Chainless digital drive bicycles have been the talk of the town for a while now but the invention is nothing new. Although bicycling critics have now started wondering if the chainless digital drive bicycles are a scientific miracle. Whether it is a scientific miracle or not, Chainless Digital Drive Bicycles are nothing new. The idea has been around since the 1970s and a fully functioning digital drivetrain was released in the year 1995.
So What’s New?
Although digital drivetrains have been around for a while, what’s exciting is the possibility of having this feature on an e-bike! The phenomenon is known as the “series hybrid pedelec”. The history behind it is that an e-bike already has all the components. The e-bike battery provided the needed power that the drivetrain might need.
A perfect example of a digital drivetrain e-bike is the Footloose. The bike feels like you are walking up a flight of stairs rather than pedaling because there is no drivetrain.
The only issue I can think of with the bike is its software. If the motor is not controlled quickly, the drive will not feel natural.
How Does It Work?
Digital drivetrains are a really simple phenomenon. A power generator is placed at the crankset of the bike. This generator converts your pedal power into electrical power. At the drive wheels, there is a motor.
There are two wires in place that connect the generator to the motor. These wires transmit the power you produce all the way to the motor.
Pros Of A Digital Drivetrain
The pros of digital drivetrains are quite a lot:
- Since there is no chain, there is going to be no wear and tear of it. You will not have to mess your hands trying to fix your chain.
- There is also going to b no maintenance of the chain. You won’t have to work with grease anymore.
- A digital drivetrain will only require you to change the brake pad or the wheel so you can run in all kinds of weather.
- These bikes are fully automatic.
- They offer an unlimited gear range. This is good for inexperienced cyclists who do not have much knowledge of the gear system.
- They are less complicated.
Cons Of A Digital Drivetrain
- The conversion of energy is not that efficient. You lose almost around 50% of the power while the power travels from the generator to the motor and ultimately at the gearing too.
- There is a risk of water penetrating the system which could lead to a failure.
- You can also lose a wire or possibly damage it.
But Wait, There Are Limitations
The bikes with digital drivetrains are not classified as bicycles. Instead, they are listed as mopeds or bikes because they do not have a chain. So much so, that in Germany, you can be fined heavily for selling a Chainless digital drive bicycle at a bicycle shop.
Not long ago, when electric bikes were introduced, many enthusiast bicycle riders were sure that they would never “cheat” in their favorite hobby. But with the passage of time, e-bikes have made their own special place. Almost everyone today wants to own one!
Will the digital drivetrains meet the same fate? In my opinion, I don’t see the same happening with these chain-free rides. The first reason is that digital drivetrain bikes are not capable of climbing hills with the same efficiency. They are only good for flat roads. So they really limit the type of terrain and the weather conditions that you can ride them in.
But if you combine this technology with that of an e-bike, the digital drive train can prove to be really useful. The plus side is that there will be lower maintenance and reduced wear and tear on the chain and the drivetrain. What do you think? Will you give the chainless drive a go? Let us know in the comments.
Featured Image Via Youtube/ ElectricBikeReview.com