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BikeOn

Convert your bicycle to electric in seconds. No tools or skills required

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BikeOn is a simple and lightweight device that converts your bicycle to electric assist in seconds, with no tools or skills. It is designed to be part of the solution to urban transportation challenges.

BikeOn is a device that converts any bicycle to electric and back in seconds. No tools or skills required. Just attach the device to the wheel of your bicycle and it becomes an electric assist.

Creating a product that is useful, very practical, aesthetically pleasing and stylish was very challenging.

It had to be practical in several areas which included:

Aesthetically pleasing and stylish products are often a key to successful brands (along with other aspects, such as usefulness and practicality, for instance). In our view that is especially important for digitally native vertical brand, which we are building. 

BikeOn is the only device on the market that combines ease of installation and removal (in seconds, with no tools), compact size, and low weight (below 2.5 lbs). Our algorithms ensure the smoothness and ease of ride.  Because it powers up the rear wheel, it also provides very natural feel and handling of the bicycle. 

One of the challenges on the technical side was to find a concept and a form factor that would physically fit most of the bicycles. Bicycles of different brands and builds (and even different production year) have very little in common. Frames, wheels, wheel lacings, cranksets and all other bicycle components vary greatly in size and often shapes. There are some common dimensions agreed upon by manufacturers, but not many. We have managed to find a way to bypass most of the constraints yet keeping the design within desired specs and parameters

We have been developing BikeOn for over 5 years. In the course of the development, we have made over 70 different prototypes. Each of them led to a different set of decisions and changes. We have tried to compress that 5+ year process in this submission and highlight the most significant choices and decisions we have made. Those decisions can be partially seen in our logs and project details section (see Design portion below)

BikeOn is set to solve two major issues:

When we first started working on BikeOn, there were 5 things we would not compromise on: 

  1. easily attachable and removable, with no tools and skills; 
  2. universal (works on most bicycles); 
  3. nice looking; 
  4. lightweight; 
  5. reasonable cost for the end user. 

It was pretty ambitious, no wonder it took us more than 5 years of research and development :)

First, we started developing our own electric motor concept, because at the time, we thought that it is the way to achieve a sleek design we were looking for. It took us 2 years of research and development to steer in the direction of buying...

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Micro_VESC_6_11.rar

Micro VESC 6 KiCAD files: 44mmx34mm PCB packs the VESC 6 with 6xPowerTDFN FETS. Github repo: https://github.com/aramaerospace/Micro-VESC-6. Under GPLv3 https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0

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  • 1 × STM32F405 ARM microcontroller
  • 1 × esp32 SoC microcontroller with dual mode Bluetooth and WiFi
  • 1 × DRV8301 FET gate driver and buck converter
  • 3 × AD8418 Current sense amp

  • Design For Manufacturing (DFM) Starts From Day 1

    Aram2 days ago 0 comments

    DFM is one of the most critical parts of any project, if you are aiming to mass manufacture the device eventually. 

    The typical route usually is to build a prototype which looks like the future product (“looks like prototype”), then build a working prototype (“works like prototype”), then blend both together and refine the product. And only then start DFM.

    We, at BikeOn, prefer the other way around. DFM was in focus for us starting with design of proof of concept prototype. Some of the questions we have been constantly asking ourselves with every iteration of the design are:

    1. Is this the minimum number of parts to perform a particular function?
    2. Can some parts perform the function of other parts in any way? 
    3. Has anyone ever designed subassembly with similar functions, and how?
    4. Part level: how many setups are needed to machine/manufacture the part? How to reduce the number of setups?
    5. What are alternative manufacturing techniques that can be used (for example, extrusion instead of CNC machining, water jet/laser cutting cutting blanks instead of CNC machining, vacuum forming instead of injection molding, etc).

    ...and many others. The goal is to get to the bare minimum, minimalistic yet highly functional design even at the level of the very first prototype.

    The advantage of this constantly ongoing exercise is that the eyes and the brain learn to see and think in very minimalist and efficient way. The unnecessary details fall off the focus and design ideas become much clearer.

    If we don’t go through these exercises routinely, we will be forced to do so eventually by our manufacturing partners, but at that point it may be too late, substantial redesign and changes may become inevitable and may even be dictated by the manufacturing guys rather than by us.  

    When we started designing BikeOn back in 2013-2014, one of the best prototyping tools we had was the 3D printer at local Techshop. And we printed a lot!

    It was so useful, fast and important that we even purchased our own printer. Here is a review of it:

    However, 3D printing has its downsides: certain shapes that can be printed on a 3D printer are not manufacturable using other techniques. That’s why we started working closely with our friend, the owner of a local machine shop. Even at the stage of part design he gave us invaluable feedback. It is very common for us to send him models of preliminary designed parts, asking for his opinion, feedback and even ballpark quote. 

    Here is an example of one of the early designs of BikeOn frame:

    This frame is made of 2 parts. The top of the frame is chamfered. It is surely nicer looking. But that turned out to be much more expensive than this, final version of the frame:

    Now it is made of a single part, can be stamped and then secondary processed, if needed. It is much less expensive and can be made by a shop with very simple machines/tools. That, in turn, allows to diversify the suppliers, build robust supply chain.

    Here is another example of such an approach. The rotor of BikeOn is made of 2 identical blanks, as shown here:

    Each of the blanks can be machined, but it also can be extruded, further reducing part cost.

    Blanks then can be machined to the final shape with pretty minimal machining.

    Usage of 2 identical blanks reduces the cost significantly: it is less expensive to order multiple quantities of a single part than half of that quantity of 2 different parts.

    It all comes down to the evolution of thinking, which can be developed.

    Aram

  • Visual Design For BikeOn App

    Shushanik Khachaturian08/05/2019 at 01:25 4 comments

    This week I have been working on visual design for the app. As you might have noticed from the wireframes, two major features of the app will be speedometer and ability to choose assistance level. We gravitate towards clean minimalist design, ease of use and intuitive interface is a priority for us. Let me know what you think.

  • BikeOn Battery Pack Design

    Aram08/05/2019 at 00:55 3 comments

    While Shushanik was working on the smartphone app, I got back to design of the battery pack.

    We’ve purchased several types of battery packs for testing in the past, hoping that maybe we will be able to source a reliable, high quality bottle shaped pack, but unfortunately, we could not.

    So we decided to make our own pack. We’ve started working with a company, that specializes in battery pack manufacturing. The challenge was to fit the battery cells into a standard size bicycle water bottle. But the main challenge is the safety of the pack and it is our top priority.

    After many design iterations with our manufacturing partners we came up with this design.

    It has three LEDs that indicate the state of the charge, a button switch that turns the battery on-off and a power connector.

    It is about 220mm tall and fits the standard water bottle holder. We will also provide a simple rubber band that will go around the bicycle downtube and secure the battery to the frame.

    The battery pack body is going to be made of stainless steel and the lid out of hard plastic.

    It is 36V 7Ah battery, powerful enough for BikeOn.

    We are in preparations to pass all necessary tests and certifications, including MSDS, UN38.3.

    Here how it looks inside (without shrink wraps):

    It is still a work in progress. Let me know what you think!

    Aram

  • Wireframing For BikeOn App

    Shushanik Khachaturian07/28/2019 at 02:14 0 comments

    While Aram was having fun troubleshooting electronics this week, I have been working on wireframing in Balsamiq for our upcoming mobile app. What seemed a pretty simple app with minimum features turned into 17 wireframes. Here are some screenshots. What do you think? Next step will be the visual design :)

  • BikeOn Development: Working Prototype, 2015

    Shushanik Khachaturian07/28/2019 at 01:49 0 comments

    This is how later iteration of BikeOn prototype looked (2015). It still was attached to the front wheel. The prototype didn't have sensors or embedded in controller, and we had to use throttle to power it. But it worked. 

    On this video you can see it in action, along with the controller:

  • New BikeOn Demo Video

    Shushanik Khachaturian07/22/2019 at 01:12 0 comments

    Today we have recorded a new more detailed video of #BikeOn demo. Our last video left some questions, I hope this one gives better understanding of our product and the way it works. If anything is still unclear, please leave a comment, so that we know what information to include in the next demo video.

  • BikeOn Development: First Working Prototype, 2014

    Shushanik Khachaturian07/21/2019 at 19:59 0 comments

    This is our first working prototype of BikeOn, back in 2014. At that time we envisioned BikeOn as a ring-shaped device that would contain embedded-in axial flux motor, controller and all the sensors, all built on a single PCB. We were designing a front-wheel mounted device, because we thought that it would be easier to mount BikeOn that way.

    This is the video on which we are powering BikeOn for the first time: 

    This is the video when we are trying BikeOn on the road for the first time. It didn’t work very well at that time:

    As you can see from the videos, at that time BikeOn didn’t have sensors embedded in, and it worked only with a throttle.

    The Lesson We Learned:

    Later we realized that using third party motor would speed up our development without much sacrifice on desired specs, qualities and our vision. We learned the hard way: if there is something out there you can use, make every effort and reasonable compromise to use it.

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Discussions

Marcos Chaparro wrote 07/19/2019 at 22:50 point

Hi guys, as the biggest VESC firmware contributor behind Benjamin Vedder, I have to remind you that once you start distributing your hardware you have to also distribute the source code running on your VESC boards. Keeping it to yourself is not an option with GPLv3 licences, and that includes any custom algorithm executed by the mcu.

And btw there is no such enforcement in the hardware design, copyleft only applies to the source code.

Best of luck!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Aram wrote 07/21/2019 at 20:15 point

Hi Marcos,

Thanks for your comment and work you’ve contributed to VESC development.
We do know that we must distribute the source code running on the VESC board (once we start distributing the device) if we add to it/modify it in any way. However, in our design we use separate mcu to run the algorithm and sensors. The only connection between our mcu and the VESC is the UART line. The VESC code was not modified in any way.

Per our research and understanding, in this case it is not required to make our algorithm open, but we’re still thinking about it. Please correct me if I am wrong.

In any case, before we start distributing our product, we will double check all the licensing requirements and make sure that we comply with the law.

Thanks and best of luck with your project!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Marcos Chaparro wrote 07/22/2019 at 00:33 point

Yeah, an external mcu is the cleanest way to comply with the licensing terms, you'll be safe.

You are likely going to need to customize the vesc code to allow for updating the coprocessor firmware or tune its parameters, in that I case I look forward to seeing bikeOn as an officially supported hardware in the mainstream repo, its not that difficult to do

Cheers!

  Are you sure? yes | no

EngineerAllen wrote 07/08/2019 at 22:01 point

barev

  Are you sure? yes | no

Aram wrote 07/17/2019 at 03:32 point

Hello.

  Are you sure? yes | no

bosko wrote 06/08/2019 at 19:24 point

Nice project, im wondering how much cost Micro VESC, will be available for purchase ? Where i can send that files to make complete VESC.  Im using normal VESC size for now is good. What are specifications of this micro ? or what are difference between "normal" and micro.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Aram wrote 06/11/2019 at 06:16 point

Hi @bosko 

This version of VESC has smaller PCB and the buck regulator outputs 3V3 only. It has fewer number of components therefore. MOSFETS are smaller than on original VESC (PowerTDFNs), but still 50-60A phase current is not a problem with adequate cooling.

I will post BOM and gerber files later so that you can order the PCB from any PCB house.

I can't promise that this version of VESC will be available for purchase, at least for the moment.

Thanks!

Aram

  Are you sure? yes | no

michiel wrote 06/08/2019 at 09:46 point

What is the reason for the reduction in motor power from 350W to 250W in the EU? I know of many E-bikes in the EU (at least in NL) with power ratings at high as 600W for normal commuter bikes.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Aram wrote 06/11/2019 at 06:07 point

Hi @michiel ,

These are the restrictions pretty widely adopted in the EU. We will review power limitations again closer to the sales launch date. If NL allows for higher power rating, we will definitely go by that.

Thanks for your interest!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Martin wrote 08/13/2019 at 09:45 point

In Austria there is a limit of 25km/h in electric assist mode but no limit to 250W. Possibly there is a limit at 400W or 600W.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Aram wrote 08/14/2019 at 21:11 point

Hi @Martin . Thanks for your interest.  

You're right, as far as I can understand Austria has slightly relaxed regulations.

We may have to go by EU regulations for all EU countries (250W limit) because it simplifies the logistics, we will decide on that one later.

But I think torque is more important than power rating, after all. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

mike wrote 06/08/2019 at 03:13 point

This is really an amazing concept. From the video it appears to connect to the "pie plate". If that is the case, it is transferring the torque through the plastic?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Aram wrote 06/08/2019 at 06:21 point

Hi Mike,

Thanks for your  interest.

Most of the BikeOn parts are made of metal, there are no issues with torque transfer.

  Are you sure? yes | no

mcmasterp wrote 06/07/2019 at 20:30 point

when will it be available for sale and how can I get on an email list for info on that?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Aram wrote 06/08/2019 at 06:25 point

Hi mcmasterp,

Our target is September-October for the first batch of BikeOn to go on sale. Please visit our webpage at bikeon.com , you can subscribe there to our email list, we will keep you posted!

Thanks!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Steve Shaffer wrote 06/07/2019 at 19:57 point

Looks great! I applaud the clean design both mechanically and electrically. When can I buy just the rear, I build my own batteries.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Aram wrote 06/08/2019 at 06:29 point

Hi Steve,

Thanks for your kind words.

We hope to start sales in September-October. Please subscribe to our mailing list at bikeon.com and we will keep you posted.

Thanks.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Сергей Петров wrote 05/31/2019 at 08:18 point

How does the power from the "water bottle" connect? Not noticed on video.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Aram wrote 05/31/2019 at 16:48 point

There is a short wire, running from the battery pack to the device. Thanks!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Сергей Петров wrote 05/31/2019 at 08:17 point

When the battery is discharged, does the device need to be removed on the road or does it in no way prevent just driving?
If you need to shoot, is there a way to attach it to the frame of the bike, so as not to need a backpack for this case?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Aram wrote 05/31/2019 at 16:47 point

If you run out of battery, you can remove the device. If not, the device will apply some minor resistance as you pedal.

It will come with special lock, so that you could lock it to the frame of your bicycle, if you prefer to not remove it while leaving the bike on the street.

Hope this answers your questions. 

Thank you!

  Are you sure? yes | no

nazarposhta wrote 05/31/2019 at 06:17 point

How fast it can to ride?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Aram wrote 05/31/2019 at 06:30 point

As fast as you can go. It assists up to 20 mph (32 kph in Europe) and then cuts the assistance off (there is a law that sets these conditions). Thanks!

  Are you sure? yes | no

bolotbekovab10 wrote 05/31/2019 at 04:38 point

awesome pedal assist!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Aram wrote 05/31/2019 at 04:51 point

Thank you!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Nikhil wrote 05/30/2019 at 17:58 point

Seems very interesting. How much $ ?

Demo could show the electric bike in action.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Aram wrote 05/30/2019 at 18:19 point

Thanks for your interest!

For the battery pack, the charger and the device we're thinking about $1100-1250 price range. We'll know more closer to the sales launch date.

It is pedal assist, it assists you as you start pedaling. If you stop pedaling, it stops too. That's what you see on the demo video,it is in action.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Harry Lisby wrote 05/28/2019 at 21:58 point

Awesome concept, the part I don't see to be getting is how you couple power into the wheel, does it need a modification first?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Aram wrote 05/28/2019 at 23:52 point

There is a wire that runs from the battery (water bottle shaped) to the device. I hope this answers your question.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Aram wrote 05/29/2019 at 00:31 point

...and no, the wheel need no modification. The device drives the cassette on the wheel.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Tillo wrote 06/04/2019 at 07:01 point

How about differnet cassette sizes? You know, those 12 speed cassettes are nowadays a thing for mountain bikes.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Aram wrote 06/04/2019 at 16:41 point

@Tillo Nearly all cassette sizes can be accommodated. This version of the device is built mostly for hybrid and road bikes (and some of the mountain ones). Mountain bike version to follow at some point...

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dan Maloney wrote 05/27/2019 at 18:46 point

Very nice! Make sure you submit this for the Hackaday Prize.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Michael G wrote 05/25/2019 at 23:35 point

Is it purely the torque sensor that determines when the motor applies power?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Aram wrote 05/26/2019 at 22:43 point

Hi @Michael G 

No, there are other sensors involved. There is an algorithm inside the device that fuses readings of several sensors and then determines when and how much power to apply.

Thanks for asking!

  Are you sure? yes | no

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