Colorado-based electric bicycle company Optibike has a new high-power electric motor that it says can best any other e-bike motor in its weight class.
The motor is called the Optibike Powerstorm MBB, or Motorized Bottom Bracket.
Like many other mid-drive motors, it is mounted in the location of a typical bottom bracket on a bicycle, right where the pedal cranks meet the frame.
The 4 kg (8.8 pound) motor interprets the rider’s pedal input and outputs significantly more assistance to help riders power up and over tough off-road obstacles.
In this case, the Optibike MBB claims a peak power output of 2,500 watts, or around 3.3 horsepower. Even the continuous power rating of 1.75 kW or 2.3 horsepower is industry-leading in the electric bicycle market.
Perhaps even more importantly than just raw power, the motor claims to avoid overheating issues as well. The company says it can maintain 1,750 watts of continuous power draw while climbing up steep hills in hot weather without overheating.
The new Powerstorm, has the highest power to weight and volume of any e-bike mid-drive motor in the world. The compact and light weight design results in e-bikes that handle better and have larger batteries.
Larger batteries sound about right, as you’d want some serious battery capacity to feed this power-hungry motor.
For example, the battery on Optibike’s R22 electric bike measures in at an astounding 3.26 kWh. That’s around 5x more battery capacity than found on an average electric bicycle.
Each MBB is assembled locally at Optibike’s Colorado facility, where the housing, internals, and gears are machined from solid billet 6061 aluminum. The motor and gear box use no castings, increasing the overall strength.
As Optibike founder and CEO Jim Turner explained:
Our new Powerstorm MBB represents the culmination of over 25 years of E-Bike design experience and shows the American creativity is alive and well.
Bikes like the Optibike R22 tame the motor’s 190Nm of torque with a Rohloff Speed 500 internally geared hub featuring 14 gear ratios. In highest gear, the bike and motor combo are said to offer a top speed of 36 mph (58 km/h), making the R22 an off-road-only e-bike as far as US laws are concerned.
Electric motors in US-market electric bikes have often played fast and loose with regulatory concerns, sometimes pushing well past the maximum allowable 750 watts.
In the case of motors like the Optibike MBB, the off-road designation means that it doesn’t actually have to conform to the 750 watt limit.
In many cases, e-bikes with high-power motors have limiters that allow riders to cut the power back to legal limits for on-road use.
Other electric bikes have crossed into moped territory and even offered VINs with manufacturers certificates of origin (MCOs) that allow riders to register the bikes as mopeds or motorcycles at their local DMV.
Most riders prefer to maintain electric bicycle status with legal power limits to avoid the hassle of licensing, registration, and insurance that come with moped and motorcycle-class vehicles.
Would you ride a high-power electric bicycle with several kilowatts of power on tap? Or are you happy with street-legal electric bicycle motors? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments section below!
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