Why our e-bikes are single speed
What is a single-speed bike?
‘Single-speed’ refers to the use of just one mechanical gear that does not shift. In practise this means that the speed of the bike is set by how quickly or slowly you pedal. Simple! The ease of turning the pedals is set by the one gear that you have on your bike. Thus a single-speed e-bike is simpler, more reliable and more cost effective than equivalent geared ebikes. This makes them perfect for the daily commute.
Why would I want a single-speed ebike?
When commuting, reliability is everything. Imagine having to calibrate gears every few weeks or who remembers that feeling of gears slipping when pedalling up a hill? Its not fun, safe or desirable. Gears are a complication within themselves, requiring correct setup and regular servicing to stay fully operational. Any mis-alignment and the bike will be noisy and unpredictable. Servicing them isn't cheap. In time or money. Single-speed bikes negate this system. If it's chain driven like the AM1, all you need is a bit of lube. If it’s belt driven like our AMX it needs nothing for 30,000km!
Single Speed is more fun. Nothing kills a race at the traffic lights like the clunk of a mistimed gear change. Single-speed is direct, connected and intuitive. You can ride with a clear mind focusing on the road rather than deciding which gear to change into, the bike does the thinking for you and throttles the power accordingly..
Single Speed is light. More gears = more parts, cables, cassettes, derailleurs and weight. Even integrated geared hubs have hundreds of internal components and often weight more than the average electric hub motor. There’s no clever science or carbon fibre here - just less parts.
But what about hills?
If we’re talking about single-speed bicycles, this is a valid concern. The steeper the hill, the harder it will be.
But an electric bike is a completely different animal.. The e-bike drive system is designed to provide assistance relative to the current conditions. It does this by sensing the current resistance and outputting power accordingly. There’s an endless list of conditions that increase resistance on the bike including; rider weight, rider effort, weather, temperature, wind direction, and of course… hills. Hills have the potential to provide a lot of resistance . They require more power and so long as the bike has power left to give, it will provide powerful forward thrust - much more than a rider could put in themselves.. Even in exceptional circumstances on a particularly steep hill when the motor is at maximum assist, the bike will still power the rider with the same rider effort.
Simply put, hills are not a problem. It is not the case that you will ascend into a sweaty mess before hopping off the bike defeated, worst case, you and your ebike may just be moving slower up the hill than you would on the flat.
You may call us biased, but it’s no coincidence all our bikes are single speed. We’ve personally tested our bikes for over 30,000km from our first prototypes back in 2013 until today. In that time, the only thing that’s left us stranded is gears (and the occasional puncture). Nothing looses your love for your beloved steed faster than being stuck in the rain, hands covered in oil with a chain that wrapped around a part of the bike its not supposed to be. Its a no-brainer. Our bikes are now light enough to be carried up stairs, robust, incredibly fun, and none of us can remember the last time we had to break a sweat pedalling up a hill.
Written by Tom Costello