Mavic claims its new X-Tend e-bike motor will be the lightest mid-motor on the market.
This is the French brand’s first foray into pedal-assist motors and is designed to compete with e-bike motors from established brands such as Shimano, Bosch and Yamaha.
Mavic says the way the drive unit mounts means brands have to make fewer modifications to their bikes at the design stage to accommodate the motor.
The X-Tend is also supposed to provide the most natural driving experience of any engine.
The new motor is still in its prototype phase, as Mavic looks to show off the work that went on behind the scenes during a troubled few years in which it emerged from receivership.
The system won’t be specified on production e-bikes until 2025 or 2026, but Mavic says several bike brands are interested in the system.
A difficult start
The X-Tend motor is a big deal for Mavic, representing a four-year development project with BMC, and five years since designs started hitting the drawing board.
It technically predates the sale of the company to American investors (by the Amer Sports group), the financial difficulties that followed, the receivership and the eventual takeover at the last hour by the French investment group Bourrelier. .
The system’s development road has been bumpy from the start, alongside downsizing, restructuring and “necessary” investments in the business, also punctuated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, with the recent opening of its £10m+ headquarters on the outskirts of Annecy, the launch of the Cosmic Ultimate SLR wheelset, and now diversifying into e-bike motor technology, the ” new Mavic” seems to be taking its first steps with confidence. return to fame.
The lightest e-bike motor?
Mavic positions the new X-Tend motor system as capable of delivering the most efficient riding experience, with the most natural ride quality, while achieving the lightest weight in the e-bike category.
He says it will be possible to design electric road bikes under 10kg that use the motor.
Mavic worked with BMC to design the motor mounting system. A Teammachine with a modified bottom bracket area houses the drive unit, battery and control system.
All in all, on a 58cm test bike with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9200 groupset and Mavic’s Ultimate SLR wheelset, the complete prototype weighs 9.7kg without pedals.
The motor system is said to weigh 3.2kg including the drive unit (1.2kg), battery (1.8kg) and bottom bracket bearings, sensors and power meter.
Mavic says it expects to be able to achieve a system weight of less than 9kg soon. This compares to current e-road bikes, which weigh around 11kg.
For context, Pinarello says his Nytro E9 bike is the lightest on the market, weighing in at 11.4kg with a TQ motor system.
According to Mavic product manager Maxime Brunand, the X-Tend motor system is primarily aimed at the e-road bike and e-gravel bike markets, although it could be adapted for urban use and mountain biking. electric.
Easy integration for designers, natural feel for cyclists
Mavic says the X-Tend system allows bike brands to design standard and e-bike frames next to each other, rather than requiring complete redesigns to accommodate the motor and battery.
In theory – and as demonstrated by BMC – this means that a brand would only have to modify the bottom bracket area, in addition to including an internal housing for the battery, charging port and the top tube control unit.
This compares to Fazua’s Evation motor system, which requires more extensive modifications to fit into a frame, including a dropped battery design in the downtube.
Mavic says such minimal integration means brands can retain the overall characteristics of a pre-existing bike, leading to a more natural ride feel. He thinks this is one of the biggest pain points for a potential road and gravel e-bike customer.
The brand also says that while a rear hub-based motor arguably requires fewer design changes, a mid-mounted motor retains wheel scalability (again, something it says hurts the appeal of e-bikes).
The X-Tend drive unit has a diameter of 87mm. It fits into a kind of oversized 88mm diameter bottom bracket.
The device is cylindrical in shape and uses a brushless motor that can spin up to 4,500 rpm. This connects to a patented two-ring cycloidal reducer, which in turn connects to a clutch mechanism.
A standard crankset can be mounted on the motor system, fixed via a simple additional bracket. Our test bike used a Dura-Ace R9200 crankset.
The drive side face of the engine block has a face plate. This engages with a bracket that is mounted to a crankset. Assistance is provided through this channel.
The outer plates also feature a two-pawl freewheel design. This allows the motor to mechanically disengage completely from the transmission when not in use.
Mavic says it’s the only brand with such a design, which allows the crankset to spin freely on the bottom bracket bearings alone with the chain disconnected.
Mavic says the motor adds “zero” resistance to the drivetrain when not in use.
Precise power and assistance
Pedal assist can be delivered in three modes – 30%, 60% and 120% of rider input – but Mavic says this will be customizable up to 150% in the future.
The 250W motor is capable of delivering up to 390W of peak power and up to 50Nm of torque for short periods.
The motor includes a power meter (accurate to +/- 2%) to measure driver input. Mavic claims that this, in tandem with a speed sensor built into the chainstay and accompanying brake rotor lock ring magnet, provides the most accurate power measurement of any e-motor.
A 360 Wh battery is housed in the downtube. Mavic claims that BMC did not have to change the tube size to accommodate it.
The control unit is positioned on the top tube, behind the stem.
Mavic hasn’t made a statement on the system’s range, but says its testers saw true-to-life total ascent of up to 3,000m on a single charge.
The charging port is housed on the lower part of the seat tube, although there’s no reason this or the control unit can’t be positioned elsewhere if a brand decides to do so. Mavic also says handlebar remotes are in development.
Mavic says it is also working on a range extender that will fit the bottle cage eyelets.
A smartphone application is also in development. Mavic claims this will allow riders to remove motor power from ride logs. A Garmin IQ app is also in the works.
Mavic says riders interested in their own power numbers should be able to enjoy the benefits of the built-in power meter without needing to add their own (as long as they’re happy to settle for +/- 2% claimed accuracy).
Brunand also says that integration with cycling apps such as Strava is also possible in theory.
The smartphone app will also allow the user to customize the drive unit, with factors such as responsiveness, power delivery and speed cut-off all modifiable. The app will also collect diagnostic data in the cloud, which Mavic service centers can access in the event of a problem.
Competitive pricing, brand-wide availability
The X-Tend motor system is still in development, but Mavic hopes to include it in e-bikes coming to market “around 2025-2026”.
As for the market, Mavic says the price of X-Tend will be competitive with systems from Fazua and TQ.
The motor will only be available for bike brands to purchase, so there’s no chance of buying a compatible frame and motor and building it yourself.
Mavic says it has no plans to launch the engine with an exclusive launch partner, but hasn’t ruled it out either. He suspects that BMC, its development partner, will likely be the system’s launch partner when the time comes, with other brands to follow soon after.
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