The German tyre giant unveils two complete motor systems
The Continental eBike System (CeBS) follows the modular approach of other motor brands with interchangeable batteries, motors and head units.
When you hear of a tyre manufacturer getting into the eBike market its usually in the shape of a new form rubber compound or specific tyre. For Continental this approach was apparently not quite enough to satisfy the brand. So instead of producing tyres, the Germanic rubber kings has produced not just one complete motor system but two distinctly different units to cater for the burgeoning electric market.
Each system is based on either the 36 volt or 48 volt standard. For eMTB application it’s the new 36 volt system that will appeal.
Continental eBike System 36V
At the heart of the system is Continental’s new drive unit. Boasting up to 90Nm of deliverable torque (one of the highest claimed), the 3.4 kilogram motor can also be mounted at any angle to make it adaptable to a variety of frame designs. Continental has also designed it to be compatible with 2x drivetrain setups for the ultimate off-road machine.
Two battery options are available for the system. A down tube mounted 418Wh version or, of most appeal, an integrated 610Wh battery. This integrates into the down tube (as opposed to sitting on top of it) and includes an Abus frame lock to keep it safe.
To top off the system Continental has two display units to choose from. Effectively the same unit from the outside. the two XT-Displays feature easily legible, backlit dot matrix displays to provide the rider with all essential data. The orientation can also be changed to enable it to be mounted to either handlebar or stem dependent on user preference.
The more feature packed XT-Display BLE includes Bluetooth capabilities that enables it to communicate with Continental’s free eBike smartphone app. The new app allows you to access additional functions to enhance your ride such as navigation, weather information and fitness data.
Continental eBike System 48V gearbox concept
Although the 48V system is being marketed towards the commuter market, it still represents an intriguing concept for eMTB thanks to the Revolution version being the first in the world to offer a completely stepless and automatic gearbox. For riders concerned about the longevity of drivetrain parts for winter eMTB use, this concept could represent a bit of a break through in reliability and ease of use.
There are also potential benefits to rear suspension performance with gearbox systems. Namely better unsprung-to-sprung mass ratio and a consistent chain placement for consistent anti-rise/anti-squat and so on.
It incorporates the already out there NuVinci Harmony hub gear system that uses a planetary gear arrangement to provide a very smooth and seamless pedalling performance. At nearly six and a half kilograms in weight the drive unit is a bit of a brute but the centralisation of the mass should aid the off-road capabilities of any bike utilising the technology.
Both systems are now in production so we can expect to see them making their way onto bikes over the next few months. It will be interesting to see if any mountain bike brands explore the automatic gearbox option.