The Valeo/Effigear Smart e-Bike System features seven gears with a range of 450% and a whopping 130 Nm of maximum torque. Total weight of the 48 V motor comes to 4.9 kg, which means that the gearbox part of the system adds about 2 kg to the bike. Weight is saved by removing the derailleur and turning the cassette into a single sprocket, but the system weight is still more than a regular drivetrain due to the chain tensioner.
On the other hand, benefits like smooth shifting under load, a more centralized weight with less unsprung mass at the rear wheel, and less maintenance could definitely outweigh the negatives, especially on an eMTB.
The Valeo/Effigear Smart e-Bike System uses electronic shifting components. You'll be able to shift gears manually in a sequential or automatic mode, where gear changes happen in less than 100 milliseconds. There will be various ride modes to choose from: zero motor assist, Low (90 Nm), High (130 Nm) and Predict (adjusts the motor torque depending on the rider input). Every mode is available both in automated or sequential shifting and a display will show speed, gear selection, battery charge level, and maintenance information. Depending on the model, there will be additional features like an anti-theft-function that disables the crank movement or a boost feature to help with steep inclines.
An app for communicating with the system and possibly making personal adjustments is on Valeo's wish list of things to implement.
Effigear and Valeo have been working closely together for the past 18 months to build a plug & play-ready e-bike motor with gear box that could live up to today's standards of riding. All parts are manufactured by Valeo with production having started in April. The first application will be seen on an urban bike.
Valeo's extensive network will be directly responsible to provide service for the Valeo/Effigear system. Their roadmap estimates to sell 20,000 units in the first year and up to 200,000 beyond that. About 95% of the motor is built in Europe, in largest parts spread over France, Germany, Spain, and some other supplier countries. That supply independence might prove very beneficial in the next years to come.The Cavalerie Bike
To validate the design, Cavalerie, a division of Effigear, has built an e-bike prototype with high idler pulley around the new Valeo/Effigear motor with 170 mm of travel in the front and 165 mm in the rear. A steep 78-degree seat tube and 64-degree head tube angle are good starting points to form their geometry around. Short 440 mm chainstays fit a 29" rear wheel.
Cavalerie is assuming that they should have the first rideable protypes in five to six months. There is still a lot of testing to do, but they are hoping that the by the end of 2022 the bikes will be available to consumers.
A quick spin on one of the early Valeo prototypes in the parking lot immediately showed the potential of the system. Power delivery was smooth but powerful, with smooth, quick, and crisp shifts being possible under full load. The electronic shifting seemed to work without a catch. How usable that optional automatic shifting function is going to be in real-world mountain bike applications, is yet to be proven, but it was fun to consider the possibilities nevertheless.
Valeo also had their own concept bike with Valeo/Effigear Smart e-Bike System on display.Effigear Mimic MTB
E-bike news aside, Effigear didn't forget the product that put them on the map in the first place. Based on their original design, Effigear is also launching a new version of their gear box, the Mimic MTB.
It now offers compatibility with the Pinion mounting standard, making it possible to fit it on a range of existing frames. The Mimic MTB got a bit lighter with less volume and more ground clearance and can be run with a regular SRAM trigger shifter. Effigear continues to offer a five-year warranty.
Nine gears with a gear range of 469% can be driven by a belt or regular chain. The gearbox weighs less than 2 kg, although the final weight could be lighter, as some parts are not at full production level yet. Also, a version with lighter magnesium housing is in the works.
While it won't help to buy an Effigear box without a matching frame, its new compatibility with other standards might make it interesting as an aftermarket product. The Mimic MTB is available for pre-order for €990, with delivery in December.
There is also a Mimic Gravel version controlled by SRAM's gravel shifters and they're working on a compatible version for Campagnolo's shifter. First deliveries are planned for the end of the year.