Valeo & Effigear Merge an E-Bike Motor With a Gearbox - Eurobike 2021

Sep 9, 2021
by Ralf Hauser  

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.

Early prototype drawing.
The remote in the pictures shown is just a demo model, but the production remote will also be located on the left-hand side for changing the gears in sequential mode.

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.

Another early prototype sketch.

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.

You can now fit the new Effigear Mimic MTB gear box into a Zerode with the Pinion mounting standard.
The Effigear Mimic MTB is compatible with SRAM's trigger shifter.

Gates Carbon Drive Compatible.


  • 93 1
 Now THIS is e-drivetrain! At last someone did the job completely. But the new Mimic MTB gearbox with the SRAM shifter is the way to go for my savings priorities!!! ;-)
I think Effigear is stepping into higher League. Well done!
  • 3 0
 I emailed pinion years ago and recommended that they work with an electric motor design company to make something that could swap out for their opinion gearbox for anybody who bought one of the compatible frames. The emailed me back that they had things in development. I've been waiting to see them do this ever since. Looks like this company beat them to it
  • 4 0
 Effigear be like beat this integration scott
  • 58 1

Serious, why are we still using fragile derailleurs on ebikes?
  • 13 25
flag tonkatruck (Sep 9, 2021 at 11:54) (Below Threshold)
 also all the "I dont like twist shifter whiners" have no excuse now. basically all EMTB's are becoming motorcycles hahaha
  • 10 0
 paging doublecrownaddict
  • 2 0
 @mariomtblt: he's the next comment down
  • 3 1
 why we even need strong cranks with pedals??
  • 24 7
 Yeasssss. Now we need Honda’s version with alloy frame, dual crown forks, massive brakes, reliable gearbox/motor combo, top shelf suspension, well sealed electrical systems, and progressive geo. Call it a EB450R and price it a couple of thousand less than the CRF450R. Then I’m in on e-bikes.
  • 4 0
 They have already publicly paraded their electric motocross bike around at Japanese MX races. Just search Honda electric motocross bike. Or, Mugen E Rex. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a Honda MTB of any kind though. They raced and won World Cup downhill races for God's sake... and then, they never made a single MTB for the consumer market.
  • 2 0
 @Glory831Guy: Yeah, weird, hey? It's almost like they were taunting the MTB community!
  • 15 0
 The mimic gearbox seems worth its own article.

Fits to other frames (fits to pinion fittings), check
Trigger shifter, check

Isn't that most of what people don't like about gearboxes? Now slap that tensioner on the rear wheel (or above bottom bracket rather than below) as we're good to go
  • 8 0
 You can't tension from above as the torque goes through the tensioner (it would break unless it was very strong) and the chain is already tensioned by it.

The bottom run is not under tension and has little torque through it
  • 3 0
 Even better if combined with an Onyx sprag clutch rear hub
  • 1 2
 @Inertiatic: The gearbox could reverse the chain direction and you could either have a figure 8 chain or have a gear in the rear hub that unreverses. This would give you tension on the underside of the chainring and then you could have the tensioner above the BB. Alternatively, the drive ring could come out above the crank (think idler pully), then the tensioner could still be above the BB and out of harms way.

If you are going to do things differently, don't do them almost the same.
  • 1 0
 @entrecerros: fixed rear hub with a freewheel in the gearbox. Then you don't have to pedal to change gears
  • 3 0
 @briain: You don't have to pedal to change gears with a gearbox or internal gear hub. In fact, it is probably better not to pedal when shifting gears.
  • 27 11
 Finally.. The e bike industry is heading in the right direction. The obvious future of e bikes, and hopefully will doom all derailleur bikes.
  • 10 0
 The universe must be imploding because people are sorta kinda happy about an ebike, a gear box, and @DoubleCrownAddict has upvotes. What is going on
  • 12 0
 My epinion is that this is the future of ebikes.
  • 7 0
 It's interesting that this thing shifts well under full e-bike load, while a Pinion won't shift even under normal pedal load. I wonder if this has some electronics that briefly cut power to the motor during a shift?
  • 4 0
 Could also be a clutch‍♀️
  • 4 0
 I did not put that sign there for reference.
  • 2 0
 That is weird, when I rode the pinion it shifted beautifully.
  • 6 0
 its because of electric shifting.

Effigear has always shifted better under load, because it uses pawls inside of each gear. WHen you pull the cable, a camshaft inside the 2nd array of gears rotates and engages/releases the appropriate gear. You can do this more precisely and have it timed perfectly when electric, I'm guessing.
  • 16 0
 Our shifting mechanism is different from the Pinion. Our gearbox allows you to shift up (longer gear) under load and you have to release for shift down. On Ebike with the help of the motor, we can shift down under load too
  • 2 0
 Pinion can't shift under load because of a lack of torque from the shifter. They mentioned it in an article here awhile back. Part of there QC is to jamb through the gears under full load in both directions on a bench top machine. They hinted at a potential electric shifter that would provide the needed torque and speed to shift under power.
  • 8 0
 " can be run with a regular SRAM trigger shifter."

This deserves a round of applause and would actually lead me to consider a bike with this gearbox fitted Smile
  • 7 5
 FINALLY someone who has merged all these technologies together instead of giving us it all in drips and drabs....thos is the real bike of the future right here...just get rid of the telescopic fork and we can finally start to progress. I used to be against e bikes, but I have to say now my mind has changed, they are fun to ride and the suspension works better with the increased sprung mass. Now they have finally merged the gearbox in too for even better sprung to unsprung mass and not having to pay £500 for frigging top end cassette that will wear out. I told myself I will stick with my sb165 until e bikes progress and they implement a gearbox...well the time has come or at least in prototype form. That new Yeti E160 is now already out of date before it's release, the Kenevo SL is a total rip off....and this brand manages to fit in a high pivot idler also. Only one main thing less to achieve in my opinion, get rid of this stupid 25kmh cap, why are e bikes limited to that but road cyclists are allowed to get away with hitting 30-40mph down the street withput a license plate?
  • 2 1
 Because of where you can hit those speeds on an ebike? I’m guessing you don’t cycle in london, any more than 25kph and there’d be bodies strewn from acton to dagenham
  • 2 0
 I guess it has to do with safety of pedestrians on pedestrians/bikes shared areas and lanes.
Imagine if plenty of 2 wheeled vehicles looking like a bike go at 40kph or more on bike lanes and everything with pedestrians, kids and everything ?
What's the problem with having a licence plate ?
You don't want to go faster than 25 (except under your own power) that's cool, plenty ebikes to chose from and you can go on bike lanes as well. You can even go faster, by your own power, but it's heavier.
You want to go fast ? Get a plate, but go on the road where you won't be a danger for pedestrians.
Different options.
  • 2 2
 Just get a 15-20 yr old DH bike.

40-50 lbs bikes was the norm.

Now in 2021 the weight makes the suspension better? Your spring rate should be tuned to the sprung mass. Doesn't really matter what that mass is if you tube with a sag measurement like they all want you to.
  • 3 1
 @anotherstoneinthewoods: yes it does make the suspension work better, it has nothing to do with total bike plus rider mass vs spring rate it's to do solely with frame mass.. a heavier frame and lighter wheels create a much more stable and comfortable ride as it counteracts a lot of the bump force before it is transmitted to the rider, you just need to ride an e bike to notice it or strap some weights to your bike frame and see for yourself....the penalty of course is more frame weight can result in less agile handling.
  • 1 0
 @anotherstoneinthewoods: there's a ratio between sprung and unsprung weight. When sprung weight is increased the unsprung weight becomes more reactive to impacts. That's the best I can describe it.
  • 1 0
 You can do more than the 25km/h restriction, just not with electric assistance, just the same as no-electric bikes can.
You won't get booked for traveling over 25km/h as long as your bike isn't capable of assisting you above that speed.
Ebike aren't speed limited they are assistance limited.
  • 4 0
 Why do they need two cables for the gearbox? I mean I know they don't have a spring like they do in a mech, but can't they incorporate a spring into the gearbox?
  • 3 0
 I think that this gearbox alone might be bigger news than electric motor. Competition between them and pinion would be amazing for us. Like Shimano and Sram.
  • 3 2
 I'm surprised its taken this long to integrate e-bike motors with gearboxes. Potential to solve a lot of issues with e-bikes and gearboxes. I wouldn't be surprised if this caused rear hub spacing to return to 142mm, and dishless rear wheels.
  • 1 0
 @effigear But, but, why depart from the offset output shaft!? That was one of the beautiful things about the Effigear gearbox.

Still, agree with all others here, integration of motor and gearbox is the way to go, no doubt.
  • 1 0
 I think that upper pulley placement is an overlooked piece of news here. If I'm correct it looks like as this suspension travels the chain line straightens so you get less reliance on the pulley and more engagement on the chain ring. I feel like that's how all of them should work
  • 1 0
 Shimano patent something similar in 2019

Being Shimano, I suspect it will take years perfecting, until it's released

With this advanced, it is time to question if we really need to have a 148/157 hub spacing, because flanges could be more apart (no need for a cassete anymore), freehub should be on the BB/Motor.
Also, question why rear axle is not 15mm or even bigger diameter. Cassetes limited the internal diameter for years.
  • 3 0
 F*** finally, I was waiting for that, now we are talking, hope to see big brands will adopt this
  • 2 0
 If ebikes can improve or bring new ideas to the gearbox bike I am up for them so the tech can make me a better pedal powered gearbox bike
  • 1 0
 Yes, integrated gearbox development for ebike will drastically improve the pedaling of the human powered only gearbox bike.
@effigear, these improvements will be introduce overtime as additional modules and/or upgrade of the hardware.
  • 2 0
 The people of Effigear has so many years working in silence and pushing the boundaries of bike engineering. Results are here and they look amazing to me. Bravo!!
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 @Davinzz: I second that, amazing work. I have a pinion on a zerode and twist is OK but I've been waiting for a trigger. This looks awesome. How long until you have a cast magnesium shell and it's even lighter? I will be hyting one at that stage. @effigear
  • 1 0
 @dwojo: magnesium casing available at start.
  • 4 0
 Behold...the future!
  • 3 1
 How are brands going to upsell you on tiered build specs if they switch to gearboxes?
  • 3 0
 Kashima coat cogs Wink

More seriously, differences of materials (alloy, magnesium), and weight, could do the trick.
  • 2 0
 oooooo now i can change out this pinion gripshift for a trigger?! sign me up
  • 1 1
 When I lay my bike on the ground, I lay it down NDS to protect the derailleur.

You can't lay that prototype Valeo down on either side. Maybe it does the Segway thing and stands up on its own?
  • 1 0
 Why can't you lay it down on either side? The cranks will protect anything that could be damaged.
  • 1 0
 Keen to see a forum to thread updated with which brands decide to utilise the combo box/motor. Alutech/propain have the noise to pick it up quickly.
  • 1 0
 Well, week after ordering new bike one comes to an information which in fact says I could wait and get Zerode with effigear mimic, damn
  • 3 0
 Love it!
  • 2 0
 That Zerode bike looks really awesome. I always want to test ride one.
  • 4 4
 So... As a bike nerd, I hate ebikes but I love gearboxes. How am I supposed to feel now ?!?
  • 2 5
 Feel good that someone is finally doing ebikes correctly. I'm also not a big fan of ebikes for trails (would you wear a powered exoskeleton to hike a mountain [if you weren't injured or disabled]? same thing in my mind), but at least those who do want them get something better with a system like this.
  • 4 0
 @justinfoil: Dunno. I'd never say I'd never do anything until I had at least tried it first. A powered exoskeleton might be a whole new level of fun that I never realised existed until I'd experienced it :-)
  • 1 0
 @notsofastoverfifty: Well, go ahead and walk it up the road with the other powered vehicles, but keep it off the trails where plain old human power already does enough wear & tear without adding external power.
  • 2 1
 It's not a moped untill it has an automatic transmission Razz
  • 3 0
 Well it is automatic.
  • 1 0
 PinkBikers goes into a frenzy - best of both worlds, except for the price!
  • 1 0
 I want to know why it has taken this long...
  • 1 0
 Been waiting for this, can't believe it's not happened until now!
  • 1 0
 shut up and take my money!!!
  • 1 1
 ahhhh a Motorcycle. That was invented a long time ago. :-)
  • 4 6
 Deletes “fragile” rear mech , fits flappy chain tensioner under bottom bracket …….
  • 4 0
 It won't fuck your shifting if you tweak it a teeny bit.
  • 6 8
 So its a Motor Bike for sure.
  • 4 0
 It's also a bicycle for sure.
  • 8 10
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