Bicycles

Valeo combines an ebike motor and an automatic gearbox in one unit

Valeo combines an ebike motor ...
The Valeo system incorporates both a 48V electric motor and a 7-speed adaptive gearbox
The Valeo system incorporates both a 48V electric motor and a 7-speed adaptive gearbox
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The Valeo cargo bike prototype
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The Valeo cargo bike prototype
The Valeo motor produces up to 130 Nm (96 ft lb) of torque
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The Valeo motor produces up to 130 Nm (96 ft lb) of torque
The Valeo city bike prototype
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The Valeo city bike prototype
The Valeo system incorporates a belt drive instead of a chain
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The Valeo system incorporates a belt drive instead of a chain
The Valeo system incorporates both a 48V electric motor and a 7-speed adaptive gearbox
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The Valeo system incorporates both a 48V electric motor and a 7-speed adaptive gearbox
The Valeo mountain bike prototype
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The Valeo mountain bike prototype
The Valeo handlebar remote is used to select the amount of electrical assistance, and to monitor factors such as the battery charge level
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The Valeo handlebar remote is used to select the amount of electrical assistance, and to monitor factors such as the battery charge level
View gallery - 7 images

Electric bicycles may require less pedaling effort than regular bikes, but … their riders still have to shift gears. Paris-based electric mobility company Valeo is out to change that, by combining a motor with an automatic gearbox.

Officially called the Valeo Smart e-Bike System, the bottom bracket-located setup features one of the company's 48-volt electric motors, along with a 7-speed adaptive gearbox made by project partner Effigear. Electrical power is provided by a down-tube-mounted battery pack.

The motor produces up to 130 Nm (96 ft lb) of torque – according to Valeo, this multiplies the rider's pedaling effort by a factor of eight, whereas other systems top out at five. Additionally, even though the 48V motor is beefier than the more commonly seen 24V or 36V ebike motors, it's claimed to be more efficient.

And because no derailleurs are required, a smooth-running belt drive is used instead of a greasy chain.

The Valeo cargo bike prototype
The Valeo cargo bike prototype

As is the case with other ebike systems, integrated sensors continuously monitor the cyclist's pedaling cadence/torque. Based on that information, the Valeo setup triggers the motor to kick in accordingly, and it prompts the gearbox to shift gears as required. There's also a manually activated boost function for providing an extra shot of motor power when needed (such as when passing other vehicles), along with a pedestrian push-assist mode to help in the pushing of heavily laden bikes.

There's even a reverse gear, along with an anti-theft function that locks up the drivetrain when the bike is left on its own.

Valeo plans on licensing the system to third-party bicycle manufacturers, who will build it into their own ebikes. Nonetheless, to demonstrate how the technology works, the company has integrated it into three prototypes – a city bike, a mountain bike and a cargo bike.

You can see the system in use, in the video below.

Source: Valeo via BikeRumor

Reveal: Valeo Smart e-Bike System

View gallery - 7 images
11 comments
anthony88
How does the anti-theft system stop someone from picking up the bike and throwing it into a van and diving off with it?
Ken Riel
Wild claims seem a little wild
Not possible to integrate a gearbox that changes drive ratio for the pedals alone with the setup shown in the photos. The gearbox would only effect the motors output, not the pedal effort's output.
Having never tried this setup, it may work great in actual use, as long as the battery has juice.
Also, most serious bikes are using 48v batteries, some 52v, so that is another specious claim. And the "manually operated boost function" sure sounds like a lot like a throttle... something that is common to a lot of even the least expensive bikes.

Again, the gearbox setup might work just fine in practice, but it cannot be apples to apples compared to a derailleur or geared hub in utility or operation.

I will say the city bike frame looks very cool!
Chuck Cronin
Very impressive and yes, I to have been there before
CAVUMark
I am so excited that an algorithm will adapt automatically to my needs. Where do I get one?
Eddy
The most exciting bike development I have seen in years, I wonder if I will ever be able to affordably buy one in AUS. Maybe a local maker will license the patent here hopefully as I expect it would cost too much to import one.
AngryPenguin
@anthony88 - Bike thieves aren't known for their work ethic.
Glen Aldridge
I see these frame specific E Bike Kits as another missed opportunity. If/when you have issues with the motor, transmission or the frame then what? It's not like you can just pedal home or get repairs at your local bike shop. The idea of an integrated Power Assist with a simplified transmission is great but to be affordable & relatively easy to repair it doesn't get much better than an Internal Gear Hub with a Bottom Bracket Mid Drive.
bwana4swahili
A very smart approach.
Signguy
I donno, ever had someone ride with you on the handlebars?
Trylon
@Signguy, if you "donno," then why speak up? FYI, anybody who carries loads on the front of a bike knows that a frame-mounted rack affects handling much less than a fork- or handlebar-mounted rack.