Look Cycle and Cixi’s Groundbreaking Collaboration
Look Cycle, a renowned French cycling brand, has unveiled its groundbreaking digital drive technology in collaboration with Cixi, a French active mobility specialist. Termed the Pedaling Energy Recovery System (PERS), this innovation aims to revolutionize the traditional gear and chain/belt setup in bicycles. By eliminating the physical connection between pedals and wheels, PERS offers a seamless and efficient cycling experience.
Technical Insights into PERS
Advanced algorithms within the system meticulously analyze each pedal stroke, adjusting power delivery based on variables like terrain, incline, and speed. The motor features a continuously variable hub, eliminating the need for gears. Intriguingly, PERS can still power the motor even with a depleted battery, as long as the cyclist continues pedaling. The technology also boasts regenerative braking, extending the range for those long rides.
Rover 45: The PERS-Equipped E-Bike
Look and Cixi showcased the Rover 45, a proof-of-concept e-bike equipped with PERS, capable of reaching speeds up to 45 km/h (28 mph). The Rover 45’s design incorporates a 700-watt-hour battery within the seat tube, while the generator is strategically placed in the bottom bracket. This innovative setup allows for diverse bike designs, with the Rover 45 resembling a typical commuter e-bike.
Benefits and Skepticism
PERS promises a maintenance-free cycling experience, eliminating concerns about chain repairs, gear adjustments, or belt replacements. While the concept of digital drives generates skepticism, the potential benefits are undeniable, especially considering the challenges of traditional bike chain.
Cixi’s Vision and Future Projects
Cixi’s PERS technology could potentially propel vehicles to speeds of 120 km/h (74.5 mph) using pedal power alone. The company has also been developing the Vigoz, a unique three-wheeler expected to offer a battery range of up to 160 km (~100 miles). The Rover 45 concept was a highlight at the 2023 Prodays expo in Paris, drawing significant attention. Cixi’s CEO, Pierre Francis, expressed excitement about the collaboration with Look Cycle, emphasizing the potential of chainless technology in cycling.
Additional Features and Applications
The Rover 45’s design features a Look-crafted low-step frame, equipped with racks for carrying essentials. The speed pedelec’s power level can be controlled via a mobile app, which also offers features like system locking and ride location. Cixi’s vision extends beyond e-bikes, envisioning its technology in cargo bikes, mountain bikes, and even urban three-wheelers. The first PERS crankset is slated for release to manufacturers next year, signaling a potential shift in the future of e-bikes.
Innovative Concepts and Future Releases
Cixi’s ambitious Vigoz prototype, a hybrid between a bike and car, boasts features like automatic tilting during cornering and a 160km battery range. Expected to be available by 2025, the Vigoz will be offered exclusively through a subscription model. Look Cycle’s current e-bike offerings, like the E-765 Gotham, differ significantly from the Rover 45, emphasizing the revolutionary nature of the new concept. As the world of e-bikes evolves, innovations like PERS from companies like Look and Cixi could redefine our understanding of two-wheeled mobility.