Bafang has just unveiled its new H700 electric bicycle drive system, complete with a two-speed automatic shift motor and several other innovations as part of a complete e-bike drive package.
Bafang is one of the leading manufacturers of electric bicycle drives and perhaps the only Chinese manufacturer that can compete for market share with European heavyweights like Bosch.
We actually got the chance to tour Bafang’s Shanghai factory and you can watch that experience here.
Bafang has increased the variety of motor systems in its model line, and the new H700 electric bicycle drive system includes a number of interesting advancements designed for city e-bikes.
While the company makes several mid-engine e-bike drive systems, the H700 is based on a hub motor. Hub motors are often viewed as older technology, although Bafang’s new motor offers a new twist on classic technology.
The 3.2 kg (7 lb) engine houses an automatic two-speed transmission. When the rider switches on the drive, the bike measures the current speed and switches accordingly to adjust the engine output. More torque is available in lower gear, which is helpful when accelerating and driving uphill. When the driver drives faster, the higher gear is automatically selected in order to achieve more speed.
This solution allows the engine to offer a wider torque curve without increasing the engine’s power. This is especially helpful when you consider that the motor is classified as a 250W motor to meet European performance limits for electric bikes. The company also confirmed that the engine’s torque is 32Nm, although it is unclear which gear is engaged. If this is the maximum torque, it is likely in low gear.
The H700 drive system includes more than just the new engine. There is also an internal battery, a one-button remote control, and a bottom bracket with a torque sensor.
The battery is designed so that it slides in the down tube, which is common on city e-bikes to hide unsightly batteries in the bike frame. It’s also much more difficult to steal the battery – a common problem with e-bikes parked in the city.
The one-button remote control is designed to be integrated into the top of the top tube of the bike. This is another common design for urban e-bikes and helps create handlebar space for phone mounts, lights, and other commuting necessities.
After all, the torque sensor is a more elegant way of activating the pedal assistance on an electric bike. Unlike cadence-based sensors that simply measure pedaling speed and add motor assistance accordingly, torque sensors apply power based on how hard the user is pedaling. Speed can be a difficult way to measure pedal input as it takes longer to calculate the speed measurements as the on-board computer waits for multiple measurements over a period of time to calculate the speed. Torque measurements are almost instantaneous and are based on a sensor similar to a voltmeter. This means that the motor response is faster and more accurate.
Bafang expects to begin shipping its new H700 system in late September. It is likely that it will be implemented in budget e-bikes available for the European or Australian market.
Most premium city e-bikes use mid-drive motors, especially those from European manufacturers. That means Bafang’s new H700 system will likely be found on e-bikes designed for the more budget conscious rider.
With Bafang’s history of fast rollouts, we may soon see the first H700-equipped electric bikes.
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