Bicycles

JIVR folding e-bike ditches the chain

JIVR folding e-bike ditches th...
The JIVR Bike has a proprietary sealed drivetrain
The JIVR Bike has a proprietary sealed drivetrain
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The JIVR Bike has a proprietary sealed drivetrain
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The JIVR Bike has a proprietary sealed drivetrain
Power is supplied by a 36-volt 9-Ah lithium-ion battery pack, one 90-minute charge of which should be good for a distance of about 20 miles (32 km)
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Power is supplied by a 36-volt 9-Ah lithium-ion battery pack, one 90-minute charge of which should be good for a distance of about 20 miles (32 km)
The drivetrain is a purely mechanical direct-drive system that has been in development for the past three years
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The drivetrain is a purely mechanical direct-drive system that has been in development for the past three years
Users can choose between applying their own pedal power to the rear wheel, or using a throttle to goose the 350-watt hub motor in the front wheel
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Users can choose between applying their own pedal power to the rear wheel, or using a throttle to goose the 350-watt hub motor in the front wheel
Because the bike is Bluetooth 4.0-equipped, it can communicate with the rider's smartphone, allowing the device to be used as a handlebar-mounted control console
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Because the bike is Bluetooth 4.0-equipped, it can communicate with the rider's smartphone, allowing the device to be used as a handlebar-mounted control console
The whole thing weighs 33 lb (15 kg)
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The whole thing weighs 33 lb (15 kg)
It can be folded up in four steps, and carted along on its two 20-inch wheels once folded
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It can be folded up in four steps, and carted along on its two 20-inch wheels once folded
View gallery - 7 images

Folding electric bicycles are becoming increasingly popular, although the presence of a chain (or an external belt drive) can complicate the folding procedure. Additionally, chains can transfer grime onto users' pants. That's why British start-up JAM Vehicles created the JIVR Bike. It has a chainless sealed drivetrain, along with some other interesting features.

Although JAM founder Marcin Piatkowski isn't of liberty to divulge how the drivetrain works, he did tell us that it's a purely mechanical direct-drive system that has been in development for the past three years.

"The drivetrain is entirely encapsulated inside the frame, which creates a perfect environment for mechanics – no sand, dust or water can get in," he said. "This makes the drivetrain extremely durable and maintenance free. It's also as efficient as a regular chain drive, however its efficiency doesn't decrease over time as in chain drive (chains usually get rusty, muddy, etc)."

Piatkowski is also quick to point out that it is not the same as the chainless drive system in e-bikes like the Mando Footloose, where an alternator connected to the crank is used to generate electricity that in turn powers the motor. "We explored [that] solution in the very beginning of our design process and realized it's not viable," he said. "It's the easy way of designing a chainless bike."

It can be folded up in four steps, and carted along on its two 20-inch wheels once folded
It can be folded up in four steps, and carted along on its two 20-inch wheels once folded

With the JIVR, users can choose between applying their own pedal power to the rear wheel, or using a throttle to goose the 350-watt hub motor in the front wheel. That motor can take riders to a maximum regulated speed of 32 km/h (20 mph). Power is supplied by a 36-volt 9-Ah lithium-ion battery pack, one 90-minute charge of which should be good for a distance of about 20 miles (32 km).

Because the bike is Bluetooth 4.0-equipped, it can communicate with the rider's smartphone, allowing the device to be used as a handlebar-mounted control console. The JIVR is also equipped with iBeacon technology, allowing it to interact with businesses or Apple smart devices that are within range.

The whole thing weighs 33 lb (15 kg), can be folded up in four steps, and carted along on its two 20-inch wheels once folded.

If the JIVR seems like your cup of tea, JAM is now raising production funds on Kickstarter. A pledge of £1,199 (about US$1,768) will currently get you one, when and if they're ready to go. The planned retail price is £1,999 (about $2,948). It can also be had for lower pledge amounts, if you live in one of a number of select cities and are willing to promote the bike in your community.

The JIVR can be seen in use, in the following video.

Sources: Kickstarter, JIVR Bike

JIVR | Bike Introduction.

View gallery - 7 images
12 comments
Connor B
Interesting product and design, but they should use a different term than cycling as during the majority of a ride a user will be doing nothing but sitting (no pedaling) since this is an electric bike.
It is pretty comical that in the KickStarter ad they show a picture of a guy sweating as something that you will never have to worry about again with this "effortless ride", then right underneath they promote users to track their calories burned during that same ride. Counterintuitive much?
The best thing about the invention of the bicycle is the fact that it is 100% human propelled. Therefore, if you take away the mechanics of it being propelled solely by the user, and replace that with an electric motor it should be classified as an automobile. In an era where we are working toward adopting more sustainable living practices throughout all aspects of the human lifestyle, this is a step backwards.
mhpr262
I strongly doubt the drivetrain comes anywhere close to the efficiency of a normal chain drive. That drive is about as simple and good as it gets, anything you add to it will inevitably result in a loss of efficiency.
LikelyLad
Like ALL bikes featured, it is simply way too expensive. For £2,000 here in the UK, you can get a very decent used car. The two just don't equate. Manufacturers have got to come up with a formula that allows normal bikes or electric bikes to be relatively cheap. Perhaps mass production of standard parts or whatever, but to spend £2,000 on a bike (which you would never leave chained to a tree!) is just absurd. We bought two conventional folding bikes for just £65 each. We can take them in our car to the beach or to the park. £65 each...one 30th the price of this bike!
Freyr Gunnar
> For £2,000 here in the UK, you can get a very decent used car.
Yes, but don't forget to add the cost of running a car: Petrol, insurance, maintenance and repairs, parking, congestion charges, and road fine. TCO is much higher.
We should also add the time lost in traffic and finding a place to park, which often makes a bike faster than a car in urban areas door-to-door.
As for e-bikes (pedelecs or pedaling-free like this one), this is a must for the people who otherwise wouldn't be able to ride a bike (too old/weak and/or living in hilly areas.)
martinkopplow
Well, it looks surprisingly similar to the [URL="http://www.blessthisstuff.com/stuff/vehicles/cycles/volkswagen-folding-electric-bike/"]VW bik.e[/URL]we made a few years back, even the concept of flipping the wheels into the frame. The JIVR uses cheaper components and adds pedaling, though, which we thought people would just not want to do, once they figure the bike runs without. I hope they make it. It's not easy.
Damien
It's a proprietary system, and even the company's own founder refuses to talk about how it works. Forget about it. It's doomed.
LordInsidious
this looks great! Another option to get people out of cars.
Daishi
@Damien yeah on the kickstarter page they say if you need support for it there will be a help at JIVR care centers that will be built in every major city with a population of over 1 million people.
With just 47 backers (38 that ordered bikes) that's going to require a lot of support infrastructure to service their bikes eg. there is no way in hell that is going to happen. That prediction seems far too optimistic.
That's a lot of money for a product that will likely require you reverse engineering it and getting at the components yourself in a couple years to fix and you can't easily use off the shelf replacement parts either so it's a good thing it stores compactly because in a year or 2 it might be a brick.
Edgar Walkowsky
@Connor B I lost 20 pounds riding an ebike for commuting. I would not dare to ride a push bike in those locations as I would get run over fast. I pedal a lot too. Ebike makes you ride more, and pedaling, while optional is fun and quicker. I can go to places that no car can go. How is your gym and transportation rolled into on a step backwards?
Edgar Walkowsky
@LikelyLad You can buy a rear wheel hub motor ebike kit off flee bay for around 150 pounds and a battery for about 300 pounds; $250, $500 respectively. They are quite easy to install. If you can change a flat tyre you can install a hub motor kit. Throw this on your existing mountain bike and you have an ebike for under 500 pounds.