Chains for bicycles were revolutionary in 1879. It’s time for a new revolution.
A prototype of a hydraulic, chainless e-bike is crowdfunding on Indiegogo that makes incredibly bold claims: it will deliver the smoothest ride you have ever experienced, seamless transition between gears, exactly the kind of motor assistance you need, and will be nearly maintenance-free.
Developed by electric mobility startup BC Bikes, it is called Oyo Bike. It replaces the regular chain and the rear derailleur-cassette assembly with a pressurized hydraulic circuit that transforms the pedaling motion into a forward drive. Pedaling Power is transferred from the pedals via a pressurized liquid passing through the tubes from the hydraulic pump to the hydraulic motor in the back. The liquid flows inside the bicycle frame to the rear wheel, and the hydraulic motor utilizes the energy by way of the liquid to rotate the wheel. This creates a smooth ride uninterrupted by rough transitions.
The designers promise automatic, smooth shifting thanks to built-in sensors that detect speed, cadence, and torque and select the right gear. In addition to ease of use, BC Bike emphasizes almost zero maintenance. Oyo has zero exposed moving parts, and the entire mechanism is closed and sealed from water and dirt.
The Oyo Bike features a 250-watt bottom bracket electric motor, which delivers 83 Nm of torque and provides assistance up to 25 km/h (15.5 mph). The removable 400 Wh battery promises up to 80 km (50 miles) of range. Users can choose between five levels of electrical assistance utilizing a handlebar-mounted remote. The bike weighs around 25 kg and can carry riders weighing up to 120 kg.
Besides, it comes with a 6061 aluminum frame with internally routed cables, alloy rims, and 29-inch wheels with Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. Other features include front and backlights, fenders, a cargo rack in the back, and a smartphone-activated anti-theft system, which adds a layer of protection.
The bike priced at $3,599 with a $1,849 ‘super early bird’ offer via Indiegogo. If all goes as planned, the Oyo Bike will be available from June 2022.