With an integrated sequential gearbox, the first of its kind for e-bikes, and a fully enclosed chain and drivetrain, plus a host of other features, Neox offers a fresh approach to electric bicycles.
Instead of adding an electric motor and battery system onto a conventional bicycle, Neox has designed its electric bikes as e-bikes from the get-go, creating innovative and forward-looking e-bikes that show promise in changing the electric mobility game.
Winner of a 2015 Eurobike award for e-bikes and pedelecs (electric assist bikes), Neox is bringing some much-needed ingenuity to electric bikes, ranging from the re-working of the drivetrain to a unique aluminum frame that allows for quick wheel changes. The company's two new models, the Sporter (road bike) and Crosser (cross/mountain bike), offer a variety of features designed to change the electric bike riding experience, not the least of which is the integrated sequential gearbox, said to be the world's first for e-bikes.
The Neox gearbox and motor, which is located where the bottom bracket on a conventional bike is, is entirely enclosed, and is said to offer "continuous power transmission and acceleration during upshift," along with the ability to change gears without pedaling. This type of gearbox has more in common with high performance automobiles than it does with traditional bicycle drivetrains, and because it's virtually impossible to mis-shift anywhere along the 8-gear range, is claimed to offer a great riding experience. Instead of a derailleur-type system with a slack chain and multiple failure points, the fully-enclosed drivetrain employs a much shorter chain and allows the rear wheel to be much lighter, as there is no rear chainring cassette.
Instead of the standard rear triangular seat stay configuration, with the rear wheel within the frame, the Neox design uses a single swingarm-style rear wheel mount, as well as a unique disk brake setup that allows the wheel to be swapped out easily (for switching to a different tire pattern, for example, or to fix a flat), while the disk brake remains on the bike. For powering the e-bike, a removable and lockable lithium-ion battery pack is located under the down tube, and its 48V 10.5 Ah capacity is said to be capable of a 100 km (62 mile) range, depending on which mode is being used.
The Neox bikes are secured with two different systems, in addition to any external bike locks employed by the rider. The first is a mechanical lock on the frame itself, which secures the bike's chain within the frame, rendering it un-ridable (as well as un-pushable). The second system allows the rider to turn off the electric drive and put it in neutral (freewheel), which keeps the bike from being able to be pedaled away, protected by the owner's electronic PIN-code, which must be entered to 'unlock' the e-bike's drivetrain.
An onboard LCD dashboard displays the bike's relevant info to the rider at a glance, including the speed, the distance traveled, the current level of electric assist, the state of the battery's charge (and estimated range), and an indicator for the current gear selection. The bike's gearshift and electric assist levels are managed by two controls integrated into Neox's brake levers, giving the rider control of the bike's settings without having to take a hand off the handlebars.
One other unique feature of the Neox bikes is the inclusion of a 'transport cradle' that is designed to secure the bike and rear wheel "within seconds" and to fit "into most station wagons" as well as serve as a storage device for the bikes.
[Video is in German. Click on CC to see English captions.]
Of course, all of these features add to the price of the Neox bikes, which are currently being offered at a special Kickstarter price of €3490 (~$3924 USD). But if these bikes perform as promised (and there's good reason to believe they will, as the company has already produced both a pilot run and an initial production run of about 100 of its bikes over the last year), and the bikes take the place of most, if not all, car trips for the riders, then they could very well be a bargain at that price. The company is also offering a 5-year warranty on the bikes, so it is clearly convinced that its bikes are everything it says they are. Find out more at Neox.