Young woman rides road bike outfitted with Falco eMotor
Falco Refined : World's First Indoor-Outdoor eBike Motor
By Bill Moore
There's a tug-a-war taking place between direct drive electric motors for bicycles and so-called mid-motors. In this EV World In Person interview, Falco eMotor's president Rakesh Dhawan makes the case for direct drive and introduces the world's first eBike motor for indoor and outdoor use.
Electric-assist bicycles are wonderful. I speak from experience having ridden them now for close to 20 years. But like any bicycle, mine usually get parked over winter, unless there's a surprise January thaw. Then bundled in knit cap, thick gloves and multiple layers of clothing, I'll take one of mine for a spin around the nearby frozen lake, usually inhabited this time of year only by a straggling flock of Canada geese who have decided to make it their year-round home.
Now what if I could take the same bike, mount it on a stand and turn it into an over-the-winter trainer, complete with the ability to virtually ride out-of-doors on scores of different cycling trails. Would that encourage me to keep riding, even in the dead of a icy Nebraska winter? Maybe.
My friends at Falco eMotors earlier this year refined their direct drive hub motor technology to not only bring it up to date with the latest in cycling technology, but added the ability to turn it into an indoor trainer, enabling the potential of year-round use and not just during the usual cycling season of late Spring through early Fall.
It's been nearly two years since I last interviewed Falco's president, Rakesh Dhawan about their technology, which is the successor to the motor on my "ancient" (circa 2004) Tidalforce M750, which still works great, even its nickel metal hydride battery pack after all these years. Over the intervening months, Falco has not only improved the motor so that it can accept newer cassettes, as Dhawan explains in some detail in Part 1, but also embedded cadence and torque sensors that's tied into the ANT+ communications protocol. In layman's terms, this means the motor can now be used with various virtual reality training programs like Zwift and TACX. This enables bikes with the Falco's 2018 model e-emotor to be used year-round if desired: no need for separate trainer and bike.
One technical note about the interview: I used a newer iMac with latest OS Sierra and for some reason, the video and audio aren't all that well synced. So, if it's too annoying, just listen to the audio. In the meantime, I'll try to figure out what's up. Also a disclaimer: Falco did provide me with an early bike model to try. They allowed me to keep it since their business model had pivoted to more a focus on bike manufacturers instead of bike dealers and individuals. It's the bike I now ride most of the time for exercise and to run errands.
Video Part 1
Video Part 2
Originally published: 07 Aug 2017
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