Bicycles

Oyo ebike packs a smooth-running auto-shifting hydraulic drivetrain

Oyo ebike packs a smooth-runni...
The Oyo ebike is presently on Indiegogo
The Oyo ebike is presently on Indiegogo
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The Oyo ebike is presently on Indiegogo
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The Oyo ebike is presently on Indiegogo
The Oyo features a 250-watt bottom bracket electric motor that augments the rider's pedalling power
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The Oyo features a 250-watt bottom bracket electric motor that augments the rider's pedalling power
The Oyo automatically shifts to its lowest gear ratio when the bike stops moving
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The Oyo automatically shifts to its lowest gear when the bike stops moving
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Given the fact that not everyone likes greasy ol' chains, we're seeing an increasing number of ebikes that feature belt or even shaft-drive drivetrains. The Oyo takes yet another approach, though, by going hydraulic.

Although the idea of a hydraulic drivetrain may sound pretty cutting-edge, the things have actually been around for some time now – in experimental form, at least. Putting it simply, they incorporate a closed-loop sealed system in which the rider's pedalling power is used to pump hydraulic fluid through tubing into a hydraulic "motor" in the back, that rotates the rear wheel. The fluid then flows back up to the pedal-pump in front.

So why bother? For one thing, hydraulic drivetrains require very little maintenance, they don't get covered in grimy oil that gets on your clothes and hands, and there's no chance of them coming off as a chain does. They also have fewer moving parts than a traditional drivetrain, plus they can be set up with a continuously variable transmission – this means that the bike smoothly transitions from one gear ratio to another, instead of clicking in and out of distinct gears.

Manufactured by electric mobility startup BC Bikes, the Oyo features just such a drivetrain, along with a 250-watt bottom bracket electric motor that augments the rider's pedalling power. Utilizing a handlebar-mounted remote, users can choose between five levels of electrical assistance, which will take them to a top speed of 25 km/h (16 mph).

Integrated sensors continuously monitor speed, cadence and torque, automatically adjusting the gearing accordingly. There's currently no word on battery range (or on total bike weight), but we do know that the down tube-mounted lithium battery can be removed for charging.

The Oyo automatically shifts to its lowest gear ratio when the bike stops moving
The Oyo automatically shifts to its lowest gear when the bike stops moving

Some of the Oyo's other features include an aluminum frame with internally routed cables, a smartphone-activated anti-theft system, and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. Head and tail lights are an optional extra.

Should you be interested, the ebike is currently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign. Assuming it reaches production, a pledge of US$1,849 will get you one – the planned retail price is $3,599. You can see it action, in the video below.

Potential backers should note, however, that hydraulic drivetrains do have some drawbacks. For one thing, they tend to be heavier than conventional systems, plus they're typically less efficient at converting pedalling energy into forward motion, and they may end up leaking.

Source: Indiegogo

OYO Bike INDIEGOGO

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9 comments
9 comments
Derek cranage
A very well done. I have been looking at hydraulic bicycle drive for some time with ideas on how to get a multi speed hydraulically this appears to be a long way towards it. It’s a pity I am at the other side of the big pond.
Rustgecko
An important factor with an ebike is the size of battery, as this impacts distance - and batteries are expensive - without that information it is difficult to assess how useful the bike will be, and how reasonable the price.
michael_dowling
Ebikes are becoming a headache for cities-they are often as fast as motorcycles,and produce injuries similar to that seen in motorcycle accidents. People on Ebikes seem to drive them like they are regular bikes,and flout the law,riding on sidewalks,cutting in front of cars,etc. It is a shame,as Ebikes are supremely clean in an ecological sense.
McDesign
The best thing about bicycles is their efficiency. The worst thing about hydraulics is their INefficiency. What?
BlueOak
Cool stuff, but unless you have $1,850/3,600 of discretionary funds burning a hole in your pocket, do you wish to be the early adopter with arrows in your back for this unproven first gen technology? Seems there’s at least a fair chance it will end up holding the garage wall up.
Signguy
I have a Nissan with CVT, and I love it, esp. on hilly roads.
Winterbiker
At first glance, I thought - how great this would be for winter riding - no frozen chain, etc. Then, my next thought was - what about oil viscosity in cold and very cold weather? The efficiency and utility of this drive system is likely to be quite temperature dependent. Perhaps they have thought of this and may offer a low viscosity oil for cold weather. The question is how cold? Would it work down to around 0C? How about -20, -30, -40? The combination of higher viscosity and battery degradation may be too much at very low temps.
Saigvre
They moved the color off matte black thank heavens; delivery globally or tourism to arrange shipping should work once everyone has a COVID-19 vaccine or 3. Price sounds pretty good for those features; LoJack included, pannier ready (tho no extra suspension for that.)
Mivoyses
Still can't seem to wrap my head around any corp employee using one of these as a "daily driver". Who wants to get to work either soaked in sweat or soaked from rain? And in corp wear no less. So it's relegated to use as a "bike". Well if it's a "bike" it doesn't need to be decked out like a new EV with all the gizmos and gadgets and tech gobbledygook. Oh, and hydraulic seals fail at a higher rate than chain links.