Intra Drive crowdfunding UK production of gearbox e-bike drive

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Do you share a vision of a UK-built ultra-durable and repairable e-bike gearbox drivetrain? Think along the lines of the MGU from Pinion that was everywhere in Eurobike coverage.

A few weeks ago we brought you the news that this was going to happen, and now it’s happened. To whom it may concern…

Intra Drive press release:

E-bike Technology for a Circular Economy

Edinburgh, Scotland: Intra Drive Ltd is a sustainability led manufacturer of high- performance e-mobility powertrain technology for the global B2B market. The GD8 is the company’s next generation e-bike powertrain solution. It is a combined motor & gearbox in a compact unit, with 8 speeds, 470% range and electronic shifting. It eliminates gearing at the rear wheel and is designed to fit into Shimano EP8 frame mounts. Intra Drive Ltd is working towards a circular economy model; the combination of extreme longevity, low maintenance and availability of spare parts will enable its powertrains to stay in service far longer than existing systems on the market, even in demanding heavy-duty applications.

The Edinburgh based startup is moving to the next phase of bringing their innovative e-bike motor/gearbox to market. Intra Drive Ltd has announced an equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube to start production.

Mark Ravilious, Intra Drive Ltd founder says: ”It’s been a long road to get to this point – it turns out gearboxes are quite complex! Our team of four engineers has developed an amazing product, and with Pinion and Valeo the only competition with gearbox drive units on the market, we’re in a great position to become market leaders.”

The company is seeking backers who see gearbox technology as the future for e- bikes and who want to support a company committed to generating positive and measurable environmental impact alongside a financial return.

Peter Slotwinski, Intra Drive Ltd co-founder says: “Humanity can no longer afford to make things that are not repairable, that are not durable. When we set out to design the most durable e-bike drive unit, a gearbox was an obvious choice. It is inherently circular, as gearboxes can be reconditioned to extend service life, and thanks to an all-metal construction, they can be recycled at end of life. With the buzz around gearboxes at Eurobike this year, it is clear that cycling enthusiasts are ready to get behind a new entrant into this exciting new category of e-bike drive units.”

The Crowdcube campaign is open to everyone, with a minimum pledge of £10, for further information go to intra-drive.com


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  • Intra Drive crowdfunding UK production of gearbox e-bike drive
  • sharkattack
    Full Member

    I’m into it, I like the idea. Derailleurs and cassettes have no place on e-bikes. I won’t buy an e-bike until there’s a gnarly winch’n’plummet style bike with something like this fitted.

    intheborders
    Free Member

    Motor & Gearbox will be in my next eBike, just hope that it’s 2nd generation by then.

    Ozak42
    Free Member

    Great idea and love how small it is. Just want to know the answer to the first questions most people want to know (which isn’t listed on their website or in this arrival), what’s the peak NM torque and how much does it weigh?

    Kramer
    Free Member

    It’s a good idea. I doubt very much that crowdfunding will raise enough to develop it.

    Olly
    Free Member

    Im 100% on board.

    Gearboxes dont normally work because they are draggy compared to a direct chain drive and you notice it on a proper bike.

    E-bikes circumvent that entirely, and it brings the weight in board and low down, frees up the rear wheel.

    I think im gonna buy myself an ebike for my 40th ina  few years, and if i do its defintely going to be one of these setups.

    mashr
    Full Member

    I’m another that loves the idea of a motor gearbox combo. Been following Intradrive for a while, was a bit gutted for them when Pinion got theirs to market first

    EDIT: big selling point is the compatibility with Shimano mounts though. Would make it quite tempting to buy a second hand shimano bike with budget put aside to convert to Intri Drive if/when it dies

    rootes1
    Full Member

    Yer for me – not buying an ebike until 50th (which is creeping up!) and only then when there are some decent motor/gearbox unit bikes.

    rootes1
    Full Member

    there are a few others about also such as the latest Valeo/Effigear

    https://www.effigear.com/en/content/24-smart-e-bike-system

    VanHalen
    Full Member

    i`m desperately hoping this gets to market before my shimano motor expires – as it uses the same mounts – would be a awesome upgrade!

    rootes1
    Full Member

    @vanhalen

    you might think they could move to offering an kit system for existing shimano motor users as one way into the market

    VanHalen
    Full Member

    i keep suggesting it to them! all it needs is a battery plug adaptor and the controller. its not rocket science!

    mravilious
    Free Member

    Hi this is Mark from Intra Drive Ltd.Thanks for your interest!
    The weight is 4.5kg without cranks – this is displayed on our website.
    The torque, which is normally specified at the output sprocket on mid drive motors, is hard to define, because we have an 8 speed gearbox….  so it changes depending which gear is selected.  I can give you some numbers, but they won’t be directly comparable to Shimano Bosh etc.  Hence we do not publish this data (and neither do Pinion).

    thols2
    Full Member

    The torque, which is normally specified at the output sprocket on mid drive motors, is hard to define, because we have an 8 speed gearbox

    Surely, the torque of the motor is at the input to the gearbox, the number of gears is irrelevant. The torque at the output of the gearbox would be a power measurement rather than a torque measurement IIUIC.

    mravilious
    Free Member

    Torque of mid drive motors (Shimano, Bosch, Brose, Mahle etc) is defined at the output sprocket, which is after the reduction gearing within the drive unit.  It could be defined at the input (eg at the motor shaft, before reduction gearing), but this isn’t the industry standard.

    The torque our motor produces before the reduction gearing is about 3Nm (peak), but obviously this is a meaningless number if comparing to the torque at the peak output sprocket of the Shimano EP8  (85Nm).

    Power is simply Torque x rpm. so you can define power or torque at any point within a powertrain.

    Torque is quite a confusing metric for most people, and as I say we’d need to specify 8 different torque values (one for each speed) so we decided to instead express the output as power in Watts.

    mashr
    Full Member

    FWIW Pinion state “85Nm or better 160 Nm wheel torque”, not exactly sure what they mean by that

    dazzydw
    Free Member

    @mravilious – what makes them more durable than the competition? Is it the integration of gears and motor into a single unit or something specific to the gearbox or motor designs? How will you demonstrate its better than the other guys (enough to convince a crowd to fund it)?

     

     

    cookeaa
    Full Member

    Seems like a great product, not a fan of crowdfunding myself, good luck to them though.

    bedmaker
    Full Member

    I’m another not yet ready for an ebike, but when I am, it will hopefully be something like this.

    Getting rid of the derailleur and the unsprung mass of giant 700+ gramme cassettes can only be a good thing.

    VanHalen
    Full Member

    i got a linkedin saying they had met (and gone past) their funding target in just 4 days…

    mravilious
    Free Member

    dazzydw: The big improvement in durability with our powertrain comes mainly from the gearbox.
    Gearboxes are inherently more durable than derailleur gearing systems.

    Take the gearbox in a car for example: generally speaking it requires no maintenance and is still going strong after hundreds of thousands of miles when other parts of the car reach end of life.  This is because gearboxes use hardened steel gears, lubricated with oil, and protected from the elements.

    Contrast this with derailleur gearing: pressed steel sprockets (not high strength hardened steel) which easily damaged and are exposed to water, dirt, road salt etc.

    We have tested the gears within our gearbox on a high power dynomometer we built, which is capable of loading the gears with the worst case peak load they will ever see in the real world, continuously.  In this way we were able to complete the equivalent of 10 years of real world heavy duty use within a few weeks. We then continued the testing, and the gears eventually failed in the way we had expected, based on simulation models we had previously run using specialist gear design software. Your question has made me realise we should really publish the results of the testing!

    Also it’s worth mentioning that we’re not the first to develop gearboxes for bicycles, Pinion GmbH and Effigear (France) have been manufacturing gearbox drivetrains for bikes for 10+ years, and these products are well proven to be durable.  In June this year, Pinion launched a combined motor and gearbox for the e-bike market, which has been very well received. PINION MOTOR.GEARBOX.UNIT | Motor and gearbox in one unit

    Our combined motor and gearbox is directly comparable to Pinion’s system: equally compact, similar motor power, similar weight.  Bombadier group (Canadian manufacturer of trains, jet aircraft and many other things) heavily invested in Pinion, so clearly they are convinced that gearbox powertrains are the future for e-bikes!

    leffeboy
    Full Member

    I would love to know more about the whole sustainability/circular economy thing or do you just mean repairable.  For me it would mean some sort of definition of how repairable it is by the average home mechanic, how long spare parts would be available after a model becomes discontinued, how small a part is available, what sort of lifetime is the gearbox designed for, some sort of plan to make design files for parts available to other manufacturers in case the company folded.  At the moment those words are looking like marketing.

    A good example might be siemens/bosch home electrical goods where they have a service site you can go to with exploded parts diagrams and you can see the different parts that can be purchased along with costs or Miele where they specify that they design for a 20 year life.

    A gearbox is a great idea though, especially for e-bikes.

    thepodge
    Free Member

    I think this looks great but I’m unsure of who (other than really small brands) is going to move away from Shimano, Bosch and SRAM. Yes, there’s increasing numbers using Bafang & Fozthingy but not in noticeable numbers.

    VanHalen
    Full Member

    if they dont make the product you want you will go to an alternative supplier.

    those brands above just dont make what is offered by Intradrive/pinion etc.

    i want an intradrive motor as i have a shimano equipped bike and i accept that, at some stage (probably not that far away) i’ll have to buy a new motor…

    OEM wise the market may force shimano etc to build a gearbox motor.

    nauticalbiker
    Full Member

    It looks pretty rudimentary at this stage. Compare this with the new Pinion system and it looks years behind. A bit more work on the design needed I think. Good luck.

    jkomo
    Full Member

    I’m not entering all my details to get the pitch, any idea what you get for the investment?

    mashr
    Full Member

    nauticalbiker
    Full Member
    It looks pretty rudimentary at this stage. Compare this with the new Pinion system and it looks years behind. A bit more work on the design needed I think.

    That’s hardly insightful, you’re comparing something thats in full production to a prototype

    nickc
    Full Member

    Also it’s worth mentioning that we’re not the first to develop gearboxes for bicycles

    And presumably like all those other gearboxes manufacturers are hoping that e-bikes will be the vehicle (excuse the pun) for mass market uptake of a product that up until now is of fringe interest to enthusiasts only. I can see that e-bikes, gearboxes and motors go together. My guess is that like early suspension was back in the day  it’ll flush out to maybe one or two huge manufacturers who can get their products in front of the massive players in the Bike Industry Pon, Giant, Merida etc etc who’ll decide who that be. Everyone else will, I suppose in time, pick up the “alternative to OEM” market after the mounting design has been settled.

    BruceWee
    Full Member

    At first I thought this was a product launch from Freeflow Technologies but instead it looks like Intra Drive are a completely separate Scottish based ebike company.

    I would support them but I have a strict ‘never give Edinburgh people money’ policy 😉

    Seriously though, I’m not really interested in ebikes for mountain biking but it looks cool so hopefully it’ll take off.

    b33k34
    Full Member

    I think this looks great but I’m unsure of who (other than really small brands) is going to move away from Shimano, Bosch and SRAM.

    Probably true for the big manufacturers but I can see there being an aftermarket developing – especially as the big manufacturers don’t seem to consider the motors a repairable item.  If your Shimano motor fails out of warranty buying something that’s repairable in future seems a better option than replacing like-with-like.  If you’ve got one that you can get aftermarket repairs for they’re still some hundreds of £

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