As electric bicycles continue to advance in technology, we’re seeing more and more manufacturers veer away from the traditional way of building bikes. Ever since the first bicycles hit the road nearly two centuries ago, power was sent to the rear wheel via a chain. The modern era, however, has ushered in the age of drive belts, with brands like Gates leading the charge with their silent and claimed maintenance-free systems.
That being said, there are pros and cons to everything, and belt drives are no exception. While they are indeed silent and require less maintenance than a chain, they have their limitations when it comes to the type of drivetrains they’re compatible with. A standard derailleur system won’t cut it, and so belt-driven e-bikes make use of internally geared hubs and other gearing systems.
Now, an interesting development in the realm of e-bike transmissions comes to us from drive belt specialist Veer. Dubbed the Shift Drive System, Veer hopes to revolutionize the e-mobility game. The way it works is simple in essence, but quite frankly, complex in nature as it involves quite a lot of moving parts. That said, should the design prove to be reliable, it could be a promising alternative to other gearing solutions for belt-driven e-bikes.
Veer’s Shift Drive System was tackled in great detail by our friends at Cycling Electric. Sean Hacking, the founder and CTO of Veer, explained the benefits of the new technology to Cycling Electric stating, “Our Shift Drive System eliminates the need for traditional chain systems and gearboxes, which not only have higher costs but also demand regular maintenance. Our system allows for seamless and efficient shifting on traditionally single-speed drives, ensuring optimal motor performance across various speeds.”
Veer’s Shift Drive System enables belt-driven e-bikes to have two-speeds, thereby improving efficiency and potentially increasing range per charge. The way it works is with a set of rotating modules that rotate 180 degrees. There are a total of six modules with each module equipped with seven teeth. In the largest setting, the freewheel has a total of 42 teeth. As the system is actuated, each module rotates in succession, gradually becoming smaller to a total of 24 teeth. The six modules rest on a small guide wheel, and a small derailleur-like tab ensures the tension of the belt at all times.
According to Veer, this system presents itself as a cost-effective alternative to internal gearing systems, while offering similar benefits. At present, however, the Shift Drive isn’t available yet, as it’s currently undergoing a crowdfunding campaign. Of course, it’s important to take caution when investing in crowdfunding campaigns, as there are always risks associated with putting down money on a product that isn’t readily available.