Meet the Otro

My previous post was about my impressions of riding an Ebike, what I think their place is in the cyclo-sphere, and my change of opinion regarding whether they should exist.

I admit that I only intended to write one blog about it but I realized I was 1120 words in, and had not got to the mention of my Ebike so I decided to break it up into (at least) two posts.  So passionate.

I decided that Binary should have an Ebike design.  Part of my reasoning is because I have always ranted that Ebikes suck as bikes.  So my thought process was to place emphasis on the bike first, and the electricity second.  Some may say that it should be an integrated design, and I don’t disagree.  But, I also think that starting with a proven bike design, then engineering for a drive system could be an approach that produced a bike that is a pleasure to ride, and oh by the way, has an extra 250 or so watts for you on tap.

I actually have multiple designs that I think would make a righteous Ebike.  The Hammer was my first choice.  Who could hate on a titanium mega-hardtail with enduro geometry and 29+ tires?  Also, the Havok would be a good fit for a city or gravel electric assist commuter/adventure frame.  Or, maybe a new design, just for the purpose of creating a real, good-riding trail bike with assist.

After a lot of research, I am going with the Shimano E8000 drive system.  Bosch is a big player in the E-drive systems and is huge in the EU, but I think the Shimano system offers a lot of good features, and I like the Di2 integration.

E8000 is pretty new, and the factories I use aren’t really familiar with the mounting specs for it. While researching for drawings for the mounting system, I stumbled across a frame manufacturer that checked a couple of boxes for me: they had an E8000 design, and it was a full suspension design.  And, looking at the geometry, it’s a real bike design – 150mm travel front and rear, 27.5+/29 wheels, modern front center and head angle, and, it’s full carbon.  BAM.  I have yet to see any Ebike with this cool of geometry.  While I still want to design a Ti hardtail for the E8000, this frame caught my attention.

I have requested a sample frame for testing. I have a complete E8000 drive system ready to bolt in, and it will have Di2 shifting integrated into the drive.  The E8000 is smart enough to know when you are shifting, so it eases off the power, lets the shift complete, and brings the power back in.  I like that, and, it also shares the same color handlebar display between the E8000 and the Di2.  Cool.

I held a name-the-bike contest for this frame where I had a poll of choices, and an ‘Other’ selection with the option to fill in another name.  But, most participants simply chose ‘Other’ with no suggestion.  So, I named it the Other.  To make it more mysterious, I used the Spanish, Otro.  Seems fitting for a bike that will be on the…Other…side of the fence for many people, for a while.

How is this Ebike going to be different?  Well, for one thing, it will probably be offered as a frame and shock.  Not many, or any, Ebikes that I know of are offered this way.  Maybe the better idea is frame, shock and drive system.  This way, it can be built up with existing forks, wheels, cockpits, etc, allowing riders to get into a full suspension carbon Ebike without such a breathtaking price tag.

Testing will be done on this frame for a period of time.  The manufacturer has indicated a willingness to change the molds, so design improvements are not out of the question.  More to follow on the Otro as it is made real.

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