After skipping a year due to the pandemic, Eurobike 2021 returned to Friedrichshafen, Germany, nearly two years to the day after the previous rendition of one of the world’s largest and most important bicycle trade shows. The show was immeasurably different (much like the world itself over the last 18 months), but it still hosted some of the most interesting new updates to bicycle tech we’ve seen in years.
And as e-bikes have exploded in popularity since the pandemic, so too has the proportion of e-bike companies to pedal bikes at the show. While 2019 saw closer to an even mix between electric and acoustic bikes, Eurobike 2021 was absolutely the year of the e-bike as electrically-powered two-wheelers dominated the show.
Eurobike 2021 returns to Friedrichshafen
Interestingly, one of the biggest changes other than the increased dominance of electric bicycles was the growing number of cargo e-bikes.
Perhaps buoyed by a larger number of commuters seeking to replace more car trips than ever with alternative transportation, the sheer volume and diversity of cargo bicycles was immediately apparent throughout the show.
Other notable standouts included new electric bicycle drive systems, increasingly bizarre forms of electric bicycles and a host of accessories designed to make e-bikes even more useful for various daily uses.
You can see all of these and more in our Eurobike 2021 compilation video, where you’ll follow the Electrek team around the show floor and test grounds as we check out all of the coolest e-bike tech.
Below is a selection of notable companies and products that were on hand at the 2021 Eurobike show.
We’ve also got a poll going to see what your favorite item from the show is. Make sure to come back up here to the top of the article to vote once you’ve finished the article!
Heinzmann Schaeffler ‘Free Drive’ e-bike system
One of the first new advancements I sought out at the show was a fascinating new electric drive system for e-bikes that completely removes a mechanical connection to the drive wheel.
Instead of using a chain or belt – the two most common drive systems for bicycles – the Free Drive unit generates electricity from the rider’s pedaling action via an electric generator mounted at the bottom bracket of the bike. It then feeds that power to the motor to propel the bike. If any extra energy is generated above what the motor requires, it is stored in the e-bike’s battery.
I covered the system in detail last week, and it’s definitely worth a closer look.
I also had the chance to take a spin on an electric cargo bike outfitted with the Free Drive system, and I’ll have a complete first ride write-up along with a video of the experience coming to Electrek soon.
Greyp unveiled new G6 e-bikes
Greyp took advantage of the Eurobike 2021 show to unveil a series of new ultra-premium carbon-fiber electric mountain bikes as part of the G6 full-suspension line.
I tested out the original G6 e-bikes when they were first unveiled. Even two years ago, they were high-tech, and now they’ve only gotten better.
The new models include the G6.4, G6.5 and G6.6 full suspension electric mountain bikes.
The bikes include large 700Wh batteries, mid-drive motors with 90Nm of torque for powerful hill climbing, embedded tech include built-in eSim cards and 1080p front/rear cameras capable of live-streaming rides, high-end components like Fox Float suspension and of course Greyp’s signature carbon-fiber frames.
We’ll have a deep dive into these new e-bikes coming up soon, so consider this a teaser for some of the most tech-savvy premium electric mountain bikes on the market.
Rayvolt’s beautiful (and high tech) electric bikes
Barcelona-based Rayvolt had on display the latest update to their beautiful electric bike line. From the Catalonian leatherwork to the steampunk brass accents, these e-bikes are second to none when it comes to class.
Rayvolt isn’t just about building attractive bikes, though. They design all of their tech in-house, from modified motors to custom software. That allows them to add interesting features that you won’t find elsewhere.
For example, one of the innovations found in all Rayvolt bikes is variable regenerative braking based on reverse pedaling speed. Instead of pulling the brake levers when you want to stop, you can just pedal backwards. A slight backwards turn of the pedals gives light regenerative braking, but a quicker spin activates stronger regenerative braking in proportion with the reverse pedaling speed. It’s the equivalent of one-pedal driving in an electric car, except with bike pedals and almost no need for hand brake levers.
That same technology also allows for another cool feature called RegenFit. You can put your e-bike on a roller or trainer and pedal it like an exercise bike, with the motor providing regenerative braking resistance to charge the battery.
CEO Mat Rauzier explained that in a half-hour fitness session, he can add around 23% charge to his battery.
The system was developed by Rayvolt’s CTO, Jaime Pla. When I last saw Jaime over two years ago, he was a bigger guy. Now seeing him for the first time after the pandemic began, he’s 17 kg (37 lb) slimmer. As it turns out, it’s largely from developing the RegenFit system.
He had to use the feature in order to test and debug it over several months, which led to him shedding those extra pounds along the way! He admits that a healthier diet played a role, but daily fitness riding on an electric bicycle charging a battery was a big part of this weight loss success.
Tern shows off highly capable e-bikes and accessories
Bicycle maker Tern showed off their line of bicycles, including two of my favorites, the GSD and HSD electric cargo bikes. Both offer serious cargo-hauling capacity but in a smaller package that resembles the size of a typical bike.
The two cargo bikes can also be parked standing up on their tail, making them great for apartment dwellers with limited space.
Tern also showed off the company’s latest accessory line, including a neat rear rack accessory that allows riders to transport their kids inside of a waterproof canopy. That way, moms and dads can take their kids to school on the bike, rain or shine, without the little ones getting wet (or sunburned!).
Bosch electric bike Smart System
Bosch took to Eurobike to show off its Smart System, which is the latest update to its extensive line of electric bicycle drive systems.
Unlike in previous years, where we’ve seen incremental updates to motors, the Smart System offers a new software approach that allows Bosch to implement several new features.
Part of the system is Bosch’s new Flow App. The app is designed to digitize the e-bike ownership experience. Instead of needing to bring the bike into an authorized Bosch dealer for minor updates, riders can now perform over-the-air (OTA) updates themselves via the app.
That will allow riders to take advantage of new Bosch features as they are continuously developed and deployed.
The app is also useful for customizing riding modes, recording riding activities automatically, and integrating with fitness apps. The automatic riding activity recording is particularly convenient as it uses the bike’s sensors to begin the activity recording automatically, meaning riders won’t need to pull out their phones and manually click “record” to track each ride.
Bosch also plans to integrate Bike-to-X communication as part of the internet-of-things (IoT) framework, which would allow for interesting features to be added. By connecting with other cars and trucks, the e-bikes could give early warning signals that help to better protect riders.
Along with the new software, Bosch also rolled out a larger 750 Wh PowerTube battery that hides away inside a bike’s downtube, plus a new Kiox 300 display with updated remote.
We also had the chance to see the Bosch Smart System installed on several of BULLS’ new electric bicycles. BULLS came prepared with a giant booth complete with dozens of models of e-bikes.
Few companies can match the sheer breadth of models, and it’s quite impressive to see so many different types of e-bikes all under one roof.
Coleen electric bicycle
This is the first time I’ve ever seen this bicycle, and it’s an absolute beauty. The Coleen electric bike does a stunning job of incorporating old-school design features like rotary switches into a retro-modern-looking electric bicycle.
The exposed chrome accents and the sleek full-carbon frame play well together, especially combined with the leather saddle and bar grips.
The 250W and 25 km/h (15.5 mph) EU version doesn’t seem to do the beautiful bike justice, but they also have a 750W and 45 km/h (28 mph) model, which seems much more up to speed for a bike that looks this good.
The French-designed and built electric bicycle is hand-made, with over 50 hours of labor going into the manufacturing of each bike.
There wasn’t a price listed on the bike, but I’m guessing it’s one of those “If you have to ask…” situations.
Super73 moped-style e-bikes
Super73 had an awesome booth decked out exactly how you’d expect, with retro-themed motorbike awesomeness.
On display were their three main models, the Z, S and R lines.
The company recently launched a new Super73-ZX e-bike to update the most affordable e-bike in the lineup. And shortly before that, the R and RX lines were released with better suspension, higher-spec components and more power than most people would ever need. Or perhaps the perfect amount of power, depending on who you ask.
Super73 let us borrow a couple of their e-bikes to zip around Germany on. We’ve since taken them to Munich for the IAA Mobility show, where they became our main rides around the city. The bikes turn heads everywhere we go and are instant conversation starters. They also happen to be our favorite way around the city (and usually the fastest way around the city too).
We’ll have more on that experience coming up soon!
Manta5 hydrofoil water bike
I’ve covered the Manta5 hydrofoil electric water bike before, but that was several years ago, and I’ve never seen it in person.
Now, the team at Manta5 has returned to Eurobike with an updated model, and I immediately fell in love with it.
Seriously, just watch the first three seconds of the video below.
That’s what I want to be doing right now. Sign. Me. Up.
It’s basically an electric bike built on top of a hydrofoil, and the pedals (plus the motor) power a propeller instead of a rear wheel. You ride up on the foil, which helps you use less battery, just like a hydrofoil electric boat.
The whole thing looks incredible, and I’m already talking to the company about getting a test ride soon to bring you guys a video review. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
Electric bike startup section
There was a fascinating section with all sorts of bike-related startups, each with an interesting idea to show off.
Some were more prototype-y, while others were already in production. Below are the neatest ideas we saw.
Hopper Mobility electric bike car
The Hopper Mobility bike car was one of those larger-than-life entries that grabs your eye from across the exhibit hall.
The German-made electric tricycle is shaped like a car but uses an electric bicycle drive-system to provide a more efficient alternative to conventional cars or even electric cars. It’s also a lot more nimble than cars, thanks to a rear-wheel steering mechanism that gives it a tiny turning radius of just 2 meters (6.5 feet).
It can legally travel in bike lanes, though I’m not sure you’ll make a lot of friends that way.
An included solar panel in the roof offers 5 km of range for every hour of sunlight. That means riders likely won’t even have to plug it in to charge most of the year, assuming they park outside.
Speaking of solar power, the Sunbike team showed off solar panel wheels that could be used to charge an electric bicycle in motion. The DC-DC system uses an MPPT setup for the highest efficiency charging system.
The design was still quite early stage, but the idea could be promising. Plus, it gives you some awesome bling in your spokes!
The Sunbike team claims a max power of 120W, counting 30W on each side of the wheel. Considering you’re not likely to see the same amount of sun on both sides of the bike at the same time, I’m not sure the 120W is really doable. But they also quote a max daily charge of around 500 Wh on a sunny day or 250 Wh on a cloudy day. Those figures sound a bit more realistic.
This one technically isn’t an e-bike product specifically but could apply to any bicycle. The Rain Rider cover is an easily installed and removed canopy and shield that can protect bike riders from the rain.
It pops on and off in just a few seconds and can also quickly fold in half to take up less space in your garage or at work. If you have a minute and want it to take up even less space when not in use, you can disassemble it down into something the size of an umbrella.
There are plenty of rain canopy concepts out there, but the execution of this one just seems really slick in how easily it mounts and dismounts from the bike.
Arosno E-Trace snow bike
There are electric snowmobiles out there already, but this is something a bit different.
It has tracks like a snowmobile, but the Arosno E-Trace is more of a snow bike. It’s not for blasting around like a snowbound motorcycle, but rather for a more leisurely ride like a bicycle.
It uses an electric bicycle drive system tied to an Enviolo bike transmission to regulate the “gears” to create what I’d call more of a snow transporter. It’s not particularly fast, but it does look like a fun way to get around. And if you actually had a cabin in the Arctic circle somewhere, it might even be a realistic way to get down to the local trading post or last remaining Blockbuster video rental.
Gleam tilting cargo trike
The Gleam tilting cargo electric trike has two major things going for it: It features a modular cargo system for swapping in various boxes and flatbeds, and it actually tilts at the rear so you can ride it harder into turns without flipping over like a typical trike would.
They’ve got a slick system to quickly remove and swap various cargo accessories on the back, making this an interesting option for commercial customers.
The electric trikes are made in Europe, which should already clue you in to their high prices. Starting at around €7,000, these aren’t cheap options. But they’re also quite sophisticated electric trikes, so you’re getting a lot for your money.
We’ve only begun covering OKAI recently, but we’ve actually seen plenty of their vehicles in disguise. That’s because until recently, the company mostly supplied other micromobility companies like Bird and Lime with products such as e-bikes and e-scooters.
Now, the company is branching out into its own lines of electric rideables while still continuing to supply the major shared electric mobility companies.
That means we’re likely to see several new OKAI-branded products, some of which may share similarities with common electric scooters and bikes already cruising around the world’s major cities.
The order of advancements in motorized transportation has always been cars first, then motorcycles, and eventually bicycles. The trend can be traced across components like tires, batteries, lights and more — basically just about any other shared component. Now we can add anti-lock brakes to the list.
Blubrake makes anti-lock brakes specifically designed for bicycles. While they can be mounted on traditional pedal bicycles, electric bicycles are prime candidates due to their onboard power to run the electronics and the lack of a weight penalty for the added mass of the hydraulic actuator.
We had the chance to check out Blubrake’s braking system that is neatly hidden away in the top tube of an electric bicycle and interfaces directly with the hydraulic braking system on pretty much any e-bike. It doesn’t even require its own proprietary brakes. Instead, it can be installed inline with brakes like those from Shimano, Tektro and Magura, to name a few.
While it might sound like overkill to some, the few times people have locked up a front tire and lead to a crash on an e-bike (I can, unfortunately, count myself in that group) are a few too many. Anti-lock brakes could save some skin the next time someone grabs a little too much brake.
eChecker e-bike testing equipment
Call me a nerd, but I think this is really cool (and I proudly wear the ‘e-bike nerd’ designation). The eChecker diagnostic tool suite is a line of electric bicycle testing equipment that can basically simulate a rider and run all sorts of performance tests on any e-bike.
Throttle-enabled e-bikes can easily be tested on nearly any dynamometer. That’s simple. But the eChecker can run the same tests on pedal-assist e-bikes, which is a much harder feat. It does it by using a robot to activate the pedals and simulate a rider.
That simulation means the tool can be used to compare various electric bicycles in a uniform fashion.
My first thought was, “Great! Finally, a tool that can perform accurate range tests to compare different e-bikes against each other and determine real-world range ratings!” As it turns out, that is possible but not a common use. That would require some testing agency to invest the approximately €40,000 for the machines and run the tests. Instead, most of eChecker’s customers are e-bike manufacturers that want to verify their own e-bikes and run tests on competitors’ e-bikes to benchmark their performance.
Oh well, maybe someone will step up and buy one of these to start publishing real range data for each e-bike. I’d do it myself if I could afford it.
Nicolai Motors Eboxx Ultra electric motorbike
This one is going to be divisive, but let’s check it out anyway.
Nicolai has built what is, for all intents and purposes, an electric motorcycle with pedals. There’s a footpeg version for realists, but the pedal-version was on display at the show and looks as ridiculous as it sounds.
If you forget the pedals and focus on the electronics, you’ll find a 15 kW continuous and 35 kW peak motor. That’s fairly comparable to a Zero FXE electric motorcycle, to put that in perspective.
It’s so powerful that they used two Gates carbon belt drives in parallel. That also seems a bit silly, especially since Gates makes motorcycles belts. They have Gates motorcycle belts installed on the Harley-Davidson LiveWire and Zero SR/F electric motorcycles, each of which puts out around 80 kW of peak power. So I’m not sure why Nicolai went with a pair of belts, but at least it adds to the overall ridiculousness of the bike!
Flyer Tandem e-bike
This was a fun one that we actually got to test out.
The Flyer electric tandem bike offers a pair of batteries, a pair of belt drives and a pair of seats.
My publisher Seth took the driver’s seat, and I performed the role of back seat driver slash dead weight.
The ride went surprisingly well, though, like all tandem bikes, it can be weird riding back seat and having no control over anything other than propulsion.
It could be a great couple activity — depending on the couple. If you’ve got the kind of relationship that can survive two people hurtling through traffic while only one gets to makes all the decisions, then I can definitely recommend the Flyer tandem as a well-made and sufficiently powerful e-bike with plenty of battery for a long and surely argument-free ride.
Electric mobility sharing company was on the scene at Eurobike as well. While they’re best known for their shared electric scooters, it was actually the company’s new consumer-focused electric bicycle that was on prime display.
The company showed off the new e-bike in both frame styles (step-over and step-through), where we got our first chance to see it in person.
There’s no dancing around the fact that the bike obviously looks like it was heavily inspired by popular Dutch bicycle company VanMoof. And Bird’s reps didn’t shy away from it either, suggesting that the design has differences but conceding that VanMoof’s signature bicycle frame design is not patented.
But hey, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And it’s not like Bird is the first to copy VanMoof’s frames, either.
Ducati’s e-bikes were also on display, but not in a Ducati booth. Instead, they were shown off at the THOK booth.
To anyone in the know, that makes good sense. THOK is the actual producer of Ducati’s e-bikes, as the pair have operated a partnership for several years now.
This isn’t just a sticker bike, though, and Ducati’s electric mountain bikes actually have several unique features compared to other THOK MIG-R electric bikes.
But the similarities are also glaring, including those underslung batteries that are a favorite of THOK.
THIMM bicycle packaging
Alright, so technically, this one isn’t an e-bike. And it’s not even a bicycle. But this bike packaging is pretty darn cool.
Nearly every e-bike I’ve ever unboxed and re-boxed for reviews (and I’m talking literally hundreds of them over several years) has had some level of foam packaging. I don’t have to tell you how bad unrecyclable and non-biodegradable foams are for the planet.
And that’s exactly why THIMM’s foam-free bike packaging is so cool to me. They’ve designed these boxes to use only cardboard, which can be produced from recycled material and also recycled itself.
This is the way I hope all e-bikes get packaged in the future.
What was your favorite thing at Eurobike 2021?
So that’s it, folks! Those are the coolest e-bikes, accessories and other assorted bicycle-industry innovations we found at Eurobike 2021.
Let’s hear what you enjoyed the most. Either let us know in the comments section below or vote in the poll at the top of this article. Or both!
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