Got a problem with the various gear and brake cables winding their way around your bike frame? If you're riding a standard pedal-powered bike, the answer is probably 'no.' But if you're one of the increasing numbers of people getting around town on an electric bike than your answer may be different, with faulty wiring one of the most common sources of failures found in such vehicles. While some hide their electrical wiring away inside the frame, many e-bikes have wires running down the outside. Like so many of today's electrical devices, the new Shadow Ebike does away with this unsightly mess and potential point of weakness using wireless technology.
Toronto-based Daymak Inc. has dubbed its Shadow Ebike "the world's first wireless power-assist electric bicycle." Through the integration of ISM 2.4 GHz wireless using frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology to prevent interference, the Shadow has no brake or gear cables, and no visible electric wires running from the motor to the batteries, the controller or throttle. Turning the electric motor on or off, the magnetic regenerative brakes, the throttle and the pedal assist are all controlled wirelessly via the Daymak Drive controller.
What wiring and electronics there is, including the motor, lithium polymer battery and wireless Daymak Drive controller, is all packed inside the bike's front wheel, which is accommodated in a custom designed fork and frame. The wheel also includes a USB port, charging port and an LED battery power display. When the brakes are applied from the wireless throttle, the regenerative braking system kicks in to send current back to the batteries and the wheel can also be used as a generator to recharge devices via the USB port.
Daymak offers the Shadow Ebike with a 250W or 350W electric motor, and a 36V 10AH lithium-ion battery, which provides an average range of around 20 to 25 km (12 to 15 miles) running on just motor power, or around 35 to 40 km (22 to 25 miles) with pedal-assist. The included battery takes around 4-5 hours to completely recharge and is good for 750 to 800 cycles.
While the concept of a wireless bike throws up the possibility of interference from other wireless devices or even someone hacking into the bike's controls and slamming on the brakes to send you flying over the handlebars, Daymak says that each Shadow Ebike wireless component is paired and the odds of being affected by other means is less than one in a billion.
Daymak says the use of wireless technology also means the Shadow is setup for future upgrades to interact with smartphones and even PCs – possibly to give it similar remote monitoring capabilities to the PiCycle, an electric bike that could also lay claim to the title of "world's first wireless electric bicycle" with its use of Wi-Fi-based technology.
Daymak is currently taking orders of the Shadow Ebike ahead of an April 30, 2011 delivery date. It is priced at US$1,999.