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Smart E-Bike Factory Floor; Fresh German Air

July 31, 2012
6,397 Views

Smart E-bike is officially in production, and we are now seeing the first pictures of the electric bike on the factory floor (read our story on Smart E-bike here). To Smart’s credit, this electric bike is not being built in China like most electric bikes, but in a factory in Sangerhausen (near Leipzig in Eastern Germany). And  these pictures are proof that there is real effort being put into this product.

I am more excited about the Smart bike than I have ever been. The Smart E-bike even uses a western company (Canada based Bionx) to supply all its electrical components (controller, battery, and hub motor). Although it is indisputable that some of  the parts of the Smart E-bike are made in Asia, these photos are proof that the bike is for the most part made and assembled in Germany.

For $3500, this bike is seeming like a better and better deal. Even the $3500 “Swiss”  Stromer (read review) is made in China. And if you are an electric bike Ebay flipper and you think you will be able to poach a container full of precious Smart E-bikes off of Alibaba, good luck because you’re dealing with German ethos now.

Compare Chinese factory floor conditions in our China Hub Motor Factory story.  Also check out the  Picycle factory I visited in Northern California earlier this year.

To start with here are some component pictures:

 

Handlebars with all controls installed.

 

Its this nice lady’s job to assemble on those steering assemblies. She looks serious.

 

 

Front sprockets and crank sets which will power the Gates Carbon Belt Drive.

 

 

 

Installing a belt drive is trickier than a traditional bicycle chain install.

Every bolt and nut on the Smart Bike is fitted by hand in Germany.

 

 

China is notorious for doing hub motor wheel builds of poor quality. Its hard to get a Chinese built hub motor wheel to stay true. If you notice the lacing job on the smart bike it looks totally different than the standard 36 spoke laced wheel, but also not as fancy looking as the rims seen  in earlier Smart prototype pictures.

Front Wheel being carefully mounted

 

Rear wheel hub motor carefully being mounted.

 

The wiring is smartly threaded through the frame, labor intensive but will give the bike a “cleaner” look. We also like the fact that Smart decided to go with rigid front forks over front suspension forks (usually of cheap quality on electric bikes).

 

more hiding wires.

 

Here you can see that the Smart E-Bike is made efficiently with a full assembly line, and many German employees.

 

The LiPo battery being installed in the purpose built frame.

You know an E-bike company is serious when they dyno test every bike that comes off their assembly line.

More dyno testing.

 

Final tests and checks before E-bike is packaged and shipped out.

 

 

Smart E-bikes packaged and ready to be sent to Smart Dealers across the world.

 

Thanks to the people of  Smart E-Bike for the pictures and the insight into how this clean E-bike is made.

Eric has been involved in the electric bike industry since 2002 when he started a 6000 square foot brick and mortar Electric Bike store in downtown San Francisco. He is a true believer that small electric vehicles can change the way we operate and the way we think.

  • i rather pedal a cheap chinese geared motor with no cogging than a fancy bionx hub motor with cogging. just sayin…

    • ElectricBIke

      yeah i agree. I would go with my 600 watt geared bmc folder over a smart bike any day. Sometimes just test riding these 250 watt bikes can just drive me crazy.

      • JM

        The difference between 250-350W is from the assistance speed limit from regulation. 250W being around 25kph (eur) and 350W 32kph (US). Its the same motor. Also, 250W is the power you get from a fully derated motor. That means you can have 0-1000W before that happens.

        Also remember that riding a road bike at 30kph requires arouns 170-180W…

  • greengearhead

    I would love to ride a Smart just to try it out. 250 watts is hopelessly weak but they may have it rated as 250 watts based on some obscure European test procedures. Some of the 250 watt Japanese Panasonic drives actually pull more like 400 watts peak. The smart bike looks like the baby brother to the venerable Audi Ebike. Very clean very Euro.

    • ElectricBIke

      yeah 250 watt direct drive motor is a deal breaker for me. I am really hoping they soup this bike up for US market.

  • Ken Sanders

    For $3500 you would think they would give you the 350 watt Bion X motor drive

  • José luis

    Very interesting I would like ti become a dealer in south América peru