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Bafang’s new 3-speed automatic shifting hub transmission

Words by Stuart on 14/06/2022 12:28:00

Bafang is a giant in the electric bike industry, and news about the company typically revolves around new motor announcements. However, the latest offering from Bafang is not a motor but rather a hub with an internal gearbox that will offer automatic shifting on electric and non-electric bikes.

Bafang Hub

Weighing only 1.7kg and with three gear ratios, this intelligent acting hub takes over from the rider the otherwise manual process of selecting gears
and shifts gears automatically depending on the bike's speed. The company motto for the new hub is simply "enjoy."

Able to fit a wide variety of wheel diameters and thus can have its cadence-based shifting points adjusted to meet various wheel sizes and specifications.

The Bafang hub handles motors pulling up to 80 Nm of torque, unlike other internally gear-driven hubs, which cannot bear the high torque from electric motors.

Although this won't be enough for some of Bafang's most powerful motors, which can produce twice that amount of torque, the hub is more than capable of handling most Bafang motors and virtually all mid-drive motors manufactured in Europe, including Bosch and Brose.

Automatic shifting eliminates the need for a cable or handlebar control, simplifying the user interface and reducing cable clutter on the bike.

Bafang says the hub is the ideal solution for various electric bikes, including pedal bikes, utility bikes, e-trekking, e-city, and e-cargo bikes (reduction ratios of 1:1, 1:1.36, and 1:1.65).

An optional speed detection sensor replaces the traditional sensor installed on the chain stay. The new 3-speed automatic hub has precise shift points depending on wheel speed, thanks to Bafang's clutch mechanism.

Additionally, the company is also positioning the hub for use on non-electric bikes, making it competitive with other major bicycle component manufacturers, including Shimano.

The new internally geared hub can be used with both traditional chain drives and belt-driven bikes. Electric bikes with belts such as those from Gates Carbon Drive are becoming an increasingly popular option.

Bafang Hub Motor Belt Drive

Many have suspected that Bafang would enter the transmission market for some time now. However, the company's more powerful motors have pushed the limits of existing bicycle drivetrains manufactured by OEMs such as Shimano.

While it may be Bafang's first standalone transmission, it is not the company's first transmission in a hub. Bafang previously produced hub motors with built-in automatic two-speed gearboxes, and part of that development work probably contributed to the design of this new three-speed hub.

Bafang has yet to develop a hub for its higher-power motors. Its highest power motors are commonly known to be particularly harsh on basic bike components such as chains and sprockets, which are not designed to handle such high power and torque levels.

Perhaps a more robust transmission is still being developed, with this 80 Nm offering being the first release before its big brother hits the market.

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