Continental Announces its Departure from the E-MTB Motor Market

Nov 14, 2019
by Ed Spratt  

Continental has announced it will be ceasing production of its electric bike motors in 2020.

The company made its decision public on Tuesday as it told the 100 members of staff working in its E-bike division that it would be phasing out production, just two years after first announcing its motors. Despite offering a comprehensive range, it did not make a big impact on the E-bike market with names like Shimano and Bosch being picked up as OE spec far more frequently.

A spokesperson for the German brand told the industry website bike-eu about the plans to phase out their OEM products in Q1 2020. Antje Lewe, Spokeswoman ContiTech and Head of External Communications, said: “We have decided to discontinue all our e-bike and pedelec business for economic reasons by the end of 2019 and prefer to invest in other growth fields at present.”


Before the announcement, Continental had been producing three different electric motors, two were fairly standard and just offered different levels of voltage and specifications but their 48v Revolution motor was the first to offer a stepless, automatic gearbox.

The drive system was created in partnership between Continental and NuVinci (NuVinci Optimized), who had already created their Harmony hub gear system that used the same planetary gear arrangement. Using this technology, they were able to create a system that could change gears either while riding or not. In addition to this, riders could choose the gears themselves or use an automatic cadence based system that would change the gearing to ensure you could keep riding at a preselected cadence. But at 6.4kg the motor system was a pretty hefty beast.

Following the news on Tuesday Continental’s website now states in their E-bike section: “We have decided to discontinue all our e-bike and pedelec business by the end of 2019 and prefer to invest in other growth fields at present. As part of our portfolio management process, we constantly review potential strategic options to ensure the sustainable development of our business.

“We will do final engineering work now for our 48V E-Bike Systems and phase-out production within Q1/2020. All mandatory legal warranty claims for our 48V and 36V E-Bike Systems that have been already or still have to be delivered in line with contractual obligations as well as their spare parts supply will be secured by Continental. Therefore, our service team will be available until 2022.”

Although Continental are abandoning their E-bike products they are increasing investment in future tyre materials as they expand their eco-friendly tyre project.


119 Comments

  • 400 2
 My initial reaction, "Continental makes an E-bike motor?"
  • 28 72
flag WAKIdesigns (Nov 14, 2019 at 10:11) (Below Threshold)
 That escalated quickly!
  • 16 10
 Yeah... I think this was a company with a big ego that told it's board they could push Shimano out of the way and when it didn't happen immediately they gave that guy a fat bonus and told him to go away while they shut down his division. Thinking they could carve out a large segment in 2 years was not wise.
  • 57 2
 And then the next reaction "Oh, they used square taper crank interface, no wonder they were shite"
  • 7 4
 You, me and the rest of the world apparently. You've got to wonder what made tyre company Continental think they could take on Shimano and Bosch from a standing start.
  • 16 32
flag WAKIdesigns (Nov 14, 2019 at 11:05) (Below Threshold)
 @Fix-the-Spade: almost as good as Energy drink that doesn’t exist
  • 1 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Maybe that's what they drank too much of, while they rode their Shrikes round the office before Dave came and took them to away to Rotheram.
  • 24 1
 @Fix-the-Spade: Continental isnt really just a tyre company, it's only about 50% of revenue from memory. They are heavily into dashboard and driverless tech as well as having some EV drive systems which is why I assume they had stab at ebikes. Shame really, motor plus gearbox sounds like the holy grail for ebike users.
  • 15 0
 @onemanarmy:
Who could forget,;
Cannondale Motorcycles
  • 2 1
 Same
  • 8 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: Continental is a 150 year old automotive components company, with a similar history to Bosch. It definitely wasn't a standing start, it was likely to stay relevant in their competitors' markets.
  • 9 5
 @bigtim: Funny, i've been running the same square BB on another bike forever without a single issue or tightening, etc. Between that and the old Campy style headsets, I'd say we're going backwards comparatively.
  • 7 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: to be fair, who thought Shimano could challenge Bosch on electric motor? As far as I know, they didn't have any experience either. The only advantage they had was better brand awareness and (probably) deeper pockets.
  • 1 1
 how much heavier was their stepless gearbox motor? if you could dump the derailleur and cassette, would that start to make it up?
  • 9 0
 @Mac1987: Bosch is a giant company compared to Shimano. They did close 5 billion in profit last year about 10x more than Shimano.
  • 1 0
 @skylanebike: I was comparing Shimano to Continental Smile
  • 1 0
 @skylanebike: and with Continental I mean the bike division.
  • 5 0
 @endurocat: 4stroke, alu frame, injection. How many years ahead of their time?
  • 1 0
 @Mac1987: well you will love the new SX cranks then.
  • 1 1
 Mine too...
  • 1 2
 Now do rocky mtn ????@onemanarmy:
  • 1 2
 @Bunzl: Continental also manufacture sensors used in Diesel engine emissions.
  • 3 1
 @Randy-Verified: not including the software for Volkswagen I hope Wink
  • 2 0
 @PtDiddy: if that is below NX, than no thank you. SLX is cheap and reliable and after the logo inevitably wears off (It's a Shimano thing), they look exactly the same as XT.
  • 5 11
flag WAKIdesigns (Nov 14, 2019 at 14:29) (Below Threshold)
 @PtDiddy: I just killed my SX cranks. They lasted 10 visits on dirt jumps.
  • 2 1
 doublepost
  • 2 5
 @Klainmeister: my commuter Yamaha PX2 has square taper and they need to be tightened every couple of weeks - 40Nm, grease, even tried grip paste. Shittiest interface ever, second only to any interface made by Raceface.
  • 1 2
 Continental actually is a huge supplier for the automotive market, a lot more than just tires. They make everything from airbags to antennas to control modules for cars.
  • 4 0
 @Otago: You ride a turn table to work?
  • 2 1
 @endurocat: I actually use to love the Cannonde ATV back in the early 2000s.
  • 1 1
 @Mac1987: my comment was meant as a reply to another comment, which mentioned a preference for square taper BBs. I made a mistake tagging you.
  • 3 0
 Same here no clue - I think this was marketing failure on brand. You can’t sell a product if don’t market it to your audience. Why create a product and build a team around if your not going to build awareness with the end-users.
  • 1 1
 @WAKIdesigns: What a hero.
  • 1 5
flag WAKIdesigns (Nov 14, 2019 at 22:47) (Below Threshold)
 @thewho07: hero? No just a troll who doesn’t ride who broke them instantly. Cost the same as SLX yet worthless.
  • 2 0
 Whoever was doing their marketing they didn’t do a good job at all. First news I’m hearing about this development as it’s being shutdown. As a bike shop owner it’s really surprising no one told me as they love updating us on any new tech that’s released. If Conti is getting bored with tires I would suggest looking into the Cush core molds and make them better. Or if at all do grips and saddles using some sort of variant tech with the black chili casing...all the best to the team given the task to make a motor without any marketing and ale promotions to promote their work.
  • 3 0
 @AutumnMedia: This is not a marketing failure, it’s a business decision. Aside from all the hot air on this site, e-bike is still a niche market within a niche sport (MTB) and Continental probably came to the conclusion that it’s not worth the investment and advertising dollars to take a piece of an already small market. And if it were growing by leaps and bounds as the industry would have us believe, they would have probably stayed in. I’d say the facts here speak for themselves. Business 101.
  • 3 0
 @Otago: clean off the grease next time. You were asking it to slide off of the taper.
  • 7 0
 Former Conti employee here... they make faaar more stuff than people realise, but most of it is OE spec for the automotive industry. The only reason they're known for tyres is because that's pretty much the only product that retail consumers buy from them, everything else is bought by GM/Daimler/BMW/VW, installed in a car and never talked about as a Continental product. They make a huge variety of electrical systems and electronic parts; in fact I would have expected them to be better at making parts like this than Shimano, but evidently they are nowhere near as good at establishing and marketing a presence in the MTB market.
  • 1 0
 @Otago: don't grease the tapers. Fit them dry with adequate torque and they'll never budge.
I don't think the crank interface was the main problem here anyway.
  • 30 0
 "wow" - Owen Wilson, probably...
  • 2 2
 Nice try hahaha you can't over do that one.
  • 24 2
 Yeah, yeah. Whatever, no one cares. The only bit of news worth reporting today is that CATHRO IS BACK RACING WC! This is goni be gid.
  • 1 1
 yess! link, please
  • 1 1
 Whaaat? Sounds gid for sure!
  • 1 1
 @ismasan: He announced it in a video on his YouTube channel.
  • 10 1
 Shimano (having pretty good motors for e-bikes) patents something they don´t wanna call a gearbox and few days later Conti drops motor production when its flagship is automatic gearbox equipped one. So...am I the only one guessing we can expect something very similar from Shimano soon or later?
  • 83 2
 Knowing Shimano I'd be guessing later
  • 8 3
 @friendlyfoe: But done right instead of thrown together with band aids.
  • 22 13
 Focus on shitty tires.
  • 10 6
 Agreed, crappy MTB tires, but their road offerings are fantastic.
  • 6 7
 conti mtb tyres are amazing, absolutely love their grip and durability!!
  • 3 2
 They make decent tires, I've been happy with mine
  • 8 1
 OH NO.
  • 3 1
 I don't know much about ebikes, but it seems to me a cool application could be a single speed belt drive with some sort of automatic cadence software that adjusts the power output between some sort of eco mode and turbo mode depending on the terrain/grade. I've always liked the idea and simplicity of a single speed, I'm just too big of a pussy to ride one regularly. Could this be a solution? Just a thought.
  • 2 0
 I rode something similar from Panasonic. It was a pretty fantastic city bike to be honest. Or even for light touring, it had GPS and everything. You just sent the cadence at which you want to pedal and then it adapts the power assistance to the force you put into the pedals.
  • 3 0
 Giant has this exact thing on early all of their e-bikes but they take it a step further. They have several sensors including cadence, torque, incline, and speed to automatically adjust the amount of support you get depending on the needs at the time. The mountain bikes obviously have a regular gear changer along with this but some city bikes do have the SS belt drive with internally geared hub. They are fantastic to ride.
  • 8 2
 Stick to making cup a soup.
  • 3 0
 This is actually a real shame. I test rode the Conti eBike motor and it was the the ONLY one in existence, that I'm aware of, that has gears inside the motor.
Why is still no one doing this?
  • 4 1
 Maybe they should consider putting these on mobility scooters? Which is the only place a 'stepless automatic gearbox' & electric motor should be.
  • 11 6
 ebikes r bad guys
  • 1 1
 I guess being a key part of the “shared electricity micomobility” revolution or whatever the buzz word is these days isn’t profitable enough.

The bike industry will have to turn itself in to an electric vehicle industry on its own.
  • 4 4
 Gave up on conti tires 3 years ago Love Conti's black chili tread. Sidewalls sucked looked like someone took a cheese grater to them after a a hundred miles. Sidewall casing sucked would warp on a hard lateral g out. Leaving you with a wobbling tire. Sadly 1 out of 3 doesn't make for a good tire.
  • 1 2
 Conti's road tires are pretty great. But have "warped" their mtb tires a few times and have never done that to a different brand(I've seen it happen to other brands of course).
  • 1 6
flag fracasnoxteam (Nov 14, 2019 at 13:09) (Below Threshold)
 As we are off topic: I don't like their tyres, very noisy and don't last for very long. Goodrich ftw actually.
  • 2 1
 I warped a couple of casings round 5 years ago, my current ones have been fine though.
  • 1 1
 @Chris97a: i have nearly 500mi on my trail king and its still going very strong! yes a small amount of sidewall bleed but ive never had a tire last this long before and keep its phenomenal traction after so many miles in central Texas! our sharp limestone rocks love tearing sidewalls.
  • 1 1
 @TylerG96:
First dry ride on a mountain king with the protection casing a year ago, got a little drifty on a decent and Bam. Tore the casing internally enough so that it was barely able to keep rolling due to how hard it was rubbing on the chainstays. It had a lot of clearance beforehand.
  • 3 2
 Continental are at top level of magics Copperfield and Houdini are babies next to Continental They make disapear a thing that never ever exists to the real world and no one have ever seen WOWWW
  • 1 0
 Had a Nuvinci hub on my cargo bike. Heavy but incredible. Nuvinci geared mid mounted motor would be fantastic for town bikes and cargo bikes. Maybe even MTBs, if youve got battery to compensate for the heft
  • 1 1
 Wonder if Bosch will jump at the opportunity to buy the shared IP they have with Enviolo/Nuvinci.


CVT Mid Drives are in our future and Bosch will build our pedal powered robot overlords.
  • 1 0
 Can't realistically expect any more from them, but spare parts availability only guaranteed for 3 years would annoy me if Id recently bought one
  • 3 1
 Ew just fuck off forever square taper bottom brackets. Purists be damned.
  • 1 1
 They're ugly, heavy, and last 20 years according to my '98 Jamis. Not too shabby for a $15 part.
  • 2 1
 And Forestal really thinks they can do better with their own e-drivetrain....!?
  • 2 0
 stepless cadence based gearbox is awesome.
  • 3 1
 We're not making e-bike motors anymore, we're tyred.
  • 1 0
 Big big shame. Germans are just not good at marketing. Not enough USA bullshit and too much engineering.
  • 2 3
 I had no idea they even had an e-bike motor. Conti needs to work on their marketing better... and stop producing such shitty tires
  • 2 1
 E-Motorcycles are the future, yep!
  • 1 0
 It would be nice to see some more options for motors
  • 1 0
 Man, that sucks for the 100 folks who'll be out of a job.
  • 1 0
 They make killer tires though! My van and bike both ride on continentals.
  • 4 4
 The beginning of the end..
  • 2 1
 Focus on bad shoe soles
  • 4 0
 I think Michelin has that market cornered.
  • 2 1
 Good stuff...
  • 7 6
 #OneLessE-Bike
  • 1 1
 tires are far more profitable
  • 2 1
 SQUARE TAPER.
  • 1 1
 use belt motor from Black Chilli Compound
Lol :v
  • 1 1
 I had no clue Continental made an E-bike motor lol
  • 1 1
 How about driver-less e-bikes for all the gamer's out there?
  • 1 2
 Conti fails at a new product? I am shocked...
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