This chainless drive system could revolutionize e-bike designs

Thomas Ricker

The Verge

Schaeffler’s Free Drive system converts pedal power into electrical power. | Image: Schaeffler

We don’t often write about bicycle components, but it’s not everyday that an innovation like the Schaeffler Free Drive is announced for pedal-assisted e-bikes. The so-called “bike-by-wire” system, first spotted by Electrek, dispenses with the need to string a chain or belt between the pedals and wheel hub. It’s an all-electric drive system that allows for entirely new bicycle designs with fewer moving parts.

The Free Drive system works by converting the rider’s pedaling power into electrical energy via a small generator housed between the pedals. It then delivers this energy to the rear wheel (or wheels) via cables strung inside or outside the frame of the bike, rather than sending it mechanically through a chain or belt. Excess energy...

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