Bicycles

go-e ONwheel electrifies your bike from below

go-e ONwheel electrifies your ...
The ONwheel presses its powered roller against the tire when the rider starts pedalling
The ONwheel presses its powered roller against the tire when the rider starts pedalling
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The ONwheel presses its powered roller against the tire when the rider starts pedalling
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The ONwheel presses its powered roller against the tire when the rider starts pedalling
The 850-gram (1.9-lb) ONwheel motor can be pulled off its quick-release mounting plate when the bike is left unattended
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The 850-gram (1.9-lb) ONwheel motor can be pulled off its quick-release mounting plate when the bike is left unattended
The ONwheel presses its powered roller against the tire when the rider starts pedalling
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The ONwheel presses its powered roller against the tire when the rider starts pedalling
The 850-gram (1.9-lb) ONwheel motor can be pulled off its quick-release mounting plate when the bike is left unattended
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The 850-gram (1.9-lb) ONwheel motor can be pulled off its quick-release mounting plate when the bike is left unattended
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Although purpose-built electric bicycles are becoming increasingly popular, we’re also seeing more products that are designed to give regular bikes an electric boost. Some of these take the form of a motorized wheel, while others are motors that engage the bike’s existing rear wheel. One of the most recent examples of the latter group is go-e’s ONwheel, which hangs beneath the bike.

The ONwheel motor is mounted where the two chainstays meet the bottom bracket – the location in which a kickstand would ordinarily go. This means that users who already have a kickstand mounted there will have to take it off, and replace it with one mounted farther back on the chainstay (which go-e offers as an option).

A sensor detects when the user starts pedalling, then automatically moves the ONwheel’s swingarm into place, causing its spinning roller to press up against the rear tire. This provides some powered assistance to the rider, the percentage of which can be adjusted using either a hard-wired handlebar control unit or by Bluetooth using a smartphone app.

That app can also be used to set the output and top assisted speed of the motor, in accordance to local regulations. Settings range from 250W/25 km/h (16 mph) up to 800W/45 km/h (28 mph). Additionally, it displays data such as battery charge level, current speed and estimated electric-assisted range remaining, plus it allows the motor to be locked with a PIN when the bike is parked.

The 850-gram (1.9-lb) ONwheel motor can be pulled off its quick-release mounting plate when the bike is left unattended
The 850-gram (1.9-lb) ONwheel motor can be pulled off its quick-release mounting plate when the bike is left unattended

That said, it’s probably a better idea to just pull the 850-gram (1.9-lb) motor off its quick-release mounting plate when the bike is left unattended, which the designers claim can be done in just a few seconds. It’s also possible to turn the motor off when riding, for those times when assistance isn’t needed.

Power comes from a removable cylindrical 25.2-volt 200-Wh lithium-ion battery pack, which sits in a bottle cage-style holder. A four to five-hour charge (using the included charger) should be good for about 60 km (37 miles) of riding.

And yes, the ONwheel could get pretty wet down there, which is why it’s water-resistant – the recommended cleaning method is to simply hose it down. It does look like it might also end up getting a few whacks in that location, though, so things like riding off curbs might have to be taken off the menu.

If you’re liking the sounds of the ONwheel, you can preorder it via go-e’s current Kickstarter campaign. A pledge of €499 (about US$568) will get you one ... if everything works out. The planned retail price is €599 ($682).

Sources: go-e, Kickstarter

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8 comments
xs400
A question: How efficient is that energy transfer by friction?
Ben29
If this is available for around £100-£150 it will be a great solution to our heavily congested cities.
Not sure how much energy will be lost using a friction system. Needs to be a direct drive electric bicycle!!
Douglas Bennett Rogers
Really should have regenerative braking. Frictional loss should be comparable to tire/road loss.
bergamot69
Looks like an old-fashioned tread-driven dynamo in reverse- therefore keeping it and the wheel correctly aligned would be paramount. I suspect that it would cause a fair amount of wear to the tyre tread, and, of course, be only suitable for smooth tyres (which, tbh, are far better suited to urban riding than knobbly off-road tyres).
Scion
This looks pretty good assuming it works as advertised. I imagine it might take a couple of iterations to get it working well as a product (as all these things do). I like that it can be disengaged so you can ride without hindrance or when the battery dies. Many of the hub motors add drag when not running so your top speed tends to be close to the motor's top speed which in my view is too slow. You also get to keep your gears. I would also hope that I could choose to break the law if I so desire and get power assist above the 25km/hr dictated in Australia. 25km/hr is waaay too slow. Fine if you're in a suit and wanting to "tra-la-la" to work instead of taking a car or something but when I ride I go full tilt or not at all. 25km/hr limit actually slows my commute down.
Paul Anthony
For that price wouldn't I be able to get a hub motor for my front wheel and the battery/controls?
Bruce H. Anderson
Perhaps the drive drum could be changed to a splined shaft that supports a urethane wheel with a shallow V. That way it would align automatically, provide greater contact with the tire (perhaps increasing traction and decreasing wear), and would be easily swapped out.
unklmurray
This time I disagree with "Ben29" this system is a good one....It is almost identical to the "Add-e On wheel" so since 2 different countries make the same product means it must be a cool set-up!!