growing. Although Gates Carbon Drive has a sizeable share of the existing market, there are now gaps for newcomers to enter the market. One of these is Yung Fang Plastic Co. Ltd who displayed its belt drive system at this year’s Eurobike. Yung Fang Plastic was established in 1977 and has operating in the bicycle industry for more than 20 years. It specializes in the production of plastic parts for bicycles including chain guards, mudguards and spoke protectors.
The Taiwanese parts manufacturer launched its belt drive product a month before Eurobike. The company has developed a rubber belt with carbon fibre inside specifically for e-bikes. With an expected lifetime of 10,000 km, the company has adapted the compounds of the rubber to provide more strength to the teeth. The belt has been designed with small holes to function as a residue system for mud and water. The company currently employs 45 workers in two factories in Taiwan and also operates a factory in mainland China, which turns out plastic parts for bicycles to be assembled locally.