When we think of a bicycle, we all have the same image in our mind of what we can expect from it — a sleek frame, two wheels, and a chain linking the rear wheel to the pedals. German auto parts manufacturers have developed a device, however, that allows the rear wheel to be connected directly to the pedals without using a chain system.
The device was developed by Schaeffler and is called Free Drive, and it could bring about a revolution in electric bikes. A ‘Bike by wire’ mechanism is being used by the company, which converts pedaling energy into electricity, which is then sent to a motor with the help of electric wiring.
Although the system provides a standard distance of five inches between the pedals, theoretically, the pedals could be located wherever the cyclist desires on the bike, and the wires could be routed as needed, something not possible with a conventional chain drive. In case you were wondering why someone would switch to something like this when there is a more efficient way to make bikes already. According to Schaeffler, this would require less maintenance than a conventional chain-link system.
The drive system includes a small generator — a 250-watt wheel hub motor — connected to a lithium-ion battery and control unit located on the handle. Electric cars use the same mechanism as they do today. Moreover, to provide a realistic riding experience, it also offers resistance that the rider feels during pedaling. Riders can adjust the resistance to their liking, and if they choose a higher resistance, it will result in a higher output of power, which can even be stored in the battery of the electric bike.