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Shadow Ebike: the world’s first wireless electric bike

By

February 24, 2011

The Shadow Ebike

The Shadow Ebike

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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.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
17 Comments

This has to be a joke. No friction brakes? No rear brake at all?

I wonder how much stopping power an electromagnetic brake can generate, but surely not as much as a traditional brake. Car manufacturers are reluctant to use brake-by-wire, now here comes someone that proposes the wireless brake!

I am sure they would never sell this without a proper friction brake, but even so, it brings unnecessary complication. An answer to a question never asked.

trian
25th February, 2011 @ 01:13 am PST

Trian, at the company website you can see that it has a rear coaster brake. This is totally adequate on flat areas at reasonable speeds. But to depend on an electronic electrodynamic brake is kind of pushing it, to say the least. The suspension is an unnecessary complication (should just use fat tyres). The solid front wheel is also dangerous as it will be...um... redirected by the wind.

Making a bike more complicated in order to make it less complicated is really silly.

edelman
25th February, 2011 @ 05:03 am PST

It ain't silly at all. Hard braking can be done by the motors producing reverse force (active braking) to the bike, on top of regenerative braking (passive braking). Wire-brake is prone to fail and not ergonomic.

Amateur bicycle racers can typically produce 3 watts/kg for more than an hour (e.g., around 210 watts for a 70 kg rider), with top amateurs producing 5 W/kg as cited from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_performance. If Shadow increases the power of the motor to about 750w and more, and use high efficiency dynamo instead of chain links, it would be perfectly clean and "wireless", although power is not transfered wirelessly. Using dynamo to run the bike is better since mechanical torque manipulation requires gear sets, while electronically you just need a solid-state controller.

The front and rear wheel suspensions are to increase comfort. The wheel shield is to minimise drag, which accounts for major energy loss at high speeds.

I would be much happier if Shadow throws away the chains and gears. Then it's perfect (umm ahh)

Akemai Olivia
25th February, 2011 @ 05:32 am PST

This bike would probably be used by citizen riders to commute or run to the store and for short trips. Suspension, while it adds weight opens up the envelope and makes for a safer more forgiving ride if the rider were to encounter a pothole for example. Gearing helps at varying speeds but I suppose they could build the bike to auto shift. I don't see the benefit of electric brakes though when mechanical cantilever brakes are inexpensive and strong and easy to maintain. But then again, there would be a wire! A coaster brake translates to no back pedaling but then again this is your commuter vehicle. I agree that the disc wheels, especially in front can catch the wind as does a sail but if the rider is not taking it over a bridge he should be okay for most of the rides...

MotiveForcer
25th February, 2011 @ 06:00 am PST

If you want to stop it, you gotta think ahead.

mommus
25th February, 2011 @ 06:13 am PST

This is the Copenhagen Wheel on the front instead of on the back. MIT designed it. Thus MIT should be getting a royalty check--or is this just a totally stolen idea?

TogetherinParis
25th February, 2011 @ 11:07 am PST

I saw this "thing" awhile ago with all its glorious claims. I can't understand how the smart folks here at Gizmag get sucked in by this abomination. The best I could tell, it was "developed" by a Canadian company. Their intentions---- not too sure.

Maybe it's just a project done by some high school kids???

Gary Ares
25th February, 2011 @ 12:01 pm PST

In China there are hundreds of thousands of inexpensive electric scooters in use with speeds of over 20 mph and designed to carry men and women even in business suits and dresses as well as their groceries or a second passenger and do so in all kinds of weather with a protective cape that covers the front of the scooter as well as the driver and passenger. Low quality versions are sold at Best Buy for less than $400. Nothing could be simpler than these car battery powered scooters with a belt drive to an electric motor and a single electric control for speed. An electric bike is going to be used for commuting to work or school or doing light shopping and the Canadian design is based on a fictional need of a person riding around town and wanting a heavy and expensive bike to do so. Repairing the Chinese bikes means replacing a switch or a drive belt or a battery or a motor which the user can easily do themselves which is far different from the Canadian design with nothing accessible for easy troubleshooting or repair. Bad concept and bad design that is well engineered equals a product failure.

Calson
25th February, 2011 @ 01:22 pm PST

Lot's of riders are going to die when that front disc gets hit by a wind gust and steers them into danger, say in front of an oncoming car. Why didn't they put it on the back?

Timothy Brummer
25th February, 2011 @ 07:16 pm PST

@mommus Fletch Lives quote... made my day. Probably one of the 7 people on earth that will get it.. which should make me sad but made me laugh at myself more. gracias.

Paul McCollum
25th February, 2011 @ 08:12 pm PST

I nearly killed myself at age 13 before I found out how to use a front wheel brake properly It should never be used on a curve or loose surface.

Peter Pollard

Peter Pollard
25th February, 2011 @ 11:49 pm PST

@trian

Are you serious? Electromagnetic brakes are used in roller-coasters and bullet trains... I'm sure those "brakes" are more effective at slowing something down from a 20 ton train going the speed of a bullet.

Marco Pang
27th February, 2011 @ 04:34 am PST

This bike probably isn't meant to revolutionize efficiency or such. I'd guess it's aimed at what most people want: A simple looking, simple to use bike that gives them a little less sweat and a little more comfort around their neighbourhood. There's no point commenting it as anything else.

Most people with those intentions have their normal low tech bikes served in a bike shop, even though they could easily have done most of it themselves. This bike does seem clutter free and easy to own. Friction brakes on normal bikes are usually low power and very unpredictable. The brakes on this one will be an improvement, even though high end hydraulic discs are better of course.

A disc front wheel does indeed push the bike sideways noticeably. Pro racers tend to prefer aero rims rather than full discs for speed trials in strong wind, since they need very precise manoeuvrability within the team, but normal riders will never reach those speeds and never need such precision and rarely ride in the high winds relevant to make this a problem. Mostly it's just a thing one needs to get used to.

This type of bike MUST have a comfortable ride. Fat tyres look cool and have other advantages, but they do add a lot of rolling resistance and quite a bit of weight. Also the suspension "travel" even for this primitive setup is way more than what a realistic fat tyre could do. This suspension is probably a much more efficient way to get the comfortable ride.

I think the bike seems OK, but I don't think I need one myself. I prefer the advanced stuff, as I'm a bike nerd.

Stein Varjord
27th February, 2011 @ 03:14 pm PST

this e-bike thing is getting out of control. i thought the idea if a bike was to use your own energy to drive the thing, this is the most efficient form of transport available and you may even get fit, why ruin it by putting over complicated gizmos all over it. we are all getting way too lazy!

flibb
27th February, 2011 @ 10:59 pm PST

I think the e-bikes are a great idea. One can ride it as a normal bike or as a power assisted bike if they get too tired. Daymak is doing a good thing for our environment!

RonaldT
13th September, 2011 @ 02:37 pm PDT

I can't get enough of my Daymak e-bike, it never fails me and it gets me where I need to go stylishly!

JRosenstein
18th October, 2011 @ 12:27 pm PDT

sounds unsafe and since i like a challenge...I would love to find a way to crack into the system just to prove a point. (yeah, I said crack, that is the correct word, hacking is done for positive purposes)

Jerry Alan Carroll
18th January, 2012 @ 03:09 am PST
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