eProdigy Bikes, Mid-Drives from Canada

January 8, 2014
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It’s big news that mid-drives have really made a splash on the E-bike world in 2013, and the places where they have proven to be most useful is in power-limited countries, where the added complexity of giving the motor the use of the Bikes gears helps make the most of what little power any given E-bike is allowed to have.

In 1998, Mitsubishi filed a patent for a mid-drive that mounts a motor concentrically with the Bottom-Bracket (BB, the pedal axle). Since then, there have been several companies that produced a variation of this theme, among them is Bofeili and Optibike.

Last year I noticed a wholesale distributor for E-bikes with a similar drive in Canada, called eProdigy Bikes (formerly known as EPIK Bikes). The particular drive that they have spec’d is listed as a 36V / 350W drive. I found it odd that they are not rated for 500W, since that is the legal power limit in Canada. The good news is that they use a system that is designed to work with 36V, instead of 24V. To call it a 350W drive suggests that the factory controller is limited to 10A, and a 500W limit (using 36V) would be 14A.

In response to a posted comment below, I’d like to state that this drive system does freewheel, so you can run the motor without pedaling in “throttle mode”, we apologize for any confusion.

 

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A mid-drive using the bottom-bracket allows the motor to use the bikes gears. If you live in a country with a power limit, this allows the E-bike to get the best possible performance from the motor. This is especially helpful on a hilly commute, and it also places the weight of the motor in the best possible location.

 

This motor appears to have enough copper mass to manage 500W, and I would not hesitate to try that (after adding a temp sensor and read-out), perhaps by swapping-in an third-party controller (like an adjustable Lyen 6-FET?). eProdigy currently only has two dealers in the USA (in California), but they have 27 retailers listed in Canada. The motor is a brushless DC outrunner, with a geared planetary reduction.

The aluminum core of the stator is solidly mounted to the aluminum disc that functions as the planet-gear holder. The edge of that disc is then connected to the aluminum housing, so…it has a much better heat-sinking mass and heat-flow path for heat-shedding, compared to the common geared hub-motors (MAC, BPM, eZee, BMC). By shifting the gears of the bike to keep this motor up in it happy-RPM range, you shouldn’t make too much heat in the first place, but even then…my experience suggests that this motor can easily handle 500W.

 

Here's the break-down of the drive system from their web-site.

Here’s the break-down of the drive system from their web-site.

 

If eProdigy ever requests a batch of their motors to be made by their supplier with a different Kv (so it can be run at 48V while resulting in the same RPM’s)…I would not be surprised if this drive system could easily put out 750W, which is the legal street power limit in the USA.

 

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Here is a pic of the Bofeili, which is very similar to the eProdigy motor.

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eProdigy currently carries four models to choose from. The Logan, Whistler, Banff, and Cypress. It appears the owners of eProdigy might be snow-skiing fans from Canada, because the names of their E-bike models are also Canadian ski resorts. First is Mt. Logan, in the Yukon. Whistler, in Vancouver. Banff, in Alberta. And finally Cypress, in British Columbia.

The only battery option right now is a “bottle mount” 8.8-Ah Lithium pack, supplied by their partner Dr Battery.

 

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The Logan uses 700C tires, dual disc brakes, Suntour suspension fork, and a 42T chainring driving a Shimano 8-speed 11T-32T cassette (this pic shows the optional NuVinci IGH)

 

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The Whistler is outfitted the same as the Logan above, with the exception of the tires are 26-inch, and it does not include fenders.

 

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The Banff is eProdigy’s step-through frame. It uses a Shimano Alivio shifter with a 3-speed IGH with V-brakes front and rear. It includes fenders with a sturdy two-leg stand. The wicker basket and tan seat with grips are a very stylish touch.

 

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The Cypress is their most affordable model. Although the 350W rear geared hub does not have the use of the bikes gearing for hills, it should still prove to be adequate for many E-bikers who have relatively flat terrain on their commute. This configuration allows for a front derailleur, so this model has 21-speeds.

 

Here is their home web-page.

Here is their Facebook page.

To contact them, use their new email: info@eProdigyBikes.com

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I was just informed by Melody at eProdigy that they will be debuting an upgraded 450W motor for all of their E-bike models at the Vancouver Bike Show, March 8-9, 2014. Also, they will have an upgraded battery that provides the higher amps needed by the new motor.

Plus, they will be adding another model to their line-up after the March bicycle show. It’s the “Jasper” (which is also a Canadian snow-ski destination), a step-through hybrid with 700C tires, front suspension, and a front disc brake.

 

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The new “Jasper” model.

 

eProdigy14

 

Written by Ron/Spinningmagnets, January 2014

 

 

 

 

Grew up in Los Angeles California, US Navy submarine mechanic from 1977-81/SanDiego. Hydraulic mechanic in the 1980's/Los Angeles. Heavy equipment operator in the 1990's/traveled to various locations. Dump truck driver in the 2000's/SW Utah. Currently a water plant operator since 2010/NW Kansas

10 Comments

  1. Looks great. Only problem is you always need to pedal if the motor is turning right, no freewheeling on the crank, whereas at least with the hub motors you have a freewheel

    • It looks to me that they rely on a torque sensor, not a throttle. I believe you are correct, although with a torque sensor I don’t think I’d mind! 🙂 I would actually love to use one of these as a completely enclosed serial hybrid drive on an as-yet-hypothetical very high speed “maintenance free” velomobile. Excepting tires, suspension, wheel and headset bearings, and the battery… all of which are very long lived.

      • Originally, there was a torque sensor but no throttle. Now there is a throttle and the sensor was changed to a speed sensor. There is a delay in production of the 450 watt motor. I have a prototype 450 in my bike right now and I can assure you that it is worth waiting for.

        • Any ETA on those 450W motors? I’m looking at a few bikes and would go with the Banff if I can get that motor. Otherwise it’s going to be the stromer.

          Wish more manufacturers would offer regen, too. I know it doesn’t buy much energy but every bit counts. I’ve heard manufacturers say they believe North American consumers don’t care about regen. Don’t kid yourselves. It’s a definite plus and a factor in my choice at least.

          • My wife has the Banff and I have the Jasper, both with the 450 watt motor. They are both incredible machines and, because of the quality of their finish and the effortless way they tackle hills, they attract a lot of positive attention from fellow cyclists and the public at large.

            The larger battery (11 AH as opposed to 8.8 AH) gives ample range, e.g. My wife and I can cover 40 km on half a charge,
            with the assist set between 2 and 5, without breaking a sweat.

            Although the motor is nominally 450 watts, it actually peaks at about 580 watts on assist level 5 which, when considering the power is transmitted through the gear train, means it could probably climb a tree, although this is probably not advisable.

            It is great to be able to choose the assist level at will, as it provides all the power I need when I’m feeling lazy and, when I’m feeling like some exercise, I just dial it down until I feel the benefit.

          • yep, i play with assist like a gear box and a discipliner.

            my 350w 36v 12ah has 3 settings. i try and get by on setting two (~250w?) in roughly the right gear mostly, and flip to 3 when all else isnt enough. its like being able to drop a few cogs smoothly in an instant.

    • The crank freewheels on these bicycles.

  2. I noticed that the bottom bracket on my Cube Hyde is very large, with the crank going through only a very small part of it. Is it possible that the bb is designed to take one of these drives?

  3. I have 3 x mid drive ebikes, one is the bufeuli mountain bike here w/ a slightly different alloy frame.

    I flatter myself i may have helpful input.

    am from oz which uses the EEU rules (briefly, 250 watt if pedal assisty only, 200 watts if has a throttle only mode & speed limited to 25kph – 15mph)

    The rules are largely honored in the breach, but circumspectly.

    BUT

    its a balancing act. more power = bigger battery & weight * less agile.

    I can assure you my 350w 11ah is a fantastic balance for me (75kg).

    all those gears make any hill climbable w/o pedalling (important if you use it for errands – may have so much stuff slung on it you cant pedal), even with 10kg of cargo

    if you read the link to bofeuli review~, the guy makes a big fuss about its great heat dissipation for the motor. Quite right. They do get hot, but not mine. my other bike (only 250 to boot) cuts out on hot day hill climbs here. The bofeuli hasnt even got warm yet.

    so a/ just cos you can get 700w in usa street legal, its a toy not a tool & you dont need it unless you need to climb mountains in a hurry.

    b/ if you do, you definitely need the motor housing integrated into the frame (heatsink), as in the bofeuli.

    many others look great, but the ofeuili sourced right should be reasonable for the class act it is. I paid $1500aS in OZ which is notoriously expensive country for most things

    A lot but you get a lot too. nothing fundamentally important has been scrimped on, whereas cheaper ones seemed expensive for what they were. And then, hub motor steel rubbish by comparison I see often at ridiculous asking prices like $3k from bike shops.

    find a similar bike to mine from china & spec it up a bit & be patient for it to arrive.

    The killer cost is batteries.The smart money seems to use LIPOs, much loved by the huge RC models fraternity (a mass market so cheap). Dont quote me but about 1/3 the cost seems right to me over an equivalent bottle/flatpak/silver tail? official paks

    charging ithem is made out to be a fraught science by scaremongers, and I can see why ther are accidents & it involves trying to charge 2 cell paks concurrently.

    my theory is get the now available 40 or 50 cell LIPOs so you have all you need in one simple cell pak. The scary part of charging is charging 2 paks which comprise a single notional battery.

    at some point there is a procedure where you have to switch from charging in series to parallel & getting it wrong can be disastrous.

    if your pak is a single lipo, i cant see it being any more fraught than the official expensive solution. The LIPOs all seem to have management circuitry integrated in them

    Its confusing as all chinese battery makers lie about their cell capacity, I hear about half what they claim is about right.

    so 50 4200ma cells should equal ~24ah but is really 12 ah

    the lipo fabricators may well be quite truthful about the amp hours of their batteries & base them on the real capacity of the batteries. The above example may be sold as 12ah – dunno

    or maybe just order a 25ah battery when 15ah would do, just in case. still cheap.

    not all bad buying chinese batteries. weight matters, but not like a lap top e.g.

    am thinking of going the lip way. Am thinking its good to standardise of a physical size $ weight.

    40 cells (which i suspect is what bottle batteries hold) appeals which is 2kg. which at 200 ma cells is 8ah.A bit small but can populate with better cells i spose.

    expect capacities at the low end to improve so 40 cell lipos should get better in time but be same size & weight.

    a feature which may be specific to controller & display used on mine, is 3 power level buttons on mine. I use it like an auto gearbox. I set it in medium, standardise on a medium gearing, and switch to level 3 when i need more squirt. I dont use the derailleurs much doodling around my hood. Means I can be heavy handed on throttle without wasting too much juice.

    hope the above helps.

  4. Apologies for my prev crappy post, but yeah, 2 years on, have still not seen a legal EU rules bike thats better.

    I may have been harsh on the other mid-drive over heating – i didnt get the importance of rpm then, however, nor was i for the bofeili.

    Garbled as i was about batteries, the point remains. The standard batteries are too wimpy. Get a credit and buy separately if u can.

    Good article spinning magnets. the exploded diagram and tech explanation offer valuable and scarce insight.

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