The craze for the electric bike is a fact, but not everyone can afford one. Also, some may want to push the pedals on the weekends, but don’t want to break a sweat during the week to get to work. To these, the British company Skarper offers a solution with its DiskDrive system.
The idea here is to attach a box to the rear chainstay of the bike. The latter integrates the motor, while the battery and attaches and detaches in the blink of an eye. An electrification system that proves to be more flexible than what most competitors offer, which often require that at least the entire rear wheel be adapted. In this case, it suffices to replace the rear brake disc with a specific disc. Certainly, you must already have a bike equipped with such brakes or which is capable of accommodating them.
The 250 W electric motor, capable of developing 50 Nm all the same, drives the disc to assist the cyclist in his effort. When braking, pads press against the disc to slow the machine down. Skarper ensures that when the assistance is switched off, no constraint is felt when pedalling. The DiskDrive offers several levels of assistance and promises to manage the power delivered thanks to an algorithm that takes into account the pedaling and the inclination of the slope. We’re curious to see what it might look like compared to a classic hub motor. The speed limit is 32 km/h, but Skarper indicates that, in countries where the law imposes it, its box is restricted to 25 km/h.
An honorable autonomy
The 202 Wh battery guarantees, according to the brand, a range of up to 60 km. Recharging only takes two and a half hours and the DiskDrive can offer about fifteen kilometers of assistance after 30 minutes of charging. Being able to remove everything and slip it into a backpack with ease is a real asset. However, you have to deal with the 3 kg of the case. For an electric motor and battery pair, this remains acceptable nevertheless.
You’ll have to be patient before you can get your hands on the DiskDrive, as it’s not expected to hit the market until 2023. It’ll cost around £1000, or just under €1200. A price at which we are starting to find satisfactory electric bikes for short trips. But then impossible to remove motor and battery to find the sensations of a real muscle bike.