Orbea Lab: A More Natural Feeling E-Bike

The Rise and Rise of the E-Bikes

Ebikes are here to stay, that much is certain. The exhilaration of powering up steep climbs, riding extreme terrain and having power to spare is addictive. But it is also true that many riders have not fallen in love with ebikes in the same way that they have with their non-assist bikes. These riders feel that part of the magic of the ride is missing with an e-bike, partly due to the level of assistance and partly due to the handling characteristics and weight. They feel that as e-bikes have become more powerful and capable something has been lost.

We wanted to build an ebike designed specifically for these riders.

A minimalist ebike, integrated and sleek with no bulky components or distractions to take you out of the moment, bringing you closer to the trails and the ride. This was the idea which gave birth to our RS Concept.

What Is It?

RS stands for Rider Synergy and the idea of “More Bike, Less E” is key to this concept. Our ambition was to develop not just a lightweight ebike, but rather a totally new way of thinking about e-bikes, a completely integrated system which fitted seamlessly into your ride. 

RS Concept works with the rider rather than taking over, and supplies power in conjunction with the rider rather than giving full power right away. A traditional e-bike´s power delivery can swamp the rider´s input, taking over if you like. Some riders like that, but the riders we were focussed on felt that this removed some of the physical aspect of riding their bikes which added to the magic.

We wanted our RS concept to work with the rider, giving a much more natural feel.

The idea was that it would feel very much like a fitter version of you, with the motor providing an analogue assistance level matching your input, rather than the more digital, “on/off”, input of traditional ebikes.

The graph below shows how we wanted the RS Concept to feel, vs a more traditional e-bike assistance mode.

The Shimano Collaboration

The RS concept was an idea we have had for a long time. We knew what we were looking for way before the technology was available to make it a reality. It was only when Shimano shared the plans for their new EP8 motor with us that we realized that this awesome drive unit offered us the perfect platform on which to build our RS concept.

To fully realise our concept we just needed to convince Shimano to work with us to adapt their motor. Trust us when we say that this wasn´t an easy task. Luckily our design team can be pretty persuasive when they are this passionate about something!

The idea of creating our own power plant for Rise was daunting, but we believed that this would be the only way to realize our goal of a complete RS system for trail bikes. It took lots of visits to Shimano and a lot of work but eventually we created our RS firmware. This is the control system which works inside the EP-8 motor to give the characteristics we were looking for.

Power, Range, Interface and Weight

We quickly realised that to make our RS Concept work we would need to consider Power, Range, Interface and Weight together. This is a multi-layered balancing act and we don’t have space to cover all the details here, but let’s look at some of the key concepts.

By limiting the weight, we need less torque

A lighter bike needs less torque from the motor.

By limiting the torque we can have lighter components and reduce weight

We chose 60nm maximum torque, instead of 85nm because in our tests it felt more natural. An extra advantage is that we can use standard, rather than e-bike specific, components, reducing the system weight further.  

By limiting the torque and weight we get more range

Lowering the motor torque increases efficiency and a lighter system weight means that the battery lasts longer. 

Working with the rider, we get a bike that is fun to ride and maximise range

We tuned the motor so that the peak torque delivery comes at rider cadences of 75-95 rpm. This is a more natural cadence meaning that the motor and rider deliver peak power together, maximising fun at the same time as range.

Power, Range, Interface and Weight

We quickly realised that to make our RS Concept work we would need to consider Power, Range, Interface and Weight together. This is a multi-layered balancing act and we don’t have space to cover all the details here, but let’s look at some of the key concepts.

By limiting the weight, we need less torque

A lighter bike needs less torque from the motor.

By limiting the torque we can have lighter components and reduce weight

We chose 60nm maximum torque, instead of 85nm because in our tests it felt more natural. An extra advantage is that we can use standard, rather than e-bike specific, components, reducing the system weight further.  

By limiting the torque and weight we get more range

Lowering the motor torque increases efficiency and a lighter system weight means that the battery lasts longer. 

Working with the rider, we get a bike that is fun to ride and maximise range

We tuned the motor so that the peak torque delivery comes at rider cadences of 75-95 rpm. This is a more natural cadence meaning that the motor and rider deliver peak power together, maximising fun at the same time as range.

What Does It Feel Like

All of this is great, but what does the RS Concept actually feel like when you are riding? We believe that there are a few key qualities that set the RS Concept apart.

The harder you pedal, the more assistance Rise provides

The contrary of this is that the less you pedal the less assistance the motor provides! Full power comes when you are also giving your best and that encourages you to pedal. This isn’t an ebike system where you sit back and let the motor do all the work, rather it is a joint effort. Unless you activate the BOOST mode of course, then you have a more traditional e-bike feel!

Power delivery is instantaneous and extremely sensitive to your output

The instant power delivery is key, the lack of lag means that really it feels like you are doing the work and the motor fades into the background, especially thanks to the quietness of the assistance.

Perfect Control / No “Crazy Horse”!

The fact that the motor mirrors your output also means that it is very easy to control and technical climbs are dispatched easily. The RS Concept doesn’t give that “crazy horse” feel that ebikes can have in tight technical sections where it is difficult to judge the pedals and anticipate the output of the motor. 

Intuitive Interface

You very quickly become so familiar with the RS Concept that it starts to feel just like a normal bike. Getting out the saddle for sprints feels great and you find yourself naturally switching between modes, anticipating the terrain ahead. With the increased range and the lack of electronic distractions you quickly focus on the ride and forget about watching the bars on the display. 

Trail Manners

Reducing the system weight to allow us to offer total bike weights closer to non-electric bikes than to many electric bikes, really changes the character of the bike. Manuals, quick direction changes and playful handling characteristics are not normally associated with eBikes.

What Does It Feel Like

All of this is great, but what does the RS Concept actually feel like when you are riding? We believe that there are a few key qualities that set the RS Concept apart.

The harder you pedal, the more assistance Rise provides

The contrary of this is that the less you pedal the less assistance the motor provides! Full power comes when you are also giving your best and that encourages you to pedal. This isn’t an ebike system where you sit back and let the motor do all the work, rather it is a joint effort. Unless you activate the BOOST mode of course, then you have a more traditional e-bike feel!

Power delivery is instantaneous and extremely sensitive to your output

The instant power delivery is key, the lack of lag means that really it feels like you are doing the work and the motor fades into the background, especially thanks to the quietness of the assistance.

Perfect Control / No “Crazy Horse”!

The fact that the motor mirrors your output also means that it is very easy to control and technical climbs are dispatched easily. The RS Concept doesn’t give that “crazy horse” feel that ebikes can have in tight technical sections where it is difficult to judge the pedals and anticipate the output of the motor. 

Intuitive Interface

You very quickly become so familiar with the RS Concept that it starts to feel just like a normal bike. Getting out the saddle for sprints feels great and you find yourself naturally switching between modes, anticipating the terrain ahead. With the increased range and the lack of electronic distractions you quickly focus on the ride and forget about watching the bars on the display. 

Trail Manners

Reducing the system weight to allow us to offer total bike weights closer to non-electric bikes than to many electric bikes, really changes the character of the bike. Manuals, quick direction changes and playful handling characteristics are not normally associated with eBikes.

Customisation

We are all different, we understand that, and we have included two pre-programmed modes for the RS Concept. Profile 1 is a more sporty mode, which demands more of the rider but offers an improvement in range. Profile 2 offers more assistance, and lowers the amount of effort that is required from the rider, with a slight decrease in range.

Testimonials

Our award winning RISE is built around the RS Concept and it is this system which gives it some of the qualities which we love. We aren’t alone and the RISE has generated praise around the world as you can see in some of the media articles.

“With the Rise, you’ll pedal much like your regular bike; the rolling power, the movements, the braking, the steering, absolutely everything is just as you’ve always experienced and loved about your bike for a lifetime”

MTBPRO

“It immediately translates into the feeling that you’re almost riding a regular bike”

– PINKBIKE

“I was completely surprised by the weight of Rise. When you ride it, it doesn’t feel like an ebike, it’s super light and reactive”

– VIRGINIA CANCELLIERI

“Descending the Rise was intuitive and an absolute blast. In brief, it rode like a really well-rounded mountain bike”

VITALMTB

“The handling of the ORBEA RISE is next level! Hardly any other eMTB is this much fun and so fast on the trail”

– EBIKEMTB

Related posts

16 hours Ago

Orbea Lab: Dealing with Range Anxiety

Making an e-bike with more range typically means adding a bigger battery and making the frame big enough and strong enough to house that battery safely. That approach comes with compromises of course, in the form of increased weight. For some people those compromises are worth it and they want the most assistance possible in a long travel, hard hitting e-bike. Other people are looking for something different, they want an electric bike with a lighter, more natural, fun ride.

4 weeks Ago

Orbea Lab: Obsessing Over The Details

The Oiz has the sleekest, most integrated internal lock-out routing on the market, and we call our solution, “Inside Line”.

1 year Ago

WHAT MAKES ALMA UNIQUE?

Performance gains can be found everywhere and obsession is part of the game. How far is too far? For as long as we have had goals, competition and a creative spirit, we have pushed ourselves to win. Once victory is tasted, it becomes an obsession to be the best. You feel it in your heart, lungs and legs – you can sense it in our bikes. Only by sweating the smallest details and pushing past what seems possible can we achieve our ultimate goals.

Esta web utiliza cookies propias y de terceros para su correcto funcionamiento y para fines analíticos. Al hacer clic en el botón Aceptar, aceptas el uso de estas tecnologías y el procesamiento de tus datos para estos propósitos.
Privacidad