3 Companies Making E-Bike Drive Units In Europe - Eurobike 2022

Jul 13, 2022
by Travis Engel  
Intradrive motor

Just like with suspension and drivetrains, it’s likely that the e-bike motor and battery game will come to be dominated by just a few big names. And likewise, if any underdogs want to gain a foothold, they’ve got to have something unique to offer. Eurobike, of course, is never short on unique e-bikes, but this year features three motor brands that actually do their manufacturing in Europe. Each has a pretty fresh take on the e-bike concept, but they aren’t just here to be weird.

Revonte One
Lavelle frame with Revonte One drive unit

Ok, maybe a little weird. No, this monstrosity is not a mountain bike, but it’s what’s inside that counts. Beneath that gaudy carbon weave made by fashion-first framebuilder, Lavelle, is the Finland-made Revonte One drive unit. The motor components are made by hGears, a small-motor supplier of the auto industry founded in Germany in 1958. We’ve been seeing 3d renders of Revonte’s automatic-transmission motor since 2020, but this was our first chance to actually see one in person.

Revonte One drive unit

There, that’s better. Though not as smooth and swoopy as, say, a Shimano Ep8 drive unit, the Revonte looks remarkably compact, especially when you consider everything they fit in there. That includes the continuously variable transmission and not one but two motors.

One of those motors works like most other e-bike drive units by directly turning the chainring or belt driver. This is what’s inside that cube that’s oriented perpendicularly to the bottom bracket. The other motor is concentric to the bottom bracket itself, and it’s what powers the transmission. Responding to rider torque, it drives a planetary gear mechanism that essentially changes the gear ratio while also providing a driving force. Revonte explains how it works here.

Lego mock of Revonte One transmission

Or, if you want a more fun explanation, Revonte had a Lego representation of how the One actually works. Let’s hear it for educational toys.

Effigear and Valeo
Drivetrain close up of Cavalerie frame

Another system that we’ve previously seen mocked up in plastic is the Valeo Cyclee drive unit, featuring a gearbox by France’s more gravity-focused answer to Pinion, Effigear. But there are actually working models at this year’s Eurobike. Valeo, like hGears, manufactures the little motors that do just about everything in your car but make it go vroom. On display at this year’s Eurobike were a few Valeo units bolted into bikes from Cavalerie, which, like the Valeo motor and Effigear gearbox, are also all manufactured in France.

Cavalerie bike with Effigear gearbox Valeo Cyclee motor

Talking to the folks at Effigear, they have a refreshingly practical motivation for getting into the e-bike game. Of course, they want to put both a gearbox and an e-bike motor under one top tube, but they want to do it in a way that serves smaller e-bike manufacturers. Especially now in the age of The Great Supply Chain Disruption, it’s hard for some designers to get the attention of Shimano, Bosch, Brose, or Yamaha. But Effigear wants to serve those out there with a not-so-mainstream idea for a bike that could use a not-so-mainstream drive unit.

Valeo Cyclee shifter

The Valeo Cyclee is built around Effigear’s 9-speed system with a 450% gear range. Both of those numbers are lower than what you’ll see from Pinion, but Effigear has its perks. It’s possible to do the actual shifting under load, though downshifting won’t actually occur until you let off the pressure. This system makes it possible for the non-motorized Effigear gearboxes to work with a trigger shifter, not just a twist shifter. Or, in the case of the Valeo Cyclee, a push-button electronic shifter. Of course, a 3-D printed prototype for now, but hey. Give it time.

Intradrive motor

Perhaps the furthest along among the underdogs is Intradrive. There’s even an essentially off-the-shelf Orange Phase e-bike at this year’s Eurobike that’s been fitted with an Intradrive system. That’s possible because Intradrive built their motor around the same mounting interface used by Shimano. They even went so far as to produce a battery with the same mounting points that Shimano uses. The long-term impact of this approach could be earth-shaking for the e-bike industry. In the same way that a brand can choose to spec RockShox or EXT suspension on the same frame, they could theoretically spec a Shimano motor with a traditional drivetrain, or they could spec an Intradrive unit.

Intradrive motor mounted to Cannondale frame

The Intradrive gearbox offers a 430% gear range across 8 speeds, it’s shifted electronically, and is driven by Intradrive’s 80 nm motor. That motor, and all of its components, are designed to be serviced or recycled. There’s a whole drop-down tab on Instadrive’s website about their commitment to sustainability. Step one was to base manufacturing in the U.K.. Step two is to manufacture enough to keep up with demand.

Author Info:
travisengel avatar

Member since Jun 23, 2010
21 articles

  • 82 22
 If you can hear a whining sound it won't be the motor, it'll be the E bike haters complaining.
  • 10 0
 Stolen from another post about treks iirc
  • 23 0
 @Compositepro: Implying PBers have original thoughts lmao
  • 4 1
 accurate - but ill stick with my acoustic bike.
  • 3 2
 I'm not hating the bikes,just the lazy spunkboozers riding them
  • 36 5
 The only thing that matters is the warranty support......because they all break sooner rather than later.
  • 33 7
 I want my down tube to be as large as Rosie O'Donnell neck.
  • 3 1
 underrated comment =)
  • 4 0
 So, no down tube at all?
  • 3 0
 And the motor to be lively as Rob Ford on crack.
  • 2 0
 @Notmeatall: took me a sec. Hah
  • 16 0
 Love the look of the intradrive system, if it is reliable and not crazy money they could do really well in aftermarket sales, once all those Shimano motors reach the end of their life you replace it with this.
The real selling point is the gearbox.
I don’t get the need though for the current power levels though, as someone over 50 and not in the greatest shape of my life the current Bosch system seems ridiculously powerful to me, no need for Turbo mode ever.
A smaller motor with a gearbox seems like the best solution, I can understand Shimano not wanting to get rid of the rear mech but thought Bosch would have been falling over themselves to make a gearbox solution.
I also thing that all manufactures should make sure the motors are fully rebuildable at a sensible price and the battery packs should be rebuildable with new cells.
  • 1 0
 I agree with the extra power being unnecessary. I have an E7000 ebike with 60 Nm and I think 30 to 40 Nm would be plenty. Maybe I'll switch to a "lightweight" ebike when/if I can afford one.
  • 15 1
 All ebikes should have standardized motor mounts so the bike becomes not obsolete in the future. Nice catch from Intradrive. Shimano is the worst with them pooping out new motors every 1-2 years. So it makes sense to go for the Shimano mount standard since bike with their motors becoming much faster obsolete than others.
  • 2 0
 Completely agree! In an industry where we are lovers of standards, frame manufacturers should put pressure to standardize. This would lower manufacturing prices and open up the possibility of the consumer choosing their preferred drive unit brand.
  • 2 0
 This is the bike industry, we will get a standard, then it will be changed by a few millimetres and all bikes will become obsolete.
  • 5 1
 I've already said it. Pinkbike pushed the industry to have waterbottle inside main triangle, they can push the industry to have the same standard for motors. Since there is lightweight e-bikes and full on e-bikes, make it two. Mini mount and Normal mount.
  • 3 1
 No, they do not need that! would it be beneficial? Currently, e-bikes are a highly growing sector and do not nessecerally have vell developed solutions, there is no specific reason to restrict R&D.

I doubt users will change motors separately outside after warranty;
You cannot swap car engine from different model, etc

Main purpose of the bike is -> ride / commute, not details swap
  • 2 0
 @nickmalysh: You've obviously never seen those crazy Miatas with V8 motorswaps... Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @i-am-lp: how many are those on the planet? 9? people who do crazy shit do not complain about incompatibility, they just do it. So all rumble about unified standards for the things that should be services in bike shop are useless
  • 1 0
 I believe that the Shimano EP8 has the same mounting points as their E7000 and E8000 motors though, so I think most older Shimano-equipped bikes could switch to an EP8.
  • 8 0
 Please IntraDrive, make non-assisted gearbox for us purists and motor assisted gearbox with light battery as shown, both within the same envelope. So designer can make one chassis that supports e-mobility and mechanical purity as well. Or assisted gearbox from which motor can be easily removed so you can dettach motor and battery to lighten the bike.
  • 1 0
 That’s a fantastic idea. One that I’d definitely pay for as long as it’s packaged nicely because rule #1 is you gotta look cool lol
  • 3 0
 Bit picky of me but Bosch are German and make their motors in Hungary. TQ are German and make their motors in Germany. Volt make their motors in the UK and I'd be surprised if Brompton have outsourced their motor which was definitely developed bespoke in UK.
  • 3 0
 I believe also Polini are building their motors in Italy
  • 1 0
 @giopk70: they do
  • 4 1
 The Intradrive ticks all the boxes! gears and motor, in a sensible package. Look forard to seeing that develop further!

"Of course, a 3-D printed prototype for now"

Why do they do that? Not only does it look crap, but it looks like that part you could prototype properly out of an offcut of aluminium in about half the time it takes to print that raggedy ass plastic bit.
  • 1 0
 It doesn't really seem like you understand the drastically different characteristics of 3d printing and reductive machining of aluminum and how they fit into prototyping processes. And that 3d printed part you see is not the Intradrive part.
  • 5 0
 Combined motor and gearbox will definitely be the type of ebike I buy. All that extra torque through an expensive cassette makes no sense at all.
  • 4 1
 "it’s shifted electronically, and is driven by Intradrive’s 80 nm motor."

Does this mean the motor is only 80 nanometer in size? Awesome!
  • 1 2
 No the motor doing the shifting supplies 80 Nm torque. Crunch.
  • 3 1
 modular upgradable motors for frames... yes please... i already want one for my KSL
  • 2 0
 Delighted to see Travis here after the Beta debacle. Hope there's more to come.
  • 1 0
 Don't have a whole lot to add about ebike motors - the Lego thing seems neat - but it's great to see Travis Engel on a PB byline.
  • 7 4
 Ebikes 2022 = MTB 1989.
  • 6 1
 So I should buy a bunch now so I can flip them on eBay in 30 years to fund my retirement?
  • 6 9
 Physically fit people looking for challenges 1989 = Growing obesity and laziness 2022
  • 1 3
 Too expensive-too easy.

Even fancy bikes in 1989 were affordable(ish) and between the whole having to generate your own power thing and the fragile tires, gutless brakes, dropped chains and lousy geometry, they were challenging to ride.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: please correct the 4th line from the end - intradrive, not instadrive, lol
  • 1 1
 Just rescued an mtb from 1989, an MBK ranger high tech in 3 colors.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: Only if there’s a hipster equivalent of a Bridgestone MB-0. Most vintage MTBs aren’t selling for that much even if they are good frames with nice parts.
  • 3 1
 And none of them can compare to the TQ motor..
  • 1 0
 Even Leg has his gearbox and the bike industry is still deaf and not bringing it to the market!
  • 2 0
 Sweet I can build my own lego gearbox for my bike.
  • 3 2
 welcome back Euro Bike >>>
  • 7 10
 Look its easy. Analog bikes will always be here. Ebikes will stay. So we chill. But on my last ride people on the top said. Oh look a biker without a motor. So beeing on analog is actually getting cool again. This market is so fucking oversatturated its crazy. And I think old and injured folks have plenty of options for an ebike. I personally never saw fit and rowdy people that where actually good on a bike on ebikes. So just stop selling a false dream because its not a thing. At least not as advertised.
  • 6 8
 And no you wont put in 3 or 4 loops on an e bike because your are not that fit. So chill
  • 9 12
 And the lastet shit. People on cable cars here in the alps with f*cking e downhillers. Lol its getting really funny. Whats next? People driving a ktm 450 sx and call it mtbing?
  • 6 1
 You can downwote @Here but he's onto something.

At least something valid here in Ch. Because here the eBikes are taking over. On our local hill we are close to 50% ratio of eBikes compared to Mtbs.

And funny thing is that most of those eBikers are downhilling the very same fire roads we all use to climb up.
  • 9 3
 @Here: people uplifting an ebike should be banned from riding period
  • 4 0
 Ahhh! It’s THAT word! The A word! Don’t use it; it is MTBs vs eMTBs, there is no aMTB!
  • 1 0
 @st-lupo: what does A stand for
  • 2 0
 @Compositepro: That horrible “analogue” word.
  • 2 1
 Definitely a step in the right direction
  • 1 0
 Clearly there are more made in Europe.
  • 2 3
 That last read was particularly Intra-esting…
  • 3 6
 If an ebike motor was removed and replaced with an internal combustion engine of comparable power would it be an ebike or a motorcycle
  • 3 1
 *looks at two stroke 50-80cc bike gas engine kits*
  • 1 2
 @brodoyouevenbike: why dont OEM bikes come with gas engines too. Single track dirt biking is at least as fun as moutain biking, combining the two ought to happen
  • 1 0
 @brodoyouevenbike: if we spent what we do on the e motor/battery on an internal combustion equivalent would we be further ahead. Those kits are cheap, ebike motors/batteries are not. What would a high performance gas motor equivalent get us. The market is so over saturated why is no one doing this
  • 2 1
 That my friend, depends on the laws of your country.
In the UK, the answer would be no.
Ebikes are pedal assist so regardless of what was assisting, it would only be a motorcycle if if self propelled. A mechanically propelled vehicle is any thing that can propel its self. This would be everything from an electric skateboard, hover board, childs battery powered jeep right through to an earth mover. This includes cars. To be used on a road, they need to comply with construction and use regulations around lights, registration etc and there are licencing requirements for the operator.
In the UK, electric scooters are illegal to use on the highway (some experiment areas exempt). Pedal assist Ebikes are not.

Hope that snapshot helped Smile
  • 1 1
 @ilovedust: Only illegal if they catch you tho
  • 1 2
 As @ilovedust says, no, and the same is true of most countries. If it's not pedal assisted then it's a motorcycle. Electric scooters are illegal to use on highway as you say because they are not road legal, AND illegal to use in any public place (e.g. pavements), as they are self-propelled but not a wheelchair. The only place you can legally use one is your own private land. It's just nearly impossible to enforce though.

@brodoyouevenbike Your joke would work better if it was "you're not a criminal until you've been caught". The activity is still illegal.
  • 3 4
 We're getting closer.
  • 4 7
 The only motorless bikes available within a few years will be for kids and those stuck in the past.
  • 3 5
 A legend in your own mind?
  • 3 2
 and will be aimed squarely at a niche market that are fit and skilled enough not to need a mobility bike
  • 3 2
 Some years ago, I remember how people scoffed at droppers and then, shock horror, different wheel sizes. The world did not end, bikes got better, we enjoy it more.
  • 4 0
 @ilovedust: I think the MTB/eMTB schizm is here to stay. There is a clear line between components that do put energy into the system and components that don’t put energy into the system. Ride what makes you happy, but adding batteries/motors is not the same as adding a dropper-post, from a thermodynamics perspective.
  • 1 2
 Why I'm Here.
  • 7 10
 why do these articles keep appearing, i thought this was a mountainbike website?
  • 4 0
 I did think to myself bizarre article unless you are a manufacturer of e bikes
  • 4 1
 Because you guy keep complaining about e-bikes, it's a passive aggressive quality editors have when people wine to much.
  • 1 1
 Probably because it triggers people Wink
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