Bicycles

Bionicon's e-ram mountain bike motor is light and low-profile

Bionicon's e-ram mountain bike...
The e-ram motor is integrated into Bionicon's crankset
The e-ram motor is integrated into Bionicon's crankset
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An exploded diagram of the e-ram
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An exploded diagram of the e-ram
The e-ram motor is integrated into Bionicon's crankset
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The e-ram motor is integrated into Bionicon's crankset
Bionicon's e-ram-equipped Edison Evo, and its battery
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Bionicon's e-ram-equipped Edison Evo, and its battery
The 48-volt 5.8-Ah Samsung battery pack is carried by the rider in a backpack, and is hard-wired to the e-ram via a magnetic socket mounted on the bike’s top tube
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The 48-volt 5.8-Ah Samsung battery pack is carried by the rider in a backpack, and is hard-wired to the e-ram via a magnetic socket mounted on the bike’s top tube

While hub motors may be quite common on commuter e-bikes, they’re not so popular on full-suspension electric mountain bikes. That’s because they add unsprung weight, which nobody wants. Various companies have responded by developing motors that are located in the middle of the bike, near the bottom bracket. These solve part of the problem, although they have to actually be built into the frame. That’s why Germany’s Bionicon has created the e-ram – it’s reportedly the world’s lightest mid-mount motor, and it could potentially be installed on existing mountain bikes.

The e-ram is incorporated into a crankset, which is standard equipment on the company’s new Edison Evo mountain bike. Depending on the size of their bottom bracket, that crankset might also work on other bikes. The folks at Bionicon hope that once the e-ram is in production, other manufacturers will make a point of making sure that their bikes are compatible with it.

The 250-watt, 48-volt brushless DC motor has a maximum torque of 60 Nm, and tips the scales at 1.45 kg (3.2 lb). It should be noted that its 48-volt 5.8-Ah Samsung battery pack is carried by the rider in a backpack, and is hard-wired to the motor via a magnetic socket mounted on the bike’s top tube (which releases easily in the event of a wipe-out).

Bionicon's e-ram-equipped Edison Evo, and its battery
Bionicon's e-ram-equipped Edison Evo, and its battery

That battery weighs 2.4 kg (5.3 lb), and looks like it would probably make the wearing of a hydration pack rather challenging. On the plus side, however, it has an outlet that can be used to boost a smartphone’s battery in a pinch. There’s currently no word on range.

While it’s in place and plugged in, the e-ram augments the rider’s own pedalling power to help them climb hills, keep up with stronger riders, or just go farther with less effort. The Edison Evo can still be pedalled normally when the e-ram is turned off, however, so riders won’t be stuck with a non-functioning bike if the battery runs out on them. In fact, for rides where they know that the motor won’t be needed, it can be removed from the crankset.

Using a custom app, riders can monitor battery status and other parameters, although the system still works without it.

Bionicon is currently raising production funds for the e-ram and Edison Evo, on Kickstarter. If you want to take a chance on the e-ram fitting your existing bike (a 73-mm BSA bottom bracket is required), you can get one along with a battery for a pledge of €1,750 (about US$1,923). To get a complete e-ram-equipped Edison Evo, you’ll need to fork out €4,850 ($5,328). The bike is equipped mainly with SRAM and Magura components, has 27.5-inch wheels, and tips the scales at around 14 kg (31 lb) – motor not included.

Delivery is scheduled for next February, assuming all goes according to plans.

Sources: Bionicon, Kickstarter

12 comments
Komakai.Okane
It will be interesting to see if Bionicon successfully gets around Optibike's bottom bracket integrated motor patent(s). I've not yet downloaded and studied them. However, the majority of electric bike manufacturer's are mounting the motor in either the front or rear wheel hub, or remote of the bottom bracket somewhere in the frame.
guzmanchinky
This is the cleanest, stealthiest e-bike I've seen so far. I'm still waiting for the one which has a motor twice as powerful as this, which sits inside the bike, and the batteries are inside the frame somehow...
Anne Ominous
I know I've harped on these before. And I really don't mean to be negative. But after some experience, in my opinion a PRACTICAL "e-bike" must output 900W or more, with 500W being the absolute minimum AT ANY PRICE. Anything less interests me not at all.
theradarsweep
@Anne_Ominous anything over 250w nominal power is not legal for road use the the EU, so for a European company to produce such a thing would be commercially suicidal. What concerns me about this is that the price point is higher than the best regarded of the European motor kits, like heinzmann (which are hub motors, admittedly) ; and much higher than the Bafang crank motors/mid-drives. Strange price point at which to enter the market with an untested product, so it had better be good! I also don't understand at all why, if they are selling this in part as a conversion kit, they expect the bike manufacturers to adapt their designs to fit this product. Why would they do that? Perhaps I have misunderstood? Proprietary battery ssytem too - for a crowd funded product?? Too much of a stretch for me, sorry.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
250 w. is reasonable for a standard bicycle, as this is about the most anyone can put out for an hour.
ronnbot
I use an e-bike (which I converted from a hardtail MTB) to commute and also love to mountain bike (no motor). I've been thinking of converting my MTB so that I won't have to shuttle my bike up the mountain and this would be appealing because it's the most compact and stealthy mid-drive I've seen, but it's too weak and expensive. Where I live (BC, Canada), e-bikes with 500W is allowed on the streets without insurance and 1500W with insurance under the 'Limited Speed Motorcycles' classification. Further, there is technically no limit for off-road. So, this definitely seem underpowered especially considering the intended use. Also, there is no motor only package; their 'for makers' package includes a pretty tiny 292 Wh battery for 1750 EUR. I would imagine makers would like to source their own battery not just for the cost cutting but flexibility. On my e-bike, I spent about $200 on RC LiPo packs to create a 59.2V 10Ah (592Wh) battery pack. It would be really nice if you could buy their motor as 'plain' like hub motors.
DonGateley
This could pique my interest if it were real rather than a Kickstarter wet dream.
icykel
I have an 8FUN mid-drive 350W e-motor by BAFANG. I have this installed on a recumbent trike where it performs beautifully. This motor is neat and replaces the crankset of most bicycles - it is made to be retrofitted and comes with it's own cables and controller. I use a 14.5 A battery pack which would normally mount on the drink bottle mounts but I have it in a low slung carry bag. I use the motor in pedal assist mode and have a choice of 6 assist levels though that can be any where from 3 to 9 depending on what suits. There is a throttle which can be used as well as or instead of the assist mode. All info can be Googled under BAFANG. The 8FUN comes in many power ratings and battery sizes and is a very simple system to install. I am getting between 60 and 80 kms per charge at approx 4 of 6 assist.
BZD
Interesting bit of kit, but I do worry about the ergonomics of it. It looks like adding this to ones bike means moving the left pedal arm out further from the center which then means making the rider having to move the left foot out further and it that really a good thing health wise. I wonder - perhaps someone else can comment on this. Also given the things a mountain bike is put through I am slightly apprehensive. I would want to be very sure that my e-bike not certainly could turn into an electric bike of the shocking sort.
unklmurray
I sure am glad I don't live in Europe,My bike would be illegal and unless the police had some way of monitoring it they would never know.....are we the only country with Mountains? Still 24v X 250w is Ok on the bottom bracket or mid drive If you have the 250w in each of 21 gearas.....but a hub drive with only 250w....would suck a lot!! Thank you Izykel,for the post I was just getting ready to but a Fat Crawler Tad from "Utah Trikes" & was wondering about adding a Bafang-8Fun to it......if you can do it...so can I