Mavic is targeting the e-road bike segment with a new mid-mount motor that the French brand says is fully engineered and ready for mass production, but currently lacks the investment capital needed to bring it into full production.
The project first got underway in 2020, when Mavic took over the e-bike retail chain the Bourrelier Group, which is based in Paris.
According to Mavic, the development of the e-bike drive already required an investment of €10 million. “Our annual turn-over is approximately €50 million,” says Jean Michel Bourrelier, CEO of Mavic. “The e-bike is a completely new business for us, and the market is dominated by big companies like Bosch and Shimano who offer a full package. We are convinced that we have a great product, but we need a partner with competencies in the mechatronic industries or an investment party who can take us there. It doesn’t explicitly have to be somebody from within the e-bike industry.”
Bourrelier points out that Mavic is ready to take the full system to the market. “As soon as we have found a partner, we can start tomorrow.” However, it will still take until 2025 or 2026 before the product will be available for the OEM market. He also underlines that he is not open for a take-over of the product by a third party.
“We will not sell the concept. Our core business is hard and softgoods, that’s what we are good at. Our aim is to build up this competence in the e-bike market as well. However, we have seen too many new products come and go. That’s why we have decided to take a different route.” One of the topics Mavic still needs to address for the market introduction is the build-up and training of a service network. The company’s current network is focused on hard- and soft goods, but servicing an e-bike drive requires different competences like the training in how to use the diagnostic tool.
Production in Europe
Bourrelier also outlines that Mavic’s focus is still primarily on wheel and rim development. “That core business is still the same,” says Jean Michel two years later. “The new e-bike motor shows our R&D capabilities and our innovation strength to develop an all-new product and launch a finished prototype. The presentation to the market now is also a showcase and also proves that Mavic can diversify without losing its focus.”
Production in Europe is another key element in the company’s strategy. “For Mavic’s new and existing product portfolio the company is relocating existing facilities and opening new production in France and Europe as much as possible,” explains Bourrelier.
Diversifying into e-bike drive systems is not so strange looking at Mavic’s history. During its long history the company made all kinds of bicycle components, including group sets, e-shifting, aluminum rims (since 1934) and carbon wheels. Today 80% of the business is exported. The e-bike drive was designed to eye the previously launched systems for road bikes. These did not accelerate in sales as in all other bike categories.
“We identified a number of reasons why road-bike riders did not embrace the e-drive like MTBers did 10 years ago,” says Maxime Brunand, head of product management at Mavic. “Most e-drives took the weight of the bikes to 12 or even 18 kg and that changed the bike dynamics and handling. We also identified diminished riding quality and efficiency due to higher rolling resistance, especially when the motor is off. These systems usually came with a compromised frame performance and finally it offered only a limited range of use. We have tackled all these issues.” Though launched as a road-bike drive system, the X-Tend is also suitable for other categories.
Specifying the Mavic X-Tend drive train, the road-bike’s weight can remain under 10 kg as the BMC developed test bike proved. The system in total weighs 3.2 kg including the BB bearings and integrated power-meter. This power meter is integrated in the drive unit and gives better responses than the standard sensors. The drive unit is made up of a 4500-rpm high speed custom brushless motor, a patented cycloidal reducer and a frictionless clutch mechanism.
Mavic claims that the high efficiency and low waste of watts and energy makes it possible to get to a range of up to 3,000 meters elevation gain with the 360 Wh integrated battery. Specifying the X-Tend requires only a limited change of existing frame designs. All what’s needed is an oversized bottom bracket design as the motor cylinder measures 87 mm. This non-disruptive frame design makes the system also very suitable for MTB. Also, the Q of 146 millimeter is in line with the regular sizes. Mavic’s long-time experience with light weight rim production made it possible to limit the weight of the battery casing.
You must be logged in to post a comment.